Day 4: Role models and mentors

writing-desk-2014-2Gaining a ready-made audience is one of the wonders of an on-line fan fiction forum. There is nothing quite like pushing that “Post” button and having a chapter go “live” for all the world to see.

How grateful I am for readers who took the time to give feedback and encouragement, especially in those early days. (Susan Kaye and I removed a too-convenient plot device of Jane Austen’s, so there was plenty of howling too!) Who knew that I could be entertaining? That words I wrote made people laugh–or even cry? And that those same people would want more?

With Pamela Aidan and Susan Kaye.
With Pamela Aidan and Susan Kaye
I was already connected with Susan Kaye, and I soon met Pamela Aidan. These working writers, who put out some of the best fiction on the board, took me into their confidence.

How I marveled that such talented women had the same writing struggles as I! Week by week I saw them straighten out plot problems and come up with new ideas. The quality of their work made me want to improve.

Agatha ChristieSo I began to study. Not how-to books–those came later. My strategy in the early days was pretty basic: I reread favorite authors. The bar had been set high by Austen, and I added Agatha Christie and the Queens of Crime as mentors. I took pages of notes, imitated their beats, and tried stuff. My fan fiction writing became an apprenticeship.

robin-helmA few years later Robin Helm came into the mix. Robin is a writing dynamo, although she would deny this. In spite of a busy teaching schedule, she manages to produce books at a steady clip. I am following in her wake, learning to do the same. Two books a year is all she asks of herself. Ah, right. My time-management skills need help!

Thanks for reading today’s post! If you’d like to see what the other 35-Day Challenge participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here.

2 thoughts on “Day 4: Role models and mentors

  1. Laura, your time management skills have always amazed me. I also thank you for introducing me to Jane Austen. I finally got around to reading her books, after I read yours. You’re right. She’s pretty good. Not all “classic” writers are.
    Keep going and thank you for the many blessings you send our way.


  2. Thanks for the shoutout, Laura. I would venture to say that you have pushed and encouraged me more than I have you. Maybe we’re good for each other. At any rate, I’m glad God put us together.


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