The Creative Writer's Toolbelt

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

Latest Episodes

February 18, 2016 00:15:21
Episode Cover

Episode 57 - Outstanding performance in a supporting role - making your supporting characters excellent

It's no surprise that many of the principles that we use to develop our lead characters also apply to our supporting cast. The critical objectives with our supporting characters are the same, we need to create characters with a strong, believable essence, and clear goals and motivation, and then we need to deploy them effectively to support both the main characters and the story. We can do this by ensuring these characters have a strong backstory, even if they have just a walk on part, and we can draw on a range of sources including our imagination, caricature, and people we know in real life to build the composite character for our story. ...

Listen

February 11, 2016 01:05:44
Episode Cover

Episode 56 - Toolbelt EXTRA: Interview with Al Robertson

Toolbelt EXTRA is an additional episode outside of the usual fortnightly regular podcasts. In these longer episodes we take a deep dive into the life and work of a guest author or editor. We explore what's happening in the genre they write in, what inspires them, and their tips for aspiring writers. This episode is an in-depth conversation with the author Al Robertson. We cover: planning vs improvisation and how to draw on both ends of that spectrum, the importance of concision and clarity in writing, the place of cyberpunk within the genre, the state of British Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Al's recommendations for books on the craft of creative writing. ...

Listen

February 04, 2016 00:17:14
Episode Cover

Episode 55 - Don't just talk the talk! Squeezing everything out of your characters interactions

I'm responding to a listener question in this episode by looking at the issue of character interaction. How can we use it to best effect, and what are some of the factors to bear in mind? Most interaction will be through the medium of dialogue, but there's so much more we can do with a bit of imagination, to help us achieve our objectives across dimensions like character development, story, and voice. So don't just talk the talk, bring all the senses in to play and capture the reader in your noisy, vibrant, pungent, and intense world! ...

Listen

January 21, 2016 00:48:28
Episode Cover

Episode 54 - Interview with crime writer Wendy H Jones

Wendy H Jones is a self-published crime writer and part of the controversial "Tartan Noire" movement of Scottish Crime Fiction. Wendy has published three novels in her "Killer's" series, featuring her protagonist Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie. Wendy is now building a fan-base around the world and in our conversation she reveals the publication date and title for a fourth installment of her series. In a varied career Wendy has worked in academia and as a nurse. She served in the British Armed forces for over twenty years, first in the Navy and then the British Army. After traveling around the world with her job, Wendy has returned to her native Dundee to pursue a career in writing, and is now in demand as a speaker across the UK. In this episode Wendy talks about her tips for character development, planning and plotting over a series rather than just one book, promotion techniques for the self-publishing, and why social media, as the name suggests, has to be SOCIAL, rather than just marketing. ...

Listen

January 07, 2016 00:16:30
Episode Cover

Episode 53 - Perfecting the devil. How to create a deliciously wicked antagonist

This episode is all about the protagonist's nemesis, the antagonist. Traditionally seen as 'the bad guy' the antagonist's real function in a story is to contend with, and oppose, the protagonist at every step. In this episode we look at ways in which the antagonist can have their own character arc, with some characters switching into or out of the antagonist's role. We'll also look at the five strategies you can use to create the delicious antagonist, from a painful but convincing backstory to a personal connection with the protagonist, and from a firm belief in their own cause to good behaviour and an excellent dress sense. Welcome to the dark side of your story! ...

Listen

December 25, 2015 00:06:13
Episode Cover

Episode 52 - Superfood for the writer's brain

In this episode, released on Christmas Day 2015, we take time out from the usual teaching and interviews for a few minutes to reflect on the relentless nature of the writer's life. Maybe the best way to keep up the pace with our writing is to take a break and give something back to that creative part of our brain that we've worked so hard. The festive season is a particularly good time to indulge in some "Superfood" for our minds, and reawaken the wonder and curiosity again. ...

Listen