If you don’t know already, I host a podcast called The Appalachian Spooky Hour. It started as a Covid lockdown hobby and just sort of grew from there. It’s a lot of fun, it really feeds into my love of storytelling, but it definitely pushes me creatively in ways that are very different from writing novels and short stories.
When I write novels, I meticulously plan everything out. I layout each chapter, write detailed information about the characters, the settings, and other important information. I go in with pages and pages of notes at the ready, and a pretty strict regiment to follow as far as my writing goes. It helps me stay on track, and to create (hopefully) seamless pieces of work. Short stories are different, in that I don’t plan so much. I will get an idea, write down the basic premise, and then fill in the gaps as my brain churns out the story. It’s a lot easier, and a lot less mentally taxing.
Writing scripts for the podcast is, again, very different. I will sit down and start researching the topic I’m going to be featuring in the episode, and when I tell you I’ll have like fifteen tabs open at once? I mean it. I’ll start pulling bits and pieces of information, reworking them so they flow better in a spoken word format. I always start with the history of the topic, where it all began, and then work forward from there. I love to talk about the history of the people, places, and phenomenon we cover on the show, all leading up to what makes it strange, unusual, or paranormal in nature. It’s a lot of fun, and it definitely works my brain in a way that story writing doesn’t and vice versa.
I research for my novels and shorts when I need to, when there are real-life factors to consider outside of my own imagination. Those things are important to get correct, but when I write for the podcast I’m constantly learning right aside our listeners. It’s satisfying, going through all of that information, and it’s a fun way to stretch creative writing muscles I don’t use when doing fiction writing.
All in all, it’s fun to just get to be creative in different sorts of ways. Challenging at times, yes, but still really fun. I’m definitely enjoying myself, and I can give enough time to both that I don’t feel like I’ve taken on too much. Let’s hope that feeling lasts!