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Starting a Novel Series with a Partner: The Plotting

August 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , ,

Starting a Novel with a Partner: The Plotting

by E.J. Williams

(Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger)

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write thrillers, the INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SERIES, as E. J. Williams. Our tales transport the reader from 1962 Southern California to various international locales. In the first new book of the series, STONE PUB, we find ourselves in County Cork, Ireland.

As we began this series, we experienced the same thing as with the previous, Skylar Drake Mystery Series. That is, we had all sorts of ideas stuck in our heads. Each of us had different scenarios we’d developed. We found it challenging to develop and agree on a central plotline for each story that would take the series across many books.

Meeting regularly with specific agendas and follow-up reports for reminders helped us narrow down the many ideas into the main idea, one that could be sustained through many future books. Daily, weekly, and monthly update meetings keep things flowing. Much like each chapter of a book drives the plot forward, the meetings should have a purpose. They should help drive the writing forward. Once we agreed on the plotline for the whole series, we could focus on the individual novels with similar foundations.

Regular meetings are the most efficient way of making a co-writing situation successful. Remember . . . the crucial thing is to write a good story. So, stay tuned . . . there is more to come.

STONE PUB is the first in the series, and yes…we are still married!

Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Website: Will Zeilinger


Read Skylar Drake Mysteries while waiting for STONE PUB.

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS
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To Include or Not to Include by Linda O. Johnston

September 6, 2020 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

To Include . . .

We’re still in the midst of the pandemic that has affected us for more than six months now.  People get sick, and fortunately many heal . . . though not everyone does.  And it’s affected us in ways beyond illness–economically, for example.  

Even when things seem to improve some, they don’t always stay that way. Sometimes they get worse again. We still don’t know when things will settle down and start resembling normal once more.

And as a writer, I’m wondering when to use all of this.

Right now I’m still working on my third book in the long-running Colton series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, featuring characters in one of the many branches of the Colton family spread all over the country. I’ve known what has to happen in this one, and that’s what I’ve done.

Or Not to Include . . .

But I’m also plotting some other ideas.  Stories that will take place at least a little in the future.

Should I mention the pandemic? The social unrest? What it’s all done to our economy?

Or should I assume that readers will prefer that I don’t go there, that I ignore all that nasty stuff and just create my own issues in my stories, the way I used to?

I’m pondering all of that even as I plot. But like everything else these days, who knows what the future will bring–and if things will ever return to what had been deemed normal before?

Of course, as a writer, I want to satisfy my readers. It’s okay to scare them in romantic suspense and mysteries, but we need satisfying endings in which all gets resolved in a reasonable, acceptable, perhaps optimistic way.  Never mind what happens in real life.  I write fiction!

Well, I’ll figure it out and decide which direction to go in each story I write.

And hope that reality gets better even as my stories continue.

~Linda


The First Two of Linda’s Colton Family Series


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The Fun of Being A Writer by Linda O. Johnston

July 6, 2019 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , ,

 

What’s the fun of being a writer?  Everything!

And part of that includes the fact that writing is always there.  It becomes part of you.  At least it has with me.  Everything I do, everywhere I go, my writerness is part of it.  And yes, that’s an unusual word although when I Googled it, other people have apparently used it, too.

I was on a cruise to Alaska last week with family and friends.  It was lots of fun.  We sailed near land going north, then south through the Inside Passage, visited several cities, took a few tours, and enjoyed the onboard food and entertainment.  That entertainment sometimes included dogs, and you can imagine how much I liked that.

I particularly enjoyed the wildlife we saw, including young and adult bald eagles, other birds including those that flew over and sometimes dived into water like marbled murrelets, a few bears on the shoreline in the distance, some spouting whales, including humpbacks, and small breaching dolphins. 

We got to wade in the water in the middle of a river—because, as you might surmise, that river wasn’t full of water.

We visited Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and took a tour that included visiting a formerly private castle.

And, oh yes, I did some writing and editing . . . and came up with an idea for another mystery series.

Will I ever write it?  Who knows?  But plotting and researching it will definitely be enjoyable.  Plotting is who I am, and my subconscious is always at work.

And yes, that’s part of the fun of being a writer.

~Linda

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Movies

December 6, 2018 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , , ,

movies | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of Orange

 

Movies

 

I’ve been going to a lot of movies lately. Why? Well, my husband and I now subscribe to one of those movie packages where you pay a monthly fee, and can then attend several movies a week for no additional charge. Although we’re allowed to see three, we’re mostly seeing two, and occasionally just one.

As a writer, I find that fun. I try to analyze each plot, note which ones I like and which ones I don’t. Most of them aren’t documentaries, so even if they’re supposed to be based on a true story they’re generally at least somewhat fiction.

Sometimes we just pick a show that sounds vaguely interesting, but we always hope to jump onto one that sounds a whole lot more—fun, exciting, inspirational, whatever.

And sometimes I get new ideas for my own writing from them. I’ve begun a proposal for a new mystery series which might not go anywhere, but, yes, I was inspired by movies!

I suppose that the fact I live in the Hollywood area also gives me ideas involving films, both novels and, occasionally screenplays—that I never write myself, although I’ve taken classes.
I’m wondering if the theater chains and companies that offer these multiple movies are actually making money. I hope they’re doing well enough to keep it up.

Do you go to movies? Do they inspire you to read or write?

And Happy Holidays to all of you! I’ll have a post here in early 2019. (Wow, that sounds as if it shouldn’t be happening so soon!) And when I do, I’m hoping to have some writing news to convey.

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Quilting 101 with @Suzanne_Johnson June @OCCRWA Online Class #plotting

May 29, 2018 by in category Online Classes tagged as , , , ,

OCC/RWA Online Class:

June 11 – July 6, 2018

 

Quilting 101 graphic

About the Class:

Do storyboards, sticky notes, spreadsheets and index cards give you hives? Does your manuscript wander in circles – yet you’re afraid a detailed outline will suck the heart and soul out of your writing?

All you need is a simple word-processing program to stitch together the perfect quilt of a plot to keep your novel on track and moving in the right direction – while still giving your muse room to play. We’ll use a step-by-step technique to plot a novel from start to finish, and give you a huge head-start on your first draft (and the dreaded synopsis).

This will be a working course! Bring your best idea (the one that’s been bubbling in your brain for six months) or a manuscript that’s wandering in the desert, and we’ll shape it up and get it moving. We’ll also be deconstructing one of my own novels as part of this class as well as using examples from a variety of books in different genres.

Suzanne Johnson

About the Instructor:

Suzanne Johnson is the author of more than twenty published works, including the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, of which book six, FRENCHMEN STREET, will be out on July 17. Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is author of the Amazon top-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, as well as The Collectors and the Wilds of the Bayou, both romantic suspense series. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Suzanne loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, New Orleans, all things Cajun, and (hangs head) reality TV. She writes full-time along with running her own developmental and copy-editing business and dabbling in mixed-media art.

For more information about Suzanne, please visit her website: http://www.suzannejohnsonauthor.com/. Click on the “Newsletter” tab for updates, release news, sneak peeks and special giveaways: http://suzannejohnsonauthor.com/newsletter.

Enrollment Information

This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Groups.io. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.

For more information, check the class page at the OCC/RWA website: http://occrwa.org/classes/june-online-class/

Note: I took Suzanne’s class on Monster Revisions last year and can personally attest that she’s a wonderful teacher, and yes, the class was a working course.

Linda McLaughlin
OCC/RWA Online Class Coordinator

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