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  1. In Topic: What are you reading and what is on your book stack to read?

    Posted 30 Jul 2014

    View Postjon.kiparsky, on 30 July 2014 - 03:51 PM, said:

    View Postdepricated, on 30 July 2014 - 01:49 PM, said:

    Reading a book is a lot like sex.

    I think it would be hard to confuse the two, but I think it would end badly for anyone who did. Unless they were blind and used to reading in Braille, I suppose.

    While I generally like to think you're smarter than that, this discussion has me wondering if you just don't understand basic English. You do know what a simile is don't you?

    And yea, the Sword of Truth has got to be one of the worst series I've started reading - for my taste. I stopped. Legend of the Seeker, though - that was an awesome show and it's too bad the books were only loosely similar.

    Good/bad writing is easy to judge, imo. A good author can turn a terrible cliche into an awesome story. It's harder to judge the spectrum of good writing than it is to pick out the bad. But picking out the bad is easy. George R. R. Martin is a terrifyingly bad writer. Great story, but too much purple prose. Over-reliance on established tropes, use of exposition instead of retrospective, word rot, redundancy(forgiven for any books that were published in serial such as the Count of Monte Cristo - the redundancy in those is because each segment needs to remind the reader of relevant details that they last read 9 months earlier), and over-focus on minutia. These are what make for bad writing. Even with bad writing, a story can be good - ASOIAF is a perfect example as Martin not only exhibits but exemplifies every single one of these. I can go on for days about why Martin is a bad writer. Another phrase I use is "bad writer, good storyteller." The story is still pretty good.

    Sanderson subverts tropes at every opportunity, almost never uses purple prose, tells the story of his worlds through retrospective rather than exposition, knows what a thesaurus is, and doesn't beat you over the head with what things are. Jordan is another I've said is a bad writer but good storyteller - and the Wheel of Time picks up beautifully when Sanderson takes over. It goes from what many call a 3-book-long trudge to a mad dash for the finale, with at least one huge reveal and side-plot resolution per chapter in the last 3 books. His hints to the Cosmere in his books are quick and subtle. It's the way a character talks (Zahel saying to Kelsier, "You've got red on your ears like I've never seen" along with the presence of Nightblood at the end of the book pretty much nails down that Sword Master Zahel is Vasher from Warbreaker) or small oddities(such as the broken jar and fresh footprints at the Well of Ascension that indicates that Hoid is likely now a Mistborn). It's not like he spends even a single chapter going into great detail (though there is one where the existence of the Cosmere is relevant to the actual story and brought up). It might be 5 whole sentences per book (though SLA is rife with references).

    Sanderson is, imo, one of the better writers I've read. Definitely one of the best writers in the Fantasy genre - right up there with Terry Pratchett and Roger Zelazny. But Fantasy IS full of bad writers. My list of series was to show that there are a lot of popular series, and that long series are standard in the genre, not commentary on the authors. I don't like most of those series.

    But like anything, attack what's wrong, rather than who.
  2. In Topic: What are you reading and what is on your book stack to read?

    Posted 30 Jul 2014

    Three of the series I've mentioned are worth reading. One has a TV series that's far better than the books could hope to be.

    You don't like the writing, that's fine. Don't like the writing - I don't give a shit if you(anyone, not you specifically) like something or don't. But it's offensive to say that the author is bad simply because you don't enjoy what he writes. I don't like Skynnyrd, but that doesn't make them bad musicians. Hell, I think Freebird is a cancer on entertainment.

    I'm reminded of a scene from the movie Amadeus, in which the Emperor (which would be you in this parallel) says to Mozart, "There are only so many notes the ear can hear in an evening. I'm right in that, Court Composer?" "Oh yes Majesty" "Don't take it too hard. There are simply too many notes. Just cut a few and it will be perfect."

    There are just as many pages as they require, neither more nor less.

    As far as the interconnectivity - it's far from irrelevant (unlike in Sanderson's Cosmere where it is just a side story easter egg). It's necessary to understand exactly what happened in the conclusion of the Dark Tower (though without the knowledge you still have a decent grasp of what comes next).

    A well crafted book isn't about minimalism any more than poetry is about minimalism. John Keats wrote in 5 lines what T.S. Eliot wrote in over 130. Does that means Keats is intrinsically better than Elliot?

    Sure you can tell a story quickly from start to finish. But the important part is the telling, the journey. I could squeeze the story of any of those into a single page if I tried hard enough (some would be easier than others), but so much would be lost on the way.

    Reading a book is a lot like sex. There is no timeframe for good sex, no page count for a good story. The point, the goal, isn't the climax - it's about enjoying getting there.
  3. In Topic: What are you reading and what is on your book stack to read?

    Posted 30 Jul 2014


    Have you ever edited a book?
    My ex is an editor. I got to hear about the fun she had with it from her. She would talk about the kind of things she looked for, how she would approach whoever she was editing for with her edits - sometimes writers would get mad, sometimes they were gracious. So while I haven't edited a book, I have more familiarity with what the process involves than someone who just reads.

    And I don't know what gives you the idea that Sanderson doesn't have an editor. Or that his books are "more of the same" - except for the clear fact that you haven't read two, if even one, and seem to be basing an assumption on the popularity of his books and the fact that people are excited for the continuation of the stories. He has 2 adult fantasy series - Mistborn and Stormlight Archive. 4 books and 2 released respectively.

    It's ironic that you compare them to King - who did the exact same thing. The overwhelming majority of his stories are interconnected by the story of Walter Padick. Padick was the antagonist of Eyes of the Dragon, and was later (in his life, not in published chronology) Randall Flagg in the Stand, He Who Walks Behind The Rows in Children of the Corn, Walter o'Dim in the Dark Tower, and many other places. The only difference is we're not sure if Hoid - Sanderson's Padick - is good or evil (though common opinion is good I believe).

    The size of a book shouldn't be a factor in its quality. In my top 5 books, one is less than 200 pages. Another is over 1300. I had to look them up to cite that because it's a number I've never considered relevant. What matters is the content - and both are just as engaging. If you can't give attention to a story that spans multiple thousands of pages, then that's on you - there are a lot of people who do enjoy such. It's a staple in fiction especially. The Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, Pern, Discworld, The Legend of Drizzt, A Song of Ice and Fire, the Wheel of Time, the Sword of Truth, Shannara, and countless others.

    People who TLDR books (which you just did) are a step below people who take pride in not reading.

    edit: and back to the point of King and Sanderson, it should be noted that King was able to include the hints that Flagg was Padick without in any way hurting the story. It was the small things, like the stones he gave his Quirky Miniboss Squad.

    View PostBort, on 30 July 2014 - 09:49 AM, said:

    I was just reading through an old Q&A Brandon Sanderson did with the people at the 17th Shard, and I found this question.


    And finally, to speak non-canonically, would burning copper mask someone channeling the one power, and would burning bronze allow one to detect when someone was channeling?

    Uh... You should ask Kelsier. He probably tried it when he hung out with Moiraine.

    Kelsier from Mistborn met Moiraine from WoT..?

    "How do the magic systems in this book you wrote and this book you didn't write work together?"

    "Uh, you should ask the character I wrote who hung out with a character I didn't write."
  4. In Topic: What are you reading and what is on your book stack to read?

    Posted 30 Jul 2014

    I don't think the Editor's job is to rewrite the author's world. The editor should be watching for inconsistencies, errors, and bad writing - not whether a talking sword from one book can appear in another and why it can or can't.

    Or if you just mean one that's defaced, I can spray paint some gang symbols on a copy of Mistborn and toss it your way
  5. In Topic: What Are You Working On Today?

    Posted 30 Jul 2014

    I started watching Knights of Sidonia over the weekend but didn't pay much attention to it. Last night I started watching it for realsies and damn. I'm impressed. It has all the elements I like in an anime - drama, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, conspiracy, character introspection, and mecha vs kaiju action. I dig it. Anyone else given this a chance? I suspect our any weeaboos we have hiding around will hate it and me for liking it haha.

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