February 28th, 2011

BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Six: Micropodcasts

Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Six: Micropodcasts

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/10/writing-excuses-5-6-micropodcasts/

Key Points:
  • What is the right way to kill a character? Bombs. With meaning!
  • Authors that have influenced your writing and why? A. A. Milne, because he has so much fun playing with words. Melanie Rawn, because she mixed magic with characters that I cared about. Tolkein for introducing me to the world that isn't ours. Victor Hugo for finding beauty in the gutter. Jay Lake and Charlie Stross for taking ideas to the nth degree. Pat Rothfuss for showing that even well-worn tropes, done well, are still viable stories.
  • When do you quit your day job? When God tells you to. When your wife tells you that you may. When you get your first advance check.
  • What do you do when you discover you hate a character? Bombs. Redefining them radically. Have something happen to that character that is grossly unfair.
  • How do you respond to accusations of being a Mary Sue? Do you really want to ask that? Is it wrong to write characters that people want to be like?
  • What are some basic tools for ensuring that all characters in a story have different voices? Model them on people you know. Check that they are different enough to recognize. Practice having different characters react differently to a single issue. Make your characters individual.
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[Brandon] All right. Let's wrap this up with a writing prompt. I'm going to go ahead and use one again this time.
[Dan] Excellent.
[Brandon] by saying the writing prompt is that these two different people who criticized Dan's book actually both read different books somehow.
[Dan] And thought it was the same one.
[Brandon] And thought it was the same book. They both had the same title, they both said they were written by Dan Wells, but somehow two different books were released. How and why is your writing prompt.
[Dan] Compelling.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
BrainUnderRepair
  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 5.7: Avoiding Melodrama

Writing Excuses 5.7: Avoiding Melodrama

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/17/writing-excuses-5-7-avoiding-melodrama/

Key points: Melodrama grows out of one-sidedness. Make your characters real people. Avoid cliche. Set up your emotional scenes. Make characters likable. Variation and contrasts add spice.
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BrainUnderRepair
  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 5.8: The Excuses You're Out Of

Writing Excuses 5.8: The Excuses You're Out Of

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/24/writing-excuses-5-8-the-excuses-youre-out-of/

Key points: Pay attention to the excuses you make. Figure out how to resolve them, and then write. "I don't have a muse" often means you're not comfortable -- figure out what works for you. Sometimes it means "I don't any good ideas." This usually means I don't know where to start. Just start! "I'm discouraged, I'm not very good." The more you write, the better you get. "I don't have time." Cut something out, fit writing in. "I'm working, but nothing gets done." Use a timer to control email, blog, etc. time.
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[Brandon] All right. Writing prompt is, for some reason, you need to change your shoes or else something extremely terrible is going to happen, but there is some really, really bad... some reason why you don't change your shoes.
[Howard] Oh. Thank you for saving us, Brandon.
[Brandon] You're out of... this has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses for real...
[Dan] For real this time.
[Howard] We mean it.
[Brandon] Now go write.
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses 5.9: Character Arcs with John Brown

Writing Excuses 5.9: Character Arcs with John Brown

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/31/writing-excuses-5-9-character-arcs/

Key points: Character arcs are about character's change, growth, learning. Often either as a problem in the plot or to provide a key to unlock the problem in the plot. You can either plan where you want the character to go, or throw an issue at them and see what they learn. Watch for being bored with a character -- often a sign of a failing character arc. Make sure they have highs and lows, pits and dilemmas and tests, learning and decisions.
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[Dan] Oh, sweet. Well, all right then. Your characters are trapped on an emotionally-responsive roller coaster that mimics their own emotional arc. How do they use that knowledge to escape?
[Brandon] Oh, that's genius. Okay. Man, you just earned your check.
[Dan] Yay!
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses 5.10: John Brown and the Creative Process

Writing Excuses 5.10: John Brown and the Creative Process

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/11/07/writing-excuses-5-10-john-brown-and-the-creative-process/

Key points: How do you get ideas? Everyone can be creative. When you have a problem, you ask questions, and you come up with answers -- that's creativity. An important part is asking the right questions. To get answers, be on the lookout for zing! Then ask questions, and answer them. Immerse yourself in situations that interest you, and look for tools there. Ask the right questions. For story, think about character, setting, problem, and plot. Look for combinations. Be on the lookout for zings, ask specific questions, then come up with solutions. Make lists and see what's interesting. What are the worst ideas I can think of, and how can I make those ideas really attractive? How can I transform this scene? How do you develop ideas? Ask the right questions. Look for conflicts, look for interest. Look for defining moments. How do you know when to start writing? Freewrite, and see if it's ready. Watch for the click. Watch for the spin. Try to tell it to someone.
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[Brandon] All right. A person gets... this is going to be our writing prompt, officially. A person gets surgery so that they can imitate He Who Does Not Sleep. Why? This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[John] All right.