Magical Words


Dear friends,

Some of you may have noticed this morning that when you attempted to post, you first had to register on the site with a username and a password. We’d like to explain.

Magical Words only works as a site because of all of you. Your responses to our posts, the discussions on craft and process and the business of writing — those are the essence of the site. We love the give and take, and we would never do anything to circumscribe the free exchange of ideas that we enjoy here. We are not interested in running a site where everyone defers to our opinions and no one disagrees.

Sadly, however, not all exchanges remain civil and not all comments offer constructive observations relevant to the topic at hand. In recent weeks we have felt that an increasing number of the site’s discussions have turned nasty and have left members of our group feeling bullied and offended. For this reason, we have decided to take a firmer hand in moderating discussions. We will never use our authority to edit or block legitimate contributions to the site. But neither will we allow personal attacks on MW’s writers or guests. Again, we welcome divergent opinions. We don’t expect unanimity; we do expect civility.

Site-wide registration is something that we here at Magical Words had intended to implement long ago. It shouldn’t present any sort of inconvenience. In fact, you came here today expecting to read a longer post, perhaps to comment. Instead, why don’t you sign up now. Simply click on “Register” in the column to the right. That will take you to a page where you can enter a username and your email address. The site will send you a temporary password, which you can use to log in. When you do, change the password to something you’ll remember, and you’re done. Magical Words will never ask you for personal information, and use of the site will always be free.

Thank you for all you contribute to our site. And thank you as well for your understanding in this matter.


52 comments to Magical Words

  • Beatriz

    Thank you, David.

  • Thank you for the note David. I love and value this site and would hate to have it shut down due to unnecessary nastiness. I’m registered and ready to go now!! 🙂

  • David> Thanks for setting all this up! I’d hate to lose this site. I really appreciate everything that I’ve learned here. You guys have helped to make my writing a lot better.

    Oh, and this is Emily btw. I registered as pea_faerie a while ago… long story for an odd nickname, which I will leave out, but I figured I’d better let folks know who I am.

  • Sarah

    David, et al. Thank you for making this move. I’ve been lurking, not posting, the last few months, but I agree. The civility of this site is one of its great assets because it keeps the conversation going and going in productive ways.

  • Beatriz, Megan, Emily, thanks so much for the kind comments. We love maintaining the site, and we hope that this small change will allow us to keep doing it well into the future.

  • Sarah, you posted as I did. Thanks very much. Hope you’ll continue to enjoy the site and will post now and then!

  • Deb S

    Thanks for keeping the site informative and civil.

  • Our pleasure, Deb. Thanks for reading our posts!

  • Thank you, David. I hate it had to be said, and I’m so grateful for the fabulous MW readers who’ve signed up with a smile.

    You know, I was thinking…people forget how small the publishing world is. Acting hateful on the internet is a perfect way to alienate all the publishing professionals who might otherwise have helped a newbie along! Folks think their usernames will afford them a measure of anonymity, but really, ugly behavior doesn’t stay buried long. It’s always best to play nice!

  • So, true. This is a very, very small sandbox we play in. Discretion and tact are more valuable than I can say.

  • I try to stay as professional as my silliness will let me. Then again, I also use my real name. I may not always agree with something said here or elsewhere, but I know when to just walk away from a heated topic (or run away in the case of politics or religion discussions, but I hath digressed 😉 ). Likewise, I don’t always stay on topic, but I do try. 😀

    I wanna meet you guys in RL one day, preferably at a conference table talking about being published or over a cold drink or maybe even a gaming table. Can’t do that if I make the agents and editors that come by here to post (or you all, for that matter) think I’m a horse’s backside. I’m also working a bit in the indie film biz and word travels quick in the writing/film world. I’d rather be remembered for being courteous and easy going. 🙂

  • I’m kind of disappointed that my use of Google Reader has caused me to miss out on all the “fun” comments! But I agree with everyone else… Do whatever you need to. MW has been so helpful and informative. I’d hate to see it spoiled.

  • You guys have truly made my day! I hope to meet each and every one of you …
    Brainstorm. Thinking …

    Maybe it’s stupid … But …

    We should at least *consider* an MW con. Lots of ways we could do it. Like … Invite everyone who is interested to submit something, take the best 20 and get together. Work on our opening chapters or shortstories, sitting in front of a roaring fire in the mountains or in front of the pool at the beach… Finish up with an agent and drinks …
    Or just say come one and all and we’ll brainstorm and write and … Finish up with an agent and a pitch session and drinks …
    I should stop now. But maybe we should discuss it at ConCarolinas. You guys did know a lot of us are going, yes?

    Soooo. Just curious. Would there be any interest in an MW con on the east side of the Mississippi?

  • Would there be any interest in an MW con on the east side of the Mississippi?

    *raises hand*

    I especially like the part about the drinks…

  • I’d LOVE a MW con! And I’ll be at Con Carolinas to chat about it. But I think it would be aweome! (And I’d recommend fayetteville so I don’t have to drive. 🙂 )

  • Daniel, your comments have always been professional and much appreciated. Hope all is going well with work and life.

    Thank you for the kind comment, Kiara.

    Faith, yes, count me in! I’ll be drinking with Misty….

    Emily, yes! Fayetteville, TN is only about 45 minutes from me. But I bet you meant a different Fayetteville, didn’t you….?

  • Beatriz

    Faith asks: Would there be any interest in an MW con on the east side of the Mississippi?

    Minion reporting for duty, and drinks!

  • An MW Con would be sweet! If you have one we’ll try our durndest to escape the pull of the quantum singularity that is Ohio to be there. Sadly, Con Carolinas is during the trip to the holler in WV with Dad. 🙁 If we could we would this year.

  • I look forward to reading the advice and comments on this site every day. Thank you for making this such a great site to learn from and share ideas.

    An MW con sounds like a really cool idea. I’d love to make it to ConCarolinas. I suppose Northern Virginia isn’t too far away.

  • I’m all for vigorous, enlightening discussions, even if I don’t agree.

    My only concern is that I want a little photo on my profile instead of an ink blot. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • Tom G

    How come at the top of this post, it reads: posted by DavidBCoe read all posts by AJ Hartley. Is this a vast Right Wing Conspiracy to confuse us (or just me)? Or is AJ Hartley secretly DavidBCoe? Or is AJ a dark overlord, and David is his chief propaganda officer? Or do I just need to stop being so anal? Hmmm. I’ll get back to you after the congresional investigation. I see Special Prosecutor written all over this.

    And yes, it was a long day at work. Why do you ask?

  • Well, obviously David Coe is a completely different person from A.J. Hartley. David Coe is a gifted writer and an all round good guy, while A.J. Hartley is a dark overlord.


    David Coe

  • Why do you get to be the Dark Overlord? You ALWAYS get to be the Dark Overlord! It’s the accent, isn’t it? Somewhere a long time ago someone (probably that Shakespeare guy you’re always talking about) decided that Dark Overlords should have a British accent, and ever since then the rest of us can’t catch a break. This sucks….

  • Hey, you get a picture. I get the ink blot disguised as a snow flake. So yes: I’m the dark lord. Don’t make me smite you.

  • >>Don’t make me smite you.<<

    Yeah, as if. (Learned that one from my teenager. Not bad, eh?)

  • Boys, boys, boys. No fighting. And put the sheets back on the beds. They won’t help you to fly.

    For pics, there are several ways. I went to Gravatar.

    Picked my pic and Voila! I have a photo for every email that I send anywhere on any of my emails. (Well, ones that I included in the setup. I do have some with no pic.)

  • I don’t care which of you is the Dark Overlord, since I’m planning on being the mystery woman in dark glasses who absconds with the treasury the night before the bloody coup.

    Hey, I can dream…

  • Alan Kellogg

    Unless I get help with transportation an eastern MW Con would be out of the question. ‘Bout the only one I’d be able to attend would be a San Diego MW Con.

  • Alan, you can borrow the pseudo-dark-overlords’ capes. But don’t drink and fly.

  • David (AKA Dark Overlord)> Alas, I meant NC. Though anywhere in NC, SC, GA, VA, even TN is fine with me. Have cats. Will travel. (Will leave the cats at home, though.)

    And, fwiw, why is it always Dark OverLORD and not Dark OverLADY hmmm? And Overlady even gets underlined by the spell check, but overlord doesn’t. humph. There’s cultural bias for you.

    Misty> I’d be happy to drive the getaway car for the treasury heist the night before the coup… just so long as I’m not a minion who gets killed. (Unless I get to come back from the dead as above mentioned dark overlady –but not all decaying and mossy, not that kind of back from the dead.)

  • Alan Kellogg


    Have you seen the paperwork Homeland Security requires for magic assisted flight?

  • Judy B

    “Would there be any interest in an MW con on the east side of the Mississippi?”

    We’d be there with bells on!! Bring on the beer…

  • An MW Con would be awesome. I was hoping to make it to ConCarolinas this year but one of our clients decided to migrate one of their main data hubs which means I’ve ended up working late nights multiple nights a week (on top of my normal day hours) and will be doing so through mid to late June.

    So, next year for that one. As for an MW Con, East is best! North Carolina would work best for me if you’re thinking about mid-Atlantic region. I have other reasons to want to get down to NC anyway so that would certainly work out well.

    Oh, and I am obligated to mention that my goddaughter is already working on taking over the universe so only quasi-overlord status is available for the rest of us. 🙂

  • Let me add my vote for an MW con!

    :: notices everyone staring in shock and horror ::

    Er, Hi!

    I’m Angela Blackwell’s husband. She’s the one who has been posting for both of us up to now, as I’ve usually been concentrating on either The Manuscript or grad school. My term is done, so now it’s back to The Manuscript with renewed vigor: I must get my Plucky Young Heroine and her friends to where they need to go, and quickly!

    We’re looking forward to ConCarolinas: maybe we could arrange a time and place for an “MW Con” discussion?

  • Alan Kellogg


    Those who aspire to evil overlord status amuse those of us who have retired from the position.

  • I’m still waiting for a visit from DHS for having lordofassassins in my email. As for the Dark Overlord, perhaps you can be the reverse of the traditional Dark Overlord with too many minions.

    Maybe all the MW authors can be a Covenant of Dark Overlords, without any of you being minions. I’m sure we’ll all be happy to fill in the vacant minions.

    This could also mean MW Dark Overlord Minion t-shirts on CafePress.

  • Y’all, we’ll be having a dedicated time for MWs at the bar at CC. Keep an our here at MW (of course).

  • I would totally come from Vancouver to attend a MW con. (Just, uh, give me a bit of warning so I can save for the plane ticket.)

    And David, I think it makes perfect sense to require login. You’ve got such a positive and great community that I don’t think it’s asking too much of us readers. I didn’t personally encounter any negativity, but that was just my experience.

    There is so much good at work here, and such a potential for more. I’d hate to see it frittered away by negative comments.

  • Thanks for that, Moira. The response to this thread gives me a good feeling about the change we implemented and people’s willingness to register.

  • Deb S

    Would you consider a fun little online crit session sometime? Maybe a 250 word limit? We could do openings, action scenes, flash fiction, whatever the overlords and ladies decide.

  • pea faeries,

    I suspect it’s our lack of twirlable moustaches that prevents us from becoming Dark Overladies. 😉

    I’ve been lurking mostly, but I duly registered as member because I do still follow the site. I suppose every place that grows will attract some less sociable commenters at some point. I had to put my blog comments on moderation a few weeks ago because I had caught myself a nasty little troll who left his muddy footprints all over the carpet.

  • Deb, I am not speaking for the others, but if the other DOLs are willing (meaning that I don’t want to do it all aone) I am willing to discuss it.

  • Faith, I’m willing as well. Watch the site for announcements!

  • (rubs hands together) I LOVE this kinda thing!!!!

  • Yeah, we could do something like this. Workshop Week at Magical Words. We’ll brainstorm it.

  • mudepoz

    *Peeks in, discovers it’s safe*
    I’m thrilled this was implemented. Some of you really put yourselves out there, critiquing and explaining why you do some things in one way, and others another. To let someone else rip on it was painful to watch.

    Besides, when I want to add footnotes to rebut a message, it’s too long.
    Mud (who writes labs, but sometimes they fall more into the realm of fantasy. Enucleated Jelly Donut anyone?)

  • Whoowhoo!
    (brainstorming over drinks at CC)

  • Thanks, Mud. I think things are under control now, and will be going forward.

  • Mikaela

    Log in? *blinks* I am away for one week, and comes back to 117 unanswered e-mails, and login? ( And one story idea) All right. 🙂
    I love the con idea, and the workshop idea. May I suggest Salem, Sweden? 😀

  • Yeah, welcome home…. 🙂 Sweden sounds great to me. As long as the planes are flying to Europe….

  • DawnMarie

    Hi guys! I’m a longtime lurker (I mean, reader) too. I absolutely love this site; I would be heartbroken if y’all had to stop. If logging in helps to diminish the negativity and keeps MW happy & healthy, I’m all for it. The things I learn from everyone here are amazing…thanks so much. Oh–and it’s fun to see so many people from other sites, too. (waves at Mud. Love your comments over at Kim’s!) It brings home–in a very real way–the truth of Misty’s & David’s comments on the small size of the writing/publishing community.
    I would love, love, love an MW con. And Workshop week sounds wonderful, too. Can’t wait. One last note: Remember boys, behind every Dark Overlord is an even Darker Lady. grin

  • Thanks, DawnMarie. The site means a lot to us, too, and we’ll be around for a long time.