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Doug Clark NexusCon Transcript

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The following is a transcript of the NexusCon Q&A session featuring Dragonlance author Doug Clark.

Sephzero Greetings.
Bnaa hello Zagnak
DracosHeron Greetings
Sephzero Ain't that something?
Sephzero Hello.
Sephzero Greetings Doug_Clark.
Doug_Clark ine physical, the doctor was running behind. Who ever heard of such a thing, a doctor running behind schedule!
Ravenmantle Hehe, well welcome to the chat Doug_Clark!
Bnaa Welcome Doug_Clark, thanks for taking the time to chat :)
DracosHeron the state of healthcare these days
Ravenmantle And thanks for stopping by!
Doug_Clark I'm not used to this, so bear with me.
Bnaa That's quite alright
Ravenmantle Will do :)
Bnaa Just setting it so you can talk, when I set the room to moderate.
Doug_Clark So who all is here?
Ravenmantle Well, if everyone's settled in, I suggest we get this thing underway :) First, anything you'd like to say about Saving Solace before we open up for questions?
Doug_Clark Writing Saving Solace was a lot of fun, and I'm pleased to see that readers are enjpying the book too.
Ravenmantle Yeah, it has gotten some good reviews :)
Ravenmantle I believe Heron has a question about a train...? Heron?
DracosHeron Hello Mr. Clark. I want to say up front that I thought Saving Solace was a great story. That said, why the gnomish train?
Doug_Clark Oh, I get it -- the right side of my screen shows me who is here!
Ravenmantle Yup :)
Doug_Clark Thank you, DracosHeron.
Doug_Clark The gnomish train was just a wild idea that grabbed me and wouldn't let go
Doug_Clark In various drafts, it served differrent purposes, but this w=is what eventually came of it.
Doug_Clark By the way, I'm a lousy typist under prewssure.
Darcwulf Aren't we all
Ravenmantle Alright, Weldon, you had a question?
DracosHeron Thanks Mr. Clark. I thought it added to the "western" feel of the story.
Weldon yeah. mr Clark, what were some of your inspirations for writing saving Solace?
Doug_Clark That seems to be a prominent theme these days, as Firefly had a definite western element as well.
Doug_Clark BTW, call me Doug_Clark.
Doug_Clark Oops, I just noticed I missed a question. "Support Your Local Sheriff" figured into the feel of the story.
Doug_Clark But there were a lot of other influences as well, some of which I'm probably not even conscious of.
Doug_Clark I like to draw from classical influences in my writing -- Shakespeare, Chaucer, the Greeks, etc.
Ravenmantle What about other Dragonlance material. Any inspiration there for the city itself?
Doug_Clark As Robert Heinlein once said, I draw from any of the classics I can and just file off the serial numbers, claiming it for my own.
Doug_Clark Well, the Chronicles, of course, as well as the War of Souls. Lots of influence drawn from that trilogy.
Darcwulf Thanks being here Doug_Clark! How did you get involved in writing Dragonlance?
Doug_Clark Also a couple of the short stories, including one whose title and author I don't remember offhand, about the traveling playiners of Gilean.
Doug_Clark I'm running bbehind. Sorry...
Doug_Clark How I got involved writing Dragonlance -- read the books, of course,..
Ravenmantle No worries :) Let us know if the questions are coming too fast :)
Doug_Clark And started with a small piece or two for Leaves of the Last Home II
Doug_Clark Then I wrote "The Dragonslayers" for THE SEARCH FOR POWER, and that got my foot in the door.
Doug_Clark After that, they just couldn't get rid of me.
Darcwulf All the better for DL!
Doug_Clark The questions aren't coming too fast; it's just that I watch the keyboard when I type and sometimes miss new postings.
Doug_Clark Thanks, Darcwulf!
Bnaa I believe Achmos has another question for you
Achmos yep.
Achmos What is the most interesting aspect of DL to you Mr. Clark?
Doug_Clark Writing in such a way that I maintain the feeling and integrity of the larger world, the overarching story...
Doug_Clark It's challenging writing in a world that others have invented, and I'm very aware of the writers an gamers who have come before me, paving the way.
Ravenmantle Sorry about that, got disconnnected!
Ravenmantle Now, where were we?
DracosHeron Great story Dragonslayers What were some of the diffculties behind writing Saving Solace?
Doug_Clark Thanks, DracosHeron.
Doug_Clark The deadlines were pretty tough, and the book had to be thoroughly re-envisioned and rewritten a couple of times...
Darcwulf Ouch!
Doug_Clark It's challenging, writing this way, but very rewrading too.
Ravenmantle You say re-invisioned. Do you mean the plot, the style, what?
Doug_Clark Well, the initial draft just wasn't there, and I mean in every way.
Doug_Clark I think the powers that be were beginning to wonder whether I could pull this off...
Doug_Clark But the finsal draft really came together in a flurry of inspiration...
Doug_Clark I could hardly type fast enough (and you can see what happens to my typing when I try to go fast!).
Ravenmantle You should see my typing sometimes...oh boy!
Ravenmantle Achmos told me to say bye for him.
Doug_Clark Pat McGilligan had his work cut out for him, editing my drafts.
Doug_Clark Bye, Achmos.
DracosHeron [Question]Did you ever feel like giving up?
Doug_Clark Daily.
Ravenmantle Hehe, I hear Wizards is tough to work with but I didn't know it was that bad :)
Doug_Clark Unfortunately, I'd already spent the advance...
Doug_Clark and I figured they might want it back if I didn't produce a workable story.
DracosHeron ouch
Doug_Clark Desperation can be a powerful incentive!
Darcwulf Lol
Doug_Clark Ravenmantle, I didn't mean Wizards was tough to work for, this is just a challenging way to write for anyone.
Ravenmantle Well, in any event it worked out in the end :)
Bnaa type "/join #dlance" rather :)
Doug_Clark Thanks, I'm pleased with the results.
Carteeg [Question] What future projects are you working on or going to work on for DL?
Doug_Clark I don't want to give away too much yet, but there is another project in the planning stage.
Doug_Clark Oh, and another short story for an upcoming anthology.
Carteeg Nothing more you can let slip yet?
Doug_Clark The short story, "I Read It in 'The Flying Dragon'" was a blast to write!
Doug_Clark I'm not sure how much they want me to say about the new project.
Doug_Clark But I'm looking forward to immersing myself in the world of Krynn again to write it.
Darcwulf Cool name, looking forward to reading it
Weldon [question] here's a basic question. what advice can you give to writers who want to be DL writers?
Doug_Clark Obviously, know the world, which readers of DL already do...
Doug_Clark Then get some publishing credits in your own right first...
Doug_Clark It helps to come in with something of a proven track record...
DracosHeron [Question] You said "Its Challenging to write this way" By that do you mean writing novels?
Doug_Clark The timetables for writing these books is so finely tuned that they want to make sure writers can really produce when and as expected.
Doug_Clark Yes, writing the novels. There's a lot of Krynnish history, culture, ectc. you have to be sensitive to.
DracosHeron yes we dragonlance fans tend to be a sensitive bunch! :)
Doug_Clark I didn't come to DL hrough the games, and had to learn some aspects of the world that were initially foreign to me.
Doug_Clark It's a matter of being sensitive to what others have created beforehand...
Ravenmantle Music to my ears :)
Archangel21 12{Question} What was the general reaction to Saving Solace and how do you feel about it (Both the novel and the fan's reactions)
Doug_Clark This is very much a group effort, and a writer has to be willing to blend with the existing writing style, etc.
Doug_Clark The fan reaction to the book has been great! I'm thrilled by it...
Doug_Clark And very pleased with the book as well.
Doug_Clark I learned a lot through the process of writing it...
Doug_Clark Things I hadn't learned when writing novels of my own previously.
Archangel21 12What did you learn writing this novel
Ravenmantle Next up is Trampas.
Trampas What was it like writing Gerard when he had been written about by another author? How did you approach that?
Doug_Clark Pat McGilligan has what he calls the 3Ms -- magic, monsters and Mayhem...
Doug_Clark I had to learn to keep the excitement high and keep the story moving more briskly than I was used to.
Doug_Clark My own books are probably a bit more leisurely.
Doug_Clark As for Gerard...
Doug_Clark When I read the War of Souls trilogy, I really liked Gerard...
Doug_Clark and was excited by the prospect of writing about him.
Doug_Clark Margaret and Tracy created a good character, and I wanted to honor what they had created,...
Doug_Clark while at the same time taking him a little further down the road,.
Ravenmantle We fans usually think of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman as gods (well, almost anyway). Did you feel any pressure when taking on one of their characters?
Doug_Clark I was definitely aware of working in the shadow of two highly renowned stoorytellers...
Doug_Clark And as I said, I wanted to be sure I maintained the integrity of the characters they had created.
Ravenmantle I think Darcwulf has a question. Darcwulf?
Darcwulf [Question]What do you consider the essence/theme of DL when you write or does each story have it's own particular essence/theme?
Doug_Clark The constant struggle between good and evil on a cosmic scale is definitely an overarching threme...
Doug_Clark But each individual work develops its owbn themes as well.
Doug_Clark Sometimes, a writer isn't aware of a particular story's themes until the work is almost finished.
Doug_Clark We sort of discover what it is we've written as well.
Doug_Clark Writing is often a process of discovery. That's part of what makes it so enjoyable.
Ravenmantle Just a note that we've now reached the one hour mark (at least on my watch). I'd like to thank you very much for spending some time with us Doug_Clark! It's been fun having you here :)
Doug_Clark You guys have been great! Thanks for having me.
Darcwulf Yeah thanks it has been fun!
Archangel21 Thank you for coming
Bnaa Yes, Thank you for coming and answering our questions, I hope you don't mind if I edit the chat transcrip to change guest to Doug_Clark :)
DracosHeron Yes I enjoyed and look forward to your new stories.
Ravenmantle Guys, remember that a transcript of this chat will be posted on the Nexus soon!
Sephzero Thanks there Doug_Clark.
Doug_Clark I'm standing here looking for the door. I assume it's the button that says "disconnect"?
Sephzero Aye.
Bnaa Yes :)