At the time this podcast airs, Jeph Jacques’ Permanence project on Kickstarter has just nine days left. Jeph joined us at GenCon Indy to talk discovery writing with Brandon, Mary, and Howard, and yes, we totally agreed to plug his rock-and-roll side-gig in exchange.

Jeph Jacques is best known for Questionable Content, and by way of disclosure, Brandon has been a QC fan for years. He’s a discovery writer, and he has written himself into more than one corner. We ask him how far ahead he works, how he develops an idea, and especially how he fixes things if his discovery writing has taken him someplace he needs to get back out of.

His first step is to admit that he is, in fact, stuck in a corner. One of his tricks is a tool any of you can use in any project, Oblique Strategies, in which a random phrase (drawn from a deck of cards, or generated for you on the web) challenges you to rethink the spot that your story is in.

Obviously there’s more to it than that, but this? This is not where you’ll find the transcript. Transcripts end up here.


Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks, narrated by Peter Kenny

Writing Prompt: Go back to whatever you wrote most recently and come up with a different solution for the scene, changing the emotional beat of the scene.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 1st, 2013 at 3:00 pm and is filed under Guest, Live Audience, Season 8, 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. September 1, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    So, with the contrast of comic preparation methods between Howard and Jeph (Howard’s being several weeks in advance; Jeph’s being done the night of), I must ask: Howard, how did you build up that buffer?

    Posted by Rashkavar
  2. September 1, 2013 @ 9:53 pm


    You guys are the best. You deserve it so much!

    Posted by Brandi
  3. September 2, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    Looks like this was the 2nd in the series, but from the reviews you don’t need to read the first to understand the second.

    Posted by Jo
  4. September 2, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

    I have bookmarked Oblique Strategies. Thanks!

    Posted by Matthew Sample II
  5. September 2, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

    Congrats on the well-deserved HUGO!!!!

    Posted by M.A.
  6. September 3, 2013 @ 11:09 am

    Thrilled to learn the podcast team has won the Hugo! Congratulations!!!
    Thanks for all the time and effort everyone at Writing Excuses has put into the show for the past eight seasons. You’ve helped so many of us writers grow with all the craft tips, stories, observations, etc. Thank you!

    Posted by Dale Ivan Smith
  7. September 3, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    He looked at the shadows in the alley, and shivered a little. Then he stepped forward. The corner was just a few steps away.

    He didn’t know that just around the corner…

    there was a transcript? Oh, well, he sat down and started to read. :-)


    Posted by 'nother Mike
  8. September 3, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    Architectiest of architects!

    Posted by r a i
  9. September 30, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

    […] invention until Jeph Jacques, author and artist of Questionable Content, mentioned it during his recent appearance on the (Hugo Award-winning) Writing Excuses […]

  10. October 9, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

    […] writing. The wonderful, beautiful, fantastical podcast Writing Excuses recently did a show entitled ‘Digging Yourself Out of Holes’ which explored this topic a bit. As they explain in the […]

  11. February 9, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

    […] and Steve discuss writing obstacles.  Matt introduces the concept of discovery writing and suggests a favorite podcast of his.  Steve recommends the short stories of Tobias […]