The Author Alchemist

Writing is magic but that doesn't mean it is easy! In this podcast, KimBoo York aka The Author Alchemist focuses on the most annoying part of being a writer: writing! After all, you can't become a better writer if you aren't actually writing anything, amirite???!? With a focus on motivation, inspiration, hard work, and fanfiction, this podcast is for writers who are determined to Get Their Words Out.

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Episodes

Friday Jul 22, 2022

The third installment of my Deepest Fears series focuses on "writer's guilt" and, in a round'about way, our fear of guilt. Oftentimes we slap a label on what is holding us back from writing, calling it perfectionism or guilt, when it is in fact a deep-seated fear of those very emotions. It sets up a dangerous feedback loop of negative emotions that can be hard to break! Hopefully this episode will help you identify what your real stumbling block is and provide you with ways to deal with it! Links referenced: A very very old blog from 2012 on Writer's Guilt Building your support network (Ep 007): An early Author Alchemist Podcast discussing the positive and sometimes negative aspects of your support network

Friday Jul 08, 2022

Welcome to the second episode in a mini-series I’m doing about confronting our deepest fears as authors! Fear of being vulnerable is at the core of many of the fears that keep authors from writing, and in this episode I am taking aim specifically on the fear of being seen and of being shamed.  I cover the ways guilt and shame are not the same thing, and techniques you can use to understand what you are feeling and how to deal with it. The goal is always to get you back to writing what you love!

Tuesday Jun 21, 2022

Welcome to the first episode in a mini-series I’m doing about confronting our deepest fears as authors. This is not simply about the fear of being bad at writing, or the fear that no one will read our work, but rather about the fears that keep us from writing in the first place…which often circle back around to simply one word: vulnerability.  Fear of vulnerability can take many forms, though, so I’ll be diving deep into the types of fears we may have about being “seen” for who we are as writers and as people. First up: fears about being labeled as “self indulgent” a.k.a. writing self-insert/mary sue characters. Yes, I talk about James Bond. Yes, I talk about Rey Skywalker. No, I don’t believe writing mary-sues is intrinsically bad. Fight me!!!! References: Fanlore entry explaining “mary sue”  “2018 is the year we stop wasting our time on discourse and start writing the self-insert naruto fics we’ve been planning since we were eight. Thank you.” Source: http://kimboosan.tumblr.com/post/169561118551/harpygf-2018-is-the-year-we-stop-wasting-our 

Tuesday Jun 07, 2022

A recurring theme in a lot of advice about creativity is "show your work/share your work." It is often hailed as a great way to "grow your audience" but I want to go a step beyond that and talk about how it is a great way to stay motivated and find inspiration, even if what you have to show is not polished and perfect yet.  I've grabbed three classic modern stories that were created and molded on the internet as examples of how wonderful and inspiring it can be to simply show your work! Links! God of Arepo  Original tumblr posts   The lovely comic Neighbor Steve (Antler Guy Saga) On AO3  Original tumblr post Stabby the Space Roomba Example 1 Example 2  Set Godin’s Akimbo podcast My podcast on the War of Art Struthless on YouTube ("Weekly Videos about Creativity")

Friday May 27, 2022

Giving yourself permission to sit down and write is a major hurdle most writers face...but then what? The next step is giving yourself the permission to succeed as a writer, however you want to define "success."  That can be just as hard, though. We all say we want to be successful, but do we feel like we have earned that right? In this episode I use Elissa Altman's fantastic post from 2016 "Writing and the Permission to Succeed: The Intersection of Art and Shame" as a jumping off point to talk about struggling with expectations, hopes, and dreams.  Resources: Elissa Altman's award winning blog Discovering the Inner Mother: A Guide to Healing the Mother Wound and Claiming Your Personal Power by Bethany Webster Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro

Sunday May 08, 2022

There are a lot of tools out there which are designed to help you be a better writer, but did you know there are also a lot of tools that can help you simply write the words? There are! In this episode I talk about apps, communities, and systems that you can use to help you get the words out of your head and into a document! Resources mentioned: https://www.putwordsdown.com https://v2.writeordie.com https://4thewords.com https://writingstreak.io https://www.writetosmite.com https://imissmycafe.com (w/ pomodoro timer!) Sprint bots on discord servers

Friday Apr 29, 2022

This is all about one of my favorite motivational books for writers, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (Note: this is an affiliate link with bookshop.org!). This is justifiably considered a modern classic in the field of motivating and inspiring authors, with great insights into productivity and our eternal nemesis, Resistance. However, it's not perfect, and in this episode I talk about the good, the bad, and the ableism.  ⨌⨌⨌ Transcript [in progress, coming soon!]

Friday Apr 22, 2022

Too often, well meaning people discourage writers from "thinking big," or getting too big for our britches. They want to protect us from disappointment, but what they are really doing is crushing our inspiration and motivation.  I want writers to get clear on what "thinking big" means to you (bestseller? award winner? literary journal renown? mid-list lifestyler?) and embrace it! Doesn't matter if you don't "make it" or not, what matters is creating the kind of life as a writer that you want to live! As mentioned in this podcast, here is the link to my freebie booklet, Write to Market!...or Not? ⨌⨌⨌ Transcript TranscriptEpisode 34Think Big Promo Intro:It's KimBoo, and welcome back to the Author Alchemist podcast! Today were going to be talking about, or I'm going to be talking about, thinking big, which may or may not be exactly the kind of thinking big that you're thinking about. So hang in there with me and let's talk about motivation, aspirations, and creativity! Intro:I'm KimBoo, the host of the Author Alchemist podcast. I'm bringing my years of experience as a fan fiction writer and a professionally published author to the problem we all love to hate: the act of writing. You can't improve on something that doesn't exist, which means the most important thing you can do is simply write. Anything. Just write something. I'm here to help.  Podcast:So here we are, and if you listen to the intro, I am going to be talking about thinking big. One of the reasons I want to talk about it is because too often authors are discouraged from thinking big. There is very good reason for that in the sense of just hitting a bestseller list or becoming the next incredibly popular author is a gamble. It's a gamble because there's so many variables, and if it was possible to, like, make a spreadsheet to become a world famous best-selling author whose books are optioned to be made into movies and you're beloved by all your fans, then the traditional publishing industry would have discovered that formula a long time ago. They are still looking for that formula, actually. As are a lot of independent writers, I mean, that is the goal for some people. That's not to say that that's a bad goal but it's like aiming for the Olympics. You've got to not only just work your ass off, but you have to hope that a lot of things that are basically down to luck, fall into place for you, including not getting injured, having the money to pursue the training that you need. Yada yada yada. The Olympic metaphor. You kinda get what I'm talking about here. So the important thing is that you understand that a lot of time some of those types of goals are, I don't know how to say exactly but had weighted on things that are out of your control. You can only do your best and move forward. The people who are around writers take that information and, well, you know leverage it as a weapon. I think often times they do so from the goodness of their heart. They don't want to see someone they care about be disappointed because the book didn't become a bestseller, because their writing career never really takes off in the way that they dream about. Fair enough. I don't want to see people I love get hurt either right?  But the damage of holding writers back from dreaming big is profound. I think it affects motivation more than almost any other thing a writer can come across. The idea that you're not allowed to have dreams or goals or aspirations because you might be disappointed down the line at some point is...just honestly when you look at it on the surface, when you when you read the label and packaging on that, you realize some yeah that's that's not how you go about this, in any way shape or form. This is not how you go about supporting someone is trying to write, including yourself. Remember you are your biggest supporter.  Of course it's easy to talk about dreaming bed when you're talking about a specific project. You have a book that you're dreaming big about, you either have big plans for the book or the book itself requires big plans if it's a epic fantasy series or, you know, a multi generational literary epic. There is a lot of dreaming big has to go into projects like that. Maybe it's a short story or novella, but you want to dream big and get it into a prestigious literary journal like Granta. It's easy for us as writers to focus those dream big aspirations on a specific story with very specific parameters, and even that if your goal is to be traditionally published can lead to a lot of disappointment along the way, but yet you got it going a certain direction right? So you have your story and you're dreaming big for that story. I want to encourage you to dream big for yourself as a writer. I am here, KimBoo York, the Author Alchemist to give you permission to dream big whatever shape that dreaming big takes for you it might be best-selling world-renowned author. It might be respected author with many awards to your name, sitting on your mantle at home. It might be the type of author who, like Nora Roberts, is just revered in her genre, even if those outside of her genre may or may not have ever heard of her. I mean, Nora Roberts, they probably have, but you understand what I'm getting at. There is, like there are probably people out there who've been through bookstores and yet still don't know who Nora Roberts is because those are not the kind books they read. So that's a valid goal. Best-selling fantasy author...Okay, everybody is thinking of Brian Sanderson and his KickStarter. Yes, I get it. And hey, maybe that's your dream as well. Legendary kick starter. Why not? Go for it?  My dream if you're wondering, is to basically support myself in the lifestyle to which I become accustomed. Which is pretty modest, honestly. I would love to get to the point where I can pay off my student loans, and by house or buy some property, I could build a house. I want a house! But mostly because I want dogs, I want more dogs, and I need a yard for that. So that's where the house idea comes from, mostly for the dogs. So for me, the goal is not necessarily fame or renown or awards, but being able to make a solid living independently as an author, which does affect the decisions I make on the stories that I write and how I go about selling them. I am not looking to be traditionally published in the way that most people think about it, where I get an agent, you shop around for an agent for a few years and then have the agent shop around one or two of my books for a few years, eventually get a contract and fight over it a lot so that I get to keep most of my rights, and then wait another few years the book to be published and hope that the publisher actually deigns to budget some money for the marketing of the book. That is actually a very solid path for certain variables in your goals, so, like, if your goal is to be nominated for a lot of words, or to be placed prominently in bookstores or just to be able to say, you know, why my book was published by Penguin or something like that. Then fine, then that's great. Go for that. That's your dreaming big. My dreaming big has different needs. So for me it's about writing, not just stories I love, but stories in specific genres, niche stories in a lot of ways for me. I don't think I'm ever going to write a story that's going to be massively popular along all lines of bestseller lists. That's just not something that's in me, even. But as a self published independent author, I can look to trying to create streams of revenue that help me live the life I want to lead. T though. My goal is is less a literary goal than a lifestyle goal. I want to be able to write the stories that I love and make enough money selling the stories that I love that I can keep writing the stories that I love. It's kind of a feedback loop, if you pick up on that. It is my dream big goal and it's a lot more modest than some other people's big dream goals.  I listen to a lot of entrepreneurial podcasts because I am, at this point, my own business, and the goals there are often very much along the lines of six-figure income, seven-figure income, building up a business so you can sell it for millions of dollars and obviously that's not where I'm at, but what I do appreciate about listening to those podcasts and reading those books and articles and watching those YouTube videos is how much they hammer home the idea that you need to plan for the future you want. And again this is something most authors are discouraged from, because writing and popularity in writing is so variable and unreliable, and yet you never going to get what you don't ask for, right? At least that's what I was always told.  So I'm telling you here now to ask for what you want, not just for specific book but for the life you want to lead as an author and that can be maybe just the prolific fanfiction writer with lots of, you know, fans of your fanfiction. Absolutely valid. The point isn't to weight what you want against what other people want, which is what so often happens when people are advising authors on how to think about the future, but to think about what you really want.  So another different example was a friend of mine on Twitter — fandom friend, I don't know them personally, but we've interacted on Twitter for a while now — and they had an original story that they wanted to put out there, so they were asking for the best platform. My question to them was: what do you want out of it? Do you want people to leave comments and interact with your story and you as the author? Do you just want to get your story in front of his many eyes as possible? And you don't really care about people leaving comments or even making money off of it, you just want people to see it. Or do you want to make money off of it? Do you want to put it somewhere where, when people read it, you might get a couple of cents...now maybe, maybe down the road, a few bucks put in your account, because people like your story? Those questions affect the decision on where that writer should post their story. And for instance if they just want to get it out there to the widest group of people possible, then probably something like Wattpad or Medium, even tumblr still has still has an audience these days, it is a good way to get popular. Get seen, anyway. Those platforms aren't quite as great for direct interaction and comments, right? Nor are they that great for making money. You want to make money off of short stories and novellas, and you're going to have to go to Vella or Radish or Scribd, I think also asked that option or even Patreon, if that's the way you want to go.  When you consider went you want what how you would define dream big, that's going to define a lot of the steps that you take down the road as opposed to people telling you. Oh well, if you want to sell things you need to put it in Kindle Unlimited...and sure yeah, some people have made lots of money putting things in Kindle Unlimited, but there drawbacks that and it may not be satisfying to you. It may not be the thing that you want to do. I always say write what you want to read or write what you love, not necessarily the same thing but generally the same thing... But if you write what you love, it's because you already have a dream in your heart how you want to live as a writer. I am telling you to embrace that. Whatever your long-term goals are right towards them. Don't write in spite of them and don't put writing aside because other people tell you dreams are unrealistic. They are important and they are necessary for you as a writer.  I think it's very important for writers to nourish that small flicker of flame of optimism that lives deep in our hearts, and it does live there because honestly nobody would write anything if there wasn't the optimism of the idea of sharing the story that you finish, that someday when you write that story. You'll get it out there and somebody somewhere will love it so nurish that, nurishe that faint light in the deep dark recesses of your heart, of your creative soul, and nourish, furthermore, the hopes and dreams that you have as a writer down the road. Short-term, medium-term, long-term, think about it for a little while. Think about it and embrace it. Dream big, or hey dream small. Either way, figure out what your dream is and hold onto that. That's fuel for the fire and that'll keep you writing when everybody else tells you: don't quit your day job.  I quit my day job, so you know, it's possible. That was my dream for sure and I'm living it!  Thank you for hanging out with me today. I hope I gave you some encouragement to move forward with your dreams, your big dreams,  your small dreams, whatever your dreams as a writer and that gives you motivation to write because as you know, that's what I'm here for.  As usual, I invite you to check my website I store now has a couple of online courses there out from fanfic for writers who try to make the jump from fanfiction into original fiction. I've also got the Author Website Toolkit. If you've already made that jump and are ready to build your author website this is an invaluable tool for you and it's pretty affordable. It's only about $35. And of course you go to my website also there's options for you to sign up for freebies, I have freebies! I'll include a link in the show notes to this for the freebie "Writet to Market...or not?" which people really like, I've gotten some good feedback on that one. So encourage you to check it out if that's a question you're wondering about. Thank you so much. I appreciate you being here with me. Appreciate your trust in me, and I mean that sincerely. There's a lot of advice out there on the web for authors, and if you're listening to what I have to say, then I really appreciate your time. And that's it for this week. Certainly, I need to go follow my own advice and get some writing done.  Outro:Thanks for listening to me ramble on about writing here on the Author Alchemist podcast. I'm KimBoo York and I hope this episode has helped clear away the cobwebs from your inspiration. For more podcasts and other tools including self-paced online courses, please visit my website www.authoralchemist.com (no dashes!) Or email me at kimboo@authoralchemist.com I love to read your questions and feedback! Now, time to get some writing done!

Friday Apr 15, 2022

What happens when you get in a fix and a story stalls out on you? Or runs away from you? Or forgets to that that left turn at Albuquerque?  In this episode I talk about the metamorphosis of my in-progress novel, The Bones & Brews Café, which was originally envisioned as a trope-tastic rom-com novella. Turns out it was anything BUT, and because I did not sit down and really look at what I was working with, didn't trust my instincts, and stalled myself for over a year on it. A sordid tale! Come enjoy my misery! And hopefully grab some advice you can use in your own writing life! ⨌⨌⨌ Transcript Promo Intro:Welcome to the 12th episode of the Author Alchemist podcast. My name is KimBoo York, and today I'm going to be talking about trusting the process, specifically how to deal with your story when it starts to run away from you. I talk about some personal experiences and my kind of perspective on both the good and the bad of when that happens. So thank you for joining me, and let's get to it. Main intro:I'm KimBoo, the host of The Author Alchemist podcast. I'm bringing my years of experience as both a fanfiction writer and a professionally published author to the problem we all love to hate: the act of writing. You can't improve on something that doesn't exist, which means the most important thing you can do is simply write. Anything! Just write something. I'm here to help you do that. Podcast:Hi, it's KimBoo, and I am back. I'm recording this on a Thursday, which is kind of new, now that I've got my own schedule and I complete control of my own schedule. This is being recorded in late March, where I'm about the third weekend into being not employed by Florida State University anymore — by choice, which as regular listeners will know all about that story. Won't go into it now. So I've switched up the schedule a little bit, I don't have to give up my Saturday mornings to recording a podcast. But I do have to give up my Thursday mornings to recording a podcast. Here we are!  As I said in the intro, today's topic is about trusting the process. And there's a lot of different levels to that trusting the process is trusting yourself, right? So there is the fact of trusting how your brain works or trusting how you approach writing, trusting the skills that you have — you could go into impostor syndrome with this, but I'm not here to do any of that. I'm here to talk about trusting the process when your story goes off the rails, and I'm going to use a personal example of a story I'm currently working on. So if you want a little sneak peek about what might be coming up in the publishing world of KimBoo York, or specifically Cooper West, as this happens to be under that name, under that pseudonym, then stay tuned. So here we go.  And how am I starting this off? I'm talking about the way a story can get away with you. And this happens, not just a Pantsers, but it does...or discovery writers, I think it's the new term...It also does happen to planners or outliners. People who spend a lot of time trying to figure out what their character motivations are, and what happens after they cross that bridge and come through the new door to the castle, whatever. You get my point. They deal with it too. And I know this because I hear this from writers all the time, when we're talking about our stories, a writer who has carefully outlined everything will sit there and go, "Oh, my character just did X. And I don't know why it wasn't in the plan. And now I don't know what to do gonna have to shuffle things around!"  The approach might be different between discovery writers and planners, but in a lot of ways, we're dealing with the same issue, which is learning to trust our creativity to not be wrong. And that's a hard one, even for Pantsers. Because we still have ideas about where we wanted the story to go, at least for me as a pantser. I know that's true. I know, there are probably some pantsers out there who have just a completely blank slate on how they want to do it. But even then, I think they can get surprised, and they can end up writing themselves into a hole, which I've certainly done plenty of times as a pantser. And you're sitting there and you're in that hole, and you're like what now? If you're a planner, you could go back to your outline and start figuring out, well does this change things remarkably? Does this have a lasting effect on the plot? Is this just a little by play that gives me some character development? For Pantsers it might just be railroading through it and going to the next scene, or skipping three scenes and trying to find out where they end up and then going back and filling in the holes. Or it could be, as I often do, which is just kind of let it percolate for a while. Just let it sit there trying to figure things out. And sometimes that percolation takes a few days, and sometimes it takes a few months. And it has actually taken years in some cases, but those I think are outliers. Usually within a few months, at the most, I'll figure out what the problem is. And that's the story we're going to talk about today as kind of case review of the problem, which is my current book, Bones and Brews. As I describe it, it's a diesel punk urban fantasy romance novel, male/male romance. But it was originally, way back in 2021? 2020? 2020! Yeah, because it was, it was during the summer of the lockdown. Here in Florida, we only had one and it was that summer, that spring and summer. I started writing a personal challenge to myself a novella rom-com based on the trope fake dating. I figured, let me see if I can just hit that mark.  Readers, I'm here to tell you, I failed to hit that mark. I was 25,000 words into it when I realized this is not a rom-com trope-tastic novella, this is much more than that. That derailed me pretty hard. I remember sitting back from the story and thinking, I don't know what I'm writing, actually. My characters aren't being very revealing, either. What are they doing? They're not helping me at all. It's their job to help me, what's going on? I sat on it for a long time. A few months, not not years, but a few months. And I realized, Oh, I get it! I'm doing lots of world building. I've got some subplots going on. Yeah, this is an epic fantasy novel. I mean, sure, diesel punk, fantasy novel urban magic, but it's still epic style, right? I'm like, okay, this is going to be at least 100,000 words, it's going to be possibly twice that. And there's going to be a lot of political intrigue, and there's going to be a lot of mystery involved and all these other things. And I started lining up the domino's, you might say. Obviously, as a pantser, I don't create outlines, but I started thinking about these characters a little bit more grandly, shall we say. And that actually worked, I got about another 10 to 15,000 words written with that goal in mind.  And I hit the scene...when you get one of the book gets published, I think if you've listened to this episode, you're gonna laugh because this scene has actually become the final scene in the book, and I'll get to why in a second. But when I was writing this one scene, where it was a garden party, the start of the social season, it was supposed to be an introduction of some other characters. And it just kept turning into kind of like a grand reveal type of scene and I just could not whittle it down, I could not make it less important, is what I couldn't do. This is a very important scene, and I did not know why. It wasn't supposed to be important scene when I started writing it. So again, I hit that wall.  And I think it is a good, you know, metaphor to use here, talking about these kinds of things as a wall. Because walls aren't deadends, right? Walls, just stop things like if there's a wall in the middle of the trail, or there's a wall around the house, you can't walk through the wall, which is not true, you can walk through the wall, you might have to break the wall apart to do it. But you can. Or you can go around the wall, if you're in a house, you can go, you know, through the doorway to the living room, you can go around, walk down the wall until you get to the next field over where the wall ends, or changes into something you can climb over. Or you can look for a door. You can look for gate, however you're imagining this wall in your head, whichever one works. So there's multiple approaches to take to it. I was really trying to take a sledgehammer to this wall. I do know that there are authors for whom when they hit walls like this, that works. And honestly those authors do generally tend to be planners/outliners. They know where they want to go, they know where they're going. They just need to get there. They take a sledgehammer to whatever wall is blocking them, fight their way through it and get back on the trail that they have already defined as the route that they're taking. That wasn't working for me, I didn't have a route to get back to. It was like I'm breaking the wall down and on the other side is this big ocean. I'm just like What? What? Huh? Cue another long break in writing this story now, I didn't stop working on this story, my friend Kim McShane, who I often do plot development with. We spent many a Sunday brunch over mimosas, or actually KIMosas, which is the Mimosa without the orange juice, because neither one of us likes orange juice. So it's just champagne. So we spent many a brunch over KIMosas talking about the plot to this story and the characters. What I could do, to figure out what was going on. We ran through a whole series of different plots and ideas and events and other characters. Nothing was gelling for me. It's not that those ideas weren't good, but they weren't for this particular story. A year passes at this point, more than a year, but a year from the time I thought it was an epic fantasy novel. Moving on. Still talking about it with people who I'm sure were very sick of hearing about it. They're just like, yeah, it's not working, why don't you just let it go? I couldn't let it go. I love the characters. Do you have that? Do you have, I'm sure you do, where you have a story that's not working, but you love the characters so much. You just don't want to give up on them. I love the worldbuilding. I loved everything that I was doing with it except what I was doing with it, which was obviously not what I was supposed to be doing with it.  I wasn't trusting the process of the story. I was really caught up with the idea that I need to know what's happening. As a pantser, that can be a bad thing to do if you start getting too granular with it. And of course, every writer is different, so I don't want to sound like that's true for every pantser out there. But I think a lot of times with people who are writing into a story and letting in a role as it happens if they start focusing on the little things, as well as the big things, then you might as well just sit down and write an outline because you're not actually trusting the story anymore. I think maybe this logic goes for outliners in that you need to trust your outline. I don't know, I'm not an outliner. But I'll ask my friend Gina, Gina Hogan Edwards whom I do the podcast Around the Writers Table, I will include a link to that in the show notes for this one because it's a new podcast, we just started it. It's a lot of fun. Not like this one at all. It's not just me rambling on. I finally put down the story or rather put down my expectations for the story, and stopped trying to force. I stopped breaking down the wall more and more and more and just seeing more and more ocean ahead of me. And if we want to kind of visuallly I kind of think of it as I instead of trying to go through the wall over the wall, I just sat down, put my back to the wall. And look where I came from. I wish I could give you the inspiration for the insight I had on this story that made me realize what was really going on. I'm pretty sure it was a YouTube video. I don't know if it was... Yeah, I can't say but I do watch a lot of YouTube videos about writing different, lectures, different YouTubers talking about planning and development. And for some reason, for some reason, I was watching something about cozy mysteries. And if you imagine me sitting there at that wall with my back to it facing where I'd come from, and I look back over the horizon of my story, imagine me jumping up and going, Eureka! Because I realized everything I had set up, every element of the story was perfect for a cozy mystery series. And I'm seriousl, every element was there the sleuth main character — the quirky sleuth main character, the funky funny sidekick, the junior sleuths who act as comedic relief a little but also can act as ways to get to different parts of other characters' stories or backgrounds that our sleuth wouldn't have access to write. The love interest, who is a themselves an important person, who is looking... is not really an investigator, I'm getting into world building there, but let's just pretend like it's an investigator who works with our amateur sleuth to solve these crimes. I did not have anybody murdered as of yet when I had this eureka moment, but it was very easy to murder somebody because I had the setup completely in place for why a murder would be taking place at this point in the story. It was all there, it was all there, it had always been there. I was too busy trying to break through the wall and not fall into the ocean to step back and really look at what my brain had come up with, what my brain was telling me. My brain, the independent organ, telling me to write. So yes, Bones and Brews is now the first book in a cozy mystery series, I think it's probably going to be at least three, possibly five stories. There's bigger love story arc, going into it. There's a lot of politics in the background that our main sleuth, whose name happens to be Abby, he is trying to avoid getting involved in those politics. There's a lot of world building and backstory. As I said, this is diesel punk, urban fantasy set in a completely speculative fantasy world not set in our world. So it's just just a lot of fun. And I hope people really love the characters as much as I do now that I'm not as frustrated with them anymore.  So maybe that metaphor might help you — instead of trying to break through the wall or even trying to find a door or maybe sit down, put your back to the wall, look at where you come from, figure out maybe what you missed, that your story is trying to tell you that it wants to be, whether you're at the outlining stage, or as a pantser, discovery writer, the stage where you're actually putting words into the page, and making things happen. It's worth the time when you hit these humps, walls, whatever you want to call them, to stop fighting for a little bit. And that could be a day, it could be a month, it could be much longer. Unfortunately, that's just sometimes how it has to go. But if you could do that, if you could take that time, maybe watch some YouTube videos about writing, watch series that you haven't watched in a long time that you know you love, you never know where that inspiration is going to come from. And that's why you have to trust the process, even when it feels like you're banging your head against that wall. It's there for a reason. That's part of the process. And perhaps I haven't made it clear, but if you don't hit those walls, sometimes you're not going to have the insights and the eureka moments that will improve your story. It's all part of the process as much as we hate it. It's kind of like exercising, you know, it's like if you want to get stronger, you do have to exercise even if you hate it, that's just what you have to do. So sometimes you have to work really hard at the exercise. And sometimes you have to take a rest day and let your muscles recover. Yeah, you could do the analogy every which way you want. Very true for writing as well.  As always, my goal is to convince you that maybe you're not always wrong about everything. And maybe things aren't hopeless. Maybe just give yourself a break. Allow for the fact that this is what needs to happen right now. And follow it through until the wall isn't there anymore, whether it's because it's a gate, or you did break through it with a sledgehammer, or you just found a way around it, or you backtracked like I did, and found a completely different road going in a different direction! Might be the solution to all your problems. So thanks for joining me here today. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to me ramble on. Always glad to have listeners. If you want to be updated about new podcasts that are going out, please visit my website, author Alchemist and sign up for my newsletter. It doesn't go out very often but it does go occasionally. I send updates to people about new podcasts, although this is available on most podcasting platforms so you can also subscribe there. I have the course Out from Fanfic use what you know to write what you love available. That is live. I've got a couple of ideas go in and brewing for courses I've talked about before  that's ongoing. Also the freebie "Write to Market or Not" if you are a fanfiction writer who is going into writing original fiction and concerned about how to write to market, then that's the freebie for you! 16 pages of free advice and insight that might help you. So go to my website and sign up for that as well. Again, thank you for listening, but you can't drag it out any longer my friends: it is now time to get to writing. Have a good day. Thanks for listening to me ramble on about writing here on the Author Alchemist Podcast. Outro:I'm KimBoo York and I hope this episode has helped clear away the cobwebs from your inspiration. For more podcasts and other tools including self paced online courses, please visit my website at www.authoralchemist.com (no dashes )or email me at KimBoo@authoralchemist.com. I'd love to read your questions and feedback. Now, time to get some writing done!  

Monday Apr 04, 2022

A deep look at outlining from the perspective of whether it is actually helping you or not, and why it is helping you (if it is!). NOW WITH TRANSCRIPTS! Thanks to otter.ai I am getting easy, fast, quality transcripts for these podcasts now. whew! Links discussed in this episode: 10 Different Outlining Techniques Brian Sanderson's BYU 2020 class lectures ⨌⨌⨌ Transcript Promo Intro:It's KimBoo! Welcome to the 11th episode of the Author Alchemist podcast, season two, where today we're going to talk about outlining. Specifically, we're going to be talking about the type of outlining that works for you, that keeps writing fresh and interesting, and helps motivate you, as opposed to weighing you down with the burden of doing something the way other people tell you should do it. Let's get to it. Main Intro:I'm KimBoo, the host of the Author Alchemist podcast. I'm bringing my years of experience as both a fanfiction writer and a professionally published author to the problem we all love to hate: the act of writing. You can't improve on something that doesn't exist, which means the most important thing you could do is simply write. Anything, just write something. I'm here to help you do that.  Podcast:So yeah, good morning! It is morning, as I am recording this beautiful gray morning. That's really the last of the Florida winter here, we're into mid March, and so temperatures are creeping back up. Which means that summer is right around the corner, and I try not to think about that too much. But despite the fact that the humidity is also creeping back up, it's still really nice out. So I have all my windows and doors open, letting the air run through my house. I know a lot of people in the rest of the country live in the USA, but they open their windows when spring comes. Because they're warming up, they're wanting, you know this, the warm spring breezes to come through their house and chase out the chill. Whereas for me, I usually do the opposite. I started opening up my windows and doors in October there abouts, and keep opening them up until March or April hits, and then everything shuts, closes, and we keep the air conditioning running as much as possible without going bankrupt for the bill. So that's where I am right now, enjoying the day as much as I can.  Today we're going to be talking about outlining. And as usual, I'm not going to focus on the craft of it too much. I will talk about different styles of outlining a little bit later. But one of the reasons I brought this up as a topic is because you hear so many pieces of advice and so many different experts telling you how the perfect way to outline a story should happen. And usually I'm pretty dismissive of all that because I figure once you've been writing for a while, and if you're a fanfiction writer you've been writing for a while, then you pretty much know how things work for you. But unfortunately, what tends to happen whether people are previously writing fanfiction, or have not previously written anything, so they get into original writing, and suddenly they feel like they don't know anything. And they go looking at the books and they go looking through the blogs and YouTube videos and they stumble across something that sounds like it might work for them or that an expert they trust tells them they should do it. And then they try it out and maybe it doesn't work.  So here I want to talk about outlining as a motivational tool, because I think that is the key that's really missing. We talk a lot about in the community, in the writing community, the using templates, certainly Scrivener has templates, plotr has templates, world anvil, and camp ire. They all have built in templates that you can just plug and play for using, and there's save the cat for novel writing as well as script writing. And there is the hero's journey, which if you're in the fantasy and science fiction genres, is used a lot. So there's lots of different ways to do it.  I was listening recently to Brandon Sanderson's 2020 lectures, well it was a course he taught at Brigham Young University. Great series, I'll post the link to the playlist, it's on YouTube for you to watch, he really does a fantastic job. The man is prolific and he's good. Those two things that don't always go together, but with him they do. And I think a lot of people, if you aren't in the science fiction fantasy community, you might know him, at least from the recent Netflix adaptation of Wheel of Time. He was the person who finished that series after the original author, Robert Jordan died, and the series was finished. He was hired to finish it by the family estate of Robert Jordan. And I believe he's a producer or executive, somehow he's involved with the Netflix show. So a lot of people know him for that. It's really a good series. And recently, he was talking about different ways of outlining a story. He gave a couple that he uses personally. But I think the important thing that he brought up, which is just, it struck me because you don't hear it too often, is that he said, "You have to outline in the way your brain works."  And I really think that is crucial. I'm saying this as a pantser. I don't do outlines in the traditional sense, I don't sit down and figure out the first scene and figure out the next scene, and then do the little, you know, one, point A, B, C, D, and I don't, I don't do that. I instead tend to prefer to work with very loose beats. Or you can say, acts, but either way, you're like this is the, you know, character introduction act, or arc or beat and gives me a lot of freedom and say, Okay, well, I need to get from this stage to this stage. But as a pantser, and this is true for a lot of pantsers or discovery writers, I think they're being called these days, you know, because panters are, I guess, is unprofessional sounding, but whatever. Pantsers, discoverers, it's all the same. When we outline something too much, our brain does this weird thing where we feel like we've already told the story, so we don't want to write it anymore.  The first time that happened to me, I spent so much time on this outline for this absolutely epic fantasy novel that I was not qualified to write. At the time this was in the 90s. So it was like in my late 20s, nowhere near experienced enough or had put in the time to write something as epic as I was envisioning, and I wrote this three page outline, single space, very detailed. I, you know, parts were being pulled out as it was. It was a mess. But by the time I got through to the end, I was like, "All right, now I'm gonna sit down and write this thing out!" and I just couldn't. I was done.  Because wasn't this what I was supposed to do? Isn't this how you're supposed to write? And of course back then there wasn't a YouTube video of Brandon Sanderson telling you that you don't have to do that. I was in the woods. I was going through, back then it was Borders bookstores, prowling the writing section looking for advice on how to do this and and realizing, you know what, my brain does not work this way. Wasn't until years later that I fully embraced the idea that my brain works a certain way and that I need to follow that. I think it really hit home for me with one of my most popular fanfiction ever — is a Clint/Coulson Marvel Comics Universe fanfic called Bureaucratic Nightmare. A little bit of an AU, won't go into details, won't bore you with that. But it was literally written by the seat of my pants, I did not know at the point that I got to the end of a chapter what was gonna happen in the next chapter at all. I think it's pretty obvious when I go back and read it now, to me anyway, it's like, yeah, the pacing is not great. But it's one of my most popular fanfics I've ever written. People who don't even like that pairing, that ship as we call it, still read that story and love it and leave comments for it. And it really, that was the culmination, I think for me, embracing the fact that my brain does work in a storytelling way. And that if I trust myself a little bit, but then you know, go back and clean up afterwards, I can have a really damn good story. And that is how I've been writing.  That said, for instance, as I'm looking at this podcast right now, I actually have an outline of the podcast beats that I want to hit open in front of me. Outlining isn't a bad thing in in doing a podcast or doing blogs. I use outlining pretty extensively. But for fiction, I can't do it. The important thing, always, always to remember is to pay attention to how your brain works. There are lots of options for outlining story arcs that you can use: the three act structure, the five act structure, the seven beats structure, the save the cat, as I mentioned before, you know, I just there's there's lots. In fact, there was one I really liked, I found on Tumblr years and years ago. And it listed 10 different methods for outlining or pseudo outlining, as you might want to call it. There was the snowflake method, where you start with a one sentence description of the novel, there was the reverse method, which I really liked it, it's like write a description or actually write the chapter, that is your story. Like actually sit down and write the denouement of your story, the characters, what they've been through, what they're talking about, if it was a mystery, talking about the clues that they saw, or if it was a science fiction, epic adventure, the recovering from the trials and tribulations they went through, and then work backwards from that. I've actually done that a couple of times in my fanfiction writing. And it's just a really good resource.  And a reminder, that however you choose to outline, and I even hate the word outline, I wish there was a structure, however you choose to structure your pre-writing tools, and we're gonna have to find a better term than this. But however you choose to do that, it needs to be in a way that engages you with the story. Don't be me in 1998, writing this massive outline, not even thinking about what I was really doing, just doing it because the books I read, the magazines I read, were telling me that this was the correct way to do it. And that's what I did. And I wasn't paying attention. And then the story was done, over, whoops, sorry, no can do, I was like...what? Don't...don't be me. Do as I say, don't do as I do, but actually do as I do now, don't do as I did then, I guess I would be a more accurate description of that. Try them out, try different ones on for size, take the same story, possibly, and try different ways of approaching the structure of it.  See, maybe you do beats, well, maybe you really do like full outlining, what you really need is to have each piece broken out specifically. Maybe you just want to start with a group of words and kind of like a poetry slam, just split those words into a certain structure, and then go from there.  I'll link the blog post or the Tumblr post that I talked about earlier in the show notes. And along with the link to the playlist for Brandon Sanderson's series of lectures, or course, whatever... you want to call...I need  more coffee, y'all it's too. It's a beautiful morning, but it's a little still a little too early. I'm just... my brain is just now starting to come awake.  Find the way that engages you. That's the point I'm trying to make here. Because motivation and inspiration are really magical, trippy, weird things in our brains. And I think we can tap into them at will if we train ourselves to do so. But we can very easily squash them and choke them off inadvertently by doing things that aren't designed to help our creativity or assist us in expanding our creativity. And as you know, I am less worried about the craft of writing, which there's lots of guides out there for you to do for check. There's lots of guides out there for you to check all your, you know, grammar and structure and character development issues. I'm concerned about you actually writing the thing. If you're a true true pantser or discoverer, Dean Wesley Smith is one, Stephen King has talked about how he's embraced that as well, where you just sit down and do like I did on my fanfic Bureaucratic Nightmare and just write from one to the other to the other until you've got a full story then you go back and fix it. Or if you're somewhere in between, where you... those are the called the gardener's I believe, they're they're more like people who either have a general rough outline or a beat sheet that they plugged in some some scenes, and then they kind of garden in between them. I used to call it bridging as a technique because I would write a late scene or a final scene or a big showdown, and then I would write the introduction and then I would bridge scenes between them to create a full story. Like, how did this scene get to this other scene? You know, how do we get from a picnic in the park to people, you know, hanging off a cliff face for their lives. I was bridging it by writing the scenes in between, knowing where I had to go, in a way was kind of sort of like outlining, I guess, you know. But it worked for me, because it still allowed me a lot of the creativity and the freedom for my mind to just reel off the scenes, which is what I personally need. Try out different methods not to find the one that's correct, but to find the one that works for you, and the find the one that inspires you, that gives you energy, makes you excited about writing this story, not the one that's just the way you're supposed to do it.  Okay, I think I've hit that theme a lot over the head for this podcast, and so I'm going to wrap it up for today. It's not too long of a one, but hopefully it helped you or maybe expanded your perspective on outlining. Like I said, I'll include those links in the shownotes. Meantime, I would love it. If you checked out my course that's for sale, if you're a fan fiction writer who has been struggling to write your own original fiction, then the course is designed for you. It's "Out from Fanfiction, use what you know to write what you love." That's right here on my website. So check it out. Also, if you're just wondering if what you want to write as original fiction is marketable at all, I have a freebie for you! I'm going to delete that as well. It's called "Write to market...or not?" and it's about looking at your fan fiction and what you love to write about and what you love to read to see if you already have marketable skills, which I suspect you do. You're just reading a lot of those how to write to market blog posts and don't do that, that's corrupting influence. I mean, yeah, writing to market is very important if you just want to become an incredibly prolific and big selling author. But you know, if you're just wondering if that story you love in your heart is marketable? Yeah, then this is the this is the freebie for you. It'll help you look at that in analyze and see if maybe, yeah, might be a little bit more marketable than you thought, and in what ways so really hope you check that out if that's something that interests you.  Meantime, I'm wrapping this up. spend enough time talking your ear off about writing and motivation. And now guess what that means. It's time for you and for me to get to write and talk to you next week.  Outro:Thanks for listening to me ramble on about writing here on the other Alchemist Podcast. I'm KimBoo York and I hope this episode has helped clear away the cobwebs from your inspiration. For more podcasts and other tools including self paced online courses, please visit my website at www.authoralchemist.com (no dashes) or email me at KimBoo@authoralchemist.com. I'd love to read your questions and feedback. Now, time to get some writing done.

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KimBoo is your Authorial Alchemist!

Writing is magic but that doesn't mean it is easy! In this podcast, KimBoo York aka The Author Alchemist focuses on the most annoying part of being a writer: writing! After all, you can't become a better writer if you aren't actually writing anything, amirite???!? With a focus on motivation, inspiration, hard work, and fanfiction, this podcast is for writers who are determined to Get Their Words Out.

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