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

6 thoughts on “11.13: Elemental Idea Q&A”

  1. Ha! Everyone’s still working on their homework, running the chains of what-if and why backwards and forwards, making those ideas scream for their supper.

    Well, from locked ideas through motivating the character, past the morass of untapped potential, and into the viability of ideas, Brandon, Mary, Dan and Howard, with Shannon Hale, followed the appeal of a monkey with a propeller hat into the forest of ideas, where dragons with magic swords and other notions lurk. So… read all about it! In the archives, or over here


    Have we got a transcript for you! Then rev up your brainstorms and follow the fascination! Before we dive into adventure, with a hearty hi, ho, shiver?

  2. So I’ve been listening to the older podcasts while walking the dog the last few weeks, and to make sure the time fits in close, I play them at 1.25 speed.

    It was completely jarring to hear all of your voices so slow.. and low pitch. Brandon sounds like a warrior compared to his sped up self.

  3. I loved that Shannon Hale finally guested on Writing Excuses! I’ve been fortunate to hear her speak a few times, and she’s always hilarious and very insightful about the writing process.

    Great podcast as always!

  4. Patron! Sweet! Looking Forward To Improved Audio.

    Where can we send in questions?

  5. I think I’ve heard Howard tell a story about unsuccessfully trying to convince a friend to create a web comic with him. I know I’ve heard him lament the art quality from early-era Schlock Mercenary strips. But I’m really glad he kept chasing that ominous hummmm…. This week’s encouragement to explore interesting ideas in greater depth really struck a chord with me.

    Case in point: A few years ago, I taped a post-it with the name “Edward” written on it to the back of my staple remover. Every time I had to pull a staple, the label made me smile. I left the staple remover and its curved teeth on my desk in plain view for a few weeks, to see what my office mates would say, but . . . crickets. No one said anything. I guess NASA’s Twilight fans have gone into safe-mode. (Or they’ve chosen not to encourage my bad behavior.) Anyways, Episode 11.13 struck a chord with me, because I realized that I wasn’t done exploring office humor meets monster humor. More to come on that. . .

    Thanks for the episode, Writing Excuses. You keep reminding me how fun it is to make stuff up.

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