Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Alasdair Stuart: Review: Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
    The fastest way to deal with the uncertainties of adulthood is to remove them. That’s what Kyndra’s village have done. Every year, the teenagers who come of age step into a room with the village relic. It shows them their new name and their future and they leave as adults with a certain future and no fear of any surprises. Until Kyndra. The daughter of a local tavern owner, Kyndra’s coming of age ceremony ends… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, July 30th, 2015
  • Cherie Priest: The world didn’t want me to run
    Here’s recent progress on one of my projects that I’m not supposed to specify yet, but will probably be able to talk about sometime in the next few weeks, I hope, so my apologies for any and all cryptic nonsense posted here until it comes to light:Project: The Agony HouseDeadline: [Redacted]New words written: 4172 (multi-day total)Present total word count: 14,187 Things Accomplished in Fiction: Finished a draft of chapter three, yay! Things Accomplished in Real… ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
  • Cavan Scott: New Comic Day – Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #3
    Yes! It’s new comics day and that means issue three of Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor. It’s got a script by me, art by Blair Shedd with Rachael Stott, colours by Anang Setyawan and letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. Here’s Blair’s cover and a preview. Grab your own copy and let me know what you think about the story so far! The hotly-anticipated Weapons of Past Destruction continues, as the Doctor, Rose… ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
  • Tim Pratt: State of the Me
    So. How’re things? I have been writing a lot, and I’ve gotten so much done, that now the only thing on my to-do list is “Write the rest of Queen of Nothing.” It is indicative of how busy I’ve been that “write a novel” seems like a very restful schedule. (This month I’ve written a story, revised a novel, revised sample chapters for a proposal, contributed to a round-robin collaboration, and other miscellaneous bits.) Our… ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
  • Gail Carriger: Cover Art Twinzies
    Inspired by a recent article on twin cover art, Gentle Reader, I decided to hunt down some that are similar to my own. This is done without criticism or rancor. For one thing, I didn't design my covers, my publishing houses did. For another, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? I simply find it interesting. I really adore the cover for All the Paths of Shadow. I think it's quite stunning. I guess I… ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • WriterUnboxed: Advice for Authors from a Bookseller’s Perspective
    Image courtesy Irina D via deviantART.comI’m going to wear a different hat today than I usually do. (You can’t see me, but I’m taking off my writer’s hat—the one with the red-pencil holder and the built-in chocolate and coffee dispensers—and putting on another hat right now.) I’ve just completed a two-year stint as a part-time bookseller at a lovely independent bookstore. Aside from the obvious bliss of having spent two years surrounded by books and… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, July 30th, 2015
  • The Write Conversation: Calendar Days—August’s Crazy Holidays & Special Occasions—Idea Starters for Writers
    by Edie Melson @EdieMelsonIt’s time again for Calendar Days. These are fun to read and also a great way to jumpstart our creativity when looking for ideas for articles and blog posts. They’re also a fun writing prompt idea. In addition, calendar days are great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.August is:Romance Awareness MonthFamily Fun MonthNational Catfish MonthAdmit You’re Happy MonthNational Picnic MonthInventor’s MonthAmerican Artists Appreciation MonthAmerican Indian Heritage MonthNational Goat Cheese MonthNational Immunization Awareness… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, July 30th, 2015
  • Fresh Essays Blog: 20 Best Tools For Writers: Add To Your Bookmarks!
    Writers today are spoiled. There are apps for everything. You can get your grammar checked, your work organized, receive writing prompts and blog ideas. You can even indulge in caprices like writing against the falling red maple leaves of Kyoto or savoring the clackety clack of an old fashioned typewriter. Branch out and discover new horizons in modern writing.… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, July 30th, 2015
  • The Writers Alley: Reframing Your Writing Perspective
    I spent the day today picking out a variety of frames at TJ Maxx, then filling them with adorable pictures of my newborn son. It's a work in progress, as I can never get everything quite where I want it... do you have that problem too? I find myself shifting pictures around and putting the frames in all different places in the house. This got me thinking--sometimes we need to take a time out to… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, July 30th, 2015
  • Loft Literary: foreverlostinliterature: (via Untitled)
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

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CREATIVITY

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  • Brainpickings: Hunter S. Thompson on Violence, Vengeance, and the Only True Fix for Our Destructive Impulses
    “One of the most important things is to recognize that we do have this mounting violence in us, and then to find the reasons.” More than half a century after Tolstoy’s little-known correspondence with Gandhi on violence, human nature, and why we hurt each other, as the civil rights movement was being built on a philosophy of nonviolence and Leonard Bernstein was making his moving case for the only true antidote to violence, twenty-something Hunter… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, July 30th, 2015
  • Innovation Management: Intuition and Deliberation for Better Decision-Making
    We live in an age of change and uncertainty. For businesses, this means that only the most versatile survive —innovate or die. Simply adapting to the digital age is not enough: company survival requires explorative business strategies, to find new opportunities to improve and renew products and services. To attain explorative success you need a combination of both deliberate thinking and intuitive thinking. This article explores how you can balance the two. ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
  • Innovation Management: Intuition and Deliberation for Better Decision-Making
    We live in an age of change and uncertainty. For businesses, this means that only the most versatile survive —innovate or die. Simply adapting to the digital age is not enough: company survival requires explorative business strategies, to find new opportunities to improve and renew products and services. To attain explorative success you need a combination of both deliberate thinking and intuitive thinking. This article explores how you can balance the two. ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
  • Hero X: Self-Aware Smartphones: New Tech Promises To Connect To Devices Close By
    Think about the number of social networks that make use of location. Could wifi do the same? Whether it's trying to find a local restaurant, searching for love or seeing what events are happening nearby, countless apps make use of location technology to tell people what's up in the neighborhood. Some of the smarter advertisers even send targeted ads. But from a machine-to-machine perspective, a new entrant called WiFi Aware has been announced. What it… ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
  • Creativity-Online: Gatorade: Made in NY Featuring Derek Jeter
    Published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

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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.

0

20 Minutes with Zig Zag Claybourne

Besides being funkalicious, Zig Zag Claybourne is a storyteller whose vision comes from deep within the creative forge. He brings to life tales you’ve never heard before about people you know, characters you recognize in situations you could never imagine. I can’t think of a better definition for “speculative fiction” and Zig is building a whole new wing on that venerable estate.

As fabulous as any conversation with such a gentleman would be, this particular dialog is made even more fabulous by the return of Brion Humphrey, the man who started the RTP with me oh-so-many years ago. With these two visionaries at the Table we launch into a superb 20(ish) minutes of writerly discourse, exploring the creation of conflict, the nuances and practicalities of diversity, authentic character development and more. Buckle up, kids… this is an “E” ticket ride!

0

20 Minutes with Zig Zag Claybourne

Besides being funkalicious, Zig Zag Claybourne is a storyteller whose vision comes from deep within the creative forge. He brings to life tales you’ve never heard before about people you know, characters you recognize in situations you could never imagine. I can’t think of a better definition for “speculative fiction” and Zig is building a whole new wing on that venerable estate.

As fabulous as any conversation with such a gentleman would be, this particular dialog is made even more fabulous by the return of Brion Humphrey, the man who started the RTP with me oh-so-many years ago. With these two visionaries at the Table we launch into a superb 20(ish) minutes of writerly discourse, exploring the creation of conflict, the nuances and practicalities of diversity, authentic character development and more. Buckle up, kids… this is an “E” ticket ride!

0

“One Question: Developing an Idea” at Balticon 48

You get an idea for a story. Now what? What happens between the inspiration and perspiration? How do you prepare and develop a story idea so it’s ready to be written?

That’s what I asked seven gifted and articulate writers at this year’s Balticon 48 (sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society). The answers from Paul E. Cooley, Jared Axelrod, Maria V. Snyder, Starla Huchton, Pip Ballantine, Nobilis Reed, and Myke Cole are as diverse and inspired as the people we asked.

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Workshop Episode 83 (Guest Host: C. W. LaSart)

C.W. LaSart – weaver of tales of horror featured in collections like “Ad Nauseam” and “Grimm Mistresses” – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend her not inconsiderable talent and…