58 episodes

Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Daniel Wells discuss writing techniques in a fast-paced, 15-minute format.

Writing Excuses Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 67 Ratings

Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Daniel Wells discuss writing techniques in a fast-paced, 15-minute format.

    17.3: Chekov’s Surprising Yet Inevitable Inverted Gun

    17.3: Chekov’s Surprising Yet Inevitable Inverted Gun

    Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd



    This week we're talking about giving inevitability to our intended surprise, and we open with a discussion of Chekov's Gun, which, as a writing rule, is mostly used in inversion.



    Next week we'll focus on making inevitable things surprising.



    Liner Notes: Art and Editing of Suicide Squad (YouTube) 



    Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

    • 20 min
    17.2: It Was a Promise of Three Parts

    17.2: It Was a Promise of Three Parts

    Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd



    The title of this episode comes to us from the first paragraph of The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss—a novel which delights us with turns of phrase and evocative prose from beginning to end.



    We're continuing our exploration of "promises as a structure" by looking at the promises made by the prose of your first line, first paragraph, and first page. What does your first line say about the rest of your book? Did you mean for it to say that? Is your first line writing checks that your later chapters can actually cash?



    Liner Notes: We did an eight-episode master class on first lines, pages, and paragraphs with DongWon Song. It begins with 16.27.



    Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

    • 20 min
    17.1: Genre and Media are Promises

    17.1: Genre and Media are Promises

    Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd



    The genre of your story is making promises to the reader, and the medium upon which your story is told makes promises too.



    In this episode we talk about the expectations set by various mediums and genres, and how we can leverage those to ensure that we deliver a satisfying story.



    Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson



    Liner Notes: The entirety of Season 11, The Elemental Genres, is a deep-dive on this stuff.

    • 19 min
    16.52: Structure is a Promise

    16.52: Structure is a Promise

    Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd



    The structure you're using for your story isn't just helping you organize your plotting. It's telling the audience what's going to happen. Story structures make promises to audiences, and these audience expectations are, in large measure, outside of our control.



    In this episode we talk about the expectations set by various story structures, and how we can make sure we use our structures to satisfy our audiences.



    Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson



    Liner Notes: We've done episodes on the M.I.C.E. Quotient, Seven Point Story Structure, The Hollywood Formula, and many, many more of the structures mentioned in this episode. We haven't done any on Kishōtenketsu, but we probably should!

    • 20 min
    16.51: Promises are a Structure

    16.51: Promises are a Structure

    Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd



    Our next 8-episode intensive is all about promises and expectations. Our guest hosts are Kaela Rivera, Sandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd. They're joining us to talk about how the promises we make to our audiences, and the expectations they bring with them, are a structural format. In this episode we introduce the topic, and talk about some apex examples of success and failure in this area.



    Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson



    Liner Notes: Here's the story of The Tropicana Packaging Redesign Failure

    • 21 min
    16.50: Worldbuilding Finale: Making Deliberate Choices

    16.50: Worldbuilding Finale: Making Deliberate Choices

    Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Fonda Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Tayler



    Here at the end of our 8-episode intensive series on Worldbuilding we discuss stepping away from the defaults, the clichés, and the tropes, and choosing every element deliberately. There's nothing inherently wrong with the tropes. We're just suggesting that they be included only after deciding we actually want them.



    Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
67 Ratings

67 Ratings

ClareOhBear ,

An essential pod in any writer audio list

I absolutely adore this podcast and have been a listener for years. It’s full of invaluable information about the art and business of writing from actively working and highly successful sci-fi and fantasy authors.
Sometimes I wish the shows were longer, but then I remember how generous the hosts are with sharing first-hand information, and I’m just deeply grateful they give us their knowledge at all. Thank you!!

dmax0661 ,

Brilliant

Great show, great content, very informative.
The panel and guests are a pleasure to listen to.

Beatrlovr ,

Listen to this.

I owe much of what I know about writing to this podcast. I have a PhD in YA literature but I am new to actually writing fiction and needed help from people who take their audience seriously, take their material seriously, and know their craft to a level of expertise I can respect. I needed them to respect me, as a listener, and found what I was looking for in spades. Each episode also manages to fit in humour, fun and laughs! Guests are experts who are fascinating and engaging. The format is punchy and yet allows for depth of topic. If they run out of time, they make another episode! I have been introduced to other formats, genres and styles and each time my writer’s world widens. They tackle the hard parts of writing, current issues, and mental health with a gentle hand, yet never hold back.

Follow them all on Twitter too, because it’s fun 😁. Thanks, and please don’t stop recording!

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