Welcome to The Art of Semi-Fiction!
Author/Speaker/Teacher Jane S. Daly and Author/Speaker/Teacher/Writing Coach, Robynne E. Miller, MFA have joined forces to dissect “Every Corner of the Written Word.”
What does this mean? Well, of course we’ll unpack the genre of Semi-Fiction and its impact on both straight nonfiction and straight fiction. (That’s in the title, after all, isn’t it?)
But we’ll also scoot into the corners and under the beds of the publishing industry to discuss every aspect of bringing the written word into the world. From craft to the business end of things to how to decide on an agent, we’ve got you …
Oh, yeah, and there will be some awesome guests, too!
So grab yourself a cup of coffee, or shift your car into “drive,” and join us as we discuss our very favorite writing topics.
Episode 34: Tropes, Clichés, Stereotypes, and Archetypes (Part 2)
In which Robynne and Jane continue their three-part series on tropes, clichés, stereotypes, and archetypes. In this second part, you’ll learn seven ways to avoid these ominous obstacles to accomplished authorship. You’ll learn why you should read a lot in your genre and why you need to write original plots and characters . . . and much more.
While expounding their seven points, Robynne and Jane discuss shirtless sweaty hunks and flawless beauties, Shrek the Musical (and the movie), and Jane’s pellet stove in Montana. If that’s piqued your interest, listen in to learn how to write with originality and creativity!
Episode 33: Tropes, Clichés, Stereotypes, and Archetypes (Part 1)
In which Robynne and Jane dive into a three-part series on tropes, clichés, stereotypes, and archetypes. In this first part, you’ll get everything from detailed definitions to the pitfalls associated with these four nemeses of good writing. Intrigued? We thought you would be. And though every single writer alive has fallen prey to using one, or more, of these dastardly fiends, don’t despair!
There are ways to recognize, avoid, and eliminate them from polluting or diluting your powerful writing. Although we love our nonfiction friends (we are both nonfiction writers, as well!), this series is really for people who are writing fiction or creative nonfiction … narrative stories of some kind, whether true or not. Well, for them and anyone who wants to hear Jane struggle as Robynne throws some hilarious quizzes her way!
Episode 32: Can I Write Both Fiction and Nonfiction?
In which Jane asks the burning question: can I write both fiction and nonfiction? On the way to answering that question, Jane talks about how it’s often expected that writers pick one lane and stick with it, primarily because it makes the marketing efforts a whole lot easier. But there are plenty of authors who successfully straddle both genres.
Jocelyn Green, for example, has written eight historical fiction novels. But she has also published eight nonfiction books, as well. But how does she do that? It probably starts with an agent who is okay with you pursuing both genres. Robynne notes that the underlying reason some agents prefer you to stick with one genre and even sub-genre, is simply because publishers will find you easier to market if you contain yourself to one corner of the writing world. So, is it possible, then, to write both? Absolutely. Listen in to find out how!
Episode 31: Should I Be Writing Memoir?
In which Robynne and Jane discuss the ever-interesting and wildly popular topic of Memoir. Robynne points out the vast changes the last ten years have seen in the definition and popularity of memoir, as well as the specs and inherent marketability.
What is a memoir today? A compelling personal narrative that is written about an event or time period in which something important happened. A NY Times best-selling author, and friend of Robynne and Jane, gets a mention as her many memoirs are perfect examples of the side of memoir dedicated to folks who are either famous or who have done something extraordinary. But the genre of memoir is shifting … there is now room in the market for the compelling stories by regular people. The key? Their stories need to have some sort of universal appeal. So, join Jane and Robynne as they discuss this topic to find out if your personal story might have a place on the Memoir shelf.
Episode 30: Self-Editing (Part 2)
In which Robynne and Jane continue the conversation on Self-Editing. Jane’s already decided she now likes the thought of self-editing. But by the end of the episode, she absolutely loves it. Why? Because it’s easy AND effective.
This go-round, on the chopping block are adverbs. They are usually markers for weak verbs. (Hint: “ly” words are often HUGE red flags for sluggish verbs. Example: she ate greedily vs. she gobbled.)
Also getting the chop are stage directions … omitting unnecessary, obvious information makes your writing clearer, tighter, and more effective.
Although Robynne and Jane both support paying attention to those blue and red lines in your document, Robynne also cautions against trusting spellcheck without question. The red and blue lines are tools to help you identify problem areas in your work. Spellcheck is a tool to help, too. But those tools are only effective if your eyes are on your words and taking context into consideration.
Robynne admits her love for the “find and replace” functions, and explains how they can help make sweeping changes in your manuscript in a super quick and easy way.
And, there’s more. But you’ll have to listen in to find out what.
Episode 29: Self-Editing (Part 1)
In which Robynne and Jane delve into the incredibly important, yet often misunderstood topic of Self-Editing. It’s such a large and important topic, however, that this is only Part 1 of a two-part series. And even then, the subject is not exhausted.
Here’s something Robynne learns about Jane in the first minutes of the episode: Jane does not like self-editing. Or she didn’t. But Robynne quickly edges her to the dark side of Self-Editing Enthusiasts. And it wasn’t very hard.
Self-editing is the chance to take your basic manuscript from drab to fab. And it’s how you make sure you are presenting your very best work to an editor, agent, or publisher. In this episode, you’ll get some very specific tips on how to make this whole self-editing thing easy.
And you start with a list. (Jane likes that part a lot.)
Making this list helps organize the process. And going through the list methodically is Robynne’s key to success. “But wait!” Jane interjects. “Does this mean you have to go through your manuscript several times?”
“Nay, dear Jane,” Robynne replies. And then she tells you how via the first seven points.
I’m from Indiana but I heard you at the 2019 WCCW. Thanks for spending time on this helpful podcast. I just listened to the “Jealousy and Envy” session and it warmed and inspired me.
I love their podcasts. There is so much helpful content packed into each podcast.
Absolutely love this podcast for writers
The host do a wonderful job of introducing writers to fiction techniques required to write good nonfiction and vice versa. I love the mix of fun and humor with great teaching and discussion on these topics. I thought the episode about having true dialogue in memoir and nonfiction was especially good. Can't wait to hear more!