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Messages - Jason R. Peters

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Brandon Sanderson / Re: Allow of Law Excerpt 1
« on: June 17, 2011, 04:00:34 PM »
Thanks, Adrienne. If calibre is free, I don't mind doing this myself; I could also use MS word and email my Kindle address for a tiny fee too (but I'm very cheap, and I wasn't sure if this is some weird copyright violation if Tor didn't intend

I figured this question was also worth posting for the (potentially ignored) marketing opportunity. I can't speak for others, but often I browse kindle books and articles just for free content even if I've never heard of the's far more convenient than driving out to the bookstore, and if I like a sample portion, I'll buy the whole kit'n'kaboodle. Obviously Brandon's other books are available for ereading (with samples available), so I just thought doing this with the previews would also be a nice touch. It's probably up to Tor rather than Brandon, though?

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.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Allow of Law Excerpt 1
« on: June 17, 2011, 02:35:27 PM »
Will a Kindle version of this and other previews be made available?

I realize I'm spoiled, but I do hate reading from a computer screen, and laser printer ink is triply precious to aspiring writers as to general consumers.

Cadsuane's perspective paid enormous dividents recently. I applaud Jordan's vision for that, but in the thick of books 6-8 I can't help wondering if this character is just Moiraine v.2.0.

Similarly, I applaud Jordan's foreshadowing the events at the Tower of Ghenjai in book thirteen as early as Baerlon in Eye of the World.

But in both cases, I can't help noting that it wasn't until Brandon Sanderson took over the series that we got to see the arc complete. I grew very jaded with Jordan during those middle volumes, and I still can't help wonder if he dragged it out just to profiteer.

But while Rand's decisions seem to matter a great deal in book 2, I can't say that Egwene's decisions matter on a chapter-by-chapter level whatsoever in book 8. Do they matter on a series-long scale? Of course. But reading chapter after chapter of her political maneuriving (with a relatively simple, if satisfying payoff in the end) is incredibly tedious.

Like you, I remember Winter's Heart as being the first of an improved quality

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Im pissed about stormlight archive.
« on: June 15, 2011, 04:45:36 PM »
So I borrowed The Way of Kings from my friend because I liked the mistborn trilogy. So I started reading this figureing it was gonna be a trilogy or so. Well I finished the book and go online to see when the next one comes out and find out that its also a 10 part series and the other books not coming out for a while. So if Brandon doesn't pull a rothfuss or martin I have to wait 10-15 years to finish this series.

I loved How he sets up the series.

Yes, but unlike most (read: nearly all) other fantasy series, THE WAY OF KINGS had that apparently elusive component:

AN ENDING. And a satisfying one.

Having read books 1-13 of the Wheel of Time and book 1 of the Stormlight Archive, it is hard to imagine the end of the Wheel of Time being quite as satisfying and surprising as JUST the end WAY OF KINGS.

Just like the Mistborn series; each novel stands apart from the others. You didn't get to the end of book one and think "OH NO! I HAVE TO READ TWO MORE BOOKS!"

Nope, you just read and enjoyed the ending.

Writing Group / Re: Need ideas for what Magic can do
« on: June 14, 2011, 01:43:23 AM »
Glad to help.

The powers-matrix was actually created for a video game I intended to design, an RTS where you could...well...combine powers.

I wanted to see what would happen if you crossed Starcraft with Chronotrigger, but on a massive scale.

Moving to audiobooks is how I made the middle ones tolerable during my last readthrough, which was around the time book 10 was released. I could get through them much faster by doubling up my reading efforts, making the books faster-per-day if not faster-per-sentence.

Also, Jordan's use of intimate voice, extremely close 3rd-person makes the audiobook more fun to listen to (for me) than the prose to read, particularly with the talents of Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. They bring the characters to life.

I think Jordan's close voice is part of the reason books 1-3 are so charming with just 3-4 viewpoints, and it just gets out of hand with so many.

Some of these chapters in book 8, I like what HAPPENS but I am having a lot of trouble reading paragraph after paragraph to get to the meaningful bit. I think if Jordan had adapted his style to match more characters, this could have gone much faster. Rand's and Mat's chapters could stay as detailed as they were before, but for some of the political maneuvering (Aes Sedai rebels, Forsaken, Shaido, Perrin, various royal families) a few scant paragraphs going straight to the bombshell cliffhanger would've made these books FLY by comparison.

I'm sure that's not what Jordan wanted to do, and if he started doing it as early as, say book 5, his fans who loved the in-depth character thoughts would likely have rebelled. So this all just theorizing ex post facto to improve my own fiction.

In book four, Jordan was my hero, and in book sevenI wanted to strangle him. I can't think of another author I've had such a love/hate relationship with.

When I read that Sanderson was going to attempt to emulate Jordan's style as much as possible (pre book 12), I thought:

NOOOOOOO! Write them in YOUR style!

But in the end, he had to cater to the fans, so can't fault that, and in the end his style is a hybrid any, which can't be avoided.

It is telling that of my fantasy-reading co-workers, only one made it past book 7. And I think she, like me, was reading them as they were released. The idea of reading 7 more books with as many characters is just exhausting to would-be-new-fans.

Books / Re: why do editors and agents hate prologues
« on: June 12, 2011, 06:12:52 PM »
Prologue to Eye of the World, and therefore the entire Wheel of Time: Proper and necessary.

Prologue to The Great Hunt with "Bors": Completely unnecessary, out of place, time-consuming, jarring, uninformative, and boring.

Prologue to every other book in the Wheel of Time: See Prologue to The Great Hunt.

Most prologues simply fall into one or the other.

I liked the use of the word "Prelude", Peter, if only because I write music in addition to fiction, so kudos. Another (clunkier) option would have been:

Prologue to The Stormlight Archive
Prologue to A Way of Kings

The Final Fantasy series.

That and I just find Faile to be the most bossy, angry, moody, ridiculous woman. I don't see one thing to like about her.

So Perrin went from being awesome (circa book 3) to:

1. mooning over a woman I can't stand (and screwing up even in the ways I can figure her out)
2. brooding over the axe/hammer thing and now
3. unable to figure out Balwer's or Maighdan's identity for FIVE STRAIGHT BOOKS
4. running from the wolves
5. Don't call me Lord/take the banners down

I used to love Perrin and now he just repeats himself book after book.

Matt/Tuon was the first interesting thing that happened in a LONG time. Almost the only thing I enjoyed about the final books authored by RJ.

And yes, books 5/6 sure have redeeming qualities. But I always remembered how the "major point" of book 6 was Rand in the box, yet on this reread I discovered 95% of the book is done before he's even captured. Not how I remembered it, but how I remember it certainly highlights the important portion: Rand captured.

I actually did some WOT-encyclopedia perusing already because there were things I couldn't figure out or remember (or maybe just keep in my head long enough) from RJ's prose. Some characters go so long without scenes (because there are so damn many) and then they even change NAMES so I have no idea who Cyndane/Selene/Lanfear/Mierin/Keille and Dashiva/Osan'gar/Aginor/Ishar are unless I have my concordance handy.

Not to mention by the middle books the characters you THOUGHT were dead, thus simplifying the plot, are not dead, they are all back. So all of Rand's careful maneuvering and epic battles in the original books...

...didn't matter.

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.

Writing Group / Re: Need ideas for what Magic can do
« on: June 11, 2011, 01:36:27 PM »
I find myself coming up with what I think are fairly interesting ways to receive, transmit, use, and limit magic. Yet I constantly get stuck on exactly what I want it to do. I usually end up with the basic Elemental magic, or magic that enhances natural abilities and properties of people and items: strength, speed etc.  but I want something different. Any suggestions?

I think the exercise for this is simple. Any situation you've ever been in where you thought, "I wish I had X" is a candidate for magic.

In a fantasy world, magic can replace any of our modern technologies. This is often done with healing, but less-oft-explored for movies/television/radio/multimedia, video games and other entertainment (instead of playing a video game to control avatars, characters could create creatures to fight for them in the same way we play Mortal Combat and Soul Calibur), transportation, cooking, lighting, heating, cooling, cleaning, yardwork, storage, cartography, communication, etc.

Science fiction technologies are more obvious candidates than modern technologies, but no less so, certainly.

Religion and mythology are excellent sources of what magic can do. Transubstantiation, atonement, and baptism are powerful ideas that we understand largely symbolically (for most people, there are exceptions) in the real world, but could be literal transformations in your fantasy book.

There's a second way to go looking for magic, and that is instead of asking "What does it do?" you ask, "What does it alter?"

Many of the powers in video games are just enhancements of other powers. Run speed. Attack speed. Attack damage. Reduced cooldowns (another form of speed). Physical attributes like how hard your skin is, or size, color. Visual spectrum. Magic could give your characters infrared and ultraviolet vision modes like the Predator, or reveal tactical information to them like the Terminator (or like Colonel Kassad's battle armor).

I also find the following helpful:

One of my favorite exercises is to take a selected list of powers from that last page, and form a grid of them in rows and columns (plus any other powers I can think of). Then I try to write describes for the COMBINED version of them.

Some are obvious, like Super Breath combined with Fire element.

A less obvious combination is something like Super Breath combined with Teleportation. Your brain might ask "How the hell would THAT work?" But I submit that Aslan's breathing Jill Pole and Eustace to Narnia at the beginning of The Silver Chair is exactly the result of this odd combination.

Vampiric Draining is a fun one to combine with almost anything. Perhaps it only drains heat. Or speed. Or electricity.

This page is also helpful, particularly the "Types of Powers commonly covered by this" section:

It just gets you thinking about the LOGIC behind various magics and powers. Sometimes taking a stock superpower and limiting it in more logical ways than previous fiction can make it a lot of fun to play with.


Personally, my favorite types of magics have some measure of cost associated with them. One of example is a Dragonlance prequel (yeah I know) called "Dark and Light" where all these gnomes developed superpowers like super vision, super hearing, etc.

The problem is that the power grew in strength WELL beyond where it was merely useful. The cool aspect was it was related to the character's career.

So the ship's captain gained super vision. But so much so that he had to wear a blindfold to block out all the extra light. And eventually even that did not help.

The ship's rigger developed adhesive hands so he could more easily manipulate rope. But his hands became too adhesive to touch ANYTHING.

One had super hearing, but had to muffle his own ears,

Writing Group / Re: Plotting Chapter by Chapter
« on: June 11, 2011, 12:59:57 PM »
Whenever I don't know where to go "next", I actually use a short "scene workshop" form. I developed it myself, but it's based on concepts and principles learned from writing classes, podcasts, lectures, and books.

The questions I answer on the form are:

Point-of-View Character:(Hint: Who is suffering the most?)
Character's Current Goal:
Emotional Impact:
Character's Arc Goal:
Major Revelations:
Does Arc Goal Change?
Scene Begins With:
Scene Ends With:

My vision often changes as I begin writing, because the answers to some of these jog loose more ideas, but it gets me started anytime I'm not sure what comes immediately next. Like many, the beginning and end are clear visions, the middle at risk of muddle.

Writing Group / Re: Best. Word. Ever.
« on: June 11, 2011, 03:19:40 AM »
My favorite word ever of all time is:


On my WoW hunter, my first three pets were named


All good ones.

Thanks again for all the responses. The Reading Excuses group does sound like more consistent feedback is available than I had imagined, given the size of the group.

It sounds to me like you might be more interested in finding a few alpha readers or even beta readers.

I actually have a solid group of alpha readers. I usually submit my work to 10-12 readers, but my current novel is being circulated to ~40 because word-of-mouth among friends/family/co-workers is generating more interest. From those, I only get worthwhile feedback from 3-8 individuals. But all except Christi are not writers, and so they are giving me reader-viewpoint feedback only. A good portion is just positive ("I was hooked"), which I'm needy enough to require, but doesn't help me improve the work.

Nothing wrong with that, and it has helped me a great deal, but it would be nice to have more writers along to give more critical feedback.

I suppose I could now re-characterize this ad:

Existing Writing Group of two seeks one or two additional members.

Presently, I submit 2-3 chapters/week and Christi responds in 2-3 days. She is also planning to submit weekly, and I could easily respond weekly to 2-4 submissions. I don't know the size of Christi's intended submissions or yours, so if you'd like to join, that part is open to your feedback.

EDIT: If interested, feel free to fire an email to [email protected] with what you'd like or envision such a group to be.

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