This is the first of a three-part series in which Brandon, Dan, and Howard tell each other (and you, of course) about the most important thing each of them has learned in the past year. We start with Howard, who seems to believe that of all the many things he’s learned about writing in the previous twelve months, the list-topper should be the fact that he is a satirist.

So really the episode is about satire, and how that form differs from other humorous sub-genres. And then we talk about why knowing this is important, and how others can go about learning these sorts of things about their own work.

This week Writing Excuses is brought to you by “Bringing Writing Excuses To You By!”

Writing Prompt: An artist finds a way to improve or perfect the form he or she is working within, and by so doing  unlocks magic.


This entry was posted on Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 at 4:34 pm and is filed under Career and Lifestyle, Theory and Technique. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. May 3, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

    I was just leaving a post on the last episode when the page reloaded with this new one. It seems to be my first opportunity to get this so:
    Now to listen. Love the writing prompt already.

    Posted by DarkEyedBlues
  2. May 3, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

    Howard, I’m surprised you didn’t tell us to write about a bumblebee who studies aerodynamics.

    I think if I tried to write this prompt it’d just turn into one of those Muse stories or something.

    Posted by Raethe
  3. May 3, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

    Well, then write about a bumblebee who studies aerodynamics. Your story sounds better anyway.

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  4. May 3, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

    They both sound good! I’ll have to try my hand at the artist one.

    Posted by Paul
  5. May 3, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

    I just might have to do that, Howard.

    After I’m finished this darn novel, anyway….

    Posted by Raethe
  6. May 4, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    I wish I could see Brandon’s response to this weeks writing prompt.

    p.s. Sorry for spamming Schlock with this comment.

    Posted by jfmiller28
  7. May 4, 2009 @ 10:11 am

    The ad was especially choice, and I’m sure that there was some useful writing advice in there somewhere. Yeah, there was definitely some good advice. The only problem I have with the advice given is that it requires work. 😉

    Posted by Titus
  8. May 4, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

    I’m interested in advertising with you guys, so I got pretty excited when you had your commercial for a commercial…I’m just shooting in the dark with regards to finding the link in either the right side or the left side or the right side ( 😛 ) of the page…how would I go about doing that?


    Posted by Graham
  9. May 5, 2009 @ 7:24 am

    Hi Howard (since it’s your podcast this week) –

    Great stuff. I started writing about five years ago, and almost immediately started analyzing my work too much instead of writing. I ended up frustrated after several years of on-again / off-again writing, then quit (this would have been the end of last spring, 2008).

    Finally, around Christmas, I realized I wanted to write more than anything . . . so using Brandon as a model, I decided to write five practice novels before even thinking about getting published.

    Guess what? I finished my first novel — a 75,000-word crime novel — on March 12 (I’ll celebrate that day like it was one of my kids’ birthdays . . . oh, wait, is it!), and I’m now just past the 50,000-word mark on an epic fantasy.

    I’m writing, I’m exploring, I’m loving it. I just wish I hadn’t chased the bumblebee so soon. I’d be a lot father along in my craft than I am now.

    Thanks again for an excellent podcast!


    Jeff Baerveldt

    Posted by Jeff Baerveldt
  10. May 5, 2009 @ 9:04 am

    I have a curse known as the perfectionist gene. This caused me to start many novels, only to stop after chapter three and go back to try to make everything perfect. Then I lost all momentum. I have to give credit to NaNoWriMo for helping me past the problem. It helped me to turn off my perfectionist/analytical gene and just write. Once I got a very rough novel hammered out, then I turned the perfectionism back on. I think of it like working with clay. You first need to get the lump of clay on the wheel so that you have something to work with. Then you can slowly take out the lumps and smooth things out.

    Of course, now my novel has been accepted for publication. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be an ash tray, like all my clay projects did when I was in school.

    Posted by Berin
  11. May 5, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

    I WAS going to ask if there was a way to get an RSS feed for all comments posted on this site. Then I had a bit of a read, including this:

    and lo and behold, the URL to use is:

    It’s a neat feature, and you might link it in the RSS links on the left.

    Posted by Ed
  12. May 5, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

    Hey that’s cool Ed, I’ll add it to the sidebar.

    For those looking for the ad link it’s been added under contact us on the left hand side.

    Posted by admin
  13. May 6, 2009 @ 5:24 am

    One transcript while you wait…

    Posted by Mike Barker
  14. May 7, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

    Good job, Jeff!

    And hats off to Berin as well.

    Posted by John Brown
  15. May 15, 2009 @ 8:21 am

    First off, I just wanted to say how much I love your podcast. Since I discovered it at the first of this season, I’ve waited for each installment with bated breath. So many things you’ve said have helped me in my own writing!

    Next, I want to make a suggestion for a future podcast subject. I’ve been a long-time fantasy writer (though not published…yet), but I’ve recently started experimenting with fantasy humor for the first time. This episode of your podcast left me hungry for more information about writing humor; specifically, how to keep it from going over the top, devices the writer can use, how to weave humor successfully into the plot, etc.

    Thanks so much for a great podcast!


    Posted by Shauna Black