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

    • Books

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

    15.04: Revision, with Patrick Rothfuss

    15.04: Revision, with Patrick Rothfuss

    Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, and Mary Robinette, with special guest Patrick Rothfuss

    We begin our discussion of revision by addressing a question we hear a lot: How do you know what needs to be changed? We talk about our various techniques for getting distance from our work, incorporating feedback, and breaking the process down into manageable chunks.

    Liner Notes: Lindsey Ellis on Three-Act Structure

    Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    • 29 min
    15.03: Self Publishing

    15.03: Self Publishing

    Your Hosts: Howard, with special guests Victorine Lieske, Tamie Dearen, Bridget E. Baker, and Nandi Taylor

    Howard leads this discussion with four guests who are doing well with self publishing. They share some numbers with us, and talk about their strategies for reaching their audience, and making the most of their market.

    Liner Notes: Given, by Nandi Taylor, is available on January 21, (just two days from this episode’s air date)

    Credits: This episode was recorded live at WXR by Bert Grimm, and was mastered by Alex Jackson

    • 24 min
    15.02: Writing Between the Lines

    15.02: Writing Between the Lines

    Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

    Victoria Schwab, who also writes as V.E. 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.”

    Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

    • 19 min
    15.01: Evolution of a Career

    15.01: Evolution of a Career

    Your Hosts: Dan, Dongwon, Mary Robinette, and Howard

    Season 15 is going to be a bit broader than the previous seasons have, at least in the abstract. We’re going to focus on your questions. In this episode we tackle the topic that dominates our collection of these questions: CAREER.

    Liner Notes: It hasn’t actually been 15 years. It’s been 12. Writing Excuses launched in February of 2008, and the first five seasons were not full-year seasons. 

    Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

    • 27 min
    14.52: Game Mastering and Collaborative Storytelling, with Natasha Ence

    14.52: Game Mastering and Collaborative Storytelling, with Natasha Ence

    Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Natasha Ence

    Natasha Ence is a professional game master.

    (Yes, you read that correctly.)

    She joins us to discuss collaborative storytelling, and how the principles of game mastering for role-players can be applied to creating a fulfilling, engaging story.

    Credits: This episode was recorded live at LTUE by Dan Thompson, and was mastered by Alex Jackson.

    • 18 min
    14.51: A Farewell to Worldbuilding

    14.51: A Farewell to Worldbuilding

    Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard

    We’ve spent all year focusing on worldbuilding, and it’s time to move on.

    Almost.

    In this episode we try to cover some points we may have missed, we talk about what we’ve learned, and discuss some of our favorite recent examples of worldbuilding.

    Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

Buldry ,

Love the Honesty

Gotta love Mary Robinette telling it how it is in season 15 episode 4. Rothfuss adjusted okay, but I like the honesty of this show. Everybody learns, even the hosts.

sherrylee99 ,

Loving this... but

I’m a new listener thinking starting a book for the first time in 20 years. Thank you for all the great (free!) advice.

I just listened to “What Writers Get Wrong” and I have need of clarification, or further understanding. The guest speaker begins by saying she’d love more diversity in fiction and that the publishing/writing world is in need of more awareness. I do not disagree, but I am from the default “American” world (white, middle class) so I don’t pretend to know much about worlds other than my own and, therefore, am still in “data-entry” mode. Later, she quotes an author who said that if you want to write about a different culture, then read 100 books on that culture. If you can’t, then maybe you aren’t the person to write it. One of my fears of writing is being “called out” on something. This is why I haven’t written in 20 years. I determined I needed more life experience to write from. Lastly, the homework for this episode was to take a leap and write a secondary Ecuadorian character.

Here’s my confusion: do the more “diverse” people of the nation really want people like me to write about them? On one hand, the consensus from this episode seems to be YES—we need more examples of diversity in fiction. On the other hand, it sounds like the sentiment is “but you better not get it wrong—that’s offensive.” Honestly? I’m scared to try, so I’d rather stick to what I know. Am I the only one? Am I misunderstanding this episode’s lesson all-together? Or are people of diversity actually just saying they want more people of diversity to be writing their stories? If that’s the case, what’s my take away (as an aspiring author)?

My default viewpoint (which is open to change) is the belief that true acceptance of diversity is understanding that each one of us is unique in ethnicity, heritage, life experiences, family dynamics, race, religion, skin tone, hair color, etc.—regardless of how much our skin tones vary, or if our ancestors were colonized 300 years ago in America or 3,000 years ago in Scandinavia. If you have a story, write! How does your episode fit my viewpoint, or do we just agree to disagree? Do we even disagree?! (So many questions...)

AreWhy ,

Woke Social Justice

Guys, we get it, you’re liberals, do you have to spend every episode talking about offending various identities and oppression? Go back to talking about SciFi and writing. Relax, Hillary lost, the world goes on.

I just listened for the first time in a year and Mary is calling Patrick Rotfuss a sexist because of an analogy. These people are ridiculous.

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