Category Archives: Guest

14.03: Writing the Other—Bisexual Characters

Your Hosts: Dan, Tempest, Dongwon, and TJ

This is the first of our Writing The Other episodes, in which we set out to help writers portray people who are unlike them. In this episode we’re joined by T.J. Berry. She walks us through the language and terminology of bisexuality.

 

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Find and watch the 100th episode of Brooklyn 99, which portrays the coming-out of a bisexual character

Space Unicorn Blues, by T.J. Berry

13.52: Working Dad is a Spaceman

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary, and Dan, with NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn.

Last week’s episode may have sounded like the last one for 2018, but that’s an artifact of December having five Sundays rather than four. Fifth Sundays are our “wildcards,” and something wild seems like a nice way to round out the year.

Tom Marshburn, who is both spaceman and parent, talks to us about what it’s like to be both.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Ben Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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The 3D sense of space’s blackness meets Type I, Type II, and Type III fun

13.50: What Writers Get Wrong, with Zoraida Córdova

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova, an award-winning author of urban fantasy, was born in Ecuador and grew up in Queens. She joins us to talk about what writers get wrong (and what they can get right and do well) when portraying latinas in the United States.

Credits: This episode was recorded live at FanX Salt Lake (formerly “Salt Lake Comic-Con”) by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Liner Notes: 

  • The comic book Howard referenced is Guardians of Infinity #3, (2016), which features a back-up story entitled “Yo Soy Groot.”
  • Peggy Whitson is the astronaut Mary referenced. As of this writing, she holds the record for longest single spaceflight by an American. 

 

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A challenge! Find (and read) books written by Ecuadoran authors. Then make one of your own secondary characters be from Ecuador.

Labyrinth Lost, by Zoraida Córdova

13.46: The Unsexy Side of Space, with Bart Smith and Ben Hewett

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, and Dan, with special guests Bart Smith and Ben Hewett

When we talk about space travel we’re usually talking about rocket scientists and astronauts. In this episode we spoke with our guests Bart Smith and Ben Hewett, about the “unsexy” (read: possibly boring but don’t be deceived) side of the space program—budgeting, logistics, and procurement. RFI and RFP, with toilets, hammers, and business cards; that’s this episode.

(For those unfamiliar with the above TLAs [three letter acronyms], RFI and RFP stand for Request for Information and Request for Proposal.)

 

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Write a story in which a budget analyst and a procurement intern save the day

The Martian, by Andy Weir, about which we have gushed repeatedly

13.42: Writing Excuses Talks to an Astronaut, with Special Guest Kjell Lindgren

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard, with special space-guest Kjell Lindgren

Kjell Lindgren, flight surgeon, Expedition 44/45, joined us for an episode that perhaps should have been called “we ask the space-man all of the things.” We asked him stuff that we wanted to know more about, and came away richer for the experience.

If there’s just one technical term worth bringing home from this episode, it’s “expeditionary behavior.” It’s the sort of thing that can make us all richer for the experience.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and mastered by Alex Jackson at Writing Excuses Mission Control in Chicago.

BONUS: NASA invited us back to be on THEIR show, Houston We Have a Podcast, and that episode went live about three days before this did. More Kjell Lindgren!

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“I’m doing the Zero Gravity Giraffe” — Howard Tayler (Howard would like to point out that this is not the technical term you should bring home from this episode.)

R is for Rocket, by Ray Bradbury

13.39: What Writers Get Wrong, With Wendy Tolliver

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Wendy Tolliver

Wendy skis, and snowboards, and  writes YA novels. She is also the parent of three, one of whom suffers from mental illness. She joined us to talk about how writers can do a better job of depicting it, and how to avoid the pitfalls and the harmful cliches.

Credits: This episode was recorded live at Salt Lake Fan X by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Pick a mental disorder that you think pop culture has informed you about. Study up on it. Then write a scene in which that disorder informs the character’s behavior without actually naming the disorder.

 

Life Inside My Mind, by Maureen Johnson, Robison Wells, Wendy Tolliver, and 28 others.