Journal

My Favorite Bit: Fonda Lee talks about JADE CITY

Fonda Lee is joining us today to talk about her novel Jade City. Here’s the publisher’s description: FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING. Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for — and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family …

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My Favorite Bit: Tracy Townsend talks about THE NINE

Tracy Townsend is joining us today with her novel The Nine. Here’s the publisher’s description: In the dark streets of Corma exists a book that writes itself, a book that some would kill for… Black market courier Rowena Downshire is just trying to pay her mother’s freedom from debtor’s prison when an urgent and unexpected …

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My Favorite Bit: Jim C. Hines talks about TERMINAL ALLIANCE

Jim C. Hines is joining us today with his novel Terminal Alliance. Here’s the publisher’s description: In his hilarious new sci-fi series, Jim C. Hines introduces the unlikely heroes that may just save the galaxy: a crew of space janitors. The Krakau came to Earth to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species. However, …

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CHARACTER & SELF-DEFINITON: We self-define in multiple ways. A flat character exists on only one axis. Role — Career. (puppeteer, a voice actor, an author.) Relationship — Duty (wife, daughter, mentor.) Status —Class/hierarchy (Middle class, poverty, rockstar) Competence — Abilities. (intelligence, skill, prowess) The places where the disparate aspects of self-identity come into conflict are natural stress points. For character-based conflict, pry on those cracks.

Character and Self-Definition

Character driven stories are a journey of self-discovery. They begin when a character is dissatisfied with an aspect of self and end when the character solidifies their self-definition. This can end in a positive or negative state. Either the character achieves the self-definition they were going for, or they recognize that they never will. Basically, …

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My Favorite Bit: Richard Baker talks about VALIANT DUST

Richard Baker is joining us today with his novel Valiant Dust. Here’s the publisher’s description: Sikander Singh North has always had it easy―until he joined the crew of the Aquilan Commonwealth starship CSS Hector. As the ship’s new gunnery officer and only Kashmiri, he must constantly prove himself better than his Aquilan crewmates, even if he …

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Raise the stakes. You don't have to make it flashier, you have to give people a reason to care. Specific and personal - Their house being robbed sounds big. Their grandfather’s pocket watch being stolen is worse, Reaction - What are the character's physical reactions to this emotion? What thoughts do they have?

Raising the Stakes

When people ask you to “raise the stakes” for a character, they aren’t asking for more explosions. They are asking for a reason to care.

My Favorite Bit: James Alan Gardner talks about ALL THOSE EXPLOSIONS WERE SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT

James Alan Gardner is joining us today with his novel All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault. Here’s the publisher’s description: Monsters are real. But so are heroes. Sparks are champions of weird science. Boasting capes and costumes and amazing super-powers that only make sense if you don’t think about them too hard, they fight an …

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Where to find Mary in November

  We are all thankful for cats and sunbeams. Here’s where to find Mary this month: November 3 Online Class: Short Story Intensive Class November 14 Online Patreon Writing Date November 19-22 Writing Excuses records at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston November 26 Online Patreon Writing Class: Diagnosing Story Problems November 28 Online Class: …

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THE DRAGON QUESTION and my annual call for NaNoWriMo beta readers

It’s that time of year, when I once again participate in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t know this, I’ve written all of my novels either during NaNo or using the NaNoWriMo model in another month. This year, I’m writing a project for fun. It’s called The Dragon Question, and I’ve been describing it as “Alfred Hitchcock presents the Dragonriders of Pern.” …

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My Favorite Bit: R. E. Stearns talks about BARBARY STATION

R.E. Stearns is joining us today with her book Barbary Station. Here’s the publisher’s description: Two engineers hijack a spaceship to join some space pirates—only to discover the pirates are hiding from a malevolent AI. Now they have to outwit the AI if they want to join the pirate crew—and survive long enough to enjoy …

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My Favorite Bit: J. R. R. R. Hardison talks about DEMON FREAKS

J.R.R.R. Hardison is joining us today with his novel Demon Freaks. Here’s the publisher’s description: It’s the night before the SAT test. The forces of darkness are stirring. Twin brothers, Bing and Ron Slaughter, know they’ve got to cram like their lives depend on it because their college plans sure do. If they don’t ace …

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Where to find Mary at SiWC

Mary will be at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in Surrey, British Columbia from Oct 20 – Oct 22, 2017. Get tickets here. Here’s where to find her: Friday, October 20 Workshop – Diagnosing Story Problems 11:30am-12:45pm Tynehead 1 In this workshop, we look at tools to help you figure out where a story has …

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My Favorite Bit: Elizabeth Bonesteel talks about BREACH OF CONTAINMENT

Elizabeth Bonesteel is joining us today with her novel Breach of Containment. Here’s the publisher’s description: A reluctant hero must prevent war in space and on Earth in this fast-paced military science fiction thriller from the author of The Cold Between and Remnants of Trust—a page-turning hybrid combining the gritty, high-octane thrills of James S. A. Corey and the …

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My Favorite Bit: J.S. Fields talks about ARDULUM: SECOND DON

J.S. Fields is joining us today with her novel Ardulum: Second Don. Here’s the publisher’s description: The Charted Systems are in pieces. Mercy’s Pledge is destroyed, and her captain dead. With no homes to return to, the remaining crew sets off on a journey to find the mythical planet of Ardulum—a planet where Emn might find her …

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My Favorite Bit: Liz Duffy Adams and Delia Sherman talk about TREMONTAINE Season 3

Liz Duffy Adams and Delia Sherman join us today to talk about Season 3 of the serial fiction Tremontaine. Here’s the series description: Welcome to Tremontaine, where ambition, love affairs, and rivalries dance with deadly results.  In this serial, Ellen Kushner and a team of writers return readers to the world of scandal and swordplay …

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