Category Archives: Story Beginnings

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

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

The Back-To-School Special: Updates from the MFA Underground | Fiction School Podcast #46

The Back-To-School Special: Updates from the MFA Underground | Fiction School Podcast #46

Remember the Trapper Keeper? It was so badass, especially when you could poke a hole in a corner and blow it up like a balloon.  I did that almost every day in fourth grade. Every fall in those salad days of elementary school, I’d get queasy walking into Wal-Mart to get my Trapper Keeper and fresh… 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

Reading Your Work to Strangers and Promoting Your Fiction | Fiction School Podcast #39

Reading Your Work to Strangers and Promoting Your Fiction | Fiction School Podcast #39

One magical summer, two writers who’d been friends forever decided to raise a little hell.  They piled boxes of books, some camping gear, a few changes of clothes, and a cooler full of sauerkraut and beer into the back of a Camry.  They hit the open road, reading their fiction to anybody who’d listen. It… 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

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 Every Day, or Not, and How To Get Back in the Saddle After Not Writing | Fiction School Podcast #32

Writing Every Day, or Not, and How To Get Back in the Saddle After Not Writing | Fiction School Podcast #32

Weeeee’re baaaaaaaack… Actually…we never really went away.  We just got crazy busy, all three of us, with end-of-semester duties and grading and that kind of thing.  ‘Tis the life of the prof. Our unplanned hiatus inspired us to talk about how writers sometimes get interrupted and can’t write for long chunks of time.  It sucks.… Continue Reading

The Quickie Guide to Writing Flash Fiction and Really Short Stories | Fiction School Podcast #29

The Quickie Guide to Writing Flash Fiction and Really Short Stories | Fiction School Podcast #29

This week, the epic struggle between Team Tommy and Team Jody reaches a new stratosphere, when Jody hangs up on the podcast.  That’s right. Girl couldn’t take it anymore, so she just slammed down the phone in true Hollywood style. But not really. It was micro-fiction, a fourteen-second play, to give a little intro to… Continue Reading