Category: non fiction

#44 – Charles Christian – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 44 with Charles Christian – award-winning journalist, podcaster & author

“People get carried with their gadgets… and forget about the human element.”

Episode 44 – Charles Christian – Show Notes
  • Novella length is favourite length. Better for ebooks and easier to consume.
  • Writing every day and learned discipline from career as a freelance journalist
  • ‘All written out’ by freelance journalism
  • Green tea, dark chocolate, chips and baked beans
  • Exploring how one event can change the entire direction of life – JB Priestly
  • Stop doing courses and start writing your own stories
  • Stick to the brief, meet the deadline & work count – who, why, what, where, how
  • Asking the question – is this project fun to write?
  • Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, MR James, David Sedaris, Richard Brautigan
  • Genre fiction tips: less about the gadgets, more about the characters

“Get on with it and be business-like about it.”

“If I can’t be bothered reading it, I can’t expect the reader to.”

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#43 – Trevor Young – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 43 with Trevor Young – PR and marketing specialist

“If you’ve got a blog you’ve got a digital heartbeat. You’re not on rented land.”

Episode 43 – Trevor Young – Show Notes
  • Books are more permanent but blogging helps develop a writer’s conversational personal style
  • Writing in focussed short sharp bursts; doing less but doing more
  • Fiction at night with beer and non-fiction in the morning with coffee
  • Joining the dots, identifying a trend and developing a philosophy
  • Tips on writing 1300 characters micro-stories – start with one tight idea
  • Writing Melbourne Noir. Inspired by childhood reading of Ed McBain and Ian Fleming
  • With non-fiction you need to know your market but with fiction you can write what you want to read
  • Creating an alter-ego for fiction writing
  • Seth Godin, Dorie Clark
  • Micro Domination and the changing nature of blogs
  • New book coming in October 2018 – Content Marketing for PR

“Getting more done by doing a little bit every day.”

“Edit your way to greatness.”

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#42 – Valerie Stivers – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 42 with Valerie Stivers – writer, editor & journalist

“The spirit of the book comes alive when you’re cooking from it.”

Episode 42 – Valerie Stivers – Show Notes
  • Personal non-fiction is the favourite or novels if the words are flowing
  • The Muse has to know where to find you
  • Afternoon tea and scones
  • Connections between people – both non-fiction and fiction
  • Training in an old-school newsroom – learning to write concise & communicative copy
  • Time pressure of modern newsroom – erosion of standards in journalism
  • Cooking along with writing
  • “Outrun your inner critic” – from Pat Barker
  • Food styling – the skill of the photographer
  • Ivan Doig, George RR Martin
  • Eat Your Words – The Paris Review Daily

“I want to show other people what’s inside my head.”

“Those years I spent getting yelled at by old newspaper guys were priceless.”

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#41 – Nin Harris – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 41 with Nin Harris – author, poet & Gothic scholar

“I really love to dig into the guts of a novel to see how it works.”

Episode 41 – Nin Harris – Show Notes

  • Inspired to write short stories by Angela Carter
  • Both a plotter and a pantser
  • Water or rooibos tea
  • SFF and gothic but writing about the human experience
  • Identity, memory and difficult connections between people
  • Gothic in space
  • Reading carefully – go outside your fishbowl
  • Throwing books across the room – like a book poltergeist
  • Beat sheets: major beats and minor beats; cause and effect
  • Frances Hardinge, Graham Joyce
  • Different writing depending on mood. Academic v fiction writing

“The first draft does have a bit of vomit in it.”

“For me, space is very gothic.”

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#40 – Kira Leigh – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 40 with Kira Leigh– content marketer, artist, tech & games writer

“I’m a nerd so I just think of it as role-playing as another person.”

Episode 40 – Kira Leigh – Show Notes
  • Prefers long-form articles because ideas are so big
  • Playlists and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Anger
  • Nabokov
  • Trying YouTube
  • A disappointing career in tech turned into a successful writing career
  • Describes current career as ‘Tech creative’
  • The Russian Masters and random bloggers on Tumblr and reddit
  • Use of online comments to build characters
  • Writing reviews for anime
  • Reaching people is the intent of writing
  • Writing for LinkedIn

“If I feel like I’m stale, I go read Nabokov.”

“A typo is like a palette knife mark in someone’s story.”

“LinkedIn is the place to be for content writers and even artists.”

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#34 – Fiona Ross – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 34 with Fiona Ross – songwriter, singer & jazz journalist

“I get more creative and crazy as the day goes on.”

Episode 34 – Fiona Ross – Show Notes
  • Go with the flow – music and lyrics go together
  • A late night writer – daytime writing doesn’t feel right
  • Piano, pencil, notebook and cup of tea
  • Songwriting is always inspired by a personal experience.
  • Journalism and interviews – the purpose is to reveal the person being interviewed
  • Discovering journalism voice – it’s about the artist
  • Interviewing legends, jazz history and research. Women in jazz and bringing jazz up to date
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, F Scott Fitzgerald, Upton Sinclair, Ricki Lee Jones, Billy Joel
  • Family history of writers
  • Didn’t set out to write a concept album but ‘Black, White and a Little Bit of Grey’ has an intertwining story
  • Marketing and genre

“I won the reading cup when I was at primary school.”

“If I’m not jazz and I’m not pop, what am I?”

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#33 – Kim Newman – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 33 with Kim Newman – novelist & film critic

“My novels are my purest me.”

Episode 33 – Kim Newman – Show Notes
  • Novels as favourite medium, loose outlines and historical research
  • Takeout coffee and working in the dressing gown
  • As a critic putting people into boxes but as a writer refusing to be put in a box
  • Reading, time and never having had a real job
  • The way writing as a career has changed since 1980s
  • Buying first computer with money from writing for porn magazines with Neil Gaiman
  • Editors used to have more time to deal with and develop new writers
  • Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Patrick Hamilton, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Ramsay Campbell, Peter Straub, David Thomson, Greil Marcus
  • Criticism and deadlines
  • The need for a continuity person during novel writing
  • Big file full of random film quotes

“Some people don’t realise I’m the same person.”

“My critical range is not good or bad but interesting or dull.”

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#31 – Josh Larsen – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 31 with Josh Larsen – film critic, editor & broadcaster

“Sometimes it’s not fair to the film to dash something off the hour after you’ve seen it.”

Episode 31 – Josh Larsen – Show Notes
  • Editing every day
  • Writing outside with tea or an IPA
  • Daily newspaper movie criticism background
  • Pop culture and faith, akin to feminist film criticism
  • Working with good editors, the demise of newspaper industry
  • Still wrapping mind around faith based film criticism
  • Horror movies and faith
  • Print deadlines – stressful but the best training. A negative can be writing too quickly
  • Manohla Dargis, Richard Brody, Dana Stevens, Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael

“I miss having an editor to bounce ideas off.”

“There’s no time for writers block. It’s a luxury.”

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#27 – Charles Chu – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 27 with Charles Chu – non-fiction writer & Medium top contributor

“You need to do a little guerrilla warfare as a new writer.”

Episode 27 – Charles Chu – Show Notes
  • Starting with an emotion or aesthetic in essays and non-fiction
  • Walking as a ritual and Japanese coffee
  • As a Chinese American growing up in a white culture
  • Psychology first – consistency, then building on improving writing practice
  • Writing for the internet; how digestible is the writing? Trial and error approach
  • John McPhee, On Writing Well by William Zinsser, copywriting
  • Moving into fiction; the Year of 100 Rejections
  • Gene Wolfe, Haruki Murakami, Ken Liu
  • Juggling lots of projects to balance out the failures
  • Ray Bradbury inspiring the year of 100 rejections
  • Tips on how to get stories featured on Medium

“I grew as a child questioning where my place was.”

“Visualising things from the reader’s perspective.”

“Reframing failure as something I should try to do.”

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#26 – Burhan Wazir – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 26 with Burhan Wazir – award winning journalist & editor

“Why is this happening? And why now?”

Episode 26 – Burhan Wazir – Show Notes
  • Career progression from reporter to editor and back to writing
  • Morning person and productivity
  • Proper Scottish writing fuel
  • Middle East, immigration, Brexit
  • The personal in journalism; adding yourself into the story
  • Constant refining: 20% writing and 80% rewriting
  • Reading other good writers: William Finnegan’s Cold New World
  • More historical context; the world has always been complex
  • History of British mosques and the Rotimatic
  • WikiTribune model: news stories as living documents
  • Madeleine’s tip – strange writing rituals

“20% writing and 80% rewriting.”

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The origins of ten common superstitions

I’ve been writing a series for Folklore Thursday on the origins of common superstitions and the series has come to an end. Boo. It’s been a fun and fascinating project to delve into why and where these superstitions came from.

Here are all ten articles for your reading pleasure

Enjoy

#15 – Angela Ackerman – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 15 with Angela Ackerman – best-selling writing reference book author

“Embrace the fact that there’s always more to learn.”

Episode 15 – Angela Ackerman – Show Notes
  • Chocolate Boyfriend of the Week
  • Helping writers with descriptions for emotions and setting
  • Wounds, flaws and negative character traits
  • Learner’s mindset
  • Critique partners who encourage you to grow and extend yourself
  • Building structural tools for writers helped Angela to become more structured
  • Ransom Riggs, Laini Taylor, Alli Sinclair
  • Madeleine’s tip – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

“Understanding what your character’s wound is in the story, is a critical element in understanding their behaviour.”

“Emotional wounds are critical in a transformative arc.”

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#10 – Dee Dee Chainey – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 10 with Dee Dee Chainey – Folklorist & freelance content marketer

“Bringing magic to the mundane”

Episode 10 – Dee Dee Chainey – Show Notes
  • Do your writing first
  • Instagram pictures of cake
  • Dark folklore; Krampus, hand of glory and the tooth fairy
  • Confidence
  • Don’t keep rewriting the same piece, move on
  • Squeezing a massive topic into an introductory book
  • A non-fiction writer mainly influenced by fiction
  • Aubrey Burl, Carrie Ann Noble, Jackie Morris, Phillip Pullman
  • Madeleine’s tip – 10 story ideas per day

“What do you want to say to the world and to yourself”

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Albanian eggs, open umbrellas and mysterious lights

Sometimes all my writing efforts land at once and it’s been one of those weeks.

Not only did the new adventure Evangeline and the Mysterious Lights (and the new collection The Antics of Evangeline) go live, but I had articles published on Roads and Kingdoms, and FolkloreThursday.com.

For Roads and Kingdoms, I wrote about my own private Albanian breakfast and reliving holidays through food.

My Own Private Albanian Breakfast

For FolkloreThursday.com, I continued my series on superstitions with ‘opening an umbrella inside’.

Sky Goddesses, Spring Mechanisms, or Sprites: Why Is it Bad Luck to Open an Umbrella Inside?

And coming later in October, I’m launching my writing craft podcast ‘Write Through the Roof’. The process of learning how to produce a podcast has been surprisingly fun and I’m reminded of how I used to play ‘radio stations’ with my cassette recorder in the 1980s. It’s reinforced the theory that your passions lie in the things you liked to do as a child.

And don’t forget if you like the Evangeline stories, please vote in the Christmas story poll. At the moment, it’s neck and neck between three side kicks!

Happy reading and writing!

 

Hand-me-down superstitions: magpies, silver coins and calendars

What superstitions did your Gran or Mum hand down to you?

With my writing and research for Folklore Thursday, books I’m reading and ideas for a new story knocking round my head, I’m in a real folklorish and superstition-filled place at the moment.

My mum passed a few superstitions down to me. No shoes on the table, no open umbrellas inside and cutting crosses in brussel sprouts. So now, I’m curious what superstitions and folklore traditions other people inherited and still follow today.

I put a question out to the Folklore Thursday community

Here’s a summary of the responses…

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Recent reads – Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

Today I’m talking about Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley, a collection of personal essays by science fiction author Kameron Hurley, published by Tor in 2016.

Hurley is an award winning author and her personal essays covers feminism, geek and internet culture, the perils of being a writer, health and rebellion. Hurley critiques and challenges in a raw and honest way, drawing on her own personal experiences and life story.

Coincidence is a funny thing. I picked up this book right after finishing The Female Man by Joanna Russ (a feminist sci-fi novel I reviewed a few weeks ago). Hurley credits Joanna Russ with lighting her feminist fire. In fact, the book is dedicated to a “Joanna’.

The book is divided up into sections starting off with a section about writing and  the rollercoaster ride of a writers life. As a writer myself, I found this section heart-warming and depressing at the same time. My favourite essay was the first, named Persistence and the Long Con of Being a Successful Writer. The title says it all.

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The Smashed Avo Affair and trying new things

When I started taking my writing seriously, I was pig-headed. Or maybe I was “clear about my goals.” I said I’d only write my own stuff. Fiction.

And to date, my stuff has been long form novels and novellas in the speculative fiction genre. I didn’t want to write other stuff for other people, I wanted to focus on my “Art”.

But a few weeks back, I read this article – The Secret to Doing What You Love. This gave me a kick in the bum. The author James Altucher argues that you don’t know what the future holds so you shouldn’t be anchored to one outcome.

Since then, I’ve been thinking of other opportunities to tell stories (aside from my current projects).

And here’s the first product.

Battle Lines Drawn in the Great Australian Smashed Avo Affair – a short piece featured on the fantastic Roads and Kingdoms about a recent furore in Australia about brunch, generational warfare and house prices.

Enjoy.

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