• 19.24: An Interview on Worldbuilding with Arkady Martine

    We've spent the last month talking about "A Memory Called Empire, and now, we are so excited to welcome the author, Arkady Martine, to the show! On today's episode, we talk with Arkady about the origins of her novel, and dive into how she navigated the dense and intricate world-building. Arkady gives us advice on what not to do, where to look for your first ideas, and what her writing process looks like. 

    Thing of the Week: 

    “The Shamshine Blind” By Paz Pardo


    Homework:

    Using the character and the story you are currently working on, look at the nearest building you can see out your window, and describe it from their point of view. What does that say about the world that you are in and the world that they are in? 



    Close Reading Series: Texts & Timeline

    Next up is Character! Starting July 7, we’ll be diving into three short stories by C.L. Clark. These are all available for free through Uncanny Magazine. 


    Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (starting July 7) 


    And a sneak peak on the rest of the year… 


    Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (starting September 1) 

    Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (starting October 13) 


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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were DongWon Song and Erin Roberts. Our guest was Arkady Martine. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E24 - 35m - Jun 16, 2024
  • 19.23: Tying It All Together (A Close Reading on Worldbuilding)

    Today, the gang talks about their final thoughts on Martine’s “A Memory Called Empire.” We conclude with some lessons we’ve learned through analyzing her work, and we share our favorite bits! 

    Thing of the Week: Pasión de las Pasiones

    Homework: Find a piece of world building that you love and come up with another way to use it in your work in progress. 


    Close Reading Series: Texts & Timeline

    Next up is Character! Starting July 7, we’ll be diving into three short stories by C.L. Clark. These are all available for free through Uncanny Magazine. 


    Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (starting July 7) 


    And a sneak peak on the rest of the year… 


    Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (starting September 1) 

    Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (starting October 13) 


    Sign up for our newsletter: 

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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S18E23 - 22m - Jun 9, 2024
  • 19.22: Technology and Identity (A Close Reading on Worldbuilding)

    The imago technology lies at the heart of this novel thematically and narratively. How does this technology create a world, delineate Mahit's culture from Teixcalaan, and ask enormous questions about identity and empire?


    Thing of the Week: “Rotten” (Documentary Series available on Netflix)


    Homework: Come up with three technological or magical approaches that would raise questions about what it means to be you, to be an individual. Take one of these, and then write a scene wherein two characters argue about it.


    For those of you just joining us, here's what our close reading series has covered, and what lays ahead!

    Close Reading Series: Texts & Timeline

    Voice: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar (March 17) 

    Worldbuilding: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (May 12) 

    Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (July 7) 

    Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (September 1) 

    Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (October 13)


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    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E22 - 26m - Jun 2, 2024
  • 19.21: Language as a Tool (A Close Reading on Worldbuilding)

    What cultural and worldbuilding information is embedded within the smallest of word choices? Today, we dive into three specific sections from throughout Martine’s “A Memory Called Empire”:  the word for empire, assimilation and naming, and learning the word for bomb. We unpack how Martine uses language to establish important principles of how the world works. 


    Thing of the Week: 

    The Gilded Age - Created and Written by Julian Fellowes  Julian Fellows (on HBO Max) 


    Homework:

    Write a scene that describes a fictional piece of literature— whether that's a poem, a song, or a story— that means something to the people in the story you’re telling.


    Here’s a link to buy your copy of “A Memory Called Empire” if you haven’t already:

    https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19


    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E21 - 27m - May 26, 2024
  • 19.20: How to Make Worlds Feel Big Without Overwhelming the Reader (A Close Reading on Worldbuilding: Focusing on Scale)

    How do you use language and scale to focus your writing? Today, we think about scale and movement across vast spaces. What do characters’ movements tell us about empires and also—force? We talk about Martine’s incredible work establishing an empire across time, not (just) space. We read aloud some of Martine’s writing, and try to understand exactly how they work, and what they’re doing to build the novel’s world. 


    A refresher on why Worldbuilding is essential and some working definitions of how we want to talk about it. After the break, we discuss why we chose this book and highlight what it does well. As always in our close reading series, we distill each text’s elements into approachable steps for you to take in your own writing. 


    Thing of the Week: 

    Softboiled eggs in an instant pot: 1.5 cups of fridge-cold water. Add 2-6 eggs onto the little trey. Pressure cook for low on one minute, and then release the pressure after 90 seconds. Remove the eggs (use tongs!), and put them in a bowl of fridge-cold water for one minute. Now, try them! If thye’re too runny, then for your next bath, increase your wait time for pressure release by 5 seconds. If they’re too firm, reduce the wait time by five seconds. That one variable: how long you wait before releasing pressure, is the only one you need to worry about. (Does this resonate with our study of worldbuilding? Maybe? DM us on Instagram and tell us what the metaphor or analogy is for you! @writing_excuses ) 


    Homework:

    Take one of your works in progress, and write three paragraphs, each describing a different kind of scale: 

    1. A scale of time

    2. A scale of place/ space

    3. Emotional scale (fear, joy, ambition, sadness)


    Here’s a link to buy your copy of “A Memory Called Empire” if you haven’t already:

    https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19


    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E20 - 27m - May 19, 2024
  • 19.19: A Close Reading on Worldbuilding: An Overview and why A Memory Called Empire

    Why is worldbuilding is essential in your writing? Today, we answer this question and dive into some working definitions of how we want to talk about it. After the break, we discuss why we chose this book Arkady Martine’s “A Memory Called Empire” and highlight what it does well. We dive into the elements that help make Martine’s worldbuilding so accessible and effective. 


    Thing of the Week: 

    “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman (think about what it teaches you about POV!)


    Homework

    Pick your favorite fictional worlds and for each write down three defining attributes that establish culture, legal systems, and physical spaces.


    Here’s a link to buy your copy of “A Memory Called Empire” if you haven’t already:

    https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19



    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    Join Our Writing Community! 

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    28m - May 12, 2024
  • 19.18: How to Build Fictional Economies

    Sometimes we know the action and themes of your story, but you don’t know how to build an economy that supports those. Well today, we explain just how to do that! What are some questions you can ask yourself about the worth of certain goods and services in the world you’re building? What would a post-scarcity world look like and ask of your characters and how would it shape their wants? We loved recording this episode, it brought up so many interesting questions for us, and we hope it does the same for you! 


    Thing of the Week: 

    Bury Your Gays by Chuck Tingle


    Homework

    Come up with three catch phrases that someone who grew up in your economy would know. For example the difference between “There ain't no such thing as a free lunch” vs. “See it, fix it.”


    A Reminder! 

    That starting next week (May 12th!), we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19


    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Robinette Kowal, and DongWon Song. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    Join Our Writing Community! 

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    S19E18 - 26m - May 5, 2024
  • 19.17: Novellas- the Goldilocks of Publishing

    How do you find the right size for your story? And speaking of size, what do novellas do differently than both short stories and novels? What even is the difference between a novel and a novella? How many characters do they usually have? How many subplots? How do you know if your story should take the form of a novella or a novel? We dive into all these questions (and…you guessed it… more!) in our conversation. 


    A note on the structure of Season 19: in between our close reading series (six episodes where we dive into an element of craft through a close reading of a specific text), we’ll be doing two wild card episodes! These episodes are random topics that our hosts have been wanting to tell you about, we just didn’t know where they fit. So we MADE a place for them to fit! 


    Thing of the Week: 

    Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall (a collaborative, storytelling-based RPG)


    Homework:

    Take a short story that you either love or have written and write a list of things that could be added to expand it to novella length. Now do the same for a novel, but make it a list of things that might need to be cut.


    A Reminder! 

    That starting May 12th, we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19


    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Robinette Kowal, and DongWon Song. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    Join Our Writing Community! 

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    S19E17 - 28m - Apr 28, 2024
  • 19.16: An Interview with Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar

    Today we get to talk to the inimitable Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. Amal and Max are on the podcast to tell us about how they wrote a book together (hint: they didn’t write it together in the form of one voice.) They talk to us about the practice of writing letters, collaboration, and the revelation of friendship. They talk about the complexity, harmony, and cadence of two-author projects. We also talk about that voice in your head that criticizes your writing, and how to work with it and harness your authentic desire to tell a certain story.  


    Thing of the Week: 

    From Amal- Hollow Night 

    From Max- Talking Man by Terry Bisson 


    Homework:

    From Max and Amal: Take a passage of something you’ve written and rewrite it in three different ways: as if it were being sung, as if it were being shouted, and as if it were being whispered. 


    A Reminder! 

    That starting May 12th, we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19


    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Robinette Kowal, and DongWon Song. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    Join Our Writing Community! 

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    S19E16 - 47m - Apr 21, 2024
  • 19.15: A Close Reading on Voice: Tying It All Together

    As we conclude our first deep dive of our close reading series, we want to explore how the evolution of voice helped carry readers throughout "This Is How You Lose The Time War." We also talk about the relationship between character arcs and language, learning and voice. Stay tuned for next week’s episode, where we interview Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar on what it was like to write “Time War” together! 


    Thing of the Week: 

    Princess Weekes


    Homework:

    Write a short outline of your work noting where the voice changes and evolves to reflect the character growth and change rather than focusing on the plot beats


    A Reminder

    That starting May 12th, we'll be focusing on Worldbuilding and reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. If you’re going to buy this book, we have this bookshop link available for you to do so! (If not, go support your local library!) https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19

    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    Join Our Writing Community! 

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    Threads



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    S19E15 - 25m - Apr 14, 2024
  • 19.14: A Close Reading on Voice- Epistolary Storytelling Through Voice

    What's epistolary writing? Well, it's writing through letters. But it's also a lot more than that. As we continue to dive into the concept of Voice, we want to explore the importance and power of the letters that Blue and Red write to each other throughout "This Is How You Lose The Time War." If you haven't already listened to our episodes introducing this novella, we recommend you go back and start with Episode 11 (of this season, Season 19)!

    And if you’ve been reading along with us while listening to these episodes, please let us know on Instagram. Tag us in a post or comment @writing_excuses ! 

    Thing of the Week: clipping.” by Story 2 

    Homework: Write a short note from one of your characters to another about something that’s important to them. Now rewrite it as a text message (change the format). Then rewrite it as a letter that will be screened before it gets to them by an outsider (change the context). And finally, write it as the final message they will get to send during their life (change the stakes).

    You can buy this (and all the other books!) through our bookshop link-- this is linked in our bio in addition to right here:

    https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19


    Close Reading Series: Texts & Timeline

    Voice: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar (March 17) 

    Worldbuilding: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (May 12) 

    Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (July 7) 

    Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (September 1) 

    Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (October 13) 


    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    Join Our Writing Community! 

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    S19E14 - 25m - Apr 7, 2024
  • 19.13: A Close Reading on Voice: Blue's Perspective - Confidence and Vulnerability

    On our third episode diving into Voice through the novella “This Is How You Lose The Time War,” we begin to explore the different voices that make up the two main characters in the story. Last episode we dove into Red’s voice– if you haven’t already, we recommend you listen to that first! 

    Today, we are doing a close read of Blue at the tea shop and how voice establishes character, growth, and vulnerability. How do the authors make Blue’s voice distinct from Red’s? Is it in the tone, the structure, or something else completely? 

    Thing of the Week: The Late Mrs. Willoughby By Claudia Gray

    Homework: Write a short note from one of your characters to another about something important to them. Now rewrite it as a text message (change the format), as a letter that will be screened before it gets to them by an outsider (change the context), and as a final message they will get to send (change the stakes).

    Sign up for our newsletter: 

    https://writingexcuses.com

    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

    Join Our Writing Community! 

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    S16E13 - 23m - Mar 31, 2024
  • 19.12: A Close Reading on Voice - Red's Perspective - Muscular Prose

    Today, we are doing a very close read of Red's opening narration and how Red’s voice communicates both character and world in an effective and efficient way. We read several sections aloud and dive into what each sensory detail is doing. Also Mary Robinette talks about what she thinks is the most effective way to draw your readers attention to something. 

    Thing of the Week: Planet Crafter 

    Homework: Take a sentence from your work in progress and rewrite it to adjust the age of the character to make them a child. Do it again to make them from a different region. And again to give them a different profession.

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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    26m - Mar 24, 2024
  • 19.11: A Close Reading on Voice- An Overview, and Why Time War

    The book that became a New York Times Bestseller because of a tweet. Well, it won LOTS of awards when it came out, but it was rediscovered by a Twitter account with a large following. So-- let's get into it!

    On our first episode diving into Voice using the short novel "This Is How You Lose The Time War", we talk about why Voice is essential and some working definitions of how we want to talk about it. We also explain why we chose this book and highlight some of the things it's done well, and what you can learn from it!

    Thing of the Week: Scavengers Reign

    Homework: Take a sentence from a work you love that has a strong and clear voice. Write a scene based on that as a prompt, in the same tone and voice as the original.

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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E11 - 24m - Mar 17, 2024
  • 19.10: Introducing Our Close Readings Series

    You’ve probably seen us posting about our Close Reading Series, and in his episode, we finally officially introduce it! 

    For most of the remainder of 2024, we’ll be diving into five core elements of writing by focusing on five different literary texts. We’ll spend five episodes on each one, and then we’re going to… drumroll please… interview the author(s)!

    As you know, we’ve spent lots of time reading, writing, talking, and recording our thoughts about different elements of the craft. But this year, we wanted to ground our episodes in specific texts that you could read along– and analyze– with us!

    Below is the schedule for each book or short story we’ll be diving into. The date on the right in parenthesis is the air date of the first episode in our series that will begin talking about that text. We highly recommend you read the book by that date, as we will be talking about the entirety of the text for all 5 episodes (including spoilers!) 

    First up: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar

    You can buy this (and all the other books!) through our bookshop link-- this is linked in our bio in addition to right here:

    https://bookshop.org/lists/close-readings-season-19


    Close Reading Series: Texts & Timeline

    Voice: This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar (March 17) 

    Worldbuilding: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (May 12) 

    Character: “You Perfect, Broken Thing,” “The Cook,” and “Your Eyes, My Beacon: Being an Account of Several Misadventures and How I Found My Way Home” by CL Clark (July 7) 

    Tension: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (September 1) 

    Structure: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (October 13) 


    Thing of the Week: SHINOBIGAMI: Modern Ninja Battle RPG

    Homework: Take a scene from a work that you love and five highlighters/crayons/colored pencils - use one color to underline/highlight places where the voice comes through, one for great worldbuilding, one for character moments, one for any moments of tension, and one for moments that move the plot forward. What colors do you end up with? Where do they overlap? What are the colors of the moments you love the most? What would the colors of one of your scenes be?

    Sign up for our newsletter: 

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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E10 - 23m - Mar 10, 2024
  • 19.09: LIVE Recording - Rituals, Rites, and Traditions

    Hosts Erin and DongWon are joined by Fonda Lee and Mahtab Narsimhan for a special episode about creating traditions in your fictional writing. In this episode, we'll explore some of the following: 

    -How do you build traditions and rituals in your fictional world (choosing what becomes a tradition or ritual and what doesn’t)? 


    -How can you use rituals or traditions to advance a novel’s plot, give characters more depth, and create conflict? 


    -What are the pitfalls to avoid (depiction of closed practices, over-ritualizing common traditions)?


    Homework

    Pick a ritual or tradition that you are very accustomed to and make it the center of a fictional scene. You can change its meaning or impact, but the content of the tradition should stay the same.


    Thing of the Week: 

    Shanghai Immortal by AY Chao (especially the audiobook version)


    Liner Notes: 

    This podcast episode idea was inspired by ReaderCon 2023, where Erin Roberts was a panelist.


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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Fonda Lee and Mahtab Narsimhan. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E9 - 17m - Mar 3, 2024
  • 19.08: NaNoWriMo Revision with Ali Fisher: Working with an Editor

    An agent, an editor, and a writer walk into a Zoom room and record a podcast... but really... that's (part of) what this episode is!

    First off, a reminder that your agent, your editor, and you are all on the same team! They are all trying to make the same book (your book!) a better book. Whether you've published before or are just starting your first short story, we are so excited for you to dive into this episode.

    For our final episode in our three-part series on revising your NaNoWriMo manuscript—or any other large writing project—we are diving into how to work with an editor! We wanted to show you a peek behind the curtain that is publishing and editing-- what does this relationship look like? How do you handle differences, conflicts, and priorities? What IS an edit letter?

    Our guest for this series has been the inimitable editor Ali Fisher, who works at Tor. Thank you, Ali, for your advice, stories, and time!

    Homework:

    Take a work written by someone else (anyone else!) and come up with three questions you have for the author that would help them clarify their intention in the text.

    This could be a movie you've seen, a project you're beta-reading for a friend, or a short story you've stumbled upon.

    Then, apply these questions to your own work in progress!

    Thing of the Week from Ali: 

    Ali has two podcast recommendations for you!

    Rude Tales of Magic

    Oh These, Those Stars of Space!


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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Ali Fisher. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E8 - 29m - Feb 25, 2024
  • 19.07: NaNoWriMo Revision with Ali Fisher: Intention

    For our second episode in this three-part series on revising your NaNoWriMo novel—or any other larger project you have—we are diving into intentions with Tor editor Ali Fisher. We asked her how she helps writers figure out what their books are about, and how she helps set intentions for revisions.

    Ali talks with us about how its important to be kind to yourself -- and your writing-- during the revision process. She also gives us advice for how you, as a writer, can lean into what you do well.

    Homework

    From editor Ali Fisher: write down what you like best about your book. Find a spot in your book where you can incorporate that element where it isn't now.

    Thing of the Week: 

    I Will Not Die Alone by Dera White, illustrated by Joe Bennett

    A Bathroom Book for People Not Pooping or Peeing but Using the Bathroom as an Escape by Joe Pera; illustrated by Joe Bennett


    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, and Ali Fisher. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E7 - 25m - Feb 18, 2024
  • 19.06: NaNoWriMo Revision with Ali Fisher: Length

    Ali Fisher, editor at Tor Books and member of the podcast Rude Tales of Magic, joins us for a three-part series on editing.

    First up: length! How do you edit your work—whether it's a book or a short story or a novella? Maybe you wrote a draft during NaNoWriMo, maybe you didn't-- either way, we want to help you figure out how to make your writing the perfect length.

    Homework: Find two scenes next to each other from your writing. Remove the scene break and write bridging text between the two of them instead. Then, find a different scene that has that bridging text, and cut it into two different scenes so that you are removing it and creating new signposts. See what this does to length and your perception of the pacing.

    Thing of the Week (from Ali Fisher): Infinity Alchemist by Kacen Callender

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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, and guest Ali Fisher. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E6 - 27m - Feb 11, 2024
  • 19.05: LIVE Recording - Revisions with Mahtab Narsimhan

    Some writers love revisions and some would rather scrub the toilet than revise their writing. On this episode, we are joined by author Mahtab Narsimhan, who many will recognize as a host from past seasons! Mahtab talks with our hosts about how she thinks about revisions. How do you revise your writing? What is the difference between revising and rewriting? Mahtab describes her favorite techniques and provides tips to make it more manageable. 


    Homework Assignment from Mahtab Narsimhan:


    Take the first 3 chapters of your finished draft and distill it by 1) Chapter 2) Scenes 3) Key plot points per scene 4) POV 5) Setting 6) Time of day/timeline 7) How many pages per scene and/or chapter. 


    Thing of the Week: 

    Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend


    Liner Notes: 

    The Revision Template that Mahtab mentions is a free resource on our Patreon! You can find it at www.patreon.com/writingexcuses


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    Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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    S19E5 - 20m - Feb 4, 2024
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