John G. Hartness
No, I promise this isn’t a complaining post about stupid questions people ask writers. But before I get to the meat of the post, I have a couple of ConCarolinas-related announcements.
1) The Book Launch Party for The Big Bad:An Anthology of Evil will be Friday night at 10:30PM in one of the Programming rooms. Check your program for the exact location. In addition to me, we’ll have my lovely co-editor Emily (PeaFairie) on hand, plus contributors Bobby Nash, James Tuck, Jim Bernheimer, Darin Kennedy, Eden Royce, Nico Serence, Matthew J. Saunders, Jay Requard, S.H. Roddey and more! Come join us for cupcakes, libations and get your copy of The Big Bad autographed by as many people as possible. They’re like Pokemon – gotta catch ‘em all!
2) On Saturday night, I will be hosting a Literate Liquors Live! event! This is more official programming, so check your con [...]
Continue reading Where do you get your ideas?
John G. Hartness
I want to talk a little today about jealousy, and surrounding yourself with people that are better than you at your chosen profession, avocation, whatever. Some of this comes from seeing that Jim Butcher has been added to the guest list at Dragon*Con, and I’m super-excited about hopefully getting the chance to meet the guy who inspired a lot of The Black Knight Chronicles, and heavily influenced my writing style. I’m also a little nervous, because not just is Butcher responsible for a large chunk of the urban fantasy genre, but he’s also responsible for putting a lot of the snark that I love into the format as well.
Obviously I’m a fan of Butcher’s work, not just The DresdenFiles, but the Codex Alera stuff as well. And I’m also jealous as hell of his talent. You see, Butcher can do something that I have a very difficult time doing [...]
Continue reading A little jealousy – a good thing?
On Monday, our own Mindy Klasky started a series on how she writes a synopsis, which I am dying to read because … uh … I have no idea how I do it. I mean, I do it, I write them, but I don’t know if I do it right. I know I must have my own way of constructing a synopsis because I have never read anyone else’s synopsis. Synopses. (shrugs) I’ve learned a lot from the other writers here at MagicalWords.net, and I am looking forward to her process.
Through MW, I have discovered one major way in which Mindy and David (and probably everyone else for that matter) do character research and planning in the pre-writing phase. They have their characters histories fully fleshed out, sometimes down to their childhood sports injuries, their pets’ names, the schools they went to (the characters, not the pets) and their [...]
Continue reading Character Preparation … Stuff I Don’t Do
I am spending this weekend in Toronto, where I am attending the World Fantasy Convention, probably my favorite of all the cons I go to each year. It’s a working con, what some call a professional con — most of the con members are professionals: authors, editors, agents. People come here to catch up with old friends, to do a bit of business, and to talk shop. I wish some of my MW friends were here with me, but as it is I’m getting to see folks I haven’t seen in way too long.
And I have needed this kind of a weekend.
I have been remarkably unproductive in recent weeks, for reasons that really don’t have much to do with writing. Suffice it to say that life has been leaning on me a bit more than usual. I’ve been distracted, thinking about whole gobs of what I’ll call “stuff,” [...]
Continue reading On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part VI — Treasures In the Attic
All right confession time.
I haven’t written a book in a really, really long time.
Let me give you some background. Last year I had no new books under contract. Thieftaker was written and in production. I had, at the very end of 2010, turned in the second Thieftaker book, Thieves’ Quarry. It was with my editor and awaiting his editorial comments (although I knew that it wouldn’t be edited for some time, given that Thieftaker was still more than a year from publication). And I had sitting on my hard drive, a couple of other projects that needed my attention at some point.
I spent 2011 a) creating a web presence for D. B. Jackson; b) revising Thieftaker 2 on my own and submitting that second version to my editor; c) finishing and revising a middle grade book that still needs another set of rewrites; d) writing Thieftaker short [...]
Continue reading More on Fear and Writing, part I: Confessions of an Idle Writer
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 [...]
Continue reading On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part V — The Quest
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 [...]
Continue reading On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part IV — Blindsides, Gaps, and Spinoffs