Back in the days when I was first trying to attract an agent and eventually get published, it used to bug the tar out of me to hear people in my same situation say, “I started writing because I knew I could write better than everything else I was seeing on the market.” People didn’t just say it to their peers, but I’ve witnessed writers making the claim to potential agents and editors, as if that would somehow not insult the very folks who put all that sub-standard work on bookstore shelves. I mean, really, that’s such an arrogant thing to say, and certainly not true. It implies that every book the would-be-published writer ever picked up was terrible, and so far, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like anything they ever read. Some of us are pickier than others, but eventually we all find an author whose work [...]
Continue reading My Confession
“Good morning, Patch!” Jerry handed the sergeant a cup of steaming coffee. “Two more days, huh?”
“Shut up, Jer,” the old man said, frowning even as he took the cup and blew across the top. “You can’t say things like that. My grandson’s starting college, and he’s depending on my retirement pension to supplement his basketball scholarship.” He glanced around the bustling precinct at the shockingly good-looking detectives gathered in small groups, studying huge whiteboards covered with photographs and diagrams. He took a sip of his coffee, hissing as it hit his lips. “You remember what happened to my son-in-law?”
Jerry shook his head. “He was hit by a car, wasn’t he?”
Patch rolled his eyes. “He was hit by a car two days before he was leaving to take that great job with Interpol. We had that party for him, with the streamers and the cake that said Good [...]
Continue reading Don’t Say That!
As many of you know, release day for BLOOD TRADE was yesterday. Once a book comes out, all preparation and blogging and hope and hard BIC and planning and more BIC in the world is … never enough. A writer just has to wait and see what happens. With the market changing daily, even hourly, it’s hard to say what the result and the final numbers will mean. Will Jane Yellowrock rise in the listing or fall flat on her face? I just don’t know.
When David and Misty and I started MagicalWords.net, it was with a hope and prayer that we’d find a way to draw in fans and writers and make a home for all of us. We had also hoped that we might grow the site, make friends with other writers, and make new fans for our writing. None of us have a lot of time on [...]
Continue reading Snippet Blood Trade
Today we have a special guest, Krista D Ball, who is the author of What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Lover’s Food Guide, a marvelous resource that takes readers on a journey into the depths of epic fantasy’s obsession with rabbit stew and teaches them how to catch the blasted creatures, how to move armies across enemy territories without anyone starving to death, and what a medieval pantry should look like when your heroine is seducing the hero. Welcome to Magical Words, Krista!
Sooner or later, all writers face the dreaded research phase. It might be as something as simple as checking to see what street intersects what avenue in your city, or it might be as complex as the legal system of 12th century England. The reactions to research are just as varied, too. Nevertheless, the research demands your attention.
I’ve personally received many emails over [...]
Continue reading Brains, Beer and Books Writing, Research (and Urine Mushrooms?)
Last week Kalayna posted asking our readers for ideas of what they’d want us to post about, and you all responded with lots of great suggestions. Some of those ideas, though, wouldn’t really be substantial enough for a whole blog post, so Carrie had a great idea herself – we’d have a day on which everyone answers the question, and we post all of our answers at once. We’ll do this every now and then when there’s an open day, so we hope you all enjoy it.
The question for today is What was the last “Don’t ever break this rule” rule that you broke and did it work?
Diana Pharaoh Francis
I originally thought I would write my Horngate books from Max’s (the main female protagonist) point of view and I did try at the beginning to use the first person perspective. But it didn’t work for me. [...]
Continue reading Magical Words Party Talk
I am staring down the barrel of several guns—all shotguns, all loaded, all with buckshot. And I am fine with it. Now please understand that I have panic attacks. Last year this time I was in the same boat and panicking. This year, no panic. I find this odd behavior on my part. It differs from the character building, it differs from past actions, it does not fit the pattern. Not at all. So I am musing on the changes that I see in me. Not ranting, mind you. Just … pondering my way through it.
If I was a character in one of my books, I—the writer—would have to deal with this deviation from the norm. I’d have to find a way for the character changes to make sense or I’d have to do a lot of rewriting and reinsert the panic attacks. Fortunately, I am not a character [...]
Continue reading The Shotgun Barrell of the Writing Life
The ending of a story can sometimes be the most important part. In a fable, it’s where the lesson is communicated. In a romance, it’s where the happily-ever-after happens. We spend a lot of time polishing and refining the beginning, making sure the hook line is sharp and that the introduction of characters is compelling. The ending needs the same amount of care, so that when the reader finishes that last page, she closes the book with a satisfied sigh instead of a grumble. Some writers start their novels with only a vague idea of what the ending will look like. Others know exactly what the end will be, and find themselves trying to pull the story together in order to fit that clear ending. As we’ve said many times around here, there’s no one right way to write your novel, so whichever of these describes you is perfectly okay.
Continue reading Endings