342. Stories are Everything: Learning about Narratology with Arkady Martine

The suggestion for this guest came from EC Spurlock – thank you, thank you!

Today I’m speaking with Arkady Martine, also known as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller. As Arkady Martine, she’s a science fiction and fantasy writer, and as Dr. Weller, she’s a Byzantine scholar, a narratologist, and also a city planner. There was a tense moment where I almost scrapped the whole interview to ask about city planning, but no, we’re going to talk about narratology!

Arkady recently wrote an essay on Tor.com that introduced me to narratology as a field, and I emailed to ask if she’d be willing to talk more about the subject on a podcast. So if you haven’t heard of narratology – which, essentially, is the study of how a story works – buckle up because it’s nerdy deep dive time. I brought enough snacks for everyone.

We talk about:

Terminology used by narratologists, and how it differs from terms readers use.

How cognitive narratology explores a very cool question: “How does the brain respond to experiencing narratives?”

The rules of world building and the meaning of “story world.”

The multiple meanings of the term “News Stories” and the powerful impossibility of getting someone to change the way they understand the world.

And of course we talk about what she’s reading – and her upcoming science fiction novel, A Memory Called Empire.

Key concept from this episode? Everything is a narrative. Everything is a story – and we can learn a lot from understanding why and how a story works.

Listen to the podcast →

Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find Arkady Martine online at ArkadyMartine.net, and on Twitter @ArkadyMartine.

You can read the Twitter thread I referenced in the intro here.

And you can read more about narratology at the article on Tor.com that inspired this interview: The Mysterious Discipline of Narratologists.


If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher, and Spotify, too. We also have a cool page for the podcast on iTunes.

Thanks to our sponsors:

More ways to sponsor:

Sponsor us through Patreon! (What is Patreon?)

What did you think of today’s episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that’s where you hang out online. You can email us at [email protected] or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. Please don’t forget to give us a name and where you’re calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening!

This Episode’s Music

Deviations Project The Ivory BowOur music is provided by Sassy Outwater.

This track is called “Celtic Frock” by a UK duo called Deviations Project, which features producer Dave Williams and violinist Oliver Lewis – they have their own Wikipedia page.

This is from their album Ivory Bow. You can find Deviations Project on iTunes, Amazon, or wherever music is sold.

Podcast Sponsor

This week’s podcast episode is brought to you by Believe in Me by Ella Quinn.

Thanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtships, the Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. Brimming with passion, adventure and wit, the sixth installment in Ella Quinn’s USA Today bestselling series puts her signature blend of high society hijinks and high-stakes romance on full display, since there’s never a dull moment when laughter and romance rule the day—and a lady refuses to settle for anything less than true love.

Marriage has worked out quite nicely for her older sisters, yet Lady Augusta Vivers is certain it would end her studies in languages and geography, and stop her from travelling. But when her mother thwarts her plan to attend the only university in Europe that accepts women—in Italy—she is forced to agree to one London Season. Spending her time at parties proves an empty diversion—until she encounters the well-traveled Lord Phineas Carter-Wood. Still, Europe awaits.

Phineas has studied architecture all over the world, yet Augusta is his most intriguing discovery yet. How can he resist a woman who loves maps and far-off lands? But her longing for all things foreign hinders any hope of courtship. When he learns her cousins have offered a trip to Europe, he secretly arranges to join their party. For he is determined to show Augusta that a real union is a thrilling adventure of its own. And when their journey is beset by dangerous obstacles, he gets far more opportunity than he bargained for.

Believe in Me by Ella Quinn is on sale now wherever books are sold and at Kensington Books.com.

Transcript Sponsor

The Know How series with Christina Lauren - Christina and Lauren are sitting on two beige chairs with dry erase boards showing their answers to a course questionToday’s podcast transcript is sponsored by Christina Lauren and Frolic Media’s The Know-How Series. If you are an aspiring author, someone who is experiencing writer’s block or you’re just plain curious about writing and want to learn from two of the top romance novel authors, this series is for you!

The Know-How is an online educational series that goes beyond the pages with influential authors and personalities to explore the craft of writing and building a personal brand. The Know-How launched with bestselling authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the writing duo known as Christina Lauren. The writers and self-proclaimed best friends discuss their unique writing process, keeping characters fresh, crafting steamy love scenes together, and more in the 9-part series.

The Know-How’s first installment, Creative Writing with Christina Lauren is available for $29.99 at Frolic.media. Listeners of this podcast receive a special 20% discount by entering the code SBTB at checkout.

Yes, indeed: you can sign up for Creative Writing with Christina Lauren for $29.99 at Frolic.media, and get 20% off with code SBTB.

Remember to subscribe to our podcast feed, find us on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Adult Coloring Books