June 16, 2019, 12:39:07 AM

Author Topic: Are there exceptions for BIOGRAPHY and PARODY? Grasping the writhing coattails.  (Read 5269 times)


I believe that people who write biographies of famous individuals, including in-depth analyses of their work, can sell ebooks fairly well. Maybe someone searches Amazon for "about David Lynch", or "about Nicholas Cage", or "about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec", and maybe they buy the cheapest biography that doesn't look like complete trash.

Now if biographies work, then what about parodies? I asked myself this as I read a bunch of books by the world's fifth greatest living fantasy author, Brandon Sanderson. Why aren't there more attempts at parodying anything that gets so popular? "Bored of the Rings" is nearly 60 years old and it's the only fantasy parody that springs to mind.

Any decent fantasy writer worth their spice wants to write about the worlds they dream of. However some sales made along the way for a practical writing experiment would help feed the dreams, right?

So I call dibs on Brandon Sanderson. Here's the initial result:
THE ANNOYOMANCER

Who's up for attempting a China Miéville parody?  What other popular writers do you think should be parodied?  What do you think of this idea in general?


I only spam my ebook because I love you.

Offline JMack

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Fifth greatest living?
This sounds like room for argument!

Who are the other 4?
Martin, that's easy.
Lynch, in my opinion.
Not Rothfuss, at least, not yet.

And does immortal count as living?  ;)
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Fifth greatest living?
This sounds like room for argument!

Yeah you probably know my feelings there....  :-X

Offline Eclipse

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Fifth greatest living?
This sounds like room for argument!

Yeah you probably know my feelings there....  :-X

You are not alone there.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Arry

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I only spam my ebook because I love you.

Welcome!! I wanted to throw a friendly word of caution your way about self promotion. We love writers around here, but please do not mention your book in every post you create, or in topics where it not relevant. If everyone did that, we would be inundated, so we have to ask users to keep self promotion to the appropriate places. I did remove one of your posts, but left the ones in the Self Publishing and Introduction areas, as well as this one as it could initiate conversation (but honestly, it might be better without the mention here)

Thanks!
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Thanks for the friendly word of caution Arry! I won't overdo it. I'll steer towards what's pertinent.

So I had to search back through some post history to see what Bradley and Eclipse were getting at, and this is actually the first time I've seen a post anywhere suggesting Sanderson took The Wheel of Time downhill from where Jordan left off.

I'm not of any strong opinion myself. I enjoy Brandon Sanderson's books. I like his strengths, some of which we might agree on. Can you name any other author whose systems of magic have a similar, or superior feel where complexity is concerned? I started reading the Cosmere books just because of Sanderson's ambition to combine so many stories and genres. It's an interesting experiment, though maybe there's something lacking a bit in reaching some readers' hearts. Is it possibly because of Mormonism?  For me his writing is a little less dark than what I'm used to.

If it pleases you, it would really please me too if you could let loose any other thoughts you have on Sanderson's weaknesses. Don't be afraid to "lay down some hate", as Michael Bay forced an actor to say in one of the worst movies ever.

I love a good rant!


Offline Elfy

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In terms of parodies of popular fantasies, Adam Roberts using a pseudonym parodied The Hobbit with The Soddit and and The Silmarillion with The Sellamillion. There's also been a bunch of Harry Potter ones, possibly the best known are the Barry Trotter books. It's not precisely a parody, but Diana Wynne Jones Tough Guide to Fantasyland should be required reading for anyone considering writing fantasy. It manages to neatly skewer every trope there is.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Eclipse

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I don't hate or love Sanderson bot I just don't feel like his one of the greatest writers ever living for me.

I've not read Wheel of Time but have I have read some of his other works , his very much hit and miss with me so his not a must buy whenever he brings a new story out. I could happily go through life without reading any more Sanderson,  I've even heard his number one fans say there struggled reading  Elantriss another one I've not read. I've not read enough fantasy authors to say who is the greatest fantasy author ever. I have my list of favourites which other members from here would say what the fuck you like that author for! Variety is awesome.

My ratings of Sanderson Novels

Warbreaker 2/5
Steelheart 2/5
The Emperor's Soul 3/5
Skin Deep 3/5
Final Empire 3/5
Legion 4/5
The Way of the Kings 5/5




« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 04:46:24 AM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Lady Ty

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I enjoyed Mistborn for many reasons, the magic was intriguing, the characters in Kelsier's gang with their individual talents, the care and detail of the history and world building. The plot less so but acceptable. Not one of my fantasy top five authors but one I have enjoyed.

@SarandonBranderson The title of your book and some of your comments imply trying to find points of disapproval and ridiculing the Cosmere books. Did you really mean that? Is that how your book is framed?

Not sure why you need to parody any particular author with hate, sounds like taking a sledgehammer to something, rather than using humour and wit to make a more telling point. Much prefer the parody and satire of someone like Terry Pratchett which is subtle, entertaining, witty and above all thought provoking.

There is enough vicious and obvious parody around in RL, where it may be invited and well deserved. Most fantasy authors write in good faith and don't deserve to be put down harshly. It's like having a film you enjoyed picked to pieces by a technical expert who has disliked the lighting angles, or who thinks some particular scene was not sufficiently authentic.

To try and parody China Mieville would require excellent writing skill, knowledge and intelligence and a very secure knowledge of his intentions to compete with his own innate satire. Doubt anyone can understand all his books or his way of thinking well enough to be successful.  Could so easily fall flat, not like trying to parody something obvious and written for mass popularity like GoT, which immediately lays itself open to such treatment. But whatever is parodied, does it have to be done by griping?
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Hey @Eclipse! It seems you've read plenty of Brandon Sanderson's books already!  If "The Way of Kings" is your favorite, then why not continue with Words of Radiance?  Did you read these books all together or with many other novels in between? I went on a Brandon Sanderson binge and then had to switch genres for a break before getting back to his newer books.

Do you think his writing will get even better with time? Every Brandon Sanderson book, to me at least, keeps to his particular style. If the author's name wasn't on it, you'd figure out it was him by Chapter 3. Compare to Stephen King who can occasionally switch styles for a completely different feel. I wonder what Brandon Sanderson's books will be like in 20, 30 years? He could really surprise everyone.

Another of my favorite authors is Dan Simmons. He definitely switched styles and mastered a lot of different types of storytelling. I enjoy his playing around with the delicate line between fact and fiction.

@Lady_Ty
Thanks a lot for your thought provoking comment! I really dig it! I think I see a problem with myself and those of a similar worldview communicating with others in general. Not sure how to solve this, but maybe you can help me hash it out?

I went to art school.

So I have this habit where if there's something I like, then the process of tearing it apart, disassembling it, trying to find out what others don't like about it can get pretty brutal. Sledgehammer indeed!

Also, even though most of the humor I employ in THE ANNOYOMANCER aims for light-hearted references, mashups, and juxtapositions of Sanderson's themes with our modern world and its concerns, sometimes one just can't help but go for the jugular.

Not to generalize too much about a specific culture, but in the UK and when hanging out with Brits anywhere, there's always a lot of taking-the-piss. If I can't handle whatever I'm most serious about getting lampooned and ridiculed, then I don't fit in with the lads. I think there's actually some merit to this sort of bullying. It helps one realize that in order to champion a cause, you can't be thin skinned about it. For every kindly old Terry Pratchett there's a Christopher Hitchens or Stephen Baxter lurking around the corner. 

The questions you raise are excellent! Fodder for plenty of reflection and musing on how fantasy writing and parody is perceived.

Of course I enjoy Brandon Sanderson's books enough to dedicate a lot of time to studying them and writing about them. I see him as an artist more than a craftsman, and I hope that any joke I come up with that's poking fun where he's weakest only serves to strengthen his future writing! It's fascinating to me that some people really dislike his novels and can find vitriol to throw at him. They must have some good points. I want to try to take those points and turn hate into humor in order explore where Brandon Sanderson could've done better. I'm not qualified to criticize him myself, but a whole forum's worth of readers and commenters are, as a collective.

Quote
There is enough vicious and obvious parody around in RL, where it may be invited and well deserved. Most fantasy authors write in good faith and don't deserve to be put down harshly. It's like having a film you enjoyed picked to pieces by a technical expert who has disliked the lighting angles, or who thinks some particular scene was not sufficiently authentic.

So true. So totally true. Friends don't need such nitpicking when just chatting about what they liked and disliked about a story. The director might like some feedback about lighting though. I think a great example of this is people criticizing JJ Abrams for the "lens flares" in his movies and television shows. It doesn't have anything to do with the story or whether or not a layperson would care. However when thousands of reviewers are mentioning it, even if picking on the abundance of lens flare effects isn't funny anymore to the audience, the attention certainly gets JJ Abrams to stop doing it. Except maybe once in a while ironically.

So the problem here is that I'm coming across as too harsh on Brandon Sanderson. Less griping sounds like good advice. However, I feel it's necessary sometimes to get vicious (Vicious! Now there's a great tv show!) in order to see if humor can be drawn out. It's funny to see a character, or even an author, try incredibly hard to take themselves so seriously then cock up their plans as a result. Someone has to fail for a certain kind of comedy to play out.

To try to parody China Mieville might well need him to be in on it to achieve the insight required. However I had an idea once... Why not create "The Restaurant and The Restaurant"? Instead of a literary parody, open an actual restaurant, split into sections, sub-sections, menus, rules, cuisines, advertising, along the lines of the two cultures in "The City & The City". I could go into a lot of detail about this idea but already this post is getting lengthy. More later!

   

Offline Eclipse

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I read other novels in between, I did think of carrying on with the sequels to Way of the King but then I discovered it be a 10 book series. When I picked it up I thought it just be a the normal trilogy. I'm already invested in a long running series already with Malazan and I also I don't won't to wait about 20 plus years for the last book  to come out to find the ending so I dropped it. I have had enough of waiting for uncompleted series with a couple of other Authors now.

I do think his writing  went up a level with Way of the Kings, I think my problem with him is he makes fantastic magic system While he should focus on the plot more, but that's just my view.

I've got a suspicion that writers are more fond of Sanderson then non writers as there dig the world building he does.

P.s I'm not a writer or author just a reader of fantasy



« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 07:52:57 AM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate


Right on @Eclipse! Yeah, Sanderson's world building and magic systems appeal to people like me who bought those "technical manuals" of the Enterprise and the Death Star. I'll pore over maps and charts for hours. I think it's an entirely different sort of appeal as opposed to just plain solid storytelling.

To me, the Harry Potter Novels, The Matrix (film), and Robert Jordan's first few "Wheel of Time" Novels all share a particular lack of original world building, instead repurposing good parts of other stories and mixing them into an exceptionally coherent whole. I found nothing in these three examples that I could call "original", (hadn't seen elsewhere) yet the storytelling skill of the writers makes them all fun and exciting to experience.

It might be good five years before Sanderson gets to Mistborn era 3. It may never end. Definitely not for everyone to follow when there are other good series' out there.

Offline J.R. Darewood

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I think he's beloved by the writers in part b/c of Writing Excuses-- he donates time to do a podcast on writing for writers. (tbh-- that's part of where I start to rankle at Sanderson-- I'd just quietly dislike him if the things I didn't like about his writing didn't return to me later in the form of advice!)

Sanderson's probably a great guy.  And he's accomplished an amazing feat in becoming a well-regarded, successful author. I just find his thinking overly mechanical (haha apropos mention of technical manuals there).  His characters feel like plot points, not people.  So when someone suggests to follow what he's done, i find myself bristling a little.  Different strokes for different folks-- clearly he's doing something right for some people if he's so beloved!

I figured you were onto some sort of roast.  Don't they say parody is the greatest form of flattery? Not sure he's well known enough for a parody to really work, however.

Offline Nighteyes

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So who are the top 4? M R Mathias must be number 1.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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When you first showed up, I thought you were just an internet hater on an anti-Sanderson bent, but I see now that I was wrong about that. I don't read parody or satire, but more power to you. (And @Bradley Darewood parody is not the highest compliment, imitation is :) )

Right on @Eclipse! Yeah, Sanderson's world building and magic systems appeal to people like me who bought those "technical manuals" of the Enterprise and the Death Star. I'll pore over maps and charts for hours. I think it's an entirely different sort of appeal as opposed to just plain solid storytelling.

I had the original Star Trek technical manual back in the 70s, and though I didn't know the term "world building" at the time, I was certainly enjoying it - especially the maps of the star ships and schematics of their equipment and the breakdown of their insignias. OK, that's pretty much the entirety and the word "especially" is being misused. But you get my point.

You made a comment recently about his linguistics in his magic system, and I am curious what your thoughts are in that regard.
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