INTERACTIVE - Questions for MW Stover

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Jacquin, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. MWStover

    MWStover Registered User

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    Replying to this question with an honest degree of emphasis would require me to use words that this site does not encourage.

    Blade of Tyshalle is 300,000(!) words long. The reason it is so long is that it did fly out of control, and it did indeed require extensive revision (much of which was done without benefit of editorial input, in the simple process of trying to beat the damned thing into a coherent narrative before I delivered it). There is a whole 'nother book of equal length, or maybe more, that consists of scenes and chapters I cut out of that book because I just couldn't make them work. It is the same with Caine Black Knife -- the material that didn't make the final cut is longer than the book itself.

    Now, with CBK, some of the deleted scenes will be resurrected for the follow-up, His Father's Fist; the stuff I cut out of BLADE is just gone forever, and it should be. It was cut for good reason.

    See, the problem is that as my narrative skills have developed, it's become ever more possible for me to beat a [crummy] sequence into something that works, at least more or less. Sometimes a sequence is just [bloody] AWESOME . . . like my original version of the introduction of a certain major character in CBK (and HFF), which contained the single coolest fight scene I've ever written, and which I had to cut because as the story developed, the scene just didn't make any [damned] sense.

    See, the answer to your question is that there is no answer to your question. Sometimes you can tell when material has to be discarded, because it's premised on plot points you've also had to discard. Sometimes it has to be discarded for more nebulous, intuitive reasons.

    For example, there was an entire chapter of BoT that consisted of Caine manipulating Studio politics to get himself transferred to Overworld to find Deliann and bring him back to Earth . . . which culminated in Deliann and Duncan and Tan'elKoth playing a three-way Angel on My Shoulder sequence as each tries to talk Hari into following different strategies for dealing with HRVP.

    This had to be cut for two reasons:

    The minor reason: It brought the action to a screeching halt, and would force the reader to sit through fifty pages of Guys Arguing About What To Do Next (which, btw, over the course of a month or so of tinkering, I managed to make pretty engaging nonetheless -- see that line about the development of my narrative skills above)

    The major reason: by this time in the story, everybody's aching to see Hari be Caine again, crippled or not; to have him go to Overworld then come back to Earth, only turn around and go again . . .

    It just felt wrong. When he finally went to Overworld, he needed to go full-commitment, [gonads]-to-the-wall, no turning back. Because that's who he is.

    Sometimes you have to throw stuff out because you just have to throw it out. In the words of one of my mentors, Perry Glasser: "You have to learn to be ruthless with your own writing."

    And that's the only answer there is.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
  2. MWStover

    MWStover Registered User

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    Oh, and on the new ideas thing?

    I don't have onslaughts of new ideas. I have, if I'm lucky, a trickle of ideas. An occasional dribble.

    Basically, I ignore all ideas that don't advance the narrative toward its (sometimes vague) climax -- but it's rarely an issue. My problem is coming up with enough ideas, not being bewildered by too many.
     
  3. Ser Greene

    Ser Greene New Member

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    Thanks a lot for answering my question. And I'm still in that stage of my career (hah) where there seem to be untold thousands of high concepts flooding against the gates of my awareness, and I want to write about all of them. But I remind myself, ideas are not marketable, only work.
     
  4. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Hi Matt,

    Saw a rumor that you are tweaking the Barra books. Will Roc be reissuing those are have the rights been reverted back to you?

    Also saw something about a non-SW media tie in. Can you give any hints?

    Actually re-read BoT and the duality between Caine and Hari and who the real one is resonates a lot for me with Bruce Wayne and Batman, and I'm sure this has been remarked upon in the past. Is there any connection between that and my previous question or is that just wishful thinking?
     
  5. MWStover

    MWStover Registered User

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    The Barra book rights are mine. Nobody else is really interested in reprinting them right now, though I suppose that could change if I could produce a new book or two.

    The tie-in is a video-game narrative that should be pretty easy for me to produce (it kinda plays to my strengths, I believe) and it pays very well. Not STAR WARS-size well, but it's also not going to be a STAR WARS-size headache to produce.

    The first person to remark on Caine's debt to Batman was, I believe, Scott Lynch, in a memorable review on RPG.net long before he was a Heap Big Mondo World-Famous Author. Frankly, it had never really struck me. I approached Hari's relationship with Caine from the standpoint of my career as an actor, and as a gamer: how characters you play sometimes reflect more of the truth of who you are than you realize. But when Scottie referred to Caine as a "fantasy Batman," I had to admit he had a point.
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Barra & Co. - I've got the old paperbacks to tide me over.

    Video Game? Interesting. I'll be ponying up for whatever it is.

    Scott made the connection then? I must have seen it in his RPG.net review as you say. Then again, there is that certain little independent flick in theaters right now. It has only made a few bucks, but it's tough to stop thinking about that movie.

    BTW, just finished Blade a few minutes ago and I've gotta say I was rooting Ma'elKoth a little more than Caine in some spots.

    Off to Caine Black Knife!
     
  7. Spears&Buckler

    Spears&Buckler MJ Dusseault

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    *In Napoleon Dynamite voice* Lucky!
     
  8. Spears&Buckler

    Spears&Buckler MJ Dusseault

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    Hi, Matt. I noticed your post about e-book purchases being much better for you than used copy purchases in another thread, which makes a lot of sense, and it got me wondering. Just for my own curiosity's sake, how do the Science Fiction Book Club sales factor in on the royalty scale? Is it the same as buying a Real Deal First Edition from Amazon or my local Borders? I'm only asking because I bought my copy of Mindor through the SFBC. Thanks and take care!

    P.S. I miss deadcities!
     
  9. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Alright, not a lot of activity out here in this corner, but I know that MWS is around from time to time, so I shall inquire.

    In scouring the internet and picking up the Acts of Caine books, I was stunned to find that there are more books projected in this series. I've been all over the web trying to discover when the next Caine novel is projected for release and......nuthin'. Anybody know?
     
  10. kater

    kater Filthy Assistants!

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    I went looking a couple of months ago after a re-read of Black Knife and sometime in early 2011 was the only estimate I found. I think Mr Stover works it around his bill-paying work, Star Wars etc, but I imagine more exact details will be on his blog nearer the time.
     
  11. IlyaP

    IlyaP Registered User

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    To try and kick some life back into this forum:

    What's the official status of His Father's Fist?
     
  12. MWStover

    MWStover Registered User

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    It's now Caine's Law . . . and it comes out February of 2012.

    Didn't you get the memo?
     
  13. FrigidSurf

    FrigidSurf New Member

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    Dear Mr. Stover,

    Being a massive SWEU fan, I was wondering how you got involved with the Star Wars franchise? How does that work? Did they contact you? You them?

    Do they give you free range on a story outline? Do they send you a basic outline, and say go crazy? Do you enjoy writing the SWEU novels? Whoops, I'm sorry, got a little excited there. Basically, please talk a little (or a lot) about your experience with the SWEU novels. It is AN HONOR to ask you a question, and I've enjoyed your novels immensely! Any future plans with SWEU?
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  14. MWStover

    MWStover Registered User

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    Hi. Sorry it's taken so long to reply -- I very rarely check this forum any more.

    I was recruited for SWEU by my editor(s) at Del Rey, shortly after they acquired my Acts of Caine series. My first book was TRAITOR, in which LucasFilm Licensing had a very specific point of the New Jedi Order story arc they wanted me to address; they let me figure out how to address it.

    In SHATTERPOINT, they asked me to produce a Clone Wars-themed hardcover starring Mace Windu -- something that would reflect the darker, more tragic tone of the prequels.

    REVENGE OF THE SITH, of course, was an assignment to turn Mr. Lucas' shooting script into a novel.

    For LUKE SKYWALKER & THE SHADOWS OF MINDOR, they simply had some space in their Star Wars schedule, and they asked me to fill it. I pitched a number of ideas, and the one they liked best concerned the Battle of Mindor, Luke Skywalker's last battle as an officer of the New Republic armed forces.

    Hope that answers your questions. And I again apologize for the long wait.