In my last post I talked about how it’s character that makes each story unique, not plot, and ran over some of the history of human endeavor trying to codify story-forms and my personal creed of creating characters. However, characters don’t exist in a vacuum. They require a plot in which to exist, space in which to gain momentum and careen and bounce off the walls and other people.
The reality of publishing is that most modern commercial fiction – read as genre fiction – is plot driven. How do you write compelling plots?
A plot is only effective as its cast or dramatis personae, the protagonist(s), antagonist(s), and supporting characters. If a main character is flat or unrealized, then the plot will be sluggish. If I’m writing a horror novel and my audience has no engagement with my characters, then I can place the characters in [...]
Continue reading John Hornor Jacobs: A Few Thoughts on Plotting
Stephen Leigh, who also writes under the name S.L. Farrell, is a Cincinnati author who has published twenty-seven novels and many short stories, including several for the WILD CARDS series, edited by George RR Martin. [Administrator's note: He is also one of David's most very favorite people, and the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet.] His newest novel is IMMORTAL MUSE (by Stephen Leigh), DAW Books, March 2014. PW Weekly gave it a starred review, saying “Leigh seamlessly inserts his two immortals into history, playing with actual people and events to deliver beautifully-rendered glimpses of different eras. Leigh strikes the perfect balance between past and present, real and imagined.” Stephen’s web site is www.farrellworlds.com.
For the first time this week, I had a chance to hold my latest novel, IMMORTAL MUSE, in my hand. It’s a fine feeling — one that I suspect every writer relishes, no [...]
Continue reading Stephen Leigh on Research: The Story Behind IMMORTAL MUSE
Today we present the delightful New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa Ballantine! Pip is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series, and the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences with her husband, Tee Morris. Dawn’s Early Light is the newest book coming March 25th. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats. Welcome, Pip!
One of the most common compliments I get about my books is that people love the characters I create, and I honestly cannot think of a nicer comment to receive. Every time I get it I smile very broadly.
Ever since I was a young [...]
Continue reading Philippa Ballantine: Character as a Portal
Inspired by a lifelong love of nature, endless curiosity, and a belief in wonderful things, Amy Sterling Casil is a 2002 Nebula Award nominee and recipient of other awards and recognition for her short science fiction and fantasy, which has appeared in publications ranging from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction to Zoetrope. She is the author of 26 nonfiction books, over a hundred short stories, primarily science fiction and fantasy, two fiction and poetry collections, and three novels. She lives in Aliso Viejo, California with her daughter Meredith and a Jack Russell Terrier named Gambit. Amy is the founder of Pacific Human Capital, a founding member and treasurer of Book View Café author cooperative and former treasurer of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and teaches writing and composition at Saddleback College, after receiving her MFA from Chapman University in 1999. She is currently engaged in [...]
Continue reading Amy Sterling Casil on Character: Who is in the Story and Why?
John Hornor Jacobs’ first novel, Southern Gods, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, This Dark Earth, was published in J2012 by Simon & Schuster. His young adult series, The Incarcerado Trilogy comprised of The Twelve Fingered Boy, The Shibboleth, and The Conformity, is published by Lerner Books. His first fantasy series, The Incorruptibles will be published in Spring 2014 by Gollancz in the UK. John is the co-founder of Needle: A Magazine of Noir and was the active creative director until fall 2012. He has a quartet of horror stories, Fierce As The Grave, available through Amazon.com on the Kindle platform. He’s represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. You can learn more about John Hornor Jacobs on his website, johnhornorjacobs.com, or follow his lively conversation on Twitter @johnhornor and Facebook www.facebook.com/John.Hornor
So, you’ve [...]
Continue reading John Hornor Jacobs on Character
We hope you’ve been enjoying all the marvelous guests we’ve brought you so far in 2014. Trust me, we have even more writers and their books to introduce to you as the months move along, so you’re not allowed to be mad at us when your to-be-read stack climbs higher than your bedside table. *laughs*
Today everyone’s taking a break, so I thought I’d drop over to mention that Faith Hunter, David B Coe and I (Misty Massey) are very excited about the upcoming Magical Words Writing Workshop, which is taking place during Congregate in July. It’s an intensive two-day seminar offering detailed, specific feedback on the first 2500 words of your manuscript from all three of us. Not only that, but members of the class will be able to offer feedback to each other as well. And since we’re teamed with Congregate 2014, you have the [...]
Continue reading Magical Words Writing Workshop
Today, I have a new short story out at Tor.com, under the D.B. Jackson pseudonym. The story is called “The Price of Doing Business.” It’s set in the Thieftaker world and it tells the story of Ethan Kaille’s first encounter with Sephira Pryce, who later becomes his rival and nemesis. The artwork is by the marvelous Chris McGrath, who also has done the jacket art for the Thieftaker books. [Update, 2/19/2014, 10:00 CST: The story is now live on the Tor.com site and can be found here. And here's the updated artwork as well; I wasn't sure which image they would use. I actually like this second one better.]
Last week we talked about plotting here at MW. This week, starting with Di’s post on Monday, and continuing with Chloe Neill’s post yesterday, we are talking about character. And so the release of this short story comes at a perfect [...]
Continue reading About Character, and a New Thieftaker Short Story