Misunderstood Characters

Why a misunderstood character can be very useful. Featuring Cheryl Klein and Matt Bird! Check out Cheryl’s The Magic Words, and Matt Bird’s The Secrets of Story — the best creative writing books of the year. Yes, we’re a bit biased but it’s true! Mentioned in this episode: The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for […]

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Absurdist Fiction

Author David S. Atkinson discusses absurdist and weird fiction. Mentioned in the episode: David S. Atkinson’s website Not Quite So Stories Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories George Sanders H.P. Lovecraft Lewis Carroll’s  “Hunting of the Snark” Nikolai Gogol Franz Kafka Angie Tribeca Eugène Ionesco Etgar Keret Nathaniel Tower Aimee Bender Timothy Gager Treating a Sick […]

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Writerly Habits

Cheryl Klein shares her perspective on the habits of professional writers in a frank and illuminating conversation. You can now pre-order Cheryl’s new book, The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults Mentioned in the episode: Mac Freedom AntiSocial Waste No Time Francisco Stork Daniel José Older Written Kitten Laini Taylor   […]

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Writing a Gender Other Than Your Own

What should you consider when choosing the gender of your main character? Two exciting debut thriller authors, Alex Dolan and Gwendolyn Womack, join to discuss this topic and related issues. Gwendolyn Womack’s website The Memory Painter Alex Dolan’s website The Euthanist A Reunion of Ghosts (Alex’s recommendation) The Expats (Gwendolyn’s recommendation) The Accident (Gwendolyn’s recommendation) International […]

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Literary Agents

Literary agents! What do they do? Why do you need one? How do you get one?  And when can we do lunch?  Cheryl talks to Brianne Johnson of Writers House about these topics and announces her own new project. Links related to this episode: Writers House Brianne’s Publishers Marketplace Listing Another interview with Brianne Johnson Brianne’s […]

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Graphic Novels vs Screenplays

Chad Kultgen on writing a graphic novel, creating a new comedy for NBC, and getting his novel adapted into a major motion picture. Plus, Cheryl and James announce a new opportunity for listeners. Listeners! We’re celebrating our 40th episode. Thanks for your support over the last couple of years. We’d love to do more shows, […]

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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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Author Bill Konigsberg

Novelist Bill Konigsberg on identity, free-writing, creative flexibility and learning as you go. Referenced in the episode: OPENLY STRAIGHT OUT OF THE POCKET Piper Center for Creative Writing (at Arizona State) Bill Konigsberg’s Web site Ned Vizzini’s IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY Attention! Listeners of the Narrative Breakdown can now get a FREE audio […]

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Storytelling in Front of a Live Audience

Storyteller Melanie Hamlett discusses the techniques of spoken word performance as well as her primary source material – an adventurous life fueled by insatiable curiosity. In the near future, look for her book SEX WITH CLOWNS. Referenced in the episode: Melanie’s Blog Links to some of Melanie’s stories Melanie’s story about a night with a […]

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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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Character Flaws Part 1

Character Flaws: What are they? Why are they important?  How do you go about picking flaws?  How aware should characters be of their flaws? Should they be resolved?  This is meaty subject so we’ll definitely have to do a part 2. Links to the shows, films, and books we discuss are listed on this episode’s web page: Wikipedia on Character […]

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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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Beyond the Basics with E. Lockhart

How does an advanced writer think? Find out as we go beyond the basics of writing with Printz and National Book Award finalist E. Lockhart. We cover many topics, including the challenges of working within one’s own high concept structural choices. Links to what we reference, in order of mention, are listed here on NarrativeBreakdown.com: […]

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Selling Your Writing

Chad Kultgen is back to discuss the ins and outs of selling novels and scripts. He also gives a great overview of the different ways to break into television writing. Chad has authored four novels and sold many TV shows and screenplays (including The Incredible Burt Wonderstone ). Check out his work on the interweb. […]

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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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The Power of Irony

Matt Bird and James Monohan discuss the various types of irony you can use in your writing to add depth, build empathy, earn laughs, create meaning, and ultimately hook your audience. We start with Matt’s general description of irony as being “a meaningful gap between expectation and outcome” and go from there, using examples from […]

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Crafting Subjectivity Within Objective Point of View

When writing prose from a third person (objective) point of view, what kind of techniques can you use to portray the subjective viewpoint of your characters? Cheryl and James explore this challenge, using Hugh Howey‘s hit thriller WOOL, along with HARRY POTTER, as fodder for the discussion. We’re glad to be back in action on […]

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