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 [...]

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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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It’s Raining Deadlines — Jim C. Hines

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Faith Hunter was kind enough to invite me to do a guest post for Magical Words back in January of this year. We agreed I’d contribute a post for early August, to coincide with the release of Codex Born. And then I did something that makes me Hulk out and smash my desk: I forgot about the commitment I’d made, and missed my deadline.

I emailed her to apologize. Fortunately, Faith is both kind and forgiving. As a fellow author, I think she understands that no matter how hard we try, sometimes life gets in the way. She commented in her email to me, “For instance, today, I have to get groceries, go to the vet and the dry-cleaners, show up for a doctor’s apt, and, oh yeah. Write a couple thousand words.”

Sometimes things slip through the cracks. Sometimes we blow it.

This wasn’t much of an issue when [...]

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D.B. Jackson: The Writing Life, part II — Living With Success and Failure

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As I’ve mentioned before — and as Faith and others have mentioned as well — the release of a new book can be incredibly stressful. Of course there is satisfaction in seeing the finished product in print (or ebook format). Writing a book is a big deal. That completed volume represents a tremendous amount of work; it required a huge investment of time, and of emotional and intellectual energy. It represents as well, an admirable accomplishment, and there is nothing wrong with taking pride in that. The problem is, releases are fraught with additional significance. Right or wrong, the success of a new book is judged on a collection of external factors that have little or nothing to do with the work itself, and everything to do with how others receive that work.

Every writer, aspiring or established, knows what I’m talking about. How many of you have finished a [...]

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Joshua Palmatier — My Crazy Writer’s Life

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SHATTERING THE LEY

This is my last guest post here at Magical Words for my new novel SHATTERING THE LEY (in stores now). Again, thanks for having me. It’s been great fun posting here and I hope the readers have had a blast as well.

In this last post, I figured I’d talk about my crazy writer’s life, because it is indeed crazy. You see, I have a day job, because the writing doesn’t yet pay the bills on a regular basis. So the day job teaching mathematics at SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York is a necessity. It’s a great job and I really do enjoy teaching (yes, even math), and I’ve recently received tenure, so it’s now a secure job, which is getting harder and harder to find. But like any job, it does suck up a lot of time where I could be writing instead.

But that [...]

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D.B. Jackson: The Writing Life, part I — Say What?

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This week, in my continuing gig as “guest” on this site, I’m supposed to write about “The Writing Life.” First of all, it’s just weird being a guest here — I mean, this place has been my literary home for six years. I feel a little like I went off to college and then returned home, only to find that my room was being used as a bed and breakfast. I guess now I know how my older daughter feels . . . (That’s a little joke. I promise.) But I also wonder if, after all these years, there is anything I could tell you about my writing life that you don’t already know.

And so I’m going to take this in a slightly different direction . . .

Being a writer can be a little weird. By which I mean, that people sometimes treat writers in odd ways. This [...]

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Jennifer Estep — The Writing Life

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Hello! First of all, I want to say thanks to Faith Hunter for inviting me to guest blog on the site this month. Thanks so much, Faith!

So I thought I would start off things by introducing myself. My name is Jennifer Estep, and I’m the New York Times bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. I’m also the author of the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

All put together, I’ve written more than 20 books, along with many short stories and novellas. Today, I’m going to talk a little about my writing life.

Whenever I tell someone that I’m a writer, they usually ask me a lot of questions about writing and books and publishing. But one of the most memorable comments I ever got was this one: “Oh, you just sit in your [...]

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