- an award-winning game designer and the author of the book series The Chronicles of Chaos, which fantasy legend Piers Anthony called “what fantasy fiction should be.”
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Glen Dahlgren!
Glen has written, designed, directed, and produced critically-acclaimed, narrative-driven computer games for the last three decades. What’s more, he had the honor of creating original fantasy and science-fiction storylines that took established, world-class literary properties into interactive experiences.
He collaborated with celebrated authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (The Death Gate Cycle), Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time – soon to be a TV series from Amazon), Frederik Pohl (Heechee saga), Terry Brooks (Shannara), and Piers Anthony (Xanth) to bring their creations to the small screens. In addition, he crafted licensor-approved fiction for the Star Trek franchise as well as Stan Sakai’s epic graphic novel series, Usagi Yojimbo.
Glen, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
For love and support (and to keep down blood pressure), you can’t beat Goldie my cat. I wouldn’t trade her for any other pet. That said, flying on the back of a dragon sounds kind of cool.
A sweet cat is underrated. But, I mean, who doesn’t want a dragon?
What do you write?
I write YA fantasy. I started out designing and writing computer games, working with some notable authors in the genre. I learned a lot in the process, making fiction inside of their worlds—but grounding the stories in the requirements of the games I was designing.
It was amazing, but now I’m writing fiction inside of my own world without the limitations of any game. Based on the reaction it has received, the Child of Chaos (the first in the series the Chronicles of Chaos) is my best work yet.
What an amazing background and variety of storytelling. You’ve certainly worked with some amazing writers and it sounds like your most recent work is just building on everything you’ve learned.
What do you like to read?
I have devoured fantasy and SF since I was a kid. My bookshelves are lined with the old school masters, like Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, David Eddings, and many more. Recently, I’ve finished up all of the Terry Pratchett books I could find and I love discovering any new Neil Gaiman (book, comic, TV show, or movie!).
Who you list as “old school masters” definitely tells me that we’re of a generation. Although! You’re a bit late, (but never too late) to the Terry Pratchett fandom.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Don’t edit until you’re done with the first draft.
I can’t help myself. How can I keep writing when I know that something I’m writing now changes something that came before? I’m constantly editing myself all the way up until I hit the end, then it’s back to editing some more!
Clearly, this advice varies from person-to-person. Some people get so caught up with making the opening chapter perfect, they never move on to the next. For me? I’ve occasionally jumped back a chapter or two and gone in a different direction (but always save the old chapters, just in case).
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Allow yourself to suck
It’s the flip side of the previous answer. The point is that, for any creative endeavor, it’s more important to create something you’re not happy with than have nothing. You can’t edit something that doesn’t exist.
I like to tell a story I heard from Brad Bird. A producer walks into a music hall where his theatre company is constructing a musical. The actors and dancers are aimlessly wandering around on stage. The musicians are chatting with each other in the orchestra pit. And the choreographer is sitting in the middle of the stage with his head in his hands.
“What’s going on?” asks the producer.
“I don’t know what to do,” says the choreographer.
Without missing a beat, the producer responds, “Well, do something so we can change it!”
Too many people get locked up because they believe they’re not good enough to try. But they’re always good enough to try. And then they (and their work) get better the more they try.
Definitely. You know how some people can’t describe what they want, but they won’t hesitate to let you know when you’ve got it wrong? Well, a lot of us writers can recognize when something we write is wrong, but we’ve got to see it before we can explain how it’s wrong.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
The Child of Chaos is my debut YA fantasy novel, the first in the series, the Chronicles of Chaos (I’m currently working on the prequel now).
Galen loved dreaming up stories until he was drawn into a nightmare.
An irresistible longing drags Galen to an ancient vault where, long ago, the gods of Order locked Chaos away. Chaos promises power to the one destined to liberate it, but Galen’s dreams warn of dark consequences.
He isn’t the only one racing to the vault, however. Horace, the bully who lives to torment Galen, is determined to unleash Chaos–and he might know how to do it.
Galen’s imagination always got him into trouble, but now it may be the only thing that can prevent Horace from unraveling the world.
“There is a quality of imagination and detail here that impresses me. This is no ordinary sword and sorcery story. [Glen Dahlgren is a] novelist who I think will become more widely known as his skill is appreciated.” –Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author of the Xanth series.
Check Glen Dahlgren out across the web!