Tag Archives: Live Audience

Writing Excuses 9.46: Disability in Narrative

Charlie Harmon, one of the luminaries of Utah area fandom, joined us to talk about disability in narrative. She’s been going blind gradually since she was a child, and these days while she can see some colored blurs, she cannot read, or recognize faces. We talk about some of the nuances of disability that many writers fail to capture, and how we can learn to write those things more convincingly.

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Go to tvtropes.org and look up “Blind People.” Read some of the many tropes (Disability Superpower, Blind Black Guy, and Blind Mistake, just to name three)  then write a blind character without using those tropes.

The Fairy-Tale Detectives: The Sisters Grimm, by Michael Buckley, narrated by L. J. Ganser

Writing Excuses 9.44: Getting in the Writer’s Mindset with Peter Beagle

We were thrilled to have Peter Beagle join us for an episode, recorded live at Westercon 67. We talked about the writer’s mindset, and how to get into it. Peter schooled Brandon before the episode even began, and then proceeded to school all the rest of us.

Peter is an absolute delight to listen to. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did.

 

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Write about someone who is an aspiring something. Write the scene in which your character makes the transition from “aspiring” to “doing.”

Four Years, Five Seasons, by Peter S. Beagle, narrated by Peter S. Beagle

Writing Excuses 9.43: Writing Mysteries

Live from Westercon 67 and Fantasy Con, Mette Ivie Harrison and J.R. Johannson join us to talk about writing for the mystery genre. We begin by talking about the key differences between thrillers and mysteries, and then move into how this understanding can drive our story structures. We discuss how characters with arcs and iconic characters drive different types of stories, and how each of us go about building these kinds of things.

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Write a mystery in which you explain where Howard was during this recording session.

The Ghosts of Belfast, by Stuart Neville,  narrated by Gerard Doyle

Writing Excuses 9.42: The Convention-Author Relationship, with Deirdre Saoirse Moen

How does a convention play into your career as an author? How might you expect to be participating in programming? How, in short, do you get to be on panels?

Deirdre Saoirse Moen, who organizes fan-run literary cons and schedules programs for them, joins us to talk about programming from the convention’s point of view. Conventions want to create engaging programs, and want authors to be able to participate in that. Authors, of course, want to do things that ultimately result in selling more books. These goals are not incompatible, but there’s a trick to getting them to mesh well.

We also talk about what you should do when you find yourself on a panel — things to expect, things you can do to prepare, and some things to take care to not do.

By the way, registration is open for the 2015 Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat. We talked about that mid-week, and appended that bit of audio to the end of this episode. If you’d like to discuss the event, here’s the place to do so. That’ll keep all the questions and answers in the same place!

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Write your bio in four lengths — one each at 25, 50, 100, and up to 500 words.

The Saint: The Original Sinners Book 5, by Tiffany Reisz, narrated by Elizabeth Hart

[CONTENT WARNING: Explicit about all the things.]

Writing Excuses 9.41: Fan Writing, with Christopher J. Garcia

Hugo Award-winner Christopher J. Garcia, publisher and editor of The Drink Tank, joins us for a discussion of fan writing, . We start with a definition of terms – fan writing technically covers everything from writing about fandom, to writing fiction that doesn’t appear any different from professional fiction. It’s tricky, because the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer has gone to professional writers for their unpaid, non-fiction work.

We talk about fanzines, where they came from, what they’re for, and how (and why) aspiring professional writers might submit to them, and about the power that fan writing has on both fan culture and on the development of the genre.

 

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Pick your favorite book, movie, play, or whatever, and write something about it. But don’t write a review or a synopsis, and don’t write fan fiction. Something else.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 3, by Laini Taylor, narrated by Khristine Hvam

Writing Excuses 9.40: Understanding Royalties, with Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens, an editor at Tor, joined us in front of a live audience at Westercon 67 to talk about royalties. After a brief definition of the term, he explains how royalties are calculated, how they’re processed on Tor’s side, and what sorts of things authors should and should not expect.  We talk about contractual terms, advances, the differences in royalty rates between the different mediums (ebooks, audiobooks, paperback, hard cover), and much more.

We’ve had a lot of requests for an in-depth discussion of royalties. This, folks, is very definitely it.

 

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Write the writing prompt that Dan Wells should have given us.

The Hum and the Shiver, by Alex Bledsoe, narrated by Emily Janice Card and Stefan Rudnicki

Writing Excuses 9.35: What to do when you disagree with your editor

Peter Orullian joined us in front of a live audience at Westercon to talk with us about dealing with editors. We usually talk about craft, but this is a business discussion, and it’s about one of the most delicate and important relationships in the business. He begins by telling the short version of the story, and how he managed one of the worst-case scenarios: asking your publisher for a different editor.

We then move into some take-aways, and some additional experiences we’ve had that will hopefully help our listeners manage this sort of thing in the future.

 

 

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Write a sword-fighting scene, a la Princess Bride, in which the witticisms are part of a magic system, and are part of the fight itself.

Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy, Written by: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Jacqueline Carey, R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, Shawn Speakman (editor)
Narrated by: Peter Ganim, Marc Vietor, Bronson Pinchot, Jay Snyder

Writing Excuses 9.34: Science Fiction as Science Education

When Writing Excuses was invited to be guests of honor at Westercon 67, we had the opportunity to interview numerous guests of the convention, each of whom were luminaries in their respective fields.

We met Brad Voytek, who is a doctor of neuroscience and a professor of computational neuroscience at UC San Diego, for the first time right there at the show, and immediately knew that we wanted our listeners to have the chance to hear from him. One of his passions is treating science fiction as a gateway to (and in some cases an actual example of) science education.

He starts by talking about Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep, which teaches the reader about the brain by telling the story of what would happen if a zombie walked in to the emergency room. Mary talks about Launch Pad, the NASA workshop for writers. And then Brandon tells us about blending vegetables into junk food…

We grill Brad mercilessly, and have great fun with the whole show as we talk about some of our favorite science fiction, and a few of our favorite starting points for learning actual science.

 

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A sapient sheep desperately needs a delaying tactic. If it gets shorn, bad things will happen.

The City & The City, by China Mieville, narrated by John Lee.