Monday, September 19, 2011

Asking for Help -- A Challenge

I always find it interesting when an erotic romance author has a story problem which is decidedly non-erotic. Although I've presented myself as a plotter in my writing style (beginning each project with a particular end of the story in mind), another description fits better. Puzzler. I am a puzzler who begins with general characters, knows the basic direction of the plot, does keep an ending in mind, but spends the majority of her time puzzling together the little and big pieces of the story that will make it vibrant and hopefully get a reader to give a damn. This happens slowly and in layers as I write.

Some of the fun in being a puzzler is to face and overcome a variety of plot problems. And if you've read my past novels you know I am plot heavy as a rule. But sometimes I need help with my jigsaw. I admit I have problems asking for help. I'm not too proud, nor overly attached to wanting sole credit for a project. Often it's that I forget I can ask for help. Well today, when I ran into a problem, I remembered. Yay for me!

Then I started thinking about who we usually turn to for help. In our private lives it is hopefully family members or close friends. In our writing lives it is often fellow writers. But I've begun to think about the networks of connection people develop through social media and the viral experience of the web. And I thought about this blog. So today I decided to turn to the readers of this blog for help. Will there be someone out there who has the knowledge base I need to brainstorm my particular plot challenge? If you link this blog to your Facebook or tweet the url to this post on Twitter, will I find the necessary brain power? Maybe you should know what expertise I need first.

Genetics expertise.

I have run into a problem in my current project, the sequel to Bound Odyssey tentatively called Bound Freedom. Yes, dear readers, I am still chipping away on the novel so you will find out what happened to Jace, Mira and Roman when they crossed the portal to a new world. And you will find out what comes next in the impending doom of Earth itself. For those intrigued enough by those teasers, and who have not read Bound Odyssey, please go check out the story at Ellora's Cave or Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

So my problem is in the realm of genetics. Imagine a humanoid species whose ancestors experienced a genetic mutation causing a woman's ovum to need a mix of two or more sperm donors to be successfully fertilized. The little swimmers mix together inside the egg. Now I know in real genetics this will not work, and my problem is more complex than that. I need some support with plausible-sounding genetic explanations about the chromosomes that have experienced this mutation, and the potential genetic breakdown of this mutation. My memory of high school biology is being taxed to the maximum, so it's time for a consult.

If biological science is your forte, or you know of someone who is not singlemindedly black and white in their application of scientific models, but has a creative bent in addition, please send yourself or these others my way. My prospective consultant might have some fun with this pretend science. And of course they will get credit.

I can be reached at, or you can send me your contact information in the comments section and I will reach out to you.

I am curious how this "helping" experiment will work. Please, if you do not know someone directly who has the expertise, link this request out into the web.

Happy Monday, and thank you.



Nina Pierce said...

I was a biology teacher in a former life. My email is winging its way to you as we speak, Michelle.

And this is totally a selfish thing on my part. I can't wait to read the next adventures of Roman, Mira and Jace. Good luck.

Michelle Polaris said...

Nina, I got your message. Thanks so much. Not only will you hear about Roman, Mira and Jace, but about three more new lovers. I like the number three. Go figure.

Ashlyn Chase said...

My sister-in-law is a genetic expert at Bethesda Medical Center.

She's not into our genre at. all. but I'll give you her email. I hope she can help.

Wynter Daniels said...

Wish I could help. I was an English major in college, which means I was math and science illiterate;-)

Michelle Polaris said...

Thanks for the lead. I'll email her when I can get my thoughts together.

We can't all be science experts. Without the English majors who would be writing these books and so in a position to run into these interesting dilemmas? LOL. Thanks.

Callie Croix said...

Wow, that's heavy for a Monday morning! I don't have any helpful contacts for you, but I think it's incredible that Ashlyn does. How cool is that? Best of luck figuring everything out.

Michelle Polaris said...

Thanks Callie. I love a challenge.

Dalton Diaz said...

Did you try Jess Andersen, or Donna's daughter? Only 2 I know.