By Writing Excuses | September 26, 2010 - 7:26 pm - Posted in Horror, Humor, Mystery, Pacing, Suspense

This episode of Writing Excuses features our special guest, Smokey-Smoke Sanderson who spent the first half of September on tour abusing his voice.

Suspense! What is it? What isn’t it? What is the relationship between suspense and mystery, and for that matter horror, humor, and adventure? This ‘cast is chock full of pithy quotes, useful advice, and anecdotal examples.

Oh, and a bomb. THERE IS A BOMB HIDDEN UNDER THE TABLE.

DUN DUN DUN DUUNNNN!

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, which was the #1 bestselling book on Audible the week prior to this recording. Forty-five hours and thirty minutes of Sandersonian fantastical goodness, read by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading.

Writing Prompt: “I have coated my left hand with magical ink.”

That Episode on Pacing We Promised to Link To: Right here, and it features James Dashner!

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By Writing Excuses | February 27, 2011 - 10:11 pm - Posted in Characters, Guest, Horror, Humor, Setting, Suspense

Sherrilyn Kenyon, a multiple New York Times bestselling author of all kinds of novels, helps us tackle the tricky work of making the reader fear for the characters in the book.

The first step? Make the reader sympathize with the characters. Then make the reader love them. And then? Then you put them through the wringer while your readers bite their nails bloody in horror.

Here in the blurb we make it sound easy and formulaic. Listen to the ‘cast for pointers on the difficult bits.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Night Pleasures: The Dark Hunters, Book 1, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, narrated by Carrington MacDuffie

Writing Prompt: Take a Lovecraftian beastie and shove him into The Shire.

Legal Note: The Lovecraftian beastie may lie in the public domain, but The Shire most certainly does not. Additional points for making your Shire and your Hobbits C&D-proof with clever name changes and a shave of their feet.

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.

By Writing Excuses | February 17, 2013 - 2:08 pm - Posted in Other Podcasts, Season 8, Suspense

Double the Wells brothers for double the fun! Robison Wells joins us for a discussion of cliffhangers. Rob and Dan can be found together on another podcast called Do I Dare to Eat a Peach.

Rob’s first novel, Variant, ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, which is resolved in Feedback, the second novel. Rob confesses to us that he likes leaving readers wondering about portions of the world-building — that’s the 90% of the iceberg invisible beneath the surface of the water. He also withholds lots of information from the reader, and does so without cheating since the POV character has no way to know these things.

We talk at length about how we keep information from the reader, and how the less we tell, the more suspense we can provide.

The Variant cliffhanger is a particularly sharp one. Rob defends it for us, and talks about why he and his editors decided to conclude the first book in the series the way they did. Mary discusses how she handles pacing with internal cliffhangers at chapter breaks. Dan tells us about some interesting reader reaction to Partials.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Variant and Feedback by Robison Wells, both narrated by Michael Goldstrom

Writing Prompt: Write the story of the scary, scary shade from Phantom of the Opera.

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

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By Writing Excuses | April 14, 2013 - 6:58 pm - Posted in Scenes, Season 8, Suspense

We begin with an audio glitch and a jumbling of our usual intro. Why? Because it breaks rhythm, and sometimes you may actually want to do that.

Narrative rhythm is the pattern of story elements and associated structures that help drive the reader’s pace through a book. Consciously managed, narrative rhythm is a a critical pacing tool, but can also be used to point up important information, increase the impact of certain scenes, and even encourage the reader to take a breather.

We talk about examples from film (it’s not the same thing, but it’s easy to make the point this way), as well as examples from our own work. Scenes and sequels, chapter breaks, cliffhangers, and more all come in to play here.  And of course you, fair listener, want to know how to manage narrative rhythm, and we cover some tips and tricks for that, too. 

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Book of Three: The Prydain Chronicles, Volume 1, by Lloyd Alexander

Writing Prompt: Re-write a classic fairy-tale, first with nothing but rising action, and then with the addition of some falling action.

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

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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.