Monday, November 5, 2007

Q and A with Christie Golden: 'Ink barely dry' on new Warcraft contract

This is Part One in a two part series of questions and answers with author Christie Golden from the Shadow Council community! Thank you to everyone who participated! You can read her introduction here. Stay tuned this week for the rest of the Q and A!

Q. What is your favorite in-game silly? --Zothique

A. Haha! I like the female gnome silly, "I apologize for any inconvenience my murderous rampage may have caused." And I like the female human flirt, "I need a hero." But then again, the Tauren female "laughed so hard I milked all over the floor" is pretty hilarious too...obviously, I play a lot of races. And classes. There's just a lot out there to experience.

Q. Will you be writing any more WoW books? --Kinu, Moonguard

A. A resounding yes. The ink is barely dry on a contract I've signed for a Warcraft trilogy! I'll be working on that over the next year and a half.We haven't nailed down specifics yet, but from initial conversations with Chris, I can tell you I'm very, VERY excited about this. I truly do love the game, and Blizzard has been very supportive of me and my work. I'm a very lucky writer!

Q. How much of The Burning Crusade did you get to have input on? Were you given access to beta builds in order to build your story, or was it more that Outland was built around your story? --Hectara

A. I was brought in before all of it was nailed down, but when a lot of it was also already in place. So we really worked together a great deal on certain aspects. I was given some concept art and the ability to query about specific things, and encouraged to go all out when creating ritual, customs, creatures and so on. When the first draft was done, Chris Metzen told me he had had it printed out and given to the developers. They particularly liked the idea of the Ata'mal crystals and some of the creatures I created.

I was invited to play in Alpha and Beta and I remember well the quest in which a draenei says "By the Seven Ata'amal Crystals!" Even more fun was when I got to Outland and saw clefthooves and olemba trees. And when I saw someone riding a talbuk, you could have knocked me over with a feather I was so surprised. They never let on they'd done that! They like to surprise me with things. I think the talbuks look really cool! I have one of my own now! And no, Blizzard didn't just give it to me, I did a lot of ogre-killing just like everyone else. :)

While Blizzard had created the idea of Oshu'gun, I got to flesh it out more, and then in turn continued to develop it based on the directions I'd gone in the game. So while they definitely made most of it, I felt very welcome in "interweaving," and it was a huge kick to see things I'd specifically created envisioned by the designers. It was a real collaboration in certain areas. What I'd like to stress is how rare such things are. Usually things go in one direction in media tie-ins--from the product (a game, a movie, a TV show) to the authors doing novels. What we do is hardly ever considered "canon." I thought I had been lucky and honored when I learned that Taretha's necklace was part of a quest can imagine how pleased I was to see talbuks, clefthooves, and Old Hillsbrad.

Q. I read on your website that you got started by shopping around a manuscript of your own, and while it didn't sell, you made excellent contacts. Was that the first piece you wrote publicly? Or did you submit stories to fanfic magazines, or perhaps do other non-profit work first? --Vulpecula, Ysera

A. You know, most authors have a manuscript lying around that they cut their teeth on but that never got published. It's so common a thing that there's a term for it--"Trunk novel." Because you lock it away in a trunk and hope your descendants never decide to publish it. That was the first piece of fiction I wrote, yes. Interestingly enough, while that book was never published, I did sell two novels set in that world, "INSTRUMENT OF FATE" and "KING'S MAN AND THIEF." I had twelve books planned in that series--I was ambitious! Who knows, maybe I'll revisit that world someday. Prior to that, however, I'd had a lot of experience selling non-fiction because I'd worked for USA Today as well as two other magazines as an editor and contributor. I never did do any fanfic, unless you count the Star Trek scripts I covertly wrote in my math classes in junior high school.

Q. Do you have any advice for new writers just starting out? --Vulpecula

A. Write. It sounds flip, but it isn't. Set aside a time and place to write and do it regularly. Investigate the benefits of outlining (and by that, I don't mean the A) 1, a) b) stuff, I mean summarizing your storyline.) It's not for everyone, but it can save you so much time and headaches if you can adapt yourself to it. Nothing worse then getting halfway through a novel and petering out because you took a wrong plot turn around page 50. Tony Hillerman just goes--my mind boggles, I need an outline. Give this the importance it deserves. Make a little ritual of it... maybe you play certain music, or light certain candles (scent is a BIG part of memory). Your brain will start to recognize these signals and drop into "writing mode" more quickly and easily. Read a wonderful book called "Bird By Bird," by Anne Lamott. Realize that you will get rejection letters, and some of them will be nasty. Attend science fiction conventions and writer's conferences. But in the end...just keep writing.

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