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 [...]
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
Morning everyone!It is 12-12-12.How cool is that!
I was asked a question by Nathan Elberg last time I posted about InfoDumps. He asked: >>But what if the info we’re dumping is part of back-story, previous events that need to be known, but don’t warrant a chapter of history? I’ve had trouble with that. Do we do it as memory flashbacks interrupting action? Someone telling a story? How do we introduce the behavior and deeds of characters who were dead before the novel began (protagonist’s father and grandfather)?<<
It was a great question, and it warrants a full and complete answer. Unfortunately, I can’t give one in one day’s posting because it involves a lot of examples. So I am going to start with a very difficult info-dumpish-scene from the first novel in my own Rogue Mage series, BloodRing. Rogue Mage is an alternate reality post-apocalyptic series, sorta like X-Men meets [...]
Continue reading The InfoDump Scene, part 2.
Dahlonega Literary Festival last weekend was a blast! I got to meet Vyton!!!! (waves) It is such fun to meet MW folks and I have to say — we are everywhere!
And Kelly and Amy and Virginia, and I saw Lauren Scribe and Raven and spent some time with AJ and with Aleta. It was a LOV-ER-LY Con all the way around.
This is the last week for the ugly bad piece and the revised piece I put on the site for exercise and critique. See here:
I have thoroughly enjoyed the versions you guys put up and and I’d like to do some more pivotal scene examples and exercises — if you want them. So let me know. And play with the exercise. I am still dropping in and saying hi and making suggestions on it
Continue reading Reprise Pivotal Scenes
A few months ago, I attended a workshop given by Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein (she’s amazing — if you have the opportunity to take her class, do it!). She shared with us a simple rule of plotting that she’d picked up from Matt Stone and Trey Parker (creators of South Park and The Book of Mormon): If you line up every scene or plot beat in your book, and the only words that connect them are “and then,” you have a problem; instead, each scene needs to be connected with either ”therefore” or “but.”
Put simply, your book should go something like: “A therefore B therefore C but D therefore E but F.” Rather than “A and then B and then C and then D…” You can see Matt and Trey talk about it more here.
This sounds really simple, but it really works. Essentially what they’re saying is that [...]
Continue reading Therefore