The episode wraps up our presentation of the answers to the question (which we began in this episode):
“Is talent something you’re born with, or is it something you acquire?”
I asked thirteen authors that question. In Part I we heard from six of them and in this episode we hear from the final seven. Again, Brion and I can’t help ourselves and we wax philosophical about the insights offered in each one. (more…)
This year I had the privilege and pleasure of attending Balticon 46. I’ve been to game and fantasy conventions before, but never Balticon, and I had heard it was THE con to attend for podcasters and new media creators and fans alike.
Wow. Yeah. It was amazing… fabulous panel discussions, great events, remarkable guests… and you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting an author, editor, publisher, or podcaster (I tried and, for the record, it wasn’t a real cat and I apologize to John Mierau for any injuries sustained during the experiment). I learned so much and had the pleasure of finally meeting people who had existed only as voices in my iPad. Just amazing.
Brion was unable to make the scene (with some excuse about continuing the education of our nation’s youth or something) but I had to share the awesomeness with him. So I walked around the convention asking these remarkable creators one question: (more…)
This is my first guest blog post. Ever. I am both incredibly excited and nervous. Before diving into this, I want to thank Dave and Brion, the wonderful hosts here at the Roundtable Podcast, for not only inviting me to ramble on their website, but for the opportunity to brainstorm with some of the brightest minds in podcasting.
If you have not signed up to take part in what is happening here, I highly recommend you do so. I enjoyed myself more than words can say, and left with plot ideas and possibilities that have since taken off radically. To quote a famous, though fictional, mad scientist, THEY’RE ALIVE! (more…)
“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. (more…)
image from The University of Iowa Libraries
“There is no one better equipped to build rich authentic characters than someone who has actually “lived” (for a few hours) as someone else.”
The best characters in our stories are living breathing people. They are unique individuals that speak and act authentically as the tale unfolds around and through them. You can’t learn how to write characters like that from a book… it takes years of practice and study to write honest characters.
Or you can become an actor… because we totally have it going on in the “character” department. Seriously, 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? (more…)
New York Times Best-Selling author Gail Carriger generously makes time in her busy schedule of book releases, tours, and numerous (and intriguing) projects to join Brion and Dave on this third workshop episode. Laura Howard steps up as our Guest Writer sharing a tale of Faerie betrayal and intrigue. Topics discussed include passive characters, the proper use of world building, and how to end a book. (And don’t miss Gail’s Showcase Episode)
PROMO: New Fiction Writers – http://newfictionwriters.com/
Workshop Episode 3 (Guest Host: Gail Carriger)
[warning: contains mature language]
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:06:06 — 60.5MB)
As astonishing as it may seem, you can check out this episode on iTunes, too!
“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 know their secret?”
I’m a big advocate of creativity, and spend a lot of time both exploring the process and ways of cultivating more of it. Part of the reason the Roundtable Podcast excites me is the opportunity to take what is usually an “in-your-own-head” experience and pull it into the light with a group of like-minded people.
Between my experiences on the podcast and the articles, posts, and books I’ve read on the subject, I’ve discovered that there is an inherent disconnect in our notions of creativity and the processes that foster it. (more…)
image by cliff1066â„¢
“Authentic characters are part of a continuum. They existed before the story and they will exist after it (if they survive. If not, the consequences of their actions will continue).”
Download the Character Background Worksheet
For many writers, character development is the cornerstone of their storytelling process. Plot is merely a set of choices made by the characters of the tale (“I need the Ring of Awesomeness”), conflict is generated when those choices become mutually exclusive (“You can’t have the Ring of Awesomeness, because I want it”), and the coveted protagonist and antagonist positions are determined by the ethics and morals of those choices (“I need the Ring of Awesomeness to save my dog”).
Nearly every scene is defined and driven by the characters. Creating authentic well-supported characters (heroes AND villains) can make for a great story. The character development process takes place in as many ways as there are writers, but if you step back far enough, there are generally two schools of thought:
Fit the character to the plot or “I know the story I want to tell, I just need a character to make it happen.”
Fit the plot to the character or “I love this character, I just need a story to feature him/her in.”
Regardless of your approach vector, having a clear understanding of your characters will help make the writing process flow more gracefully and your enrich your stories. (more…)