Monday, February 25, 2013

Dubious Advice?

I should really post more about writing - that's what this blog is for.

I'm sorry that I'm more in the mood to work on Neferseshotep this month rather than more my sequel to The End of the World Sucks.  Sometimes, I need a break from Vanna and Thanos (they have issues).

Anyway, for a while I've been receiving critique advice to make Neferseshotep more like Tolkien.  The reasoning was sound.  A beloved classic where a group of characters who didn't talk over each other in conversation, that's exactly what Tolkien did.  I should have remembered there were hardly any female characters. 

Off the top of my head, I've read Tolkien, but I don't recall what he did in his writing style that made his story stand out so I plucked The Fellowship of the Ring off my daughter's bookshelf and got to work rereading it.

Uh yeah ... I hadn't gotten that far into the book, but I noticed the style dates the work.  I'm not sure it's the best approach for me and/or Neferseshotep.  There's lots of 'tell' at parts, and Gandalf is a know-it-all, answering questions at length for pages.

Here are some examples from The Hobbit .

          Insert a first person narrator to provide the reader with information (page 3) -
     Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale.
The importance of communicating information to the reader may be done through omniscient narrator and quick changes of internal viewpoint, even within the same paragraph.  This is also a good section of lumping dwarves together, rather than making them distinctive (page 8) - 
... Not a ring, but a hard rat-tat on the hobbit’s beautiful green door.  Somebody was banging with a stick!
     Bilbo rushed along the passage, very angry, and altogether bewildered and bewuthered – this was the most awkward Wednesday he ever remembered.  He pulled open the door with a jerk, and they all fell in, one on top of the other.  More dwarves, four more!  And there was Gandalf behind, leaning on his staff and laughing.  He had made quite a dent on the beautiful door; he had also, by the way, knocked out the secret mark that he had put there the morning before.
     “Carefully! Carefully!” he said.  “it is not like you, Bilbo, to keep friends waiting on the mat, and then open the door like a pop-gun! Let me introduce Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and especially Thorin!”
     “At your service!” said Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur standing in a row.  Then they hung up two yellow hoods and a pale green one; and also a sky-blue one with a long, silver tassel.  This last belonged to Thorin, an enormously important dwarf, in fact no other than Thorin Oakenshield himself, who was not at all pleased at falling flat on Bilbo’s mat with Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur on top of him.  For one thing Bombur was immensely fat and heavy.  Thorin indeed was very haughty, and said nothing about service; but poor Mr. Baggins said he was sorry so many times, that at last he grunted, “pray don’t mention it,” and stopped frowning. 

The follow-up advice when I questioned the applicability of Tolkien's style to modern epic fantasy, or the possibility that they were thinking the movies, rather than the books.  Response: read George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones series.  That's what you need to imitate, but at the same time simplify the entire story by removing characters and set up scenes so no more than two characters appear in it.

To comfort myself, I've started some new spreadsheets.

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