Saturday, May 5, 2012

Writer Q&A (Part One)

A serious rush job of a writing project has come up, so I maybe not blogging for a couple of weeks. But Here is part of a Thread I started on the battletech forum, in which I asked for questions. Part one is below and part two will be next week.

Intro (From the first post in the Thread)

I have a Blog dealing with Battletech and writing for the universe and I have decided to open a thread in which anyone can ask me questions about writing for Battletech. Now, there are things I can't talk about, so I can't answer every question, but if you have any general questions, you can ask away!

If I get anough, I'll take the Q&A and make then into a blog entry.


Q: OK, thanks for the offer. I would be interested to know how many swings and misses you had before your material was first accepted and what were the key improovements you had to make to get accepted on a regular basis.

A: Well, I was submitting the old fashion when when I started -- hard manuscript mailed to IMR (Only, what, six years ago?) I'd sent two stories in the old fashion way, and well, there was a postal black hole between here and Washington state, because I had to send the manuscripts several times in three years. One of the two was rejected -- Still have the rejection letter on my bulletin board, with Loren's hand written notes.

But finally, Jason S, the all powerfull BC editor, decided that electric submissions were the way to go, and I started submitting there. And with the faster turn around, it was easier to get a handle on what I needed to write. The Lance Killer was first story, (One of the two Snail-mailed)and Hikagemono was actually written for the 25 years Anniversity book (Was set aside, as the authors that were included had all bigger BT writing credits than me -- Which I understood 100%)

Since then, I've had a pretty good track record -- only one story I submitted was rejected, and I can see why now, as things were moving in a different direction from what I was doing.....

Key improvements? Getting together with fellow BC writers and letting them read the stories and spotting the flaws before Jason S. ever sees them. Rewriting is a necessary skill to learn, and every story has been rewritten four or five times before it sees publication. I've learn where to rewrite and how to do it.

I'm still learning the craft, and hope to throw some more stories at Jason S. soon....

Q: How much product have you participated in making since you became a BT writer?

A: Besides the stories I've written, my first DTF work was a couple of entries in the TRO prototypes. I have a couple of other assignments from CGL I'm working on, but I can't say any more than that.

Q: Do you have a personal goal for number of story submissions a month, and if so, how do you handle lapses in new ideas? Have you gone through your pool of initial story ideas, or do more keep coming to you all the time?

A: No set goal for a monthly submission rate, but I have set a goal for eight BC stories for this year (I only had four in 2011, and six each in 2009 & 2010, so that would bring my avarage back up to six/year)

New ideas are always coming -- I have a spreadsheet tracking my progess on stories and story ideas and I have a few stories in the writing process, and three times as many story ideas waiting for me to work on them. With the new stuff coming out all the time, it's easy to mine them for story ideas.

Q: How many crotch-kicks has Herb bestowed upon you?Kit deSummersville

A: Half a dozen broken safety cups worth....

Q: How long are submissions, typically?

A: I keep them under 10,000 words -- my first half dozen were 6,000 - 7,000 words. Only one of them has been over 10,000 words -- The Blood of Man, and we were given a little more leeway for lenght by Jason Schmitzer.

Q: What era do you find hardest to write in?

A: Star League and Post-jihad, because not all the details have been filled out yet. But I will be exploring them soon enough!

Q: How many fictional liquors have you contributed to the game?
Alain Dumont

A: Hmmm....I think just Fulgar's Beer......

Q: I acknowledge that this is a heavily biased question based on my on personal faction fandom, but:

When is the CapCon going to be written to be the unambiguous good guys in the way Stackpole had his lovefest with the FedSuns back in the 80's?!!


A: When they get a leader who isn't loopier than Daffy Duck? ;)

I try to avoid the stereotypes in writing, but sometimes.....

It's hard to avoid writing factions as villians 100% of the time. And the Confederation tends to be the easist to do that to. I do try to make the Capellan characters compentant and avoiding the screaming fanatic (most of the time). But I really need to write a story in which the Confederation wins....

Part Two next week!