Thoughts on Writing


Brandon Sanderson is an author I respect. Not because I like his writing. On the contrary, I don’t find his writing necessarily to my taste, but more because of what he has done with the craft. and how he ultimately offers advice to those who are also climbing the mountain he has summited over and again. I am in the middle of reading of some of his stuff on his page and he has offered this one particular gem that I have decided to pull out and disseminate.

Becoming a successful author is about practice, and I believe that the most important thing to learn while practicing is to understand yourself as a writer. – Sanderson

Very true. Just a couple of sentences before this he offered another piece of advice which is to learn how your own process works as a writer and do that. He even references George R. R. Martin’s analogy of the difference between the “gardeners” and the “architects” out there – those who write and let the story tell itself and those who design the story. Either way, all authors tend to agree that there’s no one way to the end of the maze. The point is that you keep walking and find out how to get there yourself.

I’ve been writing fiction since 2008. I’ve been able to have a few pieces of poetry published (though, there’s one I’ve looked for and it’s gone – the publication went under), as well as a short story. But that seemed a while back. I still write and I’m working on the next project. But the hard part isn’t the book, or the short story, or the essay, or the poem, or whatever. It’s not the words. It’s in the strength/the pull of the tale. It’s in the motivation. I think it is an alluring endeavor – to be an author. To be called an author, a writer. There’s a sense of sophistication, even panache about one’s whose work is to wield words as a profession. But, it has to be for you. Some people just won’t want to do it. Let’s face it – when it comes down to it, there’s on one else who is going to write the piece that you are going to write. No one who is going to tell the tale that you are going tot tell. No one else. There is you, and that is all. So, the question then becomes, what do you do with this time? There is a lot that goes on in one’s life, and at a certain point, you reach a place where much of your time in the day is stolen away. But you do have blocks. And these blocks of time you have, in some fashion or another, carved out for yourself. Time is made, after all; not had. Now, you have this block of time. What do you do with it?

You just write and see what happens then.

But, as I’ve alluded to Sanderson, writing to the end is summiting a mountain. It’s only about desire, really, like anything. You want to ride a bike, solve a Rubix cube, learn to juggle, write code, do landscaping, et cetera, it is always all about desire.

Once you have that, once you’ve found the wall you would like to break down, you then find your tool and start hitting. You practice. You fall down, you get injured, you grow tired, hungry, weary, weak. You begin to question why you are doing this. You know some chips of cement are falling from the wall, but you’re not sure how thick the wall is. Are you sure this is what you want?

Most stop here. It’s not right; it’s not wrong; it just is. Most stop.

Those who continue, continue because it’s what they want to do. They’re not concerned about the result. They are concerned with simply doing. Some have planned it all out, others simply keep the work going, and at a certain point, it is finished. The final chips of concrete fall, the wall is broken, and the project is complete.

This is where I am. There is a lot of concrete on the floor. I’m not sure how much more of the wall there is left, and there are times in which I stop hammering because I need a break. I am not sure if I’m hammering the right place. Is it the right wall? Am I using the right tools? I exhale deeply, closing my eyes.

Then, when I’ve rested and I’m ready, I open my eyes again. The wall is still there, as am I. I pick up my hammer and return to the work.

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Across the Wheel


wot

…Merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

~ popular American song (something of a tradition)

   The hours have escaped me again.

   There haven’t been too many earth-shattering changes going about of late. All has been relatively copacetic in the LP neighborhood, I’m happy to report.

   Well, there is one particular item I am happy to announce. My brother and I have begun an epic adventure travelling (You can’t see it, but a red line is under this word, which is weird because it’s correct in English) from on end of the Wheel of Time to the other. What is the Wheel of Time, you ask? It’s an epic fantasy series that was begun by the late Robert Jordan in 1990 and finished by Brandon Sanderson in 2013. There are fourteen books in the series and full of all kinds of alternate/high fantasy fun.

   Jordan, it can be argued, took what Tolkien did with the LoTR and made some magnificent tweaks to really streamline this fantastic fantasy tale. It’s inordinately long, however, and that’s why (perhaps) we’re doing it together. We started a new web-site (Across the Wheel) where we’re documenting our progress and generally placing our thoughts via the written word down as we go through this.

   We just got into it and we’re (as of this writing) only around 200 pages into the first book, The Eye of the World.

   In its entirety, the series spans 14 books and goes right up into the neighborhood of 12,000 words.

   We, of course, welcome you to stop by our site and comment away: www.acrossthewheel.wordpress.com .

   Other than that, I’ll just say that life has me running, and I’m grateful for the exercise. The writing has slowed, and there is no one other than me who knows it simply needs to pick back up again. I have been talking with all my good friends here and following Court of Swords with Jer and Skell, but honestly, I’ll have to slow down on that recently because I just have different priorities now. Love the show, but my attention is needed elsewhere.

   Much love. More in a bit.

-lp

I’ve never read Game of Thrones


The Game of Thrones
The Game of Thrones

I’ve never read Game of Thrones.

I know.

Right now my fellow geekdom planet out there is perhaps reacting the same way. Something like, “What do you mean you’ve never read Game of Thrones? It’s the most epic (and I use that word only because the majority of the fantasy/sci-fi geeks out there use it, though I’m a purist linguist asshole and wouldn’t use that word in that way because, well, let’s stay on topic, shall we?*) story ever!”

It’s all good though, right? Because I’m probably following along with the television series on HBO. But, yeah, I’m kind of not doing that either.

And I’m trying to dodge the stares that my community is giving me and am ready for them to ask me to show them my true fantasy/sci-fi-geek card. They were out of cards last time I went, so..seriously.

But with regard to the topic, I confess, I am not like the rest of my geeky compatriots in that I cannot begin reading a series until it is finished. Here’s why.

 

A few years back I read Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind (from here on to be referred to as NoTW), which, if you’re the one guy or gal out there who has not read it, please allow me to be one more fervid vote that you do. A stupendous book. I burned through it, buzzed, chopped, even sambaed through that giddy fantasy goodness. I was ready for the next book.

I remember spending a couple of days jumping online to see when the next book was going to come out. I could wait.

So I waited…and waited….and waited…..and (damn dude, c’mon) waited.

You know what I’m talking about.

So I went on blogs to find out what was going on with this next book and when it would come out. I went to Pat’s blog and, cut to the point, he answered a question from a fan that was similar to what I was asking myself (and I paraphrase) –

Q: “What if it’s been so long between books that we forget what happened?”

Pat’s A: Well, I guess you’ll just have to read it again. (in so many words).

 

“What a dick!” I thought. That was it; “F*ck this guy! (PLEASE READ ON – THIS IS NOT AT ALL HOW I FEEL ABOUT PAT….Pat, you know this!) ” I’m never reading

any of his bullsh*t again.

The point is, I felt that I was basically jaded with this hype about who this dude was and I loved him, but he didn’t have the 2nd book out at the time and, what’s more, he told me to wait. It was a different time in my life and I felt pretty pissed off with what he was doing to me.

 

I decided that was it. I wasn’t reading any incomplete series again. Before I go on, it should be noted that I believe Pat to be the man – the man is a f&cking sorcerer when it comes to craft and the artistry of writing. I love the guy. Again that was a different time and I’m not going to use this post to go thorugh my feelings.

 

The point is, I cannot read series that are not yet complete, nor can I watch the corresponding television shows – why? Because 99% of the time, the book’s better than the film adaptation. I’m a literary person – love language and words.

 

A while back I was listening to a Writing Excuses episode when, somewhere toward at the back half of the cast, Howard spoke up and mentioned that an author wouldn’t want to do something or other (I don’t recall now what the cast was discussing) because it might spoil something for those who are waiting for the series to be complete before they pick up the books (It was something like that; again, I don’t remember the cast or conversation topic).

I thought, “WOOT! Yep (raised hand in the air for all to see) this guy; right here. I totally get it. I do that sh*t all the time.” And then he said…

“Yeah, there are actually people out there who do not start reading until the whole series is written.” I believe I actually heard some echoes of “Huh?” and “Really?” from the background.

I thought. “SO!?” I had no idea at that point that A. it was a big deal, and B. why wasn’t other people following my sound logic?

 

The point is, there’s a reason why I wait until a series is finished before I begin. Authors who write long series of books have (I presume) a plan, but it takes a while to manifest that plan, especially when it comes in the form of literature. But, reading a book is words is faster than writing it, and if I’m the reader and I enjoy the book, I’m going to want to keep reading. I don’t want to get into it, get a stiffy, and then have the book just end without a happy ending.

 

I want to get what I paid for!  (…assuming I actually paid, that is).

 

Books are great on their own; don’t get me wrong. But, that’s if they’re a stand-alone book. If it’s part of a series – the logical thing (not that you have to follow logic – many read Sanderson’s The Way of Kings knowing that there are another proposed nine books. NINE!)

 

Reading – it takes patience. JUST WAIT! It’s worth it.

 

 

 

*Actually, with regard to scope, Game of Thrones can actually be described as epic because, well, let’s just stay focused.

Sanderson on Fantasy and WoR


You’ve heard me mention him before and I do it here again now for similar reasons. He loves what he does and he’s honest about his role in the craft. Here he is on the fantasy genre and his latest work (Book 2 in a projected nine-book series). I hope you enjoy, or if you can’t enjoy, at least I hope you find something of value here.

lp

Top Ten – Books Affecting Me


Leaving the Two Rivers
Leaving the Two Rivers

There’s this whole series of, well, let’s call them “re-postings” for lack of a better term, all over Facebook having to do with a list of the top ten books that have affected people. The verb that is being splattered all over the FB world is ‘impact,’ but I prefer to abstain from using it in that sense since ‘affect’ does the job divinely.

But the point is that I do have a list; I haven’t thought of it yet, but I let’s put it down. And let’s make it simple – books that have “affected” me…somehow. Right? Very well. Let’s be off, then.  *I’m not mentioning Tolkien in here because it’s a given.

 

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Probably the book that gave me the shove I needed into writing was this one. I remember getting somewhere around halfway through the book and thinking, “This is so easy. I could do this!” Just shows how easy Coelho makes writing look.

 

2. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan: It was sometime around 2000 when I first read this and I have since needed adventure fantasy books to be around me. The world Jordan made is absolutely stunning. He had it all there and the genre suffered a loss with his passing.  A must-read for anyone who wants to get into fantasy.

 

3.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: The best digital fantasy adventure book I have read in the past three years. I had the pleasure of meeting Cline in Seattle at a signing and what a cool guy. The concept he created for this book, and how well he wrote this is fantastic. A digital age in which everyone lives in a computer-enhanced world as their own reality is too dismal to face. Yet, within their world there is a hidden treasure and anyone who finds it will pull themselves out of any impoverishment they’ve ever known. An exciting book for the nerd/geek who grew up in the 1980s.

 

4.  After the Quake by Haruki Murakami: I had never laughed out loud at reading a short story until I read a wonderfully-penned piece called “Superfrog Saves Tokyo.” You can probably get from the name how amazing this story could be, and it was all that I thought it would be. Murakami’s style is wickedly surreal. A great collection of short stories, all with some relevance to the 1995 quake that rocked Kobe.

 

5.  The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett: When my brother told me about this, I had to take his recommendation. Not only was it a beautiful storyline (using ancient symbols to fight daemons? Umm, yes.), but the way it was told, I thought was strong. It’s a quick read, but a good one. I wanted to get to the sequel right away.

 

6. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin:  Laugh if you will, but this is the only Martin book I’ve ever read…and it was terrific! The vampire genre has been stretched really thin, but this Martin killed it (in the colloquially positive way)! Vampires taking over Mississippi riverboats in the 1800s? How kick-ass is that?

 

7.  Cloud Atlas/The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zöet by David Mitchell: There’s no one in fiction whose work I’ve ever read who has the command of English and masterful style of Mitchell. The man was born to write. I am a language lover to the bone and the way this man uses words is fabulous. He is a master crafter of sentences and a true storytelling artist.

 

8.  The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle:  I have been wanting to read this for a while and I was first turned onto it by following the blog of Patrick Rothfuss. Whenever Rothfuss had the chance, he plugged this book, and I’m so glad I listened to him. This book is, as Rothfuss said it, like a pearl – a beautifully crafted fantasy story. It’s a place that the reader wants to go and a world in which the reader wants to live.  It’s magic realized.

 

9.  The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss: There are two hugely popular fantasy authors (among a handful) at the moment – Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. I’ve read a few Sanderson books, but Rothfuss really has it locked on. This book is a masterpiece. I have not read the sequel until the last of the trilogy comes out. I don’t want it to end, but hey, all good things, right?

 

10.  Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb: The first book I read for pleasure after college, and what a feeling. I went to Barnes & Noble and picked this out knowing nothing about it. I fell in and it was over pretty quick. One of my favorite authors; she’s been writing fantasy for a long time and I was able to meet her in WA. She’s usually writing about dragons and such, but this was the series that took off. A great solid fantasy series…you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

 

There are universes of other terrific writers out there and just not enough space, but this is my list. You go get your own.

 

 

Advice in the Hands of the Wordsmiths


Sit down, write. It's that easy.
Sit down, write. It’s that easy.

Scanning Reddit and found this delightful link where inspiring authors give us the basics on their hands.

If there’s anything to be said about the process and persistence, it’s said here with the Rothfuss palm right in your face.

The idea’s simple – keep going. Gaiman starts it off in his own pithy way: Write, Finish, Keep Writing.

Why is that so hard for us? I mean that’s all it is – write, read, keep writing.

Where’s the issue?

Yet most of us (those “aspiring” authors) fill our days conveying to others that we like/love to write, and (at the same time) when we actually have the time (and we know when we do), we find excuses for not writing. I saw something once that said something to the extent of “a professional writer is just an amateur who never gave up.”

A-professional-writer-is-an

That’s basically what it comes down to, isn’t it?

I’ve been working on a story for a little over a month (something beginning with the Sanderson online writing course and, admittedly, I’ve just found myself trudging to continue. It’s not something that will be short either. It’s going to take some time. The voices in my head have been filling me with some encouraging things like: “Dude, seriously, why?” “This story blows and you know it.” “Okay, let’s break this down, A: no one’s going to read this, ever. B: refer to Point A.” et cetera.

I have been pretty close to dropping it and just starting something new. But that has been many of my projects in the past – start, nah, stop, something new, repeat. But you know what? That’s not the cycle to go with. That’s not going to yield results. One of the trademarks of strong writers is that they write, and they keep writing. None of it really has anything to do with getting published or being famous. Those things are very likely and fantastic byproducts of this persistence, but in the end, the limelight (like all things) always moves along to another. True writers don’t write to get famous (not that they don’t want to or don’t enjoy it when they do – it’s certainly a wonderful goal to shoot for, but it’s not everything). They write because that’s what writers do.

Whether it sucks, or it’s pure literary bliss. Whether it’s long or short, rich or empty, two-dimensional or lifelike, the truth is, to be a writer, and to live your passion in this real, you just have to keep reminding yourself of the simplicity of it all.

It’s the simple Rothfuss bitch-slap: Sit your ass down, and write.

 

That’s Pat. I needed that.

 

15-Day Challenge in 1 Post – ’cause I’m speedy


15-Day-Challenge

I’m not going to go into this, folks. Pretty self-explanatory. Comment if you feel the urge. Here we go.

Day ONE: Make 15 Book-related confessions:

1. I’d read the bible in dim light over 50 Shades of Grey any day of the week. I’m pretty sure I would get more turned on with biblical language than anything worth destroying part of a rainforest on that damn series. No, I’ve never tried. No, I won’t try. Kerrie has read some excerpts to me and I just shake my head while the author (whoever she is) is walking around with millions. There are porn scripts out there with better story lines than that!
2. I read the Hunger Games and was pissed to know she stole it from Battle Royale. There was no “literary borrowing” – that was thievery.
3. I love the word “festoon”, but only when I read it in the Wheel of Time Series.
4. I’ve tried reading Crime & Punishment twice and each time I’ve gotten between 200 to 400 pages in and I had to put it down. Same thing with Dune. I was less than a hundred pages from finishing that book and I just couldn’t take it. Same with Catcher in the Rye. The book has to hold me all the way through. Unless I’m invested. If you invest me as a reader, I’ll be your literary sex slave, but that takes some work. Unless you’re my wife, then it’s not as much work. P.S. Notice the words ‘sex slave’ highlighted here so you can go to Wikipedia (also highlighted) and see what exactly that is.
5. I read manga. Don’t know what that is? Click on it.
6. I’m 28 volumes into the manga (see above) series One Piece, and it’s amazing.
7. If I were homosexual and could spend one steamy evening with any male author (it would probably make the evening go more smoothly if he were also gay), it would be David Mitchell. That man can use the English language like hip hop uses the word “f&$#”. Simon Winchester too – that guy’s unreal. It would be a threesome, a train, if you will. But everyone would have to be willing, of course.
8. I will one day own a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, probably the really nice one bound in blue leather and gold leaf pages. It’s better that we fell the rainforest for something worthwhile…instead of that shady Grey bullsh*t. – oh yes, one day it will be mine.
9. I’m a fantasy freak and yet I’ve never read the Lord of the Rings. Sue me.
10. I’m pining away for a bad-ass Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for adults. Last time I saw any book like that was when I was in fifth grade. This girl named Nina lent me her copy and told me to read it straight through because it was interesting to do it that way. I did because she was hot and I thought I had a chance. Fifth grade. That was  a bad idea, though it did lead to masturbation, which, you know, after everything’s said and done…not a bad trade.
11. The Alchemist is one of my favorite books of all time. But it doesn’t beat out the Tao Te Ching (道德經). That book can make people fly. Like, seriously. Fly.
12. I have a thing for celebrities who pay ghost writers to write their books. It’s funny to me.
13. When I was a kid, my dad took me to the library to get some books. I picked a shit-ton of books at random and then took them home. That night I was reading aloud when my dad turned to me and asked what it was that I was reading. Curious, he picked up the book and it was a kids book about Swingers or Lesbians or something. The book was taken away and I have been searching for it ever since.
14. I think poetry is literary gold. One poem could only be something like five lines, but can change your entire life with all of the love that’s put into it. I think poetry’s been dying for a long time. No one reads it anymore. That’s one area of education I’d like to see stepped up. Let’s take the televisions out and have a bonfire. Let’s stop having the media and the corporations tell us that we should keep staying on the couch and listen to the balderdash they vomit. Let’s read some fucking poetry. Let’s think for ourselves.
15. In 2004, the national average for college-educated adults was TWO BOOKS A YEAR. Please tell me you are not a part of this.

———

DAY 2: What’s your bedtime reading ritual?

Right now I’m not allowed to speak English. I can’t explain. Just look up Middlebury Summer Language Program, and that should do it. But otherwise, I usually brush teeth and get all cleaned up before I get in bed and, ideally, turn on my night light, and read several paragraphs before I pass out.

———

DAY 3:  Who are your blogging BFFS?

BFFS? I feel like you wanted to type beef, but AUTOCORRECT peed all over you. Written Permission and Mainely Sane.

———

DAY 4:  What’s the last book you flung across the room?

Poo is for flinging across the room. Books are my children. Even the shitty ones. And if they don’t want to behave, daddy’s got a belt….which I’ll use to tie them and take them to the nearest Goodwill shop.

——–

DAY 5: Recommend a tear-jerker:

Hmm, well, since all I read is fantasy, I would probably say the Hobbit or the Alchemist.

———-

DAY 6: Describe how you shop for books. Powell's

Easy. If you live in Oregon, I really like Oregon, and I think that it’s cool that you live there. Let me start this question over. If you live specifically in Portland, Oregon, you’re doubtless aware of Powell’s Bookstore. It’s a book cornucopia. I go there. That’s one place. I go to the Goodwill as well. Used book stores. I’ll get them at signings (see my post on Robin Hobb), but mostly at Amazon. It’s just cheap and easy. I know it screws with a lot of local book stores, but that’s sort of how it goes. I will support local book stores, and though I love B&N, I just don’t go there much. And if I do and I know there’s a book there that I want, I’ll just write it down and get it on Amazon. SOOOORRRRYYYY.

———-DAY 7: Talk about your blogging quirks:

Sure. I write blogs at least once a week. I write about anything that suits my fancy (I have a future post lined up to talk about people who don’t flush in public toilets and the unexpected ‘filled pot’ with floaters – you’ll wanna stay tuned) and what you see on your screen is what I’ve chosen to release to the world. That’s about it.

————DAY 8:  Quick write 15 bullet points about things that appeal to you on blogs:

Quick! Number Nine!

————

DAY 9: Why do you blog about books:

Because you’re making me. Next.

————

DAY 10: How do you choose what book to read next?

Pretty easy. I go with what I’ve heard from friends and family. I judge by covers. Oh, here’s a secret – I never EVER read the backs of books. I feel that it gives too much away. I don’t want to know anything about a book before I read it – not one thing. I just want to be satisfied with what I have in my hand and what I pay for. If I see something on the shelf that appeals to me, I’ll get it. If I’ve heard great things about it by those I trust with book recommendations, I’ll get it. If I’ve wanted to read it for a long time and it’s right there in front of me and the time is right, I’ll get it. If I’m stalling from doing something else and getting the book will help me escape, I’ll get it. Get it?

—–

DAY 11: Show off – 5 of your best blog posts!

LAME!

————

DAY 12: How do you fight blogger fatigue?

LAME!

———-

DAY 13: Describe one UNDER-APPRECIATED book everyone should read.

Well, I’ll tell you what. I won’t describe it, because I believe I’ve already touched on that bit (please see DAY 10), but I will recommend it. The book is called Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, and if you’re into digital sci-fi, escapist, fantasy, 1980s culture shit, this book is unreal! I drove to Seattle to meet the author at a signing there (check it out here), and just had to shake the man’s hand. He took what Neal Stephenson did with Snow Crash and just lit it up. An unbelievable book that I would recommend to anyone (who’s into that kind of thing).

_________

DAY 14: Deal Breakers?

Yes, don’t suck. Let me tell you what – Brandon Sanderson has my ultimate respect as an author and just a fantastic human being. He’s a very popular author in the fantasy game, but I just didn’t thing his writing (from what I have read) is fantastic. It’s not bad. Let me emphasize that. It’s certainly not bad; I just have different standards. He does amazing things with plot, structure, pace, setting, the guy’s fantastic! Truly, I’m just a word snob. That’s what it comes down to. I was reading one of his very popular books, Mistborn, and had to put it down about 100 pages from the end because one of his lines of dialogue went something like (and I paraphrase): “I want you to dine with her tomorrow at lunch.” I couldn’t do it. Sorry. I love the guy, seriously. Brandon, I love you. However, I know he has written so much, his style has really improved. I talked with my brother who said he had the same feeling about Mistborn, but when it came to the Way of Kings, my brother said it was the finest fantasy book he had ever written – that’s saying something monumental.

Just, don’t suck. suck

————

DAY 15: Book blogging mentors?

NONE.

LOVE, Peace, Swedish Fish.

P.S. Oh, I watched Out of Africa for the first time a couple of hours ago and it was kick ass!

A Memory of Light – finally.


The link below is to the Sanderson blog, which has a nice lengthy entry on some of his thoughts.

Brandon Sanderson Blog: It’s finally out..

THE BREAK DOWN

For those of you who have seen lots of this picture (Memory of Light Coverright), and have no idea what the fuck it is, what the fuck it means, or why the fuck you’re reading this, allow me to provide a short run-down for you.

Oh good, you’re still here. Well then, <ahem>. For you WoT folks, you can skip this. For the rest of you, do read on.

Back in 1990, Robert Jordan (nom de plume of fantasy author and Vietnam War veteran James Oliver Rigney, Jr.) wrote a book called The Eye of the World, which in brief, was (in my humble opinion, of course) Titanium-shittingly amazing. It was the first in a series Jordan called The Wheel of Time, or (for the true geeks out there) WoT.

Over the next few (many) years, Jordan’s popularity boomed as he continued developing his fantasy world into something entrancing and continued putting out books which expanded his fantastical and conflict-ridden universe. You can find those books here.

However, although he was gaining a kingdom of popularity and an empire of a following, Jordan, like many famous writers, was becoming ill, and wasn’t sure if his Wheel of Time series (as I understand it, it was originally projected to be 12 books) was going to be finished. Still, he was hopeful. Sadly, however, after completing book 11, Jordan passed away. The fans mourned both a fantastic writer and were stunned that there would be no conclusion to his brilliant tale.

Yet, his wife, Harriet McDougal (once Jordan’s editor), after reading the Mistborn Trilogy and a heartfelt eulogy to Jordan by the young and talented Brandon Sanderson, decided the saga needed to be wrapped up. Sanderson was chosen to patch together Jordan’s notes and complete the series.

Sanderson finished the final three books of the series, including (the image you’ve been seeing all across fantasy corners of the Internet) the final book, A Memory of Light (AMoL). It was just released on January 8th, 2013, and already tearing off shelves across the nation and worldwide. This final book is the close of a circle that almost died along with Jordan. This seals the last of the nearly 12,000 page saga of the Wheel of Time.

With its release, we remember Jordan and send our thanks. To Sanderson our respect and gratitude for bringing Jordan’s dream to fruition. If you’d like to read more, please find the current entry from Sanderson’s blog as well as this one from when he just finished the book.

What an accomplishment.

Lecture 4 (1/6): Sympathetic Characters Part I


Main Points:

You generally want all your characters to be “sympathetic,” including your villains.
Problems make a character sympathetic. IE Everyone loves an underdog
Relatability (IE everyman qualities) makes a character sympathetic because we see ourselves in them.
Expertness (IE superman qualities) makes a character sympathetic because we aspire to be like them.
Niceness makes characters sympathetic. But remember, even though villains are not nice people (typically), they can still be sympathetic if they have other things going for them.
Note: The Hero’s journey can be thought of as the journey from the everyman to the superman.
Note: Remember that a “super power” needn’t be “super” in the comic book sense. IE in Oscar Wilde plays the characters are super humanly skilled socially, in LotR Samwise is super humanly loyal.
Note: Characters must typically be more consistent in novels than people are in real life. If you do something out of character, you must foreshadow it somehow.