Lessons Learned from Co-Writing: Getting Started by Joanna Chambers

I’ve just released my first co-written book, Enemies Like You, with Annika Martin so I thought I’d talk a little bit today about about some of the lessons learned from the co-writing process.   Prior to Enemies, I’d had no particular desire to co-write with anyone. Quite the opposite actually. I know what I’m like. I’m opinionated and controlling and I knew it would not be an easy thing for me. If I’m doing a team task (e.g. in my RL job) and someone in the team isn’t doing a…

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“Real” life vs. “book” life by Daria Defore

Maintaining a balance between writing and socializing is one of those things that I find infinitely challenging. I’ve certainly been known to set aside a whole day for writing and then, because I have the whole day, after all, not start writing until night. Those of you who have done this know that those misspent hours are never productive. Most likely, you spent them experiencing varieties of guilt, browsing Twitter, and allowing yourself “just one episode” of That TV Show. Like many writers, I work a day job. But I…

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters by Annabeth Albert

There’s a trend right now towards low-angst stories where the greatest hurdle a couple faces is getting out of the way of their own feelings. And these stories are great—I have a number of them on my keeper shelf and sometimes it’s exactly what I’m in the mood to read.  It’s one of the cornerstones of what a romance should be—escapism and good feelings.  After all, real life, especially these days, is hard and uncertain and filled with tense emotions. And we all know all too well that sometimes horrible…

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Writing Your Way Out by Heidi Cullinan

Writers are often encouraged to write what they know, and this generally elicits passionate response, sometimes in defense of the maxim, sometimes against. I’ve always come down in the middle, writing from my experience most definitely, but always with a twist, because being direct too often results in something slightly misshapen, or dough too hot to touch. I’ll parse myself across seven or eight characters, giving one this memory, the other that odd tic, the next that professor from college. I always say the character most like me is a…

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Dialect in Dialogue by Jude Sierra

When I was writing my third novel, Idlewild, I spent a lot of time pondering (agonizing) over speech patterns in dialogue for my characters. This story takes place in downtown Detroit; in it we have Tyler, a young, genderqueer black man coming out of college and into adulthood who grew up in the city. We also have Asher, a sort-of middle aged (I am struggling to reconcile 33 as middle aged, if only so I can avoid being called so myself, ha!) Jewish man from the suburbs who has become…

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Tempted by the Plot of Another by Nicole Kimberling

For those of you who do not know me, I am an editor. Traditionally, I am that person who reads your manuscript and then complains about the number of times you use the word, “look,” when you could have used a stronger verb. For a while, I thought policing vocabulary was enough. Sure, some parts of some manuscripts disturbed me, some characters seemed really dumb but I didn’t think much of it. Then I began to see a sinister pattern of abuse emerging within the great flood of fiction. Time…

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The hottest sparkliest most id-tastic version of the thing by CS Pacat

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about moe, the Japanese word for the feeling of excitement, love or fannishness that you get towards a certain character or trope. There isn’t really an English word for it, though in the fanfiction community I’ve heard the similar-but-different “id-tastic” or “that’s iddy to me”, the idea being that your id resonates with certain universal archetypes, which you will always find appealing when they appear in subtly different forms across books, films, comics, games and television. In the last couple of years, at least…

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The Stories We Tell by Kris Ripper

Let’s chat for a minute about taking storytelling risks. The Queer and the Restless features violence against queer people. I’m a little nervous about this. For a long time the only queer stories that were permitted to be told were stories in which queer folks lived tragic lives, or stories in which queer folks were villains as a result of their innate wrongness. In Queers of La Vista, the majority of the recurring characters are queer. Some are grumpy, some are kind, some are obsessive, some are driven, or sweet,…

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