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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2238 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

1367 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

37 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

2238 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

37 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

2238 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

2238 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

37 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

2238 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

2238 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

2238 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
Master of Realmslore

USA
1748 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
Master of Realmslore

USA
1748 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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