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The Scribe May 2016

 

 

 

THE SCRIBE

 

Copyright May 2016 St. Louis Writers Guild – All rights reserved

 

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to Shakespir.com to discover other works by authors of the St. Louis Writers Guild. Thank you for your support.

 

Photo of the Missouri Botanical Gardens and cover design by Brad R Cook

 

Editorial Staff

Lauren Miller

Managing Editor

 

T. W. Fendley

Associate Editor

 

Brad R. Cook

Cover Designer

 

Jennifer Stolzer

Staff Writer

 

Melanie Koleini

Staff Writer

 

Steven Langhorst

Photographer

 

 

The Scribe is published monthly digitally by the Saint Louis Writers Guild with an annual print issue. The editorial staff invites Guild members to submit original submissions of poetry, short stories, or articles about writing (4,000 words or less) for publication in this magazine. The Scribe is promoted to more than 1,000 people on our mailing list. Submissions should be sent by the first of each month to [email protected] -- put SCRIBE in the subject line.

 

Also, if you are interested in joining the editorial staff as a writer, please contact [email protected] -- put SCRIBE in the subject line.

 

Our website is at http://www.stlwritersguild.org/.

 

 

 

 

[In this issue
**]May 2016

 

Fiction

The Mentor by T.W. Fendley

“Zher trotted behind her students, enjoying a warm, sunny day at the First Galactic Animal Emporium.”

 

Reports

Workshops for Writers: Podcasting For Authors with David Lucas by Lauren Miller

 

Miscellany

Poetry Calendar

A Quick Guide to St. Louis Writers Guild Events

Contributors

The Mentor

By T.W. Fendley

 

Zher trotted behind her students, enjoying a warm, sunny day at the First Galactic Animal Emporium. Hoots and whistles from three blue primates of the Vega system drew her attention. Using their double tails, the primates whipped from limb to limb through a jungle habitat in a frenzied game of chase. Her girapod students and the humanoid patrons at Marigold’s famous zoo all laughed. Today she didn’t even mind an unpleasant whiff of flatulence rising from the Pleiadian bovinoids’ nearby mud hole.

The excursion had been as close to perfect as she could imagine. Earlier, her credit wand glowed green as the six teen girapods entered the teleport queue with her for the annual class field trip to Marigold’s past. The Audit Police hadn’t asked embarrassing questions or even checked to see if her future credit balance would cover the cost of their tickets to Sirius 3 she’d buy later.

“These are the self-breeding quadrupeds some consider our ancestors.” Zher used her most mentor-like voice, but twisted her long neck from side to side in disdain. They galloped across the Terran giraffe exhibit’s re-created savannah alongside a full-grown male and his herd. She delighted at the way her full skirt and faux-fur stole billowed in the breeze, but sniffed reproachfully as the bull neared her. Not only did he smell musky, but his reddish-brown polygonal patches looked drab compared to her own rainbow-colored ones. She could hardly wait to reach their next stop—the genetics lab on Sirius’ third planet—to share a more popular, and sanitary, theory of their species’ evolution.

One day soon, she planned to take her advanced students to dimensions where other versions co-existed with their own time-stream’s present reality. Offering young scholars a chance to experience the multiverse had been an unaffordable dream before she met Torl, her sister’s fiancé. Who said crime didn’t pay?

Caught up in her daydream, she stumbled into a student who’d stopped in front her.

“What?” she muttered, startled to find Enk had let his invisibility screen slip. Most girapods learned how to keep the screen in place on their first outing to avoid disrupting inhabitants of the time-place they visited. It wasn’t the first time she’d regretted letting Torl’s nephew join the class. Enk wasn’t the brightest girapod in the herd, to say the least.

Young humanoid patrons viewing the Terran exhibit screeched and gawked at Enk, who stood completely visible within the past time stream. The older zoo patrons looked even more shocked. Their heads pivoted on their stubby necks, first facing the giraffes, then Enk.

“A two-legged red giraffe!” a mature female shrieked, pointing at Enk.

“It has golden eyes!” a male patron yelled.

A young humanoid laughed. “It’s wearing mittens!”

Zher slammed her hoof on a pricey new override button she’d just had embedded into her travel harness, and whisked her students through the emergency teleport queue. From Makemake’s portal station in the present time stream, she sent them to their home stalls with a blurp stating: “Field trip cancelled due to invisibility screen malfunction.” She glared at Enk and sent an additional note to his Uncle Torl: “Remedial tutoring REQUIRED.”

So much for a perfect day.

As soon as they arrived in the present, blurps flooded Zher’s comm unit. Even tiny breaches of the time-place protocol seemed to stir the net watchers into a frenzy. She ignored the messages but crafted detailed memstats to placate her superiors. Such was the life of a public servant.

A routing glitch saved her sanity. A huge shipment of Pleiadian bovinoids sent to the past instead arrived in Makemake’s present. By day’s end, the blurps were all about a massive release of methane threatening the ozone layer. Enk’s exploits became old news.

When Zher thought back to Enk’s incident that morning, she decided it wasn’t a complete disaster. After all, someday she might need to cross the invisibility screen if she got on the A-Pol’s deadbeat list.

As she transported to her home stall in one of Makemake’s pastoral enclaves, Zher thought how much simpler life would be if she’d had an override button months ago at the Horsehead Nebula. She’d grown tired of her unruly students and spent a few personal credits for an expedited exit. At least, that’s what she intended to do. Using newly authorized surveillance techniques, the Audit Police blocked the transaction so she wouldn’t exceed her credit wand’s spending limit in the future.

While Zher waited impatiently in the teleport queue with ten rambunctious girapod teens, she received an ominous blurp: “Transaction blocked. Insufficient future funds.”

Before she could protest the error, another blurp zipped in from the A-Pol: “Paycheck confiscated; funds forwarded to prospective credit issuer and fees assessed in accordance with the Future Credit Recovery Act of 3021.”

Immediately she lodged an appeal, but received the terse reply: “Denied.”

Fortunately, Zher’s pay was enough to cover the amount so she wasn’t required to spend time in cryofreeze until the debt was paid. She’d seen Freezer burns, and they weren’t pretty.

The incident jolted Zher from her political apathy. Torl had often told her that any girapod who did nothing to challenge the Audit Police only encouraged more abuses. She’d never taken him seriously, but this new law had gone too far. Surely even citizens of a corporate autocracy had the fundamental right to enjoy the purchases for which they were required to pay. She wouldn’t soon forget how she’d been charged for expedited service, and fined, while she remained trapped in the slow queue with those rowdy teens. She wanted justice.

Zher hadn’t realized what Torl meant by civil disobedience until he gave her a modified credit wand and showed her how to use it.

“It’s more important to develop respect for what’s right, rather than respect for law,” he said. “A citizen’s obligation is to do what is right.”

Zher still had qualms when she made her first purchase—a long-admired lava lamp that cost exactly as much as the paycheck the A-Pol confiscated.

“It’s only compensation for the injustice you suffered,” Torl said. “And it strikes the corporate autocracy where it hurts—on the balance sheet.”

When Zher returned to her home stall with the lava lamp and her personal funds intact, she felt vindicated. She could do this!

Torl ended her instruction with techniques for hiding the illegal wand if she faced an onsite audit.

“The A-Pol?” Zher’s voice shook.

“Not to worry,” Torl assured her. “The Audit Police only show up if they suspect a major violation.”

On her next work-free day after Torl’s instructions, Zher began her studies of the paper trail, something she could never have afforded on a mentor’s salary. She’d always heard if you followed the paper trail, you could prove anything. Most considered it a figure of speech, like “stacking the deck,” but Zher’s scholarly curiosity gave rise to a more literal interpretation.

The first big hurdle was locating a real paper trail. She found it on Orion, where humanoids stored and transferred data using cellulose sheets rather than digitally. The concept was mind-bending from start to finish—from envisioning the plants sacrificed to somehow make the paper to imagining systems that must have been in place to store and track it.

If she could figure out those systems, Zher planned to follow the paper trail to the corporate autocracy’s beginning. Civil disobedience required it. Something was definitely wrong with a system devised to protect consumers that only benefited corporations, and she wanted to find out where it went astray. So much information had been lost in the online wars, however, that now only an independent source like the elusive paper trail would allow scholars to sift facts from allegations or even subterfuge.

She was almost ready to leave Orion’s past when a shimmering yellow glow alerted her to a shift in the time field. With a nervous chuckle deep in her throat, she pressed “pause” on her modified credit wand, as Torl taught her. Following Enk’s example, Zher damped the invisibility screen, reached into the Orion humanoid’s work station and hid the iridescent modified wand.

She’d barely revived the invisibility screen when a male voice behind her growled, “Zher Nine Hundred, by the power of the Intergalactic Credit Compliance Code of 2099, I order you to relinquish your credit wand for inspection.”

She turned and got her first–and, she hoped, last–look at the Audit Police Maximum. His head only reached her withers, but he was bred for intimidation. The A-Pol Max had a burly torso, muscular arms and curved, clawlike fingernails. His tawny hair and beard contrasted with dirt-brown eyes and woolly black caterpillar eyebrows. He was so short she had to twist her neck into a giant C to make eye contact. She stepped back and held her breath. He smelled like cat piss.

Zher held out the slender tube, which fit snugly in her palm. Pinpoints of silvery, multicolored lights almost reached the tip, clearly showing it was almost maxed-out, just as Torl had suggested. “What seems to be the problem?”

His nails scraped her palm as he snatched her credit wand. Then the A-Pol Max glared at her. “Where’s the other wand?”

She stifled the urge to gallop away and calmly replied, “Let me warn you, sir, I am fully informed of my rights.”

You warn me?” His roar reverberated in the time bubble, a narrow corridor of time where they levitated.

“This is the only credit wand I’m carrying, in accordance with the Unified Credit Code of 2092. To falsely claim otherwise would be in violation of the Omnibus Slander Provision of 3012.”

After snaring her with a predator’s glare, he scanned the time bubble’s boundaries with a clicking oval device that looked much like a curry comb.

Zher’s heart lurched when the humanoid picked up a handful of papers from the stack hiding the modified wand. While set on pause, the modified wand created a distortion field that made it unscannable; within the humanoid’s past time stream, it was also invisible. The A-Pol Max scanned the work station again, then turned back toward her just as the humanoid picked up the rest of the papers.

From her vantage point in the present with the A-Pol Max, however, the modified wand was now quite visible from the time bubble. Then it rolled beneath a green folder jutting from another stack of papers. She saw gold, red and blue sparks where there should have been only shadows. If the A-Pol Max turned around again, her warm days of freedom were over. She riveted her eyes on him, trying to conjure an aura of innocent fury around her.

“I will find out how you switched wands, Mentor. Mark my words.” The time field shimmered again, and he was gone.

Zher stumbled to her knees, not quite believing her good luck, and quickly exited the time bubble. But why had her first onsite audit drawn the A-Pol Max?

At her home stall, she blurped Torl: “Aunt Polly’s husband Max came to visit.” Aunt Polly was their code for the Audit Police. She only hoped Torl would understand her reference to the top auditor.

“Uncle Max is on the prowl again,” Torl blurped back. “Keep your canary in its cage.”

Too late for that. Her “canary” was perched beneath a green folder on the paper trail. “It flew the coop,” Zher replied.

“Stay warm,” he blurped, as if she needed a reminder the Freezer waited if she got caught.

Torl’s reply made her think he wasn’t a stranger to the top auditor. What else hadn’t Torl told her? It was almost enough to scare her back to the straight-and-narrow path of a law-abiding consumer, but the A-Pol Max was already on her trail. She couldn’t travel back to Orion without tipping him off, so she needed to find the least suspicious way. After class the next day, she approached Enk. “Could I speak with you a moment?”

“Of course, Mentor.” Enk entered her work stall with his white mittens forming an upside-down V in front of him.

“I’ve noticed the last few lessons have been especially hard for you.”

“That’s true.” Enk lowered his head so she couldn’t see his golden eyes.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Why, when I was your age, I was the same way,” she lied.

“You?” Enk raised his head, his eyes round with wonder. “I can’t imagine that.”

“People change, Enk. I’m sure you can catch up with just a little tutoring.”

Enk’s scarlet body flushed to a pale pink. “No one’s ever been that nice to me.”

As a mentor, she was entrusted with shaping her students’ moral character while teaching them history and corporate law. Zher felt bad about deceiving Enk, but what could she do? She had to retrieve the modified wand before the A-Pol Max returned and found it. “We’ll meet at my home stall after class.” She gave him the coordinates.

When he arrived, she fitted Enk in a special training harness that wrapped around his upper torso and over his head like a bulky, hooded vest. Immediately she received input of what her pupil saw.

“Can you hear me, Enk?” she asked, testing the comm link.

“Um, yes. This feels very strange.”

“We’ll make your first solo trip a quick one back to the Terran giraffe exhibit,” she said. “Are you ready to begin?”

Enk nodded, then tapped his right hoof three times on her home port’s ruby disc.

The next thing Zher saw were the tops of humanoid heads as Enk walked toward the giraffe exhibit. “Good job, Enk. Is your invisibility screen in place?”

“Yes, I remembered!” Enk replied.

The humanoids turned and pointed toward the invisible Enk before they scattered, screaming as they ran. Judging by their speedy disappearance, humanoids in the past didn’t like voices coming from thin air.

Zher pressed a hoof to her forehead. “Remember to activate your voice screen with the invisibility screen, Enk. You only use the voice translator when you’re in the present on alien worlds.”

“Oh,” Enk said.

Though it had only been a few minutes, Zher didn’t want to press her luck. After all, she was dealing with Enk. “Time to come back.”

She heard three clicks, then he disappeared. “Enk!” Zher checked her connections to the harness. Everything seemed to be working fine. Finally Enk materialized on the ruby disc. “Where did you go?” she asked.

Enk tilted his head, giving her a wide-eyed innocent look. “Where you sent me, Mentor.”

Inwardly she sighed. She didn’t have the energy to pry more out of him. “We’ll continue tomorrow.”

After Enk left, she had just snapped the special harness inside its case when a pungent feline odor made her nostrils quiver.

“What now?” She snorted and opened the port to allow the A-Pol Max to enter.

“Just wanted you to know we’re making progress with our investigation.” He stalked into her stall, his dirt-brown eyes taking in the new faux vinyl floor and pricey retro laminate countertops. He picked up her favorite lava lamp and nodded in admiration at the gelatinous plop of the green and blue bubbles. “You live pretty well for a mentor.”

“Is that a problem?”

“As you undoubtedly know, the Retroactive Illegal Credit Offset Statute of 2512 allows the Audit Police to confiscate proceeds of credit wand fraud.”

“And?” she said.

“And turquoise is my favorite color.” He set the lava lamp back on the metal tray. “Not bad at all.”

Zher harrumphed. “Harassment is a violation of the …”

“…Citizens’ Bill of Rights of 2909.” He headed back toward the port. “I’ll be watching you,” he snarled, then disappeared.

When the A-Pol Max was gone, Zher ratcheted the air purifier to its top speed and slumped down onto the orange-and-turquoise shag rug. Somehow she hadn’t thought things would get this complicated. Now only Enk could save her, which was the scariest thought of all. What had she been thinking?

When they reached her home stall after class the next day, Enk eagerly asked, “What’s today’s lesson, Mentor?”

“I’m sending you to the planet Orion on a scavenger hunt,” she said.

“I’ve never been on a scavenger hunt. Is there a prize?”

“I’ll take you to your favorite time,” she stuttered.

“The Big Bang!”

“Sure, if that’s where you want to go.” Zher smiled at Enk’s enthusiasm and checked all the fittings on the special training harness for the third time.

“What’s on Orion?” he said.

“You’re going to the end of the paper trail.”

“A paper trail?” He scrunched his forehead, forming a multicolored unibrow.

Zher chuckled at his puzzled expression. “You have to see it to believe it.” Until she’d seen the stacks of paper herself, she’d never really understood what was meant by a paper trail. Now the strange practice of storing data on cellulose sheets had helped her foil the A-Pol Max and kept her out of the Freezer. “You’ll start the hunt looking for an iridescent credit wand hidden beneath a green folder.”

“I’ll find it!” He tapped his right hoof three times and disappeared.

The next view Zher expected to see was the humanoid’s work station where she’d hidden the modified credit wand. Instead, she saw the Swan Nebula. “Enk, there seems to be some sort of problem with the coordinates. I’ll bring you back and try again.”

“I’ve got it under control.”

“What do you mean?” She suddenly felt queasy.

“I wanted to surprise you by showing you I can do this … just to let you know how much I appreciate your faith in me,” Enk said.

“You don’t need to prove anything.” Typical Enk. He could take the simplest thing and make it difficult. Then it dawned on her—what he’d done was extraordinary. She didn’t know if she could change coordinates on the fly, especially without tipping off someone who was watching. Maybe there was more to Enk than met the eye. A trill of suspicion made the bristly hairs at the end of her tail twitch. What if his antics hadn’t been accidental? “Just come back and we’ll start over,” she told him.

The next transmission from the special training harness showed Enk had traveled to the right coordinates. Her withers quivered at the sight of the modified credit wand, which now rested on top of a single sheet of paper.

“There’s no green folder,” he said.

“Enk, the credit wand is right in front of you!”

“I don’t see it,” he said.

Just then, the humanoid reached toward the modified wand and mumbled, “I just don’t know where it went!”

Zher felt the blood rush to her head when she realized why Enk didn’t see the wand–he must have his voice screen up and his invisibility screen down. Whatever suspicions she had about his abilities evaporated. Could there be a more hopeless student? She sucked in her breath, hoping the humanoid wouldn’t knock the modified wand out of her sight or turn around and see Enk standing there. She sighed with relief when the humanoid walked away.

“Look on top of the desk to your left–you’ll see the air shimmering like heat waves above hot stones,” she told Enk. “The credit wand is there, in the distorted area.”

Enk moved his hand from the desk’s edge toward the right, feeling his way with gentle taps. “I’ve got it!” Sure enough, the modified wand disappeared into his white mitten.

“Oh, that must be what the humanoid was looking for.” He pointed at the sheet of paper.

“I’ll give you credit for finding two items on your scavenger list instead of one, okay? Just put your invisibility screen up now!”

“There it is.” The humanoid walked back into view and picked up the paper. “I swear I just looked there. It was right in front of me all the time.”

Then Zher’s visual input went blank and the special training harness appeared on the ruby disc. Without Enk.

Suddenly the A-Pol Max lunged through the port into her stall.

“I protest!” Zher said. “You’re in violation of the Unannounced Entry Prohibition Act of 3014.” She tried not to focus on the ruby disc, hoping Enk would stay wherever he was until she could get rid of her unwelcome guest. If Enk showed up now with her modified wand, all was lost.

“I tracked the surge in your credit wand and it led me to your former student,” the A-Pol Max said. He held out an iridescent credit wand.

Zher gulped. But it was only a training wand, not her modified credit wand. “Yes, Enk was on a scavenger hunt.”

“That’s what he said.”

“What do you mean ‘former’ student?” she said.

“Enk claimed you were separated in a time warp. Not that I’m buying that explanation, mind you.” The A-Pol Max smirked. “His ‘uncle’ fired you for losing track of him. Without pay, of course.”

Zher stifled her relief and acted like the news of being stiffed on her pay was a blow. “I’ll see about that!”

“I still can’t figure why Torl isn’t suing you.”

Zher’s hoof quivered as she took Enk’s termination papers.

The A-Pol Max knit his woolly eyebrows and grimaced. “In the future timestream, your former pupil has a surprising grasp of accounting principles. He even explained your present credit discrepancy in a way I can’t challenge … this time,” he growled.

After the pungent feline left, Zher’s laughter filled the stall. “And all this time I thought Enk couldn’t get anything right,” she said under her breath and trotted to her home port. Through his feigned innocence and crazy antics, he’d shown her how to outwit the A-Pol Max. Enk hadn’t just been part of the scheme all along—he’d been the mastermind.

And the paper trail opened up possibilities as infinite as the multiverse. Excited at the prospects, Zher clicked her heels on the ruby disc and vowed two things. She would follow Enk’s example and free more girapods from the corporate autocracy’s corrupt system, and she’d discover her species’ true origin. From her brief exposure to civil disobedience, she knew these were the right things to do.

When Zher arrived at the Big Bang, Torl and Enk levitated in the time bubble next to her.

“You’ve learned your lessons well,” Torl said. “Welcome, fellow citizen.”

Enk, who now looked about Zher’s age, held out an iridescent wand and smiled confidently. “The only thing better than having a modified credit wand is getting one back.”

Zher respectfully dipped her head. As she took the wand from his mitten-less hoof, she met his golden eyes and said, “But the best thing of all is finding a worthy mentor.”

 

***

 

The audiobook, narrated by SLWG member Matthew McGraw, is available from Amazon/Audible. Cover design by SLWG member, Jennifer Stolzer.

 

Workshops for Writers: Podcasting for Authors with David Lucas

By Lauren Miller

 

They say if you stick around long enough, things that were once in fashion will come full circle. If the popularity of podcasting continues to increase, we could be headed for a renaissance of audio dramas; the performance of a story broadcast via radio, popularized in the U.S. in the 1930s-1960s, perhaps most famously by the 1938 broadcast of Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds, based on the H.G. Wells novel. Winding Trails Media founder David Lucas (also current President of the St. Louis Writers Guild) is banking on it, and he discussed why at the May 7th workshop the Guild held on “Podcasting For Authors.”

Lucas founded Write Pack Radio (co-hosted by Kathleen Kayembe), a podcasting venture for established and aspiring writers to discuss the changing writing scene. With eight (active) contributing writers and a three-year run, Write Pack Radio has graduated from a fledgling podcast to an industry voice that has found an international audience: Germany, Japan, Canada, Africa, Australia, to name a few. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, what is a podcast, how does it differ from a blog, and why has it gained in popularity?

Blogs (or weblogs) are written toward a reader’s point of view, intended to be read on a digital device, such as a phone, tablet or computer, and are often written in a first-person, subjective point of view, sometimes in a journalistic style. They are usually free or low-cost, depending on whether you choose a free version or go with a self-hosted option.

Podcasting, by contrast, is an audio recording that is streamed via RSS and available (usually) on multiple platforms as a compressed audio file in a digital format, ready for downloading to listen offline, on your computer or preferred mobile device. If Forbes Magazine’s prediction is correct, in the next five years, they could be as readily available for your vehicle as satellite radio is today.

The creators of a podcast record and edit an audio file (the latter is done with a digital audio editor) and then the file is uploaded online and stored (typically for a fee), then downloaded by your potential future audience.

From a listener’s point of view, podcasting is a popular way of disseminating information, like interviews with industry experts, an educational lecture or course, or discussing the writing climate -- the latter of which, according to Lucas, is ranked #7 in the Top 10 Podcasting Categories, despite being a niche market.

The statistics may surprise you. Edison Research reported that in 2006, 11% of Americans had listened to a podcast; as of 2015, this number had doubled to a third of the U.S. pop, 17% of listeners were teenagers or older. The number of podcasts available continues to rise, growing from 12,000 in 2012, to 22,000 in 2014 (on a single-hosted platform).

Reflecting this growth trend, Edison Research also reported the podcasting download requests in America alone grew from 1.6 billion downloads in 2012, to 2.6 billion (source: “Podcasting: Fact Sheet,” Pew Research Center, 2015). Now that’s an audience!

Internet marketing guru, Jeff Bullas, attributes the podcasting revival to “The growth and rapid adoption of smart phones. You can now get your podcast direct to your phone without having to hook up your iPod to the computer [and] the explosive growth of an online media portal where you can publish and download your podcasts… called “iTunes” (source: Bullas, “Is Podcasting the Hot New Media Trend? Case Study”, 2013).

The relative low cost of podcasting makes it an appealing alternative to blogging. Like YouTube (vlogging), podcasting can help you build your brand quickly, and the audio element adds a human connection. Lucas said, “You can quickly gain a very focused audience. You’re in control of what you podcast, when you podcast and for how long. It’s a convenient, automatic and inexpensive way to reach your audience or customers.”

Starting a podcast does come with a learning curve, as he was quick to point out. As a hobbyist podcaster, the intro theme to each episode was a Beatles song. As soon as podcasting became a business (Write Pack Radio is a product of Winding Trails Media), Lucas went back over seventy hours of audio, removing the Beatles song and splicing in a new musical theme to avoid copyright infringement. Other problems Lucas encountered included lost episodes, equipment failure, and episodes that didn’t upload correctly. “One of our most popular episodes was about writing about aliens, how to make real alien lifeforms, creating history, etc.”, Lucas said “We loaded it up, [the] server failed midway [and] it took the better part of four days to get it right.”

So what do you need to get started creating your own podcasts? First, you’ll need a microphone. For years, Lucas used a digital recorder (available for under $100). Depending on the sound quality, you might be able to use an app on the newer smart phones to perform the same function. Most computers come equipped now with a built-in microphone, but Lucas advised against using this – during the recording, small ‘pops’ emerged that lessened the sound quality. Lucas has since upgraded his mike to a Yeti (around $150) and recommends a Yeti or a Snowball (microphone) if you are looking for great quality for the price.

You control the content, the quality, and how for long your podcast lasts. Make it count. Most podcasts have a run time of half an hour, so you have two minutes to capture a listener’s attention before they give up and try another podcast. Write Pack Radio is bucking the trends at a run time of an hour (usually), but an hour of listening time is the result of hours of recording, condensed with a great digital audio editor.

The industry standard is Audacity, completely free, easy to use, and what Lucas uses and recommends. A separate article could be written just on editing but some of the highlights to watch for include normalizing volume (creating an even tone throughout, balancing where voices are too high-pitched, or a speaker too quiet/far from the mike); cutting out ‘dead air’ (long pauses of silence), which can lead to your listeners abandoning the broadcast; and removing background noises like finger tapping or ticking clocks. A quiet place to record is a must and may help reduce some of the editing time.

Once you have recorded and edited your podcast, the next step is to get it out to the public and promote it. Podcasting platforms (such as iTunes, Tunein, Blogtalk Radio, Amazon Fire Stick, RSS, YouTube) make your content available to multiple websites but may charge you upload fees. Take advantage of adding tags describing your content to make it easier for listeners to understand what your podcast is about.

Lucas cautioned that it takes time. “You’re not going to be the next George Lucas with thousands of people listening. It’s going to be a slow build, it always is.” You may not be able to control fame, but you can control how you present yourself through your brand. Be unique. Be consistent, both in the frequency of your posts, and in the brand that you are building.

Remember, you are podcasting to attract readers, not other writers. What will appeal to them? Use social media and public speaking engagements to promote your podcast. Lucas uses free artwork to create clickbait (banners promoting his podcasts with a ‘click here’ link) to stand out on news feeds and timelines.

Recognized industry experts in their chosen niche can become something of a celebrity and promoting your writing business or providing valuable content can lead to monetization opportunities. Lastly, looking for script calls is another way to capitalize on the podcasting trend. Winding Trails Theater, the radio drama branch of Winding Trails Media, is currently calling for script submissions with paid opportunities as they begin building an audio theater anthology.

For more information, or for tips on how to write for a radio drama, please visit Winding Trails Media’s website at http://www.windingtrailsmedia.com.

Poetry Calendar

For the latest information on poetry events in the St. Louis, MO area, visit the St. Louis Poetry Center.

 

 

second Friday notes, second Friday of each month, 7 p.m., at Whole Foods Town & Country, Clayton Road just west of Highway 141

 

RIVER STYX. Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m., Tavern of Fire Arts, 313 Belt Ave. riverstyx.org/events.

 

POETRY AT THE POINT, 4th Tuesday of the month, at Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Ave. Read their ezine at http://zestyguitar.com/stlpoetry/poetry-at-the-point/

 

Sheila Nolan Whalen Reading Series at SLU, 221 N. Grand Ave., Dubourg 409.

Tuesdays at 4 p.m.

 

CHANCE OPERATIONS on the last Monday of each month at Tavern of the Arts, 313 Belt Ave., just off Pershing, between Union and DeBaliviere. 7:30 p.m. Open mic follows featured poets.

 

EVERY WEDNESDAY open mic for poetry and music at Stone Spiral Coffee & Curios, 2500 Sutton in Maplewood (2 blocks N. of Manchester). Great food and beverages. Open mic, 8 until around 11 p.m.

 

GOODY HOUSE, 7 p.m., fourth Thursdays at Art Marketplace, 2028 S. 12th Street. Featured poets.

 

R_SPACE. Last Saturday of the month, Lenny Smith and friends at 2 p.m.

 

ST. LOUIS WRITERS GUILD open mic for prose and poetry, second Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m., Kirkwood Train Station, Argonne Drive, just west of Kirkwood Road. Allow time to find parking.

 

ADDITIONAL OPEN MICS at The Wolf, (every Tuesday), Legacy Books & Café (every Friday), The Historical Crossings (every other Tuesday), Shameless Grounds (Wednesdays at 7), Venice Café (Mondays at 9)

 

A Quick Guide to St. Louis Writers Guild Events

It’s as easy as

One

Two

Three!

 

Workshops for Writers

First Saturday of every month (except holiday weekends)

10 a.m. to Noon at the Kirkwood Community Center

 

Station Open Mic

Second Tuesday of every month

7-9 p.m. at the Kirkwood Amtrak Station

 

SLWG Authors Series

Third Thursday of every month

 

Query for “SLWG Authors Series” on YouTube or check the Members’ Room on our website, www.stlwritersguild.org.

 

Contributors

 

Brad R. Cook, author of the young adult steampunk series, The Iron Chronicles (Treehouse Publishing Group). A former co-publisher and acquisitions editor for Blank Slate Press, he is a member of SCBWI, and currently serves as Historian of St. Louis Writers Guild after three and half years as President. A founding contributor to The Writers’ Lens , a resource blog for writers, he can be heard weekly as a panelist on Write Pack Radio. A cover designer since 2013, he also creates posters, bookmarks, and other marketing materials. Find more @bradrcook on Twitter, Instagram, and tumblr. BradRCook.com

 

 

 

T.W. Fendley is an award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults, including Zero Time (2011) and The Labyrinth of Time (2014). She’s a founding contributor to The Writers’ Lens, a resource blog for writers. Her short stories are available on Kindle and Audible. When she’s not writing, T.W. explores the boundaries of consciousness through remote viewing and shamanism. twfendley.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steven W. Langhorst is a life-long resident of St. Louis with an insatiable hunger for the facts and trivia of St. Louis history. He is a retired elementary school principal who still serves education as a mentor and consultant focusing on leadership. Steven has dabbled in poetry and photography since his youth and still plans to publish a book of poems and photographs as well as a memoir of his years at principal. Besides holding membership in the St. Louis Writers Guild he also proudly holds a membership in the Professional Tour Guides Association of St. Louis. Steven also contributed to the design of the new St. Louis Writers Guild logo.

 

 

David Lucas is the President of St. Louis Writers Guild, a published fiction short story author and poet. He has a Master’s Degree in Management from Webster University. For two years, David has been the host and producer of Write Pack Radio (WPR), a podcast with a panel of authors exploring the changing writing industry. In 2016, David decided to take his experience in podcasting and his love for radio dramas and start Winding Trails Media, which will produce podcast audio dramas beginning in the fall of 2016 as well as continuing WPR podcast.

 

Lauren Miller reviews books quarterly for the Historical Novels Review and has a fifteen-year background in library science. She has over fifty nonfiction reviews and articles in print and spends her free time discovering new reads, RPGs, period films, and surrounded by dogs. To read more about Lauren, visit her blog at MidwestMaven.com.

 

 

Jennifer Stolzer is an author and illustrator living and working in St. Louis, MO. She graduated from Webster University with a degree in digital media and animation and uses this skill set to create bright and engaging characters. In addition to illustrating books for clients, Jennifer writes and illustrates original work, serves as secretary for the St. Louis Writers Guild, and commentates on the weekly writing podcast Write Pack Radio. See more of Jennifer’s work at www.jenniferstolzer.com, as well as Twitter, tumblr, and Facebook.

 


The Scribe May 2016

For more than a decade, The Scribe has been the mainstay for communicating with members of the St. Louis Writers Guild. It began as a way to showcase the organization and share insights into the publishing world. Back issues give a wonderful record of the Guild. The Scribe is now available to everyone, not just members. It features stories, poems, and essays from our members, as well as information about our events, most of which are open to the public. The May 2016 edition features a report by Lauren Miller on the Guild's May 7th workshop presented by David Lucas, and an original short story entitled "The Mentor" by T.W. Fendley.

  • Author: St. Louis Writers Guild
  • Published: 2016-06-04 15:05:10
  • Words: 6261
The Scribe May 2016 The Scribe May 2016