Monica Valentinelli

Originality #12: Writing is Time Travel

In this episode I interview writer and game designer Monica Valentinelli and Aleen and I talk about creativity and role-playing games. Monica gets into some cool stuff about ways game writers can be creative within an existing system and franchise, and also about how she got into writing for games. It’s a really great conversation.

You can listen to the podcast below or on the episode page where you can see the show notes and also subscribe.

 

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ORIGINality #11: Stuff Your Inner Critic in a Box

NaNoWriMo is now over, but it hadn’t yet started when we recorded this podcast. And honestly, I don’t think you need to be preparing for NaNo or even care about NaNo to engage with what we talk about here. There are all kinds of art challenges you can take part in, be they 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year. They don’t have to be the ones dictated by someone else’s rules, either.

I am still very much interested in hearing from artists across the spectrum about the challenges they’ve taken part in or set themselves and where those challenges have been successful and even where they haven’t been.

You can listen to the podcast below or head over to the episode page and do it there or even subscribe so that every episode shows up in your podcatcher.

 

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ORIGINality #10: More Capable Spy Women

In this episode Aleen interviews Antony Johnston, author of The Coldest City, which was turned into the movie Atomic Blonde. We talk about the process of having ones art transformed into a different medium, women spies and why there weren’t enough of them in our childhoods, and how ideas come back around even after you’ve put them away for a while.

You can listen below or on the show page where you can also subscribe to the podcast.

 

WX Cruise Caribbean boat

Why You Should Attend The Writing Excuses Cruise & Help Others Do So As Well

This week the fine folks at the Writing Excuses podcast announced the next cruise and retreat. In 2018 I’m joining the team as an instructor alongside Amal El-Mohtar, Maurice Broaddus, Piper J. Drake, Valynne E. Maetani & more. The workshop starts on 9/22 in Houston, and the cruise sails from Galveston, TX and goes to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico before docking again on 9/30. It’s going to be a fabulous trip and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Before I tell you why I’m so excited for this based on my experiences over the past couple of years, I want to ask for your help with something. Every year, alumni of the Writing Excuses retreats raise funds for a full ride scholarship to the cruise. This is in addition to a scholarship funded by supporters of the Writing Excuses Patreon (the $20/month level). The more money they raise, the more people who can’t afford this cruise get the opportunity to experience this. Please consider donating to the Alumni fund before December 15th, or giving ongoing support via Patreon. I’ll give details on how to do that at the bottom of this post.

But first, let me tell you why I think going on this cruise is an awesome opportunity for writers.

I first came on the cruise back in 2016 when I was invited to be a staff member. That year we sailed around the Caribbean, and it was my first time on a cruise ship. The nature of cruises like the one we took is that we only spent a few hours on each island, and so there wasn’t much time for seeing more than one thing and certainly not enough time to get a real sense of the place.

WX Cruise Caribbean zoo

That said, having one distinct experience in each place, getting some time in places I’d never been, being exposed to even the slightest hint of something outside of my life, was powerful. It made me want to have more time, to visit the places for real. But I also appreciated those few hours floating in clear, warm ocean water and allowing myself to just be and breathe and listen.

WX Cruise Caribbean beach

This year’s cruise was very different. We went to the Baltic sea with stops in Sweden and Denmark and Estonia and Russia. There were no beaches! But with each city there was time enough to again have a distinct, capsule experience.

WX Cruise St Petersberg

And it was on this trip that I discovered how even a small amount of time in a place can provide inspiration for my writing and fodder for my creativity. I talked about this in episode 13 of ORIGINality (skip to the 1 hour mark for the stuff on this trip in particular). I was able to turn experiences I had in Europe into useful reference points for the novel I’m writing set in Egypt. And I know down the line the places I’ve been will bubble up in some other way. Everything one does can benefit ones writing.

WX Cruise Stockholm

Beyond that, the cruise instructors all offer classes, there are critique groups and other workshops, the chances for one-on-one discussions with amazing authors, editors, agents. There’s networking and craft working and skill building and the opportunity to get to know some amazing people. I have felt so very lucky to be part of it the last two years and to get to be part of it going forward.

I want more people to have the opportunity to be part of it. And so I’m asking that if you have $5 to spare or $10 or $20, please donate to the alumni scholarship fund. You can donate via PayPal to wxralumscholar@gmail.com by December 15th. If you donate via credit card, please mark it as a gift and not as for a good or service, so they won’t be charged a fee. If you really hate PayPal, email that address and they’ll work something out with you.

If you have $20 a a month to spend, consider supporting the scholarship through the WX Patreon. You get cool extras if you do.

And if you’re a person who would love to come on the cruise and would benefit from it but cannot afford it, keep an eye out for when the scholarship applications open. It’ll be announced on the Writing Excuses website, social media, etc.

Finally, if you’re a writer and you can afford the time and price of the cruise, please join us! I have no doubt this year is going to be as wonderful as the last two. The ports we’re visiting have the potential to offer inspiration or relaxation, and the instructors are going to teach you amazing stuff.

Come on a boat!

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Originality 9: Investing in Art

In this episode Aleen and I talk about how artists go about getting support for their endeavors. Not just selling their stuff, but getting people to invest in them via crowdfunding, patronage, and the like. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, obviously, as I’m currently supported in part by folks on Patreon. However, I put off doing that for almost a year because I was afraid to ask for that support and didn’t feel I deserved it. We talk about that and more.

Click here to listen or click here to subscribe!

And I’d love to hear from other writers, artists, musicians, and creatives about how you put yourself out there for investiture.

S J Tucker

Originality episodes 7 & 8 with S. J. Tucker

Our first two-part episode! I interviewed musician S. J. Tucker and the conversation was so rich and full of awesome that we split the discussion of it in two.

Episode 7, Will the Universe Take Care of Me?, is about how Sooj came to be a vagabond musician who made her living almost exclusively from her artistic talents. Episode 8, A Song-Shaped Butterfly Net, is all about collaboration. Both episodes feature snippets of her songs, which you will love, and the show notes have many links to where you can hear more and buy her stuff.

You can click the links above to download the individual episodes or you can click here and subscribe and get all the episodes!

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ORIGINality #6 – Engage the Hashtagery!

In this episode we talk to author Dan Moren, a tech journalist turned SF novel writer. …waitaminit…

It’s funny because I don'[t think Dan and I have ever met even though we really should have, given how much of our careers cross the streams. We’ll both be at WorldCon in Helsinki, though, where we will see each other across a room, go WAIT WE HAVE MET OMG and spend the rest of the con going around like we’ve been buds since forever.

Until then, you can enjoy the conversation Aleen and I have about him, his autographing skills, and other important creativity-related issues.

As always, you can listen to the episode below, or go to the show page to listen, download, or subscribe. You can also become a RelayFM member there and support the show!

Listen

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ORIGINality #5 – 73 Million Blank Notebooks

It’s the Bullet Journal episode! Yep, we’re all about the BuJo here, except I try not to use the word “bujo” because… well… bujo.

I’ve had kind of a rocky relationship with the whole concept of bullet journaling, but, as I talk about in this episode, once I found an article that explained them in a way that made me feel like I could use and benefit from the system, I got into it. And it helped me find a use for the 73 million blank notebooks I have lying around. Hopefully this episode will do the same for those of you who’ve considered a bullet journal but get intimidated out of trying it by Instagram.

You can listen to or download the episode here, or you can listen below. But if you subscribe you’ll get each new episode in your podcatcher automatically. And if you become a RelayFM member you get extra cool stuff.

Listen

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ORIGINality #4 and Writing Exercises

Another episode of ORIGINality is out! This one is just Aleen and myself, and we talk about the role of practice in creative endeavors. I talk in depth about how I have not seen practice emphasized in creative writing the way it was when I learned music and the way I see it valued in other arts like drawing or dance. And yet, I come across students in every class who lament that they aren’t that good at describing setting or dialogue or writing action. To that I say: if you know you’re not good at it, then why don’t you practice?

To that end, I started a new thing on my Patreon: writing exercises. All patrons get a new writing exercise each week that’s meant to be done every day. Each will be about developing some particular skill. I encourage patrons to share the exercises with each other, but you don’t have to.

Patrons who want feedback from me on their exercises can get it if they are contributing on the Learn You Some level. All patrons can ask the other folks in the community for feedback if they want.

The idea is to have a 10 – 20 minute chunk of your day devoted to writing that is just about building a skill and not contributing to your wordcount. Not all words need to be designed to be read. You can create things just for the purpose of trying out new stuff.

Listen to me go on about this in the podcast below, or subscribe so you can listen in your favorite podcatcher.

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ORIGINality podcast episodes 2 and 3

I’m behind on alerting you to the new episodes of my new podcast, ORIGINality. Please forgive me for such tardiness.

In episode 2, A Couch Not Possessed by Cats or Satan, Aleen interviews Mikah Sargent and she and I talk about what writers need in order to produce words. Be it time, money, good health, someone to help with responsibilities, or a couch that isn’t possessed by cats or Satan.

You can listen below, or subscribe via iTunes, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RSS feed, or Google Play.

In episode 3, Unicorn Sidekick, Aleen interviews Kathy Campbell, who currently holds that title. She and I then talk about the role organization plays in the creative process and I get deep in my feels about bullet journals.

You can listen below, or subscribe via iTunes, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RSS feed, or Google Play.

If you like this show, you can also support it by becoming a RelayFM member. The money goes directly to Aleen and myself if you support our show specifically. We also get a cut if you decide to support all the shows on the network (and there are some fantastic ones).