“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
“Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how-to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”
“I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because […]
Continue reading Read Like a Writer
My husband’s mother died last Monday night.
It wasn’t a shock. She’d suffered from dementia for several years, and was living in a nursing home, because she needed full-time care. On Monday, July 27, the nursing home called to let us know she’d been sent to the hospital with pneumonia, and that it wouldn’t be long. She lingered for a week. In that time, I went to a funeral home and made her arrangements. One of the duties I had to handle was writing her obituary. She was a good woman, but she hadn’t accomplished anything that was going to make her well-remembered to the world after she was gone. I even went online today and searched her name, but all I found was her obituary. Yes, the one I wrote. I went two pages in before I stopped hunting. The only result I was finding on this woman was […]
Continue reading Remember Me
On Thursday, we lost Sir Terry Pratchett. He’d been diagnosed with a rare, early-onset Alzheimer’s a while back, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But he was only 66 years old (every year that passes makes that number sound younger and younger to me) and I don’t think anyone was ready for him to go. I’m grateful he never had to deal with losing his identity. I also admired his determination to die on his own terms, instead of letting the disease transform him into an empty shell of what he once was. I don’t know if he died by his own hand or not – they’re keeping the specific reason for his death very quiet – but I do know that the world of fantasy is a little less bright now that he’s moved on.
Within hours after hearing about Sir Terry, I got word that a wonderful man […]
Continue reading It’s Been A Rough Week
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, and […]
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
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)