Episode Zero-Point-Five

I know… “Zero-Point-Five”?

But SO much has happened since we started this project and Brion and I wanted to update everyone on our progress and some of the cool things we’ve discovered, both about the podcast and ourselves.



Roundtable Podcast: Episode Zero-Point-Five
[warning: contains mature language]

Episode Content

Below are the time codes for the topics discussed in this episode

01:40 – Legal stuff

02:40 – Quotes from the copyright website

03:50 – Cautions to potential guest writers

05:15 – Warning to those who would steal a writer’s idea

06:17 – Our Guest Host line up (so far)

07:18 – I mispronounce Gail Carriger’s last name

08:47 – “The Nathan Lowell Story”

13:38 – Some discoveries

13:55 – I mispronounce Gail Carriger’s name AGAIN!

15:29 – Props to the Dead Robots’ Society (spelled correctly, Justin)

16:10 – I confess to going off on Pip Ballantine

16:56 – Dan Sawyer’s formidable BS

18:35 – To our Guest Writers – The Process

20:18 – Pre-show guest writer Skype call

23:43 – A call to the Aspiring Writers out there

26:44 – To potential Guest Hosts

27:23 – Wrap-up


Hey! You can check it out on iTunes, too!

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Comments (7)

I was so excited while listening to this podcast that I hated having to cut it short at my destination. You guys have a great idea that, combined with such generous pros, will be an enormous benefit to your guest writers.

A couple questions: Can writers pitch ideas of stories they’ve already written, like a novel in a third draft? How will you avoid spoilers?

At first I thought this podcast would be asking pros how they developed their stories, but I also really like the idea of them helping aspiring authors with theirs. Keep up the great work guys!

Thanks, Tim… you’re a gentleman, sir! We built the podcast to help writers with the opportunity to have a one-on-one workshop with an established writer. We’ve recorded a few episodes already and – so far – it’s been a great experience for everyone.

To your questions… a writer could bring a finished story on the show, but I’m not sure we’d be able to do them much good in the 45 minutes of discussion we have. We try to focus on the planning stage of the process, exploring how to cultivate some creative instincts towards good story development. If the story’s already done then it would end up either being “Yeah, good idea” (boring) or “Wow, that needs work” (depressing). Neither option makes for riveting podcast magic (and yeah… spoilers would be next to impossible to avoid).

There are already many excellent podcasts that invite authors to share their insights on the writing craft (yours included… at http://timothycward.com/ … shameless plug for my brother podcaster). We wanted to see how it worked in application, working with a specific story. The results have been wonderful and hopefully our listeners will be able to glean some ideas of how to develop their own stories by listening to “the pros” apply their techniques to to our guests’ ideas.

This was funny.

Thanks for the big build up, but honestly…

For people thinking about doing this, DO IT!

Brion and Dave are fun to work with and the experience helps everybody. As a guest host, I was pressed to articulate things that help me in my own writing. I think Tristan left with a nice piece of work to tackle.

As for the whole “ideas being stolen” thing.

Ideas are easy. They’re cheap. They’re everywhere. What’s hard is the expression — and that’s why those have copyright protection. Every writer I know has more ideas than they can write. I have a word processing file full of ’em (somewhere). If you’ve only got the one, it’s easy to think you might not have more lurking in the margins. The reality is that as soon as you start to write it down, six more will come to you that you’ll have to push aside.

I’m really looking forward to getting this show rolling so I can maybe come back again down the road.

And you TOTALLY should put together a show out of before and after show clips. It could be either hysterical or really insightful — maybe both. 🙂

You’re absolutely right, Nathan… ideas ARE cheap. They spark and pop through our minds every day, distracting us with shiny possibilities. Ideas are easy… turning them into a story is what separates a dreamer from a writer (hmm… maybe a tag line for the end of our episodes).

But those ideas that stay with us, the ones that we think “Hey… I really LIKE that,” are special. And I can understand someone’s hesitation at sharing something that’s taken root in their imagination. As you point out, however (and forgive the nerdish paraphrase), ideas are like tribbles: You may start with one, but soon you’ll have a cargo bay full of ’em!

That’s one the delights for me with this podcast and the writing process in general… the amazing generative quality of inspiration. Once you start down that path of transforming an idea into a story, you discover that there’s not just one path but many. I’ve fallen down that rabbit hole many times (as I’m sure you have as well) and it can unlock some startling insights about your story and yourself.

It’s like writers launch themselves on a Campbellian “Heroes’ Journey” every time they fire up the word processor. And that’s a constant source of amazement and wonder for me.

(and I LOVE he idea of an “Off the Mic” episode with those post-recording segments. I’m going to start tucking those away for future episodes)

Nathan, I couldn’t agree more, and thanks for the shout out! I think another concern early writers have (I see this everyday in my classes) is the question of validity. “Are my ideas good?”

Even further than that is the question, are ideas good enough to pursue for an extended period of time and when I get done hammering on the keyboard, will my ability to write actually show how good of an idea this was?

I hope that anyone interested in being a guest writer will allow us to help him or her push through that and find what it is that he really wants to say.

What I will say, is that considering that Dave and I are super-hyper-meganerds, it isn’t a matter of good or bad idea with us, it really comes down to what you, as the writer, are willing to let us do with it!

And like Nathan and Dave both said, ideas are cheap (Nathan, I’m stealing that for my class…)and when you get your hands dirty with one, you may find the real nugget that’s been hiding beneath.

Or not. But that’s why we’re here! = )

It’s redundant at this point, but ^^^^Listen to Nathan. Dude knows what he’s on about. Every word.

On another note, I just listened to this episode with my partner Kitty NicIaian in the room (you guys would know her as Katy Sato from Down From Ten, among other things). I have NEVER been so embarrassed in my life! (She of course, laughed her ass off when you guys were talking about me being intimidating, then said “If you ever start a cult I’m going to smack you.”)

Seriously, though, Brion, Dave is right–I’m every bit as full of shit and prone to error as the next dude, I just tell lies (i.e. write fiction) for a living so I know how to sound impressive doing it 😉

Oh, boy. Now I’m a bit terrified of listening through the rest of the cast-so-far, but it should be fun 🙂 Thanks for letting me help kick you guys off.

Two quotes come to mind…

In response to “I have NEVER been so embarrassed…” I was reminded of Tony Stark from the first Iron Man movie when Pepper walks in on him getting out of the suit. “This is NOT the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.” Given the things you’ve done, the people you know, and the circles you maneuver in, I would bet we could dig up something a bit more mortifying than a couple of fan’s gushing about your awesomeness (if you’re interested, we could do a podcast on the subject… “Mortifying Moments with Dan Sawyer”). 😉

The other quote would be from Obi-Wan: “The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.” That’s not to say Brion or I are weak-minded, but you MUST know the Force is strong with you, right? I mean, you’ve cultivated a vast knowledge – intentionally or otherwise – and, as you say, you lie for a living, so you’re really good at processing and delivering that experience. Have you never observed the rapt expressions of people meeting you for the first time?

The brief time we’ve spent with you has helped to diminish some of your “fey glamour” (to blend metaphors AND genres) and, in retrospect, having you and Nathan as our lead Guest Hosts was probably the best thing for Brion and I (and the show). You both demonstrated that (A) remarkable people are indeed still human people (in spite of our pedestal-placing impulses) and (B) being remarkable doesn’t preclude a generous spirit. It’s encouraged and emboldened us to pursue this project with even more enthusiasm, and for that we’re grateful.

And lastly, RE The Cult of Sawyer… too late. We already drank the kool-aide. Suck it up, big guy. 😉

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