From The Writers' Room

From the Writers’ Room is a regular feature where we invite the writer behind the most recent serial episode to give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse at just what went into this week’s installment.

From The Writers' Room

Building Layers of Tension and a Bonus Cut Scene

I’ll begin with a confession: This is the only episode of both seasons I’ve worked on Tremontaine that I’ve not enjoyed writing. Even in season two when I murdered Arthur, though I avoided the moment, mourning the poor kid, writing that episode was exciting, fun, and I reveled when that moment finally came. Though S3:E6 has several character moments I wanted to write (Esha and Reza meeting, Rafe taking Reza on a swordsman hunt), when I was working on it, from outline to first draft, I couldn’t quite enjoy it. I also believe that if a writer is bored or uninterested in a scene, that comes through on the page and readers will sense it I told myself over and over to cut myself some slack because the same month this episode was due, I was going through some intensive final revisions for one of my novels, and that was eating all the joy from my life. That’s definitely true,...Read More >

From The Writers' Room

The Creative Forces of “The Boys in the Basement”

When I look back over the posts I’ve written on my previous visits to the Writer’s Room, I see that I’ve written about the intersections, some intentional, some unexpected, of my Tremontaine episodes with the real world—especially in terms of politics. So though I’m writing this two days after off-term elections that saw a repudiation of the Trump agenda, I’m going to resist the temptation of drawing any parallels to my episode, “Every Face a Forgery.” By the way, isn’t that a killer title? I owe it to my brilliant colleague Tessa Gratton, who came to my aid when, despairing, I whined to the writing team on our Slack channel that I was at a total loss for an episode title. Tessa, like the awesome writer and editor she is, rummaged around in my manuscript draft, and guess what? The title I was desperately searching for was already there, written into a scene with Riverside’s favorite forger, Tess. All I...Read More >

From The Writers' Room

Plotting Fiction with Ian Tregillis

If you already have the book, or part of it, in mind (and it sounds like you do!) then you probably already know a little bit about what happens inside it.

From The Writers' Room

When Having Trouble with a Scene

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to my collaborators for the terror I regularly put them through. Tessa, Karen, Paul, and Racheline are deeply, deeply responsible writers and would no sooner think of turning in an unfinished draft than they would, I don’t know, eat a baby. I, on the other hand, think babies are delicious, especially medium-well. Which means that I turn in unfinished drafts far more often than I know I wish I did, and far more often than I’m quite certain they wish I did. Part of the problem is that, when I’m having trouble with a scene, I end up just leaving a lot of place markers in the text—essentially, my drafts are filled with “WRITE THIS PART LATER.” Mostly, I do this when I know that a sentence or paragraph calls for something that will be difficult for me to think of, and rather than stop in my tracks for ten minutes to...Read More >

From The Writers' Room

In Praise of Minor Characters

I write dialogue by eavesdropping on my characters. When you know a character, you can hear their voice in your head...

From The Writers' Room

Ellen Kushner Joins the Reader-Side of Riverside

Suffice it to say that, after the Tremontaine writing team’s usual intense weekend Season Brainstorm last winter, I wrote my Episode 1 and then bowed out...

From The Writers' Room

Karen A. R. Lord shares her Philosophy of the Sword

Being a writer is like being a director with a crowd of characters demanding ‘So, what’s my motivation?’

From The Writers' Room

Brian Francis Slattery on writing Bookburners S3E4: “All in a Day’s Work”

I enjoyed writing this episode for its sense of foreshadowing, the way it lays down a few basic principles that we planned to use for the rest of the season.

From The Writers' Room

Advice from Max Gladstone on Writing Episodically

Serial fiction is a wonderful weird beast, and hasn’t been the dominant medium of fiction for a while—but whether we realize it or not, we have a ton of experience with serial storytelling to be drawn upon when we come to write serials.

From The Writers' Room

Margaret Dunlap on writing Bookburners S3E11: “Crossing Over”

But while the members of Team Three dash around the world (and beyond it) as a matter of course, the most traveling I generally do for the series is an annual flight east for our story summits. I thought it was cool that Andrea had done to research to reference a real artifact, but I figured a picture on the Internet would be the extent of my involvement with the Punic Egg. I didn’t think I’d actually, you know, lay eyes on the damn thing. Until this summer, when where should I find myself but… London

From The Writers' Room

What Are the Most Rewarding and Challenging Aspects of Co-writing?

Co-writing a story has a number of benefits, but does come with its challenges, as well. You and your co-writer(s) must be clear on your process, expectations, and goals up front in order to weave your story together.

From The Writers' Room

Andrea Phillips on writing Bookburners S3E10: “Into the Woods”

The original concept for this episode as proposed (...by me) during the summit was “Spooky Forest.”

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