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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10106 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2019 :  02:18:38  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham


quote:
[i]

::snip:: I was playing Lords of Waterdeep the other day with some friends, and one of them got Danilo as their Lord and didn't know who it was (half the people playing aren't gamers)…. and this may sound stupid, but for just a moment I was jealous... and I actually recognized that it was jealousy that I wanted to be that lord instead of the one I had.



Ha! I hope you told them, "Danilo doesn't REALLY look like that. The card art is a copy of a bad portrait, which also doesn't look like him."





LOL, you know what, I actually did say something like that. I said "who the hell chose THAT picture for him though?"

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34704 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2019 :  01:45:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I had a similar reaction when I saw the art for Kyriani. Inexplicably, they made her look full-on drow -- even though there's something like 30 comic books with her in them that they could reference to see that she looks like a regular half-elf.

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ericlboyd
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
1804 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2019 :  16:05:55  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Elaine,

Did you have any thoughts on the activities of Grimnoshtadrano during the Rage of Dragons in the Year of Rogue Dragons (1373 DR)?

Examples of what we wrote for other dragons are found in Dragons of Faerun, pages 42-44.

Thanks,

--Eric

--
http://www.ericlboyd.com/dnd/
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2019 :  15:45:31  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

Hi Elaine,

Did you have any thoughts on the activities of Grimnoshtadrano during the Rage of Dragons in the Year of Rogue Dragons (1373 DR)?

Examples of what we wrote for other dragons are found in Dragons of Faerun, pages 42-44.

Thanks,

--Eric



Nope, no thoughts on this. Please feel free to add to the Grimosh story as you see fit.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6154 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2019 :  08:55:46  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Elaine

In another question that may or may not interest you: approximately how long after the fall of Myth Drannor in 714 DR did Zoar Moonflower become the ruler of Evermeet? I was thinking that the Year of the Sharp Edge (763 DR) or the Year of the Elven Fortress (781 DR) sounded auspicious. Any thoughts?

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2019 :  11:55:36  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Hi Elaine

In another question that may or may not interest you: approximately how long after the fall of Myth Drannor in 714 DR did Zoar Moonflower become the ruler of Evermeet? I was thinking that the Year of the Sharp Edge (763 DR) or the Year of the Elven Fortress (781 DR) sounded auspicious. Any thoughts?




It isn't that I'm not interested, but Evermeet was published in 1999, twenty years ago, and offering an opinion on fine details would require research, which would require source materials I no longer have.

I don't have my FR novels and game books from that era--they were all lost in a basement flood, along with several hundred other books. All my notes from the research-and-novel-writing process, including timelines, were lost when we moved from Maryland to Rhode Island shortly after the book was written.

So while it may appear that I'm brushing off questions from certain books, it's more a matter of precision than lack of interest. If I can't give an informed opinion, I'd rather not comment.

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 31 Dec 2019 11:56:45
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2019 :  12:15:57  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Folks, for the reasons given in the post above, I think it's time for me to leave the Candlekeep forums. I can no longer answer many of the questions posed, and since it doesn't appear that the Realms will reopen for new stories any time soon, I don't have anything meaningful to contribute.

Admins, would you close this thread to comments?

Wishing you all sweet water and light laughter,

Elaine Cunningham
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5640 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2019 :  14:42:20  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage Send Alaundo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well met

Your wish is my command, Elaine, and very sorry to see you go, if indeed you need to. I'm locking this thread at your request, but please feel free to remain at Candlekeep, and if at any time you would like this to be reopened then please contact me via PM or email.

Alaundo
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34704 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2020 :  18:36:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you were part of the Candlekeep Seminar last night, you may have heard Elaine mentioning getting this topic re-opened... After confirming with her, we have re-opened this topic for discussion.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!

Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 02 Aug 2020 18:37:23
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1585 Posts

Posted - 24 Aug 2020 :  14:14:21  Show Profile Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
GOOD! You are very welcome back, Mrs. Cunningham!

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 24 Aug 2020 :  16:45:23  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

GOOD! You are very welcome back, Mrs. Cunningham!



Thanks!

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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2577 Posts

Posted - 24 Aug 2020 :  17:18:46  Show Profile Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome back!

Sweet water and light laughter
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Aureus
Learned Scribe

Luxembourg
125 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2020 :  20:20:56  Show Profile Send Aureus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You're back? You're back! :) Praise be to the Cunning Ham!^^

When you wrote Daughter of the Drow, how did you decide on what elements to include and which to ignore from existing lore and world building?

What part of Drow lore was particularly difficult to work with?

That is not the weirdest thing that happened to me
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 05 Nov 2020 :  19:28:11  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aureus

You're back? You're back! :) Praise be to the Cunning Ham!^^

When you wrote Daughter of the Drow, how did you decide on what elements to include and which to ignore from existing lore and world building?

What part of Drow lore was particularly difficult to work with?



Hi, Aureus. Sorry for the long delay in responding. I must have turned off notifications on this thread; usually I get an email when someone posts.

The answer to your question is complicated. The first two books in the trilogy were written under 3E rules, if memory serves. WotC staff changes occurred, a few years passed, and I was asked to write a third book. But the rules had changed, and some of these changes cut the leg out from under the first two books. Liriel's motivation was finding a way to take drow magic to the surface. Suddenly, that was no longer an issue. I had the choice of ignoring the rule change and going for internal consistency in the trilogy, acknowledging the rule changes and ignoring the first two books, or writing the rule change into the events of book three. I took the third option.

A lot of effort went into making those books consistent with the lore and the game rules, as the lore and rules stood AT THAT POINT IN TIME. In the time since Windwalker was released, there have been two major edition changes and a 100-year time jump. I imagine that someone reading the trilogy today for the first time might well feel that a lot of things were not addressed.

A shared world setting such as the Forgotten Realms is a living, growing thing. Novels reflect the setting at a particular moment.

EDITED TO ADDRESS A QUESTION I MISSED:

What part of drow lore was most difficult? Probably finding a balance between contradictory traits. The draw thrive on chaos, yet they have a very rigid social structure. Some readers were bothered by the fact that I showed the drow doing "non-evil" things, such as farming and shopping and dancing, the theory being that if they were truly evil, they should spend all their time plotting and fighting and killing each other. Well sure, a lot of time and energy DOES go to those activities, but people still need to eat. Drow cities have stood for thousands of years, and that means there's a working social structure. Food chains, artisans, merchants. Unchecked chaos would have led to annihilation.

I used to teach history and government, and I still read quite a bit about these topics. So when I'm writing, I think about the practical issues such as natural resources, available technology, food production, and the creation and distribution of necessary goos. The drow, whatever else they may be, have managed to create an enduring society. The main challenge in writing about drow is depicting the coexistence of the functional and the dysfunctional.

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 11 Nov 2020 13:06:51
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BenN
Senior Scribe

Japan
379 Posts

Posted - 11 Nov 2020 :  08:17:55  Show Profile Send BenN a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome back Elaine! You are one of my favourite authors (period)! Anything simmering on the stove, so to speak? :-)
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 11 Nov 2020 :  12:42:56  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BenN

Welcome back Elaine! You are one of my favourite authors (period)! Anything simmering on the stove, so to speak? :-)



Hi, Ben!

These days, most of my time goes to running a small nonprofit arts organization, a concert choir that performs with the local philharmonic and other area ensembles. As with any small business, you end up doing everything: writing grant proposals, doing fundraising, marketing and promotions, accounting, project management, events planning, general admin, volunteer management, working with the board of trustees (lots of meetings and emails and reports), and so on. I've been spending the last year and a half climbing various learning curves and working manymany hours and, these past few months, finding new ways for a performing arts organization that can't perform to stay active and relevant. This is germane to the question of writing because by the end of the day, I am completely out of spoons. Zero creative energy remaining.

But!

I am diligently working on time-blocking my day so that I have 7:30 to 9:00 am for writing. I started a new novel last week. It's not in the Forgotten Realms, for reasons that should be sadly apparent, but it's the most fun I've had writing in many years. My goal for November is to nail down the plot, do a narrative character arc for each of the main characters, and do a chapter-by-chapter outline.

I also released a reprint collection of short fiction a few months back. It's called Voices because all of the stories are told in first person point of view. One of the reasons I enjoy writing short fiction is the chance to experiment with different narrative voices. There's quite a wide spectrum of narrators here.

Every now and then, one of these narrators just keeps on talking; one of the stories provided the seed that's growing into my novel-in-progress.

Anyway. Here's a link to the ebook, if anyone's interested. There is no hard copy version--I simply haven't had time to format it.

https://www.amazon.com/Voices-Elaine-Cunningham-ebook/dp/B089Q8TH82/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=voices+Elaine+cunningham&qid=1605096411&sr=8-1

I was also invited to write the introduction to a horror anthology produced by the the New England Horror Writers, of which I am a member. Wicked Women is the title, and it should be out shortly.

Hope you're well. These are strange times.
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BenN
Senior Scribe

Japan
379 Posts

Posted - 11 Nov 2020 :  22:01:09  Show Profile Send BenN a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, you sound incredibly busy! Learning to manage one's time is a life skill that I'm trying to teach my kids - not very successfully so far.....

Great to hear news about your new novel. I've just bought the Kindle version of Voices; looking forward to it!
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 11 Nov 2020 :  23:23:22  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BenN

Wow, you sound incredibly busy! Learning to manage one's time is a life skill that I'm trying to teach my kids - not very successfully so far.....

Great to hear news about your new novel. I've just bought the Kindle version of Voices; looking forward to it!



Thanks! I hope you enjoy the stories. They are all over the place, so I hope at least a few of them will appeal.

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gwinachor
Acolyte

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  17:31:38  Show Profile Send gwinachor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This isn't a question, but I just wanted to say that it made my nerdy little former-Music-Major heart fill with joy when I was reading Elfsong and got to the reference to 'L'homme arme'.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2020 :  01:25:54  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gwinachor

This isn't a question, but I just wanted to say that it made my nerdy little former-Music-Major heart fill with joy when I was reading Elfsong and got to the reference to 'L'homme arme'.



Heh. That was a teeny little Easter egg for fellow music nerds. I think you're the second, or possible the third, person to make that connection.



Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 08 Apr 2021 19:50:49
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HighOne
Acolyte

2 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2021 :  04:21:50  Show Profile Send HighOne a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm also a music nerd (and former music major), but the L'homme armé reference went over my head. Now if it had been Sumer is icumen in...

Anyway, hello Elaine! I'm reading Evermeet for the first time and really enjoying it. I plan to read The Radiant Dragon soon, because I'm starting to develop an interest in Spelljammer and you're one of my favorite Realms authors. I also believe The Radiant Dragon has connections to the Forgotten Realms, which probably makes it a good introduction to Spelljammer for someone like me.

I was curious, what are your feelings on this book and the Spelljammer setting 30 years later? Do you have any memories of the writing process and how it compared to writing a standard Forgotten Realms novel?

Thanks!
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2021 :  13:46:00  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by HighOne
I'm also a music nerd (and former music major), but the L'homme armé reference went over my head. Now if it had been Sumer is icumen in...


I'm having difficulty imagining what sort of spell would use "Sumer is icumen in" as a spell component. "Summon Kender," maybe?

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 10 Apr 2021 14:39:34
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2377 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2021 :  14:35:30  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Okay, here are a few thoughts about the process of writing a Spelljammer novel.

Shortly after Elfshadow was published, editor Jim Lowder called to see if I'd be interested in writing a book in a new setting. There was a catch: The original author dropped out (I don't know who or why) and they needed a proposal in 14 days. That meant learning the setting (box set, several game modules0 and reading one published novel, one in manuscript, and one in outline. The proposal included a narrative outline, detailed chapter-by-chapter outline (about 20 pages), character sketches for major and secondary characters, and a 10-page writing sample. I swallowed hard and said, "Sure, no problem!"

At the time, by kids were 4.5 and 18 months, so I didn't sleep much for the next two weeks. Andrew was in preschool in the afternoon, and by day 13 Sean was done with this. While I was madly finishing up the writing sample, he snuck up behind me, turned off the computer, and ran like hell. This was before the days of frequent, automatic backups. My wail of anguish probably still resounds through the neighborhood on moonless nights.

But I reconstructed the sample, printed everything out on the dot-matrix printed, separated the pages, and schlepped the package down to FedEx. Hit the deadline, all was good.

After the proposal was accepted and I settled down to writing, I began to notice things about the project that weren't apparently to me during the initial mad rush. Also, this was the first multi-author project I worked on, so I didn't know what necessary elements to look for. If I HAD know, I wouldn't have found them.

There was no story bible, no overarching plan. The only plot guidance was the title; it had to have a radiant dragon in it. I had no idea what the endpoint of the novel should be. I was concerned about moving the story in a direction that would conflict with books 5 and 6 (about which I knew nothing), or moving the story arc along too far or too quickly. The editor (NOT Jim Lowder) responded with words to this effect, "Just write the story, and we'll let you know if you go too far."

So I tried to find where those boundaries might be. It's a truism in the Forgotten Realms that you "can't blow up the moon." So on the theory that I'd start at the extreme edges with an obviously verboten plot point and work back, I told the editor I was thinking of destroying a planed. "Cool!" Teenaged bipedal space hippos? "Great!" He only balked at two things: No drow in space, and I was not permitted to name an aparusa--a Spelljammer version of stereotypes of Roma culture-"Rosleigh," because the editor would not countenance the barely-hidden "Gypsy Rosleigh" pun. (This is one thing I wish the novel did not contain. Thirty years ago, "gypsy" stereotypes were a fantasy trope. Most people, myself included, did not realize how objectionable and racist many of these tropes were.)

One plot element that proved problematic was Teldon Moore's cape. In addition to permitting him to captain the vessel, it had other, unrevealed magic and it tended to change size, length, and color at odd moments. Sometimes for no apparent reason. So I made a spreadsheet of the changes, the circumstances, and the apparent effects the cape had, trying to discern some pattern. (Gentle reader, there WAS none.) The editor's response was, "Cool! Send that to me. That might be helpful going forward."

Really? You think?

So I'd say the primary difference between Spelljammer and the Forgotten Realms was the integrity of the setting. There are discrepancies in the FR lore, sure, but the setting WORKS. It's a vast puzzle with pieces that fit together, and the history and magic and lore were well defined. The Forgotten Realms EXISTED. To me, FR novels were historical fiction, set in this existing world, adding new characters and color (and the occasional Realms-Shaking Event). With my first few FR books. outlines and manuscripts were run past people in the game department for notes. There was meticulous attention to Getting Things Right. Spelljammer felt more like an airplane was was being built in mid-flight.

Some people thrive on this sort of creative chaos. I am a person who needs to outline. If I don't know where things are going, chances are I'm not going to be happy with where they end up. So I can't really tell you how I feel about the Cloakmaster Cycle, because I never read books 5 and 6.

But even though Spelljammer wasn't my favorite writing experience, I was grateful for the opportunity and I enjoyed many aspects of the writing process. One anecdote in particular stays with me. Four-year-old Andrew wandered into the room when I was placing the tiny paper models of spelljamming vessels in various locations around the room, as an aid to keeping track of everything in 3D when choreographing a space battle. "Whatcha doing, Mommy?" he inquired. "I'm working." He waited a beat, then said, "Yeah, RIGHT."

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 10 Apr 2021 14:53:48
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HighOne
Acolyte

2 Posts

Posted - 11 Apr 2021 :  05:12:14  Show Profile Send HighOne a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great anecdotes! Thanks! The chaos is about what I expected too. There were no Spelljammer sages overseeing things the way there were with Forgotten Realms. Too bad, because it seems like a creative setting that could have found greater success if it had had more time to grow. Then again, genre-mixing has always had niche appeal, so maybe Spelljammer was always doomed to fail.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34704 Posts

Posted - 11 Apr 2021 :  06:08:07  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by HighOne

Great anecdotes! Thanks! The chaos is about what I expected too. There were no Spelljammer sages overseeing things the way there were with Forgotten Realms. Too bad, because it seems like a creative setting that could have found greater success if it had had more time to grow. Then again, genre-mixing has always had niche appeal, so maybe Spelljammer was always doomed to fail.



Keep in mind that I'm a big enough Spelljammer fan that my username comes from there -- but I agree, the setting was doomed to fail. There were issues with the execution, and it appears that there was no overall plan or oversight in place, either. I think if they'd had a better hand at the helm (pun not intended), it could have been a lot stronger.

It also didn't help that a lot of people never got past the "space" part of "fantasy in space" -- they were projecting real-world space travel issues onto magical flying ships.

Teldin Moore's cape and its random changes is one of the few things I remember from those novels. And Gaeadrelle Goldring, the half-kender.

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