Story Works Round Table

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

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SWRT 099 | How to Prioritize Projects & When to Walk Away

This week, Alida, Robert, and Kathryn discuss the problem of multiple projects. Our listener Deanna wanted to know how should we prioritize what to work on when we have multiple projects and no specific deadline? The question raised the issues of carrying multiple projects, productivity and making progress, how to set up priorities, and the role of passion in your writing life. Then we addressed Kathryn’s question: when do you walk away? Is walking away always a bad thing? Should you be a “completer?” We touch on taking lessons learned with you and the evolution of ideas.

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SWRT 098 | Capturing Your Character’s Shadow Side

What is the shadow side? And how should we use it in our stories? How do we develop a shadow side? And how does it humanize our characters? Remember that you must get into your characters head, show their motivations, and make a change throughout your story! So use that shadow side to help you craft a character readers want to live vicariously through.

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SWRT 097 | Writing with Humor

How do we encounter humor in fiction? Does it inspire or frustrate us as writers? How do you craft humor? What kinds of humor are there? And isn’t humor more of an audible medium? How do you learn to write humor? We dive into the benefits of studying improv, and offer some resources to learn more!

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SWRT 095 | Subplots

What exactly is a subplot? When do you need them? Who should they revolve around? And can they really alleviate the soggy middle syndrome? And please don’t forget your characters have lives too! Don’t make them live entirely in the main plot line.

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SWRT 093 | 5 Steps to Drafting with Motivation & Momentum

Carlee shares five tools to help us through our drafting process, whether you are in first draft or revision! We talk about setting goals, using focused writing time, keeping a log, as well as a visual progress meter, and rewarding yourself at the completion of a project. Carlee also talks about her experience with group accountability and how key it was to finishing her draft. Remember! We’re doing an accountability challenge in our Facebook group this year! Join us today!

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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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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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