I believe, there’s often a Symbiosis Between Plot and Character Development

The process of writing any book has never been a sudden, it takes months to develop the plot and character. Krista took four months to conceive the story.

How the story of the novel “The birdcage” appears to you? Was it sudden thought or by experience?

Oh, boy. Creating “The Birdcage” was in no way sudden! I had a theme I wanted to write about, that comparison is the thief of joy because this principle had manifested itself in my own life, but there were many stages before I knew how to fictionalize this concept. When I saw the association between my experience and how it could come to life through a romantic irony trope, this was my 'aha' moment. In its initial form, The Birdcage was a short story, which took me four months to conceive and write while I figured out a structure and characters for the theme. I presented this short story to my publisher, Saga Fiction, thinking it may be part of a short story collection, but my editor asked me to expand it. “I'd like to see how the conflict plays out,” she said. So, this turned The Birdcage into a sixteen-episode series, and then a novella. 

What was your experience behind the writing the book, and how did you find your characters, were they from real life pickings or all fictional?

Everything I’ve written features a couple, and inevitably a little piece of myself and my husband elbow their way onto the page! With The Birdcage, I drew upon experiences in my sales career to create Jill and her work environment, also from where I live in rural Southern Ontario, Canada, to create the setting. But without a doubt, The Birdcage is a work of pure fiction.

There are many forms of telling stories, however, Krista did it many times. However, putting the story on the paper for the first time. Therefore, one suggestion turn the pages of life so quickly, and ultimately, it becomes the life's inspirational advice.

When did you have a thought of becoming an author in life, and at what age you have started writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I’m one of the few writers I’ve met who never considered writing, even for personal enjoyment, until my late thirties. Though, from a young age, I’ve been telling stories. I was a passionate figure skater, so my medium was physical and musical, not words put on a page. I literally was on a walk one day, contemplating what direction I wanted to take my sales career, when I thought, ‘why don’t you write a book?’ It was that out of the blue! Which is shocking to me because I feel like I’ve found the perfect vehicle to express my love of psychology, communication, art, and my fascination with people through books.

However, creating the main characters, most of the writers take inspiration from the real life and from the known characters. Krista created one of the charters, Jill, from her experiences of sales career.

What is your writing and editing process? How many edits you have given to your novel and whom you consider as the best beta reader for you?

Once I get an idea, a three-part process of developing the plot, theme, and characters begins. I find myself looking for associations to that idea all around me, at work, at play, in dreams—everywhere! Once I feel like I’m getting plot points, I put them on post-it notes and start playing with their order. Because my stories are character-driven, there’s often a symbiosis between plot and character development. This is the type of person they are, so what would they choose here? If this happened to them, how would they react? Research, I find, often helps me get more ideas, but also gives me an oomph of confidence that my plot and characterizations will work.

I’m a writer who’s fallen in love with outlines. Once I have a beginning and ending point, and enough plot points for the middle to create an arc, I outline. I learned to outline by watching James Patterson’s Masterclass. He purports putting anything you’ve got in the outline—bits of dialogue, sketches of scenes, jokes, one-liners, how you want the scene to make a reader feel—everything goes in the outline. I find this really works well for me and makes a first draft a lot easier. 

Once my editor approved my outline of The Birdcage, I wrote the first draft. I revised it until the character arcs and storylines felt solid, then I submitted the draft to my editor and my critique group for a beta read. I loved working with my editor at Saga Fiction because I really feel like she ‘got’ my story, and any developmental comments she gave me pulled me deeper into the story and not away from it. I really think that’s the most important aspect of finding the ‘right’ beta reader. I likely did four drafts of The Birdcage before it was ready for line revisions and proofreading. So, seven drafts? Some sections, of course, I went over more than others. 

The habits of successful writers who have unique voice and keep writing regularly. In the opinion of Krista, writing only stories isn't all about them. They think out of the box, they express ideas without bias and have confidence in their readers to create the puzzle own.

What is your opinion to become a successful author, one takes, and what should be the habits of the person?

I think becoming a successful author hinges on individuality. I think you need to be confident enough to express your unique voice, and secure enough to keep writing what you believe are good stories, even when few people agree! That being said, I think a successful writer realizes writing stories isn’t all about them. They express ideas without bias or agenda and have confidence that their readers will put the pieces of the puzzle together in their own way. A good writer is often their own best editor and will kill their darlings. I think you need an awareness of reader expectations, approachable writing styles, and genres. In terms of habits, I think writing takes self-awareness. You need to dig into your inner life and objectively examine it. Most good writers have honed their observation faculties, I find, and can empathetically look at conflicts from both sides of the coin. There’s no question in my mind, to write you need to be a self-starter and self-disciplined. Talent can only carry you so far, in any artistic endeavour. 

Every writer required someone who can hear them positively, understand and give continuous feedback. Therefore, a close friend or soul mate would have been the best to have some suggestions and a help on edits. However, a beta reader also plays a vital role, but not someone of a close friend or one from close relatives.

Enlist the persons who have given the most support to you while writing the book and what the support it was given.

My husband. When he didn’t show an interest in reading my work, initially, I was quite hurt. But I persisted, and eventually, he agreed, even though he’s only read one novel during our twenty years of marriage. When he was done, he didn’t have much to say about the story, except, “Kristy, I didn’t need to read this. I already knew the story. You’ve talked about it for the last five months.” At this point, I realized two things: that I’m more of a blabber mouth than I thought, and that, of course, he knew the story. My husband is one of the best listeners I know of, and I run nearly every pertinent detail of every story I write by him, and by his reactions I know if I’m on or off track.