DongWon Song, literary agent with HMLA, joins us for a Q&A on the elemental genre of “Issue.” Here are the questions, which were submitted by the attendees at WXR ’16:
- Can only certain people tackle certain issues in certain stories?
- Science Fiction often explores issues by changing the context. Why does this work?
- How would you handle an issue story in short fiction?
- How do you make sure to research the issue enough without paralyzing yourself with the fear that you cannot do it justice?
- How do you convincingly write a position with which you disagree without convincing your readers that you agree with it?
- How do you write about a deeply personal issue without making it sound like a personal sob story?
Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 22:20 — 15.4MB)
Take an ensemble cast, and write each member’s position on a given issue.
If you haven’t read Mary’s latest novel, Of Noble Family, this episode contains many spoilers, and you’ll get a lot more out of the discussion if you read the book (or listen to the book) before listening.
Of Noble Family is set in Mary’s Glamourist Histories universe, an alternate history setting, on the island of Antigua. Our discussion focuses primarily upon the research that Mary did, and the way she tested and then applied that research to the story. This includes how the research touched on the magic system of the Glamourist Histories, and how linguistic and cultural differences might affect the use of Glamour.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 30:43 — 21.1MB)
Take something common, an activity or object that you’re familiar with, and then have a character describe it to someone who has a completely different frame of reference.
We went to you for questions about world building, and you had some really good ones. The questions are listed below, and our answers are secreted within MP3 file.
- Has there ever been a piece of world building that you didn’t include, and regretted not including?
- How do you remain consistent?
- How do you decide between writing a secondary world fantasy, and creating an historical fantasy?
- Can you avoid cultural appropriation while still using elements inspired by other cultures?
- (This one is getting a can of worms: there’s an entire episode on cultural appropriation coming up)
- What’s the minimum amount of world building required?
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 18:14 — 12.6MB)
Our next master class episodes are on description. Take a scene that includes some things that you’ve world-built, and rewrite that scene using completely different words.
A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
This is for you folks who started writing the story before you finished building your world. Which is what we wanted you to do all along! Sneaky! We’re talking about letting your story drive your world building efforts, so that you can be more efficient.
We cover some of the tools that we use, as well as when world building fits into, then out of, and then back into our respective processes.
Out of Context Quote: “Sometimes you just need to take the underpants off the puppet.”
Other Worldbuilding Episodes to Reference: Brandon promised a list of links. Here’s a pretty comprehensive one!
We recommend not listening to all of them in one go. You’re supposed to be out of excuses and writing, not podcast diving for another two hours…
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 20:56 — 14.4MB)
Pick your gee-whiz, whatever it may be, and describe it in 150 words from ten different perspectives. Yes, that’s 1500 words.