Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Science Fiction Fantasy Writer's Chat on Twitter: Debut with Sam Sykes (transcript)

SFor anyone who missed it, each Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST, I will be hosting a craft oriented chat with writers, editors, etc. via the hashtag #sffwrtcht.  Here's tonight's transcript for anyone who missed it. 

Future guests lined up:  12/8 Mike Resnick, 12/15 Blake Charlton, 12/22 John Joseph Adams
1:59 am SamSykesSwears: @sffwrtcht Let's do it. #sffwrtcht
2:00 am sffwrtcht: Welcome to the debut of Science Fiction Fantasy Writer?s Chat. #sffwrtcht
2:00 am sffwrtcht: Our goal is to talk w/ writers, editors, & others abt the craft of writing, specifically related to writing speculative fiction. #sffwrtcht
2:00 am sffwrtcht: Our format is half interview, half open questions. So I?ll start out by talking with our guests then open it to you. #sffwrtcht
2:01 am sffwrtcht: Please restrict questions to writing craft, business of writing and the specific works of the guest. #sffwrtcht
2:01 am sffwrtcht: No queries, no pitching, no politics, etc. #sffwrtcht
2:01 am sffwrtcht: Please wait until your question gets answered to ask another & use the hashtag #sffwrtcht for all questions and comments.
2:02 am sffwrtcht: It?s up to the guest whether the question time will run longer than our allotted hour slot. #sffwrtcht
2:02 am sffwrtcht: Next Wed. we have author Mike Resnick, the following week, author Blake Charlton, and then editor John Joseph Adams. #sffwrtcht
2:03 am sffwrtcht: We?ll also be having some podcasters, a book marketing specialist, and a publisher as well as more authors and editors #sffwrtcht
2:05 am BryanThomasS: #sffwrtcht Having twitter issue so I'll have to continue from here tonight
2:05 am BryanThomasS: Our first guest is author Sam Sykes, whose ?Tome Of The Undergates? is out from Gollancz and Pyr. #sffwrtcht
2:05 am BryanThomasS: It?s book one of a 3 part fantasy series. For those who don?t know Sam, there?s been much talk about him as a young writer. #sffwrtcht
2:05 am BryanThomasS: He?s 25. Someone who will turn the tropes on their heads and bring new life to the genre. No pressure. #sffwrtcht
2:05 am BryanThomasS: Sam, thanks a lot for joining us #sffwrtcht
2:06 am BryanThomasS: What inspired you to want to be a writer? Did you study it officially early on? Did you always see it as a career option? #sffwrtcht
2:07 am BryanThomasS: @SheikYurbouti 1 hour #sffwrtcht
2:09 am sffwrtcht: What inspired you to want to be a writer? Did you study it officially early on? Did you always see it as a career option? #sffwrtcht
2:10 am SamSykesSwears: Really, I became a writer because I was thoroughly incompetent at everything else. That and I was rather classy at lying. #sffwrtcht
2:10 am sffwrtcht: Sorry everyone for the glitches #sffwrtcht
2:10 am sffwrtcht: LOL Well then I suppose that answers my next question. Why fantasy? #sffwrtcht
2:11 am SamSykesSwears: Beyond that, I've never really "studied" beyond the practice that comes with doing creative writing classes and reading a lot. #sffwrtcht
2:11 am SamSykesSwears: Essentially, because it was the story I wanted to tell. #sffwrtcht
2:11 am shadowflame1974: hello sorry I'm a bit late. #sffwrtcht
2:12 am sffwrtcht: Did you start writing before your realized it might actually be a career goal then? #sffwrtcht
2:14 am SamSykesSwears: Basically, yeah. Publishing was always a possibility, but it wasn't the biggest thing on my mind back then. #sffwrtcht
2:14 am sffwrtcht: Which books & authors inspired you as you took an interest in writing? #sffwrtcht
2:15 am SamSykesSwears: I don't think it's possible to read any book without at least learning something from it. #sffwrtcht
2:16 am sffwrtcht: No particular favorites? #sffwrtcht
2:16 am SamSykesSwears: Probably one of the biggest influences, though, was Gemmell. The first fantasy book I read that shattered my perceptions. #sffwrtcht
2:16 am sffwrtcht: How did the idea for ?Tome of The Undergates? and the Aeon?s Gate series come about? #sffwrtcht
2:17 am SamSykesSwears: Like I said, Gemmell was a big one. I started getting more serious when I ate Martin's series alive. But everyone says that. #sffwrtcht
2:17 am sffwrtcht: Martin definitely comes up a lot, although I was more inspired by other people and read him later. #sffwrtcht
2:18 am SamSykesSwears: With the characters. I became more interested in what they were doing and wanted to know more about them. Thus, a story. #sffwrtcht
2:18 am sffwrtcht: Anyway, on to Tome. #sffwrtcht
2:19 am sffwrtcht: With Tome, how did you get the idea? Did you start with character bios or an outline or let it unfold as it went? #sffwrtcht
2:20 am SamSykesSwears: It started pretty simply: write an adventure fantasy. After I had finished it for the first time, it looked like every other a/f. #sffwrtcht
2:21 am SamSykesSwears: So from there, it started to grow. I started asking questions about these people and what they were doing. #sffwrtcht
2:21 am SamSykesSwears: It's awfully hard to describe the whole process in 145 characters, though. #sffwrtcht
2:23 am sffwrtcht: Of course. Did you always envision it as a trilogy? #sffwrtcht
2:23 am sffwrtcht: Sorry for the delays, my feed cuts in and out. #sffwrtcht
2:24 am SamSykesSwears: Originally, it was just going to be one big-ass thang. My editor put the axe to that, though, and we hacked it up pretty nicely. #sffwrtcht
2:25 am sffwrtcht: Well, it gives you more time to develop the chacters and their story, doesn't it? #sffwrtcht
2:25 am sffwrtcht: Lots of talk about turning the S&S genre on its head. Was this a conscious decision? Why? #sffwrtcht
2:25 am shadowflame1974: @SamSykesSwears stories always grow after the first draft. Or mine usually do. #sffwrtcht
2:26 am SamSykesSwears: @shadowflame1974 I think it's inevitable. If a story doesn't change, it's probably adhering to something that weakens it. #sffwrtcht
2:27 am SamSykesSwears: Who the fuck is talking about that? #sffwrtcht
2:27 am sffwrtcht: Mentioned in some interviews and reviews #sffwrtcht
2:27 am sffwrtcht: Did you consciously try and shake things up a bit? #sffwrtcht
2:28 am SamSykesSwears: In general, I find that discussions of S&S or any genre, really, devolves into arguments about what is "true" genre. #sffwrtcht
2:28 am SamSykesSwears: Adhering, consciously, to those definitions means the work has more rules and will suffer for it. #sffwrtcht
2:29 am sffwrtcht: You deal a lot with how adventurers undertake the life & how a diverse grp of races/cultures cld live & work 2gether #sffwrtcht
2:29 am SamSykesSwears: So, no, it wasn't conscious. If it was, I wouldn't be writing my story. I'd be writing it for someone else, which I can't do. #sffwrtcht
2:29 am sffwrtcht: Did you research other cultures for perspectives on this? Did you rite from particular life experiences? #sffwrtcht
2:30 am SamSykesSwears: A little, yeah. I didn't incorporate other cultures heavily, since I'm grossly terrified of offending ancient Romans. #sffwrtcht
2:31 am sffwrtcht: LOL How have games like D&D, World of Warcraft, etc. influenced your storytelling? Or have they? #sffwrtcht
2:31 am SamSykesSwears: But I like learning things about other cultures as a matter of hobby, so that naturally finds its way into the writing. #sffwrtcht
2:31 am BryanThomasS: @SamSykesSwears I have the same fascination. #sffwrtcht
2:32 am SamSykesSwears: Not as much as people think they have. I like D&D, but I was more interested in reading Monstrous Manuals and supplements. #sffwrtcht
2:32 am SamSykesSwears: I am such a poser. #sffwrtcht
2:34 am sffwrtcht: I refer to those manuals all the time when writing. Great stuff in there. #sffwrtcht
2:34 am sffwrtcht: One more question before I open to questions. #sffwrtcht
2:34 am sffwrtcht: U?ve been complimented on ur skill with descriptive prose. Is that something you?ve worked on or did it come naturally? #sffwrtcht
2:34 am sffwrtcht: How do you develop that skill? #sffwrtcht
2:35 am SamSykesSwears: For those times when you absolutely, positively MUST know a delver's digestive process. #sffwrtcht
2:36 am SamSykesSwears: Prose is totally subjective. One's man lyrical is another man's purple. I wrote the way I wrote without really thinking about it. #sffwrtcht
2:37 am SamSykesSwears: If anything, it's probably from years of using big words to make myself sound smarter. Chicks dig that, I hear tell. #sffwrtcht
2:38 am sffwrtcht: I hear the same thing. #sffwrtcht LOL Let me know how that works out for you
2:38 am SamSykesSwears: Not well. #sffwrtcht
2:38 am sffwrtcht: Great. Thanks for the great 140 character answers. Okay, anyone have questions? #sffwrtcht
2:39 am SamSykesSwears: Those who do not ask questions will undergo a ritual known in Tibet as groinbricking. #sffwrtcht
2:39 am BryanThomasS: @SamSykesSwears That doesn't sound pretty. #sffwrtcht
2:39 am SheikYurbouti: @SamSykesSwears When you started your first novel, did it begin as, say, chapter 1, or was it a random scene, other, etc? #sffwrtcht
2:40 am SheikYurbouti: @SamSykesSwears to ask in a less-thick sort of way, do you tend to write linearly? #sffwrtcht
2:41 am sffwrtcht: Speaking of which, Tome is your first published novel. Did you write others before Tome? #sffwrtcht
2:41 am SamSykesSwears: @SheikYurbouti I'm a pretty linear writer, usually. I know how where I begin/end, I just don't know how to get there. #sffwrtcht
2:41 am SamSykesSwears: @BryanThomasS It killed my grandpa. #sffwrtcht
2:42 am BryanThomasS: @SamSykesSwears Poor Grandpa What a way to go #sffwrtcht
2:42 am shadowflame1974: well since I don't want to be the first victim, so if you can't find anything to expand on a story, are you done? or just begun? #sffwrtcht
2:42 am SamSykesSwears: @sffwrtcht Not really, no. #sffwrtcht
2:43 am sffwrtcht: That's impressive, Sam. And I really enjoyed reading the story. #sffwrtcht
2:44 am SamSykesSwears: @sffwrtcht I'm really thrilled you really enjoyed it! Really! #sffwrtcht
2:44 am sffwrtcht: LOL #sffwrtcht
2:44 am SamSykesSwears: @shadowflame1974 It depends. Sometimes stories reach their end before it's intended. #sffwrtcht
2:44 am SamSykesSwears: @shadowflame1974 But sometimes you've got to dig a little deeper than that. #sffwrtcht
2:45 am sffwrtcht: Let's talk about Sheik's question. You started with chracters and then built a story around them? #sffwrtcht
2:45 am shadowflame1974: and what do you find when you dig deeper? a better story or something else? #sffwrtcht
2:46 am sffwrtcht: Sorry my feed is really messed up. Carry on. #sffwrtcht
2:47 am SamSykesSwears: Essentially, the characters came first. The story went through a LOT of mutations before it became TOME. #sffwrtcht
2:47 am SamSykesSwears: But the characters were always the soul of it all. That's just the kind of story I like. #sffwrtcht
2:47 am sffwrtcht: By the way, what can you tell us about Black Halo? It's due out in March, correct? #sffwrtcht
2:48 am SamSykesSwears: @shadowflame1974 Sometimes you go far and hit gold. Sometimes you go far and hit poop. You have to go far to know, I think. #sffwrtcht
2:48 am sffwrtcht: I like that kind of story also. Character drives it for me. #sffwrtcht
2:48 am SamSykesSwears: God, it might be. My publishers never tell me anything. What do you want to know about it? #sffwrtcht
2:49 am sffwrtcht: It carries on the story from Tome. I assume starting with returning the book or at least trying? #sffwrtcht
2:50 am SamSykesSwears: Oh, they're contractually obligated to at least try. #sffwrtcht
2:52 am sffwrtcht: Did you outline the other parts of the story before or are you going with the flow as you write? #sffwrtcht
2:53 am sffwrtcht: Other parts being other books... #sffwrtcht
2:53 am sffwrtcht: If anyone else has questions, please shoot them on over. We have 7 min left #sffwrtcht
2:54 am SamSykesSwears: I tend to know roughly what's going to happen. Stuff always comes up that I can't control or don't expect, though. #sffwrtcht
2:54 am SheikYurbouti: @SamSykesSwears What's an avg work day like for you? #sffwrtcht
2:55 am sffwrtcht: Good question, Sheik. Do you write full time, Sam? #sffwrtcht
2:55 am SamSykesSwears: @SheikYurbouti Get up, put on pants, do things, work from 12 AM to 4 AM, take off pants. #sffwrtcht
2:56 am sffwrtcht: Do you have any other series in mind to write once you've finished this one? #sffwrtcht
2:57 am SamSykesSwears: I do write full-time, actually. I'm lucky. Let's not jinx it. #sffwrtcht
2:57 am sffwrtcht: Okay, we won't tell anyone who's not on twitter. #sffwrtcht
2:58 am SamSykesSwears: I do, actually. I wish I could go into further detail, but I can't because I am a huge jerk. #sffwrtcht
2:59 am sffwrtcht: LOL No, I won't pry. Glad to know you've got some more stories in mind. Thanks so much for spending this hour with us. #sffwrtcht
2:59 am sffwrtcht: Sorry for all the technical glitches I've had. Any final parting words? #sffwrtcht
2:59 am SamSykesSwears: Holy shit, has it been an hour? It went by fast. #sffwrtcht
3:00 am sffwrtcht: You're so damn entertaining, even you were totally caught up in it. #sffwrtcht
3:00 am sffwrtcht: Guys, I meant to ask more questions but gotta fix this feed issue so I don't lose time. Apologies. Next week is Mike Resnick. #sffwrtcht
3:01 am sffwrtcht: Meanwhile, "Tome Of The Undergates" makes a great Christmas gift, please check it out and let Sam know what you think #sffwrtcht
3:02 am SamSykesSwears: Parting thoughts: I hope you enjoy the hell out of TOME. If not, that's okay. I won't invite you to my birthday party, though. #sffwrtcht
3:02 am sffwrtcht: LOL. I'll look forward to the invite then. #sffwrtcht
3:03 am sffwrtcht: 12/8/10 9 pm EST @ResnickMike live on Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat #sffwrtcht
3:04 am SamSykesSwears: RT @sffwrtcht: 12/8/10 9 pm EST @ResnickMike live on Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat #sffwrtcht
3:04 am sffwrtcht: Please follow @sffwrtcht for updates #sffwrtcht Thanks all for coming
3:04 am SamSykesSwears: Thanks for having me! #sffwrtcht
3:06 am sffwrtcht: We do have a question someone might want to take a shot at: Sword & Sorcery definiton #sffwrtcht
3:08 am BryanThomasS: @SheikYurbouti #sffwrtcht Well, high fantasy is the world needs saving. S&S is more adventures involving a larger than life hero whose
3:08 am BryanThomasS: @SheikYurbouti #sffwrtcht mission is of lesser consequence for others
3:10 am BryanThomasS: @SheikYurbouti High fantasy also has creatures like elves, dragons, dwarves. S&S doesn't necessarily. #sffwrtcht
3:10 am BryanThomasS: @SheikYurbouti But I am far from the most informed person to define these #sffwrtcht
3:11 am BryanThomasS: @SheikYurbouti epic fantasy. #sffwrtcht
3:13 am shadowflame1974: So what do you think about modern S&S? Is it viable to fantasy or just more of an action/thriller genre #sffwrtcht
3:14 am BryanThomasS: @shadowflame1974 I would say it depends. What fantastical elements are there? #sffwrtcht
3:14 am BryanThomasS: @shadowflame1974 A guy wandering the streets of NYC with a sword isn't necessarily S*S #sffwrtcht
3:14 am shadowflame1974: take UF would that be considered S&S in some instances? #sffwrtcht
3:15 am shadowflame1974: @BryanThomasS exactly. #sffwrtcht
3:16 am BryanThomasS: @shadowflame1974 I think perhaps it could be. Although S&S typically does have larger than life heros and other elements #sffwrtcht
3:16 am BryanThomasS: @shadowflame1974 such as setting, monster (antag) etc. with fantastical aspects #sffwrtcht
3:18 am shadowflame1974: I have a lot of MZB Sword and Sorcery anthology books. Need to get them back out. Fine examples of S&S there. #sffwrtcht
3:18 am shadowflame1974: going to try to put something in a modern setting. We will see if it works. lol #sffwrtcht
3:19 am BryanThomasS: @shadowflame1974 Good luck. Look forward to seeing what you come up with. #sffwrtcht
3:20 am sffwrtcht: @SheikYurbouti @shadowflame1974 Thanks for being a part of #sffwrtcht tonight. Hope we had some other listeners as well.
3:22 am shadowflame1974: you are welcome glad to contribute (Even though kids were distractions!) #sffwrtcht
3:46 am BryanThomasS: Next week: RoundTable with @ResnickMike on #sffwrtcht. Open questions the entire hour. Writing, craft, business of writing.

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