How many of you remember the movie Prizzi’s Honor? It came out in the mid-1980s and starred Jack Nicholson as a mob hitman who allows his personal life to get in the way of his professional responsibilities. Throughout the movie, his character, Charley, is reminded by higher-ups in the syndicate that he shouldn’t take personally all the things they’re telling him to do, even though one of his assigned tasks is to murder his new bride. “It’s business, Charley,” they tell him. “It’s just business.”
Yes, there is a point to this.
My post last week, in which I discussed the sale of a new series to Baen books, prompted an interesting question from long-time Magical Words reader and commenter, Mark Wise. Mark, who has followed my career for quite some time and knows that every book I’ve published to this point has been with Tor, wrote, “I find [...]
Continue reading “It’s Just Business”: Loyalty Versus Pragmatism in the Publishing World
Some of you may have seen this news on Facebook, but I wanted to share it here, as well: I have recently signed a three-book contract with Baen Books for a contemporary urban fantasy. The series is called the Weremyste Cycle, and the first book, Spell Blind, will be coming out in about a year. Obviously this is big news, and I’m very excited. But the sale of this series is important to me in a number of ways and lends itself to what I hope will be an interesting post.
I first mentioned Spell Blind (or at least the book that eventually became Spell Blind) on Magical Words back in June 2008, in a post titled “The Book I Love and Can’t Sell.” At that time, the manuscript had a different title, a different magic system, a different plot, and a different conceptual core. Which I suppose begs the [...]
Continue reading On Publishing and Writing: A Sale, and a Study in Perseverence
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about point of view and the ways in which it could help us address nearly all the narrative problems we face when writing. In comments to the post, Donald “SagaBlessed” Kirby, mentioned that making our dialog feel natural can sometimes be difficult, which is absolutely true.
More to the point, of all the writing problems that point of view can help us address, perhaps none is better suited to a POV solution than that of contrived dialog. Frankly, I can’t believe I left it out of my previous post.
Here at MW, we’ve discussed dialog quite a bit over the years, and I’m going to do my best not to cover the same ground in this post. This is not a post about how to write dialog, or how to make the spoken words themselves sound natural. (Carrie did this very well [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Creative Intersections — Point of View and Dialog
It’s Halloween week, and as this is the season for all things spooky, I thought it might be fun to look at things that scare me. I’m not talking about big hairy spiders (like the Huntsman Spider in Australia that was in the bathroom one night when I got up to pee — it was sitting on top of the door and when I shut the door, it fell off and landed on my hand. I jumped up and back — simultaneously — about six feet, screamed like a little girl, and never, ever used the toilet again) or axe murderers (I have no colorful stories about them, though I think that if one fell on my hand as I closed a bathroom door, I’d freak out a little) or Dick Cheney. No, I’m talking about writer stuff that scares me professionally. Maybe some of these fears will sound familiar [...]
Continue reading A Halloween Post: What Scares This Writer
I have written about point of view many times before. A couple of years ago I did a whole series of posts on it, and one of my “Creative Intersections” posts earlier this year dealt with POV as it related to worldbuilding.
But here I am again writing about POV, and there is a reason for this. During the course of the summer, I attended several conventions, and I also taught a writers’ workshop up in Calgary. And it seemed that at every turn I would bring one writing issue or another back to POV. It happened so often, that I began to rethink one of my own foundational beliefs about writing. I have said for years that I believe character to be the single most important element of successful storytelling. I realize now that this is not quite true. To my mind, the most important element of storytelling is [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Solving Writing Problems with Point of View
In response to Faith’s wonderful post from last week, and her promise of more PR posts to come, I thought I would put in my $.02 by outlining what I did in setting up the Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry Blog Tours during the summers of 2012 and 2013. This is one of those PR activities that I never even dreamed of doing when I first broke into the business, because there were no such things as blogs. Today I can say without exaggeration that my blog tours have been the single most important publicity tool I have had in gaining readership for the Thieftaker books. Whether you’re an aspiring writer trying to figure out how to pump up the volume for your very first release, or an established professional looking to kick off a new project, I cannot recommend this strategy enough.
Let’s start with the obvious question: What [...]
Continue reading On Publishing and Publicity: Setting Up a Blog Tour
This week I will begin writing Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth book in the Thieftaker Chronicles. For those of you who are fans of the series, don’t panic. Book three, A Plunder of Souls, is not yet out and won’t be for close to a year. Authors are almost always at least a full book ahead of the publication schedule. On the other hand, if you haven’t yet read book two, Thieves’ Quarry, all I can say is what the hell are you waiting for…?
I spent part of last week outlining the book, and thought that I would return to the subject of outlines and pantsing, since it is something that still comes up quite a bit on this site and also in panels. I know that we talk about there being no single right way to do any of this, and I still believe that. But in this [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Outlining Vs. Pantsing Revisited