Weekly Inspiration for Writers
This week, guest David Yoon joins us in a conversation that takes on often-fraught topics with humor and candor. We talk about why YA is such fertile ground for representative stories about race, culture, and identity, and David’s mission to bring more visibility to writers of color. We talk about his approach to writing and how he writes not for or to a particular genre, but to sort out the questions he’s grappling with—something so many writers will relate to.
We’re diving into ego this week—including, yes, its benefits. All writers, after all, are ego-invested in their work. They want what they’re writing to be good, to have an impact, to be well received. In this week’s episode Grant and Brooke speak with Steve Almond about how his ego got in the way of the work he wanted to do, and also the way that we must contend with our egos when we write. There’s so much to unpack here—and Steve’s honest take on his own journey is as refreshing as it is inspiring.
This week we’re kicking off NaNoWriMo (Happy November) with a final bonus craft-minded episode. Grant and Brooke talk with thriller writer Andrea Bartz about her process—including the Pomodoro Method, creating fake deadlines, and writing discovery drafts. This is a perfect episode to GET YOU STARTED, which Andrea acknowledges is one of the hardest things a writer can do. This week’s show is also a reminder about how much you already know about craft that you don’t even know you know. Tune in to discover more.
Tune in this week to geek out on aesthetic. Maybe you’re a writer who’s changed your aesthetic, wants to, or a reader who’s noticed the evolving aesthetics of the writers you love. How and why does this happen? How can you invite change into your process? In addition to thinking about style and craft, Grant and Brooke speak with guest Lan Samantha Chang about writing and MFA programs, whether we’ve saturated the writing about writing market, and how taking time away from your work and coming back to it is another way to shift or broaden perspective.
As we make our way through our Craft-Minded series this fall, heading straight into NaNoWriMo, we have a special topic for memoirists—but which will benefit any writer who thinks about reflecting, musing, or meaning-making as a way to reach their readers’ minds and hearts. This week’s guest, Prince Shakur, takes us on a journey of how and why reflection matters, and offers examples and tips, too. This episode offers up other writers who reflect masterfully, and as has been the case with each of these craft episodes, we invite listeners to consider how and whether you might invite new ways of seeing into your own creative process.
This week Write-minded is exploring the ways authors place themselves into stories with broader cultural or historical contexts. Guest Danyel Smith has done just that with her new genre-crossing book, Shine Bright, that’s both an examination of black female music artists and those artists’ impact on Danyel. Books like these are popular and often difficult to pull off, since writers must be aware of the balance between journalism and personal story—which is why Shine Bright is such a satisfying example of how to do this style of writing well. As a bonus, this episode also offers up a music fandom, an inside story about Whitney Houston, and a peek behind the curtain of Danyel’s journey with this book.
As we continue on with our Craft-minded series, Write-minded is honored to have Jeff VanderMeer speaking about imagination and how to mine the depths of your imagination to make yourself a better writer. Jeff’s classic craft book, Wonderbook, is written for the “imaginative fiction writer” rather than the “realistic fiction writer,” so we’re taking a dive into imagination, into creativity. This is an episode about keeping an open mind and having fun, which is the kind of energy anyone who’s going into NaNoWriMo next month needs to cultivate. So come on the journey with us. We have your supplies all ready for you!
In this third of six episodes in the Craft-minded series, Grant and Brooke speak with guest Morgan Talty about story form and how to listen for what your book wants to be. If, as a writer, you believe in the power of being in conversation with your own book, you’ll find a lot of comfort in Morgan’s articulation of that relationship between self and creative output, in addition to concrete ideas about how we shape our work by listening, patching together bits and pieces from here and there, and growing alongside our stories. An episode for the spirit, as well as the craft-minded.
This week kicks off a 6-week craft-minded series, starting with the great A.M. Holmes on characterization. In this episode we talk about dialogue, indirect and direct characterization, character tics, and how to pay attention to your own writing tics and “bad habits.” Homes is a seasoned writer of many books and teaches creative writing at Princeton, and she’s known for her depth and breadth of character—so you’re in for a treat on this topic that feels like it could be endlessly mind. Much food for thought for the craft-minded!
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