Monday, January 3, 2011

Assorted Formspring Questions pt. 7

Why do so many folk & black metal bands have names that are references to Tolkien & not Robert E. Howard? Conan & Howard were are at least as kvlt & awesome as Tolkien if not more.

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say because Howard isn't as well known a writer in Europe as he is in the US. Tolkien and Howard came from two very different worlds. Tolkien was already a part of the academic elite, whereas Howard was a poor Irish boy from Texas. Tolkien's work was published by major worldwide publishing houses, whereas Howard was relegated to pulp magazines and didn't gain mainstream literary acceptance until long after his death. Finally, Tolkien wrote full length, epic novels. Howard wrote stories. I know it sounds odd, but in the literary world, a novelist is on a higher peg than a story-writer. Even if they produce literally the same word count between all their published works, it's considered a bigger deal to have a novel published than a short story...or a collection of short stories. I'm not saying I agree with that: Poe never wrote a novel and he's one of the greatest writers of all time. But, that's just how it works.

Who was part of that manhunt in the forest behind Larry's house? Was it you, me, Larry & Jared? Or was it Anthony F instead of Jared? Remember? We ran around in the woods w/ sticks & flashlights hitting each other. Actually were you even there?

No, ass. I wasn't there. If you happen to see Anthony F, tell him I want my Planescape stuff back.

What was the name of that radio station out mom used to work at?

Why don't you ask mom, Joe? Tell her to get a Formspring.

When Larry moved in with us what gift did he bring our mom? I'll give you a hint, it was really stupid looking.

A picture of my younger brother Joe.

What if there were a Native American or Ainu frozen in ice during prehistoric times & was revived in the modern age, could that person run for president if they were born in what became the U.S.A.? Or because they were born before a certain year?

Being that there is no precedent for this, and that it is absolutely impossible, I have a hard time figuring out exactly how this would work. I am guessing that when the Founders said natural born citizens only, they meant anyone born in the Colonial United States of America, otherwise they would have had to wait 35 years to find a President. Article II section 1 States the following: "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States." So it would depend on whether being encased in a block of ice at the the adoption of the Constitution would qualify one as a citizen. I'm going to say it a similar legal precedent might be a Colonial who lapsed into a vegetative coma before the end of the Revolutionary War, then recovered sometime after the ratification of the Constitution. Likely such an individual would be considered a citizen. So, okay yes I guess this iceman could run for President.

Do you ever worry that your audience won't imagine a scene or character correctly or thoughtfully? Like if they don't "fill in the blanks" subconsciously the way you might have intended.

No. As an author, you can't force your perspective on the reader. If you try, you're just going to lose them. You give the readers enough details to fill in the rest with their imagination and let it go. The essential elements are presented, like the relative size and impression of people and things. From there, the reader is going to put their own spin on it because that enhances their enjoyment of the work. In my books, it's established that Garrett (in human form) is handsome, dark-haired, brown-eyed and well put together. Meg is petite, light haired and green eyed. Every reader can imagine a dark haired, good looking man and a light haired, petite vixen to place in those roles as they visualize the story. The only time over-description becomes appropriate is when describing something the reader has no context in which to compare. For example: in the second Dragon's Blood book, Garrett, Ardeth and Fred fight a horde of otherworldly entities that the latter refers to as "mouthers." They are grotesque, and I attempt to describe them as vividly as possible to get across that point. That the readers might see them differently from how I describe them isn't something I worry about, as they'll get the idea. For all I know, they might well imagine them far more disgusting than I ever could.

Have you ever had someone edit your work for grammar, spelling, usage, etc but they also tried changing the story itself? Don't you just hate that shit?

Nope. Everyone I've ever asked to edit my work has always respected that the story is mine and haven't tried to get me to change it. I've had content suggestions made, usually to correct mistakes or point out things that might work better for the story. Even when I haven't followed these suggestions, I've always appreciated them.

I do, however, find it irritating when I'm talking about my books or stories and someone interrupts me with a dramatically different suggestion. Once, while talking about the general theme of my books, someone from an online writing group suggested I scrap the whole thing and write a series about dragons serving in the United States Air Force. So, basically, he wanted me to slap USAF stickers on Garrett's side and send him out to fight Communists. Whatever. I didn't do that. Not that it's a bad idea....i mean, yeah, it is kind of a bad idea...but I'm sure someone could make it work. I wasn't going to, though. I liked my dragons the way they were.

Do you ever avoid going to certain websites because you know it will piss you off & ruin your whole day?

Yeah, but eventually I just can't help myself and have to check my Formspring anyway.

Do dragons have their own language? What does it sound like?

Yes, they do. It is very old and extremely complex, with single words having meanings equal to entire paragraphs of other languages. However, it involves tones and pitches human ears are incapable of hearing or processing correctly. So, when dragons talk, it just sounds like a lot of roaring and screeching, since those are the only parts of the speech human ears can pick up. Also, human throats can't produce the sounds, so they only speak Dragon in their natural form.

However, dragons aren't the only beings capable of understanding it, though they do tend to be the only ones capable of speaking it. Dragons in human form can understand it when spoken by others, so they can have a conversation with a dragon speaking in Dragon, but the human form dragon would have to speak in a human language. The dragons never developed a unique language to use while in human form, but tend to speak in dead human languages like Sumerian, Old German or Aryan so as to avoid being understood by eavesdroppers.

Dragon also has a written form, but again it is very complicated. It has a symbol base, as well as a system of letters. However, because of their size, dragons are able to write in very large script, so the relative size of a symbol or word to itself or others in the script are indicative of meaning as well. So, for example, a symbol the size of a bottle cap might mean something entirely different from the same symbol drawn the size of a street-hole cover. Anyone can read or write in dragon, assuming they have the time and patience. Dragons can usually tell if something was written by a dragon, or by someone imitating them.

Are you going to watch Game of Thrones when it comes on? Unlike Legend of the Seeker it isn't made by kiwis trying re-hash Hercules era bullshit. Supposed to have lots of blood & tits.

Yeah, I think it looks decent. I'll check it out.

What's your new year resolutions?

To look like Hugh Jackman naked. I like to aim high.

No, seriously: to work outside the house more. I spend way too much time here and it's starting to make me...something I don't know what but it isn't good for me.

What dead author would you most like to hang out with? Which living one?

Dead - Mark Twain.
Living - Sasha Grey. Yes, she counts: she wrote a book!