Drew Karpyshyn Creative Works

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Are you working on the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO?

Yes. Now that Iím in Austin and my share of the writing on ME#2 is done, Iím part of the MMO team. And I have to say, Iím very impressed by the quality and incredible scope of the stories weíre putting into the game.


When does the next Darth Bane novel come out?

The third novel in the Bane series Ė Dynasty of Evil Ė hit shelves on December 8, 2009. Check out my Novels section for a summary and pic of the cover art.


When does the Star Wars MMO come out?

I canít talk about unreleased projects. When BioWare gives an official date, Iíll pass it on in my news site. Beyond that, I canít say.


Will they ever make a novel about KOTOR and Revan?

Maybe. Again, thatís not my call. Itís up to Lucas Books and Del Rey. I think there is a lot of fan interest in this topic, but itís a dangerous area to tread. The KOTOR game already told the story of Revan and it did it over 30 hours with half a million words of dialog. Iím afraid trying to tell the same story in a single novel would be a bit underwhelming, especially when you consider the impact player choices had on the story as a whole Ė something thatís impossible to replicate in a book. (Check out my write up of Throne of Bhaal in my Novels section for more on the dangers of converting a BioWare game into a novel.)


What the hell is KOTOR?

Shorthand for Knights of the Old Republic. See my Games section for more details.


Are you writing any other books?

I am working on a novel set in a fantasy setting of my own creation, but Iím not finished yet. Because I get paid up front to write Star Wars and Mass Effect novels, I have to give them first priority. With my original works, I donít even know for sure if a publisher will buy them, so itís kind of a balancing act right now. Hopefully Iíll have something ready for publishers in 2010. (Yes, Iím a sell-out whoís all about the $$.)


How did you get your start in writing and video games?

My big break came when I answered a Wizards of the Coast open call for novel ideas set in the Forgotten Realms setting in early 2000. They were looking for some new novelists, and I sent in a submission package that eventually led to Temple Hill, my first novel.

As for breaking into games, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was working on my Masters in English at the University of Alberta (also in 2000) when I saw a small ad from BioWare in the English Department newsletter. They were looking for writers. I had the contract for the Forgotten Realms novel under my belt, and BioWare was famous for the Baldurís Gate series, which was set in the Forgotten Realms. It seemed like a natural fit. I started working in the spring of 2000 and everything just took off from there.


What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

Youíve probably heard this before, but the truth is there is no magic formula or easy answer. Write, write, write. Revise. Rewrite. Write some more. Send your stuff out and be ready for rejections. Many, many, many rejections. If the rejections make comments, take them to heart. Donít necessarily change anything, just be aware of what they are saying and reevaluate your work.

Sometimes its easier to get feedback on short stories, and one site I highly recommend for science fiction and fantasy writers is ralan.com. Itís a great list of resources and markets for all speculative fiction writers.


I want to break into the video games industry. Can you help me?

Not really. I donít have anything to do with hiring people at BioWare. But if you check out the BioWare Jobs website there are detailed instructions of how to submit your application to us. If you want to break into the industry in general, check out the Game Developersí Conference and Gamma Sutra, a website devoted to game developers. Iíd also strongly recommend the Guildhall at SMU Ė Bioware hires a lot of people from that program, and they have a great placement rate.


Will you look at my story, novel, video game script, screenplay, etc?

No. Absolutely not. There are very strong legal reasons I canít look at submissions, ideas, or unpublished work from other writers. It just opens the door to all kinds of messy litigation, so I donít do it. Aside from that, Iím juggling two careers right now. Between working on games for BioWare and writing my own stuff I donít have time to help other people out with their projects. Besides, what you want is a good editor, not a writer. I know my own style but I probably canít help you with your work Ė editors have an entirely different set of skills. Plus, I need time to work on my golf game.


I have the best idea ever for a novel, game, movieÖ

Donít care. Donít send it to me. The last thing I need are ideas. I have more ideas than Iíll ever use. Ideas are the easy part. Everybody has ideas. Transforming ideas into something suitable for public consumption is the hard part; thatís what I get paid for. Thatís the art and profession of being a writer. If you really think your idea is good, then you turn it into something useful. Either that, or pay me a hefty up-front fee and Iíll do it for you. But I donít work cheap.


You seem pretty full of yourself. Are all Canadians arrogant jerks?

No. Most Canadians are polite, helpful and modest. Iím actually on a special list of Canadians authorized to engage in rude and anti-social behavior, along with Tom Green, William Shatner, Alex Trebek, Jim Carrey and Wayne Gretzky. (Just kidding. I donít even know those guys. Please donít sue me.)Plus, I live in Texas now, so Iím getting more belligerent by the day.


How do you pronounce your last name?

KarpyshynÖ itís Ukrainian: Kar-pish-in. Rhymes with suspicion, condition and musician: kar-pish-in. And if you donít know how to pronounce ďDrewĒ I canít help you.


I want to write for Star Wars. Can you help me?

No. Let me brutally honest: Star Wars is the biggest game in town; they have authors banging down their doors to work with them. I had to publish two novels and write the 2003 game of the year before the Star Wars people would even talk to me, so unless youíre an established sci-fi author with numerous novels to your credit they donít want to hear from you. If you are a well established author, then you donít need my help Ė contact them yourself.


Do I need an agent?

Yes. No. Maybe? Thatís tough to answer. I think agents can make things easier, but they donít necessarily guarantee successÖ nor does the lack of an agent equate to failure.

I donít have an agent yet and Iíve managed to sell three novels, along with two more under contract. But I have no way of knowing if Iím selling myself short on the deals Iím makingÖ an agent could help protect me from that.

Iím currently looking for agents for both my novels and my screenplays, and Iíll let people know how it goes. One thing I will mention is that you should NEVER pay an agent any kind of up-front fee. Check out the Preditors and Editors website for more info.


Did you design your web page yourself?

I did. I donít really know java or html, so itís cobbled together with cut and paste images and converted word docs.

Why is it so ugly?

Shut up, thatís why!


Iím stuck at a part in Mass Effect (or KOTOR, or Jade Empire, or Baldurís Gate)Ö

Go to the BioWare Forums. They can help you.


Whoís stronger Ė Darth Bane, Darth Revan or Darth Vader?

Itís a tie. Seriously, I canít answer this. First, itís not really up to me to make that kind of call. Second, it really depends on the situation. You can probably find rule books for various Star Wars role-playing games that will give you stats allowing you to compare relative strength. But from an artistic and dramatic standpoint, this kind of question has no ďrightĒ answer. Each character has strengths and weaknesses, and they grow and change as their stories progress. On any given day, at any given time, under any given circumstance anyone can win or lose. Thatís what dramatic conflict is all about.


I heard you were on the game show Jeopardy. Is that true?

Okay, so nobody really asks this. But I like to brag about it. Yes, I qualified to appear on Jeopardy. The episode aired in March of 2000. Hereís a cool page showing all the details of my Jeopardy experience Ė J! Archive site. I finished 3rd.


Third? Isnít that the same as last?

You ever been on Jeopardy? No? Then I guess I finished ahead of you, didnít I? Besides, my buzzer was sabotaged when they saw I was going to win. Itís an anti-Canadian conspiracy. Thatís my story and Iím sticking to it.