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. 

 

Play

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:

Play

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. 

 

Play

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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11.17: Elemental Adventure Q&A

You may still have questions about how to apply elemental adventure in your work. Hopefully your questions are similar to the ones we collected below, because these are the ones we answered:

  • What do readers like more: protagonists going through lots of different incidents and locations, or through a few that are similar to each other?
  • What lessons can we learn from adventure games?
  • How can we make action scenes that adventurous, but that are not fight scenes?
  • Are there tropes we should stay away from in adventure fiction?
  • Do you have suggestions for non-western styles of adventure fiction?
  • How do you safely skip the long, boring parts of a journey without missing out on necessary character development?

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

Play

Writing Prompt: Make a list of cool set pieces that people could visit. Figure out how your characters' entry into these places will change the places, your characters, and the story.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson, narrated by Sanjiv Jhaveri

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11.16: Adventure as a Subgenre

Let’s be adventurous. Let’s move beyond simply being cooks, and strive to become chefs. In this episode we explore using the element of adventure as an ingredient in something that has far more than adventure going on in it. Why do we like adventure? What draws the reader forward?

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

Play

Writing Prompt: Take your favorite piece of media that is NOT primarily an adventure, and look for the places where elemental adventure is used. Make note of where and why, and consider what the story would have been like without that element present.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Shootout Solution: Genrenauts Episode 1, by Michael R. Underwood, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

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Writing Excuses made the Writer’s Digest “101 Best Websites” list

WDBestWebIconSubscribers to Writer’s Digest will find Writing Excuses mentioned in the May/June 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest. One of the features in that issue is “101 Best Websites for Writers.” We’re alongside one hundred other valuable online resources, and it’s no stretch to say that this list alone is worth the price of the issue, since it’s going to save you countless hours you’d rather spend writing.

We’re honored to be included here! Writer’s Digest pre-dates the self-publishing boom by about 90 years, and has proven itself to be pretty nimble, offering advice that applies in the current market, as well as the writerly stuff that applies pretty much anytime things get told with words.