11.12: Idea as Subgenre, With Nancy Fulda

Nancy Fulda is back for our second episode on the Idea elemental genre. We cover some tools for exploring an idea, and then drill down a bit on how to use that exploration, or even multiple explorations as “seasoning” elements for a larger work.

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

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Writing Prompt: Take a step further on some element of your story. Find an element that perhaps you've taken for granted, and turn it into something fascinating.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley, narrated by Thomas Judd

11.11: Self Publishing in 2016, with Michaelbrent Collings

Recorded live at LTUE, Michaelbrent Collings guest-starred for a discussion about self publishing. The landscape continues to change, and Collings is fully engaged in it.

He begins by stressing the importance of truly understanding the craft of writing—every professional writer needs this—and then talks turkey about Kindle Direct, Bookbub, formats and lengths, output, available resources, publicity activities, and what kinds of things new writers should commit to spending money on.

Note: Writing Excuses Patrons at the “Hear it When Howard Does” level got this episode on March 9th, four days ahead of the rest of the world. You can help support the podcast, and get early access, plus other bonus goodies, by joining them at Patreon.com.

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

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Writing Prompt: Take the first line from any book, and turn it into a scary line. Then take the scary line and create two separate short stories using it.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Strangers, by Michaelbrent Collings, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer

11.10: Idea, as Genre, with Nancy Fulda

Nancy Fulda joined us in the dark dungeons of Dragonsteel Entertainment to discuss the elemental genre of “Idea.” It’s tricky, because “Idea” in the elemental genres model isn’t quite the same as “Idea” in the M.I.C.E. quotient. There’s a lot of overlap, of course, but the differences are significant.

We talk about stories in which the driving force is “ooh, let’s think about this for a while,” and how we might go about instilling this sense of fascination in our readers.

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

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Writing Prompt: Find a cool idea, and then brainstorm twenty stories you could tell, using that idea as the core element.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Dead Men Don't Cry, by Nancy Fulda, narrated by Joseph Zieja

11.09: Q&A on the Element of Wonder

Gama Ray Martinez joins us at LTUE to field questions on the Element of Wonder, which were submitted by members of our audience. Here are the questions:

  • How do you create wonder in non-genre stories, where there are no super-powers, spaceships, or spellcasters?
  • How do you avoid making the wonder stale?
  • Are there stages of wonder, similar to the stages of grief?
  • Does wonder come from the style of the prose, the pacing, or from other things?
  • How would you foreshadow wonder?

 

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Writing Prompt: Have a world-weary character, one who is not in awe, and find ways to help the reader experience wonder despite being in the POV of a character who is not.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Shadowguard, by Gama Ray Martinez, narrated by Adam Verner

11.08: Wonder as a Subgenre

If the Element of Wonder is the driving force behind “sense of wonder” science fiction and fantasy, then that same element can be used to give wondrous flavor to stories whose driving force lies among the other elemental genres. We talk about how to use wonder at smaller scales, how to create it with context, and how you might use it in support of the other themes of your story.

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Writing Prompt: Take a story you're working on, a story in which Elemental Wonder isn't a driving force, and add that wonder to some aspect of it.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Bands of Mourning, by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer

11.07: The Convention Survival Kit, with Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger joined us at WorldCon in Spokane, Washington, to talk about her Convention Survival Kit, which is full of things most of us wish we’d known to bring to conventions back when we first started attending them.

Pronunciation note: Brandon uses the soft “g” when saying Gail’s surname, but it’s actually Carriger with a hard “g.”

Liner note: Gail’s convention tips and packing list can be found here. The page is pretty comprehensive, and is worth bookmarking and committing to memory.

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Writing Prompt: Someone has to make a pitch when they are very, very drunk.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott, narrated by Georgia Dolenz, and Prudence, by Gail Carriger, narrated by Moira Quirk