About Character, and a New Thieftaker Short Story


Today, I have a new short story out at Tor.com, under the D.B. Jackson pseudonym. The story is called “The Price of Doing Business.” It’s set in the Thieftaker world and it tells the story of Ethan Kaille’s first encounter with Sephira Pryce, who later becomes his rival and nemesis. The artwork is by the marvelous Chris McGrath, who also has done the jacket art for the Thieftaker books. [Update, 2/19/2014, 10:00 CST: The story is now live on the Tor.com site and can be found here. And here's the updated artwork as well; I wasn't sure which image they would use. I actually like this second one better.]

Last week we talked about plotting here at MW. This week, starting with Di’s post on Monday, and continuing with Chloe Neill’s post yesterday, we are talking about character. And so the release of this short story comes at a [...]

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Faith Hunter — Release Week

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Hi all. This is my second week on MagicalWords.net, under the new system. If you have been away from MW this year, and this is your first time back, you are seeing something new. MW has entered a new format, one with more guest speakers and some new emphases—on readers and the business of writing and the life of being a writer, as much as on writing tips, writing toolbox, and methodology.

One of the most important parts in the life of a writer—traditionally published or self-published—is release week. Jan. 7, Tuesday of last week, was release day for BLACK ARTS.

I have to tell you, this feels weird, but I’m game. After some thought, (and two false starts) I decided to make this a post about the business of writing, as much as a PR post about release week, weaving in book blurbs and art and working with the [...]

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The Fiction of a Writer’s Life — Alethea Kontis


Hi All! I’m back for second week at MagicalWords.net. A few years ago, back when I worked for a major book wholesaler, I wrote up A Day in My Life for these lovely Magical Words folks.

My life has changed a LOT since then. The chaos of my schedule, however…not so much.

Being a full time writer means that I don’t have business hours anymore. There is no longer a time I “normally” get up or go to bed. I have no sense of weekdays or weekends. There is only “working” and “feeling guilty about not working.”

I travel a LOT now, so much so that I’ve started creating folders for myself with pertinent information for each trip inside. Of course, in order to do this I have to take a day or two out of my schedule and play at being my own personal assistant…but these [...]

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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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Then and Now — Breaking In

Mindy KlaskyMindy Klasky

Okay, I have an idea. I’m going to write a series of posts here, focusing on “then and now” — how things were done *then*, back in 1998 when I sold my first novel and *now*, fifteen years later and seventeen-or-twenty-depending-on-how-you-count books later.

And the first topic I’m going to discuss is breaking in — launching a career in speculative fiction.

THEN: Conventional wisdom was in the process of changing, but the most common “how to get published” advice I received was: Write Short Fiction. “Professional” short fiction markets paid three to five cents a word (as they had since around 1950), and they published in print (as, ahem, they had since around 1950) in digest format (small “paperback book” type publications, with the footprint of Reader’s Digest) or in a traditional magazine format (larger publications, sometimes glossy, like Time or Newsweek.) Magazines were sent to subscribers, and they [...]

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PR Yet Again

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

I am so very sorry that I am late! I thought I had uploaded my post but it isn’t here! Arg! And then the cable went out and has been off and on all day! The cable guy will be here later, they said… Apparently much, much later.

So here is it, very late and slightly revised.

David and I have been talking about PR and blog hops—the stay-at-home-on-your-PC-while-you-work kind. I mentioned that I had a PR team working on my blog hop for me, and I’d like to share what they did for Kicking It, the anthology edited by Kalayna Price and me. Here is the link to their site and the blog hop page: http://www.ltpromos.com/2013/10/01/faith-hunter-and-kalayna-prices-kicking-it-anthology-is-on-tour/

This is not the final listing, as other people and other blogs are still signing up to be on the tour, but it gives you an idea of what we are doing. So, [...]

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On Publishing and Publicity: Setting Up a Blog Tour


In response to Faith’s wonderful post from last week, and her promise of more PR posts to come, I thought I would put in my $.02 by outlining what I did in setting up the Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry Blog Tours during the summers of 2012 and 2013. This is one of those PR activities that I never even dreamed of doing when I first broke into the business, because there were no such things as blogs. Today I can say without exaggeration that my blog tours have been the single most important publicity tool I have had in gaining readership for the Thieftaker books. Whether you’re an aspiring writer trying to figure out how to pump up the volume for your very first release, or an established professional looking to kick off a new project, I cannot recommend this strategy enough.

Let’s start with the obvious question: What [...]

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