Section #3 The Creative Process
BRoP: Do you have a specific writing style?
Cathrine: I write in deep third person Point of View and Viewpoint. In other words, the character narrates. This is a way of getting the reader up-close and personal with the characters and with the story. This style is one of the very best ways to accomplish reader satisfaction, but it's certainly not easiest to write.
BRoP: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Cathrine: I don't believe in formulas but in guidelines and big, brush-strokes. That's because every decision or choice made depends on what kind of story dump I get. However, there are genre specifics, especially for romances, that must be included in a story for there to be reader satisfaction.
BRoP: Are you a "plotter" or a "pantser" (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write "by the seat of your pants?")
Cathrine: I began my first novel as a pantser and hated that extremely frustrating method because rewrites wasted so much of my time and energy. Over the years, I've met a lot of writers and came to the conclusion that there are ten types, or styles, of how writers output a story. Another observation of mine is that although many writers start out as one type, usually a pantser or a plotter (which are the two most well-known styles), a writer often evolves into one of the other eight types becase that writer sought to become a producing storyteller. What's a producing storyteller? It's a person who can output, from draft to sending the story out for publication: a minimum of one 100,000 word novel a year, or two 55,000 word novels a year, or a short story every one to three months.
BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?
Cathrine: When I do run into a story problem, which is maybe once a year, my Pennwriters groups are very helpful in brainstorming. I will also bring final copy of a short story to my groups for a last look before sending the manuscript to a publication. In the case of novels, when I have revised, edited, and polished them to the very best of my abilities then and only then, do I take the opening to a group for feedback to find out if it hooked them into wanting to read on. However, I then use readers who have the time available to read the entire story from start to finish.
BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?
Cathrine: It all depends on what the story is about. Karma and Mayhem dealt with Japanese martial arts, samurai, and katanas. So, once the story dump came to me, I spent roughly three months (and many trips to the library) for research. What I learned, I noted and put in a file folder I titled "martial arts." (It's now about two inches thick!) I even watched a number of martial arts films and documentaries. For Jewels of the Sky, it was different. Over the course of thirty years, curiosity had me investigating, garnering, and accumulating information about North and South American Indians and the idea that aliens once visited Earth. However, rechecking facts took a few weeks.