Monday, July 31, 2006

From the Novel to Collaborations

Posted by Trent Walters at 6:44 PM
This continues the conversation from the writing of "Calorie Man" and novels), which began with the original post about the general mechanics of everyday writing. The subject matters range wildly; hence, the short posts.

Lou Anders
Paolo Bacigalupi
James Gunn
Pamela Sargent
George Zebrowski

JG: What novels interest you? What criteria do you use or just instinct?

LA: Mostly instinct. 3000 words does not demonstrate writing a novel. Enough twists and characters that it makes me interested. He thinks PB should write a novella first.

GZ: I’ll buy it sight unseen.

PB: Great. I’ll hand it to you, and you can close your eyes.[laughter]

JG: You can always plot or develop characters. Creating world important. Best short stories in which novel is implicit, with tendrils branching out.

PB: Thought about that. Hints of greater world. Liked that about other stories. Bigger world hinted. Create lots of indicators without having to nail down all the mystery they indicate.

PS: Star Trek books you have background world and characters (although we invented characters). Don’t collaborate much. Dangerous to explore hints of real life creeping in. [GZ and PS] had bodies of work behind them first [before they collaborated]. We did it because we liked the show. Not the same emotional investment. GZ good at first draft. PS controlled final draft and characters. At each stage the other person did not interfere. Would not argue against collaborator. Only do collaborations after you’ve developed own voice. If done too soon, you don’t learn to develop defects.

GZ: I worry about collaborations. Nobody will think that’s your major work.

JG: No problems with Jack [Williamson in ], who didn’t care what JG did. Not profitable or useful enterprise. Pohl/Kornbluth. Kuttner/Moore. They talked it over first, wrote until tired, back and forth. One would say, “Okay, I’m done. You’re on.” The one who felt strongest about [story elements over which they argued], won the arguments. They forgot who wrote what. Moore estimated how much of who wrote what.

GZ: I balk at stories with 3 people writing one story.

JG: That’s the [usual] pattern of screen plays. [directs to LA]

LA: We wrote weak spots so that they can focus and then talk person into your own solution. [laughter] I hated revision. He [his writing partner] wrote/edited after I was done.

GZ: Work only cares if it hangs together.

LA: I’ve trained myself to collab, stop at 80% done.

Terry: How do you do science research?


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