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August 9, 2020
What do you sound like, as a writer? CONSUME: “Exercises in Style” by Raymond Queneau (excerpt: https://monoskop.org/images/4/49/Queneau_Raymond_Exercises_in_Style_pp_1-26.pdf) CREATE: Find a piece of writing you like. Sit with that work and think about what grabs you. Find the DNA of that work and what it is that you identify with. Now write a 200-400 story in the style of that piece of writing. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
July 24, 2020
You write in the here and now. CONSUME: “Girls, at Play” by Celeste Ng https://blr.med.nyu.edu/content/archive/2010/fall/girlsatplay CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story about a chase. Your last line is a cliffhanger, a tease for the next part of this chase. Use only active voice and present tense.  Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
July 10, 2020
You are intrigued by second person narratives. CONSUME: GirlsArePretty.com CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story in Second Person POV that begins with “You knew it was a bad idea, but you did it anyway.” And ends with “You still have 20 more to go.” Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
June 26, 2020
What's there that's not there? CONSUME: “Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumaker CREATE: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Create a character (a person, a place or a thing, really. Doesn’t have to be a human being.) And write a list of everything they do not have, everything they do not want, everything they are not, everything they cannot or will not do. Ignore story structure and just focus on the things that your central character is not. Keep writing until time is up. Save your story and come back to it later. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
June 12, 2020
What is the shape of your narrative? CONSUME: “17776 Football” by Jon Bois https://www.sbnation.com/a/17776-football CREATE: Write a 100 word story with a beginning, middle and end. Write another 100 word story with completely different characters and completely different action. But take one character, place, or idea from the first story and incorporate it in here.Write one more 100 word story using an entirely different character and place and action. But bring that connective tissue from the first two stories into this one, something that connects all three together. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
May 29, 2020
How are you doing? CONSUME: The podcast Our Plague Year https://ourplagueyear.libsyn.com/ and the webcomic Valley Ghouls https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/valley-ghouls/list?title_no=330059&page=1 CREATE: Think of a true story from your past. One that does not seem to have anything to do with the present moment. Tell that story, in as little or as many words as you need. But do so while thinking about it through the lens of this moment in your life. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
May 15, 2020
How strong is your satire? CONSUME: Two podcasts: "A Very Fatal Murder" and "This Sounds Serious." Both podcasts are a riff on the true crime podcast format. Both use satire. Listen to the first episode of each of those shows, and think about what you learn from each satirical take on true crime. https://radiopublic.com/this-sounds-serious-Wk2kMx/s1!127a3 https://radiopublic.com/a-very-fatal-murder-G2wNv0/s1!44a4f#t=2 CREATE: Choose a person you generally disagree with. Now write a 200-400 word opinion column in that person's voice. Make their argument that thing you disagree with. Every word should support what you would never support, but the tone should clearly indicate the opposite. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
May 1, 2020
Writing what's absurd. CONSUME: Clip from You, the Living. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOwpd2I_4mo CREATE: Write a 200 word description of your home. Make it realistic and true. Now edit that piece. Change the logic of its layout. With each sentence, think about the logical and expected conclusion, and then twist it into something impossible or totally out of left field. Make sure your readers never know where it's going to go. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
April 17, 2020
When do you use stage directions, and how descriptive do you get? CONSUME: "How to use stage directions" by Sam Graber https://samgraber.com/2017/02/21/how-to-use-stage-directions/ CREATE: Write a 200-400 word scene for two characters that includes the stage direction “[They/He/She Flies].” Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
April 3, 2020
Failure is scary but it can also be interesting and even fruitful. Consume: “How to Speak Poetry” by Leonard Cohen: https://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/leonard-cohen-how-to-spea.html Create: Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write a murder mystery. Title that “1”. Then repeat the process with an entirely new murder mystery. Title that “2”. Repeat it a third time, again with an entirely new mystery. Title that “3”. Come back the next day and give yourself 30 minutes to edit these mysteries as best as you can. Put them in one document and title the document “Three Attempts to Tell a Murder Mystery”. You have now, in one hour, created a complete piece in which the point was the possibility of failure. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com
March 20, 2020
Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again? Consume: Magnus Archives podcast Create: Pick a job. Write a 200-400 word monologue for someone in that job, directed to their customers or constituency. Use your writing to set the tone for that relationship. Give it a beginning, middle and end, and make sure it reveals something about that character: they make a choice with consequences, they expose a secret, etc. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
March 6, 2020
Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again? Consume: Have You Heard George’s Podcast by George the Poet Create: Open up a file you're stuck on. Go to the Random Classical Painting Generator. In 200 words describe the painting, but describe it in context of whatever your working on. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
February 21, 2020
What does it mean to tell your story honestly? Consume: Moonface by James Kim Create: Take a moment in your life in which you remember exactly how you felt. Think through all the details of your feelings. How did the feelings start? How did they develop? What happened to those feelings? Tell that story. Except: change every other factual detail. Create a fictional story about someone who is not you, doing something you weren’t doing. It could be a member of a biker gang in the 50s or an alien in some distant future world. But keep the honest details of your feelings there. See how the honesty of your feeling affects the otherwise fictional story. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
February 7, 2020
A lot of writing is fine-tuning your writing, or creating clever structure, but the most important thing is the story itself. Consume: Read “Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado. Create: Write a 200-400 word story with the following outline: - A is with B. - A loses B. - A makes a choice that brings B back. - A and B are back together, but different as a result of that choice. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
January 24, 2020
We’re live from Boston with special guest Bilal Dardai, alum of the Neo-Futurist theater company and writer for the podcast “Unwell.” In this episode we talk about writing specifically for performance. Consume: Gnome Sane by Joey Rizzolo, New York Neo-Futurists Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written by Joseph Fink and performed by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor, and the live audience. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents.  http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
January 10, 2020
Outlining your story is like a puzzle for plot. In this episode, we talk about how mapping out what will happen before you start writing gives your story shape, and makes it much easier to write. This way, you can land a satisfying ending and give focus to your process to free your brain up for new discoveries. Consume: Listen to The Shadows, a six-episode podcast series by Kaitlin Prest. Create: Write a six section outline with a max word count of 60 words for each section. Give your project a beginning, middle, and end. Have the character’s growth matches the plot, and that the ending is set up by the structure. The goal is to figure out what happens within each section. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
November 29, 2019
We talk a lot about creating with enough speed to turn writing into habit, but working slowly puts the finish line so far out of sight that you can focus on something other than the final outcome. Slowness is a way to make something big by allowing you to break your writing down into manageable parts, and gives you enough space to enjoy the process. It also means you can work a little bit on something everyday, even if you don’t know what it is yet. ** **Consume: The Taxonomy of Air, a visual art piece by Susan D’Amato Create: Every day for one week, set aside the time to write three sentences. For the first four days, just get those sentences out and don't think about the bigger picture. On day five, start thinking about where the piece is going. For the last three days, bring the piece to an end. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
November 15, 2019
Your writing needs a message. The way you deliver this message is up to you. Repetition is one way to get this message across. There’s almost a magic power in centering on a message, spiraling outward, and circling back to the message again and again. In this episode, we talk about using repetition to review an idea, create rhythm, reinforce comprehension, drive emphasis, and to disorient. Consume: Song Exploder Episode 28: The Long Winters - The Commander Thinks Aloud Create: Come up with a 3-10 word phrase. Now write a 200-word story and use your exact phrase at least 5 times. Concentrate on each iteration’s meaning, and how the repetition of the phrase affects your story.  Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).  Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents.  http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
November 1, 2019
In writing, words are you currency. So how can you maximize your spending on a budget? In this episode, we talk about how word counts can break up longer projects into achievable goals, are a form of accountability in your own process, and influence how your audience perceives your work. Plus, we discuss how knowing your own voice will help you decide how many words you want to dedicate to describing something in great detail or with great efficiency.  Consume: Geoff Ryman’s novel 253. Learn more about it on Wikipedia and access it on Archive.org Create: Use a random number generator to generate ten numbers between 1-100. These ten numbers are now your word counts for each section of a ten paragraph writing piece. Follow the counts exactly and pay attention to how the word counts impact the pacing and flow. For added difficulty, find a way to let the word count influence the content of the story. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
October 18, 2019
Working quickly means you can create faster than your doubt. In this episode, we talk about how using speed as a writing technique can be freeing and helpful. From setting timers to making word counts, writing without pausing allows you to simply get your ideas out now for you to shape later. Consume: Listen to the album, “All Hail West Texas” by The Mountain Goats Create: Set a timer for 7 minutes and write without stopping on the topic “Orange.” Then put your work aside for at least a day. After a day or two, set a timer for 23 minutes to edit and refine your piece. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now: http://startwiththispodcast.com Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
October 4, 2019
Stereo is a powerful, audio-specific tool that can fill out a sound in the same way that we experience sound in the world. We talk about how using stereo wisely can invite your listener’s imagination to get involved by differentiating speaking voices, putting them in a specific setting, and by creating weird or unexpected moments.  Consume: Listen Nickel Creek’s album, “A Dotted Line” Create: Record a 1-minute audio piece that uses stereo in at least two different ways: to differentiate speaking voices, to put the listener in a specific space or setting, and to subvert the listener’s expectations or play a game with the listener. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now: http://startwiththispodcast.com Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).  Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents.  http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
September 20, 2019
There will always be something to improve about your writing, but you can’t revise forever. We talk about developing processes so you know what to improve, how to improve it, and when to finish punching up your piece.  Consume: Read “The Lifespan of a Fact” by Jim Fingal and John D'Agata Create: Write 100 words of a story, incorporating a randomly generated phrase into the first sentence. Use another random phrase in your next 100 words. Finally, use one last random phrase in the last sentence of your story. Now go through and punch up your 200 word story, deleting those generated phrases and replacing them with words of your own.  Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now: http://startwiththispodcast.com Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).  Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents.  http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
September 6, 2019
Have you ever had a big deadline and all of a sudden you have to listen to that new audiobook? In this episode, we talk about how anxiety about your writing can lead to moments like this. Then we discuss ways to motivate yourself from steering into the skid, to doing achievable tasks, as well as how taking care of your body and mind affects your creative work.  Consume: Listen to Mark Can’t Rap with British poet Mark Grist  Create: Set a calendar alert for 5 days in a row to spend 10 mins writing non-stop.  Each day, write about a different body part. At the end of the 5 days, put each of the sections together and look at the experimental novel you’ve created. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now: http://startwiththispodcast.com Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).  Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents.  http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
August 23, 2019
The heart of a good podcast isn’t in expensive mics or a nice  studio— it’s in the idea. We talk through four litmus tests to test the strength of your idea: specificity, novelty, practicality, and repeatability. Honing in on these elements will help you uncover what’s exciting about your idea, and what will make it successful. While this episode focuses on podcasting, these tests are good to consider for any artistic idea. Consume: Listen to The Worst Idea of All Time and think about how it’s specific, novel, practical, and repeatable. Create: Take a podcast (or any artistic idea) idea you have and walk through the four litmus tests. Specificity: Write the one sentence elevator pitch for your podcast. Novelty: Write one sentence about what makes your podcast different. Repeatability: Write one to two sentences to describe what Episode 40 would sound like, or what the arc of your limited series would be. Practicality: Make a list of equipment, people, and how much time you’ll need for each episode Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now: http://startwiththispodcast.com Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
August 16, 2019
Here’s a short preview of our second members-only bonus Q&A episode. To hear the whole thing and to ask your own follow-up questions, join our community: http://patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com  http://www.nightvalepresents.com
August 9, 2019
Poetry can be intimidating. It’s more technical than prose, and there’s an extensive world of theory and study behind it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with it in your writing, and even be good at it! In this episode, Jeffrey and Joseph talk about how we naturally use poetic elements in our everyday speech, and how it can lend structure to get to the heart of what you’re describing. Consume: Read Ballad in A by Cathy Park Hong. Try to read it aloud if you can! Then check out this short feature article on Cathy Park Hong and her use of the univocalic. Create: Write a 4-line, rhyming, univocalic poem. That means you pick a vowel and use only that vowel when you write. It doesn’t have to be good, just done! Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale today: http://startwiththispodcast.com Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or post it on our members message board. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
July 26, 2019
We think the joy of a podcast is the personal relationship you develop with the podcasters you listen to. It’s a unique medium that creates a listening experience just for you. This direct line of communication is a tool, a gift, and a responsibility. In this episode, we talk about how to create while being aware of the listener's presence.  Consume: Listen to an episode of Sleep With Me  Create: Write and record a 2-minute piece about your listener. In the process, keep the 5 W’s in mind as they relate to your listener: who, what, where, when, and why. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
July 12, 2019
Silence can be terrifying— Any moment that you’re not creating sound can feel a moment when you’re not keeping your listener’s attention. But silence is incredibly attention grabbing, and if done right can be one of the most valuable tools in any artist’s arsenal. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about how, at its core, silence is a structural element of audio, and how using it adjusts your sense of time, tension, and lends rhythm to your work. Consume: Night Vale Live Ghost Stories Create: Record a 1-2 min piece that is at least 25% silent. Use silence in a way that would change the meaning of the piece if it were removed.   Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
June 28, 2019
When do you let a project go, and why might you want to move on in the first place? Jeffrey and Joseph discuss the fine line between knowing when to trash a project and when to recycle it into something new. The willingness to let go of the art you consume and create can be really freeing. Thinking of art as truly disposable might even encourage you to try a new medium that you may not be as familiar with.  Consume: Listen to 20 short episodes from 20 different poets from IndieFeed: Performance Poetry. Create: Write a 2-minute, 250-word story about a wedding reception. Refine it a bit. Now, completely delete it! Then, write a 2-minute story about a bird. Record and/or share this one.  Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
June 14, 2019
Writing dialogue can be daunting because you can’t rely own your own narrative voice— the characters have to speak for themselves. Joseph and Jeffrey deconstruct the popular advice that every line of dialogue has to move the plot forward, to talk instead about how the best dialogue is the kind that serves your story. Consume: Listen to Episode 1 of Steal The Stars, a podcast by Mac Rogers. Pay close attention to each line of dialogue and what it does for the story. Create: Write a 200-word, two-character dialogue. If you’re writing for audio, the recorded piece should come out to about 2 minutes. The first line of your piece must be, “Put the milk on the table” and the last line must be,  “We are really only at the beginning.” Keep the purpose of the dialogue in mind as you write. If you’re feeling ambitious, try it again with a different reason for the dialogue. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about the show by wearing our logo on your torso: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
May 31, 2019
At its core, a game is a set of fun rules. From acrostic poems to following mathematical progressions, games can take the pressure off of creating and let you have fun making your art. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about the idea of games in creative work, how playing them can provide instant structure, and how watching someone attempt to succeed is instantly captivating. Consume: Episode 49 “Re: The Moon” of the podcast, Imaginary Advice Create: Play the game that Ross Sutherland sets up in this episode of Imaginary Advice, “Re: The Moon.” Create three different statements about the moon following the convention, “The moon is a [adjective] [noun].” The adjectives and nouns can’t come from you. Flip through a book, use a random word generator, or use some other source. Then use those statements as the first sentence of three different paragraphs that tell a story. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Logo shirts now available on our online store: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
May 17, 2019
How can you create something with only the most bare elements? There’s a lot you can do with just a story, a microphone, and a voice. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about the virtues of single-voice narrators, budgeting, and how to make a podcast or any kind of art in its most direct and affordable form. Consume: Listen to the fiction podcast “Gone,” about a person who finds themself alone in the world after everyone else has vanished. It’s entirely written, narrated, and produced by Sunny Moraine. Create: Find two items in your kitchen and figure out what noises you can make with them. Let that sound inspire you. Now write and record a 2 minute audio story (200-250 words) incorporating this sound. Or if you’re not a podcaster, use those items to inspire your written story (or visual art piece) Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Get Rob Wilson’s excellent logo for the show on a t-shirt today: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
May 3, 2019
Jeffrey and Joseph talk the history of their collaboration, and how working together made them better writers in their own right. Then they discuss the qualities they’re attracted to in potential collaborators, and the value they’ve found in working together. Consume: Listen to the podcast, Our Debut Album hosted by Dave Shumka and Graham Clark of Stop Podcasting Yourself. (Start with at least the first 2 episodes) Create: Play “Handsome Cadaver” with a co-writer to generate a 500-word audio story. Alternate sentences. Be honest with your story. Then find a performer and record them reading the script without giving any direction. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
April 26, 2019
Jeffrey and Joseph answer listener questions for Episode 1 (Idea to Execution) and Episode 2 (Know Your Limitations). Join the SWT Membership community to gain access to this full episode, to ask your own questions, and see what other listeners are making. https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
April 19, 2019
Our art is personal so sometimes receiving feedback can feel overwhelming. In this episode, Jeffrey and Joseph talk about how to give and receive comments beyond “it was good,” or “it was bad.” They outline four steps to help get and give useful responses: give permission, set specific parameters, have a limit, and evaluate what was helpful. Consume: Read up on Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process Create: Write (and record if you’re a podcaster) a 2-minute piece (that’s about 200-250 words) about a fight between two people. Don’t work it too much. When you post it: 1. Ask for feedback 2. Set parameters for what feedback you want 3. Limit the feedback to an exact number of responses 4. Thank your responders once you’ve reached that number Then go and give feedback to someone else who’s given permission for responses. Be respectful of your own and other people’s limits. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Brand new logo t-shirts available now: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
April 5, 2019
How do you deal with the limitation of an inherently audio-only medium? Jeffrey and Joseph discuss how artistic restrictions and resource limitations can become advantages that help you jumpstart a new creative path. Consume: The graphic novel, Here by Richard McGuire. If you don’t have immediate access to this book, do a quick google search to get the idea and check out this Guardian review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/17/chris-ware-here-richard-mcguire-review-graphic-novel Create: Use a random number generator to select one thing from each list. Then write and record a 2-minute monologue incorporating each of the 3 random elements. (If you can, try setting the bluegrass song behind your piece and see what it does to the piece.) 100 Greatest Bluegrass Songs (incorporate the song title in your piece): https://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_country/best_bluegrass_songs.html Most Populated US Cities List (incorporate the city): http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/ World’s 50 Best Foods List (incorporate at least one sentence or phrase from your food item description): http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/world-best-food-dishes/index.html Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
March 22, 2019
There’s natural talent, and then there’s practice. You can only control that last bit. Joseph and Jeffrey talk building habits of creation so that starting projects gets into your muscle memory. Consume: Check out Jonathan Mann’s Song A Day Youtube channel. Jonathan’s been writing and recording a song a day for over 3,000 days— it’s the ultimate example of flexing the habit of creation. Create: Pick an idea that you’ve had for a while. Take exactly 1 hour to work on it exclusively. This can be one continuous hour, or 30 minutes for two days, or 10 minutes for six days. Then put it out there (written or recorded) on our Membership Community, your website, or shout it to a bird from your porch. Consider this your first try of many at this idea. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
March 8, 2019
The creators of Welcome to Night Vale Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink believe the only bad writing is not writing. Start With This is a podcast gone creativity playground designed to put your ideas in motion. Each episode centers around a topic from world building, to opening lines, and even failure. Then they give listeners two short assignments: something to consume and something to create. Join the Start With This membership forum to share your work with other listeners. You might just find a creative partner in the process. Jeffrey and Joseph want you to start creating, one assignment at a time because the best way to start writing, is to start writing. Not sure where to begin? Start With This. Episodes air every other Friday. The first episode airs Friday, March 22nd. Subscribe for free at startwiththispodcast.com.
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