Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words December 12, 2013

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First Draft Blues

Your first draft sucks. Hate doesn’t come close to describing the emotional relationship you have with it now that you’ve typed “The End”. There is no way you will force anyone you know to beta read it, no publisher will buy it, and you are not going to inflict it on the world through a self-publish.


No, really.

First – good. You finished your first draft. It is done and in the the computer for you to take a month doing something else, playing with a new shiny idea before returning to the completed manuscript.

John Hartness covered the topic in “It’s okay to hate your book. Sometimes.” for Magical Words. (The comments are quite amusing on this blog.)

Second – good. You know it needs work. That is why writers do additional drafts, why editors have jobs.

Speaking of which, want to look at that NaNoWritMo Novel you set aside back in December 2017?. It might be better after a bit of spit and polish, don’t you think? 

Just a little editing. Oh, that section could use some duct tape. But go on. The manuscript isn’t too bad – or it might be, but, as Mr. Hartness indicates, that can change.

Read the whole article here: http://www.magicalwords.net/john-hartness-2/its-okay-to-hate-your-book-sometimes/

Other Cool Blogs: Writer Unboxed Feb 1, 2017

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A common recommendation to writers is to read outside their genre. Why? Exposure to other techniques which can enhance writing. Last year I shared a Horror blog revealing the secrets of monsters which easily has application in any genre forms with antagonists like Urban Fantasy or Thriller.

Writer Unboxed guest columnist Donald Maass (of the Donald Maass Literary Agency) wrote how to add A Touch of Romance to any genre. This is not a how-to write romance, but how to add a breath of love to a science-fiction or mystery. Whether the love is unrequited or triangle, young or old, new or mature, main character or secondary, romantic relationships add a level of realism to a story. Writers can exploit the emotional tool to raise the stakes or reduce the tension.

The list of question are perfect. Here are a few:

“Who in your story is single? Who wants love? Who can begin to love that character?”

See the whole list here: http://writerunboxed.com/2017/02/01/a-touch-of-romance/#more-46578. Remember to read the comments – Vaughn Roycroft is especially illuminating.

WRITING EXERCISE: From your stable of characters (either your present work-in-progress or previous flashes and shorts), pick a character not in a relationship and not looking for one. Create a flash where s/he has an encounter where a romance could develop if they choose to pursue the matter. Keep the original genre’s feel unless it is romance then change it up to strongly be one of the story’s subgenres. The point of the exercise is adding a touch of romance to a non-romance.

If you normally write romance, add a touch of horror to your romance instead. For a character who has the world on a string, create a flash with an encounter which adds a bit of scare.

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words May 23, 2014

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Mind the Gap

Magical Words continues to give in the new year, despite being shut down, as I review the website again and again for advice. This one is from Jodi McIsaac,Three Tools for Plotting Success“.

  1. Don’t get stuck on the Hero’s Journey
  2. Mind the gap
  3. Twenty bad ideas.

To me, “Mind the Gap” spoke the loudest. It defines reversal of expectation driving a plot, creating surprise and freshness, better than any other writing advice I have read. And “Twenty Bad Ideas” seems like a really good way to avoid common trope pitfalls.

Want to figure out which of the three makes the most impact for you? Go here: http://www.magicalwords.net/specialgueststars/a-return-visit-with-jodi-mcisaac-three-tools-for-plotting-success/

WRITING EXERCISE: Look over your present work-in-progress for a Gap and a scene without a Gap. Which scene is stronger? Which one keeps the pages turning? Can the scene without the Gap have a Gap added?


In my flash, The Bleue Toscano Eggs of Power, the supervillain Viper arrives thinking to attack a building. Instead he ends up working on surviving an explosion and escaping the superhero Power Fists. The second scene has him calmly accepting an item, and soon discovers he is out-of-his-depth in the technological world. In both cases his goals changed considerably.