...and it's writing.

...and it's writing.

A tipsy discussion of writing craft. Writers D.C. McNaughton and Avery Ames imbibe a few drinks while they review and revise their old (and often cringey) writing. Each episode focuses on a particular aspect of craft and features a themed cocktail pairing.


May 29, 2023 49 mins

Avery and D.C. review a passage from Avery's old writing and discuss their best tips for describing your characters.

Mentioned: Writing the Other


Drink recipe: Gold-Flecked Eyes Shot

  • 1oz Goldschlager
  • 1oz Blue Curacao
  1. Pour Blue Curacao in shot glass
  2. Carefully layer goldschlager on top by pouring slowly over the back of a spoon


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In which Avery and D.C. discuss the harm in comparing yourself to other writers, and how they combat those creeping doubts.

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May 15, 2023 15 mins

Avery and D.C. discuss what it's like to treat your writing like a job and ways their writing process has changed as they pursue author careers.

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D.C. and Avery discuss how to read fiction more closely to study craft. We discuss our favorite tricks for dissecting your favorite books, and also the merits of analyzing books you hate.

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May 1, 2023 48 mins

Avery and D.C. discuss our favorite and least favorite unreliable narrators, tips for writing one, and some possible pitfalls.

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D.C. and Avery discuss the phenomenon of repackaging fanfiction as original work. Is it really as derivative as some say, and how close is too close for comfort when it comes to borrowing characters?

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April 17, 2023 15 mins

D.C. and Avery discuss writing an author bio for your query letter, website, or book jacket copy. What should you include? How do you write a bio without previous publication or credentials?

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April 10, 2023 14 mins

Sometimes as your writing skills level up, it can become harder and harder to write that first draft of new projects. Avery and D.C. discuss this dilemma and how they've worked to solve it.

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We heard Avery and D.C. discuss filter words on this podcast episode. What are they, and how can they bog down your writing? We revise one of Avery's old excerpts to demonstrate.


Drink: "Double Filtered"

  • 1oz Peanut-butter fat-washed rye whiskey (for more on the process, click here)
  • 3oz Cold-brew coffee
  • .5oz maple syrup
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March 27, 2023 45 mins

D.C. and Avery chat with A.Z. Louise about writing poetry, what it's like writing while neurodivergent, and gush a little about fountain pens.

Mentioned in the episode:

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March 20, 2023 47 mins

What does it mean to make promises in your book, and how does that differ from foreshadowing? In this episode, D.C. and Avery discuss both.


Drink Pairing: Pinky Promise

  • 2oz Gin
  • 2-3 Strawberries (muddled)
  • 2 chunks (1-inch-ish cubes) Watermelon (muddled)
  • 4-5 Leaves Basil
  • .5oz Simple Syrup
  • 1oz Lemon Juice

  1. Muddle strawberries and watermelon in the bottom of your shaker tin
  2. Add other ingredients
  3. ...
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March 13, 2023 15 mins

Why should your characters suffer? D.C. and Avery discuss how your characters' suffering translates in different genres, how it can add tension, and various ways to torment your characters.

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"As you know, this is a podcast." In this episode, D.C. and Avery discuss "as you know, Bob" conversations in your writing. Do your characters over-explain things to one another for the reader's benefit? We chat about our thoughts on the matter and our best tips for avoiding the dreaded "as you know" dialogue.

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February 27, 2023 19 mins

D.C. and Avery discuss chapters! How long is our "ideal" chapter, how do we decide where to place chapter breaks, and our thoughts on books that disdain chapters entirely.

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February 20, 2023 18 mins

One of the most common maladies to strike writers: the dreaded Impostor Syndrome. We discuss what it is, how it affects us, and our best tips to combat it.

Questions to ask yourself to combat anxiety:

  • What is the thing you're worried about? (Example for Impostor Syndrome: "that I'm actually a bad writer")
  • What are some clues your worry won't come true?
  • If your worry doesn't come true, what will probably happen instead?
  • ...
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February 13, 2023 18 mins

Can't find any critique groups to join? In this episode, we discuss ways to start your own and some best practices for running one. Mentioned:

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February 7, 2023 71 mins

In one of our most unhinged episodes, Avery and D.C. sit down with author Bendi Barrett to discuss pen names, writing interactive fiction, the utter satisfaction of tearing dot matrix paper, and the best chapstick flavor.

Find out more about Bendi and his work here, or follow him on Twitter.

Other items mentioned:


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January 30, 2023 16 mins

With a lot of writers currently migrating to Instagram from the bird site, we share some of our best tips and tricks for navigating and maximizing Instagram as an author.

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Avery and guest host Emily chat with agent Chelsea Hensley of KT Literary. We discuss the ongoing HarperCollins Union strike, our beefs against the Game of Thrones TV show, and the realities of the query trenches from the other side.

More information about Chelsea and how to query her can be found here.

Emily's Percy Jackson podcast, Monster Donut, can be found here.

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January 16, 2023 17 mins

Avery and D.C. discuss how to embrace and celebrate your work's genre instead of fighting it, as well as finding your niche and your audience.

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