The Good Writing Podcast is a show for creative writers who want to nerd out on craft. Two friends, Emily Donovan and Benjamin Kerns, read their favorite sentences, paragraphs, and other short excerpts and present craft lessons and writing exercises for fellow writers.
It's been 6 months of podcasting! Ben and Emily review some of their favorite prompts and exercises from the past 25 episodes of the Good Writing Podcast.
Listen to the full episodes clipped here:
This episode of the Good Writing Podcast deals with the ethics that the writer must grapple with when writing, especially when that writing deals with people from the so-called real world with the help of Melissa Febos' parables.
Good Writing is a podcast where two MFA friends read like writers and lay out craft ideas for fellow writers to steal. Co-hosted by Emily Donovan and Benj...
Borges often looked to his work as an essayist and literary critic when looking for inspiration for his fiction, be it in the form of using that fiction to better understand writing or taking on the forms of non-fiction directly. While the first of these is inevitably touched upon in this episode, we focus more directly on the formal effort of "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" to discuss ways in which writers can take ...
Emily picked up The Fellowship of the Ring and bought in hard. What makes the whimsical and meandering opening work so well?
Ben and Emily also discuss listener mail and workshop peer pet peeves.
Good Writing is a podcast where two MFA friends read like writers and lay out craft ideas for fellow writers to steal. Co-hosted by Emily Donovan and Benjamin Kerns.
Author and editor John Trefry joins us to discuss (among many other things) the ways in which language itself has aesthetic value, the unknowable contours of spacetime, why writing without emotion can lead you to interesting places, and death metal. Read John's writing on the Neutral Spaces blog. Visit Inside the Castle here.
Good Writing is a podcast wh...
Today on the Good Writing Podcast we are joined by flash fiction author Brett Bieble. Topics discussed include the ways in which flash fiction approaches "perfection," the advantages of brevity, the ways that stories utilize objects, and comma patrol.
Good Writing is a podcast where two MFA...
Texas poet Esteban Rodriguez joins us to discuss an excerpt from Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 (1965). We talk about writing about stuff you hate and combining long and short sentence lengths for realism and momentum.
John-Paul Hurley joins us to discuss an excerpt from Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth. How can writers make the readers feel lost in memories? We also discuss unlikeable protagonists.
Other links from this week:
Good Writing is a podcast where two MFA friends read like writers and l...
We always bring ourselves with us wherever we go, even into our writing. Even if we think that writing is about something completely other to ourselves, it is impossible for that wherever to escape whoever we are. Megan Boyle takes this to the farthest extent in her autofiction piece Liveblog in which she attempted to write down every single thing that happened to her over the course of a few months. The result is a deeply personal...
The co-editors in chief of Alien Literary Magazine join us to talk about two of their favorite pieces from a recent issue. We talk about the magazine’s reading process and two elements of craft that made these submissions stand out: momentum and juxtaposition.
Other links from this week:
Emily has Ben read an Anton Chekhov short story about a sad lady’s sad day and discuss occasion for story. Why is this the day that you tune into your character’s life? How can we as writers make a story feel complete?
On the way, Ben and Emily get derailed by a difference of opinion sparked by George Saunders’s analysis of the story. Should you consider the reader’s interpretation and anticipate the reader’s reaction to your stor...
We discuss Richard Brautigan’s novel Trout Fishing in America and the way he seems to have no interest in following any sort of rule when he’s writing. The phrase “Trout Fishing in America” can be anything; a character, a place, the phrase itself, or maybe even something more, something spiritual. Ben and Emily talk about why that’s cool and why it’s weird.
How can we make sure our readers pick up on key information when our narrator is cagey or not willing to admit the full truth?
We look at how a master, Sofia Samatar, does it in her short story "Walkdog." It has both a reluctant narrator ("Emilybait") and a weird form ("Benbait"). We also discuss the "line" between "literary fiction" and "science fiction and fantasy."
Sentence length can be used to pull the reader into the text, and a long sentence can force them to stay there. Fernanda Melchor’s Hurrican Season presents the reader with a seemingly impenetrable block of text that keeps their eyes locked the page, even whenthey might want to turn away.
The Good Writing podcast gets its mind blown by the author of Pearl Death, Negative Space, and Amygdalatropolis; B.R. Yeager!
We discuss Blake Butler’s 2014 novel 300,000,000 and how it uses a single page to break down the barriers between book and reader, author and audience, and maybe even reality and fiction
Good Writing is a podcast where two MFA friends read lik...
The Good Writing podcast welcomes its first guest, short story writer and fellow MFA friend Cherri Buijk, to discuss historical fiction.
What makes historical fiction feel authentic? We discuss freewriting about the parts of history that you can’t wrap your head around and resisting the temptation to moralize.
We all love a witty protagonist with quips. But how can a writer stay true to an ironic voice while still getting the characters and readers to care about the story?
We discuss Gideon the Ninth, a fantasy debut novel about lesbian necromancers in space with a hilarious and irreverent point-of-view character. Ben and Emily also share two of their wilder “Florida Man” stories.
While we often think of the plot of our stories as their bedrock, I (Ben) actually think it is the world in which they take place. Without the world, there is nothing to motivate the story from the outside, there is no context in which the story takes place. In this episode, we discuss what it is that allows for something as large as the entire world to show up on the page.
The world of literature is difficult one to navigate, especially for those just starting out. A strange cornerstone of becoming part of the literary world is the literary magazine, a place where new writing is published without the need of being placed into the format of the book. Writers often find the submission process difficult and discouraging, and we are no exception. Today, we discuss what it’s like to submit to magazines, a...
One of the many things that make The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963) an absolute banger is how deep inside the narrator’s head we are. But what can you do as a writer when how your point-of-view character sees the world is flawed?
How can you give a point-of-view character a developed and interesting worldview while still giving your readers enough clues to interpret the world you’ve written differently?
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Hosted by Laura Beil (Dr. Death, Bad Batch), Sympathy Pains is a six-part series from Neon Hum Media and iHeartRadio. For 20 years, Sarah Delashmit told people around her that she had cancer, muscular dystrophy, and other illnesses. She used a wheelchair and posted selfies from a hospital bed. She told friends and coworkers she was trapped in abusive relationships, or that she was the mother of children who had died. It was all a con. Sympathy was both her great need and her powerful weapon. But unlike most scams, she didn’t want people’s money. She was after something far more valuable.