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More Tor Blogging

This week Ian Tregillis is taking a stint as guest blogger at Tor, with more reflections on the complex and sometimes frustrating experience of writing for Wild Cards.

Check it out at http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=58674

And then go out and get SUICIDE KINGS at your favorite bookstore.



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)
Interesting. He explained that act of creative group collaboration very well.

What's so special about collaboration is you come up with things that you would never come up with alone. Hearing other ideas inspires and illuminates thoughts that would normally stand dormant in the darkness, or as Mr. Tregillis put it, in the "Ether of imagination".

Now I just need to get around to reading the Wild Card books...
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)
wow! a new book from George Martin :) hope to see it soon in Moscow bookstores :)
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
do you have final say?

As editor do you have final say over the plot? I would think that if authors disagree someone has to make an executive decision?

Also, I would think this kind of collaboration is hard for novelist since most of you seem to work alone and can do whatever you want with your stories. I was wondering if it is easier for you since you were a TV writer. My understanding is that TV writing by nature is collaborative?

I would also think that sometimes there could be some nasty fights in your meetings...
Jan. 27th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
Re: do you have final say?
Yes, I am the god of Wild Cards.

Are shared worlds hard for a novelist? Depends on the shared world (every one works a little differently, depending on the editor and the ground rules) and the novelist (every one of those is different too, some work well with others, some don't). If you look at the history of most shared worlds, you'll note that there are a number of contributors who are one-and-done, writing a single story for the series and then never appearing again. In most cases (not all, most), those are the novelists who found the whole part-of-a-team concept either difficult or unpleasant.
Jan. 27th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Re: do you have final say?
Makes me want to go through all the contributors in the series and see who only provided the one story. Besides Waldrop and Zelazny, Chris Claremont's the only one who comes to mind (the first author-type person I ever went to a signing to! Though it was an X-Men-era comic book signing; actually, I first came acros Wild Cards at a comic book shop...)

I am saddened to hear from Ian that there are no knife fights between the gardener and architect camps, BTW. At the very least, some duelling scars would give the whole endeavor that extra je ne sais quoi.

Jan. 28th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: do you have final say?
Roger wrote four stories for Wild Cards.

And Howard... Howard is my oldest and dearest friend, and one of the most brilliant short stories writers to ever work in the field, but he is about as far from a team player as you can be. Getting Jetboy in was a saga all by itself, and we know going in that H'ard was one-and-done. (He has promised to write the LAST Wild Cards story, since he wrote the first, but only if the rest of us sign in blood that we will never write any more WC stories after his).

I was not just speaking of Wild Cards, of course. Some of the other shared worlds had their own one-and-done writers... many of them the biggest names in the book, well established writers used to doing their own thing.
Jan. 28th, 2010 08:31 am (UTC)
Re: do you have final say?
Four? Ulp! That's three more than I remember, which clearly means I'm due for a re-read, and a great deal of fun. Hrm ...

I'm very glad you got Howard to write "Thirty Minutes Over Broadway!", myself. Wonderful atmosphere. I think my favorite story of his is "The Ugly Chickens". "A Dozen Tough Jobs" is fantastic, too.

That said, I think we can hold off on that last WC story for a good long while yet. ;)

(You know, a cross-genre anthology homage taking some of its style and thematic content from the pulp magazines could be fun...)
Jan. 28th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)
Re: do you have final say?
Ah, ISFDB to the rescue. Yes, definitely a re-read -- though one of those stories I've never actually read (the one in Card Sharks).

This Sleeper character outline published in NESFA's The Road to Amber sounds neat. I wonder if it was a "bible" for other writers so they could use the character in the future, or was it more his proposal? Stego, you around? I know you own this book!
Jan. 30th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Re: do you have final say?
do I need to start with the first wildcard book that was published in 1987 to keep up with the series?
Jan. 30th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
Re: do you have final say?
No. Start with INSIDE STRAIGHT, first book of the "next generation" series.
Jan. 28th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
I haven't started Wild Cards, but that's on the to-do.

I did read Hunter's Run. I don't know how you, Mr. Abraham and Mr. Dozois worked together on that one, but it was a seamless read. If you care to share any stories, I'd enjoy hearing how that worked. If you've already done and interview and answered all the questions, maybe a nudge/link in the right direction?

If you ever tire of Wild Cards, please consider giving Tuf a few new adventures. I've read the stories piecemeal, but my brother got me the collection for Christmas and it was a joy to revisit him. I suppose the last story, Mana, had a sort of THE END feel to it, but perhaps there's an adventure or three left in the big guy.


Jan. 28th, 2010 04:25 am (UTC)
Re: Collaborations
I did read Hunter's Run. I don't know how you, Mr. Abraham and Mr. Dozois worked together on that one, but it was a seamless read. If you care to share any stories, I'd enjoy hearing how that worked. If you've already done and interview and answered all the questions, maybe a nudge/link in the right direction?

You asked, I answered.

Jan. 29th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
Re: Collaborations
Thanks much. Enlightening article.

Novels are like leaky ships in distress. You're always bailing water or trying to patch something or fighting off time pirates so you can keep working on them. Sadly the Coast Guard is rarely around when you need them. Maybe having three hands on deck makes it easier in some ways.

Jan. 28th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
shared worlds?
I am not too familiar with shared worlds. This is actually the first I have heard of them. I usually read novels. By shared worlds you are not referring to Star Wars, Star Trek, or Dragonlance right with someone owns the rights and then licenses to authors to write?

What are some other shared worlds?

George: Do you write any of the stories in Wildcards? Do you know where you want the story to eventually go like you do with A Song of Ice and Fire? Do you know where the series will end?

Thank you for responding to me. I am a fellow Giant and Jets fan, but I live in DC so I hate on the redskins.
Jan. 28th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
Re: shared worlds?
Well, some of this is a matter of definition. Myself, I define Star Wars, Star Trek, and the like as "franchised worlds" or "sharecropping." These are cases where a studio owns all the underlying rights, and the writers are mere hirelings working on work-made-for-hire contracts and forbidden to change any of the fundamentals of the characters or universe... which of course limits the stories you can tell.

A true shared world, like Wild Cards, is the joint creation of a group of writers, all of whom own some part of it. In these cases the writer/creators all share in the earnings of the books and spinoffs, and also retain some control over their characters and creations.

Shared worlds were most popular in the 80s. Besides Wild Cards, other series include THIEVES WORLD, LIAVEK, HEROES IN HELL, THE FLEET, ITHKAR, MEROVINGIAN NIGHTS, WAR WORLD. Charlie Grant had a horror shared world as well... GREYSTONE something, I think... though it wasn't very "shared."
Jan. 28th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
Collaboration vs. Fan Fiction
(long time lurker first time commenter)

I seem to remember some time ago either in an interview of yours or on an old FAQ that you were not a fan of fan fiction. I can't remember your exact words but I have the impression that you felt it cheated the writer of fan fiction in that they weren't using their own creativity but rather leaning on someone else's.

Collaboration seems to me to be a variant of fan fiction -- especially with newer authors -- albeit an exclusive group of fans. Many time actual fan fiction is a group of fans on a web site somewhere that writes in someone else's world for each others benefit.

My question (if I do have one) -- has this ever caused you pause when dealing with authors? I'm sure the authors have no objection since (a) writing fan fiction can be fun and (b) they get to play with you and (c) your clout may help the more unknown writers get noticed.

If not, how do you reconcile 'fan fiction' vs. 'collaboration?'
Jan. 28th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
FYI: JD Salinger, Dead.
Jan. 30th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
is this a shared world?
Someone told me about this once, but I can't remember the series.

Alternate reality attacks our reality. This alternate reality has muskets and flying ships because it is natural for them to evolve that way. They fight it out with SWAT in one of the stories.

is this one of those shared worlds that george listed above?
Jan. 30th, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
Suicide Kings
Mr. Martin, I just finished Suicide Kings this afternoon. I liked it the best of the three Tor books. I thought the ending had a couple of disjunctive perspective changes, but it was otherwise nearly seamless. I've been a Wild Cards fan since the very first book. Very well done, and please continue this series!
Feb. 18th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
I'm not certain if this is the right place to leave a message, but I would simply like to say that I have been a fan of the Wild Cards series for about 15 years.

I was hooked on Aces High and while I only have that novel, Aces Abroad, and Double Solitaire... I absolutely love what I have.

The writing, the characters, the plot... every bit of it is deeply enthralling and fantastic. I admit I do like Dr. Tachyon quite a bit; he's fascinating.

Thank you so much for creating such wonderful stories!

A delighted fan,
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
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