Sanderson the prolific writing man

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#41
What does that even mean, in this case?

It means that the process of actually translating thoughts (good ideas) to paper is just as important as actually conveying those ideas in an articulate manner through the efficacy of good writing. As an author Sanderson is pretty good but as a writer he still needs to do some work. Mieville, Erikson, and Simmons make him look like a child with a pencil.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#42
Well I think that actually works in Sanderson's favor. He tells great stories in a simple way and that brings in a bigger crowd than it would if he told great stories with a more polished, "complicated" or "evolved" writing style.

This way whether you are a new fantasy reader or a veteran with dozens of books under your figurative belt you can still enjoy his stories.

For example, would you recommend Malazan or Wheel of Time for a newcomer to the genre? Would you recommend Tigana or Ghormengast?Probably not.

Could you recommend Sanderson's books? Yup, all the way.

And when you come to more experience writers you could both recommend Malazan or ASOIAF or Way of Kings.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#43
He tells great stories in a simple way and that brings in a bigger crowd
I'll grant you that -- Sanderson is probably more approachable than someone like Erikson. Though I read Erikson (and Stephen R. Donaldson, and several other "difficult" authors) first.
 

Laughing Mime

Mixes poisons and sharpens knives with Kylar
#44
Agree with João, a simplistic writing style is not a sign of a writer needing to grow. Its a calculated method to make his work available to a wider group of people. I have no doubt Sanderson would do exceptional work in a more flowery prose as well. I like to look at this in an art/fashion way. More complicated is not necessarily better, its just a different style. There is a certain elegance in minimalistic work.

That said, in my fanboy eyes Malazan is the best thing ever written. I've fallen into the trap of recommending it to people new to the genre though. I think out of the 3 people who've started reading it all three gave up before the end of book 1.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
#45
Well Mistborn is definitely a grower, it kind of sneaks up on you slowly and I agree his writing is simplistic and there's nothing wrong with that.

The characters also seem to be developing nicely, and I can't help but think that Kelsier has some kind of dark taint to his personality.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#47
Well I think that actually works in Sanderson's favor. He tells great stories in a simple way and that brings in a bigger crowd than it would if he told great stories with a more polished, "complicated" or "evolved" writing style.

This way whether you are a new fantasy reader or a veteran with dozens of books under your figurative belt you can still enjoy his stories.

For example, would you recommend Malazan or Wheel of Time for a newcomer to the genre? Would you recommend Tigana or Ghormengast?Probably not.

Could you recommend Sanderson's books? Yup, all the way.

And when you come to more experience writers you could both recommend Malazan or ASOIAF or Way of Kings.

Writers don't have to write in bland prose to sell well. Just look at George Martin, Robin Hobb, or Dan Simmons - very polished writers.

I don't doubt that Sanderson could write in flowery prose but if he did I think it would come off as messy and he wouldn't be able to write books at such an amazingly fast pace. He would be so much better if he just slowed his pace down and polished his books up a little more. Alloy of Law was a decent read but the same flaws that people complained about in earlier books such as shallow characterization seem even more egregious and there was one grammatically wrong paragraph that his editor should have caught but somehow didn't.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#48
Writers don't have to write in bland prose to sell well. Just look at George Martin, Robin Hobb, or Dan Simmons - very polished writers. I don't doubt that Sanderson could write in flowery prose but if he did I think it would come off as messy and he wouldn't be able to write books at such an amazingly fast pace. He would be so much better if he just slowed his pace down and polished his books up a little more. Alloy of Law was a decent read but the same flaws that people complained about in earlier books such as shallow characterization seem even more egregious and there was one grammatically wrong paragraph that his editor should have caught but somehow didn't.
That really isn't all that linear. Compare sales numbers between GRRM and for example JK Rowlings and you will be amazed.

I don't think Alloy of Law is a good example since Sanderson himself admitted that it was a "clear my mind" kind of story. I'd buy that reasoning with Steelheart which I consider his worst work so far.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
#49
I think there's a difference between bland and simplistic writing, Brandon to me = simplistic and it just works for him if he was to start to change the way he writes he wouldn't be the writer that he is today. I'm sure he will grow over time, but fundamentally he will stick to his core writing style and I'm not sure how I would feel if he started to produce books with fancy writing/prose.

As Moonspawn has pointed out and myself his characterization isn't great, but I don't think it's because of the way he writes he manages to build great images in my head whenever I read one of his books. I think João Ribeiro said in Mistborn his characters get more fleshed out as the books go along but I have a feeling there's not going to be a massive change, and that seems to be his biggest weakness.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#50
I think João Ribeiro said in Mistborn his characters get more fleshed out as the books go along but I have a feeling there's not going to be a massive change, and that seems to be his biggest weakness.
Spook is the biggest example of what I meant! :)
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#51
As Moonspawn has pointed out and myself his characterization isn't great, but I don't think it's because of the way he writes he manages to build great images in my head whenever I read one of his books. I think João Ribeiro said in Mistborn his characters get more fleshed out as the books go along but I have a feeling there's not going to be a massive change, and that seems to be his biggest weakness.
People don't change at the flip of a hat in real life so I think massive changes in literature could be a huge weakness, especially if there's a lack of build up to that change. Your speculation about characterization in Mistborn is completely wrong by the way. You'll see what I mean once you get to Hero of Ages.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#53
I command thee, thread, to rise from the dead! Rise, Riiiiise!!!

I see that Sanderson has become sort of a read it or leave it with some people (me included) lauding him as one of the greatest and others not quite liking his work so I guess this is a nice discussion to have.

Where do you stand and why?

For me he's my favorite author and while I do recognize that not all of his books are stellar I still think that most of them are.

Points in his favor:
  • The Cosmere plan - Hot damn that is a big overall arch spanning over 30 books. Some believe it's a bigger hoax than the lunar landing. In Sanderson I trust!
  • Clean writing - A bit against the current with all the grey (or gray depending on where you are from) and gritty stuff that is now prevalent
  • Awesome storytelling without over-complicating things - Makes it accessible for everyone and is easy to pick up and enjoy
  • Novel magic systems - He always comes up with something different that ranges from consuming metals to taming birds
  • Delivery speed - We get at least two books a year

Points against him
  • The recurring character arch-types - As for example the ever present plucky female. Although I can excuse him if it turns out to be a grand plan of no matter the world the pattern repeats itself. Still this cop out doesn't account for the same reuse in non-Cosmere books.
  • Sometimes he really misses the mark - I didn't really care for Steelheart and now Sixth of the Dusk would be sub-par if it didn't belong in the Cosmere plan. Even so it's really only worth it for the questions it raises for the Cosmere plan.
All in all I tend to devour everything he publishes even though I haven't read neither the Alcatraz vs. series nor the Infinity Blade series and I probably won't pick up the remaining Reckoners books until my TBR pile is way lower.

Here is my preferences list

  1. Stormlight Archive
  2. Mistborn (including Alloy of Law)
  3. The Rithmatist
  4. Warbreaker
  5. Legion
  6. Firstborn
  7. Elantris
  8. Emperor's Soul
  9. Steelheart
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#54
I am not a Literature or English Major, I had to look up what prose meant when I first came here, but I am intelligent and could name a dozen examples to prove so. I read for enjoyment/entertainment and I would put Sanderson up there with GRRM and Erikson from my limited experience in fantasy. Yes his books have flaws(romance) but so does EVERY single series I have read, but being "simplistic" is not one of them. He tells his story how he wants and people tend to enjoy them. If you dismiss books, movies, or any form of entertainment because they are too simplistic you are truly missing out.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#55
I have read most of Sandersons books, and enjoyed all of them to varying extents. I know his style well enough now though that if I want an 'adult-y read' (you know, with lots of bloody battles with entrails being spilled all over the place, or gratuitous f***ing which results in all over body injuries), then I won't go to a Sanderson book (I'd pick up Erikson, GRRM etc). When I am in the mood for something a bit lighter and less gritty I'll pick up a Sanderson book.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#56
My first experience with Sanderson was a negative one. Elantris was a torture for me. Boring characters, boring story and god awful and awkward romance. That book was an epitome of preachiness to me.
Outside of BFB, mainly YT people talk about Sanderson as the man who writes good YA Fantasy books (Mistborn especially). Now, I don't care about YA, but I think the reason he is described as that is because of his simplistic writing? One thing for sure YA books are known for that kind of thing. Whether or not his writing is simplistic, I don't know. I read one book, there are better experts here.
I wouldn't necessarily describe Elantris as simple, but bland and boring? Hell yes. I don't even have a problem with simplistic writing, but if the books are just fun with no deeper substance, they should be just that: fun! and funny! Elantris was neither.
And it's not about guts and entrails, or painful sex (what kind of books have you been reading Tom? :D), that a book needs to have to be adult fantasy (i hate that term). It just needs to have the complexity of the world and fully fleshed out characters with which you can relate with and care for. I din't care for any of the Sanderson creations.
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#57
@Alucard You really need to at least try The Way of Kings, Amazon tends to have the Kindle version for $2 quite often. I have only read Stormlight and Mistborn but João has Elantris toward the bottom of his list.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#58
@Alucard You really need to at least try The Way of Kings, Amazon tends to have the Kindle version for $2 quite often. I have only read Stormlight and Mistborn but João has Elantris toward the bottom of his list.
I know, I got it one time when it was completely free. It sits on my kindle and stares at me. I'm scared.
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#59
I know, I got it one time when it was completely free. It sits on my kindle and stares at me. I'm scared.
Dive in, if you don't like it then it won't be your first book you didn't like and won't be the last. I'll make you a deal, if you read it and don't like it, I'll refund your purchase price.o_O:D:watching:.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#60
Dive in, if you don't like it then it won't be your first book you didn't like and won't be the last. I'll make you a deal, if you read it and don't like it, I'll refund your purchase price.o_O:D:watching:.
Fine! It's a 1000 page book, so if I don't like it by page 300 I'm pulling the breaks. He will then go on never again list where he can hang out with N. K. Jemisin until the rest of my days. You can also keep your money :angelic: