Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Dan Wells - My Schedule for Phoenix ComiCon
    Thursday, May 25 4-6 pm – Signing in the Bard’s Tower Booth Friday, May 26 10:30-11:30 am – Signing in Room 124AB 12-1 pm – Panel: Option My Book! in Room 126AB 1:30-2:30 – Panel: Apocalypse Now? in Room 126C 3-5 pm – Signing in the Bard’s Tower Booth Saturday, May 27 10:30-11:30 am – Signing in Room 124AB 12-2 pm – Signing in the Bard’s Tower Booth 3-6 pm – Signing in the Bard’s ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • Cat Rambo - My Report: Pittsburgh 2017 Nebula Conference
    Swag bags assembled and awaiting distribution.I got back late last night, after a trip back that included a lost reservation, my luggage being overweight (how could that be? oh, look at all those books) so I had to repack a bit at the counter under the check-in agent’s impatient gaze, and the poor kid beside me throwing up steadily all the way from PIT to IAD. It’s always weird, the day after travel, because one ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • Tobias Buckell - Not sure if crowdfunding is so much ‘resorting’ as pivoting
    There’s a review of Xenowealth: A Collection floating around that’s nice to the stories, but starts off being saddened about the fact that many authors have to ‘resort’ to using crowdfunding, or Kickstarter, to get their work into print. Of course I instinctively flinched that this was the framing around the review from the start. I felt it decentered the focus on the stories, the art around the book, or the quality of the book ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • Mary Robinette Kowal - My Favorite Bit: Rebecca Roland talks about SHATTERED FATES
    Rebecca Roland is joining us today with her novel Shattered Fates. Here’s the publisher’s description: The magic barrier protecting the Taakwa from their enemies, the Maddion, is gone. Malia, who led the Taakwa against the Maddion in the Dragon War, must convince the magical being, the changer, to repair the barrier before the Maddion invade to take revenge on her people and the winged Jeguduns who also call the valley home, even if it means reversing ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • Maurice Broaddus - Buffalo Soldier Reviews (ETA: New York Times Review!)
    SO HERE’S SOME MORE! Broaddus shows little interest in predictable adventure narratives. Instead he packs this slim novella with alternate American history, fantastic technology and father-son bonding, for a far more surprising and satisfying result. [Continue to read in THE NEW YORK-FREAKING- TIMES!]   “Black Steampunk. Yeah!!! I was so bummed I didn’t get a chance to review Nisi Shawl’s Congelese steampunk novel Everfair, so when I learned that Maurice Broaddus had also written a ... read more
    Published on Monday, May 22nd, 2017
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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • Southwest Writers - An Interview with Author Gail Rubin
    Gail Rubin is not only an author, columnist, and radio/television host, she’s The Doyenne of Death®. As a Certified Thanatologist (death educator) and a Certified Funeral Celebrant, Gail brings light to a serious subject, helping others plan for the inevitable as well as remember the lives of loved ones. Her award-winning nonfiction books published by Light Tree Press include A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die (2011) and Hail and Farewell: ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • The Write Practice - How Much Character Description Does Your Story Need?
    When we read books, books with characters we love, we can learn how to write our own characters by studying what details the writers included. There are so many details about your characters you could include in a character description, but which ones do you need? Let’s look at the advice Stephen King gives in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft about good description and see if applies to Katniss Everdeen in The ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • WritersDigest - Saving Your (Fill in the Blank) From Committing Suicide
    One of the items in your house has decided to commit suicide, but you will not let it happen on your watch. Write the scene where you catch the item on the verge of taking it’s life and your attempt to talk the item out of it. Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below. Download from our shop right now! The post Saving Your (Fill in the Blank) From Committing ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • NaNoWriMo Every Month - Deep Characterization 4: Authority Styles
    Subscribe Here! Today, I continue our series on deep characterization by exploring how a character’s relationship to hierarchy effects the way that character expresses, develops, and interacts with characters with other orientations. ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
  • WritersDigest - How I Got My Agent: Author Michael Haspil
    I dreamed of being a writer for most of my life and, although I had undertaken efforts in screenwriting, it wasn’t until 2009 that I decided to commit and try my hand at being a professional author. Always on the hunt for excellent ideas, I kept a journal near my bed so I could write down particularly vivid dreams. One morning, I woke with a doozy. I didn’t remember the dream as a whole, just ... read more
    Published on Tuesday, May 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!