11.13: Elemental Idea Q&A

Shannon Hale joined us at LTUE 2016 to field questions about the Idea elemental genre. Here are the questions:

  • How do you keep an elemental idea story from feeling like you’re just waiting for the idea to “unlock.”
  • How do you tie your character motivations to the idea?
  • How do you know when you’ve satisfactorily explored the idea?
  • Are there elemental idea stories that you just need to give up on?
  • Is there such a thing as “idea clutter?”

Credits: This episode was recorded live by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

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Pick your favorite idea from the brainstorming exercise, and then work your way forward, plotting out the consequences, and work your way backward, plotting the reasons.

The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale, narrated by Cynthia Bishop

11.12: Idea as Subgenre, With Nancy Fulda

Nancy Fulda is back for our second episode on the Idea elemental genre. We cover some tools for exploring an idea, and then drill down a bit on how to use that exploration, or even multiple explorations as “seasoning” elements for a larger work.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Take a step further on some element of your story. Find an element that perhaps you’ve taken for granted, and turn it into something fascinating.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley, narrated by Thomas Judd

11.11: Self Publishing in 2016, with Michaelbrent Collings

Recorded live at LTUE, Michaelbrent Collings guest-starred for a discussion about self publishing. The landscape continues to change, and Collings is fully engaged in it.

He begins by stressing the importance of truly understanding the craft of writing—every professional writer needs this—and then talks turkey about Kindle Direct, Bookbub, formats and lengths, output, available resources, publicity activities, and what kinds of things new writers should commit to spending money on.

Note: Writing Excuses Patrons at the “Hear it When Howard Does” level got this episode on March 9th, four days ahead of the rest of the world. You can help support the podcast, and get early access, plus other bonus goodies, by joining them at Patreon.com.

Credits: This episode was recorded live by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Take the first line from any book, and turn it into a scary line. Then take the scary line and create two separate short stories using it.

Strangers, by Michaelbrent Collings, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer

11.10: Idea, as Genre, with Nancy Fulda

Nancy Fulda joined us in the dark dungeons of Dragonsteel Entertainment to discuss the elemental genre of “Idea.” It’s tricky, because “Idea” in the elemental genres model isn’t quite the same as “Idea” in the M.I.C.E. quotient. There’s a lot of overlap, of course, but the differences are significant.

We talk about stories in which the driving force is “ooh, let’s think about this for a while,” and how we might go about instilling this sense of fascination in our readers.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Find a cool idea, and then brainstorm twenty stories you could tell, using that idea as the core element.

Dead Men Don’t Cry, by Nancy Fulda, narrated by Joseph Zieja