The Story Craft Cafe Podcast

Story Crafters talking about the magic of storytelling and giving you the tools to craft your story. We’re launching a new kind of online writing community. One where we can all find support, encouragement, ideas, and inspiration. A place where we can all write together. A place where we can celebrate failures and successes, find mentors, and work together to get published.

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Friday Apr 26, 2024

You want to create a cast of characters that your readers want to root for, but readers don't want a character that is so perfect that they become unrelatable. So, how do you create characters that represent real life while also having a character arc that readers will be drawn to? That's what we'll discuss in this Fireside Chat.

Friday Apr 19, 2024

An Amazon Top 100 Best Selling Author, Sarra Cannon writes magical contemporary fantasy novels with both teen and college aged characters (and lots of twists you'll never see coming). Her novels often stem from her own experiences growing up in the small town of Hawkinsville, Georgia, where she learned that being popular always comes at a price and relationships are rarely as simple as they seem.
With over three quarters of a million books sold, Sarra loves writing witchy books and connecting with fans.
Connect with Sarra online!
Sarra goes live on YouTube to hang out, answer questions, and read original stories every single week. Join our amazing community there at 4PM est every Friday.

Friday Apr 19, 2024

On this week's fireside chat, Doug and Hank talk about mistakes they made in their writing and publishing careers, and share some tips they with they'd known about earlier. Come join in!

Friday Apr 05, 2024

Celeste Barclay, a nom de plume, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Celeste enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She's an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. Before becoming a full-time author, Celeste was a Social Studies and English teacher. She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS). She channels that knowledge into creating rich historical romances that bring the heat.

Friday Mar 29, 2024

In today's episode we check in with Author Daniel Kenney to talk about maintaining your author career longterm. Burnout is a very real thing that authors deal with, and today we try to dissect the cause of burnout and Dan shares some strategies he uses to combat and to keep the dream moving forward.

Friday Mar 22, 2024

In the writing community we love to divide people into one of two camps: Plotters and Pantsers. Do you write with a solid well laid out plan before the drafting begins, or do you write by the seat of your pants and allow the whims and whimsy of the day carry you and your story to new heights and in new directions? 
Or can it be something in the middle of these two extremes? Hank and Doug will give you their honest thoughts, and probably include a few hot takes along the way.
Structure: Plotting allows for a well-defined structure in your novel. You have a roadmap that guides you through the major plot points, helping maintain a logical and coherent storyline.Efficiency: Having a plan can make the writing process more efficient. You know where the story is heading, reducing the chances of getting stuck or experiencing writer's block.Foreshadowing: Plotting allows for effective foreshadowing. You can plant clues and hints earlier in the story that will pay off later, creating a more satisfying reading experience.Editing: Plotting can make the editing process smoother. Since you have a clear outline, it's easier to identify and fix any inconsistencies or structural issues.Drawbacks:
Rigidity: Some writers find plotting too restrictive. Following a predefined structure may stifle creativity and limit spontaneous ideas that could emerge during the writing process.Loss of Surprise: Knowing the major plot points in advance might reduce the element of surprise, both for the writer and potentially for the reader.Stress: Creating a detailed plot requires a significant upfront investment of time and effort. This can be stressful for some writers and may lead to burnout.Pantsing:Benefits:
Creativity: Pantsing allows for a more organic and creative writing process. Writers can explore unexpected ideas and let the story evolve naturally as they write.Surprises: Since the writer doesn't have a rigid outline, there is room for unexpected twists and turns, keeping the writing process exciting and surprising.Character Development: Characters may develop more authentically when the writer discovers their traits and motivations in the moment, rather than adhering strictly to a preconceived plan.Freedom: Pantsing provides a sense of freedom, allowing the writer to explore different narrative paths and experiment with the story's direction.Drawbacks:
Lack of Structure: One of the main drawbacks is the potential lack of structure. Without a clear plan, it's easier to meander or lose focus, resulting in a less cohesive narrative.Editing Challenges: Editing a pantsed manuscript can be challenging, as there may be inconsistencies and plot holes that need to be addressed during the revision process.Writer's Block: Writers who pants their novels may encounter writer's block more frequently, as they may not have a clear direction to overcome obstacles.Ultimately, the choice between plotting and pantsing depends on the writer's personal preference and writing style. Some authors even combine elements of both approaches, using a loose outline while allowing for flexibility during the writing process.

Friday Mar 15, 2024

Multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is … mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning heartwarming and full of humor novels wherever books are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures. Her newest Sunrise Cove novel, THE SWEETHEART LIST, is out now.

Friday Mar 08, 2024

Lover of fairytales, folklore, and mythology, Ines Johnson spends her days reimagining the stories of old in a modern world. She writes books where damsels cause the distress, princesses wield swords, and moms save the world.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Wednesday Mar 06, 2024

On today's show, Hank Garner and Douglas Landsborough chat about writers' block. Is it real? If so, how do you overcome it? Listen in as these two authors peel back the layers of the author life and try to answer some of the most asked questions about writer's block.
What is writer's block, and why do we fear it?Does Writer's block mean you are out of ideas, or is it a problem with confidence?Strategies to try to get rid of the block.When publishing anxiety invades your writing space, or confusing writing with the business of publishing.Regaining the joy of writing.

Friday Mar 01, 2024

From the author of A Most English Princess comes a rich novel about young Princess Alix of Hesse—the future Alexandra, last Empress of Imperial Russia—and her sister, Princess Ella. Their decision to marry into the Romanov royal family changed history.
They were granddaughters of Queen Victoria and two of the most beautiful princesses in Europe. Princesses Alix and Ella were destined to wed well and wisely. But while their grandmother wants to join them to the English and German royal families, the sisters fall in love with Russia—and the Romanovs.
Defying the Queen’s dire warnings, Ella weds the tsar’s brother, Grand Duke Serge. Cultivated, aloof, and proud, Serge places his young wife on a pedestal for all to admire. Behind palace gates, Ella struggles to secure private happiness.
Alix, whisked away to Russia for Ella’s wedding, meets and captivates Nicky—heir apparent to the Russian throne. While loving him deeply, Alix hears a call of conscience, urging her to walk away.
Their fateful decisions to marry will lead to tragic consequences for not only themselves and their families, but for millions in Russia and around the globe.
The Romanov Brides is a moving and fascinating portrait of two bold and spirited royal sisters, and brings to vivid life imperial Russia—a dazzling, decadent world on the brink of disappearing forever. 
Clare McHugh is the author of A Most English Princess, a historical novel about the family of Queen Victoria, and The Romanov Brides. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, McHugh graduated from Harvard College with a degree in European history. She currently lives in London and in Amagansett, NY.

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