The Creative Writer's Toolbelt

The Creative Writers Toolbelt gives practical accessible advice and encouragement to Creative write ... more

Latest Episodes

173

March 26, 2022 00:48:15
Episode 173: Make your reader feel smart, with Jessica Brody

Episode 173: Make your reader feel smart, with Jessica Brody

Suppose you discovered that nearly all of the great stories written conform to a particular structure, a structure that would help to guide you in your writing and that, subconsciously at least, your readers are expecting to see in your work. This is the contention of my guest today, the writer and creative writing tutor, Jessica Brody. Jessica took the classic screenwriting text “Save the cat” and applied it to the process of writing a novel, producing the appropriately titled “Save the cat writes a novel”. In our conversation, Jessica and I explored the key beats in the 15 beat structure, why pacing is so important, how you create a problem, a want, and a need for your protagonist, and why it’s important to make your reader feel smart.  This was a fun and informative conversation I hope you enjoy listening to it, here it is. ...

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172

March 11, 2022 00:51:58
Episode 172: Immersed in the sensorium: how we can enjoy, and learn from poetry, with Aaron Poochigian.

Episode 172: Immersed in the sensorium: how we can enjoy, and learn from poetry, with Aaron Poochigian.

I have always believed that there are important lessons for prose writers to learn from poetry, and I also think we can always gain something from the joy and discipline of listening to good poetry. To test and prove this belief, in this episode, I am talking to the teacher, poet, and translator Aaron Poochigian.  Aaron has a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.  In this episode, we talk about the rise of the prose form over poetry, why anyone might write poetry, why poetry is like music and should be heard as music, how we can push out into the world with our work. We talk about good and bad ambiguity, what novelists can learn from poetry, including the use of rhythm, compression or the economy of language, and using the full range of senses in description and setting. This is an episode of those who love poetry or at least see its potential to teach us something for our craft, I hope you enjoy it, here it is. ...

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171

February 18, 2022 00:52:39
Episode 171: The layers of character with H. Claire Taylor

Episode 171: The layers of character with H. Claire Taylor

Welcome to episode 171 of the Creative Writers Toolbelt. My guest today is the author, writing consultant, and presenter Claire Taylor. Claire will be known to many of you as one-half of the team at the Sell More Books Show with her co-presenter, Bryan Cohen. In this episode we talk about what narrative cohesion is and why it matters, the way in which characters operate on a physical, emotional, and philosophical level, and how to use, (and how not to use) tropes, this was a really fun conversation I enjoyed talking to Claire, I hope you enjoy listening to it, here it is. ...

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170

January 31, 2022 00:42:16
Episode 170: Be the hero of your own story, with Donna Lichaw

Episode 170: Be the hero of your own story, with Donna Lichaw

Those of you who have read the book that accompanies this podcast will know that, in my opinion, one of the best explanations and representations of the way story works comes from the executive coach, speaker, and author Donna Lichaw. Donna is not a creative writing professor, nor is she a best-selling fiction author. She comes from the world of tech, she knows about leadership development, product development, user experience, and how companies can create excellent products for their customers, and she knows how story is bound up with all of this. I’ve been meaning to talk to Donna for years now. I wish we’d had three hours to really unpack this stuff, but we had 40 minutes and so we made the most of that, and so in this episode, Donna talks to us about how classic story structure is still a powerful tool for understanding how humans communicate with each other and have done since the dawn of civilisation; we discuss how this concept applies to the art of showing and telling, and how the most important story for us to work out as writers is our own story, the most important story for each of us is the one in which we are the hero, and if we can understand that story, we can better unlock the power of all the other stories we want to tell. I had a great time talking to Donna, I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation, here it is. ...

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169

January 13, 2022 00:23:37
Episode 169: Creating stories that work: content and structure

Episode 169: Creating stories that work: content and structure

Welcome to episode 169 of the Creative Writer’s Toolbelt. In the next few episodes, I am going to be exploring the fundamentals of story structure. We’re going to look at different perspectives on story and story structure with the help of a number of guests and I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say and sharing those insights with you. By way of an introduction, in this episode I want to ask a deceptively simple question, and it’s this: what does a really good story look like? And I am going to try to answer this question by first exploring what I mean by the word “story” and then looking at what the content of a good story should be, and what structures we could use to present that story in the best possible way. ...

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168

December 23, 2021 00:44:29
Episode 168. Passion Focus and Discipline with Dave Chesson

Episode 168. Passion Focus and Discipline with Dave Chesson

Welcome to Ep 168 of the Creative Writer’s Toolbelt podcast. My guest for this episode is Dave Chesson. Dave is an author, entrepreneur and something of a famous name in the self-publishing scene. For many years he has been creating free courses and articles as well as applications that help writers to publish and promote their work, applications like publisher rocket and the newly arrived Atticus, which combines editing, sharing, and formatting functionality. I have been using Dave’s publishing tools for a number of years and I was particularly interested in finding out how Atticus might work and how it can help authors, and while we did talk about this Dave also had some wisdom for the attitude, disciplines, and focus that we need to succeed as writers, here’s our conversation. ...

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