Writers' League of Texas Podcast
Summary: Conversations on the craft and business of writing. Featuring panels, discussions, and interviews with authors, seasoned writing experts, and publishing professionals. Visit writersleague.org to learn more about our programming and for more information about our free monthly Third Thursday panel discussion in Austin, TX, at BookPeople.
Romance is the bestselling literary genre in the world, but the appeal of love stories isn't only confined to books with covers featuring beautiful people showing a bit of skin. Join authors Clara Bensen, Liana LeFey, Benjamin Reed, and Paige Schilt as they discuss what makes a love story successful today--in any genre, including memoir. What makes love-lost characters compelling, what obstacles can stand in their way, and what is needed for a satisfying ending?
It's common for readers--and writers, too--to describe novels as "poetic." Usually this means that the language is lyrical, but the lyric is only one type of poetry and only one style available to poets (and prose writers as well). In this panel, Charlie Clark, Zoë Fay-Stindt, Tomás Q. Morín, and Allyson Whipple discuss what "poetic" actually means and all of the style possible within modern poetry by reading and talking about some of their favorite poems. We also talk about what prose writers can learn from poetry. If you're looking for your next favorite poet, this is a must listen.
Memoirist Casey Gerald, the grandson of a famous preacher, said that preachers have the hardest job: telling a 2,000-year-old story (that everybody already knows) in such a way that it seems like they've never heard it before. But that is not the only way the religion and faith appear in literature. The idea of utopia (and dystopia) goes back to a book by Thomas More, considered a saint by the Catholic church. In this panel, Donna M. Johnson, Greg Garrett, Carolyn Cohagen, and Rev. Meg Barnhouse talk about how they find fresh angles on old stories, adapt them to the changing expectations and needs of different audiences, and consider the political implications of certain religious ideologies.
Have a great idea for a book but you aren't sure how to get started? Or maybe you need to a return to a project that has lain dormant for a while -- for whatever reason. Sometimes the trickiest part of writing is simply beginning. Join Katherine Catmull, Lindsey Lane, Rene S Perez II, and Melanie Westerberg as they discuss how they address the blank page problem.
Episode 30: WLT's on the Business of Writing: Literary Agent Kirby Kim by Writers' League of Texas
Enjoy an informative and lively discussion with two publishing professionals: a former literary agent and a current publishing sales executive. They'll go over the ABCs (really, the 4Cs) of pitching, including valuable tips for how to talk about your book in a compelling way. If you're attending a writers conference or tackling a query letter - or just want to start formulating your own talking points for your book - this episode's not to be missed!
David Treuer, author of THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE and REZ LIFE, discusses with WLT Program Director Michael Noll the process of combining different genres to create a hybrid nonfiction account, an increasingly popular form that uses memoir as just one tool available to the nonfiction writer.
Mental health can still be a tricky thing to write about, especially as everyone's experiences with it differs. In this panel from February 2019, WLT Program Director Michael Noll spoke with authors Laura Creedle, Sandra Goldman, and Jessica Lamb-Shapiro about how their experiences with and around mental illness affected and improved their writing, as well as how they were able to successfully integrate their experiences into their work.
As an narrative artform, memoir has grown and transformed from its early days in slice-of-life ruminations from writers such as Montaigne to tell-all shockers from the latest hot celebrity to the current state of the genre. In this panel, author Katherine Catmull, author Rachel Starnes, and Telling Project found Jonathan Wei discussed how the narrative forms and arcs of memoir differ from those of novels, the purpose and appeal of the genre, and what makes one person's story stand out from all the rest.
With the recent passing of Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold (who was also a very fine music critic), we're reminded of how important a role cultural criticism plays in our understanding of not just a particular aspect of culture (like food or music) but also in our understanding of a place and the people living there. In this panel, Michael Noll spoke to three music critics/scholars about their own approaches to writing about music and the culture, place, and people at the heart of it: Joe Gross, Kayleigh Hughes, and Omise'eke Tinsley.
Of the three essential participants in a book's life (author, agent, editor), the editor's job is often the least understood. What do editors look for in the acquisition process? How do they work on a manuscript with the author? What should authors expect from their editors and how should they communicate with them? When should a writer seek out a professional editor before submitting a book for publication? What about magazine editors? What is the best way to get and keep their attention? In February 2018, WLT Program Director Michael Noll talked with three different types of editors and one author/editor about what makes an author/editor relationship a success. Listen to his conversation with panelists Carolyn Cohagan, Casey Kittrell, Sara Kocek, and Kate Rodemann.
In the age of Instagram, it can seem as if almost everyone you know is photographing & writing about food. But what does it take to convey the wonders of a delicious meal in full sensory detail, and how does that differ from writing (and testing) a recipe that others can replicate accurately? How do cultural issues impact the way we think -- and write -- about what we eat? Beyond food journalism and recipe writing, how can fiction writers use descriptions of preparing or eating a meal as a way to understand characters or move a narrative forward? WLT Member Services Manager Jordan Smith talked with Megan Myers (of the blog Stetted), Eric Silverstein (of The Peached Tortilla), and Mary Helen Specht (of the novel Migratory Animals) at our March 2018 Third Thursday about these questions and more.
Attending the upcoming Agents & Editors Conference (or a similar event) and need help honing your pitch for consultations, mingling at receptions and general sessions, and other networking opportunities? Or maybe you're ready to contact literary agents and could use help boiling down your project's plot in a brief, intriguing, and marketable way for query letters. This informative and lively discussion features two publishing professionals: Becka Oliver, WLT's Executive Director and a former literary agent, and Lance Fitzgerald, a current publishing sales executive. They go over the ABCs (really, the 4Cs) of pitching. If you've listened to past podcasts on pitching, you won't want to miss new information on pitching in-person.
Writers have long been powerful voices in writing about and confronting injustice. In the past few years, however, we have seen examples of writers misunderstanding their social justice subjects and characters in important ways. In this panel, three writers discussed the many approaches such writing takes (novels, stories, essays, and op-eds), how not to ruin a story with didactic prose, and to how to write to urge readers to action. Panelists Nan Cuba, Vivé Griffith, & Alejandro Puyana spoke with WLT Program Director Michael Noll.
Sometimes the trickiest part of writing is simply beginning. You can't finish what you don't start, but there is something overwhelming about the blank page or empty screen. And revisiting a manuscript you abandoned a while ago dredges up all kinds of fears and worries. So how do writers cope? How does one motivate his/herself to sit down every day and keep going? In this episode, WLT Program director talks with panelists Doug Dorst, Jardine Libaire, ire’ne lara silva about how to take a project from the idea stage to the writing stage.