Street Writers

Street Writers - Cultivating your critique group

An episode of Street Writers

By Mark Bellusci | Dan Chichester
About
Still waiting for inspiration? Maybe it’s time you actually started writing— powerfully, productively and with plenty of punch. Here's a 10-minute jab at writing as a craft that calls for tenacity, consistency and the courage to face an empty page. Mark Bellusci and Dan Chichester are pros at bare-knuckle writing for stage, film, editorial, marketing and comics. They share hard-earned tricks to help you roll up your sleeves, beat down the demons, and move that project forward — be it a novel, ad, play, press release, game, screenplay or shopping list. Take it to the streets and fight to write.
More places to listen
Still waiting for inspiration? Maybe it’s time you actually started writing— powerfully, productively and with plenty of punch. Here's a 10-minute jab at writing as a craft that calls for tenacity, consistency and the courage to face an empty page. Mark Bellusci and Dan Chichester are pros at bare-knuckle writing for stage, film, editorial, marketing and comics. They share hard-earned tricks to help you roll up your sleeves, beat down the demons, and move that project forward — be it a novel, ad, play, press release, game, screenplay or shopping list. Take it to the streets and fight to write.

More places to listen

Street Writers - Education or Inspiration?
Education and inspiration. You need both to keep the words flowing and your writing projects moving forward. Yet finding the balance between how-to-write content and and great writing that inspires you can be tough—should you be reading Stephen King on Writing or Stephen King? Mark and Dan discuss how the balance differs for everyone, and they warn against going down the wormhole of spending too much time learning about writing and not enough time actually writing. Dan raves about the concept and writing behind the text game, Lifeline. And Mark talks about getting his 1-minute film (starring Dan) in a fun Toronto micro-film festival, Just A Minute, Toronto.
09:26
November 12, 2019
Street Writers - Fill that Pipeline
Want an incentive to get through what you’re writing now? Have your next writing project lined up right behind it. Want to shrug off a rejection letter on your current project? Get entrenched in your next one. That’s what filling the pipeline is all about, and that’s how writers stay in it for the long run. Dan is jealous of, and inspired by, a wonderful excerpt on writing by philosopher and Zen master, Alan Watts. Writer/director Mark and actor Dan recap a fun and eye-opening shoot of their latest film, Classmates.
09:54
November 5, 2019
Street Writers - David Quinn Pt. 2
We’re still slugging it out (in the best of ways) with writer David Quinn — scribe of comics, film, kid's books and industry. In Part 2 of our episode/interview with him… David’s view on “They Beat Us To The Punch” is thoughtful and scary as he introduces us to The Creepy School Bus — https://youtu.be/bLaAWSKuKTw. Prepare to be weirded out and jealous! And in “Hit Us With Your Best Shot” he reveals the genesis of his children’s book, “Go To Sleep, Little Creep” (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1101939443/) a lullaby for kids and monsters everywhere that is eerie and sweet and continues to find fans in every venue he takes it to. Find more of David at his blog: https://inwalkedquinn.com Liking what you hear? Bring in some new listeners by sharing out this link: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters Let's not travel the Street alone. Tell us your ideas for “Take A Swing At This” — and let's feature your WIP on “Hit Us With Your Best Shot”! Let's connect and get you on the mic: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com And send us an audio message so we can include your comments in future episodes: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters/message #amwriting #writing #creativity #productivity
10:23
October 30, 2019
Street Writers - David Quinn Pt. 1
Another writer gets down to the street level of writing with us, as we invite David Quinn to get on the mic. David’s known for his prolific career in comics (Faust, Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange, Vampirella and many more). His professional credits extend onto the stage, film and blue chip corporate communications as well. In Pt. 1 of our time together, he “Takes A Swing At This” with a unique spin on Write Now, Fix Later. (Trust us, you will be chanting “Jargon, jargon, jargon!” after this one.) Check out David at his blog at https://inwalkedquinn.com And check out his new children’s book, Go To Sleep, Little Creep at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1101939443/ Dig what you hear? Help boost our audience by sharing out this link: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters Let's not travel the Street alone. Tell us your ideas for “Take A Swing At This” — and let's feature your WIP on “Hit Us With Your Best Shot”! Let's connect and get you on the mic: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com And send us an audio message so we can include your comments in future episodes: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters/message #amwriting #writing #creativity #productivity
10:23
October 22, 2019
Details, Details
We all know where the devil is ... in the details. Dan explains how adding detail to your writing brings it to life. The details are how you paint a picture with your words, how you fight past tropes, and how you bring your own style to your writing. Dan then quotes a writer with his own powerful style (as well as a flawless hook shot), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And Mark reads from a beautiful rejection letter (yep, a contradiction in terms).
10:58
October 9, 2019
Street Writers - Changing Gears
Like a finely tuned Tesla, your writing speed should vary based on your project. Sometimes you want to zoom through a segment, and sometimes you want to slow down and enjoy the view of your words. Mark discusses varying your writing speeds. Dan is jealous of an interactive role-playing, decision-making game that showcases well developed characters. And Dan discusses ramping up his writing speed for a video scripting assignment.
10:21
October 3, 2019
Get it out there
You’ve pondered, produced and polished—now it’s time to publish. Dan discusses the many ways to get your work out into the world: social media, blogs, and content sites like Medium. Mark praises author Colin Harrison, and also discusses shooting his new film.
10:58
September 26, 2019
Are you Kirk or Spock?
What gets your writer engine revving? Is it raw, emotional passion, a la Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise? Or is it the methodical, practical logic of Mr. Spock? Mark discusses analyzing your emotional or rational writing drive, and playing to your strengths on either side. And Dan goes a little “Bruuuuce” on us, with a glowing review of Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run. Dan also updates us on his comic book adventures with his artist partner, @Carl Waller.
10:34
September 19, 2019
Street Writers - Call Yourself a Writer
This week, we’ve got a simple tip from Dan: don’t equivocate or hesitate: substantiate by calling yourself a writer. Of course, that will mean you’ll actually have to write, but that’s kind of the point, right? Also, Dan shows some love to a graphic novel, RoughNeck, by Jeff LeMire. And Mark loves the fact that he wrote his two favorite words on his latest screenplay: “The End.”
10:04
September 11, 2019
Street Writers — Best of Dan
Mark here. I’m flying solo this week, because on this past Labor Day Weekend, Dan was doing labor—on assignment for a crunch project. So I’m holding the fort with a “Best of Dan” episode. Three of his segments that had me taking notes and learning tricks. Not that I’d tell him. Wouldn’t want his head getting too big. But anyway, here are three segments that inspired me: Dan’s type-it-out tip, his Avengers analysis, and finding his own voice for a business article. Enjoy.
10:54
September 4, 2019
Street Writers - Taking Critiques
In our last episode, we talked about finding the right people to critique your work. In this episode, we discuss accepting, absorbing and acting on criticism. Knowing what to accept, what to ignore and how to interact with your reviewers is an art in itself. Also, Dan showcases the Shakespearean language of Deadwood. And Mark has entered the get-this-shit-done-no-matter-what phase for his multi-world, sci-fi ... thing.
10:19
August 28, 2019
Street Writers - Cultivating your critique group
Nobody likes to take a punch, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to improve your work. Specifically, you may need an objective critique. Which is why it’s crucial to find a person or group you can trust to review your project. Finding the right critique team is a bit of an art, which we discuss. Mark then hails a scripted podcast series he enjoyed on a cross-country drive: Blackout, starring Rami Malek. And Dan discusses the writerly skills he needed to keep a panel discussion lively, informative and entertaining.
10:51
August 21, 2019
Street Writers - Brendan Leonard of Semi-Rad, part 2
In the second part of our interview with Brendan Leonard of Semi-Rad, Brendan tells us what he’s been up to, which is publishing a book of his funniest, coolest, most inspirational essays, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems. It’s available wherever books are sold.
09:35
August 15, 2019
Street Writers - Brendan Leonard of Semi-Rad, part 1
Enough about us: in this episode, we jumped on a call with an amazing guest, Brendan Leonard of Semi-rad—he of the wildly popular semi-rad blogs, instagram charts, award-winning documentaries and newsletters. In part one of our interview, Brendan gives a great writing tip (actually, two), and shares his love for a renowned blogger, podcaster and all-around guru, Seth Godin. Next episode, we get into what Brendan’s been up to (spoiler alert: he’s got a new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems.)
09:22
August 7, 2019
Complex and Simple
When writing, you want to make the journey for your characters as complex as possible—that’s what makes them compelling. But you also have to convey the story simply enough for your readers to follow. Sounds tricky? It is. Dan dives in to explain how to do it. Mark then explains how Dan Brown finds the balance of complex and simple in his book, Origin. And Dan discusses the value of time in revisiting and continuing a comic book series he worked on years ago.
10:56
July 31, 2019
Street Writers - Change da Format
Stuck in a writing rut? Dan suggests that it might be time to change your writing format—from computer to handwriting, from keyboard to crayon—anything that changes the physical feel of your writing experience. Mark raves about a morning success formula for the rest of us, hilariously laid out by Brendan Leonard of semi-rad.com. Mark also describes a video project he did for The Home Caregiver Network on Comcast, in which he uncovered the hero’s journey.
10:54
July 25, 2019
Street Writers - Write Shit
Yeah, it’s going to happen: at some point you’ll realize that something you’re writing is just plain, well, shit. Best thing you can do? Finish it. Get it out of your system, and at least have the satisfaction of saying you finished a shitty piece. Reality is, you may be able to salvage chapters, settings, descriptions—and who knows, maybe it won’t be as shitty as you think. Then Dan discusses a piece by a writer who’s as far from shit as a person can be: John Steinbeck. And Mark revels in the magic of storyboarding.
10:17
July 17, 2019
Street Writers - Top and Bottom
Cut the fluff. That what Dan explores with an approach to writing that has you remove the top and bottom of your writing to get to the good stuff in the middle. Mark raves about an episode of a fabulous podcast, Conan O’Brian Needs a Friend. And Mark also discusses finding the story in a client’s video production.
10:43
July 11, 2019
Street Writers - Mindful Writing
We all know the negatives of writing: bouts of insecurity, writer’s block, procrastination and a million other headaches. So in this episode, we hit on a positive: while writing may never get easy, it can provide a regular dose of mindfulness that can help calm and fulfill you—yeah, we’re going all metaphysical this week. Plus, Dan satisfies his appetite for great writing with an article from Bon Appetit magazine, and hones his writing voice with multimedia synopses he creates using a tool called Lumen 5.
09:57
July 2, 2019
Street Writers - White Noise
What's your white noise? What are the sounds, if any, you need to have in the background as you write? For Mark, it's a combo of instrumental jazz, train rides and coffee shops. For Dan, it's an algorithm-based white noise he subscribes to at brain.fm. Dan raves about a creative inspiration book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert. He then talks about his story maze approach to writing, and exploring the cul-de-sacs along the maze path.
10:51
June 25, 2019
Street Writers - Waste No Time
Time to make a fistful of words and fight to write. This episode's “Take A Swing At This”  is a chance for Dan to admit his weakness for distraction. He puts the spotlight on a great lil' tech tool called Waste No Time (https://www.bumblebeesystems.com/wastenotime/), a gem that can lock out the noise of the interwebs and keep your focus on the words in front of you. "They Beat Us To The Punch"  is Dan's green with jealousy love letter to an old fave, 1972's The Night Stalker (https://www.amazon.com/Night-Stalker-Strangler-Double-Feature/dp/B00026L7OU), and the street wise supernatural noir its narrator brings to life. And when it comes to "Hit Us With Your Best Shot,” Mark is out there — really out there — with more musings on his gravitational wave and superstring theory inspiration and how that's creating the best kind of challenges for the multi-character story that's inspiring him to explore. Enjoy the Street Writer spectacle with friends! Help us get some new listeners by sharing out this link: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters Writing's a little less lonely when we fight together. Got ideas for “Take A Swing At This”? Ready to make some noise about your words in “Hit Us With Your Best Shot"? Send word, and we'll find space for you on the mic: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com And send us an audio message so we can include your comments in future episodes: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters/message #amwriting #writing #creativity #productivity #nightstalker #gravitaionalwaves
10:42
June 18, 2019
Street Writers - Type It Out
The fight for the right write continues. In this round of Street Writers…for this “Take A Swing At This”, Dan extols the technique of "Type It Out" — the power of kinetic motion to get yourself in the groove of a genre to inspire your forward momentum when it comes to writing. (Mark applies some curse words to the same idea!). Then it's inner city noir for "They Beat Us To The Punch" as Mark champions a novel he's jealous of, Bill Beverly's latest, Dodgers. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1101903759/) And when it comes to "Hit Us With Your Best Shot,” Dan's learned some lessons creating copy for an e-bike company in San Fran, combining wordplay with relationship building.  Enjoying your ringside seat? Bring some new listeners to the inner circle by sharing out this link: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters Let's not travel the Street alone. Tell us your ideas for “Take A Swing At This” — and let's feature your WIP on “Hit Us With Your Best Shot”! Let's connect and get you on the mic: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com And send us an audio message so we can include your comments in future episodes: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters/message #amwriting #writing #creativity #productivity
10:39
June 11, 2019
Street Writers - Procrastaholics
Now that we’re sharing our hard earned tips and tricks on writing, you’d think we’d be immune to the typical writing road blocks, like procrastination. You’d be wrong. Mark admits he’s a procrastaholic, and describes how he fights it every day. Dan takes an inside look at the final two Avengers movies, and also discusses how he stopped procrastinating by taking a different point of view on an article he wrote.
10:52
June 4, 2019
Street Writers - Once Upon a GOT
Just what you need: the 80 bazillionth critique of Game of Thrones. In ours, Dan nearly throw some Dracarys fire on Mark in their “heated” discussion. Also, Dan goes through the “Once Upon a Time” format that can help you craft your story. And Mark addresses how directing his upcoming film may affect his writing of it. Enjoy the Street Writer spectacle with friends! Help us get some new listeners by sharing out this link: https://anchor.fm/streetwriters Writing's a little less lonely when we fight together. Got ideas for “Take A Swing At This”? Ready to make some noise about your words in “Hit Us With Your Best Shot"? Send word, and we'll find space for you on the mic: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com #amwriting #writing #creativity #productivity #gameofthrones #pixar #storyspine #gravitaionalwaves
10:47
May 30, 2019
Start Anywhere
In this episode, we talk about starting your next writing project any damn place you want, be it the middle, the end or the beginning. Also, Dan gives his impression of Jordan Peterson’s, The 12 Rules for Life, one of which is petting any cat you run into on the street—meow. And Mark enters the black hole (pun intended) of writing a story about gravitational waves and parallel universes. Gulp.
10:54
May 22, 2019
The power of quirks and details
(GREAT NEWS FOR YOUR EARS: WE’RE NOW IN A PRO STUDIO—NO MORE ECHOES!) Think about your favorite characters in stories. You know them inside and out, you relish their quirks, you know what direction they’re going to take before they do. That’s why you need to bring out the details—and quirks—in your characters to bring your writing to life. Hear an excerpt from a book that personifies quirkiness, and hear how we’re bringing out the quirks in our own characters.
09:31
May 7, 2019
Street Writers - Storymatic
We’ve made it to all four corners of the ring with #4 of Street Writers. “Take A Swing At This” declares the Storymatic (https://www.storymatic.com) a contender: it’s a cool set of cards that helps accelerate your writing with character and situation springboards. Dan has a glass jaw when it comes to Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series of books, a high-energy mix of wit, demonology, and action. (https://www.richardkadrey.com) And in this "Hit Us With Your Best Shot,” Mark bobs and weaves with what he’s discovered writing his new "behind the scenes" Video Tips series. (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/take-voodoo-out-video-part-1-mark-bellusci/) How about getting in our corner and sending us some new listeners to https://anchor.fm/streetwriters And let’s make this about you, too. What are your ideas for “Take A Swing At This”? And let’s feature you and your WIP on “Hit Us With Your Best Shot”? Send the word: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com #amwriting #writing #creativity #productivity
10:27
April 23, 2019
Street Writers — Anytime, Anywhere
Episode Three of Street Writers defends the #fight2write ethos, with hard-hitting "Take A Swing At This" ideas for capturing your words on the go. (Including a mention of Dan's fave Field Notes, https://fieldnotesbrand.com) "They Beat Us To The Punch" reveals Mark’s inner romcom, with a revisit to the writing delights of the James L. Brooks’ movie “As Good As It Gets.” (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000I8HIO0) Then we turn from laughs-to-screams for Dan’s "Hit Us With Your Best Shot,” a behind-the-scenes look (talk?) at a scary interactive fiction project called “The Virulence Protocol.” (https://textadventures.co.uk/games/view/m3qpupepzkce7y2x30rjkg/the-virulence-protocol) Help us promote the show by pointing new listeners to https://anchor.fm/streetwriters And get in the ring with us! Got some great ideas for “Take A Swing At This”? Or want to show your moves with a “Hit Us With Your Best Shot” interview? Send the word: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com #amwriting #writing #creativity #productivity
10:27
March 13, 2019
Street Writers — The Alarm Clock
An alarm clock can not only get you out of bed, it can also get you out of the writing doldrums. In “Take a Swing At This,” we explore writing in blocks of time, capped off with an alarm clock that allows you a short break. Yes, it’s now a popular time management system called the Pomodoro Method, but we we’ve been using for years to write—it works. "They Beat Us To The Punch" features the highlights of a hysterical eight-month-old life coach. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/22/opinion/sunday/humor-baby-daily-routine.html) And "Hit Us With Your Best Shot” we touch on Dan’s project to bring to life the world’s most interesting dead man. Send new listeners to https://anchor.fm/streetwriters And it’s only a real fight if we’re both in it! Send us your tips, and let us know if you’d be up for talking up your writing: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com #amwriting #writing #creativity
10:39
March 5, 2019
Street Writers - High Horses
In this intro episode, "Take A Swing At This," we knock writing off its high horse and hit at the power of discipline. With "They Beat Us To The Punch," Mark gives a blow-by-blow of a great column in Esquire. And for this version of "Hit Us With Your Best Shot," Dan punches out the storytelling details behind a new toy project. Get in on the action, say "Yo Adrian!" and tell us what words are filling your screen: streetwriters.podcast@gmail.com
10:16
February 19, 2019
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