The good news is if you're willing and eager to learn, you won't flail alone in the dark for long. There are people who will share their light to help you find your path.
For me on my path to publication, it all started with Gwyneth Bolton's encouraging words. Then, Susan Grant told me I sure could write, but I needed to learn the craft. So, I set out to do that. I sped-read voraciously.
I remember the first time I read Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair and how the Heroine grabbed me on the first page and dragged me right into it. I remember being electrified by that! This is what I love as a reader and I loved writing that way too. I was totally floored by Games of Command as Linnea built on her strengths. Like I said in my review, the heroine of Down Home Zombie Blues shoved my emotional nose right into the doo-doo. Awesome.
I followed Linnea over to the Alien Romances blog where I came to enjoy the way she and Jacqueline Lichtenberg played off each other in their columns. I followed Jacqueline to her website, Sime-Gen, and explored that too.
It was in Jacqueline's wisdom that things really started to gel in my brain. She talked about the Intimate Adventure and novel structure. So, I got my hands on her book, Dreamspy, and started reading. On the first page, the Heroine grabbed me and started dragging me along with her through the story. Not only that, but Jacqueline's telepaths were lightyears ahead of mine in the Star Captains' Daughter and they were portrayed clearly and effectively. I could see the structure. I could see the Intimate Adventure. I could see the influence on Linnea's strengths.
Yesterday, I started reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein on Jacqueline's recommendation. And again, I was grabbed on the first page and dragged into the story. For those who don't know, Heinlein is, like, the granddaddy of science fiction. He would be a hundred years old now if he had lived this long. Within his works, I found the roots of Jacqueline's 'Intimate Adventure.'
This all reminds me of something one of the ladies interviewed on the History Channel's show 'Legacy of Star Wars.' During the segment on mentors (Qui-Gon, Obi Wan, Yoda,) she said when someone offers a helping hand "don't look to see if the hand is green, just take the hand."
The links to all the authors' websites and blogs can be found on my personal blog http://starcaptainsdaughter.blogspot.com/ on the lower right hand side.