Category Archives: The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt Podcast

Blogs directly relating to an episode of the podcast, The Creative Writer’s Toolbeltwordpres

The writer’s imperative: be authentic

If you only get one thing right with your writing, make it this… BE AUTHENTIC

Being authentic means being true to how a story would unfold, how a character would behave. It doesn’t mean what you say has to have happened, it does mean that the reader has to believe it could happen.…/episo…/2017-04-03T00_00_00-07_00

The attractive character is the honest character. She is the character in whom we see the keenest desires, the most poignant failures, and the most cherished hopes.

Episode 98 – How to look after yourself and not be a jerk…Living the writer’s life well, with Marie Bilodeau and Derek Künsken

This episode is a conversation with Ottawa based speculative writers Marie Bilodeau and Derek Künsken. We explore how to live the writer’s life well, and what it means to follow the navy maxim that we need to be able to float, sail and shoot. We explore Marie’s experiences with retreats, and Derek’s experiences with sabbaticals, and we reflect on Derek’s best advice for writers: Don’t be a jerk!

Available on iTunes and Stitcher as well as Podomatic




CWT Ep 96 – Different routes into publishing: Interview with Wendy H Jones and Ryan Dalton

This episode is a conversation with two authors who have come to publication by different routes. Wendy H Jones has self published crime fiction with the DI Shona McKenzie series, and a book on marketing for authors, she has also traditionally published a YA novel. Ryan Dalton is the author of the Time Shift Trilogy, and the first book in that series, his debut novel, The Year of Lightening was published in January 2016, Book 2 in the series The Black Tempest is published in April of this year.

You can access the podcast via podomatic from here and iTunes from here.

CWT Episode 95 – Into the crucible – empowering your work with symbol dilemma and innovation

In episodes 92 and 94 we explored the landscape of genre and trope, theme and moral, and in this episode we continue that exploration with a look at symbol and motif. We step back to look at how all of these aspects of creative writing are connected and how we can use the power of symbols, the fascination with dilemma, and the potential to subvert tropes as tools to empower our work.

CWT Episode 94 – Jesse Pinkman meets Lady Macbeth. Themes ethics and morality in your story

In this episode we explore the right and wrong way to handle themes in our work. We say ‘no’ to preaching and lecturing the reader, and ‘yes’ to weaving the themes we want to present into the story, and giving the engagement of the characters with those themes real consequences. We explore some great examples of how themes can be explored in story, from Elizabeth and Darcy to Harry Potter, and Jesse Pinkman to Lady Macbeth

The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt Handbook

I have CWT Handbook news!

Some of you will know that I’m in the process of bringing the very best of what will be the first 100 episodes of the podcast together in book form. I’ll be publishing this in the autumn of 2017 as The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt Handbook, and it will contain the very best advice and insight from the first 100 episodes of the podcast.

I’ve now got the first draft of the cover art for that book finished, you can see a decent rendering of it here.

I’m really looking forward to bringing you the finished product in the autumn, and I’ll giveyou more news as I get it on this project.

CWT Ep 93 – Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky

This episode is an interview with award winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky.  Adrian and I talk about the long road to producing publishable quality material, how to work with genres and their tropes, the writer’s life, and why it’s always helpful to have a contact at the Natural History Museum.

On iTunes from here and podomatic from here.

Episode 92 – A home and a market for your story. Navigating your way around trope and genre

What genre does your story fit into? And how can you use the tropes of that genre to make your story fresh, original, and compelling? In this episode we explore the challenge of identifying the genre or genres of your story, and looking at way to embrace the tropes of that genre by re-imagining them and subverting them to keep your work interesting and cliche free.

On iTunes from here and Podomatic from here.



The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt Episode 91 – Stay on target! How to write a great action scene

For this episode I am again joined by Jessi Rita Hoffman. Jessi is a former publishing house editor-in-chief and award-winning magazine editor now offers professional book editing services and author coaching. In this episode Jessi and I discuss the key elements of the action scene. From the need to keep the prose tight, to managing the rising tension, from dumping those ‘hedge’ words, to not telling us how much your protagonist is bleeding. Remember – keep the girl, or guy, fighting!