David B. Coe: Different Books, Different Roles

Hello again, Magical Words! I’m baaaccckk!

Today, I launch what I have been calling the 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour. Over the course of the next five weeks, I have two books coming out: On July 21, Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth and (for now) final Thieftaker novel, will be released by Tor Books under the D.B. Jackson pseudonym. And on August 4, His Father’s Eyes, the second volume in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, will come out from Baen Books under my own name.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two novels, in two separate series, under two bylines, coming out from two publishers. When we (my agent, Lucienne Diver, and I) sold the second series, we didn’t envision this kind of summer. We hoped that the books would come out far apart. But in publishing, things don’t always work out according to plan, and really, […]

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On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part V — The Quest

It’s been a few weeks now since the last installment in my series of posts on ideas. And there’s a reason for that. I left off after my post on Blindsides, Gaps, and Spinoffs, a post in which I promised that the next time I wrote about ideas, I would tackle “The Quest,” the process of forcing new ideas when you have none for your next project.

So here I am, faced with writing that promised post. And the truth is, I have no earthly idea of where my ideas come from, much less how to force new ideas to enter my brain. As I said in the first post of this series, “Ideas are funny things. They come from everywhere. They come unbidden, and will absolutely refuse to come if I TRY to force them.” Given that I wrote that in part I, I really have some nerve promising […]

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On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part IV — Blindsides, Gaps, and Spinoffs

For the past several weeks, I have been writing about ideas — what we do with them, the fears they can elicit, ways in which they remain original even when they are similar to the ideas of other writers.

Today, I would like to talk about the timing of ideas, and how I go about making the most of them no matter when they crop up.

1. The Blindside: We’ve all had this one, right? Sometimes while working on one project we are blindsided by another idea for a completely separate project. We don’t particularly welcome the idea at that point; in fact the ideas that come to us under these circumstances can be a total pain in the butt. A case in point: Early in 1999 I was writing the third and final book of my first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle. I was, at that point, somewhat sick of […]

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Writing Series for Immediacy: Life-Arcs and Props

I was thinking last night, lying in bed, waiting for sleep to claim me, about continuing items, events, relationships, and things (props) in series as a part of world-building. I’m not talking about the overreaching plot arcs: the serial killer who taunts the hero for multiple books until the hero finally tracks him down, or the killer kidnaps the hero’s boyfriend (Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta); the temptation of a dark coin tied to a fallen angel buried under the floor of a basement (Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden); the quirks and fears of a superior investigator that keep him tied to his grief (Monk). Not those kinds of plot arcs. I’m talking about the life-style-arcs that give immediacy to a character, and that make the reader feel like he knows the character personally, an old and valued friend. These are important to a writer, as way of creating reader relationships with […]

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