Category Archives: Theory and Technique

Writing Excuses Episode 34: What The Dark Knight Did Right

Like all right-thinking people, we loved The Dark Knight–but because we are also writers obsessed with the craft of storytelling, we liked it for very specific, very nerdy reasons. Join us as we take a journey through What The Dark Knight Did Right: strong characters,  excellent dialogue, a layered plot that blended perfectly (and unexpectedly) with the central themes, and more.

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Pull out an old piece of writing from the last year or so. Pick a dialogue scene and try to take each piece of dialogue up a half of a notch, evoking a little more character. The outcome or conclusion of the dialogue scene should remain the same.

Writing Excuses Episode 33: Side Characters

Just as no burger is complete without its fries, no protagonist is complete without his sidekick, or his mother, or his entomologist, or whatever side character you decide to give him. This week we talk about why side characters are important, and how to do them well.

Liner Notes

Elantris Mad Prince Deleted Scenes

Dan’s Bunny Book (AKA Blacker Darkness) (Word 2003 format)

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Bring a side character from the future, bring them back to the past and write a story about them.

This week’s Writing Excuses is brought to you by Schlock Mercenary: The Teraport Wars  by Howard Tayler

Writing Excuses Episodes 32: Talking Exposition with Patrick Rothfuss

In this, the last of our WorldCon 66 episodes, Brandon, Dan, and Howard interview Name of the Wind author Patrick Rothfuss. We discuss exposition, and how not to bore people as you move them through the learning curve. We start by covering some “don’ts”  – including the essay, the police-artist sketch, and the thesis statement.

And then we work into the “do’s” – show-don’t-tell, focus on character, and don’t write stuff the readers don’t care about.

   This week’s Writing Excuses is brought to you by Schlock Mercenary: The Teraport Wars  by Howard Tayler

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Writing Excuses Episode 31: Talking RPG and Game Writing with Steve Jackson

One of the biggest areas of professional creative writing these days is game writing, and who better to talk to about it than Steve Jackson–yes, THE Steve Jackson. We start off trying to talk about game adaptations, and the challenges they present for writers, but then we devolve into a more straightforward discussion of writing for games.

This week’s Writing Excuses is brought to you by The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

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Writing Excuses Episode 28: Writing for Webcomics with Phil and Kaja Foglio

This is the first of five episodes recorded on location at WorldCon 66 in the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Brandon, Dan, and Howard are joined by Phil and Kaja Foglio, and we discuss writing for webcomics… no, wait… writing for “sequential picture-assisted storytelling.”

Phil and Kaja are the creators of Girl Genius, the web’s foremost hunk’ o’ steampunk — and we here at Writing Excuses are big fans. During our short time together they help us understand the nuances of creating Girl Genius pages, writing to the outline of the story, and crafting their dialog. The Foglios (and Howard) have a little bit of advice for folks looking to start their own webcomic, too.

(Mmmmm…. Grizzly Bear Soup!)

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