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Living Beyond the Book
26 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
Ep. 6: Messy Mapping: Know Your Characters
Characters are the heart and soul of your story. They are who your readers identify with. They’re who we cheer for. You can have the best plot in the world, and if we don’t care about the characters, we’re not emotionally engaged in the story. Falling in love with the characters is what makes a book last in our memories and become one of our favorites. In the book Building a Storybrand, Donald Miller says: “If three questions can’t be answered within the first fifteen to twenty minutes, the story has already descended into noise and will almost certainly fail…” We’ll talk about what these three questions are and how to apply them to our own characters. We’ll talk about a few creative ways to develop great characters, but however you develop them, my one piece of advice is: Know the basics, but then treat that character like someone you’ve just met that you’re going on a road trip with. Get to know them organically. Move forward and feel the story. Don’t get stuck in the stage of trying to overdesign and overthink them. Characters are the final tool in our discussion of Messy Mapping. After this, you’ll have a blueprint to create a unique and wonderful story. Are you ready to get started? *Note: I said in the episode that Brandon Sanderson said (paraphrasing) if you want to know who the bad guy is, have him kill a puppy. What I meant was KICK. He said have them kick a puppy. Killing the puppy is what happens in John Wick. My apologies! Resources mentioned: · Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller · The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide: Prompts and Activities to Create the Most Interesting Story for Your Character by James D’Amato · The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface by Donald Maass · Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
19 minutes | Dec 15, 2020
Ep. 5: Messy Mapping: Know Your Guideposts
In this episode of the Messy Mapping mini-series, we talk about knowing your guideposts. The guideposts are simply the structural highlights of your novel. We’ll talk about a story from Brian Tracy’s Eat that Frog that exemplifies why guideposts are so helpful in keeping us motivated and on track and save time in the editing stage of our books. We’ll talk about my five favorite methods for identifying guideposts, so you can find what works for you without it being too overwhelming. This is the stage of writing where you can play around and brainstorm and throw crazy ideas out without boxing yourself in. You can figure out what will work and what won’t. Have fun with it and save yourself a lot of pain in the drafting stage where you might paint yourself into a corner or run into plot holes. Guideposts will help you maintain your momentum, know where you’re going, and keep you excited about getting there.
24 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
Ep. 4: Messy Mapping: Know Your Conflict
In our continued discussion of Messy Mapping—or having a loose idea of where you want your story to go—this episode looks at conflict. Conflict is the heart of any story, and it’s what compels us to keep reading. It’s conflict that creates cliffhangers or makes us want to read just one more chapter. It’s the drama and intrigue and suspense and tension that brings our plot and characters to life. It’s also what keeps YOU, the writer, engaged in your own story. We’ll talk about: · popular narrative structures for conflict in the early mapping phase · methods for pulling conflict out of your story as you draft · why reality shows are great examples of conflict · internal and external conflict · the most important ways to keep readers engaged Building in conflict from the beginning of your writing journey is essential to having a plot and characters that have enough energy for you to continue writing the whole book. Keep readers thriving on your conflict. Be a drama queen! Your story depends on it.
20 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Ep. 3: Messy Mapping: Know Your Premise
December is a time when most people relax and take time to reset, which is important. But with minimal effort, you can also keep your momentum going so you’re ready to start strong, right out of the gate, in January with your new book ideas. Throughout December, we’ll be talking all about structure within your story. If we have a plan, it makes it easier to get into the actual writing. Messy Mapping is my favorite. It’s a loose, messy plan that doesn’t take a lot of time and effort, and it doesn’t suck the joy out of writing like strict outlines can. The basic details you need to get started writing a strong story are: · know your premise · know your conflict · know your guideposts · know your characters In this episode, we talk about premise, which is always the most fun part of writing! Who doesn’t love the premise of a captivating story? Whether it’s a movie or a book or gossip from a friend, we love the idea of an intriguing story and that’s what initially hooks us. We’ll talk about: · famous premises that work well · why restrictions within genres are helpful to add structure · ways to find your own premise · and a few methods for doing the work up front to save time in writing and revisions A premise doesn’t need to be complicated, but doing a little work on it before you start your writing can save you lots of time, help your momentum, and point you in the right direction to avoid a lot of time rewriting or digging yourself out of plot holes. We’ll see you inside the episode!
20 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Ep. 2: Why Constraints Can Improve Your Writing and How to Get Started
If you’ve spent any amount of time in a creative industry, you hear a lot of conversations about structured vs. unstructured habits. For example, with writing, we often hear the debates between: · Plotters vs. pantsers · “Butt in chair” vs. writing when you feel inspired · A scheduled writing time vs. writing in the cracks of time All of these depend on your life situation, and there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to creativity. However, in general, having some structure within your writing schedule and within your work can have a huge positive impact on your creativity. We'll talk about how constraints inspired Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, how it can work for you, and 5 tips for starting your writing habit right now!
15 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
Ep. 1: Why Wellness Matters for Writers
In this introduction to Living Beyond the Book, we'll talk about why we might need another writing podcast when there are already so many out there, why wellness matters for writers, and the challenges that convinced me that health and wellness are inextricably linked to living a creative life.
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