Audio Fiction 101

Do you want to make a podcast, or just deepen your appreciation of the medium? This course dives into every aspect of creating great stories and solving narrative challenges in audio. 

Who Is This Course For?

Audio Fiction 101 is for anyone interested in creating or thinking about storytelling and podcasts - whether professionally or as a fan.

What Will I Learn?

In Audio Fiction 101, you'll learn how to think strategically about solving storytelling challenges - what audio dramas tend to be good at and what they struggle with, in terms of genres, presentation, the flow of information, and more. You'll see how to develop ideas into audio fiction stories and identify what some fun opportunities for innovation are. You'll also see examples of the writing process can look like and develop the confidence to start writing your own audio fiction stories! 

Course Overview

The course is divided into three units and is over three hours in total length.

Unit One covers how to think about storytelling at a super zoomed out level: understanding the objectives of narrative, shaping audience expectations, and what makes audio unique among storytelling mediums - at least according to us.

Unit Two gets more concrete: how to construct settings, write for sound effects, plot and structure, do effective world-building in audio, and more - the practical, tactical business of audio storytelling. 

Unit Three is all about writing: how to outline effectively, strategies for getting a first draft off the ground, how to even come up with ideas, and more. 

Also included in Audio Fiction 101 are three appendices with some resources on inspiration and on writing software choices.

What's included?

Video Icon 36 videos

Contents

Unit 1
Introduction
4 mins
The Science of Storytelling
3 mins
The Art of Control
5 mins
High Five!
8 mins
The Four Tools
7 mins
Re-Re-Re-Definition
4 mins
The Limits of Imagination
9 mins
Thou Shalt Be Clear
4 mins
Unit 2
Introduction - Let's Go Deeper
1 min
The Strengths of Audio Drama
8 mins
The Weaknesses of Audio Drama
5 mins
Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
4 mins
Designing Great Radio Characters
6 mins
Location, Location, Location
4 mins
Talk the Talk
6 mins
Writing for Sound Effects
4 mins
Radio GaGa
4 mins
Plot and Structure
10 mins
Narrative Rhyming
7 mins
Ten Point Structure
9 mins
Serialization
7 mins
Some Thoughts on World-Building
7 mins
World-Building In Audio
6 mins
Unit 3
Introduction - Pick Up Those Pencils
1 min
Getting Started
4 mins
The Fear of Public Shame
4 mins
Outlines Are Your Friend
4 mins
Outlines Are Your Frienemies?
3 mins
First Drafts Are Not As Scary As They Seem
6 mins
Revising and Improving
7 mins
It's Not Over Till It's Over
2 mins
What About Theme?
5 mins
Conclusion
2 mins
Appendix
Ten Books You Need to Read Right Now
4 mins
Ten Radio Dramas You Need to Listen To Right Now
9 mins
Writing Software and Formats
4 mins

FAQs

Does This Class Cover Recording/Editing/Marketing or the Business of Podcasting?

No. Audio Fiction 101 is concerned strictly with the hippie-dippie arts of writing and narrative. We do not deal with the state of the industry, audience building, marketing, or any technical specifics of audio production.

How Do I Qualify for a Scholarship?

While the bar for entry is comparatively much, much lower to tell fiction stories in audio than in, say, web-series or film, the three of us know just how expensive podcasts are to make. While still being able to pay for our rent and all the caffeine we pounded while creating this course, we want Audio Fiction 101 to be as available as possible to as many folks as possible, especially to those from traditionally marginalized communities. To that end, we've budgeted a limited number of full and partial needs-based scholarships for the class.

So, here's the deal:

If you are unemployed or only employed part-time, or are a college student from a marginalized background, get in touch with us and let us know what your situation is by emailing us at fearofpublicshame@gmail.com with the subject line "Audio Fiction Scholarship." We'll do our best to respond within 72 hours to let you know next steps from there. 

Do I Need To Send Any Documentation When I Apply For A Scholarship?

No. No. Definitely not.

Please don't send us financial, tax, enrollment, or identification documents of any kind. A written description of why you are applying for a scholarship will suffice. 

My name is Wentworth Paddington Moneypounds XIV, Esq., and I am interested in sponsoring a scholarship student. To whom should I enquire, dear fellows?

That's amazingly generous of you and you should also email us at fearofpublicshame@gmail.com. Use the subject line "Scholarship Sponsor" and we'll be in touch. 

Are There Subtitles/Transcripts Available for the Course?

Each lesson in Audio Fiction 101 comes with a link to a Lesson Companion, which contains a full transcript of the lesson, as well as review questions and additional resources.  Those links are found in the description of each individual video. 

Is there a Discord/Slack/Forum for Audio Fiction 101?

Nope! We want this class to live pretty independently from us, so we are not starting any official communities for it that we would then need to manage. 

If you want to start an unofficial community, that's totally fine. We only reserve the right not to join it and start catching up on our sleep debts instead. 

Will There Be An Audio Fiction 201?

Zzzswhuht? What? So, so sleepy...

Actual answer: we worked really hard to distill a lot of our thoughts on audio fiction into the class we just made, and we'd love to take everything that ended up on the cutting room floor and do more appendices, another full class, or even a set of live workshops where we'd get to work with students directly.

All of that would be wonderful. None of it is planned at this time. If you want to stay current with all our future plots, then you should sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page. 

What If I'm Interested in Making Nonfiction Podcasts? Can I Still Take This Course?

Totally! Audio Fiction 101 is, first and foremost, a class on storytelling, and we think a lot of the lessons in here will apply no matter what kind of podcast or radio program you're interested in making. That said, definitely be aware we go heavy on the fiction, and  you'll have to extrapolate some lessons out a little bit if you're interested in making a different kind of show. 

Do I Need to Have Listened to Wolf 359 to Take This Course?

Not in the slightest. We do use some examples from our show and from other fiction podcasts in the course (and books, and movies, and tv shows). But we always preface those examples with spoiler warnings, and they are not essential to understand the lessons of the course itself. 

Testimonials

Their work is superb, they know what they're talking about, and they're incredibly charming too. This is going to be brilliant.
David K. Barnes, Creator "Wooden Overcoats"
Gabriel, Sarah, and Zach are some of the most skilled storytellers of our age. Their shows have made me laugh, cry, gasp, and question the very state of human existence. As writers they strike the unique and hard-to-achieve balance of writing that will blow you away with its lyricism but also feel incredibly grounded and real. As producers, they've achieved feats in audio that I would not have thought possible and have done so with seemingly effortless ease. The reality, of course, is that they are actually just talented and hard-working, not some sort of three-headed superhuman come to destroy us all and end storytelling for good because no one else can measure up. Oh, and they are three of the best, kindest people ever to boot.
Lauren Shippen, Creator "The Bright Sessions"
These three creators are responsible for the hugely successful and widely admired audio fiction series Wolf 359. Their immense talent is matched by an incredible generosity towards the community in helping pave the way forward for new creators. For these reasons and more, I support and look forward to every project they make.
Paul Bae, Creator "The Black Tapes" & "Big Loop"