February 27th, 2011

BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 31: Line Editing Dialogue

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 31: Line Editing Dialogue

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/08/08/writing-excuses-4-31-line-editing-dialog/

Key Points: Look at various ways to rewrite, and consider which works best for your purposes. Dialogue is an imitation of speech that feels realistic, not a transcript. Consider the voice of the character. Watch out for said-bookisms, adverbs (aka Tom Swifties), and "seem to"s. Make sure snappy retorts snap.
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[Brandon] All right. Writing prompt this week was given to us by Producer Jordo who really, really, really wants you to write some stories called, "The Importance of Being Earnest Goes to Jail." Or, no, "Earnest goes to Camp?"
[Dan] Or to jail. I'm sure you could take any Earnest movie and mash it up with Oscar Wilde and come up with an abomination that we would all love to hear.
[Brandon] We want a mashup of an earnest movie with Oscar Wilde. So there's your writing prompt. You might have an excuse this time to not write.
[Howard] You've got a couple of good excuses, but please write anyway. Because you're writers. Right?
[Brandon, Dan] Right.
[Brandon] Bye-bye.
[Howard] That was awful.
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 32: First Paragraphs

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 32: First Paragraphs

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/08/15/writing-excuses-4-32-first-paragraphs/

Key Points: conflict and tension are good. Be careful of personification. Voice is OK, but get to scene and setting soon. Action! Sensory experience! Clarity. Put backstory in dialogue, action, and setting. Make sure we know who the viewpoint character is soon.
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[Brandon] We're going to go ahead and end with a writing prompt, which is what Dan said. You're writing in a journal, and you haven't written it in 10 years. Then you say, "Oh, man, OK. What happened? Earth got invaded. Well, let's start from there." Do this story, but do it silly. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write. OK, and we're out.
[Dan] Yeah.
[Applause]
[Howard] Don't stop recording, there's applause.
[Brandon] Louder, louder.
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 33: Trunk Novels

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 33: Trunk Novels

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/08/22/writing-excuses-4-33-trunk-novels/

Key points: Don't hold back. Go ahead and use your good ideas now. Save those cool ideas -- repurpose and look for the right project. Beware falling into eternal rewrite. Give yourself time to grow. Watch for zombie darlings that need to be killed again.
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[Howard] But sometimes the sand blows carelessly and freely.
[Brandon] Yes, it does. OK, we're going to do your first strip next time. You have to give us a writing prompt, then.
[Howard] OK. I'm going to take a word from my first strip. Interspeciated workplace.
[Dan] Nice.
[Howard] Take the phrase "interspeciated workplace" and run with it to someplace besides Schlock Mercenary.
[Brandon] Or he'll sue you. That's your other writing prompt. Howard Tayler sues you.
[Howard] I just got a cease-and-desist from a web cartoonist.
[Dan] When you write schlock fan fiction.
[Brandon] OK. This has been Writing Excuses. Thank you to our wonderful audience for cheering and making monkey noises and... I'm going to hold one up now.
[We love Jordo]
[Brandon] And loving Jordo. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[Applause]
Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 34: Q&A at Dragons and Fairy Tales

Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 34: Q&A at Dragons and Fairy Tales

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/08/29/writing-excuses-4-34-qa-at-dragons-fairy-tales/

Key Points:
Time management: what are you willing to give up? Set a goal and times. What is important to you?
Process to get published: Write. Submit. Research. Network.
Team dynamics: position the heads in different locations. Make characters distinctive: visual cues, dialogue cues, unique motivations, roles, jobs.
Super characters: what's important to them? What problems can't be solved by superpowers?
Transition from fan to original fiction: create your own problems and personalities for characters. Build on what you already know.
Reader interaction: it's all about community.
Large cast: kill some.
Stumbling blocks to creativity: poor physical condition. Lack of reading.
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[Austin] OK. You walk out of a bookstore to a torrential rain and Howard attacks you with the power of thunder.
[Howard] And lightning?
[Brandon] Little did... we have to expand on that. Thunder is his pet cat.
[Howard] I get a kitty?
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses and we went way too long. You're out of excuses, go write. Thank you for another wonderful season.
[Applause]
BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season Five Episode One: Third Person Limited

Writing Excuses Season Five Episode One: Third Person Limited

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/07/we-5-1-third-person-limited/

Key points: third person limited let you have multiple viewpoints. Also, you can portray characters sympathetically because you can show the reader their thoughts and their view of the world. Third limited is less biased than first-person narration. Avoid having too many characters too early. Be careful about withholding information from the reader -- third person limited is expected to be honest. Watch for point of view errors! Keep it limited to what the main character knows and feels. Realize the strengths -- third person limited lets you show different perspectives. Think about which viewpoint to use -- who has the most pain, who has to make the biggest decision, who's got the most at stake, or who can show us what is happening best?
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[Brandon] All right. We are out of time. I'm going to go ahead and give us our writing prompt this week. I want you to write a scene where Howard and Dan and me and then Producer Jordo do all walk through a room, and it's in our perspectives, and we are all going to think differently. You have to write this just knowing, having listened and knowing...
[Howard] You just ask people to write HowardTayler fan fiction
[Brandon] Yes, I did. I do it every time. It is accepted practice before I go to bed.
[Dan] Nice. Yeah. We do it anyhow.
[Howard] Jordo. Stop recording, quickly.
[Brandon] So, I want you to do this, and see how the four of us see the world differently. This has been Writing Excuses.
[Dan] What are the bets that my perspective is soaked in blood?
[Howard] My blood!
 
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses 5.2: Character Quirks

Writing Excuses 5.2: Character Quirks

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/12/we-5-2-character-quirks/

Key points: Character quirks make character different and memorable. Beware going to far with quirks. Incongruity helps - profession, religion, whatever - square pegs in round holes!
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[Brandon] All right. I'm going to force Howard to give us our writing prompt this week.
[Howard] Okay. I'm going to ponder this for just long enough to determine that the quirk for your writing prompt is a physical attribute that in some way influences this character's religion.
[Brandon] Okay. They have some sort of physical attribute that makes up their religion, influences their religion. That's a great one! This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
Smile
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Writing Excuses 5.3: First-Person Viewpoint

Writing Excuses 5.3: First-Person Viewpoint

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/19/writing-excuses-5-3-first-person-viewpoint/

Key points: first-person let's you really get into the character's head. With first-person, the reader doesn't know how reliable they are. First person is very immediate. Beware of dropping out of that immediacy, especially to describe appearances or other things that the character would not stop to think about. Think about how the character would tell the story. Be careful of getting so wrapped up in the voice that you lose the story.
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[Bree] Your character has a secret. We don't know what it is, but how would they get around hinting at that secret without giving it away?
[Brandon] All right. That's your story prompt. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Four: Creating Suspense

Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Four: Creating Suspense

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/26/writing-excuses-5-4-creating-suspense/

Key Points: Put a bomb under the table. If it goes off, that's action. If it doesn't go off, that's suspense. Mystery is when you can't see what's under the table. Mystery is about ideas that we don't understand, while suspense is about characters we don't understand. Both create tension. Think hard about killing a character just to create tension -- it may come across to readers as a cheap trick. Make sure that there are good reasons for them to die, or use some alternate significant loss. Consider ticking time bombs and other tricks for introducing a sense of progress, too.
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[Brandon] Excellent. All right. We have a very special writing prompt for you this week. Producer Jordo was sent a very touching piece of mail by someone in the Netherlands. It was just delightful. We're going to read just one line from this. You have to take this and make a story out of it.
[Howard] I have coated my left hand with magical ink.
[Brandon] There you go. You're totally out of excuses. This has been Writing Excuses, and I can't talk. Now go write!
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Five: Writing the Unfamiliar

Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Five: Writing the Unfamiliar

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/03/writing-excuses-5-5-writing-the-unfamiliar/

Key Points: Write what you know? But what if I don't know, but other people do? Find elements that are familiar, that you have in common. Find the familiar and build on it. Extrapolate. Research. Make your character an individual. Write what you know in great detail, and then explain lightly the parts you don't know. Write your story, then ask an alpha reader who knows the missing part for help.
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[Brandon] Wow. I'm going to go ahead and end us here. I'm actually going to give us our writing prompt. It's going to be a video writing prompt. We're going to have Howard put it in the liner notes. It's because this entire podcast, I've been thinking about this little video which cracks me up because in a lot of ways we are kind of stating the obvious, though I hope that we gave some good information. So watch what is linked and write your prompt based on something you are inspired by in that video.
[Dan] This has me terrified.
[Howard] For those of you just pulling this down to your iPhone, yes, you're going to need to go to writingexcuses.com and pull up the actual webpage with hyperlinks on it. This involves reading.
[Brandon] You will laugh, though, when you watch this video.
[Dan] And clicking on some...
[Brandon] You're out of excuses, now go write.