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Lany Freelove Cassandra

I like the story but… complaints about style/substance/etcetera

41 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Callan S. said:

Err, just read it and no. He was just saying wearing dark clothing doesn't make you a dark character.

Did you? Because he literally uses those exact words...

"But he doesn’t, like, get raped in prison. That could happen in my movie. If you want to talk about dark, that’s how that would go."

The original context actually makes him sound like more of an edge-lord than what I initially quoted.

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3 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Look up cultural appropriation.

 


It's not even that, really. It's not appropriating their culture because it's barely acknowledging their culture. Typically, doing it ignores that America before us was a vast and varied continent full of many, many nations, and lumps them all together as one. It also often plays up the myth of the noble savage or magical indian, close to nature by virtue of his simple, uncivilised life (hence the elvish thing), which is obviously problematic all on its own.

And I don't think I've ever read one that acknowledges that between first contact and full-on colonisation, America underwent what was essentially an apocalypse, one later helped along by deliberate genocide.

 

I have a vague wish/plan/aim of one day writing a myth-fantasy based on the founding of America, and the current thing stopping me from trying (well, apart from me being an almost hilariously undisciplined writer anyway, and I'd surely want to do some simpler projects first) is that I haven't got nearly enough confidence in my ability to do justice to Native America.

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Do GRRM's Children of the Forest fall within the "Native Americans as Elves" cliché in your opinion?

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16 minutes ago, Pilusmagnus said:

Do GRRM's Children of the Forest fall within the "Native Americans as Elves" cliché in your opinion?



Nah. The only thing about them that could conceivably make that connection is the resistance to and genocide by European-based invaders, but that kind of thing has been used for Elves in non-America based settings- which Westeros is- for ages anyway. They're just GRRM's take on the Elfish tradition with a little taken from fairy folklore.

Edited by polishgenius

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13 hours ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

Did you? Because he literally uses those exact words...

"But he doesn’t, like, get raped in prison. That could happen in my movie. If you want to talk about dark, that’s how that would go."

The original context actually makes him sound like more of an edge-lord than what I initially quoted.

Yeah, I'm replying to the broader context which got cut out there

Quote

 

Everyone says that about [Christopher Nolan’s] Batman Begins. ”Batman’s dark.” I’m like, okay, ”No, Batman’s cool.” He gets to go to a Tibetan monastery and be trained by ninjas. Okay? 

 

Thinking that is dark is a 'wearing dark clothes makes me dark' attitude.

It's more of a theme park ride 'dark'. After that - and this is surprisingly in context - you can have batman have his back broken or some gang bangers get killed by Joker or Bane and everyone is okay with the plan/plot...but mention one little old rape of batman and everybody loses their minds!

The dark he's refering to is one that leaves the plan which everyone is comfortable with. Probably people think there can be a 'dark' they are comfortable with - ie, one that stays to plan and does not break the status quo. The 'dark clothes makes dark' idea.

But really, it's like he's saying to be dark you have to cross a boundary - and gives an example, to which people say 'holy shit, you crossed a boundary (in even giving that example)!'. Taboos still exist.

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9 minutes ago, Callan S. said:

Yeah, I'm replying to the broader context which got cut out there

Thinking that is dark is a 'wearing dark clothes makes me dark' attitude.

It's more of a theme park ride 'dark'. After that - and this is surprisingly in context - you can have batman have his back broken or some gang bangers get killed by Joker or Bane and everyone is okay with the plan/plot...but mention one little old rape of batman and everybody loses their minds!

The dark he's refering to is one that leaves the plan which everyone is comfortable with. Probably people think there can be a 'dark' they are comfortable with - ie, one that stays to plan and does not break the status quo. The 'dark clothes makes dark' idea.

But really, it's like he's saying to be dark you have to cross a boundary - and gives an example, to which people say 'holy shit, you crossed a boundary (in even giving that example)!'. Taboos still exist.

You can speak for the broader context of the article all you want, but this broader context doesn't contradict the point about Zack Snyder being obsessed with rape. If anything the context that you just laid out bolsters the original point. Snyder wants to make Batman dark, and his first immediate impulse is to have him raped. It's s lazy way of manufacturing depth by replacing complexity of character with edginess.

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Authors of contemporary fiction generally struggle to portray careers other than a writer.  A non-writer hero is usually oppressed in a drudge job with only superficial specifics, and an antagonist is almost always some undeserving tyrant boss with only superficial specifics.  There's rarely any realism in the job, workplace interactions, or any career satisfaction for the protagonist, or anything else that would elevate it above a cliche trope.  Considering that jobs/careers have a huge influence over most people and their lives, it's pretty bad that most authors seem to be so severely limited by their own personal perspective on careers.  John Grisham is an unusual exception.  Even crime procedurals usually portray cops who are exempt from doing any actual police work and just spend all day rebelling and working on the one case the author cares about.  

Elves proxied by generic North American Indians might not be cultural appropriation so much as all elves in fantasy seem to stem from various animist hunter gatherer societies as reflected in the folklore of the agrarian societies that displaced them, especially the magical and noble paradise trope.  Native American Indians are generally lumped into that same trope. 

I hate authors using contemporary slang, especially juvenile American teenager trash talk, for medieval or other-world fantasy characters.  

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22 hours ago, polishgenius said:


It's not even that, really. It's not appropriating their culture because it's barely acknowledging their culture. Typically, doing it ignores that America before us was a vast and varied continent full of many, many nations, and lumps them all together as one. It also often plays up the myth of the noble savage or magical indian, close to nature by virtue of his simple, uncivilised life (hence the elvish thing), which is obviously problematic all on its own.

And I don't think I've ever read one that acknowledges that between first contact and full-on colonisation, America underwent what was essentially an apocalypse, one later helped along by deliberate genocide.

 

I have a vague wish/plan/aim of one day writing a myth-fantasy based on the founding of America, and the current thing stopping me from trying (well, apart from me being an almost hilariously undisciplined writer anyway, and I'd surely want to do some simpler projects first) is that I haven't got nearly enough confidence in my ability to do justice to Native America.

Ah sorry, I just assumed you were taking about cultural appropriation, but it's been on my mind lately, there's been some absolutely god awful "Asian influenced" fantasy lately. Which is to say the author really likes anime and sometimes eats sushi on weekends. But I digress, what you describe sounds more like just general stereo typing.

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10 hours ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

You can speak for the broader context of the article all you want, but this broader context doesn't contradict the point about Zack Snyder being obsessed with rape. If anything the context that you just laid out bolsters the original point. Snyder wants to make Batman dark, and his first immediate impulse is to have him raped. It's s lazy way of manufacturing depth by replacing complexity of character with edginess.

Depends, what else is he going to draw upon? If he gives no example then he says nothing about 'dark clothes equals dark' - maybe people think if batman gets punched in the gut reaaal hard maybe then it's dark or something.

If the movies people wanted were more like the campy 60's batman series - ie, some adventurous colourful biffo which stays pretty wholesome, it'd make sense to find Snyder's example abhorrent. But people want batman to be an edgelord...but not that edgey.

Edited by Callan S.

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Back to the topic, I've always been bothered by the argument "The story is good but it's badly written" which I hear a lot about George R.R. Martin for example.

I utterly think the way you perceive content depends on the manner in which it is conveyed. If you really thought the book was badly written, then you wouldn't like the story. If you like the story, then it means the style is efficient, although it maybe does not fall within the "Well-written" arbitrary aesthetic category.

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10 hours ago, Pilusmagnus said:

Back to the topic, I've always been bothered by the argument "The story is good but it's badly written" which I hear a lot about George R.R. Martin for example.

I utterly think the way you perceive content depends on the manner in which it is conveyed. If you really thought the book was badly written, then you wouldn't like the story. If you like the story, then it means the style is efficient, although it maybe does not fall within the "Well-written" arbitrary aesthetic category.

It makes sense to me because I come from the school of reader-response theory, wherein there is a fascinating gap between "what is on the page" and "what does it mean to an individual reader" and the creation of meaning is a collaborative effort.  Two readers can read a passage that's, say, describing a character's internal monologue, and bring a different interpretation to it.  "I think she's lying to herself, given what she did earlier in the story" and "Wow, she's so strong and forthright" can, depending on the writing, both be makeable arguments.  So people read a story and fill in blanks on their own to make things more satisfactory all the time, which may well compensate for various aspects of the writing.  To piggyback on another thread, infinite annoying badly written things in The Wheel of Time (some of the quirks of dialogue, focus on spanking, braid-tugging), but I'm not gonna lie and say I didn't avidly read the adventures and delight in reaching the ending, and even enjoy characters who were written to do said annoying things.

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I though Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere wasn't very well written but I liked the story so much I didn't hold it against him.  It is, in fact, my favorite of his works.  

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On 29/11/2017 at 5:47 PM, Argonath Diver said:

I consider Brandon Sanderson to be a very entertaining author. I think he crafts some fascinating worlds. I also can hardly continue to read his newest, because the dialogue is so awkward. Characters consistently use completely anachronistic phrases, to a point that I literally have put the book down several times since I purchased it, simply because I couldn't continue with the awful conversations. This isn't limited to interactions between characters - the inner dialogues can be just as jarring. Last book featured a young girl trying to understand her magical powers, which she described as "her awesomeness". It is probably my single least favorite chapter I can ever remember reading. 

I have bagged on this damn book multiple times on this forum, but I do enjoy a significant amount of it. I want to know what's going to happen to these characters, and I want to see this wonderful world develop even more. I enjoy that he has a crazy overlying mega-plot that unites all of his novels. I just have such a hard time with his style of writing.

Dialogue is not only awkward but plain terrible, it's like Sanderson did not improve but actually regressed, I can't stand Shallan's chapters at all, it's because of the incredibly bad way she's written that she's my least favourite character. The way I see with Sanderson is he's desperately trying to put good humor in his books and failing spectacularly at it. Dialogue is the weakest aspect of Oathbringer, the author has a poor command of the English language, just try comparing GRRM's dialogue with Sanderson’s and Sanderson’s would feel childish in comparison. I'm really concerned because I thought he would continue to improve but sadly that hasn't happened yet, he's still in the class of what I call 'average' authors. I was hoping he would crack it to the level of the top dogs where people like GRRM and Tolkien are, but unfortunately I don't see that happening soon. 

With that said, in the class of average authors, Sanderson is definitely the king.

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I don't know if I'd say his command of the English language is poor, that sounds like you're saying it's a foreign language to him, but some of his dialogue can be atrocious, I agree.

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On 3.12.2017 at 0:42 AM, Iskaral Pust said:

Elves proxied by generic North American Indians might not be cultural appropriation so much as all elves in fantasy seem to stem from various animist hunter gatherer societies as reflected in the folklore of the agrarian societies that displaced them, especially the magical and noble paradise trope.  Native American Indians are generally lumped into that same trope. 

I hate authors using contemporary slang, especially juvenile American teenager trash talk, for medieval or other-world fantasy characters.  

If the Tolkien Elves are one introduction of that trope into modern fantasy they have very little to do with animist hunter/gatherer or folklore flower fairies. And if there were foklore "high elves" they were more like idealized superhumans. The tree-hugging pseudo-native hippie elves seem a later development hooking onto some features present in Tolkien, so I guess it stems from 1960s/70s reception of Tolkien.

I completely agree with your last point. Of course there is the other trap of making up some sillie merrie olde medieval jargon, forsooth, but even pretty good contemporary fantasy very often sucks at distinguishing characters by the language they use, and the character's language is overall too close to modern (often juvenile) words. I guess that it is a mix of laziness, fear to fall into the "merrie aulde" stuff and partly unawareness. Modern Western culture and especially the US is more primitive and uniform in language than most other societies before or elsewhere (although one can look to Britain to still see some of such distinctions in place). The often stilted prose of Howard or Lovecraft is not particularly great but they usually strove for some distinctive tone whereas with many modern authors I get the impression that they are not even aware of the fact how important language is for mood and atmosphere.

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I'm more okay with completely fantasy people being used in place of X group than actually trying to write RL groups as fantasy characters.

In the Witcher, the elves are the native people who have been driven off their land and allied with one set of conquerors to fight another--only to find themselves still screwed.

It's not a direct parallel but applicable.

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On 12/6/2017 at 5:08 PM, Yucef Menaerys said:

Last book featured a young girl trying to understand her magical powers, which she described as "her awesomeness". It is probably my single least favorite chapter I can ever remember reading. 

That's probably a 'contemporary phrase' issue, isn't it? It wasn't urban fantasy, was it?

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On 11/29/2017 at 10:47 AM, Argonath Diver said:

I consider Brandon Sanderson to be a very entertaining author. I think he crafts some fascinating worlds. I also can hardly continue to read his newest, because the dialogue is so awkward. Characters consistently use completely anachronistic phrases, to a point that I literally have put the book down several times since I purchased it, simply because I couldn't continue with the awful conversations. This isn't limited to interactions between characters - the inner dialogues can be just as jarring. Last book featured a young girl trying to understand her magical powers, which she described as "her awesomeness". It is probably my single least favorite chapter I can ever remember reading. 

I have bagged on this damn book multiple times on this forum, but I do enjoy a significant amount of it. I want to know what's going to happen to these characters, and I want to see this wonderful world develop even more. I enjoy that he has a crazy overlying mega-plot that unites all of his novels. I just have such a hard time with his style of writing.

Took the words right out of my mouth. He makes a good story but his technique is sorely underdeveloped, especially considering that he has published so many books at this point. It bothers me a bit because Sanderson is widely read and regarded, but right now Fantasy (and most other genre fictions) are in a position to finally be taken seriously by literary and academic circles. I shudder to think that some of these people try to branch out and read a Sanderson work as a first-time fantasy read.

"The awesomeness" bothers me to no end. He uses contemporary language throughout the Stormlight Archive and it murders the suspension of disbelief. It's a situation where the anachronistic elements simply don't fit.

Lyft ("awesomeness" girl) has her own novella (book 2.5 technically) which I can't bring myself to read. Her presence in Oathbringer was awkward enough. The sad part is people consider her one of their favorite characters and to me she just isn't believable or interesting at all. I thought her spren was interesting... but not her. In Oathbringer Sanderson literally resorts to butt humor in dialogue to try and make her a funny character. His characters in general are written to be pretty people with pretty personalities that are super talented at things... so basically like a teenager writing LoTR fanfiction, or the dreaded fanfiction featuring a Jedi with a white light saber.

Sanderson says he wants to be critiqued on his storylines (which are great) and not his prose, but that's just silly. Does an author ever say to judge them on their prose but not their storyline? Both are necessary. I personally believe if he slowed down his rapid publishing and took the time to craft a novel (rather than churn it out), then he'd have some brilliant work out there. I have no doubt he's capable if he put in the time.

Edited by Traverys

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I think it's fair to want to be judged on something - a guitarist wants to be judged on how well he plays the guitar, not the drums.

But really, if you want to engage an audience, it doesn't quite work that way.

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