Two years ago, I went to my first ConCarolinas and had the great good fortune to meet several of the MagicalWords.net authors, as well as several fans and MW participants. One group of us in particular really hit it off and agreed to meet up again the next year. At the end of *that* con, as Melanie described, our final gathering resulted in “let’s have a writers’ retreat next year”. Like you do.
Imagine my surprise – all of our surprise, I think – as we started trading emails and beginning to discuss plans, and everyone remained enthusiastic. Along the way, a couple of people had to withdraw from the retreat itself for different reasons, but they stayed active and encouraging in the discussions all the same.
And what a real thrill to learn that Faith would be able to join us, both for some much needed [...]
Continue reading Writer’s Retreats — Our Thoughts, Part Two
Bonjour! I am Lillian Archer, and I am tres excited to be posting on Magical Words today. Merci beaucoup to the MW team, and go buy some of their books.
My book, Prodigal Spell, is a historical fantasy set in 1790s London and the Caribbean at the height of British colonial expansion. It is the story of Julia Richmond, a London society wife, who is hiding her witchcraft from her husband, her friends, and the church. She must choose between the man she loves or a heritage she detests before a demon kills her father. It is a story about severely fractured people and relationships hiding in a historical fantasy.
I began my publishing journey like many others- I procured an agent, and then waited for a contract from a publishing house. Not a single house wanted to purchase the book. Several houses expressed interest, and I offered [...]
Continue reading Self-publishing and why I chose this path — Lillian Archer
There were six of us… There are three posts today, and three more next Friday. And this is how it happened.
‘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 [...]
Continue reading Writer’s Retreats — Our Thoughts, Part One
On January 11th, I had a birthday. (It was wonderful and surreal, thank you!)
Less than a week earlier, my editor at Harcourt made it known to me that Book Three in the Woodcutter Sisters Series–now called Dearest–would be releasing on February 3, 2015. It seems that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has only two publishing “seasons.” They call these seasons “Spring” and “Fall.” So when I was told that Dearest would be releasing in “Fall of 2014,” what HMH actually meant was Winter of 2015.
My deepest apologies to all the fans I’ve misled for over a year.
Sneaky stuff, this is. Very, very sneaky and mind-bending stuff. For me, the toughest thing to wrap my brain around has been the realization that between the discovery of Dearest’s release date and the books actual release, Enchanted will have been distributed to roughly 50,000 people on World Book Night, and I [...]
Continue reading Alethea Kontis — The Year Without A Book
Yesterday was the last day of looking back to see where we came from, what we survived. Back then – back in last year – some of us cheated death, or lost family or friends to that evil. Maybe some lost jobs or pets or were forced to relocate or saw health deteriorate. Last year might have been hard on all of us.
That said, some of us had great successes, had health improve, found a place to live, saw families growing, found new jobs, got a loving pet, found a new love or a new friend. Even in the worst of times, there are the small joys.
But today is 1 – 1 – 2014. It’s the first day of a new year, and it’s time to look forward and to dream. Many of us have made resolutions and set goals and started the new year already at the [...]
Continue reading Dream On
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 we [...]
Continue reading Taking a Moment to Look Back and Say Thanks
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 [...]
Continue reading PLOTTING WITH BUNNIES (or whatever other animal you like. Want a hippopotamus? By all means, plot with hippos.)