Ep39 – Carry Me from Kholtum

Oliver takes you through the end of a friendship in this outline of the final Voe & Tiravam story for the novel. Among other things he discusses an epiphany he had which caused him to look at how his outlining had evolved over this first half of the novel, plotting an emotional journey for the reader, and being reminded of how there are certain things you’re only able to discover in writing prose!

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Ep38 – Flyting Fancy

Oliver returns to telling you about that dang novel this podcast is built around, covering the outlining of a nautical tale! In it, Voe and her best friend Tiravam struggle to create meaning in an uncaring universe, try to get paid for stealing a terrible treasure, get sucked into Ye Olde Insult Battles, and more!

Oliver also gets into an outlining snarl which is solved by his trying a whole new method of working out what happens, when it happens, and what the reader learns when it happens.

Tom McHenry comic whose fourth panel Oliver mentions.
Chalicotherex is a fun follow on Twitter.

Ready, set, flyte!

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Ep29 – Sacred Thievery

In three acts, Oliver shares the outlining of this second story in the sword & sorcery novel’s second quarter, an escalating farce built around the theft of a saintly relic from one church within the same religion as the other, who has hired Voe & Tiravam to perpetrate said theft. Ah, if only it were so straightforward as all that…

Oliver covers the joys of finding the piece of research which unlocks your story for you, interesting historical details of medieval relic theft, judging when the tone of an idea you love doesn’t just doesn’t fit with your work as a whole, balancing inspiration against directly imitating a story you love, courtroom drama, juggling lies & secrets, knowing when you’ve figured out enough for now, “horny is great for funny”, and more!

There’s also a listener question, asking Oliver for advice in researching markets for SciFi short stories. In his answer, Oliver mentions The Submission Grinder and Authors Publish. Finally there’s some end of 2021 news, thanks, and announcements!

The show’s Twitch channel, worth subscribing to as we have plans for it in 2022!
Want to support the show? Here’s a page with useful ideas and links.

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Ep 28 – Kinship in Kholtum

In this episode Oliver tells you all about how he outlined the origin story for his protagonist’s new friendship, a friendship that would be at the heart of a whole quarter of the novel’s stories.

This involves discussion of consulting others when you’re feeling lost trying to make a vital decision, puppetry (and avoiding obvious metaphors), elements by which two friends might bond, differing attitudes toward killing for your protagonists, what if DUNE’s Bene Gesserit wanted to sell weed, the ol’ “They meet in a tavern…” routine, Beer Street and Gin Lane, Bound 2 (?), using index cards to help keep everything you need in front of you, hitting a major progress point in the novel, and more!

Plus there’s a LISTENER QUESTION, gosh we like those, to do with how far up the line of human history you can set a story (or base the secondary world setting of a story on) and still have it feel like sword & sorcery.

Mentioned in Oliver’s answer is Howard Andrew Jones’ breakdown of how he defines sword & sorcery as a genre.

Click the puppets for a starting point on learning more about West African puppetry

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Ep27 – (World)Building a Fantasy City

Will Oliver succeed in finally naming his dang fantasy city by the end of the episode??? Oliver takes you through the process that got him to where he felt he knew enough about the fictional city where he’d be setting no less than four of his novel’s stories in. He covers repurposing research from an older project, choosing when and how to shape setting with theme, when he decided a novel wasn’t the story for him to write, figuring out what you need to figure out about a setting/city, feral cities, hyperdense research texts, an interesting lesson he took from his role-playing game hobby that applies here, leaving room for later inspiration, another pertinent Ursula K Le Guin quote, Karl Edward Wagner’s Bloodstone, and more!

That book I mention a lot: Imaginary Cities: A Tour of Dream Cities, Nightmare Cities, and Everywhere in Between by Darren Anderson

Click the big mean guard to learn which fantasy city first captured Oliver’s imagination.

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Ep 26 – Creating a Co-Protagonist

Oliver takes you with him through the process by which he designed a new best friend for his novel’s protagonist, a co-protagonist for the next four stories he has to outline, when Voe and this new best buddy will have swashbuckling, thieving adventures loosely inspired by the Fafhrd & Grey Mouser stories of Fritz Leiber!

The writing book Oliver mentions in this episode, and has mentioned before, is Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger.

Making a new best friend can be difficult…

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Ep25 – Act Two, Part One

A lil’ recap of the podcast & novel is followed by Oliver sharing how he figured out the most top-tier planning of his novel’s middle, particularly its first half, and how it would fit into the novel as a whole!

This includes discussion of “how much inspiration do you want to take from another author’s works?”, how to keep your thoughts organized when you finally get to a part of writing a story that you’ve been looking forward to for ages, gauging how ambitious you might want to be with breaking The Rules, who Oliver sees as the most influential sword & sorcery heroes after good old Conan, the difficulty in choosing perspective for this part of the novel or even nailing down Fritz Leiber’s approach to perspective, being both your instructor and your student, and more.

That publicly available, image-heavy Patreon post OIiver mentions
, that’s all about the notebook he outlines the novel in.

The first episode of So I’m Writing a Novel

Episode #7: where Oliver reads you the short story that grew into this novel & podcast.

Here’s that diagram Oliver mentions. Handy for worldbuilding and general inspiration!

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Ep 17 – Disgrace the Stone

With this, the fifth short story, we’ve reached the end of the first act! In Disgrace the Stone, the outlining of which Oliver will share with you, Voe is finally a “hero” as she’s struggled to be but the events of this story will change her mind about that being what she wants.

The brainstorming for this story involved an unexpected intersection between the webcomic Achewood, Leonard Cohen, and the pandemic (though this isn’t a plague story, have no fear). This sent Oliver off on a journey that involved putting the this tale down for an entire year before coming back to finish it, providing unexpected benefits as well as a lesson in why it’s important to always make very clear notes so that future-you can easily pick up where they left off…no matter how long it’s been.

Achewood is a great webcomic by Chris Onstad, though this strip is a terrible introduction to it.

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Ep 16 – The Boy and the Blacksmith

This time around we’re outlining story number four in our sword & sorcery short story cycle!

Oliver sets out to write a sword & sorcery love story, but is that what he ends up with? He also gets into that time the rural Canadian mafia murdered Oliver’s brother because his parents wouldn’t give them gold, knowing when to break your own format, the dangers of trying to will what you want into existence, and, as always, more.

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Ep15 – Monstrously Slow

This time around we’re outlining story number three in our sword & sorcery short story cycle!

Oliver introduces you to the marvelous book which made him want to tell this story, thrusting his protagonist Voe into the middle of a mighty battle between empires in the absolute meat grinder of a canyon floor with arrows raining down from either side! He then goes on to dissect the mentor/mentee relationship, share a formative story from his very Canadian youth (yes, it involves ice skating), and Ursula K Le Guin rears her head once more as Oliver looks to one of her better quotes for a great theme to explore, in which the very idea of deserving is framed as a fake idea.

Battle of the Frigidus, 394 AD by Arvid Hjorth

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