Some practical tips for living with a writer

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Fantasy author Jane Lindskold has published over 20 books and dozens of short stories. In her book of writing tips Wanderings on writing, she covers topics such as doing research, going beyond certain topics and planning your work time.

“This book, in many ways, is my reaction to the many, many books on writing that are out there that promise – they don’t hint, they flatly promise – ‘Read my book, follow my steps, and you. to be a bestseller, ”and to me that’s a real betrayal because that just won’t happen,” Lindskold said in episode 471 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast. “There is no golden key, there is no one answer, but you can find what answers are right for you, which are right for you, and which in turn will make you the writer that you are. you want to be.”

A memorable section of the book deals with the relationship between writers and non-writers, a topic rarely explored in writing books. “I am a writer, and I have lived with a writer, Roger Zelazny, so I know full well that living with a writer is kind of a strange experience, ”says Lindskold. “This person is completely devoted to spending a lot of time alone, rummaging in a place you can’t go until they allow you to, which involves people who don’t exist, in places that don’t. ‘don’t exist, and yet they are the most important people and places to them at any given time.

Many relationships with writers suffer because the writer expects their partner to read and enjoy their work. Lindskold thinks this kind of legitimate attitude is a big mistake. “If they lived with a senior accountant who spent all day drafting a really complicated incorporation agreement, then would they expect that person to go ahead and read the incorporation agreement? ” she says.

Another major source of friction is that writers get angry when their partner interrupts the flow of their thoughts. Lindskold’s system is to always communicate with her husband Jim when she thinks of a story. “I felt I owed him the courtesy of ‘Yes you can bug me now I’m just sitting here playing solitaire’ or ‘Please don’t bother me. I’m playing solitaire because I’m trying to figure out this really elaborate plot point, ”she says. “How the hell is he going to tell the difference if I don’t tell him?”

Listen to the full interview with Jane Lindskold in episode 471 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above) and check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Jane Lindskold on her new “Relief”:

“” Relief “appeared in Sent from heaven, edited by Peter Crowther. I think this was one of the cold submissions I had seen in a trade magazine. They were looking for angel stories, and I got the idea for “Relief”. I had to be at the meeting of all the teachers. I was a very new teacher, which meant that if I didn’t show up it would reflect badly on me, and if I did show up, I really wasn’t supposed to do anything other than be a hot body. So I had my notepad and I had a story idea, and I happily sat down jotting down a desperately unhappy woman who genuinely contemplates suicide. And I’m absolutely sure no one in my department thought I was taking notes on the meeting.

Jane Lindskold on role-playing games:

George RR Martin was playing an alien, ‘the Rock’. And I just felt in my blood and my bones that the Rock was going to try to pull something. So I wrote a note to [Carl Keim] saying, ‘[My character] will consult the medical department and find an item not dangerous for the rock but traceable that will be put in the food of the rock, because I want to be able to follow the rock. … And when, a scenario or two later, the Rock collapsed on the planet and cracked, preparing to do anything bad in my head, I looked at Carl and said, “I” turn on the scanners and I track him down. And George said to me, ‘You can’t! I’m in too many little pieces! And Carl just handed him the note, and George just looked at me and said, “You didn’t!”

Jane Lindskold on Roger Zelazny:

“He liked to talk about writing in the abstract, but he never did anything like pick up one of my stories and say, ‘You know, if you tweaked this and that, it would probably sell better. ‘ He let me find out what my voice would be for myself. … I’ve never seen him angrier than the time I submitted a cold story to an anthology, and the anthology editor called and said, “Roger’s name would sell.” much better, if you put Roger’s name on it. Or put him as a collaborator. Or he could write a few paragraphs, and that way it would really be a collaboration. I’ve never seen him angrier. This person never realized how much he thought he hurt himself with it.

Jane Lindskold on archeology:

“There was one case where there had been a flash flood in an arroyo that washed away an area under tree roots and exposed a skeleton, and local law enforcement knew Jim and his team were working in it. area, and they came and said to me, ‘Could you give us your opinion on the age of this particular thing. Should we start looking for a murderer or not?’ Jim had an archaeological osteologist with him during this dig, and they went to examine him and said, “No, it’s really old.” But then there was the moment when Jim was relaxing at home a night – that was before we got together – and there was a knock on his door.It was a friend of his, who had been hiking, in an area outside of Albuquerque, and had fallen on a skull that he thought was a little funny, and he brought it to Jim and said, “Old or new?” And Jim said, ‘There’s still bone fat on it. is new, call the cops.


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