Monday, February 13, 2012

Behind The Words // John Lindensmith

My guest this week is John R. Lindensmith, a young author I met via the web. John's work sounds disturbing and what I like about his guest post is that he shows it's never too early to get started writing, sharing one's work, and publishing. Take it away, John...

My name is John R. Lindensmith. I am a 22-year-old self-published author from West Fargo, North Dakota. I just published my second novel Hell, which chronicles teenage self-destruction in a small North Dakota town. The story is a cross between The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, and Carrie.

Here’s a book description:
These are the best years of your life: Football games. Dances. Drugs. Parties. Sex. Murder.
In the town of Hell, North Dakota, seven teenagers lose their souls. After a cruel prank causes a girl to commit suicide, everything falls apart. At the junior prom, none of them may survive, when a gun-wielding maniac opens fire on the festivities.

It makes a great bedtime story for the little ones or an inspirational reading at church.

The first novel I ever published was Mystery Man. Published it my senior year of high school, at the age of 17. It’s a pretty bad novel. An over the top Christian soap opera about salvation…but mostly people getting stabbed, strangled or drowned. Absolutely no research. The scenes that involve hospital personal are laughable. At one point, the doctors x-ray a man’s head because he has a bullet lodged in his brain.

I do most my writing either sitting on the edge of my bed, lounging in a chair in the living room, or at the library. I will listen to music while writing. Mostly things like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, Disturbed and 80s music.

Currently, I’m editing a novel entitled Pete, about a man who is locked up in a psych ward by a psychotic psychiatrist who is developing a plot to make society conform to her standards of “normal.” It’s different from Hell in many ways. First of all, it isn’t so bleak. Like Hell, it is a social commentary and satire, but much lighter. Not that Pete doesn’t get dark in some places.

Second, it’s not about teenage self-destruction. It’s a satire about religion, politics, authority, mind control, assimilation, and the overmedication of America.

Thirdly, I’m not writing the book alone. My friend, who we will call Pete for now, and I came up with the concept while performing some improv during an IM conversation. I, playing the role as kidnap victim, and her the role of Psycho-iatirst.

Also, a third author (Bronwyn Trafford) injected a lot of her strange Canadian sense of humor.

I don’t know if anyone is really unique with their writing techniques. Something I do that most writers don’t is act out my scenes. I probably look crazy doing it, which is why I lock my bedroom door. To create scenes, I will become my characters, act out the scenes, and even make the sound effects like a little boy playing pretend. With Pete, Pete and I acted out the scenes over IM.

Yes, Pete created the character of Pete.

I try to write when I can. With college and a job and cute kitten videos to watch on YouTube it’s not always easy to find time.

I write most my notes in notebooks (no way!) But do most my first drafts on my laptop.

I love editing. Used to hate it, but now I see it as an opportunity to really hack and saw off all the unnecessary bits. Trim the fat from the bones. Brush away all the unnecessary clutter. Words are magic. But too many are stumbling blocks.

Also, I have a great editor named Kimberly Boland. We think a lot alike. She’s a freelance editor and we’re tight, so I get a good price.

I do more research now, since I really messed up with that in Mystery Man. Not my favorite part, but it always brings extra material to a piece and makes me sound more informed than I am. And besides, research is easy with Google. There is no excuse not to do research.

My research for Hell was pretty simple. Sit in classrooms in high school and listen to people talk really loudly and excessively about their self-destructive behaviors. Nothing beats real life experience.


  1. Whoa... what an interesting post. John, you are definitely a different soul, aren't you? ;) Different as in good... because it's obvious that pure creativity and well, maybe a bit of brilliance stems from you work. I love that you act your characters out--and draw so much from real life. Thanks for sharing this, Jason. :D


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