Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Podcasts Or "What Is A Mericruz And How Do You Kride It?"

I prefer listening to talk over music during my daily commute or morning runs--these being the times when I'm most likely to actually be listening to my iPod. So I listen to a lot of podcasts. I like Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, which are both pretty much staples for... well, just about anyone who listens to podcasts. And since I'm on the NPR kick I also check out This American Life which is dry but rewarding and Planet Money, which is usually pretty interesting.

I tried How Stuff Works, but I just can't do it. The few gems are couched between too much drivel. And recently I was listening to the podcast from RockPaperShotgun.com, which is all about PC gaming except that it suffers pretty brutally from a lack of actual talk about PC gaming. The hosts are prone to ramble and it's pretty normal for them to spend twenty minutes of a forty-five minute podcast firmly off-topic.

Lately I've started listening, at the suggestion of my brother-in-law, to the podcast from WritingExcuses.com, and I've taken quite a liking to it. The episodes are short, the discussions are relevant but they stay on topic pretty well, and they have some fabulous tips for aspiring writers. My favorite tip so far (and I found this one while combing through their archives) came from a Q&A at a science fiction convention, someone asked how they come up with names for planets and characters, and their answers included this fabulous nugget: go to your e-mail, open the spam folder, and look through the names of senders. In about five minutes I came up with these gems:

  • Gisele Tomi
  • Maricruz Krider
  • Lenita Pearl
  • Alasdair Clayton
  • Norah Amparo
And to think of all the time I spent trying to come up with names for peripheral characters while emptying my spam folder. What a waste. I particularly like Maricruz Krider. I think she may have a future.

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