If you follow me then you know it’s taken me some time to get this post up. It took me a while this time because I had a lot of podcasts to sort through. I really try to make sure I have good, helpful content for you that you’ll be able to use in your journey as a writer. For this blog post, I set out to find the best podcasts on the craft of writing, and this list is the result of that effort.
There are a lot of podcasts about the writing craft. (There are even more podcasts about self-publishing, which will be the subject of an upcoming blog post.) Certainly this list that I’ve put together doesn’t comprise every good writing podcast out there, but all of the podcasts on this list met my two criteria, which were 1) conciseness – they get to the point very quickly, and 2) legitimately helpful content – I didn’t include any podcasts in which the host self-promotes his or her work. (At least, not very much.) I also didn’t include any podcasts where the hosts spend a lot of time chatting it up before they get down to the business of writing. Chatter on podcasts obviously doesn’t mean that it’s a bad podcast, but I had to narrow down the list somehow.
In my opinion, these are the best.
I’ve mentioned Writing Excuses on the blog before (in my post about Brandon Sanderson’s Slider Model for Character Development), so naturally it’s on the list. Writing Excuses is currently on its twelfth season, which is really saying something. It’s probably the most popular creative writing podcast that I know of. Often when I meet a writer for the first time, we quickly find common ground by discovering that we both listen to Writing Excuses. Hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells, with the recent additions of Wesley Chu, Piper J. Drake, and Mary Anne Mohanraj, every episode is absolutely jam packed with good advice, and they always end with a writing “assignment” or prompt so that you have no excuse not to write. These authors all come with a wealth of experience and good advice, and every one of the fifteen-minute episodes is worth listening to.
Helping Writers Become Authors
Helping Writers Become Authors is hosted by K. M. Weiland, a guru on writing and self-publishing. She has written a handful of bestselling books about the writing craft, specifically on story structure, and the podcast has been running since 2009. The thing I love about the podcast is how snappy it is. Episodes are rarely longer than twenty minutes, and sometimes as short as five, which makes me feel good about myself when I can blaze through them. Her advice is punchy and focused, and I’ve already applied it to my writing, much to my benefit.
The Story Grid
The Story Grid was a completely new find for me as I was listening to all kinds of podcasts for this blog post, and it’s definitely a new favorite. The Story Grid is organized like a long interview between Tim Grahl, a self-described struggling writer, and Shawn Coyne, the writer of the book The Story Grid (which I am hoping to read soon, and will probably make it to my best craft books list). Coyne worked in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years as an editor. The idea behind the podcast is that Grahl asks the questions that every new writer wishes they could ask an editor, and then Coyne answers them. His knowledge on the science of story-writing is both broad and deep. My only warning is that you need to listen to the podcast from the beginning – jumping in at their most recent episode will be confusing because they’ve been discussing a novel that Grahl has written, and if you haven’t been listening from the beginning, you won’t know what’s going on. Each episode is a little longer than the previous two podcasts listed here, but still a good length at about an hour each.
The Narrative Breakdown was another new find for me, but from the first episode I listened to, which was episode fifteen, I knew the podcast was gold. The episode discussed the different types of irony, giving examples from books and movies. Irony is a complicated topic in literature, but they broke it down in a fun and clear way. I want to go back and listen to it again because it was so full of good information that I want to make sure I get it all in my head. Hosted by Cheryl Klein, James Monohan, and other guest co-hosts, they discuss a variety of topics for novelists and screenwriters. A few examples include tips for writing a gender not your own, misunderstood characters, as well as some more practical information, like copyright for writers, and writing query letters. Episode length varies between a half an hour and an hour.
I’ll add to this list as I find more excellent podcasts on the topic of the writing craft. A friend of mine, Michael Wunderli, and his colleagues will soon be hosting a podcast called Diegesis. It launches on May 8, 2017, and you’ll be able to find it on Podbean. More about that when it gets here. I’m really excited to listen to it.
What are your favorite writing podcasts? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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