The Novel Analyst Podcast

The Novel Analyst Podcast

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I’m Jed Herne and each episode I analyse a story to help you become a better writer. My goal: use the books I love to improve my writing - and help you in the process! My own stories have been published or are forthcoming in The Arcanist, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Flintlock, and more. New episodes published every 2nd Tuesday at 8am Perth time. Get free stories when you join my Reader Club: jedherne.com/club.


33 - A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. - Exploring Theme through Structure
Aug 19 • 26 min
My debut fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead, is available on amazon for pre-order! Get it here: https://amzn.to/31KMCUR Or use this link to read a free sample chapter: https://jedherne.com/dead/ A Canticle for Leibowitz is a 1959 post-apocalyptic sci-fi…
32 - Gabriel Bergmoser Interview - lessons learnt from book deals, movie deals, and becoming a full-time writer
Aug 5 • 61 min
Gabriel Bergmoser is a Melbourne based author and playwright. He’s written the Boone Shepard trilogy (I analysed book 3 in this episode of the podcast) along with multiple plays. His latest novel is The Hunted (aka Sunburnt Country in the UK), which comes…
[Announcement] I’m giving away 7 Joe Abercrombie novels for FREE!
Aug 4 • 2 min
Enter the free contest to win 7 Joe Abercrombie fantasy novels: http://bit.ly/firstlawgiveaway (Contest ends on 12th August, 2019, so get in quick!) Join my email newsletter to stay updated with my upcoming book launch: https://jedherne.com/club/ To build…
31 - Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - Using the Relationship Axes to Create Interesting Character Dynamics
Jul 22 • 15 min
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a gritty YA fantasy heist story. It’s got a racing plot, an interesting setting, and amazing characters. In this episode, I analyse the relationship between Kaz and Inej, using Mary Robinette Kowal’s 6 relationship axes:…
30 - Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card - Writing Twists
Jul 8 • 15 min
After Dale from The Reading Gorilla podcast sent in a listener request, who was I to ignore it? This is an episode about Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi classic, Ender’s Game. Specifically, I examine how he crafted such an amazing twist. Enjoy! And if you want…
29 - The Way of Kings - Stormlight Archive book 1 - by Brandon Sanderson - Crafting Epic Fantasy
Jun 24 • 17 min
What does it mean to craft epic fantasy? How is it different that other forms of fantasy? What are it’s unique strengths, and potential pitfalls? All those questions and more answered in today’s episode, which focuses on The Way of Kings by Brandon…
Talk isn’t cheap - Quick Storytelling Tips 005
Jun 16 • 1 min
Let me know what you think of these short bonus episodes by emailing [email protected] Also, if you want free sci-fi and fantasy stories written by me, go to jedherne.com/club. It’ll let you join my brand new Reader Club, and when you do that I’ll…
28 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling - Meaningful Supporting Characters
Jun 10 • 17 min
Today’s episode is all about secondary characters. What constitutes a great secondary character? How can us writers create amazing side characters that improve the quality of our stories? Show notes: 3 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K.…
… But really, I hated them - Quick Storytelling Tips 004
Jun 9 • 1 min
Let me know what you think of these short bonus episodes by emailing [email protected] Also, if you want free sci-fi and fantasy stories written by me, go to jedherne.com/club. It’ll let you join my brand new Reader Club, and when you do that I’ll…
Truth in writing - Quick Storytelling Tips 003
Jun 2 • 2 min
Let me know what you think of these short bonus episodes by emailing [email protected] Also, if you want free sci-fi and fantasy stories written by me, go to jedherne.com/club. It’ll let you join my brand new Reader Club, and when you do that I’ll…
27 - Skulduggery Pleasant - Death Bringer by Derek Landy - The Gap
May 27 • 16 min
27 - Skulduggery Pleasant - Death Bringer by Derek Landy - The Gap Backstories matter, but they can be hard to execute. This episode deconstructs how Landy uses the idea of the Gap to create intriguing character backstories that readers crave to learn.…
Theme is not preaching - Quick Writing Tip 002
May 26 • 3 min
Let me know what you think of these short bonus episodes by emailing [email protected] Also, if you want free sci-fi and fantasy stories by yours truly, go to jedherne.com/club. It’ll let you join my brand new Reader Club, and when you do that I’ll…
Stay off the nose - Quick Writing Tip 001
May 19 • 2 min
Starting a new series! In addition to your normal Novel Analyst episodes, for the next month I’ll be posting a Quick Writing Tip episode every Monday. Let me know what you think and if you want more of them, email [email protected] or hit me up on…
26 - Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J. K. Rowling - Ring Structure
May 13 • 21 min
26 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling - Ring Structure I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and it’s finally here: an analysis of one of my top novels of all time … In this episode, I dive super deep into the circular structure…
25 - Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - The Art of Setting Descriptions
Apr 29 • 34 min
25 - Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - The Art of Setting Descriptions. In this fantastic YA fantasy novel, the town of Ketterdam is a living, breathing, three-dimensional creation: as much a character as any of the other (brilliant) characters in this…
24 - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams pt. 2 - How to Write Funny
Apr 22 • 21 min
24 - The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams pt. 2 - How to Write Funny. In the second part of my analysis of Hitchhikers I extract micro and macro techniques for creating comedy. (You don’t need to have listened to the 1st part for this to…
23 - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams pt. 1 - Why Characters Don’t Matter
Apr 15 • 15 min
23 - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams pt. 1 - Why Characters Don’t Matter. This absurdly funny sci-fi comedy is a fantastic example of how you don’t always need amazing characters to create an amazing story. Buckle up as we use Orson…
22 - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Finding your Perfect Prose
Apr 1 • 27 min
22 - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Finding your Perfect Prose. Fitzgerald’s classic chronicle of the Jazz age is often praised for its wonderful prose. In this episode, I examine what makes his prose so stylistically appealing - and we look at…
21 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - Meaningful Endings and the Truth
Mar 18 • 15 min
21 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - Meaningful Endings and the Truth. Truth. It’s one of the most important aspects of story - especially of stories that are fantastical. In this episode, I explore how Gaiman created a truthful, meaningful, and…
20 - Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - Avalanche Endings
Mar 4 • 18 min
20 - Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - Avalanche Endings. If you want to learn how to write explosive, fast-paced, balastic endings, Elantris is an excellent novel to study - which is what I do in this episode! Enjoy! Shownotes: Twitter: @JedHerne Email:…
19 - Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy - The Art of Naming
Feb 18 • 17 min
19 - Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy - The Art of Naming. In this episode, I look at how Derek uses names to craft compelling, fleshed-out, interesting characters. Enjoy! Shownotes: Derek’s tactics for creating awesome characters (video)…
18 - Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson - Misfit Characters
Feb 4 • 15 min
18 - Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson - Misfit Characters. Sometimes the key to compelling characters is to make them NOT fit neatly into your plot. That’s what Sanderson does in Warbreaker - a stand-alone fantasy book (that he also gives away for free on…
17 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Crafting Compelling Narrators
Jan 21 • 20 min
17 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Crafting Compelling Narrators. This historical World War II novel by Australian author Markus Zusak has compelling characters, an engaging plot, and wonderful writing. But it’s biggest strength is the narrator: the…
16 - Boone Shepard - The Silhouette and the Sacrifice by Gabriel Bergmoser - Writing Awesome Endings
Jan 7 • 17 min
16 - Boone Shepard - The Silhouette and the Sacrifice by Gabriel Bergmoser - Writing Awesome Endings. I recently read the third and final book in Gabriel Bergmoser’s Boone Shepard trilogy - and I loved the ending so much that I’d outlined an episode…
15 - 2018 in review - Everything I Read, Favourite Books, and Top Writing Lessons
Jan 3 • 37 min
15 - 2018 in review - Everything I Read, Favourite Books, and Top Writing Lessons. With 2018 in the rear view mirror, I recap all 61 books I read last year, and extract key writing lessons I learnt from them. Enjoy this special bonus episode! Shownotes:…
14 - Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - 6 Steps to make the reader cry
Dec 24, 2018 • 19 min
14 - Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - 6 Steps to make the reader cry. After reading this amazing book twice (my fave read of 2017!), I finally figured out how to articulate my thoughts about it. It’s an amazing read, full of emotion, and in this…
13 - The Martian by Andy Weir - Problem and Response Story Structure
Dec 10, 2018 • 18 min
13 - The Martian by Andy Weir - Problem and Response Story Structure. I’ve read this book multiple times and love it more with each re-read. In this episode, I try to figure out why it’s so engaging, and end up categorising problems/conflict into 6…
12 - Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson - Controlling Pacing using Chapters
Nov 26, 2018 • 15 min
12 - Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson - Controlling Pacing using Chapters. This was the first Brandon Sanderson novel I read, and boy did it get me hooked. This YA Superhero story is a masterclass in pacing, and pulls readers through the novel at a…
11 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling - Narrative Misdirection
Nov 12, 2018 • 13 min
11 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling - Narrative Misdirection. This is one of my favourite books, and in today’s episode I dive deep into how you can use the 2+2 rule to misdirect readers. If you want to learn more about how…
10 - Mistborn The Final Empire - by Brandon Sanderson - Mastering the Grand Skill of Worldbuilding
Oct 29, 2018 • 23 min
10 - Mistborn The Final Empire - by Brandon Sanderson - Mastering the Grand Skill of Worldbuilding. Sanderson is a master of creating compelling fantasy worlds. Mistborn is a perfect example - and it’s one of the best novel’s I’ve read this year. In this…
9 - The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester - Grounding the Future in the Past
Oct 15, 2018 • 14 min
9 - The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester - Grounding the Future in the Past. This golden age sci-fi novel has a lot to teach - oddly enough - about realism. Bester extracts qualities from historical eras to ground his world in a sense of truth, and…
8 - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Creating Empathy for the Hero
Oct 1, 2018 • 9 min
8 - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Creating Empathy for the Hero. If you want readers to keep turning pages, empathy is crucial. In this episode, I examine how Cline uses goals to make readers care about Wade Watts. Twitter: @JedHerne Email:…
7 - The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie - Exploring Theme
Sep 17, 2018 • 24 min
7 - The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie - Exploring Theme. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and what made it strong was Abercrombie’s masterful control of theme. Today, I examine how The Heroes doesn’t cram a moral down readers throats, but…
6 - Neuromancer by William Gibson - 6 Lessons for Writers
Sep 3, 2018 • 10 min
Neuromancer was a 1984 genre-defining novel - and it still has a lot to teach writers today. Settle in as I pull 6 key lessons out of this ground-breaking sci-fi novel. Twitter: @JedHerne Email: [email protected] Show notes (links to books & articles I…
5 - Gabriel Bergmoser Interview - Windmills, Boone Shepard, Movie Maintenance, and Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Aug 31, 2018 • 62 min
5 - Gabriel Bergmoser Interview - Windmills, Boone Shepard, Movie Maintenance, and Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Today I’m changing things up from my normal analysis format by interviewing Gabe Bergmoser - one of my favourite Australian authors. Gabe is…
4 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein - Writing an Amazing Midpoint
Aug 20, 2018 • 8 min
Done poorly, midpoints can bog down your story with annoying slowness. That’s not the case in today’s novel, which showcases one possible solution to avoiding the dreaded soggy middle. Twitter: @JedHerne Email: [email protected] Show notes (links to…
3 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling - Creating Suspense Using Question Arcs
Aug 6, 2018 • 15 min
Harry Potter is successful (amoung many other reasons) for Rowling’s fantastic use of suspense and mystery. Today, I analyse how you can use question arcs to create suspense in your own writing, and how suspense destroys ‘soggy middle syndrome.’ Twitter:…
2 - The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie - Characterisation through Contradiction
Aug 6, 2018 • 16 min
Joe Abercrombie writes some of the most realistic, fleshed-out, and interesting characters in modern fantasy. Today, I’ll analyse what makes his characters so complex. Twitter: @JedHerne Email: [email protected] Shownotes (links to books I mentioned,…
1 - The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - Making Every Scene Interesting
Aug 6, 2018 • 23 min
Pat Rothfuss’ fantasy novel blew me away. In this episode, I analyse how he made every scene interesting - no mean feat given that this novel is over 600 pages long! Twitter: @JedHerne Email: [email protected] Show notes: novelanalyst.com Join my VIP…
0 Novel Analyst Teaser
Aug 6, 2018 • 2 min
Welcome to the Novel Analyst podcast! I’m Jed Herne and each episode I analyse a story to help you become a better writer. In this teaser, you’ll learn about my writing journey and what I want to achieve with this podcast. Enjoy! The Aeon Academy Across…