Start With This

By Night Vale Presents

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Subscribers: 959
Reviews: 2


 Apr 30, 2019


 Apr 8, 2019

Description

The creators of Welcome to Night Vale Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink believe the only bad writing is not writing. Start With This is a podcast gone creativity playground designed to put your ideas in motion. Each episode centers around a writing topic. Then they give listeners two short assignments: something to consume and something to create. Make something—anything. Then make something else.


Episode Date
Perceiving the Audience w/Sarah Maria Griffin
58:48

Author and poet Sarah Griffin joins us to talk about how the awareness of an audience affects our writing.

Guest: Sarah Maria Griffin, https://twitter.com/griffski

CONSUME: “AACK Cast!” a podcast about the comic strip Cathy by Jamie Loftus

CREATE: Write a 200-400 word monologue for a live audience. Interact with your audience in some way.

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Sep 14, 2021
The Burnout Cycle w/Janina Matthewson
50:43

Burnout is real and it comes around on the regular.

Guest: Janina Matthewson, https://twitter.com/j9andif

CONSUME: Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! (anime series)

CREATE: Think of a story or project you’ve let sit idle. Write a letter from the point of view of someone who has just bought, or commissioned, or earned the distribution rights for this work.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Aug 13, 2021
Minimal w/Brie Williams
37:16

Writing more with less.

Guest: Brie Williams, https://twitter.com/briezillionaire

CONSUME: Getting on with James Urbaniak (podcast), specifically episode 22 “Status”

CREATE: Write a 200-400 word short story, It can be a monologue. Or it can be a dialogue. But every sentence must be short. Make them 6 words or fewer.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jul 09, 2021
But How Does It End?
48:31

How do you land the ending?

CONSUME: Three options: 1)The last three pages of Inherent Vice, starting where the character gets on the freeway. 2) The last four minutes of Six Feet Under. Easily found on youtube by searching “Six Feet Under ending”. 3) Pick one of your favorite ending. Could be a podcast, movie, tv show, book, whatever. Reexamine it carefully. What kind of ending is it? Is it mirroring the opening? Is it following the characters to the end? Is it a tangent? Or is it doing something else? Does it have a button? Most importantly, what specifically makes it a great ending for you? The more you can pay attention to that, the more you can develop your own tastes of what you like in your own work.

CREATE: Think of your least favorite film or book or show. Not one you hate or one that is offensive and irredeemable in your mind. Just a story you found lacking. Now write a 200-400 review of that film, book, or show. But make it a rave review. No need for superlatives like masterpiece or perfection. Focus your review on all the things that this story got right.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jun 11, 2021
Like This But Better
04:34

Elevating basic language to something special. (This episode is available exclusively on Patreon. Hear the rest at http://patreon.com/startwiththis)

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jun 11, 2021
How to Like
48:58

There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure.

CONSUME: Podcast ¡Uy Que Horror! particularly the episode “2012: Kurse a di Xtabai (Belize)

CREATE: Think of your least favorite film or book or show. Not one you hate or one that is offensive and irredeemable in your mind. Just a story you found lacking. Now write a 200-400 review of that film, book, or show. But make it a rave review. No need for superlatives like masterpiece or perfection. Focus your review on all the things that this story got right.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 14, 2021
Low Barrier to Entry?
04:08

They say that podcasting has a low barrier to entry. Wtf does that even mean? (This episode is available exclusively on Patreon. Hear the rest at http://patreon.com/startwiththis)

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 13, 2021
The Tease
39:36

What makes a good tease? Listen and find out.

CONSUME: “Lupin” French Crime/Adventure Drama on Netflix

CREATE: Write a 200-600 story that follows the line: “I found them/her/him waiting for me when I got home, but they/she/he had been dead for 10 years.”

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Apr 09, 2021
How to Dislike
03:48

It's easy to dislike something, but much harder to do it well. (This episode is available exclusively on Patreon. Hear the rest at http://patreon.com/startwiththis)

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Mar 30, 2021
Five Easy Rules to Become a Great Writer!
47:28

Just follow these simple rules and something something...

CONSUME: Elmore Leonard’s famous rules of writing https://www.writingclasses.com/toolbox/tips-masters/elmore-leonard-10-rules-for-good-writing

CREATE: Write a 200-500 word story about a ship at sea during a bad storm, and the attempts at the crew to keep it afloat. Now write a 200-500 word story with the same premise, but try to follow Elmore Leonard’s rules exactly. Keep strictly to the letter and the spirit of it.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Mar 12, 2021
Keep It Weird
02:52

What makes something weird, and is that a good thing? (This episode is available exclusively on Patreon. Hear the rest at http: patreon.com/startwiththis)

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Mar 10, 2021
Melodrama
29:36

Mightly push your powerful writing to the top of the highest literary peaks! Or… work on your craft.

CONSUME: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett or its sequel, World Without End. Or, for a less committal and free option, the BBC fiction podcast "Home Front"

CREATE: Think about an obscure subject you know a great deal about. Now write a 200-600 word story that has the following plot: Person A, who is evil, kidnaps Person B, who is good. Person C, who is also good, rescues Person B, goodly, and in the process, Person A accidentally falls off a cliff because they are evil and that’s what happens to evil. Person B and Person C live happily ever after. You can play with the details but you get the point, a simple melodramatic story.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Feb 12, 2021
Borrow or Steal
02:36

Good artists borrow; great artists steal. What? Let's break this down. (This episode is available exclusively on Patreon. Hear the rest at http: patreon.com/startwiththis)

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Feb 10, 2021
Journey Vs. Destination
46:18

Getting there is 1/x the fun!

CONSUME: “The Sink” a 6-episode podcast by Natasha Hodgson, produced by the BBC

CREATE: Write a 200 word murder “mystery” that explains who the murder is, how they did it and why. Don’t worry about building tension or detailed descriptions. Just give the spoilers. Now write 200-400 words describing the birth of a child. This child will eventually become the murderer in your first story, but don’t address that here. Just describe the birth of a child.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jan 08, 2021
Imposter Syndrome
39:41

You’re a writer, because you write. Don’t tell yourself otherwise.

CONSUME: “Dead Eyes” a podcast by Connor Ratliff

CREATE: Pick a creative idea that you haven’t executed yet. Write a 200-400 word review of the finished work. Imagine, of course, that it’s already done, even though it’s not. Write as a critic. Find the positives of your work. And offer some critiques too, but don’t make this a negative review. Every masterpiece has its shortcomings.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Dec 25, 2020
As It Happens
25:41

Celebrating the act of daily creation with Jonathan Mann.

CONSUME: Go listen to more of Jonathan Mann’s podcast “As It Happens”

CREATE: Start with the same basic image as Jonathan: the growing cloud of space debris around earth. Write a 100-200 word piece about the space debris. But more important than the final product, think through your creative decisions. Notice yourself deciding on tone (angry? Sad? Playful?). Notice what images interest you. Notice the metaphors you use, and why you chose those ones. Try in writing this very short piece, to be aware of the choices you make every time you create anything, and why you make those choices (and also if there are choices you usually make, and if you could choose something else instead)

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Dec 11, 2020
Hooptedoodle
31:30

Stop and describe the roses.

CONSUME: Chapter 1 of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden

CREATE: Write a 200 or so word description of your neighborhood. Give us a texture of the sights and the smells and the sounds. Remember that what you’re going for here is more poetry and language than storytelling. Write something real pretty. Now go to the Random Mood Generator (https://perchance.org/mood). Get a random mood. And write another 200 or so word description of your neighborhood, that in some way reflects that mood.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Nov 27, 2020
Non-Lovecraftian Horror
38:30

There's so much more to horror, we couldn’t stop at Lovecraft.

CONSUME: Watch any of the movies on Joseph’s horror movie recommendation list: https://twitter.com/PlanetofFinks/status/1311695218505379841?s=20

CREATE: Think about an irrational fear you have of something real. This should not be a fear that is reasonable, but something like: fear of flying, fear of wasps, fear of the dark (these are all just fears Joseph has, I’m sure you have your own). Now instead of thinking about the source of that fear, think about your own feelings. What kinds of fears are activated by this phobia? Loss of control? Fear of the unknown? Fear of pain? Now write a 300-500 word story about that fear, but replace the focus of your fear (wasps, flying, etc.) with a supernatural entity. Could be a ghost or a zombie or a demon or an alien or whatever. But still, even though it’s now a supernatural story, try to recreate the exact feeling of fear your phobia gives you.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Nov 13, 2020
Lovecraftian Horror
40:53

Lovecraft was a racist and a bad writer, yet his ideas and his stories live on. So what do we do with them?

CONSUME: “The Ballad of Black Tom” (novella) by Victor Lavalle, “Lovecraft Country” (tv series) on HBO, “The City We Became” (novel) by NK Jemisin

CREATE: 1) Write 100-200 words about a hole that appears in the sky. Use this to explore fear of the unknown. When did the hole appear? What is it doing from our perspective? Don’t describe what’s in the hole or how it formed. Just describe how people react to its appearance. 2) Write 100-200 words about exactly what the hole is, and what it does. This second story can just be a sketch. Allow yourself to strip away all horror and just see the hole for exactly what it is.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Oct 30, 2020
Agency
38:49

A character has a problem. As a result of that problem, they make a decision. As a result of that decision, they change.

CONSUME: “Schitt’s Creek” on Netflix

CREATE: Write a 200-word story about a super spy who has been incapacitated by a super villain. He’s chained to a conveyor belt on his way into an incinerator. Or locked inside a cage being lowered into the ocean. Then they make a decision based on their experience. Maybe it’s action, strength, wit, or intelligence. But they make a decision, and that decision has a consequence (they escape! They get injured! A bystander gets hurt!). And in the end, something significant has changed for them, and it’s because of that choice and the consequence.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Oct 16, 2020
Exaggeration
38:50

Fiction is a lie. Hopefully a good, fun lie.

CONSUME: “Small Triumph Big Speech” podcast by Dylan Marron

CREATE: Write a 200-word story about something mundane you did today (made toast, brushed your teeth, exercised for 30 minutes). But exaggerate the details. How did your toast change your day, your life, the world even? Put dramatic significance on your workout. What were you training for? Raise the stakes beyond just making a breakfast snack or personal health.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Oct 02, 2020
Exposition
41:10

What do you need to set the scene?

CONSUME: "Anthropocene Reviewed" podcast by John Green

CREATE: Write a 200 word story about a child. Give it a beginning, middle and an end. Something happened to this child. Maybe it was good. Maybe it was bad. But whatever it is clearly changes the child in the end of your story. Now write a 200-word story about that child as an adult. This adult is involved in a bank robbery. Maybe they’re the robber, or the cops, or a witness, or a get away driver, or a bank teller. Remember your first story when you write the second, but concentrate only on the bank robbery story.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Sep 18, 2020
Perfection Is for Assholes
36:36

Perfection is a target, not a goal.

CONSUME: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

CREATE: Spend 58 minutes brainstorming and refining the title of your Perfect Work, the one you someday want to make. The title that you think will draw people in, maybe has a secret meaning or relates to the very core of the work. Now spend 2 minutes to come up with two more names. Make them as good as you can in two minutes. Share all three titles of your great masterpiece, but don’t indicate which one is the one you think is perfect.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Sep 04, 2020
Five Senses
38:27

We experience more than what we see.

CONSUME: “How to Meet and Dance with Your Death” by Larissa Shmailo (http://larissashmailo.blogspot.com/2016/01/how-to-meet-and-dance-with-your-death.html)

CREATE: Write 200-400 words about a meal. It can be eating the meal, preparing the meal, talking about the meal, cleaning up after the meal. Use each sense: taste, texture, smell, sound and sight.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Aug 21, 2020
Writer's Voice
37:40

What do you sound like, as a writer?

CONSUME: “Exercises in Style” by Raymond Queneau (excerpt: https://monoskop.org/images/4/49/Queneau_Raymond_Exercises_in_Style_pp_1-26.pdf)

CREATE: Find a piece of writing you like. Sit with that work and think about what grabs you. Find the DNA of that work and what it is that you identify with. Now write a 200-400 story in the style of that piece of writing.

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Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Aug 09, 2020
Present Tense
31:49

You write in the here and now.

CONSUME: “Girls, at Play” by Celeste Ng https://blr.med.nyu.edu/content/archive/2010/fall/girlsatplay

CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story about a chase. Your last line is a cliffhanger, a tease for the next part of this chase. Use only active voice and present tense. 

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jul 24, 2020
Second Person
28:43

You are intrigued by second person narratives.

CONSUME: GirlsArePretty.com

CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story in Second Person POV that begins with “You knew it was a bad idea, but you did it anyway.” And ends with “You still have 20 more to go.”

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jul 10, 2020
Negative Space
27:42

What's there that's not there?

CONSUME: “Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumaker

CREATE: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Create a character (a person, a place or a thing, really. Doesn’t have to be a human being.) And write a list of everything they do not have, everything they do not want, everything they are not, everything they cannot or will not do. Ignore story structure and just focus on the things that your central character is not. Keep writing until time is up. Save your story and come back to it later.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jun 26, 2020
Narrative Structure
30:55

What is the shape of your narrative?

CONSUME: “17776 Football” by Jon Bois https://www.sbnation.com/a/17776-football

CREATE: Write a 100 word story with a beginning, middle and end. Write another 100 word story with completely different characters and completely different action. But take one character, place, or idea from the first story and incorporate it in here.Write one more 100 word story using an entirely different character and place and action. But bring that connective tissue from the first two stories into this one, something that connects all three together.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jun 12, 2020
To Write in a Plague
27:41

How are you doing?

CONSUME: The podcast Our Plague Year https://ourplagueyear.libsyn.com/

and the webcomic Valley Ghouls https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/valley-ghouls/list?title_no=330059&page=1

CREATE: Think of a true story from your past. One that does not seem to have anything to do with the present moment. Tell that story, in as little or as many words as you need. But do so while thinking about it through the lens of this moment in your life.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 29, 2020
Satire
35:43

How strong is your satire?

CONSUME: Two podcasts: "A Very Fatal Murder" and "This Sounds Serious." Both podcasts are a riff on the true crime podcast format. Both use satire. Listen to the first episode of each of those shows, and think about what you learn from each satirical take on true crime.

https://radiopublic.com/this-sounds-serious-Wk2kMx/s1!127a3

https://radiopublic.com/a-very-fatal-murder-G2wNv0/s1!44a4f#t=2

CREATE: Choose a person you generally disagree with. Now write a 200-400 word opinion column in that person's voice. Make their argument that thing you disagree with. Every word should support what you would never support, but the tone should clearly indicate the opposite.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 15, 2020
Absurdity
30:25

Writing what's absurd.

CONSUME: Clip from You, the Living. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOwpd2I_4mo

CREATE: Write a 200 word description of your home. Make it realistic and true. Now edit that piece. Change the logic of its layout. With each sentence, think about the logical and expected conclusion, and then twist it into something impossible or totally out of left field. Make sure your readers never know where it's going to go.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 01, 2020
Stage Directions
29:38

When do you use stage directions, and how descriptive do you get?

CONSUME: "How to use stage directions" by Sam Graber
https://samgraber.com/2017/02/21/how-to-use-stage-directions/

CREATE: Write a 200-400 word scene for two characters that includes the stage direction “[They/He/She Flies].”

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Apr 17, 2020
The Possibility of Failure
27:39

Failure is scary but it can also be interesting and even fruitful. (like when Jeffrey posts the wrong episode file to the podcast feed. here’s the correct one!)

Consume: “How to Speak Poetry” by Leonard Cohen: https://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/leonard-cohen-how-to-spea.html

Create: Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write a murder mystery. Title that “1”. Then repeat the process with an entirely new murder mystery. Title that “2”. Repeat it a third time, again with an entirely new mystery. Title that “3”. Come back the next day and give yourself 30 minutes to edit these mysteries as best as you can. Put them in one document and title the document “Three Attempts to Tell a Murder Mystery”. You have now, in one hour, created a complete piece in which the point was the possibility of failure.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

Apr 03, 2020
Monologue
30:53

Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again?

Consume: Magnus Archives podcast

Create: Pick a job. Write a 200-400 word monologue for someone in that job, directed to their customers or constituency. Use your writing to set the tone for that relationship. Give it a beginning, middle and end, and make sure it reveals something about that character: they make a choice with consequences, they expose a secret, etc.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Mar 20, 2020
Writer's Block
27:54

Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again?

Consume: Have You Heard George’s Podcast by George the Poet

Create: Open up a file you're stuck on. Go to the Random Classical Painting Generator. In 200 words describe the painting, but describe it in context of whatever your working on.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Mar 06, 2020
Honesty
29:48

What does it mean to tell your story honestly?

Consume: Moonface by James Kim

Create: Take a moment in your life in which you remember exactly how you felt. Think through all the details of your feelings. How did the feelings start? How did they develop? What happened to those feelings? Tell that story. Except: change every other factual detail. Create a fictional story about someone who is not you, doing something you weren’t doing. It could be a member of a biker gang in the 50s or an alien in some distant future world. But keep the honest details of your feelings there. See how the honesty of your feeling affects the otherwise fictional story.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Feb 21, 2020
Don't Forget Your Story
29:40

A lot of writing is fine-tuning your writing, or creating clever structure, but the most important thing is the story itself.

Consume: Read “Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado.

Create: Write a 200-400 word story with the following outline:
- A is with B.
- A loses B.
- A makes a choice that brings B back.
- A and B are back together, but different as a result of that choice.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Feb 07, 2020
Writing for Performance (Live from Boston)
01:24:25

We’re live from Boston with special guest Bilal Dardai, alum of the Neo-Futurist theater company and writer for the podcast “Unwell.” In this episode we talk about writing specifically for performance.

Consume: Gnome Sane by Joey Rizzolo, New York Neo-Futurists

Create: Write a 100-word story, 3rd person, someone confessing a crime. Then, write it again in 1st person by the person confessing. Then write it one more time for live performance. Think about what the performer should do with their body. How is the audience involved?

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written by Joseph Fink and performed by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor, and the live audience. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents. 
http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jan 24, 2020
Outlining
27:03

Outlining your story is like a puzzle for plot. In this episode, we talk about how mapping out what will happen before you start writing gives your story shape, and makes it much easier to write. This way, you can land a satisfying ending and give focus to your process to free your brain up for new discoveries.

Consume: Listen to The Shadows, a six-episode podcast series by Kaitlin Prest.

Create: Write a six section outline with a max word count of 60 words for each section. Give your project a beginning, middle, and end. Have the character’s growth matches the plot, and that the ending is set up by the structure. The goal is to figure out what happens within each section.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents. 

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jan 10, 2020
Slowness
29:48

We talk a lot about creating with enough speed to turn writing into habit, but working slowly puts the finish line so far out of sight that you can focus on something other than the final outcome. Slowness is a way to make something big by allowing you to break your writing down into manageable parts, and gives you enough space to enjoy the process. It also means you can work a little bit on something everyday, even if you don’t know what it is yet.

**
**Consume: The Taxonomy of Air, a visual art piece by Susan D’Amato

Create: Every day for one week, set aside the time to write three sentences. For the first four days, just get those sentences out and don't think about the bigger picture. On day five, start thinking about where the piece is going. For the last three days, bring the piece to an end.


Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:

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Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Nov 29, 2019
Repetition
28:17

Your writing needs a message. The way you deliver this message is up to you. Repetition is one way to get this message across. There’s almost a magic power in centering on a message, spiraling outward, and circling back to the message again and again. In this episode, we talk about using repetition to review an idea, create rhythm, reinforce comprehension, drive emphasis, and to disorient.

Consume: Song Exploder Episode 28: The Long Winters - The Commander Thinks Aloud

Create: Come up with a 3-10 word phrase. Now write a 200-word story and use your exact phrase at least 5 times. Concentrate on each iteration’s meaning, and how the repetition of the phrase affects your story. 

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:

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Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). 

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents. 

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Nov 15, 2019
Word Count
29:02

In writing, words are your currency. So how can you maximize your spending on a budget? In this episode, we talk about how word counts can break up longer projects into achievable goals, are a form of accountability in your own process, and influence how your audience perceives your work. Plus, we discuss how knowing your own voice will help you decide how many words you want to dedicate to describing something in great detail or with great efficiency.

Consume: Geoff Ryman’s novel 253. Learn more about it on Wikipedia and access it on Archive.org

Create: Use a random number generator to generate ten numbers between 1-100. These ten numbers are now your word counts for each section of a ten paragraph writing piece. Follow the counts exactly and pay attention to how the word counts impact the pacing and flow. For added difficulty, find a way to let the word count influence the content of the story.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Nov 01, 2019
Speed
27:37

Working quickly means you can create faster than your doubt. In this episode, we talk about how using speed as a writing technique can be freeing and helpful. From setting timers to making word counts, writing without pausing allows you to simply get your ideas out now for you to shape later.

Consume: Listen to the album, “All Hail West Texas” by The Mountain Goats

Create: Set a timer for 7 minutes and write without stopping on the topic “Orange.” Then put your work aside for at least a day. After a day or two, set a timer for 23 minutes to edit and refine your piece.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now:
http://startwiththispodcast.com

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Oct 18, 2019
Stereo
24:13

Stereo is a powerful, audio-specific tool that can fill out a sound in the same way that we experience sound in the world. We talk about how using stereo wisely can invite your listener’s imagination to get involved by differentiating speaking voices, putting them in a specific setting, and by creating weird or unexpected moments. 

Consume: Listen Nickel Creek’s album, “A Dotted Line”

Create: Record a 1-minute audio piece that uses stereo in at least two different ways: to differentiate speaking voices, to put the listener in a specific space or setting, and to subvert the listener’s expectations or play a game with the listener.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now:
http://startwiththispodcast.com

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:

https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). 

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents. 

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Oct 04, 2019
Punching it Up
30:20

There will always be something to improve about your writing, but you can’t revise forever. We talk about developing processes so you know what to improve, how to improve it, and when to finish punching up your piece. 

Consume: Read “The Lifespan of a Fact” by Jim Fingal and John D'Agata

Create: Write 100 words of a story, incorporating a randomly generated phrase into the first sentence. Use another random phrase in your next 100 words. Finally, use one last random phrase in the last sentence of your story. Now go through and punch up your 200 word story, deleting those generated phrases and replacing them with words of your own. 

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now:
http://startwiththispodcast.com

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:

https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). 

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents. 

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Sep 20, 2019
Anxiety
35:10

Have you ever had a big deadline and all of a sudden you have to listen to that new audiobook? In this episode, we talk about how anxiety about your writing can lead to moments like this. Then we discuss ways to motivate yourself from steering into the skid, to doing achievable tasks, as well as how taking care of your body and mind affects your creative work. 

Consume: Listen to Mark Can’t Rap with British poet Mark Grist 

Create: Set a calendar alert for 5 days in a row to spend 10 mins writing non-stop. 

Each day, write about a different body part. At the end of the 5 days, put each of the sections together and look at the experimental novel you’ve created.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
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See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now:
http://startwiththispodcast.com

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:

https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). 

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents. 

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Sep 06, 2019
I Have an Idea for a Podcast
37:32

The heart of a good podcast isn’t in expensive mics or a nice  studio— it’s in the idea. We talk through four litmus tests to test the strength of your idea: specificity, novelty, practicality, and repeatability. Honing in on these elements will help you uncover what’s exciting about your idea, and what will make it successful. While this episode focuses on podcasting, these tests are good to consider for any artistic idea.

Consume: Listen to The Worst Idea of All Time and think about how it’s specific, novel, practical, and repeatable.

Create: Take a podcast (or any artistic idea) idea you have and walk through the four litmus tests.
Specificity: Write the one sentence elevator pitch for your podcast.
Novelty: Write one sentence about what makes your podcast different.
Repeatability: Write one to two sentences to describe what Episode 40 would sound like, or what the arc of your limited series would be.
Practicality: Make a list of equipment, people, and how much time you’ll need for each episode

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale now:
http://startwiththispodcast.com

Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Aug 23, 2019
BONUS: Q&A #2 Preview
05:45

Here’s a short preview of our second members-only bonus Q&A episode. To hear the whole thing and to ask your own follow-up questions, join our community: http://patreon.com/startwiththis

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com 
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Aug 16, 2019
Rhythm & Rhyme
32:07

Poetry can be intimidating. It’s more technical than prose, and there’s an extensive world of theory and study behind it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with it in your writing, and even be good at it! In this episode, Jeffrey and Joseph talk about how we naturally use poetic elements in our everyday speech, and how it can lend structure to get to the heart of what you’re describing.

Consume: Read Ballad in A by Cathy Park Hong. Try to read it aloud if you can!

Then check out this short feature article on Cathy Park Hong and her use of the univocalic.

Create: Write a 4-line, rhyming, univocalic poem. That means you pick a vowel and use only that vowel when you write. It doesn’t have to be good, just done!

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis


See Start With This live in Boston on October 20. Tickets on sale today:
http://startwiththispodcast.com

Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This:

https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo).

Theme written by Joseph Fink. Currently performed by listener Mike Lynch. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or post it on our members message board.

Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Aug 09, 2019
Getting Intimate
33:02

We think the joy of a podcast is the personal relationship you develop with the podcasters you listen to. It’s a unique medium that creates a listening experience just for you. This direct line of communication is a tool, a gift, and a responsibility. In this episode, we talk about how to create while being aware of the listener's presence. 

Consume: Listen to an episode of Sleep With Me 

Create: Write and record a 2-minute piece about your listener. In the process, keep the 5 W’s in mind as they relate to your listener: who, what, where, when, and why.

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This:

https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jul 26, 2019
Silence
30:00

Silence can be terrifying— Any moment that you’re not creating sound can feel a moment when you’re not keeping your listener’s attention. But silence is incredibly attention grabbing, and if done right can be one of the most valuable tools in any artist’s arsenal. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about how, at its core, silence is a structural element of audio, and how using it adjusts your sense of time, tension, and lends rhythm to your work.

Consume: Night Vale Live Ghost Stories

Create: Record a 1-2 min piece that is at least 25% silent. Use silence in a way that would change the meaning of the piece if it were removed.  

Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists:
https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This:

https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jul 12, 2019
Art is Disposable
31:24

When do you let a project go, and why might you want to move on in the first place? Jeffrey and Joseph discuss the fine line between knowing when to trash a project and when to recycle it into something new. The willingness to let go of the art you consume and create can be really freeing. Thinking of art as truly disposable might even encourage you to try a new medium that you may not be as familiar with. 

Consume: Listen to 20 short episodes from 20 different poets from IndieFeed: Performance Poetry.

Create: Write a 2-minute, 250-word story about a wedding reception. Refine it a bit. Now, completely delete it! Then, write a 2-minute story about a bird. Record and/or share this one

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Not sure what t-shirt to wear today? Start With This:

https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jun 28, 2019
Dialogue
33:49

Writing dialogue can be daunting because you can’t rely own your own narrative voice— the characters have to speak for themselves. Joseph and Jeffrey deconstruct the popular advice that every line of dialogue has to move the plot forward, to talk instead about how the best dialogue is the kind that serves your story.

Consume: Listen to Episode 1 of Steal The Stars, a podcast by Mac Rogers. Pay close attention to each line of dialogue and what it does for the story.

Create: Write a 200-word, two-character dialogue. If you’re writing for audio, the recorded piece should come out to about 2 minutes.

The first line of your piece must be, “Put the milk on the table” and the last line must be,  “We are really only at the beginning.” Keep the purpose of the dialogue in mind as you write. If you’re feeling ambitious, try it again with a different reason for the dialogue.

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about the show by wearing our logo on your torso:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Jun 14, 2019
Playing Games
51:08

At its core, a game is a set of fun rules. From acrostic poems to following mathematical progressions, games can take the pressure off of creating and let you have fun making your art. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about the idea of games in creative work, how playing them can provide instant structure, and how watching someone attempt to succeed is instantly captivating.

Consume: Episode 49 “Re: The Moon” of the podcast, Imaginary Advice

Create: Play the game that Ross Sutherland sets up in this episode of Imaginary Advice, “Re: The Moon.” Create three different statements about the moon following the convention, “The moon is a [adjective] [noun].” The adjectives and nouns can’t come from you. Flip through a book, use a random word generator, or use some other source. Then use those statements as the first sentence of three different paragraphs that tell a story.

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Logo shirts now available on our online store:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 31, 2019
Towards a Poor Podcast
29:32

How can you create something with only the most bare elements? There’s a lot you can do with just a story, a microphone, and a voice. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about the virtues of single-voice narrators, budgeting, and how to make a podcast or any kind of art in its most direct and affordable form.

Consume: Listen to the fiction podcast “Gone,” about a person who finds themself alone in the world after everyone else has vanished. It’s entirely written, narrated, and produced by Sunny Moraine.

Create: Find two items in your kitchen and figure out what noises you can make with them. Let that sound inspire you. Now write and record a 2 minute audio story (200-250 words) incorporating this sound. Or if you’re not a podcaster, use those items to inspire your written story (or visual art piece)

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Get Rob Wilson’s excellent logo for the show on a t-shirt today:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 17, 2019
Collaboration
33:03

Jeffrey and Joseph talk the history of their collaboration, and how working together made them better writers in their own right. Then they discuss the qualities they’re attracted to in potential collaborators, and the value they’ve found in working together.

Consume: Listen to the podcast, Our Debut Album hosted by Dave Shumka and Graham Clark of Stop Podcasting Yourself. (Start with at least the first 2 episodes)

Create: Play “Handsome Cadaver” with a co-writer to generate a 500-word audio story. Alternate sentences. Be honest with your story. Then find a performer and record them reading the script without giving any direction.

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Support the show and help spread the word by wearing a logo t-shirt:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

May 03, 2019
BONUS: Q&A Preview
11:43

Jeffrey and Joseph answer listener questions for Episode 1 (Idea to Execution) and Episode 2 (Know Your Limitations). Join the SWT Membership community to gain access to this full episode, to ask your own questions, and see what other listeners are making.

https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Apr 26, 2019
Feedback
32:26

Our art is personal so sometimes receiving feedback can feel overwhelming. In this episode, Jeffrey and Joseph talk about how to give and receive comments beyond “it was good,” or “it was bad.” They outline four steps to help get and give useful responses: give permission, set specific parameters, have a limit, and evaluate what was helpful.

Consume: Read up on Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process

Create: Write (and record if you’re a podcaster) a 2-minute piece (that’s about 200-250 words) about a fight between two people. Don’t work it too much. When you post it:

1. Ask for feedback

2. Set parameters for what feedback you want

3. Limit the feedback to an exact number of responses

4. Thank your responders once you’ve reached that number

Then go and give feedback to someone else who’s given permission for responses.

Be respectful of your own and other people’s limits.

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Brand new logo t-shirts available now:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Apr 19, 2019
Know Your Limitations
32:38

How do you deal with the limitation of an inherently audio-only medium? Jeffrey and Joseph discuss how artistic restrictions and resource limitations can become advantages that help you jumpstart a new creative path. ****

Consume: The graphic novel, Here by Richard McGuire

If you don’t have immediate access to this book, do a quick google search to get the idea and check out this Guardian review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/17/chris-ware-here-richard-mcguire-review-graphic-novel

Create: Use a random number generator to select one thing from each list. Then write and record a 2-minute monologue incorporating each of the 3 random elements. (If you can, try setting the bluegrass song behind your piece and see what it does to the piece.)

100 Greatest Bluegrass Songs (incorporate the song title in your piece): https://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/bestcountry/bestbluegrass_songs.html

Most Populated US Cities List (incorporate the city): http://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/

World’s 50 Best Foods List (incorporate at least one sentence or phrase from your food item description): http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/world-best-food-dishes/index.html

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Help spread the word about the show by wearing our logo on your torso:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Apr 05, 2019
Idea to Execution
34:21

There’s natural talent, and then there’s practice. You can only control that last bit. Joseph and Jeffrey talk building habits of creation so that starting projects gets into your muscle memory.

Consume:

Check out Jonathan Mann’s Song A Day Youtube channel. Jonathan’s been writing and recording a song a day for over 3,000 days— it’s the ultimate example of flexing the habit of creation.

Create:

Pick an idea that you’ve had for a while. Take exactly 1 hour to work on it exclusively. This can be one continuous hour, or 30 minutes for two days, or 10 minutes for six days. Then put it out there (written or recorded) on our Membership Community, your website, or shout it to a bird from your porch. Consider this your first try of many at this idea.

Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis

Get our logo t-shirts, available in two styles:
https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththis

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents.

http://www.startwiththispodcast.com
http://www.nightvalepresents.com

Mar 22, 2019
Start With This: Trailer
02:54

The creators of Welcome to Night Vale Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink believe the only bad writing is not writing. Start With This is a podcast gone creativity playground designed to put your ideas in motion. Each episode centers around a topic from world building, to opening lines, and even failure. Then they give listeners two short assignments: something to consume and something to create. Join the Start With This membership forum to share your work with other listeners. You might just find a creative partner in the process. Jeffrey and Joseph want you to start creating, one assignment at a time because the best way to start writing, is to start writing. Not sure where to begin? Start With This.

Episodes air every other Friday. The first episode airs Friday, March 22nd.

Subscribe for free at startwiththispodcast.com.

Mar 08, 2019