Archives: ditchdiggers

Ditch Diggers #54: Retcons and JKR

NOTE- I got an important call in the middle of this episode and was a tad distracted for the rest of the show. But Matt’s on a good enough tear that I’m not needed much anyway. I can let you know the purpose of the call some other time.

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s official historical retconning chamber.
  • Matt makes it clear that Morgan Freeman’s retconning chamber is NOT to be confused with a time machine.
  • Somewhere between Morgan Freeman cross-breeding bees and butterflies and Mur being responsible for the diamond trade, the Ditch Diggers explain the concept of retconning.
  • How retconning, while sometimes necessary in and accepted as part of the vernacular of the comics medium, is more often than not detrimental to writing and publishing novels, using JK Rowling’s constant retconning of the Harry Potter books as an example.
  • The difference between retconning to continue telling a story and retconning for the sake of altering the past.
  • Matt recaps the controversy over the handling of Dumbledore in the forthcoming Fantastic Beast movie (spoiler alert: No gay Dumbledore), and gives his opinion on why JK Rowling retconning the HP books is a detrimental betrayal.
  • Mur talks about how if characters in fiction aren’t explicitly identified, audiences will default to straight and white, using Hunger Games as an example.
  • What the JK Rowling situation can teach smaller authors about brand management for themselves and their book series, specifically making promises on which they can’t deliver and not engaging legitimate criticism of their public behavior.
  • How being an author in the SFF field reacting publicly to one of these situations can also affect your brand.
  • How, in Matt’s opinion, popular authors, especially in SFF, are given “passes” when they screw up if they’ve accrued enough good will points and the cliquishness of fiction communities and how they protect those authors.
  • On being aware enough to acknowledge and deal with your problematic behavior as it happens.
  • Mur and Matt are working to make Ditch Diggers a more inclusive podcast and need your help to do it through their Patreon.
  • The customary end-of-episode shilling, including Hugo Award awareness raising.

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Ditch Diggers #45: LIVE from WorldCon!

A very tired Mur lands in Finland and is greeted by giant Morgan Freeman! Photo- Natalie Metzger

A very tired and disheveled Mur lands in Finland and is greeted by giant Morgan Freeman! Photo- Natalie Metzger

Ditch Diggers comes to you LIVE from Morgan Freeman’s International Airport (no, seriously, see photo!), a.k.a. WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, Finland!

    • Mur’s special Ditch Diggers Live! guest co-host Alasdair Stuart is not Matt Wallace, and yet he has to be Matt Wallace. But no, for real, Matt can’t be in Helsinki so Alasdair and his adorably proper British accent are doing their best to sub in for him.
    • Mur introduces The Hugo Games! It’s like the Hunger Games, but with/for Hugo Awards!
    • Mur introduces willing tributes, super agent (because she’s Mur’s agent) Jennifer Udden, who represents multiple Hugo nominees, and Hugo nominated editor Navah Wolfe!
    • Lacking a third combatant, Hugo Best Short Story finalist (spoiler- winner!) Amal El-Mohtar volunteers as tribute!
    • The Hugo Games tributes choose their weapons (spoiler alert: Navah picks a throwing axe).

THE HUGO GAMES, WORLDCON 2017: (Back L-R) Jonathan Snipes, William Hutson, Alasdair Stuart, Jennifer Udden, Daveed Diggs, Navah Wolfe, Mur Lafferty. (Front) Amal El-Mohtar.

  • At some point the members of groundbreaking Hugo Award nominated hip hop group clipping. (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes) join the panel, which is amazing!
  • In the course of preparing for Hugo combat (Amal’s longterm survival strategy is writing a novel), our tributes discuss topics including new authors breaking in and pseudonyms, transitioning from creating works independently to working with executives, and dealing with assholes in the industry and beyond.
  • We unfortunately run out of time before the blood sports can begin, but Mur promises the blood sports will happen tomorrow (they don’t).

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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!)

Ditch Diggers #24: TV Writing with Margaret Dunlap

We welcome Emmy-winning writer Margaret Dunlap, writer for The Middleman, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, and the serial Bookburners.

Show notes!

  • Coming to you live from Morgan Freeman’s tornado shelter with special guest co-host Margaret Dunlap!
  • Margaret is the bomb at calculus, yet cannot derivate a function to save her life (or anyone else’s).
  • On the tradition of passing the Campbell Award winner’s tiara which is actually a diadem.
  • Margaret talks about breaking into television writing, and how useless it is to ask the question, “How do you break into TV writing?”
  • On being a TV writers assistant, “freelance” scripts, and the power of getting coffee.
  • Hollywood as a cronyism town vs. a nepotism town (and why that’s a good thing for new writers).
  • Celebrating small victories, and how sushi, beer, and ice cream are scaleable.
  • TV writing vs. webseries writing
  • Margaret is adapting Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books for television with John Rogers’ Kung Fu Monkey Productions! (And the glacial pace of writing projects.)
  • Mur and Margaret talk about Bookburners, and the structure of TV writing meeting fiction books.
  • Q&A with Twitter.
  • Obligatory shilling of Matt’s books and the fact Ditch Diggers is STILL eligible for Best Fancast in the Hugo Awards.
  • Margaret’s website:
  • Margaret’s Twitter:
  • Bookburners:
  • Producteev Task Management Software:

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Ditch Diggers #14 – Comics and Shawn Pryor Interview!

Matt and I talk to our friend Shawn Pryor about comics, minorities, and ways to move forward in the industry.

Show notes! For real! Compiled by Matt!

  • Awful direct-to-DVD Morgan Freeman movies
  • How Bang! turns you into the worst town sheriff in the old west
  • How Shawn got into creating indie comics at cons and how those are helpful for networking and getting started
  • Running successful Kickstarters for indie comics
  • Starting an indie comics publisher from the ground up
  • The politics of comic book stores and comic book distribution
  • Race and the lack of writers who are people of color in mainstream comics, particularly Marvel


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Ditch Diggers #10: Featuring guest co-host Gail Carriger!

It’s Matt, Mur, Gail Carriger, and some rum as we talk about the business of writing from a bonafide New York Times bestselling author. She gets sent on book tours and shit. She’s also the godmother of Ditch Diggers, and we tell you why.

You totally want our books. Gail’s too: (affiliate)