Laura Anne Gilman: Rising From The Ashes


One of the questions I get a lot – having been doing this full-time for a decade now – is “Don’t you ever get tired? Don’t you ever feel burnt out from the constant need to produce?”

What they’re really asking is, “is that going to happen to me?”

For the longest time – years – I never ran out of things to write. There was always an idea fermenting, waiting for its chance. There was always an idea (or two) in progress, fighting for time in the chair. I was writing three books a year, and while I was more than slightly exhausted all the time, the stories kept coming. Long form, short… And then they all stopped. Nothing. Nada. Dead air.

I’d broken myself, I thought. I’d used everything up. I had nothing more to say. Every story I started, stalled. Everything I’d been working on went [...]

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Joshua Palmatier — My Crazy Writer’s Life



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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Jennifer Estep — Plotting While Wearing Pants


Oh, plotting. You and I aren’t the best of friends. More like casual acquaintances, if that.

When many folks talk about writing, they often talk about two kinds of writers—plotters and pansters. Now, plotters are just what the name implies. These are the folks who plot out their books, which can include everything from doing a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the book to detailed character outlines to creating storyboards of the various scenes/chapters.

And then there are pansters, or people who don’t do a lot of plotting. I am one of those folks.

Usually, when I’m thinking about an idea for a book, I’ll think about my heroine first—her personality, her strengths and weaknesses, her magic and how she can use it to defeat the bad guys. Then, I’ll think about the three big turning points of the story:

1) The first chapter that opens the book. I often think of [...]

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Commiting Series: Saying Goodbye

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So you’ve written a million or so words in lead-up and now you’re at the end of the series. The last book. The grand finale. You’ve spent hundreds, even thousands, of hours with these characters, plotting and twisting your way through their lives.

How the heck do you say goodbye?

More than that, even: how do you make it worthy? How do you pay off a million words of build-up, a decade of putting stories out there and (hopefully!) having people ask for more? How do you create something *satisfying* at the end of all that, something that will leave you, your characters and your readers all saying, “Yeah. Yeah, that was how it should have ended. That was right.”?

My God, it’s not easy.

For me…for me it’s generally about balance, and with the Walker Papers and Joanne, who began the story badly unbalanced, it’s *particularly* [...]

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Gin and Tonic For Everyone!


Happy book birthday, L. A. Kornetsky (otherwise known as the fabulous Laura Anne Gilman!) To celebrate, LAG is giving away a copy of DOGHOUSE to a commenter (randomly chosen by the traditional means of Oracular Cat)! Don’t forget to say hello after you finish reading, for your shot at winning a book!


Tomorrow’s the day! DOGHOUSE is out for walkies, er, on the shelves! On the street! In your eager hands! (I hope).

So let me tell you a little about this series.

*Enters wayback machine*

Three years ago, the editor who had acquired the Vineart War trilogy came to me and said, (summing up) “most of your fantasy books are also mysteries. You ever think about writing a straight mystery?”

And I said… “well, actually, um…yeah.”

(I may have been doing a quiet, hopeful chair dance on my end of the line because oh jinkies yes.)

“And could [...]

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Joshua Palmatier — Plot: Losing Control


SHATTERING THE LEY: Plot: Losing Control

Welcome to my third guest post about my new novel, SHATTERING THE LEY (in stores now)! Again, thanks to Magical Words for inviting me.

As you may have read in my previous post about character, I’m an organic writer, sometimes also called a pantser. What this means is that I don’t have much of a plan when I sit down to write my novels. Usually I have a few “guideposts”—basically a couple of plot elements that I think are going to happen (usually something about halfway through and something at the end). But when I sit down to write, I let the characters take control. Most of the time, the characters end up in situations close to those initial guideposts. But sometimes . . . not so much.

That “not so much” happened with SHATTERING THE LEY. Almost as soon as I sat down [...]

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Jennifer Estep — A New Book Is Born


Hello! So today, I’m excited to talk about Poison Promise, the 11th book in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series that comes out on Tuesday, July 22.

I’m always a little nervous on release day. I’ve spent months working on a book, and it is finally out there for folks to read. As a writer, you always want people to enjoy your books, and you are always striving to write the absolute best story that you can with every single book you produce. So I want all my hard work to pay off for a fun, entertaining read for folks.

But writing a series can be a little tricky. You want to give fans of the series what they’ve come to expect. In the case of my Elemental Assassin series, that would be lots of time spent with Gin, Finn, and the other characters, some deliciously evil bad guys, and [...]

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