All posts by Howard Tayler

11.51: Ensemble as a Sub-Genre, with Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas joins us to continue our discussion of the Elemental Ensemble, which is one of our favorite elemental tools. It’s not just for heists. It adds interest, emotion, and lots of plot possibilities to everything from sense of wonder to the hard-hitting issue.

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

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Look at some of the elemental genres we’ve already discussed. Brainstorm some story ideas, looking at  what happens to them when you mix those genres up with the ensemble element.

Heroine Complex, by Sarah Kuhn

11.50: Hand-Selling Your Book to Potential Readers, with Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. Underwood has talked to us about hand-selling books before, but that was about pitching to agents and editors. This time around he’s talking about placing your product in the hand of your customer, the reader.

With Michael’s help, we cover some specific sales techniques, guidelines for convention displays, and strategies for bookstore appearances, with an eye toward helping you make that sort of activity effective.

 

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

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This is a character creation exercise:

Take a fun, sci-fictional technological idea, and ask yourself who stands the most to gain, and the most to lose if it comes to pass. Imagine an individual in that group, and ask yourself what that person is going to do, and why.

11.49: Elemental Ensemble, with Michael Damien Thomas

Michael Damien Thomas, co-publisher and co-editor-in-chief of Uncanny Magazine, joined us for a discussion of the elemental genre that contains most of the stories we refer to as “heists.” It’s all about a well-rounded cast in which the group relationship is what’s pulling us forward.

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

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Look at professions with a front-person, and with behind-the-scenes staff. Create a story that focuses on the behind-the-scenes folks.

Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damien Thomas

11.Bonus-04: Fantasy Food, with Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch

Elizabeth Bear  and Scott Lynch joined Howard and Dan at GenCon Indy to talk about fantasy food, and how we engage our readers’ appetites with our fiction. We talk economics, logistics, sensory engagement, and we goof off quite a bit in the process. We might have been hungry at the time. There is good fun to be had here, and plenty of (pun intended) food for thought.

Credits: This episode was mastered by Alex Jackson, and was made possible by the generous support of the GenCon Indy Writer’s Symposium, and the Writing Excuses patrons at Patreon.

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Go out and cook something!

(Also, take a character of your own, who is beloved by you, and turn them into the antagonist in someone else’s story.)

Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear, narrated by Jennifer Grace

11.48: Elemental Issue Q&A, with DongWon Song

DongWon Song, literary agent with HMLA, joins us for a Q&A on the elemental genre of “Issue.” Here are the questions, which were submitted by the attendees at WXR ’16:

  • Can only certain people tackle certain issues in certain stories?
  • Science Fiction often explores issues by changing the context. Why does this work?
  • How would you handle an issue story in short fiction?
  • How do you make sure to research the issue enough without paralyzing yourself with the fear that you cannot do it justice?
  • How do you convincingly write a position with which you disagree without convincing your readers that you agree with it?
  • How do you write about a deeply personal issue without making it sound like a personal sob story?

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

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Take an ensemble cast, and write each member’s position on a given issue.

Gift Child, by Janci Patterson

11.47: Issue as a Subgenre, with Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes joins us to tackle Elemental Issue, round two, in which we look at how to address it as a sub-element. He describes the thesis/antithesis approach, and we move then to logical frameworks, and how to avoid making our stories dogmatic.

 

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

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In our first Elemental Issue episode we asked you to read a magazine. Your homework, then: Write a monologue from the POV of a member of that magazine’s target audience. Pair this with another subgenre. 

Twelve Days, by Steven Barnes

Revolutionary Writing, a course from Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due