Five Writing Podcasts

I’m not sure about you, but whenever I have to a chore, I like to listen to something. Here’s several writing podcasts that you should check out.

untitled-design-3-e1445105278110#1 is the Very Serious Writing Show

In all seriousness 😉 , this podcast is never always about writing, but it’s pretty much always entertaining. This is definitely my favorite podcast.

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#2 is the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast

It’s hosted by K.M. Weiland (who has become one of my favorite authors). If you’re looking for tips on writing, check this one out. She is a plotter and story structure aficionado, so this podcast is slanted toward that style, but pantsers will learn things as well.

#3 is Writing Excuses

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This is another show that explores the craft of writing. It’s jointly hosted by four authors, so you’re basically listening to them discuss. Certain episodes do contain bad language and other possibly objectionable content.

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#4 is the Creative Pen

The predominant topics on this show are those that pertain to self-publishing, so if that’s the direction you want to take, this one’s for you. Some episodes contain bad language and objectionable content.

#5 is Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Wrting

I haven’t listened to this one as much as the previous four, but if you have a question about the nuts and bolts of sentences, listen to this podcast or visit her website.

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Bonus Podcast: Verses in Vox

This last one isn’t really related to helping you write better, but if you’re a fan of classic poetry, you’ll enjoy these dramatized edition of these poems.

If you have any other writing related radio shows or podcasts please share in the comments below.

Conquering Writers Block and Summoning Inspiration: Book Review

I recently finished reading this short book by K.M. Weiland. If you’re like 510s4fkeigl-_sx311_bo1204203200_me, you have some writerly mood swings. One day you feel that your writing is  A+, and another that its only destination should be the garbage can.

Who Will be Helped by this Book:

Either plotters or pantsers will be able to use this book. This book is aimed more at full-time writers, but most of the advice is just as applicable to wannabe full-time writers (which I am one).

What You’ll Learn from this Book:

For one, you’ll be inspired and know that you’re not alone when you feel that you’re writing is worthless and a waste of time.

K.M. Weiland writes about ways to improve creativity, techniques for pushing past writer’s block, and makes you ask the question, “Why do you write?”

You may only think that writing includes the punching of keys on your computer, but you’ll learn how to use downtime to your advantage.

Should You Read this Book:

This a nonfiction book, of course, but I personally found K.M. Weiland’s voice and choice of words very entertaining. Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration is the best nonfiction book I have read for a while. I highly recommend this book!

I was given a free digital copy in return for an honest review.

 

Structuring Your Novel: Book Review

This book by K.M. Weiland walks you through the classic three act structure of storytelling.

structuring-your-novel-ippy-award-165Who will be Helped by this Book: 

If you’re a writer trying to become more of an outliner, (like me) this book will show you all of the components that your book needs.

But, if you’re a pantser, don’t stop reading, you still may find little nuggets in the chapters on scene and sentence structure.

What You’ll Learn:

K.M. Weiland teaches you how to structure your book, through a chronological journey of a well-written story. From Narrative hook to Resolution, she shows how each part should be used, in order to make your story better.

You’ll learn about possible pitfalls in different parts of the story and how to avoid them. In addition, there are tidbits on characters, character arcs, subplots, and settings.

It’s an extensive book that cover the components of story structure, while also touching on the structure of scenes and sentences.

K.M. Weiland gives examples from famous literature and film at every plot point, illustrating how some of the greats constructed their stories.

Whether you struggle with a certain part of your story, (hook, midpoint, climax, etc) or you just want to overhaul the entire way you write, this book will help you along.

How This Book has Helped Me:

In part because of reading this book, I overhauled the first paragraph of my short story, Go and Steal No More, giving it more of a hook that strengthened the story.

Thanks to this book, as well as K.M. Weiland’s website, I have become more of a story structure critic, looking for and trying to identify structure in books, audiobooks, and movies. Certainly not the best at it, but it’s a fun exercise.

Should You Read this Book?

I recommend buying this book, reading it once through, and then using it as a resource, whenever you’re in the midst of your writing or editing.

If you want to pick up your copy of this helpful book you can visit K.M. Weiland’s website or Amazon.

It All Began With a Picture

This is a very short post, as this was an extremely short essay. But if you’re a fan of the Narnia books, this post may be interesting to you.

At the beginning of the essay, Lewis talks about how difficult it is for an author to tell you how he wrote a book. “It is because a man writing a story is too excited about the story itself to sit back and notice how he is doing it.”

I’m not sure if this is the case with me, but there is an amazing evolution that happens within conception of the idea and even the completion of the first draft.

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For Lewis, the first idea for a story came in the form of a picture. In the case of the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, it was “a picture of a faun carrying umbrellas and parcels in a snowy wood.” This picture had been with him for twenty-four years before he tried to create the book.

While Lewis was trying to figure out the story, “Aslan bounded into it.” The only explanation that Lewis gave for coming up with him was that he, “Had been having a good many dreams about lions at that time.”

(All excerpts taken from On Stories And Other Essays On Literature; Harcourt Brace & Company; copyright 1982, 1966 by C. S. Lewis PTE Ltd)

I hope you enjoyed this small little tidbit. Have a great day and keep on writing for His glory!

Three Techniques for Writing for Children

Welcome to the second installment of C. S. Lewis’ essays and today is Three Techniques for Writing for Children.

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Three Ways of Writing for Children

  1. Writing what children like to read, but not what the author likes.
  2. A story told to a particular child with the living voice.
  3. “Writing a children’s story because a children’s story is the best art form for something you have to say…”

The third option is how Lewis wrote his Narnia series.

In addition, the stories we write need to be enjoyable to not just children, but adults as well. Think about Narnia, his original audience was children, yet I’m not sure if you could classify them as “childish” books. They are simply stories of adventure in a another realm, something readers of any age can enjoy.

When Lewis wrote his essay, fantasy books were being relegated to children by critics, something that he certainly didn’t agree with.

Arguments Against Fantasy Because of the Fear They Could Bring to the Child

  1. The possibility of phobias

Lewis agreed that we should not give children phobias, or an uncontrollable fear of objects. But if critics meant #2, Lewis disagreed.

2. The knowledge that we live in an evil world.

If readers read books which never have good and evil, heroes and villains, aren’t we giving them an unrealistic view of what our world is like?

“Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”

I heartily agree with Lewis when he says, “Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let the villains be soundly killed at the end of the book.”

Should Books Have Morals?

Lewis says that instead of asking what do modern children need?” We should ask, “What moral do I need?”

In addition we should let the moral grow from the story and not tacked on just to make it a Christian book.

If we just tack one on it, “Is likely to be platitude, or even a falsehood, skimmed from the surface of your consciousness. It is impertinent to offer children that. For we have been told on high authority that in the moral sphere they are probably at least as wise as we.”

“The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author’s mind.”

I’m not sure if I completely agree with Lewis, because I want my books to contain truths that can impact lives. But, in addition, a moral tacked on just for the sake of having one, without it being an integral part of the story, isn’t good either.

The Child as a Reader

“The child as a reader is neither to be patronized nor idolised: we must talk to him as man to man. But the worst attitude of all would be the professional attitude which regards children in the lump as a sort of raw material which we have to handle. We must of course try to do them no harm: we may, under the Omnipotence, sometimes dare to hope that we may do them good. But only such good as involves treating them with respect.”

We have a responsibility to our readers, not to write down to them. Instead, we should just give them a story that speaks to our souls.

(All excerpts taken from On Stories And Other Essays On Literature; Harcourt Brace & Company; copyright 1982, 1966 by C. S. Lewis PTE Ltd)

Thank you for reading. I hope these few points have been enlightening. Essay #3 will be coming out next week. If you want to read the essay search for, On Stories And Other Essays On Literature. Our library has a program where they can order books from other libraries across the state. That’s how I got my hands on my copy, so there’s my helpful hint today. 😉

 

 

The Very Serious Writing Show

I’m not sure about you guys, but I love to listen to podcasts (especially when I’m walking the dog or doing some other chore). There is a podcast you MUST listen to.

It is called the Very Serious Writing Show. Don’t let the name fool you, the host, guests, and listeners have a lot of fun.

It is posted in two parts every weeks. Each episode is about twenty minutes long, give or take.

Some authors that have been interviewed are the following: Bryan Davis, Kerry Nietz, Wayne Thomas Batson, Bill Myers, and Steve Rzasa.

It’s a great resource and just a fun radio show.

You can listen on either iTunes or SoundCloud and here’s a link to the show’s website. You guys should all listen.

Kingdom Pen

I want to share a great resource with you guys. It’s called Kingdom Pen. Kingdom Pen is a website founded by Christian teen writers writers for Christian teen writers.

They have contests periodically as well as a forum. Every now and then a new helpful article is published on their website. Once you’re a member you can submit pieces of fiction to be critiqued or an article to be published.

I highly recommend this website. You’ll be glad you found it! My username is David B. Hunter. Can’t wait to see you on Kingdom Pen! Either click on the link at the top of the page or go to kingdompen.org.

If you join Kingdom Pen, please tell them that I told you about their website. I hope that you will all join this great website in “Encouraging Teens to Write for Christ” (that’s their motto. Thought I would throw it in. 😉 ).

Have a great Monday!