Saturday, December 21, 2019

Guest Post - Laura Oles

Please welcome author Laura Oles to Type M. I had the pleasure of hanging out with her and her sidekick, Micki Browning, at Bouchercon in Dallas. It was a fun and, sometimes, silly time. I look forward to catching up with both of them at future conventions. Take it away, Laura...

Meta Magic: (Listening to) Writers on Writing

by Laura Oles


As writers, we often contend with voices inside our heads.

It’s not just me, is it?

As much as I love these characters who demand to be heard, there are moments when I need a break. I need someone else’s voice inside my head. Someone to inspire me or to teach me something interesting that could also prove useful in a future scene or novel.

I’m one of those people who enjoys listening to other creatives discuss their process. I think, early on in my writing career, I hoped to glean that ONE RIGHT WAY to outline/plot/write a novel, but after so many years, I have come to learn that there is no single right way. And that each book may be different. A process that worked for one book no longer seems to bring results on the next project. Still, there’s something inspiring and interesting about listening to others talk about how they take their ideas and turn them into a story, how they wrestle with the demands of work/family/life obligations while working on a project. So, when I want to remain in the creative space but need a little distance from my own work, I turn to others to better understand how they manage their creative lives.

Here are a few of my favorites:

(Night Vale Presents) Start With This (Podcast): This podcast, from the creators of Welcome to Night Vale, tackle all aspects of writing from dialogue and pacing to creative crises and dealing with feedback. Each episode is in the half hour range, perfect for a listen as you walk your dog or work around the house. If you’re struggling with some aspect of your writing, take a break and tune in. It might be just what you need to get back on track.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Netflix): Jerry Seinfeld is known for his intense discipline to the craft of writing, for the daily dedication he still has in improving his skill at one-man storytelling, even though his Seinfeld show fame means he would never need to work again. This passion for creating and writing is on full display as he interviews other comedians to discuss all aspects of storytelling, writing and entertaining an audience. It’s a quirky show that speaks to my quirky heart. And the episode with Mel Brooks is pure gold.

Ten Minute Writers Workshop (NPR Podcast): Although this podcast wrapped last year, there are sixty ten-minute episodes with writers such as Louise Penny, Ian Rankin, Tana French, and Tom Perrotta. This remains one of my favorite podcasts because Virginia Prescott gives us a peak into the habits of some of today’s most talented writers, and her interview format is designed to help other writers in their own pursuits.

Here’s the Thing (NPR Podcast): Alex Baldwin’s personal antics can be up for debate, but you can’t argue with the man’s interviewing skills. This one surprised me in all the best ways. He’s interviewed everyone from Billy Joel and Carly Simon to Cameron Crowe and Kyle MacLachlan. Alec’s questions dig down deep into the topic of the creation of art of all kinds and how those pursuits impact personal relationships. For those who want to listen to the inside-baseball elements of writing, acting, and other creative endeavors, this public radio podcast pulls strong.

Laura Oles isn't quite sure where she's from. As an Air Force brat, she started school in the Philippines and ended up Texas, attending a different school almost every year in between.

Laura’s debut mystery, DAUGHTERS OF BAD MEN, was an Agatha nominee, a Claymore Award finalist and a Killer Nashville Readers' Choice nominee. She is also a Writers' League of Texas Award Finalist. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including MURDER ON WHEELS, which won the Silver Falchion Award in 2016. Her most recent short story, “The Deed” was included DENIM, DIAMONDS AND DEATH: Bouchercon Anthology 2019. 

Before turning to crime fiction, Laura spent two decades as a photo industry journalist covering technology trends for a variety of consumer and industry magazines. She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her family. You can find her at

1 comment:

Sybil Johnson said...

The Start With This podcast looks particularly interesting to me. Lots of interesting topics. Thanks for the suggestion. I find hearing how other writers work interesting.