Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Cat Rambo: Beijing/Chengdu Trip, September 2016: Some Notes, Observations, and Images
    On the Great Wall.No matter how many words I write, I cannot hope to put the magnificence, the splendor, the kindness, the warmth, the sheer amazeballs neatness of the trip. So here are some incoherent notes, jotted down in haste because otherwise I will just keep procrastinating on the writeup and it would be a shame to do so. General Notes and Context: I was originally invited by the heads of the China World Science ... read more
    Published on Sunday, September 25th, 2016
  • Mercedes Yardley: An Interview! 13 Questions.
    Ah, lucky number 13. At least, it’s always been my lucky number. I even turned 13 on Friday the 13th. What a grand year that was. The delightful Joan De La Haye was kind enough to let me pop by her blog. We discuss whether I’m a plotter or a pantser and what key words would turn me to a new author. Won’t you please stop by if you have a minute? Have a ... read more
    Published on Saturday, September 24th, 2016
  • Paul Elard Cooley: The Black:Outbreak–18
    Download Now If you like Lovecraftian tales with psychological and cosmic horror aspects, then check out Justin Macumber’s “Stillwater” and “Fragile.” Excellent books. Support me on Patreon and earn exclusive rewards. The Black series is available for purchase in ebook,Read more › ... read more
    Published on Friday, September 23rd, 2016
  • Pip Ballantine: The Story Matters
    Lately with all the negative and frankly terrifying things in the news, I have been thinking about the importance of story. In a world of turmoil, how can stories and words possibly matter? As an author you can feel super small in that sea of vitriol and violence. Like you are throwing stones into an endless ocean. Then I realized the world around us is made up of stories, because we are constantly telling stories ... read more
    Published on Friday, September 23rd, 2016
  • Mur Lafferty: ISBW #365: Editing is hard, JD Horn Interview
    I return to complain about editing and continuity, and then announce that I am writing an ISBW book to be released in August. YAY. Interview with JD Horn, author of the Witching Savannah series. Affiliate links to support the site! ... read more
    Published on Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • Helping Writers Become Authors: 7 Questions You Have About Scenes vs. Chapters
    A chapter is a chapter and a scene is a scene. Or are they? What’s the differences between scenes vs. chapters? Are they ever the same thing? Must a chapter always be a complete scene? Or must a scene always be a chapter? What about scene breaks and chapter breaks? Is there a difference? These are all questions I receive regularly from writers, and they’re all good questions with surprisingly simple answers. The shortest and ... read more
    Published on Monday, September 26th, 2016
  • Positive Writer: How to Stand Out as a Writer and Sell Your Work
    Every week I receive emails from new authors ready to publish their books and they want to know how they can stand out and get noticed, and, well, sell a crap load of copies of their books. That’s a tough question, and the answer is even tougher. I recently published a new book titled Inspired ... read more
    Published on Monday, September 26th, 2016
  • The Write Conversation: 29 Quick & Easy Social Media Updates to Share
    by Edie Melson @EdieMelsonSometimes connection with our readers through social media seems like such a time-consuming chore that we can’t pull together the energy to even try. Truthfully though, by doing a little bit on social media consistently, we can make great strides. Today I’d like to share some easy—quick—ways to make those important connections. My tips are divided into three sections—things we can do now and share later, things we can share on the fly, ... read more
    Published on Monday, September 26th, 2016
  • Live Write Thrive: Understanding Plots and Subplots When Layering Scenes in Novels
    A few weeks back, I shared some posts on how writers can layer subplot scenes over the ten foundational novel scenes. Subplots are terrific if done well, so if you’re writing a novel and you don’t have a subplot, think about adding one. If you missed these posts, go back and check them out. We’re spending some months exploring my 10-20-30 Scene Builder Concept. Since novel writing is a dog of a task, and it’s ... read more
    Published on Monday, September 26th, 2016
  • The Creative Penn: Writing Authentic Settings And Keeping A Series Fresh With Toby Neal
    The best way to earn money as an indie fiction author is with a series, but how do you keep that series fresh over the long term? I discuss this topic and the importance of setting with Hawaii-based author, Toby Neal in today’s show. In the introduction, I mention that Sainsburys in the UK has shut down their ebook business and handed their customers to Kobo (which is what Nook should have done in the ... read more
    Published on Monday, September 26th, 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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20 (more) Minutes with Mur Lafferty

“Mighty” Mur Lafferty – author of “The Shambling Guide to New York City”, “Ghost Train to New Orleans”, and so much more (“Six Wakes”) – has earned her street cred. Through her “I Should Be Writing” podcast, listeners have shared every step of her journey from “aspiring” to “published”, including getting her MFA through Stone Coast and being awarded the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her voice – both physical and literary – is known for it’s honesty, candor, and humor.

I have the singular pleasure of being joined by Alasdair Stuart (host of Pseudopod and Lord Commander of the Nor… er… fearless leader of Escape Artists, Inc.) as my co-host and together, we indulge in 20-esque minutes of writerly discourse with Mur, exploring the distinctions of writing in different genres, her dream projects, dissecting the frog of humor, and more. Your writerly tool box is about to get fuller, gang… just click that “PLAY” button!

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20 (more) Minutes with Mur Lafferty

“Mighty” Mur Lafferty – author of “The Shambling Guide to New York City”, “Ghost Train to New Orleans”, and so much more (“Six Wakes”) – has earned her street cred. Through her “I Should Be Writing” podcast, listeners have shared every step of her journey from “aspiring” to “published”, including getting her MFA through Stone Coast and being awarded the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her voice – both physical and literary – is known for it’s honesty, candor, and humor.

I have the singular pleasure of being joined by Alasdair Stuart (host of Pseudopod and Lord Commander of the Nor… er… fearless leader of Escape Artists, Inc.) as my co-host and together, we indulge in 20-esque minutes of writerly discourse with Mur, exploring the distinctions of writing in different genres, her dream projects, dissecting the frog of humor, and more. Your writerly tool box is about to get fuller, gang… just click that “PLAY” button!

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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 105 (Guest Host: Marie Brennan)

Literary alchemist Marie Brennan – author of “A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent”, The Onyx Court Series, and “Lies and Prophecy”, and so much more – returns to the Guest Host chair to lend her astonishing brainstorming savvy to a tale of two strangers who’s lives become entangled by a drug that imparts magical powers as a side effect.

The tale is offered up by a pair of creagous Guest Writers, Saskia den Ouden and Thomas de Man… a street level slice of life where the protagonists walk the very fine line between hero and villain. Joined once again by the fabulous Marie Bilodeau as co-host, we indulge in a bit of worldbuilding (what a shock), as well as delving into what makes for a truly effective antagonist. The Literary Gold flows like Spice (NOT of the pumpkin variety) and your share is just a click of the “PLAY” button away!