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incremental writing

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  • ERATRIANO@aol.com
    In a message dated 10/27/01 6:36:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time, dbratman@stanford.edu writes:
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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      In a message dated 10/27/01 6:36:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
      dbratman@... writes:

      << Or so they think. Tolkien wrote his whole story before publishing any of
      it. Many cliffhanger fantasists don't. Roger Zelazny didn't with his Amber
      books; Patricia McKillip didn't with her Riddle-master books. Fortunately
      they both finished their stories. >>

      But I don't think that makes them less enjoyable (except perhaps while
      waiting for hte next books to come out, as in the McCaffrey dragon books when
      I was in HS I guess it was). Okay, the Prof has been elevated to demigod
      status, and few can compare, sure. But why shouldnt' the rest of us be able
      to write and publish in increments?

      What about _The Mirror of Her Dreams_ by Donaldson? Anyone else read that
      and get the shock of their life at the end? LOL Fortuantely he followed up
      with _A Man Rides Through_.

      Lizzie
    • David S. Bratman
      ... any of ... Amber ... when ... It isn t a question of whether they re more or less enjoyable works when finished. It was a response to Steve s skepticism
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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        Lizzie wrote:

        >In a message dated 10/27/01 6:36:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
        >dbratman@... writes:
        >
        ><< Or so they think. Tolkien wrote his whole story before publishing
        any of
        > it. Many cliffhanger fantasists don't. Roger Zelazny didn't with his
        Amber
        >books; Patricia McKillip didn't with her Riddle-master books. Fortunately
        >they both finished their stories. >>
        >
        >But I don't think that makes them less enjoyable (except perhaps while
        >waiting for hte next books to come out, as in the McCaffrey dragon books
        when
        >I was in HS I guess it was).

        It isn't a question of whether they're more or less enjoyable works when
        finished. It was a response to Steve's skepticism that an author
        attempting to imitate Tolkien's procedure could leave a story
        unfinished. If Zelazny or McKillip had met with an untimely end in the
        middle of writing the series, or had merely gotten stuck and been unable to
        finish it, an unfinished but published story would have resulted, that
        would not have been known was destined to be left incomplete when the first
        installment appeared. Whereas if Tolkien had failed to complete LOTR, he
        would have known that before attempting to publish any of it. (And
        Tolkien's unfinished posthumous work was known by its readers to be
        destined to be permanently unfinished from their first sight of it.)

        In fact, as I recall, McKillip did have problems with her last book, which
        was delayed a year for that reason. Similar problems have afflicted some
        science fiction series, including Farmer's Riverworld and Dickson's
        Dorsai. They're finished now (insofar as Dorsai was ever intended to be
        "finished"), but they might not have been.

        I met Roger Zelazny when he was about halfway through the first Amber
        series. I told him that, much as I loved his work, I had not read Amber
        and did not intend to do so until he finished the sequence. He said that
        sounded reasonable to him, and that one of his closest friends had told him
        the same thing. (When it was finished, I did indeed read it.)

        My reasons were both fear that it might never be finished -- if it hadn't,
        I might have read it eventually anyway, but at least I'd have known from
        the start I was reading an unfinished tale -- and a feeling of frustration
        not just at having to wait for the next installment if I read in
        increments, but of waiting very long periods of time (magazine serials
        appear monthly) and unknown and unpredictable lengths of time. So I agree
        with your point that it makes a difference whether you're reading at the
        time or afterwards.

        Even at that, there was one part of LOTR that was not complete at the time
        Fellowship was published, and that was the Appendices. Difficulties in
        finishing this led to delays in publishing Return, to the great wrath of
        readers eager to find out what happened after Frodo was captured.

        >Okay, the Prof has been elevated to demigod
        >status, and few can compare, sure. But why shouldnt' the rest of us be able
        >to write and publish in increments?

        I trust the answer is clear: that if they wish to emulate him properly,
        they will finish writing the story before beginning publishing it. (So far
        as I know, Donaldson usually has.) My opinion is that it's unfair to
        readers not to do so, but my point here is not that it's worse nor even
        better than what Tolkien did. My point is that it's different from what
        Tolkien did.

        David Bratman
      • Berni Phillips
        From: ... when ... able ... This reader definitely finds that sort of thing less enjoyable and generally refuses to buy them. The rest of
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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          From: <ERATRIANO@...>
          >
          > But I don't think that makes them less enjoyable (except perhaps while
          > waiting for hte next books to come out, as in the McCaffrey dragon books
          when
          > I was in HS I guess it was). Okay, the Prof has been elevated to demigod
          > status, and few can compare, sure. But why shouldnt' the rest of us be
          able
          > to write and publish in increments?

          This reader definitely finds that sort of thing less enjoyable and generally
          refuses to buy them. The rest of you are of course able to write and
          publish in increments. Just be prepared that some of us do not like that
          and will not buy them.

          > What about _The Mirror of Her Dreams_ by Donaldson? Anyone else read that
          > and get the shock of their life at the end? LOL Fortuantely he followed
          up
          > with _A Man Rides Through_.

          I read _The Mirror of Her Dreams_ and was so angry that he ended it with a
          cliff-hanger that I felt like throwing it across the room. I was a member
          of the Science Fiction Book Club at the time and had purchased it from them
          (it was new then) and there was no indication on the order form that it was
          not a complete novel, as I recall. I also was very disappointed in some of
          Donaldson's basic notions. I mean, how many women with very low esteem can
          you think of who surround themselves with mirrors? Most such women avoid
          mirrors like the plague.

          Authors, please, please write single-volume novels! Bloated is not better.

          Reading much less fantasy these days,
          Berni (who just purchased _Lord of the Rings_ in the new single-volume
          paperback -- that was how I first read it in 1971, borrowing my Irish
          friend's copy. I never bought my own copy because I wanted the story all
          together in one paperback volume.)
        • Stolzi@aol.com
          In a message dated 10/27/2001 11:53:19 AM Central Daylight Time, ... Some may devoutly wish that a mountain, or something, had fallen upon Philip Pullman
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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            In a message dated 10/27/2001 11:53:19 AM Central Daylight Time,
            dbratman@... writes:

            > might never be finished

            Some may devoutly wish that a mountain, or something, had fallen upon Philip
            Pullman before he undertook the third volume of HIS DARK MATERIALS. Or even
            perhaps the second volume.

            mary s
          • ERATRIANO@aol.com
            In a message dated 10/27/01 6:06:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time, bernip@ix.netcom.com writes:
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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              In a message dated 10/27/01 6:06:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
              bernip@... writes:

              << I read _The Mirror of Her Dreams_ and was so angry that he ended it with a
              cliff-hanger that I felt like throwing it across the room. >>

              Well, yeah, there is that. And I don't generally pick up anything that says
              "Book n of the XYZ series". So there are a lot that I pass on which could be
              wonderful books. ...Although I do have a yearning to read Redwall. LOL.

              Lizzie, reading a bit of this and a bit of that and trying to read more
              nonfiction but I fall asleep.
            • Joan Marie Verba
              ... I share your view, but wish to add that this phenomenon is not entirely the author s doing. More and more publishers are asking authors to write series
              Message 6 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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                Berni Phillips wrote:

                > This reader definitely finds that sort of thing less enjoyable and generally
                > refuses to buy them. The rest of you are of course able to write and
                > publish in increments. Just be prepared that some of us do not like that
                > and will not buy them.

                I share your view, but wish to add that this phenomenon is not entirely
                the author's doing. More and more publishers are asking authors to write
                series books, and I would presume they would encourage authors to end
                each novel in the series with a cliffhanger, so as to generate sales for
                the next one.

                MZB wrote each Darkover novel as a "stand alone" book, and I'm writing
                each novel in my series as a "stand alone" novel, as well. Nonetheless,
                as long as publishers perceive series are more desirable for profits,
                cliffhanger endings will persist, IMHO.

                Joan
                ******************************************
                Joan Marie Verba
                verba001@...
                http://www.sff.net/people/Joan.Marie.Verba
              • Grace E. Funk
                Lizzie. By all means read some Redwall. Start with the first one published. You might also like the one about the building of Redwall Abbey, and Martin the
                Message 7 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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                  Lizzie. By all means read some Redwall. Start with the first one
                  published. You might also like the one about the building of Redwall
                  Abbey, and Martin the Warrior. But since the number of titles is now up
                  to 13 (that I know of) and Jacques shows no signs of stopping, you
                  really don't need to wait for the series to finish, because each book is
                  a completetly separate story, only the general setting is maintained
                  throughout.

                  --
                  Grace E. Funk R.R. #1, Lumby, B.C. V0E 2G0 Phone (250)547-6333
                • Margaret Dean
                  ... Well, that and the general plot outline. :/ After reading three different Redwall books to my kids, I told them to come back when they could produce one
                  Message 8 of 12 , Oct 27, 2001
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                    "Grace E. Funk" wrote:
                    >
                    > Lizzie. By all means read some Redwall. Start with the first one
                    > published. You might also like the one about the building of Redwall
                    > Abbey, and Martin the Warrior. But since the number of titles is now up
                    > to 13 (that I know of) and Jacques shows no signs of stopping, you
                    > really don't need to wait for the series to finish, because each book is
                    > a completetly separate story, only the general setting is maintained
                    > throughout.

                    Well, that and the general plot outline. :/

                    After reading three different Redwall books to my kids, I told
                    them to come back when they could produce one that didn't have an
                    "Evil Overlord" plotline. No results yet. Having only read
                    those three, I can't =quite= say that if you've read one Redwall
                    book, you've read them all, but . . .


                    --Margaret Dean
                    <margdean@...>
                  • ERATRIANO@aol.com
                    In a message dated 10/27/01 9:03:25 PM Eastern Standard Time, margdean@erols.com writes:
                    Message 9 of 12 , Oct 28, 2001
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                      In a message dated 10/27/01 9:03:25 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                      margdean@... writes:

                      << Having only read
                      those three, I can't =quite= say that if you've read one Redwall
                      book, you've read them all, but . . . >>

                      I had heard that but I don't really mind, since I also like Grail tales.
                      LOL. I don't mind that it's not finished, I'm just daunted at the number of
                      books ahead in the series. And the library doesn't seem to have them. Guess
                      I should try to hook the kids.

                      Lizzie
                    • Trudy Shaw
                      It s pretty difficult to sell a stand-alone fantasy these days, unless the author s already a name. I suppose like everything else in the market-driven
                      Message 10 of 12 , Oct 28, 2001
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                        It's pretty difficult to sell a stand-alone fantasy these days, unless the author's already a "name." I suppose like everything else in the market-driven publishing business, the publishers _will_ try to give buyers what they want. So, if enough people share Berni's (and others') feelings and don't buy the series, things could change, although it would take the bean-counters awhile to get the message.

                        As the publishing industry becomes more and more monolithic, the small presses become more and more important--both for readers and for authors/books not quite fitting into the niches the publishers have available on their lists. (This means authors, of course, who are willing to hold onto that "day job" in order to write what they consider important rather than what will sell to the mass market.)

                        --Trudy
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: Joan Marie Verba
                        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 5:48 PM
                        Subject: [mythsoc] incremental writing


                        Berni Phillips wrote:

                        > This reader definitely finds that sort of thing less enjoyable and generally
                        > refuses to buy them. The rest of you are of course able to write and
                        > publish in increments. Just be prepared that some of us do not like that
                        > and will not buy them.

                        I share your view, but wish to add that this phenomenon is not entirely
                        the author's doing. More and more publishers are asking authors to write
                        series books, and I would presume they would encourage authors to end
                        each novel in the series with a cliffhanger, so as to generate sales for
                        the next one.

                        MZB wrote each Darkover novel as a "stand alone" book, and I'm writing
                        each novel in my series as a "stand alone" novel, as well. Nonetheless,
                        as long as publishers perceive series are more desirable for profits,
                        cliffhanger endings will persist, IMHO.

                        Joan
                        ******************************************
                        Joan Marie Verba
                        verba001@...
                        http://www.sff.net/people/Joan.Marie.Verba



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                      • dianejoy@earthlink.net
                        Original Message:
                        Message 11 of 12 , Oct 29, 2001
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                          Original Message:


                          << Lizzie. By all means read some Redwall. Start with the first one
                          published. You might also like the one about the building of Redwall
                          Abbey, and Martin the Warrior. But since the number of titles is now up
                          to 13 (that I know of) and Jacques shows no signs of stopping, you
                          really don't need to wait for the series to finish, because each book is
                          a completetly separate story, only the general setting is maintained
                          throughout.

                          --
                          Grace E. Funk R.R. #1, Lumby, B.C. V0E 2G0 Phone (250)547-6333 >>

                          I first saw the "Redwall of books" on a shelf at my Brentano's downtown, and ignored them until a friend told me about the cartoon shown on PBS---which turned out charming. I have at least one "Redwall" book shelved, and plan to read the series when I need something light and frrothy. ---djb





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                        • ERATRIANO@aol.com
                          In a message dated 10/29/01 10:57:29 AM Eastern Standard Time, dianejoy@earthlink.net writes:
                          Message 12 of 12 , Oct 29, 2001
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                            In a message dated 10/29/01 10:57:29 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                            dianejoy@... writes:

                            <<
                            I first saw the "Redwall of books" on a shelf at my Brentano's downtown, and
                            ignored them until a friend told me about the cartoon shown on PBS---which
                            turned out charming. I have at least one "Redwall" book shelved, and plan to
                            read the series when I need something light and frrothy. ---djb >>

                            The cartoon is very nice, at least I think so and the kids watch it. But
                            it's not on much, so we see it once a month or less. :-(

                            Lizzie
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