Savvy Saturday: The Constant Author

The presents are unwrapped, the carols are sung, guests have said their farewells, and Christmas is over for another year. Now’s the time to sit back with a mug of cider or hot chocolate, watch the snow fall out the window, and enjoy a good book! (If you’re in the mood for something from Cadaeren, of course, you can take the Cadaerian Christmas Challenge to gain access to my new “Noble Memories” story…)  What books or stories have you been reading this holiday season that you’re most excited about?

mistbornI just finished Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, and continue to be impressed with him as a fantasy novelist. This series is not quite as good so far as his later works (namely, The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, the first books of his new “Stormlight Archive”), but it’s definitely worth a read. It’s interesting seeing how different authors’ systems of magic, views of society, and character motivations are similar across their separate fantasy worlds. Because of this, reading Mistborn after the first two of the Stormlight Archive is almost like reading an early draft imagining of the later series.

For instance, the male main characters in Mistborn seems almost like a slightly less developed (though different) version of his main character in The Way of Kings: driven at his core by a sense of right and wrong and protection of those who are in his care, but also with a bitter hatred of the noble ruling class who have wronged him in some way. Similarly, both books include a magic power that involves gravitational manipulation that isn’t quite flying, but achieves much the same goal: characters can in one series “push” or “pull” against metal to direct themselves through space, while in another series they “lash” themselves to an object with magic, which makes that direction “down” gravitationally. It works well in both series, but it’s similar enough that you can tell that they were written by the same author who has certain ideas about how flying “should” work.

Honestly, it makes me wonder what types of similarities readers would find in my own work across my fantasy worlds. I think of them as being completely separate, with very different types of narratives, ways in which societies work, and rules of magic. However, I’m sure that there are similarities that I don’t see – aspects that are included because I think they’re neat, or because they make sense, or simply because I’m used to writing in that way. It would be interesting to see what readers think.

Have you experienced this “author similarity” across worlds in the books you’ve read? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

1 thought on “Savvy Saturday: The Constant Author

  1. One clear example would be the various David & Leigh Eddings series. I enjoy them perhaps because of the archetypes that they include each time. Part of the fun is seeing how the wily thief character gets morphed into something a bit different.

    I see some similar items in your writing but not nearly as strongly as in many other writers, in part because your books seem to begin with a model of a culture/society rather than variations on a mythological system; different cultures might have different characteristics and characters.

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