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Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard TaylerAs we do our worldbuilding with similarity, specificity, and selective depth (per the previous episode), we should take care to apply these things throughout our stories. In this episode we discuss how these elements we've world-built can become "textures."Credits: This episod…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard TaylerWriters are illusionists, and worldbuilding requires no small mastery of that particular magic. In this episode we'll explore the creation of believable illusions through the techniques of similarity, specificity, and selective depth.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marsh…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard TaylerIn our world, the ostensibly "real" one (simulation theory notwithstanding), stuff is changing all the time. Why, then, do we see so many fantasy worlds whose once-upon-a-times seem timeless?A more important question: how might we, as writers cognizant of the ubiquity of chang…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard TaylerLet's follow up on character biases with an exploration of moral frame. When we say someone is "morally gray" or "morally ambiguous," what we're really talking about is the way they fit into the moral frame defined by society. In this episode we talk about that frame, and how …
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard TaylerThe world of your book is most often shown to us through the eyes of the characters who live in that world. In this episode we discuss the fact that those characters have biases which will distort the reader's perception of the world. Knowing this, we can use it to our advanta…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard TaylerWe're beginning another master class, another deep dive series of episodes, and this time around we'll be led into the realms of good worldbuilding by Fonda Lee. In this episode Fonda talks about her process, which includes plotting and character creation along with the worldb…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalOur eighth and final M.I.C.E. Quotient discussion will explore using M.I.C.E. as a diagnostic tool. So... your manuscript is done, but something isn't working. How do you figure out where the problem is? If the ending isn't satisfying, M.I.C.E. can tell you whether the end…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalWith the M.I.C.E. elements (Milieu, Inquiry, Character, and Event) explained, and the concept of nesting, or braiding the M.I.C.E. threads, we're ready to dive into that most difficult part of the story: the middle.Enough of us dread (or at least struggle with) middle-of-s…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalNow that we've drilled down into each of the M.I.C.E. elements (Milieu, Inquiry, Character, and Event) it's time to explore nesting them. This sixth installment in our M.I.C.E. Quotient series focuses on the "FILO" (first-in, last-out) or "nested parentheses" method for sy…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalOur fifth M.I.C.E. Quotient episode focuses on the “Event” element, and explores how to use disruption of the status quo as the driving element for story. From plumbing problems to alien invasions, event stories are often structured by telling how difficult it is to return…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalOur fourth M.I.C.E. Quotient episode explores the “Character” element, and how these angsty, navel-gazing voyages of self-examination can serve either as complete stories or as elements in other stories. Also, we talk about how to do this in ways that don't result in reade…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalOur third M.I.C.E. Quotient episode asks about the "Inquiry" element, and the ways in which we can use this element to structure our stories—whether we're writing murder mysteries, thrillers, or anything else in which the turning of pages asks and eventually answers questi…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalThe M.I.C.E. Quotient is an organizational tool which categorizes story elements as Milieu, Inquiry, Character, or Event. In this second episode we cover "Milieu," and how stories can be driven by a sense of place.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., a…
 
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette KowalThe next eight episodes are a deep dive into the M.I.C.E. Quotient, so we'll begin with a definition. M.I.C.E. is an organizational tool which categorizes story elements as Milieu, Inquiry, Character, or Event. It helps authors know which elements are in play, and how to w…
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerNovels deliver a lot of information, and it's helpful to consider that delivery in terms of layers. Novels are layer cakes, and we're not talking about a three-layer birthday cake. We're talking about a dobosh torte, or a mille crepe cake. And if we've made you hungry for s…
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerFew pieces of writing advice get repeated as much as that old saw "show, don't tell." We're here to show tell you that it's not only not universally applicable, much of the time it's wrong¹. Tell, don't show, especially in the early pages of the book when so very, very much…
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerIn this episode we explore the first page of The Killing Floor, by Lee Childs, with the goal of learning how to build good first pages for own own work.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex JacksonLiner Notes: here is the 1st paragra…
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerIn this episode we explore the first page of Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, with the goal of learning how to build good first pages for own own work.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex JacksonLiner Notes: here is the 1st paragraph …
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerIn this episode we explore the first page of The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, with the goal of learning how to build good first pages for own own work.Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex JacksonLiner Notes: here is t…
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerHow do we build trust with our readers? What does that even mean? In this episode we discuss ways in which we let our readers know what they can expect from the book they're holding, and how we set about getting the to trust us do deliver on those expectations.Credits: This…
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerLet's have a frank, and possibly painful discussion about the ways in which the first page can go wrong. It may seem like hackneyed writing advice, but rules like "don't start with the main character waking up" are rules for a reason. In this episode we'll talk about those …
 
Your Hosts: DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard TaylerOur controversial episode title comes to us via John Schwarzwelder, and it points up nicely the importance of today's topic, which is first lines, first pages, and how we set about convincing people (who may or may not want to read a book) to read OUR book.Credits: This epi…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard TaylerOur series of game writing episodes draws to a close with a discussion about working with teams. This last skill set, these ways in which you learn to excel at collaborative projects, is often far more important than any of your other skills.Credits: This…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard TaylerSo, after all this talk about designing games and writing for games, it's time to address the big question: how does one go about getting a game-design/game-writing job?It's a competitive field, and there are no easy answers, but we do have some hard answ…
 
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard TaylerWorldbuilding is one of our favorite topics, and it's a domain in which game design and novel writing share a lot of territory. In this episode we talk about how much we love it, and how much we enjoy letting other people love it enough to do the heavy li…
 
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