Striking off in a New Direction

For awhile now, I’ve been reading a lot of non-magical romantic suspense and watching a whole lot of true crime on the ID channel. I used to watch HGTV a lot, but lately, it’s all true crime for me. I’ve been reading Laura Griffin‘s books, as well as Linda Howard, Pamela Claire‘s I-team books, and Linda Castillo, among others. I’ve never thought myself capable of writing a mystery or a suspense novel. I figured my plots would be way too obvious. But lately I’ve found myself thinking in terms of characters and plots and I’m taking notes on a romantic suspense novel and have even written a bit of the opening. If you’re curious, check out this post, and keep in mind, the writing is very rough.

You might ask why I’m switching genres. Well, I’m not. I love fantasy and I have no plans to leave it. But I […]

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Stronger Together

Publishing is a rough business, even when writing is what you love. That’s why it’s so important for authors to reach out to other authors, and to support, encourage, nurture, mentor, boost and make friends with each other. It’s a weird way to make a living, and we’re the only ones who really understand what it’s like to deal with all those voices in our heads that become characters, so we need to stick together.

Making writer friends is good for sanity. We all have rough days, and this is a solitary way to make a living. It helps to be able to talk about the business and the life with other people who get it.

Writer friends are good for business. When we recommend each other, signal boost on social media, refer each other to resources, cover tables at cons for one another and hang out talking shop at […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Joshua Palmatier on “The Mighty Red Pen”

For today’s Quick-Tip Tuesday post, I welcome Joshua Palmatier, writer and editor par excellence, and a frequent contributor to Magical Words.

*****

We’re coming up on the release of my second “Ley” novel, THREADING THE NEEDLE, and David B. Coe asked me to stop by and give you all a Quick Tip for Quick Tip Tuesday. So my quick tip for this Tuesday is: How to Cut a Significant Number of Words from Your Manuscript that You Thought Was Done.

Here’s the situation: THREADING THE NEEDLE had already undergone three revisions—my own personal revision, a revision prompted by my agent, and a revision prompted by my editor. That’s generally the last revision before the book hits copy edits and page proofs, where nothing really significant is changing (for the most part), just typos, smoothing out sentences, continuity error corrections, etc. So imagine my surprise when I get an email from […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Finding A Writing Community

I’m finally home after ConCarolinas and the Roaring Writers Retreat, where I taught and led critique sessions for a fun, productive, wonderful week. (Thanks for inviting me, folks — it was fantastic!) My third night home — last night — I attended a meeting of the writer’s group of which I’m a part here in my town. And, of course, I’m posting this to MW, which has been the foundation of my writing family for eight and a half years.

So, I thought today I should post about community and its importance to writers of all levels.

Writing can be a lonely profession. We often work on our own, toiling alone for hours at a time, sending our work into what can feel like a marketplace vacuum, and waiting for feedback that can be hurtful, even brutal. It’s hard, and our solitude makes it harder. Yes, we have loved ones […]

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Making Connections: Doing Business At Conventions

Last weekend, I was at Balticon. This coming weekend, I’ll be at ConCarolinas, and then after that, Origins Gaming Fair. From there on in, the summer’s pretty busy: Congregate, Confluence, LibertyCon and then DragonCon, with ContraFlow and Atomacon rounding out the year. I did four cons earlier in the year, and I’m already signing up for and getting confirmed for 2017 conventions.

Conventions are expensive. Most writers pay their own way: travel, hotel, food, vendor table and merchandise. It’s time away from family and from writing, and from sitting by the pool chilling out with a beach drink. So why do we do it? Sure, there’s visibility, meeting readers, promoting the new book. But as I saw at Balticon last weekend, the most valuable part of a convention lies in connections to other writers and the stream of information and possibilities created by good relationships.

What kind of information and […]

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What Day Is It Again?

 

It’s con time again! ConCarolinas is looming large in my sight, and I’ve been caught up in the throes of finishing the schedule for the last week. Let me tell you, scheduling 50 writers into 56 panels so that everyone has a reasonable number and at least one or two of their “I’ll just die if I can’t be on this one” panels is not the easy task it might appear to be. I finished the schedule for the first time on Sunday. Since then, I’ve rearranged it at least four times, dropped panelists either because I screwed up or because they asked me to, and inserted new panelists into the suddenly open spots. Fortunately Sched.org is a brilliantly easy site to work within, so I didn’t have to buy another white board. (The first one was full of names and numbers already.) Want to see what we’ve put […]

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Inciting Event Redux

In the middle of the month, Faith talked about inciting events. She’s dead on and if you’ve forgotten what she said, go read it again. I’ll wait.

At the time of reading that article, I was in the middle of redrafting the second half of my current book. I’d had to rip out about 15K words from the draft and shift gears because I’d taken the wrong road. A common problem of pantsing. I’d reached the point where I needed to plot, not only this novel, but a great deal of the rest of the story.

I ripped back to just around the halfway point and started to work through all the players, the connections, the elements that needed to be dealt with, and generally braiding the story together. You might be asking, what does that have to do with the inciting event at the beginning of a book?

I’d […]

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