mbarker: (MantisYes)
Writing Excuses 5.15: Steampunk with Scott Westerfeld


Key points: Steampunk is Victorian science fiction, extrapolated without restriction to current notions of possibility. It's also very tactile. Fashions and manners and brass and chrome and leather. Plus flamethrowers. Not just a literary genre. To write Steampunk, start with alternate history world building, and add other technologies -- crazy weird stuff. The familiar and the strange. Do your research, but don't bury the characters and the story under the world. "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong." Cherie Priest.
Under the steam robot clanking... )
[Howard] Final piece of advice for us, Scott? For writers who want to embrace the steamy punkiness of the Victorian era?
[Brandon] Or just any writing advice?
[Scott] Well, I'll quote Cherie Priest. "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong."
[Brandon] Writing prompt is Tesla is President. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 15: Visual Components of Storytelling


Key Points: Cohesive? Lazy shortcuts and a dash of signature elements. Lots of cool stuff, but find a way to connect them together. Underlying commonalities, like the circle template. The design of the book, maps, cover art, and other visual elements are a kind of prelude to the book, that can help set the feeling before you start reading.
on the sketchpad )
[Howard] OK, writing prompt. First a little bit of backstory. I had Brook West design ship plans for the Integrity which was the ship that Tagon's Toughs ended up acquiring. In designing the ship plans, we arrived at some really fun anomalies where if you were to shut off the gravity, the water would suddenly flow through the ship and make a huge mess. I got a lot of mileage out of that. So your writing prompt, in order to be visual, sit down and draw yourself a spaceship. Draw some interesting bits of a spaceship. Sketch, skritch it out, whatever. Draw something, and then find interesting aspects about what you drew and work them into the story.
[Brandon] All right. This has been writing excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Last night, Mitsuko and I watched Gake no ue no Ponyo, or Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. This was a showing on TV, preceded by about an hour of  background.
Spoilers galore... )
I think perhaps they couldn't figure out how to resolve the movie. After all, his mother left, headed for the old folks' home. And the boy and Ponyo set out to find her. But there's no obvious way for Ponyo to become a human, especially as the dose of humanity gained from licking his blood earlier wears off. Unless... Hard to tell. But I think sticking with the realism of the old folks and mother would have made it better for me, even though it would have been more difficult to reach a clear ending.
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: (Fireworks Delight)
Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 19: Do creative writing classes help?


Key points: creative writing classes, panels at conventions, books on creative writing -- they can all be useful, but you have to want to learn. Learn about the business, learn to be accountable for your own productivity. Ask yourself -- without the magic, without the robots, without the fantastic elements, is there still a story here? The range of human ability that we are born with is miniscule compared to the range of human accomplishments, what you can do. Listen to suggestions, and don't be afraid to rework your writing from the ground up. You can learn, but you gotta really try.
the class lecture )
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. Your writing prompt is...
[Dan] Write a story about a golfing metaphor.
[Brandon] Thanks for listening.

May 2017

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