11.47: Issue as a Subgenre, with Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes joins us to tackle Elemental Issue, round two, in which we look at how to address it as a sub-element. He describes the thesis/antithesis approach, and we move then to logical frameworks, and how to avoid making our stories dogmatic.


Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


In our first Elemental Issue episode we asked you to read a magazine. Your homework, then: Write a monologue from the POV of a member of that magazine’s target audience. Pair this with another subgenre. 

Twelve Days, by Steven Barnes

Revolutionary Writing, a course from Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due

4 thoughts on “11.47: Issue as a Subgenre, with Steven Barnes”

  1. These last couple episodes have been outstanding–thank you for hosting such important conversation.

  2. On the one hand, you have a genre, like a romance or heist. And on the other hand, you have an issue, like racism, obesity, or even the love of gerbils. When you slap your hands together, what are you going to get? That’s the question that the foursome, with Steven Barnes, took a long hard look at this time around. Add in some comedy, and you too might have a hilarious story that is also sacred work. So… go read the transcript, available in the archives or over here


    Then wash your hands and write! Run barefoot through the grass, watch for landmines, and make it entertaining.

    1. Just chiming in to say that I’ve really enjoyed these last few episodes too. Some really great stuff here. The rousing Steven Barnes soliloquy at the end of this episode feels as if it could be on an inspirational poster. Great stuff.

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