by Johnathon Froman
Writing Excuses is a podcast hosted by four published authors: Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells. Each week, these hosts, who founded the podcast in 2008, help educate new writers and guide the experienced to improve their storytelling. Regardless of whether they write for hobby or for their professional careers, these skilled authors welcome all to the wonderful world of writing. Each individual episode of Writing Excuses is fifteen minutes in length and released every Sunday afternoon.
For the past eight years, the hosts at Writing Excuses have covered a variety of topics such as world building, character and plot development, and theme. Each episode typically (but not always) focuses on one of these topics, and these authors do their best to explore the topic with as much detail and clarity as possible in their short time frame.
The episodes themselves are grouped into ‘seasons’. At first the length of these collections were random but starting in 2012, with the dawn of Season Seven, these seasons were extended to be year-long. And later that year, that same season won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.
However it wasn’t until the podcast’s tenth season were these 52-episode collections focused on a central theme instead of random topics. In this first year-long season the authors of Writing Excuses held a “master class” where they guided their listeners through the process of creating a story with authentic setting, conflict resolution, and deep characters, amongst many other important details required for a worthwhile story.
Originally Writing Excuses started with three authors: Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells as its hosts. It was only until Season Six the group was complete when Mary Kowal Robinette, formerly a frequent and welcome guest on the podcast, joined the crew in their recording sessions.
Currently the Writing Excuses team are almost halfway in their eleventh season and much like the last season, the crew planned on maintaining a major topic/theme throughout 2016. They had planned to study genres and explore their own list of non-traditional “elemental genres” that they believe writers can use to better understand what type of story they want to tell and what audience those stories are targeting. Five months after kicking off the season, the team has been successful in staying true to their plans and have been met with positive feedback from their listeners, both new and old.
This year Writing Excuses received the 101 Best Websites for Writers 2016 award from Writer’s Digest, extending their long list of awards and achievements. Expect many more similar honors granted to the Writing Excuses crew and their podcast as they continue to expand outwards and explore the intricate world of writing and storytelling.
Link to their website: www.writingexcuses.com