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

17.51: Feel The Burn

Your Hosts: Dongwon Song, Piper J. Drake, Peng Shepherd, Marshall Carr, Jr., and Erin Roberts

Let’s talk about burnout. It’s been a long few years (with some of those years feeling like decades) so this may seem timely, but burnout can happen during otherwise ordinary times. Ignoring it or simply trying to “burn smarter, not harder” can have serious repercussions.

In this episode we talk about why we burn out, how we recognize it, how we deal with it, and how we (eventually) recover from it.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Matthew Drake, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Write a kind, delightful, helpful letter to your burnt-out future self.

Wings Once Cursed & Bound, by Piper J. Drake (coming in April, 2023)

17.50: Consistency, Inconsistency, and the Crushing Weight of Expectations

Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Dongwon Song, and Dan Wells

Thanks to some last-minute schedule changes, we almost didn’t have an episode for today. Only three cast members were able to make it to the session, and none of those three had the syllabus. But we forged ahead anyway, and recorded an episode about why we felt it was important to record an episode.

That may sound like one too many layers of meta, but just wait until we add the layers in which this actually applies to writing!

Liner Notes: Dongwon’s newsletter is called “Publishing is Hard.” Dan’s newsletter doesn’t have a name, but can be signed up for here.

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


Make a list of all of your regular commitments. Consider your bandwidth for adding to that list. Make a rough schedule of content updates for the next month.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

17.49: Bodies Are Magical

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, C.L. Polk, Fran Wilde, and Howard Tayler 

Let’s put a stake in the ground here: disabilities do not grant magical powers. And yet that exact trope can be found in multiple genres, across multiple mediums. In this episode we talk about why this happens, and how we might better portray the magical awesomeness found in our bodies.

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


Everyone is going to be disabled. Look at your cast and decide which disabilities they have (visible, invisible, known, unknown). Make sure none of those are plot points.

Killjoys (on SyFy)