Lecture Series

Writer’s Bootcamp #1: Creating Fantastic Characters

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Time after time do I see people sit down and create bullshit characters that no one gives a fuck about, are completely cliche and offer nothing unique, original, or don’t even bring fresh perspective to already established archetypes. I’m going to put a stop to that. Here’s what you NEED to know to create characters worth a damn. (more…)

The Arc

Arc: the continuous portion of a circle

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Character arc isn’t just about change. It’s about having to come back and face who you were, and see that you no longer fit inside that old life. It’s not a 180°, it’s a 360°.  (more…)

Between Him and Her Fireside Chat #1

So last week, we queried folks to send us questions for our regular writing discussions, under the pretense that we’d record it and share these dialogues with the lot of you. People actually showed up and delivered, so we did too!

The discussion clocks in at just a little over an hour and a half and it’s a good time. You should listen to us. Warning: The content is not safe for work, because we both cuss like drunken sailors in our regular dialogue. We talk a little bit about everything, from Star Trek to The Time Machine to The Lord of the Rings, to working with test readers and working on The Dusk Harbinger, to things we love to things we hate, and we say some funny shit every now and again.

Alternatively, You can download it HERE through mediafire! It’s an 88mb mp3, so I hope you have some space!

~Oliver

Okay, Let’s Talk About Talkin’

Happy Terrible Monday morning to you all. This is also what we look like when we don’t look like crazy hobos. Anywho! Let’s talk shop. So apparently, we like writing this useful blog about writing. Also apparently, you guys like READING this blog about writing. So, we’re going to talk about that.

It should be fairly obvious by now that Danika and I talk a lot about story. Not just with other people, but between us. That’s the title of the blog, geddit?

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Putting The Wise Sage Man To Work: Example #1

Detective time again. I lectured about the Wise Sage Man recently, a dude who holds tons of info and keeps kicking your protagonist back into play. He’s a great character to keep things moving. Just like our other examples, here and here, I’m going to illustrate a different way to use the usual archetypes. We can all spot a Wise Sage Man when we’re looking at fantasy stories. Easy as pie. Here he is in the gritty city, with our sleazy detective, Mr. Hood. Relevant Wise Sage Man traits are bolded, just like before. And just like before,  Hood’s in a heap of trouble.

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What Fantasy Stories Are Actually About, And Many People Don’t Notice

Since my previous post explaining some of the unique trappings of post-apocalyptic fiction went over so well, I thought I’d come back for round two to explain to you what one of the oldest forms of fiction is about. If you’ve been paying attention to my analysis over time, you’ll start to notice that there’s a common theme amongst my posts: People.

So, this is me, slapping the pen out of your hand before you sit down and say, “Oh man I’m going to write this story that has wizards and fairies and dragons and huge crazy magical explosions and dancing brooms because it’ll be COOOOOOOOOOOL!” Stop. Just STOP right there. If you don’t know WHY you’re writing it, you’re already doing it wrong, and I’m going to show you how to do it right.

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Lecture Series~ Building Narrative with Danika 102: Wise Sage Man


Too badass to be this old

In our previous lectures, we taught you about different types of evils or antagonists. We also touched on a powerful ally (and plot-mover-forwarder), the Golden Maiden.  She’s a peach, but she isn’t my favorite. That’s the Wise Sage Man.

He might present in ways very familiar to you.  It’s easy as hell to spot him here. Old. Check. Male. Check. Knows everything. Check. But what is he actually doing for our story?

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Putting the Golden Maiden to Work: Example #1

Oliver introduced the Golden Maiden, but telling you about a concept isn’t good enough. It’s one thing to tell, but it’s another thing to SHOW. Now that you know HOW to find her, can you spot her in the wild? And if you can spot her in the wild, you can make her your own. Now that you have her, what do you do with her?

She can’t just sit around looking pretty all the time. Let’s be real. That shit is boring. None of your characters can sit around looking pretty- you can’t afford that. Those are your employees. Put them to work.

We know the Golden Maiden usually appears beautiful, intelligent, respected or in a position of power or influence, and is the target of affection or sexual pursuit. We know they give carefully crafted advice, don’t engage in violence or will only defend themselves, and they aren’t a part of the regular adventure. The Golden Maiden spurs the protagonist on, leaves them with too many questions and too much pressure to turn away from the adventure.

It’s easy enough to spot a Golden Maiden opportunity in the fantasy genre. They’re practically everywhere. It’s like there’s a GM factory just across from Distressed Damsels, Inc. You can find a ton of examples, now that you know what you’re looking for. But if you’re not writing fantasy, can you still put the Golden Maiden to use?   (more…)