The Great Writers Steal Podcast: Giano Cromley, author of What We Build Upon the Ruins

 

Download the podcast

Visit Mr. Cromley’s web site:

http://www.gianocromley.com/ Continue Reading

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s THE WIFE BETWEEN US and Evoking Empathy for Both the Ex-Wife and Her Replacement

Nellie is a beautiful young teacher who spends her days caring for little children.  Pretty soon, she’ll be caring for her own little ones.  The rich and handsome Richard swept her off her feet.  And what a great guy he is!  Sure, the money is nice, but Richard make sure that she wants for nothing.  There’s only one problem: the ex-wife.

Vanessa is not taking the divorce well.  She lives with her Aunt Charlotte and works at a clothing store…the same kind of clothing store at which she once shopped.  Her old friends sometimes show up to find her in such a lowly state.  And Vanessa won’t stop trying to contact her replacement. Continue Reading

Liam Brown’s BROADCAST and the Slow Reveal of Worlds and Technology

David Callow is exactly the kind of person I love to hate.  There’s absolutely nothing special about him.  He doesn’t sing.  He doesn’t dance.  He has no talent aside from waking up and clicking “record” with his cell phone.

But that doesn’t stop him from being a global media superstar. Continue Reading

Robert Bausch’s IN THE FALL THEY COME BACK and Easing the Reader’s Burden

You know what?  I usually begin these essays with a description of the book in question.  The opening of Robert Bausch’s In the Fall They Come Back, however, demonstrates one of the principles we can learn from the book, so I’ll paste it in right after I tell you where you can buy the book.  (The publisher, your local indie, Amazon.) Continue Reading

Amy Clipston’s A PLACE AT OUR TABLE and Bringing Characters Together

Kayla Dienner is a sweet young woman who works as a waitress at her family’s restaurant.  She was pretty close to a guy named Abram, but he broke up with her shortly after her firefighter brother died while on a call.  (What a jerk, right?)  Jamie is a firefighter who is sweet on Kayla.  See how his vocation is an obstacle to their relationship?  Kayla and Jamie are two great young people…will they be able to make and build a connection? Continue Reading

Amy Lillard’s THE QUILTING CIRCLE and Building a World

Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love you back in the same way?  Have you ever gotten what you wanted at the exact wrong time and wondered how you would cope?  Have you ever felt mistreated by someone you love and hoped they would come around before you take off?   Continue Reading

Tony Vanderwarker’s WRITING WITH THE MASTER and How John Grisham Does It

Writing is a solitary pursuit.  You can have a thousand writer friends, participate in a hundred workshops and have an editor who calls you every day, but in the end, it’s just you and the blank page.  And one of the sad ironies of writing is that you can never, ever read your own work outside of your own consciousness.  Even if you put your novel aside for fifty years, it’s still you turning the pages.  Continue Reading

James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman’s CRIME IN SPORTS Podcast and Why Comedians Can Do Almost Anything

A lot of athletes make mistakes.  Big mistakes.  Plaxico Burress went into a strip club with a gun in his sweatpants for some reason.  Steve Howe did nearly all of the cocaine.  Darryl Strawberry did the rest of it.  James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman tell the stories of wayward athletes on their Crime in Sports podcast.

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GWS Companion: The Comedians of Budd Friedman’s THE IMPROV

You may have read my writing craft essay about Budd Friedman’s autobiography/biography of The Improv.  It occurred to me that many folks may not have seen the work of some of the standups who figure into the book.  That isn’t funny at all.  So here’s a journey through a very, very small fraction of the comedians who figure into the story of The Improvisation.

Robert Klein

Richard Lewis

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Budd Friedman’s THE IMPROV and Leading with Your Strongest Material

In the mood to watch some great standup comedy?  I’ve compiled a GWS Companion that features 20 of the comedians who figure into the long and storied history of The Improv.  Click here if you wish to laugh.

There are so many reasons that I love comedy, but I think the primary one is that comedians have always been the true conscience of a society.  The court jester is the only person who can speak truth to the king.  Comedians push boundaries and shape how we view the language.  (Just this morning, I heard an NPR commentator mention how a politician was using rhetoric that “ratcheted the tension to 11.”)

So much of today’s comedy can be traced to Budd Friedman and his Improv, the first comedy club of its kind.  The brick wall in the background?  The cutthroat competition and dysfunctional friendships between comics?  That was all him.  The Improv was the incubator for comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, Andy Kaufman, Elayne Boosler…everyone. Continue Reading