Take your writing from average to awesome, and learn tools of the trade from bestselling authors, master writing teachers, and publishing industry insiders. This podcast will give you tools and techniques to help you get those words on the page and your stories out into the world. Past guests include: Delia Ephron, John Sandford, Steve Berry, Jojo Moyes, Tana French, Guy Kawasaki, and more.
354: Character, Conflict, and World Building in Fantasy - Interview with C.L. Clark
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing C.L. Clark.
Cherae graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA and was a 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow. In addition to writing, she has had various jobs as she’s traveled the world, including: personal trainer, English teacher, editor, or some combination thereof.
When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and post-colonial history. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in FIYAH, PodCastle, Uncanny, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies and she is now one of the co-editors at PodCastle and editor of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) Blog.
In this episode C.L. and I discuss: How to identify which character is the protagonist and whether there can be two. The relationship between magic, religion, and technology and how she uses it. Different ways to handle conflict and the approach she takes in her writing.
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.
For more info and show notes: diymfa.com/354
353: Making the Shift from YA Romance to Adult Thriller - Interview with David Yoon
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing David Yoon.
David is the author of the New York Times bestseller Frankly In Love, as well as the upcoming YA novel Super Fake Love Song and adult thriller Version Zero. He also drew the illustrations for his wife Nicola Yoon's #1 New York Times bestseller Everything, Everything.
He and his wife are also heading up a new imprint of Random House Children’s Books called Joy Revolution. This imprint will debut in 2022 and will be devoted to publishing teen love stories by and about people of color.
In this episode David and I discuss: Why he decided to write a book for adults after success in the YA genre. Uncovering your central dramatic question and how to explore it in your writing. His process for “Marie Kondo-ing” his brain and what he does with the space.
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.
For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/353
352: You Can Do Anything, Magic Skeleton! - Interview with Chuck Wendig
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing someone I have the honor of considering both a colleague and friend, Chuck Wendig.
Chuck is the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers, Star Wars: Aftermath, the Miriam Black thrillers, and the Atlanta Burns books, as well as Zer0es and Invasive, alongside other works across comics, games, film, and more.
He was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and an alum of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and he served as the co-writer of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds, and he’s one of the few people I follow on Twitter and actually read what they post. He has also written books about writing such as Damn Fine Story, and today we’ll be talking about his latest book, a collection of inspirational nuggets titled: You Can Do Anything, Magic Skeleton!
In this episode Chuck and I discuss: The inspiration behind his latest book, which began as a series of tweets. How good writing subverts readers’ expectations in some way. Why you shouldn’t take any one piece of writing advice too seriously.
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.
For more info and show notes: diymfa.com/352
351: The Education of a Writer — Interview with Sophfronia Scott
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sophfronia Scott.
Sophfronia is a novelist and essayist whose work has appeared in Time, People, O: The Oprah Magazine, as well as many other outlets. Her first novel, All I Need to Get By, was nominated for best new author at the African American Literary Awards and Sophfronia was hailed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. as "one of the best writers of her generation."
She is a prolific writer whose work spans both fiction and nonfiction, and her other books include Unforgivable Love, Love's Long Line, and This Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Child in a Secular World, which she co-wrote with her son Tain. Her essays “The Legs On Which I Move” and “Why I Didn’t Go to the Firehouse” are listed in the Best American Essays series. Her next book is The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton, and is out now from Broadleaf Books.
The recipient of a 2020 Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Sophfronia holds degrees from Harvard and the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is currently director of Alma College’s MFA in Creative Writing, which is a low-residency grad program based in Alma, Michigan.
This interview is a little bit of a departure from our usual subject matter of authors talking about their latest books and instead Sophfronia and I will be doing a deep dive on MFA pedagogy. As you know, the DIY MFA philosophy is not anti-MFA, and we strive to complement what MFA programs are already doing quite well. And, of course, when I build new curriculum for DIY MFA, I draw from my own experiences as a MFA student, along with several other sources as well. I am beyond thrilled to have Sophfronia on the show to talk about writing, MFA programs, and a writer’s education.
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In this episode Sophfronia and I discuss: How her background in journalism, ghostwriting, and her desire to coach other writers inspired her to pursue an MFA. What a low residency MFA program can prepare you for as a full time career writer and the logistics and benefits of attending one. Why reading and building community are imperative to the DIY MFA experience as well as a writer’s life and growth.
Plus, their #1 tip for writers.
For more info and show notes: diymfa.com/351
350: Voice, Emotion, and Metastory in a "Mistopia" - Interview with Simon Stephenson
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Simon Stephenson.
Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Simon is a writer and screenwriter now living in LA (with stop-overs in London and San Francisco along the way).
His first book was the memoir Let Not The Waves Of The Sea, about losing his brother Dominic in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. It won Best First Book at the Scottish Book Awards in 2011. His most recent novel, Set My Heart To Five, was released in summer 2020 and this is what we’ll be discussing today.
In this episode Simon and I discuss: His method for writing a “mis-topia” future and how that differs from a dystopia. Why writing a character without feelings allows you to explore feelings more. What role movies played in developing his protagonist and the plot.
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.
For more info and show notes: diymfa.com/350
349: When a Story Idea Won’t Let a Writer Go - Interview with Jeremy Hance
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Hance.
Jeremy is writer and freelance environmental journalist, who also happens to cohabitate with mental illnesses. He has named his OCD Steve and his depression goes by the name of Malachi. He is the author of the memoir Baggage: Confessions of a Globetrotting Hypochondriac.
As a journalist, Jeremy is passionate about wildlife conservation, climate change, forests, animal behavior, and indigenous people and many other topics. His work has appeared in Mongabay, the Guardian, HuffPost, Ensia, YaleE360, Sydney Morning Herald and others. His story on the Sumatran rhino was chosen for the 2019 edition of the Best American Science and Nature Writing.
Jeremy has traveled to over 30 countries on five continents and considers himself ridiculously lucky to have spent time with singing rhinos, dinosaur mammals, and angry clown fish. He is graduate of Macalester College with a major in English and minor in History as well as the Great Books Master’s Degree program at St. John’s College. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife, daughter, and pooch. When he’s not writing, he enjoys time with friends, cups of tea, long hikes, longer naps, even longer novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.
In this episode Jeremy and I discuss: How he juggled writing about travel, mental illness, and nature in one book. Why he chose to write his memoir thematically as opposed to chronologically. What myths he hoped to dispel by writing so openly about his mental illness.
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.
For more info and show notes: diymfa.com/349
Informative and inspiring
I’m so happy to have found this podcast. The interviews explore many facets of the creative writing journey. The interviewees are diverse and each offer a unique perspective. Thank you Gabriela!
So glad I finally started listening to this!
These episodes are full of helpful content, and humor. Really enjoying. I’ll recommend to students as well. Solid ideas without the stuffy attitude. And great guests!
Outstanding author resource
Gabriela is a master at unearthing the brilliant insights from every interaction. She’s a creative and business genius, which is a rare combination. Authors are fortunate to have her wisdom, encapsulated in this podcast!