By Gail Z. Martin
I stopped following new shows on TV back in grad school because my crazy schedule meant I could never keep up with the latest episodes (yes, that was before DVR and Netflix). I spent the 90s watching a lot of TV but it was PBS Kids and Magic School Bus, with a few exceptions like Babylon 5 and a little bit of ST:NG (I missed Firefly the first time around).
So it’s only been relatively recently that I’ve gone back to catching up on shows on Netflix and video, and following some that are still running. (For a while, I was afraid to get hooked on a show still in production because as soon as I fell for it, it got cancelled. Lookin’ at you, Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton!)
I can’t completely take off my author hat as I watch shows. I’m always […]
Continue reading What I Learned About Writing From Watching TV
I’ve been doing some reviewing of books off Netgalley. This has allowed me to expand my reading into areas I might not have explored and to authors I might not have known about. I’ve found some gems. But this week, I started reading a romantic suspense and though it was written well enough, I knew in about twenty pages how the book would play out. I skipped to the end and discovered I was right. Now with some books, this predictability isn’t a problem. The journey and the characters will carry me through. This book? Not so much. I didn’t engage with the characters in that twenty pages and I wasn’t interested in knowing more. So that’s a did not finish book.
Predictability as a writer is necessary. There are things a character will not do and if you break out of those limits, then the unpredictability is bad. Readers […]
Continue reading Predictability
I’ve just started teaching an online course with the Odyssey writing program, and it should surprise no one here that the course is on “Point of View: The Intersection of Character and Plot.” As most of you know, point of view is kind of an obsession for me. I think it lies at the heart of all storytelling. You can do a Magical Words search of “Coe, point of view,” and you’ll get enough hits to keep you reading for hours . . .
In talking about point of view, I also can’t help but talk about character and the process I use to develop the characters I use, primary and secondary, in my own work.
One of the things I like to do when coming up with a character’s history and/or life circumstances, is give that person a secret of some sort. Any secret at all will do. It […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: The Power of Secrets
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
“Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how-to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”
“I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I […]
Continue reading Read Like a Writer
Hey there, writers.
I have a quest for you, if you choose to take it.
Post 100 (or fewer) words of your WIP (work in progress) in the comments below, and I will offer you editorial advice on it!
The advice I offer will be heavily grammatical and mechanical, but I will also give advice on word choice, pacing, character, clarity, etc. as appropriate.
Also, feel free to comment on your fellow writers’ work.
Now, show me what you’ve got!
Many of you are preparing for DragonCon, a lovely place where you are bound to catch all kinds of ideas for new stories and new character developments. Then, in a few weeks or months, you may have a first draft of a shiny new novel or short story. You’ll do all the things you need to do: shut it away in a drawer, revise it, ask someone to read it, revise it, threaten to throw it in the trash, etc. But, soon, you will be ready for the first editing step.
That step is developmental editing. For many years, I wanted to be a developmental editor for YA fiction. I’ve learned since working as an editor that I much prefer the small details over the big picture. That said, all editing is really fun. Many editors really enjoy the developmental editing stage, though. At that point, your story […]
Continue reading Developmental or Content Editing
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 […]
Continue reading David B. Coe: Creating a Nemesis For Our Protagonist