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Your Hosts: Dongwon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerIn this episode we explore the first page of The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, with the goal of learning how to build good first pages for own own work.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex JacksonLiner Notes: here is t…
 
Your Hosts: Dongwon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerHow do we build trust with our readers? What does that even mean? In this episode we discuss ways in which we let our readers know what they can expect from the book they're holding, and how we set about getting the to trust us do deliver on those expectations.Credits: This…
 
Your Hosts: Dongwon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerLet's have a frank, and possibly painful discussion about the ways in which the first page can go wrong. It may seem like hackneyed writing advice, but rules like "don't start with the main character waking up" are rules for a reason. In this episode we'll talk about those …
 
Your Hosts: Dongwon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerOur controversial episode title comes to us via John Schwarzwelder, and it points up nicely the importance of today's topic, which is first lines, first pages, and how we set about convincing people (who may or may not want to read a book) to read OUR book.Credits: This epi…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard TaylerOur series of game writing episodes draws to a close with a discussion about working with teams. This last skill set, these ways in which you learn to excel at collaborative projects, is often far more important than any of your other skills.Credits: This…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard TaylerSo, after all this talk about designing games and writing for games, it's time to address the big question: how does one go about getting a game-design/game-writing job?It's a competitive field, and there are no easy answers, but we do have some hard answ…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard TaylerWorldbuilding is one of our favorite topics, and it's a domain in which game design and novel writing share a lot of territory. In this episode we talk about how much we love it, and how much we enjoy letting other people love it enough to do the heavy li…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dongwon, and DanWhat's this bonus episode thing?Well, for starters IT'S URGENT, because as of this writing you have just ten more days to get the promised pricing for WXR at sea in 2021.What ELSE is it? Well, this bonus episode describes the difference between workshops, retreats, and master classes. If you've attended W…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard TaylerLet's have a discussion about scenes and set pieces, and let's lead with this: prose writers often create longer pieces using scenes as building blocks, and in this thing writing for game design is very, very similar.Scenes and set pieces are some of the …
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, James L. Sutter, Dan Wells, Cassandra Khaw, and Howard TaylerSo, you're the hero of your own story, and the hero gets choices, and in many ways directs the story. In our discussion of interactive fiction and writing for games, the subject of "player characters" is essential. From the array of options given at chara…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, James L. Sutter, Dan Wells, Cassandra Khaw, and Howard TaylerHow do you give players meaningful choices while still keeping the story within a reasonable set of boundaries? In this episode James and Cassandra lead us in a discussion of branching narratives, and the ways in which we as writers can create them.Credit…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, James L. Sutter, Dan Wells, Cassandra Khaw, and Howard TaylerFor the next eight episodes we'll be talking about roleplaying games, and how that medium relates to writers, writing, career opportunities, and more. We're led by James L. Sutter and Cassandra Khaw on this particular quest.In this episode we lay some gro…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and HowardFor the last seven episodes we've explored language, meaning, and their overlap with that thing we mean when we use language to say "poetry."In this episode we step back to some origins, including, at a meta-level, the origins of this podcast as a writer-focused exploration of genre fiction—the specu…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and HowardRhyming is powerful. It can signal a form, or telegraph whimsy. It can be predictable, surprising, and sometimes both.It may also be seen as childish.When, then, is it time to rhyme?Will rhyming "internally" fit?As opposed to a line-ending bit.For answers, just listen.But rhymes will be missin'Especi…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and HowardHow does a poem happen?Absent an external structure, what makes a thing a poem?The key word in that question may be "external," because ultimately the poem on the page will be the implicit definition of its own structure—even if it borrows a "non-poetic" structure from another form.Structure is as st…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and HowardRigorous structure in poetic formis commonly pointed at when we declarePoems have meters and rhymes, as the norm.Yet words without patterns can roar like a stormSo why pay attention, why study with careRigorous structure in poetic form?Just set it aside, surrender the gorm(means "alertness", a quite-…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and HowardWe might begin with description.Or we might begin by deconstructing the act of describing.Wait. No, not there.Let's jump in AFTER the deconstruction.Let's leap beyond a statement of topic, let's hurdle clear of mundane declarations of the audio file's length, and together plunge headlong into metapho…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and HowardPatterns in the way we're speaking may betray which 'brain' we're using; often bound by what's familiar, sometimes loosed for free-er choosing.Writing like the day-brain's thinkingSinging while the night-brain's winkingAll the cadence going funky(golden-mantled howler monkey)Credits: This episode was…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and HowardCan you hear your writing sing, being intoned instead of read? With the dialogs as tunes whose tags say "sung" instead of "said?" When the rhythm of your prose echoes the rhythm of a song you'll see perhaps you've been a poet all along.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered…
 
Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Brandon, and HowardHow many different ways can our writing earn money for us? What additional work, besides "just" writing, do we need to do in order to get that money? In this episode we discuss finding and managing multiple revenue streams, whether that means writing for new audiences, or monetizing existing writing in new …
 
Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Brandon, and HowardLet's talk about how promote yourself and your work, and how to do it well. The tools we use for this continue to evolve, and in this discussion we'll cover things that have worked, things that have stopped working, things we use now, and strategies we apply to not sink beneath the churning disruptions ende…
 
Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Brandon, HowardLet's look a the business considerations of whether that thing you're writing is a standalone story, or part of a series. The factors are complex, and a single factor (like, say distribution channel) isn't likely to make the decision clear cut.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by…
 
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