Monday, March 31

To answer Steve's question from the previous comment section:

Some of The Lies of Locke Lamora may have vaguely reminded you of my style because Scott Lynch was, at the time of its writing, still a pretty hard-core Caine fan . . . but mostly, really, it's just that Scottie's a fuckin' genius, and great minds sometimes think alike.

I've said it before: Scott Lynch is what I'd be if I were younger, smarter and better looking. Since I am none of those things, I am forced to settle for being me.

I never recognize my own style in other people's writing; to me, I don't even have a style. I just try to write the best I can. I suspect Scott works the same way. I mean, if it wasn't for my name on both covers, I seriously doubt many people would have tumbled to the fact that Heroes Die and Revenge of the Sith were written by the same guy. Maybe if some hard-core Lit Geek were to analyze the word-frequency and check for my own coinages and shit -- like they do when they're trying to figure out if Shakespeare's plays were written by Shakespeare or by another playwright of the same name -- they might come up with some kind of positive match, but short of that? I dunno.

I just write it the way I'd like it to be if I were reading it instead. If Scott's style really is similar to mine, that could be part of why I like his stuff so much. It might also just be that his stuff's really good, and I have good taste.

Who knows?

Wednesday, March 19


In response to the exchange between Aaron and Songofgreyshadows:

Just so you all know, there actually is a Stover Forum on the Web -- it was set up a couple years ago by the good folks over at -- and it's a swell place to get into all the writing advice and PersonalAnecdotesAboutHowIChangedYourLife and all that shit.

The URL is, if my browser serves as a reliable memory:

Stover Forum

With thanks to Chris Billett.

Anybody who stops by will have to kick off the tarps and blow the dust away, because nobody's posted there in months. And no swearing at the President and stuff -- they have terms of service that insist everyone play nice. Which means that it's probably not the best place for Caine-Ma'elKoth slashfic, but for everything else, it works pretty well.

I also get email notification of new posts, so it's easy for me to keep track of stuff over there.

That's all.

Wednesday, March 12

Hey, everybody.

I just got my first royalty check for Star Wars on Trial, making it my second US book in a row (after Revenge of the Sith) to earn out its advance. This is a positive trend, and one that I hope to encourage.

Now, it's not a big check, but any royalty check is essentially Found Money -- extra payment for work which was done long ago.

So I just wanted to say thanks to all you folks out there who were willing to shell out 18 bucks to read Brin and me bicker about Star Wars.



Tuesday, March 11

From Robert, in the previous comments section:

-I've been wondering, is there any significance to what you refer to your characters and when? I've noticed you seem to call Hari "Caine" when you're referring to his Overworld exploits and Caine "Hari when referring to his life on Earth. Also that when you referred to Kris as "Deliann" a few posts back it was specifically when referencing a point in the story when he and Caine were on Overworld. I've seen authors who stick to a specific system with referring to their characters; Dennis O'Neil stands out as he would always refer to the DC Comics character The Question as "Charlie" even though most of the world knew him as "Vic Sage". Is this choice in reference an intended separation that goes along with your "Theory of Personality", or if it's just instinctual on your part?


Instinctual, I guess: I use Caine for the character, Hari for the Actor . . . even though he's achieved significant integration by the end of BLADE. Same with Kris and Deliann. One of the things I hope people will find interesting in CAINE BLACK KNIFE is the contrasts--and similarities--Caine Back Then and Caine Nowadays.

btw, I loved the Question. He had just returned in his own monthly series maybe a year or so before I quit collecting comics, back in the late 80s/early 90s. He was the coolest . . . and not just because he was the original model for Rorschach, either.


-Something I've wondered for a while: If authors try to implant concepts and ideas into their books and what people get from said writing is a product of their own imagination meeting the words on the page, doesn't that create a sort of paradox within the process? Just something that struck me when reading your comments (not that I disagree with them, just an idea that hit me).


I don't try to implant concepts and ideas; that way lies madness and all manner of Goodkinditude. I try to use the underlying concepts of a story in an interesting way, that's all--to let them inform and enhance the action. Scott Lynch, in a love-letter to HEROES DIE he once posted on, described it as "opt-in fiction." He was attracted, he said, by the way the Big Ideas are there, but you don't have to think about them if you don't want to. This is a model I've tried to stick to ever since (that whole Tyranny of Praise thing, y'know?), with varying success (worked out pretty well in SHATTERPOINT and REVENGE OF THE SITH, less so in TRAITOR and BLADE OF TYSHALLE, where the ideas sometimes intrude and hijack the story).


-And finally, are there any plans for you to be doing another book signing tour for either Caine Black Knife or your next Star Wars book?


Not currently. I'll let you know.

Monday, March 10

From Aaron, in the comments section:



So, I want to be more active and help you write more Caine novels. I'm sure your publicist has all sorts of data and crap...and I know you'll have a better idea, but here goes.

What do y'all think of the Asshole Maneuver:

1: Bombard popular blogs with content and quotes related to MWS work.

2: Subsidize tattoos or other forms of advertisement that will glean public attention.

3: Go from store to store inserting slips of paper into each and every book with clips from MWS work and indicate that they should read that work "or else."

4: Get published and dedicate our stuff to MWS.

5: End the war in Iraq - dedicate it to MWS. How?...

Make them all wear bikini clothes and shoot those who do not. No room for hidden bombs when you're mostly naked.

With these key points, I suspect change is in the wind my friends!


I'm Matthew Woodring Stover, and I approved this message.

Wednesday, March 5

E. Gary Gygax died yesterday.

Nearly everybody who still hangs out here should be a big enough geek to at least know who he was. As my old friend Eric posted on his blog:


And thanks.

Most folks 'round here should know, too, that the genesis of the whole Acts of Caine/Overworld cycle sprang from an attempt to "SFnalize" the experience of playing in a truly immersive AD&D campaign. In my original gaming days, our players and game-masters were all actors and writers . . . so the games were, at their best, exactly what Gygax was shooting for: interactive novels, created on the spot and in the moment by a bunch of geeks fueled by two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, and vast amounts of accumulated fatigue toxins.

I still miss them, too. As many folks around here know, I am not a particularly happy person. Those long nights hanging out in somebody's basement or living room over sheets of paper and high-impact polyhedra were pretty much the most fun I've ever had in my life, before or since.

It was also a transformative moment that has determined the course of my life: because one day it came to me that plotting a novel well involves the same skills as planning a campaign: devising exciting problems for your characters, and making sure they are personally invested in solving them . . . It really is a powerful defense against idiot plotting, because you can never depend on your players to do something stupid just to advance the story.

That's all.