[thechat] fantasy authors (was RE: Cadfael)

Martin Burns martin at easyweb.co.uk
Fri Dec 23 12:13:53 CST 2005

On 23 Dec 2005, at 16:01, Canfield, Joel wrote:

>> Tolkien had his good points... he was able to create an
>> 'epic' world, and flesh
>> its mythology out well. But his sense of pacing was *far* off
>> imo (really slow
>> starts, even worse than Williams) and was far too ready to
>> wander off into
>> lavishly describing things that really weren't important.
> Well, that may just be it: that kind of atmospheric escape into  
> another
> world is exactly what I'm looking for.

Oh true and that's important. But getting the *other* stuff right too  
is the difference between a good book and a *great* book.

I once remember seeing the Oscars, and the "Best Editor" category  
being introduced as "Good editing can make a good film into a great  
one. And a bad film into a short one"

Tolkein is very good at that escape. But he can't write dialogue for  
toffee, and many of the characters are very simplistically drawn.

This is why he's *such* good material for screenwriters - you can  
visualise the epic, and tighten up the words.

> Tolkien's wanderings and tangents are the kind of storytelling I'm  
> used
> to, probably from the long winter nights as a child listening to my  
> dad
> and his brothers spinning yarns that got longer every year.

Yes, and I like that bardic/saga tradition too - we have it in spades  
here in Scotland. But check out some George Mackay Brown if you want  
that feeling with better writing in the detail.


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