12.12: Words as Words, with Linda Addison

Your Hosts: Howard and Dan, with Special Guest Linda Addison

Linda Addison joined us at the World Horror Convention in 2016 for a discussion of the shapes and sounds of words as seen from the perspective of the poet, and how this approach can inform our prose.

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12.11: Diction

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

Let’s talk about word choice. And when we say “let’s” we mean “we’re going to talk to you about it. You don’t actually get to talk back.” So maybe “let’s” wasn’t the best of the possible openers.

Our discussion covers what we want to say, how specific we need to be, and what we want to evoke in the reader. Sometimes the wrong word is the right one, and the right word is the wrong one.

 

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Exercise 1: Take some dialog you’ve written recently. Replace the dialog with dialog that uses completely different words (except for articles, prepositions, and names.)

Exercise 2:  Write a scene in sentences no longer than seven words, then rewrite it in a single long sentence.

Sins of Empire by Brian McCellan

12.10: Developing Your Own, Personal Style

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

We’re not talking about character voice here. We’re talking about your voice as a writer, your authorial style, and the aesthetics you employ, and how this is an expression unique to you. And with that definition out of the way, our discussion focuses around how we go about identifying, developing, and embracing our personal styles.

(And, of course, when this is something to actually worry about it.)

Liner Notes: here is Corinne Duyvis’ FAQ and commentary about the Twitter hashtag #ownvoices, and the movement it describes.

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered in a secret laboratory by Alex Jackson

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Take something written by someone else, which you did not like, and rewrite it in a way that makes it sound like you, with your voice.

12.9: Q&A on Viewpoint

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

You had questions about viewpoint. Here they are!

  • Do you have tips and tricks for making 3rd-person omniscient compelling?
  • How do you make 3rd-person limited compelling?
  • Is it normal to need several drafts to nail down a character’s voice?
  • What’s the best way to portray an unreliable 3rd-person limited narrator?
  • What are your most effective methods for immersing yourself in character attributes so that you can get the voice right?
  • How do you choose between 1st and 3rd person?
  • How do you select the viewpoint character for a scene?
  • How do you smoothly transition between viewpoints?
  • How do you prevent character voices from blending into each other and becoming indistinguishable?

(Our answers are in the podcast.)

 

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Swap dialog between characters. How do different characters say the same thing? How do they react when something they would say is said to them?

12.8 Short Stories as Exploration, with Tananarive Due

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

Tananrive Due, whose short-fiction expertise is exemplified in her collection, Ghost Summer, joined us on the Oasis of the Seas to talk about how to use short stories to explore aspects of the craft. We discuss the importance of allowing ourselves to fail, and how we can learn from those failures, and continue to push our own limits. We also talk about how we go about pushing those limits, and what we do in order to most effectively explore new techniques.

 

Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Take something larger that you’ve written  and find a short story in it. Write that story.

Summer“, by Tananarive Due, which you can find in the Ghost Summer collection.

12.7: Description Through the Third Person Lens

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

The third-person POV lens can be used for simultaneously describing the world to the reader and describing the character. In this episode we’ll talk about where we deploy these tools, where the pitfalls are, and how to do it well.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, who heard the AC turn back on, and mastered by Alex Jackson, who was happy to not need to digitally filter the AC out of the mix.

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Homework assignment: read Ursula LeGuin’s Steering the Craftand dive into the exercises there.

Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donnelly