Giving secrets to our characters sets up plot points for our stories. But secrets do more than that. They add dimension and richness to our characters. Those secrets become the source of our characters’ vulnerabilities, and often their strengths as well. They get in the way of relationships; or they enhance them. They can put the lives of our characters in danger; and they can enable our characters to escape those perils.
Today’s Quick-Tip Tuesday post at Magical Words grows out of a course I’m teaching for Odyssey Online. The course is called “Point of View: The Intersection of Character and Plot,” and I’m having a great time teaching it.
The post that went up this morning is on giving secrets to our characters as a way of making them deeper, richer, and more interesting. I hope you find it helpful and interesting. You can find the post here.
The first step is to remember that despite the way the “Plotter v. Pantser” debate is usually framed, we don’t have to approach this decision as an either-or proposition. I know people who don’t outline at all; I know people who don’t feel comfortable writing a novel with anything less than a fifteen to twenty page outline. I usually work somewhere between these two extremes. As most people do. Again, it’s not either-or; rather it’s a choice that exists along a continuum.
It’s Quick-Tip Tuesday, and in today’s post over at Magical Words I take on the Plotter v. Pantser debate, with what I think might be a third way. This post is personal for me this time around, because I’m dealing with the issue in my own writing. I hope you enjoy the post and find it helpful. You can read it here.
Best of luck, and keep writing!
With that in mind, I would like to suggest that you use the idea of the narrative theme to stir your imagination.
It can be really hard to come up with an idea on demand for just a generic a story. On the other hand, it can be much easier to come up with a story idea with a little bit more of a hint. In other words, create your own prompts.
Today’s Quick-Tip Tuesday post is up at Magical Words. This week’s unsolicited, free, you-get-what-you-pay-for advice is on the subject of story ideas. I hope you find it useful.
To repeat something I have said many times before, there is no single right way to do any of this. You have to discover your own creative path. My purpose in writing these Quick Tips each Tuesday will be to help you find that path.
Happy 2016! I’m excited for a new year, filled with new challenges and opportunities. And one of the things that has me most excited is my return as a regular at the Magical Words blog site, with a feature I’m calling “Quick-Tip Tuesdays.” Every Tuesday, I’ll be at the site with a short post highlighting some writing tip.
The first post is up today and can be found here. I hope you enjoy it!
Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that the act of creation is, among other things, an act of faith. We start our projects believing that when our work is done, the finished product will be complete and coherent, a reasonable representation of the vision that drove us to begin in the first place. But of course, we have no guarantee of this. We have only our confidence in our own creative process.
With today’s post at Magical Words, I wind up the Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour. The post is called “Ideas and the Creative Act of Faith,” and it is about my struggles with my next new project. You can read the post here. I hope you find it interesting, and instructive.
One of the things that the first book did not do — because it wasn’t necessary to the plot — was to set up a nemesis for Jay Fearsson who would outlast the narrative of this particular novel. I mean someone like Leo Pellisier in Faith’s Jane Yellowrock novels, or Sephira Pryce in the Thieftaker Chronicles, or the rival powers in C.E. Murphy’s Negotiator series: a character who represents both danger and opportunity for the protagonist, someone who challenges my hero, who threatens him, but who also relates to his darker side.
As I say, there was no room in the first book for such a character. But in the second there is. His name is Jacinto Amaya . . . .
The 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour resumes today, after a brief hiatus, with a post at the Magical Words blog site. The post is about creating a long-term nemesis for our protagonist and what that can to infuse energy into our stories. I use His Father’s Eyes, the second volume in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, as a case study for this. I hope you find it helpful. You can find the post here.
A few weeks ago, around the time of the release of Dead Man’s Reach, I broke down the opening paragraphs of that fourth Thieftaker novel, to give you some sense of what I was trying to accomplish on the first page of the book. It was a fairly standard start — effective and, I think, nicely written — but not all that different from past Thieftaker openings.
I’d like to do something similar today with the first few paragraphs of His Father’s Eyes, as a way of contrasting this opening with that other. You’ll see immediately that the first page of this book is very different. The opening is the least conventional of any I’ve ever written. In fact, it breaks many of the rules I usually encourage aspiring writers to follow.
The 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour returns to Magical Words for another post about openings. In this one, I break down the opening lines of His Father’s Eyes, the second book in my Case Files of Justis Fearsson series, which just came out last week. You can find the post here. Enjoy!
Today is release day for His Father’s Eyes, second book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, the contemporary urban fantasy that I write under my own name for Baen Books. To mark the occasion, the 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour makes several stops.
First, I am back visiting again with Faith Hunter, and this time Jay Fearsson, the hero of my series is interviewed by Jane Yellowrock, the kickass heroine of Faith’s New York Times bestselling series. Not only that, but fans of her books should know that Beast makes an appearance as interviewer as well. You can find the interview here. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
I am also back at the Magical Words blog site, with a post about the new book and all that it means to me. This was a difficult and cathartic book for me to write, and the post touches on why. You can find it here.
And finally, Joelle Reizes has been kind enough to host me for her Five Questions in Five Minutes feature. You can find our Q&A here.
So help me celebrate release day. And if you’re interesting in finding a copy of the novel, you can use the links on this page. Thank you!
Today’s installment in the 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour is all about opening lines for a novel or story. In it, I break down the opening paragraphs of Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth book in the Thieftaker Chronicles (written as D. B. Jackson for Tor Books) which comes out next Tuesday, July 21. (Order your copy now!!) The post can be found at the Magical Words site, at this link. I hope you enjoy it.
Today, I begin my 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour, with a post at the Magical Words blog site. Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth and final volume of the Thieftaker Chronicles, will be released in nineteen days, on July 21. His Father’s Eyes, the second book in The Case Files of Justice Fearsson, drops two weeks after that, on August 4. This first post is about how different books fit into a series (or two . . .) in different ways. You can find the post here. I hope you enjoy it.