Category Archives: Tension

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

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

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

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

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