Book Fight

We're joined this week by Philadelphia native Dan McQuade to discuss the novelisation of Rocky II, which pretty much sticks to the plot of the film, but is narrated by Rocky himself, who turns out to be an even bigger dolt in prose. We talk about the story's possibly racist overtones, and why montage sequences don't work that well in a novel. We also ask Dan about life as a freelance writer, and some of Philadelphia's weirder traditions, like the Mummers. 

Direct download: Ep61-SylvesterStallone_Rocky3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

On this week's Writers Ask, we counsel someone who's been rejected from all the MFA programs to which he's applied. Should he simply give up? Choose a different path? Or put his head down, keep working, and apply again next year? We also tell someone whether they should self-publish, and we share a few of the writing prompts we use in our creative writing classes that have proven particularly useful.

After this week, we're taking a little break from our Writers Ask episodes so we can embark on a special summer project. We share some details of that project this week, and also workshop potential names for it. (Not to worry: there will still be an episode every week; but these alternate-week episodes will be a little different for the next 2-3 months).

Find out more at

Direct download: WritersAsk-WormCans.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week's book, Canty's first novel, is one of Mike's favorites, while Tom is reading it for the first time. We talk about doomed teenage romance, small moments carefully observed, and what makes you want to return to a book. We also examine the free Wattpad app, and check out some Adam Levine/The Voice fan fic. 

Direct download: Ep60-KevinCanty_IntoTheGreatWideOpen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We revisit the topic of writers conferences, and offer advice on how to choose a good one. Also: do writers need to be well-versed in the literary canon (however that might be defined), or is it ok to mostly read contemporary work? And how can you add conflict and tension to a book without much plot? 

Direct download: WritersAsk-HeavenIsReal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT