Quick-Tip Tuesday: Deadlines!

As the year winds down, and I start considering all the work I need to get done in the next few weeks, my mind naturally turns to the topic of deadlines. Deadlines are one of the harsh realities of life as a professional writer. We are always working under one deadline or another; often we face several at once, some of them external, some of them self-imposed. I am looking at four looming deadlines right now, one that I established myself, one that is contractual, one for a short story that I promised to a friend [waves at Misty], and another for an anthology to which I’d like to submit another story.

Writing to deadline is something pros do. Ask any writer what he or she feels is a defining characteristic of a professional writer and s/he is bound to mention hitting deadlines. If we can’t hand in work on […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Taking Stock and Soldiering On

It’s been a hard fall, at the end of a tough year. At times like these, when we mourn lost friends, or deal with fears and unexpected disappointments of any sort, it seems that even sitting down to write a page or two is more than we can manage.

On occasion, we here at MW urge you to take a day or two away from writing to enjoy life, to immerse yourself in the pleasures of family and friends, of beloved hobbies, of the simple joys of taking a walk, or reading a book. But at other times, writing can actually be our escape. The world isn’t always a friendly place; real life just sucks now and then. So write. Dive into your worlds, your characters, your storylines. Draw upon the emotions evoked by the real world, but live in those places you’ve created. It helps. Or rather, it helps […]

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Why #HoldOnToTheLight Matters

 

You’ve heard the story about the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean at low tide. A man chides him that the boy can’t save them all, and what difference does such a futile gesture make? “It makes a difference to this one,” the boy replies, tossing another starfish into the sea.

Light one candle. Scare away the dark. Use your voice every time they try to shut your mouth.

The power of one. Refusing to go gently into the dark night.

Defiance is one of the human race’s better attributes.

#HoldOnToTheLight is about throwing starfish and lighting candles. And giving a one-finger salute to the darkness.

As my friend John Hartness likes to say, there is ‘famous’ and then there’s ‘writer famous’. ‘Writer famous’ is when you walk into a con and people recognize you. ‘Famous’ is when you walk into a Starbucks anywhere in the world […]

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A Quick-Tip Post For Melanie

Last week, the Magical Words community lost one of its own. Melanie Otto, known to many of you, died after a sudden and severe brain bleed that left her in a coma.

I knew Melanie for several years and was privileged to join her and and the other Roaring Writers of The Million Words blog for a week-long writing retreat. I was the instructor for the week, and Melanie and her life partner, Judy, were my contacts for the event. In the planning stages, and then during the retreat itself, they treated me like family, made me feel welcome and at home, made sure that I was comfortable in every sense.

Melanie was a talented writer and a skilled professional photographer. But more, she was a wise and kind soul, a gentle spirit with a wicked sense of humor, a generous and caring friend. I cannot begin to imagine the […]

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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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Some of Magical Words Folks

A bunch of us will be the Cabarrus County Library, in NC, today–Saturday, 9-25.

https://www.facebook.com/events/299131873791961/

Come see us!

Faith