Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Gail Carriger - Alaska Steamposium Report ~ Steampunk Outfits & More
    So the Alaska Steamposium in Anchorage was a tiny but enthusiastic little con, well worth a visit if you are in the area. They treated me like royalty and I had a lovely time. One of the things that they did was challenge the con com to dress as a Gail Carriger cover. Beatrix took this literally… Beatrix & Gail If you want to see more of her costume I’ll be posting a bunch of details ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • Mur Lafferty - Ditch Diggers #38: Tobias Buckell and The Power of No
    Tobias Buckell Live from Morgan Freeman’s bear sanctuary, it’s the (Hugo Finalist!) Ditch Diggers with special guest co-host Tobias Buckell! Mur recounts Toby blowing her mind this past January at ConFusion in Detroit, which prompted his appearance on the show. Toby talks about accessing your inner asshole (the tactful version uses Toby’s description: “the power of no”) in negotiations as a freelancer. What happened when Toby had to stop accepting con invitations on his own dollar, ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • Michael R. Underwood - Pike’s Peak Writers Conference
    This week I will be appearing as a faculty member for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, CO. This will be my first time appearing as faculty at a multi-genre writers conference, and I’m excited to share my experience and ideas with up-and-coming writers. Here are the workshops I’ll be teaching at the conference: BE THE RISING TIDE THAT LIFTS ALL BOATS:  Networking in the Book World Writing compelling work is the most ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • Gareth Powell - A typical writing day
    When answering questions at conventions and workshops, I’m invariably asked about my routine. People want to know how, where and when I write. Do I do it in coffee shops or at home? Do I use Scrivener or a notebook? Do I write in the mornings or evenings? To help answer those questions, and maybe give … Continue reading A typical writing day ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • Seth Harwood - JACK IS BACK — 5/5/17 — Cinco de Harwood
    You want JACK PALMS (Mr. All Caps)? You GOT JACK PALMS! The man himself is returning to your earbuds in just 12 days on Cinco de Harwood – May 5th, 2017. That’s exactly eight years after Jack Wakes Up hit stores nationwide in its re-publication by Three Rivers Press (Random House). You found it in Borders, snapped pics of it on shelves of Barnes & Noble and all the indies we could find, and many of you ... read more
    Published on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • WritersDigest - The Key to Creating Great Characters
    Among the great strokes of good fortune — and there were many junctures where I could have gone awry — was the decision to write about, via fiction, my small marina family at Tarpon Bay, Sanibel Island, Florida, where I was a fishing guide from 1974 to 1987.  This marina family embraced a wider tribe of watermen from along the Gulf Coast, fascinating characters, and also decent, caring people, who now populate my novels. First, ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • The Write Practice - The Truth About Book Publishing: 3 Stories All Writers Need to Hear
    The stories we tell ourselves are like glasses through which we understand the world. They define the field we play on and guide the decisions we make, whether about book publishing or any other area of our lives. Unfortunately, in the world of writing and publishing, there are a lot of false narratives floating around that create a romantic idea about the life of an author that can end in self-doubt, frustration, and stagnation. To ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • Dean Wesley Smith - Story Twenty-Three plus stuff
    DAY TWENTY-THREE… Started off the day at the writer’s lunch around 2 p.m. About twelve or so writers and great discussions, since five or six were there from the just-finished science fiction workshop. Great lunch, folks. Great discussions. Thanks! Then I basically took the rest of the day off until around 2:30 a.m. I napped, watched a bunch of television, napped some more. Didn’t even do the cover for the story from yesterday. So two ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • WriterUnboxed - When Good Characters Behave Despicably (and They Should)
    Flickr Creative Commons: Luis RamirezSeveral years ago I read The Underpainter, a novel by Jane Urquhart. The protagonist, Austin Fraser, creates a series of paintings depicting the people who have touched his life, then erases the details by applying progressively lighter shades of paint. Over the course of the novel, the paintings become a metaphor for how an emotionally crippled man has avoided true connection. Urquhart herself said in a June 2001 interview with January ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
  • Helping Writers Become Authors - 3 Ways to Make Your Writing More Visual
    Written fiction is comparatively unique among art forms. Why? Because it isn’t visual. Unlike theater, dance, painting, sculpture, and photography, writing offers no inherent visual images. And yet, as any reader can tell you, reading a good story is a tremendously visual experience. This means you, as the writer, bear an important responsibility to make your writing more visual. Think about your favorite book from childhood. You see it, don’t you? Think about the novel you’re currently ... read more
    Published on Monday, April 24th, 2017
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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 111 (Guest Host: Myke Cole)

Myke Cole – author of The Shadow Ops Series (including “Gemini Cell”, “Javelin Rain” and the forthcoming “Seige Line” – returns to the Big Chair in the RTP virtual studios to lend his brainstorming-fu to a tale of future warfare, powered armor, and artificial intelligence.

The tale is offered up by creageous Guest Writer Jonathan Zerrusen, a tale of two heroes, the daughter of a nation honored to wear the first powered armor into battle, and a newly transcended (and illegal) AI on opposite sides of a global conflict. The brainstorm froth is frothy indeed as we explore the nuances of cyber characters, deepening the conflict within and around the protagonists, and generally dig up a mountain of Literary Gold (as you do). Hit that PLAY button and get yours!

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Another 20 Minutes with Myke Cole

Myke Cole – author of The Shadow Ops Series (including “Gemini Cell”, “Javelin Rain” and the forthcoming “Seige Line” – has achieved some astonishing things since his last appearance in 2013.…

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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 111 (Guest Host: Myke Cole)

Myke Cole – author of The Shadow Ops Series (including “Gemini Cell”, “Javelin Rain” and the forthcoming “Seige Line” – returns to the Big Chair in the RTP virtual studios to lend his brainstorming-fu to a tale of future warfare, powered armor, and artificial intelligence.

The tale is offered up by creageous Guest Writer Jonathan Zerrusen, a tale of two heroes, the daughter of a nation honored to wear the first powered armor into battle, and a newly transcended (and illegal) AI on opposite sides of a global conflict. The brainstorm froth is frothy indeed as we explore the nuances of cyber characters, deepening the conflict within and around the protagonists, and generally dig up a mountain of Literary Gold (as you do). Hit that PLAY button and get yours!