Workshop Episode 93 (Guest Host: David Nickle)

David Nickle – author of Knife Fight and Other Struggles, Eutopia, and so much more – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his considerable storytelling prowess to a steampunk fantasy set in the old west.

The tale is offered up by creageous Guest Writer, Robert Lewis, who’s tale of demon hunters trying to find sanctuary in the American west proves to be a catalyst for a truly memorable brainstorming feast. How could it be otherwise when the mighty Alasdair Stuart joins us in the co-host chair? Together, David, Alasdair, and myself launch into an inspiring exploration of Rob’s tale, unearthing vast expanses of writerly goodness and a mother lode of Literary Gold. The goodness begins, when you hit that “PLAY” button (and if you missed David’s exceptional 20 Minutes With… interview, well I suggest you do something about that)(‘cuz it’s amazing).

PROMO:  The Dead Robots’ Society Podcast

Workshop Episode 93 (Guest Host: David Nickle)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Share your comments to this (or any) episode over at the RTP Forum! Check out this and all our episodes on iTunes and on Stitcher Radio!

David brings a whole new level of “awesome”…

  • He has a short story on (releasing Jan 20) called “The Caretakers” (edited by Ellen Datlow, cover by Greg Ruth)
  • The sequel to Eutopia (titled “Volk”) slated for 2017
  • Knife Fight and Other Stuggles continues to rock bookshelves eveywhere
  • He’ll be attending Adastra in Spring 2016
  • His blog (called “The Devil’s Exercise Yard”), is a superb starting point to explore his world, as are his Goodreads page and his Amazon Profile
  • And there’s always Facebook and Twitter for the erudite social median.


Rob Lewis
Rob Lewis



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Alasdair Stuart… find him (it’s not hard, he’s EVERYWHERE)

Alasdair Stuart
Alasdair Stuart

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Comments (2)

Just caught this episode the other day, sounds like a story with some rich dramatic potential, Rob, and you’ve perked my interest with the mythology of the demons living at the core of a hollow Earth.

I just want to say I support the idea of eliminating the character Ahsha (sp?), though mainly for different reasons. She’s the only character whose race you mention in the intro, and thus, I presume, the only Indigenous character in the story. Having the only Indigenous character be someone who lives off in the wild closer to nature who teaches the protagonist natural wisdom and helps her find her way when she’s lost – that sounds to me uncomfortably close the Magical Native American trope, especially when she then goes ahead and sacrifices herself for Ari (sp?) at the climax. And having the only Indigenous character sacrifice themself to save the life of a white person – you said Ari’s from Wales, right? – also makes me uncomfortable from a racial politics viewpoint.

I also think you have a really good sympathetic backstory for your villain, Blackwell (although, if you do decide to make your readers uncertain about his role to start with, I’d suggest you change his name to something a bit more subtle). The way that you describe his arc in your plot summary, though, that just seems to fade away by the end of the story. I know you have to cut a lot out when delivering a summary – I’ve been there – but I hope in the book itself, you’ll find some way of having that backstory play some kind of role in the resolution of Blackwell’s story. I’m not sure how to do this (the only ideas I can come up with are all incredibly corny), but I’m sure you can come up with something.

“I’m wondering if I need to have more characters die because that always seems to be a good thing”
Not really. It depends on the story you’re writing and on the tastes of the reader. With the sort of dark and gritty tone you seem to be going for I think it’s appropriate but a high body count in and of itself doesn’t make a given story better or worse, no matter what the writers of the revived “Doctor Who” think.

Thanks for listening to my story pitch and taking the time to consider it and provide really helpful comments.

As you mention, a great deal of details are lost during the pitch and the mention of race for only one character was a remnant of the streamlining for the show. Ari’s race is a bit of a mystery but while she spends most of her early life in Wales, she is not from Wales. You’ll have to read the story when its done, so no spoilers on the truth behind Ari’s race. Marv has never been Caucasian in my mind. I’ve not settled on exactly what his race is, but he is not Caucasian.

First Nations people are very much a part of this story, and I’m trying to avoid the trope you warn me to try to avoid. I appreciate the warning though, it’s a trope I certainly want to avoid. That said, I’m still seeing a First Nations channeller in the story but I will be careful to try to do it right.

I’m really having fun with Blackwell, and I’m glad you like his backstory. Again, I hope the final story does the Blackwell character justice. Thanks for the vote of confidence in my ability!

My question about more main character die is a bit of a poke at some of the early RTP episodes where killing off main characters was something that seemed to come up a fair bit. It’s funny though, initially this was not going to be a particularly dark story but as I started writing and planning, it kept getting darker and darker. I’m going with it and regardless of how dark it goes, I just hope it is a well written and enjoyable story.

Thanks again for taking the time to consider and comment on my story pitch. I really appreciate it.

Thanks again Dave for providing the opportunity for me to pitch my story and to create venues like these Comments and the Forum to continue to help me.


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