The Wicked Wind Whispers and Moans

Fantasy and SF writers talk a lot about world building, and for very good reason. The world in a novel functions inevitably as a character. It has a strong influence on plot, on other characters, on tension, pacing . . . every aspect of your book. We’ve talked here on Magical Words about world building before, but I wanted to spend a little time talking about Crosspointe and the world, because it’s was both super different for me and very challenging.

Let me first say that The Cipher will be released March 31. Look for it. Put it on your calendar. All right, on to the show. Crosspointe is an island nation set on a changeable sea. The ground under the black waters will change at the drop of a dime. What was once a shoal will suddenly drop away into a deep trench. Underwater mountains rise and fall without […]

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Chris Marie Green –on worlds

Worlds Can Be So Mean

Hi again! I’m glad to be back with another guest post for this month, and I’d love to talk about one of my favorite elements of writing. World Building.

In general, I’m sure you all have read a lot of posts about this topic already, but how about looking at a different aspect of world building? How can you flip a world that’s already familiar—or one that you’ve already started to build—to make it something totally different from anything a reader has ever experienced?

Before I really get started here, I’d like to mention that, oftentimes, world building is perceived as something exclusive to paranormal authors. I, myself, have built worlds for my Vampire Babylon series, my Bloodlands series, and my upcoming Ghost for Hire series. But writers of historical fiction or, yes, even contemporary fiction need to build strong worlds […]

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BLACK ARTS and Secondary Characters

Happy New Year, Everyone!

This is my first post of 2014, with the new format, and (gasp, can it be so?) I have a book release today. Yes. Today. I’ve a case of the jitters worthy of a bee keeper who is allergic to bees, because I quit my job at the lab in the hopes that I’ll hit high enough in the lists and sales numbers to actually pay my bills. Yes. You heard right. I am solely and completely a full time writer now, instead of being a full time writer and full time lab rat (for the benefits). Instead of the 80 hour work weeks I have pulled for the last 20 years, I’ll be working only 50 hours each week. I will be resting. Paddling white water. Resting. Yoga-ing. Resting. Baking bread again. I have a loaf cooling now. And I had massage this morning. […]

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Dream On

Yesterday was the last day of looking back to see where we came from, what we survived. Back then – back in last year – some of us cheated death, or lost family or friends to that evil. Maybe some lost jobs or pets or were forced to relocate or saw health deteriorate. Last year might have been hard on all of us.

That said, some of us had great successes, had health improve, found a place to live, saw families growing, found new jobs, got a loving pet, found a new love or a new friend. Even in the worst of times, there are the small joys.

But today is 1 – 1 – 2014. It’s the first day of a new year, and it’s time to look forward and to dream. Many of us have made resolutions and set goals and started the new year already at the […]

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Best Books

Writers are always asked what their favorite books are. Since its holiday season, I thought I’d share, then (at the bottom) talk about what I find difficult to do as a writer.

As I’ve said here before, my life changed in fifth grade when my teacher told my mom I was a poor reader. They two of them cooked up an evil plan to have me read aloud to mom for 30 minutes every day. The school librarian picked out book she thought I’d like, and I still remember that book. It was Gilligan’s Island, a comedy book, based on the old TV series. The first day I dropped into the story I was hooked. By day three, I was reading under the covers with a flashlight. By that Friday, day five, I had finished that book and was halfway into the next one. I haven’t stopped reading since.

These […]

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On Writing: Solving Writing Problems with Point of View

I have written about point of view many times before. A couple of years ago I did a whole series of posts on it, and one of my “Creative Intersections” posts earlier this year dealt with POV as it related to worldbuilding.

But here I am again writing about POV, and there is a reason for this. During the course of the summer, I attended several conventions, and I also taught a writers’ workshop up in Calgary. And it seemed that at every turn I would bring one writing issue or another back to POV. It happened so often, that I began to rethink one of my own foundational beliefs about writing. I have said for years that I believe character to be the single most important element of successful storytelling. I realize now that this is not quite true. To my mind, the most important element of storytelling is […]

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Lessons Learned While Preparing for a Writer’s Workshop

I am back from an extended vacation with my family, which ended with a glorious week on the North Carolina coast. I am tanned and reasonably relaxed, and am already getting ready to leave town again first thing tomorrow morning. (This has been a crazed summer: by the time the two months between July 1 and September 1 are done, I will have spent forty days on the road. Signing tour, vacation, conventions, oh, and taking my daughter to college.) Tomorrow I head to Calgary in Alberta, Canada, where I will be running a two day writer’s workshop and then will be Guest of Honor at WhenWordsCollide.

As part of my preparation for the workshop, I have been reading manuscripts submitted by those who will be attending. Using a structure very similar to that outlined by Mindy in her fabulous post from Friday, I write editorial letters to the students […]

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