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 Post subject: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:36 pm 
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Welcome to the Q&A with Gordon Dahlquist, author of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. :welcome:

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We are all so very fortunate that Gordon has agreed to participate in this. Please join me & DITHOT in a great big :thanks!: to Mr. Dahlquist for taking the time to answer our questions.

We would also like to thank you, our Noodlemantras, for your great questions and your participation in the discussion. :ONBC:

We will be posting one question per day for 18 days. I think you will find his responses very revealing! :-O Enjoy and feel free to comment. Gordon has indicated that he is open to follow-up questions also.



#1…


ONBC: What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing a book in serial form? And how was that received in the UK?

GD: To me the advantages are about focusing on the present in the story, and not taking anything for granted – anything that comes up can turn out to be significant, as can any character. Also, I believe very much that – barring necessary editing and revisions, of course – it's best not to know too much in advance about what happens, as it keeps the characters' responses more fresh (this very much comes from writing plays). I think the serial version of the book was received well in the UK simply because they have more of a culture of reading there, and are generally in closer touch with older forms of writing, e.g. Victorian serial novels. Of course, that said, it was never released in that way in the US, so who's to say it might not have been appreciated that way here too.



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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:49 pm 
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That's very interesting -- I had never thought about the open ended possibilities inherent in serialization of a contemporary novel. The author is not locked in to the plot a year or more before publication, and can even change it based on public response.

That's what Dicken's did, but I didn't think of it as an advantage -- rather as a constriction on the author's intent.


It is probably true that people read more in Britain, but it's rather embarrassing to be on the underachieving side of the Atlantic.



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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:07 pm 
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The serialization of "novels" presents both possibilities and pitfalls. As the story develops, the later installments can contradict or make obsolete the earlier installments of the story. Tolkien, for example, talked extensively about how later additions and developments in his tales caused him to have to basically go back and rewrite the earlier tales to conform to the direction the story was going.



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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:36 pm 
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Gordon has something more to add to his answer, responding to the disadvantages of the serial form:

They're probably pretty obvious: inability to go back and revise or rethink, the grind of installment deadlines, the lack of clarity of the work as a whole. For me, since the whole thing was written before anything was published in parts, that didn't necessarily matter - I was able to go back and revise, and to shape the plot once I knew where it was ending. To actually write and publish a novel in parts - like Dickens - would be extremely difficult, I think. I know Tom Wolfe did that with Bonfire of the Vanities in Rolling Stone, but then he drastically reworked the material before publishing the novel in hardcover ...



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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:11 am 
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ONBC's first author, Stephen King, also did a The Green Mile as a serial novel, in 1996. I remember that there were inconsistencies in it--he had to adjust something as he went along--but I don't remember specifically what. (1996 was quite a while ago.)

[I just looked at the Amazon listing for The Green Mile and in the cover blurb on the reprint, it says that each volume was a "huge success," and that all six volumes were on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously. So there is a history, even in the US, of at least one successful serial novel.]


Last edited by fansmom on Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:18 am 
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Oh, and I should have said, "Eighteen questions and answers! That's above and beyond the call of duty!" Wow! :bounce:


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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:36 am 
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I guess some form of serialized books are popular in the US; the comic book...um, I mean graphic novel. ;-)

Quote:
To me the advantages are about focusing on the present in the story, and not taking anything for granted – anything that comes up can turn out to be significant, as can any character.

I like this -- if the author writes this way, then the novel will hold that element of surprise to the reader. I prefer not to know the ending of a story in the first few pages.


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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:18 am 
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I think writing a serial makes for more scene endings or cliffhanger type scenes. I must admit it adds to the suspense in this type of story, and keeps one on their toes as it is unraveled. I do love sequel books that run in series with the same characters and feel I have to finish them as if they were one long book.

I don't want to forget to thank Mr. Dalquist for taking the time to answer our questions. After reading all 700 pages I feel like I have a kinship with his characters and that really means a kinship with his imagination. I am looking forward to his answers .



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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:21 am 
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Very interesting question and answer.

fansmom wrote:
Oh, and I should have said, "Eighteen questions and answers! That's above and beyond the call of duty!" Wow! :bounce:

Agreed ! Wonderful that mr. Dahlquist is doing this, great job ONBC :thumbsup: Even if I don't contribute I'm looking forward to read all answers.


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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:24 am 
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He was certainly very gracious to answer all our questions!

fansmom, I didn't realize The Green Mile was first published as a serial work. Interesting!



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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:24 pm 
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I've been mulling this over and find it all to be an interesting way to create. I had not thought about the possibility of publishing portions of a story before the remainder was written, being able to take the story in different directions depending on reader response, and the problems of continuity that could create. I can see that it would be an exciting (and challenging) way to write.


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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:59 pm 
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First, I want to extend my thanks to Mr. Dahlquist for taking the time to answer our questions. I didn't get the chance to submit any but I'm sure the ones that were given are excellent. Second, I love the idea of books in serial form.
Quote:
Also, I believe very much that – barring necessary editing and revisions, of course – it's best not to know too much in advance about what happens, as it keeps the characters' responses more fresh


I think he's right about the freshness of the characters and their responses. It makes the reader more involved emotionally in the characters when you share their experiences in the same moment. It helps to lessen the detachment that can happen reading a book all the way through. I'm a fan of John Grisham's "A Painted House" and that started out as a serial in a magazine before it became a New York Times bestseller. It always left me on pins and needles until the next installment. But like Dahlquist, the story was already completed before it was published in the magazine. But also the Internet has made the serial more accessible and mainstream. It's revolutionizing the writing form and is helping to make it popular in the states.



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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:16 pm 
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The only time I remember ever reading anything in serial form was the daily installments of a journalist on a trek to Woody Creek for the HST Memorial. I looked forward to reading her stories. But they were not fiction.

I can definitely see the attraction to serials, though, because I am a big fan of soaps (All My Children & General Hospital). And if I miss one (which is normal in my busy life) then I can get a quickie version on You Tube. What would we do without the Internet?



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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
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 Post subject: Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #1
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:51 pm 
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Liz wrote:
The only time I remember ever reading anything in serial form was the daily installments of a journalist on a trek to Woody Creek for the HST Memorial. I looked forward to reading her stories. But they were not fiction.
Huh. I hadn't thought of blogs as the modern equivalent of a serial. Interesting.


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