Joshua Palmatier — from Kickstarter to Antho

And now it’s time for the third post here on Magical Words related to the upcoming release of the anthology CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS, the first release from the new small press Zombies Need Brains. In the first two posts, I focused on what I look for as an editor in terms of character and plot for the stories in the anthologies. For this post, I thought I’d focus on what the process was for putting this anthology (and I assume all future anthologies) together, from assembling the kickstarter to getting that final book together and available for public consumption.

First off, Patricia and I have to select the theme of the anthology. We actually have a small list of themes already sketched out, but for each one we weigh how strong the concept is and whether we think it will generate interest in the SF&F community. Once we […]

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Joshua Palmatier — What The EDITOR Is Looking For

Today is the second post here at Magical Words related to the upcoming SF&F anthology release CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS, the first book from the new small press Zombies Need Brains. Again, as I’m the editor of this anthology (and founder of the small press), I’m doing a slightly different take on each of the posts for this series, focusing on what the EDITOR is looking for when reading stories for possible inclusion in anthologies. The first guest post was about character, since that’s the first requirement of a story if you want to catch my attention. If the character isn’t interesting, I’m not interested. After that comes plot, which is what I’m going to discuss today.

OK, so, here’s the thing. We’re doing THEMED anthologies, which means that there are a certain amount of set parameters that the story must meet in order to even be considered […]

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On Writing: Potpourri — First Lines, Short Fiction, Dialogue

I’ve been staring at my computer screen for close to an hour, trying to figure out what to write for this week’s post. Every idea I come up with seems to be something that one of my MW colleagues or I have written about recently. This is one of the problems with writing a weekly post for a focused blog site like MW. With my personal blogs, if I’m bored with writing about writing, I can write about baseball or my kids or politics. I can’t really do that here. So what to do.

Well, my solution for this week is to write about ALL the ideas I came up with as I tried to find a topic. Instead of writing 800 to 1,000 words on one subject, I’m going to write a couple of hundred on several. You’re free to respond to any or all of them.

1. First […]

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On Writing: A Novelist Takes on Short Stories

What is the hardest part of writing short fiction? Or more to the point, what is the most difficult adjustment a novelist needs to make when writing a short story?

These are questions I’ve been grappling with for the past couple of weeks as I work on a series of short stories that I’m writing in the Thieftaker universe. Before I address those questions, though, maybe I should address a different question: With one Thieftaker novel already written and in production, and a second finished and in revisions, why am I bothering with short stories?

Well, for one thing, it’s fun. I’m playing with story lines, experimenting with descriptive passages and stylistic approaches, polishing the series voice. Writing the stories is also giving me a fresh perspective on my lead character, his past, and his relationship with other characters. More to the point, the stories will help me promote the […]

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