Novel Approaches

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Novel Approaches 030 – Anti-heroes
September 11, 2020

She-Ra. Schitt’s Creek. Geopolitics. Maggie Derrick and r.r. campbell cover a lot in this episode, and it’s all in the name of helping you better write anti-heroes.


Novel Approaches 029 – Writing a Synopsis
August 14, 2020

Well, writerfolk, this is a wild one. After going #FullMingo in the episode introduction, r.r. campbell and Maggie Derrick explore the challenge that is synopsis writing. As they discuss and debate, they borrow a few bits from the McElroy brothers and take potshots at their capitalist overlords.


Novel Approaches 028 – Tackling Second Drafts
July 10, 2020

Maggie Derrick is back! And in this episode, she and r.r. campbell fire up the metaphor machine to address the ins and outs of tackling second drafts. Along the way, they discuss magnets (how do they work?), car manufacturing, and, yes, your feedback from our #WritescastChat series.


Novel Approaches 027 – Inner Conflict and Theme
June 12, 2020

With help from the #WritescastChat community, guest co-host Ekta Garg and r.r. campbell discuss the intersection of inner conflict and theme. Don your safety goggles, folks, because the metaphor machine is in high gear for this one!


Novel Approaches 026 – Emotional Wounds as Motivation
May 8, 2020

In an episode one might expect to be laden with trauma, r.r. campbell and guest co-host Candice Lee have some fun discussing the intersection of emotional wounds and character motivation, stopping along the way to do some critical Seinfeld-related research.


Novel Approaches 025 – Writing Retellings
April 10, 2020

Once upon a time, guest co-hosts Avery Ames and r.r. campbell explored retellings. Along the way, they learned there’s more to retellings than revisiting fairy tales and fairy tales alone.

They also consider whether all stories are retellings to some extent, and in the act, they do a fair amount of chasing their own tails.


Novel Approaches 024 – Opening Lines
March 13, 2020

Opening lines: every manuscript has one (more than one, in fact!). In this episode, the #WritescastChat community—and a cartoon dog known for typewriting his manuscripts from the top of his doghouse—help r.r. campbell and guest co-host Angeline Boulley define the to-dos for making every opening line a ta-da!


Novel Approaches 023 – Writing Romance
February 14, 2020

It need not be Valentine’s Day to talk writing romance; it just worked out that way this time! In this episode, guest co-host Sarah Smith and r.r. campbell take on the challenges of writing romance with either a capital or lower-case R.

Topics discussed include favorite romance tropes, how to tease a budding romance, writing sex scenes, consent, and general characterization.


Novel Approaches 022 – Tropes and Clichés
January 24, 2020

In the first 2020 installment of Novel Approaches, guest co-hosts Maggie Derrick and r.r. campbell explore what tropes and clichés are, the role genre plays in determining whether they’re fulfilling or unflattering, and the importance of working with editors and sensitivity readers.

Other topics include donuts with sprinkles, Merriam and/or Webster’s angst toward clichés, and robots, but not the fun kind.


Novel Approaches 021 – Non-Linear Storytelling
December 13, 2019

Sione and r.r. do some creative writing calculus by waxing philosophical on the nature of time, space, and their intersection with story. Oh, and all apologies to Richard Gere. You’ll understand once you’ve listened to the episode.


Novel Approaches 020 – Crafting Villains
November 8, 2019

In an episode oddly chockfull of Care Bears and Smurfs, r.r. and Sione tackle the dark side of storytelling. What distinguishes a villain from an antagonist? How can we avoid creating caricatures of evil? Will r.r. ever remember the names of the actors in his favorite shows?


Novel Approaches 019 – Preparing for NaNoWriMo
October 11, 2019

National Novel Writing Month is almost here! How can you ensure you get the most out of one of the year’s most popular annual events? Sione and r.r. explore with help from #WritescastChat participants.


Novel Approaches 018 – The Role of Exposition
September 13, 2019

What is exposition? Why do we need it? How can we use it judiciously? In an episode that hails the importance of being concise, r.r. and Sione are anything but. With help from #WritescastChat participants, however, there’s much wisdom to be gleaned despite the occasional rambling!


Novel Approaches 017 – Writing Satisfying Endings
August 9, 2019

After briefly revisiting prologues and epilogues, co-hosts Sione Aeschliman and r.r. campbell explore the ins and outs of writing satisfying endings, which, it turns out, are just as much about beginnings as they are about anything else.


Novel Approaches 016 – Fatal Flaws
July 12, 2019

With help from #WritescastChat participants, host r. r. campbell takes on fatal flaws–what they are, how they vary from regular old flaws, and whether fatal flaws can ever be assets.


Novel Approaches 015 – Prologues and Epilogues
June 14, 2019

In this listener-feedback-fueled episode, co-hosts r.r. and Sione explore prologues and epilogues: what they are, how they’re different from first and last chapters, and how we can write them effectively.


Novel Approaches 014 – Inciting Incidents
May 10, 2019

Surfs up, folks! Hang ten with co-hosts r.r. campbell and Sione Aeschliman as they explore what inciting incidents are, why they’re important, the shapes they take, and how to write them effectively.


Novel Approaches 013 – The Darkest Moment
April 12, 2019

r.r. and Sione explore a protagonist’s darkest moment, the dark night of the soul, and how we set our readers up for both. One of r.r.’s cats pays the pod a visit around the hour mark, too, if you listen closely enough.


Novel Approaches 012 – Chapter Breaks
March 8, 2019

After a rather bizarre game of “Would You Rather” involving bear attacks and outhouses, r. r. and Sione settle in to discuss chapter breaks: when to have them, when not to have them, and the role genre plays in it all.


Novel Approaches 011 – Writing a Series
February 8, 2019

How do we know when we’ve got a concept with series potential on our hands? What challenges might we face when writing a series? Why does r. r. have such strong opinions about cliffhangers? We explore all of this and more in this episode.


Novel Approaches 010 – Multi-POV Storytelling
January 18, 2019

Co-hosts Sione Aeschliman and r. r. campbell examine storytelling from multiple points of view: what it is, the advantages of and challenges to using it, and how we can use it to fuel our stories. Bonus content includes r. r. ranting about wrenches and cliffhangers.


Novel Approaches 009 – Narrative Mode

After a discussion on NaNoWriMo and a book launch party briefing, Sione and r. r. tackle narrative mode: what it is, why it’s important, and how to go about selecting the best one for our stories. Oh, and r. r. has strange analogies for days.

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Novel Approaches 008 – Goal-oriented Storytelling

Sione picks r. r.’s brain about the ins and outs of goal-oriented storytelling. Along the way, r. r. makes (slightly) inaccurate claims about the rate of acceleration of gravity before employing a bizarre metaphor about evolution and mitochondria. In other news, Sione likes dark hot chocolate.

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Novel Approaches 007 – Conflict

Co-hosts Sione Aeschliman and r. r. campbell tackle conflict: what it is, why it’s important, and how we can use it to fuel our stories.

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Novel Approaches 006 – Theme

The Writer Next Door, John Adamus, joins the show for a conversation on theme: what it is, its importance, and how writers can make sure their theme shines throughout their manuscript.

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Novel Approaches 005 – World Building

Guests Danielle Maurer and Chris Bedell join the show to discuss various world-building strategies one can use during both the pre-write and drafting stages of writing a novel.

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Novel Approaches 004 – Plot and Structure

Co-hosts Sione Aeschliman and r. r. campbell break down the differences between plot and structure before examining various structure models and how they can be put to use.

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Novel Approaches 003 – Creating Character

Author Kristin Oakley joins the Novel Approaches co-hosts to talk character from conception to completion and everything in between.

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Novel Approaches 002 – Concept: an Editor’s Perspective

Co-hosts r. r. campbell and Sione Aeschliman examine concept from the perspective of an editor.

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Novel Approaches 001 – Concept: a Writer’s Perspective

Novel Approaches co-hosts r. r. campbell and Sione Aeschliman kick-off the series with an exploration of developing one’s concept as a writer.

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