Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Paul Elard Cooley: Cover Reveal–Mimes
    Here we are, Fiendlings. The cover for the “Mimes” ebook. This is the first in a collection we’re calling “Dark Recesses.” Stories from this collection focus on creepy environments, nasty monsters, and terrible human beings. In other words: it’s a shadowpublications.com kind of thing. Scott Pond worked like the devil to put this one together. And he did a hell of a job. I can’t wait to see what he does for the second tale… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Hugh Howey: FlipBook Unboxing Part 2
    The first two of these flipbooks came in last week, and I unboxed them here. Just got the latest two in, and the video is below. I LOVE how these things came out. The matte covers are sweet. And the pagination looks great. This has been a really fun project, and a commenter on Twitter today highlighted the need for it. There are a lot of readers who only read print, and delivering short fiction… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Paul Elard Cooley: The Black: Arrival–07
    Download Now And here we are, Fiendlings. The seventh episode of The Black: Arrival. The book is on sale right freakin’ now from Amazon.com. If you want to support the podcast (not to mention the bozo who records it and writes these tales), then go spend a little of your cash on an ebook or the trade paperback. Or hell, just pimp it. I’m just glad you’re here and you’re listening. MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: On July 17th,… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Mercedes Yardley: An Announcement of Some Importance
    Ragnarok Publications and I have decided to part ways. It’s bittersweet, but it’s ultimately the best decision for me and my work. I think the owners of Ragnarok are good, genuine men who are working hard, and this move benefits all of us. This means that my books Nameless: The Darkness Comes, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, and Pretty Little Dead Girls will soon be out of print. This… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Cat Rambo: Retreat, Day 2
    Lemons. Cat provided for scaleI’m holing up and working hard on the sequel to Beasts of Tabat. I let myself have July 1 off because that was a travel day, but yesterday I managed 5k words, though that last half was like pulling teeth. This morning I got up and sat down without checking e-mail and got 1000 out of the way. My goal is 25k each week until the middle of August, which should… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015

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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • Writers.com: Wear Your Literary Pride On Your Sleeve
    A U.S. company is bringing classic manuscripts off the page, and onto walls and wardrobes now. Cambridge-based Litographs splashes text – from Shakespeare to sci-fi – onto T-shirts, tote bags and posters. It also turns out temporary tattoos, from Oscar Wilde’s  “the truth is rarely pure and never simple” to Jane Austen’s “know your own happiness.” Earnest bibliophiles can band together too, thanks to Litographs’ World’s Longest Tattoo Chain – a 2,500-body recounting of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.” It was an ideal choice for… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch: A New Short Story!
    After a few months of quiet on the short story front, I’ve just published another one.  Asimov’s SF Magazine has published “The First Step.” Unlike many of my stories of late, this one’s short. It involves time travel and cranky professors and…well, you’ll see. You can download Asimov’s on a variety of sites or pick […] ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • The Write Practice: Contractions List: When To Use and When To Avoid
    by Joe BuntingI had a conversation with a fellow writer recently about contractions, when they’re appropriate to use and when they should be avoided. But first, what are contractions? Is there a contractions list? What Are Contractions? Contractions Definition A contraction is a combination of two words—almost always a noun with a verb—linked with an apostrophe into one, shortened word. Examples of contractions include it’s, wasn’t, haven’t, and hundreds more (see our contractions list below)… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Chuck Wendig: Flash Fiction Challenge: Six Random Titles
    Click this link. It’ll give you six random titles. Click it only once. And choose one of those six titles as the title of this week’s flash fiction. Flash meaning: under 1000 words. Your story is due by Friday, the 10th, at noon EST. Post at your online space, link back here. Easy-peasy, poke-and-squeezy. Click, pick, and write. ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Grammar Girl: How Do Words Get in the Dictionary?
    Last week the New York Times had an interesting article about Supreme Court justices citing dictionary definitions in their rulings more often than they have in the past. The most striking part of the article was that justices have cited more than 120 different dictionaries, which suggests they might be cherry-picking to find definitions that suit their own purposes. And 120 different dictionaries? Who knew there even were 120 different dictionaries? The article doesn’t… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015

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CREATIVITY

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  • Hero X: US House of Representatives Passes Asteroid Mining Bill
    It's official. Companies that conduct mining on asteroids or other celestial bodies are now entitled to property rights, and will therefore be allowed to keep whatever they dig up. That is the substance of the Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015 (aka. the SPACE Act) a bill that was recently passed by the US House of Representatives. The age of space prospecting has begun! For many, such a bill could not have come… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • TED Blog: How to thrive in a modern company: Career advice for millennials (and really, anyone) from Margaret Heffernan
    Margaret Heffernan is the former CEO of five businesses, and hosted TED@BCG this week. What advice does she have for those just starting their careers? First and foremost: Get to know your coworkers. Photo: Paul Clarke/TED It’s a month after graduation, which means the luckiest new college grads are a month deep into internships and entry-level jobs. How to stand out? Business writer Margaret Heffernan suggests: Start by taking a coffee break with your coworkers. Companies grow… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Hero X: Self-Driving Car Collision Close Call Points To A Nightmare
    Statistical projections shows a nasty number when it comes to traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2014: 32,675 deaths. While a little less than the 32,719 fatalities believed to have occurred in 2013 (a good thing considering the U.S. population is growing), it does speak to the challenge of driving. It's an activity that we take for granted, but tens of thousands die every year in what should be a routine endeavor. There certainly have… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Brainpickings: Teenage Sylvia Plath’s First Tragic Poem, with a Remembrance by Her Mother
    “Once a poem is made available to the public, the right of interpretation belongs to the reader.” “Darker emotions may well put on the mask of quite unworldly things,” Sylvia Plath observed in a BBC interview shortly before she took her own life. But the seed of those dark emotions started sprouting many years earlier, when Plath was still a teenager — quite a common life-stage for the first onset of depression. In the introduction… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015
  • Brainpickings: The Central Mystery of Quantum Mechanics, Animated
    How a lineage of scientists pieced together the puzzle revealing the dual nature of the universe. Ever since Heisenberg stood on the shoulders of giants to pave the way for quantum mechanics, this captivating branch of science and its central fact — that light can behave both as a particle and as a wave — has challenged us to grapple with the perplexing duality of the universe, inspiring everything from critical questions about the future… ... read more
    Published on Friday, July 3rd, 2015

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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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20 Minutes with Andrew Weston

Andrew Weston is a great many things – scholar of astronomy and law, combat and law enforcement veteran – and he weaves all these in his work as a storyteller. His most…

0

20 Minutes with Andrew Weston

Andrew Weston is a great many things – scholar of astronomy and law, combat and law enforcement veteran – and he weaves all these in his work as a storyteller. His most…

0

“One Question: Developing an Idea” at Balticon 48

You get an idea for a story. Now what? What happens between the inspiration and perspiration? How do you prepare and develop a story idea so it’s ready to be written?

That’s what I asked seven gifted and articulate writers at this year’s Balticon 48 (sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society). The answers from Paul E. Cooley, Jared Axelrod, Maria V. Snyder, Starla Huchton, Pip Ballantine, Nobilis Reed, and Myke Cole are as diverse and inspired as the people we asked.

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Workshop Episode 81 (Guest Host: Seth Skorkowsky)

Seth Skorkowsky, author of “Damoren” and “Hounacier” (of the Valducan series from Ragnarok Publications), and The Tales of Black Raven collections (including “Mountain of Daggers”) – returns to the Big Chair…