Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Guest Blogger Linnea Sinclair: Pondering the Paranormal

Thin threads connect the events of our lives. Last year I wrote several articles for an online magazine and just adored my editor, Carla. Well... she told me my articles were brilliant, so what else was I supposed to do but adore her? She left the magazine and began doing author PR. When one of her authors had a book nominated for a Rita I emailed my congratulations.

Fast forward to July 29, the Rita awards are in full swing, La Nora is doing a great job of emceeing, fellow Alabamian and RWA President Gayle Wilson is charming the pantyhose off every attendee and then they announce the finalists for Best Paranormal Romance. And the winner is...

Carla's author! I sent congratulations again. Meanwhile she's checked out the Playground, loves our swingset and says "Can my authors come over and dig in the sandbox?"

We were thrilled at the prospect and since our contest theme at the Writing Playground for the past month has been "Paranormal Pleasures," we decided to shoot for the moon.

The 2006 Rita winner for paranormal romance is blogging with us today and we're delighted. Linnea will be popping in during the day to answer questions, so fire away.

Prizes! Prizes! Linnea is offering two prizes to randomly selected commenters. First prize is an ARC of Gabriel's Ghost and a tote bag. Second prize is a t-shirt and mug. The winners will be posted tomorrow afternoon so check back to see if you won!




WHERE DO YOUR STORIES COME FROM?

I’m sure every author gets asked that question. A lot. But most questioners probably ask it with the usual kindly, somewhat knowing smile.

When I get asked, however, it’s posed with eyes wide open. And more often than not, the questioner takes a step or two back.

See, I write science fiction and science fiction romance. Not your usual kind of story or your usual kind of characters. Starships, seedy spaceports, and odd aliens populate my pages. Matter transporters are normal accoutrements. Loquacious ’droids, renegade space pirates and feisty starfreighter captains flicker in and out of the shadows. Battles rage. Passions are high. Stakes can be galactic in scope.

Rather flies in the face of “write what you know,” you know?

So when readers ask me where my stories come from, the wide-eyed wondering or the quizzical furrowed brow is right there along with the words: where do your stories come from?

I wish I could answer that I had some whiz-bang intergalactic portal transmitting ideas to me, or that I’d unearthed an outer-space alien’s PDA and day planner during one of my forays as a private detective (which is, yes, another story…). But the plain truth of the matter is, I get my stories from the same place every other writer does: from somewhere inside me. From the emotions and experiences I’ve lived through. Not in a galaxy far, far away. But right here.

You see, science fiction romance is no more about tech than regency romance is about reticules. I get a lot of that kind of misidentification from women who come to my table at a book signing, only to back away with, “Oh, I’m not smart enough to read all that technical stuff.” As if one needs a PhD to understand love, jealousy, fear or loyalty.

Because that’s what my books are about: love, jealousy, fear, loyalty. Pride, passion, resentment, determination and hope.

They just happen to be set—for the most part—someplace you’ll likely never go. (But then, I’ve never been to 13th century Scotland, either. Or to Phoenix, Arizona for that matter And there are certainly enough books set in both places.)

So, yes, while a science fiction setting molds my characters, what drives them are the same things that drive characters in books set in Phoenix. Or Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries, Scotland. Love, jealousy, fear, loyalty and the rest.

Let’s talk about love and fear and loyalty. Chasidah “Chaz” Bergren is a military brat, now a patrol ship captain in a galactic fleet. After years of dedicated service, she finds herself—inexplicably—court-martialed and sent to a prison world to die. A mercenary, her former nemesis shows up—equally as inexplicably. I won’t say “to rescue Chaz” because if you’ve met her (or intend to read her story, and I hope you do), you know she’s fully capable of protecting herself. But show up inexplicably—this enigmatic man, this ghost from her past—does. And Chaz finds her loyalties torn, her fears coming forward. And love…well, that’s perhaps her greatest challenge of all.



Gabriel’s Ghost—Chaz’s story—won the RITA award last July, not, I’d like to think, because it was so chock full of high tech. But because it was chock full of love and loyalty and fear.


So where did Gabriel’s Ghost come from? Specifically two things: a creative writing class assignment to craft an opening scene about fear, and a song off Santana’s Supernatural album, entitled “Put Your Lights On.”

But where it really came from was deeper than that. It came from my own experiences with being wrongly accused (and haven’t we all been, at some point). It came from my own experiences of dealing with prejudice. It came from my own experiences of learning to extend blind trust in someone. It came from my own experiences of loss. It came from my own experiences of love.

The settings—the cold, foreboding planet of Moabar, the sterile environment of Moabar Station, the sleek opulence of a ship called the Boru Karn—are simply the canvas on which those emotions are presented.

But these otherworldly settings, readers often note. If you’re never been on a starship or a space station, how can you write about them?

Because I’ve been on a cruise ship, in a jet, in a shopping mall, in the interior stairs of a high-rise building. Exactly the same? No. But a stairwell is a stairwell and—unless you want to factor in a change in gravity, which I didn’t in that scene in Gabriel’s Ghost—Chaz and Sully desperately running down tight corridors and up several flights of stairs (okay, they were ladders but you get the point) still results in an exhaustion factor. One I’ve experienced and one—if you’ve ever taken a gym class as a kid or a step class as an adult—you’re familiar with as well.

Do I research these things we’ve yet to invent, these starships and stations I write about? Of course, though my research is probably more speculative in nature than the author who writes a murder mystery on a cruise ship. But it’s not dissimilar.

And it’s not—in my books—the most important thing. Yes, I want to be as accurate as I can, just as the mystery author wants to be. The key elements, however, are still the characters and their emotions. Love. Fear. Loyalty.

My February 2007 release, Games of Command, involves a galactic fleet captain with a dark secret, a half-man, half-machine (bio-cybernetic) admiral, talking furzels (overgrown cats) and an evil alien energy source. No, not things you’d likely encounter at your neighborhood grocery store. But the issues my characters face are ones that, yes, you may have encountered: the fear that you might lose your job if someone finds out something in your past; the fear that someone you care deeply about might not care at all about you; the regret of never telling someone you loved them; and, the recognition of the innocent, unconditional love of a companion animal.

My current science fiction romance work-in-progress is—rare for me—set here, on this planet. In Florida, in fact. Fictitious city but one that Floridians (and many tourists) will easily recognize. Jorie Mikkalah, the intergalactic zombie hunter, her Hazer micro-rifle and her mech-organic data scanner will be new to them. But her emotions, her motivation to save this nil-tech planet aptly—in her view—named after dirt (Earth) are very common: dedication to a cause, loyalty to her profession. A strong sense of duty. Her reaction to her unexpected partner on this mission—Florida homicide detective Theo Petrakos—should also be familiar: initial exasperation that changes to reluctant admiration that changes to… well, I guess you’ll just have to wait for The Down Home Zombie Blues to be released by Bantam to find out.

I guarantee that my stories will be both exciting and yet familiar. Because where my stories come from is the same place most other authors’ stories come from: from the heart.


Linnea Sinclair is a former journalist turned private investigator turned science fiction-fantasy novelist. Her award winning novels include Finders Keepers, Gabriel's Ghost, and An Accidental Goddess (all from Bantam Spectra) with Games of Command, The Down Home Zombie Blues and Chasidah's Choice due out in 2007-08. She’s also a Pushcart Literary Award and John W. Campbell Award nominee.

For more information on her books, visit her website at: www.linneasinclair.com

33 comments:

Heather said...

Interesting and insightful post, Linnea. I enjoyed reading - and thinking - about it!

Jennifer Y. said...

Great blog post! I have Finders Keepers in the TBR mountain.

CrystalG said...

Great blog post. Your books sound great.

Problem Child said...

Hi Linnea! It's so great to have you here.

I know "it's an honor just to be nominated," but how cool is it to win a RITA? Has anything exciting happened BECAUSE of the RITA win? (Screaming hordes of fans following you around?)

PC

Linnea Sinclair said...

Thanks for all the nice comments, kids! Jennifer, pleased to hear Finders Keepers is in your TBR pile (and I do know how those can grow!). It's a fast, fun story (and was also a finalist for the RITA) so save it for when you need a romp.

PC, has anything exciting happened because of the RITA win? Well, I was asked to do this blog. :-) And my cats found the statue interesting (if you look just above Daiquiri's right ear in the photo, you'll see little tiger-striped Miss Doozy sprawled on the rug). But--and it could just be that I'm so deep in deadline doo-doo that I don't notice--but, nothing all that much different than before. I had a signing a few weeks after the RITA (long scheduled and nothing to do with the win) and brought "Miss Rita" and most people had no idea what she was.

I've been told that's because she's an industry award. I've also heard readers really don't care about awards--do you all feel that's true? Would you be more likely to read a book because of a RITA...or do you go by back blurb or cover quote?

Inquiring minds want to know! :-) ~Linnea

Angel said...

Hi, Linnea!!! We're so excited to have you with us.

This post is really cool, because so many times we look at books (even romances) according to their particular genre or subgenre, without remembering that at their core they deal with real emotions that affect us all. Thanks for the reminder!

As for the RITA, I would be intrigued by a book that had won the award, but if the blurb doesn't depict a story I'm interested in, then it wouldn't matter if it had won 10 awards. At the end of the day, I'm drawn just to the story. Period.

That being said, I wouldn't complain if I was nominated or won one. :)

Angel

Kathy said...

Hi, Linnea! I'm so glad you came to play.

I think awards do make a difference in calling attention to a book. And congratulations on your Rita win!

I'm very interested in your writing process, the way you pick out themes, turn memories into something almost unrecognizable with a sci-fi slant but at the same time keeping the concept universally understood. I agree, the bare bones of romance books are all the same. However creating your own voice, conceiving a story that puts a fresh spin on an old theme can be tricky. How can we, as writers, conceive theme and at the same time keep it fresh in a market that flows with trends?

Kathy

Playground Monitor said...

They always tell us "Write what you know" and I'd never considered how people who write other universes or eras dealt with that. When I read your blog it was a "DUH!" moment for me.

Like Angel, the award itself won't make me read the book if the blurb doesn't pique my interest. It's the story I'm interested in.

What was it like seeing your photo and book up on that big screen and then hearing Lori Handeland, last year's winner, call your name as the winner? Was there a moment of disbelief where you turned to the person beside you and asked "Did she just call my name?" Or were you cool, calm and collected and didn't even forget to thank a single person?

Odd that readers don't know the Rita. I knew what it was before I began writing because I saw the word "Rita" on a cover and Googled it. Guess maybe others don't have an enquiting mind like I do.

Thanks again so much for playing with us. That blue sandpail and shovel in the middle is yours. *g*

PM

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome Linnea! I don't think I would read a book just because it was a RITA winner or a finalist, but if the book itself was of interest to me, a RITA might move it higher in the TBR pile.

I think readers would be more interested in the RITA if they knew what it was. When I talk about it to non-writers, I say, is the Oscar of the Romance Writing Industry. That usually garners the big eyes of appreciation it deserves. Of course, it would be more impressive if I could show them my statuette at the time. Alas, someday...

SP

Instigator said...

Thanks for stoping by Linnea! We're really excited to have you on the playground.

Like the others have said, a Rita win wouldn't necessarily put a book in my TBR pile if it didn't interest me already. Actually, until I began writing I had no idea what the Rita was and I'm afraid most readers don't. But I'd love, love, love to replace the chocolate one on my desk with the real thing one day. That must be an emotional high like no other.

I love the fact that your books incorrporate two different genres -that you can pull from two distinct audiences. Do you often encounter differing reactions/comments from readers because of this?

Instigator

Linnea Sinclair said...

kathy said: [[However creating your own voice, conceiving a story that puts a fresh spin on an old theme can be tricky. How can we, as writers, conceive theme and at the same time keep it fresh in a market that flows with trends?]]

It's been said (and I know you all know this) that there are really only three to six or ten plots. Boy meets girl, man against nature etc etc.. Given that, nothing is new or old. Novels are simply infinite variations on the innate HUMAN storytelling gene inside us all. The teller has the need to tell, the hearer (or reader) has to resonate with the familiar theme to want to listen. Think of it as a dance, a bit of choreography...

I often wonder [sidebar] if/how this will change when we encounter beings from another galaxy, who may or may not have the same cultural/historical storytelling DNA as we do. I mean, look at the basis for Oriental musical theory as opposed to Occidental. Oriental harmonies CAN sound discordant until your ear is tuned for that.

What if another galaxy's inhabitants' stories were like that?

OK, back to main theme. :-)

IMHO, don't buck the basics and don't be ashamed of reexploring what works: love, loyalty, loss, challenge, etc.. YOUR CHARACTERS are what will make your story unique. Just as two siblings may perceive their parents slightly differently (or majorly differently!) even though they grew up side by side. Linnea's story of unrequited love won't be Kathy's or Crystal's or Smarty's.

TO ME, what makes a story NOT work is not because it's yet another story of unrequited love (or a missed clearance sale---dang!) but because the author was afraid to let his/her voice come through.

Your biggest leap of faith as a writer is NOT to explore some wildly divergent plotline, but to let your unique voice be heard.

Trends: they're fine for t-shirts but I pay them no mind in writing. Don't write chick-lit because you think it's hot on the market. For one thing, what's hot on the market now was bought two years ago and the 'trend' may already be expiring. But more important, if you're not passionately interested in crafting your story, you won't have a voice and your story will fall flat.

Writing to trend is the coward's route (IMHO). It's a safe way to cover your arse if you don't sell: oh, the trend died. I was behind the curve...

Writing your VOICE takes guts because to find your voice your have to rip your own emotional guts out through your ears.

This may or may not be the same as "writing the book of your heart." The book of your heart may be the story that calls you but if you don't have the chutzpah to write it from your voice, it won't ever reach the height it could.

I'm not saying voice-less books don't sell. They do--for a variety of unrelated reasons. We've all read them. They're just not memorable and they're not as satisfying to write.

Writing IS an addiction, my little playmates. You gotta feed it with the really good shhhhhtuff (you all thought I was gonna use a different word, didn't you?), or you (and your readers) won't get jazzed.

;-) ~Linnea

Linnea Sinclair said...

Ins wrote- [[I love the fact that your books incorporate two different genres -that you can pull from two distinct audiences. Do you often encounter differing reactions/comments from readers because of this?]]

I get applauded and damned. :-) Hard-line SF purists cringe because my characters kiss. Some romance readers recoil in fear from the 'science' in science fiction.

But I've also pulled a rather disparate group together on my Yahoo Group. I have about 400 fans which include some hard-line SFers and some of the fluffiest romancers. ;-) They meet at my books.

What people forget is that 'genre' is a corporate shelving invention, for the most part. So now many readers live in their own little aisle and look with disdain at others in their aisle.

Sub-genres--like romantic suspense and science fiction romance--are blowing holes in those shelves.

My current WIP--as I mentioned in the blog--is a science fiction romance police procedural. Where in God's Green Galaxy are they going to shelve THAT one? [snicker]

Hopefully, it'll be under a sign that says FUN TO READ.

~Linnea

Kathy said...

Thanks, Linnea for going into such wonderful depth on voice, trends and the choices we make when writing!

I agree, writing is an addition. What kind of shhhhtuuff do you suggest we feed ourselves with during the process? For instance, I write historicals, tend to do a lot of research, and end up reading a lot of material along those lines. What do you focus on while writing?

Kathy

Problem Child said...

Would I read a book just because it won a Rita? There are plenty of Rita categories I don't normally enjoy, so just because it won a Rita, wouldn't necessarily take it to the top of my list.

If it was already in my TBR pile, then it might move up a few notches. :-)

I do think "genre" can be arbitrary. I like the idea of shelving them under "Fun to Read."
'Course wouldn't everyone want thier books there? :-)

Mo said...

Hiya Linnea!! My you've posted some great stuff here hun. Did I ever tell you you amaze me sometimes? You're thoughts on writing to themes and how they work no matter the era or setting is soooo right on! I write medievals and the theme of loyalty, control etc work there just as well as they work on a spaceship ;)

Do I read books just because they won a RITA? no....I only read them if the story itself interests me. But if they are already in my TBR a RITA win will make me read them faster LOL As it did yours which i loved.

It was sooo cool to hear your name called and see you up there on stage in Atlanta. And it was most endearing to hear and see the hero of your books...your hubby. Can I say RITA looked awesome in your hands hun ;)

And yes writing is about voice and I hope some editor will like mine in the forseeable future ;)

Mo

blueberri said...

Great post, Linnea! I admire writers who can write science fiction. I'm grounded to earth.

What science fiction book influenced you the most when you were younger?

What is your hobby?

Thanks ahead of time for your answers!

Maureen said...

Hi Linnea

I'm wondering what originally got you interested in science fiction?

Angel said...

Linnea said: Writing IS an addiction, my little playmates. You gotta feed it with the really good shhhhhtuff (you all thought I was gonna use a different word, didn't you?), or you (and your readers) won't get jazzed.


This is so true!!! If you've read the blog over the past few weeks, you'll have noticed that several of the playfriends are struggling with motivational issues as a result of rejections, pressure, and just life in general. I'd love to know how you feed and care for your artistic self. Also, do you juggle writing with another career or family? What advice would you give others in the same boat?

Angel

Carol said...

I enjoyed your post, Linnea!
Congratulations on your RITA! I usually pick my books because of the blurb but it also helps when I see that a RITA has been won!

aBookworm said...

Linnea, your books sure sound great. Thanks for feeding my reading addiction! And consider my hat tossed in the ring for your contest.

Linnea Sinclair said...

kathy said: [[What kind of shhhhtuuff do you suggest we feed ourselves with during the process? For instance, I write historicals, tend to do a lot of research, and end up reading a lot of material along those lines. What do you focus on while writing?]]

OK, coming to you now from Tampa. ;-) I have a taping of a tv interview tomorrow morning at the NBC TV affilate here, so am in a nearby hotel...hence the slight 'break' in responding... ;-)

What do I focus on while writing? Well, trying to keep the cat fur out of the keyboard, listening for the dryer buzzer so I don't fry my washable silk blouses... :-)

Mostly, I try first to get the story down. He said, she said, he moved left, she sat down, he stood up...that kind of thing. I work chapter by chapter then go back--when that chapter's done--and do basic fluffing out and then move on.

If a certain visual comes while writing, I put it in but for the most part, it's the characters first. Then I go back in and fill in the setting.

The key to any scene, any book is conflict. Conflict is the characters. I'm not going to wrap myself in knots over how many viewports the starship's bridge has until I know the issues of the characters on that bridge.

~Linnea

Cheryl said...

Enjoyed reading about how you craft your stories. Very thought-provoking.

Linnea Sinclair said...

blueberri asked: [[What science fiction book influenced you the most when you were younger?

What is your hobby?]]

All books influenced me as a child. I was a voracious reader. Sherlock Holmes was an early favorite as was The Scarlet Pimpernel. Neither sci fi, sure--but all were, to me, an alternate world.

I fell in love with SF on tv first--Lost In Space, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica (yeah, all the ORIGINAL versions). I didn't read SFF until I was 12 or 13, and the first I read was The Hobbit. But at that same time I began watching Trek and I've always written 'out there' when I kept my pre-teen fiction journals.

Since college, CJ Cherryh has been my biggest influence. I adore her SF.

My hobbies? Drinking fine wine. If I can't find fine wine, cheap will do. ;-) Love going on cruises (much of how I structured the space station in An Accidental Goddess was based on my 35+ cruises). Ice hockey (picked up our season tickets for the Everblades on the way to Tampa). And reading. And writing. And of course, playing servants to my cats... ;-) ~Linnea

Linnea Sinclair said...

maureen asked: [[I'm wondering what originally got you interested in science fiction? ]]

It's always been my poison of choice. ;-) I can't remember a time when I wasn't fascinated by what was going on beyond the stars. As a wee kidling, I'd sneak out of my house in the middle of the night in the summer, lay on my back on a blanket in the yard and stare up at the stars...waiting for (and willing?) the ship to return to get me.

So now you all are backing--slowly--away from me... ;-)

But you DID ask. All that was fueled by what I saw on Star Trek and later, in Star Wars.

Now, I can intellectualize it and say that I'm fascinated by the expansive almost endless canvas that SFF presents to a writer. You're not constrained by Life As We Know It. You can ditch culture and roles and rules that say men do X and women do Y--even though, yes, many of those rules have been changing. But many are still there.

SFF-Speculative Fiction as some call it-just is so much richer (to me) to work in. I think the paranormal authors who write vampires and werewolves and shape shifters find that as well. Colors are brighter, music is more intense.

The risk you take, though, is that it can border on cartoonish if you're not careful. Because it is so much larger than life. So as an author in SFR/PNR you have to still have at least one foot solidly on the ground. ~Linnea

Linnea Sinclair said...

angel asked: [[several of the playfriends are struggling with motivational issues as a result of rejections, pressure, and just life in general. I'd love to know how you feed and care for your artistic self. Also, do you juggle writing with another career or family? What advice would you give others in the same boat?]]

Rejections, while certainly gut-wrenching to a writer, is a recoverable malady if you know how to work though it and learn from it. Crit and writer networks are essential--places like Playground. You have to examine any rejection you get as a writer--unpublished or published--and put it in perspective.

Before Bantam bought me, I received a terrific, positive rejection on Gabriel's Ghost from Anna G at Tor. The book wasn't for her line, she wrote, but she complimented my voice and my characters. Of course, then Bantam bought it and it went on to with the RITA.

I was also rejected by lit agent Diedre Knight (a lovely gal!). Because of her rejection, I went to sign with Kristin Nelson who went on to sell me to Bantam. And I win the RITA.

Tor and the Knight Agency weren't meant to be. For me. Bantam and the Nelson Agency were. So see where rejection took me?

Sure--at the time reading Anna's letter and later Deidre's, I put on a good pout and uncorked a bottle of wine. Or perhaps sliced a lime into a G&T. But looking back, I'm damned happy things went the way they did.

So you have to understand that a rejection isn't the ending but the beginning of the next step.

Now, if the rejections had commented on severe flaws in my writing--yeah, that hurts and probably I wouldn't have gone on to sell to Bantam as quickly as I did. But it would still give me a new direction to go: improve my skills.

And I don't care who you are or how long you've written: you can always improve your writing skills. I STILL take classes and I buy writing books or re-read those I have (like Swain's "Techniques of the Selling Writer").

As for juggling family and career--I'm a full time author. But I'm married and primary caretaker for m elderly parents (one has Alzheimer's). It gets tough some days to write, yes, when my parents are having medical issues.

And of course, here in Florida, there are always hurricanes...! That was a big bummer on my writing last year. You just have to tough through those things. There's no magic bullet. ~Linnea

catslady said...

Oh interesting blog. I also watched all the sci-fi shows and still watch the reruns of all the star treks (spike tv has them on daily lol). Are you a stephen king fan?

I also have Finders Keepers in that darn tbr pile. It's movin' on up lol.

Mo said...

Linnea,

Thanks for answering our questions in such an insightful manner. Some questions on your writing technique...

Do you plot your story out before writing or do you fly by the seat of your pants? And if you do plot...how much do you outline your story before you start writing?

Also you said you write the basics then go back and add the fluff. How many drafts do you do before your story is polished enough to be submitted?

Do you ever suffer the middle muddles? If so, what do you do to keep the conflict and tension going?

What craft books would you recommend for the beginning or intermediate writer to help hone their craft?

Kathy said...

'he said, she said, conflict is characters'

Thanks, Linnea. That really puts everything into perspective. I'm, as I said, an historical writer and I get excited about historical facts. Chasing those facts tends to pull me away from the story. I understand the advice you've just given me and it makes perfect sense. Applying it is sometimes hard. So, write the story (Angel has told me this again and again) you can always go back to add in the fluff.

I'm grateful for all your advice and the time you took to answer my questions today.

Thanks,
Kathy

KimW said...

Love reading your post, Linnea. This statement is so true. "You see, science fiction romance is no more about tech than regency romance is about reticules." I was one of those readers who early on would never venture past historical and contemporary books. I thought sci-fi and futuristic would be too tough for me to understand. Fortunately, I'm way past that thinking and I love these types of stories now.

Linnea Sinclair said...

cats writes: [[ Are you a stephen king fan?]]

Actually, no. Horror is a different part of the porch from SFR. ;-) I do recognize the man's excellence. It's just not my cup of tea. I require an HEA. :-) ~Linnea

Linnea Sinclair said...

mo sang: [[Do you plot your story out before writing or do you fly by the seat of your pants? And if you do plot...how much do you outline your story before you start writing?

Also you said you write the basics then go back and add the fluff. How many drafts do you do before your story is polished enough to be submitted?

Do you ever suffer the middle muddles? If so, what do you do to keep the conflict and tension going?

What craft books would you recommend for the beginning or intermediate writer to help hone their craft? ]]

Wow, I hope I can answer all these. Just back from dinner with friends and a few mango mojitos...

I'm a pantser. I don't do elaborate plotting but I do more plotting now than before. Deadlines do that to one. ;-) I tend to leap frog plot--write a chapter, "freewrite" then next three, write those, freewrite again...

I don't outline. Character emotion drives me. It's my engine.

Middles can be problematic. Actually my middle muddles can strike anywhere I fall off the conflict line. Once I've recognized I've done so, I pull back and regroup.

The "conflict line" lingo isn't mine. Go to www.simegen.com and check out SF author Jacqueline Lichtenberg's site and seek out her awesome words on conflict. They've heavily influenced my writing.

When a writer loses sight of the conflict line, the story goes dead. Lichtenberg posits--and I agree--what much of what we believe is writer's block is the writer falling off the conflict line. Recover that and the story blossoms again.

The number of drafts I do? I'm a former journalist. Probably two to two and a half. My first draft is 90% clean. I wrote "Gabriel's Ghost" in 34 days and what won the RITA is 90% accurate to the original manuscript. ~Linnea

Linnea Sinclair said...

Oops, crqft books for writing:
Hands down, Dwight Swain's TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER. The best book ever. You buy it, you do 80% of what DS says, you sell. Honestl. You don't I'll buy the book from you. Honest.

Others: Jack Bickham's 38 MOST COMMON... Browne & King's SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS... Dixon's GMC... for starters.

I've so enjoyed playing with you all! I love to talk writing and don't ever hesitate to ask me about same. Please come hang out in my Intergalactic Bar & Grille! See my website for directions to my Yahoo Group. Hugs all, ~Linnea

Carla said...

WAH! Due to emergency dental surgery I missed the day with all you lovely people! Including Linnea... *evil wide grin*

Isn't she amazing, everyone? And for all her brilliance, the woman has NO ego. That's just one of the many facets about her that I love. The writing comes second. ; ) Of course, if not for her writing, we would never have made a connection a'tall. Linnea's first novel, WINTERTIDE (O.O.P.), brought us together when I was a reviewer in another life, and she's been stuck with me ever since.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your insightful, thought-provoking questions and comments, and Linnea's responses - there SHOULD be an area in bookstores with a sign, FUN TO READ or, GREAT BOOKS WE KNOW NOT WHERE ELSE TO SHELVE.

*Sidenote to M., the Playground Monitor. You can whistle me up, anytime, lady, after that intro. *genuflecting* Way to make a gal blush!

Hugs and happy reading to all!
Carla : )
publicist@linneasinclair.com