At the Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat we premiered the Season 10 concept, and we invited our attendees to give us the questions we need this month. (They’ll also be the ones providing our questions for February, but we’ll cast our net wide for questions in March.)
- Ideas are hard! Is it ever acceptable for inexperienced writers to write derivative works?
- How do you keep from being discouraged when something similar to your idea comes out?
- How do you know when your idea is a novel, vs. when it’s a short story?
- Should you only write for themed anthologies if you already have an idea ready in that theme?
- How can you practice description when your idea is set someplace completely unfamiliar to you?
- When should you abandon an idea you love?
Liner Notes: We talked about novel-length vs short-story-length ideas in Season 6, Episode 10 when we covered the M.I.C.E. quotient, and again in Season 8, Episode 20, when Mary talked about short story structure. Also, the anthology into which Howard was drafted on the basis of a spur-of-the-moment idea is Shared Nightmares, and his story is called “U.I.”
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 16:24 — 11.3MB)
Take one of the ideas you’re excited about, and then audition five different characters for the lead role in that story. Make sure they’re all different from each other.
You know what’s fun? WRITING! Writing is fun. And that, more than anything else, is why we do it.
Or at least it’s why we decided to do it. Making sure that it is still fun is kind of tricky. Also tricky? Writing for nothing more than the fun of it. And this episode is about that.
Missing from this episode: Mary. For contractual reasons we found ourselves in need of 54 episodes during Season 9, and that meant an emergency recording session while Mary was on the road. It also meant you got 54 weekly episodes this year!
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 15:47 — 10.8MB)
As authors we spend a lot of time trying to make our readers care about the characters we create. We have a wide variety of techniques at our disposal to accomplish this. But do we ever ask ourselves why any of this is possible in the first place? What is it about our brains that makes us care about fictional characters?
Enter Cory Doctorow, who posed this question to us at Westercon 67. If you like the episodes where a guest comes in and blows our minds (and they’re some of our favorites) you need to put this one on the list.
Audiobook Pick of the Week: Homeland, by Cory Doctorow, narrated by Wil Wheaton, with Noah Swartz and Jacob Applebaum. (Note: Cory Doctorow’s titles aren’t carried by Audible, but you can find all of them here and buy them DRM-free directly from Cory.)
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:44 — 13.6MB)
Along the lines of the anecdote Cory shared, sever a character’s corpus callosum so that they have to say things out loud in order to fully comprehend what they’re seeing.