Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Sam Sykes: Unshaken, not Unstirred
    Hey.  You guys want to talk about heroes? I’ve been attending some cons lately–San Diego Comicon, New York Comicon next month, and most recently GenCon, which spurred this blogpost–and I’ve been on a few panels in which authors, editors and audience members alike have been voicing a common thought on a singular sigh. “I miss heroes.” Me, too, friends.  Me, too. If you’ve been around fantasy fiction for the past few years, you might have… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
  • Cecilia Tan: Taking the Lead: Rock Star BDSM Romance now up for pre-order
    I just noticed that TAKING THE LEAD is now up for pre-order most places! (In fact Amazon has the paperback at 25% off right now, which means B&N does, too.) Pre-orders are important to authors especially at B&N and iTunes because all pre-orders count toward the FIRST DAY of sales in those stores, which can really help a book hit the bestseller lists in those stores! And sometimes getting onto one of those lists will… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
  • Mur Lafferty: Ditch Diggers #16 – Live from Worldcon
    Matt and I did a live worldcon Ditch Diggers event with amazing guest stars Fonda Lee, Linda Nagata, Kate Elliott, and Aliette de Bodard, and then we interviewed (somewhat belligerently) Tor.com editor Lee Harris. For the record, Lee was right about what we were arguing about. I can dragon up and admit this. Thanks to Sasquan for hosting us! NEW- Rapper Devo Spice turned in our theme song right before our event, but we had… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
  • Mary Robinette Kowal: My Favorite Bit: Mel Odom talks about GUERILLA
    Mel Odom is joining us today with his novel Guerilla. Here’s the publisher’s description: He’s behind enemy lines. But those lines are shifting beneath his feet. In the jungles of Makaum, the Terran military is locked in a critical standoff over the planet’s resources with the hostile Phrenorians, even as both species maintain uneasy relations with the locals. Tensions could ignite at a moment’s notice. And Master Sergeant Frank Sage has just stumbled upon the spark plug.… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
  • Maurice Broaddus: “The Iron Hut” now up on Lightspeed Magazine!
    The September 2015 issue of Lightspeed Magazine, has my story “The Iron Hut“.  It’s available as a free read and as a bonus, there’s an interview with me (by Sandra Odell).  Here’s the opening: I. When they unearthed the mysterious shard, a sense of excitement rippled through the archaeological camp. They were onto something staggering. Professor Leopold Watson arrived first and examined the shard with reverent care. Kilwa Kivinje had disappeared into antiquity with no… ... read more
    Published on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • The Procrastiwriter: [Guest Post] Counting Thinking as Writing
    This is a guest post by writer Suzanne M. Brazil. Suzanne is a freelance writer and editor living in a recently empty nest in the suburbs of Chicago. Her work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Writer’s Digest, The Chicago Daily Herald and many local publications. She is a frequent blog contributor and is working on the second draft of her first novel. You can connect with Suzanne on Facebook and Twitter.… ... read more
    Published on Friday, September 4th, 2015
  • Helping Writers Become Authors: Your Plot and Theme: Are They a Team?
    We all know writing a book is no easy task. The reason it’s ultimately so tricky is that a novel must bring together about gazillion little working pieces, which the author then has to somehow fit together, so they all start ticking together as a seamless whole. That’s like taking apart a Swiss watch and trying to juggle all the little gears. (Who says it ain’t rocket science, right?) The biggest of these pieces, which we have to… ... read more
    Published on Friday, September 4th, 2015
  • Mythcreants: Forty Four Words to Seek and Destroy
    Words are the buildings blocks of prose, but not all of them are load-bearing. Some words clutter the page and make our writing sound wishy-washy, dry, or awkward. To strengthen your work, search for these 44 suspects and ask yourself: are they doing more harm than good? Qualifiers When we want to say something but don’t want to stand behind it, out comes the qualifier. That sweater just makes you look a little fat.… ... read more
    Published on Friday, September 4th, 2015
  • Live Write Thrive: Pity the Fool
    Maybe you’re familiar with 1980’s pop icon Mr. T’s catchphrase “pity the fool,” and think it originated with him. Not so. Literature—all the way back to the Bible—includes the concept of evoking sympathy for those less fortunate. But as Mr. T’s strutting, arrogant delivery makes clear, pity has a range of connotations. In the purest sense, pity is a sympathetic sorrow for another’s physical or mental distress or misfortunes. Add the suffix less and you… ... read more
    Published on Friday, September 4th, 2015
  • WritersDigest: 6 Tips for Switching Genres
    Ask any author, agent, or editor—heck, ask the publishing house intern who fetches the coffee—and they’d all agree: the most important factor in writing (successfully) is finding one’s voice. After writing eighteen mysteries in three different series, I decided to pen a standalone mainstream novel—THE PARIS KEY—and though I knew my non-mystery voice had to be around here somewhere (probably under a pile of laundry), I wrestled for a while in finding it. In the… ... read more
    Published on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

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CREATIVITY

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Thoughts and Inspirations - RTP Blog Posts

Ideas and Inspiration
3

I’m currently 63,000 words into my second novel attempt. Sounds fairly impressive, but I’ve been at 63,000 words for the last six weeks. Sure, I’ve written two short stories, a couple blog entries, participated in recording ten-or-so Roundtable episodes(my favorite distraction besides my wife), taught, graded papers and lesson-planned for about 60 hours a week, etc., etc., and on, and on. A lot like you! But is all of that really keeping me from writing my book? Yes. Because I let it.

We all are experts at wasting time, and the successful few have learned to at least minimize the bastard! We’ve all heard and read countless papers and pamphlets and programs on how to beat down the maniacal villain known as Master Procrastination. That is not what this post is going to do.

Story Development
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There is no one better equipped to build rich authentic characters than someone who has actually “lived” (for a few hours) as someone else. In order to appear authentic on stage, an actor has to be able to respond to cues and events AS THEIR CHARACTER. If they don’t, the performance is flat and uninteresting. Writers are striving for that same authenticity… and suffer the same consequences if they fall short of the mark. So how do actors do it?

Story Development
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“We want to believe the best of who we are, and ignore and deny the worst.  The most intriguing moment of a story is when a villain begins to convince…

Ideas and Inspiration
0

“There are people who appear to be able to invoke creativity on command.  They sit down and BAM, creative inspirations suddenly leap from their lips like spawning salmon.  Want to…

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Workshop Episode 86 (Guest Host: Ed Greenwood)

If you think talking with Ed Greenwood – New York Times best-selling author of almost 200 books and thousands upon thousands of articles, short stories, game modules, campaign settings and more – is a literary thrill for the senses, wait until you brainstorm with him. The “Archmage” returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his potent storytelling mojo to a tale of a race’s cultural heritage betrayed and rewritten.

The tale is offered up by creageous Guest Writer Justin Cary, and is a story of class struggles and cultural purity among the Elvish race and the lengths some will go to preserve their racial legacy. It’s an incredible story feast, make even more delectable by having Alasdair Stuart return as my co-host. With the table set, we tuck in, exploring the possibility of ALL the characters being antagonists, examining the best way to present magic in a story, presenting with character crisis moments, and SO much more. Yeah, it’s a little longer, but you won’t notice. Trust me… click that “PLAY” button and rock the brainstorm

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20 Minutes with Ed Greenwood

Ed Greenwood – New York Times best-selling author of almost 200 books and thousands upon thousands of articles, short stories, game modules, campaign settings and more – has inspired creative expression and a love of “story” in the hearts of millions of gamers and readers. His novels alone have sold more than 20 million copies in over 30 languages; there are an estimated 50 million-plus copies of his creations out there somewhere.

It is a rare opportunity to sit down with one of your heroes. To do so with the astonishing Alasdair Stuart as my co-host makes this an unparalleled delight. The three of us indulge in (far more than) 20 minutes of writerly discourse with the “Archmage”, exploring the qualities of satisfying fiction, how to keep track of a massive storyverse, the future of storytelling, and more. Settle in and buckle up, dear friends… THIS is a legendary conversation.

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“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 86 (Guest Host: Ed Greenwood)

If you think talking with Ed Greenwood – New York Times best-selling author of almost 200 books and thousands upon thousands of articles, short stories, game modules, campaign settings and more – is a literary thrill for the senses, wait until you brainstorm with him. The “Archmage” returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his potent storytelling mojo to a tale of a race’s cultural heritage betrayed and rewritten.

The tale is offered up by creageous Guest Writer Justin Cary, and is a story of class struggles and cultural purity among the Elvish race and the lengths some will go to preserve their racial legacy. It’s an incredible story feast, make even more delectable by having Alasdair Stuart return as my co-host. With the table set, we tuck in, exploring the possibility of ALL the characters being antagonists, examining the best way to present magic in a story, presenting with character crisis moments, and SO much more. Yeah, it’s a little longer, but you won’t notice. Trust me… click that “PLAY” button and rock the brainstorm