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 before, […]

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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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David B. Coe: Ideas and the Creative Act of Faith

This will be my last post on Magical Words for a while. My two months here for the promotion of Dead Man’s Reach and His Father’s Eyes is over, and my larger promotional campaign, my Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour, is winding down. I think all this work has paid off; I hope it has. I’d like to see some nice sales numbers for these two books I love so much.

My focus now is on my next project, which is only just beginning to take shape. I have a magic system — one I really, really like — and I have a couple of characters in mind. But I don’t yet have a plot, or a central conflict. And that’s starting to bother me.

Where do ideas come from? Can they be forced? These questions have been rattling around in my head for some time now, as I struggle to figure […]

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On goals and collaboration

I’m so excited that it’s finally release week for The Map to Everywhere, the first in a four book middle grade fantasy adventure series I’m co-writing with my husband, John Parke Davis! YAY! In honor of the release, I wanted to share a bit about the origins behind the series because this entire journey really has felt like a dream come true.

From an early age I knew I wanted to be an author even though I wasn’t really sure how one became such a thing. During my final semester in college I realized that if I wanted to write for a living, I’d better get started actually writing something I could sell. So I picked up a romance novel I’d begun drafting years before. I finished that book in 2000 and shopped it to agents, and while I got a few positive responses, nothing much came of it. I […]

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Beth Bernobich: The Time Roads

Once upon a time, I had an idea for a story. It was tentative, as ideas sometimes are. All I had was an image of a young woman reciting prime numbers as her brother listened. The seed for that image was easy to identify—Oliver Sacks’s essay “The Twins,” which describes twin brothers, autistic savants, who recited prime numbers to each other. I chose to make my twins a brother and sister name Síomón and Gwen Madóc, both mathematical geniuses.

That initial scene came to me complete with setting and emotions and full-color video, but I wasn’t sure how the story would unfold. So I wrote as much as I knew, following the brother from the visitation room of the sanitarium (because Gwen is mad, suddenly and mysteriously mad from too many numbers), down to the lobby where a police detective introduces himself and…

…and all of a sudden, I had […]

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Joshua Palmatier — SHATTERING THE LEY

SHATTERING THE LEY Hits the Shelves!

First, I’d like to thank Magical Words for having me as a guest for the next four weeks. I hope to bring everyone some interesting reads about plot, character, my crazy writer’s life, and of course point out that I have a NEW BOOK! Yes, this month marks the release of SHATTERING THE LEY, the first book in a new series being published by DAW Books under my real name, Joshua Palmatier. This first post is all about the new book, since it’s already on the shelves (with a release date of July 1st). So let’s all get LEY-ed! *grin*

Back in the 80s, it seemed like every fantasy novel at least mentioned the magical ley lines that connected the world, usually anchored at stone monuments, like Stonehenge and whatnot. Back then, I vowed I would NEVER EVER write a novel involving ley […]

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Writer’s Retreats — Our Thoughts, Part One

There were six of us… There are three posts today, and three more next Friday. And this is how it happened.

***THE INSTIGATOR***

‘Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane,’ or, How a Writers Retreat Took Root

Like so many other rooms hosting writer panels at 2013’s ConCarolinas, this particular one—”Burnham”— was overgrown with people. Overgrown, not overrun; we had planted ourselves there to hear published authors discuss a specific topic. Considering the quantity of us listeners squeezed in and barely keeping our feet, in the chaos it wouldn’t have been a stretch to be mistaken as trees. Maybe even a forest. Couldn’t tell ya since it was hard to see. But, as such things happen, especially when everyone is so squashed together, you becomes friendly with others around you. Doubly so when you later discover them also hanging out with authors from Magical Words. Bonus! And so, maybe unsurprisingly, a […]

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