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Anyone can call in and ask questions: At the appointed time, dial 1-857-232-0155 (long distance charges may apply, depending on your phone plan). Enter the Conference Code: 245657. To raise your hand and ask a question, dial 5*. To Mute yourself, dial 4*.


9/25/14 at 7pm Mountain time: Writers of the Future contest and Nebula award winning author Eric James Stone joins us to talk about the highs, lows and buckling midsections of writing Hard Science Fiction.
Hard SF- Placing greater emphasis on scientific and technical accuracy and detail rather than character in your novel or story.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

09: Dan Wells: Monsters, Sociopaths, and Other Sympathetic Characters

Tonight Dan Wells told us about the secrets of creating sympathetic villains, heroic sociopaths, and many other things he learned as the author of I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, MR. MONSTER, and the soon-to-be-released I DON'T WANT TO KILL YOU.

When he's not writing, Dan also co-hosts Writing Excuses, a weekly writing-advice podcast with Brandon Sanderson and Howard Tayler.

Among Dan's advice:
  • A humorous sociopath with a lousy life who wants to be good will evoke reader's sympathies
  • A good villain will be flashy and/or relatable and/or fascinating
  • Villains need a believable goal--if they want to blow up the world, they'll be just as dead as everyone else if they accomplish it, so it might be a tough sell to your readers
  • A villain can have a try-fail cycle, too--if you're careful
**Warning, this call contains spoilers for I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER**

As always, you can listen to the call here:

Or you can listen to it on Window's Media Player.
(If you're having trouble downloading, switch to Internet Explorer.)

Thanks to Dan and to everyone who called in!


  1. I loved the neighborhood kid knocking on the door so persistently. =D

  2. Thanks, Dan. Great conference call. I learned a lot and you helped me define a question about my villian that I believe will help me make him a more interesting sort.

    I love these teleconference nights. I put my phone in my ear and listen while I do the dishes, clean the toilets, fold the laundry, and do all sorts of other glamorous tasks I can do on autopilot while I listen and learn. Much better than YouTube videos where I am trapped in front of the screen.

    Thanks again,

    Regina Richards

  3. Curious- Will this call be made available as an mp3 as well?

  4. Never mind. I figured it out. Thanks for making these available!


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