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NOW WRITE! (An Exercise in Humility)

Break out of your writing shell, it’s episode 12! In the second episode of the second season, we go over the writing exercises done in the last session. My quick conclusion: given the right parameters, anyone can write something personal that is also relatable.

  • The Five Senses: Pick a memory and describe the scene using the five senses alone.

  • Look Backwards, Angels: Think about the most immoral thing you’ve ever done. Write about it with the advantage of hindsight.

  • Why I Burned it: Pick an item and write a story as to why you would burn it.

  • If no one was going read your journal, how deep are you willing to go?

  • How can you/should you magnify your memories into your narrative?

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Facebook Page Marketing for Writers 
(The Q&A Section)

Feels like heaven, it’s episode 11! Or the first episode of the second season for the WRITERS’ NOOK. The crew is back, and while we could have hashed out the lesson plan, we decided to examine some of the questions that came our way. From technical to thought-provoking, we wrestle and discuss the common questions most people have when making a Facebook author page. Questions like:

  • Why wouldn’t I just use my personal page to connect with my readers?

  • Do I set it up as a business or public figure page?

  • What should I post? (Hint: The question is, what shouldn’t I post?)

  • How does it help me sell books?

  • And much more!

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Character Sketch: Know Your Protagonist Inside and Out

Episode number 10 and we’re back at it again! In the first podcast of the new year, we’re going to go over a character sketch we made for Selena Walker. Questions pop up as we go down a comprehensive list but so do answers. Maybe this type of list (which can be found here) can aid in your character’s development. Tune in to find out!

  • What can small touches mean to the overall portrait of a character?

  • In building contradictions, you can give your character a good dose of depth.

  • How can flaws and qualities affect relationships with other characters?

  • It’s rather surprising how much you can gleam with a small adjustment.

  • Is it possible to create entire narratives from small thread of information?

  • Can it also have larger implications on your established universe as a whole?

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Creating Interesting and Memorable Minor Characters

Episode number 9 and we’re feeling fine! With our powers combined, we go in-depth with ways to make interesting secondary and tertiary characters. With all kinds of angles and perspectives, this raucous episode will have you roaring and reading into the media you consume.

  • How do these characters flesh out your world?

  • Can they flesh out other things? Maybe your protagonist(s)?

  • Like a trench, a side character can be just as deep but just as unseen.

  • Can a well-written secondary/tertiary character derail your narrative?

  • Is it possible for these types of characters to carry their own story?

  • Also, a quick little debate that half don’t know about and half know too much.

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The NaNoWriMo Finale

Welcome to the eighth episode of The Writers’ Nook! Gary, Shayla, Melissa (our guest!), and Janey discuss what they gleaned from Creating Interesting Minor Characters, as well as discuss their results from NaNoWriMo!

  • The end of NaNoWriMo!

  • We’re joined by special guest, Melissa Eick!

  • What motivates us to throw our lives away to write for the month?

  • What do you do when you experience burnout?

  • How can secondary and tertiary characters flesh out a narrative?

  • We give props to some burgeoning writers and even burgeoning people.

  • A few origin stories get touched upon. Whose past gets revealed? Tune in to find out!

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NaNoWriMo Halftime: Pep Talks for Writers

Welcome to the seventh episode of The Writers’ Nook! Gary, Shayla, Oren, and Janey discuss what they gleaned from NaNoWriMo Halftime: Pep Talks for Writers.

  • What are some things writers can do to find energy when they're struggling?

  • How can writers find solitude in a noisy world?

  • What is a story field trip?

  • Do you respect your writing time?

  • Have you ever considered writing an acceptance speech for the writing award of your dream?

  • What would gratitude do for your writing life?

  • Which author do you envy the most?

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Writing from the Middle

Welcome to the sixth episode of The Writers’ Nook! Gary, Shayla, Oren, and Janey discuss what they gleaned from learning how to Write from the Middle.

  • What does it mean to write from the middle and why should I try it?

  • What is the Mirror Moment? (Hint: It’s quite important for your novel!)

  • Can you outline your novel from the middle?

  • Janey apparently already knew this and has been practicing writing from the middle for a while now. (She’s always one step ahead of us.)

  • Shayla should’ve written The Suicide Tree from the middle. It would’ve saved two years of misery.

  • Janey’s first coffee drink was the stuff of nightmares. (Spoiler: it involves rosemary.)

  • Who is Daddy Thanos?

  • Somehow, we started talking about heroes and villains and how they apply to what we’ve learned.

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The Writer Olympics Special

Welcome to the fifth episode of The Writers’ Nook! Hear from our Writer Olympics speakers—Blake Atwood, Sarah Bale, Tex Thompson, and Melissa Eick—as they give us their top tips from the conference. Then Gary, Shayla, Oren, and Janey discuss what they gleaned from the Writer Olympics.

  • Blake Atwood on self-editing and his favorite tricks

  • Sarah Bale on writing romance

  • Tex Thompson on worldbuilding for sci-fi and fantasy writers

  • Melissa Eick on practicing self-care in our writing journeys


The Big World of Worldbuilding

Welcome to the fourth episode of The Writers’ Nook! Gary, Shayla, Oren, and Janey discuss what they gleaned from the most recent workshop, The Big World of Worldbuilding.

  • What is a triple birthday birthday?

  • Shayla shares her popcorn bowl with her dog, Chanel.

  • Shayla tweezes Janey’s eyebrows.

  • Oren discusses his painkillers while teaching this class.

  • What’s a good example of a novel that created its own religion? (We’re not sure that we got the answer to this.)

  • The iceberg — what is it and how do you use it in worldbuilding?

  • How do your characters interpret their world?

  • Discussion of the books Warcross and Hope of Ages Past

  • Dig into the weeds of your setting and research, research, research

  • Consider basic infrastructure of your setting (everybody poops)



How to Fail as a Writer

Welcome to the third episode of The Writers’ Nook! Gary, Shayla, Oren, and Janey discuss what they gleaned from the most recent workshop, How to Fail as a Writer. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • What we’re up to in our own writing journeys.

  • Janey explains what Pit Mad on Twitter is and why you should do it.

  • How on earth does someone fail as a writer? It’s quite easy.

  • Humility? What’s that?

  • Junior High love.

  • Should you join a writers’ group?

  • Janey’s favorite joke of all time.

  • A thought or two from Dead Poets Society.

  • If you have a book with no characters, then you’re on the right track to fail as a writer (this scene is where Shayla cannot breathe from laughing).

  • The best way to pitch to agents.




Triumphantly Real Heroes: Creating Your Protagonist 

Welcome to the second episode of The Writers' Nook! Gary and Shayla discuss what they gleaned from the most recent workshop, Triumphantly Real Heroes: Creating Your Protagonist. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Why should Shayla read Crazy Rich Asians, and is it better than the movie?

  • Shayla is brainstorming her second novel while awaiting her content edits for The Suicide Tree. Gary is rewriting his current novel-in-progress.

  • Top Gary quotes from his first workshop, Shayla's favorite being: "Writing is beautiful in a way . . . that . . . you can do everything right and everything wrong."

  • Strange noises in the background, such as an alarm system beeping and the sound of coloring pencils on paper.

  • What does it mean to get real with yourself if you want to write a real protagonist?

  • Get out of your comfort zone as a writer . . . but how?

  • Be a stalker.

  • The controversial topic: Why does Romance sell the most? Yikes . . .

  • Minor characters: why we love them so much.

  • Tell the truth as a writer, and you'll sleep better at night.

  • Characterization tips of the day from Gary and Shayla.


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1 Is Greater Than 0

Welcome to the first episode of The Writers' Nook! Gary, Janey, Oren, and Shayla discuss the importance of a small bit of progress over no progress at all, or 1 is greater than 0. We gather together and share the struggles and plans we have in our writing journey. Here's a quick rundown:

  • What we're currently working on writing-wise

  • Challenges we face as writers, like having kiddos or fixing plot holes

  • How authors like Jerry Jenkins, Jamie McGuire, and Toni Morrison get their books finished

  • One is greater than zero: What does that mean? How will it help us as writers?

  • How close Janey is to being perfect, but not her query letter

  • Shayla laughing too loudly while beating her dogs with a towel in the background

  • Why you need to be in a writing group—no more isolation! And how hilarious we are at our own group.

  • Some of the books you'll find on the Resources page we created during this podcast

  • Keeping things authentic

  • How Gary's horrifying sleep paralysis inspired him to write a story