David B. Coe: Creating a Nemesis For Our Protagonist

My friend Mary Robinette Kowal has hosted me on her website several times for a feature she calls “My Favorite Bit.” This is a chance for authors to win over potential readers by writing about their absolute favorite part of their new work — a character they love, a plot twist that makes them all warm and fuzzy inside . . . You get the idea. I’ve written several of these for Mary in the past; I didn’t want to trouble her for yet another spot on her blog this summer, but I thought I would borrow her idea (with attribution, obviously) for today’s post.

His Father’s Eyes, the second book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, has been out now for a bit over two weeks. If you have purchased a copy, thank you. If you have not, please do. It’s a really good book. Seriously, I love […]

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Committing Series: Writing The Walker Papers

Hello, Magical Words! It’s been a long time since I’ve visited, but I’m delighted to be back for the month of July! For those of you who have come to these halls since my time, I’m CE Murphy, author of a lot of urban fantasy, including the just-completed Walker Papers series–which is what I’ll be talking about this month. There will probably be some high-level, themeatic spoilers in these posts, but with any luck they’re the kind of thing that will enhance the reading experience rather than spoil the details.

Mechanic Joanne Walker has no use for the mystical–but the mystical has a lot of use for her. When a near-death experience leaves her the choice between life as a shaman or dying, she chooses life–and finds herself hunted by old gods as she struggles to gain control of her new powers.

That’s pretty much the elevator pitch […]

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Taking a Moment to Look Back and Say Thanks

Nearly six years ago, on January 24, 2008, Misty posted the very first essay to the Magical Words blogsite. It was called “Where’d Everybody Go?” and it was a response to a show she had seen the night before on the History Channel about what Earth might be like if all human life vanished from the planet. The following day, I put up my first post — “Doing as I Say” — which was about writing short fiction to help flesh out elements of worldbuilding or character development for larger projects.

Faith’s first post followed mine, and Catie’s first came after Faith’s. By the end of that first week of Magical Words, we had all posted something; the site was up and running, and to be honest, we were all pretty excited about it. We didn’t know where the site would take us, but we knew it was something we […]

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Books For Which I Am Thankful (An Early Thanksgiving Post)

My regular week off from MW coincides with Thanksgiving week, which is convenient, because I will be traveling with my daughter to look at colleges in NY and New England, so I wouldn’t really have time to post anyway. But that means that my Thanksgiving post comes a week early this year.

As always I am thankful for so much — I’m a very lucky man. I love my family, and they seem to love me back, which is always good thing. I enjoy my job, and have had a successful year, revolving around the release of THIEFTAKER, which has done well both commercially and critically. And I have friends and colleagues here at MW and elsewhere whom I respect and care about a great deal. Are there things I would like to improve in my life — in particular in my career? Of course. I’m not claiming that all […]

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An Exercise in Voice: Results

First off, I want to thank everybody who participated in my Voice Exercise post two weeks ago. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to go read it, and to read the stories everyone submitted.

I was actually quite nervous about trying this in a blog format, because it would’ve been so easy for people to cheat. Normally I do it in classes, where it’s pretty much impossible to cheat. But it’s clear to me that people followed the rules that I established, so now I’m going to drive the point home:

No one can ever write the story you will write. Do not ever tell yourself that there’s no point in trying to tell a story because it’s been done before. It may have been, but you have not done it, and that means there’s still something unique you can bring to it.

I gave you guys six […]

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A Year in the Life: Week 15

Goodness, we’re a little more than halfway through A Year In The Life. Where does the time go?

Well, in the past two weeks, it’s gone to 1. jetlag, 2. a Bruce Springsteen concert (yes, this is relevant to the post), and 3. agonizing revisions. We’ll start with that last…

Writing: I’m working on a novel for my nephew. It’s the second one, after the first was a GREAT hit. This kind of puts the pressure on, and I’ve been working on this all month. Well, you know. In between vacationing and jet lag and The Boss, but anyway.

The thing is that, as discussed in my *last* YitL post, something felt Wrong about it. Two weeks ago I’d struck out about a thousand words and thought I was happier with it, but when I came back to it I was still unhappy with the pacing. The first book’s pacing […]

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A Year in the Life: Week Five

This is a series of posts about the day to day detail work that makes up the life of a writer. It’s not glamorous, but it’s real. This week, as last time, I’m also discussing the crowdfunding efforts I’ve been part of, and posting short essays about them. So: onward!


Writing: Nothing. Zero. Zip, zilch, nada. The past two weeks I have done no writing, no revising, no nothing. Normally this would be called a vacation, except it was caused by a convention sandwiched by two colds, rather than an intention of taking time off.

Work That Isn’t Writing: Hundreds of items have gone onto this list. I have:

– discussed with publishers the grey area where self epublishing meets the hope of a future physical collection of the same material (answer: it behooves you *greatly* to be prepared to have previously unseen content as part of any […]

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