David B. Coe: The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life

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It has already been a busy summer, and I have a long way to go before I rest. Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth Thieftaker novel, came out a little over a week ago, and five days from today, His Father’s Eyes, the second volume in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, will be released by Baen Books. Since June first, I have also had (or will have) three short stories published: “Black and White,” my contribution to the Temporally Out of Order anthology, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, should be out by the end of next month; “New Moon Wolf,” a Fearsson short story, was published at the Baen website on July 15; and in June, Faith and I put out “Water Witch,” our Thieftaker-Jane Yellowrock crossover novelette.

Busy is good in the writing world, so I guess things are going well. I have a full travel […]

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David B. Coe: Release Day for DEAD MAN’S REACH!

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Today is release day for Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth and final (for now) novel of the Thieftaker Chronicles. I’m incredibly excited about this book for several reasons, not the least of which being that it represents, I believe, some of the finest work I’ve ever done. I hope you enjoy reading it every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it.

All of the Thieftaker novels demanded that I interweave fictional story elements with actual historical events. That has been one of the great challenges of writing these books, and one of the great pleasures as well. And I think that most fans of the series would agree that the interplay of fiction with history is part of what has drawn them to the Ethan Kaille stories.

In no book has that blending of history and make believe been more demanding, more complex, and more intricate, than in Dead […]

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David B. Coe: Another Post About Openings

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We write about openings a lot here at Magical Words, and with good reason. A good opening for a story or novel establishes voice, tone, and conflict, and will ground your reader in your setting, your narrative, and your various character arcs. Early in our careers, when we submit work to editors and agents for consideration, we rarely get more than a page or so to convince them that our stories are worth publishing or representing. A lot rides on those first few paragraphs. Later, when we’re established, we still rely on those openings to carry a disproportionate share of the burden in winning over readers. Potential buyers will often read the opening page to determine whether they’re interested in purchasing a novel. I’ve had readers do this right in front of me at signings and conventions. Sometimes they read a few graphs, put the book back on the shelf […]

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Character Development – Show Me – Jane and Beast

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Hey Everyone! Long Time No POST!

Back in (gasp) January 2009, I wrote about character development and how I created and developed Thorn St. Croix for the Rogue Mage series. (That was about the novels BloodRing, Seraphs, and Host ) But I can’t find where I ever did a post on how I created Jane and Beast in the Jane Yellowrock series. New book, DARK HEIR, coming out April 7th, By the way.

If you’ve ever heard me on a panel or teaching a seminar on character and character development, you’ve heard me say (probably ad nauseam) Your character has one great strength and one great weakness. The weakness makes the conflict worse, the strength and developing strengths saves the character and resolves the plot’s conflict. This is called the marriage of character development and conflict.

 

There are specific, identifiable parts to strength and weakness Characterization…. These are called […]

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David B. Coe: Point of View, Voice, and the Choices We Make

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I’m sure that some of you saw the title of this post and groaned. I have written about point of view on this site quite a bit. I talk about point of view on panels and in writing workshops all the time. I have said again and again that, to my mind, point of view is the single most important narrative tool we have at our disposal, because it brings together character development AND plot AND setting. How does it do this? By coloring all that our readers experience with the emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and knowledge of our point of view characters. You’ve heard all of this before, and many of you are probably sick to death of it. Sorry. But it really is important . . .

I’m not going to give you the whole “Here’s why I care so much about point of view” thing today. I’m sure […]

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Faith Hunter — New Book and Wounded Warriors

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Last Tuesday was release day for BROKEN SOUL. I am supposed to be wildly promoting the book, but other things are getting the attention. So before I go on — Have you bought your copy yet?

Today I finished delivering and crating the last 3K books collected for the Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed. To what purpose, you may ask?

My friend and fellow author Sarah Spieth, who has spent considerable time in and out of hospitals in past months, realized how little there is for patients to take their minds off of where they are, and what they’re suffering from. Rather than just think about it, she decided to do something about it, and to make that “something” dedicated to the Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed near where she lives.

To her author friends, she put out a call for books for the Wounded Warriors to read to […]

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D.B. Jackson: The Writing Life, part II — Living With Success and Failure

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As I’ve mentioned before — and as Faith and others have mentioned as well — the release of a new book can be incredibly stressful. Of course there is satisfaction in seeing the finished product in print (or ebook format). Writing a book is a big deal. That completed volume represents a tremendous amount of work; it required a huge investment of time, and of emotional and intellectual energy. It represents as well, an admirable accomplishment, and there is nothing wrong with taking pride in that. The problem is, releases are fraught with additional significance. Right or wrong, the success of a new book is judged on a collection of external factors that have little or nothing to do with the work itself, and everything to do with how others receive that work.

Every writer, aspiring or established, knows what I’m talking about. How many of you have finished a […]

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