Category Archives: Guest

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.

15.43: Audiobook Narration, with Bruce D Richardson

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Mary Robinette, and Howard, with special guest Bruce D Richardson

Bruce D Richardson, who is often credited as BDR, or BD Richardson, is a voice-over actor and audiobook narrator. He joins us for a discussion of reading out loud for an audience, including some mic techniques and best practices for recording.

Liner Notes:
https://www.accenthelp.com/
I never said she stole my money.”

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Read something out loud, for an hour, in a genre you do not like.

Dragon Planet, by Dan Wells

15.41: Researching the FCK out of Things, with Cory Doctorow

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

In journalism, that three-character string in our episode title means “Fact Check.” Those three characters are a great way to drop a note to yourself, reminding you to get some answers later.

In this episode Cory joins us to discuss when we drop FCK into our works, and how we go about removing it later.

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

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Use the Internet to pretend-visit a place.

The Future of Another Timeline, by Annalee Newitz

15.40: Researching for Writing the Other

Your Hosts: Piper, Dan, and Tempest, with special guests Nisi Shawl and Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Writing stories which feature people who are not like you is, in a word, difficult. In another word? Fraught. But good writers do difficult things, and in this episode Nisi Shawl and Silvia Moreno-Garcia join us to discuss how research can make “writing the other” less difficult, and perhaps even less fraught.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Ross Smith, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

 

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Find news article or clipping from before 1980 as part of your research into something that interests you.

Gods of Jade and Shadow, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia