All posts by Howard Tayler

Writing the Other: a Discount Code for Listeners

Our friends at Writing the Other continue to host a wide range of classes addressing the manifold facets, angles, and approaches to getting our not-the-same-as-us characters written correctly.

On February 26th, Beyond the Basic Bi: Writing Bisexual Characters will be taught by BiNet’s Faith Cheltenham from 3pm to 5pm Eastern Time. Writing Excuses listeners may use the promotional code “noexcuses” for a 25% discount, bringing the price from $110 to $82.50 (assuming Howard did this math correctly.)

Scholarship opportunities are also available.

Please follow the link above for details about the class, the instructor, the scholarships, and the technical requirements for online attendance. If you want to be notified about upcoming Writing The Other classes, be sure to subscribe to their mailing list.

12.2: How to Nail Character Voice in First Person

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

This week we talk about character voice, and how to get it right in First Person. This POV is a strong tool for developing memorable characters. We cover sentence structure, linguistic tweaks, accents, and much more, as well as some exercises you can try out to develop these tools.

This week is also your introduction to our Chicago cast. You’ve already heard from Brandon and Mary; the new voices belong to Mary Anne Mohanraj and Wesley Chu.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Write a page or two of first-person POV in which the character is trying to complete a task. Now write that same task-completion scene from the POV of someone else who is attempting the task.

Perennial, by Mary Anne Mohanraj

12.1: Variations on First Person

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

We’re beginning a new season, and during 2017 we will be focusing our topics on structure. We are also going to shake things by expanding our cast a bit. You’ll be hearing some new voices soon! They belong to:

  • Wesley Chu
  • Piper J. Drake
  • Mary Anne Mohanraj

We’ll post more on that in a few days, but we’ve already begun updating our “About” page.


This week your hosts are Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. We spend a few minutes on the administrative stuff  above before jumping into January’s structural topic, the first person voice, with a discussion of the variations in how that POV is presented. We cover some of the different first person POV styles, what sorts of stories they’re often best-suited for, and how we go about writing them well.

Spoiler Alert: Episode 12.3 will feature Sandra Tayler, and is a Project In Depth on her story, “Risk Assessment,” which was illustrated by Natalie Barahona and Howard Tayler. It appears in Force Multiplication: Schlock Mercenary Book 12, available direct from Hypernode Media, or through Amazon.

 

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Take something you’ve written, and put it in the three different forms of 1st person — reflective, epistolary, and immediate.

The Star-Touched Queen, by Roshani Chokshi, narrated by Priya Ayyar

11.52: Elemental Ensemble Q&A, With Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray joined us aboard Oasis of the Seas to answer our attendees questions about the Elemental Ensemble. Here are the questions:

  • Can you fit an ensemble into a short story?
  • What the minimum size for an ensemble? Is there a perfect length?
  • Can you put a traitor into an ensemble story?
  • How do I give my ensemble characters equal emotional weight if I only tell the story from a single POV?
  • How do you introduce your ensemble without infodumping?
  • If an ensemble is about falling in love with a group of friends, how does killing a character work?
  • How do you give every character a role in the climax without making it seem like the plot was cut to fit the team?

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

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A Million Worlds With You, by Claudia Gray, narrated by Tavia Gilbert

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.