September 23rd, 2014

ISeeYou2

Writing Excuses 9.38: Q&A At Westercon

Writing Excuses 9.38: Q&A At Westercon

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/09/14/writing-excuses-9-38-qa-at-westercon/

Questions and Answers:
Q) As a writer, do you do reviews of books?
A) I only review books I like.
Q) How do you compartmentalize your writing to separate daily life and writing?
A) You don't. Set boundaries, communicate that this is work and this is play, and help each other recognize when it is necessary to be responsible. Work space or at least a marker can help (writing, goofing off, other work). Involve your family!
Q) How can I make unique, frightening creatures?
A) Scary monsters make us lose control, and look familiar but aren't. It isn't about the monster, it's about the character's reaction to the monster.
Q) How do we make professional contacts at cons?
A) Look for common ground. Ask, "What's your geekery?" Engage editors and agents about what they are working on. Be yourself.
Q) Is there a yield to ideas, to lightning striking? How many words do you get from an idea?
A) Not the idea, so much as the number of characters, scenic locations, and plot threads. Some ideas you can hang a story on, others are just flavoring for a story. Ideas are usually good for a book or story, while characters are good for a series. Look at the balance of familiar and strange, and think about the strange attractor. Write what you are passionate about, and what you think is awesome.
Q) When you ave lots of inexperienced writers, how can a writing group help each other learn craft without prescriptive writing?
A) Process. Break different techniques apart. Start by learning to identify problems, then learn to identify the cause of the problem, and finally, look for fixes. Talk about how you are going to fix things! Just because you aren't handing out prescriptions, doesn't mean you can't think about them. Compare your fixes to what the author does.
Q) How does knowing that the audience doesn't remember what you tell them, only what you make them feel, shape your voice as you write?
A) Can-of-Worms. If all that readers get is a feeling, that's success. I want people to be hopeful. But there are readers who remember every little bit.
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[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. I'm going to give our writing prompt that I prepared for another episode but Howard stole it. The writing prompt, and did a really cool one about Magic cards, which was way better. Your writing group... Writing prompt is to write about a support group for writers. Not a writing group, not a critique group, a support group for writers.
[Mary] Please develop that and tell me where to sign up.
[Laughter]
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[Applause]
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