Workshop Episode 45 (Guest Host: Matthew Wayne Selznick)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 45, with Matthew Wayne Selznick and Fred Himebaugh 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. (and definitely make the time to swing by Matt’s Showcase Episode!)

PROMO: “StarshipSofa” podcast

Workshop Episode 45 (Guest Host: Gareth Powell)

[caution: mature language and themes – listener discretion is advised]

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

What’s Matt working on?

  • Always keeping current clients happy and seeking out new ones… check out Matt’s many services
  • Hard at work on “Pilgrimage” (first draft nailed)
  • Cover art for Pilgrimage AND new cover art for Brave Men Run is in the works by Neal Von Flue
  • Launched Indie Author Marketing Info, an indie and self-pub author resource and community site


… and Fred’s Fabulousity:

Related Posts

Comments (9)

I looked for awesomeness and certainly found it in this podcast. Thank you.

Talk about a hilarious concept–the writer’s pitch sounds like the right kind of ridiculousness to take seriously in my opinion. I think Matt Selznick was a wonderful match for this story. He really brought a level of character-talk to this story I’d expect from the author of Brave Men Run.

That said, I think Ryan and Dave did a great job too. I’m noticing after all these episodes I’ve listened to that Dave in particular seems very interested in archetypes. Just commenting on a bit of style I’ve noticed.

Anyhow, I wish I had something to add on the story itself, but I’m too brain-drained on super-folk to be of use there. Keep it up guys, and write-on Fred!

Thanks for the kind words, Tim — this was big fun for me. I can’t wait to see Fred’s finished product.


At first I thought you were high. Now I think you are some sort of mad genius.

If you need Gorbachev to leave the scene so Reagan and Thatcher can have their Scarlett and Rhett moment, I suggest you have him leave of his own volition. Perhaps he realizes Thatcher is in love with Reagan, so he chooses to let them be alone and leave his feelings unexpressed. I further suggest you contrast this with earlier incidents of Gorbachev behaving in a belligerent manner, demanding Thatcher’s affections.

I wish the panel had discussed Le Future. His name and nationality are clearly a statement. What puzzled me was why Chernobog would have anything to do with a Frenchman’s desire for world domination.

Marvelous work so far. I hope to read the finished book.

This is a great concept! I’ve always been fascinated by this period of history and agree that Gorbachev is the perfect choice for the protagonist. Two questions. I might have missed this, and if I did, don’t worry about it. Will there be any part of the story that talks about the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Soviet’s part in the space race or do these not matter in this particular world? I do remember the part of America being predominant over Britain, but couldn’t remember if they were predominant over Russia too.

Great episode as usual. I’m now finally caught up with podcasts and am excited about moving forward with you guys and learning as much as I can. Looks like you’ve got some great guests coming up.

Guest Author here. Thanks much for the comments so far. Let there be many more. Dan, I’m very flattered that you called me a mad genius.

One thing from the podcast I’d like to correct: I should not have encouraged the idea that I’m going for Douglas Adams-style absurdism. My style of humor has always been more dry, a kind of deeply understated silliness played very straight. People tell me all the time, “I can’t tell if you are serious or joking.” That’s what I’m aiming for here.

I’m not completely done listening to this episode, so feel free to web slap me if you guys get to this.

I know you said you wanted this to be an ‘alternate history’ kind of deal, but maybe you should consider making this a ‘secret history’ instead, the difference being that historical events are unchanged to the public. Scott Westerfield’s Laviathan series, where you have mutants, airships and other steampunk mechinations on the battlefield for all to see, would be an ‘alternate history’, and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, where the world does not find out that Jesus and Mary Mag had themselves a baby, would be a ‘secret history’.

It seems to me since Reagan is cloned, Thatcher has a superheroine costume to hide behind, Gorbachev’s scar is easily explained, and the Pope’s gadgets can be hidden behind the walls of his Papal Palace, that the elements are all ligning up for a ‘secret history’ where the public version of events remains unchanged. I’m bringing this to the table because I see an opportunity in how you may tell the story.

As I’m listening to you explain the plot, and how each event is during a specific year, you could use real life documentation (Newspaper Headlines, Declassified CIA NSA DOD Documents) and charactarize it as a cover up. I don’t feel like I’m explaining this well enough so I’ll provide an example.

This is a link to a headline we may see in the first chapter. This could be presented at the very beginning…
…and then you would tell the story of what really happened.

It would probably take some work to line real life reports up with your story, vise versa, or both, but I think it would give the reader a huge sense of plausubility, help them suspend their disbelief, and they REALLY wouldn’t be able to tell if you’re joking lol.

Like I said if someone’s already suggested the ‘secret history’ alternative or any of this other stuff, you can slap me. I’m only about eighteen minutes in.

AT, you’ve made some superb points.

I’ve thought about going the secret history route, especially after the secret-vs-alt history decision was discussed in the Writing Excu–OOOOPS, I mean, was discussed in Another Place. Secret history is appealing because it taps into the reader’s urge toward recreational paranoia.

But, of course, it takes a lot more work. Tim Powers, whom Dave Robison and I had the privilege of interviewing at Another Another Place, takes pride in writing secret histories (e.g., Declare)with rigor; no known historical fact is contradicted, no matter how obscure.

I think secret history could be done here without that level of rigor and still satisfy lots of readers. I’m worried about that satellite “Solyaris”; I guess I’ll just ignore the possibility that civilian astronomers would notice it. Who cares?

Increasingly, I feel like I should give secret history a shot. My story was razed to the ground by this workshop and I’m in a position to give it a try. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

Oh, and I like your idea of using newsreel-y bits. That would help out those who are not history geeks sort out truth from fiction, and (I hope) increase their appreciation for what I’m trying to do.

Comments are closed.