Story Works Round Table

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

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SWRT 092 | Going Deeper with Emotional Risks part 2

In part two of our conversation about taking emotional risks, we talk about what the “truth” is in our writing. How do we get to the emotional truth? And how do we take care of ourselves when we do get there? We also discuss the difference between the value of your experience, and the way that we can convey that to readers. Plus we have a special bonus segment specific to Creative Non-Fiction writers!

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SWRT 091 | Going Deeper into Emotional Risks

Why are we compelled by the truth in our lives? And how can we make art out of emotional risks? When should we protect the people we’ve written about rather than publish our work? And how do you deal with your reality in writing, whether in fiction or nonfiction?

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SWRT 090 | Writing Otherness

We start with a listener question about writing a culture that is not our own, and take off on a journey of writing what you don’t know, or the “other”. Why is it a political hot potato? And how can you be careful in your writing? We talk about the problem of stereotypes, and our own view from the “white middle class”. In the end it all comes down to being careful, researching well, and writing from a place of deep empathy for your whole character!

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SWRT 089 | Setting: Story Places Based on Real Places

What are the advantages and pitfalls of using real places and names in your writing? What should you fictionalize, and what can you leave the same? It all comes down to genre expectations, how close to reality you want to be, and not pulling your readers out of your story!

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SWRT 087 | 2019 New Year New Goals

This week, Alida, Kathryn, and Robert discuss the year to come. If you haven't already, listen to last week's show, 2018 Year in Review. We get into not only where we'd like to be heading, but will keep us motivated with lots of tips, tricks, and recommendations. I've...

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SWRT 086 | 2018 Year in Review

What did we learn from 2018? Did we meet our goals? And do we struggle to see ourselves as writers? Alida gives us a challenge for 2019, and we hope you will join in too!

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SWRT 085 | Antagonistic Forces

If your story doesn’t have a bad guy, what do you have? How can you use stories about nature or society to craft a non-personified antagonist? Do you have to have characters involved? And are these external, or internal forces? What effect does this have on your story? And how can you keep a reader interested?

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SWRT 084 | Taking Emotional Risks in Your Fiction

Why is it important to take emotional risks in your writing? And why is it easier for some writers and not for others? When should you take the risks? And how does it change from fiction to creative non-fiction? Letting your mess onto the page can turn a good story into a great story, and it all starts with what you are passionate about.

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SWRT 083 | The Intersection of Script-writing & Novel-writing

What is the difference between script writing for the screen, and novel writing? How do the writing processes overlap? And how beneficial is the established collaboration within screenwriting? What are the benefits (and pitfalls) of the technicalities and structure of screenwriting as a novel writer? And are we tapping into our knowledge of film? Go out and study structure, story, and screenwriting! An informed writer is a better writer!

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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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