15.32: Short Story Markets

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, and Lari, with special guest Erin Roberts

Erin Roberts joins us for a discussion of short story markets—a topic which is very susceptible to “churn” because of the way short story markets come and go. We cover how to research and evaluate the various markets based on what you need from publication, and what you might reasonably expect from them.

Credits: This episode was recorded remotely during the Great Isolation, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Pick a couple of contemporary short fiction writers. Track their publication history, and get a feel for how their writing career has developed.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2019, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

15.31: The Agent in the Room

Your Hosts: Dan, Dongwon, Piper, and Howard

You had questions for agents, Dongwon has answers!

  • How do you go about becoming an agent?
  • How do an agent and author work together?
  • At what point do agent and author talk about the “sticky stuff?”

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Make a list of the questions, especially the hard ones, you want to ask prospective agents.

15.30: Write What You Want To Know, with Laurell K. Hamilton

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Laurell K. Hamilton

We’ve all heard the “write what you know” rule. Laurell K. Hamilton joined us to talk about how she got started by writing what she wanted to know. In this episode we discuss our various paths to learning the things that fascinate us, and which we want to be able to write about.

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


I was walking home from work one day…

Noir Fatale, edited by Larry Correia and Kacey Ezell, with stories by Laurel K. Hamilton, David Weber, Griffin Barber, Steve Diamond, and more

15.29: Barbie Pre-Writing, with Janci Patterson and Megan Walker

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, and Howard, with special guests Janci Patterson and Megan Walker

Janci Patterson and Megan Walker joined us to talk about their pre-writing process, which involves role-playing in a room full of dioramas with Barbie dolls.

As pre-writing processes go, this one was completely new to us, and we very quickly decided that we love it.

Credits: this episode was recorded live at NASFIC by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson



Role-play, with toys, a scene from something you’ve written.

The Extra, by Janci Patterson, and Megan Walker
Godfire, by Cara Witter

15.28: Small Evils

Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

Small evils? Yes, please! This episode isn’t about writing the big villainy of world domination, but about focusing on the more relatable villainy of small evils—the little crimes, the minor antagonisms—which can be the key to connecting the reader to the book.

Liner Notes: The deadly nightshade incident Howard described is something he mentioned on Twitter as well. If you need a concrete example of a small evil and/or an external cost, there it is!

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


Base a villain on yourself

The Kingdom of Liars, by Nick Martel

15.27: Alternate History, with Eric Flint

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Eric Flint

Eric Flint joined us at SpikeCon (host of the 2019 NASFIC) to talk about creating  alternate histories. His Ring of Fire book series is enormous in scope, and has many, many more people working on it than just Eric Flint. We get a bit of a peek behind the scenes, and a lot of great information about writing alternate histories of our own.

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


Plan your day so you know which bit to write first. Sit down and write something first.

15.26: Taking the Chance, with David Weber

Your Hosts: Brandon, Howard, and Dan with special guest David Weber

David Weber joined us at NASFIC to talk about the importance of risking failure on any path (especially a writer’s path) to success–whether you’re risking rejection in the submission process, or the possibility that the book you write won’t be the amazing thing you’ve been imagining.

If you’re currently feeling the need to be out of excuses, this episode might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Credits: This episode was recorded live at NASFIC by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Go home and roll up a character.

The Gordian Protocol, by David Weber and Jacob Holo

The Writing Excuses Retreat Goes Virtual!

For a number of reasons (most prominently “we don’t want to run you through two airports and then lock you on a cruise ship in the middle of a global pandemic”), we have canceled our cruise and are taking it online! This is really good news for a lot of you, because it is way easier to get to and waaaay cheaper. The details are as follows:

WXR goes virtual (aka WXR – NOT on a boat!)

Though we can’t promise round-the-clock snacks, fruity beverages, and frozen yogurt on the pool deck, we ARE going to bring you all the rest of the stuff you love best about WXR in virtual form: writing dates, Q&As, and LOTS of learning. 
To do this, we’re partnering up with the Surrey International Writers’ Conference for SiWC at Home, which runs October 23-25, with master classes on the 21st and 22nd and extra WXR pre-conference events in the days leading up to the conference. Many of you are already familiar with SiWC, and know that it’s Mary Robinette’s favorite conference (including ones she organizes). And if you’ve been to WXR before, you know Kathy Chung, the SiWC conference coordinator. Everything going virtual this year gave us an awesome opportunity to join forces. 
Here’s what that means to you: WXR will offer pre-conference Writing Excuses social events, writing dates and Q&As before SiWC. At SiWC, some WXR faculty will be offering master classes on the Wednesday and Thursday. Then Friday to Sunday, it’s full-on conference time: multiple workshops a day, social opportunities, keynotes, and social events, including with WXR faculty. 
How do you attend? Register for SiWC. Your registration includes the full Friday-Sunday conference plus all the WXR social stuff, writing dates and more, and you can add on master classes when you register. SiWC registration opens this coming Wednesday, June 24, at noon Pacific time. In a typical year, SiWC sells out in hours, so don’t leave it too long to register. www.siwc.ca/registration
We’ll have more info on the WXR events as we get them all in place, but most of the SiWC programming is up on their site – www.siwc.ca – with more to come as we get details in the coming days of the master classes and workshops WXR will be adding.
What will it cost? SiWC is offering a sliding scale for registration (except master classes) this year to help people whose finances have been affected by Covid to be able to attend. Note that SiWC is not-for-profit, so please pay what you comfortably can. Full-priced registration for the conference, which includes 40+ workshops (10 you can attend in real time, and some that will be recorded and available to attendees for a couple of weeks following the conference), keynotes, and all the WXR and SiWC social events, is $279CDN (currently about $205USD). Master classes are $79CDN for conference attendees (about $58USD) except for one super-sized, 6-hour class with Mary Robinette that’s $119CDN (about $88USD).