Your Critique of My Work Revisited

Early in February of this year, I posted to the MW site the opening paragraphs from my WIP, City of Shades, which will be the third Thieftaker book. (It should be out in the summer of 2014; Thieves’ Quarry, the second book in the sequence, will be out on July 2 of this year, as will the paperback edition of Thieftaker. Just sayin’.)

Today, I want to revisit that passage and show you the revised version. First, here is the original:

Ethan Kaille knew that he had been followed. Even as he pursued Peter Salter, who had stolen a pair of ivory-handled dueling pistols from a wealthy attorney in the South End, he himself was pursued. Like a fox running before hounds, he could almost feel Sephira Pryce’s toughs bearing down on him, snarling like curs, determined to take what he had claimed for himself.

Salter had led him […]

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Creative Intersections: Pacing and Plotting

This week I return to my series of posts on Creative intersections. Thus far, I have discussed point of view and worldbuilding, plot and character development, and worldbuilding and plot. Today, I am going to address plotting once again, and combine it with a discussion of pacing.

In my opinion, pacing is one of the most difficult elements of storytelling to master. We all have read books that seem to drag at certain times or that become so frenetic that they are almost impossible to read. And yet, I would never suggest that you try to make your pace consistent throughout an entire novel; to my mind, novels, like great pieces of music, have mixed dynamics. There are slower passages and fast ones, periods where everything is loud and exciting, and periods of calm, during which your readers have a chance to catch their collective breath. The key is, how […]

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On Writing: Little Things that Yield Big Results

WARNING: This post contains math.

We’re going to file the inspiration for this post under the heading, David has too much time on his hands . . .

The other day I was brushing my teeth. This is not an unusual occurrence. I brush my teeth everyday. But while I was brushing my teeth, I was also thinking, and that is somewhat rare. My wife and I have one of those Sonicare toothbrushes that work for a set amount of time — 2 minutes — and then shut off. (Bear with me: this really is going somewhere.) So, it occurred to me that I brush my teeth for almost exactly four minutes every day, which doesn’t seem like a lot at first. But if I brush my teeth for 4 minutes a day, that’s 28 minutes per week and 1,456 minutes per year. Or just slightly over 24 hours. So, […]

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Holiday Post: My List of the Best Writing Tips

I have never done NaNoWriMo. I know that there is an ongoing debate about its efficacy for aspiring writers, but I haven’t felt that I could stake out a position one way or another.

Now, though, I am now in the midst of my own NaNo experiment. I started City of Shades (Thieftaker Chronicles, book III, by D.B. Jackson) later than I had intended, which means that I was behind almost from the start. So, I decided that I needed to crank out the pages in February. If I could write 45,000 words this month, I would be back on track. If I could get 50,000 words, I would be ahead of schedule heading into March, which would be good I’ll be taking a week off to travel with my family and celebrate my big milestone birthday. That’s right: I’m about to turn 21 . . .

Anyway, I […]

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Turnabout is Fair Play: Your Turn to Critique MY Work

I’m taking a break this week from the Creative Intersections posts that I’ve been working on. It is just a break — I’m enjoying writing them, and the response to them has been positive, so I fully intend to continue the series on and off throughout the year. But there are other things I would like to do with my time here at MW, and today I introduce another one of them.

We — my fellow writers and I — often post about some aspect of writing or another, and then ask you, our readers, to share something of yours with the rest of us. We then offer a quick critique of what you’ve done that (we hope) will prove helpful as you move forward with your WIP. Well, today I would like to post the opening graphs of my current WIP along with a brief description of what I […]

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Creative Intersections: Plot and Character Development

As of December 27, Thieftaker, the first book in my Thieftaker Chronicles, is available as an audio book from The reading was done by Jonathan Davis, who happens to be a friend of A.J.’s who also did the voicings for A.J.’s Will books. If you are one of those people who enjoys listening to audio books as much as you do reading regular books, I hope you’ll check it out.

I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but I have enjoyed those I’ve heard. I also find, though, that listening to someone read a book tends to highlight for me all the flaws in the writing. This is one of the reasons why I read my own work aloud when I am revising. But it’s a little different when it’s my own book, and it’s too late for me to edit. Yesterday, after a couple of weeks […]

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