Category Archives: Plotting

How Fiction Writers Can Use Story Structure Without Getting Bogged Down, Downtrodden, or Duped. PLUS: ANNOUNCING OUR WRITING CONTEST! | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 3

How Fiction Writers Can Use Story Structure Without Getting Bogged Down, Downtrodden, or Duped. PLUS: ANNOUNCING OUR WRITING CONTEST! | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 3

This week, Tommy decided he needed a nap more than he needed to talk about story structure and outlines. He hates that stuff anyway, so, good choice, Tommy Z. He’s all about anarchy and chaos, and this week we’re getting organized. But the problem is, you can get too organized, too structured. You can read… Continue Reading

Finding the Perfect Pace for Story: Dialogue, Story Time, Soap Operas, and DUN DUN DUNs | Fiction School Season 5 Episode 2

Finding the Perfect Pace for Story: Dialogue, Story Time, Soap Operas, and DUN DUN DUNs | Fiction School Season 5 Episode 2

Like marathon runners, breakdancers, and zumba instructors, storytellers have to always be considering their pace. Go too fast, readers can’t keep up. Go too slow, readers get bored. But how do writers figure out the best pace, and how to ebb and flow with it? How can we use dialogue effectively and avoid the soap… Continue Reading

Rust Never Sleeps: Getting Back to Writing After a Long Hiatus | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 1

Rust Never Sleeps: Getting Back to Writing After a Long Hiatus | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 1

Hey, you. Yes. YOU. You should enter Fiction School’s first annual writing contest! It’s the 2016 FICTION OPEN! The winning story gets published in Razor Lit Mag (where Baker is the Editor, so you know it’s cool) and the author will be a special guest on an upcoming episode of Fiction School. There’s a small… Continue Reading

World Building and the Myth of Prewriting | Fiction School Podcast #45

World Building and the Myth of Prewriting | Fiction School Podcast #45

Here are things that Tommy Zurhellen doesn’t believe in: Santa Claus. The Bermuda Triangle. The Ghost of Bear Bryant. And…prewriting. That’s right, ‘Schoolers.  There’s no such thing as prewriting, and there’s no such thing as preheating your oven.  Everything you do is actually writing, in one vague form or another, according to TZ. Which is… Continue Reading

The New Year’s Writing Resolutions Show, 2015 Edition | Fiction School Podcast #44

The New Year’s Writing Resolutions Show, 2015 Edition | Fiction School Podcast #44

So, uh, yeah.  It’s been a while.  We resolve to not let so many days pass between shows in 2015 (until Baker’s twins come.  Might miss a few around then.).  We’re sorry we’ve been away, and we missed y’all. Anyway, today on the show, we talk about the renewal we feel here in the new year… Continue Reading

Plot vs. Character, Deepening Fiction with Subplot, and Giraffes | Fiction School Podcast #38

Plot vs. Character, Deepening Fiction with Subplot, and Giraffes | Fiction School Podcast #38

Tommy’s freaking out.  He left a  bouquet of flowers to surprise his girlfriend, but he’s worried that some wild giraffe or wolf or leprechaun is going to steal them or eat them or something. And somehow this relates to a good question from listener Christopher.  Here is the traditional Google Voice butchering of the voicemail that… Continue Reading

How Writing Retreats Can Grow Your Career | Fiction School Podcast #35

How Writing Retreats Can Grow Your Career | Fiction School Podcast #35

Sometimes there are just too many dishes in the sink to get that line of dialogue right. The TV is too loud to make that first sentence sing, you know? Real life. It gets in the way of Fictionland all too often. But what if you want to get away from real life and crank… Continue Reading

Writing Faster, Being Prolific, and Increasing Your Writing Speed IF You Want To | Fiction School Podcast #34

Writing Faster, Being Prolific, and Increasing Your Writing Speed IF You Want To | Fiction School Podcast #34

Writing is a weird art form because it’s so solitary.  We sit in a nice artist’s garret, or steal away a moment at our cubicle, or toil in a slightly damp and purple-walled dungeon (like Baker’s basement office). And since we’re alone, writers don’t often talk about what actually happens in those writing sessions.  How fast are… Continue Reading

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy with Special Guest David Barr Kirtley | Fiction School Podcast #33

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy with Special Guest David Barr Kirtley | Fiction School Podcast #33

Yeah, it SAYS #33, but this shoulda been #30.  But. Of course. When we invite a science fiction writer on our podcast, that’s the ONLY time the tech stuff goes wrong and a digital gremlin gobbles up our show…  Oh, irony. But we had a great guest (who’s also a fellow podcaster with several tech disasters under his belt).… Continue Reading

The Top Tools for Writers | Fiction School Podcast #30

The Top Tools for Writers | Fiction School Podcast #30

I’m always jealous of creative types that get to have cool tools: painters with their big canvases, brushes, and smudges of color all over them; photographers with cameras and lenses and lights; dancers and their special shoes and those sweatshirt legging things. We’re writers.  What do we get? Computers. Pencils and paper. Maybe a typewriter… Continue Reading