Weekly Inspiration for Writers
Oh, the challenge to be funny on the page. This week’s episode includes actual tips from guest Annabelle Gurwitch for how to do just that, as well as warnings from Brooke and Grant, like why to avoid comparing yourself to other comedic writers. They also discuss why the short form lends itself to humor writing, and share some of the funniest writers they love—all while getting a little punchy. The episode was recorded late in the day—so blame it on that.
Whether you love genre fiction already, or wonder why you never pick it up, this episode is an informative and eye-opening delve into crime fiction (and other genre fiction generally). We talk about the “genre wars” (what is that?) and also hear from Tracy about her amazingly disciplined approach to getting the job done. Tracy talks about her process, her mentors, and how she learned to write crime, and she leaves listeners with some inspiring words of encouragement for their own writing.
This week, Grant and Brooke talk about conversations, and how and why designing conversations and having conscious conversations can be game-changing for you in your life as an author, and your life in general. Guest Fred Dust, author of Making Conversation, shares anecdotes from his own publishing journey, and engages Brooke and Grant with some role play to support listeners to think about moments when you might face an opportunity to change a conversation’s direction, or just generally design one for maximum productivity and benefit.
If you can’t imagine throwing what you write away, or god forbid, starting over, this episode lends insight into how that’s an important consideration at times—and how to be discerning about your work. Guest Nicole Glover offers some amazing tips for writers, generally, and also shares her process of cannibalizing her own work, which every writer should be doing, since you never know when something you wrote that had to go in the dump file might find a perfect place in some future story. A fun episode about the trials of hoarding, dumping, reworking, starting over, and all the ways we feel about our written words.
Tune in to listen to Sue Monk Kidd on writing—how she sees it and treats it both as prayer and as the hard work it invariably is. We touch upon Sue’s strong female characters, and her circles of women who show up in all her books. This is a wide-ranging conversation about wisdom and what we pay attention to, about writing fiction and memoir, and about how parts of Sue herself showed up in her latest protagonist, Anna, without Sue even realizing just how revealing she’d been.
This week’s episode, beyond tackling the subject of displacement, touches upon the San Francisco Bay Area’s legacy—since that features so largely in guest Carol Edgarian’s new novel, Vera.
Whether you’re writing about where you’re from, or a place you know well, or a place you’ve researched in order to portray it in all its nuance on the page, place itself is often a character in fiction and creative writing. This week’s episode with Hala Alyan might inspire you to add more details of place to your work, or consider the role place has in your experience and understanding of the world. Place invites readers to journey to places they may know and love—or not. We hope you’re inspired this week to consider the role of place in your own work.
Our conversation with Paula McLain is deep and intimate and doesn’t shy away from a few dark turns. We talk about how trauma is often a driving force, even inspiration, in our writing and our purpose; about writing as a feminist act; about intuitive writing . . . and so much more. Paula’s generosity in sharing her personal story and obstacles she’s faced is its own inspiration in this week’s show, and we get to hear firsthand some of what drew Paula to write her just-out novel, When the Stars Go Dark.
This week is a special episode in which Grant interviews New York Times best-selling author Ali Benjamin about how she reinvented Edith Wharton’s 1911 novella, Ethan Frome, for a modern-day audience. This interview, too, is as much about process than it is anything else—how Ali writes and constructs her stories, why she prefers revision over new writing, and the challenges she faced in creating a current-events story set against the backdrop of the Kavanaugh hearings. Not to be missed!
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