By Writing Excuses | March 23, 2008 - 9:04 pm - Posted in Bonus

If you’re new to Writing Excuses, or if you’re just curious about some of the terminology we use, let us break it down for you. These are the rules/tricks that we use to keep ourselves on task.

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 23rd, 2008 at 9:04 pm and is filed under Bonus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

21 Comments

  1. March 24, 2008 @ 6:48 am


    [...] On Friday, whilst preparing to record Episodes 10 and 11 (yes, even in Podcasting there are buffers to be had) we recorded a three-minute long segment on “The Rules.” [...]

  2. March 24, 2008 @ 6:55 am


    How did everybody like the audio in this one? We accidentally recorded Bonus 2, Episode 10, and Episode 11 through a single laptop mic.

    Aside from the fact that Jordo is too loud anytime he speaks, I think this actually sound kind of nice. No clipping, no booming or popping… it’s a HAPPY accident. It sounds like you, the listener, are sitting there at the table with the three (four, counting our sound engineer) of us.

    Let us know what you think of the recording, please!

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  3. March 24, 2008 @ 12:19 pm


    I think it sounded just fine. Although I thought I kept hearing someone sipping a drink….

    Posted by Lauren B
  4. March 24, 2008 @ 4:04 pm


    Too much echo.

    Posted by Hezekiah
  5. March 24, 2008 @ 6:07 pm


    As far as I know, there isn’t any echo or reverb in the signal processing Jordan used. What you’re hearing is actual, ambient room sound.

    The real question remains unanswered: is it so very bad it is unlistenable, or can we air two entire episodes this way? Could you put up with it for 30 minutes a month from now?

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  6. March 24, 2008 @ 7:04 pm


    If you can come up with a better microphone I would. It’s tinny so it’s easy to oversaturate the volume and have something become indiscernible. The extra tone using the normal mic also make things a but easier on the ears and help give extra audio cues to figure out what you’re saying if you say something unexpected. You guys talk fairly fast sometimes so that’s something to consider.

    Posted by Nullcast
  7. March 24, 2008 @ 7:06 pm


    Oh, yes, I could put up with it. And yeah, echo isn’t the right word. But the sound is more hollow than on the other podcasts. Certainly not a deal breaker.

    Posted by Hezekiah
  8. March 24, 2008 @ 10:27 pm


    Little tinny, unpleasant – if you can avoid it without too much trouble, please do in the future, but there’s no need to re-record what’s already in the can.

    Posted by Eric A
  9. March 24, 2008 @ 10:37 pm


    FWIW – I thought I’d do a quick set of notes about this, but I can’t tell whether you are saying expounding or expanding, and gordo? Jordo? Maybe just my ear. Otherwise, I thought the sound was okay. And remember how much we’re paying you for these!

    Notes:
    The Rules of Writing Excuses
    Rule 1. No Expounding – Jordo doesn’t like it.
    Rule 2. Can of Worms – tangents that need to be taken up later
    Rule 3. No Whaffling – it’s what we think
    Rule 4. No Pimping – odd how they hum the National Anthem every time someone starts talking about their own work

    Posted by Mike Barker
  10. March 24, 2008 @ 11:01 pm


    ok since it’s a point of discussion let me state what happened (Howard is being kind on the blame), I had to record something for a class but all my mics were at Brandon’s house so I used my lappy’s internal mic (which I normally have turned off) and forgot to turn it off after I was done. The internal is the default mic so that was the source instead of the mixer where the lapel mics are feed through.

    I always check the levels before doing the episodes, however since the laptop can’t do sound monitoring my headphones are plugged into the mixer which does, so I didn’t bother to check the sound of the recorded test via the laptop.

    Posted by admin
  11. March 24, 2008 @ 11:02 pm


    First of all. “Could you put up with it for 30 minutes a month from now?” I doubt you’re changing it to seven and a half minutes a week, so does that mean we’re only getting these bi-monthly from now on?

    To answer the question, yes, the audio is fine. Definitely not something where you hear it and go “this is horrible.” and you delete it. Besides, most podcast listeners don’t really care.

    And why exactly do you hum the National Anthem? Maybe one of you should just start rapping or impersonating Jimi Hendrix guitar solos.

    Posted by Michelle M.
  12. March 25, 2008 @ 12:14 am


    We should make this clear: pimping is not allowed allowed but encouraged. We just think it’s funny to hum the national anthem every time it happens.

    Posted by admin
  13. March 25, 2008 @ 6:27 am


    @Michelle M. re: a month from now… With Episode 7 just out, Episode 10 is three weeks away, and Episode 11 is four weeks away. Between the two of them, there’s 30 minutes of lappy-mic’d audio about a month out.

    @MBarker: Thanks for transcribing. For the record, the rules would be better codified thusly:
    1) No expounding. Make your point, then stop making it. Jordan (Jordo) may be blamed if we have to call you on it.
    2) No Cans of Worms. If you hit an interesting tangent, call it a “can of worms” and we can come back to it in a later episode.
    3) No Waffling. Everybody knows this is just our opinions. Don’t waste time by making that particular point.
    4) Pimping Your Own Stuff is Okay, Barely. If you start plugging your own work as part of making a point, we’ll start humming the Betelegeuse National Anthem, which, as everybody who reads Douglas Adams knows, sounds just like the American National Anthem.

    @Michelle M.: We hum the national anthem because that’s the only tune everybody could agree on the melody for. It’s a little embarrassing for me, since I studied music composition, worked as a record producer, and coached a cappella ensembles.

    Perhaps we could hum the “Spam” song from Monty Python’s Flying Circus instead…

    @ Jordo: There was much less clipping through the lappy mic. I think we’d probably be better served with a fanned-out pair of AKG 414 mics in the center of the table than with lavalier lapel mics, but cost is likely an issue. I wish I’d kept a little more of my old audio gear…

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  14. March 25, 2008 @ 10:33 am


    @howard

    Since I stopped using the pre-amp we don’t have clipping anymore.

    Posted by admin
  15. March 25, 2008 @ 6:02 pm


    Did you really? When did you decide to start writing instead of continuing as a producer? And yes. Monty Python humming in a writing podcast would be amazing. Although after every episode, I would probably be compelled to watch Monty Python. But really, what’s wrong with that?

    Posted by Michelle M.
  16. March 26, 2008 @ 6:47 am


    @ Michelle M.I think I gave up on music about eight years ago. Yes, I miss it. No, I’m not going back. One of the hardest things about being multi-talented is picking one thing and sticking with it. Returning to music would dilute my creative efforts as a writer and illustrator (I’m ALREADY working in two fields, drawing the comics I write) and the business just can’t afford that.

    Is it sad? Yes. I flatter myself constantly with the thought that I’ve robbed the world of the symphonies I have bottled up inside, giving them Schlock Mercenary instead. :-)

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  17. March 26, 2008 @ 7:28 am


    I think it sounds pretty good: the acoustics seem a touch flattened, but far short of inducing one to grind one’s molars. The risk of a well-timed comment causing one to spray one’s drink is much more serious.

    Posted by Christopher Hawley
  18. March 26, 2008 @ 11:37 pm


    Thanks for the podcasts guys. Although I am not an aspiring writer, I am however interested in the process of how a book is created. I am wondering if you will discuss how you choose (if at all) the tone of your book. For example David Eddings books have a fairly light tone to them. Other fantasy novelist such as the George R R Martin tend to write dark and violent books, which seems to be the trend of modern fantasy. Personally as a reader of fantasy I can find myself putting a book down because it can be exhausting and depressing to read such violent stories. On one occassion I can remember wondering about the psychological state of the writter when I was reading a very vivid discription of a mutalation. On the other hand however some books I can find too light, because simply, there is a lack of tension and a sense of danger. Anyway, I would like your thoughts of the pro and cons of light v. dark.

    Posted by DavidD
  19. March 29, 2008 @ 12:08 am


    I think I gave up on music about eight years ago. Yes, I miss it. No, I’m not going back. One of the hardest things about being multi-talented is picking one thing and sticking with it. Returning to music would dilute my creative efforts as a writer and illustrator (I’m ALREADY working in two fields, drawing the comics I write) and the business just can’t afford that.

    Ahaha oh of course. Who needs another Debussy when we have an entire army of mercenaries? And I agree. I’m currently in a stage (that’s fun to say) where I knit, crochet, make jewelry, sing, play guitar, write poems, songs, and stories, and am forced to pick a future where I can use some of those talents without being creatively smothered. Sadly, the one thing I cannot do is draw. Even my stick people hate me. It seems no matter what I am able to do, I always want to learn more. Which is good. But not for people on a budget.

    Posted by Michelle M.
  20. March 30, 2008 @ 4:05 pm


    My comment is just a general comment about the podcast. As a husband, reader, writer, NPR junkie, teacher, and graduate student I have very little time for anything else. Writing excuses is one of three sources I regularly look to for information and entertainment. I have recommended it to loads of people interested in writing or just wanting a good laugh. Thanks for creating a show that is humorous and informative.

    Bruce E. Long time listener first time caller.
    P.S. Can you create a few more episodes while Lost is off the air?

    Posted by Bruce E.
  21. April 6, 2008 @ 9:27 pm


    Guys,

    Thanks a ton for this great podcast–I have loved every episode. I am an aspiring writer, and found your podcast very helpful. I’ve listened to a number of other podcasts on writing, and have found some good stuff, but yours is far and away most interesting: great format with the dialogue between the three of you, great topics, great rules, and the fifteen minutes makes it snappy. I find you put about the same about of helpful content as podcasts that are 30-70 minutes!

    Keep up the great work!

    Posted by Jon B