Podcast #22: Nancy Kress

Podcast #22 is now up at http://www.sff.net/odyssey/podcasts.html.  It is an excerpt from a lecture by award-winning author Nancy Kress, who served as writer-in-residence at the 2008 Odyssey workshop.  Nancy delivered a week of amazing lectures, provided in-depth feedback on student manuscripts, and met privately with students.  In this podcast, Nancy discusses writing in scenes, the concept that turned her own stories from non-salable to salable. Nancy explains that stories should be structured in scenes, and that each scene should have its own purpose. She breaks scenes into five modes of expression: dialogue, description, action,character’s thoughts, and exposition. Nancy explains why dialogue should be at the heart of almost all scenes. She also discusses the importance of the “surround”–the other four modes that are interspersed with the dialogue–and through a series of examples, illustrates how the dialogue and the surround interact to create meaning.

Nancy Kress is the author of twenty-three books: three fantasy novels, eleven SF novels, two thrillers, three collections of short stories, one YA novel, and three books on writing fiction. She is perhaps best known for the “Sleepless” trilogy that began with Beggars in Spain. The novel was based on a Nebula- and Hugo-winning novella of the same name; the series then continued with Beggars and Choosers and Beggars Ride. The trilogy explores questions of genetic engineering, social structure, and what society’s “haves” owe its “have-nots.” In 2008 three Kress books will appear: a collection of short stories, Nano Comes to Clifford Falls and Other Stories (Golden Gryphon Press), and two novels, Steal Across the Sky (Tor) and Dogs (Tachyon).

Kress’s short fiction has won three Nebulas and a Hugo, and her novel Probability Space won the 2003 John W. Campbell Award. Her work has been translated into eighteen languages. She lives in Rochester, New York, with the world’s most spoiled toy poodle.


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