Episode 1: Introduction


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Episode 1: Introduction Transcript

Hi, my friends.

Welcome to Amie Kaufman on Writing, a short podcast that answers one question each week about how writers do what they do.

If you’re a writer, or you’re a reader interested in how your favourite authors craft their stories, then you’re in the right place.

This is Season 1, Episode 1.

This season, we’re going to cover lots of topics: worldbuilding—how to do it and how to show it—figuring out who your protagonist is and where your story starts, dealing with writer’s block or getting stuck, figuring out where to end a chapter, plotting techniques and more. But in this first episode, I want to talk a little about why this stuff matters so much to me.

Stories are incredible things. They transport us around the world, or to other worlds, and introduce us to lives we never imagined. But they also introduce us to the lives of the people just next door to us, and to their secrets and their hopes and their battles.

We’ve been telling stories as long as we’ve been communicating. We told them around our first campfires. This tradition that began with sitting together, firelight flickering, dark outside our circle, a storyteller’s voice transporting us to a different time and place — it’s what links us to every human who’s ever lived. Storytellers can change minds and hearts, and bridge gaps, and just as important, stories are just a good time.

I can’t escape the fact that this podcast is launching at a really difficult time for all of us. By which I mean, just… the whole of 2020. We need our stories more than ever—both for the good times, and for the journeys into others’ hearts.

Every tradition has its storytellers, and I want to talk about how they craft their stories. I am really excited to get started. In this episode I’m going to tell you a little about who I am, and what to expect. Then from next episode, which is up in the feed right now, we’ll dive into practical craft stuff and exercises you can try—whether you’re a reader or a writer.

I always find it a little tricky to blow my own trumpet, but I spend a lot of time telling the writers I mentor – and a desire to spread that mentoring around is one of the reasons I’m doing this – I always tell them that they shouldn’t hesitate to let the world know about their achievements.

So, who am I and why should you listen to what I have to say?

I’m a full time author with thirteen books out, and a bunch more just around the corner. They include Illuminae, Aurora Rising, These Broken Stars, Ice Wolves and others. I support my family with my writing income. I’m a New York Times bestseller, a USA Today, Sunday Times, Indie and international bestseller. My books have been published in many countries and many languages, they’ve won awards, they’re in development for film and TV, and I’ve been telling stories as long as I can remember.

I love digging into the craft of what we do when we write. I love figuring out why something scares me, or why I’m holding my breath when I read, or what the author just did to make me mutter at the book that I’m reading.

And when we learn about this stuff, we add it to our toolbox. And that means that when we need to do something in our story, or fix something in our story, we’ve got this variety of tips and techniques that we can pull out of our tookbox to try.

So what’s the plan for the podcast? I’ll come out once a week, and be five minutes long, maybe a couple over. I’m not going to cut it short if I’ve got a great example that takes a minute or two to unpack. But the idea is to be quick: you can listen while you make a cup of coffee or take a quick break.

Each episode will answer one question about the art and craft of writing. Over the seasons to come, we’ll talk about big picture things like getting inspired, and the nuts and bolts, like adding suspense to a specific moment in your story. Sometimes I’ll ask an author friend to help me out, if we’re talking about an area they specialize in. And at the end of each episode I’ll give you a quick exercise for homework, and I’ve designed them so you can do them whether you’re a reader or a writer. The exercise is optional, of course, but it’ll be a way to put what we’ve just talked about into practice, and that can help consolidate what you’ve just learned.

My hope is that as well as listening week by week, you’ll be able to delve back into the podcast, and the answers you need when you come across a specific problem that needs solving in your own work. I’ll be maintaining an index of episode topics on my website to make that easy to do, as well as transcripts of each episode, in case you need or prefer to read them.

The back catalogue of episodes is a resource that will be there any time you hit a snag.

The last episode of each month will run a few minutes longer, and I’ll recommend a book I’ve read lately, because all writers should be reading widely.

Where will the questions come from? Well, that is where you have a part to play. Head to amiekaufman.com/podcast to submit yours, and you might hear it on an upcoming episode.

So that’s the plan. One five minute or so question and answer every week, building up to, I hope, a treasure trove of a toolbox. The next episode is also up right now, so you can get listening. I’m really excited about this season, and I hope that you’ll subscribe and tune in each week—the subscriptions  in particular really please the algorithms, helping new listeners find the podcast, and the same goes for reviews – of course this especially matters at the start.

The next episode is waiting for you right now – it’s about where to start when you’re worldbuilding, and it’s for writers and readers of every genre, not just science fiction or fantasy.

You can find me at my website, which is at amiekaufman.com – you can subscribe to my newsletter there, for behind-the-scenes peeks at how I write, and any other news about new books, events or the podcast. And remember, you can also submit a question for the podcast on my website. You can find me on instagram at @AmieKaufmanAuthor or on twitter at @AmieKaufman. This podcast is produced by the lovely Kate Armstrong, host of one of my favourite podcasts, The Exploress, which time travels through women’s history one era at a time. You can find her at theexploresspodcast.com.

For now, thanks so much for listening – enjoy your reading, and enjoy your writing.


Have a Question?

You can submit your question using the form using the form on the main podcast page — if you’re stuck on one aspect of your work, or you’re wondering how your favourite author pulled something off, we’d love to hear from you!


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