Blog

Dedication to Ian Esslemont

Are you with me, Dr. Wu?

I was sitting at my desk at Toyota Redhill, UK, when I got the news that Gardens of the Moon had found a publisher. The first thing I did was compose an email to Ian Esslemont. I gave that a lot of thought. I could imagine that, if the situation had been reversed: if he…
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Gardens of the Moon Framed Cover

Never say never…

I wrote the first draft of Gardens of the Moon in 1991, living in poverty on Saltspring Island. It took four and a half months. It was written on a Brother WP 500. Back then, the big publishers were still accepting unsolicited manuscripts. I made a photocopy of the novel and send it by post…
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The God is Not Willing shot of screen

Writing Process

I am often asked to describe my writing process (or in this instance, someone queried my revision process), so here goes. Traditionally, I have worked four hours a day; these days it’s down to three or so (am I getting more efficient? Maybe). I work in public spaces, surrounded by lots of people, and prefer…
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Brother EP44

In 1983 I was standing in a tiny, blistering hot telephone booth in Belize City…

To continue the nostalgia kick, in 1983 I was standing in a tiny, blistering hot telephone booth in Belize City, having a conversation with my mother in Winnipeg. I’d received a letter from the University of Victoria accepting me into the undergraduate Creative Writing program. Though I was in Belize to work on a dig,…
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conversation bubbles

We Don’t Talk Like This – Dialogue in Fiction

Imagine a stream. In places it runs shallow and fast. In other places there are eddies and deep pools where the water moves slowly if at all. Here and there you’ll find boulders breaking the surface of that stream, places to cross. Some of the boulders are big and flat, making it easy to find…
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Characterization: Part Two

Imagine someone saying something and not meaning it.  How can that be?  Imagine someone lying to themselves out loud, in the company of witnesses.  Who would do that?  Imagine someone listening to your question … and then not answering it!  Imagine someone who, instead of defending themselves to an accusation you make, just turns around…
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Needle and thread

Characterization: Part One

My academic friends often decry the general trend away from the teaching of literature in colleges and universities (well, all the humanities, in fact) as our world rushes into a new value system that surrenders nuance to polarization, veracity to opinion, and discourse to the reactionary. One of the things I see a lot of,…
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On Authorial Intent

Years ago, when I first began my study of writing, I was both fortunate and cursed to land, right off the bat, a spectacularly good workshop teacher for fiction. My initiation into the craft of writing was through a teacher and mentor who knew precisely what he was doing, and by that I mean, he…
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The Problem of Karsa Orlong

To say that, among all the characters portrayed in The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Karsa Orlong has proved the most divisive among readers of the series is probably beyond refute. Discussions arise regarding this character again and again, and as the debate returns in this TOR re-read, the question of my purpose in creating…
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The World of the Malazan Empire and Role-Playing Games

Through the years, at signings, book tours and in interviews, I am often asked about the RPG origins to the novels set in the Malazan world. Depending on the time and energy I’m prepared to commit to my answers, I have been both vague and specific; but generally such venues are not the place for…
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