I love doing the puzzles in my local newspaper. (Kids, newspapers are collections of paper that are delivered to your home each morning. They include all the interesting stuff that you saw on Twitter and YouTube yesterday . . .) I do the Sudoku, the crossword, and, my favorite, the Cryptoquote. The Cryptoquote is that puzzle that gives you an encoded quote; you have to figure out what each letter represents to discover the quote and its author. I bring this up, because this week I solved a puzzle and discovered one of the best quotes I’d ever heard. It’s from Miles Kington, the late British journalist:
“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
Yes, this does have something to do with writing. In fact, it has everything to do with writing. This site offers a lot of knowledge, [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Knowledge Versus Wisdom
Diana Pharaoh Francis
I want to talk about endings. I just wrote a book. Most of it I wrote in six weeks. Then it took me just about a month to write the ending. Now I’ll admit, I had no idea what the ending was, and that time coincided with some time off I intended to take, and a family emergency I did not plan on. I finished the book two days ago. I was in the very last chapter and I finished that chapter, and then started the next very last chapter, and then I was within a paragraph or two of finished, then several pages later I was within a paragraph or two of finishing, and then a few pages later I was within a sentence or two of finishing, and then pages later . . . .
Well, you get the idea. I call this ending creep. It happens every [...]
Continue reading The Creeping Ending
Okay, I’ve saved the toughest one for last. Today I’m going to talk about one of the most insidious of enemies – jealousy.
You probably already know how damaging jealousy can be to a romantic relationship. Suspicion and unwarranted anger builds walls between people who care for each other, walls that prevent effective communication and take serious work to bring down. Jealousy can also crack your creativity into tiny shards of meanness that poke you every time you sit down to make your own magic. It happens to all of us. You read in Locus that someone from your writing group just signed another three-book deal, when you only got a one-book deal from the same publisher. You get a phone call from a writing friend who excitedly tells you that she’s been offered representation by an agent who’s previously turned you down. You want to feel thrilled and happy, [...]
Continue reading The Enemies of Our Progress Part Three
How many of you remember the movie Prizzi’s Honor? It came out in the mid-1980s and starred Jack Nicholson as a mob hitman who allows his personal life to get in the way of his professional responsibilities. Throughout the movie, his character, Charley, is reminded by higher-ups in the syndicate that he shouldn’t take personally all the things they’re telling him to do, even though one of his assigned tasks is to murder his new bride. “It’s business, Charley,” they tell him. “It’s just business.”
Yes, there is a point to this.
My post last week, in which I discussed the sale of a new series to Baen books, prompted an interesting question from long-time Magical Words reader and commenter, Mark Wise. Mark, who has followed my career for quite some time and knows that every book I’ve published to this point has been with Tor, wrote, “I find it [...]
Continue reading “It’s Just Business”: Loyalty Versus Pragmatism in the Publishing World
Today’s Then and Now grows out of a question from last week, where someone wanted to know how I write quickly. My current writing strategy grows out of my old writing habits, so it’s perfect for a Then and Now.
When I started writing for professional publication, I worked a full-time job that required a minimum of 60 hours a week in an office and often expected 80 hours a week or more. I usually worked through weekends, at least all of one day and half of another, and I often left the office for a class or cultural event, only to return at 10:00 at night, for another few hours of fun. In some months, I *billed* up to 3000 hours of time (and that time didn’t include things like meal breaks, mandatory non-client activities, etc.) So, yeah, I had a lot of demands on my time.
Continue reading Then and Now — Writing Fast
Lucienne Diver talks about the right ways to find an agent. [...]
Continue reading The Great Agent Hunt
Some of you may have seen this news on Facebook, but I wanted to share it here, as well: I have recently signed a three-book contract with Baen Books for a contemporary urban fantasy. The series is called the Weremyste Cycle, and the first book, Spell Blind, will be coming out in about a year. Obviously this is big news, and I’m very excited. But the sale of this series is important to me in a number of ways and lends itself to what I hope will be an interesting post.
I first mentioned Spell Blind (or at least the book that eventually became Spell Blind) on Magical Words back in June 2008, in a post titled “The Book I Love and Can’t Sell.” At that time, the manuscript had a different title, a different magic system, a different plot, and a different conceptual core. Which I suppose begs the [...]
Continue reading On Publishing and Writing: A Sale, and a Study in Perseverence