First let me say, record breaking year again. This convention is just huge and keeps getting bigger. They’ve added more rooms, more halls, and more events in the surrounding hotels. Since we are spending three days here we have time to really look around and enjoy everything. I’ve signed up for a few events, mostly writing symposiums and workshops, but tomorrow we have Tracy Hickman’s Killer Breakfast and the True Dungeon. Two GenCon staples I have been wanting to see for a long time. It’s also cool because my son, who is just getting into roleplaying, is here with us this year. I remember, being his age, and first hearing about this gaming convention up at Lake Geneva and wanting to go so bad. Of course I was too young, we lived too far away, and it just wasn’t in the cards. It’s so awesome for me to see how much he is enjoying it.
So, what does the title of this post mean? Well, as I’ve posted everywhere over the last couple of days, I have published my first novelette on Amazon. That’s Amazon.com, search my name, and boom there it is. Or just click on the link on the left (shameless plug). Also this year attendees include pretty much all of the most influential authors in my quest to put words on paper that people want to read. Two of them, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman are missing from this list because I didn’t see them today and I talked about them last year. They had a lot of influence over me as a reader, gamer, world builder, and author (I can actually say author now!). There were others though, and as if it were fate, I have gotten to meet them all today.
R.A. Salvatore isn’t one of the earliest authors I started reading. All things considered I started reading him later in life, so to speak. I had probably already devoured a couple hundred books before reading the Cleric’s Quintet, but once I did I was hooked. Despite not caring for his new Forgotten Realms stuff (by no fault of his own mind you), I have always loved his writing. There are few authors that can write an action sequence like Bob (I can call you Bob right?) The opening scene of Wastelander (that’s my book on Amazon, that’s Amazon.com) is heavily influenced by Bob’s style of action in writing. I’m sure I didn’t even come close to the level of any of Bob’s work, but I definitely tried. He has inspired me to try and make my action scenes more detailed, more descriptive, and not just a checklist of blows and counters to get to the end of the fight so we can move on with the narrative. He’s shown that even the action sequences need to be as energized and engrossing as the rest of the book.
Ed Greewood, the Great Sage, the Man! This guy is responsible for one of the most, if not THE most detailed D&D campaign world in existence. I would go so far as to say he is responsible for EVERY game world in existence, but it would be hard to measure whether everyone was as influence by him as I was. Fantasy is unique in that in most cases we build worlds that never existed, completely from scratch. Most other genres use our world, our world in the future, or some approximation of our world. With fantasy, even if it’s fantasy set in an analogous Earth, you have to create new rules, usually a magic system, and in many cases new history and belief systems. Most good fantasy authors are also world builders, and I’ve not found a world builder as detailed as Mr. Greenwood (sorry Bob, he gets a Mr. cause it’s the Great Sage.) While I was creating my world for the bulk of the stories I plan to tell, I kept going back to the material that Mr. Greenwood wrote and seeing the kind of detail I wanted to have. When I created a new nation, or culture, I would look at his material to see what elements he used, did I need to create a currency, what about trade agreements, political beliefs, etc. Without Mr. Greenwood’s work before me I don’t think I would have nearly the level of detail for the foundation of my writing as I do today.
Finally, Mercedes Lackey, one of the first authors I ever read (wow I need to work on that beer gut). Her character depth and style of story telling is something I would like to tap in my work. She has a particular style to her world that just doesn’t exist in the majority of fantasy authors out there. She was one of the first to break the boundaries of sexual identity in her characters, in a time when writing a book with a gay character was unheard of, much less multiple characters. She did it in such a way that it isn’t even a big deal in her world. She doesn’t write it like she’s pointing it out, or highlighting it, it just is. Most of the people in her world have a very open-minded view of sexuality, it just is the way it is. In a way I think it’s made her readers more open-minded because of how easy it is to accept something that isn’t pushed or forced. That is only a minor point, but one that is important to me for some of my future works. I’ve also found her characters to be so realistic, which is hard to do in a world full of the unrealistic. They are three dimensional, conflicted, changing, learning and growing from book to book, and it’s something you see as you read. It’s been a great inspiration for me.
I told them all this, it was amazing to be able to talk to the people that inspired me, especially so close to the release of my first work. It’s a bit like fate, and if you read my post about Lucas, my cover artist, and how that all came about, it seems even more like kismet. I have to say that I feel like I’m on a roller coaster right now and for once, I’m not scared of falling out of the car, I’m just enjoying the ride and hoping it doesn’t stop anytime soon. Thank you to Bob, Mr. Greenwood, and Mercedes Lackey. I also need to give a shout out to Larry Dixon, a writer, artist, and many other things including Mercedes Lackey’s husband. He is one of the most genuinely nice famous person I’ve met at a convention. I haven’t read a lot of his stuff but turns out I’ve seen a ton of his art. He’s a great guy.
Go buy their books, read their shorts, you’ll love them I promise.