General Q & A Session For The Authors

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Kill Anna, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    I have been asked to do novels in specific timeframes — Enterprise War, Die Standing, Rogue Elements — but the ensuing concepts are mine (with Kirsten providing added inspiration). Takedown and Prey, on the other hand, were ones where I chose both the concept and the timeframes.
     
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  2. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    I've always been fond of Search for Spock, but I've come around more and more to feeling that Undiscovered Country is my favorite. I'm big on Klingons, I like the pacing, and the cast has the whole movie thing down by then -- and as I was in graduate school for Soviet Studies at the time, the plot felt pretty much custom-made for me. I know I saw it in the theater more than any other Trek.

    As for series, I'd say TNG in large part because it's the first one I got to see as it was initially aired. It's very much ingrained in my memories as a result.

    I've used Word exclusively since I got my first Mac in 1990 — and the folder structure I used then exists to this day on my current Mac. And most all those old original Word files open without a hitch. (Getting the Apple Writer files off my old Apple ][e disks has been a bit more challenging!)
     
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  3. DWMarch

    DWMarch Captain Captain

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    British Columbia
    I was checking out my Kindle library today and I noticed several of my Star Trek books had updates available. I was assuming these were better versions of cover art but this doesn't seem to be the case. Are the updates more along the lines of fixing formatting or any little errors that might creep in?
     
  4. ColdFusion180

    ColdFusion180 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Who or what do you consider to have significantly influenced your writing style and/or career? Is there anyone you consider to be your writing mentor(s)? Have you ever mentored anyone?
     
  5. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Rear Admiral

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    I don't know of any author whose style I would be able to say "influenced" mine, but I have been told by others that they find it interesting that some of my favorite authors to read write in styles that are nothing like my own.
     
  6. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    I'd say that the earliest fiction I read on my own -- Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert A. Heinlein's YA fiction, and P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves & Wooster stories -- were all pretty big influences on me. Ditto the comics I read in the early-to-mid-1980s, especially those by Chris Claremont, J.M. DeMatteis, Ann Nocenti, Walt Simonson, and Frank Miller.

    I've mentored a few writers over the years. I wouldn't call anyone specific my writing mentor.....
     
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  7. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    There's a few authors who I'd consider as influential on my writing - in a general sense, William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, Douglas Adams, Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Julian May and Iain M. Banks. Specific to writing Star Trek fiction, John M. Ford, Vonda McInytre and Diane Duane.

    I also have to give specifc thanks to Diane, because she was the first professional author (and tie-in author) I ever had the opportunity to really talk to, back when I was wondering how I could get started as a writer. Her advice went a long way toward putting me on the path I'm on now, and I'll always be grateful for that.

    I've never had a mentor, and I wouldn't consider myself a mentor, although I have taught writing workshops and I'm pretty liberal with offering my advice when it's asked for!
     
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  8. Extrocomp

    Extrocomp Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    @David Mack

    In Section 31: Disavowed, you wrote "Even so, he was fairly certain the commander was a Silgov, a humanoid species whose members could mingle easily among the peoples of the Federation".

    Is this a mistake referring to the Silwaan species introduced in Zero Sum Game as one of the Breen member species? I'm asking because the Silgov had a prominent role in Small World, where they had their own ships and were never described as members of the Breen Confederacy.
     
  9. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Rear Admiral

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    Yes, that was a mistake. It should have said "Silwaan." The Silgov homeworld is far too distant (3,000+ ly) to plausibly be a member of the Breen Confederacy.
     
  10. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Do editors of original fiction take as much of a hands on approach with what your write as the tie-in editors do?
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Mar 15, 2001
    Not as much in the early stages, in my experience, since there you're initiating the project and then selling it to them. But they can be of great help in the revision stage and in shepherding a book to publication. Maybe it's different in the early stages of sequels, though.
     
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  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Again, the only honest answer is: "It depends." Varies from project to project.

    I've edited books where I've only tweaked a few sentences in the entire manuscript, and I've also worked with authors on projects where we've gone through multiple drafts, sometimes adding or subtracting entire characters and subplots, before the manuscript was ready to be put into production.

    Just for fun, the kinda editorial questions I've been known to throw at authors:

    "Why would Ellen get into the car with Jack if she already suspects he's the killer?"

    "The subplot with the Duke's sister never goes anywhere. We need some sort of pay-off, or else consider deleting it altogether."

    "Are Susan and Dmitri actually sleeping together at this point? You're being too coy, so the reader could be confused as to what exactly their relationship is now."

    "Boris is a great character, but he disappears from the plot for the entire middle of the book. Can we check in with him more frequently? Or at least remind the reader who he is when he finally reappears?"

    "This ending feels too abrupt. We've been with these characters for hundreds of pages now. We can take a few more pages to say goodbye to them."
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
  13. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    I have to echo Greg on this one, it depends on a lot of different factors, often the personality and/or creative process of the people involved.

    Some authors like to "workshop" their original stuff through multiple drafts, some editors see their job as being an integral part of the core writing and really like to get into the weeds with a writer. Other writers and editors are content to go to their corners, do their thing and compare notes after the fact.

    Some writers don't even "find" their story until the rewrite stage, while others have a clear vision from the start. Like so many things in writing, this is one of those Your Mileage May Vary situations...
     
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  14. ColdFusion180

    ColdFusion180 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Was there ever a time when you initially thought you could not write something because you believed it was too difficult, but later found a way to overcome the difficulty? What was the difficulty and how did you overcome it?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Mar 15, 2001
    That pretty much describes all writing.
     
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  16. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Halfway through most every book, I panic that the story is moving too fast and I don't have enough plot to flesh out the rest of the book. But I actually do . . . usually. (If not, I have to invent a new subplot after the fact.)

    By now I'm familiar enough with this reaction that I don't let it faze me anymore. "Calm down, Greg. You always feel this way at this point. Just keep going."
     
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  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Mar 15, 2001
    That happens to me a lot too. I think I'm going to run short, and then I end up right on target or a bit long.
     
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  18. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    My fears only really proved correct once. On my first ALIAS novel, I was trying so hard to maintain a maintain a zippy, action-packed pace that I burned up my whole plot way too soon. Had to go back and add a side mission for Sydney's sister.
     
  19. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    With me, it's been more a case of not realizing something was going to be difficult until after I started it and it was too late to back out. In each case but one, I just powered through and did the damn thing. (The exception was a project where they switched editors, the new editor wanted something completely different from what I was doing, and the whole project fell apart.)
     
  20. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    I guess the closest I came to something like this was when Marco Palmieri asked me to write the first Terok Nor novel Day of the Vipers in 2008. I was initially reticent to do what would be a "corridors of power" type political thriller, because my comfort zone is writing fast-paced action-adventure stuff - but Marco, being the great editor and collaborator that he is, encouraged me to lean into it and try something new, and I'm glad I did.