Archive for July 8, 2013

GEORGE R. R. MARTIN VS JIM BUTCHER, PADDING VS ACTION

In my last piece where I discussed how my approach to reading a book has changed since becoming a writer, I mentioned that I noticed that some authors overwrite. They add a vast amount of unnecessary detail which pads, and in my opinion, slows down the story.
I, on the other hand, feel I don’t give enough detail. I have had stories rejected where the editor said that it wasn’t a story but an outline. I hope to remedy this and will discuss it my approach to the ‘fix’ in a future piece.
The example of an author that gives far more detail in his stories than I feel is necessary is George R. R. Martin. I know this may ruffle some feathers and that he is all over the bestseller lists, but I stand by my observations.
I have read a couple of his books and what I find is an opulence of description that is totally unnecessary. If there is a banquet, he describes in great detail what people are wearing. There is nothing wrong with this, but to go on and give the history of garments and belt buckles I find does not add anything to the story and slows down the action to a crawl.
Another fault I find in his very popular series is a total lack of advancement in technology and the life of the characters. In one story he talks of a sword that has been in the family for a thousand years and is in use by the current generation. In the course of a thousand years, shouldn’t some advance been made in warfare, for better of for worse.
I have read another fantasy series, The Codex Alera, by Jim Butcher. His stories are fast paced and not padded by details that add nothing to the story. His characters use ‘furies’ which are natural powers of the earth. In one story he explains that the culture once used an advanced technology which is now long forgotten. Since the discovery of the ‘furies’ the technology became obsolete. I find this detail more satisfying than believing that no advancement has occurred in a thousand years.
These are the observations I have made as a writer. If you want, let me know how right or wrong you think I am.

July 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment


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