Story Works Round Table

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

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SWRT 033 | Backstory

What is backstory? And how is it used in your story? What is the difference between backstory and history? How do you know when backstory is needed? And how should you interweave it into your story?

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SWRT 032 | Resting the Writer’s Brain

Welcome back Robert! Since Robert just got back from a recent trip, we dive into the idea of travel. Are we travelers? And how far do you have to go to refresh your writing brain? What if you can’t afford to travel? And should your travel involve writing? What are the benefits of breaking out of your routine? And how should you record your travel for later?

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SWRT 031 | Writing Skills, part 2

What are some benefits of writing short? How can you make sure your writing is working for your readers? And what are some challenges we face as writers? Finally we talk about what process to go through as you seek to improve your writing!

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SWRT 030 | Writing Skills with Steve Peha

How do you make writing interesting to kids? How can you evaluate any kind of writing to make it better? And how do you get anyone, regardless of their age, excited and passionate about creating great writing? We explore six traits of writing, how to find your writing territory, and the importance of publishing your work.

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SWRT 029 | Emotional Wounds & Character Arcs

What is a character arc? What are the three kinds of character arcs and four main components of a character arc? How can you use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to help with pre-writing? And how present does your characters wound need to be? Should you state it outright? Or should you weave it into the narrative? How many of your characters need wounds? And how can it affect your antagonist? Finally we discuss the details of finding your wound, and what it might do to your character.

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SWRT 028 | Emotional Wounds

We sit down with Becca Puglisi to talk all things Emotional Wounds, and other writing resources. We talk about the resources she has for writers, and how they can be used in a wide range of applications. How can we use them to help show rather than tell, and make your writing richer and more immersive? We talk about writing challenging personal things, how to use character growth to challenge readers and why context is so important. And what is the difference between a villain and protagonist?

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SWRT 027 | First Person Point of View

  Alida, Kathryn, and Robert discuss the first person point of view (1st person POV). We get into strengths and weaknesses, a common misconception, and the popularity of first person in YA and NA fiction. Before you listen to this episode make sure you have listened...

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SWRT 026 | Writing Villains

Is writing villains easy? How can you develop a villain without a point of view? Is a villain always seen as evil? How can you get into your villains head? Can we effectively troubleshoot our own villains? And what about writing them with a point of view? So take your villain, give them a good shave and a motivation and get writing!

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SWRT 025 | Re-readable Books

Should all authors aspire to write a re-readable book? Does it have to be re-readable in order to be enjoyable? What can we learn from books we have re-read? We talk about reasons we re-read books, get deep into a food analogy, and leave you with a large list of our favorites we hope you enjoy!

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SWRT 024 | Twists

What is a twist and how do you separate it from your typical surprising ending? Do all twists have to be massive plot level revelations? And is a twist just a gimmick? Should all books have twists? And at what point in your story should your twist arrive? Finally – we discuss how all stories can have twists and challenge everyone to write one of their own!

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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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