13.30: Project in Depth, THE CALCULATING STARS, with Kjell Lindgren

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.

In this episode we go into great depth on Mary’s novel with the expert technical help of NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who was one of Mary’s consulting readers. Like most of our project-in-depth episodes this one runs long. Longer still because we were at JSC in Houston, which was incredibly cool for all of us, so nobody was watching the clock.

Liner Notes: The reference to “Type 2” fun comes from an as-yet-unpublished episode. Type 1 fun is fun in the moment. Type 2 fun is fun to talk about later. Maybe much, much later.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Take something you’ve already written, and write a prequel set forty years or so earlier.

13.29: Iconic Heroes

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. In this episode we discuss how (and why) to go about writing a hero with no arc.

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

Play

Explore iconic heroes by plotting out an Indiana Jones movie.

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

13.28: What Writers Get Wrong, with Wildstyle

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, whose background in audio engineering predates MP3 technology by half a decade) was just how many hats there are. The role of producer in the hip-hop scene may include the roles of audio engineer, composer, and and even musician.

Liner Notes: For a deeper look at Wildstyle’s work, search Soundcloud for “Wildstyle DaProducer.” He’s been producing for a year since this episode was recorded.

 

Play

Watch the James Brown bio-pic, Get On Up, starring Chadwick Boseman. Listen to some hip-hop music.

Eastern Conference,” by Pope Adrian Blessed, Ares, and Wildstyle (link will autoplay at Soundcloud. Lyrics are flagged as [explicit])

13.27: Characters as Foils

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 be useful.

In this episode we talk about foils, offering examples, and our approaches for writing foils in our own work.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson, neither of whom serves as a foil to the other.

Play

Add a foil to a Shakespearean soliloquy. Alternatively, remove the foil from a famous comedy routine.

Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA, by Amy Shira Teitel, narrated by Laurence Bouvard

Also, “Girl Hours,” a poem by Sofia Samatar

13.26: Character Relationships

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 can fine tune relationships in service of our stories.

The tools include the Kowal Relationship Axes (Mind, Money, Morals, Manners, Monogamy, and The Marx Brothers) and the differences between personal and position power.

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

Play

Apply the relationship axes to a pair of your characters.

The Calculating Stars, and The Fated Skyby Mary Robinette Kowal