writing

Episode 38: It's New to You!

It's a "lost episode" for the Thanksgiving break. In this Jim and Ben talk about creepy and mysterious 'true life' sources of inspiration that could go into your story.

We hope you all have an excellent finish to your NaNoWriMo projects this year. We will be back with a few closer episodes for this year after we get back from the break.

 

Episode 37: Down but not out

It's hard times writing in this episode. Ben is woefully off pace at this point but Jim is cracking along. We talk about output and being ready to "kill your darlings". And we've also got some handy links and advice if you're feeling like things just haven't come together like you'd hope they would for your NaNoWriMo.

LINKS

Robert Jackson Bennett on Jessica Jones (and using questions to move your story along)

Comedy Bang Bang with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross

 

Photo credit: Shira Gal (Flickr)

How many distractions do you have in your life?

One of the things that can be really helpful is talking out your story and characters with someone else who will help probe your story and also give you a little direction for the next time you sit down to write. Jim and Ben do a little exercise where one of Ben's characters is put to the test.

We also talk about the concept of "ma," or stillness, as a way to pace your novel and also keep that word count up.

As Jim points out in this episode, it can't hurt to do a little reading in the middle of all this writing. What are you using as your fallback book this month?

Links

R/Nanowrimo - "I failed NaNo for for ten straight years"

UCB Comedy Improvisation Manual

Veins by Drew

Image credit: Sharon Drummond (Flickr)

"Cafe anywhere"

As we mentioned in episode 34, writing out in coffee shops, though it may be a bit of a cliche, can boost your productivity.

Twitter friend @Ebradley127 pointed out Coffeetivity, a site that gives listeners multiple coffee shop soundscapes to choose from.  It offers such aural locations such as "morning murmer," "Lunchtime Lounge" (slightly more upbeat and chatty), and "University Undertones" (which i'm guessing includes the sounds of elbow patches on leather chairs). There are also 'premium options' like "Paris Paradise," "Brazil Bistro," and "Texas Teahouse." Those options are locked away at a cost of $9 for a year's worth of additional bustling cafe sounds.

I am more partial to the website Rainy Cafe. There is nothing to buy or upgrade, just two options: rain and cafe sounds. The rain storm includes some rolling thunder, so it may be a little ominous or stress inducing for some. The cafe tonally feels more subdued that Coffitivity's versions, and it seems to have slightly more bass with slightly less dish clattering sound.

If you want to add a little extra, you can also load up Coding.fm. This site features looping streams of typing on keyboards. It may seem a little inane, but it can be a nice added boost- and in my experience brings those "cafe sounds" to true life as there are usually armies of people on their laptops there anyway. Nothing fancy, not even separate volume controls. Just 3 variations on typing.

One final trick that I found enjoyable was to pull up some instrumental guitar or piano music to add the effect of a live performer. Actual live music in a restaurant sets me on edge, but when you know you're getting performance, it can be quite entertaining without being distracting.

I'd recommend trying it out with Will Ackerman's "In Search of the Turtle's Navel." It's an instrumental acoustic guitar album from 1976 which launched the New Age record label, Windham Hill. Simple but enjoyable. Just cue it up on your streaming service of choice and set the volume fairly low to balance with the other sounds. Easy.

 

Episode 34: More like a 5k Fun Run

We hope your first full week of Nanowrimo 2015 was successful. Our rebellious streak remains... iffy. Neither of us are near the standard word goal, but we are endeavoring on.

In this episode we talk about our weekend meetup at a certain clandestine coffee house, staying motivated as the month drags on, and also do a little... MATH!?

LINKS

"Nathan For You" on motivation

Episode 33: Even Hemingway Hates Hangovers

Ben is feeling pretty good about things, and in this episode we talk a good amount about how to keep feeling good when writing for Nanowrimo.

Ben and Jim also tackle the old stereotype about booze and writing and why it may not be all its cracked up to be. Of course, if you disagree, let us know! Cheers!

Links:

Are Hangovers Good for Writing?

 

Episode 31: All Nano's Eve

Rising like a corpse from the graaaaave is the last pre-Nano episode!

Okay, so maybe that Halloween intro is a little dated by the time you listen, but bear with us as we give you those perhaps last minutes jolts of info and inspiration for your characters and setting.

Inspiration comes from all sorts of unexpected places. For Ben it, occurred at a car dealership. Jim also points out some places online that you can use to keep those wheels spinning with characters, setting, tone and more.

Also, thanks to the help of listeners we have a few more audio and suggestions as well.

If you're reading this on or after November 1st, we hope you've had a productive day of writing.

LINKS (like those in chains that ghosts rattle!)

Photo credit: Pauline Doudelet (Flickr)

Episode 29: How to write terrible books and pretend to get famous

We're back for a bit of catchup in the long summer days between Camp Nanowrimo and the official Nanowrimo event in November.

Jim and Ben have been plunking away in their respective writing dens, using whatever tools at hand to try and keep their thoughts in order.

Then we talk about an article that purports to show how to "game" the Amazon Kindle store with low effort books that make lots of money. Is it true? Is it ethical? You'll have to listen to find out.

Links!

Photo credit: Patrick Feller (via Flickr)

Episode 28: Did I Quit?

After a long break we are finally back with another offseason episode!

Where you start when you've left your work in a heap? It's been a while and now Jim and Ben are feeling the need to pick up where they left off months ago on their respective work. It's daunting stuff but we walk through some tips on it.

Then we talk about what else we've been doing to stay sharp. Lots of good stuff is recommended and discussed so be sure to check out the links for all kinds of resources, inspiration, and just plain good reading.

Links!

 

Make time. The hours spent staring at the wall and processing are also work... Don’t get caught up in the physicality of writing, of starting to believe you’re only writing when you’re hitting a keyboard. You’re ALWAYS writing. Find your own balance.
— Warren Ellis

photo credit: Fredrik Rubensson (Flickr)

Episode 26: The Quickening to the Endening

The deadline is rapidly approaching. Are you near 50,000? Maybe setting a personal best? Regardless, keep writing!

This episode is a continuation of Jim's interview with writer and Nano participant, Carolyn Rahaman. She's back with Jim to talk about something that many Nanowrimo participants think and dream about: getting published. Carolyn shares her knowledge and experience in that process.

Jim and Ben will be back in December to do a post-mortem on this year's event. Have a happy Thanksgiving, to those listeners in the United States!

LINKS:

NaNoWriPod Hosts:

  • Ben Alexander runs BlackRectangle.net and is in his third season of NaNoWrimo. He can be followed on Twitter @mistahben and on the NaNo site at mistahben.
  • Jim Markus, the creator of “Write with Lions”, runs MoreKnown.com  and is in his sixth season of NaNoWriMo. Jim is on Twitter @jimmarkus and on the NaNo site at jim-markus.

Both can also be heard on the  Stuff Smart People Like Podcast.

This podcast is not affiliated with the Office of Letters and Light, but we encourage you to support their awesome efforts. NaNoWriMo accepts donations on their site.

Photo credit: Anne-Lise Heinrichs (Flickr)

Episode 25: Building Better Worlds

"World building" doesn't really get Ben's motor running, but it's still something that, like it or not, most writers have to tackle in their stories.

Before that, we look at the very handy "22 rules for a good story" by former Pixar artist Emma Coats.

Jim and Ben then explore some suggestions for how worlds are created or evoked through various writing techniques. I assure you it's more fun than that last sentence would suggest.

Links:

NaNoWriPod Hosts:

  • Ben Alexander runs BlackRectangle.net and is starting his second season of NaNoWrimo. He can be followed on Twitter @mistahben and on the NaNo site at mistahben.
  • Jim Markus, the creator of “Write with Lions”, runs MoreKnown.com  and is starting his sixth season of NaNoWriMo. Jim is on Twitter @jimmarkus and on the NaNo site at jim-markus.

Both can also be heard on the  Stuff Smart People Like Podcast.

This podcast is not affiliated with the Office of Letters and Light, but we encourage you to support their awesome efforts. NaNoWriMo accepts donations on their site.

Photo credit: MPClemens (Flickr)

Episode 24: Slenderman and Grus

After Ben recovers from a mild illness, we regroup to get a lay of the Nanowrimo land as we hit the midway point of November. Stories still appear to be in good shape, but overall output is down compared to previous years. What's going on?

Then Jim and Ben talk cover a few pointers on how to increase suspense in your story, from an article in this month's Writers (not Readers!) Digest.

We must have had videogames on the brain because we wound up referencing both Slenderman and the Zork series.

Links:

Writer's Digest November/December 2014

"21 Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story with Suspense" by Elizabeth Sims

NaNoWriPod Hosts:

  • Ben Alexander runs BlackRectangle.net and is starting his second season of NaNoWrimo. He can be followed on Twitter @mistahben and on the NaNo site at mistahben.
  • Jim Markus, the creator of “Write with Lions”, runs MoreKnown.com  and is starting his sixth season of NaNoWriMo. Jim is on Twitter @jimmarkus and on the NaNo site at jim-markus.

Both can also be heard on the  Stuff Smart People Like Podcast.

This podcast is not affiliated with the Office of Letters and Light, but we encourage you to support their awesome efforts. NaNoWriMo accepts donations on their site.

Image credit: "Nick" (Flickr)