I'd like to welcome Julie Duffy, my very first Guest Blogger. Julie is a fierce advocate of everyone's right to write. She hosts StoryADay.org, a creative writing challenge held in May every year, and has written magazine articles, ebooks and workshops for writers.
Until May she'll be posting warm-up writing prompts every Wednesday at StoryADay.org.
This month, Julie will be talking about podcasts for writers. I'm especially interested in this topic since I've been listening to a LOT more spoken word these days -- while I'm illustrating, while I'm outside taking walks, while I'm doing household chores.
Podcasts For Writers
Guest post by Julie Duffy
Writing can be a bit of a solitary act and if you're not living with other writers, it can feel as if you're the only person in the world who 'gets it'. Social media is great for helping with this, but we can't be at our computers 24 hours a day. Happily, for those times when we must tear ourselves away from the soothing glow of the screen, there are, of course, podcasts. Specifically: podcasts for writers. So that you don't have to wade through all the podcasts in the world, I've compiled a list of the podcasts I find most inspiring and/or educational. Don't forget to share your favourites, or any I might have missed, in the comments. (I have mostly listed podcasts that are still being updated regularly but I did break my own rule once.)
Inspiration - Authors Talking
For inspiration, I love to listen to podcasts of authors being interviewed or doing readings at different venues. Often the authors take questions from the audience and usually end up spilling 'secrets' about how they write, how their characters developed, how they find continuing inspiration. All this is good. But my dirty little secret is that, while I listen, I imagine what it would be like to be up there answering questions from adoring fans who can't wait to read my next book. On days when I can't seem to concentrate on writing, I pop on a podcast and remind myself that the screaming fans can't come until I've actually done the work. My favourite podcasts of authors on the booktour circuit are:
This podcast features published authors on tour to promote their latest release. Sometimes the podcast features archived events, but usually they are recent. Each author usually reads a little from their work then takes questions from the audience. The library has a good system, where they take microphones into the audience so you can hear the questions as well as the answers. The audio quality is good and the questions are asked by everyday folks like you and me. I love this podcast. http://libwww.freelibrary.org/authorevents/podcast.cfm
This podcasts hosts many of the same authors as the Philadelphia podcast, but the authors often read different passages and answer different questions. Also, it hosts more 'smaller' authors who have a local connection. It's nice to get a non-East-coast, non-establishment perspective. Also, AOT sometimes takes its recorder on the road and reports from places like Book Expo America. http://authorsontourlive.com/podcast-archive/
A monthly podcast from the University Bookstore in Seattle. For the past four years Nancy Pearl has talked to big name authors on tour. This interview-style works well, perhaps because it's in a bookstore and the authors are comfortable; perhaps because Nancy Pearl is an intelligent interviewer. The audio quality is great and the half-hour length is long enough to go in-depth with the authors but not so long that it drags. This is available as audio-only or video too. http://www.seattlechannel.org/BookLust/
You might also like:
This is a shorter -- and in my opinion inferior -- version of the two podcasts above. It has slick production values and an impressive cast of writers in its archive...but it also features anyone who might shift books, like The Kardashian Sisters and JWOWW from the Jersey Shore...For the past year this has been offered as a video podcast, but you can find lots of good stuff in the audio-only archive too. http://media.barnesandnoble.com/?fr_chl=eeef1c48b137ca6f7002930b78484d1eab3a0a7d&rf=sitemap
Another podcast of big-name authors doign the book-launch circuit, this time from the Apple store in NYC. The format varies from event to event as they sometimes feature guest moderators who interview the authors. Doesn't have a predictable schedule but it does use the enhanced podcast features like chapter titles and occasional photo slideshows. http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/itunes-meet-the-author/id266215977
Running since Oct 2010, still being updated. Interviews with authors. Fewer big names than the other podcasts, which means you hear some new voices. http://www.writersvoice.net/
From the University of California at Irvine. Discussions on art and writing, featuring interviews with writers, and occasionally editors and agents. Recent guests have included Edwidge Dandicat and Betsy Lerner. http://penonfire.blogspot.com/
Education - Craft and Workshop Podcasts
For this second class of podcasts, I look for those that focus on the craft of writing. These are sometimes hosted by working writers and sometimes feature speeches from workshops. On days when you want to take your writing seriously, and work on your craft, these are the podcasts to reach for.
This podcast features excerpts from classes taught at the Odyssey writing workshop held each summer. 16 writers are picked each year for this professional-level workshop, and it features published authors as teachers and lecturers. Each podcast is 15-20 minutes long and packed with useful information for more than just Science Fiction or Fantasy writers. These talks are aimed specifically at writers, not readers, and you should come away inspired to get back to your own writing after listening. Sometimes the talks touch on the publishing business, but more often the topic is craft-related. http://www.sff.net/odyssey/podcasts.html
Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells are writers and artists in the science fiction world. Their podcast's tagline is was enough to turn me into a fan: “15 Minutes Long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart”. They discuss the craft of writing from their perspective as working writers. The free-form conversation follows a different topic in every episode. As always, just because these guys are sci-fi and fantasy writers, this does not make their advice applicable only to SF writers! http://www.writingexcuses.com/
Story consultant Paula B takes first chapters from a listener/writer and critiques it. This grew out of the most popular segment of her former podcast The Writing Show. I’ve always found it useful from time to time, to really tear apart someone else’s work and see what they’re doing - what works, what doesn’t and why. This show is all about doing that. Maybe you’ll even be brave enough to submit your first chapter... http://writingshow.com/
Litopia hosts four different podcasts: Litopia After Dark, The Debriefer, Between The Lines and Open House. Litopia After Dark is a "A literary salon" with five hosts, each of whom brings a topic and gets a different discussion going, and a chatroom where people can send in comments during the broadcast. It is extremely well produced and it is fun. Good for reminding lonely authors in our garrets that we're not alone! Between the Lines is an interview-with-the-author podcast and Open House is a call-in show ("Skype-in", actually). My favourite, though is The Debriefer podcast hosted by Florida lawyer Donna Ballman. She covers legal issues as related to writing: using legal issues in stories, legal issues that affect writers. It’s a short, focussed podcast and I find it quite fascinating. http://www.litopia.com/radio/
You May Also Like:
This one violates my policy of not reviewing podcasts that are no longer being updated. There are only six episodes of this podcast, from 2006 but they are so tightly focused on the craft of writing, that I wanted to include them anyway. She seems to have moved on to creating products like workshops and classes that she charges for (and I don’t blame her one bit), so grab the free podcast info and graduate to paid classes if you like her stuff. http://hollylisle.libsyn.com/rss
This podcast is aimed specifically at non-fiction, science fiction, screenwriting and comic book writers. It's relatively new but promising. http://writingforrookies.podcastpeople.com/
Since you've read this far, here's one bonus podcast which is not aimed at writers but is a treasure trove of ideas, speech patterns and stories that pack an emotional punch.
Storycorps is a group that collects real-life stories for the National Folk Archive in the US. Storycorps takes its mobile booths all over the country and invites people to bring a relative or friend in, and interview them. From the old New York couple talking about their first date, to the girl who lost her fiance on 9/11, to the 100 year old southern triplet who used to dance in sideshows, to daughter interviewing mothers...just try listening to these without tearing up, I dare you. Then go away and figure out how to do the same to your readers ;) http://storycorps.org/listen/
So go forth and listen: listen in your car, listen while you do housework, listen on the bus...just don't listen when you should be writing! Do you have any writing-related podcasts to recommend?