Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Mary Robinette Kowal - My Favorite Bit: Stacey Berg talks about REGENERATION
    Stacey Berg is joining us today with her novel Regeneration. Here’s the publisher’s description: The world is ready to be reborn… Protected by the Church for four hundred years, the people of the City are the last of humanity—or so they thought. Echo Hunter 367, made to be faithful to the Church and its Saint at all costs, embarks on what she’s sure is a suicide mission into the harsh desert beyond the City. Then, at ... read more
    Published on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
  • Pip Ballantine - First Chapter of Immortal Progeny
    Immortal Progeny releases this very Friday! It is available for ebook pre-order right now. Print editions will be available next week, and as you can see I am working on the audiobook right now. It’s a book that I have wanted to write since I finished Harbinger, the last book in the Books of the Order series. That was a world where religion had been largely thrown away, and replaced with a healthy fear of ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
  • Gail Carriger - Gail Interviews Emma Newman (Brother’s Ruin)
    Today, Gentle Reader please give a hearty welcome to the fantastic Emma Newman! Emma is many things: a delightful author, a fantastic narrator (I should know, she narrates my book Romancing the Inventor), a stylish dresser, a killer podcast hostess, and a fellow tea lover. I have been interviewed on her fantastic podcast, Tea & Jeopardy (which is how I learned of her gorgeous voice and fell in love with singing chickens). So please join me in ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
  • Mur Lafferty - Ditch Diggers #36: Cassandra Khaw and Lack of Self Preservation
    Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Harry Potter-themed Escape Room with special guest co-host Cassandra Khaw! Morgan and JK Rowling have dueling Escape Rooms based on each other’s work and Cassandra is very perplexed. Matt and Mur talk to Cassandra about developing her first video game, She Remembered Caterpillars, which encourages parents to talk with their kids about mortality and has been nominated for Best Children’s Game of the Year. Matt ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
  • Mercedes Yardley - No, YOUR House is Super Snuggly!
    a A soft black bunny grooms himself on a cuddly penguin sleeping bag. The cuteness is overwhelming. Here’s a picture to save for a bad day. ❤ ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • WritersDigest - Who Will Survive the EVIL EIGHT in Arch Villain Madness – Vote Here!
    After a grueling round of 16 (knocking out evildoers such as Bills Sikes, Joffrey Baratheon, Amy Dunne and The Queen of Hearts), we’re down to the final eight—The EVIL EIGHT. And now it’s your turn to help us decide who moves on to the Fatal Four. Welcome (or welcome back) to the Writer’s Digest Arch Villain Madness of Famous Book Bad Guys. We want to know: Who is the Best Book Villain of All-Time? ... read more
    Published on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
  • The Writer - Ron Rash: How I Write
    Credit: Ashley Jones Ron Rash grew up in southern Appalachia, and his work remains steeped in the region. It’s both where he lives and what he writes about, so much so that the Philadelphia Inquirer called him “the Appalachian Shakespeare.” But his beautiful, rich, lyrical writing resonates with readers way beyond any specific geographical region. A gifted storyteller, Rash is a prolific writer, publishing seven novels (including 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist Serena), six short story collections, ... read more
    Published on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
  • Grammar Girl - Chicago Updates: Stop Capitalizing 'Internet' and Hyphenating 'Email'
    Big style news often breaks at the annual American Copy Editors Society (ACES) meeting, and this year is no exception. Carol Fisher Saller, the editor of the Chicago Manual of Style's online Q&A and @SubvCopyEd on Twitter, gave a presentation this morning about updates that will appear in the 17th edition of Chicago that will come out in September, and she didn't waste any time getting to the good stuff: Internet will be lowercase. ... read more
    Published on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
  • The Write Practice - Daily Routines of Writers: Using the Power of Habits and Triggers to Write Every Day
    Today’s guest post is by Nicholas Erik. Nicholas is the author of 15+ sci-fi and fantasy novels. He also blogs (when motivation strikes) about marketing for indie authors and the art of practice. Check out Nick’s site for a totally free five-day productivity crash course that expands habits and triggers into an easy, step-by-step system to writing more books. I’ll start with the bad news. Much of what you’ve heard about daily routines is ... read more
    Published on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
  • Dean Wesley Smith - Spent the Night Reading
    And Not Even For a Workshop… Yes, I always tell writers they must read for pleasure, but then never talk about my own reading here much.  Granted, I did mention reading a number of times when working on the 1.3 million words for the anthology workshop. But past that, I just think of reading for pleasure as something I sort of do all the time. Most in bits and pieces. I am a paper reader. ... read more
    Published on Thursday, March 23rd, 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
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“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!