Monthly Archives: August 2014

Episode 58: “Hooves on the Highway,” a novel-in-progress

Settle in with a stiff drink and find out how the magic works. The boys plot out the opening act of a novel on-air: maybe a realist crime drama, maybe a battle of centaurs. Whatever it is, a lithe, pixie-haired co-protagonist shows up in the opening scene. What happens in act 2? Email your suggestions to

Reading Discussed

  • Faulkner set much of his work in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County.
  • “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Jon thought this was an Elmore Leonard quote, but it turns out it was E.L. Doctorow. They’re basically the same dude, right?
  • Jon recently read Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek, a book in which the lead investigator is a social worker.
  • Ben remembered the plot of Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mysterious Handprints hinged on a bookkeeper.
  • Hooves on the Highway opens quite similarly to The Whiskey Baron (April 2014, Hub City Press0.
  • Jon and his wife have been catching up on A Touch of Frost, a polite British mystery series.

Episode 57: Collaboration

Why don’t we work together on this? The WITTScasters discuss collaborative fiction: who has done it, how can it possibly work, and will the boys ever try it themselves? The conversation leads to an intriguing project for next time (cliffhanger!). Then, not wanting to be whacked with a concrete rolling pin, the guys get back to business with a discussion of “Baba Yaga’s House of Forgotten Things” by Kimberly Lojewski.

Reading Discussed

  • Kimberly Lojewski’s “Baba Yaga’s House of Forgotten Things” is online at Drunken Boat.
  • Ben is looking for fiction inspiration in James Gleick’s nonfiction book The Information.
  • If you just can’t get enough of the second person, you’ll love Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris.
  • Jon is learning from Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction that humanity may be sawing off the limb we’re perched on, but you don’t need to worry about cockroaches, Nickleback, or ferns. Zack Galifikinafikous should be fine, too.
  • Brian warns us that the Yellowstone supervolcano is for real. And he should know. He’s a natural disaster aficionado.
  • Speaking of working together, Brian and his girlfriend are doing a collaborative out-loud reading of Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland. She wishes he would do the voices, but he’s having a hard enough time pronouncing the words.
  • First up in our list of collaborative novels: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s book Good Omens.
  • Julianna Baggott and Steve Almond co-wrote Which Brings Me To You, which Brian gives an enthusiastic thumbs up. They discuss their collaboration on this “novel in confessions” in a Bookslut interview.
  • Beth Ann Fennelly shared her thoughts on collaborating with her husband Tom Franklin in this Glimmer Train article. Their co-written novel This Tilted World was published last year.
  • It seems to the boys like Donald Bain and Reneé Paley-Bain are living the good life, co-writing Murder, She Wrote books and, presumably, drinking margaritas.
  • Want to figure out how to write for a living like Donald Bain? Better check out his memoir, Murder, HE Wrote.
  • Stephen King and Peter Straub have also done some collaboration.
  • Where Wicked Starts is a YA novel from collaborators Elizabeth Stuckey-French and Patricia Henley. It’s published by Lacewing Books, which is an imprint of Engine Books, which is from the good people who bring you Freight Stories, which we discussed way back in Episode 5
  • …and regarding Engine Books, check out the modest little fundraiser they’re running.
  • Poets Monica Berlin and Beth Marzoni’s book No Shape Bends the River So Long won the 2013 New Measure Poetry Prize (judged by Carolyn Forché) and will be available later this year from Free Verse Editions. If you can’t wait, check out some poems from the collection.
  • Rumor is that the film version of “Baba Yaga’s House of Forgotten Things” is on hold, but we were able to find this still image which leaked from the set.