Reply To: Student: Pepper North Homework Thread

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Linnea Sinclair

This is my all-time favorite book.  I have no real reason why but it’s the book I come back to over and over to read.  From this beginning section, you know there is a vast difference between the two characters and that one has an endearing sense of seeing the world (bear-cat).  I would categorize it as outside action.  This almost starts as the first scene in an action film.  I want to know more about these characters and what happened when they met before– but even more, what’s going to happen next. Looking at this through an author lens rather than a reader lens is a great exercise.  Do I make my readers love characters from the beginning?  I hope so!

I hope you’ll learn–through this class and the readings and perhaps other workshops after this–WHY. See, dear heart, answering the WHY for yourself (as both a reader and a writer) will not only help you craft better, it will help you get unstuck when the muse runs off with the Brazilian pool boy.

Now, many of you will point out that not everyone likes the same flavors. Totally. That’s why Barnes & Noble takes up (or took up, if yours closed) the square footage it does. That’s why Amazon takes up the bandwidth it does.

The. Brain. Craves. Certain broad concepts are universal but, for the most part, the brain does seek broad concepts, not even in survival, because survival (should I eat this berry?) in the mountains isn’t the same as survival on the beachfront. Some of us are lofty mountain-craving readers. Some of us are gritty beachfront readers.

(And, side note, I’ve taught this class enough that there is no ONE universally loved opening sample in my handouts, ever. Every student does NOT glom onto sample A or sample D every time. )

Back to your action-film opening that tickles your pickle. Find a few more than do. Analyze WHY. Place them side by side with your own work. Analyze. If there’s one universal mistake I see in most of my students, is they’re not brave enough with their own work. They hold back. They keep the gloves on.

Understand your personal triggers, your genre’s triggers, and then take the gloves off.

//Interstellar Adventure Infused with Romance//


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