Word Maze - what I'm learning about writing

Pilar Orti

A show about the meaning and origin of words, books and writing.

All Episodes

The last episode of the current season! Pilar talks about what she's gained from taking part in previous NaNoWriMo s  and encourages anyone who's been thinking of writing a novel to try it too. What is NaNoWriMo https://nanowrimo.org/ Community aspect You commit for a month, that might be easier You discover the story I learned to sit and write - at least to sit and start Learn what works, what doesn't Helps you to talk about writing without saying you're a writer Why Pilar is pausing her novel writing and this podcast. If you're looking for podcast help, get in touch via www.pilarwrites.com    

Oct 2019

18 min 31 sec

In today's episode, Pilar talks about: Why she's stuck. How the story's changed once she got writing, and how the idea can develop. What's she learned from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman What's she's incorporated from Scott King's Story Pitch Here's the link to exporting synopses from Scrivener https://www.scrivenervirgin.com/2018/05/file-compile-export-synopsis/ She also mentions Austin Kleon's clarification of what he means by Show Your Work, in his interview in the What You Will Learn podcast. You can find her Trello board here https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast and you can get in touch with her through www.pilarwrites.com  

Aug 2019

18 min 58 sec

Pilar has realised that all her character was doing was living in the past, but she has a couple of things she's going to try to make the character more active. Following feedback from her writing coach, she now needs to almost go back to the drawing board, but this presents plenty of opportunities to make the piece richer. Plus: Thinking Remote: Inspiration for leaders of distributed teams is now out in audiobook format.

Jun 2019

20 min 45 sec

You'd think it's obvious, but it's taken Pilar quite a while to realise the main difference between writing a non-fiction book and writing a novel.  Pilar recommends Anne Janzer’s excellent book on writing non-fiction, "Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why".  A little bit of progress on Pilar's own editing the novel.  Check out the Trello board for book recommendations https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast and Pilar's website for more info www.pilarwrites.com  

Jun 2019

12 min 24 sec

Why do we write? I struggled so much during the re-write that I almost threw it all away and gave up this "I want to write fiction" thing. Why I didn't: I hate dropping stuff before giving it a proper go - that's why I went to drama school I'm learning a lot I know that what I'm doing is hard, so if I get through it, or almost there, it will be amazing I'm paying for the process! I still don't know why we write / create art 2. Really glad I put the work in, because apparently, the writing has improved. Now the problem is the story, but that's ok, because that's fun. Now I've gone back to previous writing and seen how much MORE rewriting I need to do... Still hard, I need to find the truth! Which means spending more time developing the relationship between Paula and Miguel- but always with that thread of suspense-is this a good thing to be happening? I don't want to write a love story... 3. The new opening, bringing the sounds to life; the sound routines, the breaking of them; the sounds from her neighbours Description through point of view. If you are also struggling with writing description that is relevant and reveals character, check out Episode 14.5 from Writing Excuses: Viewpoint as Worldbuilding 4. Twitter rocks- I needed the word for "shutters", tweeted, and got some options with minutes.  

May 2019

14 min 21 sec

Pilar updates listeners on her writing retreat and how it's difficult to explain to people who don't write that writing is not driven by inspiration. She shares her struggle with technique and the bad writing habits she's discovered. This episode's wisdom is on using dialogue as exposition, borrowed from Into the Woods by John Yorke. For book recommendations: https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast And to find out more about me and get in touch: www.pilarwrites.com  

May 2019

15 min 25 sec

I've finally received some feedback, at a micro and macro level. Lots to think about regarding character, supporting characters and the level of trauma the character is carrying with her at the beginning of the story, and what's triggered by the inciting incident. I recommend episode 456 of the Helping Writers become Authors podcast. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/podcasts/ For book recommendations: https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast And to find out more about me and get in touch: www.pilarwrites.com      

Mar 2019

16 min 37 sec

Today I share how I'm struggled to write a scene which was hard for the character to go through.  The writing journal has been very useful in identifying where I need to pay attention to next in the story. How shall I incorporate all the subplots into the ending?   Check out all the books I talk about in my Trello board https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast And get in touch through www.pilarwrites.com  

Mar 2019

18 min 39 sec

Having never "journaled" before, Pilar has started a writing journal to help her identify the bits that need fixing. She came across this idea when listening to the podcast How do you write? with Rachel Herron   Connect with Pilar over at www.pilarwrites.com For more book recommendations, check out Pilar's Trello board for this show: https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast

Mar 2019

18 min 18 sec

Pilar has started working with a coach, and so now the hard work begins! She talks about how she's made some changes after considering the character's point of view.  Recommended book: On Editing. How to edit your novel the professional way by Helen Corner-Bryant and Kathryn Price (again!) For more book recommendations, check out https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast And connect with Pilar over at www.pilarwrites.com or @PilarWrites on twitter

Mar 2019

10 min 19 sec

In this episode, Pilar talks about how she's working on the structure of her novel and the holes she's identified.  She recommends the book On Editing. How to edit your novel the professional way by Helen Corner-Bryant and Kathryn Price For more books, check out the Trello board https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast And to check out Pilar's books and other podcasts, head over to www.pilarwrites.com 

Feb 2019

14 min 39 sec

I'm back with Season 3 - after a month of struggling to build the story for the current novel, I've dug out a piece from a year ago and decided to work on that instead, hopefully with an editor... In this episode, Pilar talks about her fiction plans, recommends Being a Writer by Dorothea Brander (again!) and she refers to Neil Gaiman's class in Masterclass.com You can check out other book recommendations over at her Trello board https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast Connect with Pilar over at pilarwrites.com @pilarwrites on Twitter and check out her non-fiction "Hi I'm Here for a Recording. The ordinary life of a voiceover artist."

Feb 2019

14 min 5 sec

In this episode, Pilar reflects on something she read in Becoming a Writer about paying attention to the kind of style you like writing in. She comes back to the lack of need of describing a character's physical appearance, after listening to episode 154 of the Bestselling Experiment podcast, with guest Mark Billingham.  Finally, she shares what she's learned from working with a copy editor for the first time, on her non-fiction co-authored book Thinking Remote. And she's finally updating the Word Maze website: www.wordmaze.cafe

Jan 2019

15 min 58 sec

In today's episode: Pilar shares how to get into the habit of writing, and how to be aware of the context that helps you to do your best writing. Advice from Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brand She's heard some wonderful advice over at the Story Grid podcast on how to pick up a book you're writing after being away from it for a while.  Finally, Pilar shares what she liked stylistically from Nick Hornby's 'Juliet, Naked'. (By the way, she thought she'd written a blog post on it, but she hasn't!) At the end of the show, you can find out other podcast Pilar hosts and the books she's written.  Join Pilar over at www.pilarwrites.com Check out the Trello board with Book Recommendations here: https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-board-on-writing-for-word-maze-podcast Recommended episode from The Story Grid Podcast: How to Finish Your Book  https://storygrid.simplecast.fm/6400c9bb  

Jan 2019

16 min 26 sec

Another short episode: Pilar mentions a device she quite liked from Duel en Ville How she's started working with an editor through reedsy.com She recommends Nick Hornby's novel 'Juliet Naked'. Link to books on writing:https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-nanowrimo2018-learning-and-podcasting-board Pilar's site: https://pilarwrites.com/ The book Pilar and Maya are working on: Thinking Remote, inspiration for leaders of distributed teams  

Jan 2019

15 min 16 sec

When writer's block comes from not wanting to dive into the emotional world I'm trying to create... There is of course the voice that whispers, will they believe the superhero story you're trying to create? Actually, it doesn't matter that much, as I've seen watching Contact, a French TV series. I've changed the plot because my character was way too passive - much more interesting if she's driving the story; I've been able to do this by realising what does she really want, how SHE wants the world to see her when they know she has superpowers. Remember that you should write the story that YOU want to explore - at least while you're still learning to write. Have a look at my Trello board here https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-nanowrimo2018-learning-and-podcasting-board to check out all the books I recommend. Plus, do listen to the Story Grid podcast. Highly recommended.

Dec 2018

14 min 50 sec

Well, I really wish my characters had a life of their own and were destroying my plot, but, it's not really happening - though, as I was recording for this episode, I realised that yes, one of them has thrown in something unexpected.  Today's quoted books: Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith Fiction Attack! Insider Secrets for Writing and Selling Your Novels & Stories by James Scott Bell And if you're thinking of podcasting, check out Alitu.com https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-nanowrimo2018-learning-and-podcasting-board www.pilarwrites.com  

Dec 2018

9 min 3 sec

I've discovered some of the reasons why it's been so hard to get writing today - I hope it's of some use to you too! But it's not all about how difficult I'm finding it, I also have some advice about when to use dialogue - or what to look out for when you're editing.  I mention the book Write a Novel and Get it Published by Nigel Watts and Stephen May To see the other books, check out my Trello board: https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-nanowrimo2018-learning-and-podcasting-board Twitter: @pilarwrites Website www.pilarwrites.com

Nov 2018

10 min 52 sec

I've decided to abandon NaNoWriMo and I briefly explain why. However, I'm not abandoning my story, or this podcast, as it's all great fun. I also explain why. If you want to have a look at what I'm learning, check out my Trello board https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-nanowrimo2018-learning-and-podcasting-board In this episode I refer to Lisa Jewell's The House We Grew Up In, which I'm really enjoying reading and learning a lot from her prose. I also recommend episode 139 of the podcast Writing Excuses. Connect with me @pilarwrites or pilarwrites.com

Nov 2018

13 min 50 sec

I've discovered a new feature in the Remarkable tablet, thanks to the NaNoWriMo forum! I talk about that and also about finding the truth in your story, your characters and painfully, in your villain. How much are you willing to go through for your story?

Nov 2018

10 min 34 sec

The blocks I'm coming across - to do with plot and characters, (what else!) and what I'm enjoying most. Plus, my NaNoWriMo word count - I'm falling behind... but there's still time to catch up!

Nov 2018

6 min 10 sec

Days 5 and 6 of NaNoWriMo: How I realised my character was being totally reactive and what I did about her. Plus, reflections on the how the mind of superheroines work.

Nov 2018

8 min 11 sec

Realising that I had paid not attention to the setting, I did so, and went off in a completely different direction! Plus, there's no need to say "she thought" when you're in someone's point of view.

Nov 2018

9 min 4 sec

I've caught up with the word count! Today I share what I've learned about villains and antagonists, a little device I used to help time pass, and the meaty theme behind the superhero story. Check out the Trello Board https://trello.com/b/3LUWiqsc/pilars-nanowrimo2018-learning-and-podcasting-board And this episode of Writing Excuses https://writingexcuses.com/2018/02/04/13-5-villain-antagonist-obstacle/

Nov 2018

14 min 58 sec

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo. I've come up with the mentor's story, but I'm a bit stuck with the villain. And I tell you about a device I've learned from Big Little Lies.

Nov 2018

8 min 58 sec

And we're off! Pilar explains why she's chosen to write in the superhero(ine) genre, (all about the inner journey) and what the first 950 words of her story cover.

Nov 2018

11 min 12 sec

Welcome to a new season of Word Maze, where Pilar Orti, your host, shares her progress through NaNoWriMo and everything she's learning about writing fiction.

Oct 2018

8 min 38 sec

Words featured in today's episode: Tryst Burlap Anachronism Mnemonic Obeisance Deigned Descry Mot juste Admonished Schadenfreude Pithy Burnish Pilar's book: Hi, I'm Here for a Recording. The ordinary life of a voiceover artist.   At 14:10mins you can find some writing advice from Pilar today, something she's learned while listening to the Smarter Artist podcast. Featured Books in Today's Episode: The Circle by David Eggers Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman  (Links are affiliate links.) Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe

Jan 2018

21 min 14 sec

Words featured in today's episode: stipend miscreant asinine maudlin tendrils assuage desuetude inchoate oneiromancy Pilar's book: Hi, I'm Here for a Recording. The ordinary life of a voiceover artist.   At 15:25mins you can find some writing advice from Pilar today, something she's learned while reading "So Many Ways to Begin" like a writer. Featured Books in Today's Episode: Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat The Accident by Chris Pavone More Fool Me by Stephen Fry So Many Ways to Begin by Jon McGregor (Links are affiliate links.) Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe

Dec 2017

21 min 24 sec

In today's episode, we cover the words: emetic deliberative cantilevered frangipani conniptions conflagration schadenfreude scuzzy rebuke Books covered Nutshell by Ian McEwan Meatspace by Nikesh Shukla Back Story by David Mitchell and Pilar's own Hi, I'm Here for a Recording. The ordinary life of a voiceover artist. At 17:20 mins you can find some writing advice from  Episode 329 from The Creative Penn with guest Rachel Aaron Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe

Dec 2017

25 min 52 sec

 A new scene with a secondary character, a small twist and this quote from Grant Faulkner: "Don’t write what you know, write what you want to know."

Nov 2017

9 min 27 sec

The first part of the episode covers the words:   Alacrity Avuncular  Matelot Redolent Obverse Ecumenical  Peripatetic  Arcana At 13:30mins you can find some writing advice from Pilar today, inspired by something she observed in one of the books featured today: Exposure, by Helen Dunmore Hotel Alpha, by Mark Watson Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole, by Allan Roper (affiliate links) Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe

Nov 2017

17 min 18 sec

I shouldn't have gone back to my first half, but I did and saw that the timeline is a mess.  What I've discovered about my protagonist's father and one of her rituals.  Why I need to develop "Steve" and what I discovered about him.  Is my character becoming a bit monotonous?!

Nov 2017

9 min 27 sec

Discovering how to make the transition from the Ordinary World to the adventure a bit more difficult for the character to make; the difficulties of finding the moment when she accepts the call to action. 

Nov 2017

5 min 35 sec

Finally outlining! The little monsters that have appeared as characters, and mixing up the number of characters to colour the plot. 

Nov 2017

6 min 50 sec

The first part of this episode covers: remonstrating Hackles Mufti Shuftisluicing bumptious avidity cinch stymie vindication These words come from these books:  “A Question of Blood” by Ian Rankin. "Alys Always" by Harriet Lane. "Team of Teams" by Stanley McChrystal. At xxxx there is writing advice from an Episode 12 of “A Stab in the Dark” by Ian Rankin. Pilar also mentions her own book, "Hi, I'm Here for a Recording. The ordinary life of a voiceover artist."   Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe  

Nov 2017

19 min 38 sec

The obsession with word count and how it's helping me to keep going.  The point of NaNoWriMo is not to generate quality, but quantity. And in typing away, you get to break through your conscious choices and explore what else is in your subconscious.  I'm certainly discovering a lot about my characters and I share this with you.  I share what I've discovered about my protagonist, also her fear that people have an advantage over her.  Today I used the timer. 

Nov 2017

10 min 15 sec

I'd forgotten to write the ordinary world scene and when I did, I discovered my protagonist was hooked on sleeping pills.  I recommend Scrivener. 

Nov 2017

5 min 50 sec

Writing an outline with different options for the characters; writing the final scene; discovering that your first novel is the result of trying to understand yourself... 

Nov 2017

9 min 18 sec

No writing yesterday but I caught up with my word count today! Musings on avoiding "deep thinking", how word count is motivating me and the temptation of sub-plots.

Nov 2017

7 min 43 sec

The first part of this episode covers: cornucopia nadir tenet  synedoche surmise discomfiting cockamamie gasket actuator From these books: “Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All” by Jonas Jonasson "A Landing On the Sun" by Michael Frayn "Think Like a Freak: How to think smarter" by Stephen J Dubner and Steven D Levitt At  17:10 there is writing advice from the book "The Story Engine: An entrepreneur's guide to content strategy and brand storytelling without spending all day writing" by Kyle Gray Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe  

Nov 2017

20 min 29 sec

I give a little bit of the plot away, or else I can barely share anything of what's going on with my story... The joy of ideas coming to you and why am I still pulling myself away from my keyboard??!!

Nov 2017

5 min 25 sec

Day 3 and I'm already struggling! Why I brought in a scene where a cat goes missing, changing character names and hey, I hit 5,000 words!

Nov 2017

4 min 48 sec

My thoughts today: Does plotting the story in advance destroy the magic of discovering the story? How I've solved my third/first person dilemma.  Why are we afraid of writing? 

Nov 2017

6 min 4 sec

I've started NaNoWriMo and already have a dilemma...  Looks like I might have to go over my first 1600 words and rewrite... 

Nov 2017

1 min 43 sec

The first part of this episode covers these words... Apocryphal Vicissitude Suzerain Plutocrat Unctuous Insouciance Perfunctory Epistemology Skew From these books: “South Riding” by Winifred Holtby. "Our Kind of Traitor" by John Le Carré. "Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide" by Cass R Sunstein. (Affiliate links.) At 12:40mins there is writing advice from Episode 330 from "The Creative Penn" with guest Jeff Goins. Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe

Oct 2017

16 min 42 sec

The first part of this episode covers these words from these books:  Recce Ensconce Chagrin Mollified Wynceyette Cantered Atoll   "Breaking Cover" by Stella Rimington "The Letter" by Kathryn Hughes "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely At 09:10mins, there is writing advice from  “Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction” by Patricia Highsmith Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe

Oct 2017

16 min 30 sec

The first part of the episode covers these words from these books: Soubriquet Insouciant Douse Glibly Soubrette (which sounds a bit like one of the other words, soubriquet) Iniquity Cantankerous Lacklauster Lauding "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King. "Funny Girl" by Nick Hornby. "Creativity Inc" by Ed Catmull. At 14:35mins, there is writing advice from:  "On Writing" by Stephen King Patricia Highsmith's "Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction" Remember you can check out all the words covered in Word Maze in the Words and Books page  https://wordmaze.cafe/category/words-and-books/ You can about writing here: https://wordmaze.cafe/category/writing-advice/ I would love to hear from you: Have you got any words you’ve discovered lately? Any books you’d like to recommend? Have you come across an inspirational piece of advice on writing lately? Let me know. You can connect with me or on Twitter: @wordmazepodcast or pop over to www.wordmaze.cafe  

Sep 2017

20 min 32 sec