Monday, August 04, 2008

VW#8: Ask PBW Anything

Today I'd like to wrap up LB&LI with an open Q&A. I've gone through all the comments for the week and I think I've answered all the questions that were asked, but if I missed yours, please post it again here. Or, if you have any new questions about last week's workshops, anything writing- or biz-related, or you'd just like to toss your name in the hat for today's giveaway, leave a comment to this post before midnight EST today, August 4, 2008.

Today's giveaways are:

1) A complete signed set of all the Darkyn novels, including an author-generated galley of Stay the Night, my January '09 release and the final book in this series (the winner will actually be the first person to read it besides my editor and copyeditor.)

2) A goodie bag which will include unsigned copies of:
Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi (hardcover)
The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle (hardcover)
Steal the Dragon by Patricia Briggs
Fairyville by Emma Holly
Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
Always a Knight by Wayne Jordan
The Way He Moves by Marcia King-Gamble
Kidnapped by Jo Leigh
The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Charlene Teglia
plus signed copies of my novels Omega Games and Blade Dancer, as well as some other surprises.

Everyone who participates in the giveaways this week will also be automatically entered in my grand prize drawing on August 5, 2008 for a brand new AlphaSmart Neo. All LB&LI giveaways are open to anyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Other LB&LI Workshop Links --

Worldbuilding with a Wiki by Sandra Barret -- Architecting your world using a free wiki.

Brainstorming by Jove Belle -- A discussion on brainstorming.

E-Courtesy by Joely Sue Burkhart -- Simple ways to protect yourself with courtesy on the internet.

The Anatomy Of Sex Scenes by Jaci Burton -- Writing sex can sometimes be the most uncomfortable part of writing the book. But it doesn't have to be. A few key pointers that may help charge up your sex scenes and drag the writer out of their 'discomfort' zone.

Creating Great Beginnings - the Why and How by Sherryl Clark -- If your beginning works, the rest will follow. We're going to look at why it's crucial, what is the contract with the reader, Dos and Don'ts (and why/why not), story questions vs hooks, situating the reader, and writing backwards. I'll also invite readers to send in their first 200 words for feedback.

Look for the Music--assess your prose by LJ Cohen -- a week of workshops using poetry and poetic techniques useful for novelists (tune in each day this week as LJ presents different poetic tools with examples of how to use them in your own writing.)

Gender Differences for Writers by Cheryl Corbin -- Male and female body language, speech and thinking differences.

Research for Writers by Bianca D'Arc -- a librarian/writer's view of where to find the best information and strategies for how to use it.

Marketing on a Budget by Moondancer Drake -- How to make the most of marketing your book on a limited budget.

Writing Effective Description by Karen Duvall -- a week of workshops on how to write vivid description using all the senses, covering one for each day of the week.

WRITING PROCESS: Conceive, Develop, Write by Jamal W. Hankins -- An overview of my writing progress from story concept to actually writing a story.

The Voices in Your Head by Alison Kent -- When discussing "voice," where and how do character voices fit in?Also: All Authors Should Be Wordsmiths

Voulez vous écrire avec moi, ce soir? (Working with foreign languages in your writing) by Kristi -- A technical discussion of features you can use to make non-English text read correctly in your writing. Mainly focused on features in Microsoft Word, with a few resources that can be used regardless of platform.

Everyone has to Edit by Belinda Kroll -- Five steps to edit: putting the first draft away, being brutally honest, showing not telling, telling not showing, and focusing on those nitty gritty details.

Balancing Motherhood and Writing by Dawn Montgomery, Kim Knox, and Michelle Hasker -- How to write a 1000 words in the zen of toddler meltdowns. Motherhood is a full time job and holding a family together is only half the battle. How do you find *your* time to write without losing your mind?

Self-Editing by Emma Wayne Porter -- The things your editor secretly wishes you'd do before submitting, and how to survive Track Changes afterward. Checklists and Stupid Word Tricks included.

Not Going to Frisco Workshop by Joan Reeves aka Sling Words -- Writing Biz Reality

Hitting the Wall by Larkin Rose -- tips on overcoming writer's block.

Cover Art: From Form to Finish by Mandy M. Roth -- Tips and tricks for filling out your cover art forms, the steps and stages a cover goes through, the finished product and a walkthrough on using your cover to make your own static banner ad.

Getting Started—Keeping Going by Darlene Ryyan -- Finding the time and the words to start writing and keep on writing.

When Only the Right Word Will Do by Shannon Stacey -- Using word choices to add humor, help you show instead of tell, strengthen your voice and heighten characterization in deep POV in your second draft.

Hey Fatty (Or Does Your Character Need That Flaw) by Amie Stuart -- I’ll be blogging about Characterization, flaws and motivation all week, using TV, movies, books and my own writing for examples.

Astronomy for Writers: Look to the Sky
by Suelder -- Alpha and Omega: the Beginning and the End, The Big Bang, The Expanding Universe, The Collapsing Universe (the fifth in a five-part workshop series on basic astronomy and how to think about it from a writer's perspective.)

Time Management by Charlene Teglia -- the third in Charlene's workshops this week on the business of the business.

Short Stories & Novellas- Workshop Day II - Characterization by Shiloh Walker -- the second in a series on writing short stories and novellas.

VOICE: The Magic Behind The Words by Sasha White -- Advice to help you discover and strengthen your personal voice and style, and show you the way to the magic behind the words.
Workshop is in 5 sections. A new section each day this week.

131 comments:

  1. How many writers suffer from depression and how many end up with broken relationships because of the demands of the job?

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  2. Did the way you write change after you switched to using speech-to-text software?

    I think that even if I can't use it to write books, I should at least be able to use it to comment on blogs, chat with people without headsets and blog. But ideally, I want to write with it.

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  3. Big T wrote: How many writers suffer from depression and how many end up with broken relationships because of the demands of the job?

    About the only statistics I can find are from a ten year study by a researcher at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. His study showed that between 59% and 77% of professionals working in artistic/creative fields (i.e. artists, writers, and musicians) suffered some form of mental illness, as compared to 18% to 29% percent among less artistic professionals.

    "Touched by Fire", a book about the relationship between creative genius and mental illness by Kay Redfield Jamison, is probably the best book I've read on the subject. She does not, btw, support the theory that genius=madness, or that artistic/creative professionals are predisposed to mental illness.

    I can't say how many writers end up with relationships broken by the demands of the job. I know as many divorced writers as I do writers in happy, stable, long-term relationships. Next year my guy and I will have been together for 25 years, and he's been the only man in my life since I began pursuing a professional writing career (the same year I met him.)

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  4. May wrote: Did the way you write change after you switched to using speech-to-text software?

    It took some getting used to -- making the switch from typing words to dictating them -- but no, I don't think it changed how I write at all. If anything, it helped improve my dialoge lines, because I hear them out loud as I write them. :)

    I think that even if I can't use it to write books, I should at least be able to use it to comment on blogs, chat with people without headsets and blog. But ideally, I want to write with it.

    It takes practice, I'll warn you. And no matter how great the VRS you use is, some people's voices just don't work well with VRS technology.

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  5. #1 -- What do you wish you had done differently in your career? (BTW - if you don't want to answer this one, it's okay :) )

    #2 -- what is your opinion on critique groups / partners? Any advice on how to either get and/or work with CPs?

    #3 -- name top 3 how-to and/or writing related books.

    #4 -- what are you currently reading?

    Thanks! :)

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  6. Hi Lynn,
    Your workshops are so informative that I bet that college students would learn sooo much more just by taking your workshops then spending thousands to attend a university. I know that I would have (and have). Have you ever read other author's vampire novels and thought to yourself...that's not how the history of the vampire character started (like how they became to be vampires). Maybe it's just me and I'm spoiled by your Darkyn books. Which I'm trying very hard to be patient until Stay the Night comes out....

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  7. How do you deal with that space when you're writing a novel but another is about to be released?

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  8. Wow, what a great blog! I'm so glad I found you. :) I've had your books high on the TBR list, but I haven't come across book 1 yet and I like to read them in order. Thank you so much for all the great writing workshop links!

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  9. What do you suggest for writer's block? I have several stories that are undone but I'm concentrating on one right now. Before, I used to read over the other stories or notes or read the current story but now I'm stuck. I haven't been able to write in about 2 months. Help?

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  10. No question, just a name in the hat, please :)

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  11. You've answered pretty much everything with all your wonderful posts this week. Atleast for me. It was a real eye opener and gave me a bunch of new ideas. I've never attended a virtual workshop before and I can definitely see I've missed out on a lot. Thanks for all the great tips and advice!

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  12. Do you have a strict writing schedule? If so, how do you stick to it?

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  13. Whats your "Happy Place"?

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  14. (here from a random mention on John Scalzi's blog...)

    Wow, 59-77% of all creative types? I guess I'm normal again. Writing is one of my persistent happy-making or sane-making places when I'm depressed. I don't think the fact that I get depressed regularly contributes to my creativity, though, and I agree with the fact that genius/=madness. Maybe for the occasional person, but for most people, I'd hazard a strong guess that the occasional (or frequent) madness is more of a thing to be avoided than embraced if they want to reach their full potential.

    Also, I think I've seen the Alphasmart Neo before-- did you ever use that to write? It's intriguing to me, because I think I'd quite love something I could whip out and make legible, storable, easily transferred notes on without giving my fingers cramped. But the screen on it looks way too tiny to be useful. I think I might go off and look for reviews in a sec, but if you have an opinion about it, I'd love to hear it.

    Lastly, where the heck do I start with your Darkyn series? I'm on a paranormal romance (or whatever the industry likes to call it) kick these days. And do you have any idea if an ebook store like fictionwise or elsewhere has some or all of the books in the series? I do my best "start a new author" reading on my Kindle these days, so if fictionwise has it, that would be great.

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  15. When you submit work and you wish to use a pseudonym, do you submit it with both your pseudonym and your real name, or can you just use the pseudonym? I.e., I'm wondering how far it's possible to compartmentalise your writing life from any other professional life, e.g., day job.

    If you publish under a pseudonym is the copyright under the pseudonym or under your real name or both?

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  16. I'm going to look into VRS now because I'm curious if it'll decipher my accents.

    My question is, when you are writing and in that void where time stops and it's just the story; what do you like to have for lunch? It's lunchtime here and I just wonder what other writers eat.

    I just find that when in that creative groove, I have a hand that reaches out for the snack bowl. Why chewing and creativity are linked, I'm not sure. This would be another reason to use the VRS as I can't possibly chew while talking out dialogue, now can I?

    Can I?

    Thanks for the hard work you've put into the workshops. I've really enjoyed them and found them useful.

    Can I VRS on the treadmill, do you think?

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  17. How do you deal when you are writing one book, but you come up with another story which you love & it ends up doing everything it can to distract you from the one you're already working on?

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  18. I'm tossing my name in for the giveaways, but I'd also like to comment on Big T's question. One reason why people with artistic professions may be more prone to depression or anxiety may be the inherent subjectivity of our product. Most professions have clearly defined standards on what constitutes a "good" end-product. As writers, all it takes is a bad day for us to believe that the novel we've spent the past year writing and rewriting is crap, and that nobody will ever be interested in reading it.

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  19. I love reading your blog. I'm not a writer but an avid reader and love reading about the process even though I'll never use it.

    Love to be added for the giveaways.

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  20. You seem to allways write fighting and action scenes that work so well...

    I can't.

    Any tips? Mine tend to get long/boring with a lot of details or so short they get confusing. What details do you include and how do you chose them?

    And has your Martial Arts training helped you writing fighting scenes?

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  21. My question is sort of an off-shoot from the world-building workshop. As I thought over that post and the responses to it, something else occurred to me. It seems that most people would go to such great lengths to set up a world like that for a series of books (as opposed to just one these days). So it got me to wondering. Do you know, when you're doing the world-building, how many books it will take to tell the whole story - does that figure into the process - or do you figure that out as you go along? How do you figure out how many books it will take to complete the series and should you plot them all out or should you let one grow organically from the other?

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  22. Thanks for holding the LB&LI workshops again this year, Lynn. I'm just sorry I couldn't participate more! Once I process all the info I just read I'll probably have questions, but none present themselves now. I was particularly interested in the WS about style and voice as that is where I am focusing lately since I've honed the more crafty elements (they're still in need of improving, but I have a solid grasp of them now). And I'm sure SOMEONE pointed it out already, but Lilith Saintcrow says on her website that that is her real name. *G*

    Reminds me of a certain milady insanity who thought I wrote historical fiction because of my last name. (I'll try anything once, but I admit I'm not interested in writing about Henry and the ladies.)

    Here's a question: how do you know when you've "found" your voice? I know the WS talked about matching strenghs and weaknesses for a unique voice, but some posit you can't actually try to find your voice, it just is. Or if you decide you want X kind of voice, you'll force your writing to be that way and if it's not what your voice is, it will be flat. But if you haven't found it, how can you know without trying that? For me, I have some ideas what sort of voice I have, and I'd like to try and make those elements stronger, but then, am I forcing that because I want to be able to describe myself a certain way? Slippery thing, voice. I've rambled on long enough, but hey, I'm making up for half a week's absense! *G*

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  23. It takes practice, I'll warn you. And no matter how great the VRS you use is, some people's voices just don't work well with VRS technology.

    I've found that too. I started using Dragon on your recommendation, but since my speech is not always consistent/clear due to MS flare-ups, I've found I have to be discerning about when I use it and when I have to try other methods to write.

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  24. Ronda8:27 AM

    I'm glad I found your blog. I'll come back often. Thanks!

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  25. Kyra Heiker8:33 AM

    Not a question, but a comment--I am at a military base in Germany and your brother stayed here maybe 2 years ago and talked about you and your books (he was looking for a copy in German) and he is responsible for me now being a huge fan.......just thought you might like to know.

    Kyra Heiker

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  26. The ups and downs of writing... For years I have fought the urge to up and quit, to do something else, direct my energies elsewhere... other than writing, but after all this time, I've been writing for over thirty years now, been published some, I find that I cannot simply give it up and walk away. Granted, I have not been published by the 'big houses' yet, but then again, I'm not writing to be published by the 'big houses', I've always written for myself. I enjoy what I do more than anything else and cannot even imagine a time when I won't be writing something.
    Thanks again for your workshops and your cheer leading. I have found immeasurable amounts of insight just by reading your blog. Whether you like it or not, we admire you for your efforts, and your belief in the common man/woman struggling to follow their dreams and soldier on.

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  27. Thanks so much for doing this. I have learned quite a bit from your posts and the others.

    A lot of good information without the expensive SF trip.

    K

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  28. thanks for all the links! It's a lot to peruse, but looks like some useful things. thanks again!

    Joshua

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  29. At what point should an author without an agent give up on a publisher with whom they have a signed contract (this is for a short story, not a novel?)

    If they do not respond to your inquiries, yet continue to publish other authors work, do you wait for the rights to expire based upon the contract you signed, or simply send them the registered letter as stated in the contract?

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  30. Exhausted today from all the online workshops.LOL Just tossing my name in the hat, thanks.

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  31. No questions from me this round. (It looks like there are plenty to keep you busy.) Just throw my name in the hat. =o)

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  32. I just wanted to extend a thank you to you and to the others who were so generous with their time and information. :-)

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  33. How do you deal with being in an "almost" place? When you have a really great agent, but no editors have bought the book yet--and this is book #4 (three under the bed) and you know it's good.

    Or, you've published lots of short stories, but none in the "biggie" magazines/anthologies. It's like being in the hole of some giant doughnut, with sweetness all around, and being unable to reach out and get a bite. How do you deal with being THIS close?

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  34. Nadia wrote: Nadia said...
    #1 -- What do you wish you had done differently in your career?


    I wish I had been better educated about the biz and the people in it before I signed that first contract (I knew absolutely nothing about the reality of Publishing when I signed up for this gig.) I think it would have helped me avoid a lot of grief.

    #2 -- what is your opinion on critique groups / partners? Any advice on how to either get and/or work with CPs?

    They've never worked for me, and in some cases they cost me time and money because I followed some flawed advice from another member. But I've always been very isolated as a writer, and I've never depended on others as part of my process, so I probably work best alone.

    I know some writers have terrific experiences with crit partners and groups, and say they've helped improve their writing and/or their career. The key seems to be finding the partner or group that fits your needs as well as you fit theirs.

    #3 -- name top 3 how-to and/or writing related books.

    Hmmmm, tough one. Let's see:

    #3 --Wabi Sabi for Writers by Richard R. Powell, ISBN#1-59337-596-4 -- one of the most inspirational how-to's I've ever read; I hand this one out to writer friends all the time.

    #2 -- The Writer's Book of Matches ~ 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction by the staff of fresh boiled peanuts, a literary journal, ISBN#1-58297-411-X -- a fantastic collection of story starters. May actually cure writer's block.

    #1 -- Gotham Writer's Workshop Writing Fiction ~ The Pratical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School edited by Alexander Steele, ISBN#1-58234-330-6 -- I've read a lot of how-to's over the years, but this one actually explained some things I've never understood. It seems to cover just about everything and gives you examples from published stories that really back up the lesson offered. It leans a bit more toward the literary side of writing, but not in a snotty way, and while reading it I never felt I was being talked down to (as opposed to every other how-to heavy on the lit.)

    #4 -- what are you currently reading?

    Fiction: Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
    Nonfiction: The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood

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  35. Thanks for the workshop! It has been a big help to me and my writing. I hate to see the workshop end.

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  36. linebyline9:44 AM

    Even though I never leave comments (I'm online-shy), I read you every day and absolutely love this blog, and the LB&LI workshops. No question from me, just a thank you and a name to toss in the hat. :)

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  37. some people's voices just don't work well with VRS technology.

    Especially if you have a Texas twang! I have trained and trained and TRAINED two different softwares and alas, neither likes me.

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  38. Do you have any experience working at writing during a long-term illness?

    Any advice, especially on how to work on long-form projects (eg novels) while your memory and concentration aren't at their best, would be appreciated.

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  39. How do you know when a book is done and ready to be sent out into the big bad world? At what point to you decide your editor / agent would be able to read this without losing an eyeball (or two)?

    BTW, thanks for the helpful and inspirational workshop. Your tips are practical as always, and the extra dose of encouragement was much needed!

    As for the mental illness thing (I'll stop in a minute, promise!), I agree creativity and mental illness are not essential bed partners. However, from personal experience, I think it's a bit more complicated than mad/not mad vs creative/not creative. I find I do my best creative work when I'm slightly (teeny-weeny) depressed. Too depressed and I can't write at all. Feeling 'normal' means I can write, but without emough emotion. The reverse (for me) is true with non-creative work. My best non-creative work is done when I'm 'normal'. Any hint of depression will lower the quality of work.
    Ok shutting up now. Thanks again for a wonderful week!

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  40. Thanks for all the great info the past week!

    -DiDi

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  41. My opinion on creative professions and depression is maybe that it's not so much a cause as an effect. In other words, the ongoing stress and financial uncertainty make depression a lot more likely. I think creative businesses are inherently unstable, not so much creative people. Creative people are actually well equipped to adapt.

    Anyway, my question for PBW: when you stopped doing the things that made you unhappy, did you encounter resistance from your agent and editor(s) and if so, how did you work around that?

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  42. Fritzz wrote: Have you ever read other author's vampire novels and thought to yourself...that's not how the history of the vampire character started (like how they became to be vampires).

    I love reading vampire fiction in any genre, so I've probably read at least one novel by every author who's written it over the last twenty years. Many of them take a lot of liberties with the classic Dracula-variety vampire mythos, but I do that myself, so it doesn't bother me.

    What I don't care for are the authors who dress their characters in vampire suits. They're dressed up to look like vampires, and have the prerequisite fangs, blood dependency, and dark brooding good looks, but being a vampire has no consequences for them, or they have some convenient out that prevents them from exhibiting any squicky vampiric behavior, or they're The Good Vampire type that battles The Evil Vampire type. Stuff like that. To me, a character who's only wearing a vampire costume isn't a vampire.

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  43. Anonymous10:07 AM

    This has been a wonderful experience this past week participating and learning from the workshops. I big thank you to you and all the other people who did workshops. I've learned a ton!

    Best wishes,
    shannon

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  44. gillpolack wrote: How do you deal with that space when you're writing a novel but another is about to be released?

    First I unplug the phone, lol.

    Seriously, I try to do all me release prep work well in advance of the release date so that I don't have to try to cope with it while I'm working on a new project. I get my ARCs and reviewer requests mailed out early. If I have to do any promo (which I do very little of anymore) I work that up as soon as I have the final cover art. If the publisher wants some stuff for marketing, they usually ask me three to six months in advance, but I always keep something ready for any last-minute requests.

    I don't do con rounds, booksignings, tours and all the usual stuff authors do, though, so new releases don't really infringe on my work time.

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  45. ciara wrote: Thank you so much for all the great writing workshop links!

    You're welcome. There are some pretty fabulous workshops out there, aren't there?

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  46. Like the rest of the herd here, thanks so much for your constant good advice and encouragement. I learned tons from your posts and this series of virtual workshops. And it was wonderful having the other workshops to browse through and learn from as well.

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  47. LornaMoon wrote: What do you suggest for writer's block?

    The only surefire cure for writer's block that works for me is to write straight through it. Even if every word I put on the page is utter crap, the physical act of writing always stomps into dust whatever tries to block me.

    I have several stories that are undone but I'm concentrating on one right now. Before, I used to read over the other stories or notes or read the current story but now I'm stuck. I haven't been able to write in about 2 months. Help?

    It sounds like your well might need some refilling. Here are some weird things I do when I feel like that:

    1. Burn a CD with music that helps me visualize the story and listen to it on my CD player while I houseclean, or in the car when I'm out dropping off/picking up my kids or running errands.

    2. Cast my story by putting together magazine clippings of actors to play my characters, or sketching/painting the characters and settings for various scenes.

    3. Play with photoshop and make covers for my story, mock-up of ads, or print out chapbooks with excerpts of what I've written so far. I know some widget fans who make up bookmarks for their WIPS, too. (This is a lot of fun.)

    4. Blow up something in the story. It sounds extreme (okay, okay, it is extreme) but explosions always put me in a good mood. :)

    5. Talk about the WIP with a writer friend or at a writing chat. Often our pals can see what we don't, and I know some writers who even write while they're in chat rooms (at this one community I used to belong to, we'd have wordcount wars online.)

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  48. I'm not a romance writer and so take only a casual interest in the goings on at RWA, so the LBLI posts have been a godsend over the last week or so. (Your blog is always a godsend, btw. :) ) I had a bunch of questions, but they've all been posed by others, so I'm just going to read the comments. Thanks for your posts.

    Jay

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  49. I have the Darkyn books on my TBR pile. I think I saw them over on The Midnight Moon Cafe blog.

    Thanks for the great workshop.

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  50. Jaye Patrick wrote: Do you have a strict writing schedule? If so, how do you stick to it?

    I do have to maintain a strict writing schedule to fulfill my professional committments, and it's pretty unforgiving, so I try to stick to it as closely as I can.

    I always reward myself in some fashion for keeping to the schedule. For example, if I finish all the work that I've scheduled for today, I get to spend an hour soaking in a hot tub and listening to a new CD I bought.

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  51. Sheila10:32 AM

    I came by for a peak, but I think I'm going to settle in for a while. What a remarkable amount of helpful information you have provided here. I look forward to exploring your archives and the links.

    You have a new fan!

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  52. Great workshops! I've just finished catching up and the style and branding workshops were eye-openers. Thanks for taking the time away from your writing schedule.

    Jessie

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  53. Are there certain songs you listened to when writing your vampire series? I apologize if this question was already asked.

    Thanks again for the workshop links.

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  54. Lasair wrote: Whats your "Happy Place"?

    It's probably going to sound corny, but sitting at the dinner table surrounded by my family. It's the happiest place in the house, and where I laugh and enjoy myself most. Plus I get to go there every day. :)

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  55. Susan B.10:51 AM

    Lynn,

    Your efforts are most appreciated. Thank you! Your blog has taught me a lot about the other end of things as I'm a reader not a writer. The free e-reads are great & I love them. Especially, the Darkyn ones but 'Night of the Chameleon' was awesome too. I've been able to identify what somethings are that drove me nuts about books.

    Thank you again,
    Susan B.

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  56. e-m-pink wrote: (here from a random mention on John Scalzi's blog...)

    Welcome, it's nice to (virtually) meet you.

    ...for most people, I'd hazard a strong guess that the occasional (or frequent) madness is more of a thing to be avoided than embraced if they want to reach their full potential.

    I think making a sincere effort to stay healthy in mind and body can defeat anything the statistics claim. And that goes for any occupation, no matter how creative we are.

    Also, I think I've seen the Alphasmart Neo before-- did you ever use that to write?

    No, over the last couple of years I haven't been able to type for long periods because of my arthritis, so I can't really use one. I did purchase the standard Neo for my daughter, though, and tried it out when it arrived. The keyboard is almost standard size, which is nice, and has a very light touch to it. Although the screen is small and not back-lit, I can easily read it (and I have very bad vision, so I judge it to be very clear.) It kind of reminds me of a great big calculator. If you prefer a lighted screen, I believe the newer model, the Dana, has one (although that's off the top of my head, so please verify that by checking the product information at the AlphaSmart web site.)

    Lastly, where the heck do I start with your Darkyn series?

    The first novel in the series is If Angels Burn, followed by Private Demon, Dark Need, Night Lost, Evermore, and Twilight Fall. The last book in this series, Stay the Night, will be released in January.

    And do you have any idea if an ebook store like fictionwise or elsewhere has some or all of the books in the series?

    As far as I know only Evermore and Twilight Fall were released in e-book format. I think both are available in Kindle format but I can't swear to it.

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  57. Wow, everyone has already asked such good questions, I don't have any to add. I would like to thank you and everyone who participated so much! This has been such a wonderful learning experience, and I will spend the next couple of weeks, at least, reading back over posts and catching up.

    Can't wait for next year!:)

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  58. Thanks yet again, Lynn, for your terrific workshops, and for organizing LB&LI!

    Do you have any advice for critical reading? I've made it a goal to look more critically at books I've read and enjoyed (as well as books that didn't work so well for me but are in the genres I write), to try to focus more closely on what worked (or didn't work) for me and why. It's been an interesting exercise, digging deeper into my emotional responses to figure out HOW the author managed to do that. I figure this is something that will get easier for me the more I try it, but do you have any ideas or suggestions for questions I should be asking myself when I'm reading critically?

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  59. Wow, I miss two weeks and I'm running ragged! You have been work'n hard!

    I'm off to check more of the past weeks...I just wanted to enter in for today...I'll get back with questions once I read what has been asked and awnsered!

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  60. What's in your writing space that helps you be creative? Currently my bright orange post-its tacked to my wall aren't helping the creative juices...

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  61. lxz wrote: When you submit work and you wish to use a pseudonym, do you submit it with both your pseudonym and your real name, or can you just use the pseudonym?

    You can submit work under any name you like, but when you sell your work to a publisher, they're going to need your legal name and social security number for contract purposes. I've heard there are some ways to get around this, such as incorporating or creating a legal identity, but I really don't know that much about it, so I advise you to talk to an attorney who is familiar with that sort of thing.

    I.e., I'm wondering how far it's possible to compartmentalise your writing life from any other professional life, e.g., day job.

    There are some safety measures you can take. First, don't advertise that you're a published author in your real life. That means don't do booksignings in your home town, don't pass out copies of your book at work, and don't talk about your writing career with friends, neighbors, day job co-workers, etc.

    You can use a pseudonym and set up a P.O. Box for all your writing-related business and reader correspondence. Obviously you're going to have to give some real info to the publisher, but you can limit that to what's absolutely necessary. For example, you don't have to give a publisher your home phone, you can use a mobile number. Also, restrict how much access you give the media -- i.e., do interviews by e-mail instead of by phone or in person.

    Finally, take precautions when you do make public appearances. If you do something in the general area of your home, always be careful when leaving that event; sometimes fans will try to follow you to your house. Don't permit photographs to be taken of you by the media or fans (and someone's always snapping pictures at conferences and publishing them online, so this is a real problem.)

    If you publish under a pseudonym is the copyright under the pseudonym or under your real name or both?

    It can be either. You should check with your accountant or income tax preparer to find out if there are potential financial consequences for using a pseudonym.

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  62. Hi Lynn,
    Thank you so much for running this!

    Unless I cut into my to raw draft portion of my writing time, it’s going to take me a while to work through all the articles available. I’m also recommending this to people I know who are just getting into writing. I hope the articles will be available for a while. Is there any way to mark the ones that will expire soon?

    Thanks again,
    Kris_W

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  63. Eh, I don't think there's a specific causal connection between writing and depression. Job stress can trigger a bout of depression, but any job can be stressful.

    I'll probably have a few questions when I make the time to read through everything, but in the meantime I'm just lobbing my name into the hat :). Not that I'm feeling any hat love lately! :D

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  64. Tamith11:53 AM

    Tossing my name in the hat. :) Thanks for this fantastic workshop.

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  65. That's a great selection of workshops--thanks for those and the contest, Lynn!

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  66. Lyvvie wrote: My question is, when you are writing and in that void where time stops and it's just the story; what do you like to have for lunch? It's lunchtime here and I just wonder what other writers eat.

    I usually make myself a soy vitamin/protein drink for my midday break. Eating lunch usually makes me sleepy and all I want to do is take a nap. :)

    I just find that when in that creative groove, I have a hand that reaches out for the snack bowl. Why chewing and creativity are linked, I'm not sure. This would be another reason to use the VRS as I can't possibly chew while talking out dialogue, now can I?

    I wouldn't recommend it, lol. If I really need a snack I go for a piece of fruit, a Gen-Soy bar or some roasted soybeans (as you can tell, soy is a big part of my diet.)

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  67. Ameya wrote: How do you deal when you are writing one book, but you come up with another story which you love & it ends up doing everything it can to distract you from the one you're already working on?

    I tame it by jotting down an outline or some notes to get the distracting idea on paper, and then I file it away. If it's a very powerful distraction, I may even write a couple of chapters in my spare time to get it out of my head. I find by giving the idea a little time and putting some of it on paper that it settles down and waits, like the rest of them, for when I can get to it.

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  68. Jim wrote: One reason why people with artistic professions may be more prone to depression or anxiety may be the inherent subjectivity of our product. Most professions have clearly defined standards on what constitutes a "good" end-product. As writers, all it takes is a bad day for us to believe that the novel we've spent the past year writing and rewriting is crap, and that nobody will ever be interested in reading it.

    Agreed. Learning to cope with those feelings is 50% of the battle at the keyboard, I think.

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  69. Thanks again for doing this! It's the first time I've witnessed/participated in something like this, and all the people involved is amazing. Thanks to everyone for sharing your knowledge.

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  70. No questions, but I just wanted to thank you for the awesome workshops. You've outdone yourself this time--and that's a feat in and of itself! *grins*

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  71. Mackan wrote: You seem to allways write fighting and action scenes that work so well... I can't.

    Thank you for the compliment. I should make you read some of my early novels, though; my fight scenes were laughable.

    Any tips? Mine tend to get long/boring with a lot of details or so short they get confusing. What details do you include and how do you chose them?

    I think the key to writing a fight scene that serves the story is to focus more on the characters than the actual details and techniques involved. It's true that you have to choreograph the fight and know how it's fought (which requires the proper amount of research into the weapons and tactics involved), but if that's all you're giving the reader -- all fight and no heart -- it becomes just another infodump.

    When you compose a fight scene, ask yourself a couple of questions: Why is this fight happening? How do the characters feel? How is the fight going to change their situations? What story point are you trying to make to the reader with this scene?

    A man and a woman who are very attracted to each other usually don't get into a knife fight, but I had a scene like that in my novel Blade Dancer. The first time I wrote it, it came out pretty flat -- all the fighting details were correct, and I had choreographed that scene literally move by move, but when they tossed aside their weapons and embraced, it didn't feel right. It threw me out of the scene.

    I had to go back and rewrite the entire scene, but this time, I wrote from an emotional level -- what the characters saw, how they felt, and adjusted the fighting moves accordingly. I concentrated on what they would notice more than what someone watching them would see. The scene turned out with fewer actual details of the fight but delivered a lot more power. And by the time I got to the embrace, it didn't jolt me out of the scene. It became part of the battle.

    And has your Martial Arts training helped you writing fighting scenes?

    Definitely -- any type of real life martial arts or hand-to-hand combat training gives you the advantage of personal experience, which is always a plus, and there is no better resource for the mindset, emotions and physical sensations of personal combat than engaging in it yourself. I don't think I could have written Blade Dancer without it.

    At the same time, it's not always practical or possible for the writer to undergo that sort of training, so the next best thing is to talk to people who do. I've interviewed about a dozen different martial artists, soldiers and street fighters, and they always gave me incredibly helpful, useful info that you can't find in any research book.

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  72. Thank you so much for all the awesome workshop links. I've learned so much!
    Please throw my name in for the contest!
    Diane

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  73. Margay wrote: Do you know, when you're doing the world-building, how many books it will take to tell the whole story - does that figure into the process - or do you figure that out as you go along? How do you figure out how many books it will take to complete the series and should you plot them all out or should you let one grow organically from the other?

    In the past I've planned out how many books I want to write before I world-build, but Publishing is fickle, and I've already had a planned trilogy that I was only able to sell two books for (my Jessica Hall novels, Into the Fire and Heat of the Moment, which were supposed to be a trilogy, but I never sold Some Like it Hot, the third book), and a planned series where I only sold the first book (Blade Dancer was the first of an eight-book series plan.)

    So now I try to be a bit more flexible and keep my options open. If I want to write a series, I try to set it up so that I'm able to end it at any time (which is what I did with the Darkyn books; the first six all had alternative endings to wrap up the saga. Then I finally decided to end this particular storyline with book seven to give the readers closure and so that I wouldn't have to keep writing without knowing when it would end.)

    I think as a writer you have to do what works best for you. Just remember that Publishing is fickle, and no matter how carefully or thoroughly you plan, can disrupt or put an end to your novel series at any time.

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  74. BIG THANKS!

    Thank you for organizing this. I think the was great. I might have to go back and read everything again, but it filled the void of not being able to go to national this year.

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  75. I'm glad to see your thoughts on writing/critique groups in the comments here. I've got a few writer-buddies I exchange advice and critique with, but I'm very self-directed, and it's refreshing to see someone point out that formal groups don't always work for everyone--while some of my writer-buddies are very helpful, I've met a lot who were full of it/themselves/nonsense, and the feeling of being stuck in a group with them was rather unproductive.

    Out of curiosity, if you have two ideas pulling at you simultaneously, do you switch between working on both, or do one all the way through and then the other?

    Thanks for holding these workshops by the way. Very informative and useful.

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  76. I hope you do the workshop thing again soon!

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  77. No questions, just throwing my name in the hat.

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  78. Hi, just throwing my name in the hat!

    Cheers

    D.

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  79. Tossing my hat in with glee!

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  80. Tammy1:37 PM

    Great workshop Lynn!

    Please toss my name in the hat.

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  81. I'm sure I'll have a thousand questions after I post this, but right now I just want to say thanks once again for all the great workshops and for answering so many questions I didn't even know I had.

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  82. Lynn, thanks for this whole week's workshops. They have been great.

    However great they have been, though, your response on fighting scenes made my week (and possibly my latest story). I am so glad for this and so grateful.

    Your generosity is moving. For real. You rock, woman!

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  83. I'm tossing my name in for the giveaways. I love to read your blog even though I'm not a writer, it is always informative.

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  84. Well, there is a lot of info to digest yet, and I might come with questions later. You have answered my usual questions, and a lot I hadn't even thought of so far, so I'm more than satisfied with the experience. The links were superb too, and I have a lot to consider and ponder for a while. Thanks again, it has been an amazing ride!

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  85. I have a question regarding world building. How do you stay organized as your world grows? I have heard of authors keeping bibles but what is a good way to organize it? By government, society rules, species? What is your techinque and what would you suggest to new writers?

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful advice you gave us this last week. I really appreciate the insight!

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  86. Anonymous2:05 PM

    How do you go about making fact fiction. I have some AMAZING family stories that I could never publish as a memoir because they would all sue me for all I'm worth. How do I get around having to get their permission to print hysterical stories?

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  87. I enjoyed reading Jaci's workshop on The Anatomy of Sex Scenes on her blog.

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  88. Wow, loved this question and answer session. Learned a whole lot more here.

    Thanks again for putting this together. Keep writing, creating and learning PBW!

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  89. Lara Lee2:50 PM

    Thanks so much for doing these workshops, and for providing a place to post all these others! My only regret is that I had to work long hours last week and couldn't participate more. I'm working hard on catching up this week, though.

    I missed reading your first workshop last week and was happy I made the time for it today. I have a short story (meant to be a stand alone) that I wrote for a writer's group challenge. Everyone liked it so I entered it into a RWA chapter contest and it won - the whole manuscript was requested by an editor. Unfortunately it doesn't have a plot (well it does but it's weak). I've been writing scene after scene for it and not getting anywhere (and getting depressed). Today, I looked at your novel writing diagram and thought I might be able to work with this.

    It may not be in the cards to do anything more with my story but at least it has a shot with some organization. And frankly, your diagram makes more sense to me then any I've read in writing manuals.

    The work required to set up these workshops is greatly appreciated! I've learned a lot and found some inspiration.

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  90. Was there ever a point in your early days as an aspiring writer when you were ready to throw in the towel? If so, what kept you going?

    ps--I put my week's workshop in an ebook form avail on scribd.

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  91. Anonymous2:52 PM

    This is a great post. So much wonderful information. Thank you! No links on this post so you know it's not spam, just a fellow writer who loves it when someone uses the Web to bring so much great information together in one place. Keep up the great work.

    Rick Grant
    Jim Thorpe, PA

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  92. Thanks for another great workshop.
    Will be referring back to it frequently. ;)

    Question?
    What do you do when you feel utterly discouraged(if ever)?

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  93. I read through your revision process and thought it was genius. Of course, I'm already halfway through my novel and making a total mess of things, so the advice came too late this time around. I'm definitely trying your method in the future, though, so thank you!

    My question is whether or not you have regular beta readers? I don't know that I've ever heard you mention any. If you do have them, how many and what kind of feedback do you ask for?

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  94. Just chucking my name in the pot. Thanks, Robyn

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  95. My brain is still numb from the fantastic reading this week. Thank you so much once again, for taking time out to host these workshops and do some of your own. They've been extremely helpful and thought-provoking/

    Questions will probably come to me after I post this. (Isn't that just the way?) So for now I'll just toss my name into the hat. :)

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  96. Elizabeth5:45 PM

    Hello,
    I have tried to keep up with the blog over the past week to see what you had for the on-line seminar. The information has been great.

    You mention that you are ending the Darkyn Series. Have ever been inspired by the end of one series to start something similar for another series of books? Or do you want to write about something so completely different for a change of pace?

    Elizabeth

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  97. Thank you so much for offering the LB&LI workshops. Been popping in every year now, LB or not.

    No question today, though. Just gratitude. :-)

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  98. Thanks for the workshops, Lynn! You've been so helpful.

    My question is whether you can ever tell early on (or at any point!) in your writing process that your current story idea just isn't going to work out for some reason. Do you ever get alarm bells that the concept isn't right and should be scrapped, or that something big needs to change? And if so, where do you go from there? How do you know when to give up and start something new?

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  99. Hi Lynn:
    No questions, just thank you. I found this blog last Monday, and have enjoyed visiting every day and learning. I appreciate your generosity in sharing so much with us.
    Best wishes for your continued success.
    Christie

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  100. I did have a question, but I totally forgot it! So I'll throw my name in. :)

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  101. Throwing my hat in the ring, as it were, and just wanting to comment that these virtual workshops have been fascinating, informative and rich nourishment for my writer's soul. Thank you! I sometimes feel that I should try to join the nearest RWA chapter, or writers guild, or some such thing, but seriously ... with this type of FREE expertise & advice available, why bother??

    Again, THANK YOU for making me feel that there is hope for my future writing "career", and that I am not alone in the struggle!

    — Bonz

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  102. Anonymous8:17 PM

    Great post!

    Terri W.

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  103. This has been a great series of workshops, thank you so much for doing it. No question from me, I've been soaking up everyone else's questions. Thanks!

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  104. You've probably been asked this before, but what is the biggest business obstacle you've had to overcome?

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  105. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  106. Anonymous9:48 PM

    great post, gl all

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  107. Jess wrote: And I'm sure SOMEONE pointed it out already, but Lilith Saintcrow says on her website that that is her real name.

    Really? Her Mom named her that? Holy Toledo. Well, I was raised Catholic, and Lilith is kind of a big no-no name for us, like Judas and Satan.

    Here's a question: how do you know when you've "found" your voice?

    It feels right. It makes everything easier. You stop battling yourself. Or you don't think as much about it anymore. It becomes like your skin.

    I know the WS talked about matching strenghs and weaknesses for a unique voice, but some posit you can't actually try to find your voice, it just is.

    In as far as the workshop goes, I was talking about personal style versus writing style (voice.) I was going more for what will make marketing the work easier (and more fun) versus using voice in the work. So don't apply the workshop to what you want to change or find in your writing voice, because that's really a whole 'nother can of worms.

    ...I have some ideas what sort of voice I have, and I'd like to try and make those elements stronger, but then, am I forcing that because I want to be able to describe myself a certain way?

    I may have told you this story before, but I'm getting old and I repeat myself a lot, so forgive me if I have.

    I wanted to be one of those writers who wrote big fat historical romances, you know, the really serious, dramatic, larger-than-life stuff. So most of the first novels I wrote when I began seriously pursuing publication were all big fat historical romance train wrecks. I fought so hard to get through them it was like going ten rounds with Holyfield every time I went to write on those books. But at the time I admired that sort of writer, so I was convinced that was the writer I should be. And I sold nothing.

    I finally got so depressed I stopped, and then a friend suggested I write something totally different, just for fun. And I did, mainly to get myself out of the depression and go back to writing for my own pleasure, which I missed. Naturally I picked something I knew would never, ever sell: science fiction. Who would buy a SF novel from a housewife from south Florida, right? So it took all the pressure off me, and I just wrote what I wanted. And I had such a great time I wrote a sequel for fun. Those two novels were StarDoc and Beyond Varallan.

    There are some writers out there who have built entire careers on emulating authors they admire, so with time and practice I imagine it is possible to clone yourself off someone else. I've never cared for derivative fiction, though, so maybe that was what I was really fighting all those years.

    Slippery thing, voice. I've rambled on long enough, but hey, I'm making up for half a week's absense!

    No problem -- you always ask very cool questions. I hope everything went okay with the move for you guys, and you're settling into your new place.

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  108. Anonymous10:21 PM

    In your opinion, which would be less stressful?
    1) Starting a story from scratch
    2) Pulling an old completed manuscript out of where ever you've stored it and rewriting said story

    Mary

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  109. Great workshop! I will be reading and re-reading this for weeks. Thank you for investing so much time and effort.

    Lyn

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  110. I have enjoyed this time reading your work. I have no questions becasue I am jsut starting and do not know if I have any questions.

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  111. Cheryl11:35 PM

    No questions here... too many good things to mull over from the earlier topics.

    Thank you, Lynn, for all the hard work you put into this!

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  112. Kyra Heiker wrote: Not a question, but a comment--I am at a military base in Germany and your brother stayed here maybe 2 years ago and talked about you and your books (he was looking for a copy in German) and he is responsible for me now being a huge fan.......just thought you might like to know.

    My little brother does get around the world. :) Thanks for letting me know, and it's nice to meet you, Kyra.

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  113. Observations from the Couch wrote: At what point should an author without an agent give up on a publisher with whom they have a signed contract (this is for a short story, not a novel?)

    I am very reluctant to give out advice on matters like this. For legal matters like contract disputes with publishers, it's always best to get advice from an attorney familiar with publishing industry contracts.

    That said, I think if the author has thoroughly read the contract, and understands it 100%, they should follow the terms of the contract and what rights they have in regard to inaction by the publisher before getting an attorney involved.

    If they do not respond to your inquiries, yet continue to publish other authors work, do you wait for the rights to expire based upon the contract you signed, or simply send them the registered letter as stated in the contract?

    I would make a serious effort to contact the publisher by e-mail, phone, and registered letter with a return receipt requested. Then if the publisher does not respond, and has not fulfilled their responsibilities under the terms of the contract by the end of the term of first rights (this should be specified with dates), I would write a registered letter (again with a return receipt) to inform them that under the terms of their contract they no longer have rights to the story for publication, and request an acknowledgment in return. The author should keep copies of all correspondence involved in chronological order in the event this is challenged by the publisher.

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  114. Margaret Yang wrote: How do you deal with being in an "almost" place? When you have a really great agent, but no editors have bought the book yet--and this is book #4 (three under the bed) and you know it's good.

    I'd use this time to write every day, set up an office, get into a regular work routine, start looking at web site designs and so forth. If you keep working steadily, you'll keep your mind focused on the most important task you'll have as a pro -- getting work done -- and by preparing everything else you'll be better prepared for when your agent does find the editor who wants to sign you. You'll be ahead of the game, as the first couple of weeks after you sell your first book you'll be wrestling with the utter joy, terror, and perpetual panic of the first big sale. :)

    Or, you've published lots of short stories, but none in the "biggie" magazines/anthologies. It's like being in the hole of some giant doughnut, with sweetness all around, and being unable to reach out and get a bite. How do you deal with being THIS close?

    Emotionally it's kind of a rollercoaster. I rode it for about a month, from the day I heard that an editor was actually reading my full manuscript to the day I got the letter asking me if I'd consider making some changes and writing a SF series for the publisher (I didn't get the call, I got the letter, lol.)

    I know it can be hard on the nerves, so do stay busy and try to keep a positive attitude. This really is the best time to get a lot of work done and everything organized at home, because once this rollercoaster ride ends, you get on one that's even bigger and scarier -- publication. :)

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  115. Carissa wrote: Do you have any experience working at writing during a long-term illness?

    I've worked through a couple of surgeries and the related physical therapy, two severe bouts of depression and my ongoing battle with arthritis.

    Any advice, especially on how to work on long-form projects (eg novels) while your memory and concentration aren't at their best, would be appreciated.

    I'd say the most important thing is to be willing to adapt and find new ways to work rather than let the limitations of illness defeat you. I hated giving up typing, for example, but I also knew that the progression of my disease made it inevitable, and I began to work with VRS a few years before I had to switch over and use it exclusively to write.

    I've planned my work around my various surgeries and try to shift things around so that I can do work in whatever condition I'm in. It's impossible for me to write when I'm in the hospital, so I usually take a recorder to dictate notes and some research materials to study.

    When I spent a couple fo weeks in a physical therapy facility learning how to walk again after double joint replacements, I arranged to have a computer terminal with internet access set up in my room, and also brought my laptop for when I was in the bending machine (anyone who's had knee replacements knows how boring it is to be strapped to this monster for hours.)

    I had the most trouble when I was working through depression, but writing has always been my primary spiritual medicine, so I kept trying to get some work done. I can't say I wrote my most brilliant stuff at those times, but the simple act of writing was a great comfort to me. And I let myself purge a lot of my negative feelings in my personal journals and stories I wrote for myself during those blue periods. I really think that helped pull me out of the abyss.

    When you cope with illness or other limitations, you'll be constantly plagued by feelings of inadequacy. I used to remember how much and how fast I could write when I was well and then I'd get very depressed. I broke that cycle by getting tired of feeling sorry for myself, and that's when I was able to make the necessary adjustments. If I couldn't write for four hours straight, I'd try for one. If I couldn't concentrate on my pile of research material, I'd break it down into smaller bits and not try to digest so much at once.

    I did a lot of silly things to cheer myself up, too. One time when I simply couldn't face the work, I locked myself in the garage and just painted setting after setting after setting until I exhausted myself -- and the next day had eighteen different paintings with all sorts of details and new ideas that got me right back on the writing horse.

    Above all else, forgive yourself for not being at 100% functioning capacity. No one asks to get hit with a long-term illness, and beating yourself up because you can't do all the things you did when you were well is like going to a hospital and kicking someone who just came out of surgery. Offer yourself some compassion and understanding, just as you would another person dealing with the same situation.

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  116. Dawn Firelight wrote: How do you know when a book is done and ready to be sent out into the big bad world? At what point to you decide your editor / agent would be able to read this without losing an eyeball (or two)?

    After I've finished the entire manuscript, which I've edited daily while I was working on it, I do one more thorough edit, and then a final read-through. By then I feel my manuscript is ready. There have been two occasions where it wasn't, and I threw out half of one manuscript and all of the other, and started my process over by rewriting from scratch (I do not recommend this as practical for everyone. It was just what I had to do with those two stories.)

    As for the mental illness thing (I'll stop in a minute, promise!), I agree creativity and mental illness are not essential bed partners. However, from personal experience, I think it's a bit more complicated than mad/not mad vs creative/not creative. I find I do my best creative work when I'm slightly (teeny-weeny) depressed. Too depressed and I can't write at all. Feeling 'normal' means I can write, but without emough emotion. The reverse (for me) is true with non-creative work. My best non-creative work is done when I'm 'normal'. Any hint of depression will lower the quality of work.

    I understand what you're saying. I do my best work after I shut off my emotions and go blank, and my worst when for whatever reason I can't. I don't think it's normal to shut down like that, because in that zone I'm more like a zombie than a person, but that's my optimum work mode. The reverse is true when I'm taking care of my family -- I am at my best when I'm open and at my worst when I'm zombie writer. So I try to keep my family and writing time strictly separated.

    P.S. No shutting up allowed for you, lady. Your comments are always interesting, and I really like how you look at things.

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  117. Charlene Teglia wrote: when you stopped doing the things that made you unhappy, did you encounter resistance from your agent and editor(s) and if so, how did you work around that?

    There wasn't any resistance because no one was paying any attention to what I was doing. Resistance came later, when my sell-through shot up and I began making the lists, and suddenly everyone realized I'd done it without a web site, booksignings, con appearances (or any support from them.)

    I have since been pressured to do a lot of things, and I've handled them all by responding with a polite but firm "No, thank you." Sometimes I have to repeat it five or six times, but eventually they listen and drop it. There have been some vague rumblings in certain quarters about how uncooperative and nontraditional I am, but as long as I'm selling books, no one is going to kick me out the door no matter what I do (or won't do.)

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  118. sandy l wrote: Are there certain songs you listened to when writing your vampire series?

    A whole list of them. Off the top of my head, the ones that I think influenced me most:

    If Angels Burn -- "So Far Away" by Staind, "Broken" by 12 Stones
    Private Demon -- the entire Fallen album by Evanescence
    Dark Need -- most of the songs on the Silver Side Up album by Nickelback
    Night Lost -- "Animals" and "Savin' Me" by Nickelback
    Evermore -- "Where Do I Stab Myself in the Ears" by Hawthorne Heights
    Twilight Fall -- "Cold by Evans Blue, and lots of Bach
    Stay the Night -- the entire Anam album by Clannad

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  119. Megan wrote: Do you have any advice for critical reading? I've made it a goal to look more critically at books I've read and enjoyed (as well as books that didn't work so well for me but are in the genres I write), to try to focus more closely on what worked (or didn't work) for me and why. It's been an interesting exercise, digging deeper into my emotional responses to figure out HOW the author managed to do that. I figure this is something that will get easier for me the more I try it, but do you have any ideas or suggestions for questions I should be asking myself when I'm reading critically?

    I find it's easier to see what another author is doing if I go into a book looking at a specific portion of the work, like pacing, characterizations, description, narrative, etc. I don't try to nail everything they're doing all at once because it's hard to do that with a novel, and by focusing on only one portion of the story I catch more aspects and details of their styles and techniques.

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  120. Bethany K. Warner wrote: What's in your writing space that helps you be creative? Currently my bright orange post-its tacked to my wall aren't helping the creative juices...

    Nothing. I keep all creative things, artwork, knicknacks and anything else out of my work space because it's a distraction, not an inspiration. Also, I despise clutter of any kind. All I have is a computer station with nothing on it but the computer, and when I write I face a blank wall with my back to the window in the room. :)

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  121. Kris_W wrote: I hope the articles will be available for a while. Is there any way to mark the ones that will expire soon?

    I'll keep everything here on the blog in archives, and I'm also putting together an e-book version of all of my workshops and posting it on Scribd so folks can download it. LJ Cohen has done the same thing with her workshops.

    I don't think any of the LB&LI workshops on the other writer blogs out there will expire, so to speak, but some posts may be removed by the writers or relocated. I wish I had time to go through and find out and flag them all, but I don't, so I recommend trying to read the ones that appeal most to you as soon as you can.

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  122. Kristin Laughtin wrote: Out of curiosity, if you have two ideas pulling at you simultaneously, do you switch between working on both, or do one all the way through and then the other?

    I usually work on three to five projects at the same time (dividing them up according to the workload and the days of the week) but occasionally one of those annoying new ideas will pop into my head and try to distract me. I learned that trying to do more than five projects at a time stretches me way too thin, and I don't have room to play much in the writing schedule, so I jot down some notes or outline the new idea as quickly as I can, and then file it away so I can get back to work on the scheduled stuff.

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  123. Sarai wrote: I have a question regarding world building. How do you stay organized as your world grows? I have heard of authors keeping bibles but what is a good way to organize it? By government, society rules, species? What is your techinque and what would you suggest to new writers?

    I create series encyclopedias to keep track of the world building details sub-divided into characters, settings, plot lines and miscellaneous bits, cross-indexed by title, and keep each section in alphabetical order. I am kind of an organizational nut, though, so you could probably do the same just by keeping all your relevent info on a list in alphabetical order.

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  124. Anonymous wrote: How do you go about making fact fiction. I have some AMAZING family stories that I could never publish as a memoir because they would all sue me for all I'm worth. How do I get around having to get their permission to print hysterical stories?

    I think any trick I could suggest would probably end up getting you sued anyway, given that you admit you already can't get your family's permission to publish their stories. I assume this means you asked and they said no.

    If you haven't asked, why not just ask them? Maybe they'll surprise you and be thrilled by the idea.

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  125. LJCohen wrote: Was there ever a point in your early days as an aspiring writer when you were ready to throw in the towel?

    Oh, yes. Several.

    If so, what kept you going?

    Part of it was just plain stubborness on my part. I don't quit things, I finish them, generally on my own terms. That's who I am. I don't mind hard work, or going through tough times. People have always underestimated me, so that's nothing new. If it were easy, everyone could do it, right?

    The other thing was how much it reminded me of how it was in high school, when I said I'd be an author someday and everyone laughed at me and told me I was crazy. Took me a while, but I got here. There's a lot of satisfaction in that, just as there is in being where I am now despite everything I've been through. It's success, aka the best revenge. And whatever anyone thinks of me, I think I've earned it. :)

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  126. Raine wrote: What do you do when you feel utterly discouraged(if ever)?

    Oh, I get discouraged, especially when I see some of the crap my writer friends have to go through. I want to fix everything, and I know I can't. It's immensely frustrating.

    When I feel really blue about the biz, I go to my Wall of Why to remind myself of all the reasons I do this, or I take a break and sew, or I spend time with my family. Sometimes just not thinking about it is enough to reset my mood.

    The other thing I do is make a positive contribution somehow. When I see a really stupid, vicious thing happen in the biz, I try to do something constructive to counter it. Like these workshops this past week -- this really makes me feel great, to be able to talk shop and kick around new ideas. When we do this, we're building something instead of tearing it to pieces. The creative energy has been nonstop for me.

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  127. Krista wrote: My question is whether or not you have regular beta readers? I don't know that I've ever heard you mention any. If you do have them, how many and what kind of feedback do you ask for?

    I don't use beta readers at any stage of writing. I've tried it, but it's only been successful with two very good writer friends who understood my work and "got" me, if that makes sense. Neither one was easy on me, and it helped me when I was uncertain about things, but gradually I got away from it. I've always been a solitary writer, and even with friends who got me, it was difficult to make it work as part of my process.

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  128. Elizabeth wrote: Have ever been inspired by the end of one series to start something similar for another series of books? Or do you want to write about something so completely different for a change of pace?

    I prefer to do something different if at all possible (sometimes the publishers have other ideas.) I'm very restless by nature to begin with, and moving on to new projects helps keep me from getting stuck in a rut.

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  129. Jolie wrote: My question is whether you can ever tell early on (or at any point!) in your writing process that your current story idea just isn't going to work out for some reason. Do you ever get alarm bells that the concept isn't right and should be scrapped, or that something big needs to change? And if so, where do you go from there? How do you know when to give up and start something new?

    Generally if I map out the idea but I can't see the entire story in my head, that's the first indicator that it's not going to work. The other is how enthusiastic I feel about it. If I feel ho-hum about it, I know it's not going to sustain my interest for very long, which makes it the wrong story for me to be writing. If I can't wait to write it, I'm good to go.

    Some ideas just need time to percolate, too. I had the original idea for Blade Dancer two years before I began writing it, and I put it off and thought and rethought it a few dozen times before I decided to commit myself to the project.

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  130. DeeCee wrote: You've probably been asked this before, but what is the biggest business obstacle you've had to overcome?

    My own ignorance. I should have been better educated about the biz before I signed my first contract; it would have saved me a lot of wasted time and money as well as a ton of grief.

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  131. Anonymous wrote: In your opinion, which would be less stressful?
    1) Starting a story from scratch
    2) Pulling an old completed manuscript out of where ever you've stored it and rewriting said story


    #1. I'd much rather write than rewrite, and most of the time trunk novels should stay in the trunk.

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