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Werthead

GOODKIND IV

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There's a difference between brutal games - gladiatoral games, bull fighting etc - and whipping. Clearly a lot of people are willing to see others risk their lives for entertainment. That's nothing new, I agree. But whipping each other? That's an entirely different entity. While people went to watch gladiatoral games, it was for the sport, the competition and the thrill. It probably wasn't because they wanted to see the agony of strangers. There's a difference between the sadism of Goodkind's whipping game and the brutality of the gladiatoral games. The first is just sadistic and fetishistic, while in the second there is a reasonable level of skill and competition involved. The only reason people would go to see the first would be because they want to witness the pain and suffering of others. Combat to the death is an ancient tradition through almost all cultures - seeing who can whip their opponent the most times is something rather different.

Actually, Sparta had a form of whipping contest. Boys around 12 or so would be whipped by 19-20 year old boys to see who could last the longest. The winner had a nice statue of him erected in his home town. Many boys, of course, died. Being accepted for (and winning) this competition was a great honor. Not that Terry would have any way of knowing this.

Seriously, though... even Martin (especially Martin) describes some pretty sick stuff, that doesn't mean that he approves of it. Melisandre's ambitions to wake the Stone Dragon by sacrificing Gendry, anyone?

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The problem that I have with that quoted part concerning the sports players is not that his idea is so bad, nor that his point is invalid. I think there's room to criticize the sports craze in the U.S. and the adoration we heap upon successful athletes. The problem I have, and it's a problem with Goodkind's writing in general, is that it's so clumsily executed that I feel like I'm reading a didatic treatise on glorifying violence. The set-up was utterly unconvincing to bring about the point. It's not necessary for us to hear the exact thing from the mouth of a character. Goodkind could have shown us the depravity and the unearned glorification. Hell, this would even be a good place for Goodkind to indulge in his hobby of going into great length to describe violent acts. But instead of showing us how misplaced the honoring is or how misguided these women who worship these players are, we were told directly. That's not a story. That's an essay.

If, for instance, Martin had used this tactic, we would have had something like this:

Sansa: "Oh, but why is Tyrion so mean to me?"

Cercei: "Don't be foolish, he's not being mean."

Sansa: "I don't understand..."

Cercei: "Tyrion refuses to consumate the marriage because he harbors a hope that you will come to love him first."

Sansa: "But why?"

Cercei: "You see, when he was younger, he had fallen in love with a woman, only to find out later that she's a prostitute. From then on, he has been on an emotional journey to find a woman who will love him without him having to pay for that love. He doesn't believe that anyone would, yet he still hopes. Very tragic."

Sansa: "Oh, that's very romantic!"

Imagine, pages of the story condensed into a few sentences. We don't get to see Tyrion hesitating in coming to the wedding bed, or how he treats Tysha, or his fury at Jaime. We're told what his thoughts are and what his motivations are. That's essentially what Goodkind had done to that paragraph. It's simply a very bad way to write a story. He must have missed the first class in creative writing where the idea of "show, not tell" was introduced.

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The problem that I have with that quoted part concerning the sports players is not that his idea is so bad, nor that his point is invalid. I think there's room to criticize the sports craze in the U.S. and the adoration we heap upon successful athletes. The problem I have, and it's a problem with Goodkind's writing in general, is that it's so clumsily executed that I feel like I'm reading a didatic treatise on glorifying violence. The set-up was utterly unconvincing to bring about the point. It's not necessary for us to hear the exact thing from the mouth of a character. Goodkind could have shown us the depravity and the unearned glorification. Hell, this would even be a good place for Goodkind to indulge in his hobby of going into great length to describe violent acts. But instead of showing us how misplaced the honoring is or how misguided these women who worship these players are, we were told directly. That's not a story. That's an essay.

If, for instance, Martin had used this tactic, we would have had something like this:

Sansa: "Oh, but why is Tyrion so mean to me?"

Cercei: "Don't be foolish, he's not being mean."

Sansa: "I don't understand..."

Cercei: "Tyrion refuses to consumate the marriage because he harbors a hope that you will come to love him first."

Sansa: "But why?"

Cercei: "You see, when he was younger, he had fallen in love with a woman, only to find out later that she's a prostitute. From then on, he has been on an emotional journey to find a woman who will love him without him having to pay for that love. He doesn't believe that anyone would, yet he still hopes. Very tragic."

Sansa: "Oh, that's very romantic!"

Imagine, pages of the story condensed into a few sentences. We don't get to see Tyrion hesitating in coming to the wedding bed, or how he treats Tysha, or his fury at Jaime. We're told what his thoughts are and what his motivations are. That's essentially what Goodkind had done to that paragraph. It's simply a very bad way to write a story. He must have missed the first class in creative writing where the idea of "show, not tell" was introduced.

It is scary how you managed to replicate Terry's prose.

Seriously though-

This is a brilliant observation! I have had this same exact thought on my periodic pilgrimages through Goodkind's literary wasteland. Huge chunks of the plot are vomited up through Goodkind's awful dialog. And sometimes, (please don't burn me at the stake) Terry actually stumbles across an interesting idea, and then totally fails to take advantage of it!

An example springs to mind from his second book, "Stone of Tears." Zedd is supposed to be this very powerful wizard. But the only problem with this is that he is too powerful, so Terry had to find "clever" ways to preventing Zedd from helping Richard, otherwise the books would have only had to be half as long, and several national forests wouldn't have had to sacrifice their lives to fuel Goodkind's career.

In "Wizard's First Rule." Zedd spent half the book unconscious. In the second book, Terry wrote it so some sort of dark magic was leeching away Zedd's memory. So, Zedd and his similarly afflicted witch friend, Addie had to go on a quest to find a cure before they forgot who they were. Now, when I first read this, I was actually impressed. Just how would an all powerful wizard get himself out of this situation? It had many intriguing possibilities. It could have ended up being like a high fantasy version of "Memento." I was actually looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Sufficiently fortified I plunged onward... only to discover almost no mention of this subplot until hundreds of pages later when Zedd and Addie reappeared, totally cured and announcing (I'm paraphrasing here)

"Gee Addie, I'm real glad we finally found the cure before we lost our memories."

"Whew, no kidding Zedd, that was a close one. I don't know what would have happened to us if we hadn't been cured in the nick of time."

It was at that time that I threw the book at the wall.

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Goodkind's dialogue shows tell-tale signs that he's never actually talked to anyone (at least not of the opposite sex).

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Actually, Sparta had a form of whipping contest. Boys around 12 or so would be whipped by 19-20 year old boys to see who could last the longest. The winner had a nice statue of him erected in his home town. Many boys, of course, died. Being accepted for (and winning) this competition was a great honor. Not that Terry would have any way of knowing this.

Seriously, though... even Martin (especially Martin) describes some pretty sick stuff, that doesn't mean that he approves of it. Melisandre's ambitions to wake the Stone Dragon by sacrificing Gendry, anyone?

That was a test of endurance designed to prepare them as warriors. It wasn't a form of entertainment. That's the key difference - yes it would be an honour to do well in it, but they hardly had thousands of people coming to spectate. The same is true of the more horrible events in Martin - they are driven by realistic character motivations, not by sadism from otherwise mentally stable characters. Though if you lived in Goodkind's world, I can see how you would be driven to insanity.

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Just found out that Robert Newcomb's first-time publishing deal was for a larger amount of money than Goodkind's, meaning he no longer holds the record in either the UK (beaten by Erikson) or the USA (beaten by Newcomb). The only distressing thing in this satisfying outcome is that Newcomb is possibly even a worse writer than Goodkind.

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The only distressing thing in this satisfying outcome is that Newcomb is possibly even a worse writer than Goodkind.

Can that truly be? Now I have to buy his books just to see for myself. Dammit.

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Do we need a new Quote of the Day today? Senseichow posted one on the last page. If we do, I'm open to suggestions.

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And sometimes, (please don't burn me at the stake) Terry actually stumbles across an interesting idea, and then totally fails to take advantage of it!

I can get behind this statement -- I mean, anyone with the fortitude to vomit out 7 novels must have some kind of creative fire in them. It then becomes a question of talent and writing skills. And Terra nailed one of GK's main failings as a storyteller.

The Editorial Caveat

I would love to see how these novels come into the editorial offices, because it would give us a real sense as to the Sisyphean task set before Terry's editors. It is way more difficult to edit text intelligently than one might expect. That's why, in magazines, each story has a writer, an editor, a top editor, a copy editor, and it also goes through "rounds" (where multiple staff editors read and comment upon the story, usually 2 or 3 times) before it finally goes out the door. And STILL a story can turn out muddled, confusing, or just badly written and boring. One frustrating aspect to editing: you will probably only improve a story by 40-60% when you edit it. Even with multiple revises from the writer. It is nearly impossible to take a sow's ear, and turn it into a silk purse, by yourself. You might be able to shore up the foundation and give the story a direction, but you have little hope of producing copy that worthy of making it into rounds. That's where your top editor bails you out, identifies the 4 criticial flaws you missed (even if you caught 30 or 40 of them, or just rewrote the damned thing yourself), etc.

Anyway, so to bring it all home -- I wonder if the copy comes in so bad that all the editors can hope to do is emergency triage: stuff the gaping plot holes and truss up the broken logic. Niceties such as subtlety of language and storytelling are frivolous under such circumstances. DF and others who have seen unedited drafts of books I am sure are familiar with the warts that even talented writers sprout occasionally.

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TerraPrime, that bit on your take on how TG would write ASoIaF was genius. :D

That's essentially what Goodkind had done to that paragraph. It's simply a very bad way to write a story. He must have missed the first class in creative writing where the idea of "show, not tell" was introduced.

I doubt he took creative writing classes at all. If he had my teacher, his works would have been thrown out of the window at first glance. :rolleyes:

I would love to see how these novels come into the editorial offices, because it would give us a real sense as to the Sisyphean task set before Terry's editors.

He has editors? Poor editors. That has to be one of the worst jobs in the publishing industry.

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X-Ray, I'm not convinced the editors truly care this many books in...sadly there is a built in "fan base" for TG now...whether we want him to or not, he's gonna sell...the editors probably see his new book come across the desk and just pass on it to save their own minds from burning at the thought of trying to actually do any editing work on a novel the author probably feels that they don't understand anyway...

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No replies since yesterday? Come on, what has happened to your thing(s)? Aren't they rising anymore? Or have you all been paid visits by a mord-sith with a seemingly innocent chicken on a leash?

Bwaaaaaak-bwaaak-bwa-a-a-a-ak

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I've been thinking on Brys response to my semi-defense about the last passage. I'm currently looking into mob mentality and how it would affect the people watching the whipping after the game. Group think or mob mentality could explain why they accept it. Those effects have and do lower peoples standards so they'll accept something as a group what they won't do by themselves. The problem with this theory is that this contest is an on-going and I'm not sure if my theory would work over time. If the people were uncomfortable with it, then they'd stop going to the game.

TP that's a great analysis of what is wrong with Goodkind, its not just he's a misogynist or his simplistic philosophy. The simple truth is the man just can't write.

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I'm currently looking into mob mentality and how it would affect the people watching the whipping after the game.

If you're looking for mob mentality, look no further than this very thread. I think it would be safe to say that half the bashing is done not because the posters hate Goodkind, but because it makes them fit into the group. Even if chickens that are not chickens, and fantasy that is not fantasy ranks high on the lameness scale.

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Good morning and welcome to the Terry Goodkind Quote of the Day. I've decided to be lazy that I have done a disservice to board members who have never read Terry. Previously I quoted the "chicken that is not a chicken" passage, but did not quote it in its entirety. So here's the rest of it (with some boring parts cut to save space).

Her power, her magic, was also a weapon of defense. But it would only work on people. It would not work on a chicken. And it would not work on wickedness incarnate.

Her gaze flicked toward the door, checking the distance. The chicken took a single hop toward her. Claws gripping Juni's upper arm, it leaned her way. Her leg muscles tightened till they trembled.

The chicken backed up a step, tensed, and spurted feces onto Juni's face. :rofl:

It let out the cackle that sounded like a laugh.

She dearly wished she could tell herself she was being silly. Imagining things.

But she knew better.

<snip>

Kahlan frantically tried to think as the chicken bawk-bawk-bawked.

<snip>

"Mother," the chicken croaked.

Kahlan flinched with a cry.

<snip>

[Kahlan knocks over a candle by mistake, plunging the barn into darkness]

In the dark, the chicken thing let out a low chicken cackle laugh.

It hadn't come from whre she expected the chicken to be. It was behind her.

"Please, I mean no harm," she called into the darkness. "I mean no disrespect. I will leave you to your business now, if that's all right with you."

She took another shuffling step toward the door. She moved carefully, slowly, in case the chicken thing was in the way. She didn't want to bump into it and make it angry. She mustn't underestimate it.

Kahlan had on any number of occasions thrown herself with ferocity against seemingly invincible foes. She knew well the value of a resolute violent attack. But she also somehow knew beyond doubt that this adversary could, if it wanted, kill her as easily as she could wring a real chicken's neck. If she forced a fight, this was one she would lose.

<snip>

The chicken thing let out a whispering cackle.

<snip>

[she's trying to find the door, she's crying and panicking, she stubs her toe and falls down.]

With the next flash of lightning, she saw chicken feet standing between her and the crack under the door. The thing wasn't more than a foot from her face.

<snip>

The beak pinched the vein on the back of her hand over her eyes. The chicken tugged, as if trying to pull a worm from the ground.

It was a command. It wanted her hand away from her eyes.

The beak gave a sharp tug on her skin. There was no mistaking the meaning in that insistent yank. Move the hand, now, it was saying, or you'll be sorry.

If she made it angry, there was no telling what it was capable of doing to her. Juni lay dead above her as a reminder of the possibilities.

She told herself that if it pecked at her eyes, she would have to grab it and try to wring its neck. If she was quick, it could only get in one peck. She would have one eye left. She would have to fight it then. But only if it went for her eyes.

Her instincts screamed that such action would be the most foolish, dangerous thing she could do. Both the Bird Man and Richard said this was not a chicken. She no longer doubted them. But she might have no choice.

If she started, it would be a fight to the death. She held no illusion as to her chances. Nonetheless, she might be forced to fight it. With her last breath, if need be, as her father had taught her.

The chicken snatched a bigger beakful of her skin along with the vein and twisted. Last warning.

Kahlan carefully moved her trembling hand away. The chicken-thing cackled softly with satisfaction.

~Terry Goodkind, Soul of the Fire

Naturally, at this point Richard bursts in and saves the day.

It's strange that earlier in the series, Kahlan led a small army, completely naked and outnumbered against the imperial order, and never showed nearly this amount of fear. But I guess that was just fifty-thousand murderers and rapists, not a chicken-thing.

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:o

A story for another day perhaps.

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Ok, I go away for 2 days and find the new thread has hit 5 pages and 97 posts... good going!

Given the earlier comments about the (impossible) task of editing TGs words, how about we write a letter to his publishers asking for an interview with his editors? With a team like this we should be able to grill them quite well and find out all the juicy stories about their painful work!

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Ok, I go away for 2 days and find the new thread has hit 5 pages and 97 posts... good going!

Given the earlier comments about the (impossible) task of editing TGs words, how about we write a letter to his publishers asking for an interview with his editors? With a team like this we should be able to grill them quite well and find out all the juicy stories about their painful work!

I'd be interested (because I'm a bit of a masochist) to get hold of one of Terry's manuscripts before the editors get their hands on it. I bet its great stuff. Somehow, after the editing process, we still have the evil chicken cackles, and so on.

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I can't get enough of these Goodkind animals.

The beak gave a sharp tug on her skin. There was no mistaking the meaning in that insistent yank. Move the hand, now, it was saying, or you'll be sorry.

Quite the loquacious yank.

It let out the cackle that sounded like a laugh.

Kahlan frantically tried to think as the chicken bawk-bawk-bawked.

In the dark, the chicken thing let out a low chicken cackle laugh.

The chicken thing let out a whispering cackle.

The chicken-thing cackled softly with satisfaction.

Aside from the awesomeness of all this cackling, first the chicken is "it", then its the "chicken" then the "chicken thing" and finally the "chicken-thing". This man can't have an editor.

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