Stronger Together

Publishing is a rough business, even when writing is what you love. That’s why it’s so important for authors to reach out to other authors, and to support, encourage, nurture, mentor, boost and make friends with each other. It’s a weird way to make a living, and we’re the only ones who really understand what it’s like to deal with all those voices in our heads that become characters, so we need to stick together.

Making writer friends is good for sanity. We all have rough days, and this is a solitary way to make a living. It helps to be able to talk about the business and the life with other people who get it.

Writer friends are good for business. When we recommend each other, signal boost on social media, refer each other to resources, cover tables at cons for one another and hang out talking shop at […]

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Friday Fundamentals

Hey, Bandwagon, wait on me!

*climbs on the back of the bandwagon and takes a look around*

Hmm. Looks different around here on Fridays.

So, happy new year (as everyone else has wished you this week). It’s the basic thing to do the first week of the new year, right? So, that’s what I am going to be doing here every other Friday this year: talking basics. They’re the building blocks, the things you need to be able to function within a written piece (as a reader or a writer). Thus, we have the development of Friday Fundamentals.

If there’s a topic you’d like me to talk about, please let me know in the comments, and I will be happy to work it in or (if it’s brief), explain in the comments.

Today’s writing fundamental is the writer.

In order to have a story, you have to have a writer. […]

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And Yes, We Still Love Each Other: The Art of Collaborating with Your Wife

When authors collaborate, it’s different from team to team. What is essential in a successful collaboration is to tell a story—the same story—while remaining true to your own style. This tends to be the biggest stumbling block for authors who share a byline. When a book is co-written, there shouldn’t be a jump in styles as that can be jarring and yank a reader out of the story. Then comes the additional challenge of a reader preferring one author’s voice over another. Favoritism can affect the way a reader takes in the story you’re both trying to tell.

So you still think sharing that idea with a friend […]

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When art imitates art.

As many of you know, earlier this year I published a novel based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, co-authored with David Hewson. The story was originally released as an audiobook voiced by Alan Cumming and saw print in May. On Friday, November 2nd, David and I will be participating in an event at UNC Charlotte which will feature a staged reading of portions of the book followed by a conversation about collaboration and adaptation. It’s free and open to the public, so if you are in town, you should come by.

What this means is that I am currently taking portions of what was once a play but became a novel and turning it back into something like a play, only a very different one. I’m not sure of the format of the event itself yet, but a staged reading is a kind of halfway house, a hybrid of narrative and […]

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Why Books are Better than Movies.

Or, to be more accurate, why books are better than the movies which get made from them.

Okay, before we start, let’s not get all defensive. There are lots of great movies out there, and some of them are based on books. Some of those movies might even be better than the book they are based on. Happy?

But I’m thinking of something very specific, and it comes out of the various school visits I’m doing at the moment, because someone always asks when my book (Darwen Akwright, in this case) is going to be made into a movie. This is, the assumption seems to suggest, the ultimate accolade for a book, that the greatest thing that can happen (after getting an agent, a publishing deal, a bestseller ranking etc.) is Hollywood’s golden coronation. The book is dead! Long live the film!

Of course we all know that books don’t […]

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A Year in the Life: Week Eleven

Up this week in the Life Of A Writer: collaborations! book proposals! hyperventilating over e-book releases!

Writing: Collaborations: I have, as I am typing this, just finished the next chapter of a collaborative project called LEGION. This is a fun and exciting one for me, because it’s an idea my writing partner Sarah and I developed well over a decade ago. It was intended for a different medium, but we finally thought of writing it as books, so we’re tackling the first one over the course of the summer.

Collaboration is tricksy business. As many of you probably know, Faith and I wrote “Easy Pickings”, a Walker Papers/Jane Yellowrock crossover story, last year (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, I said, making my obligatory shameless self-promotion moment front and center), which was a pretty terrific collaborative effort in terms of great fun. We edited each other, wrote each other’s characters a little, […]

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On the Art of Collaboration in Writing

Faith is travelling today, on her way home from Marcon! Since she couldn’t be here to post, we’ve invited Garrett Calcaterra to talk to us today about writing in collaboration. Garrett is the author of the award-winning horror book Umbral Visions, and co-author of the fantasy novel The Roads to Baldairn Motte. Garrett teaches writing and enjoys playing music as a member of the band Wheel House. Welcome to Magical Words, Garrett!


Many forms of popular art are created in collaboration—music, movies, television shows, and graphic novels, just to name a few—but writing, for the most part, tends to be created by individuals working in solitude. The notable exceptions to the rule are book projects written by duos of well-established writers, and the occasional movie screenplay. The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and the Dune prequels from Brian […]

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