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WinespringBrother 10-24-2012 08:59 AM

Wheel of Time Literary Critique
 
To prevent various threads from going off-topic with discussions/dissections/complaints/criticisms of RJ and BS's writing styles, we have created this thread to cover any related posts. All posts from other threads regarding this subject will be moved here. This is a spoiler thread for all books through AMOL so no spoiler tags will be needed. Any inflammatory posts will be subjected to editing or deletion at moderator discretion. Please keep this discussion constructive and civil.

Thank you!

Zombie Sammael 10-24-2012 03:57 PM

Wheel of Time Literary Critique
 
I listened to it first of all, and couldn't get over how bad the reading was. It had this bizarre sing-songy quality to it as if the reader was a ham actor performing Shakespeare in iambic pentameter. It was very off-putting. For that reason I didn't really notice the flaws in the dialogue, but transcribing it later it did feel very much like RJ's writing... just not RJ's best writing, sadly.

Tollingtoy 10-24-2012 04:09 PM

I've been so desperate to find out what happens in this story that I've been much less critical of Brandon's writing than some have. However, this chapter and the Mat chapter that was released are laughably bad. The dialogue is very banal and forced to such a degree that I have laughed out loud while reading it.

It is very disappointing to see this happening and I pray that the full book does not share many of these characteristics. I get "not trying to emulate RJ's style", but it should still be written well. I have never read any of Brandon's other work, is it as bad as this is?

I like what Terez said earlier, because it quite literally feels like fan fiction

Davian93 10-24-2012 04:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tollingtoy (Post 202472)
I've been so desperate to find out what happens in this story that I've been much less critical of Brandon's writing than some have. However, this chapter and the Mat chapter that was released are laughably bad. The dialogue is very banal and forced to such a degree that I have laughed out loud while reading it.

It is very disappointing to see this happening and I pray that the full book does not share many of these characteristics. I get "not trying to emulate RJ's style", but it should still be written well. I have never read any of Brandon's other work, is it as bad as this is?


No, he's actually pretty good at writing his own characters for the most part.

The Way of Kings (his foray into epic fantasy along the lines of WoT) is a solid first book of a series.

suttree 10-24-2012 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davian93 (Post 202473)
No, he's actually pretty good at writing his own characters for the most part.

The Way of Kings (his foray into epic fantasy along the lines of WoT) is a solid first book of a series.

This to me is a big part of what is so dissapointing. Some people fly to BS's defense saying "he's not trying to sound like RJ!!!", yes we understand and have all read the same interviews. It's not that he isn't doing as good a job as RJ can, it's that he's not doing as good a job as Brandon can. I was excited about the extra time taken this go round but based of what has been released so far I have very little hope that this will turn out well. This is the final book upon which RJ's legacy will be judged and just getting to read the end of the story is not good enough. Pretty bummed to be honest.

sleepinghour 10-24-2012 06:07 PM

At least we have the upcoming Rand/Aviendha sex scene to look forward to. That should play to Brandon's strengths as a writer. :D

Quote:

Aran'gar and Delana began to exchange affections on the chaise.

Great Lord of the Dark 10-24-2012 07:53 PM

I liked it!
 
Of course, after the last year dissecting Jordan's writing, I have no expectation that anyone's writing comes close to Jordan's, so disappointment with new chapters is hard to come by.

Brandon's style is direct and blunt by turns, but entertaining. The effect is no worse than X-Men or any comic which gets a new writer every year.

What I find most interesting is that he is being skimpy on description, and jumping points of view within every chapter. This likely means a lot of ground has to be covered, and he's trying to create excitement through brevity, by being to the point so as to lead you through the section quickly and ramp up the pace of the book. By starting at a breakneck pace, it'll be harder to pull back for any introspection without wrecking the intesity he's trying to craft. That'll be trouble. I expect most of the book will follow the pattern he's set up here. Also, by starting off with a bang, the scale of battles should only ever get bigger, leading up to the final conflict. this is either going to feel jumpy, or it will have an intensity that drives us to read, read, read as fast as we can. I think we'll overcome the jumpiness very soon.

Logain as the last man standing of the Black Tower seems like a mirror plot for Rand vs. the Dark One. We'll either get a clue as to how he's supposed to win, or a warning about the big mistake he's about to make as the result of Logain's plotline.

The double bond makes total sense. From the get-go, men and women working together have been how the greatest works were done. The One Power itself symbolizes this. After driving a huge wedge between the males and females in The Fires of Heaven, there's been a slow reconciliation. The ultimate expression of men and women working together is the double bond, and the circle. This arrangement is central to the final conflict, and was planned long ago. There's a reason we haven't seen long points of view from anyone in a special male-female circle or bond.

Overall, it is always jarring going straight from Jordan's writing to Sanderson's, but still enjoyable. The major symbolism is in the plots, the lesser symbolism in the descriptions. If Brandon does fewer examples of the symbolic descriptions, he can't escape or deviate from the major plotlines, and he writes a mean action sequence. It feels awkward here, but it should feel smooth later on.

Thanks Tor for the audio, Brandon for the words, and uploaders for the transcript. A10/V10.

Dom 10-24-2012 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Terez (Post 202479)
Dom—That reminds me of something that bothered me in the prologue that I never mentioned. Androl thinking about how clever Emarin was with insults. If your characters are being clever with insults, you don't have to insult the intelligence of your readers by saying so, nor do you have to diminish the maturity of your character by having him say so.

Yes, that's it exactly. It's the KevinJAndorsonitis all right.

It's like Brandon can't just put "insert a really clever insult here" as he drafts, and later actually spend the necessary time and intellectual effort to come up with one.

In that respect, his and plotting and writing are terribly lazy. He doesn't take the time to polish his dialogue. Instead of making the effort to come up with a very intelligent exchange and demonstrating the intelligence by adding subtext and inner thoughts of the POV character, he just writes a stupid line and spells out the character is supposed to be very intelligent. It's very annoying.

The other very bad and lazy habit he's developped is that instead of making the effort of studying the thought patterns, the little languages quirks that made each character unique, he seems to go through a personal/cultural catalogue or checklist. The way Brandon writes Aviendha, you'd think she came out of the Waste a few days ago, not to mention that it's like she's going in circles, thinking about the same topics since TGS. He's got few RJ-written POVs to work with, so he keeps using the same Aiel cultural stuff over and over again (mind you, when he invents new ones or picks some from the notes he tries to integrate, it's generally even worse...). It's astounding the space Brandon loses giving us information and observations that not only don't fit well, but that so late in the series we don't need all the while not making the efforts of including the stuff we would need. Those inner thoughts are vital, they each followed a unique pattern and they played a large part in making the characters feel like who they were. And the number of extraneous scenes, and extraneous action during scenes (must we "see" each and every messenger a character sends or receives? What happened to character noticing the other left an unopened letter on the table?)) is simply astounding, it's like Brandon never heard about ellipses (except, in his own books he's perfectly able to do that it's rather like he's never really managed to get a proper level of control over the WOT project, it continues to overwhelm him)

I'm surprised every time someone comments Brandon writes "shorter" than RJ. His scenes are shorter, but he's got tons of stuff happening on screen that RJ would have simply cut, to refer to those events via other POV, if the readers really needed to know... Gawyn's inflated arc is a prime example - it's appalling how many POVs and pages Brandon has needed to write that story. Typically, we might have gotten one Gawyn shortish POV in Dorlan (typically prologue stuff) where he learned Egwene's captive, and he is thorn, and then nothing until suddenly he interrupted a Siuan/Bryne scene with a sudden arrival, his growing frustration mentionned only via observations of Siuan from then on (we didn't need a Lelaine scene making completely irrelevant and stupid inquiries about orchards in Andor (!) we just needed a reference by Siuan that Lelaine was manipulating Gawyn, until as a last resort Siuan went to him for the rescue. For the rest, we needed one confrontation with Egwene, and one conversation with Elayne or Bryne or Siuan, not three scenes of the same whining and self-pity, with each of them in turn...

There's an amazing amount of fluff (like most of the new Pevara scene...) and too little substantial stuff in what Brandon has written. Really not surprising he's taken three big books when RJ planned one really huge one (which likely would have ended up split over two WH-sized volumes after he finished the whole, because of publication constraints)

Ieyasu 10-24-2012 08:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chapter 2
Instead, he seized her! She was pulled into a tempestuous link

And the tempest's start again... I was hoping to make it through AMoL book without seeing that word... guess not...

Seriously, he needs a new thesaurus.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chapter 2
The link brought with it a storm of awareness.

I just KNOW that used to read: "a tempest of awareness"

so maybe they DID actually try to take out all the instances of tempest in the manuscript... but I wont believe it till I read it...

I am starting to get a bad feeling about this conclusion... I hope it does the series justice.

Ieyasu 10-24-2012 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1Powerslave (Post 202517)
Now there is a storm of criticism, funny that.

Would you say its a tempest of criticism?

Weiramon 10-24-2012 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sleepinghour (Post 202503)
That should play to Brandon's strengths as a writer.

Aye, that sets the blood pounding. As good a romp since the Affairs of the Hart and Stag.

kivo 10-24-2012 09:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dom (Post 202514)
Yes, that's it exactly. It's the KevinJAndorsonitis all right.

C'mon man, KJA? That's a low blow.

Logain is coming to kick ass and take names. Looking forward to it.

Dom 10-24-2012 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kivo (Post 202521)
C'mon man, KJA? That's a low blow.

Logain is coming to kick ass and take names. Looking forward to it.

He's a much better storyteller than KJA in many ways, and I would never compare his own novels to KJA's (not that he would mind, Brandon thinks KJA's great), but they're still comparable in some aspects, and they share a few irritating habits as writers (including their reliance on way too many scenes, with too redundant stuff in them). It's a a bit of a puzzle with Brandon, as unlike KJA who does it all the time Brandon did it only for WOT, as if he had a lot of problems envisioning the project he had not conceived himself as a whole. His own books are much better balanced and structured, but the WOT books reads as he wrote them, disparate and often not very balanced story lines hastily assembled together in awkward ways.

neurotopia 10-25-2012 12:31 AM

As bad as the writing in Chapter 2 is, it is understandable for the characters in that situation. I would still never compare it to the abortions KJA produced in the Dune saga.

Tedman 10-25-2012 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Terez (Post 202479)
Dom—That reminds me of something that bothered me in the prologue that I never mentioned. Androl thinking about how clever Emarin was with insults. If your characters are being clever with insults, you don't have to insult the intelligence of your readers by saying so, nor do you have to diminish the maturity of your character by having him say so.

TT—I doubt it. I think Logain sent them both in to inspect, like Rand did with Naeff, one by one.

This is what my friends and I call the Dune effect.


If you were making fun of Dune, it is basically the same thing.

Paul - "I know Gurney I'm sitting with my back to the door... I heard you, Dr Yueh and Gurney coming down the hallway"
Thuffir - "Those sounds could be IMMITATED"
Paul - "I'd know the difference..."
Thuffir - yesss maybe he would have
Paul - yes I would have
Thuffir - Yes... yes he would have

The one line of italics is what RJ would write. The next two is what Brandon adds.

1Powerslave 10-25-2012 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ieyasu (Post 202518)
Would you say its a tempest of criticism?

I don't know if either of those words suffice on their own, maybe it's time to bring them toghether to accurately describe the storming tempest of criticism. Storm Tempest. Wait, Dread Tempest!

neurotopia 10-25-2012 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tedman (Post 202530)
How dare you sir.

He started with the X-wing Star Wars novels. Get your god damn facts straight.

Which were at least entertaining by the virtue of my comparative lack of expectations. With Dune I expect something more insightful and deep, not a ticking-off of plot points and calling it a day.

Davian93 10-25-2012 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neurotopia (Post 202580)
Which were at least entertaining by the virtue of my comparative lack of expectations. With Dune I expect something more insightful and deep, not a ticking-off of plot points and calling it a day.

Though it should be mentioned he is also responsible for the abortions that were the Admiral Daala SW books...aka Jedi Academy Trilogy. Those books were pretty much the nadir of early SW novels. Up there with Truce at Bakura for fan-fic level of writing ability.

GonzoTheGreat 10-25-2012 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SamJ (Post 202532)
Ahhh! I tell myself again and again to make allowances for BS - but no. This stuff is just depressing. I know it's not RJ so am alert for every little thing and getting thrown out of the story all over the place. And I know this and am trying to stop myself. AND I have what feels like the collective voice of Theoryland in my head reminding me of each issue. At this rate AMOL will drive me crazy ....

That's the point, isn't it?
It will get worse and worse, until you feel like abandoning all hope. And then, when you're totally at the bottom, you'll remember that RJ wrote the end. Hence, "a memory of light".

Sid 10-25-2012 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat (Post 202588)
That's the point, isn't it?
It will get worse and worse, until you feel like abandoning all hope. And then, when you're totally at the bottom, you'll remember that RJ wrote the end. Hence, "a memory of light".

But how are we supposed to know that if we're not told explicitly that it's a metaphor?


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