David B. Coe: The Writing Life and What it Means to Me

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This is my last entry for this round of guest posts. I have enjoyed being back here at MW for December and January, and I look forward to returning later this year, when I have two more releases (Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth Thieftaker, in July, and His Father’s Eyes, the second book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, in August).

I have wondered what to write for this last post. Usually we ask our guest writers to give us a post about “the writing life.” But it occurs to me that this is not an easy topic. Describing the writing life is kind of like describing marriage or parenting. It’s a different experience for each of us. Sure there are certain elements of the writing process that all of us share — the frustrations of a stalled narrative, the magic of those days when the words just […]

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David B. Coe: The Plotter Pantses

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I’m a plotter, and I have been for most of my career. I don’t outline every detail of my books. Far from it. I tend to write loose outlines that touch on the significant plot points of my narratives but leave the details — dialog, specific action, descriptions, etc. — to the moment when I’m actually writing. In other words, I’m a hybrid, as so many of us are: I plot a bit, but I also allow much of my writing to happen organically.

I think that my penchant for doing at least some outlining is, at least in part, an outgrowth of the kind of books I’ve written through my career. I started with big epic fantasies — multi-book story arcs, lots of sub-plots, lots of point of view characters. If I hadn’t outlined, I would have gone crazy trying to keep track of it all. And then I […]

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David B. Coe: Characters and Character Relationships

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Spell Blind, the first book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, has been out for a week now, and it seems to be doing pretty well. If you have read the book, regardless of whether you liked it or not, please do feel free to review it on Amazon.com. The more reviews a book gets the more attention Amazon gives it. Of course, if you feel compelled to give it a five-star review, you should feel free to do that, too . . .

In my first post about the book, as I chronicled the twisted history of the novel and my reworking of it, I mentioned that in the face of my frustration with the book and the rejections it received, it was my love of the characters kept me going and made me determined to see it in print. Today, I’d like to focus on those characters […]

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David B. Coe: Release Day and Defining Success

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Today is the official release day for Spell Blind, the first book in my Case Files of Justis Fearsson. I’ve already blogged about the book in some detail, and so I think that at this point a description of it would probably be superfluous. Instead, I’d like to use this post to revisit the idea of defining success.

Spell Blind will not be debuting on any bestseller lists. It’s possible that the book will do well enough in these first few weeks to creep onto a list or two (and if you would care to help in that regard by purchasing a copy for yourself and perhaps sending one to a friend, I would be most grateful), but even that is a long shot. The book will receive some good reviews, I’m sure. It already has gotten a few. But if I define the success of this book in terms […]

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David B. Coe: Taking Stock and Taking Risks

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Another year, another New Year’s post. That’s not meant to sound like a complaint; I actually love to write them. I use the New Year’s holiday as an opportunity to take stock and assess my accomplishments for the year that’s ending, and also to wipe the slate clean and “start from scratch” on a new year.

This New Year’s in particular feels momentous for me in a professional sense. I have just completed the most productive writing year of my life. I wrote three complete novels in 2014, as well as two new short stories and more blog posts than I care to count. I also edited two books and proofed two others. I recently totalled it up, and I’m pretty certain that I wrote about 400,000 words this year. I had a new Thieftaker book come out (A Plunder of Souls), as well as three original short stories.

And […]

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David B. Coe: Holiday Superlatives!

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One of the problems with doing these one month appearances on the site is that those months tend to be pretty focused: a post on character, a post on plotting, a post on the writer’s life, and a promotional post on whatever book we happen to be pimping promoting at the time. One of the great things about being a Magical Words co-founder, is that I can sign on for more than one month at a time, as I have for the release of Spell Blind, the first book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, which comes out on January 6. I’ve been here for December, and I’m sticking around for January, too.

And that means I have time to do some fun stuff in addition to the promo. So welcome to my 2014 Holiday Post!!

We’re in the last couple of days of Hanukkah, and Christmas is the […]

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David B. Coe: Point of View, Voice, and the Choices We Make

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I’m sure that some of you saw the title of this post and groaned. I have written about point of view on this site quite a bit. I talk about point of view on panels and in writing workshops all the time. I have said again and again that, to my mind, point of view is the single most important narrative tool we have at our disposal, because it brings together character development AND plot AND setting. How does it do this? By coloring all that our readers experience with the emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and knowledge of our point of view characters. You’ve heard all of this before, and many of you are probably sick to death of it. Sorry. But it really is important . . .

I’m not going to give you the whole “Here’s why I care so much about point of view” thing today. I’m sure […]

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