I have found podcast gold! Gold I tell you!
They strive to help writers create literary gold (and they very well may achieve that) but in the meantime, what they have done (and are doing is create podcast gold. They are
Dave Robison and Brion Humphrey, the hosts of The Roundtable Podcast.
Each week they invite a published author and a writer working on a story to get together with them and brainstorm the work in progress; helping the writer overcome any obstacles that may be in his or her path to literary greatness. They also spend some time interviewing the published author and put out a separate show for that. So, it’s really two feeds in one—an interview show and a brainstorming show on writing the next great novel.
So far, the authors and writers have all worked in the various spec fic genres. Most of the time, I’m fine with this. However, I’m not a fan of trope-laden fantasy so there have been episodes where I don’t particularly care if the writer ever figures the story out or goes on to finish or publish it. But, even when I don’t care about the individual story being workshopped I get insightful information on writing in general, and often life too. These aren’t just writers sharing their wisdom, these are amazingly creative people sharing experiences…on writing, creating, and fitting that creativity into their real lives (usually with real day jobs to go with those real bills). But, mostly, it’s about the stories.
They arc themselves silly…plot arcs, character arcs, larger theme arcs, Noah’s ark. Sorry, just kidding about that last one. Arc is one of Dave’s favorite words. So, I’m teasing here. Seriously, when Dave, Brion, and the guest host listen to the writer’s pitch and start to get into the various parts of the story in progress they see things the writer didn’t as is true any time you look at something with fresh eyes. They make the writer think about the things they didn’t and point out the bigger picture.
Put my favorite parts of the brainstorming episodes are the “What if…” moments. I am a “What if…” and a “Why?” kind of person. I’ve been known to ask these two questions (but mostly the what if… ones) of some of my writer friends myself and love when those questions help them keep writing. Those questions are how I ended up dying my yarn the way I do and why I have this website. They are the questions we all need to remember to ask ourselves if we want to grow (or in this case, for the writing to flourish). I love when someone on the show asks a what if this question and you can hear the synapses firing in the writer’s brain. To be present for an “Ah, Ha!” moment is always a joy. Even better, are those “Ah, HA!” moments I have personally experienced while listening to this show.
You don’t have to be a writer or a creative to enjoy this show either. I think it probably helps, but it’s not a requirement. If you enjoy great stories I think you’ll find lots of value here. It’s a peek behind the curtain where you can see how that book started out and got to where it is. They all started out as just an idea in someone’s head.
The difference between a writer and someone who doesn’t write is the writer does something with that idea. These are those writers and those ideas. Go listen. And, as they like to say at the end of the show, “Go write”.
You can follow @writerspodcast and @BrionHumphrey on the twitter.