Category Archives: Reading

How To Write Funny Stuff: Irony, Mark Twain, and the Danger of Humor | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 7

How To Write Funny Stuff: Irony, Mark Twain, and the Danger of Humor | Fiction School Podcast Season 5 Episode 7

A wise teacher once told us that the least funny thing you can do is explain a joke. So, we decided to make a whole show explaining humor writing, because we are not wise. Actually, this show is a lot of fun. You should listen. Hear the ol’ Fiction School talk about the incredibly hard and tedious… Continue Reading

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

Finding the Perfect Pace for Story: Dialogue, Story Time, Soap Operas, and DUN DUN DUNs | Fiction School Season 5 Episode 2

Finding the Perfect Pace for Story: Dialogue, Story Time, Soap Operas, and DUN DUN DUNs | Fiction School Season 5 Episode 2

Like marathon runners, breakdancers, and zumba instructors, storytellers have to always be considering their pace. Go too fast, readers can’t keep up. Go too slow, readers get bored. But how do writers figure out the best pace, and how to ebb and flow with it? How can we use dialogue effectively and avoid the soap… Continue Reading

The Back-To-School Special: Updates from the MFA Underground | Fiction School Podcast #46

The Back-To-School Special: Updates from the MFA Underground | Fiction School Podcast #46

Remember the Trapper Keeper? It was so badass, especially when you could poke a hole in a corner and blow it up like a balloon.  I did that almost every day in fourth grade. Every fall in those salad days of elementary school, I’d get queasy walking into Wal-Mart to get my Trapper Keeper and fresh… 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

Getting Writing Done When You’re In a Life Jam | Fiction School Podcast #43

Getting Writing Done When You’re In a Life Jam | Fiction School Podcast #43

Hey there–long time no see…er, hear.  Yeah, the irreverent professors of Fiction School have been a bit erstwhile with our podcast of late. But we’ve got good reasons, y’all.  We’re busy putting out books and getting famous and drinking margaritas on the beach like the rockstar authors we are.  Yeah, totally.  That. Really, we’re just… Continue Reading

Audiobooks are Awesome, and How To Get Your Work Into Audio | Fiction School Podcast #41

Audiobooks are Awesome, and How To Get Your Work Into Audio | Fiction School Podcast #41

Remember how, when you were a kid, you loved having a story read to you?  You loved hearing a story out loud?  There was just something about it, some soothing magic, that only a story told out loud can provide. But, hey, now that you’re all grown up, the world doesn’t have to be all… Continue Reading

Reading Your Work to Strangers and Promoting Your Fiction | Fiction School Podcast #39

Reading Your Work to Strangers and Promoting Your Fiction | Fiction School Podcast #39

One magical summer, two writers who’d been friends forever decided to raise a little hell.  They piled boxes of books, some camping gear, a few changes of clothes, and a cooler full of sauerkraut and beer into the back of a Camry.  They hit the open road, reading their fiction to anybody who’d listen. It… Continue Reading

Plot vs. Character, Deepening Fiction with Subplot, and Giraffes | Fiction School Podcast #38

Plot vs. Character, Deepening Fiction with Subplot, and Giraffes | Fiction School Podcast #38

Tommy’s freaking out.  He left a  bouquet of flowers to surprise his girlfriend, but he’s worried that some wild giraffe or wolf or leprechaun is going to steal them or eat them or something. And somehow this relates to a good question from listener Christopher.  Here is the traditional Google Voice butchering of the voicemail that… Continue Reading