Introducing… “Roundtable Dialogues”

July 7, 2013 Posted by Dave Robison

updateBefore anyone asks, no, we aren’t “back” (at least not in the classic sense). The Roundtable Podcast is still on an Indefinite Hiatus. My circumstances haven’t changed… but I’ve decided to take the advice that so many of you have generously shared with me: I’m taking care of myself.

Conventionally, that advice 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.

The Origin Story

The spark that lit the fuse was a great conversation I was having on Facebook (yes, they DO happen) with authors Colin F. Barnes and Stephen Godden. See, I type slow (a hunt-and-peck one-finger hold out) and was falling behind on the conversation. Okay… I was falling behind on the witty rejoinders and bombastic banter that is the hallmark of most of my discourse, but you get the idea.

I suggested we take it to Google Hangouts, but no one had a decent webcam. So that meant Skype. For many podcasters, it’s difficult to log in to Skype without setting up the recording software and mics as well. Skype = Podcasting in my limited experience. So that got me thinking about how we could share this conversation. Did I have a means of sharing audio files filled with amazing insightful people in a dynamic exchange of ideas and inspirations? Hmmmm…

So I checked with Colin and Steve and they were cool with releasing it under the RTP banner. You may have noticed that I’m something of a “joiner” and, in my world, what’s great with two is fabulous with four (I’d site the Law of Exponential Awesomeness but the last year of the RTP is evidence enough, I think). So I reached out to two people I knew would add fabulousity to the mix: Starla Hutchon and Alasdair Stuart.

They agreed to join in the fun and, with Brion at my side, we recorded a remarkable conversation on how difficult it is to write near-future scifi in a world where astonishing and fantastical discoveries are a part of every days newsfeed. We also threw in the (alleged) death of Cyberpunk (it seemed relevant) just to sweeten the discourse.

As anyone who has indulged in astonishing dialogs with remarkable people can attest, it’s a drug… a sweet, mind-blowing, world-altering, consciousness-expanding drug with no hangover but profound side-effects on your heart and soul.

So…

Roundtable Dialogues

The Roundtable Dialogues is a way to share those amazing conversations with you. I can’t promise any regularity in terms their frequency (and you KNOW that makes me crazy… I’m all about “reliability” in my podcasting, baby) but I CAN promise when they DO hit the feed, they’ll be something special.

What can you expect? Well… I’m not really sure. I’m totally pants-ing this but here are my thoughts (and I’ll welcome your ideas as well)…

One of the things that was driven home during the first “RTP Dialogues” conversation was that things are always changing and more rapidly and unpredictably than ever before. My own personal experiences have certainly affirmed that axiom and I know that anyone who hasn’t been in a coma for the last few years can attest to ever-shifting terrain we’re all trying to get our feet under.

So THAT’S what I’d like the Dialogues to address. What changes have altered the way we pursue our craft as writers/creators and what hazards and opportunities do those changes imply? What’s new in our creative world, what’s looming on the horizon, and how can we adapt to make sure our primary objective – the creation and sharing of fabulous stories – can not only sustain but flourish in that new world?

I’m pumped… and it’s perfect. It doesn’t require a lot planning, doesn’t have a schedule that can be compromised, and fulfills our mandate here at the RTP: to explore and foster the storyteller’s creative process in all its many forms.

So, with that framework in mind, what do YOU think we should dialogue about? We’d love to know what’s keeping you up at night about this brave new world barreling down on us whether we want it to or not. No topic is off the table but let’s agree to focus on speculative fiction with a preference (but not a requirement) for the storyteller’s perspective on things.

A Personal Message

I have been overwhelmed by the compassion and support I’ve received from our listeners, writers, and hosts. Thank you all so very much for your kind words, your sympathy/empathy, and your incredible generosity of spirit.

I have been humbled to discover the depths of love and friendship embodied by the podcasting community and I can tell you, without bombast or rhetoric, it has become the firm ground beneath my feet and the solid wall at my back.

Thank you.

About Dave Robison

Dave Robison has indulged in creative pursuits his entire life. His CV includes writing Curious George fan-fiction at the age of eight, improv theater at age ten, playing trumpet at age twelve, as well as a theater degree, creating magazine cover art, writing audio scripts, designing websites, creating board games, hosting mythological roundtables and generally savoring the sweet drought of expression in all its forms. His years of exploration give him a unique, informed, and eloquent perspective on the art of storytelling.

25 Responses to Introducing… “Roundtable Dialogues”

  1. Tim Ward says:

    Sounds like a great idea. Looking forward to it!

    • Dave Robison says:

      I appreciate that, Tim. I hope we can cover some new ground… we’ll be striving for awesomeness, but I hope you’ll let us know if we achieve it. #BrotherPodcastersFTW

  2. Alexandre Maki says:

    Good to know that you guys will be back with the podcast in one way or another. And, actually, this new format sounds very interesting and promising. I’ll send feedback as soon as I listen to the upcoming episode.

    Let the podcasting recommence!
    But keep taking care of yourself, of course.

    • Dave Robison says:

      Thanks, Alexandre! That feedback will be MOST welcome… it’s always a little unsettling trying out a new format, so any insights or observations will be appreciated.

      [Side Note: I know I never responded to your Guest Query for the RTP, but I DID receive it and once we're running our regular Workshop Episodes, you'll be among the first we'll get scheduled. You've been very understanding, but I wanted to affirm that you ARE on the list (though I'm betting you'll have a different story idea to workshop by then) ;) ]

  3. Jacci says:

    Can’t wait!

  4. John Walker says:

    Hey, Dave. Love the idea of the Dialogues. It sounds awesome, but what else should I expect from the maestro of marvelous meanings, the lord of literary libations, the… I’ll get on with it, since I can’t do those as well as you.

    Basically, I can’t wait to hear this!

    • Dave Robison says:

      Coming from our first Knight of the Roundtable, I’ll take that as a resounding endorsement. ;)

      I’ll be interested in your thoughts, John… as a published author, you’re among the target demographic as it were, so let us know if we’re hitting the mark, okay? *fist bump*

  5. AT Augustine says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun. It’s good to see you back, Dave. Having been through your situation I would not have been surprised if we didn’t see you again, and it would have been perfectly understandable. This is a wonderful concept and it could not have come at a better time. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Dave Robison says:

      It’s good to BE back, AT… even in this diminished and haphazard capacity. I hope this whole exploration opens some new doors for you (and if there are any doors you’d like us to rattle, you know where to reach me, right?)

  6. Doc Coleman says:

    Sounds like a new adventure. And if you ever need a helping hand, just give me a call.

    Doc

    • Dave Robison says:

      And who doesn’t love a new adventure, right? ;) Thanks, Doc… you know I’ll be reaching out to you… Brion’s going to be very busy in the Fall and I’ll need a strong wingman. :D

  7. Love it. Can’t wait.

    A topic that I would suggest, because it is something I struggle with, is butt in chair strategies. Every writer I follow, listen to describes the demon of procrastination in some fashion. How do we set our own deadlines and schedules, without it being stipulated in a professional contract. Or even when it is. Not the most creative part of the process, and may not fit your overall vision, so I understand if it does not work. Maybe it could be a tangent or side conversation for a broader dialogue.

    • Dave Robison says:

      Thanks, Mike!

      As for a Procrastination Dialogue, while it definitely falls under the category of “frustrations and fears” for the writer, I’m wondering what more can be said besides (to quote Nathan Lowell) “do it”?

      It seems like a question of discipline and dedication (something I certainly struggle with). We might be able to unearth some “tricks” and other techniques to “fool yourself into writing”, but I’m not sure the topic has enough weight for a Dialogue.

      Lemme share some future topics under consideration to help explain some of the themes we’re looking at:

      Transmedia Storytelling: How everyone can lift their story from the page and into the world for under $50.

      What the Fuck IS “Steampunk” and Why is EVERYBODY Writing It?

      Audio Fiction: You CAN Transform Your Story Into Audio Magic Without Robbing a Bank!

      We’re trying to use the Dialogues to explore “The New Face of Storytelling”. Our goal is to help today’s authors understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in the rapidly evolving terrain of contemporary storytelling. So we’re avoiding specific craft questions (avoiding but not dismissing out of hand) in favor of more “strategic” or “perspective” topics.

      Does that make sense?

      • That makes perfect sense. My mind has been preoccupied with missed opportunities to write, and lack of tangible accountability. I go in fits and starts. Something I need to work through. :-)

        • Dave Robison says:

          I hear you, brother… I’ve been going through the same thing.

          For me, it’s come down to identifying what I want to BE, y’know? I look back at the things I’m doing and how I’m spending my time and ask myself “Is that who I am?” and “Is that who I WANT to be?”

          I’ve actually started imagining myself a week from now looking back on today… I think about giving my future self something to look back on and smile. :)

      • Mercy Loomis says:

        Audio Fiction would be fun. I’m just setting up to record the podiobook of my first novel. (I might do a couple public domain things first, just to make sure the sound is where it should be.) If you want a newbie in on that discussion, let me know! Otherwise I look forward to listening.

        And I would love to know how your novel is coming! So much fun in the comments on that episode.

        • Dave Robison says:

          Thanks, Mercy! Yeah, I figured there’s a wide segment of the listenership who haven’t taken the audio fiction plunge and could use some encouragement, insight, and tips.

          Honestly, I’m still feeling my way through having “invested newbies” on the panels. On the one hand, I’m ALL ABOUT connecting people to new sources of awesomeness. On the other hand, that’s one less person on the panel to speak with authority and experience. On the OTHER other hand, having someone who ISN’T up on the topic would bring relevant questions to the table.

          What do you guys think? I don’t want it to be a HUGE panel ’cause I think a lot insight from few people is more effective than a little insight from many. But I want to serve the listenership, too.

          I’m open to suggestions… :)

  8. Justin Cary says:

    I love the idea of a group of visionaries trying to sift through the shifting sands of fiction to see what the future holds. With the guests you have to pull from it would be neat to see how close their predictions of the future of spec-fic can get.

    In that vein would you consider an episode about what will be the hot topics in 1 year, 5 years, etc. I think it would be a fun topic that that hasn’t been explored very often. I’d love to hear some all-star guests put their predictions out there and it would present some awesome follow-up opportunities.

    It’s great to hear you’re back. You’ve been missed!

    • Dave Robison says:

      I love the idea of a discussion on “What WILL be hot”… we can pull in some editors and other visionaries with their finger on the pulse of things. [25 bonus points to Justin]

      ;) Thanks, bud.

  9. Can’t wait to hear it! Our hearts and prayers go out to you Dave! I know I’ll love it because you’re a dreamer who inspires and does more than dream but sparks dialogues getting down into the nuts and bolts of it. I’m sure it will be a favorite in my iPod.

    • Dave Robison says:

      I’m feelin’ the love, Dan… for the project AND for my family. I’m grateful for both. *fist bump*

  10. John Wiswell says:

    You can make a full comeback whenever you’re ready, if you’re ever ready. You don’t owe such a thing to anyone and I’m willing to appreciate whatever you do on your terms. But the Roundtable Dialogues sound very juicy. Glad to see my friend Colin in with you. He’s an exceptionally bright fellow.

    If you ever need an extra voice in one of your dialogues, feel free to tweet me. I’d love to help if I can. For now I’ll look forward to experiencing the new roundtable.

    • Dave Robison says:

      I appreciate the “affirmation of liberty”, John. ;) I’ll definitely be taking this one slow and easy (but it DOES sound fabulous, doesn’t it?).

      I’ll be in touch… promise. Still working through some possibilities for ideas and panelists. Patience has never been my strong suit, but I think we’ll let this develop organically. I AM floored by all the enthusiastic support for the idea, though… that’s hugely encouraging.

  11. Sarah Williams says:

    Also looking forward to next audio installment. Keep it up and get it mobile either on itunes or newfiction.com

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