Monday, December 05, 2005

How to Write a Dragonlance Novel

Steffen asks in comments to the last post:

Don't you have any plans of writing Dragonlance again?

Not at the moment. I received an email from an editor a couple of months ago asking if I'd be interested at some point in the future. Which brings us to the next question.

Do you have to wait for a contract from Wizards of the Coast to be allowed to write a Dragonlance novel, or do you simply write a short outline for a novel and send it in to Wizards?

The answer to these questions is yes, but not simply. What happens is, Margaret Weis and the editors get together and outline where they want to world of Krynn to go in the next year, what areas they want to explore and which characters they want to do the exploring. Then they go to the authors and ask if we'd be interested in writing a story about this character, or tell what happens to the gnomes when..., or set a story in the arctic region, etc.. I might be asked to write specifically about one of these, or I might be asked if I have other ideas.

With The Rose and the Skull, I was asked for a story about Lord Gunthar's death and Sir Liam finishing the Measure. With Thieves' Guild, they wanted a story about a guy claiming to be Tanis' son who gets involved with the Guild in Palanthas. For Conundrum, I was asked to elaborate on a single sentence in the first War of Souls novel, which stated that Conundrum arrived at Schallsea as the last surviving passenger of a doomed submersible. And for Dark Thane, I was eventually asked for a story about what happened to the dwarves after the fall of Qualinost.

In each case, I took this single sentence request and fleshed it out into an outline. I tend to get rather detailed in my outlines; they usually run about 9,000 words. I then send in the outline, and once it is approved, I start writing. I think I went through four outlines before The Rose and the Skull outline was approved. At some point in here, I get the contract. Then I turn in the first draft and hope for the best. For Conundrum, I had relatively few changes to make in the final draft. With Dark Thane, the entire first draft was rejected and I had to write another entire novel, starting over from scratch.

So, even though there are no Dragonlance plans for me at the moment, that doesn't mean they won't come to me at some point and ask for a story about this or that, or that I couldn't send them an idea of my own and see what they say. Right now, I don't have any Dragonlance ideas, and I've spent most of this year working on screenplays.

Speaking of, wouldn't a Dragonlance movie be cool?

1 comment:

Jarrett said...

I'd love a DL movie. I think the theme of the first three books is appropriate to our current political times. And I would love to see a movie of Thieves Guild. Medieval-Magical CSI.