All posts by Howard Tayler

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

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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

14.25: Choosing Your Agent

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

Guest-host Dongwon Song joined us at WXR 2018 as an instructor, and gave great advice regarding the business side of working as an author. In this episode he takes us through a conversation about choosing an agent.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Document the attributes of your ideal agent.

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

14.24: Political Intrigue

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

Political Intrigue stories are less about “politics” (as colloquially defined by pop culture) and more about mysteries. Per Mary Robinette, they’re often like heists of information. The word “politics” here is used in its purest sense: POWER.

In this episode we talk about how we worldbuild for stories in which the flow of information and misinformation affect the shift of power, and how to craft those stories so they’re, well… intriguing instead of being boring.

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

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Take a classic fairy tale. Assume that the fairy tale was just the cover story…

Star Touched Queen, by Roshani Choshki, narrated by Priya Ayyar

14.23: Governments Large and Small

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab

What kinds of governmental systems do you live within? What kinds do you implement? Answering these questions can help you with the worldbuilding of political power structures. In this episode we’ll talk about all that. (Within our time limit, of course.)

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

 

 

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Come up with your own system along the lines of the “four estates” model common in the west.

A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine, narrated by Amy Landon

RSS, iTunes, and other Subscription Issues

UPDATE: As of June 12th, at 21:45 EDT, the feed is working again for current episodes. The main feed only reaches back about a year, but it should keep updating your various podcast directories just fine.


OLD NEWS:

We’re aware that for the last three weeks or so, something hasn’t been working correctly with our RSS feed. We’re looking into it. We’ve tried the usual suite of togglings-off-and-on, and we’ve examined our settings in an attempt to identify a misconfiguration somewhere. So far nothing has seemed to make a difference, but we’re not giving up.

If you want to report problems, explain workarounds, or otherwise weigh in on the issue, this post’s comment thread is here for you.

14.22: Characters out of Their Depth

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard

Sherlock Holmes has his Watson for a reason. Readers need a character to whom some things must be explained. In this episode we talk about how we create these gateway characters without delivering “maid and butler” dialog, or talking down to the reader.

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

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Pick something you haven’t read or watched before. Perhaps something you wouldn’t otherwise consume. Watch the first five minutes (or read the first five pages) with a note card at the ready. Write down the questions you have about the story. Then finish watching/reading, and see how (or if!) those questions were answered.

 

14.21: Writing The Other — Yes, You Can!

Your Hosts: Dan, Tempest, and Dongwon

The single most asked question we get on the subject of writing cultures other than our own is some variation on “can we even DO this anymore?”

Short answer: YES, YOU CAN.

Our objective with this episode is to encourage you to put in the work, do the research, and write outside of your culture or personal experience. At risk of sounding cliché, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

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Your homework is to show that you’ve done your homework. Make a list of the things you’re going to do (or have done) to properly research writing the other.

My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier, narrated by David Linsky

14.20: Allegory in Fiction

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

What is an allegory, anyway? This episode probably won’t settle that question, but we did manage a discussion on how to use our stories to teach things, or be stand-ins for things, and to do it in the ways that allegories and/or parables might.

We talk about some famous allegories, some things whose authors insisted were not allegorical, and the possible pitfalls of didacticism.

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

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Take a famous fable and retell it as an allegory.