Workshop Episode 31 (Guest Host: Jared Axelrod)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 31, with Jared Axelrod and Justin HallJared Axelrod – crafter of wonders, creator of epic fables, and and storyteller extraordinaire – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to workshop a tale set in the aftermath of a super-power cataclysm created by Guest Writer Justin Hall. Justin’s tale is fraught with possibilities and – in the face of staggering technical challenges – we managed to explore most of them in one way or another. Marvelous discoveries are made, insights shared, and (spoiler alert) everyone leaves with some Literary Gold in their pocket. (and there’s more writerly goodness to be had in Jared’s Showcase Episode!)

PROMO: Walk the Fire” by John Mierau

Workshop Episode 31 (Guest Host: Jared Axelrod)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

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Comments (8)

Just finished the episode, I’m on my cell phone so my comments will be brief, I’ll try to expand later on my pc, but I wanted to get this out there first.

Number one, if you remember my episode with Andrew Mayne, he said solar flares don’t work to make super powers in this day and age, and I agree with him. You can make it something else though, maybe a blast of dark energy that was floating around the galaxy, a hit from the shock wave of an exploding star. You probably shouldn’t even reveal it I’m your story, but you should know.

Second, if you want this to be the first book, what if the event that caused powers didn’t happen until the military people got home, then the escalation would be to the super powered war.

Third, keep I’m mind the tried and true characters that work, and the lessons they have. Spiderman is about responsibility. Iron Man is about the proper use of tech. Captain America is about leadership, etc. You should build some concepts into your characters, too.

That’s it for now, more when I can!

I love the each character having a something they believe in at their core. Nice.

Lots of things to say about this episode

Let’s start by saying that Jared Axelrod is one of the most aggressive Guest Hosts this show has heard. A lot of what he said was good suggestions, but it is a good thing there is a BS disclaimer.

His first “suggestion” was don’t have 3 protagonists. Personally I usually prefer a single POV book, but I wouldn’t tell someone that they have to cut it down to one protagonist. Is it difficult to write a well balanced book with three protagonists? Yes! Sometimes it is good to try to do things which are difficult. That is how we grow.

Is it possible for a new writer to write a well balanced book with three protagonists? Brandon Sanderson did it with his first published novel (although it wasn’t his first attempt at a novel, he wrote about a dozen novels before he got one published).

I do think that in this case focusing on Dallas as protagonist is a stronger story, but there is no “one way” to write a novel.

On the topic of who gets super-powers, I am in the 90% gets powers, camp. The way I see it happening is 10% don’t get powers; 10% get powers but they are so subtle/uncommon that they don’t realize what they are (so maybe it seems like 20% don’t get powers); 10% become bestial ravagers; and 10% died instantly from their own powers right when the satellites shut down. That’s what I said, in addition to loosing some communication technology and gaining super powers, we have a 10% population loss worldwide, not including all the people who died from the resulting chaos.

Oh and let’s have the Vice President of the United States call the troops home (no one is sure what happened to the President).

I totally agree with keeping the three protags, but I can understand Jared’s concern for it being hard for a first time writer. I also want to comment on Jared’s aggressiveness. It was actually a change of pace and he did it in a respectful way that I could appreciate. As far as the powers…a suggestion would be to have them based on a person’s position in society at the time their appear i.e., we know the President to hold the most powerful office in the world, so maybe he should be the most powerful. In fact, when the “War of Powers” take place, like suggested, he should be on the battlefield and not in a secret bunker.

Thanks for the positive words. I’m a little glade Jared was so Aggressive. He made me question my ideas. I just wish I could have given my answers the next day when I really thought about why I made some of the decisions I made.

I still like the three protagonist. I wanted to explore the varying perspectives, and the different reactions to a situation.

Alex as the main character. Yes he is a reluctant hero, but he becomes proactive very quickly. I like the idea of someone who has power, but hates the use of it.

I think most of Jared’s suggestions would make for a great story, but its not the story I always wanted to read. That’s what I”m going for.

Justin, my current Protag is similar to Alex in that he is a bit reluctant at first, but changes his mind quickly. In fact, in my story, he is more concern about his first job interview out of college rather than saving the world. I think it’s natural to want to keep your life as “normal” as possible in the beginning until you release that normal no longer exist or matters.

This was one of my favorite episodes, Jared was VERY authoritative when he offered suggestions, but like they say at the beginning of each episode, it can be complete and utter BS. I loved your concept and think three protags are fine. Although I would worry about the passive lead some. I’m sure this is going to be great.

Okay, now my thoughts after commenting on others. I completely love the idea of this being a trilogy as suggested. Book 1 = War of Powers, Book 2 = Journey Home, Book 3 = Small town. I would chomp at the bits to see how this starts and ends.

Okay, I’m a black guy so let me say that a community of all Blacks would not only be realistic, but sorta exist today in a sense. You should keep this as part of the story as well as the other 2 factions. When I went to college and ate in the cafeteria on my first day of class, it resembled your three factions and this was at Breakfast time.

I also like what was suggested about Dallas not joining his dad’s community. He would want to be with the Black Medic who would want to be with her people if not out of loyalty to them, but out of fear/respect of offending her racist mother. It would be nice to see her and Dallas try to live in both communities and then eventually leave so we can show the racism that exist in both factions. Don’t be afraid to explore this.

Finally, I just want to encourage you to write, write and write. I find myself learning so much about my characters outside of my outline when I write, write, write. Write their background stories even if you won’t use it. Write why Dallas father is racist and why the black mom is as well. Maybe Dallas father and the black medics mom wanted to date each other in a time where it wasn’t accepted and this has skewed their beliefs. Just think how this would affect the protags.

Dave and Jared suggested a lot of good movies and books to read, but go see the new movie Loopers with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt and see how subtle the “Super Powers” are used in this movie. The writer did a good job of not letting the powers ruined the core of the story which in your case is love between Romeo and Juliet.

A final suggestion in case you decide to write this story as a trilogy or in 3 major acts. The “Journey Home” for Dallas should be without the Medic so that he has motivation to return home to a father he hates.

Good luck and Go Write.

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