Writing By Numbers

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As far as I know, there aren’t any packages with paper, pens, and numbers you fill in to write a masterpiece, so that’s not what this is about.

It’s the simple fact that I hate numbers. Now, as a former biologist, who specialized in the most math heavy specialty in biology, that may seem odd. However, by the time I was in grad school, computers were just entering the scenes and there were wonderful programs that could do the biostats in seconds. With a matrix of nine characters across (leaf measurements) and five hundred across (number of plants), it made life easy.

I still can’t balance my checkbook. I can’t remember my phone number. And I have a heck of a hard time keeping score when I judge dogs. I let someone else take care of the addition.

Why didn’t anyone tell me the truth about [...]

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About Character, and a New Thieftaker Short Story

DavidBCoeDavidBCoe

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 [...]

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The Plotter Goes Pantsing: The Relationship Between Process and Product

DavidBCoeDavidBCoe

Thanks to Lyn Nichols for today’s title . . .

I hadn’t planned it this way, but this post serves as a nice follow-up to Chloe Neill’s excellent post yesterday.

I have recently started a new book, the second in my Weremyste Cycle, which will be published by Baen under my own name. And though I am now several chapters into the novel — close to 20,000 words — I have not yet completed an outline of the book.

All of you who have been reading my posts here at MW know that I am a dedicated planner, or at least have been in recent years. I have posted several times about the benefits of outlining a novel, of knowing where a story is going so that we can introduce themes, foreshadow plot points, plant the seeds of the twists and turns that will make our narratives capture the imaginations [...]

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Faith Hunter and Rules of Thumb.

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Today I’m talking about plot. Not pantsing or outlining. Not story arcs. And not my muse, who is pouting anyway, because I haven’t had to resort to his tactics lately. For those of you who remember my muse (David B Coe, you may skip the rest of this para) he is a six foot, four inch tall, hirsute, baldheaded man, with a beer belly, and wearing red cowboy boots, a red speedo, and cowboy hat. Oh. And he carries a whip. He isn’t pretty, which is a reminder that writing may be part of the arts, but it’s hard work and it can’t depend on my mood or some dewy-eyed concept of the life of a writer. It’s hard work. Very hard work. I do it whether I am having fun, or it feels romantic, or not. So. Plot.

Since I’m working on a series, my usual formula needs a [...]

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Alethea Kontis — The Year Without A Book

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On January 11th, I had a birthday. (It was wonderful and surreal, thank you!)

Less than a week earlier, my editor at Harcourt made it known to me that Book Three in the Woodcutter Sisters Series–now called Dearest–would be releasing on February 3, 2015. It seems that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has only two publishing “seasons.” They call these seasons “Spring” and “Fall.” So when I was told that Dearest would be releasing in “Fall of 2014,” what HMH actually meant was Winter of 2015.

My deepest apologies to all the fans I’ve misled for over a year.

Sneaky stuff, this is. Very, very sneaky and mind-bending stuff. For me, the toughest thing to wrap my brain around has been the realization that between the discovery of Dearest’s release date and the books actual release, Enchanted will have been distributed to roughly 50,000 people on World Book Night, and I [...]

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Chris Marie Green –on worlds

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Worlds Can Be So Mean

Hi again! I’m glad to be back with another guest post for this month, and I’d love to talk about one of my favorite elements of writing. World Building.

In general, I’m sure you all have read a lot of posts about this topic already, but how about looking at a different aspect of world building? How can you flip a world that’s already familiar—or one that you’ve already started to build—to make it something totally different from anything a reader has ever experienced?

Before I really get started here, I’d like to mention that, oftentimes, world building is perceived as something exclusive to paranormal authors. I, myself, have built worlds for my Vampire Babylon series, my Bloodlands series, and my upcoming Ghost for Hire series. But writers of historical fiction or, yes, even contemporary fiction need to build strong worlds [...]

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BLACK ARTS and Secondary Characters

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Happy New Year, Everyone!

This is my first post of 2014, with the new format, and (gasp, can it be so?) I have a book release today. Yes. Today. I’ve a case of the jitters worthy of a bee keeper who is allergic to bees, because I quit my job at the lab in the hopes that I’ll hit high enough in the lists and sales numbers to actually pay my bills. Yes. You heard right. I am solely and completely a full time writer now, instead of being a full time writer and full time lab rat (for the benefits). Instead of the 80 hour work weeks I have pulled for the last 20 years, I’ll be working only 50 hours each week. I will be resting. Paddling white water. Resting. Yoga-ing. Resting. Baking bread again. I have a loaf cooling now. And I had massage this morning. [...]

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