Problems of good authors

Story
Hello folks.

So this is something, I was thinking about posting for a while now. Reading the latest news about Reforged made me decide that it was an appropriate time to do so and think this is the most appropriate place to put it.

First of all let me please clarify that I don't want discuss any of the persons I am going to mention in my posts. I don't know any of them personally, so every judgement about them could only be based on baseless assumptions. I instead want to give a little insight about my feeling about their works.
Also for the sake of simplicity I will only look at their most recent piece of writing each.

To jump right into it: I feel like the quality of many characters portrayed in Mrs. Golden's work is rather poor. And by this I chiefly mean, that they often come across very mono-dimensional. Let us look at "Before the Storm". All the main characters in this novel easily described in one or two adjectives: Anduin is noble and just, Sylvanas is psychopathic and Greymane is vengeful.
Now I don't consider it bad for characters to have a strong over-arcing character-trait, but Mrs. Golden takes this "over-arcs" to extremes where they just feel comical. I'm thinking of instances, for example, where Highking Anduin carries out menial tasks himself because it would not be noble to leave them to the servant who is employed to do them. Even worse: It makes characters predictable and boring, because literally everything they do is dictated by their singular character trait. Every time Sylvanas speaks or thinks in Before the Storm she acts like a vile psychopath, even when talking to maybe the last person she still harbors feelings towards: Nathanos Blightcaller. There is not a single line of dialogue or monologue in Before the Storm where Sylvanas is given a break of acting in-you-face-psychopathic.
Now let us compare this to another depiction of her in a recently released WoW-story: A Good War. In A Good War - just a short-story bear in mind - Sylvanas is also depicted as a vile and careless ruler ( as should be ), but not her every action is dictated by that trait. She acts differently towards different characters, she is even allowed to express doubt, actually self-criticism; when the acknowledges it was her mistake to leave alone Saurfang with Malfurion.
In short: Although she is just a side character in this short-story the reader gets to see more facets of her than in an entire novel where she is one of the main characters. If was to be cynical I could summarize by first point as such: If Christie Golden did write "A Good War", she would have made sure that Saurfang says "Honour" at least once in every sentence.
So why is the title of this rather lengthy post not "Christie Golden is a bad writer"? Did I just want to be polite? No; because she has also demonstrated, that she can do better.
Let us look at Before the Storm again. There is this little side-story in there about a little gnome and her goblin boyfriend. It is rather disconnected from the main story, but you know what: It is actually good. Not the second coming, but it's a solid, nice little, heart-warming story about to little tinkers with actual character development and more than just one trait to them. Now the difference is that Grizzek and Saphronetta - as these little buggers are called - are Christie's own characters. She had could do with them and their personalities whatever she wanted to.
And that brings me to my second point: I feel like the main problem with Christie Golden's writing is, that she has trouble dealing with concepts, she didn't come up with herself.
Another place where this shows, is that her stories are often very "gamey". For example: as most people are aware, the Azeroth we see ingame is a heavily downscaled version of what Azeroth is supposed to look like in the lore. Well most people; but not Christie Golden.
In Before the Storm a person standing on Thoradin's Wall can read the facial expressions of a person standing on the walls of Stromgarde. In A Good War Saurfangs needs and entire day to traverse the Felwood. In Before the Storm Sylvanas can fire an arrow from the Wall half-way across the distance to the keep. In A Good War Saurfang has trouble to shoot across the Falfarren River with his catapults. (On a little side-note: Is it just me or was this a sly little statement by Brooks on what he thinks about the way Teldrassil got burnt down.)
The most jarring example of this to me though was the way Calia Menethil died in Before the Storm: Because her Power Word: Shield was on cooldown. I am not even exaggerating: Anduin rides towards her and sees her popping her shield thinking to himself: "This spell while expire before it is ready to be cast again." At this point I'm glad there was no passage in the novel where Anduin can't pick up Shalamayne because he is a priest.

So what am I saying with all of this? I am not saying: "Blizz gotta fire Christie" nor "Omfg she so stupid". First and foremost I just wanted to express how I feel some of the latest story bits - talking to the void if you want to. If there is something I want to say with my post, it is this: Dear authors. Working with an established franchise is a bit like working with a larger than life story. Many people have contributed to it, not all of which are still around. Please be respectful with what you work with and take the time to consider, appreciate and understand. Even - and especially - if you yourself have been contributing to that world for a long, long time.
Playing devil's advocate here.

Christie Golden has been writing for the Warcraft universe since before World of Warcraft came out, before Warcraft III came out. For seventeen years, she has been a very important influence on the setting and has written a great deal of the setting's lore.

And if you go back and read Lord of the Clans and Rise of the Horde, you'll realise that they're high quality and they're all too true to the characters that they depict. In fact, many of the characters that are depicted in her books are defined by what she writes about them.

This leads into the current issues with her writing. She's no longer writing fiction for an established setting as a third party, just writing what she's told to write. She has a large amount of creative control over these characters and the direction that they go in. She's no longer just a writer, she's also something of a director even if it isn't her official title. She provides a lot of direction for Warcraft's story these days and that might be where she fails.

My opinion is that her writing is best when she's bringing someone else's vision to life. Her personal vision of Warcraft isn't one that appeals to me. While I respect her work, I like her writing much more than I like her directing. She should continue writing for the Warcraft setting, but she shouldn't be one of the people with authority over its direction.

This is just my opinion though and ultimately, none of us have any right to dictate what she should or shouldn't do with her job.
09/11/2018 17:09Posted by Taxania
Playing devil's advocate here.

Christie Golden has been writing for the Warcraft universe since before World of Warcraft came out, before Warcraft III came out. For seventeen years, she has been a very important influence on the setting and has written a great deal of the setting's lore.

And if you go back and read Lord of the Clans and Rise of the Horde, you'll realise that they're high quality and they're all too true to the characters that they depict. In fact, many of the characters that are depicted in her books are defined by what she writes about them.

This leads into the current issues with her writing. She's no longer writing fiction for an established setting as a third party, just writing what she's told to write. She has a large amount of creative control over these characters and the direction that they go in. She's no longer just a writer, she's also something of a director even if it isn't her official title. She provides a lot of direction for Warcraft's story these days and that might be where she fails.

My opinion is that her writing is best when she's bringing someone else's vision to life. Her personal vision of Warcraft isn't one that appeals to me. While I respect her work, I like her writing much more than I like her directing. She should continue writing for the Warcraft setting, but she shouldn't be one of the people with authority over its direction.

Fully agreed!

Golden has written some great works, all while not being one of the most famous authors of the Warcraft-universe. I know a few people here who absolutely love Rise of the Horde, me included, which was way before she was 'institutionalised' as she is now. While is still respect Golden, I think that she'd be best outside of Blizzard.
I also have to agree. One of my biggest points of critique with golden is how small she makes the word feel. As if the story takes place in actual ingame Azeroth, not in the World of Azeroth.

I could for example take her work in Warcrimes, where Zaela and her blackrock are either at blackrock mountain or in the twilight highlands (not sure anymore). They plan to rescue Garrosh, who is in Pandaria. So instead of traveling down south, they go to Nothrend to steal a Zeppelin, so they can fly down to Pandaria. Like... what? They where in the middle of eastern kingdoms. You had them literally travel across half the world (in the wrong direction), just to steal a Zeppelin to fly across the entire world. Literally. Northrend to Pandaria is the longest distance you could have come up with. It should have taken them Months of travel time. But they made it in a couple of days.

Comparing that with the Illidan Novel, i really enjoyed scale-wise. I remember that scene in hellfire peninsula where an army of hundreds of thousands of fel orcs are marching on a parade across the path of glory. And i felt like: Good lord, yes. Just yes. This feels huge. This feels like out of an epic fantasy universe, where villiages are made up of more than just 4 Houses.

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