12.30: Tools for Writers

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

We are often asked what software we use to get our work done. In this episode we answer that question in a bit of detail.

Liner Notes: Here’s a linked list of the tools referenced during this episode.

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered via great mastery by Alex Jackson

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Pick one of the tools from this list (one which you’re not using) and try it out.

Nexus, by Ramez Naam

12.29: “Oh Crap, the Cops are Here!” with Joe McKinney

Your Hosts: Howard and Dan, with Steve Diamond, and special guest Joe McKinney

We invited Steve Diamond, who has been a guest before, and who has some law enforcement background, to help us grill Joe McKinney, who has tons of that background, and who also happens to be a best-selling author.

This Week’s Liner Notes are extensive. Follow the link for a Google Doc, or click here for our local mirror of Lyn Worthen’s notes.

Credits: Mastered by Alex Jackson

 

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“Oh crap, the cops are here.”

The Savage Dead, by Joe McKinney

12.28: Trimming and Expanding

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

Revision: it’s when you make a too-short piece longer, or a too-long piece shorter. (It’s also a great many other things, suggesting that this description is a too-short piece in need of revision.)

Credits: This episode was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Twiss, and mastered deep beneath [REDACTED] by Alex Jackson

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Identify the key concepts in a scene you need to shorten. Your budget is one sentence per concept. Rewrite the scene using exactly that many sentences.

Plea,” by Mary Anne Mohanraj

12.27: Choosing a Length

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

We discuss the ways in which we decide upon the length of the stories we write, and at which point(s) in the creative process we make that decision.

Liner Notes: This is the story-length formula that Mary shared with us:
Ls=((C+L) *750)*1.5Mq
(In English: Add the number of characters and the number of locations. Multiply that sum by 750. Then multiply that number by 1.5 times the number of MICE elements the story incorporates.)

Play

Take a big, complex story, and re-tell it as a children’s story—something you’d read at bedtime, like Are You My Mother? or Goodnight Moon.

Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries, by Howard Tayler
(Note: the book is shipping now to Kickstarter backers. You can order it now via Backerkit, but it won’t appear at Amazon or the Schlock Mercenary store until August.)

12.26: Q&A on Outlining and Discovery Writing

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

Our listeners had questions about outlining and discovery writing. Here are a few of the very best:

  • Do you outline scenes? How?
  • How do you know when to STOP outlining something?
  • How much do you have to know about your character and/or world before you start writing?
  • What do you to to diagnose and fix a structural problem with a discovery-written draft?
  • What do you do to ‘get into’ an outline that you’re struggling with.
  • Are each of your projects similar in terms of procedure?
  • What are some major indicators that a piece needs more structural work?

Soundbite moment: DAN: “I had to learn the difference between a story, and a bunch of stuff that happens.”

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered via great mastery by Alex Jackson

 

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Find another writer. You each write a quick outline for a story, print it, then cut your outline into strips. Now, trade piles of strips. Your missions? Re-assemble the other writer’s outline.

Contracted Defense, by Piper J. Drake

12.25: Hiring an Editor, with Callie Stoker

Your Hosts: Howard and Dan, with special guest Callie Stoker

Callie Stoker joined Howard and Dan at the World Horror convention to answer our questions about hiring an editor, which is part of the process by which self-published authors build the team of people who will make the manuscript far better than they can make it by themselves.

 

Credits: Mastered by Alex Jackson

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Finish your story. Go back and remove 1000 words. Now go back AGAIN and remove ANOTHER 1000 words. Keep doing this until the story falls apart. Now edit it and ADD 1000 words.

Vicious, by V. E. Schwab, narrated by Noah Michael Levine