Quick-Tip Tuesday: Lessons From a Concert

A little over a week ago, I saw Edgar Meyer in concert. Edgar Meyer, for those of you who don’t know, plays double bass, the HUGE acoustic bass that you see in jazz bands and classical symphonies. And saying that Meyer “plays bass” is bit like saying that Willie Mays “played baseball.” Meyer is a virtuoso, the recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, and someone who has excelled in classical, folk, bluegrass, and jazz circles. You might know him from the Appalachian Waltz and Appalachian Journey recordings he did with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor.

This was a solo concert. He opened with the Bach Suite for Solo Cello no. 1, which he adapted for double bass. Brilliant. Then he played a work in progress — a concerto he’s composing. He had the first and third movements just about complete, but he was still working on the middle of the […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: More Fixes For a Broken Manuscript

In my last Quick-Tip Tuesday post, I wrote about fixing a broken manuscript by setting it aside for a good long time — months — and then reading it through fresh, with an eye toward finding that place where it went off the rails. That was what I did with my work in progress, and it worked amazingly well.

Today I have a couple of additional suggestions for dealing with a broken or recalcitrant manuscript. These grew out of a conversation I had recently with a student I’m mentoring. She is struggling with her manuscript right now, and she’s at that point in the writing process — 60-70% done — that has always given me fits. Seriously, stalling at the 2/3 mark in a book is so much part of my routine that it became a joke of sorts in my household. It has plagued me since my first book […]

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Making Money Mondays – Managing Your Capacity

My cat exceeds the capacity  of this box.

Hey there! This post is going up a little later in the day than normal, because of this very topic, which is how I thought about it. Convenient, right?

My cat exceeds the capacity of this box.

Everything has a capacity. Cups get full, balloons stretch to the point of almost bursting, hotel rooms overflow with alcohol-soaked bodies, etc. etc. etc. You as a writer and a businessperson have a capacity as well. There’s only so much stuff that you can take on at any given time. You only have so many spoons, or so much bandwidth, or whatever metaphor you like. But the point is that you have a limited capacity for productivity.

And you have a lot of crap to do.

A LOT of crap.

You have to write. You have to edit that last thing you wrote while you’re writing the new thing. You have to […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Fixing a Broken Manuscript

Confession time: There are times when I will find myself ignoring advice that I have given here on Magical Words, or in other teaching situations. For whatever reason — convenience, time, laziness, the sense, right or wrong, that I’ve “outgrown” some of the things I believe writers with less experience ought to do — I will cut a corner here or there. I’m not proud of this, but it’s true. For instance, despite what I’ve said here recently about self-editing being most effective when I separate myself from the writing experience in all ways, including reading from a paper copy of my manuscript, I don’t always do this. Paper and ink are expensive. Printing out a book-length manuscript is time consuming. Sometimes — most time, if I’m being honest — I will simply edit on the screen.

But this past week I took my own advice in a couple of […]

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Making Money Mondays – Saying Yes


My current working environment.

As I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning, wiping sleep from my eyes and trying to get the cat situated on the desk in a way that interferes with neither my typing nor my Pop-Tart ingestion (a pretty critical part of my morning), I was wondering what to write today. I’m also sitting here for a few minutes writing while I let my back rest from lugging boxes of books down from the front room to my office so I can prep for a small appearance/signing I’m doing this afternoon with Gail Z. Martin, J. Matthew Saunders, and Stuart Jaffe at a library here in town.

So my aching back got me to thinking, as I often do, “What’s the point of all these appearances?” It’s not like I make a ton of money at them. Wouldn’t I be better off sitting at home writing […]

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Making Money Mondays — Cost Vs Benefit

Morning Y’all. Or afternoon. Or night. Whenever you read this. Yes, MagicalWords.net has a new format of writers posting at most any time, but I wanted to keep to Mondays most of the time simply because I’m used to it.

Today’s post is about fan complaints about the cost of eBooks. A fan (let’s call her Sue Doe, to keep the Jane Doe Yellowrock confusion at bay) sent me a PM (private message) that she would no longer be buying my books because the eBooks cost so much more than other writer’s eBooks. She said I should, “Tell your publisher that they have to lower the costs of the books.” Her claim was that when the eBooks cost more than the paper books (mass-market) the companies are gouging.

We had a polite, long, back-and-forth PM exchange and I ended up telling her I was sorry to lose a fan, but […]

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Making Money Mondays — Kindergarten!

Dragon Con is going to happen in a world that is changing, is more dangerous, more confusing, and more problematic than ever. We have homegrown terrorists who hate anyone who is having fun, we have lunatics with guns and explosives and cars they want to use as weapons. We have factions within fandom and without. We have STUFF!

And that means we need to take it all back to basics. Back to the past, to our very earliest lessons. Let’s take it back to Kindergarten!!!! Let’s all remember our kindergarten rules (updated for the grownup world of today)!

Keep your friends close. Never walk away with a stranger. Eat and drink with friends, not strangers. If strangers become friends, keep your old friends with you. Hold hands to keep together when walking anywhere crowded. Wash hands with soap and water. Brush your teeth. Keep clean (bathe or shower). Know where […]

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