David B. Coe: The Writing Life and What it Means to Me

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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 […]

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David B. Coe: Release Day and Defining Success

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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 […]

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David B. Coe: Taking Stock and Taking Risks

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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.

And […]

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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 her. […]

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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

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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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