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Rank #30 in Books category

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Writing Excuses

Updated 5 days ago

Rank #30 in Books category

Arts
Business
Careers
Books
Read more

Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

Read more

Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

iTunes Ratings

786 Ratings
Average Ratings
660
83
15
14
14

Great show

By TxSlotsPlayer - Nov 04 2019
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Love the advice and craft talk presented in each episode. Keep up the great podcast!

Hwhat a great show!

By massremoval - May 12 2019
Read more
Hwhen you are looking for great writing advice, look no further ;)

iTunes Ratings

786 Ratings
Average Ratings
660
83
15
14
14

Great show

By TxSlotsPlayer - Nov 04 2019
Read more
Love the advice and craft talk presented in each episode. Keep up the great podcast!

Hwhat a great show!

By massremoval - May 12 2019
Read more
Hwhen you are looking for great writing advice, look no further ;)

Listen to:

Cover image of Writing Excuses

Writing Excuses

Updated 5 days ago

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Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

14.43: Sequencing Your Career Genome

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Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon Let’s talk about career planning. It’s a lot more than just launching a career by selling a book, and in this episode we talk about the kinds of things we want to be thinking about and preparing for beyond simply selling our next book or project. Credits: … Continue reading 14.43: Sequencing Your Career Genome →

Oct 27 2019

19mins

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14.01: Worldbuilding Begins! Up Front, or On the Fly?

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Season 14 is all about worldbuilding¹, and we’re kicking it off with a discussion of when you do that bit of work. Do you handle worldbuilding before you write the story, as you write the story, or after you’ve finished the story? We’ll talk about how we … Continue reading 14.01: Worldbuilding Begins! Up Front, or On the Fly? →

Jan 06 2019

21mins

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13.48: Character Death and Plot Armor

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard The characters we create are not all destined for long lives. Sure, some are, but a great many of them are on paths that will end in an abrupt fatality of one kind or another, and in this episode we’ll talk about how we choose which characters to … Continue reading 13.48: Character Death and Plot Armor →

Dec 02 2018

20mins

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13.49: How to Finish

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Amal, and Maurice Last week we talked about character death. This week we talk about other, less fatal ways in which a character story can be finished, and how we, as writers, can tell when we’re done with a character arc. Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered … Continue reading 13.49: How to Finish →

Dec 09 2018

19mins

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14.10: Magic Systems

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab Let’s design magic systems! We talk about how we do it, and how the principles of magic system design apply to the science fiction systems we create, and vice-versa. NOTE: In this episode we’re talking about “hard” magic systems, where there are well-defined rule sets (even if the … Continue reading 14.10: Magic Systems →

Mar 10 2019

18mins

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14.40: Deep vs. Wide

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard How do you decide between digging one really deep, narrow well, and digging one really wide, shallow ocean? In this episode we talk about our desires to build worlds which appear both vanishingly wide and unplumbably deep, when we have time to do neither. Credits: This episode … Continue reading 14.40: Deep vs. Wide →

Oct 06 2019

19mins

Play

13.45: Next Level Narration

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Amal, and Maurice Narration is that stuff which tells your story, but isn’t dialog. It’s the voice of your narrator, and it might be multiple voices depending on how you’re handling point of view. In this episode we’ll talk about the things you can do to challenge yourself and level … Continue reading 13.45: Next Level Narration →

Nov 11 2018

21mins

Play

14.42: Alternate History

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard Alternate histories (and historical fantasies) are a staple of genre fiction. In this episode we talk about the worldbuilding process, the tools we use, and the pitfalls we try to avoid when constructing these kinds of stories. Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered … Continue reading 14.42: Alternate History →

Oct 20 2019

20mins

Play

14.18: Setting as Theme

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Theme is one of those high-falutin’ concepts we’re often reluctant to approach in a nuts-and-bolts sort of way. In this episode we’ll talk about how our themes can be communicated through elements of our settings, deepening reader engagement with the things we write. We offer examples from … Continue reading 14.18: Setting as Theme →

May 05 2019

18mins

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14.36: Languages and Naming

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab How do we come up with names? How do we do it in ways that enhance our worldbuilding? What are the elements that give our invented naming schemes (even the zany ones with lots of syllables and apostrophes) verisimilitude? In this episode we talk about some of the … Continue reading 14.36: Languages and Naming →

Sep 08 2019

19mins

Play

14.11: Magic Without Rules

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard When we say “without rules” we’re talking about stories whose magic is not held under logical scrutiny for the reader. There are lots of reasons why you might do this, and in this episode we’ll talk about not just about the why, but also the how. Credits: This … Continue reading 14.11: Magic Without Rules →

Mar 17 2019

20mins

Play

14.33: Writing Imperfect Worlds

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard How do you write a setting in which the status quo is one with which you deeply disagree? How do you create a conflict of this sort without being overtly pedantic or preachy? In this episode we talk about creating engaging worlds while worldbuilding around—and yes, over—landmines. … Continue reading 14.33: Writing Imperfect Worlds →

Aug 18 2019

20mins

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14.20: Allegory in Fiction

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard What is an allegory, anyway? This episode probably won’t settle that question, but we did manage a discussion on how to use our stories to teach things, or be stand-ins for things, and to do it in the ways that allegories and/or parables might. We talk about … Continue reading 14.20: Allegory in Fiction →

May 19 2019

17mins

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14.22: Characters out of Their Depth

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Sherlock Holmes has his Watson for a reason. Readers need a character to whom some things must be explained. In this episode we talk about how we create these gateway characters without delivering “maid and butler” dialog, or talking down to the reader. Credits: This episode was … Continue reading 14.22: Characters out of Their Depth →

Jun 02 2019

17mins

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14.02: Geography and Biomes

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab Mahtab Narsimhan joins us this year for a dozen episodes on worldbuilding, and this week we’re talking about geography and biomes. These pieces of our settings can be central to the stories we tell, but they can also be backdrops, and the story purposes they serve may determine … Continue reading 14.02: Geography and Biomes →

Jan 13 2019

18mins

Play

14.7: How Weird is Too Weird?

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard How weird, how far outside the realm of what the reader feels to be familiar, is too weird? Where is the line beyond which the fantasy is too fantastic, the unreal too unrealistic, or the aliens too alien? In this episode we discuss finding that line, and with the … Continue reading 14.7: How Weird is Too Weird? →

Feb 17 2019

15mins

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14.5: Viewpoint as Worldbuilding

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard When you’re defining your world for the reader, some voice in the text must speak those definitions. This episode is about how we use character voices—their dialog and their narrative view points—to worldbuild. What do they see? How do they perceive it? What are their favorite jokes? … Continue reading 14.5: Viewpoint as Worldbuilding →

Feb 03 2019

17mins

Play

14.27: Natural Setting as Conflict

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard In this episode we stories with the “Person-vs-Setting” structure. These are stories where nature fills the role of antagonist, and may also be what governs the pacing, and the delivery of key emotional beats. Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Jul 07 2019

19mins

Play

14.35: What You Leave Out

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard The advice commonly given to writers is to worldbuild an iceberg, but only to show the reader the tip. This is still too much work. Icebergs are big. In this episode we talk about worldbuilding the tip of the iceberg, and then worldbuilding as little as possible … Continue reading 14.35: What You Leave Out →

Sep 01 2019

18mins

Play

14.14: When To Tell

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard “Show, don’t tell,” they tell us. Except sometimes showing is not always the best thing to do. Or even the right thing to do. Sometimes we should be telling. In this episode we’ll tell you about telling. (We’d show you about telling, but we still don’t have … Continue reading 14.14: When To Tell →

Apr 07 2019

16mins

Play

14.48: How to Practice Worldbuilding

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard The entire year has been about learning how to worldbuild, and we’ve learned a thing or two ourselves while preparing material for you. In this episode we talk about some of those lessons, and try to answer stray questions that didn’t fit into any of previous episode … Continue reading 14.48: How to Practice Worldbuilding →

Dec 01 2019

18mins

Play

14.47: Writing Characters With Physical Disabilities

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Your Hosts: Piper, Dan, and Tempest, with special guest Nicola Griffith In this episode we discuss how to faithfully represent people with physical disabilities through the characters we create. Our guest, Nicola Griffith, walks us through the process of rigorously imagining how the world might look to someone with a particular disability. Credits: This episode … Continue reading 14.47: Writing Characters With Physical Disabilities →

Nov 24 2019

15mins

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14.46: Unusual Resources

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard Among science fiction and fantasy plot devices, the “uncommon resource” trope is common enough to almost seem cliché. Fortunately (?), the economic principle of scarcity is ubiquitous enough in real life that most of us don’t even blink when presented with the idea in fiction. So how … Continue reading 14.46: Unusual Resources →

Nov 17 2019

19mins

Play

14.45: Economics

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab Economists tend to see everything as economics, which is kind of how proponents of ANY discipline see their discipline, but it’s not a bad way to look at worldbuilding through the lens of economics. In this episode we talk about how this works for us, and how it … Continue reading 14.45: Economics →

Nov 10 2019

18mins

Play

14.44: Realism vs. Rule-of-Cool

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Where do you draw the line between what seems plausible, and what would be cool? If you pick “plausible,” how do you stay cool? If you pick “cool,” how do you avoid knocking the readers out of the story? And finally, how might we structure things so … Continue reading 14.44: Realism vs. Rule-of-Cool →

Nov 03 2019

20mins

Play

14.43: Sequencing Your Career Genome

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Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon Let’s talk about career planning. It’s a lot more than just launching a career by selling a book, and in this episode we talk about the kinds of things we want to be thinking about and preparing for beyond simply selling our next book or project. Credits: … Continue reading 14.43: Sequencing Your Career Genome →

Oct 27 2019

19mins

Play

14.42: Alternate History

Podcast cover
Read more
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard Alternate histories (and historical fantasies) are a staple of genre fiction. In this episode we talk about the worldbuilding process, the tools we use, and the pitfalls we try to avoid when constructing these kinds of stories. Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered … Continue reading 14.42: Alternate History →

Oct 20 2019

20mins

Play

14.41: History

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab Let’s make history! In this episode we talk about doing exactly that—creating real-feeling histories for secondary world settings. We discuss the resources we turn to, the pitfalls we try to avoid, and the places where we think the history has been done really well. Credits: This episode was … Continue reading 14.41: History →

Oct 13 2019

17mins

Play

14.40: Deep vs. Wide

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard How do you decide between digging one really deep, narrow well, and digging one really wide, shallow ocean? In this episode we talk about our desires to build worlds which appear both vanishingly wide and unplumbably deep, when we have time to do neither. Credits: This episode … Continue reading 14.40: Deep vs. Wide →

Oct 06 2019

19mins

Play

14.39: Positioning Your Book in the Marketplace

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Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon “Positioning feels like the most important question in all of publishing.” — Dongwon Song In this episode we talk about how to ask and answer the question of positioning, which is “who is this book for?” Credits: This episode was recorded before a live audience aboard Liberty of … Continue reading 14.39: Positioning Your Book in the Marketplace →

Sep 29 2019

18mins

Play

14.38: Volunteer Opportunities for Writers, with Jared Quan

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Jared Quan Jared Quan serves as a volunteer on several non-profit boards, and joined us to talk about the opportunities that exist for writers. Administration, leadership, writing and editing, and teaching are just a few of the many kinds of roles available for volunteers. … Continue reading 14.38: Volunteer Opportunities for Writers, with Jared Quan →

Sep 22 2019

20mins

Play

14.37: Outlandish Impossibilities

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Some science fiction and fantasy stories arise from a premise which, under even just rudimentary examination, appear utterly ridiculous. And some of these stories are hugely successful. In this episode we talk about how we manage our worldbuilding when the goal is less about building a world which … Continue reading 14.37: Outlandish Impossibilities →

Sep 15 2019

22mins

Play

14.36: Languages and Naming

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab How do we come up with names? How do we do it in ways that enhance our worldbuilding? What are the elements that give our invented naming schemes (even the zany ones with lots of syllables and apostrophes) verisimilitude? In this episode we talk about some of the … Continue reading 14.36: Languages and Naming →

Sep 08 2019

19mins

Play

14.35: What You Leave Out

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard The advice commonly given to writers is to worldbuild an iceberg, but only to show the reader the tip. This is still too much work. Icebergs are big. In this episode we talk about worldbuilding the tip of the iceberg, and then worldbuilding as little as possible … Continue reading 14.35: What You Leave Out →

Sep 01 2019

18mins

Play

14.34: Author Branding

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Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon Authors have brands whether they want to have them or not. It’s a simple principle of marketing, and the better we understand that principle, the better able we are to control how it affects our careers. In this episode we talk marketing, and freely use terms like “relationship … Continue reading 14.34: Author Branding →

Aug 25 2019

23mins

Play

14.33: Writing Imperfect Worlds

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard How do you write a setting in which the status quo is one with which you deeply disagree? How do you create a conflict of this sort without being overtly pedantic or preachy? In this episode we talk about creating engaging worlds while worldbuilding around—and yes, over—landmines. … Continue reading 14.33: Writing Imperfect Worlds →

Aug 18 2019

20mins

Play

Worldbuilding Gender Roles

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard Let’s talk about worldbuilding with gender roles. Most of us have grown up with a very strongly defined binary, that distinction need not be how we craft the worlds in which we set our stories. In this episode we discuss the resources we have to help us, … Continue reading Worldbuilding Gender Roles →

Aug 11 2019

33mins

Play

14.31: Cultural Setting as Conflict

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab In this episode we talk about how to put characters in conflict with their setting, and how to structure our work so that these conflicts arise organically rather than feeling mandated by plot. Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and master by Alex Jackson

Aug 06 2019

19mins

Play

14.30: Eating Your Way to Better Worldbuilding

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Your Hosts: Piper, Dongwon, Amal, and Maurice We like food, and we like to talk about food. Our hosts this week talk about how this influences their fiction, (not to mention how incredibly complex [and interesting, and delicious] the subject is.) Credits: this episode was recorded by Howard Tayler, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Jul 28 2019

25mins

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14.29: Field Research

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard So, you’re going to go someplace and learn something you can’t learn in any other way. Maybe it’s location research for setting. Maybe you’re off to interview an expert. Whatever you’re planning, you need to be planning it well. In this episode we discuss the field research … Continue reading 14.29: Field Research →

Jul 21 2019

19mins

Play