Writing Excuses Episode 19: Plot Twists

Michael Stackpole, author and podcaster, joined us at CONduit, and the four of us tackled plot twists in front of a live audience. Whether you write from a solid outline or discover your plot as you go, we’ve got tricks and tools for you. We talk about “surprising yet inevitable,” the fine art of making our characters miserable, and the importance of foreshadowing (but not telegraphing) the twist.

Liner Notes:

Michael Stackpoles’ official website, and the site where he hosts his podcasts.

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Writing Excuses Episode 18: Q&A at Conduit

While at CONduit, we recorded three episodes of Writing Excuses in front of an audience, and this is the first of those. In this episode we have Dan Willis join us as we take questions from the crowd. The four of us discuss voicing characters, naming things, writing Act II, and how you set about finishing your book.

Oh, and for all of you who have complained that fifteen minutes is not long enough… we ran clear out to 17:30 on this one. Enjoy!

Liner notes:

You can find Dan Willis’ website here: http://www.dansrealm.com/Dans_Realm/Home/Home.html

Orson Scott Card’s Essays on naming:

http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/lessons/2003-03-05-1.shtml and http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/lessons/2003-03-05-2.shtml

And this week, Writing Excuses is sponsored by The Well of Ascension: Book Two of Mistborn Mass Market Paperback by Brandon Sanderson.

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Writing Excuses Episode 17: This Sucks and I’m a Horrible Writer

The Writing Excuses crew tackles writer’s block again, this time approaching the “This Sucks And I’m A Horrible Writer” mindset. Dan relates his Neil Gaiman anecdote, Brandon explains why he’d written so many books before getting published, and Howard throws down the gauntlet on neverending Chapter One revisions. If you’re stuck because you think your current book sucks, this is the podcast for you.

This week from our sponsor Tor, check out Escapement by Jay Lake.

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Writing Excuses Episode 16: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard

Howard kicks this off with his own sure-fire cure for Writers’ Block, “BIC HOK:” Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. The Writing Excuses team takes off from there, discussing the different kinds of Writers’ Block, and how to overcome each of them. We cover free-writing, re-reading and reviewing, and focusing on your motivations for writing… and for NOT writing, which is often the heart of the problem.

This week from our sponsor Tor, check out Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

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Writing Excuses Episode 15: Costs and Ramifications of Magic

This week the Writing Excuses team discusses magic again, this time focusing on the cost of magic. Whether or not your magic system has internally-consistent rules your readers can follow (per Sanderson’s First Law and last week’s ‘cast) you need to consider the ramifications of using magic in the worlds you create. Or at least, that’s what we think. Have a listen and find out why.

Also, this week Howard attempts to create “Tayler’s First Law” using a donkey. It can’t have gone too well, since by the end of the podcast he’s willing to give the donkey away.

This week from our sponsor, Tor: Jack: Secret Histories , by F. Paul Wilson

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Writing Excuses Episode 14: Magic Systems and their Rules

Does magic need rules? Sometimes yes and sometimes no; our intrepid podcasters talk about how to know which situation is which, and explore the pros and cons of each method. We’ll also yak for a while about the differences between Superman and Gandalf, which makes us, if nothing else, huge nerds.

Liner Notes:

Sanderson’s first law

This week from our sponsor, Tor: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B ,by Ben Bova (Editor)

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