15.48: Deliberate Discomfort, Part Two

Your Hosts: Dan, Mahtab, Howard, and Brandon

We’ve talked about deliberately making our readers uncomfortable. In this episode we discuss writing things that make us uncomfortable. Maybe it’s writing strong language, or sex scenes. Perhaps it’s a personal narrative that is painful to relive. Whatever it might be, as writers we need to prepare ourselves to embrace that pain, soak up that discomfort, and put the words on the page.

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

Liner Notes:
No, I’m Fine.” by Howard Tayler
Video Link for this episode, and two other episodes


Write every swear word you know, and then delete the file, or burn the sheet of paper.

Tales from the Loop (the role-playing game)

15.47: Worldbuilding Science Fiction, with Cory Doctorow

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Piper, and Howard, with Cory Doctorow

Worldbuilding is something you do to some degree in everything you write. Cory Doctorow  writes (among many other things) near-future SF, and he joins us for a discussion of extrapolative worldbuilding.

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


Make a list of transactions in your life which have no reciprocity.

Walkaway: A Novel, by Cory Doctorow

15.46: Crafting Chinese-American Characters

Your Hosts: Dan, Piper, and Tempest, with special guest Yang Yang Wang

Yang Yang Wang, an author, actor, and director (among many other things) joins us for a discussion of language, food, and a whole raft of other cultural elements critical to crafting Chinese-American characters.

Credits: this episode was recorded by Ross Smith and mastered by Alex Jackson


Take a culture, and a character who is a descendent of immigrants from that culture, then write a scene where that character returns to the original culture

All Systems Red, by Martha Wells

15.45: Worldbuilding Fantasy, with Patrick Rothfuss

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, and Howard, with Patrick Rothfuss

Pat joins us for a discussion of worldbuilding, in which we field a couple of challenging questions from readers. Here are the questions!

  • How do you create timeless urban fantasy?
  • How do you create a compelling secondary world fantasy without leaning on a complex magic system?

We ran a bit long with this one, but we have no regrets. Because compelling. And maybe timeless.

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



Just change one thing, and then follow the permutations.

15.44: Rebooting a Career

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

What do you do when some of the key foundations of your authorial (or otherwise creative) livelihood are kicked away? How do you go about repairing, rebuilding, or rebooting your career?

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



Write a letter to your hero. Write their response to you.

Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck)