Episode 6: Proof of Concept - Jessica Abel
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Episode 6: Proof of Concept

It’s time to get some ink on that page. We’re in the lab, testing our story hypotheses in the crucible of the writing process. We put things in order, break them down, build them with little blocks, iterate, signpost, and answer the question, “what does Buffy feel?” With the help of Ira Glass, Joe Richman, Soren Wheeler, Glynn Washington, Sean Cole and more.

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If you’re looking for a written version of this episode, you can find our transcript here.

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Includes full length interviews with:

Stephanie Foo (This American Life)

Jonathan Mitchell (The Truth podcast)

Larissa MacFarquahar (The New Yorker)

Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet)

Our edit with Robert Smith and Jess Jiang (Planet Money)

Rob Rosenthal (the Transom Workshop, How Sound)

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Find us elsewhere on the internet

I’m on Twitter @jccabel, Producer Benjamin is @BenjaminFrisch.

Besides our Soundcloud, we’re on Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest. We’ll be sharing some goodies and answering your questions—see you there!

Take a look around my website. Check out the great comics on Ben’s website. Find out more about experimental comics on Matt’s blog.

This week’s challenge:

Write a scene. It can be any scene, it doesn’t have to be the first scene in your story. But if you’re posting to the Working Group, make it a short one.

Whether or not you’re working along with us in the Working Group, here’s what you want to do:

Is there a chronology to rely on? great. Start with that. If not, put your ideas or bits of tape in an order that builds from individual elements to coherent argument.

Ask yourself questions:

  • Why is this scene in the story?
  • What do we get from it?
  • What does Buffy feel?
  • What change does it represent? Remember: Just as stories are about change, and characters are about change, scenes are about change.

Write it, then iterate it. Read it out loud to someone and get feedback. Record it, then listen on your headphones while taking a walk. Rewrite.

Then check it against your hypothesis. Does this scene change what you understand about your story?

Post your scene on the Working Group and get feedback from us.

This week we heard from:

Ira Glass, Glynn Washington, Chana Joffe-Walt, Soren Wheeler, Sean Cole, Joe Richman, Jayson Merryfield, and Sarah Leavitt

Links to stories we talked about

99% Invisible Episode 59: Some Other Sign That People Don’t Totally Regret Life 

Teen Contender from Radio Diaries

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Gone

Mo’ Better Radio by Ira Glass (Article from 1998. Best part: where the intro says, “By last fall, the show’s weekly cumulative audience had grown to 565,000, according to PRI.” I love that. There was a time when even Ira Glass was just starting out.)

Some of the great interviewing resources shared by members of the Working Group

Interviewers on Interviewing from Hearing Voices

Love Is a Battlefield from Transom.Org

Using Music: Jonathan Menjivar For This American Life

On how I approach strangers in the street by Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton

Next time on Out on the Wire

In our next episode, Episode 7: Dark Forest, we’re wandering deep into the woods. It’s scary, but with a little help we’ll all make it through to the other side.

Answer these 10 quick questions
to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able
to take control of your creative work.

Start Here