Pen On Fire blog

Lisa Cron on Writers on Writing

Lisa Cron, author of Story Genius, published by 10 Speed Press, and I talk about how starting with character (for fiction or memoir) is the key to unfolding the story. If you don’t know your protagonist, who does? And how are you going to write a great story if you don’t know whose story it is? We spend the entire hour together talking about writing. Lisa was an agent, worked for a publisher and as a story consultant for Warner Brothers. She knows her stuff!

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(Broadcast date: Dec. 26, 2016)

Fannie Flagg and Odie Lindsey on Writers on Writing

Bestselling novelist Fannie Flagg joins Marrie Stone to chat about her latest, The Whole Town’s Talking.

Lovers of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe will fall in
love all over again with Fannie’s characters, her world, and her ability
to render southern charm onto the page and infuse her characters with
life. She talks about writing with dyslexia, how acting helps writing,
and what she’s learned about writing and life over the years.

In the second half, short story writer Odie Lindsey discusses his debut collection, We Come to Our Senses. He talks about his experiences in Iraq, the need to include women in the narrative of war, and the importance of the advice “revise, revise, revise.”  Plus, lots of other wonderful wisdom.

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(Broadcast date: December 21, 2016)

Wally Lamb and Mary Troy on Writers on Writing

New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb joins Marrie Stone to talk about his latest novel, I’ll Take You There.  He discusses feminism, recurring characters, magical realism, how his interests have shifted over time, and his nostalgic love affair with an age now past.

In the second half, Mary Troy shares her novel Swimming on Hwy N.  Mary discusses her love for Missouri and bringing that place to life on the page, quirky characters, and how she approached the novel after her work in short fiction.

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(Broadcast date: December 14, 2016)

Revision tool: Shrink your manuscript

I’m revising my novel and am looking for tips, so I went online and came across this idea by Darcy Pattison. It calls for shrinking your manuscript so you can see the structure, see your strongest chapters, character arc, etc. This 20-minute YouTube video shows you how.  Let me know how it works for you and if you come across any other good methods that help you revise, report back with those, too.

Teddy Wayne and Shawn Wong on Writers on Writing

In the first half hour, novelist Teddy Wayne, author of Loner, talks with Nicole Nelson about leveraging spare use of the second person to add menace, building dread gradually through multiple drafts, and managing his writing time to balance work on fiction as well as being a regular contributions to The New Yorker and The New York Times.

In the second half, novelist Shawn Wong, author of American Knees, talks about his pioneering work in the field of Asian American Studies, how watching and listening closely to women helps him write rounded female characters, and how working with returning soldiers through the Red Badge Project taught him to think on his feet.

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(Broadcast date: November 30, 2016)