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Topics - Jason R. Peters

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Like most writers, I'm usually the local grammarian, but this one has me stumped.

It seems that older fiction almost always contains the phrase, "He had better _____" as a colloquialism, in the context of, "He should ________."


"He had better learn.'
"You had better try harder."
"She had better listen."

But in recent fiction, I am finding this form more common:

"He better learn."
"You better try harder."
"She better listen."

Because I'm accustomed to the former, the latter sounds something like nails on a chalkboard to me, but I can't identify why it's "wrong", at least any more so than the other version.

I am tempted to argue that "better" needs the helping verb "have", but "better" is not a verb.

I mean, compound voices like present perfect simple qualify as helping/auxiliary verbs: "He has played football." But this is two verbs. Some of the online articles (taken with grains of salt) claim that "he had better" is the correct/complete form, and "he better" is incorrect. But I haven't found any offered reasoning behind this.

In my Wheel of Time reread, I'm finding both forms. I have also seen both forms in Sanderson fiction and most modern writers.

It drives me crazy, though arguably sometimes it is intended to mimic grammatically incorrect speaking; however, the characters' other phrases are not noticeably ungrammatical, with the exception of sentence fragments (which in modern fiction are practically unavoidable, especially in dialog).

What do you say? Which is correct, and why? Does the "wrong" version bother anyone as much as it bothers me?

Throughout the series, and specifically when she believes her mother dead, Elayne takes for granted that she will assume the throne of Andor.

Yet when Rhavin conquered Andor from within, Elayne was not present to fight the threat. Rand was.

When Andor faced anarchy and poverty after Morgase and Rhavin were both gone, Elayne did not govern for the benefit of her people. Rand did.

These prior two points can potentially be laid to the fact that Elayne-as-Accepted did not possess freedom to return to Andor. However, it's pretty clear that Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne pretty much do whatever they wish and go wherever they want after book 3.

But even if that argument did hold water...

The minute Elayne was declared Aes Sedai by Egwene, she did not return to Andor. She went the complete opposite direction, to Ebou Dar.

When Elayne reached Caemlyn, she did not publicly denounce the rumors of Rand killing Morgase.

In fact, so grateful was she for Rand's help in defeating the Forsaken ruling Andor, and keeping Andor from the civil war that tore other nations apart that she took down all of his banners.

Of course, one could claim that Elayne was ignorant of these events, but had she behaved like an heir should and returned to Caemlyn at the first hint of trouble, she would know all of it.

Instead, she shows up johnny-come-lately to assume the throne, taking advantage of Rand's goodwill towards her without so much as a thank you. She doesn't even acknowledge that if the Dragon Reborn WANTED, he COULD conquer Andor which is extremely weak at this point, and only Rand's goodwill keeps the Aiel, other armies, and Asha'man from treating Andor like a rebellious nation which hasn't acknowledged the Dragon Reborn.

Brandon Sanderson / Brandon's latest WOT Reread habits?
« on: June 17, 2011, 03:01:30 PM »
This is just a question for Peter purely out of curiosity:

Is Brandon reading the books in print? Audiobook? Both depending on location? Both simultaenously? Is there a huge concordance beside him, notes scrawled cramped in the margins?

Since I'm 60% through my own reread, I was just curious how my current experience compares with the EUOL himself.

Books 1 through 4 are phenomenal, I enjoy them every reading, and I've lost count.

Books 12-13 were superb, even jaw-dropping at particular moments in a series I thought held no more surprises.

Even books 10-11 were decent.

But what the hell happened to books 7-9, and to a lesser degree, 5 & 6 also?

Each time one of these books came out, I devoured it, just thankful there was more of the series to read. But in my current pre-AMOL read of the whole series, these books are sticking in my throat like dry bread. It feels like a heavy obligation to choke them down, yet when I read books 12-13, though they were thankfully sparser and easier to follow, there were still characters I could not remember from before. Why is person X with person Y again? I had no idea.

At the time, I figured Jordan was just dragging the series out to profiteer. But when it was revealed that there was a clear outline and notes for AMOL for Sanderson, I thought maybe Jordan did have a larger vision.

Books 1-4 are hard-hitting and transformative for the characters. After that, the series just becomes a soap opera. Is it just me?

I mean, in book 7, Jordan felt is necessary to explain who Lan was to the reader. Same for Wise Ones. By book eight, I'm finding the political implications of every syllable's inflection and every eyebrow twitch of Cha Faile named characters tedious at best.

I'm mid-book-8, and finding it hard to continue. Particularly since I know that by book 12, things haven't changed much. Morgase is still in Perrin's camp; I thought that came much later, but here it is in book 8. Along with every hint that "Maighdin" is actually Morgase. Yet these hints do not play out until Chapter 26 of Towers of Midnight, four 1000-page books later. It becomes hard to remember what else happened in the interim (oh the Shaido were at war with them... again...) and I have the sinking feelings it's because almost nothing happened.

The "Maighdin" thing is just an example. The continually looming threat of the Shaido, the Seanchan, and the White Tower divide are all things that are present in books 7-11, but not resolved until Sanderson took up the mantle.

It isn't just the length without progression that chafes. The plot also seems self-contradictory in these books.

Rand chases Perrin away in a big fight so that nobody will think Perrin is connected to the Dragon Reborn...just as Perrin is sent to act as Rand's emissary to The Prophet. Well, is he an enemy or an emissary? Which does their plan intend?

Dashiva, whom I never even realized was a Forsaken until I devoured some WOT FAQs and wikis, attacks Rand in Path of Daggers. But when Rand is at the edge of death in the end of Crown of Swords, Dashiva is quite helpful in making sure Rand survives. Non sequitur.

Fellow writers,

I am an amateur (thus far) novelist and short story writer seeking an active and dedicated writing group for consistent feedback. (Read: I am NOT content to have a half-arsed writing career and I want people to rip my work to shreds until I learn my lessons and get it right.)

I have recently finished first draft of a ~50k novel which needs a lot of improvement. I regularly write short stories and a few other projects, each of varying (in my opinion) quality. I have several other projects on the horizon, including non-fiction.

I'm located in Hillsborough, NC (Chapel Hill area) if there is any chance of a real-life such group; I expect that's unlikely, so a digital group works fine.

What matters most to me is that the group I join be active and involved. I've joined a few online writing groups and they lasted for about 3 internal submissions before crumbling off into the nether. If there's an existing group with an established record of submissions and feedback which wouldn't mind having me, I'm all in.

I need experience submitting on firm deadlines and having experienced critics offer suggestions. I am plenty critical myself, so I'm best suited for a group that values honesty over political correctness. My own critique takes the form of "this was my experience when reading this" rather than "this is what you should do instead"; description rather than prescription.

I am dead serious about developing my writing into a real career, and I want to interact with others who feel the same. This is NOT a hobby.

Please reply to this if interested or email [email protected].

Thanks in advance for considering.

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