Keeping It Real with Linda Rodriguez

Guest speaker and mystery writer Linda Rodriguez got down to the nitty gritty of being a writer this afternoon, debunking (and confirming) stereotypes about writers while sharing many of her personal experiences during a very informal discussion with the young writers this afternoon.   

For example, although she thinks it is true that many writers are introverted, she assured us that the good writers stay far away from drugs, and most aren’t actually crazy, in contrast to how they are often portrayed in movies.

Linda also had insight into the history of genre writing, as well as practical writing advice, such as how to push through difficult writing tasks by free writing.   

“Take that word, ‘writer’s block,’ and throw it in the trash,” she advised.  

Being an accomplished mystery writer, it was natural that Linda ended her visit with a discussion of suspense.

She first broke suspense down to its most basic parts before going over specific tips and tricks that writers can use to create and keep suspense in their stories.

She said that all suspense comes from character—from one character’s desires, fears, obsessions, etc. coming up against those of another character. The simplest way to create suspense in any genre of writing is to ask a big question at the beginning of the story and then delay the answer.

Linda is best known for her series of mystery novels set in Kansas, featuring detective Skeet Bannion. Learn more about her at

–Lacey Brummer

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