November 5th, 2004, 09:57 AM
INTERACTIVE - Questions for MW Stover
Once again fortune smiles on us.
Best Selling author Matthew Woodring Stover has kindly agreed to answer people's questions regarding his work.
Please follow the guidelines that Gemquest laid down in RAS's Q&A thread and I'm sure we'll all get along fine.
I'd like to start the ball rolling.
One of the things that stood out the most to me with your work was the quality of the fight scenes. Could you tell us a little about your martial arts background and how it influenced the way you write?
November 5th, 2004, 10:18 AM
When you are done there Matt (I think we are allowed to fire two at a time?), you are one of the new, exciting writers who many believe will take fantasy forward away from the epic series style works (nothing wrong with epics), what do you think of others leading the revolution like China? Who are you enjoying?
November 12th, 2004, 03:11 PM
At least I've finally found my way here . . .
Listen: no time to answer questions right now (I'm off to WindyCon), but I'll try to get back with answers ASAP, maybe even later tonight, if I'm sufficiently sober.
November 12th, 2004, 03:41 PM
No rush at all, we're just grateful you can spare us the time.
Enjoy Windy and have a beer (or five) for me!
November 14th, 2004, 10:36 AM
My martial arts background didn't bring anything to my work; it was my work that brought me to martial arts.
This is the literal truth: I was seventeen years old, and I had this idea about a character I wanted to write -- his name was Caine. I was a big Bruce Lee fan, having been mesmerized, as a child, by Kato on the old GREEN HORNET TV show. But I had read lots and lots of fantasy novels where the heroes met the villains In a Mighty Clash Of Swords, and then the villain falls . . .
I wanted to write something that would feel REAL. So I enrolled in the only martial arts class that was available to me at the time, as a freshman at Drake University: tae kwon do. And I joined the fencing club (eventually becoming vice president). And I made friends with a guy who had learned English quarterstaff from some SCA guys at Cornell College. And basically, I have gone on to learn as much as I can about as many different kinds of fighting as are available -- right now, I'm becoming a terrific shot with a 1911 and am about to enroll in an Urban Combat Shotgun competition league . . . because when I write it, I want it to feel REAL.
And because it's a hell of a lot of fun.
As for who I'm reading in the field, I'm afraid my current favorite is a guy doing classic Epic stuff, because he's doing it better than anybody has in a long, long time: Greg Keyes. THE BRIAR KING kept me up late, turning pages.
The other fantasist I particularly enjoy is Graham Joyce. THE TOOTH FAIRY is dynamite.
I'm not too up on China Miéville. I read PSS, and while I admire his imagination -- I particularly liked the concept of "crisis energy" -- I wasn't too impressed with the book's construction, and I'm not overly enthralled with his world-view. I mean, sure, okay, the guy's a socialist, so he can't really allow himself to have heroes, because to a socialist, progress only comes through collective action, right? I, on the other hand, think that all you get through collective action is a Republican Congress . . .
But he can certainly write, and I do intend to read THE SCAR. I just haven't gotten around to it yet, that's all.
When I read for pleasure, I usually read classics.
I should also point out that there is no "leading away from the epic" going on in fantasy. Non-epic -- and non-heroic -- fantasy has always been out there, and always will be. And is usually among the best of the genre.
Have you guys forgotten Gene Wolfe? How about Jonathan Carroll?
Can anybody say Ray Bradbury?
November 14th, 2004, 12:28 PM
Do you think that anyone has written anything in the last twenty years in fantasy that will continue to be read twenty years from now? And if so, why? What is it that makes Tolkien so enduring?
November 14th, 2004, 01:18 PM
Other than mine?
Originally Posted by GemQuest
Did you miss those three names in that post above?
I'm staying out of the Tolkien thing. Been there, done that. Sorry.
November 14th, 2004, 06:54 PM
Actually, I read those three names. But you merely said you enjoyed them. I can't read your mind. Do you also think they will endure over time?
November 15th, 2004, 09:41 AM
You CAN'T read my mind? What's wrong with you?
Originally Posted by GemQuest
Have you fallen to the Dark Side?
In fact, they already have: many of their most important works were published twenty years and more ago, and are still being read today. I have no reason to suspect that they will fade in the next twenty.
Well, except for Jonathan Carroll, who I threw in just to make myself sound hip.
Mostly I mean Gene Wolfe and Ray Bradbury, who I guarantee will still be read a hundred years from now, not just twenty.
November 15th, 2004, 11:02 AM
Greetings, Matt. Good to see you at SFF World. I understand that you had been ill recently (Hope that situation has cleared up for you!), and it was somewhat serious. Would a scenario like that which has impacted your life so much find its way into your work? And if so, how often do you feel that that happens in speculative fiction these days? Thanks.
Last edited by Spears&Buckler; November 15th, 2004 at 11:03 AM.
Reason: Another misspelling!
November 15th, 2004, 11:14 AM
\m/ BEER \m/
As a Fantasy writer, competing for not just the attention of readers who have enjoyed the genre for some time and readers who are making initial forays into the genre, how does "fighting" for the attention of people looking to be entertained through story, when society today does not generally read as much as we here would like them to. For example, and this may be considered a second question...with the Fantasy genre taking a strong hold in video gaming, films, and increasingly, of late, graphic novels, do you see these other media as:
**Potential arenas for your work to be translated into?
**Different media in which your stories can be told?
Or is this getting ahead of the bare essentials of "writing good stories?"
I ask because encouraging people, in general, but specifically younger than myself, or close to my age (in-laws, cousins, friends) to read is not always a successfull endeavor when the things I mention above [video gaming, films, and graphic novels] surround us more prevalently than books. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy all three, as well)
and btw, thanks very much for participating!
November 17th, 2004, 02:42 PM
Hey, S&B --
Yes, I have been somewhat ill for quite some time; it's a chronic condition, currently (fingers crossed) under control with meds and lifestyle. And yes, it found its way into my work. A great deal of BLADE OF TYSHALLE is about finding an answer to helplessness -- I have no doubt that theme came through so strongly because I was desperately ill the whole time I was writing it, and no one could tell me what was wrong with me (which is not too surprising, since my condition was first described in medical literature in adult males in 1999 . . .).
The point is, really, that everything in my life ends up in my work. Fantasy is a vehicle for truth; everything in fantasy -- good fantasy, anyway -- is a metaphor for truths people have to deal with in our world every day. So I use everything I know -- everything I've learned, everything I've experienced -- to tell as much metaphorical truth as I can.
Writing's too hard as it is. I sure as hell wouldn't want to try it with half my honesty tied behind my back.
I see other media as potential sources of income, if I can just find people willing to buy my stories and adapt them. It's too much work to try and market them myself.
I don't see them as competition. They all use different parts of the brain. If you read, you'll still read, no matter how much fun HALO 2 is.
You just have to remember that universal literacy was the Holy Grail of the American Century. Readers are leaders, sure -- but most people will always be followers, and that's just the way it is.
November 17th, 2004, 03:31 PM
\m/ BEER \m/
I did see this, especially with Hari's condition as it was. Maybe that is why the ending of BoT gave me the biggest grin, of any ending I have ever read. Not that I was grinning at your pain, mind you.
Originally Posted by MWStover
It seems that, video games especially, have been tapping established and respect FSF writers to pen novels in their universe(s), with Eric Nylund doing HALO stuff and EE Knight doing some TOMB RAIDER stuff.
Originally Posted by MWStover
Aside from Star Wars, which is probably the biggest media property, and the Flash Gordon mess, have any others tapped you to pen something in their "universe?"
November 17th, 2004, 03:46 PM
Edited for submission
May I ask has your illness changed your perception of your previous works? Do they now seem naïve in your eyes in some way? Has the black and white become even greyer?
Has it drawn you to only express the helplessness? Or can you now see the simple things you dismissed as mundane as meaningful, more precious? Have these found there way into your work in greater or lesser amounts.
Writers are often drawn to describe the unusual, yet it is, I believe, the mundane background in a work that gives it texture. Do you spurn this and reach even more for the fantastical?
Sorry don’t mean to intrude, but in the last twelve months I have gone from able bodied to handicapped. I have found the roller coaster ride I have been on has affected every part of my life and lead me to re-think a lot of what I have put down on paper during the past six years.
November 18th, 2004, 06:39 PM
Where have I been?
I've got a couple simple questions
1) What was your first 'published' work? (meaning what was the first writing you wre paid for)
2) How long did it take you to get 'published' and how long before your first book deal?
3) How has your perception of writing changed since you first 'put pen to paper'?
And Thanks for answering all of our questions.
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