Writing Excuses 7.44: Writing for Comics with Jim Zub

Jim Zub joins us in front of a live audience at GenCon Indy to talk to us about writing for comics. He’s the writer and creator of Skullkickers, writes the newly-launched Pathfinder comic book for Paizo, and has been writing, illustrating, and managing projects at Udon for the better part of a decade now. Jim is an expert’s expert when it comes to this.

He starts by talking about the overall process, and how his original script fits in there. Jim and Howard then talk about brevity. Jim also points us at his five-part series on writing for comics (so yes, you have homework.) We talk about the writer-artist collaborative process, and how those collaborations change shape over time.

Jim also schools us on comics pacing, and how page-turns drive the comic forward differently than they do in prose. Finally, he talks about how to get into the business he’s in.

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Writing Prompt: Introduce a place without using dialog. Describe five panels for an artist to draw, so that the reader has been introduced to the location.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Swords and Deviltry: The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, by Fritz Lieber, narrated by Jonathan Davis and Neil Gaiman

Writing Excuses 7.43: Tie-in Fantasy Fiction with James L Sutter

James L Sutter  joins us before a live audience at GenCon Indy for a discussion of tie-in fiction. James is a writer and editor, and is one of the co-creators of the Pathfinder system. He is the author of Pathfinder Tales: Death’s Heretic and is the editor in charge of all of Paizo’s Pathfinder fiction.

James leads by telling us that if you want to write for Pathfinder, the first thing you need to do is write something for somebody else. As the editor of that division at Paizo, he’s the gatekeeper, and that’s the first hurdle you need to clear. He also talks to us about what he’s looking for in an author.

We talk at length about the Pathfinder line, its genesis, and James’s mission with Paizo regarding the tie-in fiction. He tells us about the things that turn him off in a submitted manuscript, and what sorts of work he does with his writers to help make the tie-in fiction actually, you know, tie in.

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Writing Prompt: Write a story in which all the characters are simultaneously the good guy AND the bad guy.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Railsea, by China Mieville, narrated by Jonathan Crowley

Writing Excuses 7.42: Contemporary YA Fiction

Debut author Janci Patterson joins us to talk about contemporary young adult fiction. Her first book, Chasing the Skip, hit the streets October 2nd, 2012, and while Janci writes fantasy, this tale has no fantastic elements in it. Apparently bounty-hunting is plenty exciting without adding magic.

We talk about the genre, the research Janci did, and some of the essentials of a good character drama. We also discuss how Janci starts with the pitch before outlining, let alone writing drafts, and how this process has helped her write books that are easier to sell to agents and editors.

Finally, Janci talks to us about breaking in, and why she took the path she did.

Audiobook Freebie! Legion, by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Oliver Wyman

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Writing Prompt: Pick a place where teenagers are not typically allowed, and put a teenager in that place.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Chasing the Skip, by Janci Patterson. It's not currently available as of October 14th, but it's coming real soon.

Writing Excuses 7.41: Seven-Point Story Structure

If you’ve ever had difficulty outlining something, this episode might be a perfect fit for you. We discuss the Seven-Point Story Structure, an outlining system Dan uses in which the story moves forward along seven sequential points.

Dan originally acquired this from a role-playing book, but it also sees regular use in screenwriting. Dan walks us through the system, and we hold his feet to the fire on behalf of Lou Anders, who once privately confessed to Howard that he just couldn’t get this thing to work.

Here, without any flavor text, are the seven points:

  • Hook
  • Plot Turn I
  • Pinch I
  • Midpoint
  • Pinch II
  • Plot Turn II
  • Resolution
While these are (obviously) not the only seven things that happen in your book, these are the key things that are working together to move you from hook to resolution.
After an explanation of the system, we brainstorm this on Dan’s “I.E.Demon” story in order to demonstrate the tool for you. Also, for Lou.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis, narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Linkage: Dan Wells Seven-Point Story Structure on YouTube

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Writing Prompt: Try out the seven-point story structure for yourself. Outline something!

“Out of Excuses” The Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat
June 10 – 16, 2013

For the first time, the Writing Excuses team is hosting a workshop and retreat for our listeners. This week long event gives you one on one time with the hosts, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Tayler.

Registration is currently sold out. Please scroll down for information about the waiting list.

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

The week kicks off with three full days of intensive workshops taught by the WX hosts. All on-campus meals are included during the week.

WX will also be recording sessions while there, so you will get an opportunity to shape episodes by the questions you ask. Plus you get to watch the team record live.

Starting on Wednesday evening, the remainder of the week is time for you to put what you learned to good use, and write. You’re out of excuses… Continue reading “Out of Excuses” The Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat
June 10 – 16, 2013