February 10th, 2011

Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses 5.23: Life Day!

Writing Excuses 5.23: Life Day!

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/02/06/writing-excuses-5-23-life-day/

YouTube Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly7ji_-qaI8

Key points: holidays come from the environment, commemorative days, deaths, etc. Characters should have a wide range of reactions to holidays. Watch for different cultures. Individual holidays. Don't overexplain. Do use holidays to make the setting richer, real, and to add depth to characters.
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[Dan] Now we need to break, so we are going to have a writing prompt, and we are going to throw that at Dave. Close us out, here.
[Dave] Your writing prompt for today is to make up a holiday that nobody else has come up with before. Something you've never seen, that's not based upon a holiday that you celebrate, I guess is the way to say it.
[Dan] OK. That sounds good. It can be bone puppet day, if you want.
[Dave] Bone puppet day is really good.
[Howard] If you're going to use bone puppet day, mix it with something else. There has to be something interesting happening with the bone puppets.
[Dave] Change the name, otherwise we're going to have bone puppets everywhere.
[Dan] All right.
[Howard] You're out of excuses, folks. Now go write.
Smile
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 21: Fight Scenes

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 21: Fight Scenes

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/03/01/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-21-fight-scenes/

Key Points: Fight scenes in novels aren't just bad knockoffs of movie fight scenes -- show the emotions, thoughts, and motivations. Focus on pinnacles and nadirs. Make sure the reader knows where things are and what is going on -- do your setup work. Goals can make the actions sing. Consider your character's expertise, your reader's expertise, and the moral ramifications, then decide whether to go for blow-by-blow, abstract, beautiful writing, showing the cost, and what else goes into your fight scene -- or gets left out.
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[Brandon] All right. Writing Prompt? Write a fight between two people who have never been in a fight before.
[Dan] And have to use their environment cleverly.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. Thanks for listening.
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 22: Marketing 201: Branding Yourself

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 22: Marketing 201: Branding Yourself

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/03/08/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-22-marketing-201-branding-for-authors/

Key points: Branding is the sum total of your customers' perceptions of their interactions with you. You need to point every interaction at your message. Be aware of your brand and decide whether you want to be branded as an author or a series. Be aware of your electronic image as well as your face-to-face interactions.
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[Howard] Okay. This has been Writing Excuses. We've had a great time talking about branding. And I've got a good writing prompt. I've got a really good writing prompt. Pick your favorite author...
[Brandon] Me.
[Howard] Okay. Take Brandon if he's your favorite author, and in 50 words or less, write down what you think that author's brand is. And then compare it on the forums with what other people may perceive about that author.
[Dan] Yeah, this is one we definitely want you to polish on the forums.
[Howard] Have a discussion about that, and let's see if you guys can figure out branding.
[Brandon] Me? Thanks, guys.
[Howard] Thank you for listening.
Smile
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 23: Avoiding the Cliche

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 23: Avoiding the Cliche

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/03/16/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-23-avoiding-the-cliche-with-tracy-hickman/

Key points: characters need flaws. They need strong, original motivations. Everyone is the hero of their own story -- villains, women, everyone. Show what they want and what they perceive instead of generic archetypal desires and visions.
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[Brandon] This is been Writing Excuses.
[Howard] I don't get attacked by monkeys?
[Audience whooping]
[Brandon] Writing prompt. Your writing prompt this week is Howard gets attacked by monkeys. Write that story. This has been Writing Excuses. Thank you very much.

[1] according to Wikipedia, jumping the shark is a reference to a Happy Days episode where Fonzie jumped a shark on waterskis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark
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    I Saw God Today, George Strait
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 24: Dan coughed?

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 24: Dan coughed?

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/03/23/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-24-writing-habits-and-qa-with-tracy-hickman/

Key points: Learn to recognize and use the structural elements of your genre. It's not all smoking jackets and collie dogs. It's a lot of first pages. Always remember that you have not yet written your best work -- the best is yet to come. There is no golden key, magic bullet, secret knowledge. It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.
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[Brandon] Dan, you've got a Writing Prompt? What have you got?
[Dan] The Writing Prompt is Winnie the Pooh is on a destroyer that gets shot down and dies.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. Thanks for listening.
Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 25: The Seven Deadly Sins of Slush Stories

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 25: The Seven Deadly Sins of Slush Stories

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/03/29/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-25-the-seven-deadly-sins-of-slush-stories/

Key Points: use standard manuscript formats. Not technicolor, not fancy fonts, not multiple sizes. Follow the writer's guidelines for your market. Avoid Star Trek and other fanfic, obvious grammar errors, run-on sentences.

The seven deadly sins are:
1. Infodumping (a.k.a. a story is not a lecture)
2. Staff Meetings (a.k.a. infodumping in dialogue is still infodumping)
3. Incomprehensible actions (a.k.a. lack of setup)
4. Navel contemplation (a.k.a. non sequitur infodumping and no action)
5. White room syndrome (a.k.a. lack of setting)
6. Dystopias (a.k.a. the all-disgusting background)
7. Dark and gritty (a.k.a. all the disgusting little details)

Recommended: Revise, revise, revise. And write your passion.
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[Brandon] Thank you very much, Nancy. This has been good information. This has been Writing Excuses. Do you have a Writing Prompt, Howard?
[Howard] Write something...
[Nancy] That you're passionate about.
[Howard] About an egg.
[Brandon] A passionate egg!
[Howard] Oh, no. No. Those... oh, dear.
[Brandon] This is Writing Excuses. Thanks for listening.