This is topic Writing Excuses with Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson and more in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Captain of my Sheep (Member # 10362) on :
Writing Excuses with Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells. The title of the post couldn't be this long. They also have a lot of guest speakers.

Writing Excuses is a podcast I thought I'd share with you folks. I did a search for Writing Excuses and I didn't find it in the title of a post so I went ahead. My apologies if everyone knows about this website and I'm just super late to the party.

The tagline to the blog says "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart." It's short but it's very information dense. I'm amazed about the way they all approach ideas and writing.

Some of the topics they talk about:

Writing Excuses 10.6: The Worldbuilding Revolves Around Me (“The Magical 1%”)

Writing Excuses 9.50: Writing for the Enfranchised Reader

Writing Excuses 9.43: Writing Mysteries

I plan on listening to all of them, multiple times. Even if they all make me feel like I'm Jon Snow.

I know nothing.

Hope you find them helpful.


PS: So, they basically do a First 13 lines critique in this podcast. I think it'd be nice for the forum to see how these writers pick apart the beginning of a story.

[ February 12, 2015, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: Captain of my Sheep ]
Posted by babooher (Member # 8617) on :
I've listened to them off and on. Generally informative and entertaining. I don't think I've heard that particular episode and shall endeavor once work is done. Good link, Captain!
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
I'm sharply ambivalent about the exhibited values of that podcast, the podcast series overall, and in-person and "workshopping" overall.

Strengths evidenced by the podcast include appeals from pathos as relate to the ephemeral nature of oral transmission. Also kleos appeals from the speakers' writing and critic celebrity are evidenced. Their ethos, to a degree, appeals from their celebrity as well, though ethos in terms of effectiveness of expression is wanting, in my estimation.

Speech is improvisational, off-the-cuff, on-the-fly, here-and-gone expression that shapes expressions from speech's unenduring brevity though, in this case, as permanent as a digitally archived audio recording can be. Auditors can take away or leave what they will from the instances of speech and walk away less trespassed or less inspired or more of each or none as much as they may. Speakers, in this case celebrity writers and critics, their trespasses are more easily resisted and forgiven, as are their insights, from oral transmissions.

Of note, the imperative prescriptions given by the speakers assumes a social contract that the criticism's imperative nature is mutually consented to as personal opinion and subject to critical, conscious, and responsible interpretation, challenge, and question; in other words, self-selected, voluntary, subject to refusal or acceptance or cherry-picking selection. The unstated contract is implicit though is problematic for auditors who are unaware of the contract's implications.

Alternatively, the podcast models an otherwise routine workshop paradigm's strengths and shortfalls through display. That is, those aforementioned ephemeral speech strengths and shortfalls and considerations of social values. Furthermore, and this is sublime and profound: the speakers evidence their struggles to process aesthetic hunches at par with the greatest among us of writer strugglers. We are equally empowered. We are equals regardless of our individual leg stage upon the Poet's Journey. Also, the workshop model the podcast displays shows how writing workshopping is conventionally and traditionally done, shows newcomers how workshops work, and shows newcomers what they will encounter.

The degree of imperative instruction, though, for me, exceeds a best practice standard and falls short of an ideal target. "Must," "need," "skip past this," "erase that," "develop these," etc. For one, a less imperative mood builds rapport between critic and product and producer, that alone is cause for careful expression, for which spoken word is less suitable than written word. Spoken word's informal and casual nature fosters trespasses and inefficiently encourages patience, tolerance, and resilience to trespasses at the expense of wounded feelings. Albeit, written word expression, reception, and comprehension and persuasion ease and effectiveness is as much, or more, of a struggle as spoken word, though, more enduring, perhaps as permanent as can be.

The struggles to process and productively express aesthetic hunches of the podcast grapples with instances of an extended nature, and uses idioms of the group that unproductively default-assume the audience knows their meanings who may not; and, obvious to me, their idiom users do not fully know what they mean proficiently. They scratch at the edges of ideas and hunches and miss a mark. They do bracket one target; that is, discourse methods generally. One, though, more basic to the whole is show and tell. The critics indirectly express a discourse method dear to me, though a scratch at an idea: reality imitation (show) as congruent to yet apart from summary and explanation lecture (tell). They also refuse a time-honored and noble discourse method (tell) that, by refusing, they overlook the creator's wanting creative vision. They impose their visions on the creator's: usurped ownership.

The comments express a few flatteries, little or no insightful "what works for me" strengths. The "what doesn't work for me" shortfall examples are expressed imperatively. They target in on fault finding immediately. These to me set ignoble antisocial writing culture examples that perpetuate unnecessary writing culture brutality. Proverbs from film and life and writing culture illustrate a nobler, sociable approach: A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down; honey catches more flies than scat; the critique sandwich method -- first, sincere positive criticism for a foundation slice to persuade rapport; next, as neutral criticism as practical of "what doesn't work" per moi as fillers; and, last, a positive finale, conclusive end slice. A start that engages interest, a hook, for rapport's persuasion purposes. A middle that gets down and around to the nitty-gritty. An end that satisfies complication as conclusively as the circumstances warrant.

Also, I gauge productive critique around sincerity and passion. If a critic leavens strengths and shortfalls into commentary, I esteem that critic's efforts, insights, and impressions as sincere. Exhibited sincerity persuades a bitter pill's witting and willing consumption. In other words, sincerity exhibits passion and, more essentialy, ethos from a trustable and trustworthy, reliable companion along this sacred Poet's Journey.

I'm amused by the situational irony -- intent and outcome disparity -- of celebrity critics who critique and yet their methods of critique are as wanting as the products they audit.

Generally, because critique of workshop critique privately trespasses, the practice is unwarranted. Here, though, this is an example held out -- published -- and open for public comment and open to comment of a responsible nature. My intent herein is to express my misgivings about the present state of the workshop paradigm sciences and arts and propose consideration of a responsible discussion about, what, strengthening and clarifying the model!? For that, Captain of my Sheep, I'm delighted and grateful.

[ February 13, 2015, 03:17 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Captain of my Sheep (Member # 10362) on :
babooher: Hope you enjoy! [Smile]

extrinsic: I don't agree with your analysis but if it was fun to make, then more power to you!

I took the podcasts for what I think they are: a 15-minute glimpse into the minds of those who know a heck of a lot more than me. And that's about the only thought I had on it. ¯\_(⊙︿⊙)_/¯

Edited to add: I lied. I also thought that Mary has an awesome voice and wish she'd do voice acting on the next Mass Effect game.
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Mary is a professional puppeteer (or was, she may not have time to do that any more), and she has what might be considered a "trained" voice.

I had the privilege of being a guest one time, and would love to do it again. It's fun, it's "short and sweet," and it's upbeat and encouraging. All good things, especially in the lonely business of writing.
Posted by Captain of my Sheep (Member # 10362) on :
Kathleen: It's quite upbeat, yes. I love that about the show, it leaves me pumped. [Smile]

I searched for the episode you're in and it's next in line on my playlist. Thank you for letting me know!

I learned she had a trained voice when she mentioned it in one of the episodes. It made a lot of sense.

My voice sounds like it cannot possibly come from a human being.
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Is that why you're the Captain of my Sheep?

Posted by Captain of my Sheep (Member # 10362) on :
Hehe. *bleats*

When I was younger had problems distinguishing the sound of the word "sheep" from the word "ship". And I like the poem "Invictus".

I really liked the episode you were on, by the way. [Smile]
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Thank you! It was fun to do. They are all great people, by the way, and I'm glad to know them.

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