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Old 10-16-2011, 08:52 AM   #38
DiapDealer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afa View Post
I don't think he's all that bad, really. Maybe it's because I would consider Jordan to be the brick-by-brick kind of guy, and Sanderson by comparison isn't nearly as guilty. In many ways, I think he strikes the middle-ground between Jordan's tedious minutae and, say, Abercrombie's barebones style of world-building (particularly in The First Law).
I guess the time spent "learning" allomancy and "burning metals" just didn't do anything for me. I'm perfectly OK with the concept that; "magic can't be used willy-nilly and there are consequences if the wielder attempts too much, too soon." Anything more than that just tends to bore me and ultimately doesn't really help me "suspend my disbelief" any more/better(?). A few basic tenets are nice, but an entire framework is just overkill, IMO. It's still magic for pete's sake.

And for reference, I don't really consider Abercrombie to be barebones when it comes to world building (although he's a step in the right direction for me). So Joe would represent my personal middle-ground when it comes to world-building. I prefer closer to none actually. Just plop me down in the middle of your "world" please. Allow me to learn the rest through contextual clues (preferably contained within character dialog).

Read Lawrence's Prince of Thorns, Polansky's Low Town, and Huso's The Last Page if you're interested in getting an idea of the level of "world-building" I'm comfortable with.

I'm going to quote Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns) from a conversation in another thread, on another forum, in a galaxy far, far, away. It explains much better than I ever could, the way I feel about writing (regardless of the genre). I hope he doesn't mind. I'm spoilering them to keep the post length down (and also because not everyone is going to be interested), but they are definitely NOT spoilers. Emphasis mine.
Spoiler:
Quote:
[caveat: the following is aspirational, what I aim for rather than do]

For me good writing is about economy. A good writer knows something about themselves, and by extension about the human condition, and by extension about you. That's why most kids aren't so good at it. Sure the bright ones can line words up and make them dance - but if they haven't lived, had the ups and the downs, then unless they're one in a billion they can't make that vital connection. For the greats (and everyone has their own examples - I like William Golding, Dostoyevsky, Hemmingway, Irving) they can hook out of the mature reader great tracts of the shared experience of being human. With the right line they can have the reader put all the requisite flesh on the skeleton. A few choice 'coup de prose' can ring the reader's bell and send echoes down the corridors of their experience. Take that too far and it becomes less and less accessible and we call it poetry. Do it right in a story and the smoke and mirrors of the writer becomes magic and genius. They do more with less - they put you there with deft touches rather than reams of description - they move you with one line rather than a page of failed entreaties.

High falutin' stuff for a hack who writes blood and guts fantasy, but we all have our dreams.


And also this one... which is in response to a reader wanting to know "more" about certain supporting characters:
Spoiler:
Quote:
There's great power in restraint. Powerful writing is often powerful because of the way hints and hooks draw so much of a story or character out of the reader - in much the same way that a good artist can impart great character to a pen & ink portrait with just a few quick lines. Part of the impression left on a reader is there because of the questions left unanswered, the white space left unshaded. Turning too bright a light on that can destroy the magic. If you've read Hobb then the Fool would be a prime example of this. In truth a reader doesn't always want what they think they want.

It is of course possible to read the above as condescending and pompous - it's not meant to be.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 10-16-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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