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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 4d ago

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

When we say “without rules” we’re talking about stories whose magic is not held under logical scrutiny for the reader. There are lots of reasons why you might do this, and in this episode we’ll talk about not just about the why, but also the how.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 1w ago

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab

Let’s design magic systems! We talk about how we do it, and how the principles of magic system design apply to the science fiction systems we create, and vice-versa.

NOTE: In this episode we’re talking about “hard” magic systems, where there are well-defined rule sets (even if the reader isn’t shown them explicitly.) Next week we’ll talk about “soft” magic.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 2w ago

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard

Let’s infodump without infodumping. Let’s deliver lots of exposition without sounding expository. Let’s talk with the maid and the butler without having maid-and-butler dialog.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 3w ago

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and DongWon

We invited attendees at WXR 2018 to ask us some general worldbuilding questions. Here’s what they asked:

  • What cultural stuff do you need to know during the writing process?
  • How do you treat overlaps between real-world religions and fictional religions when the fictional religions are part of the story’s fundamental conflict?
  • How much worldbuilding do you have figured out before you start your first draft, and how much do you discover on the fly?
  • What’s the point in a book beyond which you shouldn’t introduce big worldbuilding elements?
  • How do you ensure that the world comes through as a character of its own?
  • How much change to terminology is too much?

Credits: This episode was recorded live by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 1M ago

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

How weird, how far outside the realm of what the reader feels to be familiar, is too weird? Where is the line beyond which the fantasy is too fantastic, the unreal too unrealistic, or the aliens too alien? In this episode we discuss finding that line, and with the tools at our disposal, possibly moving it.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 1M ago

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab

Let’s talk about race, sort-of. Let’s talk about creating races—species of people, really—which is a critically important activity in much of our worldbuilding. In this episode we discuss a few of the pitfalls, some of our own techniques, and a few of our favorite alien¹ races.

¹Can of Worms: It’s likely you’ll subconsciously code your creations after people who are “other” to you. This is both fraught and inescapable, but we don’t want to discourage you from trying. On May 26th we’ll go into detail telling you “yes, you can,” in a Writing The Other episode entitled “Yes You Can.”

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 1M ago

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard

When you’re defining your world for the reader, some voice in the text must speak those definitions. This episode is about how we use character voices—their dialog and their narrative view points—to worldbuild. What do they see? How do they perceive it? What are their favorite jokes? What do they say when they swear?

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 1M ago

Your Hosts: Dan, Tempest, Dongwon, and TJ

This is the first of our Writing The Other episodes, in which we set out to help writers portray people who are unlike them. In this episode we’re joined by T.J. Berry. She walks us through the language and terminology of bisexuality.

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It’s 2019! We didn’t want you to miss out on any of the amazing things we did last year, so we collected it all into one post.

Of course, we did Writing Excuses Season 13, our Year of Character,  which we are all quite proud of. That would be eligible for Best Related Work, if you were interested.

Mary Robinette Kowal 

Two Novels:

Six Short Stories:

Read more about what she was up to last year here!

Brandon Sanderson

YA Novel:

  • Skyward – Delacorte Press, November 2018

Novel:

Novella:

Graphic Novel:

Here is the State of the Sanderson!

Howard Tayler

Webcomic:

Check in on Howard here!

Dan Wells

YA Novel:

Middle Grade Novel:

  • Zero G – Audible.com, December 2018

Here is Dan’s website and Twitter for more of what he’s been up to!

We also want to highlight our fantastic guests:

Maurice Broaddus

Novelette:

Short Stories

Find out more about Maurice here!

Aliette de Bodard

Novel:

Novella:

Aliette has more here about what’s on her ballot this year.

Amal El-Mohtar

Short Fiction:

Fan Writer:

Best place to keep up with Amal is her Drip.

Valynne E. Maetani

You can catch up with Valynne here!

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Writing Excuses by Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, M.. - 2M ago

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

Margaret Dunlap joins us during season 14 to talk about worldbuilding. In this, her first episode with us, we talk about worlds in which a monolithic culture (like, say, ‘everyone wears hats’) is represented. We cover how to use the trope to your advantage, and how to avoid the trope if it’s going to cause problems.

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