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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Writing for Video Games

James talks to Jerry Bonner, a screenwriter who switched to writing for video games. Check out Jerry’s articles at HNGN. Jerry’s Twitter Games mentioned include: Ride to Hell Prisonscape   (coming in 2015) Tynon The Legend of Zelda Mass Effect 2 Mass Effect 3 Half Life Super Mario Brothers Karateka Metal Gear Solid Red Dead Redemption […]

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Query Letters

How should you compose your query letter when submitting a manuscript? Cheryl and author Katy Beebe discuss the do’s and dont’s. By the way… Thanks for listening. Sorry we’ve been away! We hope to be more consistent in the fall but could use your help. Our PayPal donation email is narrativebreakdown@gmail.com Any amounts are appreciated […]

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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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Revision Techniques 1

Cheryl Klein discusses some of her revision techniques, honed through years of editing award-winning work at Arthur Levine Books, including Harry Potter. This discussion will be useful to prose and script writers alike. We also reference Anita Nolan’s excellent essay on revision. For many more revision ideas, check out Cheryl’s book, Second Sight. As an […]

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Novelist and Screenwriter Chad Kultgen

James talks to novelist and screenwriter Chad Kultgen – it’s a discussion that should prove fascinating to all writers – about his ideas, work habits, and success in several mediums. Chad has sold as many as twenty TV shows, written four novels, penned several screenplays, and ventured into graphic novels and videogames. Chad’s novels include […]

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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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1st Person Point of View

We talk about the pros and cons of writing from a first person point of view. Referenced writers include Woody Allen, Jonathan Ames, Jane Austen, Suzanne Collins, Larry David, Charlie Kaufman, Jaclyn Moriarty, Trent Reedy, David Sedaris, Francisco Stork, Lisa Yee, and more. Links: Cheryl Klein’s blog. James’ brainstorming app for writers, which just came […]

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Character Hooks

We discuss brainstorming Character Hooks – instantly intriguing character traits that are full of dramatic and/or comedic potential. When you read a book’s flap copy or see the trailer for a movie it’s not just the the plot conceit, world, tone, style, and the talent involved that makes you want pony up your hard-earned cash. […]

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Generating Characters for an Ensemble Cast

Matt Bird joins us again for a look at stories that have an ensemble cast of characters. We brainstorm how to go about generating multiple main characters, focused vs. unfocused ensemble stories, and polarized traits vs. full dimensionality. Plus, a digression into a racially-related subtopic helps make this the most controversial episode yet. See you […]

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Character Development > Essence and Action Traits

Cheryl and James do an overview of character traits, introducing the distinction between Essence Traits (what a character “is”) and Action Traits (the traits that more directly lead to plot-related behavior). Examples include Indiana Jones, James Bond, The Big Chill, the work of Joan Bauer, Mad Men, The Hunger Games, Back to the Future, and […]

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Inciting Events Part 2

James and guest writer and filmmaker Jack Tomas continue with our discussion of Inciting Events, including lots of examples from novels, films and TV shows as well as several references to the Hero’s Journey and Joseph Campbell. While James teases the Inciting Events section of his upcoming iPhone / iPad app – a creative writing […]

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Character Contrast (Foils)

Cheryl and James look at how Character Contrast and the use of Foils can help you better define your characters and make them more compelling. Some questions we address: How likable do your characters have to be for us to care about them? What are some different types of foils?  What uses of character contrast […]

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