12.31: What Makes a Good Monster, with Courtney Alameda

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary, and Dan, with guest host Susan Chang

Courtney Alameda joined us at LTUE 2017 to talk monsters, and what makes the best ones so good. We discuss some of our favorites, and how the criteria we apply to them can be applied in the creation of monsters of our own.

Credits: this episode was recorded live at LTUE 2017 by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Create a uniquely American monster

Shutter, by Courtney Alameda

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

Play

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

 

Play

“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

Play

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.)