GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Novelisation: crappy

POSTED BY: BRAINMISSING
UPDATED: Sunday, October 16, 2005 22:45
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 13196
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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 4:04 PM

BRAINMISSING


Who is Keith DeCandido and where the hell did he learn to write? I could have done a better job of this novelisation when I was still in high school. His sentence structure is awkward and pitifully, reminds me of some of the stories in my Grade 12 writing class at the beginning of the year (before we'd learned anything). He has even forgotten (or perhaps never heard) the 1st rule of writing: show, don't tell.

Lines that were laugh-out-loud funny in the movie fall flat when wrapped in his child-like descriptions. He has completely lost the brilliance of Firefly by explaining EVERYTHING that everyone does - how can our favourite man of mystery be mysterious when we know the motivations behind all his actions? Not to mention that I would be sorely disappointed if I truly believed those were the motivations that Joss Whedon meant him to have.

Keith DeCandido, if you're reading this, take a gorram creative writing course.

Whoever chose him, read a gorram scifi book. Find out where the talent lies. There's plenty of writers out there who are hysterically funny, and don't insult the intelligence of their readers. Serenity deserves better than this, guys. Come on.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 4:26 PM

GHOLA


Quote:

Originally posted by BrainMissing:

Keith DeCandido, if you're reading this, take a gorram creative writing course.


He probably is, KRAD sometimes posts on this site so could you limit it to constructive criticism and not outright flaming.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 4:57 PM

TOMANTA


I rather enjoyed the novelization, but I did have a few problems with it. Primarily that it read much like the screenplay with a few extra lines thrown in. I had just read the shooting script and that probably made it more apparant. It's clear that KRAD is a fan of Firefly, though - which is the only reason I picked it up in the first place.

Movie novelizations are tricky, because you cannot include much more action outside of what the screenplay contains, unless you fill "gaps" in time (and there are not very many gaps in Serenity to fill). Otherwise, the book would be much shorter.

(Oh, it might be noted that KRAD writes a LOT of science fiction. I'd say the fact that he continues to get published says something about his writing).

Speaking of writing, it is hard to take criticism of an established author seriously when the criticism has several spelling and grammatical mistakes. The real 1st rule of writing is proofread :). Normally I would have ignored them, as I see far, far worse every day... but when complaining about someone else's writing, they stand out.

---
"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:00 PM

RABIT


I'm sorry you felt that way about it. I personally enjoyed the book and thought KRAD did a good job of putting the information into a format that not only fleshed it out but added a significant amount of clarity and information.

I honestly didn't have a problem with his writing, but I'm not known for my grammar.

Rabit

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:05 PM

VELOXI


I personally liked the novel a lot, read it twice. It was better than a Star Wars novel, I thought. ;)

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:14 PM

RAKARR


Sorry I don't know what you guys are talking about? What novel? Well any novel about Firefly not done by Joss isn't worth your time people! I don't know this from experience, but from what Joss said himself! He said some thing like that HE can't even read them cause if he does he gets so frustrated with them that he ends up re-writing them himself. After I read Joss saying that (some where on this site I think) I'm not gonna bother with a Firefly/Serenity novel unless it's by Joss himself. Those will be the only ones to satisfy all the fans.

"I am a leaf in the wind."
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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:18 PM

TOMANTA


Quote:

Originally posted by Rakarr:
Sorry I don't know what you guys are talking about? What novel? Well any novel about Firefly not done by Joss isn't worth your time people! I don't know this from experience, but from what Joss said himself! He said some thing like that HE can't even read them cause if he does he gets so frustrated with them that he ends up re-writing them himself. After I read Joss saying that (some where on this site I think) I'm not gonna bother with a Firefly/Serenity novel unless it's by Joss himself. Those will be the only ones to satisfy all the fans.



It is just the novelization of the film. I don't remember Joss saying he gets frustrated... but I do recall him saying he doesn't have the time to read them. But it wouldn't surprise me... I mean, if he didn't at least tweak every script for Buffy/Angel/Firefly he came very close.

"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:28 PM

SNIPER


I also didn't like the novelization- because of the writing. The characterizations were way off for Mal and Jayne, among others, and the prose was far too lax for a movie novelization.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 6:49 PM

BRAINMISSING


Normally I wouldn't be so acerbic - when I'm critiquing for a creative writing class, for instance, but I was pretty upset.

Two points:
There were no spelling mistakes in my post. You may have been referring to the Canadian spellings of certain words, such as 'favourite' and 'novelisation'. I believe my grammar was also correct as I double-checked it, but I am not perfect by any means.

Secondly, I am comparing this novel, not to Star Wars novels, but to the quality of writing in the Firefly series. It just doesn't measure up.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 7:04 PM

DOCRAILGUN


That may be, but you're holding the novelization up to quite a standard. What makes Jossverse stuff good is his dialogue and writing. We certainly can't say that Joss wrote much "sci-fi". There's no science involved. :)

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 7:15 PM

PTROPE


Two major grammatical errors in this sentence (ironic, considering it comments upon awkward sentence structure):
Quote:

His sentence structure is awkward and pitifully, reminds me of some of the stories in my Grade 12 writing class at the beginning of the year (before we'd learned anything).
You should have used "pitiful," an adjective, instead of "pitifully," an adverb. Also, the "reminds me" is unrelated to any noun in the preceding clause; it needs a noun or pronoun to define it.

Misspelling or simply an incorrect choice of contraction:
Quote:

There's plenty of writers out there who are hysterically funny, and don't insult the intelligence of their readers.
"Writers" is plural, therefore "there's" is incorrect; it should have been "There are plenty of writers" (and maybe substitute "many" for "plenty of").

Well, you did say you didn't make any errors ;).

As for KRAD's novelization, I wasn't especially shot with it, myself, because I thought it was a poor editorial choice to construct the narrative in an autobiographical fashion, speaking in the characters' "voices" and changing from scene to scene as the focal character changes. I found it a conceit, very artificial and off-putting; I would have much preferred the narrative be simply that, because it doesn't really do a good job of getting into the characters' heads, the only really valid reason to take such an approach. I bought the book, but I gave up reading it after the first chapter, because of this; if he had chosen one character to relate the entire story, such as Inara or Kaylee, or possibly even River, I think it would have been a much stronger story.

Rock is dead - long live paper and scissors!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 7:26 PM

THECRAZYIVAN


i liked it...plain and simple....and refreshingly easy read about something i love

~~~~~~~~~~
"There is a sense that this is still not over. It's hard to put a finger on what's so special about this project and about this group of people, but it's just one of those things you have to trust in, and relish. I am very, very proud."
---Jewel Staite on "Firefly" and "Serenity" in "Finding Serenity" (essay collection by Jane Espenson)

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 8:56 PM

BRAINMISSING


Actually, the mistake in this sentence is a missing comma.

His sentence structure is awkward and, pitifully, reminds me of some of the stories...

Thanks, Ptrope, for pointing out the sentences to which Tomanta was referring!

But I think we're getting away from the point here. I'm not complaining about DeCandido's grammar. I'm complaining about his writing style. And whether you call it scifi or 'space opera', it's still sub-par.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:47 PM

FRAY101


Quote from Joss (in response to my question about how involved he is with the novels):

"I don't have much involvement. I just don't have time. If I started to read them I'd just get frustrated and have to write them myself. This would cause fewer movies and shows. I just whistle and look the other way. Hope ya like 'em!"

Quote:

As for KRAD's novelization, I wasn't especially shot with it, myself, because I thought it was a poor editorial choice to construct the narrative in an autobiographical fashion, speaking in the characters' "voices"


Have to agree with Ptrobe there - I enjoyed the book but this did tend to grate a little.




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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 12:12 AM

RELFEXIVE


I've got it but not read it yet. I have, however, read KRAD's Farscape and Andromeda novels, and he does seem to suffer from what I call over-referential-itis. This is the writer's affliction of referencing every possible event in a tie-in novel to similar events in the series/movie it ties to.

So lots of "It was like when Jayne did such and such in Place X..." and "...just like the time that Mal shot so-and-so because of some-similar-reason-or-other."

I gather this trend continues in the BDM novelisation, which may prove to be a little annoying for me.

Apart from that, I've had no problem with his writing, but then I've not read one of his actual movie/episode novelisations before, so we'll see I guess.


ADDENDUM: Picking on a poster's own spelling and grammar when they are commenting on the quality of an author's writing ability is the cheapest, flimsiest shot possible. Please don't do it, it's just embarrassing.



"My God - you're like a trained ape. Without the training."
"Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all..."
I know the secret.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 12:50 AM

ANNIE


Read it.
Enjoyed it.
And mailed KRAD to tell him so.
Also, on the more shallow side, even if you don't read it and like it, money talks.
Buy everything Serenity related you can anyway.
Annie

Sex and violence on the big screen, where it belongs.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 2:57 AM

TOMANTA


Quote:

Originally posted by RelFexive:

ADDENDUM: Picking on a poster's own spelling and grammar when they are commenting on the quality of an author's writing ability is the cheapest, flimsiest shot possible. Please don't do it, it's just embarrassing.




You are right, and I would like to apologize to Brainmissing. I think I was just upset at the tone of his original post and some of the errors (particularly what turned out to be a missing comma) really bothered me.

RelFexive, over-referential-itis is definitely in the novelization, and it did begin to bother me as I went through it. I thought it was just used as space-filler, but knowing that it is done in other novels is a little dissappointing. I breezed through it without giving it much thought until now.

The one thing that makes the novel worthwhile is the background on Mr. Universe, who was a poorly developed character in the film. With the novelization you at least know his background and connection to the crew.

"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 4:00 AM

KOZURE


The short excerpt I read at Amazon.com did not impress me, but judge for yourself:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1416507558/103-1632345-7810256

I'm still going to pick it up, mostly for background information and the like, but it certainly doesn't seem to hold up to the source material.

Then again, not many novelizations do.

Kozure the Kamikaze Highlander

Proud Citizen of Canada-That-Was

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 4:10 AM

CALLMESERENITY


I liked it. I've never read any other novelizations, but I liked this one. I liked getting into the characters' heads a bit. And I liked the bits of background he threw in there, even if they are just ones he made up, and not Joss's. The stuff about Mr. Universe, for example.

And I met KRAD and he's a very nice guy, and quite funny. (Got my picture taken with him, too.) I think he deserves some respect for being a fellow browncoat at the very least. You don't have to like his book, but you don't have to tear it to shreds, either. No one deserves that. Browncoats are better than that.

Serenity, First Officer of Destiny

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 5:07 AM

RELFEXIVE


Oh yes, he's definitely a fan, and I did enjoy the other books of his that I've read (the Farscape one more than the Andromeda one). The over-referring thing was annoying, but once you look past it the rest is good.

I liked what I've seen of it so far (the Serenity Valley prologue that I read when it became available online) so I can't imagine I won't like the rest of it.

Well done KRAD!



"My God - you're like a trained ape. Without the training."
"Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all..."
I know the secret.
http://www.theshadowdepository.co.uk/index.htm

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 5:42 AM

LINDLEY


Prior to this, the only stuff of KRAD's that I'd read were his Star Trek novels. (He's doing the ST: IKS Gorkon series, and a couple of others as well.)

I'm a bit into the novelization, and so far it's okay. I'm not blown away by it. But then, I already know the story....so it's really more about how that story is communicated.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 6:19 AM

CHANNAIN

i DO aim to misbehave


Quote:

Originally posted by BrainMissing:
He has even forgotten (or perhaps never heard) the 1st rule of writing: show, don't tell.

Lines that were laugh-out-loud funny in the movie fall flat when wrapped in his child-like descriptions. He has completely lost the brilliance of Firefly by explaining EVERYTHING that everyone does - how can our favourite man of mystery be mysterious when we know the motivations behind all his actions? Not to mention that I would be sorely disappointed if I truly believed those were the motivations that Joss Whedon meant him to have.

I always thought that's what a movie novelization was for - to describe what was going on inside the character's heads. Perhaps I've had it wrong all this time too.

I liked it for the most part. I have a bone to pick on crucifix vs. cross, but that's my Protestant tendencies showing. What I really like is having all the great quotes from the movie at my fingertips. I'll be underlining incessantly my second time through so I can go back and read them and remember hearing my friends, family and fellow browncoats laugh when they were spoken in the theater.

In particular, I recall River noting the gun Jayne was bringing to the heist on Lilac. She, of course, knew the full specs on the weapon, but then noted that Jayne never referred to it by it's specification. "Mostly, he just called it Phoebe."

That wasn't in the movie. There's a couple of scenes in the book between Mal and Inara that I think I've seen stills of in the magazine that aren't in the movie either. KRAD also went to the trouble of describing Inara's martial arts skill - and the operative's admiration of it - which Moreena discusses with some joy in the magazine, that didn't make the final cut either.

Also, Firefly has always been about nine people, not one or two. To me, changing the voices for various scenes reflects KRAD's understanding of that.

I draw...therefore I am. http://www.mnartists.org/Nora_Leverson
Live in Minnesota? Join the Group! Yahoo Group, that is...
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/MN-Firefly

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 6:29 AM

NOSADSEVEN


I agree that the novelization is flawed, but I can enjoy it as a sort of "Serenity-to-go" while I sit in a waiting room, etc. I don't, however, read it as canon, but rather much the same way as I enjoy fanfic - by taking from it what I like, and putting aside the rest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ain't. We. Just.

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Thursday, October 6, 2005 3:09 PM

BRAINMISSING


I disagree with the person who said we shouldn't
correct each others' grammar on this site. Every
writer wants feedback on their work.

With that in mind, and since I'm calmed down a bit,
I thought I'd do Keith DeCandido the courtesy of
providing a proper critique of his work. Since I was
on campus today, I also consulted a creative writing
professor. She is also an established author and I
hold her opinion in the highest respect. (Unfortunately,
I forgot to ask for her permission to use her name on
the web, so she will remain anonymous.)

I decided to begin this critique at chapter 3, page 43,
simply because that's where I really got annoyed. My
professor was also critiquing chapter 3.

Here are some overall problems:
Over-use of the present participle - both of us
picked up on this right away. It's something that
every creative writing instructor I've ever had
has discouraged. As I understand it, the present
participle should be used only when necessary.

Adverbs in speech tags. The professor caught this
right away, and again, it's a basic principle of
creative writing. I've been taught to avoid the
use of adverbs with the word "said" as much as
humanly possible.

Show, don't tell. Often, a statement is made about
a character that could be shown by an action or
thought on their part.
For instance:
"Mal was in no mood for equivocation." page 44.
The reader already knows this by what he says. Or,
what action can he take that shows this? What
thought can he have?

Example 2:next paragraph, the dignity/temper
thing. This could more smoothly be conveyed in
a thought:
*A Captain doesn't fall on his gorram ass!*
(In the real text that would be in italics.)

Example 3:
"Restraining himself from killing Wash..."
How did he restrain himself? Show this through
action:
Mal clenched his jaw, but turned...

OK, enough of that. Next thing:
There are many unnecessary words. They slow down
the story and, therefore, detract from the action.

For example:
"Mal thought to bend his knees and keep from falling
over, which enabled him to keep a portion of his
dignity."

could be shortened to:
Mal bent his knees to keep from falling over.

Example 2:
"Wash said in a tone indicating disappointment"

could be shortened to:
Wash said indignantly
or
Wash's tone was indignant.

Next: You use the word "com unit", and then
(presumably) feel you have to define it. Yet on
the next page you use the word "intercom". If you
use a familiar word, you won't need the
definition, which detracts from the mood of the
story.

Why not be consistent:
Mal clenched his jaw, but turned to the intercom.
"This is the Captain..."

Or use description instead of definition:
Mal clenched his jaw, but turned to the 'com unit.
All over the ship, the crew looked up as his voice
crackled above their heads. "This is the Captain..."

Your diction in general is oddly chosen. My professor
thought that you used the most readily
available word, rather than searching for the
right one. She pointed out the words "aforementioned",
"thus", and the phrase "sad to say", which didn't seem
to fit with the tone of the scene. They're old-
fashioned words, and don't match the crew's mode
of speech.

Overall, she and I both thought that you didn't
really want to write this book. I realise it's
very difficult to work with someone else's story.
But if it's true that you didn't want to do it,
why did you take the contract?

I hope these comments are helpful to you and
further explain the anger in my previous post.

-BrainMissing

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Thursday, October 6, 2005 3:56 PM

AGREY


At the behest of Mr. Riley Billings, who happens to be something of a Firefly Fan (and, on the days he can break free the time, a Browncoat), I would like to point this out: while BrainMissing has a great point about Mr. DeCandido's grammar, it should be noted that one of the great things about fiction, especially some of the great fiction that is just FUN to read, is the purposeful or otherwise included errors, both because of the artistry in those errors, and in the great reminder that the work was written by a fellow human...someone who lives, breathes, eats, shits, and, in general, is quite imperfect.
And that imperfection is what makes any truly Human person or character mighty. Just like Mal's tendecy to run when he should fight, and fight when he should deal makes him the man that he is, our tendecies to do things that are utterly against logic and/or wrong for the situation are what make us each great in our own way. And do not forget that we each see the world through our own perspective in everything, and despite how many common points of perspective we may have with someone, we ALL differ in our points of view somewhere. And that also makes us, as people, great, beautiful, and extremely flawed. But we cope, and the results are often downright entertaining.
Now, from myself, ARP, I would say that while a creative writing professor is easily classified as a subject matter expert, that she teaches IN A LEARNING INSTITUTION...which is another way to say controlled, and sometimes quite unrealistic environments. While I respect her knowledge, as Firefly's experiences with Fox show, what is right, and what the public actually likes are two completely different things most of the time. As sad as the fact is that American audiences have no sense of taste, it is true.
Although I (and Riley) did appreciate the humor of several Browncoats showing off one of the great things about themselves: taste, at least a hint of brains, and some real-world experience. And the discussion, in and of itself, was a good laugh after several weeks of AIT (or, in Riley's case, dealing with his Board of Investors).
And please forgive any of my (various and sundry, I am sure) errors and mispellings in this paper...I was never an English major, and after two plus months of short sleep and classes on my Military Intelligence MOS, not to mention Drill Sergeants completely lacking any understanding of how AIT works or proper grammar and spelling (God Love those Reserve Infantrymen)...well, my brain is quite fried.
And please, do not take these comments as anything other than mine or Riley's opinion on the humor and humaness of this entire thread...not as an insult. As a matter of fact, Riley enjoyed the fact that at least a few highly educated persons are Browncoats. The amusing fact is that he refuses to believe me when I say the majority of Browncoats are like that...God Also LOVE Successful CEO types.

ARP
and, through ARP,
Riley Billings, A rich and very rabid Browncoat

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Thursday, October 6, 2005 3:56 PM

AGREY


At the behest of Mr. Riley Billings, who happens to be something of a Firefly Fan (and, on the days he can break free the time, a Browncoat), I would like to point this out: while BrainMissing has a great point about Mr. DeCandido's grammar, it should be noted that one of the great things about fiction, especially some of the great fiction that is just FUN to read, is the purposeful or otherwise included errors, both because of the artistry in those errors, and in the great reminder that the work was written by a fellow human...someone who lives, breathes, eats, shits, and, in general, is quite imperfect.
And that imperfection is what makes any truly Human person or character mighty. Just like Mal's tendecy to run when he should fight, and fight when he should deal makes him the man that he is, our tendecies to do things that are utterly against logic and/or wrong for the situation are what make us each great in our own way. And do not forget that we each see the world through our own perspective in everything, and despite how many common points of perspective we may have with someone, we ALL differ in our points of view somewhere. And that also makes us, as people, great, beautiful, and extremely flawed. But we cope, and the results are often downright entertaining.
Now, from myself, ARP, I would say that while a creative writing professor is easily classified as a subject matter expert, that she teaches IN A LEARNING INSTITUTION...which is another way to say controlled, and sometimes quite unrealistic environments. While I respect her knowledge, as Firefly's experiences with Fox show, what is right, and what the public actually likes are two completely different things most of the time. As sad as the fact is that American audiences have no sense of taste, it is true.
Although I (and Riley) did appreciate the humor of several Browncoats showing off one of the great things about themselves: taste, at least a hint of brains, and some real-world experience. And the discussion, in and of itself, was a good laugh after several weeks of AIT (or, in Riley's case, dealing with his Board of Investors).
And please forgive any of my (various and sundry, I am sure) errors and mispellings in this paper...I was never an English major, and after two plus months of short sleep and classes on my Military Intelligence MOS, not to mention Drill Sergeants completely lacking any understanding of how AIT works or proper grammar and spelling (God Love those Reserve Infantrymen)...well, my brain is quite fried.
And please, do not take these comments as anything other than mine or Riley's opinion on the humor and humaness of this entire thread...not as an insult. As a matter of fact, Riley enjoyed the fact that at least a few highly educated persons are Browncoats. The amusing fact is that he refuses to believe me when I say the majority of Browncoats are like that...God Also LOVE Successful CEO types.

ARP
and, through ARP,
Riley Billings, A rich and very rabid Browncoat

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Thursday, October 6, 2005 5:25 PM

THRAWN


Brainmissing, perhaps you haven't been watching the same Firefly universe we all have. The one in which the characters (and, incidentally, the scripts as well) play with language, turning it on its head, making inefficient constructions for the joy of messing with words. Things like "a tone indicating disappointment" are interesting precisely because you don't expect them.

That said, I felt KRAD's diction was more an attempt at being playful than a success; some constructions don't quite fit the characters voices (as in chapter 1, "The Alliance was welcome to the central planets, but keep your grubby mitts off our outer worlds, thank you so much." Just can't hear Mal saying that.)

Still, it was nice to see it written in at least something approximating the style of the show. It had character, even if it didn't have perfection.

My only real complaints are that there WAS a lot of dead space he could have filled but didn't, and that my interpretations of the characters are occasionally VASTLY different from his. (For instance, the more I think about it the more I feel like Mal's been in a bad / self-destructive mood ever since Inara left, making the ship falling apart strongly symbolic of Mal in the very first scene after the prologues. But KRAD starts it out with Mal in a good mood.) Minor, yes, and impossible to understand without seeing the movie, probably, but it still bugs me.

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Friday, October 7, 2005 3:03 AM

KRAD


I just found this thread, and Brainmissing, I appreciate you taking the time to make a more detailed critique. FWIW, several of the "rules" your creative writing teacher quote are ones I don't subscribe to. This doesn't mean I'm right and she's wrong -- or the other way around. But I've been a professional writer and a professional editor for 15 years, so I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, either. My point is, I didn't make my creative decisions in a vacuum. And I think the notion that you shouldn't use adverbs to modify the word "said" is absurd, FWIW.

In general, most of the fixes you recommend are ones that may be more grammatically sound, but which also drain all the style from the narrative. As several folks have pointed out, I was using the narration to reflect the inner voice of the POV character in the scene in question.

An example. You said:

Quote:

There are many unnecessary words. They slow down
the story and, therefore, detract from the action.

For example:
"Mal thought to bend his knees and keep from falling
over, which enabled him to keep a portion of his
dignity."

could be shortened to:
Mal bent his knees to keep from falling over.



Could be shortened, yes, but you quoted the line without the rest of the paragraph. Here's the whole thing:

"The ship bucked again. Mal thought to bend his knees and keep from falling over, which enabled him to keep a portion of his dignity. Since he was rapidly losing all portions of his temper, this kept things in a kind of balance."

The object there was the parallel construction of Mal's dignity versus Mal's temper. Your fix drains the paragraph of that, rendering it lifeless.

=-=-=-=-=

This is a long thread that I read all of at once, and much of it in a pissy mood because of Brainmissing's original ad hominem attack on me (ameliorated by his later proper critique, so no hard feelings there, BM), so forgive me for not being specific, but...

One poster complained about my over-referencing of past events, and much as I'd love to draw myself up in outrage and defend myself -- I can't. It's one of my biggest failings, and one I'm trying to curb. *sigh* I do tend to overdo the references. Some fans like that, but it's something that should only be done in the service of the plot, and that isn't always the case. Mea culpa on that one.

Another poster complained about what I mentioned earlier -- the narrative reflecting the style of the POV character. I make no apologies for that narrative choice, because the one thing that a novel brings to the table that a movie can't do is get inside the heads of the characters. It's what makes the novelization stand apart from the source material, and that's why I did it.

Somebody else suggested that the book should have been from a single POV, but the movie itself made that impossible, as there's no one character who's in every scene. River comes the closest, but I think doing the entire novel in the POV of a crazy telepath would've been draining for both the writer and the reader.......

=-=-=-=-=

Thanks for the honest appraisals, folks! It's appreciated.




Keith R.A. DeCandido
keith@decandido.net
www.DeCandido.net | www.AlbeShiloh.com
www.livejournal.com/~kradical

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Friday, October 7, 2005 4:18 AM

VAMPRY


As someone who is not a published author but who has hung out with some notable ones over the years (including KRAD), what I've learned is writing ability cannot be taught. Grammar, spelling and syntax - yes. But actual writing ability, no.


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Friday, October 7, 2005 4:46 AM

ROARINGMICE


Keith, you impress me again and again with your patience with the people who read your books. The fact that you can set aside the crap and vitriol and hold your temper, then actually respond not just rationally, but also politely! Good on ya.

BTW, I actually liked how the novel reflected the POV of the characters. That's one of the things I like about fiction - you can do that, and it makes the story more interesting. And, while in a short story, due to its length, I prefer one consistant POV; in a novel, the length can allow more freedom.

And I agree that following "rules" can strip a story of life. One thing I learnt in school was what the rules were. Later on, I learnt how to break them.

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Friday, October 7, 2005 4:52 AM

RELFEXIVE


Heh. Welcome along KRAD

I am looking forward to reading the book. The over-referencing thing that I mentioned has grated a little in the past, but it's never actually prevented me from enjoying the other 99% of the content of those books of yours I've read. It's just your way... which might be better than a plan, who can say?

The rest of writing style does, I understand, reflect the dialogue of the movie and series somewhat. That's fine with me, but it won't be for everyone. The roleplaying game does much the same thing, and that was fun to read.

As for grammar and writing rules, there are a lot of variations on the basic ruleset. Best to stick with what one knows, and not to assume that someone's way of writing is utterly wrong, I'd say. How on earth would you prove it, anyway?

Have I said already how I'm looking forward to reading the book?

Well done for sneaking over here and braving this crowd. We all know how irate people on the internet can be where spelling and grammar are concerned!

Keep up the good work!



"My God - you're like a trained ape. Without the training."
"Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all..."
I know the secret.
http://www.theshadowdepository.co.uk/index.htm

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Friday, October 7, 2005 8:26 AM

KRAD


Somehow, I missed this comment the first time.....

Quote:

Overall, she and I both thought that you didn't
really want to write this book. I realise it's
very difficult to work with someone else's story.
But if it's true that you didn't want to do it,
why did you take the contract?



In fact, I and my agent lobbied very hard for this project, as I'm a huge fan of Firefly, and was thrilled at the prospect of doing it. So in this, as with several other things, you and your professor were both wrong.


Quote:

I hope these comments are helpful to you and
further explain the anger in my previous post.



Probably not as much as you were hoping. *wry grin* And the anger was unjustified and unnecessary. One can criticize without getting snippy -- if nothing else, it makes it more likely that said criticism will be taken seriously.



Keith R.A. DeCandido
keith@decandido.net
www.DeCandido.net | www.AlbeShiloh.com
www.livejournal.com/~kradical

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Friday, October 7, 2005 1:14 PM

BRAINMISSING


I'll say it again: it's not the grammar I'm criticising, it's
the writing style. I actually found a grammatical error,
but did not mention it in my critique, because that's
really the proofreader's error, not the author's.

So much meaning is lost in these 'posts'. The
statements I made throughout my critiques were
not 'rules'. They're just things to avoid. Of course,
sometimes one uses adverbs with the verb said.
But not so many times in a row. The same with
the present participle.

Another part of my post addressed the dignity
and temper statement. Together, the paragraph
would have read:
Mal bent his knees to keep from falling over.
*A Captain doesn't fall on his gorram ass!*

Having Mal think this shows both the dignity
and temper concepts.

I thought long and hard about my initial post. I
used my anger to convey the point that my
intelligence had been insulted. I have also
considered apologising on this thread, but
realised that I am not sorry - I stand by my
statements. However, I am glad that you
did not find the thread until after I had posted
the proper critique - it was unprofessional of
me not to take the time to create it immediately.

That having been said, I have spent a good
deal of time arguing to various friends and
professionals that science fiction (or, if you
like, speculative fiction) is just as valuable
as any other 'genre' of writing. Both I and
my creative writing professor thought that
this novel is exactly the sort of thing that
gives scifi a bad name.

I did tell my professor that someone had
mentioned on the thread that you were
a fan of the show and therefore you
probably wanted the contract. She
wouldn't believe me, and so I thought
that maybe that person was mistaken.

In response to Agrey and Riley Billings:
Writing can and should be both fun (who
would want to read it if it weren't fun) and
intellectually stimulating (ditto). Take
Connie Willis' *To Say Nothing of the
Dog* as an excellent example.

In response to Vampry:
Creative writing is an art, but it's false to
say that it can't be taught. As evidence,
I can cite the 5 creative writing courses
that I've taken, and the vast improvements
that I have seen in my own writing, and
the writing of my classmates. I know that
I myself would never have gotten published
if I hadn't taken those courses and learned
from those experiences. And I continue to
learn today.

In response to Thrawn:
I agree with you that Whedon loves to play
around with language, and we love him for
it. But the rest of the novel should have
played with the language *in the same way*
as in the show. Also, dialogue and description
should be treated differently when writing.
For instance, in Out of Gas, Mal says to Kaylee:

"Without this part, engine don't turn?"

In dialogue, it fits. But something like that would
never be used in description, unless it were in
someone's thought.


BTW, I also had no problem with the switches from
one character to another. I don't think the novel
could have been written from one person's
point of view, since the movie wasn't.

-BrainMissing

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Friday, October 7, 2005 2:27 PM

MIMA


Mima straightened her knees to keep from keeling over at the audacity of BrainMissing, who is apparently without a sense of irony. "I find you self-righteous and pompous," she sniffed coldly. "It is," she added crossly, "an entirely unsympathetic mien to assume when attempting to preach."

KRAD, thanks for clarifying several GLARING plot holes in the film. Without your novelization balancing some disjointed last minute excising of the script, I would be disappointed in our BDM. Now, I can tell myself things had to be cut for the studio, the timing, and such, but the tiny character details and connections between scenes in your book allowed me to quiet the flashing red question marks in my brain while watching the movie for the 5th time.

Anyone who wishes to may abandon your present participles at any time and share their pulitzer fanfic instead. I'll read it as happily as I read the comics, the VC, the novelization, the dvd liner notes, the fanpages, the moviesite...

brace yourself brainmissing. krad told us at a panel at dragoncon there are to be 3 independent novelizations released sometime after our BDM. get your red pen ready!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:51 PM

MIMA


ooo- just surfing on amazon, it looks like KRAD did get the green light for one of the new novels!!! CONGRATULATIONS KRAD!!!


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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 1:15 PM

RELFEXIVE


Ah, those should be good then

I finished the novelisation!

I can see how the writing style might not be to everyone's liking, but I think it reflected the feel of the series and the dialogue very well. What referencing there was served the story more often than not; there were not many instances of mentioning an event from the series for it's own sake, as it were.

Plus, the extra details KRAD added to fill in some of the events and characters were very interesting indeed... however non-canon they may or may not be.

Overall: good!



"My God - you're like a trained ape. Without the training."
"Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all..."
I know the secret.
http://www.theshadowdepository.co.uk/index.htm

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 2:15 PM

KELSO


Well, it wasn't perfect... but I enjoyed it.

I can't wait to read "Serenity: Mirror Image", and see what KRAD can do without the constraints of a pre-established story.

Man, how am I gonna wait until June for the newest story from the Serenity-verse?

Can you slip any tidbits, KRAD? Is the story set before of after the film? More importantly, will there be a character named Kelso (for whom, Inara and Kaylee fall madly in love)?

Inquiring minds want to know!

-------
Well, here I am.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 3:13 PM

GUILDSISTER


Quote:

Originally posted by KRAD:
One poster complained about my over-referencing of past events... I do tend to overdo the references



KRAD--
I just finished reading the novelization and I liked the refs to past incidents. They added a sense of context and continuity. I also thought you did a nice job merging apparent inconsistancies between the series and the movie.

I generally liked your choice of POV on scenes, particularly when you did a couple scenes from River's POV when she wasn't physically in the scene itself. I felt the best flavor of the characters from your interpretations of River and Jayne. Less so from Mal.

Some of the backstory elements were interesting--is the backstory on "Mr. Universe" (ghastly name!) your creation or Joss's?

I also appreciated the little insight on the final fight scene about the operative finally getting mad. I missed that in two passes of the movie. Yes, Joss should have dropped a mention in of the operative now having spent an hour with Mal and therefore was angry with him ;-)



Guildsister

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 3:55 PM

KRAD


Quote:

ooo- just surfing on amazon, it looks like KRAD did get the green light for one of the new novels!!! CONGRATULATIONS KRAD!!!


Er, uh, not so much. Sorry.

That listing on Amazon.com is wrong, and hasn't been changed despite requests from Pocket to change it.

Pocket has the rights to do two original Serenity novels, and they're still hoping to do one of them next summer. How-some-ever, Universal and Joss still haven't given Pocket any feedback on the dozen or so proposals that they've sent over (including one by me, though it's not entitled Mirror Image).

So don't get your hopes up, but do keep your fingers crossed.


Keith R.A. DeCandido
keith@decandido.net
www.DeCandido.net | www.AlbeShiloh.com
www.livejournal.com/~kradical

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 4:01 PM

KELSO


^ :(

*crosses fingers*

-------
Well, here I am.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 5:15 PM

DIETCOKE


Quote:

Originally posted by BrainMissing:
Who is Keith DeCandido and where the hell did he learn to write? I could have done a better job of this novelisation when I was still in high school. His sentence structure is awkward and pitifully, reminds me of some of the stories in my Grade 12 writing class at the beginning of the year (before we'd learned anything). He has even forgotten (or perhaps never heard) the 1st rule of writing: show, don't tell.

Lines that were laugh-out-loud funny in the movie fall flat when wrapped in his child-like descriptions. He has completely lost the brilliance of Firefly by explaining EVERYTHING that everyone does - how can our favourite man of mystery be mysterious when we know the motivations behind all his actions? Not to mention that I would be sorely disappointed if I truly believed those were the motivations that Joss Whedon meant him to have.

Keith DeCandido, if you're reading this, take a gorram creative writing course.

Whoever chose him, read a gorram scifi book. Find out where the talent lies. There's plenty
of writers out there who are hysterically funny, and don't insult the intelligence of their readers. Serenity deserves better than this, guys. Come on.
[/QUO

I'm utterly confused. I liked the novel better than the movie. Sorry, Joss. You know I love you man. But he novel added so much more from the original shooting script.

The guy who wrote this is simply does not know great film makingl

Keep it up, Joss.

NY/NJ Browncoats: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/firefly_nyc

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:07 PM

BELASERA


I never, never, NEVER read movie novelisations...but, well I guess I'm a liar because I had to pick up KRAD's Serenity.
I actually read it in a waiting room today, which is just what that sort of book is good for. I don't mind the style, it's a pleasent enough read, but I'm stuck around page 100. I don't know if I want to go any further, because I don't think I can handle any more of the mad Jayne-Hating.
What is up with that? It's like every time there is a reference to anything bad, ugly, foul, or stupid...it's described as how it compares to Jayne. The reader is constantly reminded that Jayne pretty much sucks.
i.e.
Inara liked everyone...except Jayne of course.
Mal wants Jayne by his side in the Maidenhead because he needs babysat.
Reavers are even worse than Jayne. (!)
Jayne will always survive, he's like a cockroach.
Oh, I could go on and on, but I won't so much.
This characterisation is rubbing me raw, not that I think Jayne is a teddy bear, but sheeesh...find another dog to kick.

"I'll be in my bunk."

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:30 PM

SAMURAIX47


One of the best novels I've read that had a changing POV, from sentence to sentence it seemed, was DUNE... So Serenity novelisation is not a problem in that regard...

Quote:

Somebody else suggested that the book should have been from a single POV, but the movie itself made that impossible, as there's no one character who's in every scene. River comes the closest, but I think doing the entire novel in the POV of a crazy telepath would've been draining for both the writer and the reader.......


Jaymes

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:17 PM

REDMAN


KRAD,

I've been a lurker rather than a poster to this site, and I'm not an author (although I do read a lot). I haven't read the book, but I just wanted to say that I'm impressed that you have responded to the thread. I think your presence on the forums significantly adds to the community.

Good luck with your future work. If you ever need a constructive critic I'd be happy to oblige.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:13 PM

LEXIGEEK


My only significant problem with the novelization was when the crew lands on Miranda, KRAD wrote that *nine* people got off the ship, which, at that point unfortunately would no longer have been possible. I'm not usually one for nitpicking, but that particular gaffe seemed to rub salt in an open wound.

--
"Everyone needs something to keep them going. Mal has his ship. Zoe has her integrity. Jayne has Vera. And I've got you guys." Joss Whedon on his fans

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 4:49 PM

KRAD


Quote:

I don't think I can handle any more of the mad Jayne-Hating.


This made me laugh out loud, because I love the character of Jayne. The title I have for the Serenity novel I have proposed and sent to Pocket is The Hero of Canton.

However, not to put too fine a point on it, but -- did you watch the show? Heck, did you watch the movie? Wash spends most of his time making fun of Jayne, including questioning how his brain is capable of speech. Mal and Zoe constantly denigrate him. Simon calls him a trained ape without the training. Inara nearly falls over from the shock when she finds out that Jayne is a hero in Canton.

Some lines from the movie:

"Mule won't run with five. I shoulda dumped the girl? Or you? Or Jayne?" Pause. "Well, Jayne..."

"Start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a ninety-pound girl. 'Cause I don't think that's ever getting old."

This was in the script and not the movie, but: "That ain't even so! River's a dear heart and a boon to this crew. You just don't like her 'cause she can read your mind and everything you think is mean."

Nothing I wrote was out of bounds with what was done on the show and in the movie.



Keith R.A. DeCandido
keith@decandido.net
www.DeCandido.net | www.AlbeShiloh.com
www.livejournal.com/~kradical

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 4:50 PM

KRAD


Quote:

Originally posted by lexigeek:
My only significant problem with the novelization was when the crew lands on Miranda, KRAD wrote that *nine* people got off the ship, which, at that point unfortunately would no longer have been possible. I'm not usually one for nitpicking, but that particular gaffe seemed to rub salt in an open wound.



Yeah. *sigh* I can't count.


Keith R.A. DeCandido
keith@decandido.net
www.DeCandido.net | www.AlbeShiloh.com
www.livejournal.com/~kradical

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 5:05 PM

BELASERA


Quote:

Originally posted by KRAD:
Quote:

I don't think I can handle any more of the mad Jayne-Hating.


"That ain't even so! River's a dear heart and a boon to this crew. You just don't like her 'cause she can read your mind and everything you think is mean."

Nothing I wrote was out of bounds with what was done on the show and in the movie.



Keith R.A. DeCandido
keith@decandido.net
www.DeCandido.net | www.AlbeShiloh.com
www.livejournal.com/~kradical



Ah, now don't get me wrong, that line tickled me. I suppose the unavoidable difference is that in the show/movie, I am able to process the tone and context of that sort of jab, whereas in a novelisation the jab is accompanied by a further twist to make the point stick. Jayne is such a great character because he makes himself known, and yeah, he's rotten. I find it overmuch to be constantly reminded of it.
When Jayne says, "That weirdo ain't right in the head" I dont need to be told the line is "hilarious, coming from Jayne" (128). It was funny, until Jayne became the butt of the joke.
I don't mean to say that Jayne is not deserving of a certain derision, only that the character earns it well enough through his own actions.
Nor did I mean to imply that you personally dislike the character.
But hey, the sole reason that I read this book is because I knew you were a fan, I'd seen you around. So actually being able to communicate this to you is the raddest thing ever. And if you do write another, I'll certainly read it. (with Jayne goggles on)
cheers


"I'll be in my bunk."

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Saturday, October 15, 2005 3:33 PM

KELSO


Quote:

Originally posted by KRAD:
I love the character of Jayne. The title I have for the Serenity novel I have proposed and sent to Pocket is The Hero of Canton.



Sweet!

Jayne is my favorite character (by far). In fact I'd love to see an animated spin-off entitled Man Called Jayne :)

Man, I hope to hear some positive news on future Novels/Comics soon.

-------
Well, here I am.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005 6:52 PM

KRAD


Quote:

Man, I hope to hear some positive news on future Novels/Comics soon.


You and me, both....



Keith R.A. DeCandido
keith@decandido.net
www.DeCandido.net | www.AlbeShiloh.com
www.livejournal.com/~kradical

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