Intro to Playwriting

We talk to New York playwright Brenton Lengel about the art and business of writing for the theater. Mentioned in the episode: Brenton Lengel’s website Mariah McCarthy Playwright Marco Ramirez Miss Mayfield’s Fifth Grade Class Reunion State of Play Productions Incorporated Humana Festival (March and April every year) North to Main (Brenton’s Play) Univesrity of Kentucky theater […]

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Romance and Relationships

Kass Morgan joins us to discuss the romance genre and relationship stories in general. Mentioned in the episode: Cheryl’s blog post about Romance tropes The 100: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Sensibility Eleanor and Park: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_%26_Park Sense and Sensibility: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Sensibility Pride and Prejudice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride_and_Prejudice Cheryl’s review of a Pride and Prejudice adaptation Ann of Green Gables: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbClLH8nvUM Emma: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_(novel) Rust and […]

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Radio Journalism

NPR reporter Ailsa Chang on the ins and outs of her job and how she constructs a radio story. Mentioned in the interview: Serial, the documentary podcast everyone’s talking about Ailsa’s story about Senator Landrieu, featuring the man by the oak tree A piece about Mitch McConnell Ailsa did before the 2014 midterm elections A […]

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When Stories Lie

Cheryl, James, and Matt Bird discuss unreliable narrators and deceptive points of view. Mentioned in this episode: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Atonement We Were Liars Fight Club Primal Fear The Sixth Sense Gone Girl Lee Child’s “A Simple Way to Create Suspense” Flowers for Algernon Millicent Min Girl Genius The Usual Suspects You, the […]

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Bonus Ep – Native American Lit Panel

In this bonus episode, authors Eric Gansworth and Joseph Bruchac and their editors, Cheryl Klein and Stacy Whitman, discuss the particular pleasures and challenges of writing, editing, and publishing Native American young adult literature. Relevant links: Eric Gansworth’s website Joseph Bruchac’s website Stacy Whitman’s website Cheryl Klein’s website Debbie Reese’s website (mentioned in the conversation) […]

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Using Meta-Data, Labels, Colors, Keywords, etc.

Scrivener expert Gwen Hernandez talks about using meta-data, labels, colors, keywords, and annotations to streamline projects and ease the re-writing process. To varying degrees, these techniques can be applied in other software, not just Scrivener. And for those not familiar with Scrivener, we provide a brief introduction to the application that has become one of […]

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Artificial Intelligence and Us

HUMAN – AI relationships with Phillip Chernyak and Chris Shields. We look at plots and themes of the past and, inspired by the film HER, challenge writers to explore new narrative territory involving robots, artificial intelligence, and technology. Mentioned in the episode: HER Top Ten Data Episodes from Star Trek NG (1986) Robot and Frank […]

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Middle Grade with Author-Editor Jill Santopolo

Cheryl talks to author and editor Jill Santopolo about middle grade fiction as well as the secrets to productivity. Referenced in the episode: Jill Santopolo website Sparkle Spa Series Alec Flint books Vermont College of Fine Arts Because of Winn-Dixie Books by Lisa Graff A Tangle of Knots Harriet the Spy Chasing the Milky Way […]

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History as Source Material

We talk about using history as the source material for your writing, looking at iconic history-inspired films, non-fiction films nominated for the 2014 Oscars, and helpful resources for finding out about true lives and events that might inspire you. Screenwriter Jason Ginsburg returns as co-host. Let us know what you think about the ethics of […]

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Flaws Part 2: Flip-Side Strengths

Matt Bird returns to discuss character flaws in relation to their flip-side strengths. Referenced in the episode: Audiobooks.com The Cockeyed Caravan Matt’s Ultimate Story Checklist Tootsie Sherlock Elementary The 40-Year-Old Virgin The Americans Almost Human The Hurt Locker The King’s Speech Also, the iPhone/iPad app The Storyometer has been updated, featuring many more prompts and […]

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On Horror

We discuss horror films with help from two aficionados – filmmakers Phillip Chernyak and Chris Shields. What makes horror tick? When is it effective or ineffective? How should a writer approach the genre? Mentioned in the episode: Chris Shield’s Horror Podcast – The Brood The Conjuring The Fly (1986) Nightmare on Elm Street. Scream The […]

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Writing for Hire with Kass Morgan

We talk with author and editor Kass Morgan about her novel THE 100, soon to be a TV show on the CW. Topics include working with a packager, applying or not applying her own rules, and the challenges of writing an ensemble story. Follow Kass on Twitter. Mentioned in the episode: Alloy Entertainment Battlestar Gallactica […]

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Thriller Types and Tropes

Matt Bird is back for a breakdown of the thriller genre. We discuss transgression / noir thrillers, conspiracy thrillers, action thrillers and more. No need to pay for an MFA program. This episode is a graduate-level class that will benefit writers of all genres, not just thrillers. Films and TV Shows we mention: Breaking Bad […]

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Rainbow Rowell on Crafting Relationships and more

We interview the delightful Rainbow Rowell, celebrated author of Eleanor and Park. Topics include crafting relationships, writing from the gut, building believable characters, the “New Adult” genre, pacing, and Rainbow’s upcoming novel, Fangirl. Other things we mention: Attachments The Fault in Our Stars Direct Download Link for the episode More about this show, for new […]

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Brainstorming Episodic Concepts

We survey common episodic concept categories and then conquer the blank page with strategies for brainstorming the next big hit. Featuring screenwriter Jason Ginsburg. (Apologies if you were one of the early downloaders of this episode since it contained a few technical glitches and some repeated content since we had to re-record parts. But the […]

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Subtext

The topic is subtext: Why, when, and how you should use it. Cheryl and James, along with guest co-host Matt Bird, discuss several examples, including provocative theories about The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games. Check out Matt’s excellent Cockeyed Caravan blog post about subtext. And check out Cheryl’s post on the same subject. As […]

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