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The Order of Oddfish


Secrets of Story Episode 29: When Do You Write For Yourself? When For The Story? And When For The Audience? (with guest Jonathan Auxier)

July 16, 2021

A brand-new episode of our Secrets of Story podcast is up! I’m enjoying making ridiculous graphics for each episode. I fully intend to retroactively make a graphic for each and every episode, which infuriates Matt. In a series of furious texts he said, “I really don’t want you to make 29 of these. My face is not my brand . . . I didn’t become a podcaster to have my face out there! I’m not a show dog!” I find this reaction strangely satisfying. To see the graphics for all the episodes, check out the rejuvenated Secrets of Story Twitter feed.

But before we get into the podcast, a few announcements. As you probably know, my new speculative thriller Dare To Know is coming out September 14, 2021. Please pre-order it here.

Shelf Awareness ran a great review on Dare To Know, accompanied by an interview with me. Find out which parts of the book are inspired by improv guru’s Del Close’s death-visions, a baffling cab ride I took with my wife, and why I dread December 19, 2046!

But hey, you might not even have to pay for your copy of Dare To Know . . . Goodreads is running a giveaway of fifty advance reader copies. Enter their free drawing by July 31, 2021 and see if you get lucky.

Now, onto the Secret of Story podcast episode! Kidlit author Jonathan Auxier (The Night Gardener, Sweep, the new Fabled Stables series, and more) returns for a fourth time for this one:

In this episode, Jonathan floats his idea that writers generally go through three distinct stages of writing a story: first you’re writing to please yourself (the “author draft”), then you’re revising to perfect the story itself (the “artifact draft”), and finally you’re revising to take the audience’s reactions and sensibilities into account (the “audience draft”). Matt and I love this idea, and we tease out its implications. What if you do the steps in a different order? (Bad idea.) What if you’re giving (or receiving) notes appropriate to one stage when the process is in a different stage? (It could derail you, even if they’re good notes.)

Jonathan’s a smart cookie, and always worth listening to. I have to say, this is one of my favorite ideas that have come up in the course of the podcast, reconciling my belief in the primacy of one’s personal vision and Matt’s insistence that the audience must always come first.

Find more information about this episode, and to join the discussion, check out Matt’s post.