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Odyssey Podcasts

 

Welcome to the Odyssey Podcasts. These podcasts are excerpts from lectures given by guest writers, editors, and agents at the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

Every month or two, we release a new podcast. Each one is ten to fifteen minutes long. You may download a particular podcast, or you may subscribe to the podcasts so you automatically receive them when they are released. To subscribe, you will need RSS reader software on your computer. There are many free RSS readers.

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Or see below to download and listen to individual podcasts. To access more options, right-click on the mp3 links.




FOR THE MOST RECENT PODCASTS, CLICK HERE.

FOR PODCASTS #1-22, CLICK HERE.

FOR PODCASTS #23-44, CLICK HERE.



PODCAST #66

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Jack Ketchum served as a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2013 and spoke about writing from the wound, accessing your own disturbing or painful experiences to write stories. Stories can gain great power when you explore things that truly trouble or disturb you. Jack advises that you ask yourself difficult questions. What really terrifies you? What's the worst thing you've ever done? What awful thing have you fantasized about doing but would never do? What's the worst thing that could happen to you or to your loved ones? What breaks your heart? Jack explores the process by which an author can truly know a character and gain empathy for that character through similar experiences or impulses. Remembering and recording your painful, damaging experiences can help you use those experiences later in stories. Fiction must be honest, and acknowledging and using those difficult experiences and forbidden thoughts can bring more honesty into your work.

Jack Ketchum Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for a former actor, singer, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk—a former flower child and baby boomer who figures that in 1956 Elvis, dinosaurs and horror probably saved his life. His first novel, Off Season, prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography. He personally disagrees but is perfectly happy to let you decide for yourself. His short story "The Box" won a 1994 Bram Stoker Award from the HWA, his story "Gone" won again in 2000—and in 2003 he won Stokers for both best collection for Peaceable Kingdom and best long fiction for Closing Time. He has written over twenty novels and novellas, the latest of which are The Woman and I'm Not Sam, both written with director Lucky McKee. Five of his books have been filmed to date—The Girl Next Door, The Lost, Red, Offspring and The Woman, the last of which won him and McKee the Best Screenplay Award at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival in Germany. His stories are collected in The Exit At Toledo Blade Boulevard, Broken on the Wheel of Sex, Sleep Disorder (with Edward Lee), Peaceable Kingdom and Closing Time and Other Stories. His novella The Crossings was cited by Stephen King in his speech at the 2003 National Book Awards. In 2011 he was elected Grand Master by the World Horror Convention.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2013 by Dallas Mayr. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2013 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #65

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As writer-in-residence at Odyssey 2012, Lane Robins spent a week at the workshop and offered lectures on a variety of topics. This podcast is an excerpt from her lecture on information dissemination. Lane explains that how, when, and whether you provide information can make or break a story. Stories are a balancing act; you need to rouse and satisfy your reader's curiosity, raise questions and answer them and raise new ones. Doing these things right creates a book that people can't put down. You need to know what questions the reader is asking and what effects those questions are having. In fantasy, conveying information is harder because you have more to explain. Different types of information need to be given out at different times. Lane explains when to give out information about character, when to give out information about the world, and when to give out information about plot. With short stories, controlling information can be quite difficult. The more you know which information is important, the better you can limit yourself to relevant and specific details. Lane recommends reading classic mystery novels, such as Agatha Christie's, because they require information to be laid out precisely.

Lane Robins Lane Robins is a 1999 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate and one of our top critiquers at the Odyssey Critique Service. Her critiques are amazingly insightful and in-depth, and also provide wonderful instruction to authors. Lane is the author of Maledicte and Kings & Assassins, published by Del Rey. Under the name Lyn Benedict, she writes the Shadows Inquiries series, which is published by Ace: Sins & Shadows, Ghosts & Echoes, Gods & Monsters, and Lies & Omens. She has a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. Lane attributes much of her success to critiquing. Critiquing allows the writer to have new eyes on a manuscript, highlighting that often crucial gap between what the writer intends and what's actually on the page. Critiquing can be an extremely useful diagnostic tool that has the potential to expose rough spots in a writer's repertoire beyond the needs of a single story or manuscript, that improves not only the critiqued manuscript but the ones that come after. You can visit her Web site at www.maledicte.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2012 by Lane Robins. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2013 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #64

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Lane Robins was the Odyssey 2012 writer-in-residence. She spent a week at Odyssey, working with students, workshopping stories, and lecturing. This podcast is an excerpt from her lecture on outlining. She discusses three types of outlining. The first is based on the shape of the letter W. The major points in the story are mapped onto this letter. It begins with the inciting incident, which changes something for your protagonist. The next three turns mark important changes for your character, where he either gets a problem or solves a problem. With the first major complication or first turn, something has changed, a problem that the character may have thought was under control is not. In the middle of the W is the center of the book, where the protagonist begins to solve a problem or thinks he has. The next low point is the dark night of the soul; things have gotten as bad as they can get. And the end of the W is the climax. Before writing a short story, Lane tries to figure out what at least four of these five points are. Lane discusses Ironman as an example of this structure. While outlining is generally event based, one can also think of the emotional outline or arc. Lane maps the emotional arc of Ironman onto the W. A second method of outlining uses Post-It Notes. This way, you can map many different arcs at once, using different colors of notes and different lines alongside each other. You can map the event arc, the emotional arc of the protagonist, the emotional arcs of other characters, the off-page actions of characters, information that has been established, and many other elements. This can be very helpful for complex novels. The third type of outline is the one you do for publishers who want a narrative outline. This needs to showcase both your story and your writing style. The outline requires about three to five paragraphs per chapter. The outline can total twenty to forty pages. The outline isn't the story, but it contains story moments and exchanges of dialogue. Publishers often ask for these before you write the novel, so you need to figure out the plot. If you know the five points of the W, you can write those first, make them exciting, and then fill in the blanks. If you don't know those five points, it can be very difficult to write a strong narrative outline.

Lane Robins Lane Robins is a 1999 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate and one of our top critiquers at the Odyssey Critique Service. Her critiques are amazingly insightful and in-depth, and also provide wonderful instruction to authors. Lane is the author of Maledicte and Kings & Assassins, published by Del Rey. Under the name Lyn Benedict, she writes the Shadows Inquiries series, which is published by Ace: Sins & Shadows, Ghosts & Echoes, Gods & Monsters, and Lies & Omens. She has a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. Lane attributes much of her success to critiquing. Critiquing allows the writer to have new eyes on a manuscript, highlighting that often crucial gap between what the writer intends and what's actually on the page. Critiquing can be an extremely useful diagnostic tool that has the potential to expose rough spots in a writer's repertoire beyond the needs of a single story or manuscript, that improves not only the critiqued manuscript but the ones that come after. You can visit her Web site at www.maledicte.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2012 by Lane Robins. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2013 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #63

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Craig Shaw Gardner was a guest at Odyssey 2012, where he lectured on how to make fantasy characters alive and believable to the reader. This excerpt focuses on caring for your characters. Craig is a character writer, putting characters first, considering their problems, how they'll deal with them, and whether the characters will ultimately be saved or doomed. A character is what he does, his actions. The character performs these actions because he is motivated to do so. To create a strong character, you need to understand these motivations. Some come from his past, which has shaped who he is, his habits, abilities, and physical traits. You need to know the character's back story, which includes his past, present, and what he's looking for in the future, his desires and fears. While you should try to create a variety of different characters, down at a basic level, every character you write is you. You are writing it from your experience, taking pieces of your own life or of the lives of people you've known. Once you understand who the character is, you can reveal him in different ways. His name can create expectations in the reader. You will need to create a picture of him in the reader's mind through brief description of his clothing, stature, surroundings. If you are in the character's viewpoint, you can report his bodily sensations; if not, you can describe his expressions and mannerisms. Most important is what the character wants and what's keeping him from getting it. This desire will arise out of his back story and cause emotions, as the character has trouble achieving his desire. Many emotions will arise out of the internal conflict--some drive, weakness or belief that gets in the way of goal. How the character learns to overcome that difficulty and reach his goal makes up the character arc. As the character experiences consequences to his actions, he will change. Try to show the internal conflict in different situations and with different people, rather than just telling the reader about it. A strong character is the catalyst that empowers everything in story. The reader needs to empathize with the character, not like the character. A character will be more powerful if you put into it something important to you, some piece of you.

Craig Shaw Gardner Craig Shaw Gardner sold his first short story in 1977, and began writing full time in 1987. He has published over thirty novels ranging from his first, A Malady of Magics, to the Changeling War fantasy trilogy, written by "Peter Garrison," to the horror novel Dark Whispers, written by "Chris Blaine." Along the way, he's done a number of media tie-ins, one of which--the novelization of Batman--became a New York Times bestseller. He's also the author of more than forty short horror and fantasy stories, which have mostly appeared in original anthologies. Gardner has also served as both President and Trustee for the Horror Writers Association. You can find more information about Craig at www.craigshawgardner.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2012 by Craig Shaw Gardner. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2013 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #62

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Download "Undone" as a PDF File
James Patrick Kelly served as a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2002. This podcast is an excerpt from his lecture on plot, focusing on how he developed the plot for "Undone," which was nominated for a Nebula and a Hugo. You'll find the podcast most helpful if you download and read the story first. In the podcast, Jim explains how the story changed as he wrote it and points out key elements for each section of the story. The beginning section contains the opening and exposition. Often, the opening should foreshadow the end, and the seventh sentence of Jim's story does that. Incorporating exposition (background information) can be the greatest challenge for writers of fantasy and science fiction. If the story world is much different from the real world, then those differences need to be established and explained. Sometimes this can lead to an expository lump that puts the story on hold. The author must take into consideration the time and tempo of the story. The time simply means the amount of time in the character's world that the story takes. A story taking place in a short, continuous period of time can be very powerful, as Aristotle knew when he advocated unity of time and place for stories. When an author violates these, it creates an extra narrative burden; the author must let readers know where and when they are, and what happened in the interim. The tempo is the momentum of the story, how fast it goes in the reader's head. "Undone" starts very fast, then slows down a bit, then slows to a stop with the exposition. It can be difficult to hold the reader's interest during these sections; Jim does it by planting a question in the reader's mind. In the middle, the author needs to keep things interesting, develop a conflict, and raise the stakes. Raising the stakes makes plot developments more important. While writing the middle, Jim realized the type of story he was writing: one in which two characters are in equilibrium, and a third enters and knocks things out of equilibrium. This helped point him toward the end. The ending doesn't have to solve all the mysteries but needs to satisfy the reader with some answer. He tried to end the story with a trip back in time but found it unsatisfying. He realized he needed a second trip back in time to provide a satisfying ending. This required he revise one of the characters, so he went back and did that. That provided better foreshadowing for the ending.

James Patrick Kelly James Patrick Kelly has had an eclectic writing career. He has written novels, short stories, essays, reviews, poetry, plays and planetarium shows. His most recent book, a collection of stories, entitled The Wreck of the Godspeed, was published in the summer of 2008. His short novel Burn won the Science Fiction Writers of America's Nebula Award in 2007. He has won the World Science Fiction Society's Hugo Award twice: in 1996, for his novelette "Think Like A Dinosaur" and in 2000, for his novelette, "Ten to the Sixteenth to One." His fiction has been translated into eighteen languages. With John Kessel he is co-editor of Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology, Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka, The Secret History Of Science Fiction, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, and Rewired: The Post Cyberpunk Anthology. He writes a column on the Internet for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and is on the faculty of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. He produces two podcasts: James Patrick Kelly's StoryPod on Audible and the Free Reads Podcast. His most recent publishing venture is the ezine James Patrick Kelly's Strangeways. His website is http://www.jimkelly.net.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2002 by James Patrick Kelly. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2012 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #61

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At Odyssey 2012, Barbara Ashford lectured on "Tension Headaches." This excerpt is part 2 of 2, continuing the discussion in Podcast 60. Barbara explains how to reveal your complex character on the page. A character's reactions to the setting and to other characters can help to reveal the viewpoint character and draw in the reader by getting him involved with the character's emotions. Readers need to feel close to the character. For big emotional moments, you need to lay the groundwork, so the reader feels close to the character and the emotion feels true when it occurs. When authors label emotions through standard cues, such as laughing or crying, they often don't draw readers in sufficiently. Consider when the character will truly be feeling intense emotion; these are usually moments of farewell, moments of welcoming home, or moments of revelation. First, understand the exact emotions the character is feeling. Then, consider how you can show those. Barbara explains how techniques like introducing conflict, bringing out opposites, bringing out conflicting emotions, avoiding the cerebral, embracing concrete images, and subverting the obvious can make for the most powerful scenes. If a character refuses to admit his emotions, there are many ways the emotion can still be shown, as through body language, setting details, figurative language, or symbols. Conveying a character's emotions powerfully can help create tension.

Barbara Ashford Barbara abandoned a career in educational administration to pursue a life in the theatre, working as an actress in summer stock and dinner theatre and later, as a lyricist and librettist. She's written everything from cantatas to choral pieces, one-hour musicals for children to full-length ones for adults. Her musicals have been performed throughout the world, including such venues as the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival.

In 2000, after Barbara began writing fiction, she attended Odyssey. The workshop provided the supportive feedback and immersion in the craft of writing speculative fiction that she needed to create Heartwood, the first book of her Trickster's Game trilogy (written as Barbara Campbell). Published by DAW Books, Trickster's Game went on to become a finalist for the Mythopoeic Society's 2010 Fantasy Award for adult literature.

Barbara returned to her theatre roots to write Spellcast and Spellcrossed, which are set in a magical summer stock theatre in Vermont. She is currently at work on her next series.

Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar and The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (March 2012). When she's not writing, she critiques manuscripts for the Odyssey Critique Service.

Barbara lives in New Rochelle, New York, with her husband whom she met while performing in the play Bedroom Farce. You can visit her dual selves at barbara-campbell.com and barbara-ashford.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2012 by Barbara Ashford. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2012 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #60

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Barbara Ashford, an Odyssey graduate, was a guest lecturer at the 2012 Odyssey Writing Workshop, where she discussed "Tension Headaches." In this excerpt, which is part 1 of 2, Barbara explains how to add complexity to a character. Complexity is critical because readers want to read about real people who are inwardly conflicted. Such characters engage readers. Although a story can't spend all its time inside the character, readers are pulled into a story by what happens inside a character. Thus an author needs to understand her protagonist's true nature and motivation. What does he want most and why? What does he feel most and why? Barbara provides a series of questions that authors must ask themselves. One good technique for building complexity is to consider opposites. Everyone has contradictions, and these build complexity, inner conflict, and the opportunity for suspense. Also consider gradations of characteristics to build complexity. The character must be revealed through the plot, so authors need to consider these elements together. Authors need to choose plot incidents to put pressure on the protagonist, force him to make choices that will reveal his true nature. Then consider how those incidents will influence the character's behavior in future incidents. Barbara suggests several techniques that are helpful in developing a character. The back story of a character should be chosen carefully, so that it illuminates the journey the protagonist will take in this book rather than rehashing old feelings and wounds. Back story needs to be placed for maximum impact, so that it creates conflict in the present of the story and raises anxiety in the reader.

Barbara Ashford Barbara abandoned a career in educational administration to pursue a life in the theatre, working as an actress in summer stock and dinner theatre and later, as a lyricist and librettist. She's written everything from cantatas to choral pieces, one-hour musicals for children to full-length ones for adults. Her musicals have been performed throughout the world, including such venues as the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival.

In 2000, after Barbara began writing fiction, she attended Odyssey. The workshop provided the supportive feedback and immersion in the craft of writing speculative fiction that she needed to create Heartwood, the first book of her Trickster's Game trilogy (written as Barbara Campbell). Published by DAW Books, Trickster's Game went on to become a finalist for the Mythopoeic Society's 2010 Fantasy Award for adult literature.

Barbara returned to her theatre roots to write Spellcast and Spellcrossed, which are set in a magical summer stock theatre in Vermont. She is currently at work on her next series.

Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar and The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (March 2012). When she's not writing, she critiques manuscripts for the Odyssey Critique Service.

Barbara lives in New Rochelle, New York, with her husband whom she met while performing in the play Bedroom Farce. You can visit her dual selves at barbara-campbell.com and barbara-ashford.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2012 by Barbara Ashford. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2012 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #59

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Download the accompanying Microsoft Word document handout
NOTE: This handout is for the personal use of podcast listeners only, not for sharing or reproduction.
At the 2011 Odyssey Writing Workshop, Barry B. Longyear lectured on how an author can build and strengthen his imagination. This podcast is part 2 of 2, continuing the discussion in Podcast 58. Barry gives concrete advice about how to apply your imagination to the writing process. He explains "going there"--living, thinking, feeling, and being a character. To have that vivid experience, an author needs a powerful imagination. And to have a powerful imagination, an author must feed his imagination, which has six hungry mouths. These six mouths are the six senses: the standard five plus knowing, the sixth sense. To develop your sense of knowing, you must feed your brain important and relevant information, both real and fictional. Having strong background information and doing research can provide great energy for your imagination. To access your background information, you must organize it. Barry explains his four key tools for organization. Barry has been kind enough to provide his lecture handout, which provides concrete examples of the documents he discusses. The first is the Alphadex--a catalogue of real historical figures and characters he is using in his novel Confessions of a Confederate Vampire. The second is a timeline. When did events happen, how long did they last? You need to keep track of what is going on during any given scene. In a Notes file, Barry keeps an index of articles/links to keep his research easily accessible, so he can pull it up while writing with minimal disruption. He also creates spreadsheet easels with maps and photos important for both knowing and seeing. This allows him to pull up relevant images when working on a particular scene and feed the sense of sight. Other ways to feed sight include floor plans, pictures of cars, faces, fashions, and visits to actual locations. Barry puts wallpaper on his computer that is a slide show with pictures relating to the scene he's working on. To feed the sense of hearing, you can play music that evokes the period or mood, voices with the right accents, and sound effects. Barry gives advice on how to feed all the senses and create the reality of your character, setting, and situation.

Barry B. Longyear Barry B. Longyear is the first writer to win the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in the same year (may still be the only one for all he knows). In addition to his acclaimed Enemy Mine series, from which the motion picture of the same name was derived, his works include numerous short stories, the Circus World series, Infinity Hold series, a mainstream recovery novel Saint Mary Blue, Yesterday's Tomorrow: Recovery Meditations For Hard Cases, and science fiction and fantasy novels ranging from Sea Of Glass to The God Box. His more recent works include The Write Stuff, his career how-to-write opus; and the omnibus editions: The Enemy Papers (Enemy Mine, The Tomorrow Testament, The Last Enemy, and The Talman), and Infinity Hold\3 (Infinity Hold, Kill All The Lawyers, and Keep The Law). He is in the process of converting his backlist into Kindle format, and has recently completed The Night, the first novel in his Confessions of a Confederate Vampire series.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Barry B. Longyear. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2012 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #58

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Barry B. Longyear served as a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2011, talking about imagination building. In this excerpt, which is part 1 of 2, Barry discusses the role of imagination in our lives, what imagination does, and how it can be used. He suggests that pieces of information we know are like billions of points on a ring, and that associations between these facts are like lines crossing the ring. Where these lines cross, chains of associations are created, which can feed the imagination. Barry explains the differences between first-order information, which we can easily recall; second-order information, which we would rather not remember; third-order information, which we learn from others and forget without use; and fourth-order information, details of everyday life that few remember. Barry explains how these different types of information, and the associations between piece of information, can be used to build stories. If a writer can use all the orders of information, he can develop a "professional" imagination. His brain will associate facts that will work together to create a great story. Some writers call this ability their "muse." Barry also discusses three varieties of imagination: borrowed, generated, and amalgamated. Barry explains how imagination can help a writer to become his character, to experience what the character experiences, to know how he thinks, and to know how he will react. Barry shares his difficult experience writing Sea of Glass, when he got stuck after 30,000 words, and how the character finally helped him find the right middle and ending of the book, when Barry wrote him a letter and the character responded.

Barry B. Longyear Barry B. Longyear is the first writer to win the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in the same year (may still be the only one for all he knows). In addition to his acclaimed Enemy Mine series, from which the motion picture of the same name was derived, his works include numerous short stories, the Circus World series, Infinity Hold series, a mainstream recovery novel Saint Mary Blue, Yesterday's Tomorrow: Recovery Meditations For Hard Cases, and science fiction and fantasy novels ranging from Sea Of Glass to The God Box. His more recent works include The Write Stuff, his career how-to-write opus; and the omnibus editions: The Enemy Papers (Enemy Mine, The Tomorrow Testament, The Last Enemy, and The Talman), and Infinity Hold\3 (Infinity Hold, Kill All The Lawyers, and Keep The Law). He is in the process of converting his backlist into Kindle format, and has recently completed The Night, the first novel in his Confessions of a Confederate Vampire series.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Barry B. Longyear. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2012 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #57

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John Joseph Adams, editor of Lightspeed Magazine as well as many anthologies, was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2011, talking about the short fiction market. In this excerpt, John describes the difference between multiple submissions and simultaneous submissions, and explains why you shouldn't do either. He discusses how often you should submit your work to a particular market and stresses the importance of taking your time with your work before you submit it--revising it and letting it sit a while, so you are sure it's the best you can make it. John provides some behind-the-scenes details about how an editor works. Regarding cover letters, John explains whether or not it is helpful to include previous publications, membership in writing organizations, and social media in which you participate. Then John shares exactly what types of stories he's looking for as editor of Lightspeed and Fantasy (since his lecture, Fantasy Magazine has been folded into Lightspeed).

John Joseph Adams John Joseph Adams is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, such as Armored, Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom, Brave New Worlds, Wastelands, The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and The Way of the Wizard. Forthcoming work includes Other Worlds Than These (Night Shade, July 2012), Epic (Tachyon, Fall 2012), The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination (Tor Books, Jan. 2013), Dead Man's Hand (Titan Books, 2013), and Robot Uprisings (co-edited with Daniel H. Wilson, 2013).

John is a four-time finalist for the Hugo Award and a three-time finalist for the World Fantasy Award. He has been called "the reigning king of the anthology world" by Barnes & Noble.com, and his books have been lauded as some of the best anthologies of all time.

In addition to his anthology work, John is also the editor and publisher of Lightspeed Magazine, and he is the co-host of Wired.com's The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

For more information, visit his website at johnjosephadams.com, and you can find him on Twitter @johnjosephadams.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by John Joseph Adams. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2012 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #56

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At the 2011 Odyssey Writing Workshop, Gary A. Braunbeck served as writer-in-residence and lectured on various topics. This podcast is part 2 of 2, continuing Gary's discussion from Podcast #55 on emotional realism. In this excerpt, Gary continues to describe how a very emotional experience in his life evolved into a story. This process does not involve writing about the actual events, but using the emotions from those events to underpin the emotions in the story. To create authentic feelings, you must be willing to dive into your past and find feelings you are still carrying around from various major experiences in your life. They create a library of feelings inside you. Gary advises that you pick something you have a little distance from, so it can become just an element in the story rather than overwhelming the story. This kernel of real emotion will convince readers that you are being honest with them, and they will follow the character anywhere. This can even work with villains, allowing the reader to believe in them and sympathize with them, even if he doesn't like them. Gary cautions writers not to write about events that really happened. Such material needs to be cut and reshaped to reach the goal of the story. When accessing such powerful emotions, you need to be able to control them rather than having them control you.

Gary A. Braunbeck Gary A. Braunbeck was born in Newark, Ohio (the city that serves as the model for the fictitious Cedar Hill in a majority of his novels and stories) and wrote his first story in the 7th grade at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School. It wasn't very good. He wrote his next one while still in the 7th grade. It was much better, but it also bought him several sessions with both a psychologist and a priest. Skipping ahead several decades, he has published 25 books, over 200 short stories, and co-edited 2 anthologies. Though he is best known as a writer of horror and dark fantasy, he has also published in the fields of mystery, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, bizarro, Western, and mainstream literature. His 25th book, To Each Their Darkness, a non-fiction memoir/ writer's guide, will be published in December of 2010 by Apex Books. His work has won numerous awards, including 6 Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild Award, 3 Shocklines "Shocker" Awards, a Dark Scribe Magazine Black Quill Award, and a World Fantasy Award nomination. His short story "Rami Temporalis," was turned into the Parsec Award-winning short film "One of Those Faces" by director Earl Newton. Gary currently lives in Worthington, Ohio, with his wife, Bram Stoker Award-winning poet and novelist Lucy A. Snyder, a guilty conscience, and 5 cats that do not hesitate to draw blood when he neglects to feed them on time.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Gary A. Braunbeck. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #55

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Gary A. Braunbeck was the writer-in-residence for a week at Odyssey 2011. Among various topics, he lectured on establishing emotional realism. In this excerpt, which is part 1 of 2, Gary talks about bringing an event from real life into a story to give the story's emotional core more authenticity. Often a story's emotion can feel false, leaving the readers to feel manipulated. If readers feel manipulated, they will stop reading or stop taking the story seriously. To avoid this, the writer needs to find some experience in his past that carries the same emotion he is trying to evoke in the story. He needs to, in essence, "mine the emotional landfill" of his past. Gary believes that the writer can't convey an emotion unless he has experienced it in his life. If the emotion carries the ring of authenticity, then the story works. To gain some perspective and distance from personal experiences and emotions, the writer should give the emotion he has felt to a character and filter it through that character's sensibilities. That will allow the writer to take a step back and incorporate the emotion while still allowing the story its own independent existence. Gary describes his mother's death and how that experience evolved into a story.

Gary A. Braunbeck Gary A. Braunbeck was born in Newark, Ohio (the city that serves as the model for the fictitious Cedar Hill in a majority of his novels and stories) and wrote his first story in the 7th grade at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School. It wasn't very good. He wrote his next one while still in the 7th grade. It was much better, but it also bought him several sessions with both a psychologist and a priest. Skipping ahead several decades, he has published 25 books, over 200 short stories, and co-edited 2 anthologies. Though he is best known as a writer of horror and dark fantasy, he has also published in the fields of mystery, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, bizarro, Western, and mainstream literature. His 25th book, To Each Their Darkness, a non-fiction memoir/ writer's guide, will be published in December of 2010 by Apex Books. His work has won numerous awards, including 6 Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild Award, 3 Shocklines "Shocker" Awards, a Dark Scribe Magazine Black Quill Award, and a World Fantasy Award nomination. His short story "Rami Temporalis," was turned into the Parsec Award-winning short film "One of Those Faces" by director Earl Newton. Gary currently lives in Worthington, Ohio, with his wife, Bram Stoker Award-winning poet and novelist Lucy A. Snyder, a guilty conscience, and 5 cats that do not hesitate to draw blood when he neglects to feed them on time.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Gary A. Braunbeck. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #54

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At the 2011 Odyssey Writing Workshop, Elizabeth Bear lectured on plot structures. This podcast is part 2 of 2. Podcast #53 is part 1. In this excerpt from her lecture, Elizabeth talks about different structural shapes and offers examples of each. Circular or spiral plots, also known as iterative plots, are often used in literary novels or ballads. An episodic or picaresque story may be constructed from a series of closed loops or links. An epic plot intertwines multiple thematic and character arcs. Whatever the shape, the plot must create and exploit tension. Two primary attributes of character drive story: want and need. In most successful stories, those are in tension with each other. This template can describe many stories, when you fill in the blanks: _____ is a story about _____, who must _____ and is opposed by _____. We will know that _____ has succeeded when _____. The protagonist is in a situation with a problem that only he can solve. The conflict/plot arises out of this, and as we see the consequences of the want versus the need, theme is generated. Another way to generate theme is to create characters who are analogous to the protagonist, who have a similar point of growth to make or fail to make. This allows the story to explore different possible paths and see which ones are successful. Elizabeth also explains how to break these familiar structures. The better you know these structures, the more you can take them apart and experiment.

Elizabeth Bear Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. She's the author of over a dozen novels and seventy short stories, recipient of two Hugos, the John W. Campbell, and the Sturgeon Award. In her spare time, she enjoys falling off of rocks and cooking needlessly complicated food. She's previously taught at Clarion West and Viable Paradise.

She lives in Connecticut with a Presumptuous Cat and a Giant Ridiculous Dog.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Elizabeth Bear. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #53

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Elizabeth Bear served as a guest lecturer at the 2011 Odyssey Writing Workshop, lecturing on plot structures. In this podcast, which is part 1 of 2, Elizabeth discusses formulaic plot structures and how to deconstruct them. She begins with Aristotelian structure, which contains an inciting incident, rising action, climax, and denouement. Aristotelian structure also often uses unity of time and place. Elizabethan structure involves five acts and a number of key elements: inciting incident, rising action, reversal, more rising action, another reversal, major crisis at end Act 3, climax/catharsis, and denouement. Elizabeth explores the requirements of some of these parts, and how to form an emotional connection with the reader. She also explains how to use Anagnorisis, the moment of recognition; Katabasis, the descent or crash; and Catharsis, the moment when the reader and character have an emotional resolution or transformation. Elizabeth describes plot as a chainsaw with a series of little hooks that pull the reader through story. Hooks are little mysteries or questions raised in the reader's mind that later pay off or are resolved in some interesting way. The author must beware not to create too many unresolved things, since these must be carried by the reader in his backpack, and if that backpack gets too heavy, the reader will give up. But a few hooks should be active at any one time. They get the reader curious about something, and then the story satisfies his curiosity. Offering a satisfying resolution to a hook on each page can keep the reader reading.

Elizabeth Bear Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. She's the author of over a dozen novels and seventy short stories, recipient of two Hugos, the John W. Campbell, and the Sturgeon Award. In her spare time, she enjoys falling off of rocks and cooking needlessly complicated food. She's previously taught at Clarion West and Viable Paradise.

She lives in Connecticut with a Presumptuous Cat and a Giant Ridiculous Dog.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Elizabeth Bear. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #52

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Sheila Williams was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2005, where she lectured on the short fiction market and what editors are looking for. In this excerpt, Sheila explains how many manuscripts are submitted to her at Asimov's each month and how many she buys. A large percentage of those submissions acquired for publication are from established authors, since they are most likely to have written a good story. New authors need to get her attention quickly, on the first page, in the first sentence. Sheila describes her process of sorting, reading, and responding to submissions. Two-thirds of submissions go to her assistant, while one-third are read by her. Some authors receive form rejections; some get brief but personal letters. A few receive requests for revisions. Sheila explains what an author can do to make his submission stand out, and why some responses may come more quickly than others. Sheila also offers valuable advice on how to interact with an editor.

Sheila Williams Sheila Williams is the executive editor of Asimov's Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction and Fact. She started working at Asimov's in June 1982 and began working on Analog in 1998. She is also the co-founder of the Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing (formerly the Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing). In addition, she coordinates the websites for Asimov's. She won the Hugo Award for Best Short Form Editor in 2011.

Her latest anthology is Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine: 30th Anniversary Anthology (Tachyon, 2007). She has edited or co-edited over twenty other anthologies, including A Women's Liberation: A Choice of Futures by and about Women, co-edited with Connie Willis (Warner Aspect).

Williams received her bachelor's degree from Elmira College in Elmira, New York, and her master's from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. During her junior year she studied at the London School of Economics. She lives in New York City with her husband, David Bruce, and her two beautiful daughters, Irene and Juliet.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2005 by Sheila Williams. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #51

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A guest lecturer at Odyssey 2011, Theodora Goss spoke about Finding Your Voices. In this excerpt, Dora explains that you should consider, early in the writing process, whose perspective you want to speak from. Once you know that, you should explore what that point of view would sound like. That is the voice. Fantastic fiction allows writers the possibility of speaking from many different perspectives. Dora leads students in an exercise, then covers some of the most important aspects of voices. When developing a voice, try to imbue it with density. If a voice is dense, each sentence performs at least two functions. Dora stresses the importance of sentences that multitask. Generally speaking, professional authors write sentences that are more dense. Can each sentence do more work? Another important quality of voice is authenticity. If your story is set in a historical period, the voice needs to sound like it's from that period. Many writers have trouble with this, so Dora advises you develop settings and characters that will allow you to create your own authentic voices rather than imitating someone else or writing someone you're not. The last important quality necessary in a voice is authority. The reader should feel comfortable with the voice and trust you. If the reader doesn't trust the voice, he is thrown out of the story. He must believe in the voice just as he believes in the world and the characters. Even the smallest elements--sentences or words or punctuation marks--can throw the reader out. To create an authoritative voice, you must know your tools well.

Theodora Goss Theodora Goss was born in Hungary and spent her childhood in various European countries before her family moved to the United States.

Although she grew up on the classics of English literature, her writing has been influenced by an Eastern European literary tradition in which the boundaries between realism and the fantastic are often ambiguous.

She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop (2000). Her publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; and Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems. Her works have been finalists for the Nebula, Crawford, and Mythopoeic Awards, on the Tiptree Honor List, and have won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards. Visit her website at www.theodoragoss.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Theodora Goss. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #50

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As a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2011, Elaine Isaak spoke about description. This podcast is part 2 of 2. You can find part 1 in Podcast #49. In this excerpt, Elaine explains that the purpose of description is revelation. Specifically, description can work in five main ways: to reveal character, to reveal the perspective of the narrator, to reveal history or culture, to foreshadow plot, and to suggest theme. She expands upon each of these and provides examples. Elaine then leads listeners through an exercise that follows up on the inventory covered in Podcast #49. Elaine discusses the importance of prewriting for successful description. A big part of this involves creating an inventory, not only of world but of character. Another key part involves visualization: taking the time to figure out what the world and characters are like and then choosing the most important details to include.

Elaine Isaak Much to the dismay of her relatives, Elaine Isaak withdrew from art school to pursue her own ends in business and writing. She founded Curious Characters in 1997, designing original stuffed animals and small-scale light-hearted sculptures. She attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop the same year. Elaine is the author of The Singer's Crown (Eos, 2005), and sequels The Eunuch's Heir (Eos, 2006), and The Bastard Queen (Swimming Kangaroo, 2010). Her new dark historical fantasy series will be starting in 2012 with DAW books under a pseudonym (shhh!). Elaine writes traditional fantasy in a mythic and historic vein, harrowing tales of complex human relationships in the realms of fantasy. Magic may offer the choice of transcendence--or tragedy--and the quest never leaves you untouched. Above all else, know this: you do not want to be her hero. She has written how-to articles for The Writer magazine, and authored the Lady Blade fantasy writing column at AlienSkin magazine for three years. Her speaking engagements have included local chapters of Romance Writers of America as well as other writing groups, the World Science Fiction and World Fantasy Conventions.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Elaine Isaak. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #49

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Elaine Isaak was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2011, where she lectured on description and worked with students on their manuscripts. In this podcast, which is part 1 of 2, Elaine discusses how important description is to bring the reader into your fictional world and make the reader trust the world. Often, a key to making the reader believe in your world is making the reader believe in your main character. If the character feels real, then the world will also. Elaine talks about the series of choices involved in creating a world, and how to come up with the strongest details. World-building can work in two ways. First, it can go from the specific to the general. A small, specific object can reveal many larger characteristics about the world. Elaine illustrates this point by giving each student a penny and asking the class to consider what that penny reveals about the world that created it. Second, world-building can go from the general to the specific. If you know the type of system you want to create, then create the objects that the character will interact with to imply that type of system. Elaine suggests that you start with an inventory of what the reader needs to know to understand the world, and she explains how to create such an inventory. What are the most exciting and unique facts? What does the reader need to know to understand the plot or characters? What are the differences between our world and your story world? Elaine stresses the importance of using all five senses and identifying revealing details. To find appropriate details, you need to think about what life would be like in this other world and how those in the world would think. Elaine also explains how you can tell whether a detail is a good one to include or a bad one.

Elaine Isaak Elaine Isaak withdrew from art school to pursue her own ends in business and writing. She founded Curious Characters in 1997, designing original stuffed animals and small-scale light-hearted sculptures. She attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop the same year. Elaine is the author of The Singer's Crown (Eos, 2005), and sequels The Eunuch's Heir (Eos, 2006), and The Bastard Queen (Swimming Kangaroo, 2010). Her new dark historical fantasy series will be starting in 2012 with DAW books under a pseudonym (shhh!). Elaine writes traditional fantasy in a mythic and historic vein, harrowing tales of complex human relationships in the realms of fantasy. Magic may offer the choice of transcendence--or tragedy--and the quest never leaves you untouched. Above all else, know this: you do not want to be her hero. She has written how-to articles for The Writer magazine, and authored the Lady Blade fantasy writing column at AlienSkin magazine for three years. Her speaking engagements have included local chapters of Romance Writers of America as well as other writing groups, the World Science Fiction and World Fantasy Conventions.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2011 by Elaine Isaak. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #48

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Bob Mayer was a guest at Odyssey 2004, where he worked with students and lectured on the original idea. In this excerpt, Bob explains what he means by the original idea. It is the first idea you had for your novel or story. You should excite people with your idea--it should send a shiver down someone's spine. Idea is different from story, which includes plot, setting, and characters. Many different stories can be written with the same underlying idea. Bob stresses the importance of the idea throughout the writing process. You should write down your idea, tape it to your desk, and look at it every morning. If you get stuck halfway through manuscript, it's often because you've forgotten your original idea. The idea is the one thing that can't change as you write, the foundation. The idea starts your creative process, keeps you focused, and forms the core of your pitch to sell book. The original idea may end up as a small part of the final product, but it is still important. Every idea has been done; you can learn a lot by acknowledging that, finding someone else who wrote a novel based on that idea, and dissecting that book. How are you developing this idea differently than everyone else has developed it? Do you have a different character or setting? A different point of view? Bob gives examples of stories that share the same underlying idea. You need to understand yourself to figure out how to develop the idea in your own unique way.

Bob Mayer Bob Mayer is the best-selling author of over forty books. He grew up in New York City, graduated from West Point and spent twenty years on active and reserve duty in the Infantry and Green Berets. He has been an Infantry Recon platoon leader, a Special Forces A-Team Leader, and a writer/instructor at the JFK Special Warfare Center & School at Fort Bragg. He is also a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Bob writes under his own name and four pen names. His books have hit the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, USA Today and other best-seller lists. He has been published in many genres, including thriller, science fiction, suspense, romance and non-fiction. He has appeared on PBS, NPR and the Discovery Channel and in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and Army Times among other publications as an expert consultant. He has sold millions of books around the world.

He's spoken before and worked with over 1,000 groups and organizations, ranging from SWAT teams, the University of Georgia, IT teams in Silicon Valley, the CIA, Fortune 500 companies, numerous small businesses, Romance Writers of America, and the Maui Writers Conference.

Bob began writing when living in Asia in the late 1980s while studying martial arts. It took hundreds of rejections and several manuscripts before he got his first book deal. Bob has incorporated all he has learned in The Novel Writer's Toolkit.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2004 by Bob Mayer. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #47

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Calypso Wheel
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James Morrow was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2005. In this podcast, Jim describes his model-in-progress for fiction, the Calypso Wheel, which is based on the color wheel. The color wheel tells us about the visible spectrum, what happens when we combine pigments, and how complementary colors, situated opposite each other on the wheel, relate to each other. Similarly, the Calypso Wheel tells us about the elements of fiction, what happens when we combine elements, and how complementary elements relate to each other. As writers, Jim advises that we think about the full spectrum, all the hues available on our pallets. The elements on the Calypso Wheel are concept, world, story, theme, character, and plot. Many beginners focus solely on one side of the wheel, on character, story, and concept. Including the other side—world, plot, and theme—allows fiction to enter the realm of art. These elements tend to emerge as we are writing. Through a series of examples, Jim explains the difference between story and plot, which are complementary, and says that if a writer is struggling with plot, he probably doesn't have a clear story. Concept and theme are also complementary. Jim explains exactly what theme is and how it can emerge out of concept. Character and world are also complementary. Through this fascinating theory, Jim gives writers a new way to approach and develop their work.

James Morrow James Morrow is best known for his magnum opus, the Godhead Trilogy. The first installment, Towing Jehovah, winner of the World Fantasy Award, recounts the efforts of a supertanker captain to entomb the corpse of God in an Arctic glacier. The sequel, Blameless in Abaddon, tells of a small-town judge who prosecutes the Corpus Dei before the World Court. In The Eternal Footman, God's skull goes into geosynchronous orbit above Times Square, causing a plague of despair.

Jim's more recent efforts include The Last Witchfinder, praised by Janet Maslin of the New York Times for fusing "storytelling, showmanship and provocative book-club bait . . . into one inventive feat"; The Philosopher's Apprentice, which NPR called "an ingenious riff on Frankenstein"; and a stand-alone novella, Shambling Towards Hiroshima, winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

Among Jim's early novels are The Wine of Violence, The Continent of Lies, This Is the Way the World Ends, and Only Begotten Daughter, winner of the World Fantasy Award. His short fiction is collected in Bible Stories for Adults, which includes the Nebula Award-winning fable, "The Deluge," and The Cat's Pajamas and Other Stories. His 1991 novella City of Truth also received a Nebula Award.

Born in Philadelphia in 1947, Jim spent his adolescent years making short 8mm fantasy films with his friends, including adaptations of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." His affection for satiric and philosophical fiction comes largely from the novels he studied in his high school World Literature course. He currently lives in State College, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Kathy, his son, Christopher, and two rescue dogs: Harley, a beagle mix, and Molly, an Australian shepherd.

He devotes his time to his family, his Lionel electric trains, his DVD collection of guilty-pleasure Hollywood epics, and his novel-in-progress, Galapagos Regained, a postmodern historical epic about the coming of the Darwinian worldview.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2005 by James Morrow. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #46

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Michael A. Arnzen was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2010, where he lectured on "Sensory Immersion: Making Your Reader Squirm." In this podcast, Mike discusses the intertwining effects of imagery, mood, and atmosphere, and illustrates his points with numerous examples. Imagery is the collection of sensory details you provide the reader. Through these details, you appeal to the reader's "sensorium," the part of his brain that interprets sensory input, and provide a vicarious experience. You must translate fictional experiences into sensory information for the reader, so you show rather than tell. This allows the reader to participate actively in the creation of drama. Mood and atmosphere can be established by the words you choose to convey these sensory details. Words are like music playing in the reader's mind; their sound and rhythm contribute to the mood. Consider the sounds and rhythms, and the psychological impact of the words on the reader. What is the mood you're trying to set? A strong mood and atmosphere can increase the reader's response and make him enjoy the work more.

Michael A. Arnzen Michael Arnzen has been publishing outrageous horror fiction, SF, poetry, literary criticism, instructional essays on writing, and offbeat humor since 1989. Across his career, Arnzen has won four Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild Award, and several "Year's Best Horror Story" accolades and reprints. His novels include Play Dead and Grave Markings. The best of his short stories and poems are collected in Proverbs for Monsters, which won the Bram Stoker Award in 2007. Always the experimentalist, his writing has appeared on Palm Pilots and postcards, short art films ("Exquisite Corpse") and creepy online animation. His novel Play Dead even inspired a deck of custom-designed playing cards.

When he's not writing, Arnzen teaches suspense and horror writing fulltime in the MFA degree program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University, near Pittsburgh, PA. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon, where he studied "the uncanny" in popular culture, as well as an M.A. in English from the University of Idaho, where he wrote his second novel. Arnzen sits on the editorial board for two literary journals associated with genre fiction (Paradoxa and Dissections) and has edited college literary magazines and more.

Arnzen's podcast on "Making the Reader Squirm" is from Odyssey 2011. An excerpt from his "Humor in Fantasy" lecture from Odyssey 2007 is also still available as Podcast #12. Look for his new how-to book, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, in print this Spring.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2010 by Michael A. Arnzen. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #45

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Elizabeth Hand was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2010, where she spoke about Creating Unsympathetic Characters. In this podcast, Liz describes the power of making an unsympathetic character the protagonist of a novel and gives many examples from a wide variety of genres. Whether such a character is the protagonist or the antagonist, the author needs to make him realistic. Many antagonists in fantasy are superficial--not believable and not well developed. Giving the character real-world emotions and a believable background can imbue him with depth and authority. Inciting events in the character's past may explain his monstrosity without excusing it. That can give the story power. If the character is transformed in some way during the story, that can add to the power. Liz also explores which point of view one should use to create such a character. Third person gives us a distance from the unsympathetic character. He is not us, not in our heads. First person can drag us into a dark place and make us complicit with the character. The character then forces us to see things and imagine things we normally wouldn't. For readers, this can be exhilarating or cathartic. Point of view can reveal what the character wants and how he justifies his actions to himself. His desire is the engine that drives him, the obsession that permeates or poisons all his actions.

Elizabeth Hand Writer and critic Elizabeth Hand is the author of numerous novels, including Illyria (2010) and Generation Loss (2007), winner of the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award for best work of psychological suspense, and three story collections. Her fiction has received three World Fantasy Awards, two Nebulas, two International Horror Guild Awards, as well as the James M. Tiptree Jr. and Mythopoeic Society Awards, and in 2001 she was a recipient of an Individual Artist's Fellowship in Literature from the Maine Arts Commission/NEA. Since 1988, she has been a regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World, and her reviews and essays have appeared in a number of other publications, including Salon, DownEast Magazine, Fantasy & Science Fiction (where she is a columnist) and the Village Voice Literary Supplement.

Radiant Days, a YA novel about poet Arthur Rimbaud, will be published by Viking in 2012; Available Dark, a sequel to Generation Loss, will also appear in 2012, from St. Martin's Press.

Glimmering, her prescient 1997 novel about a perfect storm of global climate change, terrorism, and environmental collapse, will be reprinted by Underland Press later this year. She has also written numerous novelizations and a popular series of Star Wars juveniles.

She has two children, Callie and Tristan, and lives on the coast of Maine.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth Hand. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




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