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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Friday Fundamentals

Hey, Bandwagon, wait on me!

*climbs on the back of the bandwagon and takes a look around*

Hmm. Looks different around here on Fridays.

So, happy new year (as everyone else has wished you this week). It’s the basic thing to do the first week of the new year, right? So, that’s what I am going to be doing here every other Friday this year: talking basics. They’re the building blocks, the things you need to be able to function within a written piece (as a reader or a writer). Thus, we have the development of Friday Fundamentals.

If there’s a topic you’d like me to talk about, please let me know in the comments, and I will be happy to work it in or (if it’s brief), explain in the comments.

Today’s writing fundamental is the writer.

In order to have a story, you have to have a writer. […]

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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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Emily Lavin Leverett: It’s All In How You Say It!

So—I’m Emily Lavin Leverett. If you’ve been reading here a while, you might have seen me comment as Peafaerie. I’m a writer of short stories and novels, an editor of The Big Bad I and II with John Hartness, and an English professor. Thanks very much to Magical Words for letting me be here today to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart!

I’m here to talk about grammar.

(The sound of people clicking to something else is overwhelming, so I’ll just wait for a moment, until it passes.)

Grammar is important. I’ll put that out there first. Anyone who tells you it is not, or that if your voice or characters or story are really good, bad grammar won’t hurt, is a lying liar who is lying. Great voice, character, and story will get people past typos, but not persistent problems. Good grammar is the key […]

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The “It” Factor

My wife and I are addicted to “The Voice.” I’ve been a Blake Shelton fan forever, and I love the blind audition portion of the show, when the judges have to make their initial decisions based on a singer’s voice, not their look, age or size. As an old fay guy, I find this appealing. Of course, every subsequent round they watch the performance so things like appearance and stage presence do count, but they count in real life, too. Every once in a while, along will come a performer that just has “it.” You know what I’m talking about, they’re going to be a star. “It” is almost indefinable, but it’s that little spark, that something that separates that singer from the herd. Maybe they look different but have the chops to back it up. Maybe they’re just so damn charming onstage and off that you can’t help but […]

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Greetings from Calgary: Post-Con Report

Greetings from Calgary, Alberta! I am writing this Sunday afternoon, after a wonderful week of work at WhenWordsCollide and the pre-convention writer’s workshop.

Yes, that’s right: I said “work.” John’s post from the other day, on which I didn’t comment, but which I have read, is spot on. Conventions are work. They are super fun — I love meeting fans, working with other professionals, renewing old friendships and beginning new ones. And after 16 years as a published author I am nowhere close to being tired of having people ask if I’ll sign their copies of my books. To be honest, I’m always shocked when people apologize for approaching me, as if it’s an imposition.

But right now, after leading the workshop for two days and being one of the con’s guests of honor, I’m exhausted. It’s not that talking about writing or doing readings is that tiring. But I’ve […]

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Awesome Con Things

Here on the fabulous inter webs we spend a lot of time griping. And pointing out when people are wrong. And proving to people that we are right. And looking at boobies.

Ignore that last part. Move along. Nothing to see there.

But we do gripe a lot. And in the past couple of years there’s been a lot of noise on the web made about bad things that have happened at cons and bad things people have done. Well, since I just got back from JordanCon and had a great time down there, I wanted to point out some great things that conventions have done over the past year for writers, for guests, and just in general. Feel free to add in comments something awesome that you’ve seen a convention do that you’d like to see others emulate.

I’m going to try and hit all the […]

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