Tag Archives: MICE Quotient

16.42: M.I.C.E. Quotient, After the Fact

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. PolkCharlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

Our eighth and final M.I.C.E. Quotient discussion will explore using M.I.C.E. as a diagnostic tool. So… your manuscript is done, but something isn’t working. How do you figure out where the problem is? If the ending isn’t satisfying, M.I.C.E. can tell you whether the ending itself is actually at fault, and in this episode we’ll show you how.

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

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Finally, you can let go of that fairy-tale rewrite. It’s time to apply these M.I.C.E. Quotient tools to something else you’ve written. Easy homework! Just, y’know… go fix your manuscript.

Just Keep Writing, a podcast by Marshall Carr

16.41: Middles and Conflicts with M.I.C.E. Structure

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. PolkCharlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

With the M.I.C.E. elements (Milieu, Inquiry, Character, and Event) explained, and the concept of nesting, or braiding the M.I.C.E. threads, we’re ready to dive into that most difficult part of the story: the middle.

Enough of us dread (or at least struggle with) middle-of-story writing that the promise of a structural tool to make it easier is kind of glorious. Our seventh  installment in M.I.C.E. Quotient discussions talks about how to use M.I.C.E. elements to inform try-fail cycles, ask/answer sequences, and conflicts in general.

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

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Examine the conflicts in the middle of your fairy-tale project (the same one you’ve used for the last six episodes of homework.) Ask yourself if those are the conflicts you want to engage with. If they are, add a try-fail cycle that fits the MICE elements you’ve employed so far.

Rainbringer, by Adam Berg

16.40: Nesting Threads in the M.I.C.E. Quotient

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. PolkCharlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

Now that we’ve drilled down into each of the M.I.C.E. elements (Milieu, Inquiry, Character, and Event) it’s time to explore nesting them. This sixth installment in our M.I.C.E. Quotient series focuses on the “FILO” (first-in, last-out) or “nested parentheses” method for symmetrically creating a story using M.I.C.E. elements.

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

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Using the same fairy tale you’ve been using for this series, pick any two of the MICE elements, and nest them neatly. Then flip them and nest them the other way.

Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal

16.39: Deep Dive into “Event”

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. PolkCharlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

Our fifth M.I.C.E. Quotient episode focuses on the “Event” element, and explores how to use disruption of the status quo as the driving element for story. From plumbing problems to alien invasions, event stories are often structured by telling how difficult it is to return to normal, whether you’re getting the aliens off the planet, or the water back into the pipes.

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

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Use the same fairy tale as last week, and strip out every element that is not Event.

When Sorrows Come, by Seanan McGuire

16.38: Deep Dive into “Character”

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. PolkCharlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

Our fourth M.I.C.E. Quotient episode explores the “Character” element, and how these angsty, navel-gazing voyages of self-examination can serve either as complete stories or as elements in other stories. Also, we talk about how to do this in ways that don’t result in readers complaining about “navel-gazing” or “angsty.”

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

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You’ve figured it out by now, right? Use the same fairy tale as last week (and the week before, and the week before that) and strip out every element that is not Character.

Popisho (US) This One Sky Day (UK), by Leone Ross

16.37: Deep Dive Into “Inquiry”

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. PolkCharlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

Our third M.I.C.E. Quotient episode asks about the “Inquiry” element, and the ways in which we can use this element to structure our stories—whether we’re writing murder mysteries, thrillers, or anything else in which the turning of pages asks and eventually answers questions.

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

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Use the same fairy tale as last week, and strip out every element that is not Inquiry.

Even Though I Knew the End, by C.L. Polk (a noir fantasy novella available in 2022)

16.36: Deep Dive into “Milieu”

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

The M.I.C.E. Quotient is an organizational tool which categorizes story elements as Milieu, Inquiry, Character, or Event. In this second  episode we cover “Milieu,” and how stories can be driven by a sense of place.

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

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Pick a fairy tale, and strip out every element that is not Milieu.

The Zero Chronicles, by Dan Wells

16.35: What is the M.I.C.E. Quotient?

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

The next eight episodes are a deep dive into the M.I.C.E. Quotient, so we’ll begin with a definition. M.I.C.E. is an organizational tool which categorizes story elements as Milieu, Inquiry, Character, or Event. It helps authors know which elements are in play, and how to work with these elements effectively.

Obviously there’s a lot more to M.I.C.E. than that, and in this episode we’ll lay it out in a way that makes the subsequent seven M.I.C.E.-related episodes much easier to navigate.

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

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Seriously… watch The Wizard of Oz, and take notes. Track the M.I.C.E. elements, and how they nest in the story at every scale.

The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 film)