Category Archives: Theory and Technique

15.07: Creating Chapters

Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

How do you create chapters? What are the rules for carving your manuscript into numbered chunks? Is chaptering part of your outline, is it something you discover while you write, or is it something else entirely?

In this episode we talk about how we do it, and how we think about it while it’s being done.

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

Play

Takes something you’ve written, and put the chapter breaks in new places.

Docile, by K.M. Sparza (releases in March 2020)

15.06: Prose and Cons, with Patrick Rothfuss

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

How do you write beautiful prose? How do you set about telling a story with words that sing (and dance, and tell jokes) instead of just conveying information in word-sized chunks?

In this episode we talk about how we do it, and how writers might set out to do good word-do like the best good word-doers do.

Liner Notes: 
Gwendolyn Brooks—We Real Cool

 

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

Play

Go find some poetry, and then read it. Be sure to read it out loud, too.

15.04: Revision, with Patrick Rothfuss

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

We begin our discussion of revision by addressing a question we hear a lot: How do you know what needs to be changed? We talk about our various techniques for getting distance from our work, incorporating feedback, and breaking the process down into manageable chunks.

Liner Notes: Lindsey Ellis on Three-Act Structure

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

Play

Identify your chapter and scene purposes, and apply the 10% solution during a revision pass.

The Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells

15.03: Self Publishing

Your Hosts: Howard, with special guests Victorine Lieske, Tamie Dearen, Bridget E. Baker, and Nandi Taylor

Howard leads this discussion with four guests who are doing well with self publishing. They share some numbers with us, and talk about their strategies for reaching their audience, and making the most of their market.

Liner Notes: Given, by Nandi Taylor, is available on January 21, (just two days from this episode’s air date)

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

Play

Start thinking about business: teach yourself which of the things you spend money on are tax deductible.

15.02: Writing Between the Lines

Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

Victoria Schwab, who also writes as V.E. Schwab, joins us this year, and in this episode she helps us cover that deep concept of “theme,” and how we as authors can state our themes without coming straight out and stating them—writing our themes “between the lines.”

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

Play

Take something you’ve completed, but which is still in draft form. Write down three possible themes. Then compare this against what your alpha/beta readers tell you what they think your themes are.

A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab

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

Play

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.

Play

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

Play

No homework!

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