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Start With This

Night Vale Presents

399
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886
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Start With This

Start With This

Night Vale Presents

399
Followers
886
Plays
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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

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 MIN1 d ago
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 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Present Tense

Second Person

You are intrigued by second person narratives. CONSUME: GirlsArePretty.com CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story in Second Person POV that begins with “You knew it was a bad idea, but you did it anyway.” And ends with “You still have 20 more to go.” 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

28 MINJUL 10
Comments
Second Person

Negative Space

What's there that's not there? CONSUME: “Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumaker CREATE: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Create a character (a person, a place or a thing, really. Doesn’t have to be a human being.) And write a list of everything they do not have, everything they do not want, everything they are not, everything they cannot or will not do. Ignore story structure and just focus on the things that your central character is not. Keep writing until time is up. Save your story and come back to it later. 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...

27 MINJUN 26
Comments
Negative Space

Narrative Structure

What is the shape of your narrative? CONSUME: “17776 Football” by Jon Bois https://www.sbnation.com/a/17776-football CREATE: Write a 100 word story with a beginning, middle and end. Write another 100 word story with completely different characters and completely different action. But take one character, place, or idea from the first story and incorporate it in here.Write one more 100 word story using an entirely different character and place and action. But bring that connective tissue from the first two stories into this one, something that connects all three together. 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

30 MINJUN 12
Comments
Narrative Structure

To Write in a Plague

How are you doing? CONSUME: The podcast Our Plague Year https://ourplagueyear.libsyn.com/ and the webcomic Valley Ghouls https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/valley-ghouls/list?title_no=330059&page=1 CREATE: Think of a true story from your past. One that does not seem to have anything to do with the present moment. Tell that story, in as little or as many words as you need. But do so while thinking about it through the lens of this moment in your life. 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

27 MINMAY 29
Comments
To Write in a Plague

Satire

How strong is your satire? CONSUME: Two podcasts: "A Very Fatal Murder" and "This Sounds Serious." Both podcasts are a riff on the true crime podcast format. Both use satire. Listen to the first episode of each of those shows, and think about what you learn from each satirical take on true crime. https://radiopublic.com/this-sounds-serious-Wk2kMx/s1!127a3 https://radiopublic.com/a-very-fatal-murder-G2wNv0/s1!44a4f#t=2 CREATE: Choose a person you generally disagree with. Now write a 200-400 word opinion column in that person's voice. Make their argument that thing you disagree with. Every word should support what you would never support, but the tone should clearly indicate the opposite. 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

35 MINMAY 15
Comments
Satire

Absurdity

Writing what's absurd. CONSUME: Clip from You, the Living. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOwpd2I_4mo CREATE: Write a 200 word description of your home. Make it realistic and true.Now edit that piece. Change the logic of its layout. With each sentence, think about the logical and expected conclusion, and then twist it into something impossible or totally out of left field. Make sure your readers never know where it's going to go. 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

30 MINMAY 1
Comments
Absurdity

Stage Directions

When do you use stage directions, and how descriptive do you get? CONSUME: "How to use stage directions" by Sam Graber https://samgraber.com/2017/02/21/how-to-use-stage-directions/ CREATE: Write a 200-400 word scene for two characters that includes the stage direction “[They/He/She Flies].” 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

29 MINAPR 17
Comments
Stage Directions

The Possibility of Failure

Failure is scary but it can also be interesting and even fruitful. (like when Jeffrey posts the wrong episode file to the podcast feed. here’s the correct one!) Consume: “How to Speak Poetry” by Leonard Cohen: https://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/leonard-cohen-how-to-spea.html Create: Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write a murder mystery. Title that “1”. Then repeat the process with an entirely new murder mystery. Title that “2”. Repeat it a third time, again with an entirely new mystery. Title that “3”. Come back the next day and give yourself 30 minutes to edit these mysteries as best as you can. Put them in one document and title the document “Three Attempts to Tell a Murder Mystery”. You have now, in one hour, created a complete piece in which the point was the possibility of failure. 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 we...

27 MINAPR 3
Comments
The Possibility of Failure

Latest Episodes

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 MIN1 d ago
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 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Present Tense

Second Person

You are intrigued by second person narratives. CONSUME: GirlsArePretty.com CREATE: Write a 200-400 word story in Second Person POV that begins with “You knew it was a bad idea, but you did it anyway.” And ends with “You still have 20 more to go.” 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

28 MINJUL 10
Comments
Second Person

Negative Space

What's there that's not there? CONSUME: “Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumaker CREATE: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Create a character (a person, a place or a thing, really. Doesn’t have to be a human being.) And write a list of everything they do not have, everything they do not want, everything they are not, everything they cannot or will not do. Ignore story structure and just focus on the things that your central character is not. Keep writing until time is up. Save your story and come back to it later. 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...

27 MINJUN 26
Comments
Negative Space

Narrative Structure

What is the shape of your narrative? CONSUME: “17776 Football” by Jon Bois https://www.sbnation.com/a/17776-football CREATE: Write a 100 word story with a beginning, middle and end. Write another 100 word story with completely different characters and completely different action. But take one character, place, or idea from the first story and incorporate it in here.Write one more 100 word story using an entirely different character and place and action. But bring that connective tissue from the first two stories into this one, something that connects all three together. 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

30 MINJUN 12
Comments
Narrative Structure

To Write in a Plague

How are you doing? CONSUME: The podcast Our Plague Year https://ourplagueyear.libsyn.com/ and the webcomic Valley Ghouls https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/valley-ghouls/list?title_no=330059&page=1 CREATE: Think of a true story from your past. One that does not seem to have anything to do with the present moment. Tell that story, in as little or as many words as you need. But do so while thinking about it through the lens of this moment in your life. 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

27 MINMAY 29
Comments
To Write in a Plague

Satire

How strong is your satire? CONSUME: Two podcasts: "A Very Fatal Murder" and "This Sounds Serious." Both podcasts are a riff on the true crime podcast format. Both use satire. Listen to the first episode of each of those shows, and think about what you learn from each satirical take on true crime. https://radiopublic.com/this-sounds-serious-Wk2kMx/s1!127a3 https://radiopublic.com/a-very-fatal-murder-G2wNv0/s1!44a4f#t=2 CREATE: Choose a person you generally disagree with. Now write a 200-400 word opinion column in that person's voice. Make their argument that thing you disagree with. Every word should support what you would never support, but the tone should clearly indicate the opposite. 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

35 MINMAY 15
Comments
Satire

Absurdity

Writing what's absurd. CONSUME: Clip from You, the Living. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOwpd2I_4mo CREATE: Write a 200 word description of your home. Make it realistic and true.Now edit that piece. Change the logic of its layout. With each sentence, think about the logical and expected conclusion, and then twist it into something impossible or totally out of left field. Make sure your readers never know where it's going to go. 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

30 MINMAY 1
Comments
Absurdity

Stage Directions

When do you use stage directions, and how descriptive do you get? CONSUME: "How to use stage directions" by Sam Graber https://samgraber.com/2017/02/21/how-to-use-stage-directions/ CREATE: Write a 200-400 word scene for two characters that includes the stage direction “[They/He/She Flies].” 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

29 MINAPR 17
Comments
Stage Directions

The Possibility of Failure

Failure is scary but it can also be interesting and even fruitful. (like when Jeffrey posts the wrong episode file to the podcast feed. here’s the correct one!) Consume: “How to Speak Poetry” by Leonard Cohen: https://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/leonard-cohen-how-to-spea.html Create: Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write a murder mystery. Title that “1”. Then repeat the process with an entirely new murder mystery. Title that “2”. Repeat it a third time, again with an entirely new mystery. Title that “3”. Come back the next day and give yourself 30 minutes to edit these mysteries as best as you can. Put them in one document and title the document “Three Attempts to Tell a Murder Mystery”. You have now, in one hour, created a complete piece in which the point was the possibility of failure. 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 we...

27 MINAPR 3
Comments
The Possibility of Failure
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