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WOSSNAME -- APRIL 2007 -- PART 2 OF 6 (continued)

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME -- APRIL 2007 -- PART 2 OF 6 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ====Part 2 - ROUNDWORLD REPORTS 7) MIDSOUTHCON
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2007
      WOSSNAME -- APRIL 2007 -- PART 2 OF 6 (continued)

      ====Part 2 - ROUNDWORLD REPORTS


      MidSouthCon Q&A
      (Answers to Your Questions for Terry Pratchett)
      Moderator -- Anna, Administrator, Member # 3198

      In this thread, I asked boardies to provide questions for Terry
      that I would ask at MidSouthCon if I had the opportunity.

      Terry kindly spent a very generous chunk of time providing
      answers while I frantically scribbled notes, and this Q&A is
      the result. The questions are in bold font, and Terry's
      paraphrased answers are in regular font (sorry, but I don't
      write quickly enough to get exact quotes!).

      AMC: You'll notice that I did edit the questions to try to make
      them a bit different from those I've read in other interviews.
      Often I made them more specific, or focused on upcoming

      AMC: FYI, he later repeated a few comments about Nation and
      about Carrot during the "What's New in Discworld" panel.
      If you see a smidgen of overlap with Fluffy's reports, that's why.

      AMC: I hope you enjoy it!

      -- Anna M.C.

      AMC: You've mentioned in interviews that when you write, you
      can sense the ending like a prospector smells oil, but you don't
      know the specifics until you're writing it; you start with Draft
      Zero and then tell the story to yourself in Draft One. However,
      you noted that Nation, the book you're currently writing, almost
      seems to be writing itself; you have a much clearer idea of the
      plot details in advance this time. Why do you think this book is
      so different?

      {TP} Nation (the new YA novel-in-progress) was initially proceeding
      very quickly because he'd sat on the original idea for four years,
      until it began clamoring for attention while he was supposed to be
      writing "I Shall Wear Midnight." Unfortunately, he's now reached the
      stage where it's definitely not writing itself anymore! His writing
      technique generally works by starting out with a rough idea, then
      relying on a process of emergence. Plot events that he could not
      have anticipated given the initial starting conditions suddenly
      become obvious and inevitable; he simply knows what has to
      happen next. The material itself is dynamic; it changes as
      he's engaged in the act of writing.

      {TP} Interestingly, Nation is almost certainly not a Discworld book.
      Trying to make it fit into that category would basically be a case
      of slapping an arbitrary and ill-fitting Discworld label on it, since
      there are important elements which don't mesh with the Discworld
      universe. For example, there are plot points which require God,
      Christianity, and gunpowder to exist. There's one incident in which
      a captain who has been caught up in a tsunami begins singing "For
      Those in Peril on the Sea" (the hymn made famous by Titanic),
      then suddenly realizes that the wave has actually borne him over
      an island, at which point he resourcefully extemporizes a verse
      entitled "For Those in Peril on Dry Land." The Amazing Maurice
      and the Tiffany Aching series needed to be Discworld by their
      very nature, especially with their roles for Death, but Nation is
      something different.

      AMC: Do you ever build a story around a new character idea, or do new
      characters just arise from the story? Do you have a stash of
      character sketches in reserve? Do you find your characters are
      driven by the story, or your story is driven by the characters, or
      is it more or less a reciprocal process?

      {TP} Among the future novels he has planned, there's one that
      has a new character as its starting point, although it's not yet
      at a stage where he can share any details. In addition, Going
      Postal and Making Money were fundamentally derived from the
      nature of Moist Von Lipwig. Story and character work together
      as a reciprocal process, though, like a complicated knot; you
      can't really artificially separate one from another. He doesn't
      keep a stash of character sketches, but he does always have
      a notepad open on his computer to record ideas as they occur;
      right now, he keeps getting ideas for "I Shall Wear Midnight"
      while working on Nation! However, he hopes to finish Nation by
      August. Making Money was much harder to write, since it
      coincided with a difficult time in his life: the illness and death
      of his father. Being able to write quickly makes the process
      easier for him, since it allows him to keep a tighter grasp on
      he book as a whole. It all becomes less coherent and connected
      when a book is dragged out over a long period of time.

      AMC: In The Art of Discworld, you mentioned that "I understand
      he [Lord Vetinari] has his own, all-female fan club." Did this surprise
      you, or did you intend that? Why do you think he has such a strong
      appeal for the female audience?

      {TP} He didn't create the character while deliberately thinking, "Hey,
      here's a guy who could get his own fan club!" However, he also
      wasn't terribly surprised by the outcome. After Stephen Briggs
      performed Vetinari on stage for the first time, the actors went to
      a pub in costume, only to find that all the ladies were queuing up to
      kiss Vetinari! He wryly observed that you try to live your life as a
      decent guy, and then see a calculating bastard like Vetinari get
      all the breaks. "It's enough to make a man recalculate his approach."

      AMC: There have been rumors that you've mentioned the possibility
      of Eskarina Smith appearing in "I Shall Wear Midnight." Is this so?
      If yes, could you drop a few hints concerning her role in the book,
      and if Simon also figures in the plot?

      {TP} There's a strong possibility that Esk may appear in a future
      novel, perhaps "I Shall Wear Midnight," but there are no further
      details available yet even to Terry!

      AMC: Will we ever see Polly, Maladicta and Igorina again, or
      was Monstrous Regiment a one-off? Do you ever really know
      for certain if a book is a one-off, or is there always the possibility
      of a sequel if an idea strikes?

      {TP} There will probably be an Igorina appearing in a future book,
      but not necessarily that Igorina, and the other characters really
      belong to Monstrous Regiment. He's always felt that, once you
      get past the trolls and the vampires, Monstrous Regiment is
      really a historical novel. Much like Nation, it didn't necessarily
      have to be written as part of the Discworld series. There's nothing
      fictional about the premise of a cross-dressing sergeant with
      a talent for recognizing and recruiting cross-dressing female
      recruits; there's a historically documented case of an 18th-century
      predecessor of Sergeant Jackrum who did exactly that.

      {TP} However, he admits that even he is never absolutely certain if
      something will remain a one-off novel or not. He originally thought
      Going Postal would be a one-off, but its premise revealed a great
      deal of fascinating history, such as the way stamps became
      currency and enabled the creation of mail-order businesses. Now
      that series will continue with Making Money and possibly a third
      Moist von Lipwig adventure, Raising Taxes!

      AMC: Could you hint if Angua's relationship with Carrot is headed
      for a crisis point anytime soon, and if that might feature prominently
      in a book?

      {TP} He feels that Carrot tends to treat a relationship as a neat,
      finite series of to-do boxes to be dealt with, checked off, and
      finished. Once an issue has been dealt with, it's over as far as he's
      concerned. There's a certain complacency about him. It might do
      him good to get a bit shaken up by a crisis like that!

      {TP} Sometimes he's considered writing about Carrot becoming
      king, but since it would require at least two books -- the second
      to deal with the civil war that would result -- and would radically
      change the nature of Discworld and everything that happens
      afterward, it's a plot that he's chosen to avoid. There are so many
      other things he wants to write about right now. Besides, what
      would happen to Vetinari? He's got such a lot of lovely lines in
      Making Money; it would be a shame to lose him.

      AMC: When did you first realize that the Discworld series had
      acquired such a huge and devoted online fan following? What
      was your reaction?

      {TP} He's been involved with online fandom almost since the
      beginning, posting on the newsgroup alt.fan.pratchett within
      about a year of its creation. The odd thing about Discworld
      fandom in general, not just online fandom, is that the majority
      of the readership falls outside the conventional boundaries of
      traditional fandom; they don't think of themselves as fantasy
      or sci-fi fans, don't communicate through the usual fannish
      channels, and tend to find out about things like the Discworld
      convention by accident. Discworld fans turn up everywhere,
      including the places you least expect -- like the Homeland
      Security officer who pulled him out of line at the airport to
      sign a book on his way to MidSouthCon!

      {TP} He feels greatly indebted to his U.S. editor, Jennifer Brehl,
      for believing in and tirelessly promoting the Discworld novels
      in America. He's seen his sales and readership in the U.S.
      increase hugely in the last eight years, and credits her work,
      along with that of his publicist Jack Womack, as a major
      reason for the growth of Discworld fandom stateside.

      AMC: Someone remembers seeing a footnote referring to the
      only man on the Seamstresses' Guild's Board of Directors,
      and thought it sounded like a potentially fascinating character.
      Do you have any idea which book it was, or the name of the
      man in question?

      {TP} He hasn't the faintest clue. Don't you feel disillusioned now?

      AMC: Will there ever be a Missus Librarian? He has feelings too,
      you know.

      {TP} But he's also a wizard! Still, anything could happen.

      AMC: You've mentioned that one of the things about The
      Lord of the Rings that worried you was that all orcs were
      portrayed as inherently, irrevocably evil. Elves and men
      could fall, but orcs could not rise -- surely there must be
      a sensitive orc who liked poetry! Is this one reason that
      vampires have been evolving from villains into more complex
      characters in recent Discworld books? Are there other
      reasons? Do you foresee another vampire in a prominent
      role in a future Discworld novel?

      {TP} The view of Discworld vampires has evolved largely as
      seen through the lens of Vimes's mindset; he's come to
      accept that even vampires can take the pledge, toe the line,
      and become responsible citizens. Still, the Discworld sense
      of trolls, vampires, etc. as not being uniformly bad guys
      probably does arise in part from dissatisfaction with the idea
      that any group is inherently evil and absolutely deprived
      of any chance at redemption. There could very well be a
      vampire character playing a major role in a future book,
      since the fact that a character is a vampire doesn't necessarily
      make any difference to the plot. A vampire character doesn't
      require a plot based on vampirism any more than a Chinese
      character would require a plot centered on China.

      {TP} Speaking of the future, next year promises to be an eventful
      one. It will mark the anniversary of 25 years of Discworld as well
      as his 60th birthday! He's considering doing fewer signing tours
      and conventions after this. Although he quite enjoys attending
      conventions and meeting fans, travel does tend to be exhausting,
      and cuts into his writing time. However, in actual practice, he
      suspects he probably won't cut down on travel quite as much
      as he intends.

      {TP} He also has several additional non-Discworld projects in
      mind. Although it's much simpler to "relax in the warm bath of
      Discworld," the challenge of writing something different, like Nation,
      has been a welcome change. Unlike the Discworld novels,
      there are no givens in Nation -- it'll stand entirely alone.

      End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 6
      If you did not get all 6 parts, write: jschaum111@...

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