Category Archives: Guest

11.21: Q&A on Elemental Horror, with Steve Diamond

Steve Diamond joins us for our third and final Elemental Horror episode as we field your questions about this particular building block. Here are the questions we selected from your submissions:

  • If I want to make peanut butter terrifying without being silly, how do I do that?
  • What is your personal line between horror and “gore-nography?”
  • How do you avoid going too far with graphic elements?
  • Soundtracks are huge for horror movies. How do you set the mood without this tool?
  • What’s the best way for a thriller writer to edge into writing horror?
  • How do you decide when to show the monster, and how does it change the story when that happens?

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

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Writing Prompt: Outline a story in which your character must choose to do something horrific.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson, narrated by Robertson Dean

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11.20: Horror as a Subgenre

Steve Diamond joins us again to talk horror, this time about using elemental horror as part of our stories’ elemental ensemble. We discuss how the sense of dread can be a page-turning motivation, and how it can complement the other “keep on reading” motivations we set out to invoke.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

 

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Writing Prompt: Write a scene twice: first, write it so that there's humor, and then horror. Then write it so that the horror comes first, and the humor is last.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Swan Song, by Robert McCammon, narrated by Tom Stechshulte

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11.19: Fashion for Writers, with Rebecca McKinney

How do we go about describing the clothing our characters are wearing? How do we use that to add depth to our story? What are the common mistakes that writers make when they start dressing their characters?

Rebecca McKinney joined us on stage at LTUE to address all this.

Liner Notes: We mentioned some resources for those wanting to get clothing right in their work:

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Writing Prompt: Describe the same outfit from two different point of view characters.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Bluescreen, by Dan Wells, narrated by Roxanne Hernandez

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11.18: Elemental Horror

Steve Diamond joins us to kick off our month on the elemental genre of horror. We explore the emotional components that readers seek from horror, and then drill down into the ways that we can create those reactions in our readers.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

 

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Writing Prompt: Take one of your favorite triumphant moments from a something you've read or watched, and rewrite it so that this triumph is the false victory that makes everything worse.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Residue, by Steve Diamond, narrated by David Stifel

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11.15: The Environment, with L.E. Modessit, Jr.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. joined us at LTUE for a world building discussion centered around the way the environment informs the story. We talk about lead in Roman plumbing, water lilies in Las Vegas sewers, and coal power in the British Empire, and how these examples can help us more effectively use the environments in our stories.

Liner Notes: We mentioned both Americapox, The Missing Plague, (a YouTube video) and the excellent book Guns, Germs, and Steel.

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Writing Prompt: Come up with a fantasy fuel that has extreme, but unintended consequences.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Solar Express, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr, narrated by Robert Fass

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11.13: Elemental Idea Q&A

Shannon Hale joined us at LTUE 2016 to field questions about the Idea elemental genre. Here are the questions:

  • How do you keep an elemental idea story from feeling like you’re just waiting for the idea to “unlock.”
  • How do you tie your character motivations to the idea?
  • How do you know when you’ve satisfactorily explored the idea?
  • Are there elemental idea stories that you just need to give up on?
  • Is there such a thing as “idea clutter?”

Credits: This episode was recorded live by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

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Writing Prompt: Pick your favorite idea from the brainstorming exercise, and then work your way forward, plotting out the consequences, and work your way backward, plotting the reasons.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale, narrated by Cynthia Bishop

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Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.)