February 25th, 2011

BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses 4-21: Writing Practical Fantasy

Writing Excuses 4-21: Writing Practical Fantasy

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/05/30/writing-excuses-421-writing-practical-fantasy/

Key Points: Practical fantasy -- think it through. Is it humanly feasible? Beware of societies without visible means of support -- i.e. no trade, no value? Watch out for dumb villains. Five gold coins for a dagger means daggers are worth more than gold? Think about value, don't just borrow from the video games. Watch for cities in the desert -- without water, agriculture, or other support? Beware the one-climate planet! Avoid techno-porn, gadgets without social infrastructure. Write what you know, or can research, or can check with an expert. Who makes it, who uses it, and how do they trade for it? Use bad tropes as writing exercises -- how could this happen? Why?
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[Rob] Well, terrific. Okay, um... I can't think on my feet. Let's just go with that, the city in the desert. You've got a city in the desert, there's nothing around it but sand. Figure out why that city is there, how they survive, and how they support all the people.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 22: Q&A at CONduit with LE Modesitt, Jr.

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 22: Q&A at CONduit with LE Modesitt, Jr.

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/06/06/writing-excuses-4-22-qa-with-l-e-modesitt-jr/

Key questions: What do people get wrong about writing military? Discipline and insubordination. How do you develop a good action sequence? Discovery writing. Motivations of both sides. Long lead up, short action sequence, long cleanup and consequences. What makes good foil characters? Contrast and conflict. How do you schedule your writing time? All the time; early mornings; in the office; structure makes productivity. How do you write authentic dialogue for different characters? Personality and word patterns or rhythms. Highlight differences. Know what each character wants to get out of the conversation. Look for flavors.
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[Lee] All right.
[Dan] It doesn't have to be a good one.
[Lee] Why does she not sound like the guy she's interested in?
[Brandon] OK. There's your writing prompt. This is been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 23: How to break into the young adult market

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 23: How to break into the young adult market

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/06/13/writing-excuses-4-23-how-to-break-in-to-the-young-adult-market/

Key points: To break in, first write the book. In fact, write several. Then pay attention to why it is being rejected, and revise effectively. Don't be afraid to admit that a relationship isn't working. Even when you have a first draft, there's a lot of work ahead. Keep plugging, and pay attention to the feedback you are getting.
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[Brandon] All right. I'm going to go ahead and give our writing prompt because something just popped into my head. Don't know if this is going to be a good one, but... write a story where two roommates are living together, and one of them sells a book manuscript, and then vanishes. The other roommate decides to go ahead and pretend that it was their manuscript and finish the book. They sold it on proposal. So they have to finish the book. That's going to be our writing prompt, is the roommate pretending to write the book by the other roommate. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 24: Random storytelling with James and Julie

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 24: Random storytelling with James and Julie

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/06/20/writing-excuses-4-24-random-storytelling/

Key points: Worldbuilding, but also characters and conflicts. Change and conflict go together. Empathy for a character comes from something bad that you understand and want to see alleviated. Who will the readers want to root for?
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[Brandon] OK. Well, excellent. We are out of time. I would like to thank our guest stars. Thank you very much.
[James] You're welcome.
[Julie] Any time.
[Brandon] This is been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
Me typing?
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 25: Mating Plumage

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 25: Mating Plumage

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/06/27/writing-excuses-4-25-mating-plumage/

Key points: mating plumage -- book covers, titles, first lines. Marketing people are the ones who think of books as products. Covers mean a lot, but you may not have much control. Titles need to grab readers, make them wonder what it's about and guess at it. A title should make people want to find out more. First lines, too, should draw the reader in, make them wonder. Zingers, conflict, question, character, tone...
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[Dan] James, give us a writing prompt?
[James] Brandon and Julie go on a safari and get attacked by monkeys.
[Dan] All right. There you go. You are out of excuses. Now go write.