Season 02 Archives

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 1: Q&A on Setting and Characters at Mountain Con with John Brown

You didn’t think we’d just keep going with the same old stuff forever, did you? Well, actually we are, but now we’re calling it Season 2. This season begins with a series of episodes recorded at Mountain Con in Layton, UT, each of them rife with wisdom and wonder. This week Writing Excuses is brought … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 1: Q&A on Setting and Characters at Mountain Con with John Brown

Writing Excuses Season 2 Bonus Episode 1: Live at the Mistborn 3 Release

We talk among ourselves about some episodes of this podcast being “crunchy” and others being “fluffy.” “Crunchy” episodes are the ones where we have hard advice about writing. “Fluffy” episodes are the ones where we talk a little more philosophically about the profession. This episode takes “fluffy” to a new, flufftastic level. Here are twenty … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Bonus Episode 1: Live at the Mistborn 3 Release

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 3: Characters with Brandon Mull

No matter how grand your setting, how intense your conflicts, or how tight your plot, at some point you’re going to need characters. Join us as we discuss what makes a character interesting, memorable, and unique. Once again, the team is joined by Brandon Mull of “Fablehaven” fame. Brandon Mull’s website This week Writing Excuses … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 3: Characters with Brandon Mull

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 7: Using Writing Formulas with Bob Defendi

Howard, Dan, and guest Bob Defendi open this episode with some high literary humor. Bob fills in for Brandon as we discuss formulas writers use in crafting stories. But how do we prevent those stories from feeling formulaic? Can the formulas themselves help? We discuss (at a high level) the three-act format, the hero’s journey, … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 7: Using Writing Formulas with Bob Defendi

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 8: The Three Act Structure with Bob Defendi

With Brandon still mysteriously missing, Professor Bob Defendi returns to take Dan and Howard on a magical journey through the three-act format: every step, every element, every nuance of this very common and very helpful writing structure. The only way you could conceivably learn more is in a magic school bus, and frankly we don’t … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 8: The Three Act Structure with Bob Defendi

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 9: Romance, with Dave Wolverton

This week (and for the following two weeks) the Writing Excuses crew is joined by author Dave Wolverton, who also writes under the name David Farland. This week’s topic? ROMANCE. What can four adult males possibly have to say about the subject? The answer: We tell you absolutely everything we know in just sixteen minutes … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 9: Romance, with Dave Wolverton

And now, the Writing Prompt: Your character walks into a room and sees three people whom he or she could end up with. You don’t know which one it will be. Keep the reader guessing (and interested!)

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 10: The Boring Parts

Dave Farland, aka Dave Wolverton again joins the Writing Excuses team, and helps us discuss boredom. Specifically, we cover how to deal with it, how to go about writing those “boring parts” that come between the exciting bits that fuel your writing passion. We talk about skipping ahead, switching viewpoints, following the pain, and trying to … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 10: The Boring Parts

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 11: Talking Publishing and Writing with Dave Wolverton

Dave Wolverton joins us for a third and final episode, and the Writing Excuses team pumps him for information before letting him escape. We find out why he uses two names (David Farland and Dave Wolverton), how to name characters, and why writers don’t jump between genres much. Dave discusses the state of the genre-fiction … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 11: Talking Publishing and Writing with Dave Wolverton

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 14: Writing Habits

We get asked a lot about our writing habits. So your Writing Excuses hosts spend the whole ‘cast discussing their schedules, their work environments, and the things they do to make themselves more productive while keeping themselves creative. Peace and quiet? Clothing? Distractions? Pants? We answer these questions and more. Will any of this work … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 14: Writing Habits

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 16: Non-Human Races

The Writing Excuses crew returns to world-building, this time to discuss the creation of non-human races. Why do genre-fiction writers use aliens and monsters, short folk, tusked folk, or any other variation on “people” who aren’t human? Can new writers successfully recycle the classic Tolkien races and use dwarves, elves, orcs, goblins, and trolls? If … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 16: Non-Human Races

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 17: Website Marketing for Authors

Our producer Jordan Sanderson joins us for this week’s installment, in which we likely make all kinds of enemies among the authorial community by exposing the many things they’re doing wrong with their websites. The fact that you, fair listener, are here reading content on our website shows that you have fine taste in these … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 17: Website Marketing for Authors

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 18: World Building Governments

Let’s get back to world-building, and dig into a tough one: government. In this case we’re talking about government as part of the backdrop, rather than political intrigue as part of the plot. Are you going to create a monarchy, a democracy, or perhaps some crazy, experimental sort of rigidly constitutional representative republic? City-states? Confederations? … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 18: World Building Governments

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 20: Marketing 101 for Creators

Howard takes the moderatorial lead on this episode in which he, Brandon, and Dan are joined by Rob Wells for a discussion of marketing. What is marketing? What’s the difference between marketing and PR?  What’s the difference between a marketing manager and a publicist? How can knowing this help a creator position his or her … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 20: Marketing 101 for Creators

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 22: Marketing 201, Branding for Authors

“Branding,”  not “Brandon,” just so we’re clear. Brand-ING. We open with the definition of “branding,” talking about what it is, and (just as importantly) what it is not. With that out of the way we forge ahead and talk about author brands, brand messaging, and why any of this really matters. We throw down a … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 22: Marketing 201, Branding for Authors

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 23: Avoiding the Cliché with Tracy Hickman

We took Writing Excuses on the road last month for “Life, The Universe, and Everything,” the symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy at Brigham Young University. The Guests of Honor were Tracy and Laura Hickman, and poor Tracy agreed to join us for a podcast or two, recorded in front of a live audience. After … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 23: Avoiding the Cliché with Tracy Hickman

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 24: Writing Habits and Q&A with Tracy Hickman

Tracy Hickman joins us again at “Life, The Universe, and Everything,” and in this episode we let Brandon ask him random questions while Dan and Howard chime in with comments that hopefully don’t detract from the discussion. During the interview Tracy mentions his latest project, XDM: Extreme Dungeon Mastery, but he doesn’t mention the very … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 24: Writing Habits and Q&A with Tracy Hickman

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 25: The Seven Deadly Sins of Slush Stories

Nancy Fulda fills in for Dan for this week’s episode (he was sick, she was in town, huzzah!) but she’s more than just “filling in.” She’s FEATURED. Nancy is the assistant editor for Jim Baen’s Universe, and as such is probably the one who rejected your story. Nancy is also the editor-in-chief and founder of  … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 25: The Seven Deadly Sins of Slush Stories

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 26: How Publishing is Changing in the new Century

Nancy Fulda, assistant editor at Baen’s Universe and  editor-in-chief and founder of Anthology Builder, joins us again while Dan Wells is out celebrating his birthday. We discuss the rise of digital SF magazines, and touch on concepts like user-generated content, the Superconducting Copy Machine, and disruptive technology. We talk about print-on-demand vs. self-publishing, we laugh … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 26: How Publishing is Changing in the new Century

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 28: Applying Critical Reading: “Watchmen”

Last week we talked about reading critically, reading as writers. This week we decided to apply that critical reading skill to Watchmen, the Hugo award-winning graphic novel by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins. We start (once we get past the donuts in our mouths) by breaking it down into character, … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 28: Applying Critical Reading: “Watchmen”

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 30: The Most Important Thing Howard Learned In The Last Year

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 … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 30: The Most Important Thing Howard Learned In The Last Year

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 31: The Most Important Thing Brandon Learned In The Last Year

Here’s the second part of our three-part “what we learned this year” series. This time around Brandon tells us the most important thing he learned this year. Summed up? Gimmicks cannot compensate for bad writing. So… what’s a gimmick? We begin with hooks and pitches, but gimmicks can include things like photo-realistic cover art, internet … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 31: The Most Important Thing Brandon Learned In The Last Year

Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 32: The Most Important Thing Dan Learned In The Last Year

This the third in our series of retrospective episodes. The most important thing Dan learned this year? Being a full-time author is a lot different than he thought it would be. How different? What was Dan expecting? Was he really imagining silk pajamas and a notebook computer on the beach? We talk about the types … Continue reading Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 32: The Most Important Thing Dan Learned In The Last Year