Category Archives: Guest

17.18: How to be Funny, with Jody Lynn Nye

Your Hosts: Dan Wells and Brandon Sanderson, with special guest Jody Lynn Nye

So, you’ve decided you want something to be funny. How do you go about making that happen? Jody Lynn Nye joined Dan and Brandon at LTUE, and pitched this topic to them. And yes, it’s much more than just “delivery, delivery, delivery.”

Liner Notes: “It’s always more funny when Howard’s not here.” —Brandon Sanderson at LTUE 2022 (posted here for posterity)

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

 

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Take a scene that you’ve written, and re-write it to be funny.

View from the Imperium, by Jody Lynn Nye

17.17: Writing in the Public Domain

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and Gama Martinez

Did you know that there are some famous intellectual properties which have entered the public domain, and which you can therefore use to create your own stories? It’s true! Gama Martinez (whose God of Neverland novel features Peter Pan) joined Dan and Brandon at LTUE to talk about how cool this is, and (more importantly) what kinds of things authors need to do in order to make sure they’re only using the public domain bits of the properties in question.

Liner Notes: Need a list of things that entered the public domain in 2022? Here you go!

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Find something entering the public domain, and write a story about it.

God of Neverland by Gama Martinez, narrated by Simon Vance

17.4: The Gun on the Mantel is Actually a Fish

Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela RiveraSandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd

In the previous episode we discussed how to ensure that your surprise feels inevitable. In this episode we’re covering how to make inevitability feel surprising. The title is a nod to the concept of the “red herring,” which is arguably the most useful tool for setting up a good surprise.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Do the reverse of last week’s homework: find a thing that is important later and find a scene early where you can “put it on the mantle.”

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

17.1: Genre and Media are Promises

Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela RiveraSandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd

The genre of your story is making promises to the reader, and the medium upon which your story is told makes promises too.

In this episode we talk about the expectations set by various mediums and genres, and how we can leverage those to ensure that we deliver a satisfying story.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

Liner Notes: The entirety of Season 11, The Elemental Genres, is a deep-dive on this stuff.

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What do you plan to have your work-in-progress deliver? Does the genre or medium you’re working in support the promise of that deliverable?

Mine by Delilah Dawson

16.51: Promises are a Structure

Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd

Our next 8-episode intensive is all about promises and expectations. Our guest hosts are Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd. They’re joining us to talk about how the promises we make to our audiences, and the expectations they bring with them, are a structural format. In this episode we introduce the topic, and talk about some apex examples of success and failure in this area.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

Liner Notes: Here’s the story of The Tropicana Packaging Redesign Failure

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Consider your newest “favorite thing,” whether it be a restaurant, a film, a TV series, a novel, a podcast, a webcomic, a computer game, or whatever. Ask yourself what promises were made to you by this thing, why you believed the promises would be kept, and how they were (or were not) kept. Write all this down.

The Monster at the End of This Book, by Jon Stone, and illustrated by Mike Smollin

16.43: The Narrative Holy Trinity of World, Character, and Plot, with Fonda Lee

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Tayler

We’re beginning another master class, another deep dive series of episodes, and this time around we’ll be led into the realms of good worldbuilding by Fonda Lee. In this episode Fonda talks about her process, which includes plotting and character creation along with the worldbuilding.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Pick a favorite book with worldbuilding you admire. Can you identify in what ways the worldbuilding reinforces the character journeys, the plot, and the themes?

She Who Rides the Storm, by Caitlin Sangster

16.35: What is the M.I.C.E. Quotient?

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

The next eight episodes are a deep dive into the M.I.C.E. Quotient, so we’ll begin with a definition. M.I.C.E. is an organizational tool which categorizes story elements as Milieu, Inquiry, Character, or Event. It helps authors know which elements are in play, and how to work with these elements effectively.

Obviously there’s a lot more to M.I.C.E. than that, and in this episode we’ll lay it out in a way that makes the subsequent seven M.I.C.E.-related episodes much easier to navigate.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Seriously… watch The Wizard of Oz, and take notes. Track the M.I.C.E. elements, and how they nest in the story at every scale.

The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 film)

16.21: Player Characters

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, James L. Sutter, Dan Wells, Cassandra Khaw, and Howard Tayler

So, you’re the hero of your own story, and the hero gets choices, and in many ways directs the story. In our discussion of interactive fiction and writing for games, the subject of “player characters” is essential. From the array of options given at character creation/selection, to the paths available for character development and the final chapters of that characters story, “player character” touches everything.

Credits: this episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Go through the character creation process in an RPG. Pay attention to which parts were fun, and what attracted you to the different classes, creature types, etc. Identify what makes each major character build unique and appealing.