Fiction

Listen & Learn: Podcasts on Writing

 

Wikimedia Creative CommonsBusy lives mean we must be creative in the ways we use our time. For me, that means when I’m doing housework or driving or tallying columns of numbers I listen to podcasts.

LISTEN OR READ

Last week I shared three of the science themed podcasts that I listen to. One reader lamented that her lifestyle didn’t lend itself to listening to podcasts and I realized I’d forgotten to mention that many of the podcasts make transcripts of the show. These transcripts are available on their websites. Want to take a look at the science podcasts I recommended? Go here.

There are many, many more podcasts on nearly every topic under the sun. They are available on your favorite podcast carrier (Apple iTunes oStitcher or Android). Download your system appropriate app and discover a whole new world of spoken shows and radio.

Learn from Writers on Writing

Looking for a podcast on writing? Well, I have a few I can recommend.

The Creative Penn is an hour long show that is broadcast every Monday by Joanna Penn, a New York Times bestselling thriller writer and nonfiction writer. She is a self-publishing guru who interviews other authors and creators both from her native Great Britain and around the world. Her interviews are always worth a listen. You can visit her nonfiction site here. Her podcast transcripts are here. She also puts the interview portion of her podcasts on YouTube.

Writing Excuses is a fifteen minute (approximately) podcast hosted by Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Taylor. I love their tag line, “Fifteen minutes long because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” They may not think of themselves as smart, but they put on a smart show. Often with guests, they discuss various aspects of the craft of writing. Every broadcast they recommend a book, not just science fiction and fantasy. The book always has a link in their liner notes. Go here to see their podcasts on their website. And they host a cruise! Once a year, a cruise with writing workshops for science fiction and fantasy writers. A cruise I plan to attend someday. Peruse their previous seasons or subscribe to their current season, you’ll find gold.

And, for my third choice . . . The Story Grid with editor, story grid creator, Shawn Coyne, and new writer, Tim Grahl. Tim bravely submits a portion of his work-in-progress for Shawn to critique on air. It’s fascinating to hear both the professional editor and the struggling writer discuss how to build a story. I recommend starting with the Story Grid website to learn the terms Shawn Coyne uses or read his book, The Story Grid: What Editors Know. Then start with the first podcast and follow along as Shawn guides Tim in the completion of his first novel.

There are so many more podcasts that are worth mentioning, but your needs and interests probably differ from mine. Look around the web, I know you’ll find one that you find worthwhile.

Your Turn

If you find one, or you already listen to one, won’t you share the title and a little about it in the comments below?

 

Image courtesy of Raster via Wikimedia Creative Commons.

Writing the Hard Stuff

Writing the Hard Stuff

Time for a glass of wine.

When I say hard stuff, I don’t mean porn or description or character or plot. The most difficult things to write are those things that come from our deepest, darkest places. The places we hide from most of the time.

I recently wrote a scene meant to tap into that place in myself. An hour and a half later, a mere 550 words had me trembling with fatigue and sick to my stomach. Yup. It was that dark of a place. Inside me!

We all have those places. That side of us that we like to pretend doesn’t exist. It’s dangerous to touch those places of fear, loathing, hate, or even fierce love. Most of us like to think we are genuinely nice people. I know I do. Yet, I have dark corners in my psyche.

So what do you do? First, do you like to read about characters who have to face a piece of their own darkness, their own demons? Is that the kind of story you aspire to write? To write that kind of scene, to make the scene come alive, you have to be willing to write the hard stuff. You have to be willing to expose yourself to your readers.

You may want to journal about that dark corner of your psyche first. That allows you to be very personal. Give yourself a break–chocolate and buying something sparkly can help. (I don’t know where I got that idea!) After some time passes, re-read your journal entry and re-imagine it in terms of how it applies to your character. Then write.

I’ve put off writing my scene FOREVER. It was a scary place to go. Having written the scene I can say that it is dark and awful and . . . not 100% me. How can that be? Because while I drew from my experiences to create my characters, I gave them traits I do not have. Those traits subtly change my dark thoughts and memories into something different. It will work that way for you, too.

What about the feeling vulnerable and exposed? Will someone ask if you actually lived that scene? Maybe. What should you do or say? I can’t really tell you how to protect yourself. As for me . . . I plan to smile and say “Only in my nightmares.” And, “If you thought that one was bad, wait ’till you read the next one!”

Do you visit dark places in your reading? Do you reach into the dark corners of your psyche when you write? How do you get through it? Or do you shy away from the dark side entirely?

Image:”Life is Hard” via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anne Helmond

Science Fiction Mashup

Here are some fun science fiction magazine sites. If you haven’t visited them, click on the links below. Among these I’m sure you’ll find something that speaks to your SF bug.

Asimovs Science Fiction

offers samples of their print and e-format magazine, links to author, magazine and other SF related sites, and they feature a couple of new author blogs each month.

Amazing Stories Magazine

calls their site a Social Magazine. Scroll down the page to see some of the fascinating posts and join the forum to participate in the conversation.

Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine 

is up in space! (in the library of the International Space Station). This site offers the usual plus a reference library and an events calendar.

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 

features a blog with interviews, reviews, and articles as well as a forum for discussions among fans.

Sfsignal

is considered a fanzine(a nonprofessional, nonofficial publication by fans). You’ll find book and movie reviews, free fiction, convention information, and more at this site.

 

Hi! I’m popping up out of my writing cave for a few minutes to say hi and share some links you might want to know about. I’ll be heading back into the cave in a minute. I’m determined to finish this re-write before I take off for an intense immersion class. In the meantime, I will try to post a short piece every couple of weeks. I’ll return to a regular blogging scheduled in late October.

I hope you found something of interest in this mashup of Science Fiction Online.

Are there science fiction sites you visit regularly?

Greek for a Day

What do you do when you want to travel abroad but can’t afford the time or expense?

If you want to go to Greece or learn about Greece for a work-in-progress (I wouldn’t know who was doing that). You go to a Greek Food Festival and become Greek for the day.

Lynette M Burrows, author; Lynette M. Burrows, science fiction author; Lynette M. Burrows, action-suspense science fiction

 

Waiting in line while mouthwatering aromas waft through the air. . . . then the tasting begins!

Lynette M. Burrows, author

Flaming Saganaki Chees via Arnold Inuyaki on Flickr Commons

Flaming Cheese Saganaki (pronounced sah-ghah-NAH-kee). The term saganaki refers to the two-handled vessel in which appetizers are served. The cheese is pan-fried and at the last minute (often at the table) a Greek brandy or Ourzo is poured over the cheese and set aflame with a shout of “Opa!.” You can find the recipe here.

Want to know more about Greek food? You can find all you want to know about Greek food at Matt Barrett’s travel guides.

The boutique complete with souvenirs from Greece. Notice the ladies behind the counter in their festive attire.

Greek-Fest-shop2_web

Greek-Festival-shop_web

No Greek food festival is complete without dancing.

Greek festival dancing_web

Did You Know?

Greeks are notorious for late arrivals to events. In fact, when they observe someone arriving to an event on time they say “he is English.”

When something is incomprehensible to a an American we say, “It’s Greek to me.” But to the Greeks, “It’s Chinese to me.”

When a Greek exaggerates or hides the truth, he’s “pouring on the sauce.”

Shaping thumb and forefinger to a ring as in the American gesture meaning okay, is an obscene gesture to Greeks.

Many Greeks have a cactus plant near the entrance to their home. The spines or prickles of the cactus are thought to ward off the evil eye from the property.

You can find more information about Greek traditions and superstitions at the Faliraki Directory.

And the best information comes from conversations you have with the folks who remember these traditions and superstitions and a few stories about a yaya (grandmother).

While travel to the country is the best option when learning about another culture. And the internet can be a treasure trove of information.  There’s nothing quite like being almost there, at a local festival, tasting the food, listening to the music, and enjoying the stories.

Have you been Greek for a day? 

If not Greece, what country have you visited without leaving your national borders?