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Writing Excuses

Author: Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler

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Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler discuss writing techniques in a fast-paced format. A weekly podcast about the craft and business of writing.
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It's time to talk about alpha readers, and we start with a caveat from Howard: "I don't want to read your book." Let's face it, we here at Writing Excuses might be great alpha readers, but we're not YOUR alpha readers. We can't be your back-door to fame and fortune as a genre fiction writer. The good news? There are good alpha readers out there waiting for you. You just need to know how to find them. We talk about conventions a bit, those places that are full of genre-fiction lovers who might be able to help. We talk about Brandon's writing group (his alpha readers) and how his agent and editor are actually beta readers. This contrast illustrates the sort of things you should be looking for in an alpha reader. We talk about Howard's alpha reader (Sandra) and how she has to look at a script with no pictures, no blocking, and no dialog tags and figure out whether or not it's going to work. This illustrates how she's a genius and Howard's just a hack. Brandon and Dan also cover what they do not want in alpha readers -- poor delivery of criticism and proof-reading topping the list. And then we finally get around to some tricks for building a solid stable of alpha readers. It's not something you're going to pull off overnight. Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Dragon Factory: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 2 by Jonathan Mayberry, narrated by Ray Porter. Writing Prompt: Any time you've caught cold you're actually being possessed. Gesundheit. Loud Howard: brought to you by a too-close microphone. Jordo did his best to fix this in post, but we don't record on multiple channels so there's only so much that can be done on our budget. This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible. Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*. *Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please! Audible® Free Trial Details Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation. Our Sponsors: * Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-content Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw, Dan Wells, James L. Sutter, and Howard Tayler Worldbuilding is one of our favorite topics, and it's a domain in which game design and novel writing share a lot of territory. In this episode we talk about how much we love it, and how much we enjoy letting other people love it enough to do the heavy lifting for us. Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson Our Sponsors: * Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-content Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
We've spent the last month talking about "A Memory Called Empire, and now, we are so excited to welcome the author, Arkady Martine, to the show! On today's episode, we talk with Arkady about the origins of her novel, and dive into how she navigated the dense and intricate world-building. Arkady gives us advice on what not to do, where to look for your first ideas, and what her writing process looks like. Thing of the Week: “The Shamshine Blind” By Paz PardoHomework:Using the character and the story you are currently working on, look at the nearest building you can see out your window, and describe it from their point of view. What does that say about the world that you are in and the world that they are in? Close Reading Series: Texts & TimelineNext up is Character! Starting July 7, we’ll be diving into three short stories by C.L. Clark. These are all available for free through Uncanny Magazine. Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (starting July 7) And a sneak peak on the rest of the year… Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (starting September 1) Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (starting October 13) Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were DongWon Song and Erin Roberts. Our guest was Arkady Martine. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
The imago technology lies at the heart of this novel thematically and narratively. How does this technology create a world, delineate Mahit's culture from Teixcalaan, and ask enormous questions about identity and empire?Thing of the Week: “Rotten” (Documentary Series available on Netflix)Homework: Come up with three technological or magical approaches that would raise questions about what it means to be you, to be an individual. Take one of these, and then write a scene wherein two characters argue about it. For those of you just joining us, here's what our close reading series has covered, and what lays ahead! Close Reading Series: Texts & TimelineVoice: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar (March 17) Worldbuilding: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (May 12) Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (July 7) Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (September 1) Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (October 13) Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
What cultural and worldbuilding information is embedded within the smallest of word choices? Today, we dive into three specific sections from throughout Martine’s “A Memory Called Empire”:  the word for empire, assimilation and naming, and learning the word for bomb. We unpack how Martine uses language to establish important principles of how the world works. Thing of the Week: The Gilded Age - Created and Written by Julian Fellowes  Julian Fellows (on HBO Max) Homework:Write a scene that describes a fictional piece of literature— whether that's a poem, a song, or a story— that means something to the people in the story you’re telling. Here’s a link to buy your copy of “A Memory Called Empire” if you haven’t already:https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
How do you use language and scale to focus your writing? Today, we think about scale and movement across vast spaces. What do characters’ movements tell us about empires and also—force? We talk about Martine’s incredible work establishing an empire across time, not (just) space. We read aloud some of Martine’s writing, and try to understand exactly how they work, and what they’re doing to build the novel’s world. A refresher on why Worldbuilding is essential and some working definitions of how we want to talk about it. After the break, we discuss why we chose this book and highlight what it does well. As always in our close reading series, we distill each text’s elements into approachable steps for you to take in your own writing. Thing of the Week: Softboiled eggs in an instant pot: 1.5 cups of fridge-cold water. Add 2-6 eggs onto the little trey. Pressure cook for low on one minute, and then release the pressure after 90 seconds. Remove the eggs (use tongs!), and put them in a bowl of fridge-cold water for one minute. Now, try them! If thye’re too runny, then for your next bath, increase your wait time for pressure release by 5 seconds. If they’re too firm, reduce the wait time by five seconds. That one variable: how long you wait before releasing pressure, is the only one you need to worry about. (Does this resonate with our study of worldbuilding? Maybe? DM us on Instagram and tell us what the metaphor or analogy is for you! @writing_excuses ) Homework:Take one of your works in progress, and write three paragraphs, each describing a different kind of scale: 1. A scale of time2. A scale of place/ space3. Emotional scale (fear, joy, ambition, sadness)Here’s a link to buy your copy of “A Memory Called Empire” if you haven’t already:https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Sometimes we know the action and themes of your story, but you don’t know how to build an economy that supports those. Well today, we explain just how to do that! What are some questions you can ask yourself about the worth of certain goods and services in the world you’re building? What would a post-scarcity world look like and ask of your characters and how would it shape their wants? We loved recording this episode, it brought up so many interesting questions for us, and we hope it does the same for you! Thing of the Week: Bury Your Gays by Chuck TingleHomework: Come up with three catch phrases that someone who grew up in your economy would know. For example the difference between “There ain't no such thing as a free lunch” vs. “See it, fix it.”A Reminder! That starting next week (May 12th!), we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Robinette Kowal, and DongWon Song. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
How do you find the right size for your story? And speaking of size, what do novellas do differently than both short stories and novels? What even is the difference between a novel and a novella? How many characters do they usually have? How many subplots? How do you know if your story should take the form of a novella or a novel? We dive into all these questions (and…you guessed it… more!) in our conversation. A note on the structure of Season 19: in between our close reading series (six episodes where we dive into an element of craft through a close reading of a specific text), we’ll be doing two wild card episodes! These episodes are random topics that our hosts have been wanting to tell you about, we just didn’t know where they fit. So we MADE a place for them to fit! Thing of the Week: Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall (a collaborative, storytelling-based RPG)Homework:Take a short story that you either love or have written and write a list of things that could be added to expand it to novella length. Now do the same for a novel, but make it a list of things that might need to be cut.A Reminder! That starting May 12th, we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Robinette Kowal, and DongWon Song. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Today we get to talk to the inimitable Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. Amal and Max are on the podcast to tell us about how they wrote a book together (hint: they didn’t write it together in the form of one voice.) They talk to us about the practice of writing letters, collaboration, and the revelation of friendship. They talk about the complexity, harmony, and cadence of two-author projects. We also talk about that voice in your head that criticizes your writing, and how to work with it and harness your authentic desire to tell a certain story.  Thing of the Week: From Amal- Hollow Night From Max- Talking Man by Terry Bisson Homework:From Max and Amal: Take a passage of something you’ve written and rewrite it in three different ways: as if it were being sung, as if it were being shouted, and as if it were being whispered. A Reminder! That starting May 12th, we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Robinette Kowal, and DongWon Song. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
As we conclude our first deep dive of our close reading series, we want to explore how the evolution of voice helped carry readers throughout "This Is How You Lose The Time War." We also talk about the relationship between character arcs and language, learning and voice. Stay tuned for next week’s episode, where we interview Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar on what it was like to write “Time War” together! Thing of the Week: Princess WeekesHomework:Write a short outline of your work noting where the voice changes and evolves to reflect the character growth and change rather than focusing on the plot beatsA ReminderThat starting May 12th, we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterThreadsOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
What's epistolary writing? Well, it's writing through letters. But it's also a lot more than that. As we continue to dive into the concept of Voice, we want to explore the importance and power of the letters that Blue and Red write to each other throughout "This Is How You Lose The Time War." If you haven't already listened to our episodes introducing this novella, we recommend you go back and start with Episode 11 (of this season, Season 19)!And if you’ve been reading along with us while listening to these episodes, please let us know on Instagram. Tag us in a post or comment @writing_excuses ! Thing of the Week: “clipping.” by Story 2 Homework: Write a short note from one of your characters to another about something that’s important to them. Now rewrite it as a text message (change the format). Then rewrite it as a letter that will be screened before it gets to them by an outsider (change the context). And finally, write it as the final message they will get to send during their life (change the stakes).You can buy this (and all the other books!) through our bookshop link-- this is linked in our bio in addition to right here:https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Close Reading Series: Texts & TimelineVoice: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar (March 17) Worldbuilding: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (May 12) Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (July 7) Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (September 1) Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (October 13) Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
The book that became a New York Times Bestseller because of a tweet. Well, it won LOTS of awards when it came out, but it was rediscovered by a Twitter account with a large following. So-- let's get into it!On our first episode diving into Voice using the short novel "This Is How You Lose The Time War", we talk about why Voice is essential and some working definitions of how we want to talk about it. We also explain why we chose this book and highlight some of the things it's done well, and what you can learn from it!Thing of the Week: Scavengers ReignHomework: Take a sentence from a work you love that has a strong and clear voice. Write a scene based on that as a prompt, in the same tone and voice as the original. Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
You’ve probably seen us posting about our Close Reading Series, and in his episode, we finally officially introduce it! For most of the remainder of 2024, we’ll be diving into five core elements of writing by focusing on five different literary texts. We’ll spend five episodes on each one, and then we’re going to… drumroll please… interview the author(s)!As you know, we’ve spent lots of time reading, writing, talking, and recording our thoughts about different elements of the craft. But this year, we wanted to ground our episodes in specific texts that you could read along– and analyze– with us!Below is the schedule for each book or short story we’ll be diving into. The date on the right in parenthesis is the air date of the first episode in our series that will begin talking about that text. We highly recommend you read the book by that date, as we will be talking about the entirety of the text for all 5 episodes (including spoilers!) First up: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-MohtarYou can buy this (and all the other books!) through our bookshop link-- this is linked in our bio in addition to right here:https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19Close Reading Series: Texts & TimelineVoice: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar (March 17) Worldbuilding: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (May 12) Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (July 7) Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (September 1) Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (October 13) Thing of the Week: SHINOBIGAMI: Modern Ninja Battle RPGHomework: Take a scene from a work that you love and five highlighters/crayons/colored pencils - use one color to underline/highlight places where the voice comes through, one for great worldbuilding, one for character moments, one for any moments of tension, and one for moments that move the plot forward. What colors do you end up with? Where do they overlap? What are the colors of the moments you love the most? What would the colors of one of your scenes be?Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Hosts Erin and DongWon are joined by Fonda Lee and Mahtab Narsimhan for a special episode about creating traditions in your fictional writing. In this episode, we'll explore some of the following: -How do you build traditions and rituals in your fictional world (choosing what becomes a tradition or ritual and what doesn’t)? -How can you use rituals or traditions to advance a novel’s plot, give characters more depth, and create conflict? -What are the pitfalls to avoid (depiction of closed practices, over-ritualizing common traditions)?Homework: Pick a ritual or tradition that you are very accustomed to and make it the center of a fictional scene. You can change its meaning or impact, but the content of the tradition should stay the same.Thing of the Week: Shanghai Immortal by AY Chao (especially the audiobook version)Liner Notes: This podcast episode idea was inspired by ReaderCon 2023, where Erin Roberts was a panelist.Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Fonda Lee and Mahtab Narsimhan. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
An agent, an editor, and a writer walk into a Zoom room and record a podcast... but really... that's (part of) what this episode is!First off, a reminder that your agent, your editor, and you are all on the same team! They are all trying to make the same book (your book!) a better book. Whether you've published before or are just starting your first short story, we are so excited for you to dive into this episode. For our final episode in our three-part series on revising your NaNoWriMo manuscript—or any other large writing project—we are diving into how to work with an editor! We wanted to show you a peek behind the curtain that is publishing and editing-- what does this relationship look like? How do you handle differences, conflicts, and priorities? What IS an edit letter? Our guest for this series has been the inimitable editor Ali Fisher, who works at Tor. Thank you, Ali, for your advice, stories, and time! Homework: Take a work written by someone else (anyone else!) and come up with three questions you have for the author that would help them clarify their intention in the text. This could be a movie you've seen, a project you're beta-reading for a friend, or a short story you've stumbled upon. Then, apply these questions to your own work in progress! Thing of the Week from Ali: Ali has two podcast recommendations for you! Rude Tales of MagicOh These, Those Stars of Space! Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Ali Fisher. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
For our second episode in this three-part series on revising your NaNoWriMo novel—or any other larger project you have—we are diving into intentions with Tor editor Ali Fisher. We asked her how she helps writers figure out what their books are about, and how she helps set intentions for revisions. Ali talks with us about how its important to be kind to yourself -- and your writing-- during the revision process. She also gives us advice for how you, as a writer, can lean into what you do well. Homework: From editor Ali Fisher: write down what you like best about your book. Find a spot in your book where you can incorporate that element where it isn't now. Thing of the Week: I Will Not Die Alone by Dera White, illustrated by Joe BennettA Bathroom Book for People Not Pooping or Peeing but Using the Bathroom as an Escape by Joe Pera; illustrated by Joe BennettCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, and Ali Fisher. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterSign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Ali Fisher, editor at Tor Books and member of the podcast Rude Tales of Magic, joins us for a three-part series on editing. First up: length! How do you edit your work—whether it's a book or a short story or a novella? Maybe you wrote a draft during NaNoWriMo, maybe you didn't-- either way, we want to help you figure out how to make your writing the perfect length. Homework: Find two scenes next to each other from your writing. Remove the scene break and write bridging text between the two of them instead. Then, find a different scene that has that bridging text, and cut it into two different scenes so that you are removing it and creating new signposts. See what this does to length and your perception of the pacing. Thing of the Week (from Ali Fisher): Infinity Alchemist by Kacen CallenderSign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, and guest Ali Fisher. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Some writers love revisions and some would rather scrub the toilet than revise their writing. On this episode, we are joined by author Mahtab Narsimhan, who many will recognize as a host from past seasons! Mahtab talks with our hosts about how she thinks about revisions. How do you revise your writing? What is the difference between revising and rewriting? Mahtab describes her favorite techniques and provides tips to make it more manageable. Homework Assignment from Mahtab Narsimhan:Take the first 3 chapters of your finished draft and distill it by 1) Chapter 2) Scenes 3) Key plot points per scene 4) POV 5) Setting 6) Time of day/timeline 7) How many pages per scene and/or chapter. Thing of the Week: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica TownsendLiner Notes: The Revision Template that Mahtab mentions is a free resource on our Patreon! You can find it at www.patreon.com/writingexcuses Sign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Pacing is one of the most subjective and difficult aspects of storytelling to get right. What is pacing? How do you know what the right pace is for a story, and what techniques can you use to speed up or slow down your narrative?Homework Assignment from Fonda Lee: Take a page of a work-in-progress project and experiment with the pacing. Ideally, this should be a page with some dialogue or tension between characters. First, try to speed it up: cut description, be tight with dialogue, move the scene quickly. Then do the opposite: rewrite the scene but this time slow it down. Include more context, character interiority, exposition, and scene building. Compare the two versions. Which serves your story better?Thing of the Week: The Book of WitchesSign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
A few months ago, we were on a cruise ship in Alaska recording podcast episodes for 2024!This live recording features a Q&A with cruise attendees, who were given the opportunity to ask questions to Marshall Carr, our audio engineer, and Emma Reynolds, our producer. In this episode, we talked about the benefits of MFA programs, astrology, and how to continue learning without being overwhelmed. Homework from Emma Reynolds: What homework would you give yourself as a writer today? What homework would you have given yourself a year ago? Let us know your answers on instagram, tag us @Writing_Excuses and we'll repost you!Thing of the Week from Marshall Carr: A Necessary Chaos by Brent LambertSign up for our newsletter: https://writingexcuses.comCredits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.Join Our Writing Community! PatreonInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterOur Sponsors:* Check out rosettastone.com/today to get 50% off Rosetta Stone's lifetime membership! Use our code TODAY for a limited time. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/writing-excuses2130/exclusive-contentAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsPrivacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
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Comments (73)

Amber Laila

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Feb 4th
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Scott wachter

so many shark movies this episode.

Jul 9th
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Cole Hard Kash

With Brandon gone I imagine some the "core" audience will also be going. It's been terrible with his absence and the direction this show has gone is abysmal at best. The only decent host is Dan wells and unfortunately he is not as prominent as he should be. This show has turned from tips for writing, to some jaw wagging useless yammering on things that have nothing to do with the art of writing. If you even come away with a bullet list of coherent topics, well I guess you must be their small but desired audience.

Jan 25th
Reply (2)

Cheriet

This newer panel is now just feeding its self-gratification and fetishes. It's become more ideology than craft. Not nearly as helpful as the earlier seasons.

Oct 1st
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Natalie Guest

Late to the game but great episode, thanks so much for doing this. Really thoughtful and interesting

May 23rd
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Andi-Roo Libecap

I'm surprised they didn't mention House of Leaves which which is renowned for being the ultimate novel of footnotes within footnotes.

May 16th
Reply

Gustavo Woltmann

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Apr 20th
Reply

Mark S

I'm excited to have found this Podcast! I'm a big fan of MRK, so that's an added unexpected bonus! I think I write really well once I have an idea or subject. Finding the ideas is the hard part for me. If I force it and don't let them come to me in their own, it flops every time. I can't think too hard or brainstorm over it. To me, ideas are like skittish little creatures that are more apt to fly away the more I try to catch them. But once I do have a hold on them, I can tame them and groom them into attractive and interesting pets that many can enjoy. Anyhow, unless I figure out another way, spontaneous ideas rule my writing. I'd probably never be able to write with a deadline looming! Thanks for the fun and interesting insights! I look forward to going back thru your previous seasons! My choice of the week: The Reincarnation Papers by Dr. Eric Maikranz. Bloody friggin' awesome fiction! And currently included on Audible, although I had spent a credit in it before that. Current read: T

Oct 21st
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Christopher George Pomerleau

Mary Robinette. unable to mention a conservative without highlighting that she does infact disagree with their nasty conservative views.

Sep 21st
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Talli Peled

Beautiful episode. Poetic and to the point. I loved it!

Apr 26th
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Clanman Zahn

why has the podcasts stopped posting? march 2021

Mar 17th
Reply (1)

Ellana Turrell

I loved this!! I would have gladly listened to hundreds more stories about translating.

Jan 3rd
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Omid Gh

Patrick, could you please finishing the last book ?

Dec 7th
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Mason Strong

Glad Rothfuss was allowed to talk more this time around. Nice episode, sad Brandon wasn't there

Dec 7th
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Michael Metz

For those who don't know, that comment is not Christianity.

Oct 24th
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Michael Metz

Goat eyes and devil stuff..."this is Christianity." Please vet your guest better. I've listened to the podcast for years now and have appreciated the knowledge I've gained. Topic like this are hard but need to be done without the opinion view dropped in. I wish you well.

Oct 24th
Reply

Sabra Kay

I stopped listening after the whole "sexist analogy" thing started. I understood exactly what he meant about meaningful vs shiny, as a woman I have also had both types of relationships. I just feel like it's getting to the point where free flowing conversation isn't possible any more.

Sep 9th
Reply

Polly

another stupid SJW episode. Useless!

Jun 13th
Reply (1)

Polly

wow, can there be more boring episode?

Jun 13th
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Polly

another complete useless episode

Jun 10th
Reply (2)