AudioTim 44: Chicon 7 Panel “Conquering Writer’s Block”

chicon 7Welcome to another recording from World Science Fiction Convention #70, Chicon 7: “Conquering Writer’s Block.”
Has your story fizzled out or hit a wall before completion? There are common reasons for this, and common solutions which work for most writers. Pros discuss their tips and tricks for getting a story back on track.
Russell Davis, Tom King, Eldon Thompson, Monica Valentinelli, Gene Wolfe

Previous Episodes:

AudioTim 43: Tom King, Author of Superhero Novel, A ONCE CROWDED SKY

AudioTim 42: Chicon 7 Panel, “Write What You Don’t Know”

Panel Moderator:

Eldon ThompsonEldon Thompson: After surrendering his goal of playing pro football, Eldon set out to publish a fantasy adventure novel. In 2003, he sold his Legend of Asahiel trilogy to HarperCollins. Individual titles include The Crimson Sword (2005), The Obsidian Key (2006), and The Divine Talisman (2008). His short story “Unbowed,” featuring fan-favorite character Kylac Kronus, can be found exclusively in the Grim Oak Press fantasy anthology, Unfettered. Eldon is also a graduate of the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting and a member of the WGA, whose screenplay adaptation of Terry Brooks’s The Elfstones of Shannara was optioned by Warner Bros in 2007.

Panel Members:

Monica ValentinelliMonica Valentinelli: ‘Monica is an author and game designer who lurks in the dark who has written both tie-in and original works. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies like Apexology: Science Fiction & Fantasy from Apex Publications and the New Hero anthology from Stone Skin Press. A freelancer for the hobby games industry, Monica has worked with Eden Studios, White Wolf Publishing, Galileo Games, and others. Her most recent publication is Redwing’s Gambit, a science-fiction novella for the Bulldogs! RPG. By day, Monica is John Kovalic’s business manager and the Marketing Director for Steve Jackson Games (Illuminati, Munchkin, Zombie Dice). By night, she wades through the wilds of her computer to craft new tales and devote time to her many projects. For more information about Monica, visit’

Russell DavisRussell Davis: Mercenary writer… novel and anthology editor… publishing industry jack of all trades, master of some… husband, father, and occasional player of poker. Best-selling author and editor Russell Davis has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. In addition to his work as a writer, he has worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. Russell teaches popular genre fiction for the MFA program at Western Colorado State University. He was the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) from 2008–2010, and a member of the Western Writers of America (WWA). He’s presently working on a new novel, and his next short fiction collection, The End of All Seasons, is due out soon.

Tom King

Tom King is a former CIA operations officer in the Counterterrorism Center. Prior to serving in the CIA, he interned at Marvel and DC Comics. Tom’s debut novel, A Once Crowded Sky, is published by Simon and Schuster. He was a guest on AudioTim 43, discussing the transition from fighting on the front lines post 9/11 and his life now as a husband, father, and full-time author, and how that is shown through superheroes in his novel. Be sure to check out Crowded Sketch Thursday on his Facebook Page, where he shows fan art inspired by the characters in A Once Crowded Sky.

and, starring…


Grand Master Gene Wolfe: ‘I have about thirty novels (the exact number depends on how you count) and half a dozen story collections. Home Fires is SF; The Sorcerer’s House is fantasy. The Land Across should appear in a year or two. My best-known book is The Shadow of the Torturer (Shadow & Claw: The First Half of ‘The Book of the New Sun’; Sword & Citadel: The Second Half of ‘The Book of the New Sun’). I fought in Korea and got the Combat Infantry Badge. My wife and I have five children and three grandchildren. Some of you will have met my daughter, Teri Goulding, on the net or at some con. I was born in New York and raised in Texas. I have a BSME from the University of Houston. I have won two Nebulas and the Fuller Award, with various other awards for SF, fantasy, horror, and SF poetry. I’m represented by the Virginia Kidd Agency.’

5:30 – Writer’s Avoidance Behavior – Monica

11:52 – If you’re stuck, work on another project – Russell

12:34 – Gene Wolfe’s cure to writer’s block

54:21 – Gene’s story about the bathtub.

56 – Russell never writes a book without a meal scene.

58 – Tom on cutting and combining characters, using George R.R. Martin as an example.


61 – What do I do if after finishing a story, I can’t start another for a long time?

64:45 – What do you do if your life is so messed up you can’t write?

69 – What do you do when you have a scene you’re afraid to write?

71 – What do you do when you’ve written yourself into a corner?

73:34 – What should discovery writers do after finishing a novel’s first draft?

Subscribe to AudioTim on iTunes (here). I would love an honest review if you’ve listened to the past few episodes. You can also catch the podcast on RSS, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

Upcoming Schedule:

Monday, February 11, AudioTim will introduce Mark Tufo of the Zombie Fallout series, and giveaway his latest release, Callis Rose.

Any helpful lessons from this show? Have you read anything from our panelists?
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AudioTim by Timothy C. Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Music provided by Big Daddy Scrabble’s “Lorda Mercy” from

About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former executive producer and Hugo Nominee of Adventures in SciFi Publishing. He has been broke and lost on the other side of the world and now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer, he released his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant, and a new series that begins with Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up for his newsletter for news, sales, giveaways and more:

One Response to AudioTim 44: Chicon 7 Panel “Conquering Writer’s Block”

  1. Pingback: AudioTim 46: Chicon 7 Panel “Quantum Physics Meets Magical Realism” | Timothy C. Ward

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