Workshop Episode 33 (Guest Host: Nathan Lowell)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 33, with Nathan Lowell and Michael Brudenell Nathan Lowell – author, podcaster, scholar, and Asker of Interesting Questions – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to help Brion and I workshop a tale offered up by Guest Writer Michael Brudenell. Mike brings a very cool contemporary martial arts story to the table fraught with ancient societies, secret government projects, with the future of humanity in the balance. This is, of course, a veritable buffet of awesomeness and we all fill our plates high with ideas, suggestions, and “what if’s”. Literary gold ensues… get some for yourself by clicking that PLAY button! (and when you’re done, give a listen to Nathan’s Showcase Episode!)

PROMO: The Way of the Gun – A Bushido Western Anthology
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Workshop Episode 33 (Guest Host: Nathan Lowell)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Check out this and all our episodes on iTunes and on Stitcher Radio!

Nathan’s plans and big doin’s…

  • Zypheria’s Call” – the sequel to “Ravenwood” – currently in the world (and “The Hermit of Lammas Wood” soon after that)!
  • Hoping to do six books next year
    • including three new Ishmael Wong Series (incl Cape Grace)
    • And something new, different, strange and/or odd

Upcoming Conventions for Nathan…

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Comments (7)

This one was a BLAST.

It was one of those episodes where I was still pumping out ideas for an hour after I shut off the mic. This is gonna be titanium plated awesome.

I’m really looking forward to reading it when Mike gets it done.

Michael Brudenell

Thanks Nathan. I’ve been working hard at some of the backstory. Now that the episode is out I’m gearing up for a fast paced writing marathon. My goal is to have the first draft, and first round of edits completed by years end.

Listening to the podcast, I have one concern and one suggestion about the secret martial arts society.

Suggestion: This is not an uncommon trope in manga/manwha. If you (Michael) haven’t looked at them already, I suggest that you do. Kenichi (World’s Strongest) and The Breaker are two recent examples off of the top of my head. Both play with the not-only-good-energy point that Dave made. Also, they deal with the problem that if you have a secret, power-ed society that is messing with things behind the scenes, corruption is almost a given.

Concern: Don’t focus on the Chinese martial arts. Everyone does it and there’s no good reason to. Martial arts and spirituality were both around for millenia before the Shaolin Temple was burned. Unless you’re saying that the Chinese or the Chinese martial arts are special and unlocked this power for humans, why were the Chinese the first to make a secret society? Why didn’t those from the Indian subcontinent make one? Why didn’t the Ancient Egyptians?

But there’s a solution here that would make your world deeper and more realistic, I think.

Ever watch the show Warehouse 13? There’s a group that collects ‘artifacts’ (objects that have not-called-magic abilities) and has for millenia. Every so often, the Warehouse and its guardians move to a new location and choose the most powerful country/empire/land/etc in existence to reside in. Warehouse 2 was in pre-Roman Alexandria, Warehouse 8 was in the Holy Roman Empire, Warehouse 8 was in Victorian England.

What if this society worked the same way? Do some history research and trace out the major powers through time. Start it back in Ur, elite troops that served the rulers, maybe? Then Ur fell and they moved to Ancient Egypt. Then the Kushites. Then Persia or the Greek city-states (Sparta, maybe?). Then the Roman Empire. And so on until it hits China. Then maybe France or Japan or Russia. Then to the United States or back to China. (The last series of jumps could have been in fairly quick order.)

This would make the history more realistic. It would not hold the Chinese up as special. It would insert more conflict through the jumping-around. It would allow you a more robust history to bring in splinter groups or ancient “lost” styles. It would let you tie them into the history of the world more.

These are some very interesting ideas. I’ll definitely check out those Manga titles. I haven’t read much Manga.

To address your concern on using Chinese martial arts. Actually, there would not be much. Benny is a modern, Mixed Martial Artist. His style is a mixture of Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Laura Acevedo is a Capoeirista from Brazil. Shun is a shaolin monk, but The Keepers are a group comprising many styles. My background in martial arts is Tae Kwon Do, as a teenager; Capoeira in my twenties, and early thirties, and the MMA in my late thirties. So the story will be reflective of this diversity.

The background is based on the destruction of the Shaolin temple in the 1700s, because of a “what if”, looking at possible alternate motives for this historical occurrence. The headquarters of The Keepers is based in the mountains of Tibet, which plays on a subversive tone. Because of the rarity of these gifts I don’t see large groups in ancient history. Adepts at focusing Qi (By the way, I use Qi as a term because it is universally understood, but it is really the life energy all around us. It is referred to as Prana in India, or Axé in Brazil. All cultures have some form of this.) would have been our great warriors from history, and legend. Not organized, but amazing warriors counted as champions, or the offspring of gods. As the world becomes less fractured, and more global, is when things change.

Also, part of what was discussed in the workshop has definitely influenced how the story will play out. The Keepers do not meddle in the political affairs of countries. Their goal is to find other adepts around the world and teach them to control their power, hide it from those who would use it for war or obtaining power, but because of free will, and that life energy is not inherently good or evil, there will be some who disagree, and have left to go out on their own. Some of these will become characters who have decided to use their abilities for nefarious motives. Then, the aspect of The Keeper’s locking themselves from the rest of the world will influence the plot, the conflict, and Benny’s eventual realization that both sides are flawed, and his decision to walk his own path.

With all that being said, I will think heavily on what you suggested and see what percolates.

Thanks so much for your input, and for listening! 🙂

I also had issues with the inter-dimensional beings. If you are looking to ramp things up, I think you would be better off having members of the secret society that have gone bad and want to control it for their own reasons, rather than protect it. Like the military group but separate.

I think Dave may have touched on this a bit.

Michael Brudenell

He sure did. I think everyone had a say. That is definitely scrapped for this part of the story. Who knows what will happen in the future, but this story will focus on Benny’s journey. There will be plots, and sub-plots that deal with exactly what you suggest.

Thanks Laith!

Great. I loved your pitch aside from that bit. Can’t wait ’til you complete the story and get it out there.

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