The Podcast

Writing Excuses is a fast-paced, educational podcast for writers, by writers. It airs weekly, with new episodes appearing each Sunday evening at around 6pm Eastern Time. Episodes vary in length from fifteen to twenty-five minutes, but are usually less than twenty minutes long. The tagline, “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart” isn’t super accurate, time-wise, but it’s a haiku so we’re keeping it.

Our goal is to help our listeners become better writers. Whether they write for fun or for profit, whether they’re new to the domain or old hands, Writing Excuses has something to offer. We love to write, and our listeners do, too.

Your hosts, listed in alphabetical order:

For Season 12 (2017) you’ll hear from these hosts in groups:

The Core Crew: Brandon, Dan, Mary, and Howard
The Chicago Crew: Brandon, Mary Anne, Mary, and Wesley
The Utah Crew: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Piper
The Road Crew varies, recording at conventions where two or more of us are attending. Currently it’s a lot of Dan and Howard, with special guests drawn from the professionals in attendance.


Writing Excuses was created in 2008 under the direction of Jordan Sanderson, with Brandon, Dan, and Howard. They recorded five “seasons” of twenty-five to thirty episodes each. Mary joined the cast in 2011, kicking off Season 6. Their first full-year season together, 2012’s Season 7, won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

WX Hugo win photo by Andrew Williams
Howard, Mary, and Brandon received Hugo trophies in San Antonio while Dan Wells slept soundly in Germany. Photo by Andrew Williams

Wesley Chu, Piper J. Drake, and Mary Anne Mohanraj joined the cast for Season 12, which began in 2017.

Calendar-year seasons have been the Writing Excuses standard since  2012. Five of these 52- or 53-episode seasons (seasons 7 through 11) aired from 2012 through 2016, and it looks like this will be happening again in 2017 with Season 12.

In 2015 the Writing Excuses team celebrated their tenth season by introducing a season-long theme.  WX-10-Logo3For Season 10, the hosts arranged the entire year of podcasts to flow like a single, multi-session master-class designed to walk a writer through the process of creating a story. Listeners liked it, so Brandon, Dan, Mary, and Howard set out to do it again in 2016.

WX-11-Cover-PaleGradient4Season 11, The Elemental Genres, was organized around genre-like elements (sci-fi, romance, comedy, etc) that can be combined and deployed independently of “bookshelf” genres, with an eye toward fully understanding why we’re adding rocket ships, buddy-cops, or quirky footnotes to the stories we tell.

Season 12 currently has the working title “Structure,” which does a small disservice to the fascinating and useful material we’re drilling into. We’ll be covering viewpoint, prose, plotting, outlining, and much more, and we’ll be doing it with a much broader range of expertise with the help of new hosts Mary Anne, Piper, and Wes.