“…though we often soliloquize about writing being a solitary existence with coveted ideas held closer to the chest than Bluebeard’s key to his chamber of torture and death, writing should never be a purely individual undertaking.”
While wrapping up a perfectly productive Friday, I led my students through a discussion of Charlie Fish’s fabulously wicked short story, “Death by Scrabble.” We were exploring conflict, its relation to tight plot development and the vicious need for stake raising in fiction of all kinds, not just those stories teeming with vampires. I was just about to close the conversation when one of my students raised his hand and pointed out a connection in the story that I, after four years and twenty four class periods of teaching it, had never recognized. It was subtle, it was pivotal, it was brilliant, and I had become too familiar with the overall story, and the story’s punch line, to see it.
It is entirely possible to get too close to things: the novel you’ve been writing for ten years, the short story that you’ve rewritten over and over a thousand times that still just doesn’t seem quite right, a lion at the zoo…
“If we let the tropes and set-pieces of our chosen genre define and limit our work in it, then we’ve surrendered the only real power we have as writers and artists… to CREATE! The best works of fiction don’t just affirm our beliefs and awareness, they expand them.”
“Trope” is a word that has seen a major spike in usage recently. Its strict definition is “a figure of speech” but it’s taken on a much larger scope of late, expanding to encompass “theme” or “set piece” or even “cliché” and is applied to film, television, literature, and any other storytelling medium. I prefer “genre archetype” but that’s just me.
But readers have a love-hate relationship with tropes. (more…)
"Blackbirds" by Chuck Wendig
Check out Chuck’s post “25 Things Writers Should Be Doing (ASAFP)” at http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/01/17/25-things-writers-should-start-doing/
It’s remarkable how, when you decide to commit to something (like this podcast), your perspective of the world shifts. Your perceptual filters realign and and suddenly you’re discovering all manner of wondrous things you hadn’t even heard of before. I’ve always been an avid reader, but now a whole new world of astonishing authors and creatives within the literary world have begun to catch and flare in my mind’s eye.
Chuck Wendig is one of those that suddenly rose from the shadows of my awareness. Holding his pen like a bowie knife, he leaves a lasting impression. The man burns with a fierce honesty and passion that you can feel radiating off the page. Hook that fire up to some tight and edgy prose and you have the schematic for a turbo-charged fictional joy ride (after sundown with the headlights off).
In this “pre-episode” episode, Brion and I introduce ourselves and layout what the Roundtable Podcast actually IS.
[NOTE: The legal segment of this episode is NOT ACCURATE. We'll be recording a follow up once we do more research]
Roundtable Podcast: Episode Zero
[warning: contains mature language]
Podcast: Download (Duration: 36:57 — 25.4MB)
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” -Jack London
When attending a writers’ workshop or presentation, I always cringe when the QA session begins. Inevitably, some fresh young writer will stand up and ask The Question: Where do you get your ideas?
This may be a shock, but writers get their ideas the same way everyone else does… by having a pulse. You can’t go through life without having “ideas.” So the question isn’t “Where do you get your ideas”, but rather… (more…)
Okay… the basic site framework is in place. On the to-do list…
- Post some content (some articles on story and idea development)
- Record Episode Zero with Brion
- Start recruiting Guest Writers
- Start courting Guest Hosts
- Stop bouncing around like a kid on Christmas morning
We’ve set a go-live date for the podcast of March 6th and we’re on track to hit that mark. Waiting to launch the “big unveiling” until we have more to show, but things are definitely clickin’.
The Roundtable Podcast is a writer’s podcast.
Now, there are a LOT of outstanding writer’s podcasts out there. Heck, we at RTP listen to a bunch of them and you’ll find links to many more here on the site.
We’re going to focus on a very specific aspect of the writing process… the ideas. (more…)