Story Works Round Table

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

SWRT 005: Soggy Middle Problem

Alida, Kathryn, and Robert discuss the soggy middle problem and what to do about it. Keep your action interesting and stakes and tension rising throughout the entire story. VIDEO AUDIO SHOW NOTES   What is a soggy middle? And what kind of writers tend to have...

read more

SWRT 004 | Genre Series: Mystery, Characters

What is a cozy mystery? And how do you develop the right cast of characters to fit inside of one? What skills to they need? And who do they need around them? We discuss genre conventions for mysteries in general, and cozy mysteries specifically. Don’t forget your law enforcement, or your red herrings!

read more

SWRT 003 | Genre Series: Dark Fiction with Lisa von Biela

We welcome special guest, Lisa von Biela, to the Story Works Round Table this week to launch a series on genre fiction. Lisa has numerous dark, horror, speculative stories published, primarily with Dark Fuse. We talk about inspiration, plotting, and the twists of...

read more

SWRT 34: Developing Your Supporting Characters

How do you develop supporting characters? What goes into them versus your protagonist? How do you move them from plot device to fully fleshed being? And what role should they play? Above all how do you keep them from all sounding the same?

read more

SWRT 33: How to End Your Story

How do you know when to end your story? And how do you deliver your ending in a way that leaves readers thinking about your story and character for days? Be deliberate about what you leave unresolved, and don’t let that ending be disappointing! Above all make sure your protagonist takes center stage. And don’t be fooled by our decoy endings.

read more

SWRT 32: Stakes & Tension

What is the difference between stakes, tension and danger, and how can we use them correctly to create a compelling story? How do you increase stakes without ending the world? And why should they be personal to your protagonist? How do you make readers really feel the tension? Use these three to craft a surprising story, no matter your genre.

read more

SWRT 31: Action Scenes!

What is an action scene? And how should you go about building one? Why is it so important to choreograph your action? And how can you use your narrator to bring clarity? Don’t forget about your senses, using anticipation, and making sure that reader feels what you are trying to convey.

read more

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

Get Your FREE Guide to ReVision

Join hundreds of Word Essential Writers to receive inspirational writing tips and advice.

Thanks for subscribing! Look for a confirmation email in your inbox.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This