My regular week off from MW coincides with Thanksgiving week, which is convenient, because I will be traveling with my daughter to look at colleges in NY and New England, so I wouldn’t really have time to post anyway. But that means that my Thanksgiving post comes a week early this year.
As always I am thankful for so much — I’m a very lucky man. I love my family, and they seem to love me back, which is always good thing. I enjoy my job, and have had a successful year, revolving around the release of THIEFTAKER, which has done well both commercially and critically. And I have friends and colleagues here at MW and elsewhere whom I respect and care about a great deal. Are there things I would like to improve in my life — in particular in my career? Of course. I’m not claiming that [...]
Continue reading Books For Which I Am Thankful (An Early Thanksgiving Post)
I’m starting a new project and I thought it might interest you to know the steps I go through in writing a novel. Of course, I’m only one writer and there are as many ways to go about writing a book as there are authors, but seeing my process might give you some different ideas to try.
For this blog series the project I’ll be working on is a book in one of my existing series. If I were working on a brand new series, my first step would be world building and character development, but for this project, the rules of the world have already been established in previous books and I know the main characters rather well. I will be adding more depth to the world as the characters go new places and experience new things and new characters will make appearances in this book, but at this [...]
Continue reading Book from the ground up: Part 1 – Getting started and Plotting
There are many elements to a successful story. When we think about how one tells a good story, we tend to jump to topics like believable characters or plot arcs. These are, of course, essential. But there are smaller, less noticeable elements that can be employed to keep a reader engaged. One of these is word order.
Books are written word by word and readers digest them in the same fashion. We’ve all heard the advice to pick strong verbs and choose descriptive words. This is very important, but equally important is where in a sentence and/or paragraph we place those power words. The term “Backloading” refers to placing power words at the end of a sentence to increase impact.
Why would placing your power words at the end of sentences make them stronger? Because when our eyes hit a period, we pause. When we hit the end of a [...]
Continue reading On Wordsmithing: Backloading for Power
Body language, also known as nonverbal communication, is an enormous part of how we interpret the people we interact with. Often it contributes to 60 or 65% of everyday interpersonal communication.* It includes facial expressions, posture, gestures, and physical movement. Some we can consciously control and try to use to our advantage (we’ve all heard not to cross our arms at an interview as it makes us seem stand-offish and unsure/uncomfortable) others are controlled by our limbic system and our reactions are subconscious. We are constantly using our body to communicate–even when we attempt not to, the lack of gesticulation as we attempt to control our bodies is, in fact, a tell of its own.
So if body language is such a huge part of communication, why is it in our writing we often fall back on the same, very simple expressions and gestures such as a smile or a [...]
Continue reading On Body Language
Yeah, I can’t say that this is going to be the most extensive post of my Magical Words career. I’m still at Dragon*Con with Faith, Misty, A.J., Kalayna, Lucienne, John, James, and a host of other friends and fellow writers. It’s been a great con thus far, and I know that today will be a great end to the extended weekend. It’s also been pretty interesting, what with amazing costumes, fun panels, and some laugh-filled delicious meals.
I have learned this week that THIEFTAKER is not the easiest book to classify. On Saturday, I was on three panels in a row: One on Alternate History, the next on Urban Fantasy, and the last on Steampunk. Now, I think we can all agree that THIEFTAKER is not Steampunk. But it does have certain elements of the subgenre — the emphasis on altered history, the use of atmospheric setting, the role of magic. [...]
Continue reading Dragon*Con and Tricorn Punk
Starting Thursday, the vast majority of MW staff will be at Dragon*Con. I am taking off that morning with pals at 8:30 a.m., leaving behind the hubby and the dogs. And yes, I’m giddy with excitement and slightly terrified. Which is why I am not posting a blog today. Instead, I have gathered all the schedules I could and am posting them here. If you are hitting D*C, come see us!Faith
Title: Vampires, Demons and Werewolves–Oh, My! Description: Paranormal fiction, urban fantasy etc.Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Have We Lost the Future? Description: SF used to be more about the future. Now there’s a great deal of alternate pasts and fantasy. Have we run out of ideas or does it reflect today’s mood?Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Greenbriar – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Editors and Agents [...]
Continue reading The Writing Life — CONs
Escapism is often a big part of pleasure reading. It is fun to get away from it all and get caught up in someone else’s story. To suspend disbelief and go on an adventure from the comfort of our chairs. For different genres “adventure” may conjure up images anywhere from epic battles to grisly crime scenes to erotic sex scenes, but is that what really draws us in? What makes us hang on to every word and flip the page? Is it really the blow by blow action of a fight, or is it the excitement, fear, and anticipation as we experience that fight with the character? Is it the detailed gore, or the horror, anger, and urgency we experience as the character investigates the crime? Is it inventive choreography of insert tab A in slot B, or is it the anticipation and passion as the characters we’ve been rooting [...]
Continue reading On Writing Emotion