Summertime Blues

Does anybody else get lazy about writing in the summer? My kids are home, and it’s sunny, and there’s so much to do. And to read. And movies to catch up on.

Every year in August, I have this urge to go shopping for office supplies and clothing and shoes. I know this is a holdover from going to school (and given that I have a PhD, I went to school a LONG time, plus I taught for another 15 years, plus now the kids are in school–can we say it’s ingrained? Yes, we can).

But I think summertime vacation is ingrained in me, too. Again, up until three years ago, I taught or went to school, and summer was the time to catch up on everything else. Of course, I also did a lot of writing, but because I lived in the land of the ice and snow, summer […]

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Inciting Event Redux

In the middle of the month, Faith talked about inciting events. She’s dead on and if you’ve forgotten what she said, go read it again. I’ll wait.

At the time of reading that article, I was in the middle of redrafting the second half of my current book. I’d had to rip out about 15K words from the draft and shift gears because I’d taken the wrong road. A common problem of pantsing. I’d reached the point where I needed to plot, not only this novel, but a great deal of the rest of the story.

I ripped back to just around the halfway point and started to work through all the players, the connections, the elements that needed to be dealt with, and generally braiding the story together. You might be asking, what does that have to do with the inciting event at the beginning of a book?

I’d […]

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Predictability

I’ve been doing some reviewing of books off Netgalley. This has allowed me to expand my reading into areas I might not have explored and to authors I might not have known about. I’ve found some gems. But this week, I started reading a romantic suspense and though it was written well enough, I knew in about twenty pages how the book would play out. I skipped to the end and discovered I was right. Now with some books, this predictability isn’t a problem. The journey and the characters will carry me through. This book? Not so much. I didn’t engage with the characters in that twenty pages and I wasn’t interested in knowing more. So that’s a did not finish book.

Predictability as a writer is necessary. There are things a character will not do and if you break out of those limits, then the unpredictability is bad. Readers […]

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Pacing

There’s a lot to be said about developing pacing in a story. Far more than I’ll attempt to deal with today. I just want to talk about a couple of things. So first, what about pacing? Why is it important?

It’s the momentum and progress of your story. You want to keep the excitement going, keep readers wanting to turn pages, draw out tension and ratchet it up, and build a riveting tale. Pacing is the speed at which you reveal things, have action, and move through scenes. Some books are “nonstop thrill rides.” That means that there’s something happening all the time and most of the time it’s scary or unnerving. Then there are stories that are more introspective and slower builds. The things that happen are lower key and not as dramatic or life-threatening, and yet if you care about those characters and what they’re going through, you’re […]

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By the seat of my pants

You’ve heard the discussion before, I’m sure. Is pantsing better or plotting? And I’m here to tell you, I have no idea. I can tell you my experience with both and what I wish for and what I’m doing now.

I used to plot my novels. Don’t get me wrong. I was no John Pitts*. I did not outline a very detailed way at all. It amounted to mostly this happens and then this and then this and so on and so forth. It was easy. Looking back, I think that may be because either I jumped into the story before it was fully formed and did a lot of pantsing on the way, the stories were a lot smaller than the ones I tell now, or, and this one is the most likely, I didn’t have a fully formed sense of the world and characters and so I filled […]

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And So I’m Back From Outer Space

Hello Everyone!!! I’m so excited to be back blogging on Magical Words this year. I’ve missed you. I’ll be posting on Thursdays opposite to the fabulous Misty. There are a few things I want to post about right away. The first thing I *was* going to post about is my first self-pubbed title and what that process has been like, since I’m in the middle of it and have learned a ton of stuff. But then I got sideswiped with this other thought and so that’s where I am today. Next time I’ll start talking about the self-pub project.

As some of you know, I’ve been writing a series called the Diamond City Magic books. It’s an urban fantasy set in an alternate Colorado. I’ve recently turned in the revisions on the third book, Whisper of Shadows, and that means I have to start book four. Now I know what […]

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daydreaming method of writing

In the last two weeks since my last post I have been moving. Packing, cleaning, unpacking, driving many many miles (about 4000) and generally going a bit frantic. The odd thing is that I’ve been managing to squeeze in some writing. A lot of the writing has been the kind where you stare out into space, or down the road over miles and miles. The daydreaming has been for the current WIP is that I really don’t know the plot. I dislike that intensely. I want to know where I’m going. The funny thing is that I have all sorts of subplots and a lot of side characters. I just don’t know what the central plot is. I know what part of the conflict is, but after that, it’s murk.

So I’ve been doing the staring-off-into-space method of writing. In this method, I’ve been thinking through potential scenes, character conflicts, […]

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