mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Six: Micropodcasts


Key Points:
  • What is the right way to kill a character? Bombs. With meaning!
  • Authors that have influenced your writing and why? A. A. Milne, because he has so much fun playing with words. Melanie Rawn, because she mixed magic with characters that I cared about. Tolkein for introducing me to the world that isn't ours. Victor Hugo for finding beauty in the gutter. Jay Lake and Charlie Stross for taking ideas to the nth degree. Pat Rothfuss for showing that even well-worn tropes, done well, are still viable stories.
  • When do you quit your day job? When God tells you to. When your wife tells you that you may. When you get your first advance check.
  • What do you do when you discover you hate a character? Bombs. Redefining them radically. Have something happen to that character that is grossly unfair.
  • How do you respond to accusations of being a Mary Sue? Do you really want to ask that? Is it wrong to write characters that people want to be like?
  • What are some basic tools for ensuring that all characters in a story have different voices? Model them on people you know. Check that they are different enough to recognize. Practice having different characters react differently to a single issue. Make your characters individual.
little podcasts, little podcasts, and they're all made out... )
[Brandon] All right. Let's wrap this up with a writing prompt. I'm going to go ahead and use one again this time.
[Dan] Excellent.
[Brandon] by saying the writing prompt is that these two different people who criticized Dan's book actually both read different books somehow.
[Dan] And thought it was the same one.
[Brandon] And thought it was the same book. They both had the same title, they both said they were written by Dan Wells, but somehow two different books were released. How and why is your writing prompt.
[Dan] Compelling.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 34: Q&A at Dragons and Fairy Tales


Key Points:
Time management: what are you willing to give up? Set a goal and times. What is important to you?
Process to get published: Write. Submit. Research. Network.
Team dynamics: position the heads in different locations. Make characters distinctive: visual cues, dialogue cues, unique motivations, roles, jobs.
Super characters: what's important to them? What problems can't be solved by superpowers?
Transition from fan to original fiction: create your own problems and personalities for characters. Build on what you already know.
Reader interaction: it's all about community.
Large cast: kill some.
Stumbling blocks to creativity: poor physical condition. Lack of reading.
And here's the nitty-gritty! )
[Austin] OK. You walk out of a bookstore to a torrential rain and Howard attacks you with the power of thunder.
[Howard] And lightning?
[Brandon] Little did... we have to expand on that. Thunder is his pet cat.
[Howard] I get a kitty?
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses and we went way too long. You're out of excuses, go write. Thank you for another wonderful season.
mbarker: (Burp)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 22: Q&A at CONduit with LE Modesitt, Jr.


Key questions: What do people get wrong about writing military? Discipline and insubordination. How do you develop a good action sequence? Discovery writing. Motivations of both sides. Long lead up, short action sequence, long cleanup and consequences. What makes good foil characters? Contrast and conflict. How do you schedule your writing time? All the time; early mornings; in the office; structure makes productivity. How do you write authentic dialogue for different characters? Personality and word patterns or rhythms. Highlight differences. Know what each character wants to get out of the conversation. Look for flavors.
The questions and some answers... )
[Lee] All right.
[Dan] It doesn't have to be a good one.
[Lee] Why does she not sound like the guy she's interested in?
[Brandon] OK. There's your writing prompt. This is been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses Season Three Episode 17: More Q&A at WorldCon


Key points: What do you do when characters revolt? Check -- is this the right character? Are you bored with the story? Are you forcing yourself to follow an outline, and you are a discovery writer? Or go ahead and write it out, then decide whether or not it is better. What's surprisingly hard about writing? Starting something new, doing revisions, doing all the parts -- beginnings, middles, ends. How do you build a world and history for your story? Study history. Reuse fiddly bits. Plan and take advantage of serendipitous happenstance. For new magic or technology, consider -- how does it affect the poorest class, the richest class, and how can it be abused?
Details, details... )
[Brandon] That's very good advice. All right. We'll go ahead and end with the writing prompt which is you're going to write about a band called the Predestined Monkeys...
[Howard] I thought you'd just make them write about a predestined monkey...
[Dan and Brandon] [garbled]
[Howard] It can be a band of predestined monkeys.
[Brandon] Something like that is your writing prompt. This has been Writing Excuses. Special thanks to Mary for sitting in on three of these. Thank you all, audience, for giving us questions. Keep on listening.
[Dan] You have no more excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (Smile)
Writing Excuses Season Three Episode 15: Q&A at WorldCon


Key points: What technology? Use technology you're comfortable with. How do you get original ideas? "Who is this going to hurt" can help you pick interesting ideas. Incubate and combine ideas. How do you outline? Outlines are a way of thinking through what will happen -- how do you get from plot point to plot point. Focus on the lamp posts, the big changes in characters. Or pick an image or climax, and lay the groundwork to get there. Outlines can change, too.
Questions and answers... )

May 2017

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