Podcasts are important to me. They’re one of many reasons I have the courage to write. When I was starting out I had no idea how to begin. This was years ago. I was a lab technician in a research facility, working alone with little to no communication with another human being. I thought I’d roundup some of the podcasts that have helped me through the years. Some are strictly about craft, some are short story podcasts, some have absolutely nothing to do with writing, but they planted seeds that later grew into stories.
- I Should Be Writing: This one has to go at the top of my list (and order has no bearing on importance, but this one does). ISBW is the first podcast I found about writing fiction, particularly genre fiction. Mur Lafferty has been producing this gem of a podcast for thirteen years and is still going strong. She interviews writers, agents, editors, and talks about the struggles and triumphs writers go through. If you have no support system, or if you struggle with doubt and craft issues, listen to this podcast now. If you have questions, shoot an email to Mur and she’ll answer to the best of her ability. She also does an annual NaNoWriMo series during the month of November for those of you participating. Put this one at the top of your list and check out Mur’s work.
- Ditch Diggers: Yes, I’m biased when it comes to writing advice. Ditch Diggers is another podcast produced/hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace. While ISBW is more geared at issues and topics in craft, Ditch Diggers tackles the business side of writing. It’s the John Wick version of ISBW, no punches pulled, no soft soaping. It was nominated for the Hugo after only one year (I won’t ramble about how it was robbed) and is one of the only podcasts out there that deals with the nuts and bolts of publishing, getting paid, and marketing your work.
- ARCHIVOS: Formerly know as The Round Table podcast, host David Robison interviews authors about everything under the sun (and I’ve never heard a guy sound so happy and excited about the work he does), followed by brainstorming episodes where a panel of personalities help a guest author (you can give it a try, too) work out the kinks in their manuscripts.
- Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy: Produced by editor John Joseph Adams and hosted by David Barr Kirtley, Geek’s Guide has panel discussions and personal interviews (Neil Gaiman, George Martin, etc.) about everything from short stories, to novels, to television shows and popular culture. Kirtley is great, one of the most well-informed hosts I’ve ever heard, and a major genre fan.
- Get To Work Hurley: Author Kameron Hurley’s monthly podcast about writing, fans, and the daily grind. Kameron offers interviews and discussions about subjects ranging from metal health and self-care, to owning pets and the business side of publishing. This is another great podcast if you feel like you’re the only one struggling with your work (support is important, folks).
- Odyssey Writing Workshop: Normally this workshop will cost you a couple grand to attend (if you make the cut), but director Jeanne Cavelos offers these 10-15 minute lectures from some of the giants in the world of fiction. They don’t come out on a regular basis, but when they do they’re really helpful.
- Speculate!: Run by speculative fiction writers Gregory A. Wilson and Bradley P. Beaulieu, Speculate! includes reviews, author interviews, technique and craft, and artist interviews. It’s kind of the ‘jack of all trades’ podcast for both readers and writers.
- Story Grid: This one’s about building a story from the ground up. The Story Grid method is used in each episode to cover things like what characters to include, the hero’s journey, motivations, plotting, genre, etc. Most of the work is done using Silence of the Lambs as a template. I listen to this one when I’m cleaning the apartment or washing dishes. It’s a systematic approach to story building, something I lack in my own work sometimes.
- The Grim Tidings Podcast: This is one of my personal favorites, and has some of the best author interviews in the genre. Rob Matheny and Philip Overby are super chill fans and hosts who mostly talk about all things GrimDark. Always funny, always personal, they have awesome giveaways, the writer’s pit, D&D character generation, holiday specials, heavy metal, childhood musings, and some of the biggest names in fantasy fiction today.
- Once and Future Podcast: Author-host Anton Strout does a version of fiction Vice News with this one. His interviews are top-notch, more friendly conversations than formal events. He covers everything about fiction news, games, comics, science, and popular culture. It’s been running for a while now, and I just recently found it. The episodes are pretty long so make sure you have the time for this one.
- Writing Excuses: Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart, is the motto of this short, informative podcast from Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Tayler. They talk craft in bite-sized pieces for the writer on the go. The insight gleaned from this podcast is well worth fifteen minutes of your time.
- The Stephen King Cast: Constant Reader dives into everything Stephen King. It’s a detailed look into all his work, and this guy really knows his stuff. You’d think after covering all King’s work he’d have nothing left to talk about, but he just keeps on trucking. It’s one fan’s ode to an author who changed his life.
There are tons more that I just don’t have the time to cover. But these are my favorites. To go into detail about all the story casts out there would take me days. So here are my go to’s for every genre.
- Anything by Escape Artists (anything). That includes PodCastle, EscapePod, PseudoPod, and Cast of Wonders.
- 600 second saga: Super fast micro fiction.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
- Anything by District of Wonders: StarShipSofa, Tales To Terrify, and Far Fetched Fables.
- Strange Horizons.
- The Dark.
- The Manor House Podcast.
- The No Sleep Podcast.
Again, just my personal favorites. And when awards time comes around, don’t forget to vote for podcasts. The people behind the scenes put a lot of hard work in to bring you all this free content. You can donate as little as one dollar a month to almost any of the titles above. Let me know about your own favorites, I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep grinding. Keep listening.