Quick-Tip Tuesday: Lessons From a Concert

A little over a week ago, I saw Edgar Meyer in concert. Edgar Meyer, for those of you who don’t know, plays double bass, the HUGE acoustic bass that you see in jazz bands and classical symphonies. And saying that Meyer “plays bass” is bit like saying that Willie Mays “played baseball.” Meyer is a virtuoso, the recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, and someone who has excelled in classical, folk, bluegrass, and jazz circles. You might know him from the Appalachian Waltz and Appalachian Journey recordings he did with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor.

This was a solo concert. He opened with the Bach Suite for Solo Cello no. 1, which he adapted for double bass. Brilliant. Then he played a work in progress — a concerto he’s composing. He had the first and third movements just about complete, but he was still working on the middle of the […]

Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Lessons From a Concert

Quick-Tip Tuesday: More Fixes For a Broken Manuscript

In my last Quick-Tip Tuesday post, I wrote about fixing a broken manuscript by setting it aside for a good long time — months — and then reading it through fresh, with an eye toward finding that place where it went off the rails. That was what I did with my work in progress, and it worked amazingly well.

Today I have a couple of additional suggestions for dealing with a broken or recalcitrant manuscript. These grew out of a conversation I had recently with a student I’m mentoring. She is struggling with her manuscript right now, and she’s at that point in the writing process — 60-70% done — that has always given me fits. Seriously, stalling at the 2/3 mark in a book is so much part of my routine that it became a joke of sorts in my household. It has plagued me since my first book […]

Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: More Fixes For a Broken Manuscript

Quick-Tip Tuesday: Fixing a Broken Manuscript

Confession time: There are times when I will find myself ignoring advice that I have given here on Magical Words, or in other teaching situations. For whatever reason — convenience, time, laziness, the sense, right or wrong, that I’ve “outgrown” some of the things I believe writers with less experience ought to do — I will cut a corner here or there. I’m not proud of this, but it’s true. For instance, despite what I’ve said here recently about self-editing being most effective when I separate myself from the writing experience in all ways, including reading from a paper copy of my manuscript, I don’t always do this. Paper and ink are expensive. Printing out a book-length manuscript is time consuming. Sometimes — most time, if I’m being honest — I will simply edit on the screen.

But this past week I took my own advice in a couple of […]

Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Fixing a Broken Manuscript

Quick-Tip Tuesday: Finding A Writing Community

I’m finally home after ConCarolinas and the Roaring Writers Retreat, where I taught and led critique sessions for a fun, productive, wonderful week. (Thanks for inviting me, folks — it was fantastic!) My third night home — last night — I attended a meeting of the writer’s group of which I’m a part here in my town. And, of course, I’m posting this to MW, which has been the foundation of my writing family for eight and a half years.

So, I thought today I should post about community and its importance to writers of all levels.

Writing can be a lonely profession. We often work on our own, toiling alone for hours at a time, sending our work into what can feel like a marketplace vacuum, and waiting for feedback that can be hurtful, even brutal. It’s hard, and our solitude makes it harder. Yes, we have loved ones […]

Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Finding A Writing Community

Quick-Tip Tuesday: Cutting Out the Filler

We’ve recently learned that our younger daughter is gluten-intolerant. (Yes, this is relevant. I promise. Bear with me.) And in discovering this, we have learned we can’t always assume we know what’s in the food we’ve been eating. It’s not that apples suddenly have gluten in them, but rather that lots of processed foods have hidden fillers, and these fillers often include gluten-rich ingredients.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m in the process of editing my first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle (Children of Amarid, The Outlanders, Eagle-Sage) for reissue later this year. Children of Amarid is already in production and on schedule for a July release, and I’m most of the way through The Outlanders right now.

I’ve noticed an incredible amount of extra verbiage in my early books — filler, if you will: superfluous words that add little to the storytelling, but clutter up my prose. For the wordiness-intolerant, […]

Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Cutting Out the Filler

Making Money Mondays — Patron and Kickstarter

The Patron and Kickstarter method of funding life and projects.

More and more we are seeing writers and others in arts and science go to the public for assistance for everything from funding a film, to producing an anthology, to creating a comic book, to producing a new battery to run cars, to making a watch, which surely must contain a genie who has magical flatulence to support the cost required by the startup money needed. Some projects are so successful that they fund hundreds to millions of dollars over the startup capital needed to produce the … whatever it is.

I’ve used this method myself, using Kickstarter to fund the Rogue Mage Role Playing Game. We were successful. We finished the project. It was grueling and I’ll never do it again because it was the “Project from Hell,” which I’ve written about here and won’t bore you with it […]

Continue reading Making Money Mondays — Patron and Kickstarter

When Life Gets In The Way – And It Will

We are writers. No matter what we write, we are writing about life, about living, about the things that matter to us, about the pain and joy and music and poetry of living. We are writing about the insecurity and excitement of romance, a mystery that needs to be solved, a life decision that needs to be made, a loss that has been suffered, a battle or war that needs to be fought.

We write, and as we write, we incorporate and use every good and wonderful and easy thing that has happened to us, as well as every difficult and painful and dreadful thing that has happened to us in the past. All that we are, all that we have survived, is part of our characters and our plotlines and the landscapes of our writing. The feel of water from a cold shower can be interpreted and twisted into […]

Continue reading When Life Gets In The Way – And It Will