Thursday, December 2, 2010

Orson Scott Card: The Follow-up

"If mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one - if he had the power - would be justified in silencing mankind." - John Stuart Mill

I don't know what my settings on subscribing to the comments of a post are, so I'll respond here.

Rock4ever95 says:

I am really surprised about what you said about Card. I heard him talk a little afterwards and he said too things that I found to be rather arrogant and strange

First he said that the phrase "thin characterization" means nothing. Call me crazy but I think it does mean something.

Second he said that you should quit writing workshops and groups after a year because after a year it becomes a social group that you only stay in "if you're lonely"

I have never read anything by him and I only heard like a minute and a half of his talk but he really bothered me, maybe it made more sense in context

Yes, the thing about writing groups being useless after a year was the one thing I disagreed with. I feel like we still get stuff done. I know I'm continuously learning. Sure, we've all become friends in the process, but that doesn't mean we're not being productive. 
But he does make going to clubs just out of loneliness sound bad, which it isn't. Where else are teenagers supposed to make new friends, if not in clubs? (the academic kind, of course. Ha.) Class is sort of taken up by...class. 
"Thin characterization" - I would agree that it means something, but I think what he meant was that its not terribly useful. There are much better, more specific ways to help someone improve a character. It's like having to write a paper without a rubric-- you have no idea what you're supposed to pay attention to.
Also, that's the second time you've said you found one of my favorite authors to be arrogant, yet I find neither of them to be. Maybe that's because I'm blinded, and I'm sure I overlook some flaws due to that, but I think perhaps we use different variations of "arrogant." Maybe you're arrogant to think so. Maybe I'm arrogant to call you arrogant. 

Then he said this:

Actually, after going back and reading the whole post(I tend to skim), I saw that he made some very good points but one of my favorites was the one about being in an elevator with his favorite author and having nothing to say.

To which I have nothing to say other than what I said in the original post.

Since you said you haven't read anything by him, I would definitely start with Ender's Game. During my most recent re-read, I decided it was my favorite non-Harry Potter book (because I am contractually obligated to give that 1st place) of all time. Then I re-read the first of its sequels, Speaker for the Dead, and decided that it was my favorite. Then I re-read the parallel novel, Ender's Shadow, and, well, I'm sure you can guess.
I haven't read any of his non-Enderverse stuff yet, though.


  1. Yeah, I disagreed with him about the writer's clubs, too. I think he was referring more to adult ones more, though. Teens don't really have a problem stating their mind about your work, but adults might feel pressured to not cause conflict or they might try to sound like they know what they're saying when they don't. If I remember correctly, he said "thin characterization" in kind of a voice that seemed reminiscent of that.
    I know our book club isn't that nice. We freaking tore Hot Guy girl's stuff to pieces.

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