Taking a Moment to Look Back and Say Thanks

Nearly six years ago, on January 24, 2008, Misty posted the very first essay to the Magical Words blogsite. It was called “Where’d Everybody Go?” and it was a response to a show she had seen the night before on the History Channel about what Earth might be like if all human life vanished from the planet. The following day, I put up my first post — “Doing as I Say” — which was about writing short fiction to help flesh out elements of worldbuilding or character development for larger projects.

Faith’s first post followed mine, and Catie’s first came after Faith’s. By the end of that first week of Magical Words, we had all posted something; the site was up and running, and to be honest, we were all pretty excited about it. We didn’t know where the site would take us, but we knew it was something we […]

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A Writer’s Manifesto: The Doubts and Resolve of a Midlister

A couple of weeks ago, Diana mentioned in a post the latest publishing kerfuffle, which pits Barnes & Noble against Simon & Schuster. (Feel free to check out Di’s post, as well as the other posts to which she links. I’ll wait.) The issues in this fight, as with so many other publishing industry conflicts, are murky at best. When corporate behemoths do battle, it’s hard to take sides because neither entity is terribly sympathetic. But you can always count on one thing: Whatever costs the giants incur as a result of their disagreement will be passed on a) to authors, and b) to consumers. Certainly that has been the case this time around.

I bring this up because lately I have been feeling deeply frustrated by this business and my precarious-as-always place in it. I’m a mid-lister. I’m not one of fantasy/science fiction’s big names. I’m too old to […]

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When It Stops Being Revision

Recently, AJ Hartley talked about the Invasive Revision. This is where he realized that the book had problems and he needed to take a chainsaw to it. This post resonated with me, because I just turned in the ‘revision’ for Blood Winter. That’s in quotes because at least 55-60% of the words were new. Brand new chapters, cutting out wholesale chunks, teasing out the bits that don’t fit any more, shoring up new stuff, characterization and action and so on.

But if more than half the book is new, is it a revision?

I’ll let you decide. Here’s the funny part. My editor didn’t ask for this level of revision. He pointed out some flaws. I realized he was right. He suggest some fixes, some of which I incorporated. But I had known for a long time that there was one thing I’d done in terms of point of view […]

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Magical Words at Three Years!

Today marks the three-year anniversary of the very first Magical Words post, and I wanted to use today’s post to mark the occasion. You’ve heard the story of MW’s founding before, so I won’t bore you with that again. Nor do I plan to use this space to plug the amazing new MW book, How to Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion (Bella Rosa Books, $18), which is garnering rave reviews and slowly but surely making its way up the sales charts. Oh, look! Guess I plugged it after all…. I will mention that over the course of three years we’ve gone from being a tiny little site with basically no followers at all, to ranking in the top 2% of all sites in terms of traffic, and being recognized as one of the leading writing sites on the web.

But even that is somewhat beside the point. I’d like […]

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The Long Revision Slog

Last night (or rather this morning) at 3 a.m., I finished the revision of Crimson Wind, the second in my Horngate Witches series. It was a truly difficult revision. A long slog, as my title suggests. I usually love revisions. I think much of the real writing of a book or story happens in revision. What I mean by that is that in your draft, you try to capture the story as well as possible, but in revision, you look over the whole and you see where you can push at theme, develop character, strengthen plot, escalate tension, tighten prose and dialog, and generally take the book to the next level. Or up several levels.

This time the revision was really hard. It was worth it by far–this is a much much much better book–but it was truly difficult. When I first wrote the book, I had the worst time […]

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To Hang a Cliff or to Not Hang a Cliff

I don’t really like cliffhanger endings. I don’t care if it’s movies, TV or books. Don’t like them. I mean, I don’t want to have to wait for the next installment–usually a good few months if not longer. So given how little I like them, I don’t write them. That is, I didn’t. Now I’m reconsidering.

First, obviously cliffhanger endings take a risk of pissing off your readers. They might get angry and throw your book across the room and vow never to read your work again. On the other hand, as much as I hate cliffhangers, they inevitably make me pick up the next book. It’s the same with TV shows and movies. I have to know what happens next and how the story works out. I may hate the method of getting me to do it, but I will do it all the same.

So that brings me […]

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The End of the End

Hello Everyone! Thanks for letting me play in the sandbox with you. Sorry about the mess . . .

This is my first regular blog here and I’m really excited. I’ve been thinking a lot about my first post. I was thinking that a person’s debut blog should be spectacularly interesting, erudite, funny, wise, sensational . . . Sorry about that too.

Right now, I’m a little insane. Those of you who know me are rolling your eyes and saying, yeah, right, like she isn’t insane most of the time. (They’re actually saying all the time, but I’m trying to put a positive spin on it. Sue me.) Anyhow, I just wrapped up the draft of Crimson Wind, which is my ninth book and sequel to Bitter Night. I’m also digging through the page proofs of my eighth book, The Hollow Crown, which will be ou in June. The deadline […]

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