Category Archives: Guest

16.5: Pros and Contracts

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

Here’s our deep dive into the subject of contracts in the publishing business. We can only go so deep during a fifteen-minute episode, so we ran about twice as long as usual. We discuss some of the things you should look for, things you should watch out for, and resources that can help you out.

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

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Homework! Check out the SFWA Model Contracts at the SFWA site. You might also have a look at Mary Robinette’s Patreon because she got permission to step all the way through one of her contracts with her patrons.

Middle Game, by Seanan McGuire

16.3: Publishing Pitfalls

Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Howard, and Brandon

Erin Roberts joins us for our third installment in Brandon’s business-of-writing series. In this episode we’re covering pitfalls and common problems—including some predatory practices—for you to be on the lookout for while you develop your career as a writer.

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

Liner Notes: “Accountabilibuddy,” which is written here so Howard can remember it.

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Writer Beware, w/ Victoria Strauss and SFWA

15.52: Economy of Phrase, Being the Concentrated Concatenation of Complex Thoughts in Just a Very Few Words Which Must Fit In A Very Very Small Box, With Patrick Rothfuss

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, and Dan, with special guest Patrick Rothfuss

Did we have too much fun applying ironic humor to the title of this episode? Possibly! Patrick Rothfuss joins us to talk about economy of phrase, and the ways in which big ideas can be expressed with a few of the exactly-right words.

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

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Take a scene from your prose work, and remove all the blocking and dialog tags. Now space out the dialog on the page, and attempt to convey the missing information with stick figures and smiley faces.

JimZub.com comic-writing tutorials
(Start here!)
Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud

15.51: Feedback—When to Listen, and When to Ignore, with special guest Mahtab Narsimhan

Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, Mahtab, and Brandon

We’re often taught that the best critique group feedback is reactions to the writing, rather than  advice for fixing it. But prescriptive feedback—critiques that include suggestions for you how to might rewrite something—is an important part of the process.

In this episode we discuss how we curate our critique groups and filter their feedback to improve our writing, and our experiences with these groups.

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

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The Random Critique Exercise: 
1) You and a writer friend each prepare a critique of a different thing.
2) File the serial numbers off (character names, locations, etc) and swap critiques.
3) Treat this critique from your friend as if it was for your manuscript. Discover what wrong advice looks like, and how often a broken watch might actually be correct.

What Unites Us, by Dan Rather

15.49: Maintaining Passion for a Story, with special guest Mahtab Narsimhan

Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, Mahtab, and Brandon

This episode comes from a question we’re often asked: “how do you stay excited about a story you’re working on?” We talk about how we maintain our passion for the stories we’re working on, and how that’s not the same as being super excited to write every time we sit down at the keyboard

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

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Return to your notes or your outline and look for the things that excited you about writing this story. Write those down.

Dust, by Arthur Slade

15.47: Worldbuilding Science Fiction, with Cory Doctorow

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Piper, and Howard, with Cory Doctorow

Worldbuilding is something you do to some degree in everything you write. Cory Doctorow  writes (among many other things) near-future SF, and he joins us for a discussion of extrapolative worldbuilding.

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

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Make a list of transactions in your life which have no reciprocity.

Walkaway: A Novel, by Cory Doctorow

15.46: Crafting Chinese-American Characters

Your Hosts: Dan, Piper, and Tempest, with special guest Yang Yang Wang

Yang Yang Wang, an author, actor, and director (among many other things) joins us for a discussion of language, food, and a whole raft of other cultural elements critical to crafting Chinese-American characters.

Credits: this episode was recorded by Ross Smith and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Take a culture, and a character who is a descendent of immigrants from that culture, then write a scene where that character returns to the original culture

All Systems Red, by Martha Wells

15.45: Worldbuilding Fantasy, with Patrick Rothfuss

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, and Howard, with Patrick Rothfuss

Pat joins us for a discussion of worldbuilding, in which we field a couple of challenging questions from readers. Here are the questions!

  • How do you create timeless urban fantasy?
  • How do you create a compelling secondary world fantasy without leaning on a complex magic system?

We ran a bit long with this one, but we have no regrets. Because compelling. And maybe timeless.

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

 

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Just change one thing, and then follow the permutations.