SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Group Reads Discussions 2009 > Wizard's First Rule -- In response to "Masochism"...Writing strengths? ... no snarl-grumbles here plz!

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Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Crucial to think about - what's your impression on the strengths of Goodkind's prose?

NOW - if you have a BAD impression, hold that thought (We'll tear down later). Instead tell my why this guy got published multiple times. What did he do right?

No yip-yap, snip-snap, snarl-gumbles here please! :)


Roger (RogerBixby) | 88 comments Same reason Raymond Feist got published, he could keep you interested in the story. When reading Feist, I could just about hear the clunks as I read his prose, but I didn't care because I liked the story and the characters. Still do actually, I'm waiting for the third book in the current trilogy to come out.


Jim (JimMacLachlan) I thought the system of magic, how it evolved & the sundering of the various areas were all pretty unique. The basic plot isn't new, but the window dressing was. That means a lot to me, now. After reading fantasy for 40 years, I quite often run into a lot of derivative stuff.

He also started out the book with a lot of action & questions. Really had me wanting to find out what was going on. Almost like the first time I saw "Star Wars" or "Raiders of the Lost Ark".


Roger (RogerBixby) | 88 comments Roger wrote: "Same reason Raymond Feist got published, he could keep you interested in the story. When reading Feist, I could just about hear the clunks as I read his prose, but I didn't care because I liked the..."

And by third book, I mean the paperback. I think the hardback came out already.


Keith | 13 comments I agree, I think it is because the story is interesting. There are a lot of clunky writers who get published. I do think if Goodkind tried to write a modern lit novel, such as "The Road", or "The Alchemist", or "A Secret Life Of Bees", something along those lines, he would never get published. Genre fiction can be more forgiving to a writer if the story is engaging.


Zen (zentea) | 135 comments I actually really enjoy his descriptions of the forests in the Westland - despite all the action, you still see the pine trees and hear the birds.


Kait (Katiebear) I really enjoyed the series to begin with, and didn't have any problems until half way through the series. So I suppose that he created a world and characters that I ultimately began to care about.


message 8: by Eric (last edited Jan 09, 2009 07:36AM) (new)

Eric (eric_andrew) | 3 comments There are a lot of clunky writers who get published. I do think if Goodkind tried to write a modern lit novel, such as "The Road", or "The Alchemist", or "A Secret Life Of Bees", something along those lines, he would never get published."

Apparently that's exactly what he's writing next, now that he's done with The Sword of Truth.


Eric (eric_andrew) | 3 comments Yes, personally, I kept reading WFR because Goodkind kept me turning the pages. Not only did the plot keep moving, but the plot itself was different enough from other fantasy books. (I guess Goodkind himself really dislikes the fantasy genre as a whole, which is interesting seeing as how he wrote 11 books for a fantasy imprint.)


Hayley Lavik (hayleyelavik) | 6 comments Agreeing with other contributors, I think Goodkind knows how to tell a damn find story. He knows how to create gripping all-or-lost scenarios to keep a reader turning pages, and doesn't relent on them. Even if a reader doesn't get attached to the characters, there is always another high-threat situation to wonder about, which keeps people plowing through.

He weaves such a large number of plots and subplots, action points, subtle hints, and (especially in this book) multiple unexplained secrets, that the reader doesn't get a chance to pause and is kept always wondering.

Regardless of whether folks have enjoyed it (keeping the snips out of this!) I know plenty of people who simply *had* to finish it to get all the answers.

Although wikipedia makes that easier these days ;)


Liz (Vorlizzie) | 12 comments I think that's the most important part of Goodkind (similar to Robert Jordan, actually), that he does get you hooked on the story. His plots, worlds and ideas are good and those carry the first book quite well and continue to carry the next few books. And the story remains engaging enough that people continue because they want to know what will happen in the end. Curiosity saved the cat, so to speak.


Jessie | 24 comments I loved every single one of these books. To me they weren't long enough. I was always left wanting more and captivated by the world Goodkind created and well as the characters, their struggles and triumphs. Every book grabbed me and sucked me in. This is one of the few series that I was so lost in the reading and the descriptions were so wonderfully written that I felt like I was watching the scenes rather than reading them.


Rachel (storeyonastory) | 7 comments Jessie, I agree with you. I loved every one of these books. I compare this series (as do many people) with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. I loved WoT as a series, but there were a couple of the books that were incredibly slow and dragging. But each of the SoT books was exciting.

I felt like I was part of the story the whole way, like my survival depend on Richard and Kahlan's. While reading WoT, I felt like I was listening to a story that a fantastic gleeman was telling long after these events had happened. It was interesting and exciting and romantic, but my survival didn't depend on the character's success any more.

Does that all make sense?


Jim (JimMacLachlan) I think Goodkind has a lot in common with Mickey Spillane.

"I'm a commercial writer, not an author. Margaret Mitchell was an author. She wrote one book." - Mickey Spillane

"Authors want their names down in history; I want to keep the smoke coming out of the chimney." -
Mickey Spillane

Spillane & Hemingway had a feud going. Spillane thought Hemingway was pretentious, while Hemingway said Spillane was a hack.

"Hemingway hated me. I sold 200 million books, and he didn't. Of course most of mine sold for 25 cents, but still... you look at all this stuff with a grain of salt." - Mickey Spillane




Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Jim - what a wonderful comparison! I never really thought of it that way! :)


Sarah  | 7 comments Hmm.. if I were to pick up a Goodkind series, which would be recommended highly? Or should I just get all his books because I did that with Raymond E Feist books (own all of them), I loved his characters and worlds, only, a few of them were a little dull but I honestly felt I had to have all the books to have a complete picture of his worlds!

I've just started on George RR Martin because I ran out of Feist books :)


Jim (JimMacLachlan) Thanks, Zen. Personally, I like to read the work of a craftsman over that of an artist, most times. I read for pleasure & an artist often makes me work too hard.


Jeffrey | 193 comments Bluecat, Goodkind's first 3 or 4 books are the best. I would read them then if you want to continue get a book at a time as I think the series starts to get repetitive and his sadistic descriptions of torture and nastiness get more and more elaborate as you go on in the novels.


Sarah  | 7 comments Thanks Jeffrey!

I will probably pick up the first few books after I'm done with George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire - just done with first book, loved it!


Kathy | 101 comments Hayley wrote: "Agreeing with other contributors, I think Goodkind knows how to tell a damn find story. He knows how to create gripping all-or-lost scenarios to keep a reader turning pages, and doesn't relent on ..."

But what fun is looking it up on Wiki? It's like reading the Cliff Notes for a book you hate just to get the book report done. Isn't reading the book part of the discovery? If it's tortuous, that's what book reviews and sites like these are for. :)


message 21: by Kathy (last edited Jan 26, 2009 03:43PM) (new)

Kathy | 101 comments ***********SEMI-SPOILER********************

Faith of the Fallen was an EXCELLENT book overall and captivated me. However, it was hard to take the 180 in The Pillars of Creation after getting sooooooo attached to the main characters. To not see them until page 382 or some such thing was near torture. I understand why he did it, but damn, it was painful.


Ryan (Arrrmo) | 2 comments Jim, I have to agree with Zen... that's the most apt comparison I've ever heard for this kind of author. Goodkind doesn't create beautiful prose, but he puts together one hell of a story.

Many of my favorite authors focus on craftsmanship first, and the ones I adore turn that skill into an art form unto itself. Heinlein wrote children's pulp novels before creating some of the best sci-fi works ever written, and Terry Pratchett manages to comment on real-world issues by using an inept wizard and a flat world on the back of a giant turtle.


Glenn | 3 comments I like Jim's comparison of Goodkind to Spillane, and his comment on craftsmen and artists. Goodkind is a craftsman, putting out long, well thought-out books that are accessible to the typical fantasy reader. This is what seems to sell, and he's trying to keep the lights on, so he's going what he needs to do.

glenn g. thater
author of harbinger of doom


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