Writing Tips and Writerly Musings

with Morgan Hazelwood

About the show

Welcome! If you want to hear writing tips from the big names, the medium names, and everyone else, look no further.

As a blogger, vlogger, and actively querying fantasy author, I am addicted to attending all the writing panels a person could possibly attend at a convention. We're talking about attending upwards of 25 hours of panels in 3 days.

Fortunately for you? I love sharing my copious notes.

But, I also get real. I share my writerly musings: my struggles, my failures, and... hopefully, my writing successes.

Thanks for listening.

  • Morgan Hazelwood


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    They Want What? The Difference Between Blurbs, Queries, and Synopses

    November 7th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  10 mins 41 secs
    beta-reading, blurbs, books, critique, queries, synopsis, writers, writing, writing tips

    All industries have their own specialized terms, and even inside an industry, different people can want things done different ways. In the publishing world, you hear a lot about blurbs, queries, synopses, and more.

    Now, I can’t tell you what ALL agents, publishers, and readers are looking for, but I can point you in the right direction.

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    Creative Couples: Working Together

    October 31st, 2022  |  Season 5  |  6 mins 46 secs
    beta-reading, books, co-writing, critique, writers, writing, writing tips

    Some people work with partners. And some people like to work with their romantic partner. But whether you’re romantically involved or not, there’s techniques that could work for you.

    At WorldCon2019, Heidi Goody led the working couples of Peter Morwood and Diane Duane, plus Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner in discussing how to maintain working and romantic relationships — with the same person.

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    Romantic Subplots

    October 24th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  10 mins 15 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, romance, subplots, writers, writing, writing tips

    Some books are straight up romances, some have no romantic dealings at all, but for everything in between, they’ve probably got a romantic sub-plot (or two) simmering in the background.

    At WorldCon2019, PRK, Kate Johnson, Darlene Marshall, and Elliot Kay shared their tips for creating a successful romantic subplot.

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    Getting -- and Staying (Traditionally) Published

    October 17th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  19 mins 19 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, publishing, writers, writing, writing tips

    All writers who want to share their work with the world want to be published. Some want to self-publish while others would prefer to have the backing — and distribution — of a publishing house.

    At the titular panel at WorldCon 2019, George Sandison, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Rachel Winterbottom, E.C. Ambrose, and Michelle Sagara talked about the realities of traditional publishing — when you’re not an A-list author.

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    The Importance of Kindness

    October 10th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  11 mins 44 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, kindness, worldcon77, writers, writing, writing tips

    These days, people prioritize a lot of things. Truth. Honesty. Maximizing share holder wealth. But there is something that seems undervalued — often described as a tool of the weak by those who are so inclined. But they’re wrong.

    Today, I’m talking about the importance of kindness.

    At the titular panel at WorldCon2019, Corinne Duyvis, Geoff Ryman, Claire Light, and Vanessa Rose Phin shared their thoughts about the true importance of kindness.

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    Portrayals of Mental Health In Genre Fiction

    October 3rd, 2022  |  Season 5  |  13 mins 32 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, mental health, worldcon77, writers, writing, writing tips

    Portrayals of people with mental illnesses have come a long way. From variety to accuracy to ending stereotypes.

    In the titular panel at WorldCon2019, Alasdair Stuart, Penny Jones, Dr. Glyn Morgan, and Devin Madson, discussed who gets it right… and who gets it wrong.

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    Authors and Social Media: Friend or Foe

    September 26th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  24 mins 23 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, social media, worldcon77, writers, writing, writing tips

    Authors get a lot of mixed advice when it comes to social media. Let’s talk about different author approaches and tips and tricks to make social media work for you. In this post, I’m combining notes from two panels.

    From the titular panel, Francesca T. Barbini, Gareth Powell, and Georgina Kamsika discussed if social media was our friend… or our foe.

    And in Social Media: Tips and Tricks, Brenda Noiseux, Stevie Finegan, Lydia Gittens, and Pablo Defendini shared their experience with us.

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    Down the Rabbit Hole: The Appeal of Portal Fantasy

    September 19th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  6 mins 41 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, fantasy, writers, writing, writing tips

    Portal fantasy has always been popular. From tales of fairy circles to Narnia, we’ve always enjoyed watching people from familiar places enter fantastic realms.

    At the titular panel at WorldCon2019, Seanan McGuire, Vina Prasad, Genevieve Cogman, and Kathryn Sullivan discussed what it was about portal fantasy that kept people coming back for more.

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    In the Background: Class in YA Fiction

    September 12th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  12 mins 6 secs
    beta-reading, books, class, critique, worldcon77, writers, writing, writing tips, ya

    In the real world, the social class we come from can have far-reaching consequences into our lives: from the jobs we hold, to the things that worry us, to our long-lasting health. Getting class, and its consequences right, can be tricky to do.

    In the titular panel at WorldCon2019, Marieke Nÿkamp, Avery Delany, Caroline Hooton, and Victoria Lee discussed the ways their class upbringing compared to their current social class, and the implications inherent in that.

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    Challenges and Anecdotes from Acquiring Editors

    September 5th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  6 mins 32 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, editors, writers, writing, writing tips

    Whether you’re looking to break into the editing field, or just learn more about the so-called gatekeepers of the traditional publishing world, it’s always good to know more about what happens behind the scenes.

    As a reminder, acquiring editors work for the publishing houses and are the ones who actually make those large-figured book deals — in addition to revising and editing manuscripts.

    At WorldCon 2019’s “Editors’ panel: Challenges and Anecdotes”, I got to hear industry veterans Michael Rowley, Eleanor Teasdale, Ginjer Buchanan, John R. Douglas, and David Thomas Moor talk about their experiences.

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    Building an Online Community

    August 29th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  8 mins 23 secs
    beta-reading, books, community, critique, writers, writing, writing tips

    The internet can be a cesspool that promotes the worst of humanity. But? It can also bring people together. Depending on where you hang out and who you hang out with online determines if you’ve found a supportive group of friends who share your hobbies/etc or a group that will bring you down.

    At WorldCon 2019’s “Building the SFF Community Online” panel, Christopher Davis, Heather Rose Jones, Elio García Jr., fromahkyra, and Kat Tanaka (oh-cop-nick)Okopnik shared tips they use to help the online communities they moderate thrive.

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    What The Writer Needs To Know: The Brain and the Body

    August 22nd, 2022  |  Season 5  |  11 mins 16 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, writers, writing, writing tips

    Writers do their best to bring life an authenticity of the full range of human conditions. Sadly, however, writers are mere mortals and can fall into some trope-tastic misunderstandings and assumptions.

    At the titular panel at WorldCon2019, Daryl Gregory, Dr. Keren Landsman, Benjamin Kinney, Mick Schubert, and Hadas Sloin were there to set the record straight.

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    YA Futures

    August 15th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  8 mins 55 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, worldcon77, writers, writing, writing tips, ya

    YA is big and has been since the late 90s. But the future today doesn’t look like it did even 10 or 20 years ago. What do YA fantasy and science fiction readers want today?

    At the titular panel at WorldCon2019, I had the opportunity to listen to the top professionals in the field discuss what they see coming. On the panel were Charlie Jane Anders, James Smythe, Eric Picholle, Fonda Lee, and Kristina Perez.

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    Booktube: The World of Online Book Discussions

    August 8th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  11 mins 56 secs
    beta-reading, books, booktubers, critique, writers, writing, writing tips

    The booktuber world is right next door to the authortuber world — full of people talking about their to-read lists, the books they’re actually reading, and their own community. As opposed to us authortubers, talking about writing tips, writing progress, and apparently streaming virtual write-ins. Both are full of people passionate about books and wanting to talk about it on youtube.

    In the titular panel at WorldCon, Stevie “Sablecaught” Finegan, Claire Rousseau (Books and Quills), Thomas Wagner (SFF180), Linnea Sternefält (RobotMaria133), and Brianne Reeves (BreeReadsBooks) shared with us their experiences being booktubers.

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    Done to Death: The Art of Killing Characters

    August 1st, 2022  |  Season 5  |  11 mins 5 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, writers, writing, writing tips

    When you’re reading a story and a character dies, you can tell if it’s just the writer trying to manipulate your emotions or if it’s good storytelling.

    In the titular panel at Worldcon77, Patrick Rothfuss, Veronica Roth, Su J Sokel, Amy Ogden, and Daryl Gregory did their best to make sure we know that every death should count.

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    The Future of Podcasting

    July 25th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  7 mins 29 secs
    beta-reading, books, critique, writers, writing, writing tips

    Podcasting has had its ups and downs since it first started. The market is big, but there’s a lot of small fish out there and it’s hard to get noticed.

    At the titular panel at Balticon53, Mark Redfield, Mike Luoma, Philippa Ballantine, Christiana Ellis, and Fred. G. Yost discussed where podcasting has been and what they hope and fear we’ll see in the future.