14.26: Lessons from Aristotle, with Rob Kimbro

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, and Dan, with special guest Rob Kimbro

Rob Kimbro joins us this week to talk about Aristotle’s elements of tragedy, and how they might be applied to our writing. The six elements are (in Aristotle’s order of descending importance): plot, character, idea, dialog, music, and spectacle.  We discuss this tool in terms of critiquing existing work, and in finding direction in the things we create.

Credits: this episode was recorded by Howard Tayler, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Take something you’ve written, and then rank the elements based on how important they are in what you wrote. Now re-order the elements, and rewrite the piece to match the new ranking.

Aristotle’s Poetics, by Aristotle, narrated by Ray Childs

5 thoughts on “14.26: Lessons from Aristotle, with Rob Kimbro”

  1. This episode had me till the end. I very much liked the discussion on differences among media. Oddly, I don’t recall if idea was referenced or not. Maybe my brain was a bit tuckered out as I listened to this episode. If idea wasn’t talked about, could someone clarify its meaning?

    1. It did seem like some parts were talked about in depth more than others. Though it also seems that many of the topics have been reviewed in older episodes; PCIDMS feels like an ancestor to the MICE/MACE quotient.

    2. Yes. This was one of my favourite recent episodes. Rob is great. Aristotle, huh? Those old guys knew their stuff. His list of virtues and their accompanying vices is very interesting (quite a good resource). I wonder if he had a podcast…

  2. Borrowing from Aristotle and the theater, Rob Kimbro talked with Brandon, Mary Robinette, and Dan about six elements – plot, character, idea, dialogue, music, spectacle – and three modes – lyric, epic, and dramatic. Scenes, beginnings, how the audience participates in creation, all in 15 minutes! Read all about it in the transcript available now in the archives.

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