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 [...]
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 there [...]
Continue reading Therefore
I’ve been working a lot on pacing lately.
No, not the pacing I’ve been doing as I walk back and forth across my office, worrying about the August 28 release of my alter-ego’s first novel, Darkbeast. That’ll take care of itself, and I’m already doing everything I can to get the word out, all in good time. (End of self-serving reminder to this long-suffering crowd )
The pacing I’ve been working on is about the endings of novels.
I’m actually a little bit surprised. In my earliest work, I focused on the pacing of beginnings, on getting the reader into my story as quickly as possible and keeping him/her there with the shrewd sharing of information.
I’ve spent a lot of my career working on middles, learning how to carry the story through those challenging core chapters, the ones where the plot wants to wander, and the characters want to [...]
Continue reading On Pacing
Since I’m posting so late (sorry!!!!) I thought I’d post a link to one of my very favorite videos related to writing and editing.
That Mitchell and Webb Look — Write That
(sorry I can’t figure out how to embed the video directly into the post…)
In my experience, almost every writer I know has gone through a similar conversation. Sometimes your critique partners or your agent or your editor (or you) will merely begin throwing out suggestions for how to change your story without actually explaining what the problem being addressed is.
I ran into this with THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, my first published book, when my editor suggested I add a series of journal entries from a new character to the second half of the book. Since this was my very first experience with an editor, I wasn’t sure whether I could push back or [...]
Continue reading Not that… but that