Q&A with Gary Gygax - Page 474
  1. #4731
    Gary;

    Apologies if this has been asked before...

    There has, in the past, been some amount of debate concerning your writing style in gamebooks. Your admirers have often stated that they greatly enjoy reading your work, including the extensive use of unusual phrases and words, as they can learn and expand their vocabulary while they read. Other pundits have, with equal regularity, tended to reply that they find this to be a less-enjoyable way of writing, with varying degrees of vitriol and varying levels of reasoning involved.

    I'm curious; do you have anything to say on the topic?

  2. #4732
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Kornelsen
    Gary;

    Apologies if this has been asked before...

    There has, in the past, been some amount of debate concerning your writing style in gamebooks. Your admirers have often stated that they greatly enjoy reading your work, including the extensive use of unusual phrases and words, as they can learn and expand their vocabulary while they read. Other pundits have, with equal regularity, tended to reply that they find this to be a less-enjoyable way of writing, with varying degrees of vitriol and varying levels of reasoning involved.

    I'm curious; do you have anything to say on the topic?
    I write as I write, what more can I say.

    I can, however, add, that my versions of the D&D game have sold more copies than those not authored by me, and that many of my adventure scenarios are called "classic" and spin-offs of them written and produced with considerable sales success. Can the detractors of my work point to such acceptance of their notions of how RPG material can be better written?

    Cheers,
    Gary
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  3. #4733
    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    Can the detractors of my work point to such acceptance of their notions of how RPG material can be better written?
    Point.

    And, thanks for the quick response!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Kornelsen
    Point.

    And, thanks for the quick response!
    Welcome

    To elaborate as a matter of fact...

    I regularly hear in-person and in email and letter communications from fellow gamers how much they appreciate the style of my writing, how much it has assisted them in various ways. The most frequently cited work in this regard is the DMG.

    I don't expect to please everyone, of course. that's impossible, as I note in one of my sigs:

    "He who publishes a book runs a great hazard, since nothing can be more
    impossible than to compose one that may secure the approbation of every
    reader." Cervantes

    Of course I sometimes use this one:

    The envious only hate the excellence they cannot reach. From a letter to Thomas Jefferson as quoted by Dumas Malone in his six volume work, Jefferson and His Times.



    Cheers,
    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    I write as I write, what more can I say.
    I suppose you could say where you learned your vocabulary.

    I've always assumed it was from reading extensively in dusty old tomes, rather than from being an English major at the University of Wisconsin or something.

    (In my case, I got an 800 Verbal 'cause my dad's an English professor and my mom's an editor; they met in grad school, both studying English. However, people look at you funny if you use professorial diction in quotidian settings, so I generally tone it down to a plebian level. That said, I liked Gary's writing far better than the 2nd Edition written grade 6 reading level stuff. )

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    Gygax Bibliography

    Is there an official or current Gary Gygax bibliography available on the web?

    A quick Google search uncovered a few lists, but they appear to be incomplete.

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    Hey Gary,

    I love reading these threads, and I love how you remain an active member of the community. Plus, I'd like to say thanks for creating a game that finally allowed me to use my creativity and imagination in a way that nothing else ever had.

    I finally have my first question for you!

    I've noticed that in recent years (though its probably an old problem), that a lot of DM's/GM's/Gamemasters seem to need everything presented to them in a tidy little package that spells out every tactic, every thought, and every possible action of the NPC's, but when it's not, they consider a product to be "bad design".

    Would you agree that the problem is more "bad DM"?

    Personally, I find products like that to be very DM friendly, because it allows me to run the encounters according to my own style, and according to the style of my players.

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    Quote Originally Posted by haakon1
    I suppose you could say where you learned your vocabulary.

    I've always assumed it was from reading extensively in dusty old tomes, rather than from being an English major at the University of Wisconsin or something.

    (In my case, I got an 800 Verbal 'cause my dad's an English professor and my mom's an editor; they met in grad school, both studying English. However, people look at you funny if you use professorial diction in quotidian settings, so I generally tone it down to a plebian level. That said, I liked Gary's writing far better than the 2nd Edition written grade 6 reading level stuff. )
    My parents, particularly my mother, encouraged me to gain a command of language. She read to me, and encouraged me to read on my own--I preferred being read to, but it soon became evident to me that to get all the reading I desired I'd have to go it on my own.

    Later she would challenge me to compete against her in the Reader's Digest "It pays to increase your word power" tests, and I hated to lose as at first I did regularly.

    Many of the friends I associated with also had large vocabularies, and so it only seems natural to me to use the best word one knows to describe or convey information, the one that best conveys what is meant.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Last edited by Col_Pladoh; Friday, 30th September, 2005 at 04:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by w_earle_wheeler
    Is there an official or current Gary Gygax bibliography available on the web?

    A quick Google search uncovered a few lists, but they appear to be incomplete.
    I don't believe that there is a complete one. Even the one I have compiled is missing most of the early article and other work I published in various gaming and like fanzines, and likely some are lost.

    Cheers,
    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drkfathr1
    Hey Gary,

    I love reading these threads, and I love how you remain an active member of the community. Plus, I'd like to say thanks for creating a game that finally allowed me to use my creativity and imagination in a way that nothing else ever had.
    A sharing, of course. As with putting my imaginative ideas onto paper for others to use in creating their own worlds of adventure.

    I finally have my first question for you!

    I've noticed that in recent years (though its probably an old problem), that a lot of DM's/GM's/Gamemasters seem to need everything presented to them in a tidy little package that spells out every tactic, every thought, and every possible action of the NPC's, but when it's not, they consider a product to be "bad design".

    Would you agree that the problem is more "bad DM"?

    Personally, I find products like that to be very DM friendly, because it allows me to run the encounters according to my own style, and according to the style of my players.
    Not surprisingly, I concur with your assessment.

    This is not to belittle the GMs and players that want so much direction. It is more a matter of their lacking the proper encouragement and training so as to be able to use their own creativity, imagination, and innovation when they play.

    In all, there will always be those who find more enjoyment "going by the book."

    Cheers,
    Gary
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