Author Topic: Correcting Brandon (and Howard and Dan) (or, why they are SO wrong ;p)  (Read 4906 times)

fardawg

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If you see this first, I had another post before this. Please read it first.


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--He didn't "build a world for years instead of writing a novel"

Different usage of "instead." I can rephrase to: build a world for years and not write a novel. Which is what happened. Of course his day job was as a university professor. No one has a day job worldbuilding.

But he did write a novel when he had the idea. When he wrote "in a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit" on a students paper, he began working on the Hobbit. He wrote what he wanted, when it occurred to him. It was the same with LOTR; when he finally got the spark he needed he began writing it (he had many false starts before that which contributed to the long writing time). He also wrote many other stories that are lesser known. That is another misconception, that he only wrote the Hobbit and LOTR. He wrote several shorts and novellas. He also did a lot of translations of Old English poems like Beowulf. The Sil. wasn't really distracting from his writing.

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Maybe Brandon gave that definition of worldbuilding. Do you have exact quotes? Or can you refer me to the episode number so I can look at the transcript?

You can start with his first writing lecture at Jordancon. He also mentions Tolkien there. Most of the worldbuilding podcasts should have his definition (at least implicitly). I'll see if I can did up an specific one. 

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Maybe I've been using a different definition. But I can assure you that in a face-to-face conversation, or if Brandon were posting in this thread, he would agree with me on the important points. The podcast is off-the-cuff and the language can fail to be precise at times.

He really hasn't given that impression in anything I have heard. It really wouldn't fit with what he has said.

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Ultimately it still seems to me, from what you are saying, that we are agreed on pretty much every point about Tolkien's intentions and results. The only disputes left are what Brandon said and meant.

Which is what I have been critiquing from the beginning. I can only critique what has been said, not what has been thought. Bringing up personal definitions muddy the water and make things very confusing. This is the reason for the bolding etc (not yelling. THIS WOULD BE YELLING TO ME!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRR, I'M A MONSTER!!!  :D). I keep trying to emphasis these points so people will pick up on them. Its like getting replied to by automatic response robots with one programed response.

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EDIT --- New Stuff


In the 4th video of the 2009 Jordancon writing seminar – After confusing Tolikien for an outliner who spent 18 years outlining before writing, he said “at some point you have to stop worldbuilding and start writing”. So WB here is clearly the stuff you write before you start writing the novel that is not the story itself. The Sil. stories were the primary storytelling and not preliminary pre-story writing to build the real novel upon (as we have agreed).

In season 3 ep 1 – Worldbuilding History – Brandon and the guys talk about WBD in terms of writing too much non-essential history that is then info-dumped into the book because you think it is cool. Tolkien hinted at a much deeper history without going overboard and info-dumping. As said before, the Sil. (understanding that it might not be what Brandon was referring to here, though I do think he sees the Sil as the WB of LOTR) was not non-essential background stuff, but a series of connected tales that were Tolkien's main intended stories. He also mentions (in a good light) the feel of a "weight of history" because Tolkien spent time WB. A lot of the history, though  -- the stuff referring back to the Sil. -- was already written many years before and were just worked into the LOTR.

It seems very clear that WBD, according to Brandon, is when you get so caught up in writing the background info (as I defined it before) underlying the world that you spend all of your time writing that rather than writing the novel you intended to use it for. Again, this is not what Tolkien was doing with the Silmarillion. He intended those stories to be read and enjoyed on their own Merritt and didn't conceive of the other tales till much latter. He didn't sit down to write the Hobbit and LOTR and then got side tracked with the history of them in the Sil. tales.
Brandon says regarding Tolkien that “for every chapter you got, there was...ten fold that never ended up in the book”. He also said that he spent 20 years WB and then wrote his books. This isn't true. He took 12 years to write and revise it and it took that long because: he was discovery writing and had no idea what the story would be; he had to stop along the way (he had to put it aside for a whole year at one point) to make money as a full-time professor and an examiner ("I have spent nearly all the vacation-times of seventeen years examining ... Writing stories in prose or verse has been stolen, often guiltily, from time already mortgaged..."); and it took about a year to revise the earlier parts of the book once it was virtually done in order to make them match, likely due to his perfectionism and the other points made. It wasn't because he was WB stuff that wouldn't appear in the books.  The appendices did contain a lot of material that couldn't fit in the book, but they were important to the conception of the story and helped to fill it out (such as the history of Aragorn and Arwen) and to make it logical and internally consistent (something Tolkien was very good at doing -- even after the fact as with the Hobbit revisions). 

I know Brandon mentioned the Sil. in the context of WB and wasting time. I will try to find that too.

Here are some interesting quotes from Tolkien

“I met a lot of things along the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner at the inn was a shock, and I had not more idea of who he was than had Frodo.”

“I don't much approve of The Hobbit myself, preferring my own mythology (which is just touched on) with its consistent nomenclature -- Elrond, Gondolin, and Esgaroth have escaped out of it -- and organized history, to this rabble of Eddaic-named dwarves out of Voluspa, newfangled hobbits and gollums (invented in an idle hour) and Anglo-Saxon runes.”


« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 04:55:09 PM by fardawg »

Peter Ahlstrom

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Your smilies make you seem like a rude know-it-all jerk, not like a nice person trying to have a conversation. As do phrases like "sorry that you think that." That points the finger at the other person. The neutral way to say the same thing is "I did not mean to give that impression." And when you bold tons of things to give emphasis so people don't skip points you're saying we're too stupid to follow the conversation. Your entire spirit from the post title itself has not been one of conciliation but of attack. You refuse to acknowledge any points we make but keep insisting we are wrong even when we agree with you.

That said, it sounds like you have a point about Brandon's statements regarding Tolkien. So thank you for the information. What the rest of us have said is what he should have said, and I'll try to mention it to him sometime.

There is no good way this conversation will continue, so I am closing the thread. You can consider this your victory.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 04:11:20 AM by Peter Ahlstrom »
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

Peter Ahlstrom

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fardawg attempted to excuse his behavior in private messages, and I told him if he continued he would face a ban. He then made the following post under an assumed name:

http://www.timewastersguide.com/forum/index.php?topic=8235.msg178013#msg178013

He is now banned for one week. And I suggest the ban be made permanent unless he apologizes to everyone in this thread. But I am open to other options. If you have participated, please make your opinion known in the linked thread. Thanks.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!