The show aims to cover a single writing-related topic in each podcast, in a format short enough to be listened to on a morning commute or during a lunch break. But I think it’s also of interest to readers who’d like to know how stories work. The landscape continues to change, and Collings is fully engaged in it. LINER NOTES: Howard repeatedly invoked John August’s blog post about heroes, protagonists, and main … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 5: Heroes and Protagonists →. Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal, and also narrated by Mary, Humor is present as an element, at least to some degree, in a substantial amount of the media we consume. We talk economics, logistics, sensory engagement, and we goof off quite a bit in the process. The word “genre” has a lot of weight to it. This time around he’s talking about placing your product in the hand of your customer, the reader. The intimate interaction between characters is part of how we define the characters, how we understand who they are as they go on to do the stuff that the story is about. How does it change their thoughts and motivations (and swear words)? What are the common mistakes that writers make when they start dressing their characters? We explore the emotional components that readers seek from horror, and then drill down into the ways that we can create those reactions in our readers. Here’s a hint: as with pretty much everything … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 26: Horror →. [Charlaine] Thank you. Season 12: Structure. We consider some examples of blended-with-thrill stories, and then drill down a bit and look at how we can incorporate this in our own work. What is your personal line between horror and “gore-nography?” … Continue reading 11.21: Q&A on Elemental Horror, with Steve Diamond →. Javelin Rain, by Myke Cole, narrated by Korey Jackson, Trina Marie Phillips joined us at Phoenix Comic Con to talk about her work as a futurist. … Continue reading Writing Excuses 11.1: Introduction to Elemental Genre →. Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damien Thomas, Michael R. Underwood has talked to us about hand-selling books before, but that was about pitching to agents and editors. The … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 11: The Business of Writing →, This week, special guest Stacy Whitman joins us from Mirrorstone books (an imprint of Wizards of the Coast). Prune the “sequel” down to nothing between a pair of “scenes,” and force your characters to move directly from a problematic success (“yes, but”) or a disastrous failure (“no, and”) into the next crisis. Three days late for the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2016, here’s a bonus episode about maps. Over-apply one type of humor with each rewrite, and take note of how the scene changes. Writing Excuses Season 4 Notes. Force the character to figure out WHAT they need. What do you do when beta readers figure out the mystery really early? This becomes your framework for a mystery, which you’re essentially outlining in reverse. The City of the Future, edited by Trina Marie Phillips, “Talking about humor is the least funny thing you can do.” —Howard Tayler You have been warned! We talk about lead in Roman plumbing, water lilies in Las Vegas sewers, and coal power in the British Empire, and how these examples can help us more effectively use the environments in our … Continue reading 11.15: The Environment, with L.E. Identify something about your location that would provide, in an alternate universe, a source of magic unavailable in other locations. What draws the reader forward? WX Trivia: Episode 11.34 represents a pair of firsts for us here at Writing … Continue reading 11.34: Humor as a Sub-Genre →. Can you learn tone? Everyone says you can’t teach style–each writer just has to figure it out on his or her own. Season 6. No audio version available yet. Can you put a traitor into an ensemble story? What happens when a character refuses to learn, refuses to overcome their flaw(s)? Now, how do you balance your life so that you can make the jump to writing full-time? Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson, narrated by Sanjiv Jhaveri. It is mostly useful to writers. Experiment with the placement of chapter breaks, new questions, and big reveals, and work on each of these methods as a way to satisfactorily encourage that page turn. Or, if you’re Howard, do both. [Whoo!] How do you recover when a relationship starts to feel forced? Specifically, we answer cries for help that we’ve gotten. So… you’re ready for the big-time. Our unconscious biases are not just the things that we consider to be “just the way things are,” or “common sense.” They’re the things we don’t even see, much … Continue reading 11.22: Examining Unconscious Biases, with Shannon Hale →. Dan: And I’m Dan. Forced by their grandfather’s will to spend an entire night in his spooky mansion, our podcasters gather to discuss the nuts and bolts of what horror is (and isn’t) and how it works behind the scenes. It comes from Season 1, Episode 11. We cover some tools for exploring an idea, and then drill down a bit on how to use that exploration, or even multiple explorations as “seasoning” elements for a larger work. Sometimes you have to cut out the part you like best. More importantly, how do we as writers get that driver … Continue reading 11.32: The Element of Humor →. [Dongwon] 15 minutes long. Take two scenes, each with a different conflict—a logistical one, and an emotional one—and blend them into a single scene. Season 5. Announcing (…drum roll…) the 2016 Scholarship Winners! Come up with a fantasy fuel that has extreme, but unintended consequences. (Note: When we say “two weeks ago” over and over, that’s just bad math. Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal, narrated by the author. We discuss some good crossover examples, and how some of the … Continue reading 11.33: Crossover Fiction, with Victoria Schwab →. Season Eleven will not be engaging in those arguments. There is good fun … Continue reading 11.Bonus-04: Fantasy Food, with Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch →, (Also, take a character of your own, who is beloved by you, and turn them into the antagonist in someone else’s story. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson, narrated by Robertson Dean, Shannon Hale joins us at LTUE for a live-audience session in which we explore gender biases, and extrapolate from there to our many other unconscious biases. How do you decide the pacing … Continue reading 11.39: Elemental Relationship Q&A, with Greg van Eekhout →. Why is it scary? Google Sites. Sanderson variation: Every word you write is worthwhile. Nancy Fulda joins us to talk about the Elemental Genre of Idea, and how to write stories driven by a sense of fascination. He describes the thesis/antithesis approach, and we move then to logical frameworks, and how to avoid making our stories dogmatic. Season 14: Worldbuilding! … Continue reading 11.17: Elemental Adventure Q&A →. And by “discussion,” what we really mean is “we ask Robin all the questions.” We learn about Robin’s process for creating characters, wrapping stories around them, and making these characters distinctly different from each other. Think back to your own childhood, and write up one of your young fears into a story. Season 15: Topics You Asked About! Liner Notes: we mentioned Episode … Continue reading 11.23: The Element of Mystery →. Your homework, then: Write a monologue from the POV of a member of that magazine’s target audience. It’s that time again: it’s a new year, and that means a new Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat! Writing Excuses Talks to an Astronaut, with Special Guest Kjell Lindgren : How do I move beyond the “Dad jokes” and into properly funny writing? Season Six Index Season Seven Index Season Eight Index Season Nine Index Season Ten Index. Force Multiplication: Schlock Mercenary Book 12, by Howard Tayler, Travis Walton, Sandra Tayler, and Natalie Barahona, with an introduction by Mary Robinette Kowal, For our third Elemental Humor episode Victoria Schwab joins us as we field questions taken from our audience at Phoenix Comic-Con. Join us as we take a journey through What The Dark Knight Did Right: strong characters,  excellent dialogue, a layered plot that blended perfectly (and unexpectedly) … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 34: What The Dark Knight Did Right →. How would … Continue reading 11.48: Elemental Issue Q&A, with DongWon Song →. All the transcripts. Let’s foreshadow the failure state: look at something you’ve recently written, and then go back and insert a character who represents the failure state that your protagonist must avoid. Some of these questions are answered in this episode while others are better left unexplained. Writing Excuses began in 2008 with three hosts – Sanderson, Tayler, and Wells – accompanied by Brandon's brother, Jordan Sanderson, who serves as producer. Is there a perfect length? And when you’re developing a fake religion, how do you avoid religious bias and … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 27: World-Building Religion →. Schwab, joins us this year, and in this episode she helps us cover that deep concept of “theme,” and how we as authors can state our themes without coming straight out and stating them—writing our themes “between the lines.” Because a wordcount at rest tends to remain at rest…. Here are some notes I took after listening to Writing Excuses. Patriot Games, by Tom Clancy, narrated by Scott Brick, Alyssa Wong, Campbell Award nominee and Nebula Award winner, joins us to talk about impostor syndrome. I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal, Let’s get this out of the way up front: in the syntax of elemental genres, the phrase “the element of thriller” is clunky. Write about a non-player, non-heroic character (say, the NPC who cleans the alley behind the tavern) in your setting. … Continue reading 11.45: Elemental Issue, with Desiree Burch →, Read a magazine, ads and all, that is outside your personal cultural context, or realm of interests, Extreme Makeover, by Dan Wells, narrated by Brian Troxell, Our listeners have been asking for an in-depth, “crunchy” episode on colonialism, and related issues like cultural appropriation, for a couple of years now. Become a patron of Writing Excuses today: Get access to exclusive content and experiences on the world’s largest membership platform for artists and creators. It’s not two podcasts that both talk about tense and viewpoint, it’s two totally different podcasts that share a title for some reason. Howard: I’m Howard. This is the process by which you create a cast of characters for your story ahead of creating the story itself, allowing you to stay ahead of your default decisions for who will step into the scene next. What the minimum size for an ensemble? Dead Men Don’t Cry, by Nancy Fulda, narrated by Joseph Zieja, Recorded live at LTUE, Michaelbrent Collings guest-starred for a discussion about self publishing. How does it affect their lives? We start off trying to talk about game adaptations, and the challenges they present for writers, but then we devolve into a more straightforward discussion of writing for … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 31: Talking RPG and Game Writing with Steve Jackson →, In this, the last of our WorldCon 66 episodes, Brandon, Dan, and Howard interview Name of the Wind author Patrick Rothfuss. You haven’t missed an episode.) What do they want? We started with this one because “sense of wonder” is a term that gets used to describe what makes some science fiction stories work. Take an ensemble cast, and write each member’s position on a given issue. Now, how do you balance your life so that you can make the jump to writing full-time? In preparation for next month, and Elemental Issue, define both sides of an issue about which you’re passionate. Liner Notes: Sanderson’s first … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 14: Magic Systems and their Rules →, This week the Writing Excuses team discusses magic again, this time focusing on the cost of magic. Make note of where and why, and consider what the story would have been like without that element present. Discover along with Howard the magic world of person, tense, and omniscience, and how you can use them to tell your story. Take one of your favorite triumphant moments from a something you’ve read or watched, and rewrite it so that this triumph is the false victory that makes everything worse. Michelle Lyons McFarland, Monica Valentinelli, and Shanna Germain join Howard and Dan at GenCon, and talk about the craft of world building for role playing games. zipped the folder up and slapped it … Why didn’t we just do two separate podcasts, one … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 25: Viewpoint and Tense Part 2 →, What is horror? Take your notes from the rom-com homework two weeks ago, and build a different relationship onto those beats. The Writing Excuses team sits down to talk about religion as a world-building device: your characters probably believe in something, so what is it? Then begin removing the ones that characters would not notice. In this episode we discuss ways in which we can write character relationships—parent/child, buddy-cop, romance, and more—to be compelling. How do you manage your time? It comes from Season 1, Episode 12 and Season 1, Episode 13. ), Robin Hobb joined us at GenCon Indy for a discussion of characterization and differentiation. Writing Excuses - Season 7 Episode 18 featuring Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells with special guest James A Owen. You are going to descend into madness, your writing will become gibberish or something horrible will happen, and then Brandon will scream. This year we’ll start with some classes and events in Houston on September 25, and then we’ll hop on a cruise ship and head to Cozumel, Georgetown, and Falmouth. Revolutionary Writing, a course from Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, DongWon Song, literary agent with HMLA, joins us for a Q&A on the elemental genre of “Issue.” Here are the questions, which were submitted by the attendees at WXR ’16: Can only certain people tackle certain issues in certain stories? Why do people like Superman? Members. Write a scene twice: first, write it so that there’s humor, and then horror. This is an index of my transcripts of the Writing Excuses podcasts. Beware! What makes each writer’s voice unique? Elizabeth Bear  and Scott Lynch joined Howard and Dan at GenCon Indy to talk about fantasy food, and how we engage our readers’ appetites with our fiction. And it can’t be silly. We begin in Houston, TX, on September 22; we’ll visit Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel; and then we’ll end up back in Houston again on September 30. It comes from Season 1, Episode 4. Writer and editor extraordinaire. What makes a good hero? Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho, narrated by Jenny Sterlin. The Shootout Solution: Genrenauts Episode 1, by Michael R. Underwood, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal, You may still have questions about how to apply elemental adventure in your work. The word “drama” gets thrown around a lot. Here’s the last episode of Writing Excuses Season 6! These are the rules/tricks that we use to keep ourselves on task. In this episode we’ll pick at the ubiquity, and look at the many different ways in which character change can be featured, and what sort of tools we have at our disposal to make this happen … Continue reading 11.42: Elemental Drama as a Sub-Genre →. Elemental Genre becomes particularly useful when you start blending the elements for sub-plots, character arcs, or even mash-ups. Are flaws necessary for villains? What’s the difference between a conference and a convention? As it happens, tracking Navah’s wish list as you write is … Continue reading 11.41: The Editor’s Wish List, with Navah Wolfe →. Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features! Strip away the “bookshelf” genre, and try to identify for yourself the core elements that make those stories work. Adherence to a fifteen minute limit is not absolute, and Writing Excuses frequently runs to about 20 minutes. Writing Excuses Retreat 2019 Scholarships! This episode runs … Continue reading 11.46: Colonialism, with Steven Barnes, Tempest Bradford, DongWon Song, and Shveta Thakrar →. What traits make for a really good (err… evil?) : Lightspeed Magazine Special Issue, edited by Christie Yant, Mystery may well be the most common element in use, at least in some form or another, across the many bookshelf genres comprising “fiction.” We discuss the driving force of elemental mystery, how to evoke those feelings in the reader, and the importance of being able to write mystery effectively. Season 2. Let’s move beyond simply being cooks, and strive to become chefs. … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 10: Pacing →, So… you’re ready for the big-time. Last modified: 9/16/11. A descent into madness written from the first person point of view. Before I posted this I had attached an image of a chimp wearing a tux. How do you use each appropriately in your writing? Writing Excuses The Transcripts. Ordinarily we don’t encourage people to write to the market, but Navah asked specifically for the opportunity to tell our listeners what she’s looking for. Pull out an old piece of writing from the last year or so. Also, on Sunday The Salt Lake Tribune posted an article about Podcasting in Utah. 477. [Mary] Season 13, Episode 11. You’re a writer, and the writing is almost paying the bills. We talk about how to use wonder at smaller scales, how to create it with context, … Continue reading 11.08: Wonder as a Subgenre →. With Michael’s help, we cover some specific sales techniques, guidelines for convention displays, and strategies for bookstore appearances, with an … Continue reading 11.50: Hand-Selling Your Book to Potential Readers, with Michael R. Underwood →. We’ve already talked about the process of submitting to an editor; today we talk about the millions of vital things that happen after an editor says “I want to buy your book.” Not only that, but we get to hear it all straight from the mouth of … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 29: Talking Publishing with Lou Anders →, Last week we talked to an editor, this week we talk to OUR editor: Brandon’s and Dan’s editor at Tor, Moshe Feder. Write  a joke, and have each of your characters tell that joke. Take three stories (books, films, whatever) you love, and explore the emotional impact those stories have on you. We dig into what this really means, and how everyone in the story must be driven by things … Continue reading 11.24: Stakes! What are the … Continue reading 11.43: Elemental Drama Q&A, with Tananarive Due →. We begin with the difference … Continue reading 11.44: Project in Depth, GHOST TALKERS, by Mary Robinette Kowal →, (and because we’ve mentioned that one recently…), Your Psychic Powers, and How to Develop Them (1920), by Hereward Carrington. Steve Diamond joins us to kick off our month on the elemental genre of horror. Put a mystery into whatever it is you’re working on. Find an element that perhaps you’ve taken for granted, and turn it into something fascinating. The character? Homework: Research conventions and conferences in your area. How much elemental … Continue reading 11.30: Elemental Thriller Q&A →. Cast your book! Authors writing Elemental Issue stories raise questions for the readers. This week’s episode is a Project in Depth discussion focusing on Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Perdido Street Station, By China Mieville, narrated by John Lee, We’ve introduced the concept of Elemental Genre already. After listening to 15.11 (Digital is Different) I finally hit that unsubscribe button. Liner Notes Elantris Mad Prince Deleted Scenes Dan’s … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 33: Side Characters →. When do you not use a cliffhanger? Applications Are Open for the 2018 Writing Excuses Retreat Scholarship. If you haven’t listened to the Writing Excuses podcast, you should know that it’s not only useful to writers. A word count in motion tends to remain in motion. Hurray! Look to your left and that’s your object. Word count equals motivation times focus. In this episode we discuss some stylistic tools for applying humor  to our work, and how these tools can best be employed. Rebecca McKinney joined us on stage at LTUE to address all this. Modessit, Jr. →. An object, a character, and a genre. Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels, by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan, Live from Phoenix Comic Con, Gama Martinez joins us for a discussion of casting your book. And how lovable can a group of mercenaries be? We’re giving all that a wide miss by adding an adjective, and defining a new term: Elemental Genre. Whether you write from a solid outline or discover your plot as you go, we’ve got tricks and tools for you. Arguments about whether a particular work is, or is not, part of a given genre are long, and tedious. The … Take the first line from any book, and turn it into a scary line. Look at what your character knows they need, and then remove that knowledge. We discuss the difference between the drivers in thrillers, horror stories, and mysteries, and use the elemental genre tools to assist in the differentiation. Watch it, and take notes of the things that define their relationship, and how it progresses. It’s time to start digging in to the elements themselves, beginning with the Element of Wonder. Take the “yes, but; no, and” approach on one of your try-fail cycles. Brandon’s Deleted Scenes Howard’s Original Time-Travel Outline. raw download clone embed report print text 106.98 KB 4-1 - Types of Humor . Here are the questions: How do you create wonder in non-genre stories, where there are no super-powers, spaceships, or spellcasters? [Brandon] This is Writing Excuses, Writing Secondary Characters, with Charlaine Harris, Live from GenCon! Howard: Because you’re in a hurry, Dan: and we’re not that smart. Brandon, Howard and Dan discuss where their ideas come from and Howard tells us a little too much about his love of Pepsi. In this episode we’ll talk about how … Continue reading 11.38: The Elemental Relationship as a Sub-Genre →. The outcome or conclusion of the dialogue scene should remain the same. Our voices, however, are not the ones our listeners should be hearing on the subject. The Writing Excuses team takes off from there, discussing the different kinds of Writers’ Block, and how to overcome each of them. This year we’re dividing the year into “master classes” or “intensive courses.” We’re kicking it off with Brandon’s episodes, which are all about the business of writing, and the first of those is this one! Season 8. This is the frame of mind that many successful writers suffer from, in which they worry that they’re not really good enough at writing to be enjoying their success. Season 7. What do they fear? Get a funny book, and highlight or underline appearances of the rule of three, and comic drops. The topic is about submitting to editors. This week’s Writing Excuses is brought to you by Schlock Mercenary: The Teraport Wars  by Howard Tayler, Like all right-thinking people, we loved The Dark Knight–but because we are also writers obsessed with the craft of storytelling, we liked it for very specific, very nerdy reasons. Howard’s answer: “Just enough to get by.” In this podcast we talk about why we research, how we research, and when we feel like we’ve researched enough. Gail Carriger joins us to talk about her Convention Survival Kit, which is full of things most of us wish we’d known to pack with us years ago. Look at some of the elemental genres we’ve already discussed. Residue, by Steve Diamond, narrated by David Stifel, How do we go about describing the clothing our characters are wearing? Page updated. How do you make your novel better? The Wright Brothers, written and narrated by David McCullough. Man City won last season's semi-final 3-2 on aggregate. You’re a writer, and the writing is almost paying the bills. When is humor necessary … Continue reading 11.35: Elemental Humor Q&A with Victoria Schwab →. Take some of the humor types, and rewrite a scene several times. New podcasts are published weekly on Sundays. Mary: 15 minutes long. Writing Excuses Episode 5: Heroes and Protagonists, Writing Excuses Episode 9: Sci-Fi Sub-Genre, Writing Excuses Episode 11: The Business of Writing, Writing Excuses Episode 12: Submitting to Editors Part 1, Writing Excuses Episode 13: Submitting to Editors Part 2, Writing Excuses Episode 14: Magic Systems and their Rules, Writing Excuses Episode 15: Costs and Ramifications of Magic, Writing Excuses Episode 16: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard, Writing Excuses Episode 17: This Sucks and I’m a Horrible Writer, Writing Excuses Episode 18: Q&A at Conduit, Writing Excuses Episode 20: More Q&A from Conduit, Writing Excuses Episode 22: Doing The Unpopular, Writing Excuses Episode 25: Viewpoint and Tense Part 2, Writing Excuses Episode 27: World-Building Religion, Writing Excuses Episode 28: Writing for Webcomics with Phil and Kaja Foglio, Writing Excuses Episode 29: Talking Publishing with Lou Anders, Writing Excuses Episode 30: Talking Revision with Moshe Feder, Writing Excuses Episode 31: Talking RPG and Game Writing with Steve Jackson, Writing Excuses Episodes 32: Talking Exposition with Patrick Rothfuss, Writing Excuses Episode 33: Side Characters, Writing Excuses Episode 34: What The Dark Knight Did Right, Writing Excuses Episode 2: Blending the Familiar and the Original, Writing Excuses Episode 3: Killing your Darlings, Writing Excuses Episode 6: Flaws vs Handicaps, Writing Excuses Bonus Episode 2: Rules of Writing Excuses, Writing Excuses Episode 35: Voice, Tone and Style, Project in Depth (“The Mother of All Crunchy”), 8.42: The Internal Heckler vs. Develop a religion where people worship something that no one would ever worship in our world. How do you keep your artistic side from accusing you of selling out? [Mary Robinette] Because you're in a hurry. For us, Elemental Drama focuses on one character’s transformation, and how that transformation affects everyone around them. Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas … Continue reading 11.51: Ensemble as a Sub-Genre, with Lynne M. Thomas →. We talk about our various approaches to this, many … You can find all the other info, including our incredible guest list, here. Brandon, Howard and Dan discuss how you create unique concepts by blending familiar topics with something new and original and how to avoid possible pitfalls. How do you maintain tension during dialog? Credits: this episode was recorded by Jeff Cools, and mastered by Alex Jackson ¹We’re differentiating “Relationship” from “Ensemble” because … Continue reading 11.36: The Elemental Relationship →. villain? and with that out of the way… What is the driving force that gets readers to turn pages in a book that is primarily a work of humor? Then take the scary line and create two separate short stories using it. Well, we here at Writing Excuses have never met an ultimatum we didn’t immediately challenge, so today we take it head on. Pull some of your favorite books down, examine the dialog itself, without tags, and determine what tricks the writer has used to differentiate the character voices. It’s not just for heists. Bluescreen, by Dan Wells, narrated by Roxanne Hernandez, Steve Diamond joins us again to talk horror, this time about using elemental horror as part of our stories’ elemental ensemble. 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