Category Archives: Influences

The Music of Prose: Why Fiction Writers Need To Be Poets, Too | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 5

The Music of Prose: Why Fiction Writers Need To Be Poets, Too | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 5

Every Friday afternoon, back in Tommy and Baker’s MFA days, there was a tradition. A tradition of slaughter, of domination. It was ugly, it was fun, it always proceeded to revelry at a local dive bar. It was the weekly MFA basketball game, where the Poets would team up against the Prosers.* The Poets had a… Continue Reading

The Anti-Masterclass: Learning to Write by Slogging Through the Mud and Taking No Shortcuts | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 4

The Anti-Masterclass: Learning to Write by Slogging Through the Mud and Taking No Shortcuts | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 4

Friends, we’re here to preach a little hard truth. Some people–famous writers, even–want you to think there are shortcuts. James Patterson has been using Facebook to advertise his $90 MasterClass called something dumb and inviting like “Learn to Write a Bestseller”. The class might teach you a lot, but it might also be a waste… Continue Reading

World Building and the Myth of Prewriting | Fiction School Podcast #45

World Building and the Myth of Prewriting | Fiction School Podcast #45

Here are things that Tommy Zurhellen doesn’t believe in: Santa Claus. The Bermuda Triangle. The Ghost of Bear Bryant. And…prewriting. That’s right, ‘Schoolers.  There’s no such thing as prewriting, and there’s no such thing as preheating your oven.  Everything you do is actually writing, in one vague form or another, according to TZ. Which is… Continue Reading

How Writing Retreats Can Grow Your Career | Fiction School Podcast #35

How Writing Retreats Can Grow Your Career | Fiction School Podcast #35

Sometimes there are just too many dishes in the sink to get that line of dialogue right. The TV is too loud to make that first sentence sing, you know? Real life. It gets in the way of Fictionland all too often. But what if you want to get away from real life and crank… Continue Reading

The Quickie Guide to Writing Flash Fiction and Really Short Stories | Fiction School Podcast #29

The Quickie Guide to Writing Flash Fiction and Really Short Stories | Fiction School Podcast #29

This week, the epic struggle between Team Tommy and Team Jody reaches a new stratosphere, when Jody hangs up on the podcast.  That’s right. Girl couldn’t take it anymore, so she just slammed down the phone in true Hollywood style. But not really. It was micro-fiction, a fourteen-second play, to give a little intro to… Continue Reading

Writing Across Genres with special guest Deanna Raybourn | Fiction School Podcast #27

Writing Across Genres with special guest Deanna Raybourn | Fiction School Podcast #27

What do you do if you’re the kind of writer who likes to set books in the past, in interesting locations, but then your instincts tell you that the story has something mysterious happen there, too?  And also, yeah, your characters are kind of into each other as well, doing the chemistry thing while they’re… Continue Reading

It’s A New Year, and Fiction School’s Gonna Help You Have Your Best Writing Year EVER. | Fiction School Podcast #17

It’s A New Year, and Fiction School’s Gonna Help You Have Your Best Writing Year EVER. | Fiction School Podcast #17

Hey. You. With the typewriter. And the bookshelves, the imagination.  It’s me.  The new year. Yeah, you might’ve bought a Cute Kitties calendar of me, but I’m here to tell you: This Is Gonna Be Your Best Year As A Writer. (You owe it to me after that calendar.) Listen here to this show to… Continue Reading

The Power of Names and Nicknames: How to choose the perfect one for your fictional characters | Fiction School Podcast #16

The Power of Names and Nicknames: How to choose the perfect one for your fictional characters | Fiction School Podcast #16

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked. Fiction School’s here to answer and we say, “Brother, a whole hell of a lot.” On this episode of the Fiction School Podcast, we go deep into the thorny labyrinth of choosing a name for your fictional character.  We talk about subtlety and stereotype, from Ace Diablo to Manly… Continue Reading

Reading Like A Writer and Using Your Influences to Grow Your Writing Voice: The Thankfulness Show | Fiction School Podcast #13

Reading Like A Writer and Using Your Influences to Grow Your Writing Voice: The Thankfulness Show | Fiction School Podcast #13

This week, it being Thanksgiving and all, we’re feeling thankful. We’re thankful to be writers, thankful to have readers.  We’re thankful to have listeners to our podcast (Thanks!). And we are thankful for writers, especially the ones whose books made us want to write, authors who changed our lives and influenced the kind of stories… Continue Reading