February 5th, 2011

BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 1: Q&A At Mountain Con with John Brown

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 1: Q&A At Mountain Con with John Brown

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/10/12/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-1-qa-on-setting-and-characters-at-mountain-con-with-john-brown/

Key Points: Setting drives characters who drive plot. Getting the right visual details can be as simple as looking at a picture while writing, although lush minimalism and studying masters also helps. When characters deviate from the plot, you need to consider why, and decide whether to go with it or bring them back to the plan.
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ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Two: How to Write for Children with Brandon Mull

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Two: How to Write for Children with Brandon Mull

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/10/19/writing-season-2-episode-2-how-to-write-for-children-with-brandon-mull/

Key points: Children's writing is not just picture books. Middle grades are 4 to 8, and Young Adult is 8th grade to 18. Keep the audience in mind, but don't write down. Keep the ideas big, even if the words are simple and clear and the characters younger. Pay attention to what interests kids.
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ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Three: Characters with Brandon Mull

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Three: Characters with Brandon Mull

http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/10/27/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-3-characters-with-brandon-mull/

Key points: make your characters feel real by understanding them. What are their personality quirks? What do they want? Quirks that are a little bit extreme help make the illusion real. Ask yourself, "Why can't this character fill this role?" Design imperfect characters who are interesting in that slot in your story. Know the three act format and remember that real heroes always fail twice (at least) before they succeed.
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Burp
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Four: Viewpoints, Plot Twists, Etc.

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Four: Viewpoints, Plot Twists, Etc.

from http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/11/02/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-4view-point-plot-twists-and-being-a-part-time-writer-with-eric-james-stone/

A question-and-answer session at Mountain con with Eric James Stone

Key points: advice for balancing work, writing, and other necessities of life? Set aside some time to write each day, treat it as a job, and find a balance that keeps you sane. It's gonna be hard. Deadlines are necessary. Set them, and reward yourself. Plot twists need foreshadowing and smoke and mirrors. Avoid self-description by staring in a mirror, but do sneak in what you can.
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BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Five: Writing Groups

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode Five: Writing Groups

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/11/10/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-5-writing-groups

Key points: when your thing is being workshopped, shut up. Heisenberg's Law of Writing Groups: whenever you interact with your readers, you are changing their reactions. When you are workshopping someone else's piece: Be descriptive, not prescriptive. Start with good things. Then talk about large issues that would make you put the book down and stop reading. Next talk about big problems. Last, if there's time, touch on the paragraph and sentence level issues. But make sure you let the writer know what they did good and how you reacted. Be willing to discard three out of four suggestions to find the real problems.
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ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses 5.22: Film Considerations [with annotations!]

Writing Excuses 5.22: Film Considerations [with annotations!]

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/01/30/writing-excuses-5-22-film-considerations/

And special YouTube version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wJ_3sqyG6g

Key Points: Formulas or patterns can be used for many things IF you understand why they work. Three act structure: introduce characters, setting, and problems. Then add complications. Resolve everything in the climax. If you want your story to map to a 90 minute movie, keep it lean. Know what your story is about, what you are trying to say. Think of a logline/tagline: what is the essence of your story in 8 words? The closer the events of the climax in time, the higher the emotional impact -- don't spread your resolutions out over several chapters, put them all in one. Beware the shootout, the chase, the tail end flurry that's there just to end with a bang. Make sure there is foreshadowing, motivation, and emotional movement, not just fireworks. Give the chicken a reason for crossing the road. Don't settle for a student filmmaker -- check their credits, and get the money up front.
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[Dan] That's true. All right. So we're just going to make Mary do this. Give us a writing prompt.
[Howard] Writing prompt.
[Mary] So your writing prompt... thank you for the warning.
[Dan] That's our favorite thing to do to people.
[Dave] Put you on the spot.
[Mary] Your writing prompt is that you need to come up with a tagline for your novel, your short story, or something that you would like to write but have not yet written. Eight words or less.
[Dan] Sounds good.
[Howard] A tagline. All right. Well, this has been Writing Excuses. Thank you for listening. YouTube fans, let's all camp to the camera and wave. [Everyone turns to the camera, smiles, and waves] [End of podcast. YouTube continues] Thank you for watching. You're out of excuses. Now go write.