The Creative Writer's Toolbelt

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

Latest Episodes

December 09, 2015 00:15:17
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Episode 51 - True to the End. The keys to developing your protagonist's character arc

Nothing holds the reader in your story like a compelling, authentic character, and an essential element of developing a character is developing their character arc. In this episode we explore the essentials of developing the arc for your protagonist and principle characters. I'll explain why the character arc is so important, why it has to develop in harmony with the story arc, and why we need to pay attention to the inner and outer journey of our lead characters. ...

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November 27, 2015 00:46:55
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Episode 50 - Interview with Nancy Kress

For the fiftieth episode I'm delighted to present an interview with Nebula and Hugo award winning author Nancy Kress. Nancy is the author of twenty-seven novels, three books on writing, four short story collections, and over a hundred works of short fiction. Her fiction has won six Nebulas (for “Out of All Them Bright Stars,” “Beggars in Spain,” “The Flowers of Aulit Prison,” “Fountain of Age,” “After the Fall, Before the Fall, and During the Fall,” and “Yesterday’s Kin”), two Hugos (for “Beggars in Spain” and “The Erdmann Nexus”), a Sturgeon (for “The Flowers of Aulit Prison”), and a John W. Campbell Memorial Award (for PROBABILITY SPACE). Her work has been translated into Swedish, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Danish, Polish, Croatian, Korean, Lithuanian, Chinese, Romanian, Japanese, Russian, and Klingon, none of which she can read. In 1998, Nancy married fellow SF writer Charles Sheffield, who died in 2002 of brain cancer. In 2011 she married writer Jack Skillingstead. They live in Seattle with Cosette, the world’s most spoiled toy poodle. ...

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November 13, 2015 00:15:34
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Episode 49 - Tailored for a perfect fit. Find the right characteristics for your cast of characters

Sometimes it's just one or two well placed,well fitting characteristics that make a character. In this episode we are going to look at what kind of characteristics we can give our characters, how to present those characteristics in a convincing and persuasive way, and we'll look at some examples of how writers have used characteristics of all kinds to complement and enhance the essence or core of their characters. ...

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October 30, 2015 00:14:18
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Episode 48 - The blade in the mind. Exploiting the interior life of your characters

What is the interior life of the character, and what sort of interior life should we be showing in our work? This episode looks at the thoughts and feelings of our characters, and gives practical advice on what sorts of interior life should be shown in a story, and how it should be done. Cut the banal day dreams and focus on the blade in the mind, the thoughts that have a sharp edge to them. Dark or angry, comedic or sexual, there's a truthful and cutting thought lurking in every character that will help to set a scene, drive a plot and develop a character. Don't be afraid to reveal the interior life of your character, just make sure it's grabbing the reader and driving the story when you do it. ...

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October 15, 2015 00:13:00
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Episode 47 - Get 'em off the couch! Goals motivation and passion as the driving forces for your characters

Jeanne Cavelos, the Director of the Odyssey Writing Workshop says that the number one piece of advice she gives to writers is this: give your character a goal. It's so easy for us to create pet characters who just sit on the couch, docile and useless in our story. We may love these creations but they slow the narrative, and bore the reader. So how do we get our characters engaged, and working with our story not against it? Simple, we follow Jeanne's advice and give them a goal (or goals), as well as some strong motivation, and a driving passion as part of who they are. ...

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October 03, 2015 00:16:59
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Episode 46 - The Essence of character

What is the essence of a character? Why is the creation and presentation of that essence the most important challenge for character development in creative writing? In this episode I am starting a series looking at developing characters in fiction, memoir, biography, in fact any kind of story telling. I'll be explaining why I think developing the core, or essence of your character is the most critical task in the character development dimension, we'll look at a couple of examples from great story tellers, and I'll tell you how I think you can present the essence of your characters effectively to your readers. ...

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