Diana Pharaoh Francis
I want to talk about endings. I just wrote a book. Most of it I wrote in six weeks. Then it took me just about a month to write the ending. Now I’ll admit, I had no idea what the ending was, and that time coincided with some time off I intended to take, and a family emergency I did not plan on. I finished the book two days ago. I was in the very last chapter and I finished that chapter, and then started the next very last chapter, and then I was within a paragraph or two of finished, then several pages later I was within a paragraph or two of finishing, and then a few pages later I was within a sentence or two of finishing, and then pages later . . . .
Well, you get the idea. I call this ending creep. It happens [...]
Continue reading The Creeping Ending
John G. Hartness
Sorry I’m running a little late today, real life and Facebook got in the way. So rather than trying to be a coherent post, here are some quick hits from me and from my critique panel last weekend at Atomacon with Alexandra Christian, Misty and Emily.
1) Write descriptions for all five senses. This is a constant problem for me, as I tend to write in a white box in my first drafts. So if you’re a plot and dialogue guy in the first draft, be sure that one thing you do in the later drafts is to plug in descriptions using all the senses. Smell is one of the most important things to add to scenes to really flesh them out, and a lot of us (especially me) tend to scrimp on it.
2) You can break any rule you like, once you’ve proven an understanding of [...]
Continue reading Quick hits and tips
James R. Tuck
Character and Plot. The two things you need to make a book. (Please don’t cite me examples of books that have one but not the other. Those are outliers and not the main thrust of books.) Generally speaking those are the requirements.
Now for most folks, myself included, character is actually pretty easy. They come swaggering up in our heads all badass and near fully fleshed out. The plots? They’re a different story. Plots are tricky little devils and hard to get hold of sometimes.
But that’s because we overthink them.
We do. As writers our brains are moving 90 to nothing and cruising top speed down multiple tracks. We mix our plot up with the following things: Character, Backstory, World-building, Themes, and Motives.
But we don’t need that for the actual plot.
The plot is the skeleton you hang all that meat [...]
Continue reading PLOTTING WITH BUNNIES (or whatever other animal you like. Want a hippopotamus? By all means, plot with hippos.)
Diana Pharaoh Francis
I managed to talk Laura Anne Gilman into coming and posting today. If you’ve never heard of her, why not??? She writes fabulous books both under her own name, and mysteries as L.A. Kornetsky. She’s also been an editor for some major writers. Now, without further ado, the meerkat herself:
So, Di Francis came to me and said “hey, you want to write a guest blog for Magical Words?” And I froze, somewhere between “yeah, that’ll be fun!” and “oh shit.” Because hey, Magical Words, a writing blog. And yeah, I’m a writer, but I always find myself in a bit of a pickle when people ask me to talk about the deep down fiddly bits of actually writing, because I’m a centipede.
– the joke going that the centipede can walk perfectly well with a hundred feet, until you ask it HOW it manages all those [...]
Continue reading Please welcome Laura Anne Gilman
James R. Tuck
I don’t know what kind of writer you are. You might be the kind who works each sentence until it’s perfect before moving on to the next one, lining up the words in exacting order for the most impact and literary explosiveness.
If so then this blog might not do you much good. lol
This advice is for the writers like me. The indulgent ones who spew words on their first drafts, who write with an abandon of language, allowing all the sentences to run amok on the page. I sling phrases and concepts around during my first draft, just acting like they are free and I can have as many as my greedy little, or not-so-little fingers can conjure.
The result, for me anyways, is a first draft bloated like Elvis on a toilet and full of sentences that I love, words I adore.
That’s all fine and [...]
Continue reading DRINK YOUR HATER-ADE (or editing)
This week I will begin writing Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth book in the Thieftaker Chronicles. For those of you who are fans of the series, don’t panic. Book three, A Plunder of Souls, is not yet out and won’t be for close to a year. Authors are almost always at least a full book ahead of the publication schedule. On the other hand, if you haven’t yet read book two, Thieves’ Quarry, all I can say is what the hell are you waiting for…?
I spent part of last week outlining the book, and thought that I would return to the subject of outlines and pantsing, since it is something that still comes up quite a bit on this site and also in panels. I know that we talk about there being no single right way to do any of this, and I still believe that. But in this [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Outlining Vs. Pantsing Revisited
James R. Tuck
Whew to the Dragoncon.
I miss it. I miss my peeps. It is always awesome seeing my fellow magical words family although Dragoncon is SO busy we only get to spend minutes together. (Lucienne, I still owe you that drink and AJ I didn’t even SEE you) But after Faith and John ‘s excellent con reports I have decided that this will NOT be about Dragoncon.
Instead I am going to talk to you about writing. (Inspired by a panel at Dragoncon)
I know, crazy right?
Let’s talk about character. Character is story. Some of you are looking at me going: “No James, PLOT is story. Characters are the subject of story.”
You’re kinda right, but not really. You see your plot is determined by your characters decisions. Every character, from the main protagonist to the most minor walk on character can radically change your story if they make their [...]
Continue reading OMG WRITING Y’ALL (or not another con report)