mbarker: (Default)
Hi. If you're looking here for the Writing Excuses Transcript, try over here...

http://community.livejournal.com/wetranscripts/387.html


I set up a community just for the transcripts, so I can separate the postings. The general link from now on to the transcripts is going to be

http://community.livejournal.com/wetranscripts/

I'll be copying the old transcripts over there, but it will take a while. Hope this helps.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses 5.20: More Dialogue Exercises

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/01/16/writing-excuses-5-20-more-dialog-exercises/

Key Points: Make sure characters have different personalities. A little banter goes a long way. Practice and good writing group comments can help. Think about how to evoke character and make it interesting. Beware narrative and description forced into dialogue. Keep the dialogue natural. Short, the way most people talk. Trust your readers to make connections, to put things together and figure out what is going on and why.
exercises by the listeners )
[Brandon] I'm going to read those. We'll just skip the writing prompt. I'm just going to end this by reading some Saberhagen. All right?
[Dan] OK. Nice.
[Brandon] Hear me, for I am Ardneh. Ardneh who rides the elephant, who wields the lightning, who rends fortifications as the rushing passage of time consumes cheap cloth. You slay me in this avatar, but I live on in other human beings. I am Ardneh, and in the end, I will slay thee, and thou wilt not live on.
Hear me, Ekuman. Neither by day nor by night will I slay thee. Neither with the blade nor with the bow... neither by the edge of the hand nor with the fist... neither with the wet nor with the dry.

The next line is him dying.
[Dan] Sweet. Talk about promises to the reader.
[Brandon] Yeah. There we are. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses 5.19: Fulfilling Promises to Your Readers

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/01/09/writing-excuses-5-19-fulfilling-promises-to-your-readers/

Key points: Be careful of memorable, vivid phrases. Beware of a gorilla in a phone booth derailing your story. "Don't put a gorilla in the phone booth if that's not what your story is about." Watch out for "bait and switch" endings (aka deus ex machina). When the rest of the story has built expectations, don't yank the rug out from under them. Ask yourself, "Where am I spending my time?" That is making a promise. Beware deus ex wrench, things going wrong without foreshadowing. Cool twists may break promises, especially when they shift genres. Make sure you have enough foreshadowing, and that if you put a gorilla in the phone booth, you let him call Chekhov by the end.
gorilla costumes? )
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses... except we need a writing prompt. Howard?
[Howard] OK. Um... promises, promises, promises. All right.
[Brandon] Oh, I made you do it the other time. So you have to do it again. Dan'll do it next time.
[Howard] No, we'll be fine. I'll get this. I just... it's right here on the tip of my tongue. Think of all the times that... in grade school, you or a friend of yours said something and said, "I promise." Any time that a child has made a promise in that sort of a context. Pick a really good... and that usually means in child context, stupid promise that a kid has made. Now use that as the leaping off point for a promise that you're going to keep in a book.
[Brandon] OK. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[Howard] I'll be your best friend.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses 5.18: Offending Your Readers

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/01/02/writing-excuses-5-18-offending-your-readers/

Key Points: Eschew the egregious offense of over-explaining. Don't talk down to readers. Be careful of racial and gender demographics, BUT don't make your characters stereotypes, either. Be inclusive, but mostly, make your characters people. Burn the strawmen, dynamite Potemkin villages, and don't stack the deck. Don't moralize or preach, trust your readers. Let them read the story, learn who the characters are and what's happening, and draw their own lessons from it. Theme and realizations are one thing, soapbox orations are another. Finally, beware broken promises, especially when it is a shortcut that defaults on what could have been. But we'll come back to broken promises another time. That's a promise.
The best offenses are good defenses? )
[Brandon] I'm going to break it and say you have to... your writing prompt is to write... what was it, a vampire romance? No, a werewolf romance that does not appear it at first... that does not break any promises.
[Dan] Looks like it's going to be hard science fiction.
[Howard] Start with space opera... er, not space opera. Yeah. Start with hard science fiction, move into werewolf romance... in three paragraphs?
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, and you're stupid.
[Dan] You're out of excuses and nobody likes you.
[Brandon] Sorry, I couldn't help it. Don't be offended.
[Howard] You're out of excuses, and Brandon has no self-control.
mbarker: (Burp)
Writing Excuses 5.17: Dialogue Exercises

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/12/27/writing-excuses-5-17-dialog-exercises/

Key Points: Make your characters identifiable from their dialogue alone. Make sure there's a sense of the world, the setting, and action. If you use dialect, do it sparingly, but be consistent. Word choice, sentence length, verbal quirks, social position -- any and all of these can be used to differentiate your characters. And don't forget the interplay of the characters, too.
talk, talk, talk... )
[Brandon] So we'll go ahead and do a writing prompt. Dan?
[Howard] Ha, ha!
[Dan] Oh, man. Okay. You are walking down a back alley and you meet Jason from Dragonmount and he's getting all uppity about how he had a great writing sample. What do you do to him?
[Brandon] Okay. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (Default)
Writing Excuses 5.16: Critiquing Dan's First Novel

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/12/19/writing-excuses-5-16-critiquing-dans-first-novel/

Key Points: Avoid discontiguities. Stomp out the cliche that all fantasy starts with a long, dry, boring description. Character before things! Punch it up and show us a character's viewpoint. Consider your genre, but put the promise of the story as early as possible. Start the story where it starts, and don't tell us all the stuff you wanted to tell us, just start it and go. You don't have to fill in everything. One telling detail beats pages of prose. Evoke plot, character, and setting. Make each sentence do multiple things. When you rewrite, make decisions. Consider your pace, and rearrange information as needed.
Between the bindings... )
[Brandon] All right, Dan. I'm going to let you give us our writing prompt.
[Dan] Our writing prompt?
[Howard] And remember that time travelers may be reading this writing prompt for last week.
[Dan] May be reading this right now? Okay. This is... take an idiomatic expression and literalize it. So, for example, the crack of dawn... a world in which dawn actually cracks, visibly or audibly. Then describe that going on. Not as a pun, but as world building information.
Final jokes )
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses 5.12: Time Travel!

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/12/12/writing-excuses-5-12-time-travel/

Key Points: Treat your writing professionally. Learn your own process. Don't just wish, start! Shut up and start. Be wary of collaboration. Be true to yourself, write the books you care about. Try out different ways of writing (outlining, discovery writing, etc.) early. Try new things! Pay attention to what you love, and don't worry. You can make a living writing books.
Across the great time barrier... )
[Brandon] All right. Your writing prompt is to go forward in time and get next week's writing prompt and write a story based on it.
[Dan] Nice.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (MantisYes)
Writing Excuses 5.15: Steampunk with Scott Westerfeld

from http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/12/05/writing-excuses-5-15-steampunk-with-scott-westerfeld/

Key points: Steampunk is Victorian science fiction, extrapolated without restriction to current notions of possibility. It's also very tactile. Fashions and manners and brass and chrome and leather. Plus flamethrowers. Not just a literary genre. To write Steampunk, start with alternate history world building, and add other technologies -- crazy weird stuff. The familiar and the strange. Do your research, but don't bury the characters and the story under the world. "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong." Cherie Priest.
Under the steam robot clanking... )
[Howard] Final piece of advice for us, Scott? For writers who want to embrace the steamy punkiness of the Victorian era?
[Brandon] Or just any writing advice?
[Scott] Well, I'll quote Cherie Priest. "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong."
[Brandon] Writing prompt is Tesla is President. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Writing Excuses 5.14: Visual Components of Novels with Scott Westerfeld
From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/11/28/writing-excuses-5-14-visual-components-of-novels-with-scott-westerfeld/

Key Points: Maps and illustrations can add a sense of immersion, but they should be meaningful. Illustrations also can force the text novelist to pay more attention to setting, clothing, and other "background" details.
Scissors, paper, rock? )
[Brandon] All right. Well, we're out of time. Howard, I'm going to make you give us a writing prompt.
[Howard] OK. I'm going to make you draw a picture. I want you to draw, from above, draw the floor plan of the house or the building that you are in. Now write an action scene that involves knocking out one of those walls.
[Brandon] OK. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing excuses 5.13: How do you write the second book?

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/11/21/writing-excuses-5-13-writing-the-second-book/

Key Points: The second published book may be mechanically easier, but emotionally harder. Your first book may not have an ending, which can teach you to start with a resolution for the second book. Your first book may fail because you are thinking too big, and need to find a story with a cohesive beginning and end. Your first book may teach you that "you can do this." To make the second book easier, learn the terms for what you are doing (e.g. POV, third person limited, character). After finishing book one, trying to write a sequel often is hard because you need a new character arc, something new for the character to learn. Coming up with a compelling new storyline after putting the galaxy in peril can be tough. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. "Stories are good because people you care about are doing things you care about." [Brandon]
Second system syndrome? )
[Brandon] All right. Zombie John Brown. Writing prompt.
[John] Writing prompt. You have developed some strange thing... your character has developed some strange thing on his nose. So you get three different things that you could do. Somebody comes up and says, "I think that's an alien." Or somebody comes up from the occult and says, "I think I know what that is." Or it's a love story. It develops into a love story. Not with the growth. With somebody else.
the camel's nose )
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses 5.11: Micro-Casting Number Two

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/11/14/writing-excuses-5-11-micropocasting-2/

Key points:
-- How do you do bad things to your hero character without feeling bad about it?
I do feel their pain.
-- How far into writing a novel should you begin letting others read it for feedback?
When you are finished with the story. Beware of story hijacking.
-- Do the bad things you do to your characters always have to suit the story?
They need to be motivated and properly set up.
-- How do you design frightening monsters?
Take away the eyebrows. Let them do mundane, real things. Keep them in the shadows.
-- How far into the outlining process do you actually start writing?
When I am excited and want to start writing. When I have a good sense of where the story is going, where it needs to end, and more or less how it needs to get there. When it's done.
And lots more words... )
[Brandon] All right. Well. Let's go ahead and go with our writing prompt. I'm going to say Howard, give it to us.
[Howard] You, in an extremely, extremely spur-of-the-moment sort of living-in-the-moment thing have decided that instead of fight club, it's zoo club. And you have just punched an elephant. Hard. What happens next?
[Dan] You get arrested.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses, you're out of excuses...
[Howard] Now go to jail.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Writing Excuses 5.10: John Brown and the Creative Process

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/11/07/writing-excuses-5-10-john-brown-and-the-creative-process/

Key points: How do you get ideas? Everyone can be creative. When you have a problem, you ask questions, and you come up with answers -- that's creativity. An important part is asking the right questions. To get answers, be on the lookout for zing! Then ask questions, and answer them. Immerse yourself in situations that interest you, and look for tools there. Ask the right questions. For story, think about character, setting, problem, and plot. Look for combinations. Be on the lookout for zings, ask specific questions, then come up with solutions. Make lists and see what's interesting. What are the worst ideas I can think of, and how can I make those ideas really attractive? How can I transform this scene? How do you develop ideas? Ask the right questions. Look for conflicts, look for interest. Look for defining moments. How do you know when to start writing? Freewrite, and see if it's ready. Watch for the click. Watch for the spin. Try to tell it to someone.
an idea-packed session awaits your click... )
[Brandon] All right. A person gets... this is going to be our writing prompt, officially. A person gets surgery so that they can imitate He Who Does Not Sleep. Why? This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[John] All right.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Writing Excuses 5.9: Character Arcs with John Brown

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/31/writing-excuses-5-9-character-arcs/

Key points: Character arcs are about character's change, growth, learning. Often either as a problem in the plot or to provide a key to unlock the problem in the plot. You can either plan where you want the character to go, or throw an issue at them and see what they learn. Watch for being bored with a character -- often a sign of a failing character arc. Make sure they have highs and lows, pits and dilemmas and tests, learning and decisions.
Down in the pits )
[Dan] Oh, sweet. Well, all right then. Your characters are trapped on an emotionally-responsive roller coaster that mimics their own emotional arc. How do they use that knowledge to escape?
[Brandon] Oh, that's genius. Okay. Man, you just earned your check.
[Dan] Yay!
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
Public Service Announcement )
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses 5.8: The Excuses You're Out Of

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/24/writing-excuses-5-8-the-excuses-youre-out-of/

Key points: Pay attention to the excuses you make. Figure out how to resolve them, and then write. "I don't have a muse" often means you're not comfortable -- figure out what works for you. Sometimes it means "I don't any good ideas." This usually means I don't know where to start. Just start! "I'm discouraged, I'm not very good." The more you write, the better you get. "I don't have time." Cut something out, fit writing in. "I'm working, but nothing gets done." Use a timer to control email, blog, etc. time.
hanging prepositions and other outlaw grammar )
[Brandon] All right. Writing prompt is, for some reason, you need to change your shoes or else something extremely terrible is going to happen, but there is some really, really bad... some reason why you don't change your shoes.
[Howard] Oh. Thank you for saving us, Brandon.
[Brandon] You're out of... this has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses for real...
[Dan] For real this time.
[Howard] We mean it.
[Brandon] Now go write.
mbarker: (Smile)
Writing Excuses 5.3: First-Person Viewpoint

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/19/writing-excuses-5-3-first-person-viewpoint/

Key points: first-person let's you really get into the character's head. With first-person, the reader doesn't know how reliable they are. First person is very immediate. Beware of dropping out of that immediacy, especially to describe appearances or other things that the character would not stop to think about. Think about how the character would tell the story. Be careful of getting so wrapped up in the voice that you lose the story.
Out of the character's head? )
[Bree] Your character has a secret. We don't know what it is, but how would they get around hinting at that secret without giving it away?
[Brandon] All right. That's your story prompt. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Writing Excuses 5.2: Character Quirks

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/12/we-5-2-character-quirks/

Key points: Character quirks make character different and memorable. Beware going to far with quirks. Incongruity helps - profession, religion, whatever - square pegs in round holes!
Not Captain Quirk? )
[Brandon] All right. I'm going to force Howard to give us our writing prompt this week.
[Howard] Okay. I'm going to ponder this for just long enough to determine that the quirk for your writing prompt is a physical attribute that in some way influences this character's religion.
[Brandon] Okay. They have some sort of physical attribute that makes up their religion, influences their religion. That's a great one! This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses 5.7: Avoiding Melodrama

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/17/writing-excuses-5-7-avoiding-melodrama/

Key points: Melodrama grows out of one-sidedness. Make your characters real people. Avoid cliche. Set up your emotional scenes. Make characters likable. Variation and contrasts add spice.
lots of melodrama, and a dramatic reading! )
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Five Episode One: Third Person Limited

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/07/we-5-1-third-person-limited/

Key points: third person limited let you have multiple viewpoints. Also, you can portray characters sympathetically because you can show the reader their thoughts and their view of the world. Third limited is less biased than first-person narration. Avoid having too many characters too early. Be careful about withholding information from the reader -- third person limited is expected to be honest. Watch for point of view errors! Keep it limited to what the main character knows and feels. Realize the strengths -- third person limited lets you show different perspectives. Think about which viewpoint to use -- who has the most pain, who has to make the biggest decision, who's got the most at stake, or who can show us what is happening best?
vampires, werewolves, parasols, and bodice rippers? )
[Brandon] All right. We are out of time. I'm going to go ahead and give us our writing prompt this week. I want you to write a scene where Howard and Dan and me and then Producer Jordo do all walk through a room, and it's in our perspectives, and we are all going to think differently. You have to write this just knowing, having listened and knowing...
[Howard] You just ask people to write HowardTayler fan fiction
[Brandon] Yes, I did. I do it every time. It is accepted practice before I go to bed.
[Dan] Nice. Yeah. We do it anyhow.
[Howard] Jordo. Stop recording, quickly.
[Brandon] So, I want you to do this, and see how the four of us see the world differently. This has been Writing Excuses.
[Dan] What are the bets that my perspective is soaked in blood?
[Howard] My blood!
 
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Six: Micropodcasts

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/10/writing-excuses-5-6-micropodcasts/

Key Points:
  • What is the right way to kill a character? Bombs. With meaning!
  • Authors that have influenced your writing and why? A. A. Milne, because he has so much fun playing with words. Melanie Rawn, because she mixed magic with characters that I cared about. Tolkein for introducing me to the world that isn't ours. Victor Hugo for finding beauty in the gutter. Jay Lake and Charlie Stross for taking ideas to the nth degree. Pat Rothfuss for showing that even well-worn tropes, done well, are still viable stories.
  • When do you quit your day job? When God tells you to. When your wife tells you that you may. When you get your first advance check.
  • What do you do when you discover you hate a character? Bombs. Redefining them radically. Have something happen to that character that is grossly unfair.
  • How do you respond to accusations of being a Mary Sue? Do you really want to ask that? Is it wrong to write characters that people want to be like?
  • What are some basic tools for ensuring that all characters in a story have different voices? Model them on people you know. Check that they are different enough to recognize. Practice having different characters react differently to a single issue. Make your characters individual.
little podcasts, little podcasts, and they're all made out... )
[Brandon] All right. Let's wrap this up with a writing prompt. I'm going to go ahead and use one again this time.
[Dan] Excellent.
[Brandon] by saying the writing prompt is that these two different people who criticized Dan's book actually both read different books somehow.
[Dan] And thought it was the same one.
[Brandon] And thought it was the same book. They both had the same title, they both said they were written by Dan Wells, but somehow two different books were released. How and why is your writing prompt.
[Dan] Compelling.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Five: Writing the Unfamiliar

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/10/03/writing-excuses-5-5-writing-the-unfamiliar/

Key Points: Write what you know? But what if I don't know, but other people do? Find elements that are familiar, that you have in common. Find the familiar and build on it. Extrapolate. Research. Make your character an individual. Write what you know in great detail, and then explain lightly the parts you don't know. Write your story, then ask an alpha reader who knows the missing part for help.
shove the unfamiliar under the carpet? )
[Brandon] Wow. I'm going to go ahead and end us here. I'm actually going to give us our writing prompt. It's going to be a video writing prompt. We're going to have Howard put it in the liner notes. It's because this entire podcast, I've been thinking about this little video which cracks me up because in a lot of ways we are kind of stating the obvious, though I hope that we gave some good information. So watch what is linked and write your prompt based on something you are inspired by in that video.
[Dan] This has me terrified.
[Howard] For those of you just pulling this down to your iPhone, yes, you're going to need to go to writingexcuses.com and pull up the actual webpage with hyperlinks on it. This involves reading.
[Brandon] You will laugh, though, when you watch this video.
[Dan] And clicking on some...
[Brandon] You're out of excuses, now go write.

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