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

Play

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.

Play

Writing Excuses Episode 30: Talking Revision with Moshe Feder

Last week we talked to an editor, this week we talk to OUR editor: Brandon’s and Dan’s editor at Tor, Moshe Feder. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about how an author and editor work together to help make a book the best it can possibly be. We also talk a lot about revision in general, which is one of the least-liked but most important tasks in the writing process.

Play

Writing Excuses Episode 29: Talking Publishing with Lou Anders

So what exactly does an editor, do, anyway? We’ve already talked about the process of submitting to an editor; today we talk about the millions of vital things that happen after an editor says “I want to buy your book.” Not only that, but we get to hear it all straight from the mouth of Lou Anders, the Hugo-nominated editor from Pyr Books, who this year alone helped create a Hugo-nominated book and two Campbell-nominated authors. In other words: when this man talks about editing, you listen.

Lou Anders

Pyr Books

Play

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!)

Play

Writing Excuses Episode 27: World-Building Religion

The Writing Excuses team sits down to talk about religion as a world-building device: your characters probably believe in something, so what is it? How does it affect their lives? How does it change their thoughts and motivations (and swear words)? And when you’re developing a fake religion, how do you avoid religious bias and keep from offending people? Is it best to develop something completely new, or make a few changes to a real Earth religion?

Play

Develop a religion where people worship something that no one would ever worship in our world. And it can’t be silly.

Writing Excuses Episode 26: Horror

What is horror? Why is it scary? HOW is it scary? Forced by their grandfather’s will to spend an entire night in his spooky mansion, our podcasters gather to discuss the nuts and bolts of what horror is (and isn’t) and how it works behind the scenes. Here’s a hint: as with pretty much everything else in writing, the secret comes down to compelling conflicts with engaging characters. Be warned: Howard is going to say something scary, so don’t listen to this podcast alone and/or in the dark.

This week’s Writing Excuses is brought to you by something close to Dan’s heart.

Play

A descent into madness written from the first person point of view. You are going to descend into madness, your writing will become gibberish or something horrible will happen, and then Brandon will scream.