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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Writing Excuses 4.3: How to Manage Your Influences

How do you avoid letting other people’s work creep into your own? We’re all influenced by the media we partake in whether we admit it or not. How much of those influences should we allow into our own work? How do we control that?

As we engage the topic, we admit that sometimes we want to be influenced, and that letting those influences do their work is a good thing. But this isn’t the podcast where we cover that. This is the podcast where we talk about tuning that out.

We also talk about tuning out the influence of those who are critiquing or commenting on our work. These might be fellow members of the writing group or other early readers, or they might (especially in Howard’s case) be outspoken members of your audience ranting on web forums or wikis.

And then we talk about whether or not we should allow Brandon to influence our work. Take that, Brandon! (Take it, in fact, all the way out to nineteen minutes and six seconds!)

Audiobook Plug: The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Writing Prompt: Write a story, and pretend that a famous historical figure is looking over your shoulder and offering advice while you write.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

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Writing Excuses 4.2: Heroism

If you want to write a good, heroic hero, this is the podcast for you. We’re not necessarily talking about the archetypical, classically-defined, capital-H “Hero” in this podcast, though. We’re talking about what makes readers stand up and cheer.

And yes, this can be applied to the archetype, but let’s not digress.

We talk about perseverance, sacrifice, hard work, fear-facing, and a bunch of other attributes that we find inherently heroic.

Audiobook Plug: The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Writing Prompt: Write a scene in which a character makes a noble sacrifice and is not rewarded.

Mystery Soundbite! We have no idea who those gents with mouthfuls of marshmallows were, but Jordo caught them on tape…

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible. Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

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Writing Excuses 4.1: Types of Humor

Welcome to Writing Excuses Season 4, featuring new, shorter episode titles! Also, if you don’t count the bonus episodes or the Parsec Award Acceptance Speech, this is our 100th Episode!

Brandon kicks this off by asking “What does Howard do that’s funny?” and then by categorizing the sorts of things he finds Howard doing. Obviously this puts no pressure whatsoever on Howard to be funny during the podcast. Which is good, because he really wasn’t, cold medicine notwithstanding. Again, we manage talk about humor without being funny.

We manage to cover character-based humor, physical humor, and non-sequitur, brushing alongside cognitive humor and exaggeration as we go, but hey… we only had 15 minutes to work with. Oh, and we ran over by 4 minutes and fifty-seven seconds.

Writing Prompt: Write something funny using non-sequiturs and cold medicine.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible. Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

Audible® Free Trial Details
Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation.

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Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 32: Collaboration

For starters, let’s clear the air. Yes, the first episode of the new year is also the last episode of Writing Excuses Season 3. And yes, we’ll be getting Season 2 and Season 3 on CDs pretty soon here.

Collaboration! This is one of our all-time most requested topics, and we’re covering it now because we still haven’t done much actual collaborating but we want to talk about it anyway. Why? Because we each have some collaborations planned (including one for all three of us, but shhh… it’s still a secret) and it will be fun to talk about this again in a year or so and argue about all the things we got wrong this time around.

But you should still listen to what we say here in our collaborative infancy. That way you can lord it up over us when we flip-flop after having attempted to work together.

You should also pay attention when we tell you beginning writers why you should not be collaborating. And then we’ll give you some procedural tips for when you decide to collaborate anyway.

Writing Prompt: Write a story (all by yourself) about a collaboration which goes horribly, horribly wrong.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible. Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

Audible® Free Trial Details
Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation.

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