Writing Excuses

by howard.tayler@gmail.com (Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler) · · · · 39 subscribers

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

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 →

more...


Tags: arts, writing books, sci-fi, howard, dan, kowal, training, wells, brandon, sanderson, tayler, literature, education, writing, fantasy, mary

Older Episodes

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,
14 14.46: Unusual Resources Nov. 17, 2019
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 ...
14 14.45: Economics Nov. 10, 2019
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.
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 st...
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 ...
14 14.42: Alternate History Oct. 20, 2019
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,
14 14.41: History Oct. 13, 2019
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,
14 14.40: Deep vs. Wide Oct. 6, 2019
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 wid...
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,
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,
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.
14 14.36: Languages and Naming Sept. 8, 2019
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) v...
14 14.35: What You Leave Out Sept. 1, 2019
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 t...
14 14.34: Author Branding Aug. 25, 2019
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 care...
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?
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.
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.
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.
14 14.29: Field Research July 21, 2019
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.