mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses 5.19: Fulfilling Promises to Your Readers


Key points: Be careful of memorable, vivid phrases. Beware of a gorilla in a phone booth derailing your story. "Don't put a gorilla in the phone booth if that's not what your story is about." Watch out for "bait and switch" endings (aka deus ex machina). When the rest of the story has built expectations, don't yank the rug out from under them. Ask yourself, "Where am I spending my time?" That is making a promise. Beware deus ex wrench, things going wrong without foreshadowing. Cool twists may break promises, especially when they shift genres. Make sure you have enough foreshadowing, and that if you put a gorilla in the phone booth, you let him call Chekhov by the end.
gorilla costumes? )
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses... except we need a writing prompt. Howard?
[Howard] OK. Um... promises, promises, promises. All right.
[Brandon] Oh, I made you do it the other time. So you have to do it again. Dan'll do it next time.
[Howard] No, we'll be fine. I'll get this. I just... it's right here on the tip of my tongue. Think of all the times that... in grade school, you or a friend of yours said something and said, "I promise." Any time that a child has made a promise in that sort of a context. Pick a really good... and that usually means in child context, stupid promise that a kid has made. Now use that as the leaping off point for a promise that you're going to keep in a book.
[Brandon] OK. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[Howard] I'll be your best friend.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing excuses 5.13: How do you write the second book?


Key Points: The second published book may be mechanically easier, but emotionally harder. Your first book may not have an ending, which can teach you to start with a resolution for the second book. Your first book may fail because you are thinking too big, and need to find a story with a cohesive beginning and end. Your first book may teach you that "you can do this." To make the second book easier, learn the terms for what you are doing (e.g. POV, third person limited, character). After finishing book one, trying to write a sequel often is hard because you need a new character arc, something new for the character to learn. Coming up with a compelling new storyline after putting the galaxy in peril can be tough. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. "Stories are good because people you care about are doing things you care about." [Brandon]
Second system syndrome? )
[Brandon] All right. Zombie John Brown. Writing prompt.
[John] Writing prompt. You have developed some strange thing... your character has developed some strange thing on his nose. So you get three different things that you could do. Somebody comes up and says, "I think that's an alien." Or somebody comes up from the occult and says, "I think I know what that is." Or it's a love story. It develops into a love story. Not with the growth. With somebody else.
the camel's nose )
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: (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.

May 2017

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