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Thisguy's Topic on Brandon's Work

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 What I did see, were PS Peter, if you're still reading, nothing I say is meant to invalidate the appreciation most of us feel for your hard work, yours and Brandon's, Maria's and Alan's, and of course Harriet's. You have my thanks for making it part of your life, all of you. But, at the same time, I'm dissatisfied with parts of what I know of Brandon's process, and much of the little I know of Harriet's discretion. This basic right--to shape my own judgements and voice them--I don't relinquish. I hope I never do so in a disrespectful manner, as that is never my intention.

 Very well said Yoniy0, that is what it comes down to mostly for myself as well. You know how long and hard I defended the "extra time" which makes it all the more dissapointing.

 

 

Indeed, I believe all of his reasonable critics did. As for Yoniy0's statement, again, most of the reasonable critics have the same feeling. Having certain problems with portions of three 800 page books doesn't make one ungrateful or unappreciative of the efforts that have been put in. In fact, it surprises me that this has to be said at all. The fact that we are still reading and caring about the work displays it. Those that are ungrateful and unappreciative have long since stopped reading and posting about it. 

 

Of course, it goes without saying that there have been extremists, but they are few and far between. 

 

Edit: If anyone didn't understand, it goes without saying that in my post about having Trollocs using Gateways etc.. that it does not mean I believe that Brandon or  TJ have or will make such mistakes, in fact - it should go without saying again - I believe that aMoL will be a great book, perhaps the best of the three. It was merely a demonstration of why people are disappointed and worried about aMoL from what has been seen in the pre-released material. 

 

In fact - Peter aside, in this case - that it needs to be said at all to frequent members of this forum shows a lack of understanding of the nature of most of the criticism. 

Edited by Barid Bel Medar

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putts, I don't know if your intention was to address anything that was said on the last page, but if so, that's truly the textbook definition of a straw-man. I saw no one suggest that Brandon was 'all about the money', nor did anyone propose himself as a suitable replacement to him.

 

 

I mentioned at the end of my post that this thread, in particular, has not been the target of my statements.  I have seen people make such comments directed toward BS in other threads and, as this was my first post in this thread, I wrote my own opinion in response to those other posters.  

 

Just read any post by Mark D on the subject of Sanderson's writing and you'll see my supposed straw man ... living, breathing and writing.  And he's not the only one.

 

I honestly see the defects in this book as your typical overcompensation.  He pushed too hard to make people happier with the book and it backfired.  No "measures" can be applied to undo an author who is simply trying too hard to write a perfect book in an a very imperfect scenario.

 

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So... the 'major' issues found in the first few weeks were fixed I take it, even though Brandon tweeted that everything was basically done before the beta readers even saw the book?  

 

I think Brandon tweeted that his role was pretty much done. Harriet and Team Jordan apparently took over after he'd submitted his final revised manuscript. That's apparently how they preferred to do things.

 

 

Peter Ahlstrom mentioned something similar as well. I still don't understand Harriet's motivations behind this "No Gamma Read!" thing. 

 

I'm not any more informed than you are on the issue. However, speaking for myself, I can understand why Harriet may have had reservations about opening up this process and making it accessible to so many people, especially if that method is completely different than how she worked in the past. For some reason I doubt that the process for Jordan's WoT books was so democratic. There may have also been concerns that additional reads would have diminishing returns.

 

It's easy to sit back and analyze the process both with hindsight and from the comfort of being completely removed from the process (I'm not talking about everybody in this topic). Humans in action have preferences, methods, prejudices, all shaped from their own individual experiences about what's worked and hasn't worked for them in the past. Analysis by cold logic that ignores these things or acts like they are unimportant or wrong isn't going to bear much fruit.

Edited by Agitel

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It's easy to sit back and analyze the process both with hindsight and from the comfort of being completely removed from the process (I'm not talking about everybody in this topic). Humans in action have preferences, methods, prejudices, all shaped from their own individual experiences about what's worked and hasn't worked for them in the past. Analysis by cold logic that ignores these things or acts like they are unimportant or wrong isn't going to bear much fruit.

Not going to expand on this topic now but all I can say is I truly hope post AMoL we can openly discuss the specifics of how the process went down. I know for certain people have been holding back so as not to be a distraction with the release coming up. To me that is the correct way to go about things but based on the little I know from people with an inside glimpse it will be very important when all is said and done(whether the results be good or bad) to look at how things were handled.

Edited by Suttree

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In point of fact their role [...] was fundementally superficial. A glance read.

 

The beta readers had it from August 3rd to August 26th and were free to read the whole book or each chapter as many times as they wanted or could within that time period. They were asked to focus on continuity issues. Doing a word count on the beta response document, it has 27,000 words. Almost all of that is direct comments from the beta readers. In the last week they made many fewer comments than they made in the first two weeks, which to me indicates they were finding fewer issues by that time, and I would say that the issues found in week three were quite minor.

 

23 Days. 27,000 words. Mostly direct comments. Told to focus on continuity issues. Decline in comments in the last week. Inference that this means most issues were found. Resulting implication of fault for any issues that were not found [conjuncture of initial effort and decline in effort].

 

The inference of the Beta Read as a form of quality control is maintained.

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As far as I know, quality control is and has been the only point of the beta read.

 

Things still slip through—and will always slip through when you have a finite number of people working in a finite time. Heck, Felix Pax caught two errors (or one error repeated twice) in The Great Hunt just this year that Maria got fixed in the next reprint. Readers can assign fault wherever they like; repeating that everyone worked very hard on this is just whipping a dead horse.

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Well, yep, there are mistakes in almost ever first edition of every book in the series corrected in later versions. I own first edition trade paper backs of the first books, later acquired hard covers of all the books and there are corrections in the hard covers, and even more in the ebooks I bought, umm, last year maybe.

 

Maybe these will be fixed by the time the ebook comes out, which I may eventually buy in a few years when it's on sale for $2.99 because I am not happy with the game they play releasing it two months later.

 

The errata is not the only problem I have with BA's work, but I don't have any issues that have affected my enjoyment of the last two books, I really liked them.

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So I listened to an online interview from a few days ago(thanks Herid!) with Jason Denzel where something very interesting popped up. We have long known that BS created far more from scratch than originally thought. Many places said "well this happens", "two people resolve issue" "character x ends up here" and Brandon had to decide how it happend. What I didn't know however is that Harriet not RJ wrote the actual outline Brandon is going off according to Jason. Has anyone else heard this before?

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Didn't RJ himself, and later Brandon say that RJ had left him lots of notes and a general outline? I may be making that up.

We know about the notes and have always heard of the outline(we even knew it was far less detailed than what was first thought) just never heard Harriet was the one who put it together, Jason clearly stated that in the interview however.

Edited by Suttree

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He did; I'm surprised as well.

 

I'm also positively surprised by Jason's acknowledgement of difficulties with the plot, rather than simply casting the complaints into the easier-to-deal-with 'characters sound off' column.

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He did; I'm surprised as well.

 

I'm also positively surprised by Jason's acknowledgement of difficulties with the plot, rather than simply casting the complaints into the easier-to-deal-with 'characters sound off' column.

Yup and I for one was actually impressed with that interview. He seemed to really think on the problems and it wasn't the typical "rah-rah" /"go team" review we have seen in the past. It's obvious he has put a good deal of thought into the issue.

Edited by Suttree

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Dont make excuses for him IMO. He was given plenty of time. So much time that he was writing his own books during the same time period. It sucks, but the reality is that BS butchered the last few books (we have yet to see the last one, but given what we already have seen I would be shocked if things changed much). This wasn't his editors fault, it was HIS fault. He wrote the books and therefor he was responsible. The guy just doesn't have the attention to detail and drive for perfection that was needed.

 

 

THIS is the stuff that gets people like me in a huff.  He did NOT butcher the books...if I can be blunt, RJ's death did that.

 

When I see things in the books that Jordan would have done 100%+ better, I don't shake an angry stick at Brandon; instead it reminds me of how much I miss Jordan and how much sorrow I feel that he was taken from us.

 

Pointing out those parts of the books that are no where near Jordan's quality helps some of us deal with the fact we will never get the ending we truly wanted. But ugly words for Brandon's attempt to at least give us an ending helps no one, and instead get people like me taking the time to defend him.  I think people have every right to point out differences, but for Jordan and Brandon's sake...leave it there.

 

Why do sooo many people insist on assigning blame??  It's not noticing the differences or mistakes that is really the problem here; its the heaping fo the "blame it on Brandon" that sparks all the arguements.

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To simply answer your question: It is because Brandon's "attempt" (as you call it) was not what his attempt COULD have been with all of the time and help and material available to him and offered to him.

 

There is a feeling that Brandon did not do all HE could do. That it got to the point where Brandon (and all of Team Jordan) got to the point where they just wanted to be DONE...where it all got overwhelming...where patience became tried....where the itch to get back to their own things and move on with life became so strong....where they just wanted to get the last book OUT and be DONE with it.....and because of all this, haste and carelessness came into the equation and it all became a rather sad situation for the final addition to a great storyteller's legacy and a story that meant so much to so many.

 

 

Fish

Edited by The Fisher King

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Brandon or any other writer's attempt to finish the books was "patchwork" at best. RJ's profile is unique compared to Brandon or any other likely fill-in. The style will never be the same; and the grasp of the characters and plot will not be the same. As a result, there is basis and justification for criticism. It will be part of WoT legacy, RJ vs BS. And it will be the material for so much discussion later on.

 

There is plenty of time for literary and fan criticism after AMoL is published in printed and electronic format. But for the few weeks before it comes out, it is just nice to live the anticipation and gear up for the monumental release and conclusion of one of the greatest fantasy sagas of all time.

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To simply answer your question: It is because Brandon's "attempt" (as you call it) was not what his attempt COULD have been with all of the time and help and material available to him and offered to him.

 

There is a feeling that Brandon did not do all HE could do. That it got to the point where Brandon (and all of Team Jordan) got to the point where they just wanted to be DONE...where it all got overwhelming...where patience became tried....where the itch to get back to their own things and move on with life became so strong....where they just wanted to get the last book OUT and be DONE with it.....and because of all this, haste and carelessness came into the equation and it all became a rather sad situation for the final addition to a great storyteller's legacy and a story that meant so much to so many.

 

 

Fishnk some things could be done be

Really?  you know for a fact he could have done better, he just decided to mail it in so he could get back to his own stuff?

 

Aside from the obvious question of how do you know, since Dune is the only book I can think of where a series with this type of depth was finished by someone besides the original author, so we really have no way to judge what is a "good" job and what is a "bad" job. 

 

Does everyone who is critical of BS's work here agree with Fisher?  If so, there is no sense in talking about this anymore, because if you think BS intentionally did a bad job, it leaves nothing left to say.

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Please don't put words in my mouth. Nowhere did I say it was an "intentional decision" on anyone's part to do a bad job.

 

As for how and what people "know" - well, you can start at page one of this thread, for starters, among others, where you can peruse so much information...posted links, interviews, quotes etc. You are certainly encouraged to form your own opinion.

 

 

Fish

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Why do sooo many people insist on assigning blame??  It's not noticing the differences or mistakes that is really the problem here; its the heaping fo the "blame it on Brandon" that sparks all the arguements.

I disagree with your characterization of the situation. You didn't quote that piece so that everyone could see who said it, but I bet you had to do quite some digging to find someone who phrased himself in that manner. I bet you could count on one hand (with fingers to spare) the number of DMers who do.

 

As for the rest of us, pointing out flaws and mistakes isn't the same as putting down Brandon. What's more, I agree with Fish that it's not how Brandon isn't RJ, but how his WoT isn't as polished as his SA, that's in question here. As, I might add, was mentioned numerous times already.

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Why do sooo many people insist on assigning blame??  It's not noticing the differences or mistakes that is really the problem here; its the heaping fo the "blame it on Brandon" that sparks all the arguements.

 

 

I suggest you read through the whole thread for a more informed idea of the opinions expressed. The poster who posted this quote has long since left the forums because of their distaste for Brandon's work, as is their right to do so. 

 

You will find that such assignation of "blame" such as this is rare and particularly extreme. 

 

It has been pointed out many times that these opinions are in the minority and this poster in particular has been discussed by BS "critics", and it leaves no doubt that this opinion is an extreme. 

 

The problem with bringing up such quotes is that it was made months ago and 40+ pages of replies and discussion have passed since then. If you aren't interested in reading through the whole thing, at least read the last few pages with the most recent opinions. 

 

Brining up months old quotes which have been discussed thoroughly - while of course, you are perfectly free to do so - won't get you much of a reply from people who have participated in 40+ pages of discussion when generalizations like this have been debated to death. 

 

Of course, saying that, you are of course perfectly free to express such an opinion - it just won't spark much of a debate. 

 

 

Does everyone who is critical of BS's work here agree with Fisher?  If so, there is no sense in talking about this anymore, because if you think BS intentionally did a bad job, it leaves nothing left to say.

 

 

Again, there are over 40 pages of discussion and opinions about this. 

 

"Critic" does not mean "BS hater". Most reasonable critics discuss the pros and cons (mostly cons obviously, since there isn't much to discuss about the pros above "that is pretty great") of the books Brandon Sanderson has written. 

 

I'll just give a quote as to what most "critics" feel regarding this. 

 

 

 

 

 

 What I did see, were PS Peter, if you're still reading, nothing I say is meant to invalidate the appreciation most of us feel for your hard work, yours and Brandon's, Maria's and Alan's, and of course Harriet's. You have my thanks for making it part of your life, all of you. But, at the same time, I'm dissatisfied with parts of what I know of Brandon's process, and much of the little I know of Harriet's discretion. This basic right--to shape my own judgements and voice them--I don't relinquish. I hope I never do so in a disrespectful manner, as that is never my intention.

 Very well said Yoniy0, that is what it comes down to mostly for myself as well. You know how long and hard I defended the "extra time" which makes it all the more dissapointing.

 

 

Indeed, I believe all of his reasonable critics did. As for Yoniy0's statement, again, most of the reasonable critics have the same feeling. Having certain problems with portions of three 800 page books doesn't make one ungrateful or unappreciative of the efforts that have been put in. In fact, it surprises me that this has to be said at all. The fact that we are still reading and caring about the work displays it. Those that are ungrateful and unappreciative have long since stopped reading and posting about it. 

 

Edited by Barid Bel Medar

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I HAVE read the entire thread, and what bothered me so much was the quote I used was towards the end.  I assume the auther has ALSO read the entire thread, and as such has seen that the majority of the community agrees that Jordan would have done the ending a LOT better, and BS made some errors and didn't do certain scenes justice.  We ALL got that! 

 

My original post did not argue these points; instead, I was trying to point out that when a person uses those facts to draw opinions about BS and the Jordan team, THAT'S when you get into arguements and disagreement.   Hell, sometimes it is fun just to talk about what could have been...instead, we are pulled out of Randland into the realities of the situation due to Jordan's death.

 

For all I know, and unless Luckers and Terez have info directly from BS that contradicts me, BS did as good a job as he could with the time given.  If they DO have information that this is indeed the case, I truly apologize.  My biggest frustration is, when I feel like a scene wasn't given it due attention, I don't want to talk about it here, because invariably it turns from "Wow, this scene could have been money!!" to "Yeah, BS screwed it up because..."

 

Whether intended or not, anyone with a problem with a given scene gets scooped up into a completely different arguement...that is, "Who's fault is this?!"
 

I'll edit this to stress one thing again...I agree with most of what has been said, and it irritates me that if someone disagrees with this:

There is a feeling that Brandon did not do all HE could do. That it got to the point where Brandon (and all of Team Jordan) got to the point where they just wanted to be DONE...

then somehow, we are all just like the people who insist no one is allowed to criticize BS's work.  I am NOT one of those people.

Edited by Dreggs Morlock

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Brandon worked his tail off. He worked harder at it than he works on his own books. His own books are much easier for him to write, which is only natural because they are his.

 

Now, if some people want to say he should have worked even harder—you can form whatever opinion you please. Brandon is satisfied with the result and is as proud of the book as he is of his other books.

 

None of this is new information, so we're going in circles.

 

Everyone can form their own opinion in January. One month from today.

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I HAVE read the entire thread, and what bothered me so much was the quote I used was towards the end.  I assume the auther has ALSO read the entire thread, and as such has seen that the majority of the community agrees that Jordan would have done the ending a LOT better, and BS made some errors and didn't do certain scenes justice.  We ALL got that! 

 

My original post did not argue these points; instead, I was trying to point out that when a person uses those facts to draw opinions about BS and the Jordan team, THAT'S when you get into arguements and disagreement.   Hell, sometimes it is fun just to talk about what could have been...instead, we are pulled out of Randland into the realities of the situation due to Jordan's death.

 

For all I know, and unless Luckers and Terez have info directly from BS that contradicts me, BS did as good a job as he could with the time given.  If they DO have information that this is indeed the case, I truly apologize.  My biggest frustration is, when I feel like a scene wasn't given it due attention, I don't want to talk about it here, because invariably it turns from "Wow, this scene could have been money!!" to "Yeah, BS screwed it up because..."

 

Whether intended or not, anyone with a problem with a given scene gets scooped up into a completely different arguement...that is, "Who's fault is this?!"

 

I'll edit this to stress one thing again...I agree with most of what has been said, and it irritates me that if someone disagrees with this:

There is a feeling that Brandon did not do all HE could do. That it got to the point where Brandon (and all of Team Jordan) got to the point where they just wanted to be DONE...

then somehow, we are all just like the people who insist no one is allowed to criticize BS's work.  I am NOT one of those people.

 

My mistake, I read back and see that you are correct. It was my error.  I thought you were referring to a notorious past-poster Mark D, who's opinions I am sure you will understand are in the extreme. 

 

I agree with you about the generalizations, as they go both ways. You should not be put into such a category, and I apologise if I seemed to do so. It wasn't my intention to categorize your post as such. 

 

I believe this may have been from your question about "does every critic think as you do" - where I believed that the thread has shown ample evidence for that not being the case and thus suggested to read the whole thread. I don't believe I have seen anyone say that Brandon intentionally write it poorly - or if they did, I did not interpret it as such. So again, I apologise for the mistake in my assumption. 

 

In any case - I can't comment on what Brandon did or did not do. I am not privy to such information and I won't make a judgement either way until more information is revealed. I won't say that yes, he did do everything in his power, just as I won't say he didn't do enough. Saying either cannot be proved one way or another unless one has information most of us don't, and even then it can be subject to debate as bias will inevitably play a part. Only Brandon himself truly knows the answer to that question. 

 

So once again, I apologise for the error which rends the relating portion of my post meaningless. At this point, I will only speak for myself and stand by the quote of my opinion I gave and respect yours and everyone else's right to agree or disagree. I just wanted to clear up any misconceptions (and I am not directing this at you or anyone in particular) about the nature of my own and others' criticism. 

 

But as I said in another thread, in the interest of making the build up to the aMoL release on DM as pleasant as possible, I'll take no further part in any arguments about Brandon Sanderson's efforts until after the book is released. 

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Here's an excerpt from Elayne and Aviendha's conversation in AMoL:

 

“I must go to him,” Aviendha said.

“Tonight?”

“Tonight. The Last Battle will soon begin.”

“As far as I’m concerned it started the moment those bloody Trollocs set foot in Caemlyn,” Elayne said.

“May the Light favor us, it is here. Then the day of dying will come,” Aviendha said. “Many of us will soon wake from this dream. There may not be another night for Rand and myself. I came to you in part to ask you about this.”

“You have my blessing,” Elayne said softly. “You are my first sister. Have you spent time with Min?”

“Not enough. And under other circumstances I would remedy that lack immediately. There is no time.”

Elayne nodded.

“I do think she feels better about me,” Aviendha said. “She did me a great honor in helping me understand the last step to becoming a Wise One. It may be appropriate to bend some of the customs. We have done well under the circumstances. I would speak to her together with you if there is time.”

Elayne nodded. “I can spare a moment or two between meetings. I’ll send for her.”

 

Now here's a random piece of dialogue from the beginning of Mistborn: The Final Empire (Kindle edition), which Brandon wrote before WoT. (I picked an early scene because it would be least likely to spoil the series. Don't read any further if you're sensitive about Mistborn spoilers.)

 

“Camon,” Vin said quietly, “the servants are too fine.”

Camon frowned, looking up. “What is that you’re babbling?”

“The servants,” Vin repeated, still speaking in a soft whisper. “Lord Jedue is supposed to be desperate. He’d have rich clothing left over from before, but he wouldn’t be able to afford such rich servants. He’d use skaa.”

Camon glared at her, but he paused. Physically, there was little difference between noblemen and skaa. The servants Camon had appointed, however, were dressed as minor noblemen—they were allowed to wear colorful vests, and they stood a little confidently.

“The obligator has to think that you’re nearly impoverished,” Vin said. “Pack the room with a lot of skaa servants instead.”

“What do you know?” Camon said, scowling at her.

“Enough.” She immediately regretted the word; it sounded too rebellious. Camon raised a bejeweled hand, and Vin braced herself for another slap. She couldn’t afford to use up any more Luck. She had precious little remaining anyway.

However, Camon didn’t hit her. Instead, he sighed and rested a pudgy hand on her shoulder. “Why do you insist on provoking me, Vin? You know the debts your brother left when he ran away. Do you realize that a less merciful man than myself would have sold you to the whoremasters long ago? How would you like that, serving in some nobleman’s bed until he grew tired of you and had you executed?”

Vin looked down at her feet.

Camon’s grip grew tight, his fingers pinching her skin where neck met shoulder, and she gasped in pain despite herself. He grinned at the reaction. “Honestly, I don’t know why I keep you, Vin,” he said, increasing the pressure of his grip. “I should have gotten rid of you months ago, when your brother betrayed me. I suppose I just have too kindly a heart.”

 

Compare those two conversations. Which one reads better? "Elayne nodded" is repeated twice in a row in the AMoL excerpt; we get no other descriptions or insight into what they're thinking and feeling. What should be an emotional ending to a scene is a skeleton piece of dialogue. I'm not saying the Mistborn scene is a masterpiece, but I definitely prefer it over the AMoL one. I believe that Brandon worked incredibly hard on this book, but too many parts of the released AMoL chapters read like unpolished first drafts. It has nothing to do with this being RJ's series instead of Brandon's own; any experienced writer should be capable of fleshing out a conversation and adding some emotion to it.

Edited by sleepinghour

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Was your AMoL excerpt also chosen randomly, or did you pick a scene you thought sounded bad?

[EDIT: This formatting is screwy and I don't know why. Help?]

Nothing happened.

 

“Have you tried it yet?” Elend asked apprehensively.

Vin nodded slowly. “No headache. But . . . I’m not sure if the alloy is doing anything or not.”

“But it’s burning?” Ham asked.

Vin nodded. She felt the familiar warmth from within, the tiny fire that told her that a metal was burning. She tried moving about a bit, but couldn’t distinguish any change to her physical self. Finally she just looked up and shrugged.

Here's another one...

Demoux nodded, then moved over to pass on the commands. Elend turned as a messenger arrived. The man had to weave his way through an organized jumble of soldiers receiving orders and making plans.

 

Elend nodded to the newcomer. “You’re on the demolitions scout group, correct?”

The man nodded as he bowed. He wasn’t in uniform; he was a soldier, not one of Elend’s guards. He was a younger man, with a square jaw, balding head, and honest smile.

I hate "paused" more...

“You should get some rest,” he said, dipping his pen again.

 

Vin paused, then nodded. She removed her mistcloak, wrapped it around herself, then curled up on the rug beside his desk.

Elend paused. “I didn’t mean here, Vin,” he said with amusement.

Here she pauses and she's not even the one talking:

“That’s nonsense, Elend.”

 

“Really? And if Kelsier {spoiler}, would I be {spoiler}?”

Vin paused.

“You see? They accept me—

It's easy to cherry-pick quotes... Edited by yoniy0
Peter, I tried. It doesn't appear I had much success

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It's also easy to evade taking responsibility for the quality of a finished product, by blaming others when your shortcomings are naked, in the breeze.

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