Writing Excuses 8.52: You Think You Don’t Have Time to Write, with Mette Ivie Harrison

Mette Ivie Harrison joins us again, this time for a cast about productivity. She’s written an eBook, 21 Reasons You Think You Don’t Have Time To Writewhich is currently free on the Kindle store. Here is the full list of 21 things, since we could spend an entire cast on just the first one.

The point here is to help you, the writer, to recognize the mental states and attitudes that are coming between you and your writing. It’s our hope that you’ll end up more productive, and we can’t think of a better thought upon which to end Writing Excuses Season 8.

Here is to a 2014 in which you write more, write better, and are happier doing it.

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Come up with a reason why the writer in your story absolutely cannot write, then have your writer manage to write anyway.

Metatropolis: Green Space, in which Mary has a story. Lots of writers, lots of narrators. Go have a look!

Writing Excuses 8.51: Creative non-fiction with Mette Ivie Harrison

Mette Ivie Harrison joins us to discuss creative non-fiction, the genre in which the tools of creative writing are applied to factually accurate narratives. Her latest book, Iron Mom, tells the story of how and why Mette  became a triathlete. We talk about how those tools are applied, and where the line between fiction and non-fiction might be drawn.

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Try your hand at creative non-fiction. Takes something that is ordinary to you, but which may be unusual or extraordinary for other people, and write about it in a way that evokes wonder.

Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Macleod Andrews

Writing Excuses 8.50: Q&A with Mercedes Lackey

Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes the stars align and serendipity is made manifest. And sometimes Mercedes Lackey happens to be hanging around at the same convention you’re recording podcasts at, and sits herself down to answer questions with you. Or rather with us.

Here are the questions. You’ll need to listen to the podcast for the answers:

  • (For Mercedes) How do you stay relevant through the numerous changes in the industry?
  • How do you go about creating a title for a project?
  • Is blending 1st-person and 3rd-person viewpoints cheating?
  • (For Howard) Should marketing research be done before launching an online story?
  • When, where, and how do you end chapters?
  • How can you tell if you’re overusing narrative language?
  • How should a young writer balance their writing time against other activities?
  • What are the parts of being an author that you hate (specifically the non-writing parts)?
  • (For Mercedes) What advice do you have for finding alpha & beta readers?
  • Is it distracting to write out a character’s accent?

 

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Eavesdrop on a conversation at the coffee shop, then go home and write the end of that conversation.

Bastion: Collegium Chronicles Book 5, by Mercedes Lackey, narrated by Nick Podehl.

Writing Excuses 8.49: Hard Social Science Fiction with Joel Shepherd

Joel Shepherd joined Brandon, Mary, and Howard before a live audience at GenCon Indy to talk about writing hard science fiction where the science in question is social science. He’s studied international relations, interned on Capitol Hill, and is working a PhD in the field. His books reflect this background.

If hard science fiction is an exploration of what is technically, physically possible given a set of circumstances, hard social science fiction is no different. Further than that, however, good research in the social sciences will allow an author to build complex and realistic plots, stories in which character motivations go much further than picking a side.

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Pick two people on the same side of a conflict, but give them completely different motivations for fighting on that side.

Crossover: Cassandra Kresnov Book 1, by Joel Sheperd, narrated by Dina Pearlman

Writing Excuses 8.48: Long-Form Storytelling with Sam Logan

Recorded live at GenCon Indy, Sam Logan of Sam & Fuzzy joins Brandon, Mary, and Howard to talk about long-form storytelling. Sam’s webcomic has been running for eleven years now, and has evolved over time into something of an epic.

Sam talks to us about how he got started, and how the strip morphed from its gag-a-day origins into what it is today (is this similar to what happened with Howard and Schlock Mercenary? Maaaaaybe.) He also talks about his planning process, and the manner in which he structures the smaller stories to fit inside the larger ones.

If you’re looking for a good starting point for Sam and Fuzzy, Sam says that point is right here.

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Go for a walk. Think about what you’re writing while you walk. Don’t do that Facebook or Twitter thing while you walk. Just walk, and think.

Feed, by M. T. Anderson, narrated by David Aaron Baker