The Magic Words (Bonus Episode)

Cheryl reads the first chapter of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults. The book is available as of September 6th, 2016. In this bonus episode, Cheryl reads the first chapter exclusively for Narrative Breakdown listeners. Like what you hear? Buy the book! Want to win a critique of your full […]

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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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Storyteller Adam Wade

  Moth storytelling sensation Adam Wade talks about his development as a performer and the tips he gives his students. Adam and the Moth were recently featured on HBO’s Girls.  We highly recommend his new album, The Human Comedy. Mentioned in the episode: AdamWade.com The Moth Jean Shepard – The Great American Fourth of July  Woody Allen’s […]

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The Wide World of Horror

Author Chris Vander Kaay discusses the ins and outs of various horror film subgenres and recommends a lot of movies along the way. Check out Chris’ new book, Horror Films by Subgenre. (Co-authored by Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay.) Their first book: The Anatomy of Fear Twitter: ckvanderkaay Films mentioned in the episode: Halloween Nosferatu Dracula (1931) George A. […]

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Writing Dialogue with TV writer and Playwright Adam Gaines

TV writer and playwright Adam Gaines talks about writing quality dialogue and more.   Check out Adam’s two play collections! Mixtape Fire Sale   Direct Download Link for the episode More about this show, for new listeners: This is a creative writing podcast and a screenwriting podcast. In The Narrative Breakdown, Cheryl Klein, James Monohan, […]

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TV Writer and Novelist Drew Chapman

TV writer and novelist Drew Chapman discusses the challenges of writing thrillers in both mediums. Drew’s latest novel is The King of Fear, the sequel to The Ascendent. He is currently writer and co-executive producer on TNT’s Legends. (Note: Our guest goes by Andrew Chapman for his TV and film work).   Thanks for listening! We’re […]

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Writing a Critical Review

Film and music critic Tim Grierson talks about the craft of writing reviews. Tim’s review of BIRDMAN for Deadspin Tim’s review of SPY for Screen Daily Tim’s review of SPY Deadspin Tim’s review of ALOHA for Deadspin Tim in conversation about animation director Don Hertzfeldt Tim in conversation about WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP Tim discusses filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul We’re […]

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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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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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Author Trent Reedy

Writing about a culture other than your own, balancing pace and tone, using a highlighted chapter list: these are some of the topics covered in our fascinating discussion with the versatile novelist Trent Reedy. Referenced in the episode: Trent Reedy’s Web site WORDS IN THE DUST DIVIDED WE FALL TRILOGY: BOOK 1 BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA […]

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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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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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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 POV in Film

Filmmaker Jack Tomas joins James Monohan to discuss first person point of view techniques in screenwriting and film directing. Examples include Peep Show, the hit British comedy that employs only point of view perspectives. As an alternative to iTunes, you can listen right here: Direct Download Link for the episode More about this show, for […]

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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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