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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  02:56:50  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
Aysen, Ed chuckled at your post, but he did indeed mean the cheeks that are part of the face (sorry). So, in answer to this, from Zandilar: "That sounds very painful! Consider him asked. How do they do it? Is it just in the skin, or are they set in the bone of the cheek (given that's where the skin/flesh is thinnest)? Is it just a single gem, or a pattern of multiple gems? It is totally a fashion thing, or is there some other cultural significance/meaning to it (and if so, what is it)? And is there something equivalent that the men do?"
Ed replies:


It is just a fashion thing, originally a "rebellious younger generation" fad that has become an "adornment for many." It is painful. A slit is made in the skin of the cheek, NOT all the way through, and a thumbnail-sized flat chip of stone that's been rounded to remove all sharp edges is put in it. Then GENTLE flame is applied to the stone to cauterize without heating up the stone too much or burning the flesh. When cool, alcohol is used to disinfect (yes, THAT's painful), and then flat-backed, cabochon-rounded gem chips can be slipped into the slit in place of the stone, of hues to match cosmetics, clothing, and other jewelry. SOME women of course went for multiple gems in a pattern, but it never caught on. No, there's no male equivalent. Yet. :}


So saith Ed. Who has just handed WotC artists a cool gift for their use in future illustrations, methinks . . .
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  03:09:07  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. Just got a note from Ed which included this, for Menelvagor:


Sorry, no peyot in the Realms. I have always tried to avoid specific real-world elements, and that particular one is strongly associated in the minds of many with Orthodox Judaism, so I avoided putting them into the Realms. That's not to say that there aren't many folk in the Realms who don't have long locks, or curly hair, or wear their hair in various ways for religious or cultural reasons - - just not that specific feature. For the same reason, I'd not put a "punk Mohawk" hairdo, or a Jeep, or a Coke can, into the Realms: the reason being the real-world association (it would jolt many encountering it out of "thinking Realms" into "thinking about the real world").
That's not to say they can't appear in YOUR Realms, of course.

So saith Ed. Who will probably be a VERY busy boy at this year's GenCon, and who has his latest novel (probably a Realms book, folks) more than half way done in first draft, and is having much fun with it. I pressed him for some details, but all he would do is grin and say, "So many nobles are dastardly, aren't they?"
Hmmmm...
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  03:13:04  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Oh, and I just received THIS, too, from Ed, a belated reply to Thauramarth:

Thanks for the birthday ditty, but it's okay: I DO live in a zoo. Just ask my wife, and the cat. ;}


So saith Ed. Sigh.
love,
THO
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Jakk
Great Reader

Canada
2165 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  03:42:49  Show Profile Send Jakk a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Herkles

I have a question for Ed.

Do any of the deities have any saints in the realms and if so could one give a couple of examples of them? Also what of holy texts, do any deities have any holy text associated with them? Also what about other ways of worship such as ancestor worship? is that practiced in any of the religions in the realms? I can see it applying to races like elves or dwarves, but not sure if it is in the realms or not.



Not Ed, but I can help out on a couple of these points.
1) Ilmater has a few saints, notably St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred and St. Dionysus; there are others, but I don't have my sources handy at the moment. Ed can probably add some saints of other deities to the list.
2) For holy texts, the best source is the 2nd Edition supplement Prayers from the Faithful (by Ed, of course). Unfortunately, it's not available in PDF on WotC's download page, but you can probably find a used copy somewhere.
3) Ancestor worship is found among the Uthgardt and (IIRC) the witches of Rashemen. Ed can probably add some detail and/or correct me if necessary.
Hope this helps for a start.

Playing in the Realms since the Old Grey Box (1987)... and *still* having fun with material published before 2008, despite the NDA'd lore.

If it's comparable in power with non-magical abilities, it's not magic.
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  05:27:48  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Jakk

1) Ilmater has a few saints, notably St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred and St. Dionysus; there are others, but I don't have my sources handy at the moment. Ed can probably add some saints of other deities to the list.
I'd recommend reading through Steven Schend's compiled replies also [located through the "So Saith Ed" URL in my sig], as he's discussed this topic somewhat as well.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30340 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  15:03:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
The intro and part one of the 2008 Spin A Yarn tale are now available on the Wizards website. Here are the links:

Introducing "Volo Breaks a Hot Tale"
Volo Breaks a Hot Tale (Part One)

I'll also be adding these links to my dedicated Spin A Yarn thread, which contains links to all the prior Spin A Yarn tales.

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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  15:18:51  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

The intro and part one of the 2008 Spin A Yarn tale are now available on the Wizards website. Here are the links:

Introducing "Volo Breaks a Hot Tale"
Volo Breaks a Hot Tale (Part One)

I'll also be adding these links to my dedicated Spin A Yarn thread, which contains links to all the prior Spin A Yarn tales.

Woot! I can never get enough of Volo.

Are there any extra tidbits you can share about these tales, Ed?

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage

Edited by - The Sage on 31 Jul 2009 15:22:11
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gomez
Learned Scribe

Netherlands
254 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  16:24:00  Show Profile  Visit gomez's Homepage Send gomez a Private Message
Part One?
So is there a Part Two?
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30340 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  16:51:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by gomez

Part One?
So is there a Part Two?




Part two is not yet available. I'll keep updating the links as more parts come available.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  16:52:42  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by gomez

Part One?
So is there a Part Two?
Yes. I recall Ed once saying it was a length enough tale for it to probably be split into parts.

We'll likely see the second part uploaded to the Wizards site at some point in the future.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage

Edited by - The Sage on 31 Jul 2009 16:55:05
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  21:01:50  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
By the looks of that excerpt, assuming Wizards haven't edited a LOT out of the story, there should be more than two parts. Perhaps four. Ed told me it was the longest one yet.
He also hinted that Wizards is planning something new, website and publicity-wise, involving GenCon, but wouldn't say what. I'm guessing that 1) it's still tentative, and that 2) it somehow involves Ed, or he wouldn't know anything about it . . . but we'll just have to wait and see.
He did say he's REALLY having fun with this new novel, and that it is a Realms book.
love to all,
THO
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  21:36:16  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Ah, loving my Volo fix.
I'd love to see Wizards do an "author jam" novel where everyone gets to write a chapter, and it's a Volo comedy epic.
I mean EVERYONE. Steven Schend, Kate Novak, Jeff Grubb, Erik Scott de Bie, Rosemary Jones, Jaleigh, Elaine, Mel Odom, Jim Lowder, Rob King . . . everyone they could lure out of the woodwork who's done Realms fiction before.
Wizards would only have to pay people for what are in effect short stories, plus royalties, and we'd all get a great fun read out of it. Probably more fun than a great book, but hey, give me some side-splitting comic scenes over sturm und drang anyday.
Ed? Are you in? And if so, how the heck do we get to tell WotC editors that we want to see something like this? Suggest it at GenCon?
BB
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Harquebus
Acolyte

5 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2009 :  23:01:08  Show Profile  Visit Harquebus's Homepage Send Harquebus a Private Message
Here is a question, and apologies if it has already been asked.

Back in '04 when asked about sexy fun times in the realm you made the following comment:

quote:
I’m not sure if you’ll see a clearly lesbian or gay male character in a novel soon, because the only way to give them that status “clearly” is to engage in protracted sex scenes...


Which has raised a few eyebrows, mine included.

Do you still feel this way? If so why?

Full context here: http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1901&whichpage=53

Edited by - Harquebus on 31 Jul 2009 23:03:19
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  00:33:51  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
Harquebus, you're in luck. Ed and I happened to be back-and-forthing via e-mail when your post came my way, so I handed it along, and got this swift reply:

I do indeed still feel this way, and here's why: in "my" Realms, pre-adoption as a game setting, men could hug or kiss men and women could hug or kiss women without any sexual meaning behind it.
These were expressions of love, familial or friendship or kin or gratitude and expressions of great joy in a success shared, yes, but "confirmations" of overall sexual orientation, no. There were also flirts and effeminate characters, particularly among decadent nobles, and many bisexual characters (please remember, we're speaking of my original fictional Realms, not the published GAME setting).
All of which means to "confirm" a sexual orientation, protracted sex scenes are necessary. Anything less doesn't "confirm" anything IN THE REALMS. Certain readers might view a guy kissing another guy as meaning they're both gay, but I'm not that sort of reader. They could be grandfather and grandson, and it could be deep affectionate love, NOT sexual at all. Others will view grandfather/grandson kissing as evidence of some sort of sexual deviance or exploitation, but it simply isn't so in Realms culture (just as it isn't in, say, Italian real-world culture, though older generations kiss more than younger).
I was, back in 2004, simply making the point that TSR/WotC-published Realms books are never going to be primarily about, or filled with, sex, and that therefore (barring bald statements by a narrator or character about sexual orientation) there isn't going to be enough on their pages for readers to be SURE about a given character's orientation. A writer can hint or signal, and a particular reader can interpret as they please (and often do), but in a fantasy world in which hugging and kissing and even lovemaking may not confirm a sole sexual orientation, certainty is either established by definite statements or overwhelming evidence - - neither of which is going to be editorially welcome in the Realms novel lines.
Or to put it more colloquially, we aren't writing those sort of books. :}
I can readily conceive of a plot where sex, sexual orientation, and the complications of sexual choices will be vital, major elements - - but I doubt Hasbro would want one of their subsidiaries publishing such a book.
If I just show you, say, the Shadowsil tossing her clothes aside and waltzing into Manshoon's bedroom, you can be fairly certain that she wants sex to take place. You CAN'T be fairly certain that she's married to Manshoon, or has or hasn't a spouse or other lovers, or even that she prefers guys in bed. You can choose your preferred interpretation, or even go to great lengths to read over all the published Realmslore to arrive at "the best possible" interpretation, but you can't be SURE.
I know you can't, because I can tell you flatly, outside of published Realmslore, that the Shadowsil was a passionate, troubled voyager through life who bedded men, women, half-elves and elves and drow of both genders, both male and female dwarves, and a female halfling. As well as one powerful shapechanging mage whose true race and nature she was never sure of.
THAT'S my point; in such a complicated setting and with truly three-dimensional characters, certainties are hard to come by, if we can't "show it all." And the stories we're trying to tell, and being allowed to tell, aren't about "showing it all." That is, of course, editorially deliberate: no publisher WANTS to offend some readers by leading them to conclusions they may find unpalatable. Better to leave room for ambiguity, and a reader to make their own choices.
Some publishers go much farther than drawing the line on explicit sex. Some don't want the writer to specify hair or eye color for heroes/heroines, so a reader can more easily identify themselves with the characters.


So saith Ed. Just trying to clear things up - - by leaving things ambiguous.
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  03:59:09  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
I come bearing two things: a question for the scribes, and a very short reply from Ed to The Sage re. the Spin A Yarn.
First, the question: anyone have a ticket yet for the Spin A Yarn? Do we know what room it's going to be held in, precisely? Or the "D&D World of the Forgotten Realms" seminar? I probably won't be able to make it to GenCon at all, this year, but if there's a chance, I'd LOVE to be able to give Ed a grin from a doorway . . .
And now, heeeeeeeeeere's Ed:


I'm not sure there's much else I can tell you about this Spin A Yarn tale, other than to reiterate that I incorporated EVERY LAST suggested story element that the long-suffering Shelly Mazzanoble typed into her Mac that didn't break the rules (can't be too X-rated, can't involve Drizzt or any other toys belonging to other writers, and can't use real-world names, trademarks, items, and too-overt references), PLUS those suggestions Kuje sent me from the Keep.
I believe someone else will be my Spin A Yarn "scribe" this upcoming GenCon, as Shelly works on other duties.
Oh, other than to say this story takes place in Waterdeep, post-Spellplague, and that (obviously) Volo is a major protagonist. It's the longest Spin A Yarn tale thus far, it DOES have a plot, and I - - as usual - - had a blast doing it. Though (hint hint) it would be nice, just once, if the Spin A Yarn audience gave me more to work with than the utterly lewd (I'm not offended, you understand, I just can't "go far enough" when writing to handle utterly lewd elements properly, so they end up as watered-down or one-line throwaways or twisted into something remotely politically correct. Don't be shy if you want to give me "pulp" elements like dooms and villains and dastardly plots, as well as all the banana-peel, dropped-drawers humor, okay?


So saith Ed. Whom I will drop my drawers for, AND wave a banana peel at, I promise. Perhaps in the same deft movement . . .
love to all,
THO
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Garen Thal
Master of Realmslore

USA
1081 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  04:15:30  Show Profile  Visit Garen Thal's Homepage Send Garen Thal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
I come bearing two things: a question for the scribes, and a very short reply from Ed to The Sage re. the Spin A Yarn.
First, the question: anyone have a ticket yet for the Spin A Yarn? Do we know what room it's going to be held in, precisely? Or the "D&D World of the Forgotten Realms" seminar? I probably won't be able to make it to GenCon at all, this year, but if there's a chance, I'd LOVE to be able to give Ed a grin from a doorway . . .
Dear Lady, I do, in fact, have these things, and can share such truths, both for Your Hooded Grace and the general fair-attending public:

"Spin a Yarn with Ed Greenwood" will be held on Friday, August 14, at 2 pm, in the Marriott's Indianapolis Ballroom G.

"The D&D World of the Forgotten Realms" will be held immediately following that seminar, at 4 pm, in the same room. If we're lucky, they'll let someone bring Ed a glass of water (and, ahem, a bucket).

At 6, the Dragonlance crowd comes in, and so we must all scatter.

Good gaming, all, and see you there (those who can make it)!

BC

[p.s. Let's not turn this into a 'sorry I can't make it to GenCon' discussion, please. There are other threads for that. I'm just passing along the relevant information...]
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  04:35:43  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

PLUS those suggestions Kuje sent me from the Keep.
love to all,
THO



I forgot that I had those last year. Grin. Uh, I'm willing to give Ed another list if anyone wants me to deliver it to him. :) But that would be better to take to another scroll.

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Edited by - Kuje on 01 Aug 2009 04:36:03
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  04:56:59  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

... and a very short reply from Ed to The Sage re. the Spin A Yarn.

My thanks Ed.

And I know we're talking about a "Spin A Yarn" tale, but 'twas nice to see Volo back in action again, and in the post-Spellplague Realms.

Though, my mind, of course, will continue to wonder about how Volo spent the time between 1375 DR and 1479 DR.

I just hope this isn't the last we'll hear from him.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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Lady Kazandra
Senior Scribe

Australia
921 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  05:48:58  Show Profile  Visit Lady Kazandra's Homepage Send Lady Kazandra a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Garen Thal

At 6, the Dragonlance crowd comes in, and so we must all scatter.
Just be sure to check your possessions after leaving. What with the kender and all.

"Once upon a time the plural of 'wizard' was 'war'." -- The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  08:48:19  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
I do indeed still feel this way, and here's why: in "my" Realms, pre-adoption as a game setting, men could hug or kiss men and women could hug or kiss women without any sexual meaning behind it.
These were expressions of love, familial or friendship or kin or gratitude and expressions of great joy in a success shared, yes, but "confirmations" of overall sexual orientation, no. There were also flirts and effeminate characters, particularly among decadent nobles, and many bisexual characters (please remember, we're speaking of my original fictional Realms, not the published GAME setting).
All of which means to "confirm" a sexual orientation, protracted sex scenes are necessary.



*splutters in incoherent rage*

This isn't the first time I've had a wallbanger moment over this, but it is the first time I've had a wallbanger moment from Ed.

NO, you don't need a protracted sex scene to confirm an orientation!!! A sex scene doesn't necessarily confirm a person's orientation, anyway - for example, a bisexual man having sex with another man is bisexual, but anyone looking at it without knowing the first man is bisexual is going to think he's gay. So no, a protracted sex scene is not going to give any more indication of a person's sexuality than a friendly hug is.

HOWEVER, as a lesbian/bisexual (sue me, it's fluid but mostly lesbian) female myself I do know how you can have gay people in books... Simply allow them to be involved in a romantic (not necessarily erotic) relationship (with a person of the same gender), or have them mention their attraction to someone of the same gender in passing (people, regardless of their sexuality, mention their attractions all the time, without thinking about it ("oh, he's cute" "gods she's gorgeous" "I'd hit that" etc etc))! It might not be confirmation of their sexuality (because bisexuals can love either gender, and that's not taking into account people who either exist between the genders or are transexuals), but it is inclusion and it makes it clear they're not heterosexual and that no one sees anything overly wrong with it in the Realms.

Romantic relationships on the page don't always have to incorporate explicit sex. Heterosexual relationships abound in the Realms novels, and none of those have required an intimate look into their bedrooms (though even there there's plenty of fade to black moments!). So why is it required to show a gay, lesbian, or bisexual in a relationship? For the love of Sune! We love just like straight people do, for crying out loud. I'm so sick to death of this view point, it's what's sticking in the collective craw of the LGBT community... The vast majority of straight people refuse to treat our relationships as seriously as their own. They think that our relationships are all about sex - but they're not. They are every bit as complicated and fulfilling as a heterosexual relationship. Is there sex? Yes. But there's also that deeply fulfilling feeling of completion - all the little intimacies that we all take for granted, from holding hands, to affectionate little pecks on the cheek, to arguing, and to making up again. To a desire for children, to a need for simple companionship. How do you write a homosexual/bisexual in a relationship? Just like you'd write a heterosexual in a relationship. No sex required.

I've had enough, I have. I'm sorry, this got on my last nerve and if this was a little bit ranty, it's because I'm so so so so so tired of it.

Honestly, I expected better of you Ed. I really did.

ETA: Now, having read the REST of the reply, I sort of see where you're coming from Ed. However, not everyone's the Shadowsil, and there are plenty of people with less fantastic lives that we can see on the page and who could be involved with a person of the same sex at the time. No we don't know if they're bisexual, homosexual, or simply heteroflexible and experimenting, but it's still representation of non strictly heterosexuals. Representation matters.

ETA2: I keep thinking of other things I want to say. This dancing around homosexual relationships (not to mention the nearly invsible bisexuals and transsexuals) has made me a little unsure of my own writing recently. I want to write a blatantly lesbian main character and have her involved in a romantic non-erotic relationship with another woman, but from what you've just written Ed, I get the impression that I'd have to look for a niche publisher just to get someone to even look at it, because even implying a sexual attraction between two people of the same gender seems to equate to explicit sex.

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.

Edited by - Zandilar on 01 Aug 2009 08:59:07
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  17:50:38  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Bingo, Zandilar. After the rage, at the end of your post (ETA2), you "got it."
Ed wasn't speaking of the Realms as he wants it to be, or the published Realms as he wants it to be, but of the realities of publishing. Note that when speaking of the sex scenes, he used the word "protracted," NOT "explicit." Ed makes his living by writing, and chooses his words carefully: he meant not long, detailed sex scenes, but the ability to show a reader repeated sex scenes to underscore a sexual inclination (because, just as you say in the example you gave of the bisexual male making love with another guy, a single sexual encounter can be so readily misinterpreted).
To reiterate for all: in that 2004 comment, so recently elucidated upon here, Ed was trying to make it clear that the Realms is not a simple series of black-and-white situations or characters, so a hint or a glimpse of a possibly sexual act (a hug or a kiss) DOESN'T CONFIRM anything. It's just that: a hint, that can be interpeted in various ways. And that most modern publishers, in this day and age, prefer hints and ambiguities to flat, bald, definite statements, if they're not publishing explicit sex novels (and Realms books aren't explicit sex novels).
Zandilar's strong reaction is a perfect illustration of WHY hints and ambiguities are preferred: publishers are interested in sales, not losing sales. Ed was merely underscoring that because Realms books aren't primarily about sex, making flat statements (either as the author playing narrator, or out of the mouths of characters) about sexual orientation is out of place, and seeing a sex act or possible sex act doesn't "confirm" anything about characters.
To most Realms novel plots, the sexual orientations of characters don't matter all that much (relationships do, kinship does, and legal unions can), because those aren't the sort of stories that the publisher is interested in publishing.
So what Ed was saying isn't far at all from what you're saying, Zandilar. He's just pointing out that within the existing publishing limitations, it's very hard to specify sexual orientation, and warning all readers that you can assume things about characters from what is written, but concluding definite things about those characters can be very tricky.
For one thing, well-written characters grow and develop (read: CHANGE) over time.
Ed happens to agree with you entirely, Zandilar, about how character relationships should be portrayed in fiction (when you post: "Simply allow them to be involved in a romantic (not necessarily erotic) relationship (with a person of the same gender), or have them mention their attraction to someone of the same gender in passing . . . it is inclusion and it makes it clear they're not heterosexual and that no one sees anything overly wrong with it in the Realms . . . Romantic relationships on the page don't always have to incorporate explicit sex").
Ed does just that, when editors let him get away with it. He was simply warning all readers that, saying, having two guys (or gals) kiss doesn't NECESSARILY mean they're gay or lesbian, and that it's unlikely a reader will ever get "certainty" within the restrictions existing re. published Realms fiction.
Ed is not saying anyone has to, or would want to, "confirm" sexual orientation for a character. He's merely underscoring that it is difficult to do so, in print, for Realms characters, because that's not the (forgive me) "thrust" of what publishing Realms fiction is about.
The problem with topics like this is that people interpret the way they want to interpret, or that their own experience leads them to interpret. Reading Ed's posts, I think Zandilar misinterpreted Ed completely, and was enraged at him for something he actually didn't say. I can tell, you, from years of being involved in North American publishing, that sexual matters and their portrayal is ALWAYS a concern for publishers, and generally for the same basic reason: pleasing the maximum number of buying patrons, and displeasing the minimum number. It works both ways, from the sort of Christian publisher who doesn't even want kissing before marriage (and doesn't want to even acknowledge the existence of anything besides male-female relationships) to the porn publisher who worries that a book isn't "juicy explicit" enough, and that buyers might feel "ripped off" that they didn't get the "real goods." (Yes, those are actual quotes from an editorial comment I once read, of a porn manuscript - - and NO, it wasn't Ed's).

Ed's argument here really boils down to:
My world and the characters who form the core of it aren't simple and one-dimensional, so assume whatever you like about them, but concluding definite things about them can be very mistaken. When it comes to sexual orientation, the limits on Realms publication make "definites" hard to convey, so be warned, and view characters accordingly.

That's not something I see reasonable people disagreeing much with. Unfortunately, because sex happens to be involved, people tend to react to what they think is said. Which is one of the reasons Ed tends to avoid most such discussions; he just doesn't want to upset anyone - - so let people believe what they want to believe, for their own version of the Realms, and leave what need not be made explicit unsaid. Ed is NOT advocating lots of explicit sex scenes (though like all writers, he'd like the maximum freedom possible, so he could do one if he thought it would improve the story - - ask him some time about the farce he wrote involving two prominent Realms characters and a quite explicit sexual encounter between them that gets comically interrupted every few panting breaths by the arrival of someone [else] with a pressing problem).

Zandilar, you'll probably be interested to know that Ed has derived wry, resigned amusement over the years from such things as TSR changing character genders because "Well, he wrote that these two live and sleep together, not just work together, so one of them HAS to be female. Guys don't sleep with guys." and the female vice versa, too. I know that as a player in Ed's campaign, I've been amused more than once at character portrayals in the published Realms, and turned to Ed and asked, "Umm, do they know that X is really gentle, effeminate, and bisexual? Because what I'm reading is Macho City, here!"
After initial head-butts with various editors, Ed retreated early on to just shaking his head and "letting it go." Because of, yes, those same publishing realities you allude to in your ETA2 addendum.

So saith me. Because I've done more publishing work than Ed has. (He, of course, has done a lot more writing and design work than me.)
love,
THO
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  17:58:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Zandilar, you'll probably be interested to know that Ed has derived wry, resigned amusement over the years from such things as TSR changing character genders because "Well, he wrote that these two live and sleep together, not just work together, so one of them HAS to be female. Guys don't sleep with guys." and the female vice versa, too. I know that as a player in Ed's campaign, I've been amused more than once at character portrayals in the published Realms, and turned to Ed and asked, "Umm, do they know that X is really gentle, effeminate, and bisexual? Because what I'm reading is Macho City, here!"


Now that's interesting... Can you or Ed speak of some of the characters who changed gender?

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A Publishing Lackey
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Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  18:08:10  Show Profile  Visit A Publishing Lackey's Homepage Send A Publishing Lackey a Private Message
Whew. Have the guns stopped firing, yet? Safe to raise my head enough to comment?
Seriously, I have to agree with THO here. I read Ed's reply pretty much as she put it, not as a dismissal of any sexual orientations or a need for lots of explicit sex scenes.
Zandilar, as someone active in publishing right now, take it from me: you can send your MS to any publisher, but I suspect that most of them would reject it (they might not be honest with you as to why; saying "it doesn't meet our needs at this time" is always safer) if they aren't a niche lesbian publisher.
The exception is: if the story you're telling is strong and compelling enough, they won't care if the main character is "blatantly lesbian." But some editor, at some point in the process, will almost certainly gently approach you with some variant of : "We really don't see why the main character has to be lesbian, because it doesn't seem to be germane to the story." (meaning: please remove this sexual element)
If you object, saying it's crucial/the root of the story, the response will be some sort of VERY vaguely worded variant of: "but she doesn't show her lesbianship. It's non-erotic, so it's not really part of the story. If you had some really hot sex scenes, on the other hand-"
Of course, if you then put them in, they'll (very probably) then reject the story because of them, or want them toned down or taken out, leaving you feel like your chain has been repeatedly jerked.
That's just the realities of the way publishers behave, in these Politically Correct times. I think that's part of what Ed was saying: without the sex scenes, sexual orientation doesn't matter or can be passed off as trendy "I kissed a girl and I liked it" doesn't-really-matter sizzle, not steak - - or will be edited out as needlessly harmful to sales. If you put the sex in, it'll possibly hurt sales and therefore cause some publishers to back away - - and as you and Ed both know, a few sex scenes does not a lesbian, gay, or bisexual make.
Looking back over the published Realms, I think Ed (with his editors) has done a masterful job of hinting without being blatant, and inclusion without upsetting those who'll be upset by inclusion. It's subtle because, as Ed said, he can't state anything bluntly.
There. My two coppers.
Feel free to decry the state of publishing, everyone, but the line for complaining is already a long, long one . . .
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The Sage
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Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  18:09:55  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Zandilar, you'll probably be interested to know that Ed has derived wry, resigned amusement over the years from such things as TSR changing character genders because "Well, he wrote that these two live and sleep together, not just work together, so one of them HAS to be female. Guys don't sleep with guys." and the female vice versa, too. I know that as a player in Ed's campaign, I've been amused more than once at character portrayals in the published Realms, and turned to Ed and asked, "Umm, do they know that X is really gentle, effeminate, and bisexual? Because what I'm reading is Macho City, here!"


Now that's interesting... Can you or Ed speak of some of the characters who changed gender?

I'd like to add a question of my own to this as well, for either Ed or the Lady Hooded One.

I'm curious about the reactions and/or opinions of other NPCs towards characters who've changed gender?

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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2009 :  18:15:16  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message
Dear Ed and THO,
I don't want to add to the controversy of these last few sexual orientation posts, but reading them did make me want to ask a Realmslore question: we know that young nobles tend to rebel against authority, their parents, and so on like all other teenagers, and that they tend to have the money and leisure to do it a bit more than, saying, working-class youth.
So if young noble lords and ladies become sexually adventurous, and flirt, flaunt possible gay or lesbian behavior or experimentation, and - - albeit with parental disapproval, often - - get away with it . . . how do "wannabe-noble" wealthy parents regard THEIR teenaged children trying to do the same sort of thing? How does the rest of Suzail regard them? I.e. do the Watch roll their eyes and grumble at "buckheaded noble lordlings,' but get tough with non-noble wealthy youths trying to emulate those same lordlings?
Thanks in advance for anything you want to say. Or not say.
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