About Tantra Bensko:
Tantra Bensko teaches fiction writing at UCLA Extension Writing Program, Writers.com, Writers College, and Tantra Bensko’s Online Writing Academy. She has an MA in English from FSU and obtained her MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. She lives in Berkeley. She blogs about social engineering and her Agents of the Nevermind series is about the heroism of recognizing, resisting, and exposing social engineering.
What inspires you to write?
Sometimes it’s a person, or news story, DARPA’s advanced technology proposals, a whimsical fun idea that comes to me, history, a desire to turn the world of secret agent novels on its head. I want to add greatness to the world if I can.
Tell us about your writing process.
I like to use Scrivener, particularly as I often have more than one POV character, and that helps keep it straight. It makes it easy to know which is the latest version, and to revise smoothly, as well as compile.
I tend to just start writing at first and then see where that takes me. Then to finish it, I look at the structure of what’s developing and map out the impact character, antagonist, protagonist, oppression, flaw, inciting incident, first and second plot points, crisis, climax, resolution, etc.
The process is about exploring subjects that I feel are important to share with the world, real-world topics I want to bring attention to.
I go through many editors and proofreaders to make sure it’s as flawless as I can get it.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Neither. I dance them. I act them out. I talk in their voices out loud, moving as they do. My process is very physical.
What advice would you give other writers?
I see many people writing books without studying the plot formula. I feel movies give an excellent way to see it in action, once you learn the exact nature of what goes into each Act, and where. Pay attention to how the protagonist’s flaw is addressed through encounters with the antagonist until she is able to overcome the antagonist’s obstacles at the end.
The protagonist at first has a mistaken idea of a goal – something she wants. But by the end, the goal has been revised through the plot reversals, and now is what she needs. Those are two subsets of a larger set. At the beginning, we need to see the larger set so by the end, there is true success of the larger set. Just not the subset the protagonist expected.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve had hundreds of stories, poems, and articles published by other people, as well as chapbooks, collections, and a novella. But I decided it was time to jump into publishing myself, after studying marketing for a long time and publishing other people’s chapbooks. I wanted full control of the content, art, price, timing, and everything else. One of the books in the series was accepted by two publishers, but I pulled it in both cases. I can do better. Time to shine.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Definitely a movement toward indie-publishing is happening, with authors making more money than they do with traditional publishing. I feel this allows books like mine, which question U.S. intelligence policy, to be created without censorship.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Psychological Suspense, Political Thriller
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
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All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.
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