Christina Henry — Talking to Characters

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I wish I had some really interesting, profound statement to make about the process of creating characters in fiction. I’ve read lots of well-written and well-considered pieces about finding out who your characters are and their motivations and how all those things can make your story better and more interesting.

I’d genuinely like to write one of those pieces for you. I’d like to tell you that I did this writing exercise or that I carefully craft each character and have background histories for all them even if all of that information doesn’t make it into the story.

Unfortunately, my writing process might kindly be termed “intuitive” and less kindly be called “half-assed”.

Take Madeline Black. The heroine of my BLACK WINGS series just appeared in my head one day. Well, I probably shouldn’t say “appeared”. That implies that I saw her, and I didn’t see her. I heard [...]

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Darynda Jones — My I Hear Fictional People

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My Characters and Me

On more occasions than I can count, my characters have this uncanny ability to make me want things or feel a certain way. This is a quick survey to see which characters influence me most in my day-to-day goings on.

Who makes you stay up at night?

*Ahem.* Yes, that would be Reyes Farrow, for obvious reasons I shan’t go into here.

Who makes you want to make a fresh pot of coffee?

Oh, man, every time I start writing Charley now, the first thing I think is COFFEE! If I don’t have a cup of coffee right there next to me, I feel naked. Well, sometimes I am, but not usually.

Who makes you want to watch TV?

Aunt Lil, actually. I love her and I’d love to hang and watch the tube with her. She has some great one-liners.

Who makes you [...]

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Sentence Structure — the Musical Soundtrack to our Writing

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

We talked a bit about sentence structure at one of the Cons this year, discussing how important it is to know the various ways to string words together. Sentence structure is one of the most important tools in the writer’s tool box. In fact, sentence structure is the background music to the movie of our book. It sets pace, rhythm, and voice. It also contributes to the character and narrative voice. It can’t be over emphasized. But it is almost always under emphasized.

Let me illustrate.

The info I (the writer) want to convey to the audience (the readers) in the opening of a short story is:

Jane Yellowrock has a Harley named Bitsa. Jane is riding Bitsa to a meeting withLeo Pellissier (her boss, a vampire, who bit her once). Jane is in a hurry, driving through NOLA past Jackson Square. It is raining and humid and the city [...]

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This thing called a writing life

Diana Pharaoh FrancisDiana Pharaoh Francis

I’m actually not going to talk about the writing life. I’m going to talk about life instead. Writing is a job. Writing is a tremendously fun job, but a job nonetheless. Writers always write. We always observe, always collect bits of cool ideas, we always think about our characters, our plots, our plans for torture . . . .

This is not good. This, in fact, is bad.

Writers have to get away from the writing. We need vacations; we need time to relax, to not be working. But writing is so wonderful. so amazing, so awful, so terrifying, so stressful, and horrifying, that we can’t ever leave it. When we try, it follows us. It traps us in the shower and on the toilet. It hunts us in traffic and at the grocery store. Go get on a rollercoaster? Just try riding it without writing wrapped around your neck, [...]

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Joshua Palmatier — My Crazy Writer’s Life

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SHATTERING THE LEY

This is my last guest post here at Magical Words for my new novel SHATTERING THE LEY (in stores now). Again, thanks for having me. It’s been great fun posting here and I hope the readers have had a blast as well.

In this last post, I figured I’d talk about my crazy writer’s life, because it is indeed crazy. You see, I have a day job, because the writing doesn’t yet pay the bills on a regular basis. So the day job teaching mathematics at SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York is a necessity. It’s a great job and I really do enjoy teaching (yes, even math), and I’ve recently received tenure, so it’s now a secure job, which is getting harder and harder to find. But like any job, it does suck up a lot of time where I could be writing instead.

But that [...]

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Jennifer Estep — Plotting While Wearing Pants

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Oh, plotting. You and I aren’t the best of friends. More like casual acquaintances, if that.

When many folks talk about writing, they often talk about two kinds of writers—plotters and pansters. Now, plotters are just what the name implies. These are the folks who plot out their books, which can include everything from doing a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the book to detailed character outlines to creating storyboards of the various scenes/chapters.

And then there are pansters, or people who don’t do a lot of plotting. I am one of those folks.

Usually, when I’m thinking about an idea for a book, I’ll think about my heroine first—her personality, her strengths and weaknesses, her magic and how she can use it to defeat the bad guys. Then, I’ll think about the three big turning points of the story:

1) The first chapter that opens the book. I often think of [...]

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Joshua Palmatier — Plot: Losing Control

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SHATTERING THE LEY: Plot: Losing Control

Welcome to my third guest post about my new novel, SHATTERING THE LEY (in stores now)! Again, thanks to Magical Words for inviting me.

As you may have read in my previous post about character, I’m an organic writer, sometimes also called a pantser. What this means is that I don’t have much of a plan when I sit down to write my novels. Usually I have a few “guideposts”—basically a couple of plot elements that I think are going to happen (usually something about halfway through and something at the end). But when I sit down to write, I let the characters take control. Most of the time, the characters end up in situations close to those initial guideposts. But sometimes . . . not so much.

That “not so much” happened with SHATTERING THE LEY. Almost as soon as I sat down [...]

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