New Client Alert — Elsie McLaughlin

  • By: Amanda Jain | Date: May 16 2022

Name: Elsie McLaughlin
What you Write: Science Fiction
Agent: Amanda Jain

Why BookEnds?

When Amanda first reached out to me, one of the things that really stuck with me was that she said she’d fallen in love with my characters’ story. We had a great first call, and it very much felt like we were on the same page with the project. BookEnds seems like a truly welcoming and supportive environment, where you’re not just an individual writer, but part of a team, and the experience has been great so far!


What genres do you write? Read?

I write Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy, with an emphasis on queer female rep and romance. SFF is the genre I read most widely in, but I’m always up for a good horror story or historical novel, too (especially when it’s ancient history). My recent faves have included The Priory of the Orange Tree, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, and The Wolf Den.


Plotter or pantster?

Definitely more of a plotter. I usually go into a project having a loose idea of how the story will go, with some really specific scenes I’d like to have written in a certain way. Then, I’ll take the beats I’ve worked out so far, and try to separate them into a three-act structure—there’s a great method I like to use for this called the “3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapter Method,” which is super helpful for structuring each individual section of the book. However, when it comes to smaller scenes, or some of the connective story tissue, I do tend to lean more towards pantsing and just let the characters have a bit of fun.


Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?

Going to say hate for this one. I think that synopses are super important, and are really satisfying to get right, but I’ve found I have such a difficult time trying to condense all the beats of a story (especially when it comes to SFF) into such a tight wordcount.


Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board?  If so, what’s on them?

I find ambient music or film scores work the best when I write, but I do have a list of songs and artists I’d put on my “book soundtrack” (looking at you, Florence + the Machine). I also have sort of an “unofficial” mood board on Pinterest, where I’ll save concept art and architectural/fashion references that fit with the vibe of whatever I’m writing.


Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?

Iced Latte. All day, every day.


Day or Night writer?

Probably more of a night writer I’d say, though I try to sneak in writing whenever I can. I’ve found I’m the most productive when I’m locked into a certain location and can’t get distracted, like a coffee shop. I work some nights at a local campground, so sometimes there’s nothing to do but sit in my log cabin and write! I get some of my best ideas at night and have found that evenings are a really good time for editing.


If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?

Ever since my 10th Grade English class, I’ve always wished I could have met Kurt Vonnegut. The introduction to Slaughterhouse Five is one of my all-time favorite pieces of writing, and I love the way Vonnegut was able to blend elements of science fiction and historical fact in his writing—something that’s been a huge inspiration in my own work. His style incorporates such humor and irreverence, while at the same time managing to be incredibly sad and poignant. He was such an interesting, intelligent man with an amazing life, and I’d love the chance to sit with him and hear his stories.


Where can readers find you on the web and social media?

Nowhere as of right now, but I’m planning on setting up an official “bookstagram” soon!