All posts by Howard Tayler

12.18: Gendered Dialect, with J.R. Johansson

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary, and Dan, with guest-host Susan Chang, and special guest J.R. Johannsen

J.R. Johannson joined Howard, Mary, Dan, and guest-host Susan Chang at LTUE 2017 for a discussion of gendered dialect.

We lead with a quick introduction to the Genderlect theory, by Deborah Tannen, which uses a very broad brush to describe key differences between the ways men and women in western societies communicate. We then explore the way some of the individual voices we’re familiar with have been influenced through gender role, cultural socialization, and even neuroatypicality.

Our goal in this discussion is to learn to write dialog which serves our stories and our characters, and  to do so in a way that both leverages and defies the existing stereotypes.

Liner Notes:

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Use the concepts of  gendered dialect to write a scene set among members of a matriarchy.

The Row, by J.R. Johannsen

12.17: Q&A on Style, Diction, and Paragraphing

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

We fielded some questions on style, diction, and paragraphing:

  • Is it okay to have pretty prose in a straightforward adventure story?
  • How do author voice and character voice differ?
  • How do you prevent paragraphs from rambling?
  • I feel like my writing is derivative of the writers whose work I read. How can I find or develop my own voice?
  • How much does diction play into genre fiction?
  • Is it okay to write in a natural speaking voice?
  • During which part of the writing process do you pay attention to style?

By Way Of Correction: “Unaccompanied Sonata,” by Orson Scott Card, is the story about anxiety of influence. “Tunesmith,” by Lloyd Biggle Jr., is about music, and even has the name “Bach” in it, but it’s not the story Howard described.

 

 

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Ask your alpha readers for their definition of your voice.

Wayward, Volume 1, by Jim Zub (writer),  Steven Cummings (Illustrator), John Rauch (Illustrator), and Tamra Bonvillain (Illustrator)

12.16: Writing Crime Fiction with Brian Keene

Brian Keene joined Dan and Howard at the World Horror Convention to talk about writing crime fiction, including how he goes about getting readers to feel the things he wants them to feel to drive the story forward.

Liner Notes: The Horror Show with Brian Keene

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Experiment outside of your genre for 30 minutes of writing time each day for a week. Focus on the character. At the end of the week, take the character you’ve created and see if they can be fit into something else you’re working on.

The Complex, by Brian Keene

12.15: Pacing With Chapters

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

What makes a chapter? WHY is a chapter? How do we chapter, and do we always chapter the same way? Should our chapters be this many parts of speech? This episode will answer these questions and more, except for that last question, to which the answer is “probably not.”

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

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Examine a book that made you keep turning its pages, and consider how it does that. Then look at a book you did not like, and consider how it nevertheless kept you reading it.

Jed and the Junkyard War, by Steven Bohls

12.14: Controlling Pacing with Structure

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

Let’s talk about the structural tools we use to control pacing. These include sentence length and punctuation.

 

Also, white-space.

 

Liner note: Here is the Feb 12, 2017 Schlock Mercenary strip mentioned around the 18-minute mark.

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered aboard a fleeing generation-ship by Alex Jackson

 

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Change up a piece of fiction of yours by changing the length of paragraphs and sentences.

Tea & Jeopardy: A GeekPlanetOnline Community Podcast, by Emma Newman and Peter Newman

12.13: Beautiful Prose, Purple Prose

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

The rising, golden sun crested the snowcapped eastern mountains, its first morning rays pouring like molten lemon through the window to glisten and gleam from the chrome grille of the studio microphone. The collapsing energy quanta of joyous photon goodness made no sound, but the microphone’s 4dB SPL-A noise floor changed subtly from cold white noise to the warmer, friendlier pink; a difference similarly found between the sussurus emanating from an air-handling system and the exhalation of a sleeping goddess.

The podcasters talked about writing stuff, and maybe something about adverbs. The microphone didn’t care. It was just happy to be getting some sunlight.

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Make a paragraph purple. Maybe make one of our paragraphs purple…

The Devil’s Daughter: Hidden Sins Book 1, by Katee Robert, narrated by Carly Robins