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Lit A question on Karen Traviss and her work(s)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Pyrotek, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. patchworkz7

    patchworkz7 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2004
    She didn't care.

    She did care about not getting paid properly, but otherwise she really didn't and doesn't care. A dozen novels and five years on she doesn't even remember the names of characters. She's too busy making bank as a working writer, and she was never someone who was locked into a single franchise.

    I don't know if people outside publishing understand this, but publishers and IP owners contact writers. Everything she's done has been a result of IP owners asking for her, and she's turned down several major IP's because they didn't interest her or they were way out of her ballpark (although she did some behind the scenes work on a few things that she can't talk about) and she's written over 25 novels (half NYT bestsellers), 1 full video game and work on at least one other, and over three dozen comics in ten years and shows no sign of slowing.

    Not that she didn't enjoy doing the work and give 100% on SW or any other project or the fans, and she still answers most every piece of fan mail she gets, but I think the only thing she would have liked was her royalties paid properly and other contractual agreements upheld, but nothing to do with canon or what happens to the character once she moved on.

    I like SW and if they hired me to write I would work my ass off but I know if they decided "Nah, we're spiking this", as long as I got paid I'd be happy, I got to play in their sandbox and then move on and if the check clears; AWESOME. That's what professional writers are like. Besides feeling bad for people like the Mando Mercs and other cosplayers who made costumes based on characters that are now non-canon....eh. It's just not a big deal.
     
  2. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Thanks, Ms Traviss.
     
  3. DigitalMessiah

    DigitalMessiah Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 17, 2004
    What game did she work on besides Gears of War 3?
     
  4. patchworkz7

    patchworkz7 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2004

    I honestly don't know, but there's mention of it on her website so I suppose she did some work on one or more games and never moved forward with taking on a main writer role. That actually happens quite a bit and then the writer usually has an NDA so they can't talk about it, but they get some sort of payment for having work on it, either in a tweaking story bits or working on the script part.

    A game like Dead Space doesn't (AFAIK) give any credit to Warren Ellis but he did months of work on it. When his friend Anthony Johnston took over (several drafts later) some of the background work was there, but it had changed in very fundamental ways from Ellis' work/scripts. There's some Ellis DNA in there, but other writers, primarily Johnston, did the majority of the work on the game and Johnston went on to do the comics that tied in and the Wii rail-shooter game.

    I don't know if there's any sort of writer's union in the game community or some sort of general agreement that dictates when a writer gets credit and for what.

    AFAIK, KT did the script for GoW3 and did a lot of the cutscenes plotting, but she had to make it work around the stuff the level designers already had laid out. Every game and every company is probably different.

    I'm fascinated by how Bioware handles it, which almost sounds like a TV writing room style format.
     
  5. Sniper_Wolf

    Sniper_Wolf Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 26, 2002
    I would be hard pressed to tell KT was the writer of her Gears of War comics if I did not know she was the writer given the differences between a comic script and a novel draft. Similar, outside of the first person Marcus monologue in Gears of War 3's prologue and the slightly snarkier dialogue I would not have made the author connection if I had not known before hand. My guess is the collaboration process of a game or a comic distills the stronger narrative voice of a novel.
     
  6. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Doesn't "distill" mean "makes more concentrated - stronger"?
     
  7. patchworkz7

    patchworkz7 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2004

    No, it means to purify or to take the essence of something, from greater to lesser, to get down to the root.

    Considering how much of KT's work takes place in the headspace of the third person tight narrator (meaning even the prose of the book, the narration, is supposed to be filtered through whomever's POV we're in), then what happens in the comic and game work is that the writer is force to strip things down. You don't have room to move, especially when you're working with an artist on a comic, and the work of an artist and colourist and even letterer becomes part of the work. On a game there's even a larger group of people involved.

    Since Karen did a lot of work in television she may be more comfortable in the more visual environment and this also means some of the issues some have with her work simply isn't there because much of it was in the long narration third party view (even if it was meant to be from inside the head's of the POV characters) and when someone working on a comic or game is forced by necessity to distill their work down into the important bits needed to convey info.

    Unless someone has an extremely distinct voice it can be hard to nail down a scriptwriter or a comic book writer if you go in blind, although a frequent reader eventually will pick up some things, there are some writers who have a mild voice.
     
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  8. MistrX

    MistrX Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2006
    I got the impression of late teens/early 20s.
     
  9. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    From what do you get that impression? To me she just felt to inexperienced to have been in the field for any longer time which left me with the impression of her being relatively young.

    EDIT: or maybe Fulier was just not that good a teacher...
     
  10. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    She lacks confidence in herself and her abilities, making her seem younger than her true age, IMO.
     
  11. Wildwookiee

    Wildwookiee Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 14, 2001
    I don't know about that. I think she is a good author, and I think that she thinks that she is a good author; but I don't think she has any patience for anyone who disagrees with her.
     
  12. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
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  13. Wildwookiee

    Wildwookiee Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 14, 2001

    OOOOOHHHH. carry on.
     
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  14. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    Bingo! I like ESB as a single, 2-hour movie, as part of an overall trilogy, just fine. I do not want a 20-hour version at all!
     
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  15. MistrX

    MistrX Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2006

    I guess I just think of late teens/early 20s as relatively young. She was alone without her master for probably the first time and in a war zone. She didn't seem like the idealized Padawan that someone like 25-year-old Obi-Wan was in TPM, though her arc in Hard Contact and her maturity at the beginning of Triple Zero showed that she could have that confidence and ability without necessarily showing precociousness.
     
  16. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    I do!
     
  17. JediKnight75

    JediKnight75 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 15, 2011
    I don't know if that's completely correct. Vector Prime is kind of like ANH; it can stand alone (the Vong are beaten vs the Death Star being destroyed and Vader's fighter being shot), it is overall positive except for Chewbacca's death, but that's comparable to Obi-Wan's death -- especially after the PT and TCW). The ESV part is more like from the Dark Tide Duology to Star by Star. Dark Journey to Traitor is kind of like an in between ESB and ROTJ. While it is darker than any of the EU in that time period, the tone of these NJO books would be fitting for the months between those movies. Also, the tone of these books is somewhat -- for the most part -- lighter than what proceeded it. The rest of the series is comparable to an extended version of ROTJ. Granted the tide turns again at the end of The Final Prophecy, but the tone doesn't change from the rest of the books in this category. Also, giving the Vong an advantage at this point is necessary to keep the reader interested going into the final book.

    I'm not sure that I explained myself that well. Basically, I think the characterization of the NJO as entirely dark until TUF is unfair. Tonally it is as varied as the OT. Despite the overarching plot, most of the novels aren't super dark and depressing. The plot of the NJO ruffly follows the same pattern of the OT. The problem is that Chewbacca was the first time in Star Wars a character we knew died. So while it is comparable to Obi-Wan's death, it doesn't seem that way in the memory of those who read it when it first came out. Aslo, because the series is so long, I beleive that seeing how it followed the OT was difficult.
     
  18. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    There is a difference in lacks confidence and inexperienced and to me it felt like Etain was both inexperienced and was lacking in confidence but that is just me.
    It is just that to me she felt like somebody that recently left the school desk for the wide world, not somebody that have been a padawan of years in the wide world.

    EDIT: but then again I pictured Jusik in HC as also rather young, if older then Etain, so I am also surprised that he made knight as early in the book series
     
  19. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    Yeah, but you're weird! :p
     
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  20. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    And proud of it!
     
  21. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    No he is the violent one, it the 4th who is the weird one.
     
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  22. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
  23. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    If I am not wrong so is his avatar the 9th Doctor, who is know to be a bit more violent the other regenerations and the 4th one is know as a bit weird-er the other regenerations.
     
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  24. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    You are talking to the War Doctor you know?
     
  25. MistrX

    MistrX Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2006

    Angrier. Not so sure about violent.