Ditch Diggers is on August hiatus

Matt and I are taking a break, with so much travel and moving this month. We will be back in September, and you’ll have the Worldcon episode to tide you over before then. See you in a month!

Ditch Diggers #44: Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Freelance Ditches

How to dig freelance ditches

And what are freelance ditches anyway?
Digging Freelance Ditches: Sniper with doberman

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Pop Culture Popcorn Boutique, and Mur actually lets Matt do the intros.
  • The Ditch Diggers welcome special guest co-host, staff writer for The Daily Dot and pop culture analyst extraordinaire, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw!
  • Everyone immediately agrees that Gavia’s mom would make the best agent ever, and that would also be her pro-wrestling gimmick.
  • Gavia talks about being a full-time writer for The Daily Dot and her areas of expertise.
  • Matt asks Gavia what makes a good cultural criticism writer, and Gavia does her best to answer such a broad question.
  • Gavia talks about how livejournal fanfiction led to her current career, how she selects topics to cover, and the life of a piece at The Daily Dot.
  • Gavia talks about her side project The Rec Center and being steeped in fandom as a writer.
  • The validity of liquids in sandwiches, and the validity of fanfiction as a writing medium.
  • Twitter Q&A, including how a book, movie, etc. gets the attention of a market like The Daily Dot.

Links of interest:

Note: Mur will be appearing at WorldCon in Helsinki in a few weeks and doing a LIVE Ditch Diggers with writer and publisher Alasdair Stuart standing in for Matt (with Matt’s approval, naturally. We’re not staging a coup to replace Matt even though Al does have a better accent.) See my program here!


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Ditch Diggers #43: Care and Feeding of your Author

We are together again talking about care and feeding of the author inside you! Sadly, with technical difficulties.

Care and Feeding Show Notes

  • Fuck hemingway. And a pierMatt and Mur come to you live, actually in-person (well, the two of them are, anyway) from Morgan Freeman’s Outside OBGYN Clinic.
  • Matt’s fictional uterus and a brief history of why we’re talking about it on this episode.
  • Actually, Matt and Mur are at their yearly retreat in the backwoods of Ohio with friends and family, several of whom are in the audience during the recording of this episode.
  • Matt and Mur introduce the topic of this episode, “the care and feeding of your author” (a topic suggested by Matt’s fiancée, Nikki).
  • How writers and the writing industry/community emphasize doing the work over taking care of yourself, physically.
  • Mur talks about how we romanticize the Hemingway-esque and Poe-esque stereotypes of the alcohol-soaked, depressed author and why that is obviously wrong and harmful.
  • Self-care, how alcohol and writing don’t mix, and Matt’s unabashed love for Mott’s for Tots apple juice and how it can replace the former habit.
  • Mur and Matt talk about smoking and drug abuse, citing writers like Joe Ezsterhaus and Stephen King as examples of how both invariably go disastrously wrong when you mix them with your career.
  • The episode is cut abruptly short, and Mur explains why (and offers apologies, although we did the best we could).

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Ditch Diggers #42: The Freelancer’s Rebuttal Guide

Foxes fight, quote from show, rebuttal guideIt’s time for some role playing and rebuttal action as Matt and Mur bring you some FINE acting shit.

Rebuttal Guide Show Notes

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Debate Club practice room, and Mur remembers to say the show’s tagline for once.
  • The Ditch Diggers try to decide whether this episode takes place two weeks or five minutes after the last episode.
  • Matt asks Mur what she’s been up to, and the answer somehow involves John Without Garfield (edit- it’s actually Garfield Minus Garfield.)
  • Mur talks about being in the oft recurring “proposal period” of a writer’s career, sending pitches out for multiple projects including novels and interactive media, hating outlining, and learning new skills.
  • Matt talks about finally finishing his first (anti) epic fantasy novel, working on the final Sin du Jour novella, reaching the end of his current book contract, and what comes next (including a middle grade novel).
  • Mur unintentionally segues into the topic of today’s show, which is The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide, a Matt Wallace Technology (Mur makes fun of Matt for this last part, and rightfully so).
  • Matt and Mur role-play The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide, with Mur’s snarky and insightful annotations throughout.
  • Matt encourages freelancers to submit new scenarios to the Guide, which is different from emailing Ditch Diggers questions (Mur explains).
  • Email questions! Topics include freelance writers and social media, publishing rights, and how to best keep track of pending submissions.

Other links of note:

Garfield Minus Garfield, October 2016

Garfield Minus Garfield, a particularly creepy one.

As always, Matt and Mur shill their books, GREEDY PIGS and RENCOR and SIX WAKES respectively, and remind Hugo voting listeners Ditch Diggers is up for best fancast, so vote for us!


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Ditch Diggers #41: HOT BUTTON TOPICS

What Are People Mad About Today?
Ditch Diggers 41: Hot Button Topics

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s 24-hour news network control room where we are discussing the latest hot button topics on the news! (Mur has a new applause machine, but it’s not working right now, so you’ll have to infer the applause.)
  • Sound f/x as the new vernacular, and addiction to sound f/x machines.
  • Mur and Matt are tackling ISSUES on this HOT BUTTON EPISODE of Ditch Diggers. AKA heatedly discussed topics recently on writer social media.
  • Matt explains (poorly and too meta, according to Mur) what hot button issues are and how they come into being.
  • Mur explains (far more eloquently) the nature of click-bait and how it drives/poisons discourse on the internet.
  • Hot Button #1: The infamous “if you don’t write every day you’re not a real writer” article and the larger “real writer” myth.
  • Hot Button #2: The “don’t you dare smack talk your copy editor on social media” debate, and the larger issue of how important discourse gets derailed by pretense and false premises. We also discuss the difference between discussing issues and discussing individuals, and authors criticizing other authors.
  • Hot Button #3: “Literary” magazines publishing genre fiction, and also not paying authors.
  • Matt and Mur go on a tangent about the detriment of labeling fiction and how the market has shrunk.
  • Returning to the hot button, Matt and Mur talk about the difference between the business of “literary” and SFF magazines.
  • Twitter Q&A! Questions include outlining book series, “bonehead” things aspiring writers do again and again, and knives.

Matt and Mur shill their books, GREEDY PIGS and RENCOR and SIX WAKES respectively, and remind Hugo voting listeners Ditch Diggers is up for best fancast, so vote for us!


Affiliate links to our books!

Ditch Diggers #40: Ditches for Writers and Parents

Show Notes for the Parents

(Note, we are having some problems with the official Ditch Diggers site, so please be patient with us.)

  • Mur and Matt welcome parents: author Adam Rakunas and author, games, transmedia, and screenwriter Andrea Phillips as guest co-hosts!
    Andrea Phillips: Writers and Parents

    Andrea Phillips [Ditches for Writers and Parents]

  • Adam and Andrea are both full-time freelance writers and full-time primary caregivers to their (what seems to Matt to be, anyway) many children.
  • Recording this episode was delayed because Adam’s daughter vomited on literally everything in the world, which sets a perfect tone for the topic of the show.
  • Andrea and Adam share their backgrounds as writers, how and when they started, and where they are now.
  • Full-time caregiving while full-time writing, and how each affects the other.
  • Matt asks if having kids changes your professional goals as a writer (e.g. lights a larger fire under your ass to succeed).
  • Andrea talks how being a mother unduly influences others’ perception of her and her writing, the struggles of that, and about crowdfunding her Lucy Smokeheart series of fiction.
  • Mur asks about scheduling conflicts and other insightful things as the sole Ditch Digging parent among the regular hosts.
  • Our guest co-hosts tackle Q&A from Twitter!

Links

Adam Rakunas: Writers and Parents

Adam Rakunas [Ditches for Writers and Parents]

Ditch Diggers #39: Lexi Alexander and Punching Hollywood. Metaphorically.

Lexi Alexander is Punching Hollywood

Lexi Alexander

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Dojo (where we’re punching Hollywood) with special guest co-host writer, director, and martial artist Lexi Alexander!
  • Lexi is excited to talk about the writing side of her career as a director of films like Green Street Hooligans, Punisher: War Zone, the Oscar-nominated Johnny Flynton, and pretty much ALL of the TV series.
  • How we needlessly shake the confidence of English-as-a-second-language writers in America. How a chance encounter with Quentin Tarantino cured Lexi of that self-confidence issue.
  • Lexi recounts how she began her career as a writer and filmmaker. (It involves Chuck Norris. No, seriously).
  • It’s easier to be accepted as a woman in a martial arts/competitive combat sports environment than it is to be accepted as a female filmmaker in Hollywood.
  • Lexi talks about the many challenges women writers and directors face in the entertainment industry. She includes her own experiences.
  • Lexi tells the Ditch Diggers about her recently sold pilot script, the process of writing it, and what inspired/motivated both.
  • Lexi talks about what stopped her from writing for a long time, how she almost left the business to become a war correspondent, and what brought her back.
  • Mur asks about the difference between working on your own film projects and writing/adapting the work and ideas of others, and how you survive doing both.
  • Lexi takes questions from Twitter!
  • Mur and Matt attempt unsuccessfully to end the show several times, but Lexi is just too damn enthusiastic and complimentary about everyone. (New goal: Get both Cory Doctorow and Lexi on the show together.)

Lexi on Twitter: @Lexialex
Lexi’s website
Lexi on IMDb

Ditch Diggers theme music provided by Devo Spice


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Ditch Diggers #38: Tobias Buckell and The Power of No

Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell

  • Live from Morgan Freeman’s bear sanctuary, it’s the (Hugo Finalist!) Ditch Diggers with special guest co-host Tobias Buckell!
  • Mur recounts Toby blowing her mind this past January at ConFusion in Detroit, which prompted his appearance on the show.
  • Toby talks about accessing your inner asshole (the tactful version uses Toby’s description: “the power of no”) in negotiations as a freelancer.
  • What happened when Toby had to stop accepting con invitations on his own dollar, and how it took him to the next level as an author and speaker.
  • Toby on releasing his earlier work as a self-published book and educational tool for writers.
  • Toby talks about trying out Patreon as a partial income replacement for a year, what prompted it, and how it’s going.
  • Twitter and email Q&A! Many of Toby’s fans ask him questions ranging from professional advice to the inside scoop on characters from his Xenowealth universe.

Also mentioned by Toby in this episode…

Ditch Diggers theme music provided by Devo Spice


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Ditch Diggers #37: Listener Request & HUGO HUGO HUGO

Show Notes:

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from the mud room of Morgan Freeman’s trophy solarium (because they haven’t earned the right to go inside yet).
  • Ditch Diggers has been nominated for a Hugo Award! You did it! Mur and Matt will go up against the likes of The Coode Street Podcast and Tea & Jeopardy in Helsinki for Best Fancast (even though we’re all professionals. Because there’s only one podcast category)! Thank you to all Ditch Diggers listeners who supported the show and don’t forget to vote for Mur and Matt for the Hugo itself!
  • It’s listener’s choice! Mur and Matt select questions from their listeners to address in detail as the topic of the show.
  • First up, for those who write many kinds of things, which writing medium/format to focus on when you being pursuing freelance writing as a serious job. Blogging? Books? Screenwriting? Should you focus on one thing or two things or all of them?
  • Secondly, Mur and Matt talk about writing prep, everything from outlining to creating playlists. What’s necessary for the task ahead and how much is too much?
  • Regular Twitter and email Q&A.

Here are all the Hugo finalists, with the most important category first! (Bold categories have guest-hosted Ditch Diggers!) Continue reading

Ditch Diggers #36: Cassandra Khaw and Lack of Self Preservation

Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Harry Potter-themed Escape Room with special guest co-host Cassandra Khaw!

  • Morgan and JK Rowling have dueling Escape Rooms based on each other’s work and Cassandra is very perplexed.
  • Matt and Mur talk to Cassandra about developing her first video game, She Remembered Caterpillars, which encourages parents to talk with their kids about mortality and has been nominated for Best Children’s Game of the Year.
  • Matt makes it clear Mur is NOT encouraging parents to leave their kids in funeral home escape rooms to teach them about death.
  • Cassandra talks about her sophomore year writing and publishing fiction ranging from cthulhu noir to paranormal romance involving were-bears.
  • Breaking into video game reviews and tech writing, the Ditch Digger way.
  • Mur, Matt, and Cassandra discuss the mentality it takes to drop everything and physically relocate to pursue your writing career.
  • Long term vs. short term goals and motivation.
  • The Ditch Diggers discuss how technology has and will alter both of those things.
  • Mur reaffirms the DD commitment to discuss politics when it’s relevant to the show, whether you like it or not.
  • Twitter/email Q&A! Topics include finding freelance work, taxes for writers, pandas, non-fiction books vs. online markets, organizing multiple projects, and much more.
  • Cassandra Khaw on Twitter: https://twitter.com/casskhaw
  • Cassandra’s website: http://www.cassandrakhaw.com/

BOOKS AND GAMES BY CASSANDRA

MENTIONED BY CASSANDRA IN THE EPISODE


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