By Writing Excuses | January 27, 2013 - 8:20 pm - Posted in Characters, Season 8, Uncategorized

Who needs a character arc?

Do your side characters, your non-POV characters need some sort of development during the story? We cover what we mean by “arc,” and we lay down some guidelines for who might need an arc, who might not, and what you might take into consideration when writing these characters.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by Philip K. Dick, narrated by Tom Weiner

Writing Prompt: The Hero of the Most Boring Story Ever—your job is to make it interesting.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

By Writing Excuses | January 21, 2013 - 11:43 am - Posted in Characters, Season 8

We called it “Pets” because it’s pithy, but what we’re really talking about here is how to give your story’s animals — horses, dogs, cats — a personality. Why is this important? Why might it be useful? What are the tropes and the common pitfalls? What is the difference between tortoise-shell, calico, and piebald?

(We don’t actually answer that last one.)

Whether you’re using animals as a sounding board, for raising the stakes, or as an early-warning system (or as all three) you’ll want to give this a listen.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Making Money, by Terry Pratchett narrated by Stephen Briggs

Writing Prompt: Write a human interacting with an alien, and the alien has a conspicuous companion animal who is critically important to the alien's life.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

By Writing Excuses | January 13, 2013 - 4:00 pm - Posted in Characters, Conflicts, Education, Fantasy, Ideas, Outlining, Plot, Prose, Season 8, Setting, Structure

Beowulf didn’t kill Grendel on a day trip, Luke didn’t overthrow Emperor Palpatine in just one season, and here at Writing Excuses, we didn’t get around to properly discussing the Hero’s Journey until we were well into the second decade of this century.

Sorry about that.

The Campbellian Monomyth, as defined in Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces, is a system of comparative mythology that, for better or for worse, gets used a lot by writers. We talk about some of our favorite examples, and immediately begin arguing over terms. Hopefully this is delightful to you, and educational for everyone. Especially since the monomyth is not a checklist, and it should not be taken that way.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: At the time we recorded this, Hero With a Thousand Faces was available on Audible. It's not anymore. So... go find something else educational?

Writing Prompt: Take Goldilocks and the Three Bears, apply the Campbellian Monomyth, and give us a short story.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

By Howard Tayler | January 8, 2013 - 4:16 pm - Posted in Site News, Submitting

Last year we announced the first ever Writing Excuses Retreat, and an awesome scholarship to go along with it. We’ve never done an event like this before, but we feel pretty good about it, and we think it will be a big help to a lot of writers, and we don’t want that group to be limited by money. If you’re a good writer, eager to become better, but can’t quite afford a week-long conference, we want to give you our scholarship. But there’s only one week left.

The scholarship application deadline is January 15–just a few days away. If you were thinking about applying but never got around to it, there’s still time! If this is the first you’ve heard of it, jump in and go for it! The application process is involved, because we want to make sure this goes to the right person, but we really think it’s worth it. Read all the application info here (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/11/05/the-out-of-excuses-writing-retreat-and-the-thats-a-pretty-good-excuse-scholarship/), follow those instructions exactly*, and let’s make this happen.

Good luck!

(*Note: Seriously, follow the instructions exactly. We winnow applicants the way publishers winnow slush…)

By Writing Excuses | January 6, 2013 - 4:38 pm - Posted in Career, NaNoWriMo, Q&A, Season 8

We’re back for 2013 and Season 8, so let’s start it off by answering all your questions! That’s right, it’s time for a fast-paced, lightning round of microcasting! It’s like eight very, very short podcasts in one.

  • Why do some authors only ever come out with one or two books?
  • What’s your process for writing fast under artificial deadlines (NaNoWriMo)?
  • How do you avoid getting bogged down in explanation?
  • What happened to your Hero of a Thousand Faces episode? (Whoops! See below.)
  • Are there concerns or pitfalls regarding the use of metaphors and similes in genre fiction?
  • What are some pitfalls to writing short stories?
  • How do you write sex scenes? (Note: This particular question resulted in an entire episode back in Season 7. Shanna Germain to the rescue!)
  • Have any of you included original poems in your work?

Whoops! We lock-stepped this episode to the release of A Memory of Light, but we ALSO locked it to air after our Hero of a Thousand Faces discussion. Crass commercialism trumps continuity! You’ll get the hero’s journey next week.

Incidentally: If you’re eligible to nominate things for the 2013 Hugo Awards, here’s a list of the things we’ve done which are eligible.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: A Memory of Light: Wheel of Time, Book 14, by  Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading.

Writing Prompt: What does SFPA stand for?

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

By Mary Robinette Kowal | January 5, 2013 - 3:56 pm - Posted in Site News

For your convenience, we’re putting together this list of what works each of us have eligible for the Hugo and Nebula awards. In case, you know, you were looking for things to consider.

Related Work

  • Writing Excuses Season 7

Why is this under related work and not podcast? Because as far as we can tell from the rules, our podcast is considered professional and thus not eligible in the fan category. So– Related Work

Graphic Story:

Novel

  • Glamour in Glass — Mary Robinette Kowal
  • The Hollow City — Dan Wells
  • Partials — Dan Wells

Novella

  • Legion – Brandon Sanderson
  • Isolation – Dan Wells
  • The Emperor’s Soul — Brandon Sanderson  (He will send The Emperor’s Soul to Hugo nominators for free. they should email which Worldcon they are a member of to ebooks@brandonsanderson.com.)

Novelete

  • “Flight of the Runewright” — Howard Tayler
  • “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” – Mary Robinette Kowal  
  • “Mecury Retrograde” – Mary Robinette Kowal

Short story