Tag Archives: Glamour in Glass

Writing Excuses 8.37: When Fail Happens in Your Career

What do you do when something goes wrong, really wrong, with your career? What happens if it’s your fault? What about if it’s someone else’s fault?

Mary leads by talking about the Glamour in Glass misprint — the first line was omitted in the hardback — and the difference between her private and public reactions to the issue.  She likens this to similar sorts of situations that might happen on stage in live theater, and how those teams are expected to behave.

Dan tells us about the issue in I Am Not a Serial Killer, which gave some readers fits because it was edited in such a way that readers didn’t know there were supernatural elements in the story until chapter 10.

From these and other experiences, we extrapolate some behaviors you can use, and some things to steer clear of.


Write a character who really screws up, and then take them to the moment where they realize they need to apologize.

The Blinding Knife, by Brent Weeks, narrated by Simon Vance.

Writing Excuses 8.30: Writing Reluctant Characters

What’s a reluctant character? Well, it’s somebody who needs to be dragged along into the adventure, somebody who isn’t the sort of self-motivated, go-getter that we so often populate our books with. These characters feel a lot like real people — our world is full of folks like this. The trick lies in making these characters interesting to read.

We offer some examples from things we’ve read, some general structural tricks, and some of the tools we’ve used in our own work, including examples from Glamour in Glass, The Way of Kings, and The Hollow City.


Create a character who is either weak or reluctant, determine why they are weak or reluctant, and then write the decision point.

Celebromancy, by Michael R. Underwood, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal, who gets to make a light-saber noise as part of the narration…

Writing Excuses 7.28: Project in Depth– Glamour in Glass

Mary talks to us in depth about Glamour in Glass, and yes, there are spoilers. She discusses the challenges she faced with the project, and some of the inspirations and key concepts that drove it.

Brandon, Dan, and Howard fire questions at Mary, and while she’s supposed to be on the spot she fields everything with aplomb (with the exception of that one surprise at 4:42.) We learn about the military applications of the glamour magic system, a system that up until now we’d only seen in the drawing rooms of high society.

The content here is particularly fascinating (and useful!) if you’re looking to write alternate history, as Mary goes into quite a bit of detail about what went into the rather significant changes she made to the history in her books. Her research process is worthy of your close attention.

Hello Kitty at 4:42: The cat’s name is “Pinecone” and its arrival was unexpected.


Have Queen Victoria’s cousin not die. How is history changed?

The Hollow City, by Dan Wells, which, as of this writing, doesn’t show up on Audible’s site. We counsel patience.

Writing Excuses 7.18: Discovering your Voice

James Artimus Owen joined us in front of the live audience at LTUE in February where he was the Guest of Honor. He wanted to talk with us about “voice,” and specifically how to find yours. We talk about the paradox — voice is critical, but new authors who focus how to develop theirs often end up flubbing it.

Each of us gives examples from our own work, and the result is (hopefully) encouraging. You can find your own voice, and if you focus on learning the tools of good writing that discovery is going to come quite naturally. The magic lies in recognizing it.

But we have more to offer than just platitudes. There are plenty of tips and tricks contained herein, so have a nice, long listen or two.

The Cookie That Can Only Be Baked In My Brain: A meme originally baked in the brain of the inimitable R. Stevens. Here, then, is the chocolate chip of credit where it is due.


Find a writing buddy, swap stories halfway through, and then compare notes.

Here, There Be Dragons, by James A. Owen, narrated by Stephen Langton