On images and social media

Carrie RyanCarrie Ryan

I’m by no means a graphic designer. When my first book came out in 2009 I relied on a friend to design my bookmarks, and while she’s wonderful and did a fantastic job, I was always frustrated that I had to rely on someone else. I felt like being able to do this sort of thing myself would be a useful skill. So I downloaded a trial of Photoshop thinking that maybe I could figure it out, and was immediately overwhelmed. I looked into actually taking a Photoshop class but it was absurdly expensive (and I knew that if I didn’t use what I learned regularly, I would just forget it all).

Then about two years ago, another friend told me about GIMP, a free program similar to Photoshop, and she gave me a brief overview of the basics. For a while I used it to play around, Googling […]

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On working with others

Carrie RyanCarrie Ryan

Often people will find out I’ve co-written a novel with my husband and they’ll say, “I could *never* do that — we’d kill each other!” And to be honest, even when JP and I started writing The Map to Everywhere, we weren’t sure how well it would work. We’re both stubborn and opinionated and I don’t think it would have surprised either of us if we’d had to scrap the project (we’d already agreed that our marriage came first).

Happily, we found that we compliment each other in the best of ways and writing Map together was a fantastic experience! But there were a few things we had to learn (or re-learn) along the way. First, we had to both be willing to let go — this project didn’t belong to either of us more than the other. We were both invested, we both brought a lot to the table, […]

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On goals and collaboration

Carrie RyanCarrie Ryan

I’m so excited that it’s finally release week for The Map to Everywhere, the first in a four book middle grade fantasy adventure series I’m co-writing with my husband, John Parke Davis! YAY! In honor of the release, I wanted to share a bit about the origins behind the series because this entire journey really has felt like a dream come true.

From an early age I knew I wanted to be an author even though I wasn’t really sure how one became such a thing. During my final semester in college I realized that if I wanted to write for a living, I’d better get started actually writing something I could sell. So I picked up a romance novel I’d begun drafting years before. I finished that book in 2000 and shopped it to agents, and while I got a few positive responses, nothing much came of it. I […]

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Taking a Moment to Look Back and Say Thanks

DavidBCoeDavidBCoe

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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Going hybrid

Carrie RyanCarrie Ryan

Over a year ago, John Hartness expressed dismay that I wasn’t self-publishing the short stories I had the rights back on and politely insisted that I do so ASAP. I believe his exact words were something along the lines of how those stories were making nothing just sitting on my hard drive but could be making me money if I put them out there for sale. Unfortunately, it took me more than a year to do so, but finally last month I self-published, The Dead and Empty World, a collection of short stories (I’ve begun publishing the individual stories as well).

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | kobo

I have to tell you, it’s addicting! I hired someone (Jeremy West at Red Creative Design) to do the cover and design the inside. He was going to also do the file conversions, but I started reading up on it and […]

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On Writing: Creative Intersections — Point of View and Dialog

DavidBCoeDavidBCoe

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about point of view and the ways in which it could help us address nearly all the narrative problems we face when writing. In comments to the post, Donald “SagaBlessed” Kirby, mentioned that making our dialog feel natural can sometimes be difficult, which is absolutely true.

More to the point, of all the writing problems that point of view can help us address, perhaps none is better suited to a POV solution than that of contrived dialog. Frankly, I can’t believe I left it out of my previous post.

Here at MW, we’ve discussed dialog quite a bit over the years, and I’m going to do my best not to cover the same ground in this post. This is not a post about how to write dialog, or how to make the spoken words themselves sound natural. (Carrie did this very well […]

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On deep POV

Carrie RyanCarrie Ryan

I recently had dinner with several writers who were attending a week long writing workshop, and the conversation turned to what each of them felt they needed to work on. One of the writers brought up that she was struggling with “deep POV” and several of the other writers mentioned struggling with that as well. A few mentioned having felt like they’d “gotten it” only to have crit partners tell them they hadn’t gone far enough.

So they asked me: how do you deepen POV? I asked them for examples of what they meant by deep POV, and they mentioned Cut by Patricia McCormick and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Which are both intensely emotional, issue-centric, contemporary stories with very deep and personal POVs. However, the writer asking me about POV was working on a middle grade action adventure book, which means it will almost definitionally have a very different […]

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