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What Brandon Thinks of the Criticism [updated last post 31/10]


Luckers
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Herid:

@dragonmount Dragontmount is now a complete @BrandSanderson bashing ground. This is becoming unbearable. what happened? was not so last year

 

Brandon:

@heridfan It's unfortunate, but natural. I've grown popular enough that some people say my wot books are better than RJ's, which isn't tru

@heridfan The hardcore fans then feel the need to point out the flaws in my efforts, and many things they say are true.

 

So there we have it. Apparently we're reacting in a jealous rage to the suggestion that Brandon's books are better than RJ's. I'm so glad to finally have my reasoning explained to me. This from a man who hides himself from critiques wrapped in kiddy gloves that he himself requested, which leave me wondering where precisely this keen insight came from.

 

Still, you will note Brandon is kind enough to concede that we do use some truth in persuing our loyalist agenda--so at the least he grants our criticism efficacy, if not legitimacy.

 

On a more serious note, the few times I have seen people suggest that Brandon's books are better than RJ's they have backed the comment with sound reasoning--increase in plot, heightened action sequences, the use of overtly intelligent witty banter. I can understand these positions, and appreciate the style of story that these people are seeking, and have thus been enjoying, with neither rancor, nor any sense that something blasphemous has been said. They leave me with no desire to drive Brandon into the dirt, nor have I seen--or had to stop--other posters from reacting with rancor.

 

This all sounds baldly like self-rationalisation. A small select group blowing minor (but admittedly real) flaws out of proportion in a misguided attempt at loyalty to Jordan is a much easier thing to swallow than the idea that the criticism might have truth in both the specifics and in the degree of its existence.

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We need to be very careful in understanding that no matter what our thoughts on Jordan v Sanderson actually are that there are correct arguments from both sides of the fence.

 

The trick here is realising that as readers we are all unique individuals with different tastes, expectations, criteria and opinions of any books be they WOT or not.

 

Considering that this is a 'fan forum' situated on a 'specifically created WOT website' I would like to think that we are all (Brandon, Harriet and Jason included) aware that there will always be a difference of opinon.

 

Surely this is something that BS would have anticipated without much thought prior to accepting the task to complete the series. What I don't like seeing is Brandon stating that "the hardcore fans then feel the need to point out the flaws in my efforts"

 

Feel the need? I myself cannot abide being pigeon-holed or generalised in a sense where anyone who is pointing out flaws is driven by spite alone, as this is how I feel BS is justifying the criticism.

 

Completely incorrect in my humbe opinion.

Edited by MrWOTjunkie
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It's such an odd comment to pick upon too. I mean, I have seen people say they like Brandon's book better than RJ's, and I think I even once or twice saw it phrased as Brandon's books are better than RJ's (as in the shift from the subjective to the objective in the assessment), but even so, surely the 'they're screaming because Brandon isn't RJ' is a far more commonly used blanket attack to dismiss the critics.

 

But this, which both boosts his sense of self--for all that he claims to disagree, and indeed may actually disagree (flattery can please even when you know its not true)--whilst allowing him to catagorically dismiss the critics is what he chooses to latch on to.

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I concur. For mine though whilst I am not sensitive my any means I do feel as though my intelligence has been somewhat insulted.

 

I like to reserve that right for my close friends and myself occasionally......

 

Feels a bit like BS has taken the bait hook line and sinker though and I would think that while he probably mulled over the post for quite some time I would expect given his time again would not have been so brash in his choice of words.

 

He will succeed in only bringing more animosity towards himself. I struggle to understand how he could not come to that conclusion himself and not make such a foolish suggestion.

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I do prefer the brandon scenes such as the battle at the white tower in TGS although Egwene could have been a bit less "burning warrior" compared to the battle in winters heart. As i felt Egwene was smarter in the fight as opposed to how demandred and etc took the battle with more confusion of people stopping him then doing anything.

 

Then i get swamped by brandons characters that hes trying to imprint his feel into his book and we forget about the old school characters where we have people like slate and naeff who get some special kind of skill/reputation to make older characters get the back stage.

 

While i agree with Luckers what can we really expect brandon to do come here and take the critiscism? like you said he accepts that there are flaws and the books are written now so its not like he can change anything (even though theres hundreds of little annoying things thanks to brandon scattered throughout the book we just have to live with it)

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Well, this forum does seem increasingly hostile to BS, but I haven't seen anyone around here saying he is bad out of spite. If anything I think the disdain comes from earlier criticisms being ignored rather that the books being too good.

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While i agree with Luckers what can we really expect brandon to do come here and take the critiscism? like you said he accepts that there are flaws and the books are written now so its not like he can change anything (even though theres hundreds of little annoying things thanks to brandon scattered throughout the book we just have to live with it)

 

I think a large part of my rage, specific to this, stems from the fact that he asked me for criticisms, and I provided them, back when he could have done something about it. Back indeed long before the more widespread shift took place. He didn't read what I'd provided him--at first I was told I was too harsh, and when I scoffed at that (no kidding, it was a criticism wrapped in fairy floss and happiness) Peter went and actually looked, and agreed that it wasn't harsh at all, but said it was too long, and that I should have sent it in pieces. I imagine that if I had sent it in pieces it would have been too much of a time demand, or some other tripe.

 

The fact is Brandon did not want to listen to criticism--despite citing it as the guage by which he judged his efforts, he shielded himself from anything even remotely negative. This is where you get all those wierd comments about how the lack of fan criticism on anything but Mat proved he'd done right everywhere else when there was a cornecopia of criticisms about people other than Mat. He wasn't lying--rather, I genuinely don't think he ever saw or heard anything about them.

 

In his defence I don't believe he reached this assessment by himself.

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I honestly think you are misinterpreting what he said Luckers. He openly admitted in that first line that he doesn't believe his work on WoT is better than that of RJ. He didn't really say the critics were judging him because of that either, just that the critics were fine tooth coming the work he did, which isn't wrong. I've seen a lot of BS hate on the site, and not enough appreciation that the series is getting an ending. To many people focus on the negative and not the positive. Will it be as good as if RJ had been able to finish it himself? No, but it's still good enough that we can enjoy it if we look past a few inconsistencies here and there.

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I don't think he is misinterpreting at all. BS is an author, he writes for a living and I'm willing to guess he picks his words just as carefully for a tweet as anything else, I would assume especially for a matter such as this. If he doesn't, well, then what does that say?

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Brandon:

@heridfan It's unfortunate, but natural. I've grown popular enough that some people say my wot books are better than RJ's, which isn't tru

@heridfan The hardcore fans then feel the need to point out the flaws in my efforts, and many things they say are true.

 

Almost sounds like a parody twitter account.

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But this, which both boosts his sense of self--for all that he claims to disagree, and indeed may actually disagree (flattery can please even when you know its not true)--whilst allowing him to catagorically dismiss the critics is what he chooses to latch on to.

Like Eternal Phoenix, I also believe this interpretation is wrong. Or at least that it is severely influenced by your already-set opinion.

I would take what he says far more directly and lightly (don't know if that's the right word...)

- He admits most of the critics (about style, events, continuity, fluff, .... you name it) are true

- He has every right to point to those saying his books are better than RJ's saying this leads to fan debate.

 

This doesn't diminish your well deserved spite about the "refusing to accept criticism" (sending comments he didn't read or take into account...) but the way I read your comments, you would twist everything he says to fit the way you already have decided it should be understood.

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1. Die-hard fans criticize Sanderson for producing flawed novels;

2. Sanderson agrees that many of the stated flaws are true and explicitly states that his books aren't as good as Jordan's;

3. Die-hard fans blame Brandon Sanderson for shielding himself from criticism and boosting his sense of self.

 

Logic, come back, come back.

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Like Eternal Phoenix, I also believe this interpretation is wrong. Or at least that it is severely influenced by your already-set opinion.

I would take what he says far more directly and lightly (don't know if that's the right word...)

- He admits most of the critics (about style, events, continuity, fluff, .... you name it) are true

- He has every right to point to those saying his books are better than RJ's saying this leads to fan debate.

 

Aquarius, the problem is that it's not an interpretation. He stated directly that the criticism is caused by a reaction to people suggesting his books are better than RJ's. His words [directy, as you suggest]: "I've grown popular enough that some people say my wot books are better than RJ's, which isn't true. The hardcore fans then feel the need to point out the flaws in my efforts, and many things they say are true."

 

The link he makes is clearly causal, with no need for 'interpreting'. This happened, and as a result this happened. Yes, he adds addendums acknowledging the validicy or lack thereof of the two points in the sequence (which was at least a gesture to being nice), but he still made the direct causal link.

 

And yes, Wool-headed lummox, that causal link is both dismissive and insulting, despite the pretence of acknowledging both the validicy of at the very least the basis of the criticisms, and the invalidicy of those people the critics are supposedly responding to.

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1. Die-hard fans criticize Sanderson for producing flawed novels;

2. Sanderson agrees that many of the stated flaws are true and explicitly states that his books aren't as good as Jordan's;

3. Die-hard fans blame Brandon Sanderson for shielding himself from criticism and boosting his sense of self.

 

Logic, come back, come back.

The problem is his work doesn't match his words. Oh, he acknowledged his flaws before this too. Except we don't see him trying to better them, in fact it's getting worse. Saying you have flaws then going around to do the same is not accepting criticism.

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I'm thinking you've misinterpreted him. There are plenty who criticized RJ's later books, and I've seen some who said they thought Brandon was a step up from the latter part of RJ's books. Personally, I really liked all of RJ's books a lot (maybe some sequences of book 10 were lacking in some sense, though), but I liked Brandon's books as well. He's not Jordan, and I think the last part of WoT would have been different in several ways if RJ had kept his health and lived on to finish it himself. Maybe some could even say RJ is a better writer than BS ... I don't know about the language stuff, but I think they are probably good writers both of them in that sense. Any other sense and it's probably a matter of taste and personal opinion. There are chapters that I really can't begin to guess who wrote it, and then maybe there are a few where I could guess. Noone can write like RJ in any case.

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He isn't the sole one responsible for it though, everything he writes is edited and he gets told what to change and cut out or embellish. With that in mind he probably does believe what he says, not to mention that for every person vocal on these forums who are irritated by his work there are probably a dozen or two who are perfectly willing to ignore any inconsistencies merely to read the story to its conclusion.

 

Personally I think that he probably shouldnt have taken on the WoT while he was writing several other series, one of them being a series which is meant to be of a similar scope to WoT. Just seems to me that while his work is generally good. Finishing the Wheel of Time should take precedence over everything else because as soon as you allow your focus to drift, you lose the flow of the story and start changing things.

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I'm thinking you've misinterpreted him.

 

Again, it's not a matter for interpretation. He made a direct causal link. This happened causing this. Someone suggested I was better than RJ, so the hardcore fans attacked me. All directly framed as the explanation for why the criticism exists [edit: actually, why the criticism is so prevalent and harsh would probably be more accurate for the framing].

 

How insulted you are by it likely depends on your interpretation of what he means when he speaks of the hardcore fans, or just what he's acknowledging when he says many of the criticisms are true. I'll grant everyone that. But the core is not open to interpretation. He stated it, flat out.

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Where is the room for interpretation? He says he is popular enough that some people think his books are better than the originals, and then says that the hard core need to point out that they aren't. There is no AS wordplay there, it is straight out. Unless there is some context Luckers has left out, it is pretty damning evidence that he meant what he says.

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Obviously Luckers knows far more than most of us (definately far more than me) about the feedback process, but I think you're reacting a little sensitively to this twitter.

 

It's such an odd comment to pick upon too. I mean, I have seen people say they like Brandon's book better than RJ's, and I think I even once or twice saw it phrased as Brandon's books are better than RJ's (as in the shift from the subjective to the objective in the assessment), but even so, surely the 'they're screaming because Brandon isn't RJ' is a far more commonly used blanket attack to dismiss the critics.

 

But this, which both boosts his sense of self--for all that he claims to disagree, and indeed may actually disagree (flattery can please even when you know its not true)--whilst allowing him to catagorically dismiss the critics is what he chooses to latch on to.

 

I don't read it as him dismissing critics, he states that their are valid criticisms (the fact that some of the objections are so fiercely debated on these boards suggests that not all the things that you pick up on are universally agreed errors.)

 

I don't think he is misinterpreting at all. BS is an author, he writes for a living and I'm willing to guess he picks his words just as carefully for a tweet as anything else, I would assume especially for a matter such as this. If he doesn't, well, then what does that say?

 

Twitter is designed for fast thoughts, I doubt anyone who posts thinks very hard about how things may sound to people that have different viewpoints.

 

If he truly does believe the causality implied by the 'then feel' then I then agree with Luckers, the criticism would have come anyway, as many of the points are valid (and pretty much unarguable) and to some it could be insulting.

 

 

But you only have to read the Amazon reviews to come across fans who think tGS and ToM are better than some of RJs books.

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I don't read it as him dismissing critics, he states that their are valid criticisms (the fact that some of the objections are so fiercely debated on these boards suggests that not all the things that you pick up on are universally agreed errors.)

 

Yeah, as I said above, how insulted you are by it likely depends on your interpretation of what he means when he speaks of the hardcore fans, or just what he's acknowledging when he says many of the criticisms are true.

 

That part at least is certainly open to interpretation. For myself I've heard enough dismissive chatter in the winds about the value of the opinion of the 'casual' fans and the way the hardcore fans get locked on their own subjectively precious details that I, personally, have some fairly dark thoughts as to precisely what's being said here in this supposed acknowledgement.

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I've have preferred a bald plot summary to what's been released so far of AMoL.

However, I thought that, despite obvious flaws, and a slightly "baby-ish" habit of driving plot nuances home with a sledgehammer, that TGS and ToM worked.

Those two books maintained pace more or less all through and that was very important after the looong build ups of CoT and KoD.

Way way below Mistborn however in terms of quality and that's much more of a disappointment than BS not being RJ.

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Brandon Sanderson's only major issue is occasional overly flat character and plot-point delivery, which makes the books read more like dedicated fanfiction or Extended Universe material. Feels like he's trying to say "I've read the books too, and this is what character X typically sounds like", rather than actually bringing the character to life. Minor continuity errors like linking suddenly initiated by a man are annoying... but no more than that.

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Except for 'only major' I agree with what you've said, but meh. We have other threads for detailed discussion of the flaws in Brandon's work--Thisguy's would probably be the place for it.

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Well, it's not the only reason or the main reason, but I've certainly noticed over the years that when I write something like "TGS is much better than any WoT book since ACOS" the replies tend to be extremely critical of Sanderson's work and the level of bashing gets raised by a lot.

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