April 28th, 2016

BrainUnderRepair

Writing Excuses 11.15: The Environment, with L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Writing Excuses 11.15: The Environment, with L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/04/10/11-15-the-environment-with-l-e-modessit-jr/

Key Points: Environment, climate, underlies everything. Its effects, pollution, can change the whole structure of a culture. Beware the city in the desert -- how does it get water and food? "Everything we do in any society is an interconnected ecology." Think about the ramifications of the environment on technology, economy, class structure, etc. Think about what the environment allows, and what it prevents. Consider the distribution of minerals and resources in different regions. Even the stars and their influence on navigation are worth a look!

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[Brandon] Well, I'm going to have to call it here, because we are running out of time. I want to thank our audience here at Life, the Universe, and Everything.
[Whoa! Applause.]
[Brandon] I want to thank L. E. Modesitt, Jr. I actually have some homework for us. This is a classic Brandon Sanderson style homework pitch for you. I want you to come up with a fantasy fuel… Not fantasy football, fantasy fuel. Some sort of fuel system in a fantasy world that has some extreme, but unintended, consequences on the environment people live in. I don't want you to go with the standard ones that we've had in our world that we've dealt with. I want it to be something weird and bizarre that… Burning this fantasy fuel makes one in 100 children turn into a demon. Or something like this.
[Laughter]
[Brandon] Like I want something interesting for your story based around the thing they find in the environment that they can use for fuel. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.

[Mary] This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by our listeners, patrons, and friends. If you would like to learn how to support this podcast, visit www.patreon.com/writingexcuses
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Writing Excuses 11.16: Adventure as a Subgenre

Writing Excuses 11.16: Adventure as a Subgenre

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/04/17/11-16-adventure-as-a-subgenre/

Key Points: Don't just be a cook, following a list of ingredients, be a chef who knows what each ingredient does and how to add spice to your stories! Adventure adds a sense of wish fulfillment, of everyman victory, of the normal person doing great things. Adventure takes us to exotic locations, and lets us accomplish things. Adventure gives you external adversity. It also gives you "oh, awesome" moments that come from action, from derring-do, from swashbuckling! Why do people like adventure? Wish fulfillment. Stand-up-and-cheer moments! Creative fulfillment -- how are they going to do this? The "We did it" moment at the peak of the mountain. The expectation of success. The moment of triumph. Using adventure as a subgenre? Consider the chase scene embedded in heist stories and others. Adventure can raise tension, or relieve it. Adventure lets the reader have fun! Chase scenes, fight scenes, other adventure scenes need to have bits pulled in that are important elsewhere, that the characters care about. You can use adventure as the glue, to keep it interesting and provide an external motivation to push characters together. Adventure also is a good setting for banter, to illuminate character. Show who people are under stress by adding adventure.

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[Brandon] But it's time for some homework. Mary is going to give us our homework this week.
[Mary] All right. So we're talking about you using adventure as a spice. So I want you to do is I want you to grab your favorite piece of media. But not an adventure film. Not something where adventure is the main ingredient. Grab a romance, grab whatever. I want you to watch it, and I want you to note the moments when they are using the adventure as a subgenre. Also note why. Look at the transitions into the adventure, look at the transitions out of it. Think about what it is doing and what would happen if it was removed from the plot at that moment.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go on an adventure.