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Posts Tagged ‘wheel of time’

Adapting the Wheel of Time

I doubt they’ll ever make the Wheel of Time into a TV series — but it’s an interesting mental exercise, thinking about how they would do it. (I do this sort of thing a lot, because it makes me think differently about story structure and how to create the appropriate shape.)

Up front: no way in hell would they just film it the way they’ve done with Martin’s books, (roughly) one book per season; that would make for fourteen seasons of TV, and even in a hypothetical scenario nobody’s going to do that. Even allowing for reductions based on things like “you don’t have to describe clothing when you can just show it” and “we’ll go straight to the meeting between these characters, rather than spending an entire chapter setting it up,” you’ve still got too much. Even if you go further and cut out a lot of the side viewpoints. You have to make it smaller. We’ll give them seven seasons to play with: that should be enough.

The next thing is that you have to restructure it. You can’t just condense the material and then film it straight through, because you’ve got to make sure the beats fall where they should. The end of every season needs to have something significant happening with the protagonist. I said in my discussion of writing long fantasy series that you need to hammer in some pegs for major events, and then navigate a path between them; in this case that means deciding what’s happening with Rand at the end of every season, and then shifting everything else to form a good shape around that. Theoretically the same should have been true of the books, but — well. Because of the way the structure got out of control, there are several books where the actual climax of the book is in somebody else’s plot strand.

Going through the series, what are his big events at the end of each book?


How to write a long fantasy series

It took three years and two months rather than the two years I initially planned, but I have, at very long last, finished the Wheel of Time re-read and analysis. And as I promised quite some time ago, we’ll end with what I’ve learned.

This post, unlike the others, is not WoT-specific. I’ll be referencing the series, because it’s the primary source of my thoughts on this topic, but the point here is to talk about the specific challenges of writing a long epic fantasy series — here defining “long” as “more than a trilogy, and telling one ongoing story.” (So something like Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books wouldn’t count, since they’re a conglomeration of multiple trilogies.) My points probably also apply to non-fantasy series, but other genres are much less likely to attempt multi-volume epics on this scale, so I’m mostly speaking to my fellow fantasists.

I do not pretend this is in any way, shape, or form a recipe for commercial success with an epic fantasy series. After all, most of this is a checklist of errors I feel Jordan made, and you could paper the walls of Tor’s offices in fifty-dollar bills with the cash he made for them. Nor am I claiming artistic failure awaits if you fail to heed this advice; you might squeak through on luck, or just really good storytelling instinct. But I do feel that bearing these points in mind can help the would-be writer of an epic series avoid falling off some of the more common and perilous cliffs.

With all of that intro material out of the way, let’s get to it.


(Re)Visiting the Wheel of Time: A Memory of Light (analysis)

[This is part of a series analyzing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels. Previous installments can be found under the tag. Comments on old posts are welcome.]

I pretty much covered my reactions to this book with the two liveblog posts. So now it’s time to set aside the straight-up “Oh my god I can’t believe this series is finally done I’ve been waiting for this for more than half my life”> stream of consciousness, and talk about this in a more sensible fashion.


A Memory of Light Liveblog, Part 2

Today I continue reading A Memory of Light, and subjecting you all to my stream-of-consciousness reactions as I go. (Where by “all” I mean “those of you who click on the cut tag,” which is probably not a lot, since at this point 95% of my audience probably falls into two groups: those who don’t care, and those who do care but haven’t read the book yet themselves and don’t want spoilers.)

First part is here, for those few who care and have read the book/don’t mind spoilers.


Wheel of Time Index Post

I’m putting this together now rather than after I’m done with the whole shebang because people (myself included) may want to look back at some of the previous entries before the last ones appear.

I will, of course, update it with the final links as they happen. So if you want something to bookmark, this is one to keep.

Towers of Midnight (analysis)

[This is part of a series analyzing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels. Previous installments can be found under the tag. Comments on old posts are welcome.]

Side note first: the poll results thus far are coming down pretty firmly on people saying that yes, I should read the Prologue to AMoL, and yes, I should blog about it when I do. I must admit, I’m curious why those of you who voted “no” chose that option. Anyway, decisions on that soon. For now, ToM, and the analysis thereof.

For most of the time I’ve been writing these posts, I’ve been analyzing each volume in the context of the rest of the story: the books that precede it, the books I had previously read that follow it, speculation about the books that were out but I hadn’t read them yet. As we round this final corner, though, I find Towers of Midnight almost more interesting in the context of absence: the unknown events of A Memory of Light, and the void that will follow it, the end of the series.

Of course, we may (probably will) get other books. I’ve heard they’re talking about a companion book — something more canonical than the White Book of Lies — and it’s entirely possible that Jordan’s estate will farm out the property the way we’ve seen with Dune. But as far as the series proper is concerned, ToM is the point at which I start thinking, not only about what has happened, but what may never happen.

The list could fill an ordinary trilogy.