20 Minutes with Andrew Mayne

Andrew Mayne
Andrew Mayne

Andrew Mayne has pursued his interests (including professional stage magic and movie production) with tireless passion, achieving not only prestige but also mastery of a wide range of creative and technical endeavors.  He applies the wisdom and insight from those diverse creative pursuits to his passion for writing, giving him a unique perspective of the storytelling craft. There were several “oh wow” moments to be had for both Brion and I and I’m betting you’ll find a few, too. Tune in and enjoy while Andrew shines a light into places you may not have considered about the writing craft. (and then continue the delight by checking out Andrew’s Workshop Episode! )

PROMO: “Twixt Heaven and Hell” by Tristan Gregory

Showcase Episode: 20 Minutes with Andrew Mayne

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Listen to this episode on iTunes

Episode Breakdown

00:45 – Andrew’s Amazing Intro!


03:05 – Are we talking to you or one of your clones

  • 03:15 – I am very fortunate to work with other very talented and capable people
  • 03:25 – Find people smarter than you and partner with them


03:50 – Where in your background did you start writing

  • 04:05 – I’ve written non-fiction for 15 years or so with How-to Magic book and articles
  • 04:35 – Started writing fiction a little over a year ago


04:45 – What is it that writing lets you accomplish that your other endeavors don’t?

  • 05:05 – Whatever field you go into will have limitations
  • 05:15 – Film is very collaborative, screen plays can be done by yourself
  • 06:20 – With today’s writing environment, there’s nothing between you and your audience. You never have to mail a manuscript to New York.
  • 06:35 – The only thing that matters is if someone likes your work.


06:50 – What drew you to genre fiction?

  • 07:05 – I got into reading SciFi early on and was shaped by Heinlein and Asimov
  • 07:25 – My first book was The Grendel Shadow and it was Steampunk. Then Public Enemy Zero which was a thriller
  • 07:40 – I didn’t want to get caught up in writing one genre as opposed to another


07:50 – Was the transition from magic to writing fiction was a natural one?

  • 08:05 – Good magic is good storytelling, understanding conflicts, resolution, and setbacks
  • 08:20 – Thrillers and mysteries have different similarities to magic conventions
  • 08:50 – I write towards things I’m familiar with
  • 09:10 – I write about things I want to know more about


09:50 – Do you find that you write to “someone” when you write?

  • 10:45 – The first thing I do is pitch a story to my friends
  • 11:05 – I wanna know there will be interest in the idea
  • 11:20 – Occasionally I’ll give a chapter to someone to look at
  • 11:50 – I have in mind someone like myself, a little scientific with an eye for details
  • 12:05 – Then I give it to Justin Robert Young, a friend with a good eye for detail and structure
  • 12:25 – I seek the critique and not the praise


12:40 – Have you had a pitch that your friends panned?

  • 12:45 – People are polite, sometimes our friends and family can’t tell the difference
  • 13:20 – You have to be able to distinguish faint praise from genuine praise
  • 13:40 – If I get an “It’s interesting” then I’ll ask “What don’t you understand to appreciate the brilliance of this work?”
  • 14:00 – I’ve got entire books that just sit there, I’ve re-written books entirely
  • 14:15 – It’s easier to figure that out at an earlier phase


14:30 – “Twixt Heaven and Hell” by Tristan Gregory


16:10 – What is the difference between the stories you’ve put out and the ones sitting in your desk drawer?

  • 16:30 – Sometimes you get to the end of a story and you ask “Did I tell the story I wanted to tell?”
  • 16:50 – Sometimes I make some critical mistakes and you’re better off starting over again
  • 17:00 – It’s hard to tell when it’s right and when you’re not
  • 17:45 – Be careful of criticizing something that’s popular.  You may not understand it.


18:40 – Any advice for people about how to handle presenting your work to a writing group?

  • 19:25 – You gotta understand who you’re turning it over to
  • 19:40 – Sharing your work gives you perspectives that you don’t have
  • 20:35 – The danger in writer’s groups is you’re in a room with people who want to do what you do.
  • 20:40 – You gonna get a response from writers, not consumers
  • 21:20 – They’re a great way to evolve how to receive praise from other writers
  • 21:25 – Just like participating in competitions is a great way to learn how to win competitions
  • 22:10 – They have value, but you gotta remember when it’s no longer going to give you what you want


22:25 – Do you have a routine that makes you as productive as possible?

  • 22:35 – I’m still trying to figure out my habits and what is necessary and what’s just habit
  • 23:25 – I do believe in having a clear idea of when something should be done
  • 24:10 – I don’t know if 20K words a day is necessarily a good thing
  • 24:55 – There is something to the idea of stopping periodically
  • 25:10 – I’m trying to figure out my pacing


25:30 – How to you evolve your character?

  • 25:45 – I’d get to a point where I didn’t know what to do next
  • 26:35 – I do extensive outlining and I try to understand each character
  • 26:50 – I try to figure out who’s going to be interesting IN THIS STORY and where are they in their life
  • 28:00 – The story ends up being defined by the people I’m going to put into it

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