May Kwong | Stepfamilies | Piccante

Ask the Author: Lois McMaster Bujold

“Ask me a question.” Lois McMaster Bujold

Answered Questions (571)

Sort By:
Loading big
An error occurred while sorting questions for author Lois McMaster Bujold.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Hm, some of these process questions are answered earlier in the Q&A column -- you might try scrolling back -- or in my interviews. I would say my series are pretty ad hoc, building one book at a time which always changes or channels the possibilities for what follows. Within a book, I will have only a vague idea where it's going; writing starts when the preliminary notes, averaging about 50 pages, and whatever research reading I've done, somehow make the opening scene/s rise up in my mind. I capture the thoughts in penciled notes, then type them, shifting the scene-block out of my mind to make room for the next wodge, and repeat the process. So my planning is diffuse, not done all-at-once.

But I am not seat-of-my-pants as it is usually understood; I need to have each scene I'm working on blocked out in notes, sequence of events mostly nailed, dialogue roughly scripted, and choreography roughly designed, before I sit at the keyboard. But only one scene at a time, with a glimmer of what's next. Details are filled in, sequences modified, items added or tossed, etc. editing as I type.

Lather, rinse, repeat till I reach the end.

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold
For myself, since 8th grade; though there was a long hiatus in my twenties. For what eventually became professional publication, since 1982.

Ta, L.

Lois McMaster Bujold
Ivan gets his honorific not from being heir to Count Falco, but for being great-grandson of Prince Xav, and in a Certain Unstated Relationship to the camp stool. Barrayaran titles don't have as many quirky exceptions, which must be learned one by one and vary with context, to their already ad hoc rules as, say, the English language does, but there is a definite tendency in that direction.

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold
I've answered this one a bunch of times in a bunch of places, now scattered to the winds of time I suppose. I really should fix myself one of those canned-answer files for FAQs, but so far I've been too lazy and disorganized. Iirc the intro to Baen's 30th Anniversary trade paperback reprint of The Warrior's Apprentice touches on it, also the Afterword to Young Miles.

No, I never have a clear idea how any character will turn out. In general, I set them in motion and watch them go, like an AI self-learning program. They will be created by their actions as they progress. (Note that speech, too, is an action, as is internal dialogue.)

I don't know where folks think the contents of people's imaginations come from, except from the world around them. It's not an either/or proposition. Real-word inspirations include but are not limited to young T. E. Lawrence, young Winston Churchill, my own relationship with my own father, a physical (but not psychological) template in a hospital pharmacist I used to work with long ago, Aral's and Cordelia's personalities and situation, and doubtless other sources now forgotten at a remove of, let's see, Miles was initially created in 1984, so now almost 35 years.

The first thing I knew about Miles, before his name or anything else, was that he would be born to Aral and Cordelia physically handicapped in some way, but very bright, on mutie-hostile Barrayar. This was about halfway through the writing of Shards of Honor. At that point, he was little more than a glowing blob in my mind, or in Cordelia for that matter, but he got better.

One might also note that the original first draft of Shards of Honor actually went up through the soltoxin attack, but not including the start of the war of the Pretendership. So up to the end of Chapter 9 or thereabouts, don't remember exactly where I broke off. I then cut backward to the present ending. When I went to start Barrayar a number of years later, I wrote a new Chapter One for the needed transition, laid in the 8 chapters I had in hand, retyping and editing them, and went on from there. So for a while, I knew a lot more detail about Miles's early start than the readers did.

Miles is not so much an outsider as a liminal figure, really, existing on the borderlines of so many things, able to see, and be pulled, in multiple directions.

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Part 3 of 3-part comment.

As an aside, it is better to put comments in the Question column under a question, or over in a comments section under a post in the main blog; this feature is not really formatted for chat, or at least, the Q part is not.

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold
If you like science fiction, and are not allergic to a touch of romance, start with Shards of Honor. If you like fantasy, start with The Curse of Chalion or, for a shorter taste, the novella "Penric's Demon".

After that, look here: http://alexlikesdesign.com/story/show/...

Good luck!

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold
All of the books ferex here on Kindle (and iTunes, and Nook) listed as from Spectrum Literary Agency are self-published.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_pg_2?...

Includes all the novellas, including the 7 recent original-to-epub ones, the nonfiction collection Sidelines: Talks and Essays, the old short story collection Proto Zoa, most of my Vorkosigan Saga backlist (republished, technically), ditto The Spirit Ring; I may be missing something, but, short answer, yes.

The seven fantasy novels through HarperCollins and my recent few Baen books remain with their original publishers.

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold Good question; I have no answer.

Although surely some analogous situations have cropped up in real life by now, people with formerly uncurable conditions which have been overtaken by advances in medical technology.

For myself, I expect I would be ecstatic, then swiftly readjust to my new normal normal. Any folks with RL experiences are welcome to chime in with their own insights.

Ta, L.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Lois McMaster Bujold
Heh. Do not apologize for enthusiasm. But, alas, I can only recite what is becoming my mantra: there is nothing in that direction planned or in progress at this time.

Ta, L.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Lois McMaster Bujold
Glad you have enjoyed the stories!

But nothing is planned in that direction at this time, no.

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold
I'd think they'd want his brains, but, nature, nurture, not to mention nutrition. Replicating Miles would be a lot harder than just copying his DNA. I don't think the Cetagandans have any particular motivation to gratuitously extend his life.

As far as medical aid goes, I'd think Miles would be a lot more comfortable going to Beta Colony. We don't actually know that he hasn't...

Anyway, I have no plans for such a tale at this time.

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold I hope so, but there is nothing new in the works at this time.

(Much of the point of the ala carte e-novellas scheme is to keep the series, or story-grouping, as flexible as possible. I seem to be reinventing the old pulp magazine system for doling out tales, without the encumberment of the pulp magazines.)

Ta, L.
Lois McMaster Bujold My experiences with breaking in are too far out of date to be useful in the new millennium. Anyone else wants to chime in with suggestions, feel free to use the comments section below.

If you check your Goodreads "Author Dashboard", which should be accessible from the drop-down menu on the picture cartouche on the far upper right of your own profile page, there are an assortment of author tutorials from GR. I've not looked at them myself, so cannot speak to their utility.

Ta, L.

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more