WriterDojo S1 Ep14: Supporter Spectacular (Round 1)

Hey all- Jack Wylder here.
This week on the WriterDojo, the guys start answering the questions sent in by our supporters. (Next week will be Round 2)
Thank you, folks- it really means a lot. (Especially to me and Steve who still have day jobs) 🙂

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/writerdojo/id1581703261

Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/writerdojo

Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy80ZTMyNmU1Yy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/fxhj56si

Radio Public: https://radiopublic.com/writerdojo-6vP0qX

RSS: https://anchor.fm/s/4e326e5c/podcast/rss

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2X7bG3PMqln9ZKinIDjs27 )

YouTube: https://youtu.be/4xO_cyy5CFs

Our sponsor this week is Jason Cordova’s A Christmas Surprise (The Littlest Kaiju Book 1) It’s only $.99 (or free with Kindle Unlimited)- heck of a deal! Doesn’t every Christmas story need a kaiju?



WriterDojo S1 EP15: Supporter Spectacular (Round 2)
Do I unfairly Paint the left with a broad brush?

23 thoughts on “WriterDojo S1 Ep14: Supporter Spectacular (Round 1)”

  1. Awesome content, as usual. It’s an interesting thing to learn about Steve that his way of showing his affection and gratitude is to have you gratuitously murdered. That, and his statement as to why he writes horror lead me to say this Steve: I’m a counselor I can suggest a number of very good clinicians who can provide help. (I kid, of course.)

    Side note: that short story ad has me intrigued, and I will probably be buying it.

  2. Hi Jack, this is a request for your Canadian readers, can you also post a sponsor link to amazon.ca?
    When I migrated my account across the border, I lost the ability to buy kindle content from amazon.com and I want to make sure you get the referral bonus.

    1. If you access Amazon through any of those book links over there —–> all purchases will kick a small tip into Larry’s tip jay 😀

  3. Since it’s Thanksgiving, I’ll be a fanboy for a change. Thank you, Larry. I appreciate your stories. You world building and characters are great. It’s my hope you are able to tell stories for quite awhile more. Thank you also for the Writer’s Dojo. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on story composition. Thanks also to Jack. Thanks to Jack, not only because he works so hard on this page; but he also puts up with my sending him web links to post when I cannot.

  4. I really enjoyed the episode. I appreciate the answer to sponsor questions. Learnt a lot and took the sometimes frank advice to heart.
    I have one that’s similar to worldbuilding: how to infodump properly?

    One thing I noticed, Larry seems distant from the mike because even with earphones, he speaks as if he were far away. By contrast, Steve is 5 X 5.

    Perhaps, Larry’s manly voice would blow up the sound system, so he needs to keep his distance from the mike 🙂

    I really enjoy the podcast and please continue as long as you can.


    1. Sorry about that- little bit of carry over from back when I was still out of it. The next one will also be a little challenging, sound-wise, but we’ll get back on course very soon.

      1. Note: I listen to the podcasts through Podcast Addict, not Apple Podcasts.

        The volume has been a serious problem with the series so far. It seems like the default volume is cut way down, so that I have to crank up the volume on my phone and my bluetooth speaker. My normal volume settings work just fine for every podcast but this one.

        I hope the problem is on your end, and it’s not somebody at Apple or Podcast Addict ratfucking the podcast.

        1. The last couple had some issues because I was down and out. As for the others, it’s all about finding the right balance- some people say it’s too loud, some people say it’s too quiet. If I have an equal number on each side I call it a win.

    2. “[H]ow to infodump properly?”

      Short answer: It cannot be done. Specifically, YOU cannot do it.

      Long answer:

      Info-dump: Large chunk of indigestible expository matter intended to explain the background situation. Info-dumps can be covert, as in fake newspaper or “Encyclopedia Galactica” articles, or overt, in which all action stops as the author assumes center stage and lectures. Info-dumps are also known as “expository lumps.” The use of brief, deft, inoffensive info-dumps is known as “kuttnering,” after Henry Kuttner. When information is worked unobtrusively into the story’s basic structure, this is known as “heinleining.”
      –Bruce Sterling, “The Turkey City Lexicon”, Paragons

      A data dump example from James Clavell, Shogun:

      Protestant Netherlands had been at war with Catholic Spain for more than four decades, struggling to throw off the yoke of their hated Spanish masters. The Netherlands, sometimes called Holland, Dutchland, or the Low Countries, were still legally part of the Spanish Empire. England, their only allies, the first country in Christendom to break with the Papal Court at Rome and become Protestant some seventy-odd years ago, had also been warring on Spain for the last twenty years, and openly allied with the Dutch for a decade.

      Note: This is the fourth paragraph of the novel.

      Read that paragraph again. Again. One more time. What is happening there?


      The plot stands stock still during that paragraph.

      Is there a better way?

      There is kuttnering:

      Having turned on the power, Unthahorsten suddenly realized that the Box was empty. Which wouldn’t do at all. The device needed a control, a three-dimensional solid which would react to the conditions of another age. Otherwise Unthahorsten couldn’t tell, on the machine’s return, where and when it had been. Whereas a solid in the Box would automatically be subject to the entropy and cosmic-ray bombardment of the other era, and Untahorsten could measure the changes, both qualitative and quantitative, when the machine returned. The Calculators could then get to work and, presently, tell Untahorsten that the Box had briefly visited A.D. 1,000,000, A.D. 1000 or A.D. 1, as the case might be.
      –Henry Kuttner, Mimsy were the Borogroves

      The plot does not stop moving, but it slows to a crawl.

      Then there is heinleining:

      I always get the shakes before a drop. I’ve had the injections, of course, and hypnotic preparation, and it stands to reason that I can’t really be afraid. The ship’s psychiatrist has checked my brain waves and asked me silly questions while I was asleep and he tells me that it isn’t fear, it isn’t anything important – it’s just like the trembling of an eager race horse in the starting gate.
      –Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

      There is so much packed in here that I need pages to explain it all. That I am not going to do. That is left as an exercise for the reader.

      Now I will tell you writings’ dirty little secret about data dumping.

      Everybody does it.

      Remember: Data dumping is like fucking sheep: it satisfies the urge, but it is not the kind of thing you talk about in polite company.

      1. I read this and wondered how Neal Stephenson would fit into this categorization.

        Is it just me, or does the way NS leans into the baroque and detailed explanatory content fall into the category of ‘data dump’ as you’ve laid out here.

        He typically peppers such things with ironic or clever trivia and asides which keep me engaged, mind you (in contrast to the dry-as-toast Clavell quote you have above).

        It’s almost as if rather than trying to avoid data dumps, NS simply makes a meal of it and has fun along the way. This is probably also part of the reason his books are 950 pages long. 🙂

        1. Scott ONEILL, Thank you for engaging. Makes life more interesting.

          Neal Stephenson’s dumps are still dumps. Even when those dumps amuse the reader, the plot stops moving.

          I recall a dump from Snowcrash:
          These were words of wisdom. Y.T. bought the wheels. Each one consists of a hub with many stout spokes. Each spoke telescopes in five sections. On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom, swiveling on a ball joint. As the wheels roll, the feet plant themselves one at a time, almost glomming into one continuous tire. If you surf over a bump, the spokes retract to pass over it. If you surf over a chuckhole, the robo-prongs plumb its asphalty depths. Either way, the shock is thereby absorbed, no thuds, smacks, vibrations, or chunks will make their way into the plank or the Converse hightops with which you tread it. The a was right you cannot be a professional road surfer without smartwheels.

          This is a glib, gee-whiz, Gernsback dump. (Gernsback stuffed 12 issues of Modern Electrics with Ralph 124C 41 . It is gee-whiz scifi with no plot deserving the name. You can find it at gutenberg.org.) AFAIK Stephenson never again refers to the gee-whiz element of the smartwheels. They do not add to the plot. The one time he later refers to the ability of the smartwheels to do things, the explanation is not necessary. We see how the smartwheels work. We do not need the schematics.

          Besides, the smartwheels described here are bullshit. In practice, they fail. There is a reason the wheel as we know it has been in use for ten millennia.

          "NS simply makes a meal of it and has fun along the way."
          Good to hear he has fun, 'cause I don't. Stephenson's dump is still a dump. You may like it, and that is okay. Some people like Picasso's cubist period.

          1. Well, you sure have a strong point of view. It’s good to know what you like and what you don’t like.

            I think I will continue to resist the notion of dogma in writing. I’ll suggest that writing is art, and art is subjective. I’m alert enough to note that references to sheep and Picasso make it clear what your preferences are. That’s cool.

            I think that for some writing, part of the point might just be the data dumps. If you’re writing a taut Chandleresque narrative… yeah, I get it. Plot plot plot, march march march. For other stuff, sometimes the point isn’t to get to New York City as fast as you can on the road trip. Sometimes you stop and fuck around at the roadside attraction with the world’s largest ball of snot. Or, if you are Stephenson, you write pages of baroquely bureaucratic and clever government memos about toilet paper in Snow Crash. Or you digress in Cryptonomicon with a deep dive into the erotic life of someone who only gets off on or near antique furniture.

            To each their own, I guess.

  5. This episode inspired me to stop THINKING about becoming a supporter of the podcast and actually do it.

    Is there a community/group/board or similar devoted to the 50+ supporters of WriterDojo?

    If there was ever a presorted group of people who I’d like to talk with more frequently, I strongly suspect that this group falls into that category.

    If there is NOT already such a group, I’d gladly create/host/administer one.

    1. That’s awesome- thank you!
      We talked about it, but we already have so many groups that for now we’re just using Larry’s Facebook and MeWe groups. (If we decide to change that you’ll be one of the first to know.)
      Truly- we appreciate your support 🙂

      1. Gotcha, thanks Jack. I’ll figure out the MeWe thing because… well, because Facebook can bite me. 🙂

        Can I ask how you folks solicited questions for these episodes? Emails?

        1. We asked all the Supporters to send me their email addresses- here, on MeWe, Facebork, etc. Still didn’t get them all though 🙁
          One of the biggest ways they could improve their service would be to automatically send us the emails of the people backing us.
          If I don’t have your email, please send it to me at: Names@WriterDojo.com or to CorreiaTech1911@gmail.com

    2. Scott ONEILL, I recommend baensbar.net. Become a Barfly. It is FREE. And if you ever meet Jason Sanford, punch that motherfucker in the face.

  6. correia45, “Yeah, but Neal Stephenson has sold more books than you. ????”

    I so stipulate. So has Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. That is a commercial argument. It is measurable and objective. This argument is about writing quality. It is subjective.

    I have read much of Neal Stephenson. I like him and his work. But I still believe I can find elements of his work to critique. No matter. Stephenson writes well enough to sell. That is what counts.

    Can I write as well as Stephenson? You be the judge:
    Skid Row ‘Bots : https://www.amazon.com/Skid-short-story-science-fiction-ebook/dp/B007WHDIMG/
    Heart of Stone : https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Stone-h-lynn-keith-ebook/dp/B006K99PQA/

  7. Scott ONEILL, “Well, you sure have a strong point of view.”

    Thank you. What is the worth of a weak opinion?

    “I think I will continue to resist the notion of dogma in writing.”

    And so shall I. Perhaps I did not make my argument clear. There are no rules in writing, only guidelines. The guideline against data dumps is strong, but every writer does dumps. I liked Asimov’s Encyclopedia Galactica quotes in Foundation.

    A story:

    I yielded to a wicked muse and wrote an experiment titled ‘Rain’. (Well, wonder of wonders! I thought this story lost, but I found it on a flash drive.) Here is the opening paragraph:

    Down, down, down to the World it plummets, space seed, seed pod, capsule spat from the mouth of the dark ship that winks into being above the World, ship that winks at the World’s two suns, winks at the strange stars, and winks to otherwhere with a nod and a wink to the mechanics of quantum flight. Down, down the pod blazes through the burning blue sky, encircling the World with its firetail, searing away speed and weightlessness and sky-longing hopes. Down the space-seed-pod-capsule falls until it ruptures in pod-splitting, seed-shaking, heart-breaking thunder and belches forth a spacesuited man whose drogue pops open yanks out his orange ‘chute that whooshes to fullness and the man below swings once, then twice, then thuds to the orange-ochre earth as fragments of the space-seed-pod-capsule rain around raising rooster-tail plumes of orange and ochre and yellow dust.

    I pounded out Rain, printed it, paid to make 20 copies, and hurried off to offer it up to my sf writing group, the Slug Tribe. Among writing groups, the Slug Tribe was the best of the best. Its membership included two SFWA editors and three SFWA writers. On this night, all five were there.

    My turn came and I passed around the copies. When the reading time ended and the verbal comments began, the editors exploded on me. “You break this rule and this rule and this rule.” Wannabees told me this and that was wrong but struggled to tell me why it was wrong and admitted that it could not be changed.

    Then came Pat. Pat’s opinion mattered because she won Best Fantasy Short Story that year. “I like it,” she said. “I like the sing-song, and I think the present tense works. It sweeps me up and carries me into the story.” Lo and behold, the Tribe split in opinion. About two-thirds sided with the editors, about a third with Pat. Both sides were vehement in their opinions and expressed them with increasing volume as the discussion continued.

    That is when I knew that I had found an audience. I did not have to please everyone. One in three is enough, more than enough.

    Oh, BTW, I submitted Rain to BYU’s forum. They declined it, but returned the story with review comments. Two of the three reviewers hated it. The third loved it.

    Like I said. I found an audience.

    (Maybe I will publish Rain on Amazon as a Christmas present to myself.)

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