All posts by Howard Tayler

16.3: Publishing Pitfalls

Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Howard, and Brandon

Erin Roberts joins us for our third installment in Brandon’s business-of-writing series. In this episode we’re covering pitfalls and common problems—including some predatory practices—for you to be on the lookout for while you develop your career as a writer.

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

Liner Notes: “Accountabilibuddy,” which is written here so Howard can remember it.

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Writer Beware, w/ Victoria Strauss and SFWA

16.02: Publishers Are Not Your Friends

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

It sounds like a mean thing to say, but it’s not a wrong thing to say. A publisher is a corporation, and a corporation doesn’t have friends. It has contractual relationships. We can make friends with people who work for publishers, but those are not the same thing.

Liner Notes: here is an archived copy of Dave Brady’s essay about “company loyalty”

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

 

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Business research! Make a list of publishers who are releasing new books by new authors in your space. Watch for editor and author names.

Active Memory, by Dan Wells

16.01: Your Career is Your Business

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, and Brandon

Welcome to 2021, and Season 16 of Writing Excuses. This year we’re dividing the year into “master classes” or “intensive courses.”

We’re kicking it off with Brandon’s episodes, which are all about the business of writing, and the first of those is this one!

So… your career is your business. In this episode we’ll talk about how that mindset—this is a business—informs our other activities, and how valuable it can be to get our heads in the right place early on.

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

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So… GOOD OMENS. Read the book. Watch the series. Consider what sorts of decisions Neil Gaiman made to adapt the novel to a new medium.

Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

15.52: Economy of Phrase, Being the Concentrated Concatenation of Complex Thoughts in Just a Very Few Words Which Must Fit In A Very Very Small Box, With Patrick Rothfuss

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

Did we have too much fun applying ironic humor to the title of this episode? Possibly! Patrick Rothfuss joins us to talk about economy of phrase, and the ways in which big ideas can be expressed with a few of the exactly-right words.

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

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Take a scene from your prose work, and remove all the blocking and dialog tags. Now space out the dialog on the page, and attempt to convey the missing information with stick figures and smiley faces.

JimZub.com comic-writing tutorials
(Start here!)
Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud

15.51: Feedback—When to Listen, and When to Ignore, with special guest Mahtab Narsimhan

Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, Mahtab, and Brandon

We’re often taught that the best critique group feedback is reactions to the writing, rather than  advice for fixing it. But prescriptive feedback—critiques that include suggestions for you how to might rewrite something—is an important part of the process.

In this episode we discuss how we curate our critique groups and filter their feedback to improve our writing, and our experiences with these groups.

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

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The Random Critique Exercise: 
1) You and a writer friend each prepare a critique of a different thing.
2) File the serial numbers off (character names, locations, etc) and swap critiques.
3) Treat this critique from your friend as if it was for your manuscript. Discover what wrong advice looks like, and how often a broken watch might actually be correct.

What Unites Us, by Dan Rather

15.50: Juggling Ensembles

Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

Our listeners have asked about how we handle managing a large cast of characters. This is something we’ve all struggled with, and sometimes we’ve failed at it pretty spectacularly. In this episode we talk about how we turned our failures into learning, and what we do today to keep our ensembles in line and our stories on track.

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

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Take something you’ve written, something with a cast of at least three characters, and change the point-of-view and/or main character.

This is How You Lose The Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

15.49: Maintaining Passion for a Story, with special guest Mahtab Narsimhan

Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, Mahtab, and Brandon

This episode comes from a question we’re often asked: “how do you stay excited about a story you’re working on?” We talk about how we maintain our passion for the stories we’re working on, and how that’s not the same as being super excited to write every time we sit down at the keyboard

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

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Return to your notes or your outline and look for the things that excited you about writing this story. Write those down.

Dust, by Arthur Slade

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

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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)