Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Kate’s Progress: January
    Kate has actually done really well this month. After last month’s Avastin treatments and positive MRI, we reduced her steroids (which caused many nasty side effects including weakness, bruising, and diabetes) from 8mg per day to 6mg, then 4mg, and now 3mg. She’s doing fine on that dosage, and is showing considerable improvements in the side effects: her face and feet are less swollen, her blood sugar is much better (almost never over 200, usually… ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
  • MRK’s non-eligibility awards post
    Normally I do my end of year wrap up post in December, because it’s a good time to collect everything in one spot for when nomination season rolls around. I didn’t do that this year because I’d decided to recuse myself from eligibility for the Hugo awards. Why? Because I know how few nominations it takes to skew something onto the ballot for short fiction. There’s so much of it published that it a handful of… ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
  • The Rundown, Part 20
    Consul Gomersall gets under Captain Yates’ skin. The Rundown is a ‘Farlost’ story, following spies, cops & robbers chasing hunting an escapee. Regular listener? Back me on Patreon for advance access & extra stories! This podcast will end in 5 episodes, without help. Click for more info. Filed under: PODCAST Tagged: Farlost, podcast, rundown ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
  • Minnie goes to the circus and Gnasher and Gnipper goes to the (old) dogs (home) in this week’s Beano!
    It’s Saturday, so time for my Beano plug. This week’s issue includes two scripts by me. First up, with art by Nigel Parkinson, Minnie the Minx goes to the circus with Dad… Meanwhile, with art by Barrie Appleby, Gnasher and Gnipper pay a visit to the old dogs home… Find out how both stories end in this week’s Beano! ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
  • Interview: Liz De Jager for Judged
      By the time you read this, I’ll be on a train. My destination is here and how I get on will be the subject of the next Al Dente field report. The only thing better than the food will be the company. Liz and Mark De Jager are two of the nicest, and most pathologically talented, people I know. Liz’s new book, Judged, is out now. The final volume of her trilogy about Kit Blackhart,… ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • Auction and Construction
      A FUN DAY OF STUFF Changed out very heavy fire doors, hung light fixtures, and so on today, then headed to the auction to buy stuff for the new store as well. ——- THE DAY Made it up to WMG offices early again today and worked on the new store stuff until about 4:30 when I went out to our first store. Then to the auction. Found a few nifty things,… ... read more
    Published on Sunday, February 7th, 2016
  • Five Superpowers That Will Break Your Story
    Costume-clad or not, many speculative fiction characters have a superpower of some kind. Maybe they can levitate, shoot lightning out of their hands, or read long blog posts in a single glance. Whenever you give your character an ability that people in real life don’t have, it creates a potential plot hole. That is, your real-life brain may not consider all the ways a power could be used, leaving audiences to wonder, “If Superman can… ... read more
    Published on Sunday, February 7th, 2016
  • Chinese Authorities Admit They Imprisoned Missing Hong Kong Booksellers
    The missing Hong Kong booksellers have been found. Mainland China has imprisoned them for selling books critical of the Chinese officials. Read more on writerswrite.com ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
  • Writing Supporting Characters that Matter
    Photo by Flickr user Anders NicolaysenI have a confession to make. I love reading SCD (Supporting Character Death) scenes. There’s something both cathartic and addictive about lying on my bed, fingers clutched around a book, while I sob helplessly over the death of a beloved supporting character. So, naturally, I’m drawn to write stories where one (or more) supporting characters die tragically heroic deaths. But I don’t just want to write SCDs, I want readers to… ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
  • Construction Day
      CONSTRUCTION Actually, a lot of destruction with the removal of a large wall in the new store. And all sorts of things like that. More to do tomorrow. ——- THE DAY Construction from way too early until 7 p.m., then cooked dinner, then did e-mail. Then I actually wrote about 1,050 words. Then did a bunch of reading and watched television. For those who wonder why I do these short posts… ... read more
    Published on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
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Thoughts and Inspirations - RTP Blog Posts

Ideas and Inspiration
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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
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“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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20 (more) Minutes with Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. Underwood brings a rare combination of perspectives to any literary discourse. His insights into the industry and market of speculative fiction is informed by his experience as North American rep for Angry Robot Books. His knowledge of narrative form and structure is refined by his academic achievements. But his understanding of storytelling comes from a deep commitment and practice of the craft.

Joined by co-host Giles Hash (co-host of the Beyond the Trope podcast) we engage in (far more than) 20 minutes of writerly discourse of Michael, exploring the structure and execution of the novella, the effective utilization of tropes in storytelling, and a unique perspective on framing your writing towards a specific market. Writerly goodness is at your fingertips, friends… just click that “PLAY” button!

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20 (more) Minutes with Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. Underwood brings a rare combination of perspectives to any literary discourse. His insights into the industry and market of speculative fiction is informed by his experience as North American rep for Angry Robot Books. His knowledge of narrative form and structure is refined by his academic achievements. But his understanding of storytelling comes from a deep commitment and practice of the craft.

Joined by co-host Giles Hash (co-host of the Beyond the Trope podcast) we engage in (far more than) 20 minutes of writerly discourse of Michael, exploring the structure and execution of the novella, the effective utilization of tropes in storytelling, and a unique perspective on framing your writing towards a specific market. Writerly goodness is at your fingertips, friends… just click that “PLAY” button!

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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 95 (Guest Host: Erin M. Evans)

Erin M. Evans – author of “Ashes of the Tyrant” (book FIVE in the Brimstone Angels series) – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend her uncanny mutant brainstorming skills to a post-apocalyptic tale of humanity struggling to survive through the aftermath of a holocaust.

The tale is offered up by Guest Writer Dayn Leonardson, who comers to the table with basic story concept of humanity sheltering underwater after nuclear Armageddon and leaves with… well, something bigger. A LOT bigger. Thanks to the sterling efforts of Erin and co-host Katie Bryski, we have what may be the fastest, most explosive succession of ideas and inspirations in Roundtable history. Literary gold is EVERYWHERE, but don’t take my word for it… just click that “PLAY” button!