Death Of 1000 Cuts – Podcast Episode 20

So look – since this is the last episode of Season 1 of Death Of 1000 Cuts, I wanted to try something a bit different. I thought I’d suggest some ways of revitalising your writing practice, so in the upcoming weeks you can make some substantial progress and upgrade your fiction to Project Status. ‘7 Steps To Becoming A Novelist’ was the rough title I organised it under.

I thought the episode might run 10 or 15 minutes longer than usual, but since it’s the last one for a few weeks (all being well, I’ll be a father in a few weeks, so I thought it’d be best to take a break so I can enjoy that) I ‘figured’ as the Americans say that it’d be all right. I recorded unscripted, then glanced at the time and realised with a kind of vertigo that I had been talking for over 2 hours and I was late for dinner.

I’ve decided to put the track up ‘as is’ because… I don’t know? I hope I say some useful stuff in there? I got to talk about a bunch of stuff to do with writing I don’t normally have the time for. It’s a pretty comprehensive heap of advice on how to get your fiction moving, how to develop a weekly practice, and how to get yourself from not writing anything at all, to finishing a novel you can be proud of. It’s not as polished as the usual ~20 minute episodes but it allowed me to cover a whole bunch of material I normally have to leave out.

If you suspect 2 hours of my talking about writing craft is going to prove deeply irritating to you, you may very well be right. But if you think it might be useful, if you’re looking for a pep talk or practical suggestions or a plan of action, then that’s in there, more or less. At any rate, I wanted to try something a little different for the final episode and I hope it’s okay. I don’t mean to be self-indulgent and it’s not that I enjoy the sound of my own voice (I really don’t!), but I just didn’t know a better way of getting a lot of advice and information across than just sitting down and chatting to you as if we were on the phone and you, for some reason, had lost your voice and had nothing better to do.

Here are some of the books on creative writing I mention. The one by Strunk & White I allude to but somehow forget the name of despite the fact it was literally directly in front of me at eye level as I was speaking is The Elements Of Style.

About Writing – Samuel R Delany

Aspects Of The Novel – E. M. Forster

How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy – Orson Scott Card

On Writing Well – William Zinsser (sorry!)

Steering The Craft – Ursula K Le Guin

The Language Of The Night – Ursula K Le Guin

The Art Of Writing Fiction – Andrew Cowan


One Comment

  1. Fiona says:

    That was an epic podcast, I really enjoyed it. I have re-downloaded it so I can listen to it again. For what it’s worth, two things I loved: The list of books, especially the Reverse Dictionary. I thought I was alone. I thought it was a guilty pleasure, I found mine 2nd hand after a long search years ago but I read it again for an hour after listening and then bored everyone around me silly with information about knots and windmills.
    Two: the bit about writing little scenes. I like to work from the end of an idea backwards, which often stops me before I start, but the idea of putting together litle scenes – mini set pieces – middle spots which have their own ends but then will then form part of a whole, bigger story is one that I had forgotten to consider. Thanks!

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