Podcast #33: Jeffrey A. Carver

Podcast #33 is now available for download here.

Jeffrey A. Carver was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2009, where he lectured on Story Structure: Conflict and Plot. In this podcast, Jeffrey explains the importance of structure. Structure supplies the skeleton for your story; without it, your story becomes a jellyfish. But structure is more than the organization and skeleton. It gives your story its purpose, movement, life. Jeffrey discusses the different components of structure and how they interact with each other. He especially stresses the interaction of plot and character in the structure, and explains that to discover plot, one must discover character. He offers various techniques for creating structure, from outlining in advance to discovering and recording it as your write. He also provides a checklist to help you examine your structure after you have a draft, so you can discover weaknesses and make necessary changes.

Jeffrey A. CarverJeffrey A. Carver is the author of sixteen science fiction novels, including Sunborn (Tor Books, November 2008). Prior to that, his most recent books were Battlestar Galactica: the Miniseries (a novelization), and Eternity’s End, a grand-scale epic of conflict and mystery in the far future, which was a finalist for the Nebula Award.

His novels Neptune Crossing, Strange Attractors, and The Infinite Sea began his series known as The Chaos Chronicles, a hard science fiction series which continues with Sunborn. Science Fiction Chronicle named Neptune Crossing one of the best science fiction novels of the year, while Kirkus called Strange Attractors “dazzling, thrilling, innovative…probably Carver’s best effort to date.” Periodically he returns to his Star Rigger universe (Star Rigger’s Way, Dragons in the Stars, and others), a favorite haunt for readers.

Carver’s writing involves elements of both hard science and psychology, and is character-focused while exploring possibilities for science and technology in the future, including nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and the possibilities for travel (and both contact and conflict) among the stars. His novels and stories explore not just technological but moral, ethical, and spiritual challenges for tomorrow.

In addition to writing, Carver teaches. In 1995, he developed and hosted an educational TV series, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing—a live, interactive broadcast into middle school classrooms. Reaching into schools across the U.S., the show encouraged student writers to stretch their imaginations and learn the basic skills of storytelling and writing. Much of that teaching is now free online for aspiring writers at writesf.com. He also teaches regularly at the New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf, Vermont, and at the Ultimate Science Fiction Writing Workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the fall of 2009, he taught SF writing at MIT, as well.

A native of Huron, Ohio, Carver is a graduate of Brown University, with graduate work in marine resources management at the University of Rhode Island. He has been a high school wrestler, a scuba diving instructor, a quahog diver, a UPS sorter, a technical writer and developmental editor, a private pilot, and a stay-at-home dad. He lives with his family in Arlington, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and The Authors Guild. For more information, visit his website at starrigger.net.

Several of Carver’s novels (and some short stories) are available for free download as ebooks at http://www.starrigger.net/Downloads.htm.


For more information about Odyssey, its graduates and instructors, please visit our website at http://www.odysseyworkshop.org.

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