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Editing in the last chronicles a little bit less than it was

 
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DavidDel
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:52 pm    Post subject: Editing in the last chronicles a little bit less than it was Reply with quote

I really enjoyed the last two books in the LCTC, but I have to say I think the editing was stronger under Lester Del Rey's direction than under the ACE/Penguin publishing arm.

Again, I do like the series and will continue to buy & read them as they come out, but I found too many instances of superfluous prose and elements that didn't advance the story - causing the pacing to waver in different places. At first, I thought it might be SRD writing style, since I have just re-read the entire series from LFB to FR, but upon thinking about it, I believe it might have been the editing (or lack of). Any thoughts on this?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. It definitely seems to be SRD's writing style, which I like. But it does get carried away.
Many more scenes of superfluous prose, but as usual, when it gets to the good bits it really delivers.

I think that the Second chronicles have the best pacing of the series, and even though I prefer the First, they are much easier to get into.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been struggling with this a good bit and I think I might finally be getting to grips with one frustrating aspect of the writing that may be related to a problem with the editing.

I'm reading FR for the first time at the moment (I tried to read it when I bought it first a few years ago, but I gave up in frustration) and what I'm finding is that one of the things that is annoying me is something like this from the chapter 'Tales Among Friends':

Quote:
Linden did not hesitate. 'You're forgetting something.' She had beaten back Roger Covenant and the croyle and Lord Foul's manipulations. She had met Berek Halfhand and Damelon Giantfriend and the Theomach, the greatest of all Insequent. Caerroil Wildwood had given runes to her Staff. The Mahdoubt had crossed ten millennia to rescue her. She felt no impulse to doubt herself, or falter. 'The Land needs you. Even I need you...


What I've highlighted is, in my opinion, totally superfluous. It's all implied in 'Linden did not hesitate.' We don't need to be told why she doesn't hesitate, we don't need a summary of the 300 pages (in my edition), we don't need this addition to the story because we have just spent the last 300 pages with her experiencing all these things.

And this is related to the constant reminders that Linden is under huge pressures and stresses. We are unnecessarily reminded of this on almost every page. The result is that the story is constantly being held up and interrupted and delayed. If there was very little going on that would be fine, but FR is packed to the rafters with huge events, powerful characters, and endless intrigues.

My edition of FR is 856 pages long! I think that with a little bit of trimming it could be 200 pages shorter with no significant loss to the story and a noticeable improvement in pacing. I don't know anything about the man, but if he was the editor of the 1st and 2nd Chrons, bring back Lester Del Rey!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh...I didn't notice that, so I guess that means it didn't bother me [actually I think I kinda like knowing why she didn't hesitate...though this one may be a bit much]
OTOH, it may be that I have more patience for it with deep characters than other places...for example, the first 12 volumes of the "Wheel of Time" would actually be @ 3 volumes if you deleted all the repetitions of the 5 or 6 "main" male char's opining about not understanding women [usually word for word repetitions] and/or how to handle them, and also the same for the "main" 5 or 6 females about men. Talk about superfluous.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Heh...I didn't notice that, so I guess that means it didn't bother me [actually I think I kinda like knowing why she didn't hesitate...though this one may be a bit much]
OTOH, it may be that I have more patience for it with deep characters than other places...for example, the first 12 volumes of the "Wheel of Time" would actually be @ 3 volumes if you deleted all the repetitions of the 5 or 6 "main" male char's opining about not understanding women [usually word for word repetitions] and/or how to handle them, and also the same for the "main" 5 or 6 females about men. Talk about superfluous.


So true. I had to stop reading Wheel of Time, because as much as I liked the action and fantasy elements all the relationship dramas had me gritting my teeth and muttering "NO-ONE. Is this. Annoying!" Hit Head
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cambo wrote:
I had to stop reading Wheel of Time


Ditto for me re. the Wheel of Time series. It's so long ago now that I can't remember what exactly that it was that got to me. Maybe it was the fact that I'd read six books and that there were six more to go and every blessed thing had somehow to always be in balance. Or was that the Saga of Recluce! Oh boy, does the necessity of balance in a fantasy series get my goat. Rant
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
one of the things that is annoying me is something like this from the chapter 'Tales Among Friends':

Quote:
Linden did not hesitate. 'You're forgetting something.' She had beaten back Roger Covenant and the croyle and Lord Foul's manipulations. She had met Berek Halfhand and Damelon Giantfriend and the Theomach, the greatest of all Insequent. Caerroil Wildwood had given runes to her Staff. The Mahdoubt had crossed ten millennia to rescue her. She felt no impulse to doubt herself, or falter. 'The Land needs you. Even I need you...




I noticed this too. In the first book, I thought maybe the publisher wanted SRD to summarise things that had gone before. But, I noticed that these mini-summations keep popping up all over the books to the point where I just started skimming paragraphs to get to something new actually happening. So many recaps of things you just read were in these books. Way more than in the first two series.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
I don't know anything about the man, but if he was the editor of the 1st and 2nd Chrons, bring back Lester Del Rey!

This is going to require Linden using White Gold, Staff of Law, and Krill again, as she did at the end of FR. Lester passed in 1993.

Who knows what would result by bringing him back? I say do not risk it!

Yes, U, your post was clear in saying you did not know anything of Lester. I'm just having fun with the concept of resurrecting SRD's old editor, given the hoopla in the Chrons about how restoring the dead to life can have unforeseen consequences.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Icarus Unfallen wrote:
ussusimiel wrote:
I don't know anything about the man, but if he was the editor of the 1st and 2nd Chrons, bring back Lester Del Rey!

This is going to require Linden using White Gold, Staff of Law, and Krill again, as she did at the end of FR. Lester passed in 1993.

Who knows what would result by bringing him back? I say do not risk it!


LOL

I know a bit more about Del Ray now from listening to some SRD interviews and Wiki. Seems like he lucked out picking up SRD and really didn't have much of a clue about literature, editing or much else.

Still think somebody should have taken the knife to the first two books. Can't say about AATE yet, I'm reading it now.

u.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Del Rey was a very talented writer in his own right, just of a different sort than Donaldson. Del Rey flourished during the Golden Age of Science Fiction, when all the cool stories were told as short stories in magazines (many novels from this period are just collections of short stories with a common story element). Donaldson is a student of more ponderous writers (Henry James, Conrad, Ford Maddox Ford) and it shows. Lester would have ruined everything. He was perfect for the first chronicles, but after that, forget about it!

As far as 'superfluous writing', I don't notice it. It's all about the character's development and what's going on through Linden's mind. It adds a, 'Linden didn't hesitate because why the bloody hell would she, after all the crap she's done!' as opposed to a boring 'Linden didn't hesitate' *yawn*.

And sometimes, a viewpoint on the same event could be different through a different character's eyes or at a later stage (AATE chapter 1 spoiler to follow)

Spoiler:
When we see Covenant's "Linden, what have you done?" statement at the end of FR through Linden's eyes, we get a very strong sense that Linden messed up. We all ready know this happened, but by revisiting it through Covenant's eyes, we get a sense of awe, not condemnation. By a simple going over of events, we have a richer story.

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