Tag Archives: Uglies

Writing Excuses 8.39: Dystopian Fiction with Cherie Priest

Cherie Priest stopped by for an evening during the Out Of Excuses Workshop and Retreat this summer, so of course we took the opportunity to drag her into the basement and grill her relentlessly about dystopian fiction, in front of witnesses.

(Okay, maybe that’s not exactly how it happened…)

After the requisite introductions, we give you a working definition of dystopian fiction, and why it’s popular. Cherie and Dan tell us about their dystopias, and then we dig into talking about how to build them well.

Steelheart Tweeting Thingy: Per the episode intro from Howard, this Monday, September 30th we’ll be giving away Steelheart audiobooks, courtesy of our sponsor Audible.com, to some randomly-selected people who tweet their epic weakness and the name of the book. Here’s the format:

“My epic weakness is {WEAKNESS} and the chance to win the STEELHEART audiobook from @WritingExcuses”

Obviously you’ll want to replace {WEAKNESS} with something clever. You have fifty-two characters to play with. Also, you should follow @WritingExcuses on Twitter so we can Direct Message you if you happen to be one of the lucky winners. We’ll announce the winners on Tuesday.


Base a dystopia on breakfast cereal…

Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest, narrated by Kate Reading.

Writing Excuses 5.14: Visual Components of Novels with Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld joins Brandon and Howard for a discussion of the visual components of novels. His novel Leviathan is set in an alternate history 1914, and is designed to look like a book from 1914, complete with illustrations. Keith Thompson designed the art to look like period art, and it adds a significant dimension to the book.

Brandon talks about how he employed these same principles in The Way of Kings, which has in-world maps and in-world illustrations throughout its thousand pages. And of course Howard points how these things apply in the illustration-dependent Schlock Mercenary.

We move into a discussion of how the illustrations affect both the publication process and the storytelling, and how things like deck-plans and engineering diagrams feed back into the story.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, narrated by Alan Cumming

Writing Prompt: Draw the floor plan of the house or building you’re in. Knock out a wall, and write an action scene involving that.

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