All posts by Howard Tayler

15.01: Evolution of a Career

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

Season 15 is going to be a bit broader than the previous seasons have, at least in the abstract. We’re going to focus on your questions. In this episode we tackle the topic that dominates our collection of these questions: CAREER.

Liner Notes: It hasn’t actually been 15 years. It’s been 12. Writing Excuses launched in February of 2008, and the first five seasons were not full-year seasons. 

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

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Whose career do you wish you could have? Research them, examine how they’ve done it, and then ask if that’s still what you want.

Follies, by Stephen Sondheim

14.52: Game Mastering and Collaborative Storytelling, with Natasha Ence

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Natasha Ence

Natasha Ence is a professional game master.

(Yes, you read that correctly.)

She joins us to discuss collaborative storytelling, and how the principles of game mastering for role-players can be applied to creating a fulfilling, engaging story.

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

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Write about a role-playing game experience that has gone badly. Really, really badly…

Tales of the Table, the Patreon where Natasha Ence creates RPG setting materials you can use

14.51: A Farewell to Worldbuilding

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

We’ve spent all year focusing on worldbuilding, and it’s time to move on.

Almost.

In this episode we try to cover some points we may have missed, we talk about what we’ve learned, and discuss some of our favorite recent examples of worldbuilding.

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

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No homework!

Sakura: Intellectual Property, by Zachary Hill, with Patrick Tracy and Paul Genesse

14.50: Write What You… No.

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

We’ve all heard the adage “write what you know,” and in this episode we set out to un-misinterpret it. The phrase is fraught, and perhaps the most perilous bit is that it can be used an excuse to not write. Here at Writing Excuses we’re pretty committed to approaching things in ways that let us do MORE writing, so this topic is a great place for us to leave you out of excuses.

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

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Take a thing you’re familiar with, and make it a superpower

Armistice: Amberlough Dossier, Book 2, by Lara Elena Donnelly, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

14.49: Customs and Mores

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab

In this episode we discuss how our customs and mores govern our own real-world interactions, and how our understanding of these interactions can be applied to our worldbuilding.

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

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Take a cultural quirk or more that is weird and/or annoying to you. Extrapolate that into an entire culture, a full society of interconnected mores which make sense, and with which you’d be extremely uncomfortable.

The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge, narrated by Charlotte Wright

14.48: How to Practice Worldbuilding

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

The entire year has been about learning how to worldbuild, and we’ve learned a thing or two ourselves while preparing material for you. In this episode we talk about some of those lessons, and try to answer stray questions that didn’t fit into any of previous episode buckets.

Liner Notes: If Dinosaurs Had Body Fat Like Penguins

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

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Take something familiar to you—something you’ve got expertise in—and turn it into a worldbuilding tool.

14.47: Writing Characters With Physical Disabilities

Your Hosts: Piper, Dan, and Tempest, with special guest Nicola Griffith

In this episode we discuss how to faithfully represent people with physical disabilities through the characters we create. Our guest, Nicola Griffith, walks us through the process of rigorously imagining how the world might look to someone with a particular disability.

Credits: This episode was mastered by Alex Jackson

 

 

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Put yourself into the point of view of a character with a strong defining characteristic. Visit a restaurant, and explore how it might look through their eyes rather than your own.

So Lucky, by Nicola Griffith

14.46: Unusual Resources

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

Among science fiction and fantasy plot devices, the “uncommon resource” trope is common enough to almost seem cliché. Fortunately (?), the economic principle of scarcity is ubiquitous enough in real life that most of us don’t even blink when presented with the idea in fiction.

So how do we keep it fresh? How do we roll scarcities into the economies we create, and the worlds we build?

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

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Take something common and make it super-valuable.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance