14.7: How Weird is Too Weird?

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 tools at our disposal, possibly moving it.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson and mastered by Alex Jackson.

 

Play

Take your current work-in-progress, and determine what your “one buy” is. Narrow it down.

14.6: Fantasy and Science Fiction Races

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 Worms: It’s likely you’ll subconsciously code your creations after people who are “other” to you. This is both fraught and inescapable, but we don’t want to discourage you from trying. On May 26th we’ll go into detail telling you “yes, you can,” in a Writing The Other episode entitled “Yes You Can.”

Play

Take one major historical event, and set it in space with non-human races.

Dragon’s Blood, by Jane Yolen, narrated by Marc Thompson

14.5: Viewpoint as Worldbuilding

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? What do they say when they swear?

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson

 

 

 

Play

From within, from without: Take a character who is alien to the culture/setting you’re writing, and describe things from their point of view. Now describe those same things from the point of view of a character native to the culture/setting.

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi

14.03: Writing the Other—Bisexual Characters

Your Hosts: Dan, Tempest, Dongwon, and TJ

This is the first of our Writing The Other episodes, in which we set out to help writers portray people who are unlike them. In this episode we’re joined by T.J. Berry. She walks us through the language and terminology of bisexuality.

 

Play

Find and watch the 100th episode of Brooklyn 99, which portrays the coming-out of a bisexual character

Space Unicorn Blues, by T.J. Berry

2018 Awards Eligibility; or, The Cool Stuff We Did Last Year

It’s 2019! We didn’t want you to miss out on any of the amazing things we did last year, so we collected it all into one post.

Of course, we did Writing Excuses Season 13, our Year of Character,  which we are all quite proud of. That would be eligible for Best Related Work, if you were interested.

Mary Robinette Kowal 

Two Novels:

Six Short Stories:

Read more about what she was up to last year here!

Brandon Sanderson

YA Novel:

  • Skyward – Delacorte Press, November 2018

Novel:

Novella:

Graphic Novel:

Here is the State of the Sanderson!

Howard Tayler

Webcomic:

Check in on Howard here!

Dan Wells

YA Novel:

Middle Grade Novel:

  • Zero G – Audible.com, December 2018

Here is Dan’s website and Twitter for more of what he’s been up to!

We also want to highlight our fantastic guests:

Maurice Broaddus

Novelette:

Short Stories

Find out more about Maurice here!

Aliette de Bodard

Novel:

Novella:

Aliette has more here about what’s on her ballot this year.

Amal El-Mohtar

Short Fiction:

Fan Writer:

Best place to keep up with Amal is her Drip.

Valynne E. Maetani

You can catch up with Valynne here!

 

14.03: World of Hats

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

Margaret Dunlap joins us during season 14 to talk about worldbuilding. In this, her first episode with us, we talk about worlds in which a monolithic culture (like, say, ‘everyone wears hats’) is represented. We cover how to use the trope to your advantage, and how to avoid the trope if it’s going to cause problems.

Play

Write some monoculture-defying fanfic, in which you add outliers to your favorite world of hats. Like, say, a Klingon belly-dancer, or the microclimate on Hoth where you can grow peaches.

An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir