Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Tobias Buckell: I’ll be signing and reading in South Carolina and North Carolina tomorrow and later this week
    I’m spending the week in Spartanburg, South Carolina, teaching at the Shared Worlds two-week long writing camp. I’m here with with visiting writers Julia Elliot, Nathan Ballingrud, Terra Elan McVoy, and Leah Thomas as well. It’s the sixth time I’ve been here (I came last year at the last minute to help out due to a cancellation) and I’m quite honored that they keep bringing me back to teach writing and critique ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • David D. Levine: Finally home from Westercon
    Kate is finally home from the hospital. This is the first time she’s been home since we left for Westercon. She’s very glad to be home. The post Finally home from Westercon appeared first on David D. Levine. ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • Tobias Buckell: Media consumption: Ghostbusters (2016 edition)
    This is a little late, but TL;DR I loved it. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy the latest reboot. For one thing, I’m somewhat burned out by the endless churn of reboots. For another, I was really nervous about the Leslie Jones character being the sassy black best friend. Also, I had super fond memories of the original. Well, until a few months ago. I mean, I always found people dressing up ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • Cat Rambo: What SFWA Offers Game Writers
    In light of recent discussions, I wanted to jot down a few things that come to mind when what I think about SFWA has to offer game writers, because there’s actually quite a bit. Access to SFWA promotional resources includes a number of venues quite suitable for publicizing games. Our curated Kickstarter page, the New Release Newsletter (which can easily be expanded to include games), the SFWA blog, SFWA’s presences on Facebook and Twitter. It’d ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • David D. Levine: Update on Kate, 7/24 9pm
    Kate has been doing well in rehab. She is talking better, walking better, and has more energy than she did last week, and we now expect that she will be able to go home tomorrow (Monday 7/25). That being said, she still requires a lot of support and cannot be left alone, so we are going to need a lot of help in the coming weeks. In particular, if you are in a position ... read more
    Published on Sunday, July 24th, 2016

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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • WritersDigest: 5 Literary Agents Seeking Steampunk NOW
    Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint which agents are open to submissions at any given time. So with that in mind, I’m creating some new vertical lists of agents seeking queries right now, as of summer 2016. This list is for steampunk. All the agents listed below personally confirmed to me as of July 2016 that they are actively seeking historical romance submissions NOW. Some gave personal notes about their tastes while some did not. Good luck querying! ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • Jane Friedman: A Definition of Author Platform
    by William Pearce / via Flickr Author platform is one of the most difficult concepts to explain, partly because everyone defines it a little differently. But by far the easiest explanation is: an ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach. Platform is a concept that first arose in connection with nonfiction authors. Sometime during the 1990s, agents and publishers began rejecting nonfiction book proposals and nonfiction manuscripts when the author ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • WritersDigest: Stranger-Than-Fiction Writing Habits of 18 Famous Writers
    Sometimes the muse works in mysterious ways. These well-known writers prove that when it comes to writing, thinking outside the box—and in the case of Vladimir Nabokov’s “shoebox method,” quite literally so—can provide the richest inspiration. This infographic is courtesy of Natasha Smyth of Global English Editing. Visit them online at geediting.com or on Twitter @geediting. Baihley Grandison is the assistant editor of Writer’s Digest and a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @baihleyg, where she mostly tweets about writing (Team Oxford Comma!), food ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • The Write Practice: The Case for Podcasting (As a Writer)
    by Monica M. ClarkLast week, I attended the Blogging While Brown conference, which is geared toward people of color who also blog. As expected, I got some good blogging tips. But I also left with a takeaway that was quite unexpected: Podcasting is becoming as significant as blogging. I know, I know, we’re writers, not “talkers.” Still, I think a case can be made for the writer to consider podcasting: You’ll need a platform to ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 2016
  • The Writer: GIVEAWAY: Win “The Gospel of Loki” by Joanne M. Harris!
      “Loki, that’s me. Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version and, dare I say it, more entertaining. So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role. Now it’s my turn to take the stage.” -From The Gospel of Loki by Joanne ... read more
    Published on Monday, July 25th, 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.