Story Works Round Table

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

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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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SWRT 081 | Designing Covers with Daria Brennan

Can an author do their own cover? What is it like to work with a professional cover designer? And how should you start the process? Explore market and genre conventions, as well as some tricky pitfalls of wanting a person on your cover. We even talk about how hard it was to find the houses for Alida’s covers!

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SWRT 080 | The Story Premise

What is a premise and how elaborate does it need to be? Does a premise limit your imagination or story? How do you know if you have a full premise, or just a piece of the story? And how long should you work on that premise?

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SWRT 079 | Approaches to Revision

We’ve all heard the advice to rest your manuscripts before you revise, but how much is that really necessary? When is it a beneficial tool, and when should you dive right into your revision passes? What are some tools we can use to better look at our manuscripts? And how can you change your perspective in order to uncover more flaws in your writing?

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SWRT 078 | Fatal Flaw

What is a fatal flaw? And how can you develop one for your character? How should the fatal flaw be resolved through your book or series? And how can you keep your characters irrational behavior believable to your readers? Remember that a stories endpoint and a flaws true resolution doesn’t have to be the same thing. Now dig deep into your characters past and find that fatal flaw!

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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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