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Writing Excuses

Updated 1 day ago

Arts
Education
Books
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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

735 Ratings
Average Ratings
613
82
14
13
13

Used To Be Great

By Shdwmav - Aug 26 2019
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Seriously, the first seven or eight, maybe ten seasons of Writing Excuses are fantastic. Great guests, great discussions about technical topics, and a clinic of how to improve as a writer. Then something started to go off the rails. Some of the episodes are still worth while, but too many of them now wander off into political discussions or social issues. The guest list has become increasingly stale as well, with all the authors sharing the same blandly liberal views on most things.

Hwhat a great show!

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

iTunes Ratings

735 Ratings
Average Ratings
613
82
14
13
13

Used To Be Great

By Shdwmav - Aug 26 2019
Read more
Seriously, the first seven or eight, maybe ten seasons of Writing Excuses are fantastic. Great guests, great discussions about technical topics, and a clinic of how to improve as a writer. Then something started to go off the rails. Some of the episodes are still worth while, but too many of them now wander off into political discussions or social issues. The guest list has become increasingly stale as well, with all the authors sharing the same blandly liberal views on most things.

Hwhat a great show!

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

Writing Excuses

Updated 1 day ago

Read more

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

Rank #1: 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
21 mins
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Rank #2: 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
20 mins
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Rank #3: 13.40: Fixing Character Problems, Part I

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard This is the first of two episodes in which we’ll talk about how we, your hosts, fix the problems we’ve identified with the characters in our work. Credits: this episode was recorded by Dan Thompson and mastered by Alex Jackson
Oct 07 2018
16 mins
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Rank #4: 13.36: Confronting the Default

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Amal, Mary, and Maurice If you live in the northern hemisphere, inland, perhaps above the 40th parallel, you are probably quite sure that there are four distinct seasons. There are, however, many, many people for whom “seasons” are things that happen to other people. This is the conflict between your default and … Continue reading 13.36: Confronting the Default →
Sep 09 2018
18 mins
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Rank #5: 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
18 mins
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Rank #6: 13.47: Q&A on Fixing Characters

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard You had questions about fixing character problems. We had had answers! Here are the questions: How do you fix character voices when you find out that two of them are too similar? How can you tell if a character is, in fact, the problem? How do you maintain … Continue reading 13.47: Q&A on Fixing Characters →
Nov 25 2018
18 mins
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Rank #7: 13.37: What Writers Get Wrong, with J.Y. Yang

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Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard with special guest J.Y. Yang J.Y. Yang is a Hugo-nominated short story writer from Singapore who identifies as non-binary. They joined us to talk about this non-binary identification, and how writers can do a better job of depicting it (beyond simply using non-gendered pronouns.) Credits: This episode was … Continue reading 13.37: What Writers Get Wrong, with J.Y. Yang →
Sep 16 2018
20 mins
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Rank #8: 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
17 mins
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Rank #9: 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
18 mins
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Rank #10: 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
33 mins
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Rank #11: 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
19 mins
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Rank #12: 13.43: Characters Who Are Smarter Than You Are

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Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Amal Many of us write characters who know more than we know, and/or who think faster than we do. Writing those characters is tricky. In this episode we talk about our own tricks, and the tricks we’ve seen others use. Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, … Continue reading 13.43: Characters Who Are Smarter Than You Are →
Oct 28 2018
25 mins
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Rank #13: 14.8: Worldbuilding Q&A #1

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Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and DongWon We invited attendees at WXR 2018 to ask us some general worldbuilding questions. Here’s what they asked: What cultural stuff do you need to know during the writing process? How do you treat overlaps between real-world religions and fictional religions when the fictional religions are part of the … Continue reading 14.8: Worldbuilding Q&A #1 →
Feb 24 2019
25 mins
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Rank #14: 14.19: Religion and Ritual

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab We often worldbuild religions and rituals for the stories we create. In this episode we discuss the decisions surrounding this, and our approaches for doing it well. Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson
May 12 2019
18 mins
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Rank #15: 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
21 mins
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Rank #16: 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
16 mins
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Rank #17: 14.6: Fantasy and Science Fiction Races

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab Let’s talk about race, sort-of. Let’s talk about creating races—species of people, really—which is a critically important activity in much of our worldbuilding. In this episode we discuss a few of the pitfalls, some of our own techniques, and a few of our favorite alien¹ races. ¹Can of … Continue reading 14.6: Fantasy and Science Fiction Races →
Feb 10 2019
16 mins
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Rank #18: 14.9: Showing Off

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Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Let’s infodump without infodumping. Let’s deliver lots of exposition without sounding expository. Let’s talk with the maid and the butler without having maid-and-butler dialog. Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Mar 03 2019
23 mins
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Rank #19: 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
20 mins
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