68. Building Your Story w/ Tanya Gough

In Episode 68, Dan Dissinger talks to the founder of StoryBilder, Tanya Gough, about breaking the rules for the sake of creativity, curating the first-ever Shakespeare on film catalog, and teaching English in Japan pre-internet.

Tanya Gough has been an ESL teacher, a retail store owner, a corporate digital marketer, and a freelance content strategist, intelligence researcher, and web developer. Today, she is the founder of StoryBilder, a creative writing platform for new and aspiring writers. Tanya also writes middle-grade fantasy fiction and science-infused fantasy short stories for adults.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

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“Everything we give you is breakable, and we encourage you to do so.” –Tanya Gough

“[StoryBilder] gives you ideas, we don’t give you rules.”
–Tanya Gough

“I’m very big on people breaking stuff and making it their own.”
–Tanya Gough

“There is no creativity and there is no growth as a creator unless you can push boundaries and you can test things and do unusual things […] that’s how you create something that’s new.” –Tanya Gough

“I think there have been a number of times in my life where opportunity has sort of overlapped [with] experience or subject matter expertise and every once and a while it turns into something that’s just really unusual and kind of cool.” –Tanya Gough

“Before I [created the Shakespeare on film catalog] Shakespeare on film was something that a few people did exceptionally well and had a reputation for, but for the most part it was not something you could do legitimately. I remember even for me when I was in grad school, I would have loved to do a Ph.D. on Shakespeare on film but I didn’t really sort of feel like there was really that much opportunity and I was kind of dissuaded from doing it.” –Tanya Gough

“As a side effect of having Poor Yorick, I was able to start encouraging and influencing the way people were teaching Shakespeare.”
–Tanya Gough

“We have this weird thing in North America where it’s kind of assumed that if a teacher is good at their job or if they like their job that they’re doing it wrong.” –Tanya Gough

“I just find it a very weird disconnect in our society that people don’t respect and honor teachers the way that they’re supposed to or that they should.” –Tanya Gough

“At least for me, there’s some advantage in doing this kind of work as an outsider or as an outlier because it gives me a lot of freedom to sort of break the rules and do things on my own terms, and hopefully if I’ve done them well then I can create some new benefit for people.”
–Tanya Gough

“I think the blending of things that are familiar and also things that are not familiar is how we learn to be creative.” –Tanya Gough


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StoryBilder is a writing platform that bridges the gap for new and intermediate writers. Supporting writers through flexible narrative frameworks, a library of adaptable story assets, and integrated, experiential education layer, StoryBilder is built to foster creativity no matter what or how you write. StoryBilder is scheduled to launch this Fall 2021.

This episode was recorded on July 10th, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

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