Story Works Round Table

Conversations about stories and the craft of writing with Alida, Kathryn, and Robert.

SWRT 22: Writing Prompts part 2

This week, in a continuation of writing prompts part 1, we share our freewriting. In addition to reading and reacting to our writing, we talk about the benefits of sharing writing prompts with others, what cultural touchstones we drew on, and the implicit issues genetic manipulation brings.

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SWRT 21: Writing Prompts part 1

What is the purpose of writing prompts? And how are they useful? When and how should you use them? And what kind of formats can you see them in? We share our own experiences and share some prompts. Join us for a writing prompt and listen in next week as we read our free writing aloud.

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SWRT 20: Translations into German

Get to know Anja and Christina and their work as German translators. Ever wonder about the process of taking a book from one language to another? What about how the translator takes your words and conveys them in another language? And what is the level of trust you are extending? And don’t forget that a different language is a different market!

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SWRT 19: Revision

How many drafts should you go through before you finish your book? And what draft should you send your developmental editor? Is rewriting or revision the answer? And how should you analyze that work in progress in order to find it’s flaws?

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SWRT: #18 Setting

What makes a setting? And how can you use it to immerse your reader in your story? What details are good, and when does showing your research ruin the story you are trying to tell?

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SWRT 17: Finding Your Protagonist

What is a protagonist, and does your story need one? What are the stakes your protagonist needs? Who is the right person to tell your story? And how is a protagonist different from a point of view character? And ultimately, do you have to discover one thing before another in your pre-writing process?

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SWRT 16: Accountability

Want to start off 2017 right? We talk about how to use accountability in tandem with your productivity to boost your writing. Is there a difference between accountability and productivity? And how can you set up accountability in your own life? What tools are out there for use? And should you go public with your goals? It all comes down to knowing yourself and how you work.

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SWRT 15: Writing Habits and Productivity

What is a writing habit? And how can you create one that is both enjoyable and productive? What if you are writing around all your other life responsibilities? And what kind of systems can you put in place to make yourself successful? As we head into this new year, make your writing a priority.

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SWRT 14: Short Stories part 3

Taking a look at “What it Means to Be a Man” by Ed Bok Lee, we talk about why Alida picked this story, and what it is really all about. How do you create empathy with your readers when they may have no cultural context for your story? Or even find your subject matter repulsive? How do you choose the right narrator for the story? And what does it really mean to be a man?

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SWRT 13: Short Stories part 2

Taking a look at “The Birth Will Take Place on a Mutually Acceptable Research Vessel” by Matthew Bailey, we talk about why Kathryn picked this story, and what it is really all about. Why would a man write from the point of view of a pregnant woman? And does the second person work for us? What hooks readers, and how does the author get them to empathize with this uncomfortable narrator? Even with Matt’s hesitation over whether or not he likes the story, we still laugh at the humor and appreciate the twist at the end.

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About the Hosts

Alida Winternheimer is the author of The Skoghall Mystery Series, A Stone’s Throw, and The Story Works Guide to Writing Fiction Series. She further pursues her fervor for all things story as a writing coach and developmental editor. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her Golden Retriever, Seva the Wonder Dog. She camps, bikes, and kayaks in her free time. Unless it’s winter, in which case she drinks chai by the fire. You can find more at

Kathryn Arnold writes fantasy and anything else that sparks her creativity from her home in Kingston, Washington. She currently earns her living as an insurance underwriting assistant, where she also creates marketing and web copy. When not writing, she plays (and teaches) piano and keyboard in a band (or two), and is working on starting a ministry team with her husband. You can find Kathryn at

Robert Scanlon

Robert Scanlon was born in Australia, but whisked off to England when only a baby. After many years complaining about the weather, he did the sensible thing and moved back to Australia. Despite a career in the music industry, followed by decades teaching public speaking, Robert is an introvert who adores reading. Robert grew up on a diet of sci-fi masters, eventually discovering he had read the library’s entire science fiction section. Now he has to write his own. Robert is the author of Constellation, book one of the Blood Empire space opera series. Find out more at

Robert Scanlon

Former co-host, Matt Herron, was a member of SWRT from episode 1 through episode 17.

Matt is the author of The Auriga Project, a scifi thriller, Scrivener Superpowers, a how-to book for writers, and the forthcoming Tales of the Republic, a serialized novel set in a specualtive future. He also founded the Indie Author Society, an organization that offers community and support for indie authors. When he’s not bending words to his will, Matt likes to climb mountains, throw a frisbee for his Boxer mutt, Elsa, and travel to expand his mind. Learn more about him and his books at

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