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Planned Seanchan Attack on the White Tower...


Morden
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I wish the people that ended up slamming him were the same people that had already slammed RJ's books rather than the other way around.

Hear hear. I think the problem is that we were all so thankful to Brandon for taking up the project that we strained to emphasize the good and dismiss the bad about TGS (I honestly think Jason's stellar review made me even more eager to like it). By the time we got around to reading those books a couple more times and phrasing our remarks in a less positive light (which, naturally, was also a matter of knowing that we're not the only ones to find some shortcomings in TeamJ's work) it was too late for our feedback to be effective (side note; have you guys also notices that Brandon stopped being as attentive on his Twitter account around that time, or is it just me he's apparently ignoring now?).

 

Not that I blame anyone. It's exceedingly difficult to face Harriet and the rest of TeamJ, and say that you think Jim's legacy wasn't handled as well as it might've been. And in all truth, it's not that surprising that we're not completely satisfied; even Harriet, Jim's wife and editor of who-knows-how-many-years, isn't him. She can't be expected to produce the same product he would've (regardless of what functions she filled for him when they worked together; it was still his books, not hers). It's just the frustration of going from the mind-set of "I'm so glad tWoT is being written, and written well" to "hmm, perhaps this and that should've been done better" and "ah, so it's not going to be better after all" that's difficult to handle, I think (that is, if we hadn't reacted that well to TGS, it would've been easier to keep our expectations lower).

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Well, there's this, too. I can think of two instances where are writer took time off from his own work and when he finally put out the sequels or prequels, people were upset with the product. The new Star Wars films and the last book of the Gunslinger series (Stephen King).

In this case you have a guy who has to write something that isn't even his own work to begin with. I'm sure on the reread I'll find things I don't like, I'm just more thankful at their being an ending. I also don't know what he could have done differently. What I mean is, let's say he took the advice of the WoT fans, we obviously all don't agree with what we'd like to see or how some characters should be portrayed, I'm not sure how much that would help him.

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Well, if you'll go over what we've said again, you'll note that the bulk of criticism focuses on process issues and prose, such as the fact that he overly-relies on his editorial staff for parts of the job that should be his (an example of that is that the staff even gets to see his first draft of the book -- naturally not the very first version he wrote, but still a far cry from a polished product; another is his essentially 'quitting' before the book goes to the presses, leaving minor continuity repairs to the rest of TeamJ), that he repeatedly rehashes information that readers really already know, that he tends to tell us what's going on or what people are thinking instead of showing us through events or expressions, that he beats us over the head with revelations that we're all too capable of understanding on our own, that certain characters act inconsistently when faced with different rivals (e.g. a superbly insightful Egwene who has not once but twice dwelt on the necessity of Rand's being free to fulfill the prophecies -- when faced with short-visioned AS -- never once questions the possibility that his ideas and plans might have merit when faced with Rand himself), or that his prose lacks polish. These are not issues where you'd find a whole lot of disagreement -- some people don't notice or don't mind, but there's not really place for debate on whether or not that has been going on.

 

Now, of course we each have reservations of a different nature. One of mine, for example, is the fact that I can't see either Elayne or Thom refer to Elayne's ascension as a 'Succession' (capital 's'). But that is highly subjective, and not the real point of contention here.

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Not to mention, who knows what the man has to deal with to get the job done. Apparently, from what I read here, there's a mountain of notes and yet plenty of unwritten blanks and unanswered questions. Personally, I think the guy would probably get slammed for whatever he did by someone.

Absolutely. And there's many things RJ did as a writer that I didn't necessarily like. Six pages describing a wagon train? Really? Two and a half books rescuing a person no one really likes anyway (you know who I mean)? But in the big picture, I LOVE this series. The immersion, the history planned out, no signs of "retconning" to fit things introduced in book one. Brandon had a lot to fill in, and scant (sometimes) direction to follow. So trying to tie this all together AND sound well written, when it's not even your baby to begin with... My hat is off to Brandon for taking up the baton and running it to the finish line.

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Well, if you'll go over what we've said again, you'll note that the bulk of criticism focuses on process issues and prose, such as the fact that he overly-relies on his editorial staff for parts of the job that should be his (an example of that is that the staff even gets to see his first draft of the book -- naturally not the very first version he wrote, but still a far cry from a polished product; another is his essentially 'quitting' before the book goes to the presses, leaving minor continuity repairs to the rest of TeamJ), that he repeatedly rehashes information that readers really already know, that he tends to tell us what's going on or what people are thinking instead of showing us through events or expressions, that he beats us over the head with revelations that we're all too capable of understanding on our own, that certain characters act inconsistently when faced with different rivals (e.g. a superbly insightful Egwene who has not once but twice dwelt on the necessity of Rand's being free to fulfill the prophecies -- when faced with short-visioned AS -- never once questions the possibility that his ideas and plans might have merit when faced with Rand himself), or that his prose lacks polish. These are not issues where you'd find a whole lot of disagreement -- some people don't notice or don't mind, but there's not really place for debate on whether or not that has been going on.

 

Now, of course we each have reservations of a different nature. One of mine, for example, is the fact that I can't see either Elayne or Thom refer to Elayne's ascension as a 'Succession' (capital 's'). But that is highly subjective, and not the real point of contention here.

 

+1

 

In addition I find it odd that some people think of criticism it as bashing or not being grateful for an ending. Nothing could be farther from the case. A careful studied critique of a literary work is about the highest respect you can pay an author. Having said that I think it is somewhat insulting to an author to say, "well the writing is fairly bad but that's ok, its not your world and were just stoked to see the finish". In fact I think there is a direct line you can draw from the success of the WoT and initial "fan gratification" type praise(before careful study of the actual writing was done) to his stalled growth as an author and shrugging off the things he doesn't do well.

 

As for what you mention above it is indeed not a matter of fans disagreeing. Process issues and then obviously unpolished prose are all too plain for everyone to see. Further the "tell not show" style is almost universally regarded within the literary world as a sign of poor writing. Not much to debate there.

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If people don't like the man's writing style, that's understandable and a question of taste, but as much as I truly like these books there have been grammatical errors and misspelling of words since the beginning.

 

I actually find it very odd.

 

As for rehashing what the reader already knows, would you mind giving an example of two? Because, that seems to have been done since book 2.

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And who knows, maybe Brandon was right, this time around. Maybe he had fixed his own problems and Harriets demands for more time truly weren't necessary

Necessary or not, I don't believe it was used. Quite frankly, it was disheartening to watch the video recording of that convention (you know the one, where your liking of Cads was mentioned) and hearing Harriet speaking about the delay.

 

It was painfully obvious that if she had any concerns about the time-frame, those focused on not pushing Brandon, Maria, Alan and herself too hard rather than on actually managing to do a better job, and either way those concerns took a backseat to the question of timing. The November date Tor had in mind was too late for AMoL to enjoy the Holidays sales period in the way she believed it deserves (she actually mentions worrying that many stores might not get around to putting it on the shelves in time if it was released after 11/20).

 

From there, realizing that Brandon only handed-in the first draft after Christmas (it was due on 11/8, before he left for the Alloy tour), and that the entire process was done by July, leaves me with almost no doubts as to the superiority of their process this time around, as opposed to what they did with TGS and AMoL. In a nutshell, my greatest fear, confirmed.

 

I dunno... in the end I'm blurry on Harriet. I have had no direct interaction with her--even the interview I did through Maria. I do get the sense that the wait was about more than purely the sales window, that there was a genuine intention to put more effort into the quality--but when I've tried to lock down on why I think that I'm hard pressed to produce any evidence to support it. Maybe it's just what I want to believe.

 

I will say this much, I did, initially, take Brandon's bitterness towards Harriet in regards to delay as a hopeful sign, as wierd as that may seem. By that point in time he had made it apparent to me that he did not regard there as being any great need for extra work on his part--that he was very content with his efforts to date, with only a small need for continuity checking that had already been accounted for in the November release timeframe and deadline. From that, I took the thought that maybe Harriet, faced with the same refusal, had decided to try and work past him extra on the editing side to compensate--the bitterness, I thought, was likely due to the inherent judgement when Brandon regarded the work as done.

 

In hindsight, that was entirely my hope reading into the situation, and likely why I've been more inclined to be a Harriet-apologist than a Brandon-apologist. Looking at it objectively, Brandon's anger makes perfect sense--he had promised the fans a November release and Harriet had over-ruled him without even so much as a 'by the way we're gonna do this'.

 

So yeah, I don't know... it may be as cut and dried as the sales window, or Harriet may indeed have quality concerns, and wants to play them close to the chest. One interview does not always tell truly--the reason we can feel comfortable about assessing Brandon is the amount of material we have to look at. We have very little on Harriet's thoughts or positions, and we should bear that in mind.

 

EDIT: wait, what argument between Terez and Peter? Twitter-search fails me again.

 

I'm not going to quote it, because its huge, but if you search for 'Luckers circle' (without the quotation marks) on the theoryland database, its the third entry down.

 

I meant to say, it seems the extra time was used to let Brandon keep a saner schedule, and to produce the book with comfort, but not actually for a lengthier editing process (I've heard talk of 7 drafts from Brandon this time around, but the last two weren't very serious by his accounts, and I'm also deeply troubled by his announcement of conclusion before any beta-readers have seen this book). I meant to say "TGS and ToM", sorry about that.

 

Honestly, as far as I can tell Brandon kept more or less the same schedule and writing methodology as he always does--it seems almost to be a compulsion in him. He did set aside a little more time for continuity checks and work on the timeline and all that, but remember that he doesn't hugely regard that as his responsibility so much as Team Jordans--his side of the game he ragards as fine, even in TofM.

 

Admitedly the schedule will be calmer, especially without Way of Kings, but my vibe is Brandon writes like Brandon writes, and more time wouldn't change that in any form--either for the better or for the worse.

 

As for the 'drafts', I don't get the impression they were serious re-writes or revisions. Certainly I doubt they were anything above and beyond what Brandon did for TofM or tGS, other than perhaps a slightly stricter eye for typos.

 

Hear hear. I think the problem is that we were all so thankful to Brandon for taking up the project that we strained to emphasize the good and dismiss the bad about TGS (I honestly think Jason's stellar review made me even more eager to like it). By the time we got around to reading those books a couple more times and phrasing our remarks in a less positive light (which, naturally, was also a matter of knowing that we're not the only ones to find some shortcomings in TeamJ's work) it was too late for our feedback to be effective (side note; have you guys also notices that Brandon stopped being as attentive on his Twitter account around that time, or is it just me he's apparently ignoring now?).

No, this did occur, notably, around the same time as the Twitter argument I linked above. The honeymoon period ended, and rather than sit up and take note, Brandon distanced himself from the criticism, retreating more and more from the 'hard core' fans, and placing more and more emphasis on the value of the emails coming in from the 'casual' fans, the ones who casualness permitted a longer honeymoon period than the rest of us.

 

I think that of all Brandon's mistakes, hiding from them was his greatest, and it will come back and bite him in the long run. The honeymoon will wear off for even the most casual fan eventually.

 

Not that I blame anyone. It's exceedingly difficult to face Harriet and the rest of TeamJ, and say that you think Jim's legacy wasn't handled as well as it might've been. And in all truth, it's not that surprising that we're not completely satisfied; even Harriet, Jim's wife and editor of who-knows-how-many-years, isn't him. She can't be expected to produce the same product he would've (regardless of what functions she filled for him when they worked together; it was still his books, not hers). It's just the frustration of going from the mind-set of "I'm so glad tWoT is being written, and written well" to "hmm, perhaps this and that should've been done better" and "ah, so it's not going to be better after all" that's difficult to handle, I think (that is, if we hadn't reacted that well to TGS, it would've been easier to keep our expectations lower).

 

I've often said that its not that Brandon didn't produce a book as good as what Jim could have managed, but rather that he didn't produce as good a book as what he could of managed that is the cause of my disatisfaction.

 

I also don't know what he could have done differently. What I mean is, let's say he took the advice of the WoT fans, we obviously all don't agree with what we'd like to see or how some characters should be portrayed, I'm not sure how much that would help him.

 

It wouldn't. If it could have, then the beta readers or Team Jordan would have served that role. But the fact is that even the most knowledgeable fan could have only done so much to assist Brandon--this is actually why we're having problems, in part, because to a very great degree Brandon did try and do this with both the betas and Team Jordan--all deeper questions, technicalities, continuity issues, he regarded as their responsibility, and they simply did not have the time to manage that, and worse, they weren't in a position to do so. What should have been resources there for the author to use, were instead being asked to do the work themselves. Instead of him coming to, say, the timeline and going 'okay, it's time to work on the timeline, Alan, advise me', he's gone 'I can't do the timeline. That's Alan's responsibility', same with the continuity and the character integrities, and so on.

 

So no, you are quite right--whilst there are fans who could be a great resource for Brandon, they can't, and could never, help him with this. But, in answer to your question of what he could have done differently, is that he could have tried. Yes, it would have been a big step outside his comfort zone. Yes, it would have ment taking on responsibility for elements that are outside of his skillset. Yes, he would never, ever have gotten as good as RJ--but the things he would have learned would have made him a better writer, and in the end I think that's all we could have ever asked of him--that he try, and that he do his best.

 

He did not do that. Instead, he looked upon those elements he would have struggled with, and put them outside the scope of his personal responsibility, choosing instead to only work within the scope of his normal writing. That was, I think, a mistake. The books suffered for it, and his growth as a writer has flatlined because of it--not the least because the resultantly swift release and the subsequent combination of plot and fan gratification meant that he was rewarded for it, and that is on us--but still....

 

What's worse, too, is whilst I believe that should have been his mindset from the beginning--that when he chose to accept responsibility for the Wheel he should have prepared himself for the fact that it would--and should--have challenged him as a writer, forcing him to go further, reach deeper and achieve more than he ever had before--I still would have supported him to the hilt for not achieving that in tGS and TofM because it wasn't immediately made clear, in the response, that he wasn't reaching the level he should be striving for. The problem is that when it was made apparent, he retreated from the information. This is the flipside of your point, Thisguy--the fans, no matter how great, could provide the answer for this--but they could show Brandon the problem, in their simple utterence, he could have percieved, and looked to fix it.

 

He didn't. He retreated from contact with the fans expressing it, as Yoni observed, and instead placed increasing emphasis on the so-called 'casual fans', presumably because it allowed him to make the same eroneous assessment that can be inferred from your statement if we look at in the abstract--being that the complaints were merely the result of the delicate sensibilities of a handful of obsessive fans suffering from a heightened sense of entitlement.

 

And that was a grave mistake also--the gravest. Because so doing he is not disagreeing with the criticisms--if he'd wanted to disagree, more power to him. As author he maintains the final authority, and disagreeing in itself can be useful, because that act alone can inform a person through the sheer reality that understanding why someone else is wrong, and what their wrong about, means you've attained an understanding of what is under discussion. But it was not disagreeing. It was disregarding. And whilst that saves Brandon from having to face the responsibility of either disagreeing or agreeing, it was foolish, because again that would have been one of those 'outside-his-comfort-zone' moments that likely would have taught him a great deal, irrespective of whether the fans were right or wrong.

 

So, again, what could he have done differently? Learned, grown, stretched himself, risked personal failure by accepting responsibility even for the elements that he is not good at. In effect, he could have done anything other than just what he was comfortable with. That may be a harsh judgement, but there it is.

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How interesting would it be to be a fly on the wall in Team Jordan's meetings (if such a thing exists)? I used to think this simply to get nuggets of information on what happens in the book. Now, it would almost be more interesting to see how they interacted with each other, although it might be the same kind of fascinating as watching the Hindenburg go up in flames or the Titanic sinking. Or Elaida's Council meetings.

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Thanks, Luckers. The only thing I can say to that is that, perhaps the time constraints made it impossible for him to do the timelines, etc on the first two books??? I'm not sure. And, I just want to say, I have never read any of BS's books, didn't know who he was before and am not related to or friends with him. Hahaha....

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Thanks, Luckers. The only thing I can say to that is that, perhaps the time constraints made it impossible for him to do the timelines, etc on the first two books??? I'm not sure. And, I just want to say, I have never read any of BS's books, didn't know who he was before and am not related to or friends with him. Hahaha....

 

Ummm. It did and it didn't. The demand for swift delivery from us was something akin to a group of unruly children screaming at the tops of their lungs, and that can't have been helpful--but I do regard it as being their responsibility to have looked at the book objectively and realised more work was needed, even if it then brought a whiney form of hellfire down upon them.

 

That being said, they didn't try. Brandon churned out what he churned out, and shrugged aside the elements that made him uncomfortable--which allowed for that swift delivery, but was not caused by it. *shrug*

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Thanks, Luckers. The only thing I can say to that is that, perhaps the time constraints made it impossible for him to do the timelines, etc on the first two books??? I'm not sure. And, I just want to say, I have never read any of BS's books, didn't know who he was before and am not related to or friends with him. Hahaha....

 

Ummm. It did and it didn't. The demand for swift delivery from us was something akin to a group of unruly children screaming at the tops of their lungs, and that can't have been helpful--but I do regard it as being their responsibility to have looked at the book objectively and realised more work was needed, even if it then brought a whiney form of hellfire down upon them.

 

That being said, they didn't try. Brandon churned out what he churned out, and shrugged aside the elements that made him uncomfortable--which allowed for that swift delivery, but was not caused by it. *shrug*

 

It always shocked me that there was such a vocal group believing the work could be done properly in that short a period of time(especially once the issues were so obvious in TGS and ToM and then there was still such an outcry over this most recent push back of AMoL). Then of course to make it worse were those that felt we somehow deserved a book in that short period of time with no thought to what the long term consequence would be. What is waiting six more months for a book that will be with you for the rest of your life...

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It's interesting to hear this, and I appreciate it. While RJ took only a year for the first 4-5 books to be written, it took two for most of the rest. I kinda feel for BS. I don't know what went on between himself and team RJ.

 

Does anybody know who it was who decided that the books would take a year (or more in the last installment) to come out? It could be that BS decided to only give one year for each book (he does have his own life and his own ideas) or it may have been team RJ. I don't know.

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It's interesting to hear this, and I appreciate it. While RJ took only a year for the first 4-5 books to be written, it took two for most of the rest.

 

You have to keep in mind however that he had a large amount of material already done which allowed him to keep that initial pace.

 

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It's interesting to hear this, and I appreciate it. While RJ took only a year for the first 4-5 books to be written, it took two for most of the rest.

 

You have to keep in mind however that he had a large amount of material already done which allowed him to keep that initial pace.

absolutely. not to mention, it is his baby - his creation. I feel for BS.

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It always shocked me that there was such a vocal group believing the work could be done properly in that short a period of time(especially once the issues were so obvious in TGS and ToM and then there was still such an outcry over this most recent push back of AMoL).

You're looking at it all wrong. It's not "give me the perfect book I know you're going to, and do it fast", but rather "give me the book I know you're going to give me anyway, and do it fast". Point in case, just as I have voiced my concerns when the delay was announced, I am now convinced the extra time wasn't really dedicated to any additional polish-work (for reasons specified above). Therefore, having to wait 5 months for the presses (and several slight modifications, such that can be performed by Maria without Brandon's involvement) is frustrating, when it's violating a former promise by Tom (which in itself came after yet another violation). And as I said before, it's not that we're entitled to the book, but we're definitely entitled not to be presented with false promises, so once they gave their word they should try to keep to it.

 

Does anybody know who it was who decided that the books would take a year (or more in the last installment) to come out?

Nobody. In fact, Brandon was already working on AMoL (as it was then known) for two years, and had material by RJ to boot. The announcement meant that the two remaining books would be published within a two-year span. Yet, you're right that even that wasn't realistic, not at all.

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