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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Quality Discussion Thread


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I agree to tabling this part of the discussion, because you and I are never going to come to an agreement about it. Therefore, it is better to table that topic and move on to something else. It is always okay to agree to disagree, agreeably.

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Sorry Vam, not going to let you get away with a straw man here. I said quite clearly.

 

"Vam, I'm sorry but the things I mentioned above(unpolished prose, timeline, mistakes, consistency) are objective.That is just stating the facts. "

 

That is vastly different from claiming "most critical discussions" are objective. There is no need to agree on your part. Again those are the facts.

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Sorry Vam, not going to let you get away with a straw man here. I said quite clearly.

 

"Vam, I'm sorry but the things I mentioned above(unpolished prose, timeline, mistakes, consistency) are objective.That is just stating the facts. "

 

That is vastly different from claiming "most critical discussions" are objective. There is no need to agree on your part. Again those are the facts.

 

NO, those are not facts. Sorry, but they clearly are not facts. Just because you and others believe that those are facts does NOT make them factual.

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So, instead of endless and repetitive discussion which you and I are never going to agree on, Sut, how about we just do as Barid asks, and table it???

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I suggest that you take it to PM's, Sutt and Vam.

 

As a suggestion, when having a complex literary discussion, try to use examples.

 

I know Sutt, Rane, and a few others use a lot of concepts but fail to use quotes from the book.

 

It would help for us to understand your point if you highlight what you believe to be a bad use of a concept, and possibly explain what would make it better.

 

The difficulty in communication comes when you guys use terms such as

Style (i.e., show not tell), Prose, Plot Development, Plot Consistency, Characterization

but don't really give context beyond that. Those terms ARE used more casually at other times and people like me don't understand when they are being used in a complex discussion.

 

Just a suggestion from a confused one. Lots of this stuff is going over my head, and its a hard thing to realize you don't understand. Don't know what you don't know sort of thing.

Edited by Stormcrown
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See this is exactly what Barid was referencing. It's really hard to continue this discussion, especially given the way you are handling yourself. I love how you just gloss over mischaracterizing what I said.

 

Everything I listed above is an objective measure. I would love to see you sit down with one of my old professors and try to argue that say timeline issues, unpolished prose and mistakes are not objective. Take for instance when Brandon says that Elayne rallied her troops behind "Red Lion" of Andor. Or when the miniscule hamlet of Darlun gets described as a town, village and city in different chapters. How about Brandon flip flopping the old city and the new in terms of which is tight alleys and broad thoroughfares in Caemlyn. You are arguing simply to argue right now. Again it's factual that what I listed above is objective. Stomping your foot and yelling NO isn't going to change that.

Edited by Suttree
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Suttree,

My sympathies, such as their worth.

*High to low slide whistle & prolonged fart noise accompaniment.

I gather the sentiment isn't lost, upon thee. :jordan:

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I do appreciate those examples, Sutt.

 

That's what I mean. When you guys use them in a generalized context it falls flat on people who don't really grasp your point of view. We go back in our heads and think, where did Sanderson do that? (or Robert Jordan, depending on who wrote that scene, we don't know.) But our heads don't think that way. We didn't think anything of those situations you mentioned because they weren't memorable in our minds. They are in yours, because you DO think that. I really enjoy seeing them, despite reducing the tint on my glasses.

 

Discussions are for learning, although I understand that you guys like your discussions, we got caught in the crossfire.

Edited by Stormcrown
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See this is exactly what Barid was referencing. It's really hard to continue this discussion, especially given the way you are handling yourself. I love how you just gloss over mischaracterizing what I said.

 

Everything I listed above is an objective measure. I would love to see you sit down with one of my old professors and try to argue that say timeline issues, unpolished prose and mistakes are not objective. Take for instance when Brandon says that Elayne rallied her troops behind "Red Lion" of Andor. Or when the miniscule hamlet of Darlun gets described as a town, village and city in different chapters. How about Brandon flip flopping the old city and the new in terms of which is tight alleys and broad thoroughfares in Caemlyn. You are arguing simply to argue right now. Again it's factual that what I listed above is objective. Stomping your foot and yelling NO isn't going to change that.

 

You are arguing about small little nitpicking details within a 900 page novel, in my opinion.

 

By the way, like you, I have also had multiple course of Literature in college. You are not the only one here with an excellent collegiate education.

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Of course Storm and I really feel it helps when people on both sides asks for examples. I recall(and I'm sure Barid will agree) some of the best discussion in the old "thisguy" Sanderson thread came from people saying "I actually don't know what strong prose means, please give examples". On the flip there are people who loved Sanderson work who said "this was a great bit of foreshadowing" or "look at how he handled this scene" and then quoted specifics. It facilities the discussion much better and leads to solid discourse.

Edited by Suttree
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I also feel a bit uncomfortable when people say "Sanderson" wrote this or that. I'd probably avoid using any author name.

 

Because we don't know which parts he wrote and which he didn't. If you guys have any hints on scenes you know/pretty sure RJ wrote then I'd love to hear it.

 

But we really don't know what pieces of dialogue RJ wrote, and BS had to write around. 

 

It's a very unique situation, and critiquing it should be done carefully. I'd probably just say "RJ/BS" to be safe. This would also avoid any Anti/Pro Sanderson discussions as well, because again, we really don't know where one starts and the other ends.

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See this is exactly what Barid was referencing. It's really hard to continue this discussion, especially given the way you are handling yourself. I love how you just gloss over mischaracterizing what I said.

 

Everything I listed above is an objective measure. I would love to see you sit down with one of my old professors and try to argue that say timeline issues, unpolished prose and mistakes are not objective. Take for instance when Brandon says that Elayne rallied her troops behind "Red Lion" of Andor. Or when the miniscule hamlet of Darlun gets described as a town, village and city in different chapters. How about Brandon flip flopping the old city and the new in terms of which is tight alleys and broad thoroughfares in Caemlyn. You are arguing simply to argue right now. Again it's factual that what I listed above is objective. Stomping your foot and yelling NO isn't going to change that.

You are arguing about small little nitpicking details within a 900 page novel, in my opinion.

 

By the way, like you, I have also had multiple course of Literature in college. You are not the only one here with an excellent collegiate education.

I thank you to stop moving the goal posts to go along with your straw man.

 

You claimed the things I listed where not objective. That is patently false. I then went on to give you a concrete example showing my statement to be true and that is your response? Yes those few are small details on their own. When that type of things is repeated consistently throughout AMoL it becomes a problem. It falls under the mistakes and continuity sections that I listed above. We have come full circle to my original point. Just because things like unpolished prose and mistakes don't bother you doesn't mean they aren't there. That is an objective measure of quality. They exist whether they bother you or not.

 

That's great to hear about your education as well Vam. Totally beside the point, but cool to hear nevertheless. I never insinuated anything about people's education so leave off with the peevish assertions about me not being the only one with an education. Barid and I both made clear nothing like that was being implied.

 

@storm

Actually we have confirmed large sections of who wrote what. On top of that their styles can be vastly different. Most of the time it is pretty clear. Keep in mind RJ only had 200 pages of written material spread out over these three books.

Edited by Suttree
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Suttree, do you have any links to examples of what Jordan wrote? I'm not good with identifying writing styles.

 

Or perhaps even a few scenes you know of.

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Well it has been confirmed that RJ wrote the last chapter and some of the Epilogue in aMoL. 

 

It is unclear what exactly was written by who - there are conflicting reports on the Epilogue, however, the Rand sections are definitely RJ. 

 

Also, in ToM, the entire Tower of Genjei sequence was written by RJ. That is, from when Mat approaches the Tower to him escaping and "everything going white". 

 

The first thing you will notice in that to mark RJ's writing is the description of Thom's gleeman cloak as they approach the ToG. 

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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To me, AMOL was a very enjoyable novel, and I am not going to allow a few flaws to detract from that. I have said it before, but I will say it again.

 

Now, I am done with this thread, as apparently all Sut thinks I can contribute is straw men.

 

 

 

As is usually true, 95% of the online discussions which I have witnessed or participated in fail to change the opinions of people who disagree with one another. 

 

 

That's the last I am going to say, and now this thread is placed on "unfollow" by me, because no one here is going to change anyone else's opinion.

 

Have a great day, everyone and may we all continue to thoroughly enjoy the Wheel of Time, which I believe is the greatest series of fantasy novels ever written. 

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Hello all,

 

First time poster, blah-de-frickin' blah.

 

I was relatively shocked at the contents of this thread - the scope of the analysis here is so narrow! - that I wanted to try posting to see if anyone else wanted to discuss other aspects.

 

In analyzing any work of fiction, I find it helpful to keep in mind the frame of reference. There are many aspects to look at and while prose quality is one, certainly there are other aspects as well: thematic content, symbolism, the use of techniques such as allusion, the ability to incite emotional resonance, etc. In the last three novels there are certain barriers to analysis:

 

  • Two author's, one of whom "owns" the material and one who doesn't.
  • In addition, the second author admitted to not trying to imitate the first's voice, thus leading to a jarring conjunction of prose.
  • The plot, as I understand it, was completely outlined ahead of time

In general, I think of two classes of science fiction/fantasty: serious (Book of the New Sun, Gormenghast (sp?), Heinlein, even The City & The City, etc.) and guilty pleasure (WoT, Dark Tower, Hitchhikers, etc.). Admittedly, it is more of a graduation than a well-defined barrier, but hopefully I've explained myself enough.

 

Given that this book, for me, falls in the second category, the aspects of quality I'm interested in (again, not saying anyone else's desired attributes are invalid) are:

 

  • Themes (this is very important to me - what is the book trying to say for pete's sake!)
  • Emotional highs (the junk food aspect - why I'm reading this and not something from the first category)
  • Clarity of prose - I want easy to read, minimum of pretention, hopefully it does not get in the way and I can move on thank you very much!
  • Character Development
  • Plot - does it make sense? Was it predictable? How was it paced?

I may be forgetting some. The point is that themes seem not to be touched on, emotional highs barely mentioned, character development has got some mention and plot sort of - kind of.

 

Before going further, I have to say that I find it highly unproductive to divide between authors. Besides being difficult to separate (you can blame [some] of some prose on one author, but what about the plot that drove to a point? there were constraints placed that make clean divisions hard), the work is what it is, and I am not of the school of criticism that likes to bring the author's life experience into analysis.

 

In this vein:

 

  • One of the major themes so far was passage of legend into myth, etc. Especially in how our own myths were twisted and torn into the wheel of time. I was very dissappointed by the ending of the book as I thought this theme was too much ignored. Some inclination of how further ages twisted the third age's story, while perhaps heavy-handed, would have been interesting. After investing this much into the characters as readers, think of the emotional impact of finding out that a future age, for example, ascribes the heroics of one of your favorite characters to someone else. Painful yes - but that would drive the point home!
  • Unity - especially between the sexes - was present throughout the books, but again I thought this last book really failed to deliver. It seemed only present in Rand's battle, but only in a prefunctory and mechanical way
  • I thought that it felt as though there were certain landmarks that had to be hit, and they were hit, but I thought that the pacing was off and it felt as though someone declared - this is the last book, and we need to squeeze everything in here whether it fits/belongs or not
  • Being the last book, it is perhaps hard to look too hard for character development as it is a small proportion of the character's journey. However, I didn't understand rand's motiviation in the epilogue. I heard this was written a long time ago, and I'm not sure the many books between here and there really were aiming where originally intended.
  • Frankly, and this is will be a problem in this forum - I thought the prose was satisfactory enough. It never brought attention to itself for me. I should say I read a book like this much faster than other types of books, so I was never thinking much about it.
  • Overall, there were a number of scenes that delivered enough of an emotional moment to pay off for my taste.
  • Overall, I was happier to have had this book than not read it. It would have been better if Jordan lived and to finish (in more books no doubt) the story. I think of the last three not as real books, but as an artist's rendition of what might have been. Enough for me to get the taste in my mouth, but to expect someone else to step into someone else's characters, and even worse follow someone else's outline ... well, it could have been much much worse.

 

Thoughts?

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See this is exactly what Barid was referencing. It's really hard to continue this discussion, especially given the way you are handling yourself. I love how you just gloss over mischaracterizing what I said.

 

Everything I listed above is an objective measure. I would love to see you sit down with one of my old professors and try to argue that say timeline issues, unpolished prose and mistakes are not objective. Take for instance when Brandon says that Elayne rallied her troops behind "Red Lion" of Andor. Or when the miniscule hamlet of Darlun gets described as a town, village and city in different chapters. How about Brandon flip flopping the old city and the new in terms of which is tight alleys and broad thoroughfares in Caemlyn. You are arguing simply to argue right now. Again it's factual that what I listed above is objective. Stomping your foot and yelling NO isn't going to change that.

As a reader (but not a literature student), I would not consider "prose" to be objective - because I don't know what it means.  Continuity and timeline - sure.

 

To me the word prose implies, loosely, writing style.  Which is in no way objective.  I would put things that some here have disliked, such as the word tempest, or more modern talk, as prose.  But that's simply because the word itself - prose - has no real meaning to me.  I've never once used it when thinking about a book, or heard another real life person (it's been a LONG time since I was in college so I could be forgetting a professor or TA using it in a lecture I wasn't paying attention to anyway) use it in any conversation I've ever had about books.

 

The only thing I can think of that is objective in terms of words chosen is something along the lines of grammatically incorrect sentences or something.

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H

  • The plot, as I understand it, was completely outlined ahead of time

Not true. In fact Brandon created over 50% of the content without direction from any notes or outlines. The notes were far less robust than originally thought. For example:

Brandon

 

The thing about the notes is that a lot of the notes were to him, and so he would say things like “I’m going to do this or this” and they’re polar opposites. And so there are sequences like that, where I decide what we’re going to do, and stuff like that. And this all is what became the trilogy that you’re now reading.

 

In general, I think of two classes of science fiction/fantasty: serious (Book of the New Sun, Gormenghast (sp?), Heinlein, even The City & The City, etc.) and guilty pleasure (WoT, Dark Tower, Hitchhikers, etc.). Admittedly, it is more of a graduation than a well-defined barrier, but hopefully I've explained myself enough.

 

Given that this book, for me, falls in the second category, the aspects of quality I'm interested in (again, not saying anyone else's desired attributes are invalid) are:

 

  • Themes (this is very important to me - what is the book trying to say for pete's sake!)
  • Emotional highs (the junk food aspect - why I'm reading this and not something from the first category)
  • Clarity of prose - I want easy to read, minimum of pretention, hopefully it does not get in the way and I can move on thank you very much!
  • Character Development
  • Plot - does it make sense? Was it predictable? How was it paced?

While I agree authors such as Peake, Wolfe and John Crowley are a step above, Jordan certainly along with someone like Martin was on that next tier. His writing may seem slightly quaint know(people like R. Scott Bakker have certainly raised the bar) but the descriptive prose and level of immersion is what drew many to this world in the first place. Under Sanderson the unpolished prose, blunt plot work and often poor characterization pushes these last three books much farther down the later. For the first time many people felt they had to "read down" to these books.

I may be forgetting some. The point is that themes seem not to be touched on, emotional highs barely mentioned, character development has got some mention and plot sort of - kind of.

Indeed I agree here. Themes should have their own thread as that would utterly side track one dedicated to the quality of writing.

 

  • Unity - especially between the sexes - was present throughout the books, but again I thought this last book really failed to deliver. It seemed only present in Rand's battle, but only in a prefunctory and mechanical way

Given the history of the world and the taint, not sure it would have been realistic to have a wholesale reconciliation between the sexes. I would say in this vein the theme of balance was highlighted much more than unity.

 

@Bregha

 

Whether prose is unpolished or not is certainly objective. In this case Brandon was very clear that RJ was much stronger in that regard.

 

 

 

Interview: Sep 2nd, 2012                                                         
DragonCon 2012 - AMOL Update Panel (Verbatim)

                                            

Question                                              

As sort of a non-plot-related question: You've had a lotof opportunity to compare your writing to Robert Jordan's after threebooks. What are some things that you felt that Robert Jordan did thatyou just can't match?

                                           

Brandon Sanderson                                            

The primary thing that I think Robert Jordan was really good at that I'm just mediocre at is prose. I've always tried to create very utilitarian prose, prose that gets across my idea and my story. I use what we call Orwellian prose: I try to make my prose a clear pane of glass that you see the story through. Robert Jordan was on a completely different level. He could create very engaging, beautiful prose while not distracting from the story. There are very few writers who are capable of that. Tolkien was another one, and actually, in our current era Pat Rothfuss is one of those. I envy their prose, and I think that they are just really, really good with prose, and Robert Jordan was as well.

Now he admits it's not his strong suit, on top of that we know that the rushed nature of these books led to major issues with lack of polish. In fact after ToM Team Jordan is on record as saying that they changed his writing process in an attempt to address the problem.    

 

Mat's Spare Hat

 

Suttree,

 

My sympathies, such as their worth.

 

*High to low slide whistle & prolonged fart noise accompaniment.

 

I gather the sentiment isn't lost, upon thee. :jordan:

                              

:biggrin:

Edited by Suttree
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Scott K,

Two of the more emotional highs, so to speak, for me were when Elayne's threatened by Mellar, and when Olver's crammed himself into his nook, and melting down.

The thing that nags me though, about those two situations is if you remove them from context, and do away with character names, they essentially amount to sort of a stock footage scene where you'd have very, very similar emotional responses.


For instance, was the scene with Mellar & Elayne gripping because of those specific characters, or because it's what some may call a natural tendency to be disgusted and horrified for any woman who has a loony-toon with a knife, threatening to cut out her babies - irregardless of who that woman or her attacker happen to be.

The same as with the plight of Olver: If a kid were scared for his life, trying to escape from say, guerilla's in Africa, and was cornered with next to no hope for survival...
_____

What I'm getting at is those two scenes elicit that sort of response, but it's a response that's not brought about, or driven by, the quality of the characters themselves. To me the natural reaction to those circumstances almost acts like a literary shotcut - A writer could bring about those reactions with minimal effort, and for lack of better words, merely plug in <character name x> for the situation to apply.

Thereby for the sake of quality, I wouldn't say those particular scenes are 'great' or worth any sort of acclaim - because I'd feel the same way about the actions taken by, or forced upon, any given person or character with context removed, in the same/similar situation.

Edited by Mat's Spare Hat
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Well it has been confirmed that RJ wrote the last chapter and some of the Epilogue in aMoL. 

 

It is unclear what exactly was written by who - there are conflicting reports on the Epilogue, however, the Rand sections are definitely RJ. 

 

Also, in ToM, the entire Tower of Genjei sequence was written by RJ. That is, from when Mat approaches the Tower to him escaping and "everything going white". 

 

The first thing you will notice in that to mark RJ's writing is the description of Thom's gleeman cloak as they approach the ToG. 

Did RJ write the part when Mat gets out of the tower and looks back and cusses at the finns?

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H

  • The plot, as I understand it, was completely outlined ahead of time

Not true. In fact Brandon created over 50% of the content without direction from any notes or outlines. The notes were far less robust than originally thought. For example:

Brandon

I believe you that I could be mislead on the "robustness." Is there a source to the 50% number?

While I agree authors such as Peake, Wolfe and John Crowley are a step above, Jordan certainly along with someone like Martin was on that next tier. His writing may seem slightly quaint know(people like R. Scott Bakker have certainly raised the bar) but the descriptive prose and level of immersion is what drew many to this world in the first place. Under Sanderson the unpolished prose, blunt plot work and often poor characterization pushes these last three books much farther down the later. For the first time many people felt they had to "read down" to these books.

Hmm, you are talking only about prose construction here then, not quality of the books as a whole? I think there is much further distance than you do (and in my own opinion, Martin is a hack). Frankly, I rate Stephen King above Jordan in prose which may be inflammatory here. I find much of his writing as turgid and especially poorly edited. At times I thought Jordan was trying to aspire to higher literary aspirations and thought  writing style was a way to achieve what his content could not. Agree to disagree. I'm not saying Sanderson is any better, but I think his less pretentious style doesn't get in the way of itself the way Jordan did.

 

I like the quote you have from Sanderson about utilitarian prose - it speaks to what I was thinking of. In a book of limited literal ambitions such as this, I prefer this style of writing. Certainly I find myself skimming less of Sanderson's writing (in his own books) than I do of Jordan's.

 

One other aspect of prose quality that isn't discussed much here is voice. I've always been led to believe strong voice is incredibly important in writing, and there is no doubt that it must have been hard to have that finishing someone else's work. Indeed, I think this is an area I criticize Jordan's own writing, I believe he strays into a weak voice in some books.

 

When talking books as a whole though, and not just prose quality, I think the Wheel of Time is way down the list from the other books mentioned.

 

I may be forgetting some. The point is that themes seem not to be touched on, emotional highs barely mentioned, character development has got some mention and plot sort of - kind of.

Indeed I agree here. Themes should have their own tread as that would utterly side track one dedicated to the quality of writing.

I suggest the name of the thread be changed and the introductory post as well. As a reminded, the intro post just says "Basically it’s for all discussion of the quality of aMoL, and permits

all forms of critique (positive or negative) and discussion thereof." and in no way implies this is a thread for only quality of writing. As it stands now, this gives the impression that posters are conflating the quality of a book with the quality of the prose.

 

 

  • Unity - especially between the sexes - was present throughout the books, but again I thought this last book really failed to deliver. It seemed only present in Rand's battle, but only in a prefunctory and mechanical way

Given the history of the world and the taint, not sure it would have been realistic to have a wholesale reconciliation between the sexes. I would say in this vein the theme of balance was highlighted much more than unity.

I think I didn't explain what I was looking for here. I was hoping that the end of the book would show this theme in a more subtle way, not more of unity. I thought what was there was heavy-handed (Rand and the Dragon's peace, Rand and the Seachan) or prefunctory (the actual confrontation with the dark one). Ideally there would have been a way to explore these concepts more completely, more subtlely and especially, in a way that works on more levels than one.

 

In general, I think that is my biggest complaint with the Wheel of Time: There is very little subtext. Oh sure, it's a hugely complicated world, and the allusions to our world are ... interesting ... but what do they mean? At times I feel the series engages in world building as a form of intellectual masturbation to demonstrate the author's skills in handling so big a world, but in the end, without substance. This is one of the primary reasons that I place this series in the guilty pleasure column for me, rather than a "serious" work of fiction.

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Yeah, I've read that Suttree, but I'll be honest, and I still don't know what the word prose MEANS, as an objective thing.

 

I take it to mean something along the lines of what words you use to describe whatever it is you are describing, and how "elaborate" the wording is.

 

Which, to me, is synonymous with style, loosely.  Which I'm not sure how can be objective (though I'm sure I'm wrong).

 

I think someone like myself, when saying "I like his writing style" when speaking about any author, is probably saying that I like the prose (without knowing it).

 

Even reading the prose page on wikipedia doesn't really help me much.

 

I'll be honest and say I never thought there was anything special about the words RJ chose compared to the many other authors I've read (well over 200 novels I have - probably closer to 300), but I've also never encountered an author who's word choice has ever stood out to me.  I have a few books that I thought were "bad", but nothing else stands out as "good".  But really for me, there's just "bad" and "not bad".  Both RJ and BS, for me, are in the same "not bad" category.

 

But again, I did not study literature (and don't really care to - to me overanalyzing takes away the magic of a story - which is what happens, and not the words used to convey the message/image/story to the reader).

 

I also learned quite a long time ago to simply not read "professional" reviews on mostly any form of entertainment, as I found most reviews rather useless.  Movies, books, games, albums.  I'll always trust an "average" person's opinion over a paid film, book or games critic.

 

But back to this thread and this book - I'm guessing I'm not the only one who's read posters here state that the prose is "objectively bad" and glossed over it - simply because of either a lack of understand of what the word prose means, or a complete lack of caring, for the most part, about "prose".

 

I guess if BS had used the word lightsaber or something I would have done a double-take, but I don't think I look at books and separate the words from the plot on a very critical level.

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Yeah, I've read that Suttree, but I'll be honest, and I still don't know what the word prose MEANS, as an objective thing.

 

I take it to mean something along the lines of what words you use to describe whatever it is you are describing, and how "elaborate" the wording is.

 

Which, to me, is synonymous with style, loosely.  Which I'm not sure how can be objective (though I'm sure I'm wrong).

 

I think someone like myself, when saying "I like his writing style" when speaking about any author, is probably saying that I like the prose (without knowing it).

 

Even reading the prose page on wikipedia doesn't really help me much.

 

I'll be honest and say I never thought there was anything special about the words RJ chose compared to the many other authors I've read (well over 200 novels I have - probably closer to 300), but I've also never encountered an author who's word choice has ever stood out to me.  I have a few books that I thought were "bad", but nothing else stands out as "good".  But really for me, there's just "bad" and "not bad".  Both RJ and BS, for me, are in the same "not bad" category.

 

But again, I did not study literature (and don't really care to - to me overanalyzing takes away the magic of a story - which is what happens, and not the words used to convey the message/image/story to the reader).

 

I also learned quite a long time ago to simply not read "professional" reviews on mostly any form of entertainment, as I found most reviews rather useless.  Movies, books, games, albums.  I'll always trust an "average" person's opinion over a paid film, book or games critic.

 

But back to this thread and this book - I'm guessing I'm not the only one who's read posters here state that the prose is "objectively bad" and glossed over it - simply because of either a lack of understand of what the word prose means, or a complete lack of caring, for the most part, about "prose".

 

I guess if BS had used the word lightsaber or something I would have done a double-take, but I don't think I look at books and separate the words from the plot on a very critical level.

 

Some examples may help. Prose is just a word for a form, as opposed to something like Poetry. One example of good prose that is often cited is the Gettysburg address. Another interesting example is the Book of the New Sun. There the writing interplays with the themes of the book to convey an impression and they interact in a meaningful way. If that writing was in a different book you would call it bad prose!

 

Have you read Poe? Poe writes very well (I think). Think about his writing compared to Jordan.  Or Jordan compared to what you might find in some really trashy bargin bin book.

 

One imperfect metric you could think about for prose quality is: "how quotable/memorable is the phrasing?" Think of how well-phrased so many first lines of famous novels are. Reading a passage aloud can often help detect the quality of the writing - think about the phrase a "tin ear" for words. Do they sound awkward, funny? Or does the writing flow and evoke powerful imagery?

 

Hope this helps.

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HThis is one of the primary reasons that I place this series in the guilty pleasure column for me, rather than a "serious" work of fiction.

Oh, I'm not suggesting RJ's work stands up outside of genre as someone like Peake's does. When you start talking about great writers such as McCarthy, Pynchon or DeLillo they are just on a different level. To be clear if I hadn't come to these books at such an early age I doubt they would have had the same impact. Now when I see authors like Bakker it really shows what is possible in terms of fantasy writing that can hold up to the type of scrutiny usually reserved for "literary texts".

 

In terms of this quality thread prose has been a big focus, but if you notice people have also brought up the blunt/lowest common denominator plotwork and poor characterization under Sanderson. Add to that timeline issues, numerous mistakes and frequent breaking of the 4th wall...well you should start to see the problem. It can be extremely jarring and really hampers immersion. Another issue I had was the bloat due to Sanerson's near constant "tell don't show" style. He is very hesitant to trust the reader and frequently hammers us over the head when a more subtle touch would do. This also pops up in his seeming inability to use literary devices such as ellipsis to advance the action. That was one thing RJ was very skilled at. The WoT as a series for a while there in the 90s really changed how fantasy was viewed in terms of quality. I don't think it's fair to say, "well I don't expect much/it's a guilty pleasure so I'm not really disappointed by the changes under Sanderson". That is selling both the series and Brandon as a writer short.

 

Towards the end of your post you touch on allusions to our world and ask what they mean. It really is just fleshing out the feeling of this being our world and time being a wheel. The Wheel of Time turns...myth fades to legend. Queen Elizabeth-Alsbet Queen of All, Mother Theresa-Materese the Healer, Mosk and Merk, Artur Paendrag-Arthur Pendragon etc. We know that each turning has the same basic pattern but the fine details vary greatly each time around. It's why I was always so incredulous when people would claim Rand would kill the DO or that this was actually the "last battle". The whole concept was pretty central to Rand's struggle and his epiphany on DM.

 

Oh yeah and here is the quote. Welcome to DM Scott, those were some solid first posts!

 

 

Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012                                                       
Orem Signing Report - Zas (Verbatim)                                                                            
Question

Did you have to invent any of it yourself, or did Jordan leave a lot of it for you?

Brandon Sanderson

He left some of it for me, and then I had to make the rest. As you're reading through the books, probably about half and half. Half will be stuff that he wrote notes on, half will be stuff that I wrote.

 

 

Interview: Jan 3rd, 2013                                                           
Goodreads Interview with Brandon Sanderson (Verbatim)

 Goodreads                                            

                                           

Endings can often be the hardest part of a book to get right.

 

Brandon Sanderson                                            

Since Robert Jordan wrote the last scene, that actually made this whole project mountains easier. I had a target to shoot at. While I didn't have a ton of written material from Robert Jordan that I could actually put in—there are about 200 pages worth of scenes and notes that needed to become somewhere around 2,500 pages [books 12-14 by Sanderson total 2,556 pages]—a lot of those 200 pageswere summaries of scenes he wanted. Robert Jordan wrote by instinct. He was what we called a discovery writer, so what was handed to me was a big pile of half-finished scenes or paragraphs where he wrote, "Well, I am either going to do this, this, or this. I was thinking of this, but it could be this." Yes, cracking an ending is hard, and the Wheel of Time had a lot of loose threads. My job was to take all those threads and weave them into an ending, which was a real challenge.

 

When I was handed this project by Harriet [Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's wife and editor], she handed it to me as a collaborator, not as a ghost writer. It's not like building a shelf from Ikea, which is good, because otherwise my creativity wouldn't have been engaged. She handed me full creative control for the first draft, and then we went into the editing phase where we really worked on it to make sure that it fit her vision and Robert Jordan's vision for the series. But going into it, nothing was off-limits. So I wrote them like I write any novel. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing is sacrosanct.

Would just like to point out to everyone that the above quote is vastly different from how the notes/RJ's material were characterized to us when this project started. He was not constrained by a complete outline and he had a ton of creative control on where to take things. Some posters seem to not realize that was the case.

Edited by Suttree
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You guys do realize that you are the 1% amongst millions right? Its over the story is told. It is done.

Edited by Senada
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