Category Archives: Theory and Technique

12.46: Reinventing Yourself

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

We discuss the idea of “reinventing yourself,” which can mean anything from “trying something new” to “completely re-branding yourself as a writer,” and how it’s a difficult thing to do without figuring out what it actually is that you’re currently doing. We talk about how we’ve done it, how others have done it, and how important it is to continue learning as a writer.

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

Play

Immerse yourself in a genre that is new to you. Short story anthologies in that genre, or award winning novels are a good place to start. Read those.

NOTE: The Lost Book of the White by Wesley Chu and Cassandra Claire has been retitled and rescheduled. You should (eventually) be looking for:

The Red Scrolls of Magicby Wesley Chu and Cassandra Clare, scheduled for release in March of 2019.

12.44: NaNoWriMo 2017 Primer

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

We’re going to share some of our experiences with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in an effort to encourage you to participate in ways that will advance you toward your goals.

Note: After a week, this is the only photo we’ve found of Wounded Howard. Dan took it, and Howard was clearly putting on “angry face” for show.  Also, he doesn’t look nearly as pale as any of us remember him looking.IMG_2633

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Do NaNoWrimo in a way that matches your personal goals.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

12.43: Serialized Storytelling

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

We’re talking about the extreme long-form serial story here, and how to keep things interesting without forcing the main characters into an absurdly high number of character-developing moments. Brandon leads by aiming the question at Howard, since Schlock Mercenary has been running now for seventeen years (it was only 16 at the time we recorded.) We also talk about how long romance serials avoid “sequelitis” by swapping out the love interests, and how the tools used here apply across multiple styles and genres.

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Create a “Beat Chart” identifying iconic moments, questions and answers, and new promises to readers, and then break these out into book-sized groups.

Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire

12.41: Raising the Stakes

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

When we talk about “raising the stakes,” we mean making the outcomes of the events in a story increasingly important to the reader. In this episode we talk about the tools we use to raise the stakes in ways that are more sophisticated than just queuing up larger and larger explosions.

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

Play

Try a few of the techniques discussed, especially by making the stakes more personal to a side character. And don’t do it by having anybody be dead.

12.40: Structuring a Novel

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

What makes something a novel, rather than just a serialized collection of stuff that happens? How do we use structure to turn collections of stuff into something more cohesive? What tools do we use to outline, map, and/or plan our novel writing?

Reference Note: “Scene and sequel” comes to us from Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writerfirst published in 1965 (52 years ago.)

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Take a film or TV program, which you like, and which was NOT based on a book, and plot the novel that it would have been had it been a novel before being on screen.

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

12.39: Q&A on Short(er) Fiction

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

Our listeners sent us  some questions about writing shorter fiction. Here are the questions:

  • How do you market short stories today?
  • Has ebook self-publishing made novellas more viable?
  • How do you structure a short story?
  • How short is too short?
  • Is publishing sections of a novel a viable way to get traction for that novel?
  • What should I look for in the semi-pro market if professional publications have rejected my work?
  • What aspects are crucial in novels, but which don’t belong in short fiction.

 

Publication “reputation” references: Preditors and Editors, Absolute Write, Writer Beware

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Go buy a short story collection that has a variety of authors in it, and read it.

“Mind over Matter” by Howard Tayler (from Called to Battle, Volume 2  from Privateer Press.)