ISBW #375: Feedback with Pacing, the Magical Negro Trope, and more

It’s a feedback show where I go back through the spring and clean up the outstanding questions and topics!

Feedback Show Notes

ISBW Cover (Feedback Ep)

ISBW Cover


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Ditch Diggers #39: Lexi Alexander and Punching Hollywood. Metaphorically.

Lexi Alexander is Punching Hollywood

Lexi Alexander

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Dojo (where we’re punching Hollywood) with special guest co-host writer, director, and martial artist Lexi Alexander!
  • Lexi is excited to talk about the writing side of her career as a director of films like Green Street Hooligans, Punisher: War Zone, the Oscar-nominated Johnny Flynton, and pretty much ALL of the TV series.
  • How we needlessly shake the confidence of English-as-a-second-language writers in America. How a chance encounter with Quentin Tarantino cured Lexi of that self-confidence issue.
  • Lexi recounts how she began her career as a writer and filmmaker. (It involves Chuck Norris. No, seriously).
  • It’s easier to be accepted as a woman in a martial arts/competitive combat sports environment than it is to be accepted as a female filmmaker in Hollywood.
  • Lexi talks about the many challenges women writers and directors face in the entertainment industry. She includes her own experiences.
  • Lexi tells the Ditch Diggers about her recently sold pilot script, the process of writing it, and what inspired/motivated both.
  • Lexi talks about what stopped her from writing for a long time, how she almost left the business to become a war correspondent, and what brought her back.
  • Mur asks about the difference between working on your own film projects and writing/adapting the work and ideas of others, and how you survive doing both.
  • Lexi takes questions from Twitter!
  • Mur and Matt attempt unsuccessfully to end the show several times, but Lexi is just too damn enthusiastic and complimentary about everyone. (New goal: Get both Cory Doctorow and Lexi on the show together.)

Lexi on Twitter: @Lexialex
Lexi’s website
Lexi on IMDb

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Appearance! Flyleaf Books with Cory Doctorow!

HEY- if you are in the Triangle area, I will be appearing at Flyleaf Books this Friday night! Cory Doctorow will be coming through on his book tour for his new book Walkaway, and I am joining him for a conversation about the book. I hope to see you there!

From Flyleaf Books:

Fri 5/5, 7pm – 8pm
Cory Doctorow discusses his new novel Walkaway in conversation with Mur Lafferty. Walkaway is Cory Doctorow’s first adult novel in eight years: an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza—known to his friends as Hubert, Etc—was too old to be at that Communist party.

But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be—except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society—and walk away.

After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter—from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.

Event date:
Friday, May 5, 2017 – 7:00pm
Event address:
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

ISBW #374 – Writing conflict with two facets (at least)

We are back to basics this week with conflict and what tools you need in your toolbox to create strong characters and plots. Show notes ahoy!

ISBW Cover - conflict

ISBW Cover

  • I credit one of the things that is making me consistent lately to taking ADHD meds for the first time. Yay, mental health!
  • Been feeling invisible lately. It’s not too terribly bad, but it’s strange. I can’t go into details, but dang, it’s not a good feeling.
  • I started a new book! Alasdair Stuart code named it SPACE MEAT DINER for me. I probably will not submit the book under this title. Current wordcount (including proposal parts) 7706.
  • Main Topic: Conflict!
    • Characters work best with an internal conflict to make fighting the external conflict harder.
    • Internal conflicts include: phobias (India Jones and snakes), flaws (Hamlet’s hubris), or basic human weaknesses (inability to address your own needs, like unrequited love).
    • Internal conflict will shape how the character deals with the other conflicts you put in their story.

We will see you in two weeks for a feedback show. Next week I will have a new Ditch Diggers for you!

Email: mightymur at gmail
Twitter: mightymur
Patreon: patreon.com/mightymur


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(I have managed a weekly show for a while now! WOW! My audio is not the best in this show, but I think I’ve figured out what is wrong and next one should be different.)

Ditch Diggers #38: Tobias Buckell and The Power of No

Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell

  • Live from Morgan Freeman’s bear sanctuary, it’s the (Hugo Finalist!) Ditch Diggers with special guest co-host Tobias Buckell!
  • Mur recounts Toby blowing her mind this past January at ConFusion in Detroit, which prompted his appearance on the show.
  • Toby talks about accessing your inner asshole (the tactful version uses Toby’s description: “the power of no”) in negotiations as a freelancer.
  • What happened when Toby had to stop accepting con invitations on his own dollar, and how it took him to the next level as an author and speaker.
  • Toby on releasing his earlier work as a self-published book and educational tool for writers.
  • Toby talks about trying out Patreon as a partial income replacement for a year, what prompted it, and how it’s going.
  • Twitter and email Q&A! Many of Toby’s fans ask him questions ranging from professional advice to the inside scoop on characters from his Xenowealth universe.

Also mentioned by Toby in this episode…

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Writing Podcast News For Your Ear Holes

It’s been a banner few weeks! In the past 10 days or so, I’ve managed to get back onto a weekly schedule, writing podcast-wise. I guess this means my ADHD treatment is working, which is awesome.

So the new podcast plan: I’ll be doing ISBW and Ditch Diggers in alternating weeks. This week had ISBW #373 released on Monday, and next week will feature Ditch Diggers #38 with Tobias Buckell about “The Power of ‘No'”. I have episodes planned through May, and my brain fog has lifted, for the most part, which is making this planning so much easier.

(If you’re a Patreon subscriber, you get the podcasts as soon as I edit them, instead of waiting for release day. All the supporters got the Ditch Diggers episode today, for example.)

More writing podcast news outside the Murverse:

New writing podcast: Get To Work HurleyGet To Work, Hurley: Frequent Ditch Digger guest host Kameron Hurley has her own writing podcast now! She produced this podcast as a Patreon supporter goal, and she’s doing it for everyone who wants to listen. Episode one just dropped, and she’s as fun and natural on the mic as she is when she guest hosts Ditch Diggers.

New writing podcast: Critiki PartyThe CriTiki Party: This is an interesting idea for a writing podcast that my old friend, Travis Heermann, let me know about. Listeners can submit work that will be read aloud and critiqued on the podcast. If you wonder how to give a good critique, or just want to see how people critique common errors made by beginning writers, then check it out.

Other Recommendations:

Do you not have enough writing and SF podcasts in your life already? Of course not! There are some other fine podcasts also are finalists for the Hugo Award for Best Fancast, and if you want to check them out, here they all are!

 

ISBW #373: About all those writing rules

Don’t use adverbs. Show, don’t tell. Often blanket terms, what do they really mean, and why should we use them? And what does it mean when someone makes the effort to carefully follow those rules?

Recommended book: Nabokov’s Favorite Word Was Mauve
~
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Ditch Diggers #37: Listener Request & HUGO HUGO HUGO

Show Notes:

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from the mud room of Morgan Freeman’s trophy solarium (because they haven’t earned the right to go inside yet).
  • Ditch Diggers has been nominated for a Hugo Award! You did it! Mur and Matt will go up against the likes of The Coode Street Podcast and Tea & Jeopardy in Helsinki for Best Fancast (even though we’re all professionals. Because there’s only one podcast category)! Thank you to all Ditch Diggers listeners who supported the show and don’t forget to vote for Mur and Matt for the Hugo itself!
  • It’s listener’s choice! Mur and Matt select questions from their listeners to address in detail as the topic of the show.
  • First up, for those who write many kinds of things, which writing medium/format to focus on when you being pursuing freelance writing as a serious job. Blogging? Books? Screenwriting? Should you focus on one thing or two things or all of them?
  • Secondly, Mur and Matt talk about writing prep, everything from outlining to creating playlists. What’s necessary for the task ahead and how much is too much?
  • Regular Twitter and email Q&A.

Here are all the Hugo finalists, with the most important category first! (Bold categories have guest-hosted Ditch Diggers!) Continue reading

On Letting Go (and killing darlings)

[It’s really freaking hard to not have every blog post be OMG I AM HUGO FINALIST HEAR ME SQUEE! but I think that might get old.]

I got a “domain about to expire” email from my domain provider a few days ago, and I’ve let it sit for a while, trying to figure out what to do. It’s strange how we get tied to simple things.

heavennovel.com is up for renewal. And I don’t think I’m going to do it. This was a surprisingly difficult decision.

Background: Ten years ago, when I was publishing via podcast only, I wrote a bunch of novellas that got a very passionate fan base. I tried to combine them to become novel-length to sell them to a publisher, and didn’t get any interest. I finally decided after two agents and a bunch of rejections, that I would crowdfund to pay for a good ebook transfer so I could get it to the fans who had been asking for it for years. The kickstarter funded at almost 1000% and I created hard copies as well as ebooks. And the ebooks sold!

The popularity of the kickstarter got another agent interested in me. By now, I had edited the books so many times, to make them flow as novels, then to make them skew more YA, then to skew them back to adult when the YA version didn’t sell, that I was entirely sick of them. I told her I really didn’t want to work through them again, but she encouraged me. When she saw the edit she said, “Oh. You really don’t want to work through this again, do you?”

What gave you that idea?

Note that years are passing here. I’m becoming a better writer, I’m writing a new urban fantasy about monsters needing travel guides. I’m attending grad school. My agent had zero interest in my urban fantasy, so I sold it myself by networking at a con and sending my manuscript to an editor I had coffee with. Then my agent quit being an agent and passed me to her boss, a longtime veteran of publishing. This agent did not do SFF. She was not interested in the stuff I was currently writing and how I was growing. She called my new writing “brutal” more than once. She did not mean this in a good way. (I guess she hadn’t read Hunger Games.) 

Yes, the gentle Hunger Games.

Instead, new agent wanted me to revise the novellas. Again.

Or I could do this, which would be more productive.

I told her that I’d been down that road before and it was a dead end, and she said the market had changed and she thought it could be a breakthrough hit. I liked the idea of a hit. But then I thought about going back to what I was writing seven years before, and the anxiety and dread was similar to the feeling one gets coming home from vacation and realizing your cat sitter hadn’t scooped the litter once. I politely asked her if she had any interest in the stuff I was working on at the time, and she said no.

So we parted ways and I found an awesome agent who represents SFF and likes my stuff. As for The Afterlife Series, I’ve put it behind me. I love the fact that the books helped build my fanbase, and it was an important step I took toward the writer I am now, and heck, the ebook sales still trickle in, but I think it’s time to stop spending money on the domain for a project that makes me spike anxiety just to think about it. Still, it’s a tough step. It feels like killing a darling in a book.

Hey. Note that nowhere in this history of this failed series did I decide the world wasn’t ready for my genius and I should quit.

Make that HUGO NOMINATED Ditch Diggers!

The news is out, it’s very exciting, so exciting we may vomit.

Ditch Diggers got nominated for BEST FANCAST Hugo Award!

I have been sitting on this news for two weeks, freaking out quietly. I didn’t really believe it, and since I’m writing this on Monday I am secretly* worrying that in the next 24 hours something will happen to take it away from us. It happens, after all.

Matt and I are very proud of what we’ve turned Ditch Diggers into, and we are so grateful for the nomination. I’ll be representing us in Finland at WorldCon 75, and we’ll be working hard to keep the awesome content coming in the meantime!

*I know, I’m blogging so it’s not so secret…