13 13.38: How to Find and Use Alpha Readers Sept. 23, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard We begin by making a useful distinction between alpha and beta reader: the alpha reader is an industry professional, while the beta reader is a stand-in for the eventual audience of readers.
13 13.37: What Writers Get Wrong, with J.Y. Yang Sept. 16, 2018
Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard with special guest J.Y. Yang J.Y. Yang is a Hugo-nominated short story writer from Singapore who identifies as non-binary. They joined us to talk about this non-binary identification,
13 13.36: Confronting the Default Sept. 9, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Amal, Mary, and Maurice If you live in the northern hemisphere, inland, perhaps above the 40th parallel, you are probably quite sure that there are four distinct seasons. There are, however, many,
13 13.35: Cliché vs. Archetype Sept. 2, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard Tropes, archetypes, and even cliches are tools in our toolboxes. There’s no avoiding them, but there are definitely ways to use them incorrectly. In this episode we’ll talk about how we shake off our fear of u...
13 13.34: Q&A; on Character Arcs Aug. 26, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard You had questions. We came up with answers. The questions are below: How do you fulfill promises about character arcs without being cliché? How do you subvert character tropes without betraying the reader?
13 13.b1: Bonus Episode — Elephants and Death, with Lawrence Schoen Aug. 22, 2018
Your Hosts: Howard and Dan, with special guest Lawrence Schoen Lawrence Schoen, clinical psychologist, cognitive hypnotist, small press publisher, Klingon language expert, and novelist, joined us at GenCon Indy for a bonus episode about elephants and d...
13 13.33: Reading Outside the Box Aug. 19, 2018
Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard, with Kristie Claxton Kristie Claxton joined us at WXR 2017 to talk about reading outside of the spaces where we’re comfortable and familiar. Specifically, we focused on how to learn about people who are not y...
13 13.32: How To Handle Weighty Topics Aug. 12, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Amal, and Maurice How can we, as writers, best handle weighty matters? This is our year on character, so we’ll approach this with a focus on character creation, depiction, and dialog? This topic is, in and of itself,
13 13.31: Learning to Listen as a Writer Aug. 5, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard “Write what you know” gets misapplied a lot. In this episode we’ll talk about how to know things by listening well. In particular, we’re looking at writing interesting characters by listening to real people.
13 13.30: Project in Depth, THE CALCULATING STARS, with Kjell Lindgren July 29, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, and Dan, with Kjell Lindgren Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t yet read The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel, by Mary Robinette Kowal, you may wish to rectify that prior to listening.
13 13.29: Iconic Heroes July 22, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard The term “iconic hero” allows us to differentiate between different kinds of heroes who appear in series. Nancy Drew and Conan the Barbarian are iconic, but Leia Organa and Aragorn are epic.
13 13.28: What Writers Get Wrong, with Wildstyle July 15, 2018
At GenCon Indy 2017 we were joined by Wildstyle (@MrWildstyle on Twitter), who wears many hats, and many of the hats he wears are donned in service of producing hip-hop. One of the most interesting revelations (especially for Howard,
13 13.27: Characters as Foils July 8, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Amal, and Maurice A foil is a character who serves as a contrast to another character. The foil might be a sidekick, an antagonist, a romantic interest, or really any other character who gets enough focus for the contrast to ...
13 13.26: Character Relationships July 1, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard Our characters become far more interesting when they begin interacting with each other. These interactions—these relationships—are often how our stories get told. In this episode we explore ways in which we ca...
13 13.25: Our Journey With Character June 24, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard Brandon wanted to ask us how our perspectives on character have changed since the very beginning of our writing. It’s a difficult question to answer, and a very soulful sort of thing to answer in front of o...
13 13.24: What Writers Get Wrong, with Piper, Aliette, and Wesley, with special guest Ken Liu June 17, 2018
Your Hosts: Piper Drake, Aliette de Bodard, and Wesley Chu, with special guest Ken Liu Our hosts for this episode are experts in a great many different things. One thing that they have in common is that they’re all members of the Asian Disapora,
13 13.23: Internal Conflicts June 10, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Amal, and Maurice Internal conflicts, simply put, are problems your characters have with themselves. In this episode we address the ways in which writers can build stories and subplots around internal conflicts,
13 13.22: Character Arcs June 3, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard When Mary says we could do fifteen different episodes on character arcs, she’s being conservative. Notwithstanding, we set out to talk meaningfully about character arcs in one episode rather than in fifteen (o...
13 13.21: Q&A; on Character Depth and Motivation May 27, 2018
Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard Our listeners submitted some great questions! How do you fairly and even-handedly write a deeply compelling character you deeply dislike? What’s the best way to discuss a character’s underlying motivations ...
13 13.20: Fear and Writing, with Emma Newman May 20, 2018
Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard, with special guest Emma Newman Emma Newman, author, audio book narrator, and podcaster, joined us on the Baltic sea for WXR 2017, where, six days after a brilliant presentation on overcoming fear,