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Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

Todd,

I was listening to the WotF podcast with Brianna Winner (she speaks very highly of you!) Would you be able to share how your work collaborating on the Twin Soul series differed from collaborating with your mother? (if at all)

Also, do you use personification in your own writing and would you say it's appropriate for this contest?

Thank you.  grinning  

Oh, our collaborations are way different!

With Mum, it was her universe, established and to be respected.

The Winner Twins and I started with a blank page and operated on the "leave your egos at the door" approach.  So if we came up with a character and someone wanted to change it, we followed the path to see where it went.

Brianna was responsible for the Twin Souls idea but when we finished Winter Wyvern, I said, "You know, it might be cool to tell the story from Ford's point of view.  Would that be okay?" And they said, "Go for it!"

The Twin Souls universe is quite different from Pern, being a pure fantasy universe.  We spent some time early on establishing some of the ground rule and we have set some general direction but the world is so big that we could easily tell *hundreds* of stories and not get bored (we've got 20 now).

In the case of The Magpie's War, we started with an idea that Brianna (again) threw out but then Brittany and I ran with it, expanding on it, pushing out the structure and the plot in ways that none of us had thought of.  We kept making the world richer, bigger, and more intriguing.  We spent a good 4-6 months just designing the world and then started working on the story.

The Twin Souls series is large and amazingly visual, we've always had it in mind that it could be translated to manga, comics, or TV.

I often wonder what would have been possible if Mum and I had had enough time to create our own shared playground.  Although one of my more thrilling memory was when I described to her my idea for what has become Ellay: The First AI.   When I was done, she declared loudly, "If you don't write it, I will!"

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 2:41 pm
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

Todd,

I was listening to the WotF podcast with Brianna Winner (she speaks very highly of you!) Would you be able to share how your work collaborating on the Twin Soul series differed from collaborating with your mother? (if at all)

Also, do you use personification in your own writing and would you say it's appropriate for this contest?

Thank you.  grinning  

Oops, missed the last question!

Do I use personification?  I do! I wrote Why I Shot My Car! a long while back which used it a lot.

I think you can use it in the contest, (ahem) just make it work!

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 2:43 pm
John Goodwin
(@johngoodwin)
Active Member Moderator
Posts: 24

As a full time writer, how much of your day is devoted to actually writing and how much on research?

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Posted : June 26, 2021 2:44 pm
Wulf Moon liked
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @rschibler

@toddric Thanks so much! I love many of the same authors, but I'll have to check out some of those, too. Appreciated.

I think I missed this.

You're welcome!

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 2:44 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2279

Thanks for your input on trad vs. indie, Todd. Good items to reflect on! And yes, I want to be read by many, but I do want to be paid for my work--readers should pay authors for their work, we didn't create it without cost. We spend thousands of dollars on seminars and craft books, and many years and thousands of hours learning our trade, and then all the time that goes into creating the novel itself. All of this in the beginning is done with very little feedback that we're on the right track. It's a long haul with few rewards through the startup, and even with success, you have to be creative to make a living at it, even after recognition by such a wonderful contest as Writers of the Future. 

So since you're hybrid, that means (and I know from my bookshelves) you're still publishing through traditional venues. What about an agent? With the publisher taking so much of the cut, and then the agent taking fifteen percent, does it make sense to have one? Do they pay for themselves over time when you're selling through a traditional publisher? For instance, foreign markets you wouldn't have the connections to get access to?

Oh, and thank you for your kind words about my efforts to help aspiring writers. Kind of you to notice. Smile

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Posted : June 26, 2021 2:45 pm
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @johngoodwin
Posted by: @toddric
Posted by: @emilygoodwin

Hi Todd!

Thanks for being here.

So what is your plan with illustration? World famous author gets Honorable Mention in the Illustrators of the Future Contest....

Ahhh!  Well, world conquest has always been on my short list of accomplishments <grin>!

I'm hoping very much to become a Finalist in the Illustrators of the Future (I've already submitted for the next quarter).

I, personally, tend to think in wraparound (e.g.: paperback) covers. I want to be able to master this skill. (I have an MFA in Fine Art, I figure I should use it <grin>).

I read a very interesting (and infuriating) book for my philosophy class at Claremont Graduate University called "Chromophobia." The author is gently debunking the notion of semiotics in a way that made it clear that there some thing words cannot describe or convey.  Art does that. It was an epiphany which I'm still processing.

I have acquired many of the marvelous Domestika courses and have learned a whole bunch more about Photoshop than I had imagined possible.

And, of course, my good friend Jeff Weiner *is* an Illustrator of the Future winner, himself! So I'm motivated!

That's interesting about your "Chromophobia" statement and quite possibly explains why illustration was such an essential part of the pulp fiction era and why it works so well with the Writers of the Future anthologies. The illustrations add an extra dimension that words alone don't provide.

 

Yes, good point! Also, it is *so* cool to get a story illustrated!

I remember when Mum had illustrations, particularly the covers for Weyr Search and Dragonrider, not to mention the marvelous Frank Kelly Freas illo for Apple. It just makes things pop out more!

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 2:47 pm
John Goodwin
(@johngoodwin)
Active Member Moderator
Posts: 24
Posted by: @toddric
Posted by: @johngoodwin
Posted by: @toddric
Posted by: @emilygoodwin

Hi Todd!

Thanks for being here.

So what is your plan with illustration? World famous author gets Honorable Mention in the Illustrators of the Future Contest....

Ahhh!  Well, world conquest has always been on my short list of accomplishments <grin>!

I'm hoping very much to become a Finalist in the Illustrators of the Future (I've already submitted for the next quarter).

I, personally, tend to think in wraparound (e.g.: paperback) covers. I want to be able to master this skill. (I have an MFA in Fine Art, I figure I should use it <grin>).

I read a very interesting (and infuriating) book for my philosophy class at Claremont Graduate University called "Chromophobia." The author is gently debunking the notion of semiotics in a way that made it clear that there some thing words cannot describe or convey.  Art does that. It was an epiphany which I'm still processing.

I have acquired many of the marvelous Domestika courses and have learned a whole bunch more about Photoshop than I had imagined possible.

And, of course, my good friend Jeff Weiner *is* an Illustrator of the Future winner, himself! So I'm motivated!

That's interesting about your "Chromophobia" statement and quite possibly explains why illustration was such an essential part of the pulp fiction era and why it works so well with the Writers of the Future anthologies. The illustrations add an extra dimension that words alone don't provide.

 

Yes, good point! Also, it is *so* cool to get a story illustrated!

I remember when Mum had illustrations, particularly the covers for Weyr Search and Dragonrider, not to mention the marvelous Frank Kelly Freas illo for Apple. It just makes things pop out more!

 

Absolutely true!

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Posted : June 26, 2021 2:51 pm
Wulf Moon liked
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 162
Posted by: @toddric

Although one of my more thrilling memory was when I described to her my idea for what has become Ellay: The First AI.   When I was done, she declared loudly, "If you don't write it, I will!"

That must have been encouraging!

Thanks for your responses. It's interesting hearing how people work together in different ways.

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, P

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Posted : June 26, 2021 2:52 pm
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @wulfmoon

Thanks for your input on trad vs. indie, Todd. Good items to reflect on! And yes, I want to be read by many, but I do want to be paid for my work--readers should pay authors for their work, we didn't create it without cost. We spend thousands of dollars on seminars and craft books, and many years and thousands of hours learning our trade, and then all the time that goes into creating the novel itself. All of this in the beginning is done with very little feedback that we're on the right track. It's a long haul with few rewards through the startup, and even with success, you have to be creative to make a living at it, even after recognition by such a wonderful contest as Writers of the Future. 

So since you're hybrid, that means (and I know from my bookshelves) you're still publishing through traditional venues. What about an agent? With the publisher taking so much of the cut, and then the agent taking fifteen percent, does it make sense to have one? Do they pay for themselves over time when you're selling through a traditional publisher? For instance, foreign markets you wouldn't have the connections to get access to?

Oh, and thank you for your kind words about my efforts to help aspiring writers. Kind of you to notice. Smile

Agents are great for foreign rights.

When you consider an agent, you need to think like you're getting married. It can be a really big, emotional commitment (try to avoid the emotion, if you can).  An agent is usually your first reader and is a protective barrier between you and the publisher.  They add a layer of sanity when things can get crazy. That said, I am currently without an agent and not particularly driven to find one.

I am lucky, however, that Mum made it a point to ask me to read every contract that came to her.  That education means that I'm pretty good at understanding contracts, which is often something that writers prefer to let agents do (warning: bad idea!).

As a writer, it is *absolutely vital* that you understand copyright law, that you understand contracts and that you *keep abreast* of the industry.  If you're in doubt, get yourself an entertainment lawyer to go over your contracts (costs less than an agent, doesn't take a percentage, knows more about the legal aspects).  You might want to check out what Kristine Kathryn Rusch (another judge) has to say on the matter.

I think... predicting the future... that we're going to start seeing "special" publishers arising from the more savvy, successful indies.  That's going to take things in new directions.  It'll mean, for those who just want to write, that there will be a new avenue for publication, perhaps a more lucrative avenue for writers.

For myself, I'm very glad that I can go from thought to published work (including audiobooks) on my own.

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 2:54 pm
EmilyGoodwin
(@emilygoodwin)
Active Member
Posts: 7

Todd, this has been amazing! Thank you very much!

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Posted : June 26, 2021 2:55 pm
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @scott_m_sands
Posted by: @toddric

Although one of my more thrilling memory was when I described to her my idea for what has become Ellay: The First AI.   When I was done, she declared loudly, "If you don't write it, I will!"

That must have been encouraging!

Yup!  And Mum got to read it before she passed.

Thanks for your responses. It's interesting hearing how people work together in different ways.

Yes, I was very intrigued.  You might also want to check out the whole Wild Cards series which was written by writers in Santa Fe (including George Martin).

Also, I recommend checking out Mal Cooper and Writing Wives.

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 2:56 pm
Wulf Moon liked
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @emilygoodwin

Todd, this has been amazing! Thank you very much!

My pleasure! I had a lot of fun, too!

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 2:56 pm
Wulf Moon liked
John Goodwin
(@johngoodwin)
Active Member Moderator
Posts: 24

Todd,

Thank you so much for joining us today. I know there will be many other writers who will be reviewing this AMA and continuing on with the conversation.

John

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Posted : June 26, 2021 2:58 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2279
Posted by: @toddric
Posted by: @wulfmoon

Thanks for your input on trad vs. indie, Todd. Good items to reflect on! And yes, I want to be read by many, but I do want to be paid for my work--readers should pay authors for their work, we didn't create it without cost. We spend thousands of dollars on seminars and craft books, and many years and thousands of hours learning our trade, and then all the time that goes into creating the novel itself. All of this in the beginning is done with very little feedback that we're on the right track. It's a long haul with few rewards through the startup, and even with success, you have to be creative to make a living at it, even after recognition by such a wonderful contest as Writers of the Future. 

So since you're hybrid, that means (and I know from my bookshelves) you're still publishing through traditional venues. What about an agent? With the publisher taking so much of the cut, and then the agent taking fifteen percent, does it make sense to have one? Do they pay for themselves over time when you're selling through a traditional publisher? For instance, foreign markets you wouldn't have the connections to get access to?

Oh, and thank you for your kind words about my efforts to help aspiring writers. Kind of you to notice. Smile

Agents are great for foreign rights.

When you consider an agent, you need to think like you're getting married. It can be a really big, emotional commitment (try to avoid the emotion, if you can).  An agent is usually your first reader and is a protective barrier between you and the publisher.  They add a layer of sanity when things can get crazy. That said, I am currently without an agent and not particularly driven to find one.

I am lucky, however, that Mum made it a point to ask me to read every contract that came to her.  That education means that I'm pretty good at understanding contracts, which is often something that writers prefer to let agents do (warning: bad idea!).

As a writer, it is *absolutely vital* that you understand copyright law, that you understand contracts and that you *keep abreast* of the industry.  If you're in doubt, get yourself an entertainment lawyer to go over your contracts (costs less than an agent, doesn't take a percentage, knows more about the legal aspects).  You might want to check out what Kristine Kathryn Rusch (another judge) has to say on the matter.

I think... predicting the future... that we're going to start seeing "special" publishers arising from the more savvy, successful indies.  That's going to take things in new directions.  It'll mean, for those who just want to write, that there will be a new avenue for publication, perhaps a more lucrative avenue for writers.

For myself, I'm very glad that I can go from thought to published work (including audiobooks) on my own.

"For myself, I'm very glad that I can go from thought to published work (including audiobooks) on my own."

 

Boy, did that line ring a bell for me, Todd! Thank you.

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Posted : June 26, 2021 2:59 pm
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33
Posted by: @johngoodwin

As a full time writer, how much of your day is devoted to actually writing and how much on research?

It really depends on the project.

I generally set a word count goal.

I like to hit 2000 words a day.  There are times when I do more and times when I miss completely.

COVID hit me harder than I'd imagined. It's funny, really, as I'd already explored this possibility in Dragon Harper.

Anway, now that I'm vaccinated and world is re-opening, my output is increasing.

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 3:01 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 162

Todd,

from all the writers who have the opportunity to learn from you here - thank you!

We all really appreciate you giving your time.

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, P

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Posted : June 26, 2021 3:01 pm
Cray Dimensional
(@craydimensional)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 154

Todd,

Thank you for coming out today and offering encouragement. I will finish my stories.

I look forward to reading the Twins collaboration.

 

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, P

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Posted : June 26, 2021 3:02 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2279

Thank you for your time fielding questions in our Forum today, Todd! Lots of solid answers for our members! All the best to you, and I hope to see you again at the workshop week this October!

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Posted : June 26, 2021 3:05 pm
John Goodwin
(@johngoodwin)
Active Member Moderator
Posts: 24
Posted by: @toddric
Posted by: @johngoodwin

As a full time writer, how much of your day is devoted to actually writing and how much on research?

It really depends on the project.

I generally set a word count goal.

I like to hit 2000 words a day.  There are times when I do more and times when I miss completely.

COVID hit me harder than I'd imagined. It's funny, really, as I'd already explored this possibility in Dragon Harper.

Anway, now that I'm vaccinated and world is re-opening, my output is increasing.

Thank you, Todd!

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Posted : June 26, 2021 3:06 pm
Todd McCaffrey
(@toddric)
Advanced Member
Posts: 33

I wanted to share a couple of books on writing that you might find helpful:

1. My Story Can Beat Up Your Story by Jeffrey Alan Schechter

2. Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold

3. Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder

4. The Write Path: World Building by Winner Twins and Todd McCaffrey

5. On Writing by Stephen King (yes, *that* Stephen King!)

6. Help! My Launch Plan Sucks by Mal Cooper and Jill Cooper, for those thinking of going "indie"

7. Heinlein's Rules: Five Simple Business Rules for Writing by Dean Wesley Smith

And, for those thinking of "going indie":

8. Surviving the Transition: How Writers Can Thrive in the New World of Publishing (WMG Writer's Guides) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

This post was modified 3 months ago 3 times by Todd McCaffrey
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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2021 3:17 pm
storysinger, NVHaskell, Wulf Moon and 3 people liked
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 144
Posted by: @toddric
Posted by: @craydimensional

Hey Todd,

Thank you for your time today.  I am relatively new to writing. What is the best advice you can give to novice writers?

Also, What inspired you to start writing?

Hi Craydimensional,

My pleasure!

The best advice I can give you is simply: Don't stop!

Keep writing. You are *going* to make mistakes.  That's natural and expected.

*Read* a whole bunch, particularly in your chosen field. Part of writing well is understanding the basics of structure, plot, characters, and dialog. You learn that mostly by reading.

I would also say: Allow yourself to be bad!

More stories are NOT finished because the authors were too engaged in creating the "perfect" sentence, finding the "perfect" word, telling the "perfect" story.  Ain't no such thing. So allow yourself to be bad (a lot of times a "bad" way of doing something turns out to be the *only* way to do it).

What inspired me to start writing?  Hmm... I think I fell into writing the same way as so many people: I thought to myself, "I can write better than *that*!"  Along with, "How come no one has written about...<fill in the blank>?"

Mum wrote about dragons because she decided that they'd had bad press, for example.

But there's a bit more to the answer than all that.

Any story is a tale of transition.  Your Hero changes in same fundamental way through your story. But the *writer* also changes. Writing requires accepting that it will change you while you're writing.

Also, when I write, I find characters whose stories I want to tell, who will never have a voice or be heard by others unless *I* give them that voice, and share their tale.

 

I wasn’t able to make it yesterday, and reading through the thread, there’s a lot of great advice here. Thanks for sharing @toddric!

The most impactful statement for me here was ‘allow yourself to be bad’. I often find a great idea stymied when I can’t find exactly the right word or feel like I haven’t described it clearly. I need to just let it be bad, make a note to look at it later, and write on!

Thanks again for your time!

V38 Q2: HM
V38 Q3: Submitted
V38 Q4: Submitted

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Posted : June 27, 2021 5:25 am
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