72 episodes

WE MAKE BOOKS brings you open and frank discussions about publishing in a way that discusses the concerns from both sides of the industry "table." New episodes publish every other Tuesday.

We Make Books Podcast WMBCast.com

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

WE MAKE BOOKS brings you open and frank discussions about publishing in a way that discusses the concerns from both sides of the industry "table." New episodes publish every other Tuesday.

    Episode 72 - Vampiric Influences on Marsupial Child-rearing (Writing Influences)

    Episode 72 - Vampiric Influences on Marsupial Child-rearing (Writing Influences)

    We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, and concerns for us to address in future episodes.


    We hope you enjoy We Make Books!


    Twitter: @WMBCast  |  @KindofKaelyn  |  @BittyBittyZap


    Instagram: @WMBCast 


    Patreon.com/WMBCast


    Episode Transcript (by TK @_torkz)


    [Upbeat Ukulele Intro Music]
    Rekka: This is We Make Books, a podcast about writing publishing and everything in between. Rekka is a published Science Fiction and Fantasy author, and Kaelyn is a professional genre fiction editor. Together, they'll tackle the things you never knew you never knew about getting a book from concept to finished product, with explanations, examples, and a lot of laughter. Get your moleskin notebook ready. It's time for We Make Books.


    Kaelyn: My sister just finished reading the Grisha trilogy. And she was, of course, more of a fan of the Six of Crows after reading that. But one of the things she messaged me- she was like “yeah, the ending was kind of whatever, but it is very clear that this person was reading Harry Potter when they wrote this.”


    R: [laughs]


    K: And I said “Yeah, that definitely comes through.” She gave me this whole list of like, book two is basically just The Order of the Phoenix, and the end battle with all of the Grisha and the stand downs, all this stuff, and I was like “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” To be honest with you, I kinda limped through the end of that book, I wasn’t thinking about that too much. But anyways, it got me thinking about influences in writing and how writers are influenced and how in some cases that’s something that we’re like “Yes! You can tell that this writer was influenced by such-and-such, and they weave it so beautifully into their story.” And sometimes you get my sister calling me to complain about how she basically just read Harry Potter with Russian witches. 


    R: So was your sister accusing the author in any way of plagiarism?


    K [overlapping]: Not plagiarism.


    R [overlapping]: As a reader I’m curious, like how the reader perceives it when it’s that clear when someone’s been influenced. 


    K: I should’ve asked her before we started recording this - and this is something we’ll get to in there - I couldn’t tell if my sister was accusing the author of laziness or unoriginality. 


    R: Okay.


    K: That’s one of the things I wanted to talk about today as we’re talking about influence. What is influence, how are writers influenced? How’s the best way to leverage and utilize that influence? And when does influence cross into the realm of the negative? When is it no longer praise worthy? When is it, for instance, lazy, contrived, unoriginal, or, in worst case scenario, bordering into plagiarism? 


    R: Yeah, because that’s a tricky thing - if we always wrote a completely original story, you wouldn’t have something like Joseph Campbell’s The Hero's Journey. Because we wouldn’t have a set format that a story would take. So when somebody accuses a fantasy book of being “Star Wars with elves,” well, Star Wars was a Greek epic in space. 


    K: Oh, I would’ve called it a Western.


    R: Okay fine. [overlapping] I mean, people have called it a Western.


    K: [overlapping] I mean, both work. Both work. [laughs]


    R: Yeah, but I’m just saying, The Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell is, he’s studying the ancient literature, so that’s why I decided to say Greek. But if we could always write something that was completely original, there would be no way to study literature with comparisons and contrasts. There are always going to be parallels between stories written in a similar culture by people who are writing in a similar society. Like, a hundred years apart, you would not necessarily detect the influence of Harry Potter in the Grishaverse. But they’re not written a hundr

    • 53 min
    Episode 71 - Villains vs. Antagonists

    Episode 71 - Villains vs. Antagonists

    We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, and concerns for us to address in future episodes.


    We hope you enjoy We Make Books!


    Twitter: @WMBCast  |  @KindofKaelyn  |  @BittyBittyZap


    Instagram: @WMBCast 


    Patreon.com/WMBCast


    Episode Transcript (by TK @_torkz)


    [Upbeat Ukulele Intro Music]
    Rekka: This is We Make Books, a podcast about writing publishing and everything in between. Rekka is a published Science Fiction and Fantasy author, and Kaelyn is a professional genre fiction editor. Together, they'll tackle the things you never knew you never knew about getting a book from concept to finished product, with explanations, examples, and a lot of laughter. Get your moleskin notebook ready. It's time for We Make Books.


    We Make Books Ep. 71 Transcription


    Kaelyn: Today we’re talking about villains and antagonists, and why they’re not actually the same thing, except in the cases that they are.


    Rekka: Yes, exactly.


    K [overlapping]: [laughing]


    R: Perfect. I think that nails it. Sometimes they’re not the same thing, sometimes they are.


    K: Yeah, and we’ll kinda get to this but, most villains are antagonists - most, not all. Not all antagonists are villains. And in fact you will likely, in any given story, have multiple antagonists, not all of whom are the villain. I went through and really dug up all of this stuff; shockingly, the word ‘hero’ is the one with the most definitions attached to it, and most different con -


    R: We’re not talking about heroes today! We’re not!


    K [overlapping]: Well we - but we have to, because we don’t get villains without heroes, and we don’t get antagonists without protagonists. Both villains and antagonists are defined and really only exist so that they can oppose or create conflict for the hero or protagonist. It kinda makes you wonder, if left to their own devices, maybe they’re just a mad scientist in a lab somewhere.


    R: Maybe they’re the hero of their own story.


    K: Yeah, and then suddenly someone shows up to fight them and now they’re the bad guy. [laughing]


    R: “I was perfectly lawful and good until you showed up!”


    K: Exactly, yes. The basic difference between a villain and an antagonist is that an antagonist is somebody who is there to contend or oppose the main character, typically the protagonist of the story. They’re there to create opposition. A villain is doing that, but they’re evil.


    R: [laughs]


    K [laughing]: What they’re doing is, the opposition that they’re creating is either causing harm, causing suffering, will destroy the human race. It could be something more on a micro scale, where they’ve kidnapped the daughter of the main character; maybe they’re trying to get their lemonade stand shut down so that they can sell lemonade that’s gonna turn people into lizard people. An antagonist at the surface is just somebody who’s doing things that’s causing problems for the protagonist. They don’t necessarily have to be evil.


    R: They could just be a rival.


    K: Yeah. Or any number of other things we’re gonna get to here, but. And in fact as I mentioned, as you’re reading a book, you’re frequently gonna come across antagonists that are not actually evil. There’s gonna be an antagonist who’s the villain who may be evil at some point, not always, but there will be people that are antagonists. I will use an example that we love to use: Gideon the Ninth. Harrow definitely serves as an antagonist to Gideon through the book. But Harrow is not evil.


    R: Right.


    K: That’s a great example of a villain operating without the audience knowing that the protagonist is coming into direct conflict with them because, we don’t really find out who the villain of the story is until the very very end of it. Then we can look back and go like ‘Ah yes I s

    • 36 min
    Episode 70 - You Only Want Me for My MacGuffin

    Episode 70 - You Only Want Me for My MacGuffin

    We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, and concerns for us to address in future episodes.


    We hope you enjoy We Make Books!


    Twitter: @WMBCast  |  @KindofKaelyn  |  @BittyBittyZap


    Instagram: @WMBCast 


    Patreon.com/WMBCast


    Episode Transcript (by Rekka)


    [Upbeat Ukulele Intro Music]
    Rekka: This is We Make Books, a podcast about writing publishing and everything in between. Rekka is a published Science Fiction and Fantasy author, and Kaelyn is a professional genre fiction editor. Together, they'll tackle the things you never knew you never knew about getting a book from concept to finished product, with explanations, examples, and a lot of laughter. Get your moleskin notebook ready. It's time for We Make Books.


    Kaelyn: I love MacGuffins.


    R: Or weenies. I think we should start calling them "weenies" again.


    K: Go back to the original name. Yeah, it's funny because like, I think MacGuffin has like a negative connotation around it and I love it as a plot device where it's just like, there's this thing. And everyone wants it. In some cases we don't even really know what it does. There's like oh, the suitcase from pulp fiction. That's a great MacGuffin.


    R: That was going to be my example.


    K: In one of the Mission: Impossible movies, the one with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, you know, they're trying to get this, this thing from this guy. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman is this like the most terrifying crime lord in the world. And he can't get this thing. We literally never find out what it does, why they need to keep it out of his hands so badly and, and have it for themselves. But yeah we kinda conceived of this episode is talking about MacGuffin versus plot devices. So, let's be clear. All MacGuffins are plot devices, not all plot devices are MacGuffins. So as I always like to do a, you know, a little bit of history here, MacGuffin the terms often chalked up as being coined by, Alfred Hitchcock and his friend and screenwriter, MacPhail, but it actually goes back quite a bit before that there was an actress in the 1920s named of Pearl White, which I can only assume as a stage name.


    R: Her movies brought to you by Colgate.


    K: I genuinely hope that's a stage name. But she was in a lot of spy movies or action movies where everyone was chasing after something. And she was in so many of them that she started calling the items in question "weenies" because it didn't matter. And the, it was almost getting a little formulaic in her movies that it could have been, you know, like a roll of film, a document, a, a key that opens a certain, you know, safe or something. It really didn't matter what they were. It was just, you know, these suspense action inspired movies, everyone trying to chase down the same object.


    R: The reason that it doesn't matter is because no one actually ever really uses it. You just want to have it, right?


    K: Yeah. Yeah. It's frequently MacGuffin-related plots are resolved by "the real treasure was the friends we made along the way," which is one of the more infuriating endings.


    R: I like friends.


    K: Friends are great. Yeah. But like, okay. So I was going to get to this, to this later and the thing that, like one of my favorite examples of a MacGuffin that becomes un-MacGuffinned and is National Treasure That film is very rare in that they actually find and maintain hold of the treasure in the end of it, think of like, you know, like the Goonies or Pirates of the Caribbean, like Treasure Planet, they all find the treasure, but they don't really actually get to keep any of it. National Treasure really upended that by, by letting those characters not only find it, but then we find out how much money they got for it.


    R: And Disney's Atlantis. They did have the treasure at the end, too.


    K: That's true.


    R: They didn't tell anyone t

    • 33 min
    Episode 69 - Covering Covers with Grace Fong

    Episode 69 - Covering Covers with Grace Fong

    We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, and concerns for us to address in future episodes.


    We hope you enjoy We Make Books!


    Twitter: @WMBCast  |  @KindofKaelyn  |  @BittyBittyZap


    Instagram: @WMBCast 


    Patreon.com/WMBCast


    Mentioned in this episode:


    Glitter + Ashes edited by dave ring


    Silk & Steel edited by Janine A. Southard 


    Grace's Links:


    Website


    ArtStation portfolio


    Twitter


    Episode Transcript (by TK @_torkz)


    [Upbeat Ukulele Intro Music]
    Rekka: This is We Make Books, a podcast about writing publishing and everything in between. Rekka is a published Science Fiction and Fantasy author, and Kaelyn is a professional genre fiction editor. Together, they'll tackle the things you never knew you never knew about getting a book from concept to finished product, with explanations, examples, and a lot of laughter. Get your moleskin notebook ready. It's time for We Make Books.


    R: Today we are talking to Grace Fong about book art. Now we’ve had someone on in the past to talk about cover art and art-directing a commissioned cover. However, I think Colin would forgive me for saying that you do not want Colin to do the artwork.


    Kaelyn: He would, yes.


    R: Yes. [laughing] Would you like to introduce yourself?


    Grace: Hi, I’m Grace! My pronouns are she/her, I work on the narrative design team over at Wizards of the Coast for Magic: The Gathering. I am also a sometimes-writer, and for the past five years I’ve been doing illustration work for various speculative fiction magazines, such as Strange Horizons, and some anthologies like Silk & Steel and Glitter + Ashes.


    K: Rekka this is our first like, real artist.


    R: It is difficult to get an artist on a podcast. I have tried -


    K [overlapping]: [laughing]


    R: - for this podcast and the previous one and it is a tricky business. So Grace, you live up to your name in showing up.


    G [laughing]: We don’t like talking to people, we just like sitting at our computers.


    R: I completely understand, but doesn’t mean I’m gonna give up trying, so. We’ve finally done it.


    K: Awesome. So I have been involved in some cover art not as the primary person but as the editor, where I have to look at it and go ‘yeah okay that kinda tracks with what’s happening here.’ We have talked a lot on this podcast before about what to expect out of your cover art, and how involved the writers are going to be in it, and the answer is typically not very, at all. So, when you’re doing this, who is it that you’re primarily working with?


    G: When I do work for magazines and books I’m usually working with the editor of the publication, so for the anthology it’s usually an anthology editor, or for a short fiction magazine it is usually the art director of the magazine or the editor of the magazine.


    K: Can you walk us through the process of how you get started on this? They’re obviously not coming to you with a blank slate, they’re coming to you with a series of stories that may or may not have a theme. How do you get started working with this editor?


    G: It really varies, depending on the type of publication. So for anthologies, because they cover a lot of different narrative ground, usually we try to come up with an image that encapsulates the theme of the anthology. Like for Silk & Steel, I was doing one of the promotional postcards for them. We knew we were doing femme-femme, high fantasy, sword-and-scorcery kind of stuff. So I knew that those characters would have to be reflective of the book’s content. Sometimes editors will give me a particular story that they aim to showcase for the publication, in which case I’ll usually read the story if it’s under 6,000 words, and try and come up with a composition that fits it the best that I possibly can. This is how I work with Strange Horiz

    • 48 min
    Episode 68 - (Don't underestimate the importance of) Body Language

    Episode 68 - (Don't underestimate the importance of) Body Language

    We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, and concerns for us to address in future episodes.


    We hope you enjoy We Make Books!


    Twitter: @WMBCast  |  @KindofKaelyn  |  @BittyBittyZap


    Instagram: @WMBCast 


    Patreon.com/WMBCast


     


    Transcript (by Rekka)


    [Upbeat Ukulele Intro Music]
    Rekka: This is We Make Books, a podcast about writing publishing and everything in between. Rekka is a published Science Fiction and Fantasy author, and Kaelyn is a professional genre fiction editor. Together, they'll tackle the things you never knew you never knew about getting a book from concept to finished product, with explanations, examples, and a lot of laughter. Get your moleskin notebook ready. It's time for We Make Books.


    Rekka: So today's episode is, uh, from a listener request, but I put it in the same batch of listener requests where I didn't write down the names to credit people. So you know who you are. Thank you for the idea.


    Kaelyn: If you were this listener, get us on Twitter and yell at us.


    Rekka: We'll add it in the show notes posthumously. Well, hopefully not posthumously.


    Kaelyn: I was gonna say, "What?!"


    Rekka: Posthumous to the episode.


    Kaelyn: All right.


    Rekka: So today we are talking about writing body language.


    Kaelyn: This is, I think one of the harder things to do.


    Rekka: How to be hyper-aware of where you put your hands.


    Kaelyn: I have, while editing books, actually acted it out and recorded myself.


    Rekka: Okay. So you have mentioned on the podcast before that you act these out, but you never mentioned that there was footage.


    Kaelyn: Oh, it's gone. Don't worry. No, it doesn't, it doesn't exist.


    Rekka: It's never really gone, Kaelyn.


    Kaelyn: You will not see it, um. Figuring out, you know, body language without slowing down the pace of, you know, the story or the dialogue is, is difficult. So, um, I'd recorded these and then kind of gone like, okay, well, what am I doing here? Does that match up with what I'm reading? So, yeah, it's, it's hard. It's I think one of the more challenging things to do.


    Rekka: I don't always think about it that way. So the reason that my characters will scratch their neck or, you know, look around the room or, um, fiddle with pages on their desk is frequently because I want to avoid using a dialogue tag because I had too many or, um, or that she said, or whatever messes with the rhythm of my, of my paragraph. So for me, I use body language as a way to use the name of the character that is saying the words without saying "character said."


    Kaelyn: Yeah. So let's, uh, let's backtrack here a little bit. Why you write body language and how it's useful. So obviously the why is because we kind of need to know what the characters are doing.


    Rekka: Yep. That's helpful.


    Kaelyn: Everyone isn't standing perfectly rod straight in a room, staring at each other and taking turns to talk. Body language is very helpful for conveying things that are happening with the characters without actually having to say what's happening. Cultures around the world... There are certain ways that people act there are certain things that they do that convey an emotion or a feeling, even just the situation that they're in. Something like a character wringing their hands is going to convey nervousness or maybe trying to piece their thoughts together. Body language is a non-verbal form of communication that you're giving the reader. You're trying to explain what they're thinking or what they're feeling without having to actually do it. This is a very "show me, don't tell me" tool for writing.


    Rekka: And that is how I find it most useful. Not because I'm worried about choreographing the perfect movements of my character across the room, but because it helps break up the inner kinda monologues, it hel

    • 26 min
    Episode 67 - Book SWAG with dave ring of Neon Hemlock Press

    Episode 67 - Book SWAG with dave ring of Neon Hemlock Press

    We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, and concerns for us to address in future episodes.


    We hope you enjoy We Make Books!


    Twitter: @WMBCast  |  @KindofKaelyn  |  @BittyBittyZap


    Instagram: @WMBCast 


    Patreon.com/WMBCast


    Mentioned in this episode:


    Unfettered Hexes Kickstarter

    Infomocracy Redbubble Shop

    dave-ring.com

    neonhemlock.com

    neonapothecary.com

    dave is @slickhop on Twitter and Instagram

    Neon Hemlock Press is @neonhemlock on Twitter and Instagram

    VOIDMERCH

    Neon Hemlock's Threadless shop

    Riddle’s Tea Shoppe

    Hailey Piper

    Glitter + Ashes anthology

    Matthew Spencer, illustrator

    This is How We Lose the Time War

    Tracy Townsend

    Dancing Star Press


    Transcript (by TK)


    [Upbeat Ukulele Intro Music]
    Rekka: This is We Make Books, a podcast about writing publishing and everything in between. Rekka is a published Science Fiction and Fantasy author, and Kaelyn is a professional genre fiction editor. Together, they'll tackle the things you never knew you never knew about getting a book from concept to finished product, with explanations, examples, and a lot of laughter. Get your moleskin notebook ready. It's time for We Make Books.


    R: Let’s see what happens if you drape the oracle cloth over top.


    dave: I have a thousand of those.


    R [laughing]: Yeah.


    Kaelyn: Speaking of SWAG.


    d: Does that help?


    R: Exhale.


    d: [wheezing]


    R: Yes.


    K: Yes!


    R: It’s not just good for laying your cards out on.


    K: [laughing]


    d [overlapping]: [laughing]


    R: Okay! I’m gonna have to leave this in.


    d: [laughing]


    K [overlapping]: [laughing]


    R: dave, why don’t you introduce yourself to start, and then we’ll get going?


    d: My name’s dave ring, I’m a writer and editor of speculative fiction. I’m also the managing editor and publisher over at Neon Hemlock Press. Which comes with a bevy of other, like graphic design layout, and -


    K: [laughing]


    d: - products, placements, whatever else I’ve come up with lately!


    K: Many, many other hats in different shapes and sizes.


    R: So the reason I wanted to have dave on the podcast was because it occurred to me that something that comes up pretty frequently, especially around conference season when we’re meeting in person and around book launches as well, is that authors wanna know like ‘do I need a bookmark? How do I do a bookmark? What else can I do?’


    K: ‘Do I need swag?’


    R: Yeah, so swag. Swag - Kaelyn, I’m just gonna cut in to your definition and say that swag is an acronym for Stuff We All Get. So -


    K [overlapping]: [laughing]


    R: To that point, this is not going to be all free swag.


    K: Yes.


    R: Swag implies that it is free, that you’ll pick it up as you visit the author’s signing table, or that you’ll get it in the mail for preordering, or some little bonus bit like that. The person that we are speaking to today has taken book tie-in items and - what would you wanna call it? I don’t wanna say paraphernalia, but I love that word, so there. You’ve taken it to a whole new level. And a lot of it has to do with Kickstarter, would you blame Kickstarter for this?


    d: Maybe some of it. And I like paraphernalia, the word that I am often drawn to is ‘ephemera,’ but I like both. Depending on the particular object, maybe one is more appropriate than the other. But I blame Kickstarter for a lot of things in terms -


    R [overlapping]: [laughing]


    d: - of connecting with a lot of the people who are buying the books that Neon Hemlock’s been putting out.


    R: So it’s hard to say ‘blame’ in that sense.


    d: To [unintelligible] - blame.


    K: [laughing]


    d: Yeah. But some of that’s been driven from that, and some of it’s been driven from just sort of nerdish excitement over different things. And then because I’m the one in charge, no one says no

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

JohnstonMR ,

Entertaining and Illuminating

I’ve got two novels published, and I learn something from Rekka and Kaelyn every episode. They are funny, insightful, and honest about the field’s realities. Advice comes from both the authorial and editorial angle.

lelahlime ,

Insanely helpful

High quality content for those looking to publish. So glad I found this podcast. The distribution episodes are amazing. Thank you!!

booksnyarn ,

Fun and informative

This is a great introduction to the writing experience from two perspectives we don’t usually get to hear together. Inspiring, informative, and the hosts have a great rapport.

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