Answers, Part 1
Thanks for the great questions! I’ll be working through these over the next few days/weeks. To get things started, I picked the most controversial, burning question of all:
- From celestineangel, “Who would win in a fight: Talia or BATMAN?”
Notice how Batman is in all-caps? It’s a subtle psychological technique to give Batman the edge. He’s full of tricks like that.
The first question is which Batman? The Adam West incarnation? Talia wipes the floor with him. Frank Miller’s version? That’s a nastier fight. Batman from The Brave and The Bold? He has a laser sword, and the Batmobile is a freaking Transformer! I’m going to assume a kind of blended uberBatman which merges the most popular features of the character.
Both characters are armed to the teeth, but Batman’s toys have a technological edge. Also, Batman spent his whole life training to be the best at everything. Talia only started learning martial arts after awakening from her fairy curse. On the other hand, fairy magic gives Talia superhuman grace and skill.
It’s a difficult question. Therefore, I’ve decided to skip it and come back later in the post.
- From alienpenguin: “[W]ere there any folklore history or analysis books in particular that you found helpful in researching the princesses series?”
The SurLaLune web site is a wonderful resource. The site includes multiple versions of various fairy tales, many of them annotated, and I often found myself referring back to the site to check details of different fairy tales. I’ve kept a complete collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales on my bedside table for several years now. I also read a variety of essays, both online and in print, that talk about the symbolism, history, and meaning of various fairy tales. Though to be honest, after four books, it’s all a bit of a blur.
A blur like Batman, swinging through the night! Remember that Batman tries to avoid killing his opponents. Talia doesn’t. This gives Talia an advantage, because she doesn’t hold back. But is it enough of an advantage?
- From Matt W: “How much time do you devote on an average day to writing? What do you sacrifice to have that writing time … and do you have it at the same time every day?”
You know how Batman has to balance his daily life as billionaire playboy with his second job as the dark knight? What I do is exactly like that. Exactly!
In 2001, I chose to take a state job because it came with a union-regulated lunch hour. I’ve been writing on my lunch break for nine years now. It lets me do 4000-5000 words a week, which translates to about a book a year.
These days, I need more time to catch up with correspondence, meet unexpected deadlines, and figure out stories that become more complex with every book. When I’m on deadline, I’ll try to sneak in some evening writing, and my wife sometimes takes the kids out on weekends to give me extra time.
I don’t play video games, because I can’t spare the time. I don’t read as much as I’d like, and I make it to the movies maybe 2-3 times per year. I try to make family, my day job, and the writing my top priorities, but it’s a struggle to balance everything, and some days I do better than others.
Speaking of family, Batman has none. He works alone, or at best allows Robin to tag along. Whereas Talia has Snow and Danielle as backup, meaning she’s got a can of magical whoop-ass waiting in her corner, not to mention the animal revolution Danielle can summon up. Cheating? Maybe … but only fools fight fair.
Therefore, I’m going to call this one for Talia. Further debate (and fan art — lots of pretty, pretty fan art!) should be carried out in the comments.
April 7, 2010 @ 10:32 am
4000 – 5000 a week from just your lunch break? Color me impressed… I’ve considered bringing my netbook to work in order to get some writing done during lunch, but I can’t imagine getting that many done.
Granted, I have yet to find a place I can be left alone while doing it. If I sit at my desk during my lunch hour, I always end up getting forced into working instead!
April 7, 2010 @ 10:34 am
Jim, I’m sorry, but no one beats Batman. Even Adam West Batman, as goofy as he was, made it out of every crazy villainous plot. And if he really needs it, he’s got Nightwing, Batgirl, The Huntress and the whole JLA for back up. Or perhaps you haven’t seen the picture online of Batman attacking a great white shark with Darth Vader’s lightsaber. You know Batman’s going to beat that shark, and that Vader wouldn’t have given up the lightsaber easily.
Oh, excuse me, I need to tuck my nerd card back into my wallet.
Anywho, thanks for the responses!
Jim C. Hines
April 7, 2010 @ 10:36 am
It depends a lot on the work environment. I made it clear in my interview that it was important to me to be able to use that hour for my writing, and my boss was cool with it. I still needed to make up a sign to post so that I could train the coworkers to leave me alone for that time.
Re: the word count, one of the things I found is that when I only have a limited time to write, it helps me to get started faster. There’s a tendency to stall and stumble over the first sentences/paragraphs of the day. But when I know you have to shut everything down again at 1:00, it helps me push through that.
Jim C. Hines
April 7, 2010 @ 10:38 am
Talia: I’m not exactly sure why we’re fighting, but what the heck. I’ve seen what Hines is doing in book four, and I’m in the mood to pound something.
Adam West Batman: Quick, Robin — grab the Bat-anti-fairy-tale-princess repellant spray!
Talia: … Seriously?
April 7, 2010 @ 10:47 am
Thanks for the awesome link to SurLaLune (AND for answering questions AND for that survey you did AND for what you are doing for rape crisis).
It may sound silly, but try wearing earbuds (the noise-cancelling kind). There is some sort of lunch hour / coffee break zone people don’t mind entering if you are reading, at your computer etc… but if they have to tap you on the shoulder / shout really loud, they will eventually feel uncomfortable approaching you when they’re in (the earbuds). It works in the office I’m in, anyway. Perhaps my office-mates are shy. Maybe its passive-aggressive, maybe its much needed writing time.
Jim C. Hines
April 7, 2010 @ 10:49 am
You’re very welcome! And the earbuds are a good idea.
I once plugged the earphones into my computer and searched for a site that just produces a loop of white noise. Sounds silly, but it worked pretty well. (That was a particularly distracting day.)
April 7, 2010 @ 11:00 am
Thanks for the tip! I tried the earbuds trick for a while, but it doesn’t always work as well as intended. I actually use earbuds when I write at home to help keep me focus (music just turns into white noise to me).
For the most part, my co-workers leave me alone, but we all sit out in the open and when students come in demanding a status report on the request they made 30 minutes earlier, they don’t allow earbuds to get in the way 😉 Now I seek refuge in a completely different building – regardless of my lunch time activities – in order to avoid them!
April 7, 2010 @ 11:03 am
Batman has a family. He has Dick Grayson (currently Batman, formerly Nightwing II/Robin I), Red Robin II (Tim Drake), Oracle (Barbara Gordon), Black Canary II (Dinah Lance), Robin V (Damien Wayne), Batgirl IV (Stephanie Brown, formerly Robin IV and Spoiler), Alfred Pennyworth, Cassandra Cain (Former Batgirl and top martial artist in the DC Universe), Catwoman (Selina Kyle), The Question II (Reneee Montoya), Batwoman (Kate Kane), and Jean-Paul Valley (Former Azreal and Batman during Knightfall). All of these people have been inspired by Batman in some way and are there for him when he needs them. That’s not including some of his rogue’s gallery turned good either like Harley Quinn or The Ridder (Edward Nigma). So Batman has a family.
April 7, 2010 @ 11:06 am
Ah, students are a whole different game (I’m a grad student and have been known on occasion to find my supervisor on his lunch break – the guy really needs to get some earbuds). Good luck (aka: you can run but you can’t hide).
April 7, 2010 @ 11:07 am
I should mention as well that on Earth-2, Bruce was married to Selina and they had a girl named Helena Wayne, who became the Huntress for Earth-2. Also, Tim is Bruce’s adopted son and Damien is Bruce’s biological son. Oh I also did not mention Helena Bertinelli, Huntress III, but she has always been the black sheep of the Batman Family and Bruce has been reluctant to call upon her in the past.
April 7, 2010 @ 11:07 am
oops it went in the wrong spot, sorry
April 7, 2010 @ 11:08 am
And for some reason, Adam West Batman would have totally had that in an aerosol can, and it probably would have been a pink spray that would get nowhere near Talia, but still knock her out cold on the show.
Jim C. Hines
April 7, 2010 @ 11:41 am
No worries. The comment threading here is a little weird. I need to find a better plugin to handle that, but haven’t yet had the time to do so.
April 7, 2010 @ 2:06 pm
It might also make her explode, if I recall how his shark repellent seemed to work…
April 7, 2010 @ 2:53 pm
The sharks actually exploded because they were mechanical sharks created by The Joker. Why shark repellant still worked on them, I don’t know.
Ok. I need to stop now.