Two weeks ago, I wrote here about writing short fiction and how the challenges it presents differ from the challenges of writing novels. I want to expand on that a bit, and will use as my jumping off point a comment on that first post from regular site contributor Megan B. In her comment, Megan wrote (in part):
I think it’s worth considering that a short story set in a larger universe (e.g. the Thieftaker world, which you have established already in longer form) is a different beast than a stand-alone short story. It has it’s own advantages and challenges because it uses some people, places or concepts that the reader may or may not be familiar with.
On the one hand I think that Megan is absolutely correct: writing a short in an established world certainly makes the author’s job easier. In part this is just a matter [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Short Fiction and Worldbuilding
I sold my first novel in 1994 — it took three years for that first book to find its way to print, but that’s a topic for a different post. The sale itself came in ‘94. My first short fiction sale came seven years later, and in the intervening years I met many aspiring writers who had sold short stories but were still waiting for that first novel sale. They envied me my contracts with Tor. Some of them probably resented me just a little.
I was grateful for the novel sale — even from the small advance on that first book, and even with my agent at the time taking his 15% of that tiny advance, I still made way, way more on my one novel than some of those folks did on four, or five, or even six short story sales. But the truth is that as much [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Why I Love Writing Short Fiction
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 [...]
Continue reading Creative Intersections: Pacing and Plotting
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, [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Little Things that Yield Big Results
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 [...]
Continue reading Holiday Post: My List of the Best Writing Tips
Today, I continue my series of Creative Intersection posts with a discussion of plot and worldbuilding (You can find the first Creative Intersections post here, and the second one here). Many of you asked for posts that would tie plot to pretty much anything, and as I begin work on the third Thieftaker book, City of Shades, I am still thinking a lot about worldbuilding and research, so this seemed a natural combination. Sort of.
Sometimes, the intersections I discuss in these posts will be fairly obvious. The last one I did — plot and character — is a good example of this. Tying together story arc and character arc is a fairly intuitive thing to do. As our narratives develop, so do our characters, and since so much of our plotting revolves around our characters’ emotional journeys, the relationship just makes sense.
As it turns out, this week’s [...]
Continue reading Creative Intersections: Worldbuilding and Plot
James R. Tuck
Hey hey everybody, nice to see you, glad you could come out. Drinks are in the back,be sure to tip your waitress, she works hard for the money.
I’m James R. Tuck, author of the Deacon Chalk series from Kensington, and I’m the new guy.
I’ve been here before. Faith has been ever so kind to me and allowed me to guest post here when my series launched. I’ve lurked the comments and the posts also because this place rocks. But now, NOW, they’ve given me a key and let me hang my hat.
Muwah ha ha.
Today I’m going to talk to you about story ideas. Not where you get them, if you’re a writer then you have ideas falling out of your pockets when you sit down, but where you get good ideas. You know the ideas, the ones that make you smack yourself for not thinking of [...]
Continue reading THE TWIST (new spins on old stories)