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Start With This

Night Vale Presents

373
Followers
726
Plays
Start With This

Start With This

Night Vale Presents

373
Followers
726
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

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 MIN6 d ago
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 MIN3 w ago
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

Monologue

Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again? Consume: Magnus Archives podcast Create: Pick a job. Write a 200-400 word monologue for someone in that job, directed to their customers or constituency. Use your writing to set the tone for that relationship. Give it a beginning, middle and end, and make sure it reveals something about that character: they make a choice with consequences, they expose a secret, etc. 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/startwiththis Follow 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.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com

30 MINMAR 20
Comments
Monologue

Writer's Block

Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again? Consume: Have You Heard George’s Podcast by George the Poet Create: Open up a file you're stuck on. Go to the Random Classical Painting Generator. In 200 words describe the painting, but describe it in context of whatever your working on. 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/startwiththis Follow 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.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com

27 MINMAR 6
Comments
Writer's Block

Honesty

What does it mean to tell your story honestly? Consume: Moonface by James Kim Create: Take a moment in your life in which you remember exactly how you felt. Think through all the details of your feelings. How did the feelings start? How did they develop? What happened to those feelings? Tell that story. Except: change every other factual detail. Create a fictional story about someone who is not you, doing something you weren’t doing. It could be a member of a biker gang in the 50s or an alien in some distant future world. But keep the honest details of your feelings there. See how the honesty of your feeling affects the otherwise fictional 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/startwiththis Follow 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.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com

29 MINFEB 21
Comments
Honesty

Don't Forget Your Story

A lot of writing is fine-tuning your writing, or creating clever structure, but the most important thing is the story itself. Consume: Read “Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado. Create: Write a 200-400 word story with the following outline: - A is with B. - A loses B. - A makes a choice that brings B back. - A and B are back together, but different as a result of that choice. 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/startwiththis Follow 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 mem...

29 MINFEB 7
Comments
Don't Forget Your Story

Writing for Performance (Live from Boston)

We’re live from Boston with special guest Bilal Dardai, alum of the Neo-Futurist theater company and writer for the podcast “Unwell.” In this episode we talk about writing specifically for performance. Consume: Gnome Sane by Joey Rizzolo, New York Neo-Futurists Create: Write a 100-word story, 3rd person, someone confessing a crime. Then, write it again in 1st person by the person confessing. Then write it one more time for live performance. Think about what the performer should do with their body. How is the audience involved? 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/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written by Joseph Fink and performed by Joseph Fink, J...

84 MINJAN 24
Comments
Writing for Performance (Live from Boston)

Latest Episodes

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 MIN6 d ago
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 MIN3 w ago
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

Monologue

Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again? Consume: Magnus Archives podcast Create: Pick a job. Write a 200-400 word monologue for someone in that job, directed to their customers or constituency. Use your writing to set the tone for that relationship. Give it a beginning, middle and end, and make sure it reveals something about that character: they make a choice with consequences, they expose a secret, etc. 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/startwiththis Follow 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.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com

30 MINMAR 20
Comments
Monologue

Writer's Block

Sometimes our writing flow doesn’t flow. What’s causing this and how do we get it moving again? Consume: Have You Heard George’s Podcast by George the Poet Create: Open up a file you're stuck on. Go to the Random Classical Painting Generator. In 200 words describe the painting, but describe it in context of whatever your working on. 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/startwiththis Follow 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.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com

27 MINMAR 6
Comments
Writer's Block

Honesty

What does it mean to tell your story honestly? Consume: Moonface by James Kim Create: Take a moment in your life in which you remember exactly how you felt. Think through all the details of your feelings. How did the feelings start? How did they develop? What happened to those feelings? Tell that story. Except: change every other factual detail. Create a fictional story about someone who is not you, doing something you weren’t doing. It could be a member of a biker gang in the 50s or an alien in some distant future world. But keep the honest details of your feelings there. See how the honesty of your feeling affects the otherwise fictional 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/startwiththis Follow 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.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com

29 MINFEB 21
Comments
Honesty

Don't Forget Your Story

A lot of writing is fine-tuning your writing, or creating clever structure, but the most important thing is the story itself. Consume: Read “Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado. Create: Write a 200-400 word story with the following outline: - A is with B. - A loses B. - A makes a choice that brings B back. - A and B are back together, but different as a result of that choice. 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/startwiththis Follow 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 mem...

29 MINFEB 7
Comments
Don't Forget Your Story

Writing for Performance (Live from Boston)

We’re live from Boston with special guest Bilal Dardai, alum of the Neo-Futurist theater company and writer for the podcast “Unwell.” In this episode we talk about writing specifically for performance. Consume: Gnome Sane by Joey Rizzolo, New York Neo-Futurists Create: Write a 100-word story, 3rd person, someone confessing a crime. Then, write it again in 1st person by the person confessing. Then write it one more time for live performance. Think about what the performer should do with their body. How is the audience involved? 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/startwiththis Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Theme written by Joseph Fink and performed by Joseph Fink, J...

84 MINJAN 24
Comments
Writing for Performance (Live from Boston)
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