Musings from Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Hi FF&P members...
I'm Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, a paranormal romance author. You'll probably recognize my name from the loop. A really quick bio for me would list Kensington Brava, Dorchester, and Harlequin Nocturne as my publishers, and with nine projects for Silhouette and Harlequin under my belt, I'm currently under contract for more Nocturnes of the vampire and werewolf persuasion. Sheer bliss!
I've been asked to write an article on craft, but have been pondering a conversation I recently had with someone who contacted me with this question - one I seem to get all the time, as I'm sure most writers do:
"Can anyone write?"
Our standard reply is always: "Of course." Because we know that anyone can. Heck, we are!
But the conversation went deeper than that, and slightly more into the realm of reality (sorry paranormal folks - LOL) when I was asked about the "process" of getting published. This was from a person who has never set one word on paper.
Thinking this was like asking how to run a marathon without ever having gone for a jog, skipping all the training and work in between, my own musings were eye-opening for us both. I'd like to share.
Here was my reply . . .
"As for the process... well, I just don't know how to tap into the many kinds of talents people have. I have pals who are fantastic artists, and I can't draw a stick figure. Some people sing like angels. Some run like they have deer in their genes. I write because I have to. It's actually a compulsion. Words are like manna from heaven to me. I have to get words on paper and create worlds for them to live in. I've been writing one thing or another since I was eight years old! A true passion. I am driven to write, to create . . . And the compulsion gets worse as I age.
I do think that people have special gifts in some areas. I have heard over and over again that anyone can write. Yes, I believe this is true. But also, anyone can sing. Right? The difference lies in the degree to which a talent can be born and developed, added to the sheer unadulterated persistence of character, and lots of practice.
As for getting published, writing is only part of that process. The business side is not easy! Meeting deadlines and coming up with new ideas are not easy! Self-promotion is not easy! I honestly do believe that everyone can write something if they really want to . . . but if the goal is to get "published," that's a whole other matter. The statistics are that about one percent of all people who write, or want to write, ever get published by a New York publisher. Then again, at present, anyone can self-publish, or publish with an e-book company, which opens up all sorts of avenues for all of levels of writers and their personal satisfaction.
Still, writing starts with writing. Before anything else, there has to be words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, and a completed manuscript. This takes time and dedication, because the odds are also that a major percentage of people who want to write, and desire to get published, never do finish penning a single book. Or take the time to study the craft of writing."
Ah, yes. And there was another question from this person, after all that. Here it is:
"How does a person know if they are worthy to write?"
What? Oh my gosh! I wonder what YOU would reply to this one? I'm still thinking about it.
Because "worthy" might differ from person to person. Right? Does it mean self-satisfaction, or does it mean getting published? Two extremes in concept. For instance, I'd be writing if I'd never gotten published, because again, I have to write. Once I had learned the craft and developed my own voice and style, I geared my writing ideas toward specific New York publishers by making myself aware of what kind of things they wanted. With some talent (thank you mom and dad!), a lot of luck, and maybe even some mystical forces at work on my behalf... not to mention sheer dogged persistence . . . I made it into the one percent. And I'm thrilled every darn day to see my books on the shelf! I know that if people actually continue to buy my books, hopefully I'll be able to keep on publishing for quite a while. But I will write, no matter what.
I don't want to ever discourage anyone with a true desire to write. We all need encouragement and all the help and nourishment that others who have finished a manuscript can supply. I frequently send fairy dust over the air waves to friends who are just getting started, and I've offered to lend my Muse to a few. I offer hankies when needed, murmur "You can do it" to them and to myself on a regular basis, and have checked out sets of pom-poms on line in case I need to shake things up on our behalf.
The fact is that none of us know if we have real talent and fresh ideas until we try the very thing we want to do. As all of us on the FF&P site know, even if we're willing to do what it takes, and try, unless it's absolutely a labor of love...
Well, you get the picture.
So, I've shared this, and hope you might have something else to offer on the subject.
Were you encouraged to write?
Have you been writing since you were a kid, because you HAVE TO?
Did you realize how difficult - blissful writing could be?
Does writing make you so very happy, you hardly want to do anything else?
Please share, if you have a minute.
I'm here today, listening, and so are a lot of others.
We're in this crazy business together.
I love nearly every minute of it.
Linda's latest releases from Nocturne in her Vampire Moons series are: "Golden Vampire" (full book) and "Night Born," a Bite. She also has a fluffy, girly paranormal novella recent release, titled "Veronica and the Vampire."
Love and hate, vampire and slayer—opposites too closely connected for their own good?
After her mother is nearly killed, slayer-in-waiting Danika Douglas vows to destroy the vampire she believes is responsible—Alexander Kent. An experienced vampire older than sin itself, Alexander possesses dark good looks and a strong sensual allure.
Danika knows a slayer and her target are chained together by fate, compelled to find each other. Yet she never expected them to share such a powerful attraction, leaving Danika torn between revenge and desire….