Category Archives: Story Beginnings

How To Keep Tension Rising, and Rising, and Rising in Your Book | Fiction School Podcast #28

How To Keep Tension Rising, and Rising, and Rising in Your Book | Fiction School Podcast #28

This week, we’re answering a voicemail from Bonnie J. Rough, who actually made a guest appearance on Episode 25. Her question was a great one that many writers (including us) struggle with: how do you make sure you keep the tension rising in the right way over the course of a book or long narrative?… Continue Reading

Tips and Tricks for Writing Action Scenes, from Baseball to Face-Punching to Maritime Madness | Fiction School Podcast #24

Tips and Tricks for Writing Action Scenes, from Baseball to Face-Punching to Maritime Madness | Fiction School Podcast #24

Anton Chekhov said, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.” Well, Fiction School says if there’s a fist in Chapter 1, it better punch somebody in the mouth by Chapter 3.  If there are fancy… 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

Writing Character-Driven Stories with Round Characters | Fiction School Podcast #15

Writing Character-Driven Stories with Round Characters | Fiction School Podcast #15

The local weirdo with the pet rat, the eccentric barista with the tattoo of an ironing board, the incompetent boss, the highfalutin poet.  Good characters are the stuff of life. But do we love character-driven stories?  Are readers willing to follow a highfalutin poet on his misadventures around, say, literary Detroit?  How do writers create… Continue Reading

When Readers Strike Back: How to Understand and Use Reader Feedback | Fiction School Podcast #10

When Readers Strike Back: How to Understand and Use Reader Feedback | Fiction School Podcast #10

In every writer’s career, there comes a point where we have to do something terrifying in order to get better.  We have to start showing our writing to other people before it’s done, before it’s perfect.  We know something’s wrong, but not exactly what, or why.  And we don’t know how to fix it yet.… Continue Reading

Writing From Real Life in Fiction and Memoir, with special guest Suzanne Morrison | Fiction School Podcast #8

Writing From Real Life in Fiction and Memoir, with special guest Suzanne Morrison | Fiction School Podcast #8

It’s weird being a writer.  Everything you do is research.  Everyone you meet could end up on a page you write.  Everything that happens to you might happen to a character someday. A perfect quip somebody whips out in an argument?  A 3 a.m. wakeup from an overly amorous cat?  That time you were trying… Continue Reading

Writing Romance, Love Stories, and Sex Scenes | Fiction School Podcast Episode #6

Writing Romance, Love Stories, and Sex Scenes | Fiction School Podcast Episode #6

When we’re little, romance stories end in “happily ever after.”  But then, a little later, a few hormones coursing through us and we wonder what happens after happily ever after.  Especially, you know, immediately after. That’s when we start learning about stories with a little “Bow-chicka-wow-wow.” Then we turn into writers (which may or may not… Continue Reading

Using Setting and Place to Power Your Writing | Fiction School Podcast #4

Using Setting and Place to Power Your Writing | Fiction School Podcast #4

When we get on the Google Hangout to tape this show on setting, Tommy appears in this ridiculously ornate, immaculate, stunning room, with frescoes on the ceiling and detailing in every tiny crevice, and (probably) this tiny man who runs around sweeping any speck of dust, and Tommy says “This is my classroom.” (He’s teaching… Continue Reading

How To Start a Story: What Makes A Great Beginning | Fiction School Podcast #2

How To Start a Story: What Makes A Great Beginning | Fiction School Podcast #2

You sit down to write your novel.  “Okay…” you think, “I’ve got a lot of story to tell.  But I’ve got sixty-thousand words to get there.  Shouldn’t be a problem.” And you almost type something.  Then you don’t.  Then you think you might have a good idea, but it isn’t good enough.  Because you know… Continue Reading

Fiction School’s Quick Guide to Story Structure

Fiction School’s Quick Guide to Story Structure

After Episode 1 of the podcast, where we debated and challenged and shouted for plagues upon each other’s houses, we realized that during the show we never actually talked concretely about the plot points and movements that make up story structure. Oops. So today we’re fixing that.  Here it is: The Official Unauthorized Dubiously-Devised Fiction… Continue Reading