Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Best podcasts for writers, part 1: Writing Excuses

Welcome to my first podcast review. Once a week, I'll give you the scoop on what I think are some of the best podcasts out there. Some of them will be writing podcasts; others will include fiction (short and long) as well as nonfiction.

First up, I bring you the writing podcast Writing Excuses. This is a group podcast by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells. Brian Sanderson is the author of the Mistborn trilogy (of which I have the first one sitting on my hard drive because of Tor.com's giveaway earlier this year) -- among other works -- and is also the author tapped to write the concluding book of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Howard Tayler makes a full time living from his Webcomic Schlock Mercenary, which I urge everybody to check out. Dan Wells writes horror novels and sold a trilogy to Tor earlier this year. The first book will be titled I Am Not a Serial Killer.

I subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. I haven't listened to this week's episode yet, and there is one earlier episode I haven't listened to because they say it contains spoilers for The Dark Knight (episode 34, "What the Dark Knight Did Right"). The DVD is supposed to come out next month, though, and I'll listen to that episode then.

They discuss a wide range of topics, from plot twists to hating your writing, to submitting to editors, to writing groups. They record podcasts at cons, and have often had guests on the show. I particularly enjoyed the episodes with Phil and Kaja Folio, Lou Anders, and Steve Jackson. One of the strengths of this podcast is that they don't discuss just one medium for story-telling.

The liner notes on the Website are well worth checking out. They include links not only to sites discussed in a particular episode (such as Ralan.com) but also to Sanderson's First Law (on magic systems), as well as a download of Dan's Bunny Book.

If you're looking for a wide range of writing-related topics, covered with good humor, check out this podcast. You can also get their entire first season on CD for $10. It won't take too long to get a feel for the podcast because it's only "Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart." Except that they are.

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