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Weeping Cedars: A Masterclass in Horror Podcasting

And how Joshua Wise has created an evangelist out of a fellow dark fiction writer

By Stephen A. RoddewigPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
Top Story - December 2023
11
Borrowed from the show's Patreon

Today, we’re going to do something a bit different.

Today, I won’t share a story. I won’t postulate on my own opinions around writing and the business of fiction writing.

Today, I’m going to use this platform to promote a burgeoning fiction universe that I think deserves more credit than it is given. To illustrate my point, this is the only creative project to date that I’m actively backing on Patreon.

Back in Spring 2022, I was just starting my journey to becoming the voracious consumer of podcasts and audiobooks that I am now. One of the first offerings I started with was Weeping Cedars, a show that billed itself as a “slow-burn horror podcast.”

I’m not 100% sure how it first came across my radar, probably showed up in the Recommended For You tab on Spotify after listening to some other scary podcasts like See You in Your Nightmares (which, by the way, if you like podcasts that are acted out live with full sound effects, that’s an excellent one to check out).

So, I started listening to Weeping Cedars, and the opening was so immersive that it took me a couple episodes to realize that Weeping Cedars wasn’t a real town in upstate New York.

The narrative unfolds through two formats: 1) podcast episodes from researchers looking into the winding, dark, and often deadly history of Weeping Cedars and 2) news episodes from a local Weeping Cedars reporter set in the “present.”

KWPN News at Night starts off mostly innocuous, but as you start to learn more about the lore of Weeping Cedars from the researchers, you start to recognize shared subjects in the news coming from Emma. Patterns are emerging. Cycles are repeating in the present day. And as your understanding grows, you start to grasp how much danger the town residents are in.

Now, I will say Weeping Cedars isn’t a style everyone will enjoy. It’s a podcast that rewards those who pay attention and try to connect the dots. Very little of the truth will be spelled out for you. I’ve listened to the full three seasons twice now, and I’m still not sure I understand all the powers at play.

But on the other hand, I’ve listened to the podcast twice. I can’t say that for any other podcast, even ones I’ve loved. And the second time around, I enjoyed it even more than the first listen because I understood the format better and knew what to keep an eye out for.

So, if you’re looking for something to play in the background, this ain’t it. Not if you’re trying to fully appreciate the mystery of Weeping Cedars, anyway. I’m sure Joshua would be happy to have the additional plays.

But if you’re looking for something to digest, dissect, and savor, you could do a whole lot worse.

Not to mention, the story doesn’t end at the final episode of Weeping Cedars.

Joshua Wise has built an entire literary universe centered around Weeping Cedars. We now have a couple more entries in that vision with Samite released earlier this year and Wrought of Amber, debuting now.

Though these shows follow their own subjects, they each have callbacks to the lore, characters, or events of Weeping Cedars, furthering that story while introducing new dark powers and actors to this literary universe.

Plus, Weeping Cedars itself has a couple spinoffs, Laughing Cedars and Into the Shadows, both directly connected back to the main show and enriching the lore.

And that’s only a taste of the offerings Joshua has mapped out. Look at that list!

Now, has it all played out like that this year? No. I think Joshua suffers the same affliction as many of us writers: being too ambitious with content schedules for fear that to be quiet for too long risks losing audience share.

We’ve only talked about podcasts up to now, but Camp Muck-Rungler is a video game Joshua is developing. And many of the podcast episodes are accompanied by short stories that are available for Patreon members. Hell, I went on the Patreon just now and discovered there’s also a mini comic series.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate that. I can barely map out the next six months of my writing goals, but Joshua has mapped out five years of content across text, audio, and interactive formats. Five years! Incredible. Mind boggling.

In addition, I learned during the 2023 show update that Joshua writes out the entire show script for all seasons before it goes into production, so you never have to fear that we’ll get the start of a story without its end. I think that’s admirable, and it’s actually a strategy I’m applying to my own limited run series that I hope to move into print in the future. Nothing worse than getting Book 1 without 2 and 3.

As I said at the start, this is the only creative project I’ve monetarily backed to date (besides my own, duh). Is it because I want to know how it all ends? Sort of. Is it because I love all the content out there? Also part of it. Is it because of all the extras I get on Patreon? Not really, no.

I don’t need incentives to back this project. I support Josh’s endeavor because I love the vision. I love the dedication. The hustle. The ability to pick one story and stay with it. I admire Josh’s tenacity and ability to map out such a massive universe that still relates to the central theme and drives the main story forward.

But also, I get the sense that Josh has made the most courageous choice of all for a creative: to make this his sole occupation in life. He’s not backed by one of the big podcast or media networks. He is throwing all his time, energy, and resources behind this project with the hope it all pays off in the end. Considering how much I enjoy the output, how can I not support the process, especially with my own experience allowing me to sympathize with just how difficult the creative process is? And that’s before worrying about distribution, audience growth and retention, etc.

I want to see this behemoth of a project through, and even though I cannot pick up the pen, edit the audio files, or code the games, I can lend my support.

So, if you take away nothing else, go listen to Weeping Cedars.

Not hooked after a couple episodes? Give it a bit longer.

Still not doing it for ya? Try Samite. Then Wrought of Amber. Yes, they’re related to Weeping Cedars, but each is its own self-contained narrative and each focuses on different subjects, different narrators, etc.

And if you really enjoy any of above, give them a rating. Write a review.

And if you’re a superfan like me, join us on the Patreon. Every dollar helps!

Until next time, to borrow the signoff for KWPN News at Night, keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel, night owls.

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About the Creator

Stephen A. Roddewig

Writing the adventures of Dick Winchester, a modern gangland comedy set just across the river from Washington D.C.

Keep an eye out for A Bloody Business, a Martin Williams novel!

Vocal chapter president for the Horror Writers Association 🐦‍⬛

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Comments (6)

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  • Donna Fox (HKB)2 months ago

    I am not a podcast person but you have most certainly piqued my interests. I love how heavily you delved into the creators process and his work, thank you for adding all this insights to give us some real food for thought! Also, congrats on Top Story!!

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Well. You convinced me. LOL I’ve never listened to a Podcast before, but I looked it up and found it, followed it, and will be giving it a try

  • Caroline Jane2 months ago

    You Stephen are an amazing cheerleader. I have no clue if I would like this show/podcast/world or not but now I badly want to!!!

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    You've piqued my interest. Congratulations on a well-deserved Top Story!

  • Paul Stewart3 months ago

    Congrats on a great review and introduction to something I was otherwise none the wiser about. Also, Congrats to the Top Story, sir!

  • Sounds fascinating, to say the least. Great review.

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