Cover image of The Creative Writer's Toolbelt
(62)
Arts
Books

The Creative Writer's Toolbelt

Updated 9 days ago

Arts
Books
Read more

The Creative Writers Toolbelt gives practical accessible advice and encouragement to Creative writers.Each episode explores an aspect of creative writing technique, with examples, allowing you to apply what you learn immediately to your writing. We also throw in the occasional interview with writers and other artists, exploring their wisdom on subjects like story, style, character and the writing process

Read more

The Creative Writers Toolbelt gives practical accessible advice and encouragement to Creative writers.Each episode explores an aspect of creative writing technique, with examples, allowing you to apply what you learn immediately to your writing. We also throw in the occasional interview with writers and other artists, exploring their wisdom on subjects like story, style, character and the writing process

iTunes Ratings

62 Ratings
Average Ratings
52
4
3
2
1

Excellent resource for new writers

By NewYA writer - Sep 13 2019
Read more
Very clear and well presented practical tools and techniques given with clear example. Great structure to the podcast summing up at end resources and techniques explored. Starting at the beginning each builds into the next. Great backtracking at the start to refresh what was covered previously. Excellent resource!

Informative and Not Dull

By BiGGPaINS - Jun 06 2019
Read more
I really enjoy this podcast. I wish they put out more than one a month. It’s a great listen. Keep up the good work!

iTunes Ratings

62 Ratings
Average Ratings
52
4
3
2
1

Excellent resource for new writers

By NewYA writer - Sep 13 2019
Read more
Very clear and well presented practical tools and techniques given with clear example. Great structure to the podcast summing up at end resources and techniques explored. Starting at the beginning each builds into the next. Great backtracking at the start to refresh what was covered previously. Excellent resource!

Informative and Not Dull

By BiGGPaINS - Jun 06 2019
Read more
I really enjoy this podcast. I wish they put out more than one a month. It’s a great listen. Keep up the good work!
Cover image of The Creative Writer's Toolbelt

The Creative Writer's Toolbelt

Latest release on Jan 16, 2020

Read more

The Creative Writers Toolbelt gives practical accessible advice and encouragement to Creative writers.Each episode explores an aspect of creative writing technique, with examples, allowing you to apply what you learn immediately to your writing. We also throw in the occasional interview with writers and other artists, exploring their wisdom on subjects like story, style, character and the writing process

Rank #1: Episode 47 - Get 'em off the couch! Goals motivation and passion as the driving forces for your characters

Podcast cover
Read more
Jeanne Cavelos, the Director of the Odyssey Writing Workshop says that the number one piece of advice she gives to writers is this: give your character a goal. It's so easy for us to create pet characters who just sit on the couch, docile and useless in our story. We may love these creations but they slow the narrative, and bore the reader. So how do we get our characters engaged, and working with our story not against it? Simple, we follow Jeanne's advice and give them a goal (or goals), as well as some strong motivation, and a driving passion as part of who they are.

Oct 15 2015

12mins

Play

Rank #2: Episode 149 Cops and Writers! Tips for authoring your police procedural with Wendy H Jones and Sergeant Patrick O'Donnell

Podcast cover
Read more
One of the most popular genres for fiction writers is the murder mystery or police procedural. But this is also a genre where writers can easily get things wrong. In this episode I'm joined by crime writer Wendy H Jones and we speak to Patrick O’Donnell, a serving officer with 25 years of experience in a large city police department in the US. In this conversation we cover: responding to a homicide, the arrest and court process, hostage situations, and what writers usually get wrong with police work.

Nov 02 2019

1hr 24mins

Play

Rank #3: Episode 89 - Power up your prose! Making sentences paragraphs and scenes work for you

Podcast cover
Read more
In this episode we look at the way in which the building blocks of prose: the sentence, the paragraph, and the scene, work. We explore the fundamental principle that drives all of them, and how you can use these structural tools to enhance your work and captivate your reader

Jan 07 2017

18mins

Play

Rank #4: Episode 141 So why did it take you 10 years to write this book? And other awkward questions for writers

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode features a conversation with me about my book "The Centauri Survivors" which is published today, and explores some of the lessons any author can learn as publication day approaches. I'm the guest for this one and the questions are being asked by my friend Wendy H. Jones. In this episode we explore issues like: the biggest mistakes I made along the way, the difficult decisions I had to make in editing, and why every author, however experienced they are, gets nervous just before publication.

Aug 01 2019

28mins

Play

Rank #5: Episode 39 - Harnessing the power of human psychology for your story

Podcast cover
Read more
In this episode we start to explore the third of the six stages of story, and answer the question: how can we make this tricky middle section of our work as compelling and excellent as possible? The answer comes from knowing one of the fundamental truths of human psychology: we all love a challenge, and we all love to see others challenged. This episode explores how to harness this truth in the third stage of story, and capture readers and keep them all the way through to the end.

Jun 25 2015

17mins

Play

Rank #6: Episode 100: Reflecting on the best advice and insight from one hundred episodes of the Creative Writer's Toolbelt with writer editor and fellow podcaster Sarah Werner

Podcast cover
Read more
After just over three years the Creative Writer's Toolbelt reaches 100 episodes! To mark the occasion I'm reflecting on some of the best advice and insight I've received over that time, and to do that I am joined by writer, editor, speaker and fellow podcaster Sarah Werner. In our conversation I ask Sarah some great questions(!) and we reflect on story structure, character, setting, genre, research and the writers life. I'll also give you an update on the Handbook, which is due out in October, and there's news about the "Writer's Jumpstart" conference which is in London on November 11th, where I will be speaking with Scottish Crime writer Wendy H Jones.

May 20 2017

49mins

Play

Rank #7: Episode 53 - Perfecting the devil. How to create a deliciously wicked antagonist

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode is all about the protagonist's nemesis, the antagonist. Traditionally seen as 'the bad guy' the antagonist's real function in a story is to contend with, and oppose, the protagonist at every step. In this episode we look at ways in which the antagonist can have their own character arc, with some characters switching into or out of the antagonist's role. We'll also look at the five strategies you can use to create the delicious antagonist, from a painful but convincing backstory to a personal connection with the protagonist, and from a firm belief in their own cause to good behaviour and an excellent dress sense. Welcome to the dark side of your story!

Jan 07 2016

16mins

Play

Rank #8: Episode 145: Own it! How to take charge of your own destiny as a writer with Abidemi Sanusi

Podcast cover
Read more
My guest for this episode is Abidemi Sanusi. Abidemi is a Nigerian born former human rights worker turned author, and has been writing and publishing books across multiple genres for fifteen years. Her novel, Eyo, about a 10 year old girl trafficked to the UK with promises of a better life, was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. She's also the founder of abidemi.tv, the website for ambitious writers', and she provides business success templates for freelance writers. A self-confessed tech geek, she is also the founder of writethemes.com - gorgeous Wordpress themes for writers that turn their Wordpress website visitors into paying fans.

Sep 10 2019

1hr 4mins

Play

Rank #9: Episode 52 - Superfood for the writer's brain

Podcast cover
Read more
In this episode, released on Christmas Day 2015, we take time out from the usual teaching and interviews for a few minutes to reflect on the relentless nature of the writer's life. Maybe the best way to keep up the pace with our writing is to take a break and give something back to that creative part of our brain that we've worked so hard. The festive season is a particularly good time to indulge in some "Superfood" for our minds, and reawaken the wonder and curiosity again.

Dec 25 2015

6mins

Play

Rank #10: Episode 60 'Writing the Other' with Nisi Shawl and Daniel José Older

Podcast cover
Read more
How should we present characters from a range of different backgrounds in our work? How can we portray these characters with integrity and respect, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and ability? And how can we navigate this issue with confidence, especially if we come from a group that is perceived to be privileged? Most us will need to present characters in our work who are not like us in some which is socially determined as important. So for example differences in race, and gender, and sexual orientation are currently determined by society as important. Dealing with these differences is the critical cultural issue for writers today, and to help us tackle it, I've invited the writer and journalist Nisi Shawl (www.nisishawl.com), and the writer, composer and musician Daniel José Older (www.danieljoseolder.net), to join me on the Creative Writer's Toolbelt. This conversation is essential listening for anyone who is serious about dealing successfully with the challenge of 'writing the other'.

Mar 30 2016

1hr 1min

Play

Rank #11: Episode 20 - Building a story from the ground up

Podcast cover
Read more
It's time to start planning that story, but with so many aspects to creative writing and the creative process being such a subjective and mysterious thing, how do you plan? In this episode we explore the dimensions to a story and how to balance the discipline of structure with the flexibility to harness imagination

Oct 18 2014

11mins

Play

Rank #12: Episode 122 - You’re not reading you're performing! A conversation with audiobook narrator Sean Pratt

Podcast cover
Read more
"It's a performance, not a reading", so says audio narration expert Sean Pratt. Sean has 30 years experience as an actor and voice-over artist, and in 22 years as an audiobook narrator, he has worked on close to 1,000 projects. In this episode, he lifts the lid on the audiobook business and gives us writers some expert tips on speaking well at public events, including book readings. He also tells us what an author needs to know if they decide to narrate their own book.

Jun 13 2018

49mins

Play

Rank #13: Episode 97 - If you only get one thing right in your writing make it this

Podcast cover
Read more
As of this month (April 2017) I’m working hard on the Creative Writer's Toolbelt Handbook. As I look back on nearly 100 episodes I’ve realized that there's one fundamental thing we writers have to do to create great work, and it's this: be authentic! In this episode we explore what it is to be authentic, and we look at some practical tools to achieve that authenticity.

Apr 03 2017

17mins

Play

Rank #14: Episode 21 The Fundamentals of Plot

Podcast cover
Read more
We've started on the process of building a story from the ground up, and we're going to kick off with plot. In this episode we look at three aspects of plot: the shape of the story, the engine of the plot, and the danger of cliches

Nov 01 2014

13mins

Play

Rank #15: Episode 36 - The DNA of Story. The six stage model of great storylines

Podcast cover
Read more
How do stories work? What are the stages in a story, and what are the objectives of those different stages? Understanding the answers to these questions will help you understand the way a great story can be constructed. In this episode we delve a bit deeper into the concept of the six stage story process, and show how this model represents the DNA of great stories, and how you can apply the model to inform and improve your writing

May 16 2015

15mins

Play

Rank #16: Episode 57 - Outstanding performance in a supporting role - making your supporting characters excellent

Podcast cover
Read more
It's no surprise that many of the principles that we use to develop our lead characters also apply to our supporting cast. The critical objectives with our supporting characters are the same, we need to create characters with a strong, believable essence, and clear goals and motivation, and then we need to deploy them effectively to support both the main characters and the story. We can do this by ensuring these characters have a strong backstory, even if they have just a walk on part, and we can draw on a range of sources including our imagination, caricature, and people we know in real life to build the composite character for our story.

Feb 18 2016

15mins

Play

Rank #17: Episode 3 - Sparse and Specific Description

Podcast cover
Read more
How to use a small number of very specific descriptive cues to show your reader both scene and character

Feb 16 2014

11mins

Play

Rank #18: Episode 124 A conversation with Book Coach and Literary Agent Sandra O'Donnell (Part 1 of 2)

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode is a conversation with Dr Sandra O'Donnell, founding partner of RO Literary. Sandra is a book coach and literary agent, and author of "Your first fifteen pages" an agent's guide to writing a novel that editors will publish and readers will buy. This is the first of two episodes featuring my conversation with Sandra; in this episode, we look at where submissions go wrong, the essential ingredients for the first fifteen pages of your novel, and what readers really want.

Jul 29 2018

43mins

Play

Rank #19: Episode 125 A conversation with Book Coach and Literary Agent Sandra O'Donnell (Part 2 of 2)

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode is the second part of a conversation I had with Dr Sandra O'Donnell, founding partner of RO Literary. Sandra is a book coach and literary agent, and author of "Your first fifteen pages" an agent's guide to writing a novel that editors will publish and readers will buy. In this episode, we look at how the 'why' of your novel has to hook the reader, how character and place work with the inciting incident and Sandra gives us her advice on mastering 3rd person Point of View in the ensemble story. We also discuss three of the most useful tools a writer can use: Airtable, Grammarly, and Story Grid.

Aug 03 2018

43mins

Play

Rank #20: Episode 110 - Why writing is hard work and how to keep doing it anyway

Podcast cover
Read more
In this episode we explore the unavoidable truth that writing is really hard work. We look at why that is the case and think about ways to acknowledge this truth, and keep writing anyway. We learn the one fundamental truth about writing that everyone from the most obscure writer to the likes of Stephen King will tell you, and we identify three 'tools' for the toolbelt to help us keep going with our writing even when it's tough going.

Jan 11 2018

16mins

Play

Episode 155 Dana Kaye saves the day! Branding Marketing and a Crisis Consultation if you need it. With branding and marketing expert Dana Kaye

Podcast cover
Read more
Writing is hard, branding and marketing can be even harder! So I was delighted to have the chance to talk to branding and marketing expert Dana Kaye. Dana works with authors to develop a coherent authentic brand, and effective and innovating marketing initiatives.

Jan 16 2020

1hr 20mins

Play

Episode 154 - From perseverance to publication. A conversation with writer and speaker Joan E Histon

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode features a friend of mine who has worked hard to overcome the issues so many of us writers face. Joan Histon is a writer, a speaker, and a spiritual director. She has faced the kinds of challenges and obstacles that you and I have faced with our writing, and yet she overcome these, and has now published a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, and she has a three-book publishing deal. How did she get there? How did she power through to the success she has now had? I invite you to continue listening to find out.

Jan 10 2020

39mins

Play

Episode 153 Kandy Kingdom's Most Wanted! A conversation with Greg Millman

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode is a conversation with Hollywood script writer, ad exec, and YA author Gregg Millman. Gregg has been on the writing teams for documentaries, films and TV series, and more recently has worked with a number of global brands across a range of media and platforms.In this episode we talk about the process by which TV drama’s get written, how advertising works, and the power of editing. We also talk about the changing nature of YA writing, the importance of the book cover, and how complementary characters can enhance the story.

Dec 20 2019

39mins

Play

Episode 152 - From the page to the stage, with Tony Award winning Broadway producer Ken Davenport

Podcast cover
Read more
Have you ever wanted to write for the theatre but haven’t had the incentive or help to get do it? Have you ever wondered what makes a Broadway producer decide to bring a show to the bright lights and the big stage? Well you are about to find out because this episode is a conversation with Tony award winning Broadway producer Ken Davenport. Ken shares his insights for writing and launching your work.

Dec 05 2019

32mins

Play

Episode 151 - Do it without having to prove you're good! Encouragement for the writer's life with Cynthia Morris

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode can be summed up with a single, wonderful word: encouragement! My guest is the author, artist, and coach Cynthia Morris, and in this episode we discuss the fears writer's feel, the need to be kind to ourselves, and how we should sneak up on ourselves to write something great.

Nov 29 2019

1hr 10mins

Play

Episode 150 - 'Trust the truth; trust your writing.' A conversation with the Pope's Astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno

Podcast cover
Read more
Do you trust your work? Do you trust yourself enough to let your work go wherever it wants to go, to be authentic? That’s one of the questions, and challenges I explore with my guest in this episode of the podcast. His name is Brother Guy Consolmagno, and he is a Jesuit Brother and also an MIT trained research astronomer and he is currently the Director of the Vatican Observatory, making him in colloquial terms, the Pope’s Astronomer.

Nov 16 2019

38mins

Play

Episode 149 Cops and Writers! Tips for authoring your police procedural with Wendy H Jones and Sergeant Patrick O'Donnell

Podcast cover
Read more
One of the most popular genres for fiction writers is the murder mystery or police procedural. But this is also a genre where writers can easily get things wrong. In this episode I'm joined by crime writer Wendy H Jones and we speak to Patrick O’Donnell, a serving officer with 25 years of experience in a large city police department in the US. In this conversation we cover: responding to a homicide, the arrest and court process, hostage situations, and what writers usually get wrong with police work.

Nov 02 2019

1hr 24mins

Play

Episode 148 - More than Pandas! The renaissance in Chinese Science Fiction and what it means for readers and writers in the West

Podcast cover
Read more
This is a special episode examining the rise in the popularity and influence of Chinese Science Fiction. In the last twenty years, Chinese Sci Fi has flourished across a range of media, spurred by successes like Liu Cixin's Hugo Award-winning novel The Three-Body Problem, and this year's Chinese funded and created movie The Wandering Earth. In this episode I talk to two writers: Chen Qiufan and Peng Simeng, and an editor, Gabrielle Wei of Science Fiction World, all based in China, to discuss the issues that are important to Chinese writers and to find out what opportunities writers from the West might have in this newly emerging market.

Sep 28 2019

54mins

Play

Episode 147 - Perseverance branding and podcasting for writers with Sarah Werner

Podcast cover
Read more
My guest for this episode is my friend Sarah Werner. Sarah is a creator, producer, and encourager of fellow creatives. She is also the host of the 'Write Now' and 'Girl In Space' podcasts. Sarah always manages to combine warmth and wisdom in what she says, and in this conversation she shares insights and practical tips for developing perseverance and resilience as a creative, developing a brand for ourselves and our work, and the why and how of creating your own podcast as a writer.

Sep 28 2019

42mins

Play

Episode 146 - A request to hear about YOUR writing challenges and it's time for a story!

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode starts with a request. Tell me your writing challenges! What are the technical craft problems you're facing? Give me the challenge of research and presenting a solution for you and all of us here on the podcast. Also, it's story time. Sit back and listen to the original, unpublished opening chapter to 'The Centauri Survivors' my recently published novel.

Sep 18 2019

22mins

Play

Episode 145: Own it! How to take charge of your own destiny as a writer with Abidemi Sanusi

Podcast cover
Read more
My guest for this episode is Abidemi Sanusi. Abidemi is a Nigerian born former human rights worker turned author, and has been writing and publishing books across multiple genres for fifteen years. Her novel, Eyo, about a 10 year old girl trafficked to the UK with promises of a better life, was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. She's also the founder of abidemi.tv, the website for ambitious writers', and she provides business success templates for freelance writers. A self-confessed tech geek, she is also the founder of writethemes.com - gorgeous Wordpress themes for writers that turn their Wordpress website visitors into paying fans.

Sep 10 2019

1hr 4mins

Play

Episode 144 What writers can learn from 'Emeralds of Oz'. A conversation with Peter Guzzardi

Podcast cover
Read more
My guest for this episode has spent over 40 years in the publishing business, editing everyone from Professor Stephen Hawking to Douglas Adams. And now it's his turn to write a book rather than edit one, and so Peter has written "Emeralds of Oz: Life Lessons from Over the Rainbow" a look at the wisdom we can glean from one of the greatest films ever made, which went out on general release on this date 25th August, exactly 80 years ago.

Aug 24 2019

53mins

Play

Episode 143 Disrupted! How self-publishing became the most significant thing to happen to the publishing business for centuries - with Orna Ross

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode is the second part of my conversation with Orna Ross: poet, author and founder and Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). Here Orna and I discuss the amazing impact of self-publishing, the rise of the indie author, the priorities for indie authors, the challenges that they face, and how they can benefit from being part of ALLi, the largest global non-profit organisation for independent authors.

Aug 16 2019

19mins

Play

Episode 142 The renaissance in poetry: new opportunities in poetic expression with Orna Ross

Podcast cover
Read more
The combination of new social media platforms and the rise of opportunities for self publishing has led to an amazing renaissance in poetry and poetic expression, both digitally and on the page. This is truly an exciting time for poets, and there are lots of new opportunities for poetic expression opening up. In this episode I talk to award winning author, poet, and founder and director of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Orna Ross about her work and the ways in which new and established poets can take advantage of the resources that are available.

Aug 13 2019

19mins

Play

Episode 141 So why did it take you 10 years to write this book? And other awkward questions for writers

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode features a conversation with me about my book "The Centauri Survivors" which is published today, and explores some of the lessons any author can learn as publication day approaches. I'm the guest for this one and the questions are being asked by my friend Wendy H. Jones. In this episode we explore issues like: the biggest mistakes I made along the way, the difficult decisions I had to make in editing, and why every author, however experienced they are, gets nervous just before publication.

Aug 01 2019

28mins

Play

Episode 140 How to work with your development editor. With Amanda Rutter and examples from The Centauri Survivors

Podcast cover
Read more
Writers are becoming more convinced of the need to use professionals to help them with their work, and one of the essential members of the team is the Development Editor. But what do Development Editors do and how can they add value? In this episode I talk to my development editor Amanda Rutter who worked with me on my book The Centauri Survivors. We explore how writers should approach this stage of the edit, and how to get the best out of the relationship with your Development Editor.

Jul 27 2019

57mins

Play

Episode 139 When characters go rogue.

Podcast cover
Read more
This episode is a response to an issue I’ve been discussing with a listener. We talked about characters who seem to take over the story, who depart from the script and, as the title of this podcast suggests, go rogue. In this episode we look at what a rogue character is, why characters go rogue and what you can do about it.

Jul 13 2019

13mins

Play

Episode 138 "The smell of saffron; the shadow of war". Writing and publishing out of a non-Western background with Dr Pamela Fernandes

Podcast cover
Read more
Pamela Fernandes is a writer and doctor. She escaped the first Gulf War with her family, fleeing to India. Since then she has lived in Asia, the US, and the Middle East and writes both fiction and non-fiction, drawing on her personal and professional experience. In this episode we discuss the challenges of writing in less popular genres, how to capture and keep your reader, and never giving up on a project.

Jul 01 2019

54mins

Play

Episode 137 Tools and markets for the Indie Author. With Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy.com

Podcast cover
Read more
As I prepare for the launch this summer of "The Centauri Survivors" my YA SciFi novel, I have been using the services of Reedsy.com, and so I caught up with co-founder Ricardo Fayet to talk about Reedsy Discovery: https://reedsy.com/discovery a service that allows you to showcase your new publication, the free Reedsy Book Editor: https://reedsy.com/write-a-book, and Reedsy's marketplace for writers. We also talk about why now really is the very best time to be publishing your own book.

May 23 2019

25mins

Play

Episode 136 Your guide for the journey. The work of the sensitivity reader with Patrice Williams Marks

Podcast cover
Read more
We all want to introduce diverse characters into our work and not be afraid to tackle difficult social and cultural themes, but can we be sure we're getting the tricky issues right? Sensitivity readers like my guest Patrice Williams Marks can help us navigate and master the challenge of avoiding naivete and offence in the way we present our characters.

Apr 02 2019

1hr 2mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

62 Ratings
Average Ratings
52
4
3
2
1

Excellent resource for new writers

By NewYA writer - Sep 13 2019
Read more
Very clear and well presented practical tools and techniques given with clear example. Great structure to the podcast summing up at end resources and techniques explored. Starting at the beginning each builds into the next. Great backtracking at the start to refresh what was covered previously. Excellent resource!

Informative and Not Dull

By BiGGPaINS - Jun 06 2019
Read more
I really enjoy this podcast. I wish they put out more than one a month. It’s a great listen. Keep up the good work!