Six impossible things

Archive for the Mailbag Category

From the Mailbag #8

How many stories have you written? 22 novels, one nonfiction book on writing, and a bunch of short stories (I lose track of the short fiction very easily). What was your first story written? Published? The first story I tried to write was a novel I started […]

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Mailbag #6

How did you know that you wanted to be a writer? I didn’t. I never, ever wanted to “be a writer.” I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to get these blasted characters out of my head and nailed down on paper so […]

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Mailbag #5

What first inspired you to write? I hate questions like this because they make so many assumptions about “inspiration.” But since you ask… Probably a combination of my mother, my father, and the family I grew up in. This tends not to be the answer people are […]

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Fan mail from some flounder?

One of the things that happens when you write books that are marketed as Young Adult or childrens is, you get letters from kids who have been assigned to write them in class. It’s really obvious, for two reasons: first, the number of letters drops off markedly […]

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Whose Turn Is It? (Mailbag #4)

From the mailbag:: I know some people who feel quite strongly about keeping to the main character’s POV except when it’s absolutely necessary to go to someone else, but I’ve also seen that rule (like so many others!)broken successfully. It can be so useful to show someone […]

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From the Mailbag #3

Where are your best places to write? I can write pretty much anywhere; I learned that trick when I was still working and had very limited time in which to write. (“A writer with only two hours a day can write in the back of an open […]

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From the mailbag, #2

Where do you start when you write a story? With characters, setting, conflict…? It depends on the story. Sometimes, it starts with characters; sometimes, with setting; sometimes, with plot; sometimes with a situation or an idea; sometimes with a theme… It really doesn’t matter where the story […]

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Questions from the mailbag

Why don’t you do a collection of Enchanted Forest short stories, like Book of Enchantments only all Enchanted Forest? Well, mainly because I’m a novelist. Short stories are really hard for me; in thirty years as a writer, I’ve written roughly fifteen publishable short stories. Ten of […]

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Getting Stuck

I’ve been getting quite a few questions in the mailbag recently about writer’s block, and invariably they end with the anguished plea, “How do you know what happens next?” Which is a lot of the problem right there, in my opinion. Because “What happens next?” and “What […]

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Life and some recommended reading

Spent a glorious weekend at Fourth Street Fantasycon, of which more anon, I hope. Now my car is busted AGAIN and I’m waiting for them to come and tow it to the garage to fix the ignition switch. And I think I should get my cat to the […]

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