Tag Archives: Writing Career

Writing Excuses 9.33: Microcasting

Microcasting!

It’s our Q&A format, in which each answer is like its own, tiny little podcast, only without its own unique URL, intro, writing prompt, or any of the other trappings that would actually make it different from a Q&A session.

Right. So, it’s basically just a Q&A.

Listen to the podcast for the answers… Here are the questions:

  • Are there biases against non-English writers submitting manuscripts in English?
  • What is the most difficult thing Howard experienced when first creating Schlock Mercenary?
  • Are you ever too old to try to get published?
  • What are some pointers for keeping a milieu story focused on the setting?
  • No, you can’t have a sample of our DNA. None of you.
  • If you were to rewrite your early work, what would you change?
  • How do you improve your proofreading and copy editing?
  • How much time do you spend writing each day? Does it matter WHAT you write during that time?
  • Do you add foreshadowing in the editing stage, or are you just that good?
  • How do you improve your craft as a writer?
  • I don’t have time to ask a question, I’m washing my dog.
  • Do you have any writing exercises that you do regularly?
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Introduce a random element–dice, coin-tosses, the i ching–and write a story in which you (the writer) commit to letting the random element make the decisions.

Attack the Geek, by Michael R. Underwood, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

Writing Excuses 8.50: Q&A with Mercedes Lackey

Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes the stars align and serendipity is made manifest. And sometimes Mercedes Lackey happens to be hanging around at the same convention you’re recording podcasts at, and sits herself down to answer questions with you. Or rather with us.

Here are the questions. You’ll need to listen to the podcast for the answers:

  • (For Mercedes) How do you stay relevant through the numerous changes in the industry?
  • How do you go about creating a title for a project?
  • Is blending 1st-person and 3rd-person viewpoints cheating?
  • (For Howard) Should marketing research be done before launching an online story?
  • When, where, and how do you end chapters?
  • How can you tell if you’re overusing narrative language?
  • How should a young writer balance their writing time against other activities?
  • What are the parts of being an author that you hate (specifically the non-writing parts)?
  • (For Mercedes) What advice do you have for finding alpha & beta readers?
  • Is it distracting to write out a character’s accent?

 

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Eavesdrop on a conversation at the coffee shop, then go home and write the end of that conversation.

Bastion: Collegium Chronicles Book 5, by Mercedes Lackey, narrated by Nick Podehl.

Writing Excuses 8.38:Out of Excuses Retreat Q&A #2

This was recorded at the “Out of Excuses Retreat,” and the questions came from our attendees. Here are the questions! (You’ll have to listen for the answers.)

  • How have your opinions on self-publishing changed in the last few years?
  • What did you find difficult early in your career? How did you address this?
  • What do you now find difficult? How do you address it?
  • Do you put Easter Eggs in your work that only your friends recognize?
  • How much do questions/comments from readers influence you?

And the question we did NOT answer, but it’s a great one for speculating…

  • Where would Brandon, Dan, Mary, and Howard be, career-wise, if their paths had not crossed?
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Where would Brandon, Dan, Mary, and Howard have ended up if Writing Excuses hadn’t brought them together?

Troubletwisters, by Garth Nix and Sean Williams, narrated by Miriam Margolyes

Writing Excuses 8.37: When Fail Happens in Your Career

What do you do when something goes wrong, really wrong, with your career? What happens if it’s your fault? What about if it’s someone else’s fault?

Mary leads by talking about the Glamour in Glass misprint — the first line was omitted in the hardback — and the difference between her private and public reactions to the issue.  She likens this to similar sorts of situations that might happen on stage in live theater, and how those teams are expected to behave.

Dan tells us about the issue in I Am Not a Serial Killer, which gave some readers fits because it was edited in such a way that readers didn’t know there were supernatural elements in the story until chapter 10.

From these and other experiences, we extrapolate some behaviors you can use, and some things to steer clear of.

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Write a character who really screws up, and then take them to the moment where they realize they need to apologize.

The Blinding Knife, by Brent Weeks, narrated by Simon Vance.

Writing Excuses 8.34: Survivorship Bias

When people who have succeeded at a given endeavor speak about their success, we are inclined to listen because hey, we’d like to succeed there as well. It’s critical to recognize the bias here. Survivorship bias is the skewing of the data that occurs when you examine and seek to emulate successes without considering failures in that same space.

Here at Writing Excuses we suffer from it. So in this podcast we’ll talk about the places in which our experiences may just not apply to you because we got lucky. Sure, there are things we’ve done right, and clearly in some cases we’ve been able to exploit good fortune to our advantage, but in this episode we’ll focus on the non-reproducible aspects of our own success with an eye toward helping you to focus your own efforts on the things that actually matter.

The Liner Notes We Keep Promising You: Here is Tobias Buckell’s post on Survivorship Bias (note: contains strong language)

Word of the Week: “Rothfussian,” which means “writing something so awesome on your first go that success cannot be denied to you.”

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A very successful author or artist has a fan who decides to emulate that creator’s life in crazy, cargo-cult detail in an effort to become similarly successful.

We plugged Michael Moorcock’s Elric series for you, but those are no longer available on Audible. You might consider Moorcock’s Blood: A Southern Fantasy instead.

Writing Excuses 4.34: Q&A at Dragons & Fairy Tales

The last of our three recorded-live episodes is also the last episode of Writing Excuses Season 4. We took questions from the audience, and answered them with ABSOLUTE APLOMB.

Questions asked include:

How did we, as beginning writers, manage to write while holding down day-jobs and/or going to school?
What is the process for getting published?
How do you portray the various dynamics of an ensemble cast?
How do you keep tension up when death isn’t a problem for your characters?
How do you make the transition from writing fan-fiction to writing original fiction?
How important is it for an author to stay in touch with the fans online and at events?
What do you do when your cast of characters has grown too large for you to manage it?
What was the biggest stumbling-block for our creativity, and how did we overcome it?

You want the answers? Have a listen!

Writing Prompt: You walk out of a bookstore into torrential rain, and Howard attacks you with the POWER OF THUNDER.

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Writing Excuses 4.4: Agents. Do you need one?

We’re going to wade into a recent e-brouhaha, but it’s not going to be the Amazon vs Macmillan one. No, this is the one where Dean Wesley Smith argued that authors do not need agents. But you don’t need to read that to appreciate this ‘cast.

So… do you need an agent? This depends on the operating definition of “you” and “agent.” What kind of contractual experience do you have? What kinds of things will your agent do for you? And if you decide you do need an agent, how do you go about identifying the agent who is right for you? We’ll cover all of this and more!

Unrelated to agents (but definitely in the “and more” category): Howard reveals deeply personal information in this podcast!

Audiobook Plug: The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Writing Prompt: Write a story in which a bestselling recluse author dies, and his agent scrambles to keep the career alive without telling anybody. Skin in the game, baby!

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