Season Archives

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 … Continue reading 14.25: Choosing Your Agent

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 … Continue reading 14.24: Political Intrigue

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

14.22: 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 … Continue reading 14.22: Characters out of Their Depth

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, … Continue reading 14.21: Writing The Other — Yes, You Can!

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 … Continue reading 14.20: Allegory in Fiction

Take a famous fable and retell it as an allegory.

14.19: Religion and Ritual

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab We often worldbuild religions and rituals for the stories we create. In this episode we discuss the decisions surrounding this, and our approaches for doing it well. Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Attend a meeting of religious or worship service which is not yours.

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

14.18: Setting as Theme

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Theme is one of those high-falutin’ concepts we’re often reluctant to approach in a nuts-and-bolts sort of way. In this episode we’ll talk about how our themes can be communicated through elements of our settings, deepening reader engagement with the things we write. We offer examples from … Continue reading 14.18: Setting as Theme

Pick a sensory thematic element, and make it recurring. Determine a reason for it to appear in each scene.

Babylon 5, by J. Michael Stracynski