Good morning, folks! Long time no see! I just got home from a wonderful weekend at Contemporal, a steampunk fantasy con in Raleigh NC. If you’ve never been, you really should make a trip there next year. My husband and I had a marvelous time. (Not to mention that on our way, we stopped at the nearby Tesla showroom to test drive the most awesome car in existence, and I think we were both still buzzing about it this morning. But I digress…)
I served on a panel called “What is Dieselpunk?”, an exploration of the dieselpunk subgenre. For those who aren’t familiar, dieselpunk generally covers the period between (and including) the two world wars. It’s usually defined by either a military or urban noir aesthetic, and is rapidly gaining in popularity. During the panel, I displayed an assortment of books, movies and video games to illustrate the point, [...]
Continue reading What Is Dieselpunk?
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
<Looks around!> Wow! <Fangirl squee!> <Thud!>
What am I doing here, on this blog, with people that I admire for their strong characters, their ability to give me a vacation from life, for making me think?
Got me. I’m not famous. Not as a writer, anyhow. Now, if you are into dogs or plants, but this blog has nothing to do with any of that.
So here I am, surrounded by those I admire. And stalk. I go to their signings, I follow their pages and blogs and tweets. I want to know more about them. How do they get their ideas? Where do they work? What famous person did they model their characters after?
I want to be the one that finds out what happens in the next book before anyone else.
Boy, that IS stalkerish.
I could stalk, though, if I didn’t know [...]
Continue reading Getting Here
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.
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 [...]
Continue reading THE WORST CHRISTMAS POST EVER (or: seriously don’t read this if you are prone to the holiday blues. Contains sorrow, loss, and others)
Diana Pharaoh Francis
Ever written something you really liked only to have someone tell you it’s not right/good/perfect/delightful? yeah, that happened to me. Yesterday, in fact. It’s crushing. It always is. And it’s part of the daily world of writers. I hate that part. But the truth is, that’s why agents and editors exist–to tell you what you need to improve your writing. While it’s hard to hear, at the same time, it’s necessary to improving craft.
It’s not that the entire piece was wrong. Just most of it. Heh. Really though, the conversation was really constructive and taught me a lot about where I need to go with this project. I’m going to have to tear it down to the ground, and some things will still work as is, and some will be able able to be recycled later, but essentially it’s a complete rebuild. It’s a little daunting, but also exhilarating. [...]
Continue reading Ye Olde Gut Kick
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Steven King
We here at MW always say there’s no one way to write your novel. If sitting on the couch writing on a laptop works for you, then that’s how you should do it. Others of us work at a desktop, or in longhand on yellow pads. Some people write only in the morning before the rest of the family rises, and others write after dark. This guy writes the scenes that come to him, filling in the rest later, and that girl never deviates from the line her story follows, writing the end only when she actually reaches that chapter. And every way is right, as [...]
Continue reading Misty’s Shelf
I love doing research. I know that a metric ton of you out there also love looking stuff up, and are, at this moment, nodding your heads in solidarity. There’s something exciting about digging into the history or language or whatever in the hope of making your writing just that much more authentic. The only thing that ever makes me sad about research (besides the part where I can easily get lost in the looking-up and forget to write the damn book) is finding cool stuff that I can’t use right away. I know you know what I’m talking about – you’re busy checking the price of maple syrup Vermont in 1875, and wham! You discover this seriously interesting story about the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919, in which a large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets pf Boston at an estimated 35 [...]
Continue reading Research Treasures