December 21st, 2004, 05:38 PM
I have to say I thought a large part of BOT, the much better piece imo, was mostly about Caine sorting out all the dualities in his personality that Sammie just mentioned. The very vivid imagery of Caine in the Shaft and his contemplations on 3F, the 'tombstone' to Hari Michaelson and his understanding that he is more than what 'Caine' stood for on Earth, all seemed to me to suggest a third, blended personality that while named Caine was a hybrid with clear understanding of his personality, origins and attributes. But I guess it depends how you read it.
Which brings me to ask - you say you don't plan a book in advance, so was Caine supposed to be conflicted in Heroes Die or did it become evident once you started work on BOT?
December 22nd, 2004, 10:20 PM
Huh. Do you want to be Frodo Baggins? Do you think Tolkien did?
Originally Posted by GemQuest
And, kater, I think I may have misled you -- I plan my books meticulously. In vast detail. I just don't plan beyond the book I'm currently working on. CAINE BLACK KNIFE, for example, has over 100 pages of single-spaced notes; BLADE OF TYSHALLE required almost three times that. Not including the actual outline.
That's part of why they take so bloody long to write; they are almost as complicated (in concept, anyway) as if they were somebody's real life . . .
Last edited by MWStover; December 23rd, 2004 at 08:29 AM.
December 23rd, 2004, 05:20 PM
Its actually my fault, the question was worded poorly. I meant if you don't plan 'a book' ahead - as in plan the book after the one your writing, like I said crap wording
So I'll try again if you don't object - did you have an idea that the Caine/Hari Michaelson dichotomy would found the basis for BOT after finishing HD or did it just come to you like the idea for Black Knife has? Also I guess thats jumping a question which would be - what was the idea behind BOT at its inception?
December 24th, 2004, 06:13 AM
If the current publisher of Caine decided, for whatever reason, that they didn't want to publish anymore books in that series would you be allowed to shop around for a new publisher for the series or does the current publisher maintain some type of rights in regards to Caine and his world?
December 24th, 2004, 11:36 AM
It just came to me, as I was looking at HEROES DIE and considering how to continue the story without repeating it.
Originally Posted by kater
I had four main goals in mind when I began work on BoT: One, to make Hari face the long-term consequences of what he did in HEROES DIE; two, to strip away the externals that he had always relied upon as Caine, to get to the root of what being Caine really was, and what that quintessential "Caine-ness" had really meant in his life; and three, to show -- at least to some limited extent -- the effects on other people's lives of being drawn into Caine's orbit.
The fourth was a philosophic concern not directly connected with Caine, having to do with chaos theory (specifically, the boundary effect, known colloquially -- and vividly, though misleadingly -- as the Butterfly Effect) and its bearing on moral philosophy.
[EDIT: Oh, and to write a gut-wrenching whipass fantasy novel that would keep you up all night and give people nightmares and get knuckleheads up in arms about overly-violent content . . . I wanted to do that, first. The other stuff was mostly for my own amusement. Well, okay, that was for my own amusement, too.]
However, the book turned out to be much more complex than all that. And, as I believe I've stated above, my intentions are hardly relevant, after all. What the book means depends upon what you bring to it as a reader; the real novel is the one that happens inside your head -- the one on the page is just a tool, so to speak. Your mind is the hand that wields it.
Caine, and Overworld and all that pertains thereunto, belong entirely to me. Del Rey/Ballantine/Random House have bought the publishing rights to two new Overworld novels (the first being CAINE BLACK KNIFE) with the option of first refusal on my next work of fiction, whatever it may be. I would certainly be free to shop further Caine books elsewhere, if they dropped me; however, there is no sign that Del Rey has any plans to do such a thing. They have invested a great deal of time and effort in building up my career via Star Wars. I suspect they're not likely to drop me now. If anything, I believe they're hoping CAINE BLACK KNIFE will sell rather well, and that the next Overworld novel will sell even better.
I know I am.
Last edited by MWStover; December 24th, 2004 at 11:42 AM.
December 29th, 2004, 03:40 AM
Linking in to your comment about StarWars, Matt - I got 'Shatterpoint' for christmas - read it yesterday. Firstly congrats on another fab novel! I thoroughly enjoyed it (hence the reading-it-in-one-day thing ). I do have a few 'wonderings' about StarWars novels in general, if that's ok.
Firstly, who decides who gets to write a StarWars novel? Does one publishing house hold all the rights, and do they pick the authors? (If so, why do they pick so many naf ones?!). Secondly - how much leeway were you given regarding plot lines, and 'additions'/'changes' to the StarWars world? Is there some big StarWars geek who reads your draft and says 'no that wouldn't work because Obi-Wan had already been here and found this out', and so forth?!
More specifically - I love the whole StarWars concept and universe, but every other StarWars book I pick up to leaf through just seems wishy-washy and SOOOOO badly writen. Either I'm just having bad luck in laying my hands on the wrong books, or all StarWars books except yours are rubbish! (This can't be true, can it?)
I don't expect you to think anyone else has done StarWars as well as you, but is there any other author that you think has come close?!
December 29th, 2004, 12:12 PM
Publishing rights are owned (if I have this right . . .) by Random House, through their subsidiary Ballantine's imprint Del Rey, but there is oversight from LucasBooks, which is part of LucasFilm Licensing. It's a bit complicated, as you might expect.
Del Rey proposes authors, but we have to get approval from the aforementioned LB, and then from higher-ups at LFL. The actual storyline thing depends on the project in question; for the New Jedi Order, there was an overall story-arc negotiated in advance between the editors at Del Rey and the editors and executives at LFL, then they hired writers to fill in the episodes of the five-year galactic war. The Clone Wars novels are different, since (especially at the beginning, when I was writing SHATTERPOINT -- the first of the Clone Wars novels) no one except George Lucas actually knew what the Clone Wars were going to be; the writers were as much in the dark as the characters themselves. We could only propose stories, and if they fit with the progress of the Clone Wars as Mr Lucas and LFL saw it, the proposal would be accepted.
In other words, I had to basically guess how the first six months of the Clone Wars were going to be fought. It turns out I was either lucky and right, or they liked my ideas enough to nod their heads and say, "Yeah, it was like that . . ."; I suspect it was the former.
My best advice on shopping for Star Wars books is to look for ones with "Del Rey" on the spine. I personally believe that the NJO was, overall, a great saga with a lot of great stories and only a few spots of sag. If you're going back to the Bantam stuff, I'd recommend sticking to authors you already know are reliable from other work, if you know what I mean . . .
Bob Salvatore's VECTOR PRIME is a good place to start. Anything by Jim Luceno will be good. Mike Stackpole is a solid craftsman. Greg Keyes is great. Sean Stewart's Clone Wars novel is brilliant. Troy Denning is a quality author whose SW books are among the best in the business. There are plenty of others, too.
Though I have to say that my favorite SW books of all time are still Brian Daley's Han Solo trilogy from the 80s. Fast-paced, funny, light adventure that still manages to be pretty damn exciting. He was good, and he is missed.
He was the opposite end of the spectrum from me; this is a dark time in the GFFA. My kind of time.
I am, by the way, in the middle of correcting the page proofs for REVENGE OF THE SITH.
As I said: my kind of time.
hah hnh hn nnn . . .
December 29th, 2004, 05:09 PM
Have you ever considered writing about the time before Caine, about Jereth Godslaughterer and pact with the Gods? It seemed quite important in BOT without us ever getting the chance to go below the surface level of what we've read between HD and BOT.
Also given what you've said about how detailed your planning for a piece is, do you have a whole wad of notes on an Overworld pantheon? Any chance there will be more of it in Black Knife?
December 30th, 2004, 03:19 AM
One of the things I really enjoyed about Heroes Die, and an element, which really added depth and feel to the story, was the 'corporate feel' during scenes back in Harri's reality, especially with his agent/manager and the rep from the entertainment company.
Where did that inspiration come from? It really seems like you tapped into the corporate world and I wonder where that insight came from? Have you had to deal with such weasels yourself?
Have you ever done a signing tour in the UK? Do you have one planned?
December 30th, 2004, 04:03 AM
On a side note, and apologies Matt:
Thank you for recommending 'Writing to sell' by Scott Meredith.
I strongly urge every writer here, trying to get published, to buy a copy by whatever means.
It is a really humorous book, written by an agent who can laugh at himself and his industry and it forces the 'would-be writer' to laugh at themselves too... Which is important I think.
Very entertaining and informative, my verison has a forward by Arthur C Clarke, cost $1.94 plus $9 for postage, has pink highlighter pen throughout, thanks to its previous owner and yet, is still the most valuable reference book I have on my shelf.
Buy it. I would challenge any writer, published or otherwise, NOT to find something of use from this book, even if it is just entertainment.
December 30th, 2004, 11:23 AM
Originally Posted by juzzza
I quoted the above because it deserves to be repeated.
First, for Sammie (I forgot to answer one of your questions) --
Yes, indeed, LFL does have a Continuity Editor, whose entire responsibility is to make sure that writers like me don't have characters flying X-wing fighters during the Clone Wars (they weren't invented until a few years before Ep IV) and stuff like that. He also manages the Holocron, which is the vast LucasArts database. If you go over to forums.starwars.com, you can find him on the VIP thread and chat with him yourself. I disremember his handle, but he's a nice guy, and usually willing to answer civilized questions, as are most of the folks over there, including my editor, Sue Rostoni.
Jereth's Revolt and the Covenant of Pirichanthe form a major underpinning of the metaphysics of Overworld; you'll find out more about them in CAINE BLACK KNIFE. I have considered telling that actual story someday, but that is well down the road. If the Overworld books will become a Major Success, it'll happen.
I have spent more than my share of time dealing with corporate weasels. There a plenty of good people in those corporate jobs as well, but it's bloody damn hard to STAY a good person in those kinds of jobs, if you know what I mean.
Though I love the UK dearly, and would very much like to return (hell, I'd MOVE there if I could make a living) I don't have any current plans for a visit. If and when we start seeing some non-Star Wars Stover books on the NYT Bestsellers List, be assured the UK is one of the first places I'll be heading -- it's a major market, and I don't have a UK publisher.
Last edited by MWStover; December 30th, 2004 at 11:25 AM.
December 30th, 2004, 11:39 AM
Hey, thanks for such an indepth answer (I didn't even notice you'd missed a bit ).
Which was a bloody nuisance 'til amazon stopped charging extra for shipping from the US, I can tell you!
Originally Posted by MWStover
On that line though - you mentioned that in general it's worth going for the Del Ray StarWars books...a note for anyone else who's thinking of following that advice - here in the UK there are no DelRay books! 'Shatterpoint' and, I assume, the other newer StarWars books are published by Arrow. Dunno about the older ones. That said - since they changed the shipping prices it can often be cheaper to order a book from the States than to buy it here anyway....
December 31st, 2004, 04:06 PM
Bit of a fanboy fantasy question but if you were asked to write a screenplay for HD which actor do you see 'playing' Caine?
January 5th, 2005, 11:45 AM
A few questions. . .
This has been a most informative and interesting thread. Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule in order to share your insights with us.
I've read both NJO: Traitor and Shatterpoint, and I enjoyed them immensly. Unfortunately, the library where I work doesn't have any of your other books, or I would read them also.
I did have a few questions for you, if you don't mind.
You mentioned that you mainly read more of the "classics" for your own personal enjoyment. Steven Brust has credited Alexandre Dumas as being an inspirational role model for him. Do you have any specific authors which you would describe as literary role models for your work?
A related question would be this: how much do you think the swashbuckling adventures of authors like Dumas, Stevenson, and Hugo have affected the development of speculative fiction, fantasy in particular?
A third question that I had pertained to the outlining process. You mentioned that you start with a fairly extensive collection of typed notes when you write, but you do not coreograph any combat scenes before hand. Combat aside, do you outline what the different characters do throughout your novels, or do you just sort of sketch it out and leave yourself "wiggle room" within the story.
Finally, how many drafts and revisions do your stories go through from inception until publication?
Once again, thanks very much. I'm looking forward to your novelization of Episode III.
Mod Edit: Reduced size of text - Jacquin
Last edited by Jacquin; January 5th, 2005 at 02:12 PM.
January 7th, 2005, 08:29 AM
Roger Zelazny would be my main in-genre inspiration, I guess, with Steve Donaldson, Fritz Leiber and Robt. A. Heinlein right behind. In terms of the classics, the writers I look back to the most often are Hemingway, Conrad and Tolstoy, with Kipling trying to nudge his way in there whenever he can . . .
For influence on the genre as a whole -- especially on my corner of it -- I think you should look at the great Raphael Sabatini, who wrote some of the most rip-snortin' adventure novels of all time, as well as the Baroness Orczy . . .
When I do an outline, I focus on the individual personal objectives of all the characters -- what each one is "playing for," if you see what I mean -- as well as what resources each character has available to achieve his or her objectives; that way, when the situation changes, the characters have some flexibility in adjusting their tactics. The trick in good plotting is to find a way for the various goals of the various characters to intersect in interesting ways . . .
I don't do drafts. One of the nifty things about word processors is that I can go back into scenes and tinker with them as often as I like. That's what
I do when I get stuck: go back and polish something else. So the answer is: Only one draft. But it's a VERY POLISHED draft.
And if your library doesn't have my books, you might always buy one. Or two. Or tell your parents or friends "Y'know, what I REALLY wanted for Christmas (Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Saturnalia/whatever) was . . ."
I think Hugh Jackman (once he's got a few more miles on him) would do a pretty good job, though a lot of Caine's fans are holding out for Kiefer Sutherland, who could certainly handle the acting end of it; he's terrific. I also wouldn't mind going with somebody out of the Bollywood cinema, to get Caine's look (despite the white-bread cover of HEROES DIE . . .)
Frankly, I don't care. Much. Just send me the money.
Last edited by MWStover; January 7th, 2005 at 08:32 AM.
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