No Excuses. A year long writing course for free.

This will sound like a commercial. It sort of is, but it’s a recommendation made out of respect, gratitude, and a deep love for the Writing Excuses podcast.

For the last three years, this crew of well-esteemed and staggeringly talented writers have delivered free and fabulous writing lessons via weekly podcast episodes.

Just for perspective, these are the people putting this on:

Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor,

Wesley Chu, Piper J Drake, Mary Anne Mohanraj

Visit their pages, read their books, give respect – yeah, they’re good.

I’m thrilled to pieces about their theme this year: Structure.

Just for perspective, last year’s was The Elemental Genres. I jumped in on that one late and it was very worth going back to catch up.

For a variety of reasons, I will not be attending any writing conferences in 2017. This makes me sad, but in place of those wonderful speakers and workshops, there are several accessible resources to make up for that loss with self-study.

I intend to follow Writing Excuses’ season in full, springing for the homework at the end of each episode if possible.

They started strong this month with First Person perspective. You can find all of the podcasts and transcripts here: Season 12 Archives.

I’m not about to spoil all of the best bits, but having listened along I couldn’t help but think of those questions I see asked frequently in writing groups that are skillfully addressed in the January episodes:

“If a character has an accent, should I write that accent or just say he/she has it?”

“Can I write in first person, but jump to different characters?”

“Can I write and switch from first person and third person in my story? Or put bits of first person in with third person?”

I’ve also never heard the different variations of first person shared so succinctly, so kudos to the team for that. Here are a few:

First Person Reflective | First Person – Epistolary | First Person Immediate

Plus the discussion on variations on these variations that take tense into account, and the reliability of your narrator, was excellent too.

I think one of my favorite points from the episode on voice in first person came from Kowall about a character having a “too” factor. Where a character is “too” something: too brash, too sarcastic, too soft, too timid, etc. This “too” factor being the driving force behind their word choice and tone.

I look forward to taking all this in over the course of this year. Great stuff ahead in Season 12!

Jump on, jump in, and give it a listen too. Once a week. Fifteen minutes long, because we’re in a hurry, and they are that generous.


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