Castles and Romance and Sex, oh, my!

 

B/W photo of little girl standing on the bridge in front of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Linda on her first visit to Disneyland, in 1955

Mine was a storybook childhood, spent just a few leagues from an Enchanted Castle, set in a Magical Kingdom that was ruled by a benevolent wizard whose powerful spells captured my imagination every time my parents took me for a visit.

The moment I walked through the gates of this magical land, I would be greeted by beautiful princesses and their handsome princes, despicable villains and terrifying dragons, fairies and pirates and a talking mouse named Mickey.  Yes, I grew up 10 miles from Disneyland, the original Magic Kingdom.

The photo is my almost 5-year old self on the draw-bridge of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in January,1956. 

Cover of Her Secret Guardian, by Linda Needham

 

The seeds of my passion for writing stories of powerful lords contending with their fierce-hearted ladies were planted in that enchanted soil long before I even knew how to read, let alone, write.  The magic is plain: that little girl on the castle drawbridge grew up believing in Happily Ever After, because Romance is Timeless, Storytelling has No Age and True Love is Forever.

 

 

Escalating Emotion Workshop Handout

Escalating Emotion in Commercial Fiction Writing

One of the first rules we learn as romance writers is that the Emotional Conflict between the hero and the herEscalating emotion workshop, Waterhouse painting of woman sleeping in a chair with a book in her lap.oine must not only be compelling enough to carry the relationship to its inevitable story conclusion, but that the Emotional Conflict must also escalate exponentially.

This is actually true of all Commercial Fiction.   Whether you’re writing Science Fiction or Westerns or Paranormal, the conflict between the Protagonist and the Antagonist (whether Godzilla, Mom or the Ghost of Christmas Past) must be emotion-based in order to drive the story.

Escalating Emotion Workshop Handout

Below you’ll find a pdf of the handout for the Escalating Emotions workshop I gave at the 2014 Willamette Writers Conference.  Along with an annotated example story, the chart lists the steps of Christopher Vogler’s Writer’s JourneyMichael Hague’s Screenplay Structure and James Scott Bell’s Writing from the Middle.

Use the chart as a reference for structuring your story — not as a bible.

WW2014 Escalating Relationship Workshop Handout

Home Library Bookshelves — Ideas and Tips

Bookshelves for Your Print Library Collection

Too-tall tomes!  The most clever thing we did when we had bookcases built into our 20-bay home library was to have the cabinet designer make eight adjustable bookshelves for each bay instead of the usual six.

Author Linda Needham's curly, medium sized black dog in the foreground with wall of filled bookshelves of Linda Needham's home library in the background.
Author Linda Needham’s Hound, Pippa the Portuguese Library Dog
As you see in the photo, the two extra shelves allow room for those tall books or magazines to lay sideways, spine out. That way we don’t waste vertical shelf space with a few tall books sitting on the same shelf as standard height books.
Pippa of the Library Chair agrees!

Linda’s Writing Career

Linda’s Writing Career, or The Night the Turkey Burned; Achieving the –You Can’t Seriously Mean Me–Impossible Dream.

The Death of Mr. Decay was my 1st stage play. I wrote, produced, costumed, propped, directed and starred in this classic for my 6th-grade class. That same year a 1-page writing assignment went screaming out of control; Alvin and the Chipmunks Go West just kept going and going. Still haven’t finished it.

RWA Conference 2000, Literacy BooksigningJr. & Sr. high school–in the 1960s–a time of private musings: gothic, angsty, mind-twisting poems about death and flowers and the Beatles.

If you’d told me then that I’d end up writing novels for a major publisher, I’d have fainted. As would have my 11th grade English teacher, who was driven mad because I earned As on all my in-class tests and Fs on each of my projects (because I didn’t turn them in.) Average grade=C. Continue reading Linda’s Writing Career