David B. Coe: The Writing Life and What it Means to Me

DavidBCoeDavidBCoe

This is my last entry for this round of guest posts. I have enjoyed being back here at MW for December and January, and I look forward to returning later this year, when I have two more releases (Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth Thieftaker, in July, and His Father’s Eyes, the second book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, in August).

I have wondered what to write for this last post. Usually we ask our guest writers to give us a post about “the writing life.” But it occurs to me that this is not an easy topic. Describing the writing life is kind of like describing marriage or parenting. It’s a different experience for each of us. Sure there are certain elements of the writing process that all of us share — the frustrations of a stalled narrative, the magic of those days when the words just […]

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David B. Coe: The Plotter Pantses

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I’m a plotter, and I have been for most of my career. I don’t outline every detail of my books. Far from it. I tend to write loose outlines that touch on the significant plot points of my narratives but leave the details — dialog, specific action, descriptions, etc. — to the moment when I’m actually writing. In other words, I’m a hybrid, as so many of us are: I plot a bit, but I also allow much of my writing to happen organically.

I think that my penchant for doing at least some outlining is, at least in part, an outgrowth of the kind of books I’ve written through my career. I started with big epic fantasies — multi-book story arcs, lots of sub-plots, lots of point of view characters. If I hadn’t outlined, I would have gone crazy trying to keep track of it all. And then I […]

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David B. Coe: Taking Stock and Taking Risks

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Another year, another New Year’s post. That’s not meant to sound like a complaint; I actually love to write them. I use the New Year’s holiday as an opportunity to take stock and assess my accomplishments for the year that’s ending, and also to wipe the slate clean and “start from scratch” on a new year.

This New Year’s in particular feels momentous for me in a professional sense. I have just completed the most productive writing year of my life. I wrote three complete novels in 2014, as well as two new short stories and more blog posts than I care to count. I also edited two books and proofed two others. I recently totalled it up, and I’m pretty certain that I wrote about 400,000 words this year. I had a new Thieftaker book come out (A Plunder of Souls), as well as three original short stories.

And […]

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Christina Henry — of Running and Writing

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I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer. Strike that. I’m 100% sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer.

See, when I was 12 years I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time and I decided then and there that I would be a writer when I grew up. My dad gave me a notebook and I wrote my first “novel” in that notebook. As you might imagine, the story was just a teeny-weeny bit like The Lord of the Rings, except that it had a 12-year-old girl as the protagonist (surprising, no?).

I continued to write for fun, for myself, all through high school, although at that time I took up poetry instead of fiction because I was going through puberty and I had FEELINGS and I needed to FEEL my FEELINGS.

I went to […]

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The Insanity of a Writer

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Good morning All.

I want to share my feelings with you this morning. And yes, I waited until this morning, Tuesday, Oct 7th, to post this, because of course — no Internet all night until now. Because this is book release day, and it’s also “if it can go wrong, it will, day”. It’s make or break time in a writer’s career. It’s a day of excitement, after weeks of building up to a book release. It’s a day of … nothingness because although the book went out, nothing has happened. I am still waiting to see how many sold, how well my readers liked it, who will excoriate me personally on a review because they wanted my character’s love life to go another direction, or they hate complex plots, or they wanted a more complex plot, or they wanted a particular character to reappear, or they wanted fewer […]

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Carol Berg: Answers, Plain and Tall

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Thanks again to the Magical Words crew for welcoming me this month.

There is a set of standard questions that authors hear all the time. When did you start writing? How did you get published? Do you outline? How many hours a day do you write? Do you have writing rituals? Do you use writing tools? Why are you so mean to your characters? We’ve answered them so many times, we don’t even have to think about them.

– I started writing halfway through my software engineering career, as my kids were needing less of my time. – I read the opening of Transformation for an editor from Roc Books in a Friday afternoon read-and-critique session at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. She ended up buying it and my next seven books. – I do not outline. Nor do I start out with a blank page and type Chapter 1 […]

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This thing called a writing life

Diana Pharaoh FrancisDiana Pharaoh Francis

I’m actually not going to talk about the writing life. I’m going to talk about life instead. Writing is a job. Writing is a tremendously fun job, but a job nonetheless. Writers always write. We always observe, always collect bits of cool ideas, we always think about our characters, our plots, our plans for torture . . . .

This is not good. This, in fact, is bad.

Writers have to get away from the writing. We need vacations; we need time to relax, to not be working. But writing is so wonderful. so amazing, so awful, so terrifying, so stressful, and horrifying, that we can’t ever leave it. When we try, it follows us. It traps us in the shower and on the toilet. It hunts us in traffic and at the grocery store. Go get on a rollercoaster? Just try riding it without writing wrapped around your neck, […]

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