Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Seanan McGuire: Velveteen vs. Going Home Again.
    Title: Velveteen vs. Going Home Again.Summary: What happens when a former child superhero returns from her travels in the seasonal lands, only to discover that things have changed, possibly forever? Velveteen is home. Home is not the same.***The Princess sat on her (increasingly tarnished) throne, hands gripping the armrests so tight that it felt like she was going to break a nail. The petitioners standing before her on the blood-red carpet clustered tightly together, trying ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • Sam Sykes: Salt Lake City Comicon!
    What are you doing Labor Day weekend?  Probably spending time with your family, reflecting on the virtues of honest work and considering your place in the world.  Like a nerd. As for me?  I’ll be at Salt Lake City Comicon!  September 1-3! And if you’re smart, you’ll be there, too!  And if you’re smart, but also seeking an element of danger, you’ll find me around the con! Here’s my schedule: THURSDAY Magic: Writing and Roleplaying Authentic ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • Kameron Hurley: Why Being a Writer is an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance
    Being a writer is a weird thing. I guess any time you live publicly, it’s like living in an abusive relationship. You’ve got a bunch of people publicly and simultaneously declaring that you are the most talented and humane person in the world… and also the biggest jerk hack that ever lived. This is one of the reasons why I encourage people to have a very firm internal compass. It helps to have good friends ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • John Mierau: ‘Flashbacks’: free preview episode
    Listen to the preview episode of a Patron exclusive set in ‘The Road to War’. If you value the free podcast, contribute to the next Patreon milestone! At $300 a month there will be free podcasts TWICE a month & ‘Flashbacks’ will become a regular part of the fun at Patreon! In Reachers Get to be Grunts Pt. 1 we […] ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • Mary Robinette Kowal: My Favorite Bit: Beth Cato talks about BREATH OF EARTH
    Beth Cato is joining us today with her novel Breath of Earth. Here’s the publisher’s description: In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • WritersDigest: Don’t Write What You Know Until You Know Something.
    Not long after college, I had the good fortune to have lunch with Howard Fast (SpartacusCitizen Tom Paine). A mutual friend had arranged the lunch, knowing that I wanted to be a writer.  The great master listened politely as I told him I was writing a play about the Stasi infiltration of a group of East German poets. He asked me a little about my upbringing, my parents, my hometown, and told me that I should ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • WritersDigest: WD Poetic Form Challenge: Haiku Sonnet
    I’m hoping to announce the winners of the byr a thoddaid challenge next week, but in the meantime, let’s get started on the next challenge: writing the haiku sonnet! Find the rules for writing haiku sonnets here. It’s basically four haiku and a couplet comprised of 7-syllable lines. So start writing them and sharing here on the blog (this specific post) for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • The Write Practice: Active vs. Passive Voice: The Complete Guide
    by Liz BuremanYou’ve probably heard people decry the use of the passive voice. “Avoid it at all costs!” they say. That’s a little misleading; the passive voice isn’t always bad. However, you must understand what it is and learn to recognize it so you can choose how to use it effectively. What Is Active Voice? A sentence in the active voice is structured traditionally: subject + verb + object. Beth stubbed her toe. John will ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • WritersDigest: How to Write a Science Fiction Novel Series: 6 Tips
    Want to write a science fiction novel? My day (night, weekend) job is teaching composition at a university to students who are mostly engineers and bio sci majors, business students, and the occasional computer scientist. Everyone likes lists and rules. Order imposed on the chaos, a sense of control. Writing scares them because they think it’s this messy thing that just happens because of divine inspiration and miracles. (Truth: it is messy. Also truth: there ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
  • The Renegade Writer: Should You Charge Your Client for Payment Processing Fees?
    When I started out as a full-time freelance writer in 1997, and for many years thereafter, I received the vast majority of my payments by check. Every day I’d run out to the mailbox, wondering if it held bills, junk mail…or a wondrous wad of cash from a magazine. If it was a check (or TWO checks!), I’d mail it to my bank, and a few days later I’d have the cash. Simple. These days, ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

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Thoughts and Inspirations - RTP Blog Posts

Ideas and Inspiration
3

So, there I was: writing the first scene of the first draft of Hapax. I was bright-eyed and innocent, the scene zipping along beneath my fingers. My monks were preparing to hold vigil to see if the Apocalypse was nigh (spoiler: it was). I had a plot outline, I had character notes, I had worldbuilding…

And then, I realized.

I had forgotten to figure out the monks’ hierarchy. I had no idea who or what their leader was.

Oops.

Don’t Panic

Ideas and Inspiration
3

I want to take a moment to address an issue many writers, including myself, are plagued with:

So many ideas, so little time.

I’m struck with a least two new story ideas a week. Sometimes I can satisfy my fickle muses with a short story or two. Other times, the ideas demand novel-length exorcising. I can’t control it, and I’m somewhat scared of what might happen if I tried. As a result of said caution, I’ve devised a means to placate the voices in my head while maintaining my sanity. I…

Story Development
0

“Descriptive” is a common compliment for books. Perhaps too common – one of the usual downfalls of newer writers is the tendency to over-describe every aspect of their stories, from the characters to the setting to the teapot in the cupboard.

Characters should be described. So should setting. That teapot, though, probably doesn’t require the readers’ attention, and you should not be wasting your authorly breath on it. Too much description, even of vital elements of the story, bogs down your narration and leads the reader to start skipping entire sections of your story – assuming, that is, they don’t simply quit reading.

How much is too much? At what point do you go from “very descriptive” to “bloated and boring?” With writing, there are never any rules – only guidelines. The following are a couple of mine.

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Workshop Episode 104 (Guest Host: Fran Wilde)

Fran Wild – author of Updraft, The Jewel and Her Lapidary and more – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to apply her fabulous storytelling mojo towards brainstorming a tale of our our world where ghosts are real and everyone knows it.

The tale is offered up by Guest Writer Jen Dawson, a poignant story a “ghost seer” contending with the challenges of her gift, her sexuality, and the perceptions of a culture that continues to struggle with (or against) both. Marie Bilodeau returns as Co-Host and together we work our way through the rich tapestry of characters and story woven by Jen’s story, tucking in some threads of Literary Gold along the way.

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20 Minutes with Fran Wilde

In a very short amount of time, Fran Wilde has done many marvelous things – including crafting marvelous stories like Updraft and The Jewel and her Lapidary. But she has also explored the realms of technology, explored art and a broad spectrum of diverse disciplines, crafts, and exotic pursuits. These explorations give her a unique perspective, both on the world and the writerly arts.

Joined by the fabulous Marie Bilodeau as co-host, we wax rhapsodic with Fran, exploring the value of critiquing both in a writing group and as writer, the way stories start, the merits of curiosity and more. It’s a conversation fraught with writerly goodness… click the “PLAY” button and let the fabulousity commence! (and join us on July 19 for Fran’s equally awesome Workshop Episode!)

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One Question: What Makes a Good Fight Scene?

From intimate duels to the death to epic battles, the fight scene is a cornerstone of speculative fiction. For the writer, however, crafting a good fight scene can be an epic struggle to find…

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Workshop Episode 104 (Guest Host: Fran Wilde)

Fran Wild – author of Updraft, The Jewel and Her Lapidary and more – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to apply her fabulous storytelling mojo towards brainstorming a tale of our our world where ghosts are real and everyone knows it.

The tale is offered up by Guest Writer Jen Dawson, a poignant story a “ghost seer” contending with the challenges of her gift, her sexuality, and the perceptions of a culture that continues to struggle with (or against) both. Marie Bilodeau returns as Co-Host and together we work our way through the rich tapestry of characters and story woven by Jen’s story, tucking in some threads of Literary Gold along the way.