Tag Archives: Subject Matter Expert

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 space program—budgeting, logistics, and procurement. RFI and RFP, with toilets, hammers, and business cards; that’s this episode.

(For those unfamiliar with the above TLAs [three letter acronyms], RFI and RFP stand for Request for Information and Request for Proposal.)

 

Play

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

13.42: Writing Excuses Talks to an Astronaut, with Special Guest Kjell Lindgren

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard, with special space-guest Kjell Lindgren

Kjell Lindgren, flight surgeon, Expedition 44/45, joined us for an episode that perhaps should have been called “we ask the space-man all of the things.” We asked him stuff that we wanted to know more about, and came away richer for the experience.

If there’s just one technical term worth bringing home from this episode, it’s “expeditionary behavior.” It’s the sort of thing that can make us all richer for the experience.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and mastered by Alex Jackson at Writing Excuses Mission Control in Chicago.

BONUS: NASA invited us back to be on THEIR show, Houston We Have a Podcast, and that episode went live about three days before this did. More Kjell Lindgren!

Play

“I’m doing the Zero Gravity Giraffe” — Howard Tayler (Howard would like to point out that this is not the technical term you should bring home from this episode.)

R is for Rocket, by Ray Bradbury

13.38: How to Find and Use Alpha Readers

Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard

We begin by making a useful distinction between alpha and beta reader: the alpha reader is an industry professional, while the beta reader is a stand-in for the eventual audience of readers. We then set about discussing how to find alpha readers, and how to employ them in order to make your work better.

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

Play

Take something you’ve written to a targeted beta reader.

13.30: Project in Depth, THE CALCULATING STARS, with Kjell Lindgren

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, and Dan, with Kjell Lindgren

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t yet read The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel, by Mary Robinette Kowal, you may wish to rectify that prior to listening.

In this episode we go into great depth on Mary’s novel with the expert technical help of NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who was one of Mary’s consulting readers. Like most of our project-in-depth episodes this one runs long. Longer still because we were at JSC in Houston, which was incredibly cool for all of us, so nobody was watching the clock.

Liner Notes: The reference to “Type 2” fun comes from an as-yet-unpublished episode. Type 1 fun is fun in the moment. Type 2 fun is fun to talk about later. Maybe much, much later.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Take something you’ve already written, and write a prequel set forty years or so earlier.

13.3: What Writers Get Wrong, with Aliette de Bodard

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard

This year’s third-week episodes will all follow a common theme: “what writers get wrong.” Each of these episodes will feature an expert guest who will help us understand what writers get wrong about something in which they have expertise.

Aliette de Bodard will be co-hosting several of these week-three episodes, but this week her role is “subject matter expert.” She has several fields of expertise, and among the hats she expertly wears which writers often fail to correctly describe is a hat labeled “motherhood” (note: not an actual hat.) 

Credits: This episode was recorded at WXR 2017 in the Baltic Sea by Bert Grimm, and mastered on dry land by Alex Jackson 

Play

List the subject matter experts in your life. Make checks next to their names this year as you speak with them about their expertise (it’s like a to-do list.)

The House of Shattered Wings (Book 1 of Dominion of The Fallen), by Aliette de Bodard