Tag: resources

writing resources and reference

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg has been satirised for being pompous, but as the presenter of In Our Time I have always found him to be a good proxy for the listener: inquisitive, attentive, and engaging.

The format of the programme (this is BBC radio – it is not a “show”) is simple: three experts on a subject talk about the development of an idea from its earliest appearance to the end of its time, and then describe its impact on modern thinking. The subjects are varied, and range quite frequently from the history of a particular battle (eg Thermopylae) to a scientific theory (eg evolution) and then on to a particular book (eg Dubliners).

I enjoy listening to this show enormously, and have done ever since it started airing after Melvyn Bragg’s elevation to the House of Lords, back when I could listen to it live on the radio, but I point it out here because it is such a terrific source of ideas: want to know what it might have been like to live in a plague-ridden Europw? There is an episode about that. Interested in the development of theories of particle physics? That has been covered occasionally.

So, off you go. There’s hundreds of hours of fascinating radio to listen to there, and only some of it unlistenably pompous.

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Writing Excuses

Hurray for Writing Excuses!

Writing Excuses is a podcast where a passel of published pensmiths perorate profusely pertaining to prose.

I’m afraid I am letting my enthusiasm overwhelm me. Writing Excuses is a commendably succinct podcast with a regular cast of, yes, published pensmiths with occasional featured guests discuss a writing topic. For example, the seven point story structure, or how to write for roleplaying, or astronomy for writers (that one struck a deep chord with me…). Sometimes the subject is too large to fit easily into the fifteen minute format and they will break it across two episodes (for example when they were critiquing an outline) but this is very rare.

But the discussion is always to the point, and easily fits into an early Monday time slot with your first coffee of the day. There is an extensive archive of previous episodes which is certainly worth mining for inspiration.

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Terrible Minds

Terrible Minds

Chuck Wendig is an author with a salty turn of phrase and a dark imagination. He is also a purveyor of, as he puts, dubious writing wisdom.

I’ve been reading Chuck’s blog for a while now, and his lists of 25 things about writing and the business of writing are opinionated, often instructive, and equally often laden with strong language (so, that easily offended person over there? Not appropriate. Sorry). He sells these lists collected as ebooks, and I think they’re worth buying. I have all of them on my portable reading device, and return to them regularly for a top up of Chuck’s choice phrasing.

His fiction is vivid, and underlines to me that he knows enough for it to be worth listening to his advice. I have his Miriam Black books loaded up on the Kindle too. They are exquisitely paced pulp stories, realising the consequences of a horrible idea – that the protagonist can see how people will die. It’s pretty dark stuff, sometimes difficult to keep reading but always hard to put down.

So, that’s Chuck – go and visit him. He won’t bite unless you ask him to.

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