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LaughingWizard
Seeker

USA
29 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2005 :  00:02:50  Show Profile  Visit LaughingWizard's Homepage Send LaughingWizard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well Met again, to one and all!
The advice in this thread is invaluable. I've got a new question regarding short stories vs. novels. I've had a particular plot line dancing around in my head for many years now that needs to be written. The problem is, I can't decide whether to use elements of it in short stories that would mainly highlight the characters, and how they "grow" (I firmly believe that well-developed characters drive good fiction) or to flesh out the setting and write a novel(s). I believe it is this inner conflict that keeps me frozen when I sit down to write!

I could do either one very easily. I have all the material and characters, plot and all. My desire to get it written quickly leads me down the short story/novella path but at the same time I feel as if I'd be wasting a great opportunity.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this: What is the crossover point? How do you all decide whether to keep it short, or go long? I look forward to hearing from you all! Wiz in the Northlands.

A woman, or a man, may come to hold many treasures in life. Gold, gems, a good name, lovers, good friends, influence, high rank--all of these are of value. All of these most covet. But of them all the most valuable, I tell ye, are friends good and true. Have these, and ye will scarce notice the lack if ye never win aught else."

The adventuress Sharanralee, Ballads and Lore of One Dusty Road, Year of the Wandering Maiden
From Spellfire by Ed Greenwood
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Kameron M. Franklin
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
228 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2005 :  00:22:40  Show Profile  Visit Kameron M. Franklin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Try making a fairly detailed outline of the story. If you get more than 10 pages, you should probably consider a novel. Or you could just start writing and see where it takes you. The one con to that is, while you may have enough material for a novel, you may end up wandering and weaving around the plot enough that you don't have a strong, cohesive story any longer.

"You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." --Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2005 :  18:10:50  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kameron M. Franklin

Try making a fairly detailed outline of the story. If you get more than 10 pages, you should probably consider a novel. Or you could just start writing and see where it takes you. The one con to that is, while you may have enough material for a novel, you may end up wandering and weaving around the plot enough that you don't have a strong, cohesive story any longer.



I'm a big fan of "start writing," and see where it takes you. All the papers I wrote all throughout college were like that (somewhat to my chagrin at times), and fiction has turned out the same way. I also like the concept of the "post-first draft outline," which is where you hammer out your ideas in a first draft, then produce an outline for it as befits your piece.

The danger, of course, is that you might fall somewhere between a short story and a novel -- say, 50,000 words; way too long for a short, way too short for a long. So you've got a novella, which isn't so bad. And in my experience, it's easier to turn a novella into a novel than to turn a novella into a short story.

But Kameron's right: generally, any reasonably complete outline for a novel is several pages long, 10 or more. Some people do shorter outlines and still produce the same work. My outline for Ghostwalker was, if I remember correctly, ended up only 5 singlespaced pages, and it was really bare bones, not a lot of development at all.

db

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2005 :  18:57:17  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, people have said a great deal in this thread. I guess I'll just weigh in on a few points.


Outlining / keeping the story fresh:

I used to write everything from the standpoint of not knowing how it would end. Yes, I'd have a general idea, but I didn't know at all how I was going to handle the ending, and as I went I would get new ideas about twists and turns that should be reflected when it came time for climax. A couple of major, MAJOR twists in Ghostwalker only came up during the writing process (thought them up in about chapter 10). Thankfully, they didn't alter the basic story or radically change the ending, and my editor was quite fine with them.

There's something to be said for this kind of writing style. It keeps you involved in the story, and keeps you guessing, just like your reader will be. It helps maintain intensity. One little downside, of course, is when you're telling family and friends about the awesome scene you just wrote, and they ask, "so what happens next?" and you have to reply, "I don't know. Haven't written it yet."

I find that this strategy (writing without an outline or an ending), however, has the unfortunate effect of skewing your length. Several times, I've started a novel in my spare time, without a sure concept of how it's going to end, and without an outline, and it stretches to some length before I've got it finished. I finish what I start, almost always, but it can take totally unexpected twists and turns and seem a little scattered. My Realms stuff, however, has been carefully thought out and outlined, and I find that it imposes a little welcome ordering on the writing process.

So I would recommend an outline, but I'd also recommend allowing it to shift from time to time to accomodate new ideas that come up as you're writing.


Chapter length / transitions / cliffhangers:

I'll let you guys in on what I call a shameless, "dirty trick," one that is stolen from modern thriller novels. It's not a big secret, of course -- you want some examples of the trick, pick up a Dan Brown novel.

The trick? End every chapter with a cliffhanger.

Even better, end every SECTION with a cliffhanger.

Then shift over to another plotline, then end THAT with a cliffhanger, before you shift back to the former plotline, cliffhanger, repeat. It keeps the reader guessing and turning the pages, because hopefully you've instilled anxiety in the reader and he/she REALLY wants to know what happens after the cliffhanger, finds another source of anxiety, before the first is answered, and. . . well, you get the picture.

Now, I wouldn't advise going all out on this sort of thing. First off, it's unbalancing and heavy-handed. Second, it's cheap, to an extent. And third, it's just cruel to the reader. The reader needs to be able to put the book down every so often (maybe once an hour, for bathroom breaks, and once every four or five, for food).

Not to mention that reading an emotionally intense novel can be incredibly draining to a reader. Look at RAS's Demonwars, for instance. I had to take a break of about a month between each book. And Martin -- don't get me started on Martin. The man's a fabulous writer, yes, I agree, but I've had to take almost a year's break between books, just because his story was so intense and good.


Projects I'm working on now (to answer Hammer):

My Realms of the Elves story, "The Greater Treasure." First draft done, more or less. Quite honored to be in an anthology so appropriately dominated by Elaine!

A secretive novel of my own, as is usually the case (eventual publication? I certainly hope so!)

A novel proposal or two (also quite secretive).

And, of course, work.

db

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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Smyther
Learned Scribe

Canada
121 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2005 :  00:36:06  Show Profile  Visit Smyther's Homepage Send Smyther a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kameron M. Franklin

I take the easy way out and use a name generator. EBoN (Everchanging Book of Names) is my personal preference. It even has an FR chapter. I'll typically generate 20 or so names until I find one that fits the character idea/portrait in my head. That's not to say I don't come up with names on my own, but more times than not, this saves me from getting stuck trying to come up with something and lets me concentrate on writing.



He, he. Same here, actually. Though often, if I know the area I'm working in has a certain flavor (ex: Calimshan=Arabia), I'll go to a good site of name meanings and use one. My favorite one is now, sadly, defunct, but I have a copied list for my own personal use from the early days.

As for chapters, I usually try for a certain number of words and then carry on with whatever needs to be said. You know, Terry Pratchett completely forgoes the use of chapters, and it leads to a book that you can't put down. In his case, I have a break whenever I get to a paragraph that finishes on the bottom of a page.

Outlines... bane of my non-existent writing career... (really, I don't actually write for profit). I find that the spontaneous thing works fairly well, but I do like the basic outline. Nothing I do without an outline ends up finished. It's not writer's block; what it is is not planning ahead.

On titles: One of my pet peeves are books that start with 'The.' While there have been some great books with 'The' in them ('The' Magehound springs to mind), it just really irks me. I NEVER do any writing with a title containing 'The' as the first word. (Books that have 'the' in the middle are okay, so long as it isn't 'of the.' That's starting to irritate me now, too).

So sayeth the Smyther, the Dark Bard of Amn.

Edited by - Smyther on 11 Mar 2005 00:50:24
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hammer of Moradin
Senior Scribe

USA
758 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2005 :  03:29:12  Show Profile  Visit hammer of Moradin's Homepage Send hammer of Moradin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, what is everyone working on now?
We have the Dungeon series that Erik and Jaleigh are writing books for, and Citadels about the same time.
Current or future, what else is coming up for our esteemed authors?

"Hurling himself upon his enemies, he terrified them with slaughter!"

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Candlekeep proverb: If a thing is said often enough, fools aplenty will believe it to be true.
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2005 :  20:36:32  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
So, what is everyone working on now?
We have the Dungeon series that Erik and Jaleigh are writing books for, and Citadels about the same time.
Current or future, what else is coming up for our esteemed authors?

Well, I'm 1)waiting on word of my latest proposal (NDA I'm afraid, sorry!), 2)finishing up edits on the final copy for Bloodwalk and 3)working on a trilogy set in my own twisted little world (hopefully for WOTC's new speculative fiction line on the advice of my editor, no promises and we'll see how it goes!).
So in that order: 1)Biting my fingernails and pacing, 2)enjoying the satisfaction of completion and 3)tackling the first literary foes of a new work in progress. Gotta' stay busy to keep the gears from rusting.

Best,
--James

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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The Twin Scimitars
Learned Scribe

USA
96 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2005 :  21:21:47  Show Profile  Visit The Twin Scimitars's Homepage  Send The Twin Scimitars an AOL message Send The Twin Scimitars a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Im writing a novel how should I go about getting it published when Im finished?

Endure, in enduring we grow strong.
-Dak'kon, Planescape Torment
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LaughingWizard
Seeker

USA
29 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2005 :  12:02:02  Show Profile  Visit LaughingWizard's Homepage Send LaughingWizard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well Met!
One good way to get started on the road to "published" is to pick up a copy of the current Writer's Market published by Writer's Digest Books. It has a fairly extensive listing of publishing houses in all fields and contains many helpful hints as to what each specific publisher is looking for. You should be able to pick up or order a copy in any bookstore, or go to the Writer's Digest Book Club web site. Hope that helps! Good Luck!

Until Next, Wiz

A woman, or a man, may come to hold many treasures in life. Gold, gems, a good name, lovers, good friends, influence, high rank--all of these are of value. All of these most covet. But of them all the most valuable, I tell ye, are friends good and true. Have these, and ye will scarce notice the lack if ye never win aught else."

The adventuress Sharanralee, Ballads and Lore of One Dusty Road, Year of the Wandering Maiden
From Spellfire by Ed Greenwood
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1772 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2005 :  16:10:43  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
TTS: Wiz's advice is good. Let me simply add that Writer's Digest Books publishes many excellent books on the subject of how to write well and get published, and it might well behoove you to check them out. It's really such a broad, complicated subject that it would be hard for anyone to cover it comprehensively in a forum like this.
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The Twin Scimitars
Learned Scribe

USA
96 Posts

Posted - 25 Aug 2005 :  01:47:46  Show Profile  Visit The Twin Scimitars's Homepage  Send The Twin Scimitars an AOL message Send The Twin Scimitars a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay Ill do that.

Oh and can I write a novel for the FR series?

Endure, in enduring we grow strong.
-Dak'kon, Planescape Torment

Edited by - The Sage on 26 Aug 2005 02:21:14
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 26 Aug 2005 :  18:38:51  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Twin Scimitars

Okay Ill do that.

Oh and can I write a novel for the FR series?




You'd need to take that up with WotC Publishing. They're not currently accepting FR proposals, to my knowledge, but you might look into their independent fiction line (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=books/main/resources). That could be fantasy, scifi, horror, alternate history, magic realism, or any combination.

As for FR novels, I think WotC prefers to do Open Calls (like they did for Maiden of Pain), because the Realms books up fairly quickly. Even if one doesn't win an open call, though, Wizards keeps a sharp eye for talent.

Good luck!

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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The Twin Scimitars
Learned Scribe

USA
96 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2005 :  03:21:33  Show Profile  Visit The Twin Scimitars's Homepage  Send The Twin Scimitars an AOL message Send The Twin Scimitars a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wanna do a series in the Underdark. There isn't many of those and a story has already formed in my head.

Endure, in enduring we grow strong.
-Dak'kon, Planescape Torment
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The Twin Scimitars
Learned Scribe

USA
96 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2005 :  03:53:13  Show Profile  Visit The Twin Scimitars's Homepage  Send The Twin Scimitars an AOL message Send The Twin Scimitars a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh man I have to be over 18 to make a proposal. Is there anyway around that? I really wanna right a novel for them and I believe I can do a really good novel for them. I already have the story completed in my head.

Endure, in enduring we grow strong.
-Dak'kon, Planescape Torment

Edited by - The Twin Scimitars on 27 Aug 2005 03:53:59
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30340 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2005 :  06:29:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Twin Scimitars

Oh man I have to be over 18 to make a proposal. Is there anyway around that? I really wanna right a novel for them and I believe I can do a really good novel for them. I already have the story completed in my head.



Probably not. You can't really enter into a legal agreement before you're 18.

So, in the meantime, read a lot, and write a lot. It'll only help you out.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5584 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2005 :  09:40:29  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by The Twin Scimitars

Oh man I have to be over 18 to make a proposal. Is there anyway around that? I really wanna right a novel for them and I believe I can do a really good novel for them. I already have the story completed in my head.



Probably not. You can't really enter into a legal agreement before you're 18.

So, in the meantime, read a lot, and write a lot. It'll only help you out.



Well met

Indeed, the Wooly one advises well. I highly recommend ye read a good variety of novels, read books on writing (How to Write a Damn Good Novel, by James N Frey is a good start), and just keep writing for thyself. Ye will find that ye improve more and more over time, and when thou art old enough, ye will be glad of that extra time ye had Good luck.

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

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


An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2005 :  17:37:52  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alaundo

I highly recommend ye read a good variety of novels, read books on writing (How to Write a Damn Good Novel, by James N Frey is a good start), and just keep writing for thyself. Ye will find that ye improve more and more over time, and when thou art old enough, ye will be glad of that extra time ye had Good luck.



Incidentally, that's exactly what I did -- started writing at 13, tempered my style over the next five years, turned 18 and started submitting. It went over well.

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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The Twin Scimitars
Learned Scribe

USA
96 Posts

Posted - 28 Aug 2005 :  22:35:11  Show Profile  Visit The Twin Scimitars's Homepage  Send The Twin Scimitars an AOL message Send The Twin Scimitars a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes well Im gonna have plenty of time to read since this damned hurricane is supposed to tear up my city and knock my power out for a couple of weeks.

Endure, in enduring we grow strong.
-Dak'kon, Planescape Torment
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hammer of Moradin
Senior Scribe

USA
758 Posts

Posted - 03 Nov 2005 :  03:52:49  Show Profile  Visit hammer of Moradin's Homepage Send hammer of Moradin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have noted over the past few years that several authors who contribute to the Realms have popped up in other worlds with their writing. Several made their debut in the Forgotten Realms, and then moved over to the new play area, Eberron. Some, and more than a few who frequent these boards, are just getting started in the FR.
My question to the gallery, do you find it hard to write in different worlds, especially those outside of the traditional D&D worlds, then come back?
Do you aspire to creating your own world, your own place to play, or is this where you would prefer to write about? I ask this second question because we've seen authors like RAS leave the Dungeons and Dragons worlds, only to return to the place that helped him make a name for himself.

"Hurling himself upon his enemies, he terrified them with slaughter!"

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Candlekeep proverb: If a thing is said often enough, fools aplenty will believe it to be true.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1772 Posts

Posted - 03 Nov 2005 :  15:32:52  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've worked in many different universes, and have never found it difficult to move from one to the next.
I've written non-shared-world material, stuff that's mine from the ground up, and I do hope that eventually I'll get back to doing more of that kind of work than I've done in recent years. But that doesn't mean I want to bail on the Realms. I most certainly don't. But since Wizards usually only wants one novel a year from me, I should have time for both.
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 03 Nov 2005 :  17:07:10  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Me, I'm just publishing in the Realms, which is an awesome place. Writing there is a wonderful, surreal experience and a great honor for me, since I've grown up half in the setting.

On the other hand, I write in other worlds all the time. I'm currently working on wrapping up the first book of a trilogy that may or may not be published (we can always hope for the former), and it has nothing to do with the Realms.

Not going to bail on the Realms, and not going to sacrifice explorations of other worlds. I'm at a place in my writing where I can do a great range.

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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Kameron M. Franklin
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
228 Posts

Posted - 03 Nov 2005 :  17:20:50  Show Profile  Visit Kameron M. Franklin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A good writer can change their narrative voice/style to fit the setting/tone of the story their working on.

I like writing in the Realms, and would welcome another opportunity. My greater desire is to get stories set in my own worlds published.

"You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." --Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 03 Nov 2005 :  19:54:46  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Same here on all counts so far. I'd love to keep writing in the Realms, but my own world is currently digging an escape tunnel in my head.

--James

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1632 Posts

Posted - 04 Nov 2005 :  13:39:34  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cut my editorial and authorial teeth in the Realms and learned more from my mentors Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood there than any other world/setting. Thus, the Realms will always be important in my heart and hopefully my writing career.

That said, I'm capable and happy to generate new universes/worlds and write in them or work in others. While at TSR/WotC, I worked in every setting save Dragonlance and Ravenloft, so I'm quite flexible when it comes to working in and with the tropes of different worlds, genres, etc.

If I could write my own ticket and work on whatever I wanted, I'd be happy to split my years writing FR fiction, my own contemporary fantasies, some superhero work (either my own or something with old standards at Marvel/DC), and perhaps some TV or movie work here and there.

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 04 Nov 2005 :  13:51:09  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  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

If I could write my own ticket and work on whatever I wanted, I'd be happy to split my years writing FR fiction, my own contemporary fantasies, some superhero work (either my own or something with old standards at Marvel/DC), and perhaps some TV or movie work here and there.
Oooh! I liked reading this especially Steven... It's definitely something I'd love to see. I can only imagine the types of contemporary fantasies your mind could envision .

As for television work, would you like to contribute on existing material/programs or create something new for yourself?

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

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