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Messages - Tiffany Kysis Tackett

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I totally understand trying to work with a tiny budget, so here's some suggestions.

Chuck Wendig runs an amazing online writing blog called Terrible Minds ( and in it, he tends to do a bunch of articles on writing, both the craft and the business, using 25 Things About... as a frame.  It is absolutely free to read the blog.  He has also published a few ebooks compiling all of his writing advice into one place.  There are a few of them, and they are available in multiple formats (Amazon is usually where I go for them), plus they are generally really cheap, which is great.

The National Novel Writing Month website usually has a ton of great, writerly insight, as well as links to other places to get writerly insight. is where you would go for that. It's also entirely free.  Something which might interest you is Camp NaNo, which will be running a session in April, where people all over the world write rough drafts of novels in 30 days. It's a great way to shake the rust off, and is completely free to participate in. is the site to visit for that.

If there is a library in your area, you might be able to find books on writing as well, which you can then borrow and devour.  Between the Lines by Jessica Page Morrell is a personal favorite, when it comes to writing books.  She also has Sorry, But This Isn't For Us and Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction, which are both amazing as well.  I also recommend picking up books in the same genre as you write, preferably with a style of writing you enjoy, and reading the heck out of them, taking notes on how they put words together.  It's amazing how much you can learn just by reading.

As of right now, I don't really have advice on the art of writing itself on my blog.  Most of what I've written about so far is how to up productivity.  However, I do have an entry on outlining/structuring stories (this one has a script focus), an entry about the first draft, one on revision, and lastly, one on knowing your genre.  I wouldn't say they are anywhere as useful as anything Chuck Wendig has written, but maybe they will help.  It's worth a shot.

If I think of any more writing resources, I'll definitely be back with more!

Writers' Corner / Re: What are your current projects?
« on: March 05, 2013, 01:05:30 AM »
Every time I see one of these topics, I realize I have entirely too many projects open at one time.  Goodness! I think I need to condense!

1) I'm splitting a book project I've been working on for years into a trilogy.  It was too much to try covering in one book.  The first book is going to be called The Last Mirra.  Or at least that's my working title.  Hopefully I come up with something better.  This technically counts as my sixth draft (or maybe seventh; I'm not entirely sure anymore). I've written a little bit on this new draft, but mostly I'm plotting out the full expansion and making sure I've got enough to actually cover a trilogy/give more life to those parts that I barely glossed over in previous drafts.  Last time I mentioned this project, it was Hope of the Mirra, which no longer really fits.  It's epic fantasy with a heavy focus on religion gone wrong.

2) Steampunk book.  I'm in planning stages. I'm drawing up the world, the cast of characters and the narrative arc right now.  Oh, and researching. I've majorly strained my eyes on the amount of research I've knocked out so far, and it's mostly been on medical practices of the 1880s in America.  The hope is to have a fun adventure into the weird west with lots of steam and clockwork tech.  My main character is an ex-surgeon from upstate New York who is forced to leave, and is trying to uncover what strange stuff is going on since the war ended and why there is a sudden boom in technology.  Right now, I'm contacting Pinnacle Entertainment to see if they would let me set it all in their Deadlands universe, and perhaps pick them up as new dime novels.  If not, I'm making the world described above.

3) A bunch of short stories.  I've been writing a lot of short stories from the POV of #2's main character, just to get used to being in his head, and to learn his backstory.  Also, I've been doing a lot of dystopian, near future scifi exploring social issues.  I'm actually trying to redraft and polish those to submit out and around.

4) A ton of other books which I'm trying to completely forget about right now, because I already have too many other projects.

Um, I think that's it for active ones.  Like, really active ones, the ones I do some work on multiple times a week.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Steampunk as a Genre
« on: March 04, 2013, 11:53:07 PM »
Oh wow, there are so many responses!  This is absolutely fantastic.  Thank you guys for the wealth of information.

I've started a touch more research by picking up a few steampunk novels and am reading them currently, and am continuing research into the specific era I'm looking to toy with.

Also, I've marked down all the books mentioned.  Goodness.  Thank you guys so much.  Hopefully this helped some other people, too.

(Sorry for putting it in the wrong section? Since I'm asking about the writing market, classification, and style notations, I assumed the writing section would be appropriate.  Sorry about that, again!)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Steampunk as a Genre
« on: March 01, 2013, 01:08:22 AM »
Looking through the 2013 Writer's Market for Short Stories and Novels, I noticed that only one publishing company had Steampunk listed as a genre they are looking for, which is slightly worrying.  This inspired a few questions on my part.

1) I'm relatively new to the genre. I've been reading short stories and books listed in the genre, as well as researching the artwork for visual references, but I wonder if I am missing something.  What qualifies something as Steampunk, in your opinion?

2) Is there another way to classify a Steampunk novel, ie as historical or urban fantasy, sci-fi fantasy, or the like?

3) Am I not seeing many listings in the Writer's Market because Steampunk is not a large genre in America? In that same line of questioning: Is Steampunk a more recognized/accepted genre in the UK?

As a short background, I generally write epic fantasy when tackling something novel length .  There's magic, a world changing struggle, heavy use of religion with undertones of social control and philosophical questioning.  In short stories, I tend to stick with dystopic sci-fi, which has done me half-decently in the past few years.  However, I have recently been entranced with post-Civil War America and have been writing a series of short stories in that setting-- with a steampunk twist.  So, as per my usual, I'm researching all aspects of it, from how other authors tackle such a thing to the market itself.

Thank you guys for any information you provide! I'm really excited about getting some new perspectives on this!


Writers' Corner / Re: Favorite Types of Antagonists?
« on: May 26, 2012, 01:43:45 AM »
I'm a fan of the fallen hero.  I really like it when the villain is convinced what he/she is doing is right and that it will better the world.  I also like villains who are misguided, playing into the last two things I said, especially.

If villains are just straight evil, only want to destroy the world or enslave humanity for no reason other than being evil, I will throw the book.  Seriously. I can't do it.  Now, if the villain has some serious past hardship which is driving him, if he believes destroying the world is the only way to make everything right again, then I can support that-- well, not necessary support it, but find sympathy and find a way to write it.  I am more likely to want to read it as well.

Aaaannnnddddd, that's my two cents.

I feel like the novel is picking up to a simmer now.  It was slow at first,  but there were a lot of subtle things going on, which I thoroughly enjoy.  Now, a lot more of it is rising to the surface, the danger is rising, and I'm having trouble putting the book down.

I'm really liking the ambassador as well, and I find myself wanting to know more and more about him, even as Mal seems to be trying to keep a distance.

Okay, gotta go read more now.

In the first hundred pages, I am loving the POV characters Mal and Coby.  I'm curious about Mal's dark past, but I know, with the little tidbits here and there, that we'll be able to piece it all together eventually.  All the while, I'm really worried about Coby being discovered.

The writing is fantastic, and I can't put it down. (I'm already at page 200)  I am, however, having a bit of trouble visualizing the skraylings, but as I read more, I'm starting to piece that together, at least a little bit.  I'm hoping there will be more description later? *shrug* It's not necessary, though.

Writers' Corner / Re: Novel Inna Month Guv? Onna Stick?
« on: May 03, 2012, 01:39:43 AM »
This is interesting.  Have you ever participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? It's in November, so people have the 30 days to do 50k words.  November can be a bad month (especially for those in school) so they also have CampNaNo, which is a June and August version of NaNo.

I'm mentioning this, because sometimes it helps to have others cheering you on, to have others struggling for the same goal, a book in a month, at the same time.  All forms of NaNo deliver this sort of support system.

Either way, I'm cheering you on! (I'll be doing CampNaNo in June; I just got done with Script Frenzy [100 pages of screenplay in 30 days]; NaNo is further off, but I ML for that, so I'll be participating in that, too)

Open For Submissions / Re: Angry Robot wants your epic fantasy!
« on: April 29, 2012, 08:03:17 PM »
After many crazy days full of revising, editing, and polishing, I managed to get my book completed... and skidded in the door with it before the deadline!  Whoo!  I've definitely got my fingers crossed.

Writers' Corner / Re: You know you're a writer when...
« on: April 29, 2012, 08:02:11 PM » madly scribble down story ideas when you are at a stoplight, and get pissed when it turns green, because you aren't ready yet.

I picked up a copy at B&N all the way out here in New Mexico, USA. I'm really looking forward to this.

Open For Submissions / Re: Angry Robot wants your epic fantasy!
« on: April 17, 2012, 03:43:49 PM »
Hahaha!  The Q&A part really cracked me up.

I am entirely too excited about this, especially since all the feedback I've been getting from the industry is "we want urban fantasy, not epic fantasy, go away."

Writers' Corner / Re: Pen Names
« on: April 15, 2012, 05:52:08 PM »
Hmmm, this is definitely an interesting discussion.

My name, Tiffany Tackett, has a certain ring to it, but at the same time... I don't use it for everything.  Yes, my fantasy will be under it, but I also write under a completely different genre under a penname, to keep them separate (and to keep my relatives from having a heartattack).

Personally, I wouldn't use a penname just because you don't like your own name.  Max Edwards may seem plain to you, but in all reality, it's very easy to remember.  When someone goes to look for your book, they won't forget your name and thus never find it in the stacks. *shrug* But that's just my opinion.

Writers' Corner / Re: Your work process?
« on: April 10, 2012, 05:00:09 PM »
First, I agree with the other statements of every writer being different, you need to find a process that works for you.  There is no right or wrong way to go about it.  Unless you never finish.  Then you are probably using the wrong method for you (which might work for someone else).

My working method entirely depends upon how developed my story idea is when I start writing.  I'm breaking them down so this isn't a wall of text:

1) If all I have is a vague character sketch or a basic world idea, I throw said character into the world and see what develops.  This method takes the longest.  Yes, the first draft will be fast, but it will also be rife with plot holes, consistency errors, and random information gaps.  I will have to redraft the project multiple times over many years in order to get it in a polished form.

2) If I have a basic plot idea and more sketched out characters, I will try to plot out one chapter at a time.  I'll plot the first chapter, write it, then plot the second chapter, then write it.  Etc.  This usually means a tighter first draft with less plot holes, but at points, it also feels forced.  Taking the structure of it, I may write a more free-form second draft to see what grows organically, then the third draft will tighten it up and polish it more.  This process takes maybe half the time of the first one, for me at least.

3) If I know what happens through the entire story (like the project I am working on right now for Script Frenzy), I will do character bios, a synopsis of the book, and write out the major plot points which I need to hit.  Then I will set into writing.  This leads to an extremely focused draft without plot holes, though there may be a few character inconsistencies which come up as I discover more about each person in the plot.  However, I have yet to face a block of "what happens next" as I always know what's coming, so I'm always producing more.  As of the end of Day 9 of the challenge, I was at 40 pages.  And I've had time to revise another project and play video games.  It may not be as fast as 1 or 2 in some regards, but there is less halting.

I've yet to make a scene by scene outline for a story.  I like coming up with the major plot points then letting the scenes grow organically to get there.  Maybe my writing style will change. *shrug* But this is just in regards of a first draft; my methods for second + drafts are different, also depending on the project and how far I've managed to develop it already.

My suggestion: Try out a few methods until you find one that works for you.

Writers' Corner / Re: Self-Editing help books?
« on: March 27, 2012, 09:12:32 PM »
Thanks, But This Isn't for Us by Jessica Page Morrell.

It doesn't really talk (too long) about sentence structure or adverbs or any of those general "editing" things one needs for shaping up a rough draft.  HOWEVER, most of the book is about what works and what doesn't and how revision can be your friend.  Revision =/= editing.  They are both VERY important, especially at the stage you are at.

And I agree with a lot of the other suggestions above, as well.  It's great to always be learning.

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