Ep 105: Elements 19 – Character. Rachel O’Neill talks to Pip Adam about Andrea Arnold’s film Milk.

In the first episode in the Character season of Elements, I talk to Rachel O’Neill about character and how it relates to their writing. We use Andrea Arnold’s film Milk as a starting point for this discussion.

CW: Please be aware that Milk contains the death of a baby and deals with the grief resulting from this. Here’s a link where you can watch Andrea Arnold’s film Milk

I just wanted to say a big thank you to Rachel. I have found her work incredibly inspiring over the years and I always seem to talk to them at exactly the right time. This chat was so helpful for my own writing and helping me fall a bit in love with writing again. Thanks Rachel!

Rachel O’Neill

Some of the things we talk about are:

Rachel’s new book Requiem for a Fruit is out with We Are Babies soon. Here is a link to read about Requiem of a Fruit and to pre-order

Here’s a link to Miranda Harcourt’s connection exercise

Rachel mentions Discwoman and their slogan Amplify Each Other. Here’s a link to their website

Rachel talks about the film Waru and Vai. Here’s a link to some information about Waru and here is a link to some information about Via

Keep an eye out for for the upcoming anthology film Kāinga that will be helmed by Pan-Asian female directors. Here’s a link to information about Kāinga

Here’s a link to Proudly Asian Theatre

Here’s a link to Rachel’s blog

Here’s a link to Rachel’s Instagram

Exercise:

Describe a person from only the outside. You have no access to their thoughts or feelings. You can only use image and sound.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 104: Elements 18 – Point. Kirsten McDougall talks to Pip Adam about first-person perspective.

In the fifth and final episode in the Point season of Elements, I talk to Kirsten McDougall about point of view and how it relates to her writing. We use as starting point for this discussion first-person perspective.

Again, I am still working out what I mean by this. I’m interested in the vantage point that we tell our work from. I’ve always called this ‘Point of View’ but I’m slowly wondering about how this term privileges sight. So, in this season I’m interested in ways of breaking this idea a little but to see if I can get at something interesting.

Kirsten McDougall Products - Victoria University Press
Kirsten McDougall (Photograph Ebony Lamb)

Some of the things we talk about are:

Here’s a link to Kirsten’s new book She’s a Killer

Here’s a link to Maggie Shipstead’s book Great Circle

Here’s a link to Olga Ravn’s book The Employees

Exercise:

Think of three people who you saw yesterday. Now write three first-person perspectives of yesterday. What does each person choose to tell you about their day?

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 103: Elements 17 – Point. Ebony Lamb talks to Pip Adam about a self-portrait photographed by Ebony Lamb.

In the fourth episode in the Point season of Elements, I talk to Ebony Lamb about point of view and how it relates to her work as a photographer and song-writer. We use as starting point for this discussion Ebony’s portrait below.

Again, I am still working out what I mean by this. I’m interested in the vantage point that we tell our work from. I’ve always called this ‘Point of View’ but I’m slowly wondering about how this term privileges sight. So, in this season I’m interested in ways of breaking this idea a little but to see if I can get at something interesting.

Ebony Lamb photographed by Ebony Lamb

Some of the things we talk about are:

Here is a link to Ebony’s photography website

Here is a link to Ebony’s music website

Here is a link to the work of Andris Apse

Here’s a link to Gregory Crewdson’s Sound and Vision Podcast

Here’s a link to some of Nan Goldin’s work

Exercise:

What is it to write a self-portrait? Think about ‘where you will place your camera’. And write from here.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 102: Elements 16 – Point. Cassie Hart talks to Pip Adam about Butcherbird by Cassie Hart.

In the third episode in the Point season of Elements, I talk to Cassie Hart about point of view and what it is to write it. We use as starting point for this discussion Cassie’s new novel, Butcherbird. Here’s a link to more information about Butcherbird

Again, I am still working out what I mean by this. I’m interested in the vantage point that we tell our work from. I’ve always called this ‘Point of View’ but I’m slowly wondering about how this term privileges sight. So, in this season I’m interested in ways of breaking this idea a little but to see if I can get at something interesting.

Some of the things we talk about are:

Here’s a link to Cassie’s website which includes information about all of Cassie’s work

Exercise:

Cassie and I talk about using existing structures. Maybe you could think of a ‘type’ of story – a romance, a whodunit, a first contact novel. Now spend 30 seconds writing everything about that type of story that you know. Now take another type of story and write it in using your list. So, you might end up writing a romance using the rules of a murder mystery, or a first contact novel as a noire detective story.

Here’s a link to Pip’s article ‘The story of a take-down’

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 101: Elements 15 – Point. Emma Hislop talks to Pip Adam about Daisy Johnson’s short story ‘The Hunt’.

In the second episode in the Point season of Elements, I talk to Emma Hislop about point of view and what it is to write it. We use as starting point for this discussion Daisy Johnson’s short story ‘The Hunt’ which is part of ‘The Scattering: a story in three parts’ and is published in Johnson’s amazing collection Fen. Here’s a link to more information about Fen

Again, I am still working out what I mean by this. I’m interested in the vantage point that we tell our work from. I’ve always called this ‘Point of View’ but I’m slowly wondering about how this term privileges sight. So, in this season I’m interested in ways of breaking this idea a little but to see if I can get at something interesting.

Emma Hislop on Back Beach, Taranaki

Some of the things we talk about are:

Here’s a link to Emma Hislop’s short story ‘The Game’

Here’s a link to Sarah Hall’s short story ‘Mrs Fox’

Here’s a link to Karen Russel’s short story ‘Orange World’

Here’s a link to Emma’s Instagram

Here’s a link to Emma on Twitter

Exercise:

Emma’s story ‘The Game’ does an amazing job of limiting what the point of view character knows. Think of an object. Name three facts about this object. Now get three people in the room with this object and give each of them one of the facts about the object but not the other two. Each of them wants the object. Now write the dialogue.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 100: Elements 14 – Point. Cassandra Barnett talks to Pip Adam about a Wooden Croaking Frog Percussion Instrument.

First of all, thank you so much for helping us reach 100 episodes. I am very grateful to everyone who has been on the podcast and everyone who has listened. Thank you.

This episode marks the start of our season on Point. Again, I am still working out what I mean by this. I’m interested in the vantage point that we tell our work from. I’ve always called this ‘Point of View’ but I’m slowly wondering about how this term privileges sight. So, in this season I’m interested in ways of breaking this idea a little but to see if I can get at something interesting.

Cassandra Barnett and Frogs

Some of the things we talk about are:

Here’s a link to information about Kiese Laymon’s book Heavy

Here’s a link to information about Black Marks on the White Page edited by Witi IhimaeraTina Makereti

Here’s a link to information about Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me

Here’s a link to Cassandra’s essay ‘Wave, whip, rise, roar: The art of Mata Aho Collective’

Here’s a link to Cassandra’s work in Pantograph Punch

Here’s a link to Claudine Rankine and Beth Loffreda’s essay ‘On Whiteness and The Racial Imaginary’

Exercise:

What languages do you come from? If you’re writing in a different language are there certain useful differences in these two languages that could be utilised as a constraint? Take a bit of time to research your origin languages and write some constraints for an exercise. Then write.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 99: Elements 13 – Plot. Ash Davida Jane talks to Pip Adam about ‘Kiss of the Sun’ by Mary Ruefle and ‘pool party’ by Ash Davida Jane.

In the fifth episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Ash Davida Jane about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Ash Davida Jane (Image by Ebony Lamb)

Ash reads both poems at the start of this podcast but you can read ‘Kiss of the Sun’ by Mary Ruefle here https://www.ronnowpoetry.com/contents/ruefle/KissoftheSun.html

And ‘pool party’ is in Ash’s collection How to Live with Mammal is published by VUP

Some of the things we talk about are:

Heather Christle’s The Crying Book

Intan Paramaditha’s choose your own adventure novel The Wandering

Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story

Here is an interview with David Wallace-Wells who wrote The Uninhabitable Earth: A story of the future

Exercise:

Ash and I talk a bit about how much explanation or description or detail you can take out of an imagined world and still keep the reader with you. That is the exercise. Imagine a distant planet or this plant in the future and write it in as few details as possible. Maybe there is one key object or image? Can the senses help?

This episode was recorded at the IIML at Victoria University of Wellington. Applications for the 2022 Writer in Residence are not open. Read about the Writer in Residence here

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 98: Elements 12 – Place. Richard Larsen talks to Pip Adam about the first Glass Vaults’ album ‘Glass’.

In this bonus ‘Place’ episode of Elements, I talk to Richard Larsen about the first Glass Vaults album ‘Glass’ as a way to talk about place and music in place.

Some of the things we talk about are:

We talk a lot about one of Richard’s projects Glass Vaults. Glass Vaults are Richard Larsen, Bevan Smith, Rowan Pierce + friends.

Bevan makes music as Aspen, Introverted Dancefloor and Signer. Signer has been releasing editions of his Isolated Dreams series of EPs onto Bandcamp at an impressively steady clip, since kicking off the low key project in October 2020. You can listen to Signer’s ‘Isolated Dreams EP07’ here: https://www.undertheradar.co.nz/news/18545/Listen-To-Signers-Isolated-Dreams-EP07.utr

Rowan Pierce is multi award winning artist who produces and exhibits work, collaboratively and individually, across a range of mediums including live performance, music, film and installation. You can see Rowan’s work in Te Mauri o Pōhutu a new series of collaborative installation and time-based artworks by Bianca Hyslop, Rowan Pierce and Tūī Matira Ranapiri Ransfield. https://toiponeke.nz/events/2021temauriopohutu

Glass Vaults is on Bandcamp and you can listen and buy their music here: https://glassvaults.bandcamp.com/

Richard also makes work as Richard Dada which is also on Bandcamp: https://dadada.bandcamp.com/

Richard mentions David Byrne talking about how architecture helped music evolve. Here is a TED talk David Byrne gave about this topic: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_byrne_how_architecture_helped_music_evolve/transcript

Toward the end we talk about the Glass Vaults’ song ‘Sojourn’. You can watch the video Richard talks about here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4f95qIzBvE

You can see Glass Vaults performing live on RNZ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptTEY248pE0

Exercise:

Can you write something that takes place in more than one physical space at the same time. You could even search for a place that shares one of the name of the place you are writing this in. Maybe the place you are writing in has a nickname – could you make up an imaginary place which is a literal manifestation of this nickname. Thinking of: Hamiltron, Swamp Town, The City of Sails, Gizzy, The City of the Future.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 97: Elements 11 – Plot. Doug Dillaman talks to Pip Adam about Formula 1: Drive To Survive S3E9

In the fourth episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Doug Dillaman about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Doug Dillaman

Some of the things we talk about are:

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a Netflix Original series which you can read about here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_1:_Drive_to_Survive

Doug’s film You Could Have Seen The Mona Lisa is showing at the 2021 Doc Edge Festival 4-11 June https://festival.docedge.nz/film/you-could-have-seen-the-mona-lisa/

Doug’s podcast which he makes with Steve Skeet and Darren Waugh is Ludicrously Specific

https://www.stitcher.com/show/ludicrously-specific

Doug’s feature is Jake and you can read about it and find out how to see it here:

http://www.jakethemovie.com/

Doug is on Twitter https://twitter.com/dillamonster

Exercise:

Think of a scene, or take a scene you have already written. Now tell it in the following ‘shots’: Drone Shot Fly-over, Establishing Long Shot, Mid-shot, Close-up, Close-up, Mid-shot, Establishing Long Shot, Drone Shot Fly-over. You could even storyboard it.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 96: Elements 10 – Plot. Laura Vincent talks to Pip Adam about her poems ‘ACTIVITIES’ and ‘Anecdotal happiness’

In the fourth episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Laura Vincent, Ngāti Māhanga, about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Laura Vincent

Laura chose two of her poems to talk about, you can read them here:

ACTIVITIES by Laura Vincent, The Friday Poem in The Spinoff https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/12-07-2019/the-friday-poem-activities-by-laura-vincent/

Anecdotal happiness by Laura Vincent, The Friday Poem in The Spinoff https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/10-01-2020/the-friday-poem-anecdotal-happiness-by-laura-vincent/

Some of the things we talk about are:

We talk about the work of Billy Wilder in particular his film Ace in the Hole: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043338/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_33

Laura blogs at Hungry and Frozen https://hungryandfrozen.com/ where you can also find Laura’s Patreon.

Other good places to find Laura are:

Twitter https://twitter.com/HungryandFrozen

Intragram https://www.instagram.com/hungryandfrozen/

TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@hungryandfrozen

Isochronic tones – you can listen to a selection of these here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrpFW99zAUaJT8cKmqeagkg/featured

Laura says: “This is the video I use the most for short bursts of Getting Work Done but I try to mix it up so my brain doesn’t get too used to any one sound. Also this one is weirdly such a bop once it gets going, like I would absolutely dance in the club to it.”

Exercise:

We start off talking about lists. I am very in love with this type of narrative structure. Could you take a story you know well and write it as a list of objects? Or a list of emotions? Or a list of people in the room? When you have this list, try to write something knew from it.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here: