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Gary Wassner
May 19th, 2004, 01:20 PM
We are all incredibly fortunate to have best selling fantasy author, RA SALVATORE as a participant in our writing forum!

If you have any questions for him regarding the behind the scenes aspects of writing a book, or the world of the working writer, please post them here. He will attempt to answer them as best as he can.

An opportunity like this doesn't come around that often, so take advantage of it!

ironchef texmex
May 19th, 2004, 02:35 PM
I've got one.

Mr. Salvatore,

I'm curious if you ever draw from other mythologies besides those contained in D and D. This is both for your worldbuilding and your character creation. Any that you like (Norse, Greek, etc.) to barrow from or do you like to invent from scratch.

May 19th, 2004, 02:36 PM
Well this is certainly a privilege.

I have a few questions.

1. How are you able to maintain focus on one particular project long enough to finish it? I have a nasty habbit of sticking with a single project for a couple of weeks - then life gets in the way - then I drop it and move on to something else.

2. Do you plot outline your stories before you write? If so how do you outline? How detailed do you get? Or do you just pour out a first draft and iron things out in the editing?

3. What attracted you to the fantasy genre?

I'm sure I'll have more, but I don't want to be a forum hog.


Gary Wassner
May 19th, 2004, 03:40 PM
As the moderator here, I am going to ask everyone to please abide by some simple rules for this thread, if no one minds too much, so that this remains productive. In order not overwhelm Mr. Salvatore, let's give him a chance to answer the questions posed before we ask too many more. Please feel free to respond to any answers or to add to an already posted question. Deal?????

May 19th, 2004, 05:59 PM
Ironchef, I grab from all over the place - of course I do. However, when writing my Forgotten Realms' novels, I'm bound by the constraints of that world regarding cultures and societies. I didn't create the Realms; Ed Greenwood did. Thus, even when I create my own parts, like Icewind Dale or Menzoberranzan, I have to be consistent with the surroundings and with what has come before.

For DemonWars, as I created my own world, I drew on Norse, Celtic, Arab, Mongolian, Chinese, yada yada yada cultures. I took them and threw some in a blender (the Behrenese and the To-gai for starters) and placed others in the appropriate regions. And of course, the Abellican Church shows great influence from the Catholic Church of our world.

On the other hand, the gemstone magic system was created from scratch.

Choppy, that's just part of the discipline of being a writer. This is my job. It's how I provide for my family. Creative inspiration is important of course, but discipline no less so. I do outline, but casually (a few pages for a book), and if I stray from that outline while writing the book, then so be it. By this point in time, I certainly have no trouble keeping track of where I'm going and how to get there.

What got me interested in fantasy? Easy answer: Tolkien. I was a big reader when I was a kid, but going through school, I lost all interest in reading and writing. Tolkien brought it all back to me in my freshman year of college. I read his "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" during the great New England blizzard of '78 and my life has never been the same. He gave me back my imagination, which is why it's so important to me to write books that are very appealing to teenagers. THe best letters I get are the ones that begin "I never read a book until..."


May 19th, 2004, 06:12 PM
Thanks for the chance to interact with you!

Have you ever been asked to write in worlds other than Forgotten Realms? I know you've written in the Star Wars universe, have you ever been asked to write in say, Dragonlance?

Or are there any worlds that you always wanted to write a story in?

May 19th, 2004, 07:14 PM
Well met RA! Great to see you here.

I've got a couple rather simple questions (well, ok, in my mind they're simple).

1) How did you become involved with TSR and are you still?
2) What are your favorite and least favorite parts of writing?

And of course, thank you so much for taking time out of you [surely] busy schedule to answer questions of those of us who aspire to achieve what you have. Publication.


May 20th, 2004, 11:16 AM
Karin, I have been asked to write in Dragonlance - a long time ago by Margaret Weis. TSR didn't think it a good idea for most of the authors to cross over to other worlds. I agree.

No, there aren't any worlds I'm itching to write in. I thought an X-Files book would be fun because the wild qualities of that show might allow for some wildly free writing. But no....I didn't even really want to do Star Wars at first. I did jump at the chance to do the novelization, however (even though I hate novelizations!), because it offered me the opportunity to work with George Lucas and I couldn't say no to that.

I'm very happy in the Realms and will stay there as long as they'll have me. Other than that, when writing fantasy, the only place I want to be is in my own world of Corona (DemonWars).

Maus, TSR was just one of the publishers to whom I sent my first manuscript, back in 1987. I was fortunate to land there just as they were looking for someone to do their second Forgotten Realms' novel. That manuscript opened the way for me to audition. Yes, I'm still with them - though it's Hasbro now (Wizards of the Coast is a division of Hasbro).

My favorite part of writing is losing myself in the story. Just falling into the adventure with the characters and sharing in their emotions. I know it sounds strange, but they're like real people to me.

My least favorite part of writing? Tough question. Although I love the actual booksignings (or at least, I like the discussion before being strapped into a chair for hours), the tours are brutal. Since my wife and I have three kids and plenty of responsibilities, I don't like being away from home any longer than necessary. I'm on a plane every day, usually the first flight out, and up late every night, closing the book stores between 10 and 11. After the signing, I have to get some dinner, then back to the hotel and packing to leave often before first light. I'm not as young as I used to be. It hurts!

Also, present company excepted (I hope), the Internet can be pretty brutal on a writer.

There's the bell for round 2....

Scimitars high!


May 21st, 2004, 03:54 AM

We all have different ways of managing a project. So how do you personally go about planning a book and keeping track of it.?

May 21st, 2004, 08:25 AM
Hello again!

Whenever I read, I tend to have music playing in the backround. Do you write with music playing or do you need complete silence? If you do listen to music while writing, who do you listen to or what types of music?