Story Works Round Table

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

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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SWRT 30: Dialogue–dialects, gestures, tags, pet peeves

What are some problems that authors encounter with dialogue? Should you give your character an accent or dialect? And how should you represent that on the page? What makes for good dialogue tags and action beats? We talk pet peeves, our own dialogue tics we struggle with and Include some very entertaining examples of what not to do from Robert!

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SWRT 29: Hooks-Premise & Opening

What is a hook? And what are the different functions they can serve in a novel? How do you craft an opening hook, and what things should you keep in mind as you do? And finally, don’t forget about the value that first sentence can have on your whole work.

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SWRT 28: Third Person Point of View

What is the third person point of view and why is it so popular? How do you use multiple points of view in the third person? And what are the pitfalls that authors encounter? How do you know if a character has earned their point of view? And whose point of view should your next scene be written in?

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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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