Season Archives

13.49: How to Finish

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Amal, and Maurice Last week we talked about character death. This week we talk about other, less fatal ways in which a character story can be finished, and how we, as writers, can tell when we’re done with a character arc. Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered … Continue reading 13.49: How to Finish

You’re about to cut into a cake… and it speaks.
(Note: the phrase “the cake is alive” might qualify as “low-hanging fruit.”)

This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone
(note: Between the time we recorded and the time this episode aired the publication date was pushed back. The novel is, however, available for pre-order.)

13.48: Character Death and Plot Armor

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard The characters we create are not all destined for long lives. Sure, some are, but a great many of them are on paths that will end in an abrupt fatality of one kind or another, and in this episode we’ll talk about how we choose which characters to … Continue reading 13.48: Character Death and Plot Armor

An SF/F conceit in which death is looks exactly like death to the people to whom it’s not happening, but is actually a transformation for the person experiencing it.

Random Access Memorabilia, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler, with colors by Travis Walton
(available to read free online beginning here)

13.47: Q&A on Fixing Characters

Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard You had questions about fixing character problems. We had had answers! Here are the questions: How do you fix character voices when you find out that two of them are too similar? How can you tell if a character is, in fact, the problem? How do you maintain … Continue reading 13.47: Q&A on Fixing Characters

Cheeto McFlair: Who are they, and why are they asking questions of the Writing Excuses team?

Myths and Monsters, narrated by Nicholas Day (currently available on Netflix)

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

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

13.45: Next Level Narration

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Amal, and Maurice Narration is that stuff which tells your story, but isn’t dialog. It’s the voice of your narrator, and it might be multiple voices depending on how you’re handling point of view. In this episode we’ll talk about the things you can do to challenge yourself and level … Continue reading 13.45: Next Level Narration

Write a scene from several points of view. Each of these characters are experiencing the same scene differently, and some of them are lying about it.

The Usual Suspects, by Maurice Broaddus
(NOTE: currently available for preorder. Between the time this episode was recorded and its air date the book’s publication date got pushed into May of 2019)

NaNoWriMo 2018 Mini-Episode 2

Your Mini-Episode Hosts: Amal El-Mohtar and Maurice Broaddus, with Special Asides from Mary Robinette Kowal We’re a week in to NaNoWriMo. If you’re scared of it, Amal is here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way, Maurice is here with the encouraging words “consequence-free.”

Relax! The “rules” of NaNoWriMo are not YOUR rules. If there’s a way you like to write, write that way!