Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and Howard
Patterns in the way we’re speaking may betray which ‘brain’ we’re using; often bound by what’s familiar, sometimes loosed for free-er choosing.
Writing like the day-brain’s thinking
Singing while the night-brain’s winking
All the cadence going funky
(golden-mantled howler monkey)
Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson. XKCD #1412, by Randall Munroe, was referenced during this episode. As was the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:30 — 14.3MB)
Night Brain exercise: take a piece of prose that is giving you trouble. Put yourself in a dark, quiet place. Listen to a recording of a poem (“Moon Fishing” may serve nicely.) Write automatically, unselfconsciously, for 5 minutes: think about it like singing on the page.
And now for your questions about revision. Or rather, questions from the WXR attendees, who were aboard the Independence of the Seas with us (the answers to these questions are secreted away in the audio file…):
- During revision, when do you think it’s acceptable to throw the whole thing out?
- How do you fit the whole structure in your head?
- What do you find you most often need to add?
- What do you do when your revisions have made things worse?
- How do you avoid over-writing during the revision process?
- When revising, how many passes do you make, and what order are they in?
- Do you take the sounds of words into account when writing and revising?
This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered in a concrete bunker somewhere in the midwest by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:51 — 13.7MB)
Read your piece aloud. The whole thing. Yes, THE WHOLE THING. Take notes while you do so.
Blindsight, by Peter Watts, narrated by T. Ryder Smith
The microphones again find us aboard the Independence of the Seas*, to talk about how terribly ugly this manuscript is, and what we can do to make it pretty. In this episode we drill down on line-by-line, paragraph-by-paragraph revisions. This stage of the revision process is where our prose gets wordsmithed. This episode runs long, touching on:
- Punching up the pacing
- Turning things upside down
- Adverbial compression,
- The pyramid of abstraction
- Free and direct thought
- Replacing negative-information descriptions
- extreme editing exercises like “one sentence per concept.”
Obviously if you want more than just the bullet points you’ll need to have a listen…
*NOTE: Registration is now open for the 2016 Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat!
This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered ashore in a volcanic caldera by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 23:27 — 16.1MB)
Here’s a tough one: Make an editing pass in which you cut 10% of the words on each page.
M. Todd Gallowglas is a writer and a storyteller who has spent years doing traditional oral storytelling at renaissance fairs. He joined us at FantasyCon/Westercon 67 before a live audience and talked to us about how this tradition has informed his writing, and how these principles can inform our writing as well. He also schools us (okay, mostly Howard) about how these principles should be informing parts of our podcast.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:08 — 11.8MB)
Take the book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and drill down into the nitty-gritty realities of pancakes falling from the sky.
You love ’em, we love ’em, and there’s never a shortage of questions so here’s another another fast-paced Q&A. Here are the questions that we field in this episode:
- How do you prepare to write?
- How do you write stories that are important without being heavy-handed?
- Magical realism vs. Fantasy — what’s the difference?
- Do you have recommendations or techniques for serving as a beta reader? (Here’s the promised liner-note bit from Mary.)
- Is it possible to do a serial with short stories and novellas all in the same setting?
- Why do publishers say they want crossed-genre books, but they’re not publishing crossed-genre books?
- Picture books and books for beginning readers: can you ‘cast on this for us? (Answer: not until we’ve got an expert guest in that field. If you want that info, go to SCBWI.org)
- Can you do a ‘cast on reading aloud? (Answer: yes. This is not that ‘cast.)
- What is the primary thing you’ve learned from reading Literary Fiction that has informed your Genre Fiction writing?
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:48 — 12.2MB)