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The Genre Hustle
25 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.12 - More Writing Greats!
Thanks for joining Genre Hustle for another season! To end the season on a positive note, this week we discuss Writing Greats. It’s always fun to watch strong writing enacted through favorite pieces of fiction and the Genre Hustle crew tackles this from all areas of storytelling from characters to plot to worldbuilding. We talk about watching one scene from multiple points of view, subverting reader expectations, masterful science fiction world building, the pros and cons of orphans, strong protagonists, watching characters ‘level up,’ and watching story structure in action! Works discussed include Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself, Kameron Hurley’s The Light Brigades, David Cleden’s The Palimpsest Trigger, Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman, Marlon James’ Black Leopard Red Wolf, RF Kuang’s The Poppy War, and Dawn by Octavia Butler.
40 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.11 - Psychological Sci-fi
This week on the Genre Hustle, we invent a new subgenre of science fiction with guests Cody Sisco and Allison Rose! Psychological science fiction is sci-fi that’s told from a shaky point of view due to a character’s mental state and the way it affects how they understand the world. Science fiction opens up so many possibilities and can make an unreliable narrator that much more intense and interesting. When mental health issues are paired with a dystopia, a surveillance state, a world drunk on technology, or the farthest reaches of medical possibility, conflicts have an ability to multiply from man versus society (as in a typical dystopia) to man versus a number of elements, including self, nature, society, technology, and the supernatural. Our guests Cody and Allison describe their writing process for each of their series, The Broken Earth Series and the Tick Series, and discuss the challenges, opportunities, and lessons for working with the depths of psychology in science fiction settings.
34 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.10 - Writing Tools
Writing tools: they’re what writers use to get the job done. This week, we’re here to help you sort through the options for writing, maps, submissions, and other ways to support your writing. Scrivener offers a suite of tools and tricks that can help writers organize ideas, outline, write, and maintain continuity at once. On the other hand, some people might find the learning curve too steep and the tools distracting. Microsoft Word is an old favorite with minimal interruptions and ease of use. Google Docs has the added bonus of its cloud-based storage and accessibility. Since multiple people can work on the same document, it’s ideal for coauthoring, collaboration, and critique. Map-makers have new tools in both Wonder Draft and Inkarnate - though one is a clear favorite of the Genre Hustle Crew! We also discuss voice memos, submission tools, and the role of spreadsheets in your writing. Ultimately, the best writing tools are the ones you use!
29 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.09 - Break into Act III
The Genre Hustle crew continues on the journey of the story with Act III. The break into Act III can mirror the break into Act II in important ways. Readers intuitively look for certain cues such as setting changes, pacing changes, a renewal of energy, and a narrowing of antagonistic forces, and writers should respond to these visceral needs. The break into Act III might be when the protagonist’s want becomes their need. It might be right after the Dark Night of the Soul. It might be when the sidekick dies and leaves the main character alone. Only you will know when the right time is for your story, but you should look for ways to challenge both your protagonist and antagonist and find opportunities to bring theme into the conflict. Books mentioned include Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, Plot Whisperer by Marth Alderson, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, and the Last Fifty Pages, the Art and Craft of Unforgettable Endings by James Scott Bell.
38 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.08 - Interview with Maureen McHugh
In this week's episode, Maureen McHugh joins us and we do a deep dive into her short story, "Under the Hill," in which the question 'What if there were fey at my college?' is answered. We get into how Maureen came up with the story, what inspired her, and what she was hoping to accomplish with the story before jumping into the craft of her choice in point of view and her use of footnotes. "Under the Hill" is available in the September/October Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, which happens to be their 70th Anniversary Edition.
44 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.07 - Short Fiction
This week is all about short fiction. With standard word counts for short stories decreasing, real estate is extremely important. How do you deliver a satisfying character arc and the right balance of plot and world building and keep it under 7,500 words? Deciding what to leave out is as important as deciding which details to maintain, or how close to the conflict the writer chooses to enter the piece. But if short stories are so challenging, why write them? The crew discusses all the wonderful benefits of getting experience in short fiction, especially for novel writers. It’s an opportunity to try new techniques and experimental forms, you can explore more focused questions than in a full novel, and the revision process is much easier! With the advent of e-books and podcasts, the market for short stories has never been stronger, so listen in for tips and tools on how to get your story out there. Books and collections discussed include Sarah Pinsker’s The Court Magician, Knee Deep in Grit, edited by Adrian Collins, and Ursula K. LeGuin’s Steering the Craft.
38 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.06 - Function of the Fantastic
It’s Karter’s Big Episode! Inspired by Farah Mendlesohn’s Rhetorics of Fantasy, the Genre Hustle crew discusses how elements of the fantastic function for us as writers, the challenges and opportunities of each, and the perspective each can offer the reader. We explore the four modes of speculative fiction: portal, immersive, intrusion, and liminal. In portal fiction, a character from the mundane world launches into the fantastic, with such examples as The Magicians and The Chronicles of Narnia. Immersive fantasy includes classic high fantasy and science fiction set in worlds completely separate from ours, such as A Game of Thrones and Dune. In intrusive fiction, the speculative trespasses in the real world, as in urban fantasy and horror. Finally, like the fantastic elements it contains, liminal fantasy is harder to put your finger on. The magic lies at the periphery of the experience. Learning to recognize, work with, and balance these ideas can be a valuable exercise for the writer in discovering what to write, whom to write for, and potentially distill new combinations of genre for truly unique story experiences.
41 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.05 - Care and Feeding
It’s care and feeding week at the Genre Hustle! Are you overwhelmed by a harsh inner critic? Uneven writing habits? Staying up until three in the morning? A growing pile of empty wine bottles? Or even… the dreaded writer’s block? These are just a few examples of the problems writers face on a daily basis as we go about the business of being creative. Being creatively productive is a unique kind of labor that can be emotionally and mentally taxing, so how do you keep yourself on the right side of that divide between genius and insanity? Treat your body like it’s more than just a vehicle for your brain and treat writing like it’s your job. What do we mean by that? Show up to the page, learn how to deal with rejection, and swap out that beer for a cup of coffee! Tune in this week to commiserate with us while we share solutions, strategies, and frustrations about writing.
30 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.04 - Made in LA (with Allison Rose and Cody Sisco)
This week we talk to our friends Allison Rose and Cody Sisco at Made in LA. We discuss self-publishing, the Los Angeles Festival of Books, what brought Allison and Cody to writing, and the steps it takes to create an anthology that’s attracting talented writers and passionate fans. Allison and Cody met at an independent authors seminar and bonded over Cody’s booth at the LA Festival of Books. From there, the idea of the Made in LA Anthology was spawned. They walk us through what it takes to create an anthology, what they look for in submissions, and give our listeners ways to submit and where to find the anthology! If you’ve got a story about LA, check it out.
32 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.03 - Setting
Far-flung galaxies, soaring castles, and fantastical lands: this is what readers crave in science fiction and fantasy. This week, we discuss the many functions of setting in genre fiction. Setting can accent the escapism inherent in sci-fi and fantasy, but it can also reinforce theme, characters, mood, and tension. If you’ve ever heard “show, don’t tell” and wondered how to do it, setting is a great tool in your writer’s arsenal. Asking how your characters relate to different settings can show readers depths of psychology and worldbuilding. It can hint towards the central conflict. But remember, setting shouldn’t be a list of things in the room: Picking which details to describe will help readers move through the world and focus on what really matters. Books discussed include The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Martian and Artemis by Andy Weir, The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham, The Luminous Dead by Caitlyn Starling, and Game of Thrones by George RR Martin.
36 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.02 - Horror
Time to get spooky! Guest Erin Brown joins us for a terrifying delve into the abyss of horror. It’s been said that by Robert Bloch that “horror is the removal of masks,” and by Michael A. Arnzen that “horror’s power lies in seduction,” but what does that mean? The Genre Hustle crew discusses how horror slowly strips away the mundane and familiar to reveal greater and greater depths of terror. Horror has layers of dread, terror, and horror: the fear that something bad is about to happen, that something bad is happening, and the lingering disbelief that anything that bad could ever have happened. By putting pressure on each of these aspects, authors can manipulate the experience of the character and by extension, the reader. After all, in order to scare your reader, you must scare your character… Just remember to keep the lights on after this episode! Works discussed include Hannibal and Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, His Face All Red by Emily Carroll, The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe, The Red Bow by George Saunders, The Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov, and Writing Horror and the Body by Linda Badley. Karter’s horror zine Murder Park After Dark will open for submissions with the airing of this episode. Check genrehustle.com for details!
28 minutes | a year ago
Ep 3.01 - Goals
Welcome to Season 3! We’re starting off on the right foot with an episode dedicated to writing goals. Different goals work for different sorts of writers. Maybe you’re like AP and you want to have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals (no, we’re not kidding! He’s the master!). Maybe you’re like Lucy, and you want to develop a healthy habit. Or maybe you’re like Jane, who wrote a Writing Business Plan that tackles several aspects of being a writer: critique groups, submissions, seminars, and education in addition to writing. Mentioned are two books: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Steering the Craft by Ursula K. LeGuin. Prototype different strategies for goal-setting and don’t forget to tweet us about what works best for you. National Novel Writing Month is another great opportunity to set goals, whether they’re achievable or aspirational. Join the Genre Hustle crew for live sprints on twitter and buddy us on NaNoWriMo.org!
55 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep 2.12 - Writing Gripes Part Two, Electric Boogaloo
In episode 12 of season 2 of the Genre Hustle, the gang talks about writing gripes (again). We had a season of positivity and now it’s time to gripe in our season finale. We cover a broad swath of issues plaguing genre writers in particular, but anyone working in fiction or screenwriting might be guilty of these sins. Interestingly, many of the points we bring up intersect with each other: too much description versus not enough, too much emotion versus very little, how to create an interesting fantasy world and magic system while successfully carrying the reader through the story, or why to avoid dialogue-driven soapboxing and its plot-themed cousin, using marginalized people as tools. Writers experiencing some of these issues might find support and tips in the other episodes, like Midpoint, Emotional Connection, Magic Systems, or POV. Come gripe along with us this week!
32 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep. 2.11 - Emotional Connection
In episode 11 of season 2, The Genre Hustle discusses how to develop emotional connections in your characters. Go deep with the Genre Hustle crew this week as we discuss emotionally connecting with characters. We weigh everything from inner and outer journeys, creating unique sensory details, unexpected emotional reactions, and even quirky interests to get your characters to pop off the page and develop a cast that will stick with readers long after they put down the book.
42 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep 2.10 - I Wrote a Draft, Now What?
In episode 10 of season 2, The Genre Hustle answers the question, "I wrote a draft, now what?" The spaghetti draft, the NaNo draft, the exploratory draft… the bad draft. No matter what you call it, you got a novel onto the page, and now it’s editing time! The Genre Hustle crew discusses how to approach the gargantuan task of developing the second draft. We cover structure (from major plot points to scene-level issues), character arcs and agency, conflict, themes and motifs, and pacing. We also offer ideas on how to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
41 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep 2.09 - Critique Group with Kate Monninger
In episode nine of season two, The Genre Hustle talks about Critique Groups! Don’t write into the vacuum for the rest of your life! Joining (or starting your own!) writers group is the best way to begin leveling up your craft: they’re free, full of like-minded writers, and can be a lot of fun. Don’t let fear or inexperience keep you from getting out there. Learn tips and tricks on how to organize a group, run a discussion session, why you might want to restrict the types of genres and styles of submissions (screenplays vs. prose), how to work with difficult members, and how to approach giving and receiving critique.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep 2.08 - Midpoint
This week, the Genre Hustle crew tackles midpoint. It gets overshadowed by the more exciting Inciting Incident and Climax, but Midpoint is the tentpole that holds up the middle of your book, and if you do it right, will help double-down on theme, character emotional arcs, and dramatic action all at once. Mentions include VE Schwab, Richard Matheson, JR Hall, Andy Weir, Alex Kourvo, Martha Alderson, and Blake Snyder.
35 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep 2.07 - Villains with Kate Monninger
In episode seven of season two, we tackle villains, antagonists, anti-heroes and ways to create your own! We make the case for the relatable villain and share the ones who give us the creeps, from dark lords to glamorous socialites. We discuss JRR Tolkien, Susanna Clarke, Justina Ireland, Philip Pullman, and Richard K. Morgan.
32 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep 2.06 - Action with Kate Monninger
In episode 6 of season 2 of The Genre Hustle, the conversation turns to action of all kinds, from lovers’ spats to space battles. We debate when to use action, how to use action to paint a character, and how to add sensory and spatial details. Examples include Rebecca Roanhorse, Jeff VanderMeer, Yoon Ha Lee, Ellen Kushner, Tomi Adeyemi, and JS Morin.
36 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep. 2.05 - Professional Editing with Marissa Vu
Join us for a conversation with professional freelance editor Marissa Vu to learn about when and why to hire an editor, different editorial approaches like developmental, content, and line editing, and commonly seen craft mistakes. We discuss Philip K. Dick and Cassandra Khaw.
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