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Question on Hawkmoon and other series

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  • Question on Hawkmoon and other series

    Mike I've recently been reading the Runestaff series and was wondering how you plotted them? Presumably you knew you were going to write a series of books, but did you set out the plot for all four at the outset or approach each of them as you came to write them? And do you use the same method for each series? (I'm wondering about the Pyat series, which was published over 25 years or so.) Was Jerry a different case, evolving as he did?

    Also, I know you took only a short while to write the individual Runestaff books, but how long did it take you to write the series? They were published '67-'69, so were they written over the course of a year or so? And the Corums?

    (I noticed a couple of things involving two minor charcters which made me wonder what notes you kept while the Hawkmoon books were being written, which has lead to these questions.)
    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

    -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

    Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

    :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


    "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

  • #2
    Most of the answers are probably in DEATH IS NO OBSTACLE, but I think I did write a brief outline of the whole series when I presented the idea to Lancer, the original publisher (Larry Shaw was the editor). I wanted each individual book to reflect the structure of the overall set. I don't tend to work out EVENTS in the books, I tend to work out the FORM which then tells me the kind of thing the book needs at certain key points, from the simple 'a new event every thousand words' to 'seed in a bunch of objectives which don't seem particularly significant then but which can be drawn upon later. I saw someone somewhere accusing me of introducing deus ex-machina into the endings of my stories, something I have a horror of doing, so I'm not sure what they were reading because that's another rule I'm pretty strong on! Essentially I like to use Lester Dent's Master Plot Formula for nuts and bolts and Mozart sonatas for subtleties. Introduction, Development, Resolution -- + Coda. I find this 'classic' structure can be used for anything from straight plot-driven adventure stories, like Hawkmoon, to idea and character driven novels like Pyat. It's just a question of interpretation.
    Sometimes the structure is 'stretched' to Intro. Dev 1,
    Dev 2, Res. This is used to determine how much space, in terms of words, I'll need. The chapters are often divided into a certain number of words, too. But the structure is what I work out, rather than specific events. If I know what's demanded at a certain point in the narrative then I can produce it without, as it were, stopping. What most authors have trouble with is working out the next event because they usually haven't told themselves the kind of event they're going to need. Also, it's worth making sure that your explanatory dialogue takes place while your characters are engaged in some action, so that dialogue doesn't slow down the forward momentum of the narrative. Pyat uses a similar structure but in what you might call 'Wagnerian' mode where a lietmotif eventually becomes the main motif hundreds of pages later! You have to leave a lot more room for development in something like the Pyat books which run Intro, D1, D2, Res. A book like Mother London, using a non-linear structure, still uses 12 and divisions of 12 to determine how long, say, a chapter should be. I developed some of my rules by looking at Dickens firsts, bound from the parts, and it's astonishing how each 32 page part worked out to produce an apparently sprawling, unstructured narrative. Mother London was very tightly structured to produce, I hoped, a similar effect. The larger the canvas the tighter the structure is my basic rule for anything I do.

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

    Comment


    • #3
      So does the subject matter dictate the structure of the book/series or has it happened that you've struck on a new structure or variation and worked up a story to fit?
      You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

      -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

      Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

      :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


      "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

      Comment


      • #4
        Subject determines form. Mother London is an idiosyncratic structure intended to give the appearance of 'sprawl' but Pyat had to be written conventionally to give a sense of passing time.

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Mike, it's always fascinating to get a glimpse at how you work. And if you're keeping the details in your head (however vaguely), it's amazing that you keep everything so neat!
          You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

          -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

          Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

          :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


          "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

          Comment


          • #7
            Ah-ha! So Linda doesn't understand the balance you've reached? The organised chaos, I mean.
            You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

            -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

            Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

            :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


            "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

            Comment


            • #8
              Mike, in The Sword of the Dawn there is a Batach Gerandium mentioned who was a previous servant of the Runestaff and wielder of the Sword of the Dawn. Would that mean he was another incarnation of the Eternal Champion? We like to make the Wikiverse as accurate as we can.
              You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

              -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

              Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

              :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


              "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

              Comment


              • #9
                I just finished The Sword and The Stallion and have a quick question pertaining to it and the Runestaff books, I figured it could go in here instead of making another thread.

                Is there any relationship between Jehamiah Cohnahlius (sp? from memory), the golden dude (pardon my American) from the end of The Runestaff and the harp/golden harpist combination creature (aka the Dagdagh) from the end of The Sword and The Stallion? I got the impression that both characters were representatives, in their own respects, of the Cosmic Balance, and since they were both golden I thought they might be different incarnations on different planes of the same thing, much like Corum, Elric, Hawkmoon and potentially Batach Gerandium are different incarnations of the Eternal Champion.

                And while I'm on the subject and avoiding making new threads:

                Is Oladahn from the Runestaff books a different incarnation of the self-styled Companion to Champions, Jhary-a-Conel? Are any or all of your various main characters' sidekicks intended to be? Or is Jhary the only one with that specific role, as he travels to different planes and times helping different incarnations of the Eternal Champion?

                Thanks again for taking the time to read all of our questions!
                "When the Eleatics denied motion, Diogenes, as everyone knows, came forward as an opponent. He literally did come forward, because he did not say a word but merely paced back and forth a few times, thereby assuming that he had sufficiently refuted them."
                - Sّren Kierkegaard

                Comment


                • #10
                  Forgive me if I don't answer your questions directly. I prefer not to over-explain or rationalise any of my fiction and was part of a movement in the 60s which was specifically aimed at allowing readers to provide their own imaginative dimension to a story. The Cornelius stories of course were specifically designed to allow readers to do that, but even the more straightforward fantasy romances contained elements of the same kind.
                  In other words whatever you decide is going on, especially around the Family Cornelius, is what's going on. This is a co-operative project. I don't expect my readers to be passive or even uncritical. While I try to provide a well-constructed platform, it's one you can use as a springboard for your own imaginative excursions.
                  We're all in this together could be a useful slogan. It's not for me to control your ideas or responses. It's for you to make use of them so that your own imagination flourishes. These are collaborations. Your best and favourite guesses are your answers. I used to say I wasn't in the business of creating crossword puzzles. I made, if you'll forgive the expression, crystal balls.

                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                  The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                  Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                  The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                  Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Sorry Mike, I'd forgotten your dislike of of over explaining your writings, but thanks for taking the time to reply. The fanboy does come out in all of us sometimes.

                    Elwher! You heard the man. I'm right! Put it how I said it.
                    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                    -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                    Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

                    :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


                    "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Governor of Rowe Island View Post
                      The fanboy does come out in all of us sometimes.
                      Indeed! I don't seem to be able to put mine away.

                      I suspected the answer was going to be something along those lines, but the full explanation Mike provided gave me a much better sense to his approach as a writer.

                      Quick follow-up for Mike if he can get around to it:

                      Are there are any other specific authors or stories from the movement in the 60's you referenced that may have influenced you a lot either before or after you started writing? Or did you see them more as peers? Well either way, if you can recommend something you thought was really good from this movement that'd be great.
                      "When the Eleatics denied motion, Diogenes, as everyone knows, came forward as an opponent. He literally did come forward, because he did not say a word but merely paced back and forth a few times, thereby assuming that he had sufficiently refuted them."
                      - Sّren Kierkegaard

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Ballard and I were at that time pretty much on the same page, but to be honest I think the Against Rationalisation thrust came from me, though Ballard shared my enthusiasm for surrealist writing (and painting) which did really supply rationales (cf The Deep Fix in my case or maybe The Drowned World in Ballard's) -- a sort of inversion of internal and external worlds. I liked more absurdists than Ballard: Sterne, Peacock, Firbank, Richardson. We both found Burroughs an inspiration. I tended to introduce Ballard to living people we admired -- Paolozzi, for instance. But I don't think we had many peers who were either influential or inspirational. We'd pretty much formed our ideas when we met, though we were of course liable to finding others who reinforced what we thought. Peake, of course, was a big influence on me and Ballard responded to his imagery of course. His models were perhaps a little more Modernist. But there was also something of a generational difference between us -- nearly ten years -- so not all our enthusiasms were the same. Ballard was slightly wary of some of my models and I considered some of his a bit 'out-dated', if you like. I think Ballard was a shade wary of the 'sex,drugs, R&R' side of my life, especially since he was tone deaf!

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I thought the article in The Guardian was very good, Mike. Gave a good sense of the real man behind all the books and such.
                          You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                          -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                          Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

                          :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


                          "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
                            Forgive me if I don't answer your questions directly. I prefer not to over-explain or rationalise any of my fiction and was part of a movement in the 60s which was specifically aimed at allowing readers to provide their own imaginative dimension to a story. The Cornelius stories of course were specifically designed to allow readers to do that, but even the more straightforward fantasy romances contained elements of the same kind.
                            In other words whatever you decide is going on, especially around the Family Cornelius, is what's going on. This is a co-operative project. I don't expect my readers to be passive or even uncritical. While I try to provide a well-constructed platform, it's one you can use as a springboard for your own imaginative excursions.
                            We're all in this together could be a useful slogan. It's not for me to control your ideas or responses. It's for you to make use of them so that your own imagination flourishes. These are collaborations. Your best and favourite guesses are your answers. I used to say I wasn't in the business of creating crossword puzzles. I made, if you'll forgive the expression, crystal balls.
                            My only experience writing in "public" is an online journal, where I occasionally post creative writing pieces/prose/poetry. It wasn't long after I started writing there that I came to this same outlook, and I actually found more enjoyment from reading other people's interpretations of my writing than in sharing my own feelings! I'm now in love with the idea of writing being an intrinsically collaborative process with the audience.
                            “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” - Albert Einstein

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