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Exploring Every Corner of the Written Word

Exploring Every Corner of the Written Word
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Exploring Every Corner of the Written Word




Episode 16: Brainstorming—Dreams, Visions, and Headlines

In which Jane tackles the tricky subject of figuring out unique ways to get your creative juices flowing when you’ve finished a project and need a new direction, hit a literary wall, or are suffering from a bad case of writer’s block. So, if inspiration is eluding you, here are some interesting possible sources for your next greatest writing idea. Or starting point for a free writing session. Or some notes you need to give to your therapist. But I digress. On dreaming, we learn something...


Episode 15: The Value of Critique Groups—The One Big Thing (Part 2)

In which Robynne and Jane further their discussion about different kinds of writing groups. This time, however, they hone specifically in on critique groups. Robynne makes the VERY bold declaration that if she had to choose between BEING critiqued and critiquing others, she’d always choose critiquing others. Why? Listen in and you’ll find out! What’s more, you’ll learn what The One Big Thing is, and why it is a crucial component in a strong, effective, life-changing critique. If you don’t...


Episode 14: Critique Groups, Writing Partners, & Beta Readers, Oh My! (Part 1)

In which Robynne and Jane wade through the different kinds of writing organizations, critique groups, and beta readers, etc. There are the obligatory definitions, and a few very bad jokes, but mostly, you’ll learn what these entities are all about. Why is that important? Writing is not a solo sport. It’s a team event and, at some point in your writing journey, you’re going to need challenges, support, and information. Where do you get these wonderful things? In a writing organization or...


Episode 13: Should You Join a Writer’s Organization?

In which Jane and Robynne answer the burning question: Should you join a writer’s organization? (Hint: the answer is a RESOUNDING yes!). Robynne, who happens to be the president of a writer’s organization, and Jane, who happens to sit on the boards of two writer’s organizations, are obviously in the camp of “Writer’s organizations have immense value!” But Robynne concedes that it’s necessary to choose the correct organization. Making sure it fits your needs is paramount. WCCW (West Coast...


Episode 12: Freewriting

In which Robynne and Jane talk about how freewriting can help develop your skillset, perspective, and even your writing voice. What is freewriting? Many things. It’s sitting down and writing without a goal. It’s writing inspired by a certain picture. It’s writing to defined and stated parameters for a specific amount of time, but without a real goal. It’s any kind of writing where you are unsure of the outcome and are writing to see what comes out. But why do it? Why do we take time out of...


Episode 11: What Role Does Truth Have in Fiction? (Part 2)

In which Robynne and Jane continue their conversation about the role truth has in fiction. However, this time, they swerve into the question of whether there can be too much truth in fiction. Jane gives a great example of where too much truth can be problematic, namely when a piece becomes too graphic. Robynne adds that poorly disguised “characters” can have legal ramifications. A rousing discussion ensues on how to honorably, judiciously work truth into fiction via changing details that...


Episode 10: Memoir—It’s Place in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Creative Nonfiction

In which Robynne and Jane dive into another aspect of Memoir: how it intersects with fiction, nonfiction, and creative or narrative nonfiction. They run through the definitions of the various genres, in case you’d forgotten, before sinking their teeth into the heart of the issue. Robynne asks Jane a daring question … “Is Memoir a stand-alone genre, or does it cross over into fiction and straight nonfiction?” And, after a few moment’s consideration, she knocks an answer out of the park. (She...


Episode 9: The Bane of a Writer’s Existence … The Proposal

In which Jane and Robynne talk about the nemesis of many a’writer: Proposals. The good news? They’re actually not that scary. In fact, they’re often born of one of the most exciting things that can happen to a writer—an expression of interest from an agent, editor, or publisher. ‘Tis true proposals are composed of many different components, but once you know what they are and how to attack them, you are ready to pull this baby together. Jane and Robynne get down to the nitty gritty of what...


Episode 8: Where to Enter a Story (Inciting Incidents) Part 2

In which Robynne and Jane continue their conversation about “inciting incidents” and where to enter a story. Jane mentions Susan May Warren who says “the inciting incident is something that comes along and interrupt your life” (the phone call, the accident, the meeting). What a great way to define the Inciting Incident! Right after that quote, The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, one of Robynne’s favorite authors, is used as an example of how even literary fiction uses this technique. We bring back...


Episode 7: What Role Does Truth Have in Fiction?

In which Robynne and Jane establish the plain truth that there is plain truth embedded everywhere in fiction. Jane admits that 95% of her fiction is rooted in truth and gives an example of why that’s the case. They make the brilliant point that you can really only write from what you know, even if that truth is dissected and reassembled into another form. Playing the devil’s advocate, Jane brings up the genre of fantasy and puts Robynne on the spot. With a few deft strokes, a recounting of...


Episode 6: How Can You Have True Dialogue in Memoir and Nonfiction

In which Jane and Robynne dive into a controversial topic: How can you have true dialogue in Memoir and Nonfiction? With examples such as memoirist Susy Flory in hand, they traverse the ins and outs of how to have dialogue as true as possible, and where the grey areas lie. A brilliant quote from author Jan Kern helps make the case for both using dialogue in the first place, and how important this fiction technique is when writing memoir or personal narrative. She says: “Narrative nonfiction...


Episode 5: More on Memoir

In which Robynne and Jane head back to the super-popular topic of Memoir to pick up where they left off in Episode 3. Only this time, they balance the discussion by establishing that Memoir isn’t just a platform for dark, difficult topics. Laughter is a perfect ingredient in modern personal narrative! We talk about a number of works-in-progress and published works which use humor or address lighter topics. Favs like James Herriott pop into the conversation, and we also talk about Kate...


Episode 4: Where to Enter a Story

In which Jane and Robynne break down how you choose the point to enter your fiction, nonfiction, or memoir narrative. We define and discuss the almighty “Inciting Incident” and why you should be able to finish this thought: “Everything changed when …” Susy Flory and Michael Hingson’s book, Thunderdog, a New York Times best seller, provides a great example of where to enter a story, and we also talk about Susan May Warren. There’s a great image of a wheel with spokes that helps grasp the...


Episode 3: What’s the Deal with Memoir

In which Robynne and Jane delve deeply into the modern interpretation of the wildly popular genre, memoir. Mother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner gets a mention, as does Robynne’s favorite author, Chaim Potok, and one of her favorite books, Night by Elie Weisel. Ginny Yttrup’s gripping book Words is also on the table as a great example of fictionalized nonfiction. Memoir is quickly becoming one of the most popular genres to write and read. Why? What has opened the floodgates in the last ten...


Episode 2: Using Fiction Principles in Nonfiction

In which Jane and Robynne talk about the use of techniques traditionally brandished in fiction and how they can be applied to modern nonfiction. How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott get solid mentions. By the end of this episode, if you aren’t convinced that the industry is trending toward a “personal narrative” approach to even “how to” nonfiction, we respectfully suggest to have another listen. The post Episode 2: Using Fiction Principles in...


Episode 1: What the Heck is Semi-Fiction?

In which Robynne and Jane unpack the intriguing podcast title and the general genre of Semi-Fiction. A variety of other definitions get thrown in there, too, so we all know the vernacular of the conversation and can move nicely on together. Did you know that Robynne thinks that ALL writing is semi-fiction? ‘Tis true. (And Jane didn’t even disagree!) What’s more, knowing that your fiction contains a great deal of truth, and some of the best ways to approach nonfiction is by leveraging fiction...