Registration is open for the next Writing Excuses workshop

The Writing Excuses Master class and retreat. It's a writing workshop... on horseback? with Mary Robinette Kowal and Dan Wells | Bear Lake, Utah May 8th-13th

Attention writers! Registration is now open for the Writing Excuses Horse Retreat at Bear Lake aka “Riding Excuses.”This four-day workshop, led by bestselling authors Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal, is designed to help you improve your writing skills and take your craft to the next level.

In addition to participating in writing exercises and workshops with Dan and Mary Robinette, you’ll also have the opportunity to work with horses as a way to explore and enhance your creative process. The horse component of the retreat is facilitated by experienced professionals and is suitable for all levels of experience, including those with no prior horse experience.

Dan Wells is the author of the popular John Cleaver series and a Bram Stoker award-winning author. Mary Robinette Kowal is a Hugo and Nebula award-winning author and an audiobook narrator. Together, they bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the retreat. Both Dan and Mary Robinette are also two of the hosts of the Writing Excuses podcast, a fast-paced, informative, and entertaining look at the craft of writing.

Held at the beautiful Bear Lake, this retreat offers a chance to get away from distractions and focus on your writing in a supportive and inspiring environment. You’ll also have the opportunity to receive feedback on your work and network with other writers.

The retreat is open to writers of all levels, from beginners to experienced professionals. Don’t miss this chance to improve your skills, try something new, and make progress on your writing goals.

Register now

We look forward to seeing you at the Riding Excuses Horse Retreat!

18.04: An Interview With Dan Wells

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

In this episode Erin Roberts very enthusiastically launches our interview with “OG” Dan Wells with a delightfully difficult question, paraphrased thusly: “is there advice you gave back in the early days that you still stand by today?”

There are lots of other questions, including one about bacon!

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson


Take a scene from a piece you’re working on and strip out all narration and description. Then adjust the dialogue so that the scene still makes sense.

Moonbreaker, a game from Unknown Worlds, with audio scripts by Dan Wells

18.03: An Interview With Erin Roberts

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

As we announced in the first episode of the year (and in this press release),  DongWon Song and Erin Roberts are joining us as permanent cast members. Today we’re conducting an interview with Erin Roberts. She is newer to career writing than any of the rest of us, but her contributions to Writing Excuses have already been invaluable.  In this episode we’ll learn a bit more about why, and about what Erin will bring to the program going forward.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson


Think about what has brought you to where you are right now. Write down three things that you carry with you, and that you bring to the pages you create.

18.02: An Interview with DongWon Song

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

As we announced in last week’s episode (and in this press release),  DongWon Song and Erin Roberts are joining us as permanent cast members. In this episode we conduct an interview with DongWon Song, plumbing a few depths, and learning a bit more about what they can teach all of us.

Liner Notes: DongWon Song’s newsletter, Publishing is Hard, can be found at It’s free, but paid subscriptions are available.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson


Make a list of 5 literary agents.

The Daughters of Izdihar, by Hadeer Elsbai

Writing Excuses – Job Description – Freelance Podcast Producer

Hello, long-time listeners. We’re ready to level up the podcast and to that end, we are looking for a producer.

Who We Are:
Writing Excuses is a fast-paced, educational podcast for writers, by writers. It airs weekly. Episodes vary in length from fifteen to twenty-five minutes but are usually less than twenty minutes long.

The goal of the show is to help listeners become better writers. Whether they write for fun or for profit, whether they’re new to the domain or old hands, Writing Excuses has something to offer.

Your Role:
We’re looking for a creative producer who has an interest in teaching the craft of writing AND has the chops to produce a great podcast. You should be well-organized and detail-oriented. You should be able to thrive working independently.

Location: Remote

Position Responsibility:

  • Manage host and staff schedules for tapings, and team meetings
  • Coordinate tapings through the production process
  • Ensure content shelf stays relevant and timely.
  • Delivering final cuts to network partner
  • Coordinating and working with additional staff, including those at our retreat branch and in charge of communications
  • Effectively managing and delegating tasks to a team.

Required Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:

  • Experience working on a show or podcast
  • Ability to prioritize among competing tasks.
  • High editorial and audio standards.
  • Production experience in digital audio or radio.
  • Resourcefulness and ability to problem-solve.
  • Independence, positive attitude, initiative, and excellent judgment.
  • Strong organizational and communication skills.

$40-$60 per hour with a six-week trial

Time commitment: Part-time and variable. We batch episodes so there will be busy times and lulls. We can work together to adjust the schedule.

Women of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ are especially encouraged to apply.

Apply by Friday, January 20, midnight PDT. Email: Subject line: WX producer application: [your name]

Writing Excuses Announces New Host Lineup for Season 18

For Immediate Release


Writing Excuses Announces New Host Lineup for Season 18


Writing Excuses, the award-winning weekly podcast for writers, by writers, is excited to announce a new lineup of hosts as it begins its 18th season.

Beginning January 1, 2023, DongWon Song and Erin Roberts will join Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Tayler  as co-hosts, with founding member Brandon Sanderson taking on “emeritus” status.

“I’m excited to welcome DongWon and Erin to the Writing Excuses team,” said founding host Dan Wells. “Their unique perspectives and experiences in the writing industry will bring fresh insights and energy to the show.”

“DongWon and Erin have been fantastic guests on the show in the past,” said host Mary Robinette Kowal. “I’m delighted that they are both joining us as permanent members of the Writing Excuses team and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table as co-hosts.”

Song is an agent at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency representing science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adult, and middle grade readers as well as select non-fiction. They were formerly an editor at Orbit and have taught at institutions including Portland State University and New York University. Song is Korean-American, trans, and nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. They run a newsletter about their experiences in the industry called Publishing is Hard.

“I’m delighted to join Writing Excuses on a permanent basis. I have loved working with the team over the years and I am thrilled for this opportunity to help illuminate the ins and outs of the publishing business to new and experienced writers alike.”

Roberts is a writer of speculative fiction across formats, with short fiction appearing in magazines including Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and The Dark. Her interactive fiction and game writing has appeared in Journeys Through The Radiant Citadel (D&D), Lost Omens: Travel Guide (Pathfinder), Zombies, Run!, and Strange Horizons, among others. She is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin. For the past several years, she has also run the Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat.

“I’m honored to be joining the Writing Excuses team,” said new host Erin Roberts. “I’ve been a fan of the show for years, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the conversations about the craft of writing and sharing my own experiences with listeners.”

Wells is a New York Times bestselling author known for his horror series I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER and THE ZERO CHRONICLES, a best-selling middle grade science fiction series. He has also written tie-in fiction, horror, and science fiction novels, and edited the anthology ALTERED PERCEPTIONS.

Kowal is the author of The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers, and the Lady Astronaut Universe. She is a Hugo award winner and has received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer and the Nebula and Locus awards. Kowal is also a professional puppeteer and voice actor, performing for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi.

Tayler is the writer and illustrator behind the Hugo-nominated science fiction comic strip Schlock Mercenary and co-host of Writing Excuses. He has written tie-in fiction, horror, and science fiction, and is the creator of the Planet Mercenary RPG.

In the season premiere, the new hosts discussed their careers and what they are excited to bring to the show this year. The season will use a series of “Deep Dives” into specific works to focus ont aspects of the craft the authors deployed, beginning with a dive into Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Spare Man and lessons on tension.

Fans of the show can look forward to more dynamic and informative conversations about the craft of writing, with a focus on practical tips and techniques that writers of all levels can use. As always, the podcasts remain “fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart,” and end with a tangible takeaway exercise that writers can immediately put into action in their own work and writing lives.

The new season of Writing Excuses debuted on January 1, 2023 and will be available on the Writing Excuses website and all major podcast platforms.


18.01: Twenty Twenty-Three, By Way of Introduction

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

We begin 2023 with some big changes, and in this episode we’ll discuss those, starting with some changes to the core cast. DongWon Song and Erin Roberts are joining us as permanent cast members, and Brandon Sanderson is stepping aside with “emeritus” status.

But the episode isn’t just announcements. We each talk about where we are career-wise, what we’re working on, and what we’re excited to bring to the podcast this year.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson



What do you want to re-invent with your writing this year?

The Lost Metal, by Brandon Sanderson

17.52: The WXR 2022 Q&A

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Mary Robinette, and Howard

This Q&A session was recorded before a live audience aboard ship at WXR 2022,

Here are some paraphrasings of the questions our attendees asked:

  • How do you make your world feel big without infodumping?
  • How do you balance a sense of progress with an unreliable narrator?
  • How can I make two magic systems work in the same setting when one is underpowered, and the protagonist uses the weaker one?
  • Have you ever based characters on yourself, or on people you know?
  • What does the process of book adaptation look like
  • Do you have any good convention recommendations?
  • What are some methods for determining how much scientific detail you go into?
  • How do you interact with an audience in order to grow it?

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Write out a few questions. What are the things you need the most help on?

Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson