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, [...]
Continue reading Writer’s Retreats — Our Thoughts, Part One
A few things happened that led to this post. Let me fill you in before we get started.
I’ve been a reader of the Jane Yellowrock series since the beginning, and I love the series, and Faith, of course. (I’m a Beast Claw, a member of her street team, too!) I had a chat with Faith about wanting to get into the publishing/editing world and what all that entailed. She suggested that I research story arcs, read Black Arts, and work up a discussion of the pacing of the arcs. Yeah, she gave me a homework assignment. That homework assignment developed into this post.
The first thing I needed to learn concerning story arcs was…what in the world is a story arc? I hit Google and learned that a story arc is the course the action takes along a story line. There can be multiple arcs in each book and [...]
Continue reading Putting It All on Paper — Melissa Gilbert
As far as I know, there aren’t any packages with paper, pens, and numbers you fill in to write a masterpiece, so that’s not what this is about.
It’s the simple fact that I hate numbers. Now, as a former biologist, who specialized in the most math heavy specialty in biology, that may seem odd. However, by the time I was in grad school, computers were just entering the scenes and there were wonderful programs that could do the biostats in seconds. With a matrix of nine characters across (leaf measurements) and five hundred across (number of plants), it made life easy.
I still can’t balance my checkbook. I can’t remember my phone number. And I have a heck of a hard time keeping score when I judge dogs. I let someone else take care of the addition.
Why didn’t anyone tell me the truth about how [...]
Continue reading Writing By Numbers
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
As of about two weeks ago, I have a new editor. The reasons for the change are not a topic I’m prepared to discuss, except to say that it was not a change I sought, nor a circumstance over which I had any control. But the upshot was that at some point, around the time Thieves’ Quarry was released, I found myself in need of a different editor at Tor Books. And my agent and I have found someone who I think will be great — her name is Stacy Hague-Hill.
But as excited as I am to work with Stacy, this has been a wrenching change.
I have worked with the same book editor my entire career. I have worked with others on short fiction (including our own Edmund Schubert, who is as fine an editor as I have ever met), but when it comes to novels, I have [...]
Continue reading On Publishing and Writing: A New Editor, A New Beginning
Early in February of this year, I posted to the MW site the opening paragraphs from my WIP, City of Shades, which will be the third Thieftaker book. (It should be out in the summer of 2014; Thieves’ Quarry, the second book in the sequence, will be out on July 2 of this year, as will the paperback edition of Thieftaker. Just sayin’.)
Today, I want to revisit that passage and show you the revised version. First, here is the original:
Ethan Kaille knew that he had been followed. Even as he pursued Peter Salter, who had stolen a pair of ivory-handled dueling pistols from a wealthy attorney in the South End, he himself was pursued. Like a fox running before hounds, he could almost feel Sephira Pryce’s toughs bearing down on him, snarling like curs, determined to take what he had claimed for himself.
Salter had led him [...]
Continue reading Your Critique of My Work Revisited
I have never done NaNoWriMo. I know that there is an ongoing debate about its efficacy for aspiring writers, but I haven’t felt that I could stake out a position one way or another.
Now, though, I am now in the midst of my own NaNo experiment. I started City of Shades (Thieftaker Chronicles, book III, by D.B. Jackson) later than I had intended, which means that I was behind almost from the start. So, I decided that I needed to crank out the pages in February. If I could write 45,000 words this month, I would be back on track. If I could get 50,000 words, I would be ahead of schedule heading into March, which would be good I’ll be taking a week off to travel with my family and celebrate my big milestone birthday. That’s right: I’m about to turn 21 . . .
Anyway, I [...]
Continue reading Holiday Post: My List of the Best Writing Tips