Quick-Tip Tuesday: Do Not Fear the Scoop!

Welcome to another Quick-Tip Tuesday!

It’s not always easy to come up with a new topic for these posts. We’ve been over a lot of material here at MW throughout the years. I know that on my own I’ve written over 300 MW posts; all told we’re coming up on two thousand for the site. It sometimes seems that there is nothing new I could possibly publish in this space that wouldn’t repeat in some way material you can find in an archived post.

But of course, if one of those older articles was written by Faith, Misty, John, or someone else, then I might have some perspective on the subject matter that they didn’t. And even if it’s an issue that I covered myself, it may be that subsequent experience has changed my approach or given me fresh insights.

In short, just because a subject has been discussed […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday Announcement (On Sunday)

Hi, all.

I’m very happy to announce that I will be joined on Quick-Tip Tuesdays by award-winning, critically acclaimed author Rod Belcher.

Rod is not only a good friend, he’s also a great guy and a phenomenal writer who has made guest appearances here before. Author of The Six-Gun Tarot, The Shotgun Arcana, Nightwise, and his latest, The Brotherhood of the Wheel, Rod has a lot to offer to the MW community. He’ll be starting this Tuesday, and then he and I will be alternating week to week.

I hope you’ll give him a warm welcome.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Quick-Tip Tuesday: The Power of Secrets

I’ve just started teaching an online course with the Odyssey writing program, and it should surprise no one here that the course is on “Point of View: The Intersection of Character and Plot.” As most of you know, point of view is kind of an obsession for me. I think it lies at the heart of all storytelling. You can do a Magical Words search of “Coe, point of view,” and you’ll get enough hits to keep you reading for hours . . .

In talking about point of view, I also can’t help but talk about character and the process I use to develop the characters I use, primary and secondary, in my own work.

One of the things I like to do when coming up with a character’s history and/or life circumstances, is give that person a secret of some sort. Any secret at all will do. It […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Finding Balance Between Plotting and Pantsing

Whether to outline or whether to just write the story — put another way, to plot or to pants.

This is an ongoing discussion among writers, one that we’ve discussed here in the past. It’s actually more relevant for me right now than you might know. I’m well into a novel — I’ve written more than 100,000 words on it already — that I did NOT outline. And now I find myself struggling with the plotting as the book approaches its climax.

So, I must be about to give you a sermon on the virtues of plotting and the evils of pantsing, right?

Well, not entirely. The truth is, while I’m scuffling a bit right now, writing the novel has been fun. Because I haven’t been working from an outline, the discovery of each new plot point has come as something of an epiphany. I’ve been experiencing the story as […]

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Quick Tip Tuesday: Coming up With Story Ideas

It happened again the other day. I was at a holiday party and someone I know — someone who knows I’m a writer — told me that he had an idea for a story, and that I should write it. This actually happens quite often, and I told him what I tell everyone else who makes such an offer: that I have plenty of ideas of my own, thank you very much.

And that’s the truth. Once upon a time, I worried about running out of ideas and not knowing what to write next. Now I worry about having enough time to write all the stories I’ve imagined.

But I know that early on in my career, I did have trouble at times figuring out what to write next, and I know as well that I still get lots of questions from aspiring writers about where I my inspiration comes […]

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Introducing Quick Tip Tuesdays!

Happy New Year, Magical Words! Great to see you all again.

I’m pleased to say that I am back at MW as a regular. I’ll be here most weeks with a new feature I’m calling “Quick-Tip Tuesdays.” Each week I’ll put up a quick writing tip on some subject relating to the craft of writing. I’ll be covering character, point of view, setting, world building, prose, pacing, and a host of other topics — nothing is off the table. And, as always, I’ll look forward to your comments and questions; we’ll begin each week with a quick tip, but as with all MW posts, the subsequent discussion will expand and elucidate. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I expect I’ll enjoy writing them.

For today’s quick tip, I’m going to offer a bit of writing advice on . . . writing advice.

Writing, like any artistic […]

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Of Success and Failure – Magical Words

Hi Y’all!

This month, next week in fact, I was supposed to have new book out. First book in a new series. Big dealio. Mucho excitement. I scheduled this date at several blogs to get the word out. I had PR ramping! Yes, as early as six months ago.

Annnnd it didn’t happen.

Why? Simply put, the book was not ready. BLOOD OF THE EARTH, the first in the Soulwood series, needed a serious—and I mean deeply serious—rewrite. It had bones. It had some good bones. But it wasn’t put together right.

I know, you are singing “The toe bone’s connected to the … ankle bone…” and you hate me right now. But bear with me.

I knew there were problems with the book but I could not see what was wrong. I was too close to it. This is why a writer, even an experienced writer, needs a developmental […]

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