If you’re gonna shake the pillars of literary heaven, then you’ll definitely want Sam Sykes – author of the “Aeon’s Gate” series…
ARCHIVOS: Brainstorm Episodes
This week, Janet Morris and Chris Morris – creators and editors of the “Heroes in Hell” series, The Tempus Thales saga, and…
We must have been VERY good this year, ’cause Santa really came through and gave us James Sutter – author, musician, Managing Editor at Paizo Publishing, and co-creator of the fabulous Pathfinder role-playing game – as a Guest Host! We’re delighted to have James return to the Big Chair to lend his patented writerly mojo to our stock and trade here at the Roundtable… brainstorming stories. With author/editor Jennifer Melzer in the co-pilot’s chair, we buckle in for another adventure in awesomeness.
If you’re going to workshop a story, you might as well do it right… bring in a scientist who has also been an editor with Dell, founded two editorial lines of books, published three novels for a hugely successful television franchise, AND has spent the last 20 years leading one of the top literary workshops in the industry. That’s exactly what we did, inviting Jeanne Cavelos, founder and lead instructor of the Odyssey Writers Workshop back to the Big Chair to brainstorm a story idea.
Mercedes Yardley – author of astonishing “whimsical horror” tales like “Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love”, “Nameless: The Darkness Comes” and the newly released “Pretty Little Dead Girls” – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to ply her wicked storyteller mojo to a fabulous story workshop. With author Paul Ellis in the co-pilot’s chair, we have great fun brainstorming a unique tale of angelic intervention, bloody rebellion against an oppressive regime, and unleashing the dark side of human desire.
Karen Healey – educator, advocate, and author of astonishing YA novels like “When We Wake” and the newly-released sequel “While We Run” – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to catalyze our brainstorming efforts into a maelstrom of awesomeness with her storytelling mojo (spoilers: she succeeds). Joined by the eloquent and insightful Katie Bryski (author of Hapax, numerous short tales, AND a children’s opera), the stage is set for a fabulous story workshop.
This week, Janet Morris and Chris Morris – authors of The Sacred Band of Stepsons series, “I, the Sun”, and the Heroes in Hell series, and so much more – return to the Big Chairs at the Roundtable to infuse our story brainstorming with their incredible writing mojo. Joined by my co-host, the eloquent and insightful Michael R. Underwood ( “The Younger Gods”, “Shield and Crocus”, “Geekomancy” and more), this can only be described as a Master Class Story Workshop.
Brad Beaulieu – author of lush and richly-rendered epic fantasy tales and co-host of the fabulous Speculate podcast – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to workshop a tale of nerds transported into a an epic fantasy world.
The story is conjured from the imagination of creagous Guest Writer, John McCarthy (Surfside Jack to his friends), a coming of age tale of thwarted destinies, grim nemeses, and the fate of worlds hanging in the balance. Moses Siregar joins me as co-host and together we delve into the tale, exploring everything from genre to character arc, worldbuilding to romance. It’s a classic brainstorming froth that culminates in a trove of Literary Gold for all.
David Annandale – professor of fiction, film and horror, and author of tales of terror and dark mayhem – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to help us workshop of hellish trials and virtual damnation.
The tale is offered up by writer/podcaster Jim Ryan whose story of a nefarious software developer trapped in his own virtual construct of hell sets our creative fires ablaze! Joined by co-host, Jennifer Melzer (author and editor of fabulous tales), we embark on a journey through the treacherous paths of this fabulous concept worthy of Dante himself. Fortunately, the paths are strewn with Literary Gold and we fill our pockets every step of the way. You can can, too… just hit that PLAY button
Tim Marquitz – Editorial Dark Lord (trans: Editor-in-Chief) at Ragnarok Publications and pen-wielder on many tales grim and heroic (including the Demon Squad Series, The Blood War Trilogy and more, returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to workshop – what else – a grimdark tale of corrupted power and the horrific price that comes with it.
The tale of a doomed king and his wretched destiny is offered up by Rob Matheny, curator and evil genius at the Grimdark Fiction Readers & Writers Blog, and is a first short story to ever be workshopped at the Roundtable. With my co-host Moses Siregar (author of “The Black God’s War“) with me, we dive in to the shadowy world of awakened darkness and its appetite for destruction with both hands. In the end, the darkness is pushed aside by the pure auric radiance of Literary Gold!
Author and writerly guru, Delilah S. Dawson – author of the Blud Series, featuring “Wicked as They Come”, “Wicked as She Wants”, and “Wicked After Midnight”, and her latest work, a YA tale titled “Servants of the Storm”, as well as being the instructor for a fabulous Worldbuilding Workshop at LitReactor (firing up Sept 10), returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend her writerly mojo to our brainstorming efforts.
My splendid co-host, Starla Huchton, and I are joined by creageous Guest Writer Karey Bunch who brings a tale of monsters hiding in plain sight, a monster squad assigned to dealing with them, and a young woman who gets swept up in all the adventure. The story sparks a froth of discussion as we weave our way through a catacomb of possibilities, unearthing some glittering fragments of Literary Gold along the way.
Hugo Award Winner Kameron Hurley – wordsmith of the epic Bel Dame Apocrypha series (featuring “God’s War”, “Infidel”, and “Rapture”) and the eagerly anticipated “Mirror Empire” (on shelves Aug 26) – returns to the Big Chair, wielding her potent storytelling mojo in the arena of the story brainstorm.
The catalyst for our workshopping-fu is provided by our Guest Writer, Shiri Sondheimer, who brings an epic scifi version of the Arthurian tales to the Table. With such a delightful weave of threads to draw upon, the ensemble entangles itself into the tale, emerging with a rich tapestry woven with Literary Gold.
Cat Rambo, weaver of hundreds of lush story tapestries, returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to join co-host Moses Siregar (“Black God’s War”, and the ‘Adventures in SciFi Publishing’ and ‘Hide and Create’ podcasts) and myself, lending her storytelling mojo in the time-honored tradition of a good frothing brainstorm.
Seeding the thunder clouds of awesomeness is our Guest Writer, August Grappin. Gus brings a most intriguing coming-of-age tale fraught with oracles, fate, and destinies. As the episode unfolds, it becomes clear it’s OUR fate to have a rollicking good time as we brainstorm our way through the tale, unearthing a veritable cornucopia of Literary Gold
Joe McKinney returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his superb storytelling mojo in workshopping a tale of supernatural and psychological horror (one of his many fortes). The tale is presented by the mighty Rob Smales (who has crafted more than a few tales of terror in his time). Rob’s tale of childhood terror maturing into a horrifying adult nightmare sends us all digging in the grave dirt in search of blood-stained Literary Gold!
Mary Robinette Kowal – Hugo Award-winning author of Shades of Milk and Honey, Glamour in Glass, Without a Summer, and Valor and Vanity – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to workshop a tale of supernatural murder.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Gareth Powell – author of the freshly minted awesomeness of “Ack-Ack Macaque” as well as “The Recollection”, “Silversands” and more – returns to the Big Chair to help Ryan Stevenson and me workshop a delicious future-tech sci-fi thriller (with a theological spin) shared by Guest Writer Daniel Ritter.
Dan’s tale of nano-tech, deranged mega-corps, cybernetic cultures, and “The God Process” proves to be rich food for the table… everyone dives in with a gusto and by the end of the feast, we’re all sitting on piles of Literary Gold.
Alethea Kontis – author of the award-winning “Enchanted”, “The Wonderland Alphabet”, The “Alpha-Oops” series, and so much more – returns to the Big Chair to help workshop a rich luxurious story idea offered up by podcaster, voice actor, authoress (and so much more), Lauren “Scribe” Harris.
With Justin Macumber as guest co-host (founder and co-host of the Dead Robots’s Society podcast, and co-host on the Hollywood Outsiders podcast), we dive in to a delightful frothy discussion, inspirations bouncing around like pixies on egg nog, taking Lauren’s already fabulous idea and festooning it liberally in Literary Gold.
Michael Sullivan – erudite and eloquent author of the “Riyria Revelations” and the forthcoming “Riyria Chronicles” – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to help us workshop a fantasy noire tale offered by Ben Love (co-host of the “First Million Words” podcast).
The synergy around the table is amazing as everyone weighs in, exploring, expanding, and rhapsodizing on Ben’s excellent idea, building on each others inspirations. It’s classic Roundtable goodness, friends, with the inevitable outcome… Literary Gold for everybody!
Lauren Beukes – author, journalist, comic scribe, and storyteller extraordinaire – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to infuse this week’s workshop with the insight, experience, and vision that is the hallmark of her many works in the world.
She’s joined by Guest Writer Joshua Cordasco who brings a tale of a magical power play that sees 99% of the world dead and our heroes – including a disgraced devil – left to figure it all out. Between Josh’s fabulous story and Lauren’s keen sense of story, this is classic Roundtable goodness fraught with Literary Gold!
Lauren Beukes will do anything to avoid writing. In spite of her best efforts, however, her literary credits continue to find their way into the world (which is a very good thing indeed). She’s a journalist, a writer of animated TV series, producer of documentaries, author of novels (non-fiction fiction, and graphic), a shark swimmer, and Queen of Cape Town.
With such a broad canvas splashed with such startling and remarkable works, you KNOW our 20(ish) minutes I and Ryan Stevenson have with her is not only a pure delight, but also brimming with writerly goodness.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt – author of the Davi Rhii series, editor of and contributor to anthologies, and SpecFic explorer – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to help workshop a very cool post-apocalyptic tale offered up by Guest Writer Jason Ramsey.
While this was – by far – the weirdest episode we’ve ever recorded (between the wrath of the Internet Gods and an inadvertent road-trip starting in the middle of the episode), Jason’s core framework serves as a launching point for some really stellar explorations and insights into character, genre and theme. Writerly goodness and LOTS of Literary Gold for all!
Cecilia Tan – author, visionary, and activist who’s passions are as diverse as the literary works they inspire – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to infuse this Workshop episode with he unique and eloquent brand of literary awesomeness.
We are joined by Guest Writer Nobilis Reed, a veteran author in his own right with a wealth of stories, podcasts, and audio adventures to his name. His erotic noire steampunk fantasy (yeah, that’s right… a four-genre mash-up. One might say a veritable orgy of genres *rimshot*) inspires a vigorous discussion from all sides of the table, which leads – as always – to a mighty hoard of Literay Gold.
Jerry Gordon – editor of anthologies and author of tales (check his “Coming Up” section below for all his awesomeness) – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable for an epic story workshop. Guest Writer, Dan Scholes, brings a scifi tale of a distant culture dominated by nanites that infect every aspect of society.
Dan’s story becomes the foundation of one our most intriguing and in-depth workshops ever. You’ll be raking in the literary gold like autumn leaves, friends… just hit that “play” button.
Larry Santoro – author of “Just North of Nowhere” and “Drink for the Thirst to Come” and host of the splendid “Tales to Terrify” podcast – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to help Paul E. Cooley and myself workshop the tale of a hero’s journey through Hell offered up by Michael Bergonzi.
Rogue angels, demon spawn, and the world after Revelations sends us all on a wild hunt for radical story lines and subverted reader expectations… and along the way we find some literary gold!