March 23rd, 2016

Fireworks Delight

Writing Excuses 11.12: Idea As Subgenre, with Nancy Fulda

Writing Excuses 11.12: Idea As Subgenre, with Nancy Fulda


Key Points: Start with a geewhiz idea. Where does it happen? Who's going to be there, who is affected? Who has what at stake? Often idea as a subgenre or spice is set dressing for a story. Pick a cool what-if, and then tell a thriller, mystery, romance, or whatever in it. Idea, or fascination, makes a great seasoning for a story, just like black pepper! Use idea hooks for characters and setting, to add "Oh, wow!" moments. Idea stories may not have a single protagonist or main conflict, just various viewpoints showing a discovery changing society. Follow the awesome! Pair the idea with something, like black pepper and chocolate. Think about how the idea will change the story. Watch what happens at the intersection of ideas! Mix it up, shake it up, extrapolate, and see where you go. It doesn't have to work the first time! Add more pepper. Idea stories are driven by what-if combined with fascination. Then think about consequences and implications, and follow the awesome. Push it further, make it weirder in a geewhiz kind of way!

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[Brandon] That's very good. I think we're going to end on that note. Although I'm going to give you guys some homework. This is something I push my students to do a lot in my class, which is to take a step further on something in their story. Often times, I'll have students come to me and say... They'll have actually a really compelling character, but they'll be in the most bland, generic world that's ever existed. So I want you to take a story that you've been working on, and I want you to push either some world building element or some character element further. I want you to brainstorm an idea. I don't want you to just have a monarchy. I want your monarchy to be weird in some way. I want you to follow the awesome. I don't want you to just use coins in your thing, or just fly on spaceships like every other spaceship you've seen. I want you to take a story you've actually written, and make it weirder in a geewhiz kind of way.
[Mary] While you're doing that, make sure that you are thinking about the implications and consequences.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. Nancy, thank you so much.
[Nancy] You're very welcome.
[Brandon] You all listening are out of excuses, now go write.