I've listened to a few Writing Excuses, and so far they're breezy and interesting. I imagine it could get dull over time.
One I listened to had an interview with David Farland, who writes the Runelord series, was Sanderson's and Stephanie Meyers's writing teacher, and currently runs an online writing workshop. ($399 per workshop @ mystorydoctor).
I've been reading his book "Million Dollar Outlines". It suffers some from being a quick conversion from workshop guide to stand alone book (including some glaring editing errors), but it's an overall interesting read. In a lot of ways it's a book of lists: things to do to create impactful plots, things to avoid in different parts of your book...
Have just been going through the section on starting your story, and I recognize a number of things from my own attempts and those of others.
Things not to do (my wording of his points):
> Take more than a page to grab your reader's attention
> Start your story describing the weather
> Have only one character in the opening scene
> Have no conflict of any type in the opening scene
> Fail to give your main character a name right off
> Have your character running for her life from something he doesn't recognize/see/understand (cliche)
> Trick the reader by offering "false suspense" or "false mystery" (his example is, a woman is walking to her car through the mist, and feels someone coming; terrified, she drops her keys; a man materializes and says "Hey, hon, drop your keys? We gotta go get the kids")
So, interesting book with some useful suggestions.