It’s in the Details

I read Paul Morningstar’s review of “Warbreaker” by Brandon Sanderson. Paul liked it, but didn’t. His review intrigued me so I downloaded the book and read the prologue. I thought I’d read a few pages and if I liked it, I’d get the book and read it.

After reading the prologue, I understand what Paul Morningstar means.

It’s an easy read and sounds like an interesting story. Brandon has created a new world to explore. It’s probably even worth a read. But it lacks luster. Luster comes from the details. There a few interesting details in the prologue.

When the main character, Vasher receives power from Vahr, “everything became vibrant.” Then Brandon precedes to tell us how colors are more bright. Blues are bluere. Reds are reder. Ho, hum.

Jim Butcher, of the Dresden Files, takes a couple of paragraphs to describe, in great detail, the affects of magic. Magic affects his hair, his vision, it runs down his arm to his hand. Then he describes what the magic does when it leaves him. When he’s finished, the magic seems real. You get the feeling Jim has done his homework and understands the affects of magic, within his world anyway, in such away that it is believable to the reader.

From the very first, when Vasher is placed in dungeon cell, there’s nothing; no reaction to his situation. He’s not unhappy at his predicament nor pleased that all is going well. There’s nothing.He’s in the cell and it moves on from there.

When Dresden gets caught, he goes introspective. He berates himself for his stupidity. He analyzes the situation. Is his captive at the center off all the problems or is someone else pulling the strings?Sometimes the pieces fall in place and he finally understands what’s happening and why.

Branden has created a believable world with some creative ideas, but his character, at least in the prologue, doesn’t seem to be apart of that world. And there are no details to make the events intriguing. Too bad. It could have been great book.

Details are hard. If it were up to me, I’d skip them and just tell the story. I like plot and action. It would be nice if I had a partner who would write the details for me and we’d split the prophets. But I don’t, so I have to do it myself.

Details require thinking and imagination. I have to stretch myself and go beyond the lazy.

Which is why I pay attention to those who do it well.

I’ve been working on a fantasy novel. Jim shows me where I’m lacking. My magic is like Brandon’s, unimaginative. As I read, I pay attention and learn from Jim, so when I go back to my fantasy, I’ll rewrite the magic scenes, and hopefully make them more creative and interesting.

You can read Paul Morningstar’s review and download the book from his site, Infinite Tales.

Just make things clear, I like Brandon’s magic, it sounds interesting, complicated and well thought out. My complaint is  the lack of detail. Its the details that makes the story interesting.