February 13th, 2011

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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 31: The Most Important Thing Brandon Learned in the Last Year

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 31: The Most Important Thing Brandon Learned in the Last Year

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/05/10/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-31-the-most-important-thing-brandon-learned-in-the-last-year/

Key points: Gimmicks cannot compensate for bad writing. Gimmicks may sell some books, but good solid writing keeps readers coming back. Excellent writing is enough of a hook to carry a book. The trick is to write really good writing. Once readers crack the book, the writing has to carry it. Focus on the writing first.
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[Howard] This has been Writing Excuses. It is my delightful responsibility right now to point at Brandon and asked him for a writing prompt. Brandon?
[Brandon] Have a person who's got the greatest gimmick ever for a book that they're going to write the story, but then in real life that thing happens to them. Whatever it is they're going to write their book about, that's just going to be this wacky crazy gimmick, it happens to them.
[Dan] [garble]
[Brandon] Thank you for listening.
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 32: What Dan Learned Last Year

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 32: What Dan Learned Last Year

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/05/17/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-32-the-most-important-thing-dan-learned-in-the-last-year/

Key points: being a full-time author is a lot of work. Self-employment means you are a small business owner, taking care of finances, taxes, publicity -- everything. Forums and websites and fans, oh my! Beware editors bearing changes -- that we need tomorrow. Learn to deal with long-term task switching. Get used to working on a schedule, with deadlines.
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[Brandon] Let's wrap this up with a writing prompt from Mister Wells.
[Dan] A writing prompt? All right. I want you to write the first page of a story. Then stop and write the first page of a different story. Then go back and finish the first story.
[Brandon] Part of the fun of these podcasts is listening to us make each other struggle to come up with a writing prompt. This has been Writing Excuses. Join us next week for the last episode of the season.
Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 33: How Not to Be Overwhelmed

Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 33: How Not to Be Overwhelmed

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/05/25/writing-excuses-season-2-episode-33-how-to-not-be-overwhelmed/

Key points: beware of being overwhelmed by stuff -- too much podcasting, too much writing book advice, too much too much. Learning writing is like learning to play an instrument -- you aren't an expert at the beginning, and when you're practicing, you focus on specific aspects. Don't let the permanency of writing fool you -- you can always change it! Write something, and learn from your mistakes. Pick your favorite scene and write that. Get into the habit of writing. Kill the great golden idea -- you will have lots of ideas. Give yourself a deadline and develop the plot, or just start writing -- but get away from the worldbuilding and do something. Until you try writing, you don't know whether you like it or not.
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[Brandon] Writing prompt. I'm going to go ahead and do it this week. Write a story about my friend Nameless.
[Howard] Oh dear. And his name isn't John.
[Brandon] No, his name isn't John. Nameless, I will see you for lunch on Thursday. This is been Writing Excuses.
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Writing Excuses Season Three Episode One: World Building History

Writing Excuses Season Three Episode One: World Building History

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/06/01/writing-excuses-season-3-episode-1-world-building-history/

Key points: You don't have to write a history book, you need to create the illusion that the history exists. You need to know which parts of the history are important to your story. Small details can give historical rounding and fullness. You can't spell history without spelling story, too. People like to believe that there are causes in history, but beware monocausationalism -- everything has multiple causes. Pay attention to the reason you are worldbuilding history -- and if it isn't adding to the story, stop. Write your story -- then look for points of conflict and worldbuild there, or as you stumble across important parts, worldbuild those. It's always okay to go back and fix it.
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[Howard] Writing prompt. There's a war. You're writing a historical paragraph about a war that has five distinct causes. Come up with all five and justify them.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. We are done, you are out of excuses, now go write.
BrainUnderRepair
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Writing Excuses Season Three Episode Four: Nonlinear Storytelling

Writing Excuses Season Three Episode Four: Nonlinear Storytelling

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2009/06/08/writing-excuses-season-3-episode-4-non-linear-story-telling/

Pivotal iotas: Use nonlinear storytelling sparingly. Don't lose the reader in the flashbacks. Beware the explanatory info dump. In medias res -- starting in the middle of the story -- and flashbacks to fill in the backstory can provide suspense, but don't overdo it. You can fill in backstory with dialogue and other means, you don't always have to do major flashbacks. Pay attention to the reader's learning curve -- speculative fiction plus nonlinear storytelling can make it really hard to read.
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[Brandon] We're out of time. Let's have Dan give us a writing prompt.
[Dan] I want you to write a story about a flashback that is completely false and made up.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.