Podcast: Writing Excuses

"Fifteen minutes long...
...because you're in a hurry...
...and we're not that smart!
I'm Brandon!
I'm Dan!
I'm Mary!
And I'm Howard!"

So you want to write a story? Well you're in luck. Writing Excuses is a weekly podcast by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal —formerly a recurring guest host and now an official full-time host as of Season 6. Updated every Sunday, each week's episode focuses on a particular aspect of the writing process, from brainstorming to getting published, usually responding to particular obstacles that are common for beginning and improving writers. Naturally, numerous tropes have been touched upon along the way, discussed in terms of how to use them to make your book better and avoiding bad writing. Often a guest host (usually a recently-published author or a personal/professional friend of one of the authors with ties to the writing world) will join the quartet for an episode or two to add outsider input as well. The series also features a Book of the Week for listeners to read which is often pertinent to the topic being discussed. Or sometimes it's just one of their own books. They gotta make money somehow.

Each podcast is around fifteen minutes long, not more than twenty. Usually there are also suggested writing prompts to practice with, especially in the later seasons.

In June 2014, they released Shadows Beneath, an anthology of the stories they brainstormed in seasons 7 and 8, with the intent of showing the process of moving from a first draft to a finished story.

The podcast home page is here.The TV Tropes discussion forum about it is here.

This podcast has discussed the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Season 1 

This season also had two bonus episodes:

    Season 2 

Bonus Episodes:

    Season 3 

Bonus Episodes:

    Season 4 

    Season 5 

Bonus Episodes:

    Season 6 

    Season 7 

    Season 8 

    Season 9 
  • Episode 1 - Chronology of a Book Deal with Eric James Stones
  • Episode 2 - Hard Science Fiction with Eric James Stone
  • Episode 3 - Character Perception vs. Narrative Perception with Nancy Fulda
  • Episode 4 - Artificial Intelligence with Nancy Fulda
  • Episode 5 - Hijacking the Knowledge You Already Have, with Mette Ivie Harrison
  • Episode 6 - The Experience of Time
  • Episode 7 - Last Pass Revisions with Eric James Stone
  • Episode 8 - When is your Handwavium Good Enough?
  • Episode 9 - What to do When Truth is Stranger than Fiction
  • Episode 10 - Engaging Characters
  • Episode 11 - Microcasting
  • Episode 12 - Microcasting! Twice in a row!
  • Episode 13 - Three Pronged Character Development
  • Episode 14 - How to have an Opinion as a Public Figure
  • Episode 15 - Becoming a Writer — Full Disclosure
  • Episode 16 - Coming up with a New Ending Halfway Through
  • Episode 17 - Microcasting
  • Episode 18 - Microcasting
  • Episode 19 - Showing Emotion
  • Episode 20 - Creator vs Creation
  • Episode 21 - Sanderson's 3rd Law
  • Episode 22 - Microcasting
  • Episode 23 - Worldbuilding without Breaking Viewpoint
  • Episode 24 - Side Quests
  • Episode 25 - Adjusting Character Sympathy
  • Episode 26 - Adjusting Character Competence
  • Episode 27 - Prewriting
  • Episode 28 - Part 2 of 2, Critiquing Sixth of the Dusk
  • Episode 29 - Critiquing A Fire in the Heavens
  • Episode 30 - Critiquing “An Honest Death”

The podcast has demonstrated the following tropes:

Brandon: This has been Writing Excuses! You're out of excuses. Now, go write!