Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Robert Jordan vs. Brandon Sanderson

It is obvious that not all authors use the same writing techniques. Robert Jordan is my favourite author and after 10 months of blogging in detail about his writing, I feel I can pick out the individual elements of his writing style that other writers can’t mimic. Brandon Sanderson has completed the series based on Jordan’s notes and passages he had already written, for which I am eternally grateful to him, Jordan, Jordan’s family, Tor, and anyone else who worked to bring us the end of this story. Brandon Sanderson is an exciting author in his own right, but his style is not the same as Robert Jordan’s. Nor does he try to mimic it, the parts he writes fit his own style, and employ the techniques he knows best.
I’ll be analyzing the next few books, co-authored by Sanderson, in the same way I’ve tackled Jordan’s work. I’ll pick out which techniques were used to convey the author’s intent, discuss how well they worked, and contrast them with other examples in the series. Sometimes that means I’ll be directly comparing Jordan’s and Sanderson’s writing, sometimes I’ll declare that one of them succeeded where the other failed, other times I’ll show that they both missed, or both accomplished what they set out to do.
It’s likely I’ll frequently be talking about the challenge Sanderson faced in trying to adapt the conflicting needs of honoring earlier passages, sticking to the plot, filling in gaps, and working around what had already been written. Those aspects present a fairly unique set of circumstances for a writer.
All of which means there’s no contest between Jordan and Sanderson. I’m as interested in how Sanderson writes the Wheel of Time as I am in how Jordan wrote it. There’s no wrong way to write it, just different ways, chosen for different reasons. Analyzing those reasons and ways, and the techniques chosen can teach us about the craft of writing.
Writing Lessons:
There is always something more to learn.

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