Writing the Down Ending

This week on Hide and Create, Diana Rowland, Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar and Joshua Essoe appropriately talk about writing downer endings on this, Diana’s last episode.

It’s controversial. While it’s true that life is just as much about sadness, pain, and the loss of hope as it is about wonder, beauty, and happiness, a lot of people don’t like down endings. Writing one is a risk. You risk upsetting your reader and turning them away from you and your work. Who likes feeling bad — even if that kind of ending is appropriate to your story?

Sad stories don’t have to be depressing stories, though.  The most powerful ones can be devastating, but they leave you with a ray of hope. I think that is the truest power of a sad story — great hope, enlightenment, and a change or broadening of viewpoint.

As readers, we remember whatever stories evoke the most powerful emotional responses the best. As long as those responses aren’t disgust at how awful the book is! That’s not what you want to be remembered for.

We’d love to hear from our listeners about what you think of down endings. Do you hate them? Do you like them? Why do they work for you? Do you remember the sad stories better, and longer, than the happy ones. . . . let us know in the comments!

Beta Readers For Your Writing

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Diana Rowland, Moses Siregar, and Jordan Ellinger talk about beta readers.

For some writers, beta readers are an integral part of the writing process. But how do you know what advice to take and what do ignore?

Well the most obvious answer is that if you see a particular critique popping up over and over again, you can be pretty certain that it’s a point that needs to be looked at. If a particular point was only brought up by a single beta reader, there’s a good chance that it was just a detail that struck that particular person wrong, and does not need to be addressed.

That’s not always true — you have to keep in mind the levels of expertise and knowledge-bases you’re working with. If you have sexist Uncle Tito tell you he thinks it’s wrong where you have the female lead punch her boyfriend in the chops when he smacks her, maybe take that with a grain of salt. But if you have your history buff tell you that they didn’t use flintlocks in the 1500s, then you probably want to double-check that.

Listen on for more.

 

Writing Rules You Can And Should Break

This week on Hide and Create, Moses Siregar, Diana Rowland, Jordan Ellinger, and Joshua Essoe talk about writing rules that are okay to break.

I think our final thought today is one of moderation. Learn when it is okay to break rules and when it is not. And please — make sure you know the rules you’re breaking and break them purposefully. Blundering through because you read some other author write that way is not the way to go. But when you know those rules, go ahead and break them — only break them when it benefits your story. Not when it doesn’t.

On Writing Names

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Moses Siregar, Jordan Ellinger, and Diana Rowland talk about naming things in your stories.

When it comes to naming characters or stories, trust your ear. In fact, it’s always a good idea to try your names aloud. Especially if you’re planning an audio book. What might look great on paper could sound awful or unclear or confusing or unintentionally funny when spoken.

Some ways you can come up with a title:
1. Copy out of your draft a sentence that could serve as a title.
2. Write a sentence that’s not in the draft to use as a title.
3. Write a title that is a question beginning with Who, What, When, Where, How or Why.
4. Write a title that is a question beginning with Is/Are, Do/Does, or Will.
5. Pick out some concrete image—something the reader can hear, see, taste, smell, or feel.
6. Write a title beginning with an -ing verb (like “Writing Names”).
7. Write a title beginning with On (like “On Writing Names”).
8. 
Write a title that is a lie about the story.
9. Write a one-word title—the most obvious one, and this may help stimulate creativity.
10. Draw inspiration from a familiar saying, song, or movie.
11. Take one of your titles and twist it with a pun (look at Piers Anthony’s Xanth series).
12. Using two you’ve written, see if you can combine the best elements for a single title.

Interviewing Authors About Their Writing

This week on Hide and Create, Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar, Joshua Essoe, and Diana Rowland talk to Ben Love of the podcast The First Million Words about being a good interviewer. 

These suggestions and tips don’t only apply to interviewing writers, use them for any interview you find yourself conducting.

An Interview with Diana Rowland

This week on Hide and Create Jordan Ellinger interviews Diana Rowland about the life and business of a traditionally published author and why she decided to go trad over indie.

Part six of six in our series of Hide and Create host interviews. We hope you’ve enjoyed them!

Writing Dialects with Grammar Girl

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar, and Diana Rowland are joined by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl, to talk about dialects (and some grammar, of course).

Remember, the key to writing dialects, or accents, or using made-up words is clarity. Realism is good to a point, but if your realism makes your dialogue hard to read, you should dial it back.

As we mention in the podcast, Mignon’s campaign for her new card game ends at the end of the week so hurry over and check out Peeve Wars! I’ve gotta say, the game looks awesome, and I’ll be backing as soon as I get this posted.

Also, here is the book on dialects that Mignon suggests this episode: Trip of The Tongue by Elizabeth Little.

Superstars Writing Seminar’s Panel on Editors

We’re back! Technical difficulties (gorillas and alligators) aside, and best forgotten about.

This week we have something different, and special for you. I was asked to moderate and speak on a panel titled “The Importance of an Editor” on Feb. 7th at the Superstars Writing Seminar held by Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, David Farland, Eric Flint, Brandon Sanderson, and most recently joined by James A. Owen.

It is the most comprehensive seminar for writers about the business of writing available, held every year in Colorado Springs. Jordan, Moses, and I are all alumni, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The information and the access to New York Times best-selling authors and guest speakers can create contacts and ins into the business that are hard to duplicate.

Next year Hugh Howey and Baen editor n’ chief, Toni Weisskopf, will join the crew as guest speakers.

With permission, here is that panel discussion.

Coming Soon . . .

Hello, Batfans,

You probably noticed that we’ve been strangely off-air for a couple weeks.

It’s a long story involving helicopters, and alligators, and a gigantic man in a gorilla suit, (not to mention a technical malfunction that lost us a whole handful of episodes) but rest assured we’ll be back very soon with some awesome new episodes. We’ll discuss names and titles, writing rules you can (and should) break, and a special episode recorded at Superstars Writing Seminar about editors.

Next recording date is set for Friday, Feb. 21.

So stay tuned. Same bat time! Same bat channel!

An Interview with David Dalglish

This week on Hide and Create Joshua Essoe catches up with David Dalglish about publishing with both Orbit and 47North, co-authoring a series, and the differences between publishing traditionally and independently.

Part five (of six) of our series of episodes where we interview the hosts (present and past) of Hide and Create.