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 work? We’ll answer these questions and more…

Writing Prompt: Come up with 25 words that distill everything you want to say about your next work.


Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 19: Do Creative Writing Classes Help

Brandon and Dan met during a creative writing class at Brigham Young University, and Brandon went on to get a Master’s Degree in the field. Howard has no formal training in the field. This begs the question… do creative writing classes help? Are they worth the time?

Short answer: Yes, but maybe not in the way you were expecting.

We discuss not only the formal education aspects of creative writing, but also the value of informal education — attending conventions and sitting in on panel discussions about the craft.  If you are looking to become a professional writer and are pondering your education options, this podcast is a must-hear. A must-listen-carefully, even.

Writing Prompt: Fore! In this case, a golf metaphor. But not a pun. Please.


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? Empires? What’s it going to be, and (more importantly) why?

Oh, and how do you do it right?

Writing Prompt:  Create a government by starting with “Colon Cleansers,” and then taking two steps back to create something unique.


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 things, and trust us to lead you right. And we will! We’ll do you proper on blogging, domain names, hosting, connecting with fans and editors, and taking care regarding your rants.

Writing Prompt: Write a story about the worst website ever.

Liner Notes: It should be pointed out that John Ringo‘s website has come a long way since Howard last looked at it. Good work, John!  We also mentioned websites from George R.R. Martin, David Farland, John Scalzi, and of course Brandon Sanderson. Brandon also mentioned holaservers.com. Congratulations, Earl!


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 not, how can new races best be created?

How can races be made “three-dimensional?” What are the common pitfalls? How much religion, culture, and physiology do you have time to create? Why are the rabidly violent fans of the Klingon race going to come after Howard with a cheap, plastic bat’leth? (Answer: Because they have no honor.)

Writing Prompt: Create a believable Alien and write something from his/her perspective.


Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 15: Knowing When To Begin

When do you know when you’re ready to begin? What does that question even mean? Apparently Brandon gets asked it a lot, though, so he posed it for the group. How do you know when that story in your head is ready for you to start writing it? Or maybe, how do you know you’re ready to start writing that story that’s up in your head? Or perhaps, when do you know when in that story in your head you should begin writing it, assuming you’re ready?

Confused yet? If you’re ready to begin listening, we’re ready to begin making more sense.

Writing Prompt: Write an ending, and start your book with it.