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The Author Alchemist
14 minutes | Jul 29, 2020
Episode 021: The Creative Gap
Episode 021: The Creative Gap What we imagine in our head as our masterpiece of art and storytelling sometimes doesn’t appear on the page with all the full glory that we feel it is supposed to have. Sometimes that inspires us to start over; a lot of the time, though, it is discouraging. We doubt and fret and even give up. Which of course is the worst “solution” (and I put that in quotes because it is not, in fact, a solution at all!) This is what is known as the “Creative Gap”, that space between what lives in our minds and what we actually create. It is so frustrating, but in this episode I talk about where this comes from, what audiences feel about it (“Holy shit! Two cakes!”) and what we need to do to combat the emotions that come from realizing the gap exists. (I remember the days of my childhood when I didn’t realizing it, when I just created whatever I wanted and though it was great. So great! …but like opening Pandora’s box, we can’t shut the lid and go back to that magical time, alas). I hope this episode gives you some inspiration to write and challenge the brain weasels! Alchemical Lesson of the Week “…it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.” ~ Ira Glass Links Brainpickings Ira Glass quotes: https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/ira-glass-success-daniel-sax/ Chris Fox: https://youtu.be/uiNSxrVnaUg Show Notes Today’s Alchemical Lesson: There is a creative gap, and there is a way to fix it. Have you heard about the creative gap? Old concept: it takes time to learn a skill Clouded in the arts by the idea of “talent” — sure, talent is a thing, but it’s useless without the skills, and skills take time. Beautifully clarified by Ira Glass (quoted) Also discussed by genre writer Chris Fox on his vlog (link in notes Accept the idea that it exists. Maybe your work is “good enough” or maybe it isn’t, but it takes a while to get it to the point where it reflects what you set out to do. IT IS OKAY TO SUCK RN What to do about it? You know the answer: write. Write through it, over it, under it. Write badly, write awkwardly, write with disappointment in your veins. There is no other way to close the gap. WRITE. The post Episode 021: The Creative Gap appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
13 minutes | Jun 3, 2020
Episode 020: Happily Ever After is VALID
Episode 020: Happily Ever After is VALID I don’t talk about this too much in this podcast but one the most important influence in life for learning to love Happily Ever After (HEA) ending is fanfiction. I know, not a surprise, yeah? In one sense, I’ve always loved HEAs, from the time I was a child through college and up through my adult life. In the podcast I discuss the value of HEA stories but honestly I enjoyed them long before I understood WHY. But fanfiction helped me accept that love. Fanfiction and the fanfic community gave me the confidence I needed to know that HEA stories also give readers something important emotionally and psychologically: hope, optimism, escapism, joy. Too often, bad writing gets equated with a genre, but the truth is that terrible writing exists in all genres (even, if not especially, literary fiction), and so does fantastic writing. That was such an eye opening realization for me, and I hope this podcast resonates with you! Alchemical Lesson of the Week You’ve heard this one before: Write what you love! Show Notes This week it’s about a pet peeve of mine: the way HEA endings are used as ammunition against genre writers:“Not realistic”“Not believable”“Setting up false expectations” Escapism is valid and time-honored story telling traditionMad-cap comedies during the great depressionArthurian legendsReligious texts Genre and/or subject is not what makes a bad story; bad storytelling makes a bad story. There is no one great story that can never be told wrong. Your voice is important and if you love HEA, then put your energy into making your readers love them too! The post Episode 020: Happily Ever After is VALID appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
21 minutes | Feb 28, 2020
Episode 019: Growth Mindset for Writers
Episode 019: Growth Mindset for Writers Sometimes our greatest hurdle, as writers, is our own mindset. HA HA NO actually ALL THE TIME our greatest hurdle is our mindset. Too bad, so sad! There are a lot of factors that play into our mindset, some out of our control such as health issues, financial instability, family troubles, mental health, etc. and so on. But there is also a very large percentage of our mindset that literally comes from within, the part of our brain that is sending messages to us that we believe to be true. Often, for writers, that comes in the form of believing we are not good enough or are unable to improve our craft. That “fixed” mindset tells us we are as good as we will ever be, that we’ve written as much as we can, or other lies. Call it “resistance” or call it a “fixed mindset” or call it the devil on your shoulder, it can be a severe impediment to storytelling. In this episode I talk about psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck’s work on developing and maintaining a growth mindset and apply those principles to writing! Alchemical Lesson of the Week When it comes to writing, risk taking is factored in. Cultivate a growth mindset to overcome your fears and inhibitions! Links Brainpickings overview: https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/carol-dweck-mindset/ Dr. Carol Dweck’s book at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345472322/braipick-20 Show Notes Today’s Alchemical Lesson: Growth vs. Fixed mindset (as it relates to writers) Reading book by Carol Dweck, opened my eyes to a lot of things about this issue Writers MUST have a growth mindset! a. The price of a fixed mindset (never finishing, never starting)b. Overcoming fear How to develop a growth mindset:Step 1: Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice.”Step 2: Recognize that you have a choice.Step 3: Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.Step 4: Take the growth mindset action. Most important: you have a choice in how you approach these issues! The post Episode 019: Growth Mindset for Writers appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
17 minutes | Feb 11, 2020
Episode 018: Secrets of Alpha Readers!
Episode 018: Secrets of Alpha Readers! Do you even know what an alpha reader is? Those of you who are involved in fandom might have heard of it, or at least know about “beta readers“, but I promise, this has NOTHING to do with Omega’verse plots! Alpha readers have always been here, writers just usually referred to them as “a good friend looked over my ideas and gave me some great feedback” or “my friend loves my first draft and really encouraged me to keep writing!” An alpha reader is all of these things and more! They are, above all other things, an unshakeable supporter of your work. Criticism is valuable, of course, and necessary, but only at the right stage. Alpha readers help you get to there. In this episode I break down what an alpha reader is, why they are so valuable, and what to look for (and ask for!) when vetting friends for the position. Alchemical Lesson of the Week Writing is a lonely job; having an alpha reader helps inspire, motivate, and focus us along the way! Show Notes Today’s Alchemical Lesson: what, why, and how of being an Alpha Reader I’m enjoying being back in fandom-land again w/ Guardian and Nirvana in Fire — Remember that fanfiction is a practice! [what I’ve been writing] The term “beta reader” is becoming more widely known, esp. If you are coming from the fanfic community, which is where I first heard of it. Focus of beta readers is on plot dev, concrit Alpha reader: Very first reader Part cheerleader, part path finder (plot holes, character problems, etc.) Stress the UTMOST IMPORTANCE of encouragement, above and beyond concrit A good alpha reader: Knows you well Knows your writing and your goals Isn’t hung up on details (not the time!) – ie might not even be a good beta reader/editor Unrelentingly supportive The post Episode 018: Secrets of Alpha Readers! appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
19 minutes | Jan 28, 2020
Episode 017: Character Growth!
Episode 017: Character Growth! I’m going to do something different with show notes this episode! Down below the Alchemical Lesson of the week I will start putting my episode outline, the “cue card” I use when recording each episode. I cannot afford to have transcriptions made just yet (although they will get auto-transcribed when uploaded to my YouTube channel. Anyway, this week, I hope I get you to trust your characters and show you how important it is to allow your imagination to roam free, for their sake as well as yours! Alchemical Lesson of the Week Lean into, and trust, your characters’ development, whether at the outlining stage or as you write. Show Notes Today’s Alchemical Lesson: Let your characters change! Interesting post about a TW character (link in notes) on (where else) tumblr is about the choices we authors have to make about characters. summary about Peter Hale, Teen Wolf The easy way out: Pro: it’s easy and if you are writing very strictly to genre expectations, might be your only choice. Bad guys be bad guys, yo’. Con: very simple stories lacking complexity — characters can become flat and two-dimensional. Letting characters change: Pro: much more interesting, even if you keep the characters in a “zone” (good, bad, indifferent) for the sake of holding to genre expectations or simplicity. Can turn a 2nd rate character into a fan favorite. Con: characters and even plotlines getting away from you, losing control. And usually, a higher word count! Another example: Loki. As a pantser it should be easier for me to sway characters back and forth in the gray areas as I go, but no. Here’s the real issue brought up in the post: it is challenging and sometimes changes EVERYTHING. How giving Peter a redemption arc would have dramatically changed the course of the show What are you scared of? Write into that. You can always back out! The post Episode 017: Character Growth! appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
11 minutes | Jan 17, 2020
Welcome to 2020! here have a podcast :)
Welcome to 2020! here have a podcast Ayyyyye, this is an ad-hoc podcast I recorded on the fly to welcome everyone to 2020! It’s short and sweet and missing all the bells and whistles, but please listen in to hear about the good news of my dog’s recovery, my plans for my writing, and my goals for creating the future I want for myself AND FOR YOU! Thanks for listening! Alchemical Lesson of the Week Is there one? Mostly: Happy new year, and welcome to 2020! The post Welcome to 2020! here have a podcast :) appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
19 minutes | Sep 17, 2019
Episode 016: The Writer’s Heroic Journey
Episode 016: The Writer’s Heroic Journey Everyone loves the “Hero’s Journey” as a writing tool to map out epic stories. It is also used as a self-help guide for analizing the story of our personal lives, allowing us to place our experiences into a map that lets us analize what has happened to us, how it has all affected us, where we are now, and where we are going. In this episode, I bridge the gap between storytelling and your personal life story. Here, I take the classic outline of the Heroic Journey and apply it to your journey as a writer. It is the kind of metaphor that works at both the macro and micro levels, so you can use it to map out your experiences in your writing career AND to look at your experiences writing a specific story. I teach you how to embrace that journey at every level as a writer, and the strength it can bring to your voice as a storyteller. It’s a long episode but I hope you find it enlightening! Alchemical Lesson of the Week Embrace YOUR journey! The post Episode 016: The Writer’s Heroic Journey appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
22 minutes | Aug 5, 2019
Episode 015: My year of not writing
Episode 015: My year of not writing Shit happens. It happens to the best of us. This episode is about what happened when my own personal shit hit the fan. I spent a year not writing. That’s right: not eeking out even a word of fiction. Not original fiction, not fanfiction, not blogs, NADA. I did nothing. Why? I talk about that in depth but in short, it was a combination of anxiety, personal demons, and working through those personal demons. Don’t discount how much headspace things like therapy and meds take up! It might seem scary when you are going through something like this, which is why I recorded this episode, to let you know that you aren’t alone and that your creativity is always with you too! Even when it’s not active at the moment! I promise! Alchemical Lesson of the Week Life does get in the way, that’s not a personal failing. Just work back to where you want to be. The post Episode 015: My year of not writing appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
18 minutes | Apr 8, 2019
Episode 014: the Author Alchemist Origin Story!
Episode 014: the Author Alchemist Origin Story! This episode is a little bit of history, specifically my history as a writer, alpha reader, and creativity coach. If you have been wondering why I started this podcast, then this is the episode you’ve been waiting for! Or not, but here we are. I jump back and forth a little in my own timeline, and hopefully don’t bore you too much talking about 14 year old me writing fanfiction with my friends back in 1983 (yes, really!). The heart of this whole thing is that one of my joys as a writer is encouraging other writers. It’s really baked into my soul as something that is intrinsic to my identity as an author. I might be an introvert and a bit of a recluse (maybe more than “a bit”!) but even so, it’s my connections to other writers and the joy I get from seeing them create stories that helps keep me motivated! Also, being an “alpha reader” has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do the A/B/O trope okay? Just…just listen to the podcast, ‘kay? Alchemical Lesson of the Week Writers write better and write stronger when we support and encourage each other, and that’s what I’m here for! The post Episode 014: the Author Alchemist Origin Story! appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
22 minutes | Apr 1, 2019
Episode 013: Know Your Writing Cycle
Episode 013: Know Your Writing Cycle Are you beholden to other people’s ideas about how fast/often you should write? Do you keep aiming for marks set by everyone but you and then miss them? Then this episode is for you. I look at the way writing ebbs and flows, how the advice “write every day” isn’t the last work in progressing your skills and output, and why looking at your overall health (mental AND physical) is just as important your writing goals. Alchemical Lesson of the Week Trust your instincts when it comes to your writing cycle because writing is an organic process, not an assembly line. The post Episode 013: Know Your Writing Cycle appeared first on The Author Alchemist.
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