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  #181  
Old 04-11-2013, 03:23 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Originally Posted by Garak View Post
This also goes for Suttree, by the way, who has told me several times now that I am not carefully reading the text.
I concur with Suttree and Terez, btw. The issue is not a difference of opinion. Its that your opinions are based on incomplete facts. You completely ignore those parts of the story that contradict your views, either because you didn't read the story closely enough, or because that's the way you roll. When people quote parts of the text that directly contradict your view, you rarely respond to that part of their post. That reeks of you ignoring what you don't like.
  #182  
Old 04-11-2013, 03:46 PM
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Uh oh I was looking for somewhere to discuss this, having just finished it, and everyone on here seems VERY knowledgeable...

For my 2 cents (and I've got to say it to SOMEONE!) I feel I want to criticize BS, perhaps unfairly, due to his "2-dimensionizing" of the whole Matt & Tuon storyline.

He, in my view, basically inverted the storylines in respect to their 'ease\enjoyability of reading' factor.

Matt & Tuon, which I found to be an entrancing new storyline in bk 10 (or so), was what was keeping me involved some of the time. Aybaras sidelines were what I was struggling through. And somehow BS totally inverted that, and disappointed me.

Now that's off my chest I think it seems very clear that BS is concluding another authors work in his attitudes toward the characters. I can't think of any other examples (that i'm familiar with) but it seems clear he enjoyed writing the aybara, trankard arcs, and didn't seem to connect with others. I wonder if this is a result of feeling pressure to write the 'outriggers'..

Everyone feels different things when reading the same book, and have contradictory opinions about it, but BS, while completing a task that I thought impossible at about Lord of Chaos (being concluding this series), stayed too far above the fray. I didn't fear the forsaken at all, my odd crush on Tuon evaporated, and I wasn't buoyed up by Moiraines re-appearance (altho the rescue was well done).

AMMOL seemed the less rewarding of BS's contributions, perhaps due to expectations, but I think perhaps due to his approaching writing it with a 'checklist' of objectives in mind, and not giving the characters enough life.. (well other than his favorites)

Except for a few grinding sections, I always liked the complexity of RJ's universe. It's more like life. At my last job I worked with a someone (new sub character), we got along (arc developing), then I took another job at short notice. I've got no idea what happened to him. There's loose ends too, he owes me $20.
  #183  
Old 04-11-2013, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Garak
When you create tension by putting your characters in danger, you should not completely undermine that tension by having your characters fixate on the most frivolous, trivial problems.
You'd be surprised what people do in such high-stress combat situations. I know I was the first time I experienced that very special brand of fear/terror.

The hat thing made total sense to me as a result of that...same with Elayne fixating on the wagons.
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  #184  
Old 04-11-2013, 04:27 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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You'd be surprised what people do in such high-stress combat situations. I know I was the first time I experienced that very special brand of fear/terror.

The hat thing made total sense to me as a result of that...same with Elayne fixating on the wagons.
Yup. No big surprise that RJ understood this, and included it in his work extensively. The brain does seem to deal with stress by focussing on inane issues that are more immediately solvable.

I remember this friend of mine who was doing his residency, and was paged to handle a crashing patient. This was his first time dealing with a coding patient on his own, and he told me that the thing he remembers most from that time is worrying that he'd be yelled at because his scrubs were wrinkled. He knew that what he was thinking was absurd, yet he couldn't help but think about possible ways to excuse the fact that his scrubs were wrinkled.
  #185  
Old 04-11-2013, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
Yup. No big surprise that RJ understood this, and included it in his work extensively. The brain does seem to deal with stress by focussing on inane issues that are more immediately solvable.

I remember this friend of mine who was doing his residency, and was paged to handle a crashing patient. This was his first time dealing with a coding patient on his own, and he told me that the thing he remembers most from that time is worrying that he'd be yelled at because his scrubs were wrinkled. He knew that what he was thinking was absurd, yet he couldn't help but think about possible ways to excuse the fact that his scrubs were wrinkled.
That's hilarious but not surprising one bit. I can totally get that. I'm guessing Garak has never been in such a situation. RJ, as a combat veteran, nailed that portion of it.

I'd image Weird Harold agrees on that.
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  #186  
Old 04-12-2013, 12:09 AM
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I think, Terez, that you should be very hesitant to make the assumption that anyone whose views differ from yours must be either disingenuous or ill-informed.
I don't have to assume that; you make it clear.

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For instance, it's very possible that I might read the same words you have and find an entirely different meaning in them. You see significance in the fact that Nynaeve is indebted to Alise for the return of her hat and I do not.
The comment I made that started this discussion—"See, when you make arguments like this, you make it difficult to give civil replies."—was not in response to that disagreement, now was it? It was in response to something that was demonstrably wrong.
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  #187  
Old 04-12-2013, 12:58 PM
Garak Garak is offline
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You'd be surprised what people do in such high-stress combat situations. I know I was the first time I experienced that very special brand of fear/terror.

The hat thing made total sense to me as a result of that...same with Elayne fixating on the wagons.

Perhaps but it doesn't make for good reading in my opinion. Having them freakout or even make the odd frantic, ill-considered decision is fine. But the scene is written with such deliberate slowness and the narrator employs such a lethargic style that I, for one, lose any sense of suspense.

But thank you for your reply just the same.
  #188  
Old 04-12-2013, 01:00 PM
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I don't have to assume that; you make it clear.


The comment I made that started this discussion—"See, when you make arguments like this, you make it difficult to give civil replies."—was not in response to that disagreement, now was it? It was in response to something that was demonstrably wrong.
In order to support that, I would have to agree that it is, in fact, demonstrably wrong.
  #189  
Old 04-12-2013, 02:11 PM
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Yup. No big surprise that RJ understood this, and included it in his work extensively. The brain does seem to deal with stress by focussing on inane issues that are more immediately solvable.

I remember this friend of mine who was doing his residency, and was paged to handle a crashing patient. This was his first time dealing with a coding patient on his own, and he told me that the thing he remembers most from that time is worrying that he'd be yelled at because his scrubs were wrinkled. He knew that what he was thinking was absurd, yet he couldn't help but think about possible ways to excuse the fact that his scrubs were wrinkled.
I suspect, Fionwe, that your friend did not start running around like a lunatic, searching for an iron. That would have been equivalent to Nynaeve's reaction. Portraying her frantic thoughts is an excellent move by the author but one expects the hero of a story to take SOME control of herself.

Also

@ Davian

People don't read fantasy for a realistic portrayal of combat. Now, let me be clear: I am not objecting to the fact that Nynaeve thought, “Where's my hat?” in the midst of all this chaos. I am objecting to the fact that the characters seem to have infinite time to bumble about and attend to trivial matters in a scene that should be loaded with suspense. If Nynave had a stray thought about her hat only to put that thought aside because she was too busy stitching someone's wound, THAT would have been just fine. In fact, it would have been the realism that you claim RJ was going for.

Instead, Nynaeve had enough time to search the farm for her hat until Alise finally shoved the thing back onto her head.

This tells us two things.

1) There was no immediate danger.

If there had been, Nynaeve would have been doing something much more important. No danger = no suspense and that is the nature of my objection.

2) In a situation where there is no immediate danger but where a speedy departure is still necessary, Nynaeve does not have the presence of mind to focus on something more important.

My comment about sexism was actually more of an afterthought because it bothers me that RJ consistently portrays his females in this way. And before five or ten of you get all huffy about it, a quote from Lord of Chaos:

Quote:
“If the world is ending, a woman will want time to fix her hair.”
There's a word for that kind of thinking: sexist.

Back to my point about realism.

People don't read fiction for a realistic portrayal of combat. This is because fiction is, for the most part, a form of entertainment and entertainment is supposed to make you feel happy. Fiction is allowed some acceptable breaks from reality for this reason. To use a few non-Wheel of Time examples: Luke Skywalker does not have PTSD even though he should after losing a hand in such a violent way.

Han Solo is not a quivering ball of frayed emotions after waking up from the carbon freezing process. The crime lab in CSI gets results with greater speed and accuracy than any real-world equivalent. Why? Because it's fun to pretend that violent murderers and rapists can be captured with some UV lights and a deeper understanding of “SCIENCE!!!”

Harry Potter should have had a full-blown mental breakdown several times by now but he hasn't. And why? Because young-adult epic fantasy is not the right forum for that kind of writing. I could go on for hours listing the numerous ways fiction breaks from reality and the various reasons why those breaks are not only acceptable but necessary but I think you see my point.
  #190  
Old 04-12-2013, 02:23 PM
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People don't read fiction for a realistic portrayal of combat.
Heh. Not a fan of Joe Abercrombie I take it?

Also no idea why you would propose to speak for anyone other than yourself? Care to support the above claim or did you just pull it out of thin air? As for fantay why would you try to put it in a box as if there is only one way it is supposed to be?

Lastly loved this gem...

Quote:
This is because fiction is, for the most part, a form of entertainment and entertainment is supposed to make you feel happy
I have a lit professor from college that I would love to run the above by and watch him tear it to shreds.
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  #191  
Old 04-12-2013, 02:28 PM
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Support for my claim.

Quote:
Just because a trope is realistic doesn't mean it's good. There is a reason why we have an entire category devoted to Acceptable Breaks from Reality. For example, The Hero gets shot in the shoulder and dies. The Determinator doesn't come into play, no My Name Is Inigo Montoya, nothing. Realistic, maybe, but that is not what we want a hero to do. That's right, one of the most fundamental character archetypes is usually unrealistic. The important thing when writing a story is that it's believable, not that it's real. Reality Is Unrealistic, after all; often people are so used to tropes that it's reality they find jarring
From

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...TropesAreTools

A list of common ways in which fiction deviates from reality

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...aksFromReality
  #192  
Old 04-12-2013, 02:36 PM
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Errmm please tell me you're not serious. That does not support your claim in the slightest.
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  #193  
Old 04-12-2013, 02:39 PM
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People don't read fiction for a realistic portrayal of combat. This is because fiction is, for the most part, a form of entertainment and entertainment is supposed to make you feel happy.
People that read crap like Dan Brown would agree with this. People with taste...not so much.
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  #194  
Old 04-12-2013, 02:58 PM
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I don't want my heros being superheros. I want them to dissociate during high stress. Talk about building suspense. The level-headed hero that thinks on his/her feet and always saves the day is incredibly boring. I love it when the heros get human and it gets them in trouble...or killed. What if she didn't find the hat and it resulted in them being captured? BAM - all of a sudden we have an inner conflict that must be resolved in the character arc.

Yes, Luke should have some relatively severe PTSD based on the shock trauma of losing a hand and the predicator of some fairly severe attachment wounds. If the SW universe were not designed to be kid-friendly, I think this would have made for a FAR more rich and complex story. But, you know, you gotta have ewoks and clean lines for the kids.
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  #195  
Old 04-12-2013, 04:06 PM
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Errmm please tell me you're not serious. That does not support your claim in the slightest.
The point was to demonstrate the way fiction breaks from reality across a broad spectrum of genres.

Quote:
People that read crap like Dan Brown would agree with this. People with taste...not so much.
Do you mean to say that I like Dan Brown? I can promise you that I don't. His books aren't my cup of tea. But I've never found catholic conspiracy theories very interesting.

Quote:
I don't want my heros being superheros. I want them to dissociate during high stress. Talk about building suspense. The level-headed hero that thinks on his/her feet and always saves the day is incredibly boring. I love it when the heros get human and it gets them in trouble...or killed. What if she didn't find the hat and it resulted in them being captured? BAM - all of a sudden we have an inner conflict that must be resolved in the character arc.
Yes, but that isn't what happened is it?

More to the point, do you realy think that would have made for an interesting character arc? Try to picture Nynaeve in a damane collar, saying the words "None of this would have happened if i hadn't gone searching for that hat."

If she had been written that way, I would have lumped her into the too dumb to live category and considered the collar to be her just deserts.

I agree that characters should demonstrate fear and anxiety in the face of looming danger but none of them do this. Nynaeve treats finding the hat as a mild annoyance. Elayne checks on the ter'angreal and then spends a few paragraphs thinking about how they're hers goddamnit! And the Hall has no right to take them away. That seems to be her biggest concern. Aviendha sits down in the grass, makes small talk and then giggles at Elayne's frustration. The rest is nothing more than a summary of the various ways that Alise put hands on her hips, scowled and set the other women about their business. There is nothing inherently suspenseful about any of this.

The closest thing we get to a suspenseful thought is when Elayne notes that she would rather die than be collared. But that isn't enough to carry the scene.

And this goes back to what I was saying yesterday. Suttree, please take note of this. My first instinct was to say "read the scene again and you'll see what I'm talking about." What I've summarized for you above is exactly what happened. However, rather than telling you that you'll agree with me if you just read it again - carefully this time - I think it's important to acknowledge the possibility that I might have missed something and take your responses seriously. I may not agree with you but that doesn't mean you don't have anything of value to say.

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  #196  
Old 04-12-2013, 04:26 PM
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Another point about suspense.

Sometimes something bad has to happen in order for the reader to take the threat seriously. When I suggested that Seanchan troops should have shown up in the middle of their evacuation, it was because the presence of those troops would make the danger real.

What would happen if - in the middle of the evacuation - the first Kinswoman flinched only to look down and find an arrow in her chest. Ivhon, you have a point that the threat of violence can create suspense without violence actually taking place but the problem is that by this point I know RJ.

And he's rather predictable.

Earlier in the novel, Birgitte and Lan made a big fuss about how important it was to leave the Tarasin palace right then and there because the Forsaken could show up at any moment. A looming threat that never amounted to anything.

Moridin was right there but even with him present, nothing bad happened. It becomes like the boy who cried wolf.

RJ: Watch out for Aram. He's getting dangerous. Look at that dark glint in his eye? See it? He could snap at any moment.

Oh there he goes!

And now he's taken an arrow to the chest before he had a chance to do any real damage.

RJ never makes good on his threats so why should I feel suspense just because he's bringing up something else that COULD go wrong?
  #197  
Old 04-12-2013, 05:50 PM
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r
RJ never makes good on his threats so why should I feel suspense just because he's bringing up something else that COULD go wrong?
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  #198  
Old 04-13-2013, 06:18 AM
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Yes, Luke should have some relatively severe PTSD based on the shock trauma of losing a hand and the predicator of some fairly severe attachment wounds. If the SW universe were not designed to be kid-friendly, I think this would have made for a FAR more rich and complex story. But, you know, you gotta have ewoks and clean lines for the kids.
Good point. Olver should've been saved by Ewoks. Then he could have used the Horn to lead them to victory.
  #199  
Old 04-13-2013, 08:51 PM
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So...because Lucas was a hack, RJ should have been too?

I guess GRRM is ridiculously popular because he's a hack who follows fiction tropes too, right?
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  #200  
Old 04-14-2013, 01:32 AM
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So...because Lucas was a hack, RJ should have been too?

I guess GRRM is ridiculously popular because he's a hack who follows fiction tropes too, right?
My friend, do you deliberately go out of your way to misrepresent what people say or is this an honour that you've reserved for me in particular?

First, my favourite movie in the Star Wars saga was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. Second, at no point did I ever compare RJ to George Lucas. I used Luke Skywalker's severed hand as a convenient example of one of the many ways in which fiction is allowed to break from reality. I chose that particular example because I've been floating around on this site for several months prior to my first post and I've witnessed you quoting Star Wars on more than one occasion. I knew that you'd be familiar with the story.

George R. R. Martin.

In a previous post, I pointed out that sometimes bad things need to happen to our heroes in order to keep the suspense alive. George R.R. Martin takes this to the opposite extreme. In his work, bad things are guaranteed to happen, particularly to the characters that have become most popular. If you like a character in Song of Ice and Fire, then you can rest assured that that character will be killed, maimed, tortured or psychologically broken. The irony is that this creates the very same problem that RJ struggles with. There is no suspense because you can easily predict the outcome of what is going to happen.

RJ keeps the kid gloves on to the point where Rand is literally saved by a FLOCK OF BIRDS that get in the way of an assassin's arrow. He has literally written deus ex machina into the story as a plot device. GM, on the other hand, slaughters his characters until the cast of the fifth book in no way resembles the cast of the first. Both of these are extremes on a spectrum and both of them are examples of terrible writing. All things in moderation. If you want your reader to feel suspense, then it needs to be clear in his mind that the outcome of this particular conflict could go either way. He should never be too sure that a character will walk out unscathed but he shouldn't expect them to die either. It's a difficult line to walk but many good sci-fi/fantasy authors manage it.

Some examples for you:

Jon Scalzi
Jim Butcher
J.K. Rowling
Peter Brett
Brent Weeks
Karen Miller
Tanya Huff
Tad Williams

and, oh yes...

Brandon Sanderson.

You see, Davian, I'm replying to you with a summary of my opinions and the reasons behind those opinions but all you do is insult me. Your first post to me went to the tune of "this is why we need negative rep." Then you told me I have bad taste. Now, you've decided to put words in my mouth.

You haven't upset me, if that's what you're wondering, but if you can't come up with anything more substantive than repeated ad hominems, I'm just going to stop replying to you. Suttree's views are the polar opposite of my own but I've come to like him quite a bit because he at least presents a reasoned, rational argument. He treats me with enough respect to reply to what I've said and offer his own take on it.

He doesn't have to agree with me for me to like and respect him. You, on the other hand... Frankly, you're rude. The anonymity of the Internet is no excuse for bad manners.

Decide for yourself if you want to continue taking part in this discussion. As far as I'm concerned, we have nothing left to say to each other.
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