Taking a Moment to Look Back and Say Thanks


Nearly six years ago, on January 24, 2008, Misty posted the very first essay to the Magical Words blogsite. It was called “Where’d Everybody Go?” and it was a response to a show she had seen the night before on the History Channel about what Earth might be like if all human life vanished from the planet. The following day, I put up my first post — “Doing as I Say” — which was about writing short fiction to help flesh out elements of worldbuilding or character development for larger projects.

Faith’s first post followed mine, and Catie’s first came after Faith’s. By the end of that first week of Magical Words, we had all posted something; the site was up and running, and to be honest, we were all pretty excited about it. We didn’t know where the site would take us, but we knew it was something […]

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THE WORST CHRISTMAS POST EVER (or: seriously don’t read this if you are prone to the holiday blues. Contains sorrow, loss, and others)

James R. Tuck

I’m a writer.

As writers go I’m not very emotional. I do not have gigantic mirths nor gigantic melancholies. I do not battle depression. I am very even-keeled and stable almost to the point of being a bit emotionless.

But the holidays occasionally make me a bit maudlin.

It happens.

In this, my final Magical Words post for 2013 I’m going to share some of that. This is an intensely personal post that really has nothing to do with the season. It’s been written for a while and I have pecked at it whenever I feel the need. But it relates to my current WIP which is not genre at all, but a literaryly-minded mainstream book. (It’s all very new so no news on it other than I’m near 10k in and it feels really special)

This is your last warning though: from here on out it might be a […]

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PLOTTING WITH BUNNIES (or whatever other animal you like. Want a hippopotamus? By all means, plot with hippos.)

James R. Tuck

Character and Plot. The two things you need to make a book. (Please don’t cite me examples of books that have one but not the other. Those are outliers and not the main thrust of books.) Generally speaking those are the requirements.

Now for most folks, myself included, character is actually pretty easy. They come swaggering up in our heads all badass and near fully fleshed out. The plots? They’re a different story. Plots are tricky little devils and hard to get hold of sometimes.

But that’s because we overthink them.

We do. As writers our brains are moving 90 to nothing and cruising top speed down multiple tracks. We mix our plot up with the following things: Character, Backstory, World-building, Themes, and Motives.

But we don’t need that for the actual plot.

The plot is the skeleton you hang all that meat […]

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James R. Tuck

I don’t know what kind of writer you are. You might be the kind who works each sentence until it’s perfect before moving on to the next one, lining up the words in exacting order for the most impact and literary explosiveness.

If so then this blog might not do you much good. lol

This advice is for the writers like me. The indulgent ones who spew words on their first drafts, who write with an abandon of language, allowing all the sentences to run amok on the page. I sling phrases and concepts around during my first draft, just acting like they are free and I can have as many as my greedy little, or not-so-little fingers can conjure.

The result, for me anyways, is a first draft bloated like Elvis on a toilet and full of sentences that I love, words I adore.

That’s all fine and […]

Continue reading DRINK YOUR HATER-ADE (or editing)

IT’S NOT EASY BEING MEH (or sometimes this gig sucks but it’s alright)

James R. Tuck

You know what?

I’ve got nothing to complain about. I don’t. I have a good life and a good wife and a good career. Things are shaking and moving. My schedule at Dragoncon is jam packed with some stellar panels. I have good writerly friends at all levels of the biz who are succeeding and doing well, which makes me happy. I have a support network. I have no shortage of inspiration to write. I have stories coming out and novels sold til the end of 2014.

My second book BLOOD AND SILVER won a Bookie Award at Authors After Dark this week for Best Shifter Novel (non wolf).

Things are good.

But today, well today not one damn bit of it matters.

The thing you know if you are a writer is that this business, for all its ego stroking numminess is also a black-hearted soul grinder. It’s a […]

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I’LL SHOW YOU NOT TELLING (something I read somewheres)

James R. Tuck

So I picked up a book called THE FIRST 50 PAGES by Jeff Gerke the other day because, well, I have a book buying problem. (TBR pile is 68 at last count and I KNOW I’ve gotten a ton more books since then)

Anyways, I wanted to share some advice he gives that to me seemed pretty golden.

Here’s the sum up:

Think of your book as a movie. Telling is anything you write that THE CAMERA DOES NOT SEE.

Stop and think about it.

Let it sink in.

I know how we writers are. We feel like the reader needs to know all the back story to really understand what we are trying to write….the ins and outs of the plot, the history and texture of the worlds and characters we have created so lovingly.

It’s bullshit.

They don’t. They don’t need to know anything that doesn’t directly […]

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ConCarolinas 2013.

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Was amazing. Fun. Harder than any ConCaro before. Less relaxing than any before. More emotional than any before (and that part for reasons I can’t quite articulate). Too many panels. Wow. They really worked us! The three MW seminars were *great,* but were held in rooms that were waaaay too small — standing room/sitting room-on-the-floor only. But David and Misty and I shared what we knew and the Q&As were terrific. (Someone got a pic of me snarling at David. I think he probably deserved it. LOL)

We had a fantastic MW lunch on Saturday at Boardwalk Billy’s. 52 people attended! There were several parties. And for me, Mom and her bestie and my bestie were there, which means responsibility that always goes beyond the usual Con responsibilities . David B Coe had his daughter there. Schlomo came to visit for a good one liner. (Inside joke.) Misty had her […]

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