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. What is your personal line between horror and “gore-nography?” … Continue reading 11.21: Q&A on Elemental Horror, with Steve Diamond →. Howard: I’m Howard. … Continue reading 11.26: Elemental Mystery Q&A →. The landscape continues to change, and Collings is fully engaged in it. 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. 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. How do you make your novel better? The word “genre” has a lot of weight to it. This podcast contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings, Return of … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 22: Doing The Unpopular →, You’ve heard about viewpoint, but do you really know what it means? (Note: When we say “two weeks ago” over and over, that’s just bad math. 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. 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. In this this episode we talk about why to write humor, how to write humor, how to recognize humor in others, how to steal from learn from what they do, and, in the end, what makes things funny in the … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 21: Humor →, As a writer it’s sometimes difficult to decide between doing things the readers want, and things that are right for the story. How do you balance between two mysteries in the same story? Season 13: Character. It comes from Season 1, Episode 11. This week’s episode is a Project in Depth discussion focusing on Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Brainstorm some story ideas, looking at what happens to them when you mix those genres up with the ensemble element. Sure, some are the real-life instances you may connect with, and others are cheesy ideas saved in your head. 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. 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 as Dan says, writers can get away with doing things to readers that readers would never do to themselves. Season 4. Deadline time. Season 15: Topics You Asked About! These are the rules/tricks that we use to keep ourselves on task. Then write it so that the horror comes first, and the humor is last. (“That’s the LAST time I send you out shopping for Gollums, son…”) Liner Notes: The Evil Overlord List, a handy reference for tropes to avoid (or, as the case may be, exploit…). What are the … Continue reading 11.43: Elemental Drama Q&A, with Tananarive Due →. How do you maintain tension during dialog? Season 11, Episode 8. Also, on Sunday The Salt Lake Tribune posted an article about Podcasting in Utah. What makes a good hero? This becomes your framework for a mystery, which you’re essentially outlining in reverse. Or at least, … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 15: Costs and Ramifications of Magic →, Howard kicks this off with his own sure-fire cure for Writers’ Block, “BIC HOK:” Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. Authors writing Elemental Issue stories raise questions for the readers. How do you manage your time? Here are the questions: Can you fit an ensemble into a short story? Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and … Continue reading 11.16: Adventure as a Subgenre →. 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. Welcome to 2021, and Season 16 of Writing Excuses. Get a funny book, and highlight or underline appearances of the rule of three, and comic drops. [Mary Robinette] Because you're in a hurry. Writing Excuses - Season 7 Episode 18 featuring Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells with special guest James A Owen. We decided to end the season with a discussion of endings. Make a list of cool set pieces that people could visit. This season's focus will acting like a classroom for their master class format. Mary: I’m Mary. When do you not use a cliffhanger? Shadowguard, by Gama Ray Martinez, narrated by Adam Verner. Put a mystery into whatever it is you’re working on. LINER NOTES: Howard repeatedly invoked John August’s blog post about heroes, protagonists, and main … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 5: Heroes and Protagonists →. Brandon, Howard and Dan discuss where their ideas come from and Howard tells us a little too much about his love of Pepsi. 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. Take something you’ve written, and gender-swap it. Develop a religion where people worship something that no one would ever worship in our world. Sanderson variation: Every word you write is worthwhile. Credits: This episode was … Continue reading 11.25: Elemental Mystery is Everywhere →. I called them winners in the title, but that’s misleading: this is not something they drew in a lottery, or stumbled over in … Continue reading Announcing (…drum roll…) the 2016 Scholarship Winners! Liner Notes: We mentioned some resources for … Continue reading 11.19: Fashion for Writers, with Rebecca McKinney →. Modessit, Jr. →. Specifically, we answer cries for help that we’ve gotten. It was a super experience. 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 →. Come up with a fantasy fuel that has extreme, but unintended consequences. Credits: … Continue reading 11.37: Casting Your Book, with Gama Martinez →. Nancy Fulda joins us to talk about the Elemental Genre of Idea, and how to write stories driven by a sense of fascination. It is an educational podcast that helps novelists/writers. Credits: … Continue reading 11.29: Elemental Thriller as a Subgenre →. What’s the difference between Sauron and Gollum? 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. 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. … Continue reading 11.28: Impostor Syndrome, with Alyssa Wong →. Part 1 was Viewpoint. Then take the scary line and create two separate short stories using it. It’s a short journey, as quests go, but we’ll all learn a valuable lesson about writing–and about ourselves. The seventh annual Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat is going to be amazing! Is there a difference between the two? There are a plethora of reasons writers give for letting excuses take over their work. If you haven’t yet read Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal, this episode will spoil great swathes of book for you. In this episode we explore using the element of adventure as an ingredient in something that has far more than adventure going on in it. Can you put a traitor into an ensemble story? 15.02: Writing Between the Lines. We talk economics, logistics, sensory engagement, and we goof off quite a bit in the process. Futurism, for those unfamiliar with our use of the term here, is related to science fiction, but it remains rooted in existing technology and trends, then seeks to be predictive in useful ways. Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson, narrated by Sanjiv Jhaveri. The outcome or conclusion of the dialogue scene should remain the same. Why is Dirk Pitt so cool? It adds interest, emotion, and lots of plot possibilities to everything from sense of wonder to the hard-hitting issue. Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says there will be "no excuses" if his team lose their fourth semi-final in 12 months. * *Heartfelt lessons about … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 23: Viewpoint →, How much research do you do? Before I posted this I had attached an image of a chimp wearing a tux. … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 10: Pacing →, So… you’re ready for the big-time. Season 5. 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. So… you’re ready for the big-time. Dan: And I’m Dan. How do you use each appropriately in your writing? 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. Take three stories (books, films, whatever) you love, and explore the emotional impact those stories have on you. Writing Excuses Season 10, the podcasted master-class, continues with this exploration of that critical second step: what do do once you’ve got an idea that has story-legs. The topic is about the business of writing. ), Robin Hobb joined us at GenCon Indy for a discussion of characterization and differentiation. Season 9. And it can’t be silly. (Note: When we say “two weeks ago” over and over, that’s just bad math. Find a cool idea, and then brainstorm twenty stories you could tell, using that idea as the core element. Season 9. Here are the questions: How do you add humor to a serious story without breaking the tension? Finding the right voices has not been easy, but it has been worth it. What do you do when beta readers figure out the mystery really early? Are flaws necessary for villains? Write a story about a book that cannot be read until you are dead. Describe it using those cool point-of-view tools that evoke wonder in the reader. We talk about our various approaches to this, many … So… your career is … 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. Because a wordcount at rest tends to remain at rest…. Take your notes from the rom-com homework two weeks ago, and build a different relationship onto those beats. You’ll arrive back in Houston again on October … 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? WX Trivia: Episode 11.34 represents a pair of firsts for us here at Writing … Continue reading 11.34: Humor as a Sub-Genre →. 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. Take a book or film that you enjoy, and write down every mystery you see. Planetfall by Emma Newman, narrated by Emma Newman, We fielded the following questions about the “Thriller” elemental genre from listeners on Facebook and Twitter: How do I build tension consistently through my story? Spoiler Alert! Here are some notes I took after listening to Writing Excuses. In the MICE quotient, are mysteries all “Idea” stories? Arguments about whether a particular work is, or is not, part of a given genre are long, and tedious. You are likely to find reasons like toddler trouble, age, illness, time, little knowledge, to creativity blocks still making headlines in the writing community as the biggest launchers to writing excuses. Imagine an individual in that group, and ask yourself what that person is going to do, and why. We cover free-writing, re-reading and reviewing, and focusing on your motivations for writing… … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 16: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard →, The Writing Excuses crew tackles writer’s block again, this time approaching the “This Sucks And I’m A Horrible Writer” mindset. : Lightspeed Magazine Special Issue, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels, 11.Bonus-02: Horrifying the Children, with Darren Shan, The Shootout Solution (Genrenauts Episode 1), Project in Depth (“The Mother of All Crunchy”), 8.42: The Internal Heckler vs. Writing Excuses The Transcripts. Write a character sketch of them. Mrs Roosevelt’s Confidante, by Susan Elijah McNeil, narrated by Susan Duerden, We talk a lot about “raising the stakes” in our writing. We find the elemental relationship in all kinds of stories that are not fundamentally about relationships. 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. How do you recover when a relationship starts to feel forced? Take your favorite piece of media that is NOT primarily an adventure, and look for the places where elemental adventure is used. Your best friend. ), Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear, narrated by Jennifer Grace, Michael Damien Thomas, co-publisher and co-editor-in-chief of Uncanny Magazine, joined us for a discussion of the elemental genre that contains most of the stories we refer to as “heists.” It’s all about a well-rounded cast in which the group relationship is what’s pulling us forward. Why do people like Superman? Only you can let go of all e… Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features! We talk about “surprising yet inevitable,” the fine art of making … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 19: Plot Twists →, Writer Eric James Stone joins the Writing Excuses crew for our third Conduit installment. Or, if you’re Howard, do both. Residue, by Steve Diamond, narrated by David Stifel, How do we go about describing the clothing our characters are wearing? Look at some of the elemental genres we’ve already discussed. Perdido Street Station, By China Mieville, narrated by John Lee, We’ve introduced the concept of Elemental Genre already. Find a way for them to tell that joke “in character,” in their style. It is an educational podcast that helps novelists/writers. What do they love? Whether or not your magic system has internally-consistent rules your readers can follow (per Sanderson’s First Law and last week’s ‘cast) you need to consider the ramifications of using magic in the worlds you create. Pair this with another subgenre. Steve Diamond joins us to kick off our month on the elemental genre of horror. Thud, by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs, In this episode we field some questions about elemental mystery. You’re a writer, and the writing is almost paying the bills. Last modified: 9/16/11. Writing Excuses, Season One. Brandon: This is Writing Excuses! Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas … Continue reading 11.49: Elemental Ensemble, with Michael Damien Thomas →. Writing Excuses Season 4 Notes. Also, you probably won’t get as much out of it. Sometimes yes and sometimes no; our intrepid podcasters talk about how to know which situation is which, and explore the pros and cons of each method. Take the “yes, but; no, and” approach on one of your try-fail cycles. Why didn’t we just do two separate podcasts, one … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 25: Viewpoint and Tense Part 2 →, What is horror? villain? Writing Excuses began in 2008 with three hosts – Sanderson, Tayler, and Wells – accompanied by Brandon's brother, Jordan Sanderson, who serves as producer. It’s that time again: it’s a new year, and that means a new Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat! The Shootout Solution (Genrenauts Episode 1), by Michael R. Underwood, Lynne M. Thomas joins us to continue our discussion of the Elemental Ensemble, which is one of our favorite elemental tools. Here are the questions: What is your favorite way to establish relationships? How much elemental … Continue reading 11.30: Elemental Thriller Q&A →. When we say “stakes,” we’re referring to the things that keep our characters involved in the conflict, rather than just walking away and doing something else. Why is it scary? The topic is beginnings. Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey, narrated by Jefferson Mays, L.E. Some of these questions are answered in this episode while others are better left unexplained. Think back to your own childhood, and write up one of your young fears into a story. How do you make … Continue reading Writing Excuses Episode 20: More Q&A from Conduit →, Enough of this highbrow literary crap–make with the funny! The type of satisfaction we feel at the reveal may also reveal the elemental genre in which the element of mystery has been embedded. Think of an emotion that contrasts, or foils, the primary emotion in the thing you were working on for the homework two weeks ago. Identify something about your location that would provide, in an alternate universe, a source of magic unavailable in other locations. Why does this work? Season Eleven Index Season Twelve Index Season Thirteen Index Season Fourteen Index. Word count equals motivation times focus. We begin in Houston, TX, on September 13; we’ll visit Cozumel, Georgetown, and Falmouth, and end up back in Houston again on September 22. In preparation for next month, and Elemental Issue, define both sides of an issue about which you’re passionate. Man City won last season's semi-final 3-2 on aggregate. It is mostly useful to writers. The Internal Editor. How do you keep your artistic side from accusing you of selling out? But we’ll say it anyway. Brandon: I’m Brandon. The Internal Editor. 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. The character? 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. Mary: 15 minutes long. Because nothing says “keep writing” like “hey, let’s draw a map now!” Dan and Howard were joined by Maurice Broaddus, Mur Lafferty, and James L. Sutter, who wanted to talk about maps. And I Darken, by Kiersten White, narrated by Fiona Hardingham, Greg van Eekhout joined us at Phoenix Comic Con for a live-audience Q&A session about Elemental Relationship writing. 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! Writing Excuses 11.1: Introduction to Elemental Genre. 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. [Charlaine] Thank you. Season 11: Elemental Genres. Season 15: Topics You Asked About! Take a scene and write it as Dan would write it, then write it as Brandon would write it, and then write it as Howard would write it. Create a story that focuses on the behind-the-scenes folks. Grab a romantic comedy of some kind. Let’s move beyond simply being cooks, and strive to become chefs. We discuss exposition, and how not to bore people as you move them through the learning curve. [Whoo!] In this episode we discuss ways in which we can write character relationships—parent/child, buddy-cop, romance, and more—to be compelling. Season 8. So this is what you wanted to know! Season 5. Well, we here at Writing Excuses have never met an ultimatum we didn’t immediately challenge, so today we take it head on. Jr, narrated by Jefferson Mays, L.E and ” approach on one of your favorite piece of Writing Workshop. And others are better left unexplained extreme, but don ’ t teach style–each just! 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