The Failing Writers Podcast

The Failing Writers Podcast

By The Failing Writers Podcast

Failing Writers Dave Baird, Jon Rand and Tom Turner present a podcast for anyone who ever dreamed of becoming a writer... then went and put the kettle on.


S4 Ep1: Danny Wallace

Aaaaaand we're back! The Failing Writers return for what some are calling the fourth season of this spectacular podcast. We look forward to a whole new smorgasbord of writing tips, challenges, goals and cock-ups plus a raft of interviews with some of the biggest names in the writing world. Starting with a real corker courtesy of writer, presenter and thoroughly lovely fella Danny Wallace. So hold tight and keep your legs and elbows tucked in at all times... it's gonna be a hell of a ride! Danny stuff: Preorder Danny's new book here: Phil Oddy's Echoes: Danny's photo:
19/02/24·1h 19m

S3 Ep27: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas (pt2)

Happy New Year Folks!  We continue our seasonal ghost stories with a handful of listener-written tales. So gather around the hearth with us again as we bring you a selection of eerie yarns, to make your timbers shiver. Massive thanks to our fantastic contributors: AB Finlayson:    Threads: a.b.finlayson  Craig Margolis:  X: @damnblankpage Steve Salisbury: X: @SalisburyWriter   Threads: salisbury.writer Christian Fieldhouse Steven Stilbech:  X: @stilbech Simon Curtis:  X: @simonmcurtis Geoffrey G. N. Harrison:  Threads: gharrisonauthor (In this weeks episode, we also completely forgot to mention that Simon Curtis sent us a brilliant M.R. James Christmas picture quiz!  Check the blog to see how many M.R. James stories you can recognise from his natty little sketch!)  A history of ventriloquist dummies coming to life: It appears Gerald Kersh was one of the first to publish such a story in 1939 called “The Extraordinarily Horrible Dummy," this was adapted by screenwriter John Baines for the Dead of Night movie. Dead of Night Movie Magic Goosebumps
01/01/24·57m 29s

S3 Ep26: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas (pt1)

Please accept this as a most cordial invitation to accompany Jon, Tom and as yet unnamed guests for an evening of traditional ghost story telling. We have chosen the most atmospheric venue we could acquire at short notice and now request your company, to consummate this joyously Victorian Christmas night of heebiejeebies. Please bring only yourself. We shall provide the spirits. Talking Scared: Michelle Paver: The King: Dark Matter: ‘Cherry Ripe’ Painting
25/12/23·1h 15m

S3 Ep25: Alec Worley: Fantasy, Sci-fi, Horror & Comics.

Alec Worley is an award-lacking (his own words!) author from South London. He writes comics, fiction and audio drama about swords, fangs and lasers. He’s best known for his work on 2000 AD (home of Judge Dredd), Star Wars, and for legendary horror director John Carpenter. He's one of those really annoyingly talented people, with an eye for story and an ear for dialogue. You know the ones. He's also a dead nice bloke. You can read his newsletter, ‘Agent of Weird: Exploring the Write Fantastic’ ( Or find out more on his website Linktree: Dredge Runners audio drama:
11/12/23·1h 30m

S3 Ep24: Word Games: The League of the Lexicon

Out of the blue, someone sent us a game. A game all about words and etymology and language - the very stuff we LOVE. So, we decided that we'd get together and play the game to see if it's any good, and have a chat with the bloke who created it. That game is The League of the Lexicon. That bloke is Joshua Blackburn and this is the podcast where all of the above takes place. To try your hand at a few questions and maybe even win a copy of the game - click here! Here's where you can find out more about the game, and maybe even order one.
27/11/23·1h 8m

S3 Ep23: The Runners Up

We couldn't let the amazing stories that made it to the final short-list go un-read and un-heard... so here they are. Plus there's a nice little chat with the overall winner of our £500 prize, Manu St Thomas. Enjoy!! Still not had your fix? Geddaload o' these beauties.... "God of Ramen" (shortlisted for a Flash Fiction Magazine competition in 2022) -  "I Have an Invisible Cat" (nr. 7, winner of the Globe Soup July 2022 micro-fiction challenge) -  "The Man Who Married the Sea" (nr. 10, winner of the Globe Soup May 2022 micro-fiction challenge) -  "Dinner" - 
13/11/23·43m 58s

S3 Ep22: Nanowrimo Special: How NOT to write a novel with Howard Mittelmark

NaNoWrimOhNo!  It's that time of year again when words-per-day becomes the currency.  So we thought we'd bring you even more words... Words of novel-writing wisdom!  No, no... not from us... obviously.  From novelist and longtime book editor Howard Mittelmark.  Co-writer of How NOT to Write A Novel.  A fantastic book full of the pitfalls most writers fall into when they're setting off along the long and arduous road to Novelton, Nebraska. So join us for some entertaining and enlightening chitchat, and learn things about yourself you've long suspected, but have been deliberately ignoring for years. We can't guarantee any of this will help with your word count, but we all need to take breaks, right? How Not To Write A Novel: Howard's novel -  'Written Out': Hire Howard... National Novel Writing Month:
06/11/23·54m 29s

S3 Ep21: Writing Ghost Stories: with Stephen Volk & Ciaran O'Keeffe

With the help of two expert spookologists: Stephen Volk - horror writer & mastermind behind the BBCs infamous 'GHOSTWATCH', and Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe - famed ghostbuster & parapsychologist, we're attempting to figure out what gives us the heebie jeebies, so that we can all go away and write the world's GREATEST EVER GHOST STORY. That invitation extends to you too, listeners!  We want your submissions for our Traditional Ghost Story Christmas Special later in the year. So get writing - and hopefully we can all sit down round the fire and share a little anthology of all our spooky stories in December. Here's the link to buy Stephen's brilliant new ghost story book: Coffinmaker's Blues, Stephen's excellent book of horror essays: and Stephen's website: Also, Afterlife: Lost Loved Ones is out on audiobook (Bafflegab) on Halloween! Don’t forget you can also follow what Ciaran's up to on Twitter / X and don't miss him on Danny Robbins new TV series Uncanny:  
30/10/23·1h 33m

S3 Ep20: How to write a book using ChatGPT - Andy Stanton

Well... there's a lot of talk about whether it's right or wrong to use AI to write your book for you. But that's not what this episode is about really.  I mean, we touch on that and discuss it. You can't just ignore the moral questions, can you? But we mostly have a natter with Andy Stanton. An author of some repute. He's written a new book, using ChatGPT, but perhaps not quite as you would imagine. Benny The Blue Whale is a journey through the workings of the mind of a genius writer, and through the "mind" of ChatGPT. Episode cover image created using
23/10/23·1h 29m

S3 Ep19: 2023 Flash Fiction Competition Winners!

AND THE WINNER IS......... announced in the podcast. Plus the runners up and some highly commended entries, and as many of the superb entries that we can mention.  It's been a brilliant comp this year - with some amazing stories submitted. Listen to see if you've won, and to hear the winning entries in all their glory! Huge thanks to our judge, Kathy Hoyle - and to our brilliant sponsors Scrivener!
15/10/23·43m 29s

S3 Ep18: The Bookshop Episode

October 14th is BOOKSHOP DAY!  So here's a little episode... well... it started out as a little episode... to celebrate the humble bookshop. Jon visits his local store to find out more about the art of selling paper and ink. In the process discovering the formula for writing the quintessential indie bookshop bestseller.  The boys share the names of the bookshops they would open and.. well gosh... they just... have so many incisive and fascinating things to say about books and writing and candles and shelving... so... you definitely won't want to miss any of it.  And then... as if you're not already stuffed to the very brim with amazing podcast content... off we go... on a whistle stop tour of THE GREATEST BOOKSHOPS ON THE PLANET. We're too good to you.  We really are. Jon's local: Goldfinch Books in Alton: El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires: Shakespeare and Company in Paris: Livraria Lello in Porto: Barter Books in Alnwick: Also... don't forget you can get 20% off Scrivener if you're quick! 'urry up and go to, Hit '+Add Discount' on the pay page - and use the code FAILING The lovely pastel picture of Grove Bookshop used for the episode art is by Jon's dad, Clive Rand.  Who sells all his work to raise money for The Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
08/10/23·1h 7m

S3 Ep17: A Simon Armitage, Stanza Stone Special. For National Poetry Day 2023

This week we're out and about tracking down poetry for National Poetry Day 2023. We take to the Yorkshire hills in search of the Stanza Stones. Join us on our adventure and help us celebrate some of the work of our current Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage.
02/10/23·1h 40m

S3 Ep16: Oliver Mol - Train Lord

Imagine being a writer and not actually writing! Oh wait.  That's us. Imagine being a writer and NOT BEING ABLE TO WRITE! That was Oli.  He had a 10 month long migraine that almost literally killed him. Listen to his fascinating story and hear how he tried to made sense of it all through his autofiction book: Train Lord.  We talk about writing the truth, finding roots, failed orgies and about just how bloody hard writing can be. You can buy Oli's fantastic book Train Lord direct from: Penguin UK: Penguin Australia: As well as all the usual places. Plus we remind you, as if you needed reminding, about our £500 flash fiction contest in association with the wonderful Scrivener app. For 20% off Scrivener in September... 'urry up and go to, Hit '+Add Discount' on the pay page - and use the code FAILING You're absolutely bloody welcome. x
25/09/23·1h 12m

S3 Ep15: Emma Healey

Hello again. This time out we're having a nice sit down with author Emma Healey. Her debut novel, Elizabeth is Missing, (which has been described as "bloody brilliant, honestly, you should read it Tom, it's funny and sad and intriguing. Proper mint it is.") has sold over a million copies and won the Costa First Novel Award. Plus it ended up being made into a film by the BBC, starring the late Glenda Jackson, who it turns out performed her own stunts. (That will make sense when you listen) Find out more about Emma here... Here's where you can support Alzheimer's Society... and don't even think about forgetting to remember the Failing Writers Podcast £500, 500 word Flash Fiction Competition in association with Scrivener*. (*An amazing writing app that facilitates the makey-upping of books a whole tonne-load. Which suggests you should really go to, Hit '+Add Discount' on the pay page - use the code FAILING and get 20% off the indispensable Scrivener app!)
18/09/23·1h 19m

S3 Ep14: £500 flash fiction contest - entry details!

DO YOU LIKE WRITING? DO YOU LIKE FREE MONEY? WHAT ABOUT HILARIOUS AND GOBSMACKING PODCASTING? Yeah? Well then blummin' well enter the Failing Writers Podcast £500, 500 word Flash Fiction Competition in association with Scrivener, you noodle-face. PLUS make writing easier and go to, Hit '+Add Discount' on the pay page - use the code FAILING and get 20% off the indispensable Scrivener app! But before you do any of that... listen to this episode! Not only will you hear the phrase you have to use in your story. You will also hear an amazetesticles chat with the fabulously talented, award winning flash fiction writer Kathy Hoyle - who’s basically going to tell you how to win.  I mean, you’d be a proper nugget-munch to miss that one, wouldn’t you? CHECK OUT THE BLOG POST FOR ALL THE T's AND ALL THE C's Kathy’s website: Flash Face Off!: Kathy’s Top Ten Tips for Writing Flash: Kathy’s astonishing little novella in flash book:
04/09/23·1h 13m

S3 Ep13: A chat with Patrick Ness

This time out we chat with award-winning, best-selling Patrick Ness. Author of young adult books, including The Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls -  his newest book Different For Boys - as well as books for adults n all, like. (Not to be confused with Patrick Nest, a bee keeper from Godalming, Surrey. Although, I'm not sure how you could become confused, they've got completely different names). Also this episode, we've got a rather chilling listener WIP from Kalina Holzapfel.
21/08/23·1h 26m

S3 Ep12: Where does the word etymology come from?

Well, in answer to the question in the title... we're not sure. We should have asked our guests really - because they are self-confessed word-nerds. Authors and language bloggers, Jess Zafarris and Paul Anthony Jones (you might know Paul as "Haggard Hawks") are two people obsessed with the roots, origins and use of language. So, we thought we'd bring them together for a big ol' chat about interesting word things. Jess - Paul -   Also!  In this week's "W.I.P. Me a New One" we look at an excerpt from Hayley Price's sapphic fantasy - The Vermillion Ribbon.
07/08/23·1h 42m

S3 Ep11: Storytime!

Hello there. Welcome to our little podcast.  Do you like stories?  Would you like to hear some now?  Well click play, and you'll get to listen to loads of them!  Somehow this episode has turned into a bit of a story-a-thon. Enjoy!
24/07/23·1h 38m

S3 Ep10: Crime Writing with Mark Billingham

You might know Mark Billingham as the prolific and award winning crime fiction author. We know him as a really nice bloke who we had a really lovely chat with. But we didn't think that even an interview as excellent as the one we enjoyed with Mark was enough for our amazing listeners. So, we also get stuck into another WIP, this time from listener Gayle Ramage, who shares her Scottish vampire story with us! Thanks for listening! Here's info about Mark's latest book - available in all good bookshops... Mark's TITANS:
10/07/23·1h 22m

S3 Ep9: Jack Meggitt-Phillips

This time out we talk to middle-grade kids' author Jack Meggitt-Phillips. We chat about his big break, about badgers and sexy fizzy drinks bottles. You know, all the usual stuff. We also check out another WIP from a listener and... and... erm... well, that's about it really.  Jack's details: Some of Jack's books: Jack's top 5 middle-grade funny books... Jack's podcast, about advertising:
26/06/23·1h 23m

S3 Ep8: A (Joanna) Frank Discussion About The World Of Publishing

Last week we talked to Louise Voss, who spoke to us about her first agent, Joanna Frank. So, this week we talk to Joanna Frank, who speaks to us about Louise Voss. She also chats about her journey through the publishing industry, taking in pretty much every stop along the way. PLUS get some top tips for pitching and querying, as Joanna kindly shares with us her “dos” and “don’ts” when approaching an agent. We also take a look at another work in progress too, this time from listener S.G.Sangster. (@ScarlettGraceHS) In yet another amazing instalment of… THE FAILING WRITERS PODCAAAAAAAAST!!! Check out Joanna’s literary services at And here's just a couple of the brilliant authors she's worked with... (sorry we couldn't mention them all!) Check 'em out!
19/06/23·1h 8m

S3 Ep7: That's it, I quit...

Hello. Look at you reading the show notes! So... what have we got to tell you about? Erm, well, I guess the main bit is that we're talking to author Louise Voss this week. A bit back she tweeted that she was packing it all in because her enthusiasm balloon had been well and truly popped. We have a chat with her about that and other bits'n'bobs. Then in our Work In Progress feature, listener Donal Fogarty has sent in a short story, with a very, very interesting backstory. There's a few other things we talk about - but best that you just hear them on the podcast, not really worth mentioning in the show notes. So, go on, less reading more listening please. Press the play button. Buy Louise Voss' latest book here... And the one Louise was especially proud of... Mark Edwards (Louise's erstwhile writing partner)... The rest of Donal's story... ...and his blog Want clothes that you can read? Then make yourself a coat out of a newspaper… or subscribe to t-post...
12/06/23·1h 23m

S3 Ep6: Laura Barton Interview

Fancy going for a spin with us? ‘Cos we’re about to head off in this ole, beat up Cadillac. Laura Barton is at the wheel and she’s got the windows down and the radio up. Jon’s nodding seriously to the majestic growl of Johnny Cash and Tommy’s got his head out the window, forcing air up his nose like a blood hound. And we’re here and we’re alive and just shooting the breeze about sad songs, rock stars, lost love, writing, Betjeman, Springsteen, journalism, and turnips… for some reason. Yeah. I’m not entirely sure why, but turnips seem to… crop up, so…  Laura's new book - Sad Songs Laura's BBC "Notes on music" Laura's sad songs Jon's sad song Tom's sad song Some other things that crop up: The amazing producers of ‘Notes’ Rebecca Solnit; Laura’s novel, Twenty-One Locks: Shape note singing: Cold Mountain: John Betjeman & Jim Parker’s Banana Blush Album How to grow really nice turnips
29/05/23·1h 13m

S3 Ep5: There was a podcast about limericks...

Hello. Welcome to our limerick special! In celebration of National Limerick Day, on the 12th of May, we’ve had a good delve into where limericks came from, what they mean to people and we’ve even had a crack at writing some ourselves too. A huge thank you to our fantastic contributors: Fred Hornaday - Doug Harris – limerick collector extraordinaire  Dr Matthew Potter - The people of
22/05/23·1h 26m

S3 Ep4: Ian McMillan

Eh up Chucks. Int’ episode this week, we bants wit’ Bard o’ Barnsley ‘imsen, like. Ye know the fella: that one who does all that poetry, and is ont’ wireless: BBC’s T’Verb. Yeah. Reight Yorkshire Talker ‘e is.  Aye! That’s ‘im. Ian McMillan. There’s also some other little surprises for ya, which you’ll ‘ave to find out by usin’ yer lug’oles. Ian McMillan’s ‘My Sand Life My Pebble Life' The Verb: Pantoums: Luke Wright: David Wheatley’s poetry and other books...
15/05/23·1h 25m

S3 Ep3: ChatGPT, Kasim Ali and Orcs

This time out, we talk about Andy Stanton working with AI on his next book - and discuss whether that's a bit naughty of him or not. We also take a look at some work-in-progress that listener AB Finlayson was kind enough to share with us. And sandwiched between all that quality content, is a rather lovely interview with author (and self-confessed writing addict) Kasim Ali. Here's some links for ya... BUY ONE OF HIS BOOKS RIGHT NOW, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
01/05/23·1h 18m

S3 Ep2: Stuart Turton

Hello again! This week we're having a chat with Stuart Turton, author of "The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle" and "The Devil and the Dark Water". We also try to give some worthwhile feedback on work that one of our listeners has kindly sent in to us.
17/04/23·1h 13m

S3 Ep1: Elaborating on collaborating

Just a little episode, to say "Welcome to season 3". This week join Jon and Tom to have a chat about what it was like to (try and) work together on our Poker Night project. 
10/04/23·34m 12s

S2 Ep31: Finally... we pitch Poker Night

Are you ready for a BRAND NEW SEASON of the Failing Writers Podcast? Of course you are!! Well... you'll need to wait a bit longer. We've got to finish the end of Season 2 first. We promised that we would write a sitcom and pitch it to a TV big-wig, and (rather surprisingly) that's exactly what we've done. Enjoy!! 
03/04/23·1h 2m

S2 Ep30: End of season-ish

Some will be sad. Some may be happy for what has been. Many will call it an “end of an error”. Well, you know what, they might all be right. This week we share some of our old writing from years ago, as we bring season two to an end… ish. We say “ish”, because we promise to be back soon for a one-off special, in which we’ll be pitching our Poker Night comedy project to a TV exec. But until then, goodbye and thanks for listening!
14/11/22·1h 8m

S2 Ep29: Lucy Porter interview

Comedy star Lucy Porter joins us this week, to have a good old natter about comedy, quiz shows and cephaloporn. Plus she throws a few shiny pearls of wisdom in along the way too.  Fancy seeing Lucy on tour? Fancy seeing Lucy in an embarrassing ad?   Digital Cell Phones TV Commercial 2000 Any other links we need??? I don't know. Should we delete this bit? Yes, probably. On it...
07/11/22·1h 16m

S2 Ep28: Halloween and Sunyi Dean

A little bit of a spooky special this week, as we reveal the winner of our Trick or Tweet Halloween writing competition and we welcome author of The Book Eaters, Sunyi Dean, on the show. We have a lovely chat with Sunyi about her writing, vampires, the world of publishing and few other things too.      Check out Sunyi's great blog here -   Buy Sunyi’s excellent debut novel here: Sunyi’s inspiration for her blog: Sunyi's recommendation for writing emotional connection:  Get yourself in a write panic, right here - - Check out our twitter for all the Halloween stories - 
31/10/22·1h 1m

S2 Ep27: Talking Pitching with TV Exec Saskia Schuster

This week we're after some tips and tricks to help us when we pitch our Poker Night idea. So, we've asked Sakia Schuster to come on. She's worked for loads of TV companies over the years, and is now Head of Scripted at Fullwell 73 Productions. It's fair to say that she knows her onions. And we're going to take some of those onions, and unwrap them... hoping that they don't make us cry.  
23/10/22·52m 28s

S2 Ep26: The Episode That Was Never Meant To Be

Well, we weren't actually going to do an episode this week. What with our various domestic dramas and general time shortages, we thought our time would be better focussed on doing more work on our Poker Night project. So that's what we did... until we had an idea, that we just had to share.     
16/10/22·27m 46s

S2 Ep25: National Poetry Day 2022

We celebrate National Poetry Day with some “free writing”, as we go for a little paddle in the stream of consciousness. Four minutes of furious writing which we are brave stupid enough to share with the class.  We also take the opportunity to share one last favourite from our love story competition.  And here's a link to our lovely special guest's lovely book
09/10/22·1h 7m

S2 Ep24: We have a winner!

Our love story flash fiction competition (in association with the delightful folk at Scrivener) comes to a thrilling finale as we announce the two runners up, each winning a copy of the fantastic Scrivener software - AND our £300 first prize, gold medal, top of the class, cream of the crop, tippity of the toppoty, overall winner - as chosen by our lovely guest judge; comedian, and author of the Breakup Monologues, Rosie Wilby! Enjoy!!   Check out our supreme courting judge’s book here: And her fabulous podcast right here: Get your hands on probably the bestest writing software EVER! And get 20% OFF with the code FAILING   Oh, and many thanks to our lovely voice actors - The inimitable Alex Hall and of course Katie Rand.
02/10/22·56m 28s

S2 Ep23: Quite a long longlist

Have you entered our Love story flash fiction competition? Well, we're announcing the winner next week, but this week we're giving you a sneek peak of some of the entries for which we've fallen head over heels. They might go on to win or we may read others that we like more as we digest our way through the mountain of entries. Either way, we just thought that these were too good not to share. So, are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin...     And a link to Scrivener (get 20% off by using the code FAILING)  
25/09/22·1h 8m

S2 Ep22: An enthricing chat about not much

This week, a guest we're expecting doesn't show up... and we've got no other time to record the show. So, we just have to go with it, put our big boy pants on and deliver some high quality, unscripted content. You can probably guess how that went. Or maybe you can't, and you're still going to listen. Which we thank you for.      Loads of great writing comps at And a link to Scrivener (get 20% off by using the code FAILING)  
18/09/22·45m 16s

S2 Ep21: Talking with Evan S Smith

We thought it was time we got a bit of expert advice from a professor of sitcomology, to help us progress our Poker Night project (which we've been regretting making the focus of this season for some time now). So who better to get than the bloke who is the author of the book Writing Television Sitcoms, Prof Evan S Smith?   And, there's only one week left of our writing competition!! So, hurry up and get your entry in to for your chance to win £300, thanks to our friends at Scrivener! The beat sheet article Evan talked about - Evan's book - - get 20% off Scrivener using the code FAILING      
11/09/22·1h 29m

S2 Ep20: Developing Characters

Having trouble developing your characters in your writing? Well, we are too. Thankfully though, Jon has had a clever little idea that we explore in this episode. Will it be helpful? Who knows. Will it be worth an hour of your valuable time? Probably not. But you're going to listen anyway, aren't you? Admit it, you're a little bit addicted to the Failing Writers Podcast. Go on... one more listen won't do you any harm will it? You could quit whenever you want. Course you could.      Find our most favouritist writing software, Scrivener, right here - (and remember "FAILING" will get you 20% off!) See if you have a personality here -    
04/09/22·1h 11m

S2 Ep19: On the other Rand (plus the competition entry details!)

Looking for all the info on how to enter our £300 competition, brought to you in association with Scrivener? Well, you’ll find it right here - along with a tale of two Rands. Our very own Jon Rand and American playwright Jon Rand. Two completely different people… or are they??  Find the other Jon Rand here And a link to Scrivener (get 20% off by using the code FAILING) 

S2 Ep18: Benjamin Stevenson - AND ANOTHER BIG COMPETITION!!

Interviewees. Every podcast needs good interviewees. And with a little understanding, you can find the perfect chap - that's when good interviewees, become good craic. This week we talk to Aussie comedian and novelist, Benjamin Stevenson. Talking about his fantastic new book, "Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone (spoiler alert - everyone from the family in the book has probably killed someone), getting optioned by HBO and we also talk about his even better unpublished work "Not Expecting Dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom".  Plus, there's details of our upcoming writing comp, where you can win hundreds of pounds!!!      Here's a link to Benjamin's book - And a link to Scrivener (get 20% off by using the code FAILING) 
21/08/22·1h 19m

S2 Ep17: Janice Horton - The Backpacking Housewife

As well as having a lovely, lovely chat with Janice about her romantic fiction work, we also subject her to our own "love" stories. She's kind enough to offer her thoughts and feedback on all three of of our stories, as (unsurprisingly!) we push back the boundaries of romantic fiction to breaking point.
24/07/22·1h 22m

S2 Ep16: David Quantick interview

This week we are honoured to welcome Emmy award winning writer David Quantick. We talk window goats, having big ideas, getting the sack and chat to David about the reams and reams of amazing work he's done. It's fair to say we think this episode is Quanticky AND quality.      LINKS The first EVER internet sitcom "The Junkies" - That Star Wars bit from "The Thick Of It" - New novel "Ricky's Hand" - “How to Write Everything” “All My Colours”, David's novel about a failing writer:
17/07/22·56m 39s

S2 Ep15: The last word on bad writing

This week we unironically appoint ourselves as judge Judy and executioner when it comes to deciding what constitutes "good" and "bad" writing. We wade, like treaclenauts through the metaphorical linguistic molasses, to address profligate supererogatory expatiated prose as well as the down right boring and clunky – in a quest to get to the bottom of the question; “So, what exactly makes bad writing bad?”
10/07/22·1h 7m

S2 Ep14: Dave's Spooky War Book

It's finally Dave's turn to lay bare his work for the other Failing Writers to critique. Will he be happy with the advice he receives? Will Jon and Tom enjoy his work? Will Dave just have a tantrum and decide to quit writing for ever? Well, we’re not going to tell you in the show notes are we?! You’re gonna have to go and have a listen! Plus, we also have flash-fiction-meister Tim Craig back on to have a chat about his debut book (link below if you fancy buying it).     BUY TIM'S BOOK HERE!!! And we gave a nudge to Anuj who very kindly added us to his list of writing podcasts.  Nice one Anuj.
03/07/22·56m 0s

S2 Ep13: The Freshly Award Winning Screenwriter Paul Quinn

This week we're joined by a lovely chap by the name of Paul Quinn. He's just won a rather interesting "Best Unproduced Screenplay" award for his script, Pushing Daisy. So, we have a chat with him about where he's been on his writing journey so far and where he hopes it might take him in the future.          

S2 Ep12: Julia Roberts. No, not that one.

Writers... erm... thingy. Does it... erm... errrrrr... y'know, is it a wotist. A thingy-majig. Or not? We answer these perfectly formed questions and many, many, many, many* others in this week's thrilling installment of The Failing Writer's Blockcast.      *we probably only answer about two other questions if we're honest -  but let's not pretend you thought otherwise. Write Without the Fight: Master Your Creative Process to Write with Ease & Satisfaction - preview:
19/06/22·53m 17s

S2 Ep11: Talking with Joanna Penn

This week we have a chat with Joanna Penn - author, podcaster, entrepreneur - and she shares her views on the business side of writing and being a successful author. Really interesting stuff!  Let us know what you think of this AI voicing stuff      -- 
12/06/22·1h 4m

S2 Ep10: Cards on the table about Poker Night (and a mystery guest)

This week we acknowledge that maybe our group writing project isn’t exactly racing ahead (surprise, surprise!) and try to actually get things moving on our stalling Poker Night sitcom. Plus we also have nice little guessing game, as Jon introduces a mystery guest.
05/06/22·1h 2m

S2 Ep9: A critical review of Jon's Tree story

This week it's Jon's turn to open himself up to some honest feedback from the other Failing Writers - and also, somewhat bravely, from an unfailing writer too. Will Jon just want us to leaf him alone? Will his story take root in our imaginations? Will Dave and Tom's critique sap Jon's enthusiasm or is their bark worse than their bite? (Will anyone read this far or will they give up due to all the awful tree puns?) Find out, in this week's exciting instalment of... The Failing Writers Podcast!!      
29/05/22·1h 11m

S2 Ep8: Nels Abbey, author of Think Like a White Man

This week we talk to Nels Abbey, author of Think Like a White Man, and mostly cover all the same old subjects really. You know; stripper politics, Jim Davidson, Didcot Parkway and how to solve racism worldwide. (We also definitely don't give a plug to the release of the paperback verison of Chris Palling's A Very Nice Rejection Letter either).  And if you want your very own copy of his wonderful book, to love and cherish and keep forever, you can...é-Whytelaw/dp/1786894343 
22/05/22·1h 25m

S2 Ep7: Constrictive Criticism

So the time has come for Tom to get some honest feedback from Jon and Dave, as he bravely submits his silly little sales book for appraisal from his fellow podcast hosts. Take a listen to find out what they thought of it, what Tom thought of what they thought of it, and what they thought of what Tom thought of what they thought of it. And if you're brave enough to make it through to the end, there's a lovely little surprise for all you tree lovers out there......    
15/05/22·1h 11m

S2 Ep6: Interview with Will Storr, author of The Science of Storytelling

We have a fantastic, illuminating and thought provoking chat with Will Storr this week. Delving into the human psyche and our fundamental core need for storytelling and narrative. Plus we continue to progress with our joint writing project for the season and Tom gets persuaded to share his work with Jon and Dave so they can offer "constructive criticism" next week.
08/05/22·1h 18m

S2 Ep5: Talking Sitcomedydramas

In preparation for finally actually, maybe, starting to possibly begin to put pen to paper on our TV comedy pitch - this week we have a chat about our favourite (and less favourite) sitcoms and comedy dramas.    
01/05/22·59m 14s

S2 Ep4: Emma Kennedy

This week we welcome author, comedy writer, performer (and all round massively talented) Emma Kennedy on to the podcast. We find out about her writing, she throws a few home truths our way and she gives us some good old fashioned advice as we start out on our Season 2 quest to write a sitcom comedy drama.
24/04/22·1h 10m

S2 Ep3: Writing Competitions

In this episode we discuss writing competitions. And linked into that, we talk with a few people involved with The David Nobbs Memorial Trust - a bursary scheme that Dave entered recently (spoiler alert... he didn't win, but we speak to the person that did, Zoe Tomalin). We also have a delightful chat with trustee Margaret Cabourn-Smith, to find out more about the trust and its aims.     David Nobbs Bursary Website: Writers HQ website - for writing competition listings:
17/04/22·53m 30s

S2 Ep2: An interview with Jeremy Dyson

We're honoured to have one of our favourite writers on the podcast this week - as we welcome Jeremy Dyson. He shares some fantastic tips and a fair few 24-carrat-knowledge-nuggets with us too. So, sit back... relax... and soak it all up. League of Gentlemen: Funland: The Cranes That Build the Cranes Ramsey Campbell ghost stories:
10/04/22·1h 21m

S2 Ep1: We're back! Welcome to Season 2

Big ideas, rude t-shirt slogans, misplaced confidence and our infallible master-plan – The Failing Writers return for season 2 of their potentially award winning podcast. 
03/04/22·48m 47s

S2: Here we go again!

So, we're back! And this time we're having a BIG idea. (Hopefully. At some point. Maybe. If we get round to it).
23/03/22·10m 54s

S1 Ep37: End of season spectacular (pt2)

Some people are on the podcast* - they think season one's all over... it is now!!    *(those people would be Adrian Poynton, Caimh McDonnell, OMJ Ryan, Andy Stanton,  Beth Chalmers and Simon Griffin - to whom we offer our thanks for dropping back in to have a catch up with us).    Thank you to everyone who has listened to, supported and championed the podcast in our first season. We've had a great time putting it together and can't wait to bring you more thoroughly average chit-chat and moderately interesting happenings in March!    Happy new year!!  Music by Dano Songs (and Jon & Tom & Dave)
01/01/22·59m 55s

S1 Ep36: The End of Season SPECTACULAR (pt1)

The end is nigh. The first part of our two part End of Season Spectacular sees us catch up with some of the guests that have helped make The Failing Writers Podcast one of the best (and as yet, pretty much undiscovered) podcasts of the year in the whole wide world. We have a quick catch up with poet Kate Fox, novelist Chris Paling, comedian and author Rosie Wilby, fabulous flash fictioner Tim Craig, children's author Adam Bushnell and international spy Tim Glister.  Music by Dano songs
27/12/21·45m 15s

S1 Ep35: The Failing Writer's Christmas Special Spectacular!

Wrap yourself in tinsel, stuff 12 pigs in blankets in your mouth and get yourself comfortable to listen to this festive treat. In this seasonal spectacular, we proudly present the Failing Writers Podcast Panto (ohhhh yes we do!) and also a journey back through our first season, via some of our favourite songs from the series, in our top ten silly little ditty countdown (with a mystery celebrity DJ presenter!) Enjoy... and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  Music by Dano Songs (And Jon and Tom and Dave)
20/12/21·43m 12s

S1 Ep34: Sally Wainwright

Sally Wainwright OBE joins us on the show this week! What do you ask a multiple BAFTA award winning screenwriter with an impressive string of hit TV series to her name; like Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax and At Home With The Braithwaites? Oh really? You’d have asked her that?  OK… OK… So... nothing about her bus driving career and her favourite crisps? You sure? Music by Dano Songs
13/12/21·49m 42s

S1 Ep33: Our 250 word NYC midnight flash fiction challenge

Undaunted by our ignominious failure in the previous NYC midnight flash fiction competition, we once again put ourselves through the short story wringer and present our writing for all to see and to praise/laugh at/mock/experience as an epiphanical life changing moment (delete as appropriate). And as well as giving our honest, frank and uncompromising feedback on each other’s 250 word "masterpieces", we also wrap up our NaNoWriMo adventure and review some writing software while we’re at it.  Find out more about NaNoWriMo here... Scrivener here... And the HG Wells story that Jon blatantly ripped off is here... Music by Dano songs
06/12/21·54m 39s

S1 Ep32: Lets' talk about using f*$%ing apostrophe's correctly with Simon Griffin

So, this week its' time to have a little chittertychat with Mr Simon Griffin, author of F*$%ing Apostrophes'. We talk about review's and how Simon pretty much almost became an author by accident! Enjoy's! Find Simon's lovely book here And, now Jon's little feature is finally off and running, you can find David Lucas' book here Music by Dano songs  
29/11/21·57m 44s

S1 Ep31: The greatest day of Jon's life - an interview with Andy Stanton

We're pretty lucky that Jon's writing hero responded to his somewhat serial killer-esque letter of invitation in the affirmative, rather than pursuing it further through legal channels. But all's well that ends well! We had a proper funty time with Andy, his chair and loads of really good insights into "the craft". (Fortunately we managed to keep Jon from embarrassing himself and letting it slip that he's actually got an Andy Stanton shrine in his downstairs loo... oh, and that he nearly called one of his kids Jammy Grammy Lammy F'Huppa F'Huppa Berlin Stereo Eo Eo Lebb C'Yepp Nermonica Le Straypek De Grespin De Crespin De Spespin De Vespin De Whoop De Loop De Brunkle Merry Christmas Lenoir).   Find the wonderful world of Mr Gum here See Jon' at all creepy letter to Andy here Music by Dano songs
22/11/21·1h 14m

S1 Ep30: An interview with Tim Glister - author of "Red Corona"

We talk to Tim Glister, who is definitely not a spy. And he tells us about when he REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED at Cambridge Analytica, as well as the time he REDACTED. But what's probably most interesting is the REDACTED REDACTED and the REDACTED, with an ostrich feather umbrella.    Find out more (or at least as much as one can for such a secretive character) here And buy his fabulous new book right here  Music by Dano songs (and Jon)
15/11/21·54m 50s

S1 Ep29: Poetic Judgement (with the right honourable Kate Fox presiding)

We invite poet Kate Fox back on the podcast to critique our work and help us improve our poetry. Which Failing Writer will come out on top? Find out in this week's exiting episode. (That's not a typo. After listening to our poems, you'll be pretty keen to leave). Enjoy dearest listener, enjoy!   If you're joining in with NANOWRIMO (or doing any writing at all) here's that handy little tool to stop you wasting time selecting character names. Music by Dano Songs 
08/11/21·55m 10s

S1 Ep28: And the winner is…

Congratulations to the winner of our Halloween Flash Fiction competition! What? You don’t know who that is? Well, sounds like you need to get your old flappy head trumpets round this episode doesn’t it? Enjoy! Music by Dano Songs
31/10/21·57m 35s

S1 Ep27: Children's Author Adam Bushnell

Crazy kids names, rejection, tortoises - that's what writing for children and inspiring them to develop a passion for reading and writing is all about. We catch up with children's author Adam Bushnell to find out a bit more about writing for kids, teaching teachers and... well, look, we're not just going to tell you everything that's in this episode, are we? You'll have to listen to it. Tips for watching Jon perform Shakespeare - Diary of a bookseller -   Music by Dano Songs
24/10/21·1h 2m

S1 Ep26: The Brainstorm Ideagasm

Thinking. It's hard. And this week we prove it. Join us at the start of a journey of creation. Like the big bang... but probably significantly smaller in terms of impact on the universe. And before you listen, try to guess which Sunday evening TV classic that we decide would be better equestrianised.  Music by Dano songs...and Jon
17/10/21·59m 41s

S1 Ep25: Interview with writer and illustrator Jason Cockcroft... and our own amazing artwork

We welcome super talented (and all round super nice chap) writer and illustrator Jason Cockcroft on to the podcast to talk about his latest book, We Were Wolves. And, not to be outdone by Jason's fancy pen work, we try and draw a cow.     Jason's artwork - We Were Wolves book -    Music by Dano Songs  
10/10/21·58m 28s

S1 Ep24: Halloween flash fiction contest - plus Tim Craig's tip-top top tips

It's here and we want you to be part of it! Our £100 Halloween flash fiction contest is now open! Just listen to this episode to get your ears round the phrase you need to include in your entry... and get writing! Plus, we've got fantastic flash fictioner Tim Craig on to give us all a few top tips on how to write great micro fiction stories. Enjoy! Find out more about our guest here More short form top tips from this fella (not to be confused with the other Gaffney) Music by Dano Songs
03/10/21·37m 4s

S1 Ep23: Rosie Wilby, a writer's room zoom AND A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

This week we've got a big announcement, a great interview with Rosie Wilby, author of The Breakup Monologues, and there's also a rather sizeable announcement. Oh, did I mention we're announcing something? That's in there too.   Find out more about our fabulous guest here You can get her even fabulouser new book here And listen to her ridiculously fabulous (though not quite as fabulous as ours) podcast here Have a go at writing for an hour with the, um, writers hour And finally, get all the details of our BIG ANNOUNCEMENT here    Music by Dano songs  
26/09/21·58m 58s

S1 Ep22: A (not so) mystery guest special!

This week we yet again prove we couldn't arrange an over consumption of alcoholic beverages in a place that makes alcoholic beverages, and we do it in the company of a special mystery guest who's primed and ready to give us some honest feedback on some previous writing we've done. It's all very exciting. Music by Dano Songs
19/09/21·54m 1s

S1 Ep21: Talking to best-selling Gillian McAllister!

Another great guest this week, in the form of Gillian McAllister. Sunday Times best-selling author, with the TV royalty seal of approval from Richard and Judy, she chats about her journey, her work and the philosophical musings of Taylor Swift. Read all about Gilly here Buy her latest smash hit best seller here See her on the Richard & Judy Book Club here And listen to her on The Honest Authors Podcast here Music by Dano songs 
12/09/21·42m 41s

S1 Ep20: Save the f%@#!ng cat

In this week's bl**dy episode, Jon reviews the mega-f***ing-successful screen-writing guide "Save the cat" - and then we have a motherf***ing chat about swearing. Listener discretion is f***ing well advised. Music by Dano Songs
05/09/21·49m 4s

S1 Ep19: Talking TV, comedy and California with Adrian Poynton

Well, despite somehow failing to record the first 30 minutes of the interview, we still manage to have a rather interesting chat with TV comedy scriptwriter Adrian Poynton about his work and his adventures in the world of American TV in Los Angeles.  Music by Dano Songs
29/08/21·46m 44s

S1 Ep18: Whingefest '21

After entering a micro-fiction contest Tom, Jon and Dave rather maturely consider the judge's feedback, and deal with it in a level-headed and sensible fashion. Kind of. Apart from the stupid bits where the stupid judges stupidly got their stupid facts wrong. Welcome to Whingefest '21!  Music by Dano Songs
22/08/21·50m 23s

S1 Ep17: Let's do it LIVE!

Some people thought it couldn't be done... they were wrong. Some said no-one would be daft enough to turn up... they were wrong too!! And some people said we wouldn't be able to create the greatest story EVER with nothing more than our wits and a willing audience. They were mostly possibly right, but it didn't stop us having a right old load of fun trying. Enjoy!!  Music by Dan-o Songs
15/08/21·56m 54s

S1 Ep16: Hidden Tools of Comedy review & Chris Paling interview

It's a half and half treat this week! Half book review ("The Hidden Tools of Comedy" by Steve Kaplan) and half interview - a lovely natter with novelist, and writer of "A Very Nice Rejection Letter", Chris Paling. In addition to this we obviously also briefly discuss Lion dressage.   Music by Dan-o Songs
08/08/21·57m 14s

S1 Ep15: The Little Pod of Horrors!

Ouhhhhhhh... it's a spooooooky horror episode! This week we present back our short horror stories. Then we try and teach Dave how to give something marks out of ten. (We have no idea if we did a good job of that. I mean, he gave us an 7/10... but who knows).  
01/08/21·55m 28s

S1 Ep14: "In one eye and out the other" with stand-up poet, Kate Fox

This week we're joined by the superb Kate Fox, poet extraordinaire. Kate shows us around the secret world of poetry, enjoys Dave's catchphrase (I mean, what right thinking individual wouldn't?!) and she definitely doesn't violently drown someone shortly after chatting with us. Plus, Kate reveals which famous comedy favourite she inspired to get on stage and tell some gags. Music by Dano Songs
25/07/21·1h 12m

S1 Ep13: A chat with CJ Tudor

This week, we talk to brilliant thriller-mystery-horror writer C.J. Tudor. Topics covered: Dog walking, the 1980s and what it's like when one of the biggest authors in the world decides to say something rather nice about your book. Music by Dano Songs 
18/07/21·51m 28s

S1 Ep12: Rejections

This week (as the more astute of you may have gathered from the title of this episode) we talk about rejections – including a surprise for Tom and Jon that Dave has been keeping up his sleeve for over a decade! Plus there's an exciting announcement about our first live show. Enjoy! Music by Dano Songs
11/07/21·45m 31s

S1 Ep11: I can't believe it's Caimh! (That rhymes by the way!?)

This week we talk to multi-talented writer Caimh McDonnell about hecklers, dogs and successful self publishing. And we witness a huge moment in the history of podcasting; the release of Dave's brand new catchphrase! Gary Delaney -    Music by Dano Songs  
04/07/21·53m 6s

S1 Ep10: Logs, trees and beats

What's a log line? How are they useful? How should you do them? These are all questions we really should have considered before recording a podcast about them. But as you'll hear, we get through it ok and actually find it really useful in the end. Plus, look out for an exclusive "arboreal narrative" reveal from Jon and the real highlight of the whole episode; Dave trying to be cool by making sounds like he's about to swallow a wasp. Music by Dano Songs  
27/06/21·1h 5m

S1 Ep9: A nice chat with Beth Chalmers

We thoroughly enjoy a lovely chinwag with Beth Chalmers this week. She's a hugely successful writer with sketch shows, dramas, programmes like Horrible Histories and much, much more to her name. We talk about what goes on behind the scenes, the pitching process and eventually we manage to squeeze some top tips out of her too. Enjoy!! Beth's current TV series "Mystic" (co-written with long time collaborator Amy Shindler) is currently on the iplayer   Music by Dano Songs
20/06/21·55m 8s

S1 Ep8: From first pages to review rages

In this week's audio smorgasbord (let's call it a smaudiosbord), inspired by our chat with OMJ Ryan in episode 7, we present back our first pages of our best-selling crime novels and then we have a bit of a natter about reviews - whether they're good, bad... or should just be blummin' ignored. We also find out about the time that Jon got blacklisted from the local writer's group and shortly after that, Dave unsuccessfully tries to find a book for 15 seconds.  Music by Dano Songs
13/06/21·1h 2m

S1 Ep7: OMG it's OMJ

This week we talk to crime fiction author OMJ Ryan and we find out the answer to questions like; What happens when you quit your job to become an author? What do you call a competition where you have to dig up hidden snooker balls? And, what happens when you give a critical review of a book written by the person you're currently interviewing, which you thought was anonymous but it turns out it wasn't?! Awkward! (But also hilarious). Oh, and DON'T MENTION COATS. Music by Dano Songs 
06/06/21·51m 17s

S1 Ep6: Robot Writers

This time out, we talk about our "work in progress" and then touch upon important issues such as houmous on nipples, one of us being a better director than George Lucas and take the challenge to see if we can tell the difference between things written by us or by a super smart AI computer. Thanks for listening.      Links from the show...    Make your own pretend person. Maybe print it out and frame it, pop it on your desk and pretend you've got a friend!  Music by Dano Songs    
30/05/21·53m 58s

S1 Ep5: Ideas about ideas!

Due to recent events we’ve had to swap our episodes around a bit. So this week we’re using our experience as advertising creatives to discuss creativity and where ideas come from. Then we take a long hard look into the future and begrudgingly welcome the unstoppable rise of our, soon to become, robot overlords Useful links TED talk on creativity - The Creative Penn Podcast. (12th Feb) episode Tom Scott’s YouTube AI generated episode 'Sunspring' short Sci-fi film: Write your own story/get AI to write one for you here Music by Dano Songs
23/05/21·58m 59s

S1 Ep4: Aural Sex

Well, here it is. The episode literally no-one has been waiting for. Packed to the brim with smut and naughtiness, with a few rib-ticklers thrown in for your enhanced pleasure. Plus some very high quality chat about our worst jobs ever. Enjoy! (Well, try to enjoy it... or just lie back and think of England, it's up to you).  Music by DanoSongs
16/05/21·53m 52s

S1 Ep3: Erotica's a hard one

This week we have a good old fashioned chin-wag about our ongoing writing projects – including a unique take on the murder mystery genre and a truly amazing idea for a play. Then we seamlessly segue into talking about the time Dave and Tom met a Hollywood big-wig... and probably slightly embarrassed themselves. Oh, and we make foolish promises that will no doubt come back to haunt us all in Episode 4 next week. Music by DanoSongs
09/05/21·1h 2m

S1 Ep2: Teenangstasaurus

This episode sees us bravely digging out our embarrassing teenage poetry and sharing it shamelessly with the world. We talk about what writing we're trying to work on at the moment and a few other fantastically interesting bits and bobs as well. Which is nice.    Music by DanoSongs
02/05/21·46m 36s

S1 Ep1: There's No Hope

In our first ever episode we have a chat about why we started the podcast, we talk about those little things that prevent us from becoming internationally renowned bestselling authors and about how we write. There's a bit more waffle in there too about various bits and bobs... but, y'know, it's our first ever podcast, give us a break.  Music by DanoSongs
02/05/21·53m 49s

S1: Episode 0 - Introducing failure

Tom, Jon and Dave welcome you to the Failing Writers Podcast. Come on a journey of self-development with us as we attempt to transform ourselves, and maybe even you, from failures to nailing it-ers. Listen to this first to find out what it's all about. Music by DanoSongs 
26/04/21·4m 5s
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