Ask... C L WERNER

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Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Pyroriffic » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:55 pm

Address your questions to C L WERNER in this thread.

PLEASE AVOID ANSWERING A QUESTION UNLESS THE AUTHOR HAS HAD A CHANCE TO DO IT FIRST!

Also, please note these are not general discussion threads. The clue's in the name.

Thanks.

C L Werner's official Black Library page can be found here.

The original 'Ask C L Werner' thread can be found here.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Big Barney Ross » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:47 am

Mr. Werner, I have a few questions regarding the writing process of a piece in general, but specifically a longer one, like a novel.

When you set up to do a novel, how does that go? Do you get a general plot outline at first, or does the entire thing spring instantly into your mind in all details? Is everything laid out before you actually start writing, or do you make up something along the way?

And also, how do you plan out filler scenes? For example, you want your hero to go from point A to point B. But then, instead of going in a straight line, bandits attack him on the way; the whole thing could've easily been cut out without losing much, but it serves to add to the word count (and possibly, add some character development). I mean, when writing short stories you have to be to the point and condense the plot, while in novels you have to stretch your yarns. So, do you know all your "stretchings" in advance? And finally, could you perhaps give some general advices in regards to the matter?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Blinded » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:11 am

Okeeeeeeeeeeeey... Well (seemingly absent) Herr Carandini, I just started the second T&B: Temple of the Serpent, and Was it on an impulse to make Thanquol's skin-saving excuse turn that much in favor of old Thratquee in Under-Altdorf? or there was an insidious plan going on? something along the way of... irritating poor Thanquol to death, maybe?


and look what I found!! :ugeek:
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Carandini » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:30 am

Hello all. Thanks for the questions. I'm up to my neck right now in a top secret projekt, so please bear with me.

Anyway, to answer your question BBR, I always outline the devil out of my stories. It often causes me problems, as I've been yelled at for turning in outlines and chapter blueprints that are just a bit too detailed (and then get knocked around when I omit some item that was left out for fear of making the whole thing overlong ;) ). It is essential to have a road-map showing where you are going with the story and help in case your characters try to hijack the proceedings (Brunner has done this to me, but Thanquol is the real culprit here - which I think is a problem Herr King used to complain about).

Apparent 'filler' is usually there to either provide character development or to help define the nature of the journey. 'One does not simply walk into Mordor', after all. So while having the random squamous horror pursuing our heroes through the Chaos Wastes might seem random, it's certainly essential to properly evoking the deadly nature of the Wastes. Especially in a fantasy setting, you do need to develop the setting itself as well as the characters and plot, so it is worth allowing moments to do just that.

So, my advice on 'stretchings' is to plan them in advance and ensure they compliment either character development or 'background colour'. They will rarely provide much meat for the main plot, because almost by definition they wouldn't be what you would construe as 'filler'.

As for Thratquee, well, Thanquol simply has no luck :lol:
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Razhbad » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:37 am

Dear Herr Warner

Congrats on getting a new time of legends trilogy. I know you are in the really early stages, but what can we expect from the Black Plague of the Empire?
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Raziel4707 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:03 pm

Very simply, I've been avidly reading the Brunner omnibus this week while in hospital with my son, and was wondering who you would cast as Brunner if they were to make a movie about him.

Absolutely loving the book, so danke for writing them.

Also, Blood Money had me laughing my head off, as did the one with the merchant and the pig, I forget the title.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Carandini » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:52 am

That story would be 'The Money-lender's Price'. Glad you enjoyed that one and I agree, there's a real sardonic humour about 'Blood Money'. I suppose if one was casting Brunner for a movie, Vinnie Jones would be a natural. Ideally though, if I could snatch up an actor from his prime and plunk him down into the part, it would be Franco Nero: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG7Xu2EQwVY

As for what to expect from The Black Plague, still early days on this one and it'll take quite a bit of planning. I think I can safely say that you'll be seeing alot of Clan Pestilens though.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:34 pm

OH, Lord Carandini, High King of the Ratmen, Emperor of the Chaos Wastes, Master of the Bounty Killers and all around Overlord of all the Witch-Hunters, this humble worthless one has a question for your mighty ears. Namely, is the forthcoming warhammer heroes' novel 'Black Plague', a tome that shall crack the earth upon its publication and lay waste to all that oppose it, about the siege of Middenheim by the slavering Ratmen and the great slaugter reaped upon the diseased skaven by Emperor Mandredd the Skaven-slayer?
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby sam vimes » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:14 pm

Carandini wrote:Hello all. Thanks for the questions. I'm up to my neck right now in a top secret projekt, so please bear with me.

Anyway, to answer your question BBR, I always outline the devil out of my stories. It often causes me problems, as I've been yelled at for turning in outlines and chapter blueprints that are just a bit too detailed (and then get knocked around when I omit some item that was left out for fear of making the whole thing overlong ;) ).

Thanquol simply has no luck :lol:


Damnned if do dammned if you dont lol Thanquol has plenty of luck its just all bad lol and looking forward to picking up Temple of the serpent this friday well thats if its in stock at GW Bolton.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Mossy Toes » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:40 pm

Gaius Marius wrote:Namely, is the forthcoming warhammer heroes' novel 'Black Plague', a tome that shall crack the earth upon its publication and lay waste to all that oppose it, about the siege of Middenheim by the slavering Ratmen and the great slaugter reaped upon the diseased skaven by Emperor Mandredd the Skaven-slayer?
Pshaw, that's ridiculous! Everone knows that the reign of Mandred the Ratcatcher was uneventful, and that he only was elected emperor because most of the other electors were pushing up daisies or scratching buboes. All he did was rule over the Empire during one of its weakest times. There are a great number of well-documented accounts of the time and refutations of those scurrilous, persistent rumors--which you surely don't lay credence to, do you? I mean, rats who walk on their hind legs? Next you'll be telling me that the von Carsteins were vampires!

*hastily pockets bag of gold/warpstone snuff handed by a hunched, hooded figure in an alleyway*
Last edited by Mossy Toes on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Carandini » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:05 pm

It is going to be tricky making the rise of such an inconsequential character as Mandred Ratcatcher interesting. I might have to go and use some of those ridiculous fairy tales about him uniting a shattered Empire against the teeming masses of the underfolk to get any mileage out of the narrative. However, I think if there is a proper disclaimer at the beginning of each book, the Black Library would be able to publish such heretical material.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Lord of the Night » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:14 pm

Mossy Toes wrote:
Gaius Marius wrote:Namely, is the forthcoming warhammer heroes' novel 'Black Plague', a tome that shall crack the earth upon its publication and lay waste to all that oppose it, about the siege of Middenheim by the slavering Ratmen and the great slaugter reaped upon the diseased skaven by Emperor Mandredd the Skaven-slayer?
Pshaw
, that's ridiculous! Everone knows that the reign of Mandred the Ratcatcher was uneventful, and that he only was elected emperor because most of the other electors were pushing up daisies or scratching buboes. All he did was rule over the Empire during one of its weakest times. There are a great number of well-documented accounts of the time and refutations of those scurrilous, persistent rumors--which you surely don't lay credence to, do you? I mean, rats who walk on their hind legs? Next you'll be telling me that the von Carsteins were vampires!

*hastily pockets bag of gold/warpstone snuff handed by a hunched, hooded figure in an alleyway*
This is the truth. Nothing happened in those times because Skaven do .. not .. exist. It is as simple as that.

Heheh stupid man-things.

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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Big Barney Ross » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:59 am

I just finished reading "Wulfrik" yesterday, and thought I may share my thoughts on the novel.

First and foremost, it was great read all the way through, and certainly one of the better fantasy novels I've had the chance to read. That said, I do have some points I'd like to discuss in more detail...

I must congratulate you of doing a really great job with developing the titular character - he had all the potential to be just another mindless 'Arrrgh! I'll kill you all!' kind of character, but you really fleshed him out, giving Wulfrik his human, as well as the superhuman side. On addition, it was really refreshing to see actual, proper character development rather than the whining bullshit which pass for development these days when contemporary writers write fantasy (which almost exclusively include teenage heroes... a breed I'm sick of). However, there's a downside: you did such good work with Wulfrik, that all other characters in the novel appeared one-dimensional compared to him, especially his crewmates. Still, the novel is called "Wulfrik", and not "Wulfrik and Friends", so all is well.

But what I like the most about your writing is the style. After reading REH, I've become sort of writing style Nazi, and that is the reason why I can't read more than a few pages into fantasy penned by modern writers, since I inevitably compare them to REH... and then they fail miserably. With your novels, on the other hand, I have never had such problems. You pass the "REH test" with flying colors.

The action in the novel was superb, especially the assault on Dronangkul, the davi zharr's fortress. That, and the brutal climax - the scene when Wulfrik gave Stossel the blood eagle. And the epilogue puts a truly epic (and badass) finish on the whole affair. All in all, "Wulfrik" was a delight from start to finish.

Now, for the question...

It concerns Broendulf's death. Broendulf and Wulfrik where the only two survivors who managed to escape alive from the elves, and the dragon totem's magic brought them to Wisborg, the whereabouts of Zarnath/Stossel. The two seize a boat, and Wulfrik returns to Ormskaro, leaving Broendulf behind. Now this is what bothered me - leaving him behind.

Prior to that, the two had made a vow to settle their score, man-to-man, after all this was over. In that moment near Wisborg, when Wulfrik went back to raise an army, he ordered Broendulf to stay and keep an eye on the wizard and prevent him from escaping. When we next meet Broendulf, he is captured in Wisborg, tortured almost to death. More so, seeing the huscarl imprisoned alerts Stossel and gives him a clear picture of Wulfrik's plans to attack. And that made Wulfrik's action of leaving Broendulf totally useless - not only did Wulfrik lose a formidable warrior, but the consequences of leaving him were the exact opposite of what he had intended.

I was expecting for Broendulf and Wulfrik to meet after the latter's return with the fleet, and the huscarl to feed him valuable info on Stossel and the town's defences. But when Wulfrk did come back, it turned out he did not need Broendulf at all, since he pretty much came barging through the front door without some elaborate plan, again proving that leaving Broendulf made no sense. Now, I would understand if Wulfrik were a coward and did that to shy away from the inevitable duel between the two that was to come, but we know Wulfrik is not that kind of man.

So, the question is, why leave Broendulf?
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Carandini » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:56 pm

Revenge against Broendulf. Think back to your Norse culture. To die in battle is the greatest thing that can happen. To die any other way is ignoble and to die without a sword in your hand is downright shameful. Wulfrik left Broendulf behind knowing the huscarl would be captured (by this time, he has a fair appreciation of Stossel's abilities) and also knowing the likely fate he would suffer upon being captured: slow death by torture without a chance to fight. It was never a question of cowardice, rather a question of revenge and making it as nasty as possible (which fits when you consider what he did to everyone else).

And, of course, another good reason for leaving him in the Empire was eliminating the one man who might have given any sort of warning to Ormskaro about Wulfrik's real plans.

Very happy you enjoyed the book, and passing any kind of REH litmus test is the best sort of praise I could ever ask for! I'm in full accordance with the general sort of 'teen hero' stuff that we see too much of, though I do think a teenager properly represented as coming from a martial culture and with the skills and training historically appropriate to such a background isn't a bad thing in concept. Howard did quite well with Dark Agnes, after all and I think she was supposed to be 16. It is all a question of the execution of the characters that makes the difference.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Big Barney Ross » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:00 pm

About the 'teenage hero' thing...

Well, you are right, it is all about the execution. I don't hold a grudge against teenage heroes per se (after all, even Conan was a teenager in "Tower of the Elephant" and "Rogues in the House", and we all know how awesome these stories were; and I've yet to read the adventures of Dark Agnes), but the type of fantasy novels with the following formula:

Here I am, a lowly son of a farmer in his late teen years, who has spent his days growing potatoes and carrots and feeding the chickens. Suddenly, I find a mysterious object that makes me the Chosen One, and a formidable fighter, and it is up to me to save the world from ancient evil (along with the girl I'm hopelessly in love with, and who didn't notice me until now, but this journey is sure to bond us).

And instead of being heroic fantasy novels, these mostly turn out to be teen dramas like "One Tree Hill", only with some magic thrown in the mix, and dragon pets instead of dogs or cats. And what's worst of all, they sell.

About "Wulfrik"...

The thought of Wulfrik leaving Broendulf behind for revenge, i.e. knowing full well what will happen, did cross my mind. I read your post, and it makes sense, except that in that case there is another paragraph that bothers me. When the hero actually meets the pitiful wretch that is now Broendulf, it says:

The hero kept his silence, thinking instead upon the pact he had made with Broendulf. Like all his other dreams, it was a hollow mockery of what it should be. Something that was not worth the winning.


That passage made me think that Wulfrik was actually sad things turned out this way, and that he regretted he was denied the possibility of a fair, man-to-man, fight with Broendulf despite the bad blood between them. The sentence equates their pact with a dream, and a dream is usually somthing we aspire to and wish to come true, therefore it led me to believe Wulfrik was not happy with the turn of events.

So here's what's confusing for me: if what you say is true (and I have no reason to doubt you since you wrote the novel), why does Wulfrik sound melancholic at how things turned out for Broendulf, when his plan all along was exactly that - a shameful and humiliating death?
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Carandini » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:11 am

Wulfrik is a pragmatic man who will make sacrifices (quite literally) in the name of necessity. This was an instance of that and meant to foreshadow some of what was to come. Still, it seems I should have elaborated a bit more in that passage to explain the meaning properly or at least give a better idea of what his thinking was.

And I hear you loud and clear on the forumla you just highlighted! Nothing irritates me more than the 'poor pig farmer who has never had any kind of formal martial training suddenly becomes this almighty killing machine capable of butchering marauders that spend their entire lives raping and pillaging by the bushel'. He's also usually some stock 'chosen one' with some insipid prophecy revolving around him to boot. It's a theme that has been done to death and never, in my experience, very well. Anyone mentions Uwe Boll's 'Dungeon Siege' movie will officially get eaten by rats in my next novel. Have a Germanic name ready.
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:05 am

Ooh, ooh, this is an opportunity that I can't pass up.

"Uwe Boll's 'Dungeon Siege' movie."

My name is Tomas (or Thomas, I don't care how people pronounce it). The latter is already germanic-ish, but fairly prevalent in these modern days. Sooo...some derivation of it, maybe? ;)
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Big Barney Ross » Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:06 am

Hmmm, now that you mention it, makes sense. I've never considered looking at the situation from that angle. Thank you for the clarification.

Since you mentioned 'Dungeon Siege' and Uwe Boll... believe it or not, I like Uwe Boll. And 'Dungeon Siege' is not his fault, actually. I've played the game it's based on. You literally start as nameless farmer tending to your salad or whatever, when a bunch of orks (here called Krugs) rush out of the forest and attack you. Your family dies, and then you go on across the dungeons of that world batling monsters and saving the world. As for Uwe in general, he is a bold filmmaker and I respect him for his honesty. In today's world, it's nice when someone actually speaks his mind. I've seen all of his films, and can safely recommend the following: "1968 Tunnel Rats", "Stoic", "Rampage" and "Darfur". The man is getting better with each film.

Now, about that cameo in your next novel as a victim being eaten by rats, you can use the name Amsel (it is my actual surname translated in German). :D
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby Carandini » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:15 am

You guys are both so getting eaten by rats...
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Re: Ask... C L WERNER

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:19 am

your words of a "disclaimer" worries me. I was hoping that we'd get to see the great Skaven PR machine in action rewriting history and showing how awesome the Skaven are even when they technically lost.
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