RTP Dialogues #2: Transmedia Storytelling

One of the most intriguing formats that has permeated nearly every corner of our awareness is Transmedia Storytelling. By implementing diverse content threads across multiple media platforms, storytellers are able to transcend the limitations of printed word and provide their audiences with a richer, more engaging story experience.

Joining me for this transformative dialog is a cast of Transmedia luminaries, each with years of diverse experience in developing these unique storytelling experiences: Amanda Havard, Andrea Phillips, J. C. Hutchins, and Robert Pratten. I was also most fortunate to have Matthew Wayne Selznick agree to join me as co-host and bring his experience and insight to the table.

RTP Dialogues #1: Near-Future SciFi and the “Death” of Cyberpunk

Brion and I are joined by authors Colin F. Barnes, Alasdair Stuart, Starla Hutchton, and Stephen Godden to discuss the challenges of writing near-future scifi in a world where science fact keeps out pacing our imaginations. Along the way we manage to debunk the reported “death of cyberpunk” as well as explore the sources of the trend towards genre mash-ups.

Introducing… “Roundtable Dialogues”

Conventionally, “taking care of myself” entails “taking it easy”, “getting lots of rest”, “eating well”, and other sensible courses of action. And I’m doing all those things… really! But that kind of convalescent lifestyle includes a lot of “quiet time”, long tranquil hours where your brain is free to drift and ponder whatever errant thoughts may pique its interest.

You see the hazard that represents, right? Leaving me alone with my thoughts is like hiring an arsonist to watch over propane plant; something’s gonna blow.

UTopYA Con 2013… SOLD OUT!

As a part of our “indefinite hiatus”, The Roundtable canceled all the convention appearances and visits that we had scheduled… except one.

Indefinite Hiatus

It’s been quiet around here for a couple weeks. Thanks for your patience as I try to get my bearings…

Mary Robinette Kowal
20 Minutes with Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal – renowned and lauded puppeteer, author of the exquisite “Shades of Milk and Honey”, “Glamour in Glass”, and “Without a Summer”, co-host of the “Writing Excuses” podcast, and general purveyor of wonders – combines two qualities that make her an astonishing artist: an incisive and informed perception blended with a playful spontaneity. The result is a graceful, surprising, and often lush and luxurious storytelling experience.

Brion and I were grateful for the opportunity to share 20(ish) minutes of rare conversation as Mary shares her thoughts and insights regarding the “work” of the writing craft, genre issues and what she “really wants to write”, how she cultivates her writerly mojo, and more!

Workshop Episode 56 (Guest Host: John Anealio)

John Anealio – renowned musician, composer, and songwriter of geek anthems covered in his albums “Laser Zombie Robot Love” and “Sci-Fi Songs” AND co-host at the fabulous Functional Nerds Podcast – returns to the Big Chair and just in the nick of time! Today, we make Roundtable history as we workshop a SONG!

Patrick Toner, a man of diverse and distinguished talents, comes to the Roundtable with a fabulous idea for a song and you know us… we just can’t say no. Thank goodness we have John on hand to help us explore these uncharted waters and, while there’s a fair amount of splashing and flailing about on our part, I still think we managed some Literary Gold!

John Anealio
20 Minutes with John Anealio

John Anealio – musician, composer, and geek balladeer who has crafted such classics as “Steampunk Girl”, “George RR Martin is Not Your Bitch”, and so many more – is not someone you’d expect to find on a writing podcast. And yet, John’s life of exploring the creation and performance of music has given him some astonishing experiences and insights into the storyteller’s craft. On top of those credentials, he has massive geek and literary cred from his tenure as founder and co-host of the fabulous Functional Nerds podcast!

Brion and I were delighted to share a marvelous 20(ish) minutes of conversation with John, exploring the parallels of music and literature, his approach to the craft of storytelling through music, and more!

Workshop Episode 55 (Guest Host: Patrick E. McLean)

Patrick E. McLean – author of “Unkillable” and “How to Succeed in Evil” and founder of Good Words (Right Order) – returns to apply his unique insights and experience towards helping Ryan Stevenson and I workshop a delicious tale served up by writer, and vocal performer Patrick Lewis.

Patrick brings a SciFi tale of corporate corruption, betrayal, all centered around a really sweet caper. It’s Ocean’s Eleven set in the far future and you know we’re gonna have some fun exploring the intricacies of complex characters, crossed motivations, and making everything works out in the end… which is, or course, where everyone finds the huge stack of Literary Gold for the taking!

Patrick E. McLean
20 Minutes with Patrick E. McLean

Patrick E. McLean isn’t really all that interested in how things have been done. Sure, it’s useful for a sense of context and perspective, but if you’re going to imagine a new future, you simply can’t let “convention” get in the way. As the author of “Unkillable” and the “How to Succeed in Evil” series of fiction as well as the founder of “Good Words (Right Order)”, Patrick has stepped boldly off the path and, in doing so, discovered a wealth of insight and inspiration.

During this 20(ish) minutes of discourse he shares generously of both with Ryan Stevenson and myself, discussing the “work” of creativity, the value of performance in the context of writing, how things go right (and wrong) and so much more!

Workshop Episode 54 (Guest Host: Leanna Renee Hieber)

Leanna Renee Hieber – performer, playwright, and author of lush and luxurious tales of dark Victorian and Gothic splendor – returns to the Big Chair to help Brion and I workshop a marvelous magical spin on a venerable theater superstition offered up by Guest Writer Mac McEntire.

Mac’s tale may be YA or midgrade, but it’s filled with many levels of genuine drama, humor, and character nuance. With all our theatrical enthusiasm escalating our natural delight in seeking out the awesomeness of a story, we all find many paths to explore on our way to a mountain of Literary Gold!

One Question: The Future of Storytelling
“One Question: The Future of Storytelling” from NYCC 2013

Back in October, one of our fearless and loyal Wandering Alchemists, John McCarthy (aka “Surfside Jack”), braved the ravening hordes of the frothing mayhem that IS New York Comic Con 2012, microphone in hand, in search of (among other things) Literary Gold.

He asked only one question: What is the future of storytelling?

Join us as John and I explore the answers and insights offered by Alethea Kontis, Sam Ita, Howie Noel, and Brad Guigar!

Leanna Renne Heiber
20 Minutes with Leanna Renee Hieber

Leanna Renee Hieber – author of “The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker”, “Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul”, contributor to Ellen Datlow’s “Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy” anthology, and more – has fiercely and passionately pursued her own path in the world. While that path led her through the realm of live theater (she’s a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild) and other artistic/creative domains, it was the combination of the luxurious complexity of the Victorian Era and the evocative mythologies of speculative fiction that have become the primary colors of her artistic palette.

The depth and diversity of Leanna’s experience informs every moment of this marvelous 20(ish) minutes of conversation as she discusses cohesion and “connective tissue” between characters, the power of having fun and getting stuff on the page, the audience (tangible and less so) for whom we write, and more!

First Anniversary Episode, Part II (Guest Hosts: J. Daniel Sawyer and John Mierau)

The Roundtable Podcast, First Anniversary Episode pt II, with J. Daniel Sawyer, John Mierau, and Dave RobisonWe conclude our anniversary celebration with a remarkable workshop worthy of the first year of our quest for Literary Gold.

We have our returning Guest Host, J. Daniel Sawyer – author of sweeping sci-fi thrillers, rich and complex mysteries, comprehensive guides and resources for writers, and so many more artistic and literary explorations – lending his substantial vision and experience to the workshop. Add to that the articulate and insightful John Mierau, another veteran Guest Host of the Roundtable and crafter of exquisite tales with casts of nuanced and complex characters. With these two creative trailblazers as our guides we launch into a workshop… of my story!

My tale of a young woman’s shame in denying her child an honorable death in a culture that reveres their sacrificed innocents spawns a remarkable discussion, affirming once again our decision to bring seasoned and experienced authors to the table. Dan, John, and Brion all helped reveal layers of both the story AND my approach to it that gave a new appreciation of my own process and the depth of the story I had undertaken. In short, it was a smorgasbord of Literary Gold.

Trends and Tropes of our First 52 Episodes

One of the many distinguishing aspects of the Roundtable Podcast is our listeners. In addition to showing unparallelled good taste, they’re a creative and insightful crew, always keen to find a new way to look at what everyone thinks they’ve already seen.

One such listener is Peter Ellis. Six months ago, he showed us the trends and tropes of our first 25 episodes. And now, at our one year anniversary, Peter has graciously returned and delivered an even more thorough and revealing summary of an entire year of story workshops.

J Daniel Sawyer
20 (more) Minutes with J. Daniel Sawyer

Dan Sawyer – consummate storyteller, media producer, and creative visionary – was our first Guest Host. One year ago, nervous and uncertain, Brion and I interviewed Dan and launched a podcast, starting a journey that has led to so many discoveries, friendships, and opportunities to explore the creative process. Dan is the ideal catalyst for such a journey, given his diverse and extensive experience in the art of expression.

During this celebratory 20(ish) minutes of conversation, we delve a bit deeper into Dan’s writing process, discuss the pros and cons of genre-jumping, uncover some strategies to keep your audience guessing, and more.

Christopher Moore & Alasdair Stuart
First Anniversary Episode, Part I (Guest Hosts: Christopher Moore and Alasdair Stuart)

So here we are, one year into our ongoing search for Literary Gold and we were wondering how we can celebrate. The answer came from long-time fan Peter Ellis… workshop our OWN stories (thanks, Peter)!

We have the remarkable Christopher Moore – author of exquisite tales of satirical humor – returning to the Big Chair, and we wheel in a second Big Chair for our Special Co-Guest Host and veteran RTP Host Alasdair Stuart! With this astonishing Duo of Awesomeness we are primed for some epic story workshopping… of Brion’s story idea!!

Brion’s tale of a dystopian post-apocalyptic horror serves as a marvelous opportunity not only to explore a very cool story idea, but also to observe how two masters of their craft approach the same story terrain. The end result is an intricate tapestry of concept and perception woven densely with threads of Literary Gold.

Christopher Moore
20 Minutes with Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore – who translates his unique and irreverent perception into astonishingly hilarious novels (that have been accused of being bitingly satirical) such as “Lamb”, “Fool”, “A Dirty Job” and many more – has truly forged his own path through the storytelling wilderness. His experience and instincts have served him well and cultivated a unique voice that has not only engaged a devoted legion of fans, but has also seen every one of his novels optioned for film or television (dude’s doing something right).

Brion and I had so much fun with Chris that we completely ignored the clock and went 30+ minutes (reckless daredevils that we are) discussing the essence of opinion versus genre, luck versus skill, when to put on the brakes, and so much more. It’s buffet of writerly goodness so grabv a plate and hit that PLAY button!

Workshop Episode 53 (Guest Host: Michael R. Underwood)

Michael R. Underwood – author of the marvelous “Geekomancy” and the forthcoming sequel “Celebromancy” (gracing bookshelves in July 2013) – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to help Brion and I workshop an exceptional story idea from Linton Bowers.

The working title for Linton’s YA superhero tale is “Fat Boy Hero” and, while that certainly piqued our interest, the story workshop itself was a creative froth worthy of the RTP. The internet was persnickety again, but that did NOT deter us from unearthing a veritable mountain of Literary Gold… so there’s plenty to share with you.

Michael R. Underwood
20 Minutes with Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. Underwood – author of the phenomenal “Geekomancy” and the forthcoming sequel “Celebromancy” AND North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books – is a scholar of wonders and delights. No, it doesn’t say that on his business cards, but it should. He is one of those rare creators who are simply not content with sitting back and watching. He learns by doing and he’s very thorough about his studies… whether it’s ancient weapons styles, Asian folklore, or AD&D, Mike will scrutinize every nuance to get the most out of the experience.

Our 20(ish) minutes of conversation with this remarkable storyteller is fraught with new perceptions, intriguing insights, and at LEAST 2 “ah-ha!” moments… so hit that play button and prepare to be delighted.

Workshop Episode 52 (Guest Host: Hugh Howey)

Hugh Howey – a storyteller who’s pen has scribed many marvelous tales, including the astonishing dystopian scifi tale “Wool” that continues to impact the literary world in the most delightful ways – returns to the big chair at the Roundtable to workshop a very cool mid-grade scifi story idea offered up by the inventive and inspired Holli Mintzer.

Holli’s tale of deep space generational ships and alien first contact (and first abduction) is fraught with intriguements that set us to exploring all the nooks and crannies of Holli’s universe. Along the way, we scarf up a metric ton of Literary Gold!

Hugh Howey
20 Minutes with Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey is the author of many tales, long and short, set in diverse environments and genres. But it is his dystopian scifi tale “Wool” that has captured the imaginations of not only of thousands of fans, but also most publishing and media industries in the free world (including Hollywood). It’s all too easy to narrow your focus of an individual when one work commands such attention… and in the case of Hugh, that would be an egregious error. His life experience as well as his persistence and dedication to his craft has given Hugh a unique perspective that distinguishes his writing and the path he’s chosen to pursue it.

Lauren Harris (of the Pendragon Variety Podcast) and myself took full advantage of our 20(ish) minutes with Hugh as we explore his insights and strategies on worldbuilding, his own strengths and assets, expanding a novelette into a full series, and so much more!

Workshop Episode 51 (Guest Host: Tobias Buckell)

Tobias Buckell – author of the fabulous Xenowealth series, Halo™ tie-in novel “The Cole Protocol”, the recently released “Arctic Rising” from Tor Books, and so much more – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to help us workshop a kind-of-superhero tale offered by Guest Writer, Jeff Xilon.

Jeff’s tale – that begins with the destruction of the last superheroes – sparks a frothing conversation as we explore a whole plethora of perspectives, POVs, backstories, and approach vectors, exposing some very cool material that might help enhance the story and also explore some new ground for the super hero genre. The Internet gods were very cruel to us (our apologies for the wretched bits we couldn’t edit out), but that didn’t stop us from unearthing some serious Literary Gold!

Tobias Buckell
20 Minutes with Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell has lived an adventurous life, not in the sense of plundering ancient tombs or fighting ninjas, but a life of extraordinary circumstances, opportunities and challenges. He says, “Fear of something is always an indicator of something I should do”… with that philosophy, he has blazed his own trail, exploring his craft – creating compelling tales like “Crystal Rain”, his exploration of his own craft in “Nascence”, and the recently crowd funded “Apocalypse Ocean” – and infusing his tales with a profoundly unique voice that has earned him a space on the New Yourk Times Best-Selling List and nominations for Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus, and Campbell awards.

This 20(ish) minutes of conversation is rich with Tobias’s refreshing perspective on so many aspects of the wrting process, including loving what you do, dealing with fear and the challenges of life as a writer, the secret of endings, and much more! The writerly goodness here here for the taking, so hit that “PLAY” button and dig in!

Workshop Episode 50 (Guest Host: Lauren Oliver)

Lauren Oliver – author of astonishing tales for all ages, including the New York Times Best-Selling YA series “Delirium”, and “Liesl and Po” and “The Spindlers“ (for younger audiences) AND one half of the evil genius team (with Lexa Hillyr) behind the innovative Paper Lantern Lit literary house – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to apply her experience and writerly mojo in the workshopping of a tale offered up by Guest Writer Kebreht Walker.

Keb comes load for bear (or wolf, as the case may be) with a very cool YA spin on the Red Ridinghood fairy tale, full of intrigue and danger. Ryan Stevenson and I dive in and everyone brings their “A” game resulting in a huge basket of Literary Gold. Don’t take it to Grandma’s… hit ‘play’ and keep it for yourself!

Lauren Oliver
20 Minutes with Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver brings so much fabulousity into the world – through her novels, including the much-lauded “Delerium” series, “Liesl and Po” and “The Spindlers”, and more, AND her work with partner-in-crime-and-story Lexa Hillyer at the astonishing Paper Lantern Lit – and the adventure of her pursuits thus far has refined her awareness of the writers craft without blunting her delight in the process.

During this 20(ish) minutes of intriguing conversation, Ryan Stevenson and I discover Laurens perspectives on the collaborative process, the power and virtue of YA literature, the power of understanding plot, and so much more…

Guest Post: Emma Newman and the Split Worlds

Today, we’re honored to host one of the marvelous tales set in Emma Newman’s Split Worlds. Emma Has been releasing a story a week for the entire YEAR leading up to the novels launch date of the first novel in the series – “Between Two Thorns” – which being released into the world by the visionary folks at Angry Robot Books. Brion and I are thrilled to be able to provide a digital home for one of these literary delights… we know you’ll enjoy it.

Workshop Episode 49 (Guest Hosts: Conor McCreery and Anthony del Col)

Conor McCreery and Anthony del Col – creators and evil geniuses (genii?) behind the “Kill Shakespeare” graphic novel series (and all the astonishing treasures emerging from it) – return to the big comfy chairs at the Roundtable to lend their unique and insightful creative mojo to a workshop of a tale offered up by John w. Campbell Award candidate Anatoly Belilovsky.

Anatoly brings a tale of small Siberian town at the turn of the century that features transforming locomotives, the magic of Kabalah, and none other than the mad monk, Rasputin! Even a fussy Internet couldn’t hold us back from diving into the wonderful possibilities of this intriguing idea. And you know – with such marvelous components and such a cast of workshoppers – the Literary Gold can’t be far behind.

20 Minutes with Conor McCreery and Anthony del Col

Conor McCreey and Anthony del Col – creators and motive force behind the astonishing “Kill Shakespeare” comic series and all the awesomeness that comes with it – have transformed an inspired concept into a breathtaking reality. They’re unique backgrounds and experience informed their efforts in such a profound way that Shakespearean scholars have lauded their creation and it has spawned a stage production, a screen play, a computer game, and more!

During this 20(ish) minutes of marvelous conversation, Brion and I had the pleasure of discussing their strengths as writers, their collaborative process, the translation of well-known characters into a unique story, and more.

Workshop Episode 48 (Guest Host: Myke Cole)

Myke Cole – author of the much-lauded “Shadow Ops: Control Point” and the forthcoming (and much anticipated) sequel “Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier” – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable, bringing his experience and insights to bear in the workshopping of a tale offered up by Guest Writer Tim Niederriter.

Tim’s YA story concept of a world where dreams are being converted into energy – and the nightmarish (yes… I went there) fallout of that industry – was not only a blast to explore, but was a great opportunity to discuss the YA genre, working out protagonist motivations, and ratcheting up the stakes in a story. In short… a classic RTP experience in digging up a great shiny stack of Literary Gold.

20 (more) Minutes with Myke Cole

Myke Cole – author of “Shadow Ops: Control Point” and the forthcoming sequel “Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier” – once had a friend remark “one life just isn’t enough for you” and when you speak with him and learn about his many achievements and the passions he’s pursued, you discover that’s an accurate assessment.

His years spent cultivating his craft have given him a broad and informed perspective on writerly pursuits and he shares generously of those informed insights during this exceptional 20(ish) minutes of conversation. We dig into his desire to be a well-rounded writer, discuss the merits and perils of trunked novels, how to convey procedural information effectively, and more.

Workshop Episode 47 (Guest Host: Emma Newman)

Emma Newman – who’s name translates from ancient elvish into “Writes with Tea” and who has crafted such tales as “20 Years Later” and the “From Dark Places” story collection AND will soon have “Between Two Thorns” (first of the Split Worlds series) released by Angry Robot Books – graciously returns to the Bog Chair at the Roundtable to assist Brion and I in the workshopping of a tale by Guest Writer Sara Sambrook.

And, great googly moogly, what a workshop! Sara’s tale of wizardry in modern society sets everyone into a creative froth, exploring, expanding, and expounding in grand Roundtable style. Of course, the Literary Gold is served up with finger sandwiches and tea cakes and there’s plenty to go around… so come and get yours!

20 Minutes with Emma Newman

Emma Newman – author of “20 Years Later” and “From Dark Places” and the soon-to-be-released “Between Two Thorns”, crafter of marvelous tales short and long, and record holder for the longest bout of Writers Block ever – has been bringing the delights (and dark things) of her imagination to the page for most of her life.

Her fiction transforms the mundane into the marvelous… and she performs the same magic with this 20(ish) minutes of conversation. Emma generously shares her insights into the nature of writing advice, the distinction between long and short fiction, her unique process, the cyclical nature of post-apocalyptic fiction, and more!

Workshop Episode 46 (Guest Host: E. C. Myers)

E. C. Myers – author of the acclaimed “Fair Coin” and “Quantum Coin” – returns to the Big Chair to bring his superb insights and aesthetic to help Brion and I workshop a very cool YA SciFi tale offered up by podcaster and Gentleman Twitter-kin Richard Green.

Richard brings a delightful tale of an alien school field trip on Earth that goes horribly wrong that inspires a great discussion about the qualities of YA stories, defining character arcs and relationships, and a superb exploration of how to take a great idea and make it even better (which is kinda what we do, right?). Literary Gold is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

20 Minutes with E. C. Myers

E.C. Myers – author of “Fair Coin” and “Quantum Coin” – brings a veritable cornucopia of skills, perceptions, and aesthetics to his craft. His fiction is inventive and authentic, a offering a fresh and unpredictable (and immensely satisfying) feast for his readers. During this engaging 20(ish) minutes of craft discussion, E. C. explores the discovery of his distinctive authorial voice, the qualities and merits of YA fiction, his experience at Clarion West and so much more. No need to flip a coin… writerly goodness is a sure thing.

Workshop Episode 45 (Guest Host: Matthew Wayne Selznick)

Matthew Wayne Selznick – author of “Brave Men Run” and the sequel (in-the-works) “Pilgrimage”, social media and marketing guru, creator of online communities, and storyteller extraordinaire – returns to the big chair to workshop a tale shared by Guest Writer (and Assistant Editor at Protecting Project Pulp) Fred Himebaugh.

Fred distinguishes himself by bringing one of the wildest story ideas we’ve ever had to the Roundtable that includes Cold War politics, world leader superheros (Ronald Regan in Iron Man armor?), ancient Russian Gods… you get the idea. With Ryan Stevenson in the co-host chair, we throw the switch on the Way-Back Machine and dive in… tune in for the wild story idea, stay for the Literary gold.