Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Joe Abercrombie On Joe Abercrombie

with one comment

At the beginning of the year I reviewed my first review. I undertook this recursive exercise to see how far I’d come and I found the results both useful and interesting. It is equally interesting to see other people apply the same introspection, particularly when they produce the actual texts that get reviewed.

Joe Abercrombie has been reading “Joe Abercrombie’s seminal work of modern fantasy, The Blade Itself“:

The writing’s a little lumpy, sometimes trying a bit too hard – why use one adjective when five are available? Then you can repeat a couple of them later in the paragraph! Hmmm. A tendency towards providing pairs of nouns or adjectives when one, or perhaps none, would do. A bit of dead-horse beating, you could say. Sometimes it’s a bit foursquare, dwelling on who did what when, some unnecessary repetition and too much focus on technical aspects of positioning in a scene that really don’t matter at all. He turned, then he turned back, then he turned again. He could probably have turned less. Or indeed simply looked forwards and delivered his dialogue. But actually the writing was generally less embarrassing than I’d feared it might be. Some of the descriptive bits are a little, I don’t know, lacking in sparkle, prone to become a bit listy and unimaginative, and sometimes there’s a slightly trying, breathless, ‘Ooh, I can’t wait to tell you how ace this is,’ sense to things, but the dialogue is largely there, there are some really nice exchanges I’d forgotten about. If there’s one relative strength that I’d identify it is the dialogue. The different ‘voices’ for the different points of view generally work but haven’t totally settled down at this stage.

He’s read the whole of the First Law trilogy and has just finished Best Served Cold. Fascinating stuff.


Written by Martin

20 June 2012 at 21:19

Posted in criticism, sf

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One Response

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  1. What an interesting concept. I have to admire Joe Abercrombie. I suspect that if I were to ever publish something, I’d never be able to read it again without cringing. It takes a lot of courage (and to a certain degree confidence) to be able to critically analyze one’s own work. This really is fascinating stuff… thanks for sharing it.


    5 July 2012 at 06:22

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