Good Writing Podcast

Good Writing Podcast

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.

Episodes

October 9, 2023 58 mins

Point-of-view characters. You love them. You understand them. They still do mean things. How can you keep your reader empathizing with your point-of-view character even if they do something villainous?

Also: Ben (a philosophy major) and Emily (an outdoor enthusiast) interpret the climax pretty differently.

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Do you have to write about a topic in the chronological order that it happened in to understand it better? No, definitely not. In fact - maybe you shouldn't?

This episode, we discuss Enjoy Me Among My Ruins by Juniper Fitzgerald (2022). It's a memoir that uses 3 forms (diary entry, flash about an influential woman in her life, and essays) to explore sex work, academic theory, and how having a daughter changed her.

Order this book f...

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In this episode we consider what it takes to write young people in a way that feels both honest and honoring with a difficult piece of fiction by B.R. Yeager from his newest collection, Burn You the Fuck Alive.

 

Burn You the Fuck Alive by B.R. Yeager

 

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.

Twitter: @goodw...

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Carmen from Julia Armfield's debut novel Our Wives Under the Sea isn't necessary for the plot, but Emily got obsessed anyway (of course). In this episode, we discuss bringing side characters to life and using them to establish themes that your point-of-view character is too clueless to pick up on.

Other links:

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Today we discuss "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" with poet David van den Berg.

 

David's magazine - Prometheus Dreaming

His new book - Love Letters from an Arsonist

 

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.

Twitter: @goodwritingpod 

Email: goodwritingpodcast@gmail.com

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Emily has Ben read sections from Eula Biss's Having and Being Had this week because she knows he loves to think about capitalism. 

How can you come up with rules to how you write about a topic? Eula Biss sets out with constraints that make her essays both dreamlike and punchy.

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 Benjami...

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Happy (belated) Halloween, Good Writing subscribers! In today's episode, we discuss Shirley Jackson's 1959 gothic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House.

What makes this "psychological ghost story" work so well? Subjectivity. The characters tell us their subjection version of the events, which leaves the reader to fill in the gaps with maximum spookiness.

Plus, we discuss a sentence that Ben called "a literary kickflip" and a terr...

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Dune is a weird book. Some might even say, a bad book. Emily does on this episode, and so does Ben (sort of). Herbert’s prose style is definitely stilted, but what Ben and Emily get into on this episode is the absolutely strange choice he’s made to write the entire thing in third person omniscient, and they try to figure out how thinking works in fiction.

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We love insights and character motivation on this podcast! 😤 But we also like scenes that move the story forward.

This week, we discuss the hilarious Milk Fed by Melissa Broder (2021) and how she introduces a therapist character who feels realistic while still creating all of the insights that we expect when a character goes to therapy.

A link we promised to include in the show notes: Listen to Danez Smith read their poem “Dear Wh...

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In this episode of the Good Writing Podcast, Ben and Emily discuss what it means to write an image that by no right can actually be seen.

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.

Twitter: @goodwritingpod 

Email: goodwritingpodcast@gmail.com

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May 9, 2022 45 mins

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:

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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 Benjam...

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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 formal i...

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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.

Twitter: @goodwritingpod 

Email: goodwritingpodcast@gmail.com

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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 whe...

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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 friends read like write...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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.

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