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
Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, and Lari, with special guest Erin Roberts
Erin Roberts joins us for a discussion of short story markets—a topic which is very susceptible to “churn” because of the way short story markets come and go. We cover how to research and evaluate the various markets based on what youneed from publication, and what you might reasonably expect from them.
Credits: This episode was recorded remotely during the Great Isolation, and mastered by Alex Jackson.
We’ve talked about some of the structural guidelines for short stories. In this episode we’ll discuss how to write in the short form while still putting down enough words to convey the story powerfully.
Credits: This episode was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson
We begin our exploration of short story structure with a re-cap of the MACE quotient (Milieu, Ask/Answer, Character, Event). Then we apply that tool to how we structure the pieces we write—specifically the short ones.
Tananrive Due, whose short-fiction expertise is exemplified in her collection, Ghost Summer, joined us on the Oasis of the Seas to talk about how to use short stories to explore aspects of the craft. We discuss the importance of allowing ourselves to fail, and how we can learn from those failures, and continue to push our own limits. We also talk about how we go about pushing those limits, and what we do in order to most effectively explore new techniques.
Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.
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.”