12.50: Form and Function

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

How does the shape of your physical medium change the art you’re making? What are the tools that affect our storytelling, and what are those effects?

Credits: This episode was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Play “exquisite corpse.”
1) Write the first line of a story.
2) Hand it to someone else. Have them illustrate that line.
3) They hand their illustration (but not your first line) to a third person, who writes a line describing what’s happening in their picture.
4) Their line goes to another person who illustrates it…

Oathbringer, by Brandon Sanderson

12.49: Non-linear Narratives

We begin the final month of our year on structure with a discussion of non-linear structures. These include flashbacks, POVs that are out of chronological order,  and a host of other storytelling techniques.

 

Play

Watch fan edits of non-linear stories that put them in order. Also, put your outline on index cards, then shuffle them randomly.

The Butcher of Khardov, by Dan Wells

The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries (defaced edition), by Howard Tayler

Your Mama’s Adventures in Parenting, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Mulholland Homebrews Sinister Shop of Secret Pets, which will have been written by Brandon Sanderson

12.48: Q&A on Novels and Series, with Brian McClellan

Brian McClellan joined us to field questions about writing novels and series. Here are the questions:

  • How do you write an ending that is open for sequels, but isn’t a cliffhanger?
  • Is it a good idea to take a large novel, and release it instead as serial novellas?
  • Can you debut with a series, or should you establish yourself with standalone novels first?
  • How do you keep readers coming back for each new novel when there’s a long time between them?
  • Should you have more than just one book done before querying agents?
  • What do you do if your novel turns out to be too short to be a novel?
  • Is it possible to write a series as a discovery writer?
  • How do you foreshadow big things that are a long way out?
Play

Take two books or movies, suggested from friends. Those are parts 1 and 3 of a series. Now figure out how part 2 works.

Hungry Ghosts, by Stephen Blackmoore

12.47: Screenwriting and the Writers Room, with JD Payne

Screenwriter JD Payne joined us before a live audience at LTUE to talk about writing for the screen, specifically regarding doing this work with others in a room full of writers.

Play

Give a character description using only visual cues in 20 words or less

Boilerplate by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett

12.46: Reinventing Yourself

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

We discuss the idea of “reinventing yourself,” which can mean anything from “trying something new” to “completely re-branding yourself as a writer,” and how it’s a difficult thing to do without figuring out what it actually is that you’re currently doing. We talk about how we’ve done it, how others have done it, and how important it is to continue learning as a writer.

Credits: This episode was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Immerse yourself in a genre that is new to you. Short story anthologies in that genre, or award winning novels are a good place to start. Read those.

NOTE: The Lost Book of the White by Wesley Chu and Cassandra Claire has been retitled and rescheduled. You should (eventually) be looking for:

The Red Scrolls of Magicby Wesley Chu and Cassandra Clare, scheduled for release in March of 2019.

12.45: Structuring a Series

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

Before you can decide on a structure for your series, you may find it helpful to decide what kind of series you’re actually building. We talk about a few of the available options, and how each of them affects the structure.

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Take a book that doesn’t have a sequel and write plot ideas for five sequels.

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, by Christopher Hastings