mbarker: (Burp)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 28: Brainstorming the End and Working Backwards


Key points: Many writers start by figuring out the ending, then working towards it. Be careful about telegraphing the endings too much. You can always turn an too-obvious ending into an early reveal distraction.
Leaving out the middle... )
[Howard] Okay. Is there a character arc for our biker dude?
[Brandon] Yes. But I don't think we have enough time. Dan... um... oh, writing prompt... What is the character arc for our biker dude?
[Dan] Writing prompt. That is a great writing prompt.
[Brandon] We planned that all along, and was our twist ending.
[Dan] And we went back and foreshadowed it in the beginning of the podcast.
[Howard] 15 minutes long because you need to write about a motorcycle, and it's actually 18 minutes in.
[Brandon] All right. Well. There you go. This has been Writing Excuses. Next time, we promise not to throw any puppies at bulldozers.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 19: Discovery Writing


Key Points: Outline or write, that was the question? Map and plan your road trip, or get in a cool car and take off? False starts may be your friends. Throw some interesting characters in interesting situations and see what happens? Start with characters talking? Discovery writing helps show us who the characters are. Do your characters suggest things and do their own thing? You may be a discovery writer! Don't be afraid to use some structure if it helps. Advice for endings -- analyze what you've written, identify the Chekhov's guns you've hung, and pull those triggers. Brainstorming with other people is outlining for discovery writers. Discovery writers revise -- go back and make it solid. Think of your first draft as a really detailed outline. Fix it in post.
Off we go... )
[Brandon] All right, Howard, discovery write us a writing prompt.
[Howard] Discovery write us a writing prompt? You know what, we're going to do Brandon's improv technique. Okay? Wherever you are right now, unless you're in your car, look around and pick six unrelated items. Pick six unrelated items.
[Dan] You can do this in a car, just don't crash.
[Howard] They're going to be related, because you're on the road. Okay, six unrelated items and weave them together in the first chapter of your discovery written thing. Knowing that at least two of them are Chekov's gun's that are going to prove to be important throughout your story.
Tail wagging the dog )
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 14: Brainstorming Science Ideas


Key Points: Dark flow -- somebody pulled the plug out? Hybrid life. The bloop at 40,000 leagues. The great Lithium caper. Nobody knows the nocebo curse like voodoo. Noises at the edge of the universe. And where'd everybody go? (aka the Fermi paradox) Take those ideas and stretch, spindle, mutilate, and fold -- look for the story, look for the conflict, and write!
where the wild ideas roam... )
[Brandon] This is your writing prompt. Somebody starts testing for psychic power by telling people they are psychic when they really aren't, and it works. People start exhibiting psychic powers when they are convinced that they have them. [from the nocebo effect]
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 11: Jordo Tries to Stump Us


Key points: Push the words, ring variations on their meaning, try interpreting it literally or metaphorically, what happens next, why would this happen? Combine it with something else. Is it like something else? Where's the conflict? Who hurts?
brainstorming in public? )
[Howard] What have we got for a writing prompt?
[Brandon] Writing prompt is the very next thing Jordan was going to say.
[Jordo] New Zealand woman sells souls to the highest bidder.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses Season Three Episode 22: Idea to Story


Key Points: To turn an idea into a story: Look for the points of conflict. Look for the boundaries -- what kind of story is this? Consider plot, setting, characters. What is the ending? How will you resolve the story? Look for characters who are in pain. Check old ideas that didn't get used yet. Brainstorm interesting ideas -- set pieces, events, twists, interesting stuff.
the nuts and bolts )
[Brandon] We're out of time. But let's go ahead and give you the writing prompt which is the same idea that we used at the beginning.
[Howard] Insects have in some way evolved defenses against all of the poisons that we use to kill them and many of the chemicals that would work to just kill anything because they have somehow developed magic.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Okay, I'm behind. But over at Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells are putting out a weekly series about writing called Writing Excuses. It's audio, not text, but I tried the first one today (it was put up Feb. 10) and it was pretty good!
Summary of Episode 1 Brainstorming behind the curtain . . . )Well worth spending some time listening to (only 15 minutes). And despite the term podcast, Firefox was perfectly happy playing this in a popup for me. Of course, it took me a moment to realize that I needed to press the forward icon in the popup window, but that's just me.

And you can find out about Howard's Pepsi habit, too. Now there's a sticky image. :-)

May 2017

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