Joshua Palmatier — Character: Taking Control


SHATTERING THE LEY: Character: Taking Control

Welcome to my second guest post here at Magical Words! Thanks again for having me, guys.

I’d like to focus on characters, now that the main promo push is over. (You did run out and buy SHATTERING THE LEY, right?) As I said in the previous post, when I described the setting for LEY, having a great idea or setting isn’t enough for a story. The world of LEY had been simmering inside my head for quite a while, but it’s necessary to take that cool idea and make it come alive with the intervention of some cool characters. For this world, I knew that one of the main characters would have to be someone who could manipulate the ley lines that powered the city. If that’s the central element that makes my world different, I needed someone who would be working [...]

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Jennifer Estep — Characters, Oh, Characters


Oh, characters. You are the reason that we read books in the first place. We love you, and we love to hate some of you.

Sometimes, folks will ask me which comes first—the character or the story. Like everything else when it comes to writing, it just depends.

In my Mythos Academy young adult series, one of the first thoughts I had was this: what if there was a girl who went to a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Amazons, Spartans, and Valkyries? What if that girl discovered that she was more of a warrior than she ever thought possible? What if she discovered that she was the key to defeating the bad guy? In that case, the character of Gwen Frost and the overall story and setting of Mythos Academy sort of came to me at the same time.

But, since I write in first person, [...]

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Committing Series: Characters

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

I mentioned in my last post that character story arcs are extremely important to me as a writer. I want my characters to change: I want them to start somewhere and end someplace else. It can be a significant change or a subtle one, but I want to put them through those paces.

But then there are the characters who surprise you. Characters you might have plans for who go totally off the rails–and if you want to know the truth, practically all of the Walker Papers characters went off the rails. I’m going to talk mostly about Gary, Joanne’s 74-year-old cab-driving sidekick, behind the cut, although I can’t talk about where it all ends because it gets Too Spoilery.


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D.B. Jackson: On Character — The Enemy of My Enemy . . .


Happy release day to me,Happy release day to me,Happy release day, dear D.B.!Happy release day, to meeeeee!!!!!

Tenors, you were a little weak on that last part. We’ll need to work on that in rehearsal before we take the performance to Carnegie . . .

So, yeah, today is release day for A Plunder of Souls, book 3 in the Thieftaker Chronicles, and I’m very excited. Also nervous to the point of debilitation. But that’s another story. Suffice it to say that if you have any inclination to buy this book, and/or any of the others in the Thieftaker series, now would be a great time to do so. You won’t miss anything; we’ll wait.

Ah, good, you’re back. Moving on . . .

Any successful series is going to have a number of crucial ingredients. The Thieftaker books are set apart by their blend of Revolutionary Era historical background [...]

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Writer’s Retreats — Our Thoughts, Part Two



Two years ago, I went to my first ConCarolinas and had the great good fortune to meet several of the authors, as well as several fans and MW participants. One group of us in particular really hit it off and agreed to meet up again the next year. At the end of *that* con, as Melanie described, our final gathering resulted in “let’s have a writers’ retreat next year”. Like you do.

Imagine my surprise – all of our surprise, I think – as we started trading emails and beginning to discuss plans, and everyone remained enthusiastic. Along the way, a couple of people had to withdraw from the retreat itself for different reasons, but they stayed active and encouraging in the discussions all the same.

And what a real thrill to learn that Faith would be able to join us, both for some much needed post-con [...]

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Alyx Dellamonica: If All Your Characters Jumped Off a Bridge…


In looking at writing articles yesterday, I found a mention of Virginia Woolf having talked about finding ways to infuse contradictions into your characters ( and it occurred to me that this is an area where most of us, wherever we are on our writing journey, could practice more.

In real life, the contradictions within people we know can be both fascinating and a source of difficulty. People say they want one thing and then do something that ensures they won’t get it. It happens all the time. When it’s our loved ones, it can be mind-boggling, saddening, and even infuriating.

How do we manage to hold within ourselves so many conflicting impulses? If we want X and Y and they’re mutually exclusive, does that mean we don’t feel entitled to one or the other? Why don’t we have sense enough to want whichever of the two is healthier? Are [...]

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Darynda Jones — How I Make My Characters Unfogettable



This’s kind of a trick title, because I’m not really certain how I make my characters unforgettable, I just know from reader feedback and comments that they are. Everyone wants to be Charley Davidson’s BFF, or they want a BFF like Cookie Kowalski. On the flip side, I usually have more than one to-die-for male character in my books just to keep it interesting, and the scrumptious Reyes Farrow fits the bill for most. Of course, I also have the sexy skip tracer Garrett Swopes and the humble and heroic Uncle Bob, not to mention the fan favorites, the bikers Donovan, Eric, and Michael who we will be seeing again in the future.

And as if that weren’t enough, coming in SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE I have a splendid new treat for us girls in the form of a slave demon who escaped from hell and is [...]

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