[TGO SPOILERS] What aspects from the earlier books do you feel could have been improved upon?

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Francis Buck

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« on: June 23, 2016, 08:16:17 am »
As someone whose first and primary passion in life is storytelling (aside from those more "animal passions", shall we say -- I'm talking about drugs and sex and hunger, in that order), one thing I'm always interested in hearing about from great authors are the lessons they learned over time. From my perspective, it often feels like a 50/50. A lot of the things that authors (and artists in general really) openly state as being something they disliked about their work seems like a non-issue to me, or at most a nitpick. On the other hand, a few of my more significant moments of internalizing a particular facet of the craft were born from reading or hearing a highly skilled writer -- most often one that I already respected and, were I tasked to do so, would have found it challenging to find any glaring mistakes in their works -- go on to divulge areas of weakness that were sometimes quite revelatory. Those latter examples were typically the ones that revealed rough spots in my own projects.

In your recent interview with Pat, he asked you a similar sort of question, to which you responded:

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I would rewrite the whole thing if I could, and I also wouldnt dare touch a thing. It feels biblical to me by this point, a monument somehow blessed for its imperfections. Some days I just marvel over the fact of what Im writing, smack my head thinking, This is Golgotterath!

This is a sentiment I can sympathize with, particularly the last bit. At the same time, my interests in storytelling are consistently those of "epic proportion", both in content or themes and, as a somewhat unavoidable result, the actual size of the thing.

To put it simply, can you list a couple of those issues that make you -- at least partially, as you say -- want to rewrite the whole thing if you could, particularly in the early bits of the series?

« Last Edit: June 23, 2016, 08:18:35 am by Ciphrank »

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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 01:41:04 pm »
I actually had a version of the book beginning with Kellhus, and sticking with him as he learned the world. This is the big thing I would have done differently: Given the first half of TDTCB to Kellhus, using his gradual accumulation of knowledge as a vehicle for bringing the readers up to speed.

Otherwise, one big craft hurdle I crossed, I think, was realizing when I was writing around scenes because they were too difficult. Once I got wise to this, I began, rather masochistically, perhaps, throwing myself directly at difficult scenes, attempting to evoke situations that are typically just glossed in fiction. To me, this means the series is filled with scenes where I think, given the wisdom of writing hindsight, that I could have done better. If I had tackled something like the Entresol scene ten years ago, for instance, I think I would have mucked it up in several different ways.

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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016, 03:34:06 pm »
Interesting thoughts.

On Kellhus, specifically, consensus has arisen that you've actually accomplished something of the opposite - and more impressive for it - than your intent here. Even without half a book from Kellhus, the modern reader is seduced by his anachronistic thinking so much so that the direct intervention by the Gods in TJE came as to a surprise for many readers back in '09 (though, thankfully, rereading the series with that Layer of Revelation in mind, makes salient much of their activity in PON).

Somehow this making complicit of the reader's experience by the nearness of Kellhus' thinking achieves so much in duping the reader that now by the end of TGO, and throughout the entirety of TAE, the world is almost made more fantastic than if we'd been cued all along by an earlier acceptance by Kellhus' of intercession by Outside Agencies.

As mrganondorf famously said on a Cast - TWP has one of those great early series tilt-a-whirl moments when we see Iyokus summoning a Ciphrang for the first time, which would be one of many that might have been ruined by an earlier understanding of the world by the reader.
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