February 22nd, 2011

Me typing?
  • mbarker

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Six: James Dashner's Lessons on Pacing

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Six: James Dashner's Lessons on Pacing

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/02/14/writing-excuses-4-6-pacing-with-james-dashner/

Key points: Use genuinely intriguing mysteries and real information to make readers keep reading, not false reveals. Show readers interesting things, don't conceal boring stuff, and they'll keep reading. Mysteries, revelations, disasters, action scenes -- these keep the reader going, so spread them out and mix them up. Consider chapter length, sentence length, even dialogue tags as your pacing tools, and think about how to use them to make it interesting for the reader from beginning to end.
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[Brandon] We want to end with a writing prompt. I think we'll go ahead and use James Dashner's wet box writing prompt. Someone opens a door and finds a wet cardboard box on their doorstep. They reach down and pick it up. It's seeping something...
[James] Disgusting.
[Brandon] Disgusting, of course.
[Dan] It could be seeping something happy.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Seven: Questions and Answers with James Dashner

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Seven: Questions and Answers with James Dashner

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/02/21/writing-excuses-4-7-qa-with-james-dashner/

Key Points: To outline or not... follow your guttural instinct. Do what works for you, but don't avoid the hard parts -- practice them and make them easy. You learn more about writing by writing. Hands-on research makes killings believable, but do it with meaning. You don't have to be gory to be scary. Sometimes you gotta staple some extra ideas onto your premise to make it strong enough. Don't stop with the first, easy answers -- look for the simple, surprising, excellent ones. Make sure you have revelations, plot twists, and scenes of suspense scattered throughout your story.
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[Brandon] We're out of time. I'm going to let James just throw out any writing prompt he wants to give us.
[James] You are flying in an airplane, and suddenly, one of the wings falls off. But the plane doesn't start diving toward the ground.
[Brandon] James Dashner's book The Maze Runner is in stores now. You can also read his books The 13th Reality Series for middle grade readers. Thank you, James. This has been Writing Excuses, you're out of excuses, now go write.
ISeeYou2
  • mbarker

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Eight: Working with Editors

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Eight: Working with Editors

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/02/28/writing-excuses-4-8-working-with-editors/

Key points: New authors worry about editors demanding cuts that threaten artistic integrity, or being asked to add in sex and violence. However, editors buy a book because they like it, not to fix it. They usually tell you before buying what their vision of the book is, and you don't have to agree. They may suggest that you've established a certain type of book, and that you cut or add things to match that. Relationships with editors are a dialogue, where you can talk it through. Publishing houses and editors will ask for changes. Your job is to think about them and decide whether or not to do them. Look for an editor with a vision that is consistent with yours. Talk to the editor before you sign the contract about what you are willing to sacrifice, what you're willing to cut or add to get published. BUT don't worry too much about this. Editors buy books because they like them, because they agree with the vision of the book -- not to torture writers. Consider it, plan on working with an editor, and write.
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[Brandon] All right. Can we have a writing prompt? Let's have you write a story about a time where an author and editor disagree about something that no one else would ever disagree about. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Nine: How to Write Men

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode Nine: How to Write Men

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/03/07/writing-excuses-4-9-how-to-write-men-with-jessica-day-george/

Key points: males talk straight to the point; feminine speech patterns tend to be less direct. Beware of stereotypes, cliches, and writing every character the same. Men tend to focus on tasks; women often multitask better. Men solve problems; women talk. Write, then ask your readers whether or not it works. Your readers always know when there's a problem -- they may not know how to fix it, but they know there's a problem. Don't overthink -- keep it natural. If your brain overheats, strap ice packs to your head while writing.
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[Howard] This is a fantastic writing prompt. This is your alternative history writing prompt. Go back into the 19th century, take an absurd folk belief like one of the ones that Jessica just shared with us. Take that and treat that as fact. Treat that as fact and write a story that hinges on that principle.
[Dan] Awesome.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 10: Writing for Young Adults

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 10: Writing for Young Adults

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/03/14/writing-excuses-4-10-writing-for-young-adults/

Key points: YA, middle grade, and adult are mostly bookstore marketing labels -- where do we shelve it and who do we sell it to? Focus on writing for teens. Think about how to appeal to them, mostly by providing something they can relate to. The YA genre definition says school and romance are key interests. 16-year-olds are at a crux, where they can make decisions and do things, yet they are still told what to do. Teens may adopt the easy, superficial analysis just because they haven't got the experience to make them realize that's too simple. Be wary of writing teens as "little adults." Consider the character's background, experiences, and setting -- but don't overdo it.
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[Jessica] Your writing prompt is to take a young protagonist, at least younger than 16, and put them in a situation where they are in charge of some adults. You have to have a good reason why they are in charge.
[Dan] Very nice.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.