Ask... NATHAN LONG

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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby sam vimes » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:20 pm

More of a compliment than a question just like to say I liked how you showed a less darker aspect to Dark Elf society in Elf Slayer, than was shown in the Darkblade books perhaps their are slight deviance's from normal DE life on board the arks, the slave pen scene was well done especially the salt water thing, that for me is the DE in a nut shell um did the Black ark have a name and if so can the DE replace them once their gone?
"Huron-Fal’s systems were on the verge of shutdown ... ‘This death,’ rasped the voder, ‘this death is ours. We choose it. We deny you your victory.’

"Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate."

"From iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron." "And may it ever be so"
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:34 pm

Happy Birthday Nathan!

May Jane Carver bring you lots of joy on this day!
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:05 am

Thanks, Shadowhawk!
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Lord of the Night » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:19 pm

Hello Nathan,

Merely a quick question on status.

How is Deathmaster coming along? I need more Skaven, I neeeeed more!

In seriousness though, can you tell us anything more about Deathmaster and what writing Snikch and the Skaven have been like so far?


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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:47 pm

Lord of Night,

I have some rather bad news on that front, I'm afraid. I am no longer writing the Deathmaster book, and I'm not sure anyone else has picked it up. I wrote a draft, which my editors didn't like, then wrote part of a second draft, which they also didn't like. They finally decided that my take on it wasn't working, and so canceled the contract.

To be honest, I was probably the wrong guy to write this book in the first place. I do best with characters who have lots of human - or inhuman - foibles, and who often express self doubt and uncertainty. Writing a book where one heartless, emotionless killer without any human failings goes up against another heartless, emotionless killer without any human failings didn't really give me anything to grab on to.

As a professional writer, it hurt my pride that I could not deliver the goods, but at the same time, I was glad to be let out. It was not a happy few months. Now I'm taking a little break from BL to finish writing my original novel, but I should be back on board with something new before summer. In the meantime, look out for the Gotrek and Felix Anthology in April, and the third Ulrika novel, Bloodforged, in June.

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-Bloodborn
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Lord of the Night » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:27 pm

Nathan Long wrote:Lord of Night,

I have some rather bad news on that front, I'm afraid. I am no longer writing the Deathmaster book, and I'm not sure anyone else has picked it up. I wrote a draft, which my editors didn't like, then wrote part of a second draft, which they also didn't like. They finally decided that my take on it wasn't working, and so canceled the contract.

To be honest, I was probably the wrong guy to write this book in the first place. I do best with characters who have lots of human - or inhuman - foibles, and who often express self doubt and uncertainty. Writing a book where one heartless, emotionless killer without any human failings goes up against another heartless, emotionless killer without any human failings didn't really give me anything to grab on to.

As a professional writer, it hurt my pride that I could not deliver the goods, but at the same time, I was glad to be let out. It was not a happy few months. Now I'm taking a little break from BL to finish writing my original novel, but I should be back on board with something new before summer. In the meantime, look out for the Gotrek and Felix Anthology in April, and the third Ulrika novel, Bloodforged, in June.

Nathan

Aww :cry:

Well perhaps it will still happen one day. The Deathmaster is not the type to be forgotten. Looking forward to Bloodforged and more G&F, especially the next novel...

Spoiler: If Gotrek, Felix, Snorri and Kat really are bound for Karik Kadrin it will be a very good story.



I actually have four questions for you.

1. Since your drafts aren't going through I don't suppose you could tell us what they were? You mentioned Skaven vs Dark Elves last time and that would have been very cool, dunno how anyone could not like that.

This next one is a follow-up from another author.

2. I recently asked C.L Werner for his thoughts on Thanquol's decrepit state as of Elfslayer, how it could have happened and whether its possible for him to regain his prime age. This is his answer.

Carandini wrote:With regards to Thanquol's decrepitude, I can only assume he lost the Amulet of the Horned One at some point, hence losing the rejuvinating benefits of that potent talisman. A notorious warp-snuff addict, it makes sense he'd be in such a miserable and degenerate state. Skaven metabolisms are hyper-active and, without a bit of magical counterbalance, are going to assimilate the toxic effects of a narcotic rather quickly. If Thanquol could contrive to get his paws on some of those youth-restoring secrets the Lords of Decay possess, then there might be hope for him. Indeed, that could make for an epic story - a desperate Thanquol manipulating his two greatest adversaries into breeching the sanctified halls of the Shattered Tower in hopes they cause so much confusion he can slip in and nick Kritislik's elixir vitae.


I pose the same questions to you. Do you think it is age or the warpstone addiction that has ravaged Thanquol's body? And is there a way that Thanquol could ever become young again? If he could then with the power he'd gain I'd dare say that he might be able to match Gotrek and Felix in battle, of course his cowardly nature would prevent that from ever happening, but power-wise he could enter their league again.

This one is not about a character or a novel, its actually about you.

3. How did you get the honour of writing the G&F series after Bill King departed? And how did you feel at the time when you started to write your first entry into the series?

4. Herr Werner has often said that Thanquol is a character that really hijacks the narrative and often influences how entire chapters are written, often changing them from the original idea. What was it like to write Thanquol in Elfslayer? And do you agree or disagree with Herr Werner?


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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:00 pm

Lord of Night,

1 - The plot was this - Deathmaster is hired by a skaven general to prepare Hag Graef for a skaven invasion. He is to perform sabotages, assassinations and tricks that will turn the dark elves against each other so they will be weakened for the attack. A dark elf assassin discovers his plots, and it becomes a battle of wits between them.

2 - It is both. A skaven's natural life span is about 20-30 years. Thanquol has lived more than double that, extending his life with warpstone at the expense of his health. I had not thought about him growing young again, but with the power of the horned rat, anything is possible.

3 - Marc Gascoigne, who was editor at the time, liked my work on the Blackhearts series, and decided I was the guy for the job. I was as surprised as anybody, and was very intimidated to be taking over such a big series. I was honored, however, to be given the chance.

4 - I always agree with C.L. It is unwise not to. And he's right. Thanquol is so much fun to write you have to be careful that he doesn't take over the whole story.
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-Bloodborn
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Big Barney Ross » Thu May 24, 2012 7:35 pm

Hi, Nathan!

Just recently I've picked up and finished reading Jane Carver of Waar. I admit I'm not a fan of modern fantasy/sci-fi/pulp - modern as in written by authors of today - with a few exceptions, of course. That said, I really enjoyed Jane. Having been used to your fantasy novels, it took me a few chapters to get into the writing style adjusted for a present-set world (the modern analogies and jargon). From there, however, it was a blast. And even though I'm not an E. R. Borroughs reader, I could enjoy the novel nonetheless.

I like the fact you didn't pull any punches in regards to (comically) explicit scenes, or profanity: I really can't stand when authors use lame substitutional words for profanity (seen even in 40K novels, i.e. fragging / frekking, etc). Either use the actual word, or don't use it at all. Fortunately, you didn't over-use them, and it never felt frorced. Likewise, the book really got me laughing a few times, and I think that with Jane you've created a great and fun character. I eagerly await the sequel. Though, I wonder how she'll get back to Waar...

Now, I've got an actual question. I've read your Black Gate interview linked on your blog, and one paragraph caught my attention. I quote:

I learned that I was more linguistically inventive back then than I am now. Although I have truly enjoyed writing tie-in fiction for Warhammer, six years of writing to deadline and having to always make sure my language was understandable to a young audience has made my vocabulary more utilitarian, and now that I’m working on a sequel to Jane, I’ve really had to rev myself up again to reach the heights of verbal virtuosity that I had back when I wrote the first one.


Now, my question, written plainly and without verbal virtuosity, is as follows: how do you feel when you have to deliberately dumb down your vocabulary? How tough is it for you, knowing that you could write a better sentence, but having to settle down for an utilitarian one, because of circumstances?
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Sat May 26, 2012 9:34 am

Heya Barney,

Thanks for the kind words! I'm very glad to hear you read and enjoyed Jane.

As to your question... Hmmm. Well, I don't think of it as dumbing it down. I may pick from a smaller selection of words, and I may not use profanity, but I never make the story simpler or less adult. For instance, I would say that the Ulrika the Vampire novels are actually more mature in tone and emotional content than Jane Carver, even though Jane's language is wilder and more adult.

I do have to rein in my vocabulary for my BL books, as they have to be able to be read by a younger audience, but it doesn't bother me. I like writing in all different kinds of voices, and I like the challenge of getting across difficult concepts with simple turns of phrase. And I had the same limitations with Jane. Her language may be very colorful, but she has a high school education, so she's not going to use professorial turns of phrase. (Though I did get to get a little fancier when the other guys were talking.)

So, to answer your question. It's not so tough to write simply. Indeed I enjoy it, but I do like to stretch my legs now and then too.
Nathan's Books
-Blackhearts Omnibus
-Orcslayer, Manslayer, Elfslayer, Shamanslayer, Zombieslayer
-Battle for Skull Pass
-Bloodborn
-Bloodforged

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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Big Barney Ross » Sat May 26, 2012 11:47 am

The reason I asked you about the language was that I'm, like many on these boards, an aspiring author.

My trouble is, I've been inspired to start writing when I first read Robert E. Howard. Up until that point I was reading mostly contemporary prose, and when I first laid eyes on the sentences crafted by REH, I was blown out of the water by his verbal virtuosity (I really like that term of yours). From REH, I've went to explore the authors of olde - Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, C. L. Moore, Seabury Quinn, Machen, Sheridan Le Fanu, ... and in truth I find them infinitely better writers than just about any today.

The thing is, their kind of prose is not what I see is selling today. Today, most authors write short, simplistically constructed, dry sentences that make the prose so tedious to read. I do NOT want to write like them.

Today, this...

The blare of the trumpets grew louder, like a deep golden tide surge,like the soft booming of the evening tides against the silver beaches of Valusia. The throng shouted, women flung roses from the roofs as the rhythmic chiming of silver hosts came clearer and the first of the mighty array swung into view in the broad, white street that curved round the golden-spired Tower of Splendor.


... would probably be re-written like this:

A large crowd had gathered to see the army march through the streets.


I would weep if I had to do it - to me it feels like a bane. I want to write like REH & others, but I don't see prose like theirs being published today. So, one more question: Do you, as a published author, think that authors of the past would have difficulty being published today because of their language?

But I agree with you, there's a difference between bad writing and simple writing. But many mistake the first for the latter, and use it as an excuse for their inability to produce quality yarns ("What? I was just avoiding 'purple prose'!").

For example, you used simple language mostly with Jane, but I've never felt the novel was poorly written. The story was told from Jane's point of view, and as you've said she has only had high school education. It's only natural that she would not be some master wordsmith. It's hard to explain, but you can just tell when someone doesn't know how to write and has to use simple language, and when someone chooses simple language.

That said, I would love to see a sample of your writing "fully unleashed", without any constraints.
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Sun May 27, 2012 7:04 pm

Two things about writing like those writers of yore.

One, tastes do change. So, yes, it might be hard to sell something in so florid a style. At the same time, I think there can be a middle ground. It is possible to paint a lush picture with economy. You just have to distill your poetry down so that the reader can still see the picture you're trying to paint even though you're using fewer words. Of course, when I say "just," that's actually one of the hardest parts of writing. So, uh, good luck.

Two, some of that stuff is overwritten. Those guys were often getting paid per word, so they laid it on a little thick to plump up their word count.

If you want to read a guy who uses language beautifully, but doesn't overdo it, read Raphael Sabatini, who was from a generation before Howard, Moore, etc, and who influenced them. He was a writer of swashbucklers - I recommend The Sea Hawk, Scaramouche, or Captain Blood. The writing is beautiful, but never slows the pace, and really transports you to the time and place.

If you'd like to read a guy who just goes all out for poetic imagery and turn of phrase, but with brevity and dash, read Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books. As far as prose and tone, he is probably my biggest influence.

Happy reading, and good luck with you writing!
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-Blackhearts Omnibus
-Orcslayer, Manslayer, Elfslayer, Shamanslayer, Zombieslayer
-Battle for Skull Pass
-Bloodborn
-Bloodforged

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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Diatribe » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:55 pm

Nathan Long wrote:

If you'd like to read a guy who just goes all out for poetic imagery and turn of phrase, but with brevity and dash, read Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books. As far as prose and tone, he is probably my biggest influence.

Happy reading, and good luck with you writing!


Now now. No one reads such rubbish these days! I mean, c'mon, who reads the novels that inspired so many fantasy writers (and readers) for the last...what? 60 years? Pssshaw!

Oh wait. That'd be me.
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:56 pm

Well I don't.... but I also consider it to be a personal failing.

As the Space Wolves say: "I'm aware of my failing and will be sure to correct it".

Now, if only I could make that sooner rather than later!
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Lord of the Night » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:32 pm

Hey Nathan,

Just finished Jane Carver of Waar, a fantastic book and definitely a series where I will be pre-ordering each book. I do have a question or two though,

1. Do you intend to make Jane Carver a long running series? Or a trilogy or a set of 4 or 5 books?

2. Did the woman who gave you the idea for Jane Carver give you the idea for Swords of Waar as well? Or is that one entirely your own?

3. Have you met with the real "Jane Carver" and found out what she thinks of the book?

Thanks in advance for what you can answer.


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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:50 am

Hiya LotN,

Glad you liked the book! Thanks a lot! And thanks for promising to pick up the rest of the series! Very kind of you!

Anyway, here are your answers.

1 - Right now I plan to make the Waar series 4 books long, but there could be more after that.

2 - If you mean the Jane from the Author's Introduction, that part is as fictitious as the rest of the book. Jane doesn't actually exist. The only person who gave me the idea for Jane Carver is Edgar Rice Burroughs, who wrote John Carter of Mars, of which Jane is a parody. Other than that, the idea's all mine, for better or for worse.

3 - There are several women, some I have known, some I have only seen in movies or TV, who I sort of mashed together to make Jane, but alas there is no one true Jane.
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-Battle for Skull Pass
-Bloodborn
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby sam vimes » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:23 am

Nathan my good man what have you been up to recently BL and otherwise, as I 'm missing your take on Gotrex and Felix I know theirs an collection of shorts/novellas just and is on my buy list next month, dare I hope more Blackhearts? or are you going into the grim dark future that is the 41st millennium? either way hope your doing well hope to see a novel from you soon.
"Huron-Fal’s systems were on the verge of shutdown ... ‘This death,’ rasped the voder, ‘this death is ours. We choose it. We deny you your victory.’

"Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate."

"From iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron." "And may it ever be so"
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:28 am

I second more Blackhearts!! :D

And I can't wait for Swords of Waar to come out. That should be a great one!
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Lord of the Night » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:10 pm

That story is fake? Hm well it was convincing for sure. And i'd be remiss if I didn't get the books after how much I enjoyed Jane Carver. :)

4 books would be good, though i'd love to see Jane become a long-running series like Gotrek and Felix. Speaking of them I was wondering what you are currently working on? The next G&F novel or perhaps something else entirely?

Also I can't quite remember but I could have sworn there was a G&F reference in Jane Carver. Am I right or mis-remembering something?


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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:48 pm

Hey all,

I am not currently working on anything BL related. I have been very busy getting Swords of Waar together, and a few other smaller things, and those have been taking all my time. Not sure exactly when I'll write more for them, but I do have a Blackhearts idea brewing in the back of my head that I'm planning to pitch in the near future. As for Gotrek and Felix, I have not heard anything about the next full novel. BL seem happy to put out just G+F novellas right now, and I haven't been asked to do any of those.
Nathan's Books
-Blackhearts Omnibus
-Orcslayer, Manslayer, Elfslayer, Shamanslayer, Zombieslayer
-Battle for Skull Pass
-Bloodborn
-Bloodforged

Nathan's Blog!
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Re: Ask... NATHAN LONG

Postby Nathan Long » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:50 pm

Oh, and LotN.

Did I put a G+F reference in there? I might have, but I can't remember what it was.
Nathan's Books
-Blackhearts Omnibus
-Orcslayer, Manslayer, Elfslayer, Shamanslayer, Zombieslayer
-Battle for Skull Pass
-Bloodborn
-Bloodforged

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Sabrepunk.com
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