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Start With This

Night Vale Presents

403
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1.1K
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Start With This

Start With This

Night Vale Presents

403
Followers
1.1K
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

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About Us

The creators of Welcome to Night Vale Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink believe the only bad writing is not writing. Start With This is a podcast gone creativity playground designed to put your ideas in motion. Each episode centers around a writing topic. Then they give listeners two short assignments: something to consume and something to create. Make something—anything. Then make something else.

Latest Episodes

Hooptedoodle

Stop and describe the roses. CONSUME: Chapter 1 of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden CREATE: Write a 200 or so word description of your neighborhood. Give us a texture of the sights and the smells and the sounds. Remember that what you’re going for here is more poetry and language than storytelling. Write something real pretty. Now go to the Random Mood Generator (https://perchance.org/mood). Get a random mood. And write another 200 or so word description of your neighborhood, that in some way reflects that mood. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

31 min2 d ago
Comments
Hooptedoodle

Non-Lovecraftian Horror

There's so much more to horror, we couldn’t stop at Lovecraft. CONSUME: Watch any of the movies on Joseph’s horror movie recommendation list: https://twitter.com/PlanetofFinks/status/1311695218505379841?s=20 CREATE: Think about an irrational fear you have of something real. This should not be a fear that is reasonable, but something like: fear of flying, fear of wasps, fear of the dark (these are all just fears Joseph has, I’m sure you have your own). Now instead of thinking about the source of that fear, think about your own feelings. What kinds of fears are activated by this phobia? Loss of control? Fear of the unknown? Fear of pain? Now write a 300-500 word story about that fear, but replace the focus of your fear (wasps, flying, etc.) with a supernatural entity. Could be a ghost or a zombie or a demon or an alien or whatever. But still, even though it’s now a supernatural story, try to recreate the exact feeling of fear your phobia gives you. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

38 min2 w ago
Comments
Non-Lovecraftian Horror

Lovecraftian Horror

Lovecraft was a racist and a bad writer, yet his ideas and his stories live on. So what do we do with them? CONSUME: “The Ballad of Black Tom” (novella) by Victor Lavalle, “Lovecraft Country” (tv series) on HBO, “The City We Became” (novel) by NK Jemisin CREATE: 1) Write 100-200 words about a hole that appears in the sky. Use this to explore fear of the unknown. When did the hole appear? What is it doing from our perspective? Don’t describe what’s in the hole or how it formed. Just describe how people react to its appearance. 2) Write 100-200 words about exactly what the hole is, and what it does. This second story can just be a sketch. Allow yourself to strip away all horror and just see the hole for exactly what it is. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Fac...

40 minOCT 30
Comments
Lovecraftian Horror

Agency

A character has a problem. As a result of that problem, they make a decision. As a result of that decision, they change. CONSUME: “Schitt’s Creek” on Netflix CREATE: Write a 200-word story about a super spy who has been incapacitated by a super villain. He’s chained to a conveyor belt on his way into an incinerator. Or locked inside a cage being lowered into the ocean. Then they make a decision based on their experience. Maybe it’s action, strength, wit, or intelligence. But they make a decision, and that decision has a consequence (they escape! They get injured! A bystander gets hurt!). And in the end, something significant has changed for them, and it’s because of that choice and the consequence. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

38 minOCT 17
Comments
Agency

Exaggeration

Fiction is a lie. Hopefully a good, fun lie. CONSUME: “Small Triumph Big Speech” podcast by Dylan Marron CREATE: Write a 200-word story about something mundane you did today (made toast, brushed your teeth, exercised for 30 minutes). But exaggerate the details. How did your toast change your day, your life, the world even? Put dramatic significance on your workout. What were you training for? Raise the stakes beyond just making a breakfast snack or personal health. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

38 minOCT 2
Comments
Exaggeration

Exposition

What do you need to set the scene? CONSUME: "Anthropocene Reviewed" podcast by John Green CREATE: Write a 200 word story about a child. Give it a beginning, middle and an end. Something happened to this child. Maybe it was good. Maybe it was bad. But whatever it is clearly changes the child in the end of your story. Now write a 200-word story about that child as an adult. This adult is involved in a bank robbery. Maybe they’re the robber, or the cops, or a witness, or a get away driver, or a bank teller. Remember your first story when you write the second, but concentrate only on the bank robbery story. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

36 minSEP 18
Comments
Exposition

Perfection Is for Assholes

Perfection is a target, not a goal. CONSUME: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson CREATE: Spend 58 minutes brainstorming and refining the title of your Perfect Work, the one you someday want to make. The title that you think will draw people in, maybe has a secret meaning or relates to the very core of the work. Now spend 2 minutes to come up with two more names. Make them as good as you can in two minutes. Share all three titles of your great masterpiece, but don’t indicate which one is the one you think is perfect. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

36 minSEP 5
Comments
Perfection Is for Assholes

Five Senses

We experience more than what we see. CONSUME: “How to Meet and Dance with Your Death” by Larissa Shmailo (http://larissashmailo.blogspot.com/2016/01/how-to-meet-and-dance-with-your-death.html) CREATE: Write 200-400 words about a meal. It can be eating the meal, preparing the meal, talking about the meal, cleaning up after the meal. Use each sense: taste, texture, smell, sound and sight. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in o...

38 minAUG 21
Comments
Five Senses

Writer's Voice

What do you sound like, as a writer? CONSUME: “Exercises in Style” by Raymond Queneau (excerpt: https://monoskop.org/images/4/49/Queneau_Raymond_Exercises_in_Style_pp_1-26.pdf) CREATE: Find a piece of writing you like. Sit with that work and think about what grabs you. Find the DNA of that work and what it is that you identify with. Now write a 200-400 story in the style of that piece of writing. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or sha...

37 minAUG 9
Comments
Writer's Voice

Present Tense

You write in the here and now. CONSUME: “Girls, at Play” by Celeste Ng https://blr.med.nyu.edu/content/archive/2010/fall/girlsatplay CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story about a chase. Your last line is a cliffhanger, a tease for the next part of this chase. Use only active voice and present tense. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

31 minJUL 24
Comments
Present Tense

Latest Episodes

Hooptedoodle

Stop and describe the roses. CONSUME: Chapter 1 of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden CREATE: Write a 200 or so word description of your neighborhood. Give us a texture of the sights and the smells and the sounds. Remember that what you’re going for here is more poetry and language than storytelling. Write something real pretty. Now go to the Random Mood Generator (https://perchance.org/mood). Get a random mood. And write another 200 or so word description of your neighborhood, that in some way reflects that mood. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

31 min2 d ago
Comments
Hooptedoodle

Non-Lovecraftian Horror

There's so much more to horror, we couldn’t stop at Lovecraft. CONSUME: Watch any of the movies on Joseph’s horror movie recommendation list: https://twitter.com/PlanetofFinks/status/1311695218505379841?s=20 CREATE: Think about an irrational fear you have of something real. This should not be a fear that is reasonable, but something like: fear of flying, fear of wasps, fear of the dark (these are all just fears Joseph has, I’m sure you have your own). Now instead of thinking about the source of that fear, think about your own feelings. What kinds of fears are activated by this phobia? Loss of control? Fear of the unknown? Fear of pain? Now write a 300-500 word story about that fear, but replace the focus of your fear (wasps, flying, etc.) with a supernatural entity. Could be a ghost or a zombie or a demon or an alien or whatever. But still, even though it’s now a supernatural story, try to recreate the exact feeling of fear your phobia gives you. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

38 min2 w ago
Comments
Non-Lovecraftian Horror

Lovecraftian Horror

Lovecraft was a racist and a bad writer, yet his ideas and his stories live on. So what do we do with them? CONSUME: “The Ballad of Black Tom” (novella) by Victor Lavalle, “Lovecraft Country” (tv series) on HBO, “The City We Became” (novel) by NK Jemisin CREATE: 1) Write 100-200 words about a hole that appears in the sky. Use this to explore fear of the unknown. When did the hole appear? What is it doing from our perspective? Don’t describe what’s in the hole or how it formed. Just describe how people react to its appearance. 2) Write 100-200 words about exactly what the hole is, and what it does. This second story can just be a sketch. Allow yourself to strip away all horror and just see the hole for exactly what it is. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Fac...

40 minOCT 30
Comments
Lovecraftian Horror

Agency

A character has a problem. As a result of that problem, they make a decision. As a result of that decision, they change. CONSUME: “Schitt’s Creek” on Netflix CREATE: Write a 200-word story about a super spy who has been incapacitated by a super villain. He’s chained to a conveyor belt on his way into an incinerator. Or locked inside a cage being lowered into the ocean. Then they make a decision based on their experience. Maybe it’s action, strength, wit, or intelligence. But they make a decision, and that decision has a consequence (they escape! They get injured! A bystander gets hurt!). And in the end, something significant has changed for them, and it’s because of that choice and the consequence. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

38 minOCT 17
Comments
Agency

Exaggeration

Fiction is a lie. Hopefully a good, fun lie. CONSUME: “Small Triumph Big Speech” podcast by Dylan Marron CREATE: Write a 200-word story about something mundane you did today (made toast, brushed your teeth, exercised for 30 minutes). But exaggerate the details. How did your toast change your day, your life, the world even? Put dramatic significance on your workout. What were you training for? Raise the stakes beyond just making a breakfast snack or personal health. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

38 minOCT 2
Comments
Exaggeration

Exposition

What do you need to set the scene? CONSUME: "Anthropocene Reviewed" podcast by John Green CREATE: Write a 200 word story about a child. Give it a beginning, middle and an end. Something happened to this child. Maybe it was good. Maybe it was bad. But whatever it is clearly changes the child in the end of your story. Now write a 200-word story about that child as an adult. This adult is involved in a bank robbery. Maybe they’re the robber, or the cops, or a witness, or a get away driver, or a bank teller. Remember your first story when you write the second, but concentrate only on the bank robbery story. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

36 minSEP 18
Comments
Exposition

Perfection Is for Assholes

Perfection is a target, not a goal. CONSUME: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson CREATE: Spend 58 minutes brainstorming and refining the title of your Perfect Work, the one you someday want to make. The title that you think will draw people in, maybe has a secret meaning or relates to the very core of the work. Now spend 2 minutes to come up with two more names. Make them as good as you can in two minutes. Share all three titles of your great masterpiece, but don’t indicate which one is the one you think is perfect. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

36 minSEP 5
Comments
Perfection Is for Assholes

Five Senses

We experience more than what we see. CONSUME: “How to Meet and Dance with Your Death” by Larissa Shmailo (http://larissashmailo.blogspot.com/2016/01/how-to-meet-and-dance-with-your-death.html) CREATE: Write 200-400 words about a meal. It can be eating the meal, preparing the meal, talking about the meal, cleaning up after the meal. Use each sense: taste, texture, smell, sound and sight. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in o...

38 minAUG 21
Comments
Five Senses

Writer's Voice

What do you sound like, as a writer? CONSUME: “Exercises in Style” by Raymond Queneau (excerpt: https://monoskop.org/images/4/49/Queneau_Raymond_Exercises_in_Style_pp_1-26.pdf) CREATE: Find a piece of writing you like. Sit with that work and think about what grabs you. Find the DNA of that work and what it is that you identify with. Now write a 200-400 story in the style of that piece of writing. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or sha...

37 minAUG 9
Comments
Writer's Voice

Present Tense

You write in the here and now. CONSUME: “Girls, at Play” by Celeste Ng https://blr.med.nyu.edu/content/archive/2010/fall/girlsatplay CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story about a chase. Your last line is a cliffhanger, a tease for the next part of this chase. Use only active voice and present tense. Join the SWT Membership community to share your work, give feedback, and connect with other artists: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Help spread the word about our show by wearing our logo: https://topatoco.com/collections/startwiththisFollow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Jeffrey Cranor (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written and performed by Joseph Fink. If you'd like your own cover of the theme song featured on this show, email us at startwiththis@nightvalepresents.com or share it in our membership community. Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.comhttp://www.nightvalepresents.com

31 minJUL 24
Comments
Present Tense
success toast
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