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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2017 :  16:52:57  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For those who enjoy contemplating villainy, here's the third article in my ongoing exploration of villains.

http://www.elainecunningham.com/writing-about-writing/villains-as-protagonists/
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1458 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2017 :  21:31:52  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

For those who enjoy contemplating villainy, here's the third article in my ongoing exploration of villains.

http://www.elainecunningham.com/writing-about-writing/villains-as-protagonists/

I'm not sure they even are still technically "villains": if the setting is "hive of scum and villainy", no one is going to be the prince on a white horse no matter what.
Maybe it's the main advantage of such a setup: once the authors make it so that falling back onto the disneyified fairy tale is definitely not an option, all the generic pitfalls and rotten shortcuts they would have to avoid are left on another road. Not that everyone is vulnerable to all the hack temptations, of course, but for those who are this may help.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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EthanSental
Acolyte

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 08 Mar 2017 :  02:19:46  Show Profile Send EthanSental a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reading the third post linked, villains with the possibility of redemption reminded me with how Salvatore wrote Artemis in his books...assassin but occasional glimmer of hope that sees him growing as a character while traveling with Jaraxle.
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Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  04:42:30  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Elaine,

When you were writing Realms how much ownership did you feel over characters like Arilyn, Danilo, Bronwyn, and Elaith? I know Ed created Elaith but you sure brought him to life.

Would you have been happy to see them used as major protagonist in another writer's stories? Or would you have wanted or did you have an exclusivity with them and some editorial input if they were used to protect your own story ideas?

Thanks!
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  13:35:56  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone

When you were writing Realms how much ownership did you feel over characters like Arilyn, Danilo, Bronwyn, and Elaith? I know Ed created Elaith but you sure brought him to life.

Would you have been happy to see them used as major protagonist in another writer's stories? Or would you have wanted or did you have an exclusivity with them and some editorial input if they were used to protect your own story ideas?




When I was writing in the Realms, it was understood that the protagonists you created would be "yours" to write about. With the exception of the unpublished SHORES OF DUSK by Mark Anthony, there simply wasn't a question about whether other writers could write stories focusing on Drizzt or Elminster or Cale or Danilo. And I think this was the right call. Maintaining continuity was difficult enough without having to keep track of what other people are doing with a particular character. Even with editorial oversight, it is very easy to introduce a variable that will derail a plot the original author had in mind, or even in progress. And having worked in the Star Wars extended universe, I know how difficult it can be to get a consistent voice for a character when multiple authors write their dialog.

As for Elaith, when I wrote ELFSHADOW, I was under the impression that his existence comprised a single paragraph in the module "Waterdeep and the North." I was not aware that he was a major player in Ed's home campaign. If I had known this, I wouldn't have grabbed the character and run away with him. Ed has always been unfailingly gracious about this and seemed quite happy with my interpretation of Elaith, but I have strong feelings about appropriating other people's characters and concepts.
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Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  15:26:27  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone

When you were writing Realms how much ownership did you feel over characters like Arilyn, Danilo, Bronwyn, and Elaith? I know Ed created Elaith but you sure brought him to life.

Would you have been happy to see them used as major protagonist in another writer's stories? Or would you have wanted or did you have an exclusivity with them and some editorial input if they were used to protect your own story ideas?




When I was writing in the Realms, it was understood that the protagonists you created would be "yours" to write about. With the exception of the unpublished SHORES OF DUSK by Mark Anthony, there simply wasn't a question about whether other writers could write stories focusing on Drizzt or Elminster or Cale or Danilo. And I think this was the right call. Maintaining continuity was difficult enough without having to keep track of what other people are doing with a particular character. Even with editorial oversight, it is very easy to introduce a variable that will derail a plot the original author had in mind, or even in progress. And having worked in the Star Wars extended universe, I know how difficult it can be to get a consistent voice for a character when multiple authors write their dialog.

As for Elaith, when I wrote ELFSHADOW, I was under the impression that his existence comprised a single paragraph in the module "Waterdeep and the North." I was not aware that he was a major player in Ed's home campaign. If I had known this, I wouldn't have grabbed the character and run away with him. Ed has always been unfailingly gracious about this and seemed quite happy with my interpretation of Elaith, but I have strong feelings about appropriating other people's characters and concepts.



Thank you! When you and Ed collaborated on City of Splendors did you divide the writing along those lines? For example Ed handling the parts with Mirt, Khelban, Laeral, Piergerion etc., and you concentration on Elaith, Lark, the Drye family and so forth?
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  16:14:15  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone
When you and Ed collaborated on City of Splendors did you divide the writing along those lines? For example Ed handling the parts with Mirt, Khelban, Laeral, Piergerion etc., and you concentration on Elaith, Lark, the Drye family and so forth?




It was a little more complicated than that, but yes, we did divide up some of the characters. Everything was over-written a few times, with a final pass by Ed.

About that: We were told we could write up to 160,000 words--which we did--and then the editor asked him to cut 15,000. So. Yeah. That sort of thing is a one-person job.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  16:18:07  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's a "new" short story available online through Digital Press Fantasy. "Lorelei" was originally written in 1999. It's a sword & sorcery story set on the banks of the Rhine river in the time before the coming of the Romans.

Here's a link to the post on my blog, which will take you to the various ebook options.

Hope you enjoy this tale! :)

http://www.elainecunningham.com/short-fiction/lorelei-returns/
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Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  00:46:11  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone
When you and Ed collaborated on City of Splendors did you divide the writing along those lines? For example Ed handling the parts with Mirt, Khelban, Laeral, Piergerion etc., and you concentration on Elaith, Lark, the Drye family and so forth?




It was a little more complicated than that, but yes, we did divide up some of the characters. Everything was over-written a few times, with a final pass by Ed.

About that: We were told we could write up to 160,000 words--which we did--and then the editor asked him to cut 15,000. So. Yeah. That sort of thing is a one-person job.



Thank you Elaine! I suspected the story writing in City of Splendors might be broken down between you and Ed along character lines. Elaith seemed very consistent with your Songs and Swords series of which I am glad. He is my favorite Realms "villain". Mirt definitely seemed like Ed's other writings of him. I am guessing the Piergeiron/Mrelder scenes were Ed's as Piergeiron definitely felt more like Ed's other portrayals of him. I am a fan of the "kingly" Piergeiron. I kind of felt Khelban and Laeral in the book were written by you.

Were the Gemcloaks, Lark and the Dryes a collaboration or developed by one of you? Lark was definitely my favorite of the "new" characters.

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  01:37:23  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The new characters were collaborative.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2017 :  14:51:12  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi, folks.

There's currently a giveaway on the Facebook group Forgotten Realms Archives for a copy of the comic book Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, Vol. 8, which contains an adaptation of my Forgotten Realms story "The Great Hunt" and also a Dragonlance story by Richard Knaak.

This will run until noon on April 1, EST. To enter, just add a comment to the post. If you're not a member of this group, you'll need to join, but then, why wouldn't you? :)

Here's a link to my website for more info. I can't link directly to a closed Facebook group; you'll have to get there on your own.

http://www.elainecunningham.com/free-stuff/facebook-giveaway-the-great-hunt/
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2017 :  11:58:01  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's another contest underway on the Forgotten Realms Archives, same basic idea. Two commenters will be chosen by random number generator to receive download codes for a copy of the WINTER WITCH audiobook. This novel, written with Dave Gross, is set in the Pathfinder Tales universe, but since Dave and I are both FR alumni, I'm calling this close enough.

If you like audiobooks, stop by, add a comment.

And if you like Pathfinder Tales setting, you should try Dave's series, which starts with PRINCE OF WOLVES. Radovan and the Count are great characters, and Dave's books are head and shoulders above everything else I've read in this line. If he's not quite the RA Salvatore of Pathfinder, he damn well should be.
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2008 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2017 :  15:48:39  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have started reading Pathfinder. I already have a printed copy of Winter Witch, so I didn't enter the contest lol.

Sweet water and light laughter
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2008 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2017 :  15:51:34  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Looks very sharp Elaine! I didn't even know you had an Everquest novel. I have to check that out.



Yeah, EverQuest was an obscure and ill-fated project. The publishing company was a start-up, and it was sold while I was writing the book to a publisher that had no fantasy line whatsoever and zero interest in continuing this series. The EverQuest license expired the month my book was released, so what with one thing and another, no one saw any reason to promote or even really distribute the poor orphaned thing. It doesn't even LOOK like an EverQuest product, since the (first) publisher decided to go with a weird anime approach.

I think BLOOD RED HARP is one of my better stories, but it fell off the map shortly after publication. It's been OOP for quite a while now, so you might have trouble finding a copy.



Good thing I bought the Ever quest books while they were available. I don't know anything about the game, so I considered getting rid of them, but now that they are so hard to find, I think I will keep them lol.

Sweet water and light laughter
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2017 :  16:10:10  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Two things:

1). New blog post with a few words about cookies, also potentially applicable to shared-world fantasy fiction.

http://www.elainecunningham.com/writing-about-writing/__trashed/

2). A giveaway on the Facebook group Forgotten Realms Archives for a copy of Elfshadow in Spanish. Winner will be chosen on June 1 via random number generator.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5803 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2017 :  23:14:03  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

Two things:

1). New blog post with a few words about cookies, also potentially applicable to shared-world fantasy fiction.

http://www.elainecunningham.com/writing-about-writing/__trashed/

2). A giveaway on the Facebook group Forgotten Realms Archives for a copy of Elfshadow in Spanish. Winner will be chosen on June 1 via random number generator.



Ummmm, Elaine, I'm diabetic.... just know that you may have just killed me, because now I have to go cook a batch of peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies. Just kidding (well, I am diabetic... and I probably will go eat some cookies.... but you didn't kill me, I would have done that without your prompting....)

P.S. guys, if I'm dead tomorrow, please pile my body on top of a pyre made of all my D&D books and novels and setting them aflame..... No, you can't have any of them..... if I don't burn the whole collection I may not make it to dweomerheart. Ooooooo, and put my replica of the sword of Gondor in my hands, because I'd look cool with that. No, you can't shove the sword somewhere that you think would be funny on facebook. Hey, and get away from my face with that makeup... No, I don't want to be made up like a drow, nor do I want my head shaved again and Thayan tattoss put on. Oh, and tell Sara to cook a big batch of cookies for everyone.... peanut butter/chocolate chip.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 22 May 2017 :  01:26:25  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Elaine,

I have a couple of questions about Fyodor from the Starlight and Shadow series. First of all, I love the series as do all of your FR books.

Are the abilities he has as a Natural Beserker enhanced over the normal Rashemen Beserker? Was his condition unique or does it exist in FR lore that others have it? Was it something you created?

Thanks,

Sunderstone
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 22 May 2017 :  01:39:26  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone

Hi Elaine,

I have a couple of questions about Fyodor from the Starlight and Shadow series. First of all, I love the series as do all of your FR books.

Are the abilities he has as a Natural Beserker enhanced over the normal Rashemen Beserker? Was his condition unique or does it exist in FR lore that others have it? Was it something you created?

Thanks,

Sunderstone



Hi, Sunderstone.

As much as I hate to admit it, I don't remember the details of Fyodor's berserker state. I'm fairly certain this was an extension of the rules for berserkers, created for these novels, but I wouldn't swear to it.

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 30 Jun 2017 :  15:23:58  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
June's is about eady to cash in her chips, which means it's time for my monthly writing summary. Here's a link, for those who might be interested in what I'm writing these days.


http://www.elainecunningham.com/writing-updates/june-writing-summary/

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 30 Jun 2017 15:24:56
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 02 Jul 2017 :  02:22:40  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As it happens, I will be going to Gen Con 2017 after all. I will post my schedule as soon as it's nailed down. Hope to see many of you there!


Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 02 Jul 2017 02:41:30
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30203 Posts

Posted - 02 Jul 2017 :  02:25:45  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

As it happens, I will be going to Get Con 2017 after all. I will post my schedule as soon as it's nailed down. Hope to see many of you there!







That is awesome! I am looking forward to seeing another of my fave authors there!

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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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 07 Jul 2017 :  14:23:20  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
New blog post about the process process, focusing on character creating. This may be of interest to some Forgotten Realms readers, as if gives back story for one of my favorite characters, Danilo Thann.


http://www.elainecunningham.com/writing-about-writing/constructing-the-iceburg/
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30203 Posts

Posted - 07 Jul 2017 :  15:05:18  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"To compound matters, he spent a large chunk of his childhood away from home for reasons that have not been (and will not be) disclosed."

Ah, you had to pique my curiosity and dash my hopes of finding out more at the same time, didn't you?

On a more serious note, Danilo and Arilyn are two of my fave Realms characters, and part of the reason is because I can get into their heads (particularly Arilyn's) a lot more than I can with other characters. It does not happen nearly oft enough that a character is written well enough that I can make a statement like that.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!

Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 07 Jul 2017 15:06:22
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 08 Jul 2017 :  02:18:58  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
On a more serious note, Danilo and Arilyn are two of my fave Realms characters, and part of the reason is because I can get into their heads (particularly Arilyn's) a lot more than I can with other characters.



It helps, I think, that I spent so much time thinking about these characters. They even show up in my dreams from time to time. One of my favorites involved Arilyn and Danilo accidentally teleporting onstage during a performance of Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro." Dan too it in stride and delivered all his lines in operatic recitative (he's a tenor, in case you're wondering...) while Arilyn stood off to the side looking all "Who do I have to kill to get out of here?"

That was a good dream.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2017 :  18:31:01  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's a link to my Gen Con schedule. Hope to see many of you there!

http://www.elainecunningham.com/conventions/gen-con-schedule/
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