Hi, everyone! Yesterday, Freakonomics Radio released a podcast entitled How to Create Suspense, which included an interview with bestselling author Harlan Coban. The podcast focused on what suspense is, and how to use it to greatest effect. While Freakonomics Radio is not normally a writing-oriented podcast, this particular episode is a great listen, and I recommend downloading it for your next date with a treadmill.
It got me thinking about all the writing podcasts I’ve listened to, some of which are more worthwhile than others. I thought I’d share with you the four that I find most interesting and helpful for an aspiring author. Several months ago I wrote a post about writing podcasts that were recommended to me – you’ll be surprised that only one of those made it onto this list.
Writing Podcast #1 – Writing Excuses
Hosted by authors Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, and Dan Wells, Writing Excuses deals with topics ranging from craft and structure to all aspects of the author life. The hosts are knowledgeable and well-spoken, and each episode is kept at around fifteen minutes long, meaning they don’t drone on and one about irrelevant topics. Because the more time we spend listening to them, the less time we spend actually writing (or pressing play on the next episode…), amirite?
Writing excuses is in its tenth season, and all of their episodes are available free in their archives.
Writing Podcast #2 – Ditch Diggers
Hosted by professional authors Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace, Ditch Diggers is an offshoot of Lafferty’s long-running writing podcast, I Should Be Writing. While ISBW focuses on encouraging and educating aspiring writers (at least when Lafferty’s not expounding on her own insecurities), the main purpose of Ditch Diggers is to discuss making a living as writer.
I’ve never been a fan of I Should Be Writing – Lafferty spends so much time discussing her own (perceived) inadequacies as a writer and human being (often more time then she does on interviews or topics that are actually relevant to the listener) that I give up and delete the episode before learning anything interesting or useful. It’s a little annoying, actually, especially as she’s a published, awarded author. What does she have to be insecure about?
Anyway, Ditch Diggers suffers from none of that. It’s fast-paced and in-your-face. Brash and bold, Wallace offers the perfect foil to Lafferty, and their chemistry is quite compelling. He brings out a sense of humor in Lafferty absent from her solo work. In my favorite episodes, they invite authors Chuck Wendig and Kameron Hurly on for a couple of drinks – hilarity ensues.
Writing Podcast #3 – Kobo Writing Life Podcast
I downloaded the Kobo Writing Life podcast on a whim, expecting to hear thinly veiled sales pitches for Kobo (a small but growing self-publishing platform), but was pleasantly surprised. Kobo is mentioned maybe once an episode in passing. In fact, the episode that made me love this podcast impartially went over the pros and cons of all the self-publishing platforms (Kindle, Nook, Google Play, and Kobo, amongst others), and was extremely educational.
Other episodes include interviews with authors, editors, and other writing-oriented professionals, and topics ranging from NaNoWriMo to publishing and beyond.
Writing Podcast #4 – Storywonk Pixar Sessions / Popcorn Dialogues
These are technically two separate podcasts, but they’re both done by the same group, so I’ll count them as the same.
Storywonk is a group of podcasts created by husband and wife team, Alistair Stevens and Lani Diane Rich. All of these podcasts explore narrative and story by mining existing movies, books, and television shows for what they did right, and explaining what they did wrong.
The Storywonk website has so many podcasts (there are some focusing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, and Pride and Prejudice, to name a few) that I couldn’t possibly listen to them all, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But I have listened to their ‘Storywonk Sessions’ series on Pixar, and one called Popcorn dialogues, which breaks down a different movie in every episode. Both of these podcasts are now finished, but the episodes are all archived.
These podcasts are interesting and educational, and just plain fun! Recommended for anyone interested in learning about the art and psychology of story. So head over to Storywonk and give them a listen!
What’s your favorite writing podcast – or are they just a waste of time? Let me know in the comments!