Helping Writers Become Authors

There are a few writers out there for whom the act of structuring and planning a novel is as much joy and fun as the writing of the story itself- K.M. Weiland is one of those writers. She has turned her love of structure and the writer’s craft into not only a blog, but also a video series on YouTube, a podcast and several books, all of them deeply focused on how to make writers produce better work by discussing the many components of a story in great detail. It’s actually quite impressive how she turned her former Wordplay podcast into an actual writer self-help industry unto itself called Helping Writers Become Authors.

I’ve been listening to her Podcast, and I have been quite impressed by the level of thought she puts into each episode (and there are 247 episodes to date!), which have even made me rethink some of my own perspectives on writing. Ms. Weiland has a real passion for the writer’s craft, and seems to be working hard to not only find the best ways to write, but share them with the world. The only criticism I have is that sometimes the podcasts can get a little too abstract, or have a few too many examples for my taste (which can slow the show down), but those are both the result of her depth of study in whatever she’s researching and sharing with her audience.

In any case, if you’re looking for a very focused and practical writing podcast or blog, this might be one worth checking out. She has a lot of useful resources on the blog as well, and even a tutorial for getting the most out of yWriter, the free writing software and structure templates for use with Scrivener.

How to Write a Murderously Good Mystery

On her excellent writer’s blog, writer Karen Woodward has written and put together a fantastic collection of articles on writing mysteries that anyone wanting to move into the genre should definitely check out. She covers setting, victims, making sufficiently intriguing murders, and even delves into the techniques used by Agatha Christie in order to explore how to write the perfect mystery story. Check it out! And while you’re there, read some of her other excellent articles on writing as well, Karen really knows her stuff!

Rob

Space1970

As a child of the 70’s, I grew up watching all sorts of weird attempts at Science Fiction, from Battlestar Galactica to Space 1999. Now Christopher Mills has set up an amazing blog dedicated entirely to 1970’s Science Fiction in all its forms!

This blog is dedicated to the science fiction films and television series of the 1970s – give or take a few years (say, 1969-1983) – including such nostalgic favorites as Star Wars, Space: 1999, UFO, Space Academy, the original Battlestar Galactica, Jason of Star Command, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Logan’s Run and many others.

But be warned: I still love these productions with all the enthusiasm I held for them as a kid, and they will be treated here with affection and respect. If you’re looking for someone to snarkily denigrate “old” movies – or like to do that yourself – you’ve come to the wrong site.

So journey with us back to the days when special effects were created by skillful hands and spaceships were detailed models, when robots were obligatory comedy relief, when square-jawed heroes and cloaked villains battled among the stars — and the future was fun!

So check out Space1970!

7 Keys For Blogging Your Book

Today’s link of note is 7 Keys For Blogging Your Book by Edwin Cozier | Book Marketing Strategies and Tips For Authors which is a collection of advice for people who plan to do the Webfiction thing and stick their book up on a blog as they write it. (Or after they’ve written it.)
This ties in with a tip for blogging books I saw recently, which was to write the book, then blog it but also have a link to the finished book up on your site at the same time. Instead of waiting a week for the next chapter, or being forced to read it on the screen, people will often sample it and then go grab the e-book or paper book to read the rest. Good advice!

Rob

Random things I learned at Podcamp London 2010

Here are some random things I learned while attending the very cool Podcamp London today:

  • Search.Twitter.com can be used to find people with similar interests in your area by using the Advanced options.
  • So can Twellow– the Twitter yellow pages!
  • Twitter is an important Podcaster’s Marketing Tool
  • When doing voice work, some people have to stay away from dairy, while others say it helps!
  • Tongue twisters like “Unique New York, New York” make great voice work warmups.
  • When recording pretend you’re talking to another person at the other end.
  • Canada3.0 is Canada’s leading professional digital media conference.
  • London’s Health Unit has created Eatsure.ca, which shows the health status of London’s restaurants mapped out on a Google Map. Great idea! Now I know which places serve cat and which serve chicken!
  • Battledecks as a public speaking learning tool.
  • Linkedin can be a powerful tool for finding work and making contacts, but it must be used professionally.

New Audio Drama Review Blog (Updated)

The other day I stumbled across a new blog called simply “Audio Drama Review”, done by an anonymous blogger whose stated intent is to provide the “raw unvarnished truth” in an effort to encourage people producing audio drama to improve their work.  The writing is sharp and well thought out overall, and for the most part it’s constructive criticism, which I feel is something our little medium has lacked.

One of the problems with being an audio drama producer is that we generally don’t get a lot of feedback for our work (on average, 1 piece of feedback per 100 listeners) and when we do get feedback it tends to be supportive rather than critical. Now, when I say critical I mean critical in the proper sense of the word- ” an effort to see a thing clearly and truly in order to judge it fairly”. Not just attacking, but breaking down, and making suggestions on how things need to be improved via constructive criticism. I myself had to feel around for a long time, improving based on experience and comparing myself with other’s works, because nobody was there to tell me what I was doing right or wrong when I started. So in my opinion one of the things the AD community has needed for a long time is a Simon Cowell or Kevin O’Leary, a skilled observer who throws pity into the wind and gives their honest opinions, good or bad. This may finally be that person.

My only reservation is that so far in an effort to be “honest” the writer of ADR has so far been a little bit polar, with the reviews tending towards the very good and the very bad, and not so much in between. I know some of this is the writer finding their style and position they’re going to take, but the one for Lightningbolt Theatre of the Mind was far more extreme than it needed to be. I hope that their reviews in the future are no less honest, but a bit more constructive.

Update: I’ve had it pointed out to me by Audio Drama Review’s blogger J. Snowe that while  his reviews do run the gambit from very favorable to poor, they aren’t as polar as I first believed. I hadn’t read all of his reviews, and it appears I managed to read most of the more extreme cases and missed the more moderate ones. (My own fault for making judgments without reading his complete body of work.) Fair enough. Well, then I guess I have no reservations at all on recommending people to read his blog! ^_^

This Page

Hi, and welcome to my new hubpage.

This page is in many ways my new Blog, but it goes beyond that. I wanted to make a page that would better represent me on the web and act as a gateway to my various projects- new and old. For now, it will act as a combination resume and blog, with it being much more general than my old (underused) writing blog in an effort to make it more active and less focused. In a lot of ways, I think specificity is the death of many blogs- you set them up for a specific purpose, but it doesn’t allow them to grow and change.

That’s also why I’ve set up this page and domain, Kung Fu Action Theatre is also a site with a specific purpose, and I wanted to start to move beyond it in an effort to explore new creative realms. Don’t worry, I’m not abandoning KFAT in any way (it’s still my baby!), but there are some things that just don’t fit on KFAT that I’d like to do, and this site is a way of allowing myself the freedom to do them.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll drop by from time to time. I promise to update regularly, and will have a few other surprises coming in the future that will make this an interesting place to visit.

Zaijian!

Rob