Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G: Terry Goodkind

My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year is a mishmash of books, movies, writers and TV shows that have in one way or another taught me something about writing and helped me be a better writer. Some inspired my own stories and a few taught me what not to do. Each post is a one minute lesson on writing. Also stop by the IWSG blog for some April encouragement.

Terry Goodkind wrote and is still writing one of my favorite fantasy series. Picking up this book actually ignited my love of epic fantasy after I'd drifted away from the genre to read more romance and suspense novels. The first book in the series, Wizard's First Rule, introduced the two main protagonists. And woven into it was a dark history in the world Goodkind created as well as family secrets and hints at a history of war from centuries ago. It was epic. I couldn't wait to read the next one and then the next one and the next...  You get the picture. The series went on and on. One or two of the books after the first one were excellent but many of the others felt reworked. The male
protagonist discovers he's the most powerful wizard in thousands of years, yet too many times he couldn't use his magic for one reason or another. It got old. Most writers weave by accident or on purpose, some of their own moral and political beliefs into their books. A few books in this series shouted the moral beliefs behind the story at me. Even though I agreed with the viewpoint, I didn't want it so obvious in my fiction reading.

Lesson: If you write a series, don't drag it on and let your plots become redundant. I haven't written any series longer than four books. That's about the length I prefer for series I read also. Television series or movie sequels can outlive their uniqueness also. Don't use your novels to obviously preach. It can turn off your audience and make the book seem like a scripture parable.

Now that we're a week in to this month, here's a tidbit about April:
April come from the Latin, aperio, which means 'to open or bud' because plants begin to grow this month.

"You can use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." Maya Angelou

Have you read series that went on too long? Can you think of a TV show that went on too long or a movie series that shouldn't have made so many sequels? Have you read a book where the writer pushes a moral or ethical lesson down your throat?

51 comments:

  1. Wheel of Time comes to mind for dragging it out :). I don't mind long series when each book is its own entity, like mystery series or adventure series, but I can't stand arcs that go on and on and on and on and on and on.

    As for TV series - the X-files went on too long IMHO. I can't think of a specific novel that was preachy, I usually stop reading because it becomes obvious really quickly and then erase the details from my mind :).
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. It was really difficult to keep the characters straight in Wheel of Time. It did finish off nice but took a long time to get there.

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  2. I can think of several series that just went on too long. In addition to rehashing the storyline, it's the lack of conclusion that finally bores me. I do like an ending.

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    1. I should have made a point about the lack of a conclusion. This is also a problem in Goodkind's series.

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  3. As much as I enjoyed "Boardwalk Empire," I was glad when it ended. The last season felt like the writers said, "Let's hurry and get this over with." "Mad Men" was great in the beginning but it lasted one season too many.

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    1. So many shoes seem to go one season too long.

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  4. Almost all the series I've read start to get stale after the fourth one. Or maybe it's me.

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    1. I can't really think of many series that keep up a great story more than four books.

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  5. I love your theme, Susan. Some of them are on my list, too - L'Engle and Firefly!!! - but then I get to learn about the ones I don't know, like Terry Goodkind and Brent Weeks :)

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  6. I know nothing about this person... it's something I might look into..Welcome in the letter "G"... thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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  7. I still haven't read any Goodkind I don't think, except maybe one book (if I have the right Terry).

    I love Terry Brooks though ;)

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    1. He's different from Brooks. Darker, but not much.

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  8. I started reading this series after watching the TV show Legend of the Seeker (which was cancelled after 2 seasons and based on this series). I only made it one book in. They are so long.... I might try again.

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    1. Books are better and really different from the TV show that got almost everything wrong.

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  9. Four book series, amazing, I'm struggling with the second! :0)

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    1. I like writing in series. I'm finishing one now and starting another in May when the challenge is over.

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  10. I'm with you on this series. I loved it when it started, but by the end, I was fed up with it. Jagang remains one of my most hated villains in fantasy of all time, though.

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    1. He was so cruel and without mercy. The first three books were the best.

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  11. I haven't read this one but I love wizard books. I agree that you can't shout your beliefs or drag on a series just to have a series, each book needs to have a purpose.

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    1. After the first three books it felt like it was a new problem of the week, each one stranger than the one before.

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  12. Yep, some go on way way way too long. Nothing but a cash grab. I planned one of mine to go to 12, but I planned before I wrote.

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    1. I think the cash is behind a lot of them, especially on TV.

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  13. Hi Susan .. I get bored quite easily .. and often won't wait a series out - hence I don't watch many ... and same with a book - it needs to hold me .. cheers Hilary

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    1. If it's too long between books or seasons of a show, I often move on and lose interest in them.

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  15. I have been haunted by Terry Goodkind this year. I feel like I am "supposed to" read his books or something because he keep coming up so often. However, if I get stuck in an endless series with no escape, I will be saddened by this!

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    1. The first three books are the best. After that, not so much. But the first 3 are some of the best epic fantasy I've read.

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  16. I do enjoy series as long as the ideas are fresh.

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  17. I think it would be harder to name a series that hasn't gotten one too many sequels.

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    1. LOL. Good point. There are a few of my favorite fantasy writers who keep it to three or four. Anthony Ryan is finishing his series this summer with a third book.

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  18. I'm not much of a series person. I like variety. There are some that have kept me reading like Galsworthy, Tolkien, or Rowling With so much to choose from, I like to read different things.

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    1. Yes, those guys knew how to write a series.

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  19. This is very observant of you. I haven't read Terry Goodkind, but I read the Da Vinci Code and then the other book Angels and Demons, felt like a reworking of DVC, so I couldn't get into it. I read the first two Harry Potter books and then got bored. Some series work for me and others don't. Love your quotes about writing and creativity too.
    Maui Jungalow

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    1. I get that too. Even though the events of Angels and Demons was supposed to have happened first, I think.

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  20. I haven't read any of those novels, but I know what you mean about a series going on too long. Even I haven't read the sixth and seventh books in the Outlander series. It's worn a little thin at this point.

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    1. Me too. I loved those first books and then I gave up around book 6 too.

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  21. I haven't, but there are some out there. I can't remember the name, but we called them the "rat books." My son was into them for a while, then he said they were all starting to sound the same. We all know TV shows can get caught in that trap.
    Play off the Page

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    1. And I think kids grow out of those series so they notice that they're kind of all alike.

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  22. I haven't read any of Terry's books. I've heard they're hard core torture and sometimes that gets a bit too much for me. In game of Thrones deaths come quickly and I like that.

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    1. There is torture but it's not descriptive. Nowhere near as bloody as Game of Thrones. Almost all the torture is connected to magic. Not defending the torture though.

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  23. TV show that went on longer than it should have: 2-1/2 Men. I haven't read this series, it does sound interesting. I'm not much science fiction, but maybe need to change that.

    betty

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  24. Oh I really like that rule of thumb about not making a series more than 4 books.

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  25. There's a lot to be said for quitting while you're ahead - make a big impression and don't dilute it by producing weaker and weaker sequels.

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  26. There are several TV series that have gone on too long. There are even those I stubbornly stuck with long after they stopped being good, just because of attachment to characters or hope that things would get better again. The same is true for books, though less so for me. Then again, I've only read a few series. I respected that Kelly Armstrong stopped her Otherworld series on her own, moving on to different things. I'm sure it's up for debate whether it was too many books in, but it would have been easy for her to continue indefinitely due to the popularity. I think the Anita Blake series has gone on too long. Her personality flaws have become tiresome, and she doesn't seem to learn, negating the character arc.

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  27. i like the way you review the books

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  28. True about the dragging it out. This is true of TV series, comic strips and lots of stuff.

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  29. If I ever plan a series, I'll have to keep this lesson in mind: don't drag it on and let my plots become redundant... and to stick to 4 books max...
    So the question is, should the books in a series all have different plots? Shouldn't they overlap somewhere/somehow? For continuity purposes? Probably a dumb question...

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  30. I never read his books.

    I loved The Wheel of Time series, but I think they went on too long and I don't think I finished the last two of them.
    I get it was epic, but stories need an end.

    Great post.
    Heather

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