Category Archives: Career and Lifestyle

These episodes talk, at least in part, about how to manage your career as a writer, and how to keep writing.

13.40: Fixing Character Problems, Part I

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

This is the first of two episodes in which we’ll talk about how we, your hosts, fix the problems we’ve identified with the characters in our work.

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

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Take your very favorite character that you’ve created, and write a couple of scenes in which you break them by writing them wrong.

Heroine Complex, by Sarah Kuhn

13.39: What Writers Get Wrong, With Wendy Tolliver

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Wendy Tolliver

Wendy skis, and snowboards, and  writes YA novels. She is also the parent of three, one of whom suffers from mental illness. She joined us to talk about how writers can do a better job of depicting it, and how to avoid the pitfalls and the harmful cliches.

Credits: This episode was recorded live at Salt Lake Fan X by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Pick a mental disorder that you think pop culture has informed you about. Study up on it. Then write a scene in which that disorder informs the character’s behavior without actually naming the disorder.

 

Life Inside My Mind, by Maureen Johnson, Robison Wells, Wendy Tolliver, and 28 others.

13.38: How to Find and Use Alpha Readers

Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard

We begin by making a useful distinction between alpha and beta reader: the alpha reader is an industry professional, while the beta reader is a stand-in for the eventual audience of readers. We then set about discussing how to find alpha readers, and how to employ them in order to make your work better.

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

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Take something you’ve written to a targeted beta reader.

13.33: Reading Outside the Box

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard, with Kristie Claxton

Kristie Claxton joined us at WXR 2017 to talk about reading outside of the spaces where we’re comfortable and familiar. Specifically, we focused on how to learn about people who are not you by reading stories by and about them.

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

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Who are you? Answer that, and then go on to read  things by and about people who are not you.

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone, by G.S. Denning, narrated by Robert Garson

13.32: How To Handle Weighty Topics

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Amal, and Maurice

How can we, as writers, best handle weighty matters? This is our year on character, so we’ll approach this with a focus on character creation, depiction, and dialog?

This topic is, in and of itself, weighty.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Write a scene in which a person who is part of a group you have written about about is reading what you wrote.

Voice of Martyrs, by Maurice Broaddus

13.25: Our Journey With Character

Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard

Brandon wanted to ask us how our perspectives on character have changed since the very beginning of our writing. It’s a difficult question to answer, and a very soulful sort of thing to answer in front of other people. So Brandon went first while the rest of us racked our brains.

What are you going to learn from this episode? Well… you might learn a bit about each of us, but it’s also possible that you’ll learn something about your own writing, and find yourself able to navigate the next few steps on your journey with character.

Note: The apology strips Howard mentioned begin with this strip. They are part of a story that begins here.

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

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Describe your journey with character to someone else.

My Lady Jane, by Brodie Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

13.20: Fear and Writing, with Emma Newman

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard, with special guest Emma Newman

Emma Newman, author, audio book narrator, and podcaster, joined us on the Baltic sea for WXR 2017, where, six days after a brilliant presentation on overcoming fear, she recorded a session with us on the same topic. The class was just that good.

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

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Read “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare (it’s just 250 words). Now write the backstory.

After Atlas, by Emma Newman

12.53: Writing Excuses True Confessions

It’s the end of 2017, so let’s talk about the things that we’ve tried to make work, and failed at. Not things that we tried before arriving at career-level measures of success—things that we’ve folded, spindled, and/or mutilated since then.

There were a lot of them! This episode runs close to thirty minutes long…

 

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Try something you’re sure you’ll fail at… or maybe take the week off.

Ladycastle, by Delilah Dawson, Illustrated by Ashley A. Woods and Rebecca Farrow