Why I care about the quality of the writing

10 Oct

I got one more episode to see of Rings of Power – I think the general consensus is the show is massively suffering from weak writing. I’ll wait until I see the final episode before I talk about it, but here’s a little preamble. I admittedly can be a bit of a jerk when I R&R anything. I also can admit when something is or isn’t for me, or conversely when something isn’t as good as it could be but it’s up my alley. I don’t mind that you like stuff that I don’t.

I started writing young so I had a lot of questions no one I knew could really answer. How much should I describe setting? How often do I need dialogue tags? How do stop doing this thing that even I find annoying? Writing well is hard. Some things are easier than others and over time you improve, and some stuff is pretty subjective.

I wrote my first series in High School, I took writing classes University, both for credit and beyond, but I’m not the best writer on the planet.

I never claimed to be, nor do I think I ever will be. I care about language, but I don’t enjoy grammar and lexis the same way other people do. I usually write at the level I would want to read, and there’s certain things I like that other people don’t, so I will irk some people. There’s trends that are technically fine and I don’t care for. Honestly, that’s the reason my first book came out and you had to wait a few years for the next book was because people were criticising that Tower of Obsidian could have been written better.

I’m not making excuses about the editor or I never got to travel or I’m not as well read. Tower of Obsidian’s not my first novel, I have a degree and I went to classes where they didn’t want me there. I doubled down on my ability to do story craft. I also started my career in paramedicine, and I don’t want to whine but it’s honestly been a struggle. It’s not been the easiest mentally and the cracks are starting to show.

That being said, you don’t have to be the best artist in the world to make that comic or paint that picture because then we wouldn’t have much stuff being produced. I also think people need to take chances and not everything works, but one bad batch of dialogue or a stupid scene won’t wreck a book for me. What I found unforgiveable was going to all these classes and being told that my preferred genre, science fiction and fantasy, was trash.

I don’t need to defend it – better authors than me have done so.

My job is to hold my writing and other media to a higher level.

So when I’m talking about how things could be better, the response is often to attack the person (ad hominem) or previous works as opposed to the actual criticisms of the work. Sometimes, I see hit pieces on problems that didn’t exist but companies want to stir up controversy or talking points to garner interest. Example:  “Well we haven’t seen strong female characters before” and I’m like, “You mean, like Ellen Ridley? Oh, you don’t like her? Sarah Connor? By the way I’m named after a Star Wars character.”

When Disney released the sequel Star Wars Trilogy, people were attacking each other because of issues that weren’t there. “Well the OG trilogy was inconsistent, and the prequel trilogy had some terrible lines of dialogue”.

If I was hand-picked to carry on the legacy of something that popular, I think I should strive to do better as opposed to strapping on what is deemed the weakest parts like armor. Saying, “Well this was weak dialogue and this was cheesy” is fine, but that’s not an excuse for me to have weak dialogue and, depending on the tone, we may be Space Opera or more along the lines of Rogue One. I complained that the sequel trilogy did Finn dirty. Know who agreed with me years later? The actor.

I have one episode of Rings of Power left, so when I complain about things like, “How come the Pyroclastic Flow destroyed buildings, but we see people untouched?” or “If Twenty years are the blink of an eye to an elf, why is Durin getting disinherited instead of telling Elrond and Gil-Galad they’ll mine the Mithril when he’s running the show?” it’s my writer brain. Thing is, you don’t need to have a writer brain to think about things you see in the media that don’t make sense.

I think ultimately what needs to happen is to admit not everything that glitters is gold and, people aren’t wrong for pointing it out. Pointing out problems in a work doesn’t mean that you dislike it; any more than me saying, “This is the best part of the song” means I dislike the other parts.

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