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Author Archives: Lynn Mapp

About Lynn Mapp

Lynn is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, friend, writer...schizophrenic. And a multi-faceted diamond...princess-cut. Elizabeth Taylor only wished she had a diamond like Lynn.

Why Do I Write?

Why do I write?

The answer isn’t complicated. I have stories I want to tell. People I want to create. Adventures I want to live.

It’s sounds simple enough.

That’s the twist. It isn’t, at least, not for me. I have confessed my many problems. I hate to torture people.

I am a member of the local Romance Writers of America chapter. I remember a meeting we had a guest was in attendance. She introduced herself and explained she had aspirations of becoming a writer. She said she thought she’d start writing romance novels because they would be an easy starting point to launch her career.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am a kind person, and tend to go out of my way to make people feel comfortable. But, on that day, her words caught me off guard. I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. That reaction set off a chain of responses. The poor thing. Bless her heart, that’s code for “what an idiot.” She was wrong.

The woman in question didn’t join the chapter and to my knowledge never wrote the great American novel.

I don’t think there is an “easy” genre out there. Storytelling is a calling.

Crafting characters readers care about takes skill. Plotting a book’s intricate twists and turns take skill. Bringing all those elements together take skill. But sometimes skill isn’t enough.

I’ve known writers who have walked away due to frustration with and the industry. They abandoned their dreams of publication.

Maybe I should have given up, reassessed my dreams, but this is part of me I want to share. I want others to see the world through my special lens. I want them to come with me on the journey. I want to bring them an escape from their everyday lives.

Why do you write?

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15 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Idaho

 

September Meal Rescue

It’s September. School has been in session for almost three weeks. As usual, I’m overloaded, behind, and exhausted. I manage to get some writing done on the weekends, not much, but at least some.

I’m underwater and struggling to reach the surface. During this crazy time, cooking has taken a backseat. Squeezing in everything I’ve got to do is hard enough. I can’t deal with cooking dinner as well.

Truth time. I gave up cooking a few years ago. I occasionally dabble. By dabble, I mean once every few weeks I throw a meal together. I have an easy receipt that is delicious, easy to make, and will allow you time to get a few words onto the page.

Steph’s White Chili Chicken (Tonya Jeppson shared this receipt)
3 chicken breasts (frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups (1 can) chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cans diced green chilies
Add sautéed onions and peppers
Fresh Cilantro
2 Tablespoons oregano
Salt
Pepper
Lawry’s (optional)
6-8 bread bowls or just rolls

Saute onions and red or green peppers in butter. Then dump everything into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6 hours. Serve in a bread bowl. You can throw in frozen chicken the night before and cook on low till dinner. It’s so easy.
I like to add another can of cream of chicken soup along with an additional cup of water.

Writers get hungry and want a meal. Do you have a simple receipt to share?

 
14 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Idaho

 

Los Angeles Times, Reflections

I spent most of my summer in Inglewood, California.  I am back in Boise.  Deep, deep sigh of contentment.  As always, arriving at the Boise airport is a magical experience.  The tension gripping my body evaporates and a sense of peace settles over me.

My travel experience made me wonder about how the setting of your story plays an important role.  Where someone lives impacts their lives.  Having a story set in Los Angeles vs. Boise would make a difference in my story.

How does setting affect your characters’ lives?

Here’s an example.  It would be unusual to live in Boise, but work in Twin Falls.  That’s an hour and a half commute.  We, Idahoans, don’t tend to work that far from home.  Now, if I lived in Los Angeles, an hour and a half commute wouldn’t be unacceptable.  Do you see how setting might impact your characters?

Let’s do one of those annoying writing exercises.  Change the location of your current WIP and see what differences that would make in your characters’ lives.  How would it change who they are?

Let me know what discoveries you are able to make about your characters through this activity.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Idaho

 

Los Angeles Times

 

I am visiting my mother and sister in California.  Reading the Los Angeles Times is one of the small pleasures I take from my trip.  

On Sunday, July 14th the Times ran an article written by Steve Lopez.  Mr. Lopez’s subject was Johnnye Valien.  Mrs. Valien is eighty-seven years old, a widowed mother of three, a retired Los Angles Parks Department employee, and the reigning world record-holder for women 85-90 in the in the pole vault.

In 2002 Johnnye Valien was inducted into the Masters Track Hall of Fame.  She has set world records in the pole vault and the long jump.  Mrs. Valien has set American records in the shot put, high jump and 100 meters.  She still holds age-group world records in the 80-and 300-meter hurdles and the seven-event heptathlon.

It took Mr. Lopez several attempts before he managed to secure the interview, which was conducted at a West Los Angeles College all-comers track meet.  Mrs. Valien has turned down Sports Illustrated.  She didn’t want the fuss of getting her house ready for the interview.

She didn’t start participating in masters track until 1988, twenty-four years ago.

Mrs. Valien isn’t sure track is her best sport.  Skiing is her true passion.  She takes great pride in her ski trophies.

Mrs. Valien ran track at Tuskegee University.  Seven of her teammates made the 1948 Olympic team.  Mr. Lopez felt not making the Olympic team is the reason Mrs. Valien is still chasing her track dreams.

Johnnye Valien is just another ordinary woman living an extraordinary life. 

This is someone who didn’t let a number tell her what she should and shouldn’t do.  She continues to pursue her passions and take joy from living each day.

We need to heed Johnnye Valien’s message.  Keep chasing your dream.  It is in your reach.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Idaho

 

Boring

When I get a pedi, I want a neutral color.  I like to say that I am boring.  I have had enough drama in my life.  I seek boring.  I appreciate boring.  I embrace boring.

That’s my problem…as a writer.

In real life, it’s okay to live a boring life.  Do you know why?  It’s never really boring.  There is always something going on.

My appreciation of boring creates problems in my writing.  I don’t want to torture my characters.

Hello, my name is Lynn, and I hate to throw wrenches at the characters I create.  Wrenches are heavy and they can inflict a lot of damage if someone takes a direct hit.

For many years I was in denial.  It took a long time for me to realize I suffered from the dreaded disease, protective characteritis. 

You know the commercial, the mother jumps out on the gym floor and stands directly in front of her son and knocks balls away.  While doing this she says, “Don’t worry, Mommy’s here.”


You can’t do that if you are creating a fully developed person.  While I have admitted this on several occasions, it will be a lifelong struggle. Even now, I’m having a problem throwing problems in my people’s path.

What problems do you face with your writing and what are you doing to overcome the issue?

 

 
14 Comments

Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Idaho

 

Motivation the Engine That Drives Your Characters

Have I ever mentioned that writing is a challenge?  Okay, perhaps not for everyone.  Writing is a challenge for me.  It’s an intricate dance.  One false move, and…splat.  You’ve slammed into a wall.  

I am a member of the local chapter of Romance Writers of America.  Our chapter meetings are the first Saturday of the month.  We have had some outstanding speakers.  Patty Berg spoke to the chapter this May.

Ms. Berg spoke about character motivation.  What could she have said that I haven’t already heard before?  I’ve completed several novels.  I’m not a novice, exactly.

While I have completed manuscripts, had “good rejections,” and grown as a writer, there are things that don’t hurt hearing again.

When it comes to character motivation, Ms. Berg’s message was to dig deeper.  Keep asking why.

In my current WIP I have a relationship shy hero.  Why?  Why is he really hesitant to get into a serious relationship?

Let’s play.

What happened to create this barrier he erected?

After you answer that question, tell me why?

After you answer the why, I have another question.  Why?

Guess what?  Ask yourself another why question.

I don’t know how many times you’ll need to do this to get the the core problem.

Give it a try with your current WIP and see where it takes you.

You don’t stop with your first answer; you need to go deeper, and still deeper, until you actually get to the heart of your character.

 

 
17 Comments

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Idaho

 

Creating S-M-U-R-F-A-B-L-E Characters

I am a member of Romance Writers of America.  Every month they send out the Romance Writers Report.  It’s a magazine filled with information about the industry. There is a section on first sales, contests, online classes, conferences, you get the idea. There are also articles.

I am going to be honest with you. There are times I set The RWR aside with the best intentions of getting back to it. You know how that goes.

I needed to organize my office. I spent several days last week doing just that. I came across several RWR magazines. If I hadn’t read them, I knew they should be tossed.  Except…there were some interesting articles I wanted to read first. I found gold in the April 2012 edition.

I am shamelessly stealing this from Virna Depaul’s article, Characters That Call to Us.

You know I have this “Chart issue.” What I’m doing is taking Ms. Depaul’s information and placing it in a chart.

Ms. Depaul talks about creating S-M-U-R-F-A-B-L-E characters.

S-M-U-R-F-A-B-L-E Hero Heroine
Sympathetic: This is the likable factor. Ex.She quit college, got a job, and takes care of her sick mother.

 

Motivated: This is what gives them to reason to act. Ex.They were scammed and are about to lose the family home

(Are you getting the idea?)

Unique: What makes them interesting/what sets them apart
Redeemable: This is them being restored. It’s their arc.
Flawed: They aren’t perfect. This is part of their arc as well.At least, that’s how I took it. If you have a different spin, let me know. 
Active: We want our h/h to be active, not someone who just drifts along.
Believable: Credible.
Layered: All is not as it appears. There is a lot going on beneath the surface.
Experienced: The experiences of their past have created this person. It’s their dreams, fears, shadows.

Take a look at your WIP.

Have you created S-M-U-R-F-A-B-L-E characters?

 
14 Comments

Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Idaho