Whether to outline or whether to just write the story — put another way, to plot or to pants.
This is an ongoing discussion among writers, one that we’ve discussed here in the past. It’s actually more relevant for me right now than you might know. I’m well into a novel — I’ve written more than 100,000 words on it already — that I did NOT outline. And now I find myself struggling with the plotting as the book approaches its climax.
So, I must be about to give you a sermon on the virtues of plotting and the evils of pantsing, right?
Well, not entirely. The truth is, while I’m scuffling a bit right now, writing the novel has been fun. Because I haven’t been working from an outline, the discovery of each new plot point has come as something of an epiphany. I’ve been experiencing the story […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Finding Balance Between Plotting and Pantsing
This will be my last post on Magical Words for a while. My two months here for the promotion of Dead Man’s Reach and His Father’s Eyes is over, and my larger promotional campaign, my Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour, is winding down. I think all this work has paid off; I hope it has. I’d like to see some nice sales numbers for these two books I love so much.
My focus now is on my next project, which is only just beginning to take shape. I have a magic system — one I really, really like — and I have a couple of characters in mind. But I don’t yet have a plot, or a central conflict. And that’s starting to bother me.
Where do ideas come from? Can they be forced? These questions have been rattling around in my head for some time now, as I struggle to figure […]
Continue reading David B. Coe: Ideas and the Creative Act of Faith
Yep, it’s Thursday! I’m baaaaaack!
And yes — Dark Heir is out and doing well.
If our main characters are to blossom, then they have to have a function and the weapons to accomplish the goal you, the writer, sets for them. Function: Jane is necessary to stem the vamp war with the European Vampires, a war she knows nothing of when the series starts. Weapons: She has the desire, developing skill sets and the family she is building to fight evil. When she realizes that her friends and godchildren are potentially threatened, she also has the desire to fight.
So if look at characterization from the standpoint of strengths and weaknesses, we can easily take a character—any character—and show them developing by simply letting the plot points challenge the character’s weaknesses.
Last week we looked at Jane Yellowrock’s traits, so this week let’s look at them again, […]
Continue reading Character Development – Show Me – Jane and Beast — PART TWO
Hey Everyone! Long Time No POST!
Back in (gasp) January 2009, I wrote about character development and how I created and developed Thorn St. Croix for the Rogue Mage series. (That was about the novels BloodRing, Seraphs, and Host ) But I can’t find where I ever did a post on how I created Jane and Beast in the Jane Yellowrock series. New book, DARK HEIR, coming out April 7th, By the way.
If you’ve ever heard me on a panel or teaching a seminar on character and character development, you’ve heard me say (probably ad nauseam) Your character has one great strength and one great weakness. The weakness makes the conflict worse, the strength and developing strengths saves the character and resolves the plot’s conflict. This is called the marriage of character development and conflict.
There are specific, identifiable parts to strength and weakness Characterization…. These are called […]
Continue reading Character Development – Show Me – Jane and Beast
This is my last entry for this round of guest posts. I have enjoyed being back here at MW for December and January, and I look forward to returning later this year, when I have two more releases (Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth Thieftaker, in July, and His Father’s Eyes, the second book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, in August).
I have wondered what to write for this last post. Usually we ask our guest writers to give us a post about “the writing life.” But it occurs to me that this is not an easy topic. Describing the writing life is kind of like describing marriage or parenting. It’s a different experience for each of us. Sure there are certain elements of the writing process that all of us share — the frustrations of a stalled narrative, the magic of those days when the words just flow, […]
Continue reading David B. Coe: The Writing Life and What it Means to Me
Today is the official release day for Spell Blind, the first book in my Case Files of Justis Fearsson. I’ve already blogged about the book in some detail, and so I think that at this point a description of it would probably be superfluous. Instead, I’d like to use this post to revisit the idea of defining success.
Spell Blind will not be debuting on any bestseller lists. It’s possible that the book will do well enough in these first few weeks to creep onto a list or two (and if you would care to help in that regard by purchasing a copy for yourself and perhaps sending one to a friend, I would be most grateful), but even that is a long shot. The book will receive some good reviews, I’m sure. It already has gotten a few. But if I define the success of this book in terms […]
Continue reading David B. Coe: Release Day and Defining Success
Another year, another New Year’s post. That’s not meant to sound like a complaint; I actually love to write them. I use the New Year’s holiday as an opportunity to take stock and assess my accomplishments for the year that’s ending, and also to wipe the slate clean and “start from scratch” on a new year.
This New Year’s in particular feels momentous for me in a professional sense. I have just completed the most productive writing year of my life. I wrote three complete novels in 2014, as well as two new short stories and more blog posts than I care to count. I also edited two books and proofed two others. I recently totalled it up, and I’m pretty certain that I wrote about 400,000 words this year. I had a new Thieftaker book come out (A Plunder of Souls), as well as three original short stories.
Continue reading David B. Coe: Taking Stock and Taking Risks