Monday, October 25, 2010

Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks - Babel Clash Interview

 I know I am a month late to this fascinating back and forth between two of my current favorite authors, Brent Weeks and Brandon Sanderson. What makes this back and forth so interesting is that Brent and Brandon write in such differing styles. Brent is very up tempo with great dialog but with a more nebulous world. Brandon is a worldbuilder with a slower pace, leaning towards indulgent, with characters defined less by dialog as by narrative events.

The topic that is brought up that I can't help but comment on is Brent's assertion that in a long series, the books get worse as the length grows. They get worse because eventually, the weaknesses in each authors style is finally revealed. I agree with this in general but would like to make a subtle distinction.

The writing doesn't get worse per se, its just that the reader gets more educated in the writers style. The writing tends to stay equally good, it is the reader that improves in capability. So yes, eventually people get tired of recurring mannerisms or such. I know by the 10th Wheel of Time book I sighed every time Mat/Rand/Perrin made the comment that "...is always better with women." The joke wore thin. But, do not the people in your real life have these same issues? Doesn't your uncle repeat the same hunting stories every family gathering...or start mixing and matching them. You have heard the stories a hundred times but you still smile and laugh.

But, ultimately the point I would like to make is that after reading millions of words written by a single author, the reader KNOWS the subject. The reader can articulate well the technical merits of the author. This isn't because the author has become lazy as a series waxed in length so much as become the chatty uncle. We recite the stories by memory, we know the author's foibles...but we still love them. via - Babel Clash @ Borders Blogs

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