J. Robert King

Ed Greenwood—Day 11

Favorite Novels and Games

With such a voluminous output—over 30 published novels and 180 published game products—I thought for sure Ed would have a favorite. But Ed is not so much about novels or games, but moments. He enjoys wherever he is and whatever he’s doing. Here’s his response:

I really don’t have a favorite novel. I could be flippant and say “My latest one” or “the one I’m working on” is always my favorite, and I do hope I’m getting better as a writer, story after story. I have some favorite scenes (like the wedding night scene you enjoyed in Elminster: Making of a Mage), and some books that I enjoy more than others because of the topics or how they turned out, but I really don’t have a favorite. Reeeeeally. I have a collection of highlights I especially like, from various of my novels and collaborative novels, but no one favorite.

Your question as to “why” something is a favorite is part of the reason for a broad collection rather than one “best” choice; I like various scenes or passages for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s writing that shines more than my other prose, sometimes it’s just because I managed to get closer in the squiggles of ink I put on the page to what I was imagining in my head, and more often it’s because of the content of a scene. Coupled with pulling the scene off vividly and glibly, for once. :}

As to games, I don’t have any clear favorites, either. On some days, I’d point at the “Old Gray Box” initial Forgotten Realms boxed set, which is where the Realms line of game products all began. On other days, I’d plump for FR1/Waterdeep and the North, for the admittedly small slice of that city it managed to present to gamers and writers (from which we got Elaine Cunningham’s superb novel Elfshadow, and its sequels). I’ve always been partial to the Volo’s Guides series, which added local lore and recipes and bitchy restaurant reviews to the mix of Realmslore, showing everyone that world building was more than armies and supervillains and castle-blasting spells. Sometimes I lean towards the Forgotten Realms Adventures tome, with all of its maps and local highlights, plus new spells. On other days, it’s Undermountain, my old and vast “endless dungeon,” with its deliberate atmosphere of litter, mystery, treasure, and bones, all left from those who’ve been down here before you. And so on. With Castlemourn I was able to present my own new setting in one hardcover tome, crammed full of interesting adventure settings (more kingdoms than I ever had the opportunity to get around to detailing with the Realms, where company plans always seemed to stand in the way of detailing Impiltur, Turmish and the cities of the Vilhon, Aglarond, the Wizards’ Reach, and so on, and kept Amn and Rashemen and Var the Golden and many other places in the “covered once over, very lightly” category.

Once again, I can’t pick any one favorite, because so many different facets.

February 11th, 2010
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