Fearless rabbit trails and owning your inner nerd

The other day I thought about this:

We haven’t done anything big and adventurous in a long time.

Ponder this: During the Skunkworks days of Lockheed, pioneers built the Blackbird in just a few years.

Now we have jet technology that takes decades and runs into cost overruns.

What about Hollywood?

I remember when Star Wars came out. People stood in long lines at the theater to see it. How many times you saw it was a big bragging point.


I can’t even name a movie I think people will remember and still talk about in ten years.

TV series are cancelled and people don’t even remember them. Star Trek was created in 1966 and is still memorable over 50 years later.

What happened?!

Writing Nerd Speculates

I’ve watched as this destruction of taking chances started in television. Then it showed up in the movie industry. Now it’s in the publishing industry.

Dollars versus creativity overbalanced.

Understandably, companies and people wanted to make money.

Heck, I want to make money with my books.

But people focused too much on making money. In fact, I think now it’s only on making money.

We saw the publishing industry gut their mid-list writers because the books didn’t turn into best sellers. Never mind that in the next few years, their reliance on best selling writers is going to hit critical mass.

Hollywood’s already hit critical mass. They do not take any chances. Everything’s a remake because a remake is a “sure thing.” It was successful before.

So we get retreads.

Can it be fixed?

This is one of the reasons I’ve changed what I’m posting. As a fiction writer, I don’t stand out when everyone else is all talking about writing. I fell into the trap of being like everyone else.

It means trying out something that’s not only outside the line, but the line is nowhere in sight.

It means taking a chance that something might fail–and probably will.

But it’s what we learn from the failure that propels us to success. And sometimes the success isn’t immediate, but long term.

Embrace your inner nerd today.

More Reading

If you like what I write here, visit my book pages:

Busting Writing Rules: Show, Don’t Tell

General Business

Got a name change for my upcoming pantser book: Writer’s Toolkit: 7 Secrets No One Tells Pantsers.   It’s all the things I wished I’d known decades ago.  Several of the secrets are almost never talked about, which is astounding.

Onto the next installment….

Show, Don’t Tell

Like the “no adverbs” rule, this one showed up on all the top ten writing lists in the major writing magazines.  In critiques, writers are lectured sternly on it and scratch their heads, trying to figure out what exactly they’re doing.

What it Actually Means

 This rule boils down to a basic concept: Use specific details in your descriptions from the character’s perspective and include the five senses.

Busting the Rule

This is a rule that has been oversimplified to the point of making it meaningless.  Unfortunately, not everyone understands it really well to start with.

How can you figure out if you tell too much and don’t show enough?  There are some clear signs:

  1. You’re keeping your description to a bare minimum.
  2. You’re abusing adverbs.
  3. You’re abusing dialogue tags.

It’s pretty hard to show a character is angry if there isn’t any description available to do it.  That results in telling to explain that the character is angry.

But does that mean telling should be entirely done away with?

No!  And that’s why the absolutes of a rule are such a poor choice.  Saying something like “It took two and a half hours to drive to Santa Barbara” is telling…but really, would your story actually need to show a road trip where nothing happens?  It’s a matter of common sense to figure out where to use telling.

What you can do

Be specific in your details

This does mean ramping up the description skills.  If the room in your romance novel is “perfect,” what does that entail?  Does it smell of main character’s other half?  Why does she like the furnishings?  What memories might they evoke?

There are a lot of places here where you can get specific and have some fun building the characterization.

Just remember—when doing details, use only three at a time.  Then switch to something else, like an inner conflict or a puzzle, and then switch back for details.  You can study this technique in pretty much any bestseller.  In Elizabeth Moon’s Oath of Fealty, the new king wakes up for the first time in his palace room.  We learn what the room looks like and also how uncertain he is about this new place, all at one time.

This is a skill that simply takes practice.  Have fun doing it! You’ll be digging deep into who your character is and that makes the best stories.

July Cover Refreshes

Got a bunch of book refreshes.  So much fun picking out new covers.  More details on the old covers vs the new covers will follow!

Cover for Rogue God

Beneath the island beauty lurks deadly magic.

Magic booby-traps waiting years to kill, and worse.  Like making monsters.

Anton Keymas, member of the Vai, a magical Special Forces, launches on his most perilous mission.  Two soldiers missing.  Probably dead.

Keymas may not be able to stop the killing spree.

A twisted fantasy of magic and monsters that takes you on a roller-coaster ride.

Available from your favorite booksellers.

Woman stands on shore with a lantern

Voices ride the fog, in from the sea.  Real?  Or magic?

Meredith tries to find answers.  Her grandfather dead, walked into the sea.

Did the voices call to him?  What do they want?  Now they call to Meredith.

Haunted by the loss, Meredith takes a journey of discovery in this heartwarming tale.

Available from your favorite booksellers.

Woman conjuring up fiery skull

Stranded by war, fire mage Neyan waits for the devil winds to complete one last desperate mission: kill the enemy

Then Captain Jabell rides into town.   Different from the others, he makes Neyan see the man, not the enemy.

For the first time, she questions her mission. But she must break the chains of this endless war…can she?

A dark, twisted tale of betrayal from Linda Maye Adams.

Available from your favorite booksellers.


Fairy against a full moon and sparkling water


Every year, water sprites visit Lynn’s family’s swimming pool, drawn by the ancestral bloodlines.

But now her grandmother can no longer manage for herself.  Lynn must take up the family obligation.

Half-Korean, Lynn wonders if the water sprites will accept her.

A heartwarming tale that will change Lynn’s fate forever.

Available from your favorite booksellers.


No Post for this Week

I’ve been recovering from a cold.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to my cover refreshes soon.

Next week Part IV of World Building

I’m sorry for the delay, but the final part of the world building workshop will be next Tuesday.

On Hiatus this week and next

I’m going to be on hiatus from the blog this week and next–but it’s for a good reason I’m going to post here later.

Interview for Here Be Merfolk Bundle

A.L. Butcher just posted up an interview with me on her blog.  I used to watch actor David Hedison do interviews (his were always in person) and it was pretty cool to see, so it’s fun for me to think about what I want to say.  Anyway, drop in and have a loook.