Let’s talk about failure… but let’s talk about it so that we can avoid it. How do you know if your ending has flopped? What kind of approaches to ending a story should you be avoiding? How can you recognize these approaches in time to avoid them? The best approach? Identify the promises you’ve made to your readers, and then fulfil them with your ending. Okay, now you don’t have to listen.
Writing Prompt: Start your book with an ending where everyone dies.
This weeks Writing Excuses is brought to you by Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, Book 3 of the Mistborn series now in paperback.
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Last week we talked about reading critically, reading as writers. This week we decided to apply that critical reading skill to Watchmen, the Hugo award-winning graphic novel by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins. We start (once we get past the donuts in our mouths) by breaking it down into character, setting, and plot, and then we further dissect each of those elements based on what we thought of them.
This episode is chock full of spoilers. If you’re planning on reading Watchmen for the first time (or seeing the movie), you probably ought to do that before you let us ruin it for you.
Writing Prompt: Write an alternate history for 2009 taking stylistic cues from Watchmen.
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As a writer you obviously know how to read. But being a writer changes how you read, and what you read, and even why you read. Do you read more, or less as a writer? How do you read so that your reading doesn’t interfere with writing? How do you channel your reading into bettering your writing? And what’s the difference between a critical reader and a book critic?
Writing Prompt: Write a story about a critic, but a critic who criticizes something abnormal like Cement Mixers.
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Nancy Fulda, assistant editor at Baen’s Universe and editor-in-chief and founder of Anthology Builder, joins us again while Dan Wells is out celebrating his birthday. We discuss the rise of digital SF magazines, and touch on concepts like user-generated content, the Superconducting Copy Machine, and disruptive technology. We talk about print-on-demand vs. self-publishing, we laugh as Nancy puts her foot in her mouth, and then we argue over whether free online content can generate income for authors, as opposed to webcartoonists.
This week’s episode is 20 minutes long, because you’re not in as much of a hurry as we originally suspected, and Nancy made us at least a little smarter.
This week’s Writing Excuses is brought to you by I Am Not A Serial Killer by our very own absent-two-weeks-running Dan Wells. The book is only available in the UK, but you can get now from http://www.bookdepository.co.uk which has free shipping to anywhere in the world.
Writing Prompt: Write a story that convincingly describes the death of the traditional publishing industry 25 years from now.
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This… THIS is why speculative fiction writers should never be trusted with actual technology.
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