February 23rd, 2011

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Writing Excuses 5.25: Writing in Other People's Universes

Writing Excuses 5.25: Writing in Other People's Universes

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/02/20/writing-excuses-5-25-writing-in-other-peoples-universes/

Key Points: To write an X-brand novel, first step -- become a professional author. Being creative in someone else's universe is like fitting a story into a setting, follow the rules. Doing fanfic can be great writing practice, just don't expect that someone's going to grab it and publish it. Imitate the character's voice, but use your own authorial voice. Expect to do more research. And when you take the Millenium Falcon out for a spin, bring it back without a scratch, okay?
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[Brandon] Kevin, do you have a writing prompt for us? Can you come up with one? Besides Ewok love stories?
[Kevin] Let's have a group of aliens come to a writing conference to learn how to write stories that humans will want to read.
[Brandon] Wow, that's a good writing prompt. Excellent. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 11: Jordo Tries to Stump Us

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 11: Jordo Tries to Stump Us

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/03/21/writing-excuses-4-11-brainstorming-examples/

Key points: Push the words, ring variations on their meaning, try interpreting it literally or metaphorically, what happens next, why would this happen? Combine it with something else. Is it like something else? Where's the conflict? Who hurts?
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[Howard] What have we got for a writing prompt?
[Brandon] Writing prompt is the very next thing Jordan was going to say.
[Jordo] New Zealand woman sells souls to the highest bidder.
Burp
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 12: Writing Epics

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 12: Writing Epics

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/03/28/writing-excuses-4-12-writing-epics/

Key points: Epic does not just mean super-size it. Scope, immersion, a really big story? Larger than life issues. Multiple narratives and multiple story lines. Start small, then expand. Avoid worldbuilder's disease. There's nothing wrong with starting small and doing it well.
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[Brandon] Howard, why don't you give us a writing prompt this time?
[Howard] Okay. Take a look at... oh, boy, do I dare send people out to the Internet for an epic win? I was going to say take... google epic win. Take one of these, one of the images that you see with epic win... they are mostly pretty clean from what I've seen. Take one of these epic win images and try to actually craft an epic story around that image.
[Brandon] Great. That's a great idea. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 13: Juggling Multiple Viewpoints

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 13: Juggling Multiple Viewpoints

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/04/04/writing-excuses-4-13-juggling-multiple-viewpoints/

Key Points: Juggling multiple viewpoints and multiple storylines. Broadens scope, let's different characters describe each other or an event, broadens interest, let's you show a range of reactions. But it can stop momentum when you switch viewpoints. You also need to be careful to give characters enough attention so that readers don't lose track. When you switch characters, set the scene and make sure the reader knows who the new viewpoint character is and what they are doing. When you use cliffhangers, plan to get back to that character quickly. Make sure that readers know the multiple threads are part of one story -- start together then split, start separated and then gather, or whatever, but make them one story.
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[Howard] I've got a writing prompt. I gotta writing prompt. OK. We talked about the tree in Sum of All Fears. I'm sure you've seen... there's the Christian metaphor of the trees that get built into things. I want a multiple viewpoint storyline, with a tree that is the focal point for multiple viewpoints that pass the tree.
[Brandon] OK.
[Dan] Wow. OK. Christian symbolism optional.
[Howard] Yeah, optional. It's a tree for crying out loud.
[Brandon] You might have some excuses in that case. But either way, go write. This is been Writing Excuses. Thanks for listening.
Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 14: Brainstorming Science Ideas

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 14: Brainstorming Science Ideas

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/04/11/writing-excuses-4-14-brainstorming-science-ideas/

Key Points: Dark flow -- somebody pulled the plug out? Hybrid life. The bloop at 40,000 leagues. The great Lithium caper. Nobody knows the nocebo curse like voodoo. Noises at the edge of the universe. And where'd everybody go? (aka the Fermi paradox) Take those ideas and stretch, spindle, mutilate, and fold -- look for the story, look for the conflict, and write!
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[Brandon] This is your writing prompt. Somebody starts testing for psychic power by telling people they are psychic when they really aren't, and it works. People start exhibiting psychic powers when they are convinced that they have them. [from the nocebo effect]
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 15: Visual Components of Storytelling

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 15: Visual Components of Storytelling

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/04/18/writing-excuses-4-15-visual-compenents-of-storytelling/

Key Points: Cohesive? Lazy shortcuts and a dash of signature elements. Lots of cool stuff, but find a way to connect them together. Underlying commonalities, like the circle template. The design of the book, maps, cover art, and other visual elements are a kind of prelude to the book, that can help set the feeling before you start reading.
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[Howard] OK, writing prompt. First a little bit of backstory. I had Brook West design ship plans for the Integrity which was the ship that Tagon's Toughs ended up acquiring. In designing the ship plans, we arrived at some really fun anomalies where if you were to shut off the gravity, the water would suddenly flow through the ship and make a huge mess. I got a lot of mileage out of that. So your writing prompt, in order to be visual, sit down and draw yourself a spaceship. Draw some interesting bits of a spaceship. Sketch, skritch it out, whatever. Draw something, and then find interesting aspects about what you drew and work them into the story.
[Brandon] All right. This has been writing excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.