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Sykorax
04-07-2013, 03:26
I'm not an English major or profess to be a master in the language but the quality of writing in GW texts has become unbearable. The excessive use of commas and tangents makes the stories choppy and disruptive that it even takes several reads to figure out what they're trying to say. I didn't notice this as much as in the SM codex or 5th edition rulebook, but more current stuff is horrendous.

For example, trying to read about the crusade in the CSM codex:

"Horus faced his creator, and in an instant, the two were locked in deadly battle, likened ever after to a duel between gods. They battled not only with powered blade and claw, but also on the psychic plane, their bodies and spirits locked in a struggle to the death."

How many times are you disrupted reading that many commas? Break the sentence up if you want more detail. Add some periods if you want to slow down the pace for emphasis, not ramble on like someone telling the entire story in one breath and throw a comma in to catch your breath.

Even more atrocious is this http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m3050151a_Praedis_Zeta_rules_pack_V.1.pdf which looks as if spell check wasn't even run a single time which would have caught errors here and a simple read over should see that there's 5 too many commas:

"The Vidar Sector, lying in the Eastern Fring,e has long been the home of cut-throats, aliens and heretics. While Imperial
in name, and with many of the planets and systems here paying heavy tithes to the Emperors coffers, VIdar is, in truth, ruled by a small number of wealthy families."

Under the intro I still have no idea wtf this is trying to say reading it 10 times over

"If you came to the first weekend, Darkfall, in April, then you might have an idea of what is going on already, but if you didn’t, and this is your first Vidar’s Fate event, then fear not; it’s been designed so you can pick up the story straight away and get into the thick of the fighting."

Run on sentence, choppy incoherent sentence with improper punctuation usage. Sure people say it's the internet blah blah blah. On the internet forums and discussion sure you can type how you talk. When you're writing something to be published or for the public you at least have someone with more than a grade 9 level of English write or review.

Good luck reading this fluff piece further on

"A large, Class Alpha Hive Planet, Praedis Zeta is situated eighty Light Years from the forge world, Hypnoth. Along with the nearby planet, Nyx, Praedis Zeta has long been supplied Hypnoth with the raw materials with which the tools of war are to be built. Towering hive cities stretch up to the black-lined clouds of the planet, housing billions of citizens, and breaking up the miles of bare ash waste of the planet’s volcanic surface."
Commas galore in places it has no business being and apparently light years is a now name which needs to be capitalized.


"Forging a Narrative
Warhammer World Campaign Weekends are all about telling a story. As the weekend progresses, more of the plot will be revealed to you, with major characters coming to the fore, twists and turns, unforeseen events and the like." How ironic that the event is all about story telling but they're such failures at doing so. Count the commas in that sentence as well LOL

I couldn't bear to finish reading that player's pack. Coming from a place where English is the main language, their writing is an abomination to the developed world.

EDIT: Added quote formatting

MarcoSkoll
04-07-2013, 04:23
apparently light years is a now name which needs to be capitalized.
It's been a proper noun since 1995 and will remain so to infinity and beyond.

Sykorax
04-07-2013, 05:01
It's been a proper noun since 1995 and will remain so to infinity and beyond.


lol light year is not a proper noun. A proper noun refers to a unique name used to distinguish someone or something whereas light year is a measure of distance. You don't capitalize just like centimeter, meter, miles etc. Good try

Inquisitor Engel
04-07-2013, 05:42
lol light year is not a proper noun. A proper noun refers to a unique name used to distinguish someone or something whereas light year is a measure of distance. You don't capitalize just like centimeter, meter, miles etc. Good try

Correct. It is not a proper noun. Except when used for Buzz, in which case it's Lightyear, not light year (ly).

Now I owe Disney money.

Hellebore
04-07-2013, 06:46
Image over substance. The Mat Ward school of writing. I can't stand his background writing, not only does it use ridiculous concepts that have no logical construction, he uses clumsly language in an attempt to sound deep. He just 'states' things, and expects that the very statement of these things is enough to support their action, regardless of how stupid they actually sound. Like Calgar defending a bridge for a day and a night against orks continually, some how never running out of ammo. Or THE sanguinor who managed to carry an entire *********** bloodthirster into the air with his jump pack, just because he decided that's what happened.

When he retconned the necrons to have enslaved the C'tan and invented C'tan shards, he also used a specific word far too often in the text. I can't remember what it was, but I singled it out in the background thread about it at the time.

The time when people who understood language and could write more than image deep is gone. Long live falconpwnch 40k...

Hellebore

New Cult King
04-07-2013, 06:55
Some of the Black Library books are just as bad. I recently read one of the Cain books and there were waaaayyyyy too many commas. And that was just to begin with.

m1acca1551
04-07-2013, 07:47
To be honest I don't really purchase black library or GW literature for the punctuation, poise, fluency or grammar. :p

Some times it can be annoying but again, if it irritates you so much, close the book, take it back and ask for a refund. :)

tu33y
04-07-2013, 08:42
this is something I agree with on many levels and the OP is dead on. GW tell us they are a "premium" product. OK. They tell us that their hardcover colour books are the peak of luxury. and yes, they ARE very pretty indeed. I particularly like the slightly embossed technique that is used on White Dwarf.

so the technical development of the publications is indeed moving forward- they look and feel better, and are laid out better inside. But the quality of the text inside is still stuck in the early days of GW. and that negates the feeling of quality. paying a large amount of money for a FW book for instance, and have it feel proof read by a child is very galling. But Matt Ward is indeed a culprit, and a major one. He is always tripping over himself to tell you how super awesome whatever he is writing about is. there is no finesse or discipline in his writing. but others are guilty of it as well.

it is a real geniune gap in Games Workshops otherwise very high standards and personally it grates

Rogue Star
04-07-2013, 09:02
Or THE sanguinor who managed to carry an entire *********** bloodthirster into the air with his jump pack, just because he decided that's what happened.

Please!


It was the upper Atmosphere they reached. With a jump pack. :p

And yes, Vidar, Praedis Zeta and Hypnoth are all Mat Ward. Credit where due, he's created his own corner of 40K, as the Necron World Engine in Codex Space Marines (his work) was halted there, Praedis Zeta fell to Imotekh the Stormlord (Codex: Necrons by, guess who?) and Hypnoth is mentioned both in Necron and the recent Iyanden supplement by... well, you see the pattern?

redben
04-07-2013, 09:14
It's grammatically correct to use a comma before a conjunction and for each sub-clause. Most people don't do it these days so it looks a bit unusual when you read it. The sentence structure could be better (here comes the conjunctive comma), but it's not as grammatically incorrect as the OP makes out. Even the semi-colon usage is fine.

I thought this thread was going to be about the poor standard of creative writing which pervades the industry. When it comes to things like concept art, sculpting, painting, illustration, and graphic design, companies pay out to get the best they can. When it comes to the creative writing, it's amateurish rising to the level of hackwork at best. I realise even a company like GW is not likely to be able to hire the best novelists to write their fluff, but a middle-of-the-road comic book writer is the best we have to offer. He's head, shoulders, and torso above most of the other authors writing industry fluff, and the army books and codices don't even get that level of quality.

MiyamatoMusashi
04-07-2013, 10:23
I got the impression the OP was talking more about readability than correctness. Comma and semi-colon placement may be correct, but the resultant sentence can still be borderline unreadable. (Though the large numbers of typos and mistakes in GW publications demonstrate it's not always even correct).

I also got the impression the OP was indeed talking about the very creative writing problems you mention. I happen to think there's more than just one genuinely excellent author writing for the Black Library (I'd say three... four if GM is having a good day); but it's true that the rest range between ordinary but enjoyable, and awful.

I would agree, however, that the quality of writing in the recent Codicies is uniformly dreadful. Mat Ward's books sell well because the armies are powerful (exhibit A: Grey Knights), even though the writing is simply shocking (exhibit B: Grey Knights); and GW seem to have decided that his style and quality of writing are quite sufficient to sell books, and thus settled on the lowest common denominator for all the other books as well.

To put it another way: yeah it's bad, but people are buying it, so why change? It's the modern GW mantra.

Tarax
04-07-2013, 10:33
It's been a proper noun since 1995 and will remain so To Infinity And Beyond.

Fixed that for you. ;) (BTW Buzz Lightyear is a name and thus is written with capitals. :D )

Being a little dyslexic means that text must be written clearly or I will get stuck on the same sentence for some time. It's annoying. Not only in published works, but also here on the internet/forum. You could do with lower case 'i', but I don't write that way.
We all have gotten some education, or else you couldn't even read this. But why is it so hard to make an effort when you write things?

Recently I acquired some Wargames Illustrated magazines. While reading it, I came across several spelling mistakes. So it's not only GW's fault.

duffybear1988
04-07-2013, 10:46
I will give you a tip - avoid the new Iyanden supplement like the plague.

CaylenTor
04-07-2013, 10:47
Technically you shouldn't capitalise the conjunction in "To Infinity and Beyond!" :p

-DE-
04-07-2013, 10:53
That first blurb is punctuated perfectly, and as a non-native speaker, I have no trouble whatsoever reading and comprehending it. The rest have clearly not been proofread.

As for people buying Ward's books - it's not like we have a choice now, do we? GW doesn't offer two versions of each codex, with fluff crafted by two separate authors. If you want to play Grey Knights, you have no choice but to buy the codex along with Ward's atrocious writing. There's no way to measure how well he is regarded by your average GW client.

To me, the moment it hit me how bad of a writer Ward is was when I read the previous Daemon codex and army book back to back, as I had a direct comparison what a gap there is between Ward and other GW writers, and how differently they can approach one subject matter. I struggled to get through Daemons of Chaos, whereas Chaos Daemons was decent, barring maybe the short story.

Overall, I feel the quality of fluff plummeted in 2008 with the apparent change in direction that 5th edition brought in. I can still peruse and enjoy 4th edition and earlier books, but 5th and 6th are vapid experiences, with most new fluff being glorified battle reports of studio games with no impact on the universe at large. There are no worthy successors to the Doom of Iyanden, the first Tyranid war, the three Armageddon conflicts, the 13th Black Crusade, THE HORUS HERESY... It's devolved into "random army arrives at insignificant planet and hijinks ensue. Nobody cares to remember the incident the morning after." It reads way too fast, it's dull, it has no ramifications...

Herzlos
04-07-2013, 11:06
Recently I acquired some Wargames Illustrated magazines. While reading it, I came across several spelling mistakes. So it's not only GW's fault.

It must have at least 3-4 times the word count of any White Dwarf or Codex though, and is cheaper, and doesn't claim to be a premium. Though there's certainly room for improvement there.


I've read a lot of the Black Library stuff (Most of the Felix & Gotrex series, the Legends of Sigmar series, and the Caiphas Cain and Gaunts Ghosts series) and found it all to be pretty unexciting. The writing style is alright, if basic, and everything is pretty predictable (it looks like something bad's going to happen; they're trapped or about to face an insurmountable monster, they kill it pretty much instantly and move on). If I'd paid full RPP I'd have been annoyed, as there is much better fiction out there. It's certainly bearable though and I'll probably pick some up at conventions for £1-2 each.

Edit: I have to admit I find the modern rulebooks pretty unclear as well and they seem to be riddled with mistakes. I haven't looked at a recent codex though, but I've heard some of them are awful.

ac4155
04-07-2013, 11:08
People are always saying they want the GW of old back. This is probably just their way of keeping that nostalgia alive. :P

cornonthecob
04-07-2013, 11:17
I have issues with Grammar so It reads out more or less fine in my mind, but when I tried to verbalise it I can see the issues. However I think some of the writing that we are getting vitriolic about isn't being taken in complete context, things such as the sanguinor battle (which I will admit I haven't read) and the Calgar battle (which I have) are supposed to have a mythic quality to them. You never see such specifics in the Odyssey (before anyone tries to kill me I'm not actually comparing the work of Homer with that of Mat Ward)

theunwantedbeing
04-07-2013, 11:31
It's a lot, easier to, read if you, just ignore most of, the punctuation, and put it in yourself :)

Lothlanathorian
04-07-2013, 11:37
I read that with Shatner's voice.

jestacardo
04-07-2013, 11:57
How on earth did this comma make it through proofing:

"and in an instant, the two were locked in deadly battle"

I never understand why they don't just get Black Library authors to do the prose bits in the codices. Game designing and creative writing don't exactly go hand in hand, so why not get different people to do the parts they excel in rather than forcing the same person to do both?

-DE-
04-07-2013, 12:10
You might want to read up on English punctuation rules some more before making such statements.

Dvil
04-07-2013, 12:12
How on earth did this comma make it through proofing:

"and in an instant, the two were locked in deadly battle"

I don't see what's wrong with that comma.

Liber
04-07-2013, 12:32
OK, so while grammar and punctuation might be lacking over at GW lately, that's the least of my concerns.

The content of the stories has been bastardized and bludgeoned away to nothing more than a thinly veiled advertisement at worst, and childrens cartoon fodder at best.

Worse yet, oftentimes entire stories are simply vanished away with the coming of a new Edition. The Tau Codex changes between the 3 editions is the best example I can think of to show the rapid decline of the GW fluff - something I consider very important to the game.

Commandojimbob
04-07-2013, 12:41
Now I know this is not a unique situation to find so many people in a rage over grammar / spelling / structure etc. (I work with a few and it makes me laugh so I take great pleasure in writing "you're" as "your" and they bite every time), but my point is simply this; why does it matter ?

Seriously why does it matter, surely what matters is the content, the story, character development, reference etc. that’s what matters. I have seen many people rip to shreds J K Rowling’s writing of Harry Potter yet surely its popularity with the masses and age groups show no one really cares about it , they are more interested in the content.

What do I want from codex writing - some plausible fluff, nice clear depiction of the characters and some level of detail that really paints a picture of who they are.
What do I want from Black Library - Story’s that developed along with their characters, excitement, detail, being sucked in, again I have read comments before that Dan Abnett is technically poor but he has written some fantastic books .

Anyway if you have time to worry about things like this then I am envious , I wish I had enough spare time to get angry about why people put high performance car symbols (AMG, M, Turbo, RS) on base model versions to make it look faster or why when a company says their product is not designed for competitive play, people moan and bitch as to why the game is not balanced for competitive play.


:D

IJW
04-07-2013, 12:52
Structure matters because if you can't write in a way that gets your information across you've failed to communicate.

Spelling and grammar matter because they slow down reading and in the case of your/you're they change the meaning of the text.

'Grammar: the difference between knowing your crap* and knowing you're crap*.'

*Word edited to something the forum will accept...

theshoveller
04-07-2013, 13:01
You might want to read up on English punctuation rules some more before making such statements.
As with all such things, a crash course in prescriptivism/descriptivism would probably be educational too.

Commandojimbob
04-07-2013, 13:03
Structure matters because if you can't write in a way that gets your information across you've failed to communicate.

Spelling and grammar matter because they slow down reading and in the case of your/you're they change the meaning of the text.

'Grammar: the difference between knowing your crap* and knowing you're crap*.'

*Word edited to something the forum will accept...


But (see what i did there) you make out like there is a single set of rules that must be abided by and that is a non-sense. What you say is not wrong but there is a high degree of flexibility with structure, and ultimately it is this flexibility that is used for authors to get a writing style. The success or failure of an author is whether or not they get what they want to say across in the manner intended within the broad spectrum of writing.

That is ultimately my point - so long as the reader gets what the writer intended in an enjoyable manner, the way in which this was achieved is almost irrelevant for that person. I can tell you now that Stephen King is brilliant, I know he is and his success shows this but I cannot stand reading his books because I just dont like his style.

I do agree on spelling though - "your" and "you're" is just a nice way to annoy people who care a bit too much.

MiyamatoMusashi
04-07-2013, 13:04
Now I know this is not a unique situation to find so many people in a rage over grammar / spelling / structure etc. (I work with a few and it makes me laugh so I take great pleasure in writing "you're" as "your" and they bite every time), but my point is simply this; why does it matter ?

If you're sending a text message to your mates, it doesn't.

If you're charging £30 for a 96-page book and claiming it's a premium product, does.

If you're arranging to meet up for a pint in the pub after work, it doesn't.

If you're trying to invoke an evocative atmosphere and instil character into the creations in your imaginary fantasy universe, it does.

Even then, of course, it's a secondary concern. You can follow all the rules of English grammar to the letter, with every colon and semi-colon in place; but if you write the kind of nonsense that's been appearing in recent Codices, you may as well write "Draigo is teh awesum!!!!1!!!11!!" because the content is so abjectly (objectively!) bad, poor grammar won't make things any worse.


You never see such specifics in the Odyssey

I can tell you have never read The Odyssey.


I've read a lot of the Black Library stuff (Most of the Felix & Gotrex series, the Legends of Sigmar series, and the Caiphas Cain and Gaunts Ghosts series) and found it all to be pretty unexciting. The writing style is alright, if basic, and everything is pretty predictable

To be fair, those ones you've mentioned are the Die Hard movies of Black Library fiction (you know what you're getting: Bruce Willis blowing ***** up, and Gotrek putting the smackdown on bad guys). Not necessarily bad, in fact I rather enjoy some of them; but not intended to be anything other than what they are.

Try Soul Hunter, Fire Caste, Pawns of Chaos, or Wine of Dreams if you're after something more cerebral.

IJW
04-07-2013, 13:07
That is ultimately my point - so long as the reader gets what the writer intended in an enjoyable manner, the way in which this was achieved is almost irrelevant for that person.

Given that the OP started the thread due to struggling to understand some of the quoted sentences, I agree 100%. ;)

Herzlos
04-07-2013, 13:15
To be fair, those ones you've mentioned are the Die Hard movies of Black Library fiction (you know what you're getting: Bruce Willis blowing ***** up, and Gotrek putting the smackdown on bad guys). Not necessarily bad, in fact I rather enjoy some of them; but not intended to be anything other than what they are.

Try Soul Hunter, Fire Caste, Pawns of Chaos, or Wine of Dreams if you're after something more cerebral.

I only picked them up due to cheapness; either 2nd hand from conventions, eBay or from clearance sales, and purchases were based only on what was there. I'll keep an eye out for some of those, but unless I find them cheap I'll stick with more reliable fiction :)

redben
04-07-2013, 13:33
I have issues with Grammar so It reads out more or less fine in my mind, but when I tried to verbalise it I can see the issues. However I think some of the writing that we are getting vitriolic about isn't being taken in complete context, things such as the sanguinor battle (which I will admit I haven't read) and the Calgar battle (which I have) are supposed to have a mythic quality to them. You never see such specifics in the Odyssey (before anyone tries to kill me I'm not actually comparing the work of Homer with that of Mat Ward)


I not quite sure I'm getting your point with regards to Homer (which is likely my fault and not yours). Are you saying Homer's grammar isn't great or that it is great?

Litcheur
04-07-2013, 13:39
That first blurb is punctuated perfectly, and as a non-native speaker, I have no trouble whatsoever reading and comprehending it. The rest have clearly not been proofread.
Same thing here.

People often have a pretty bad comprehension of their mother tongue, because it's about "feeling" more than "learning". Learning other romance languages really helped me have a better understanding of french.

English speakers may want to have a look at Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Two examples linked to the OP : do these sentences suck ? They're long and convoluted and full of bad mean highly disruptive punctuation.


Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them: for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happend on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and, knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins as have the malady in less attractive forms.
Dickens, a Chrismas Carol.


At this whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon here; she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.
Carrol, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Yup, the two sentences are extracted from fantasy classics that happened to be children's stories and were written by good authors.

Black Library stuff and Wardian fluff really suck, but the real problem is not about punctuation or vocabulary. It's about content.

jestacardo
04-07-2013, 14:15
You might want to read up on English punctuation rules some more before making such statements.

Doesn't look like a valid subclause necessitating one to me, my English teacher at school would certainly agree as would the the examining body that graded my work.

redben
04-07-2013, 14:31
Doesn't look like a valid subclause necessitating one to me, my English teacher at school would certainly agree as would the the examining body that graded my work.

The comma in that sentence is grammatically correct, if a bit unnecessary. At least in how it's presented in the excerpt. It may seem more necessary within the wider context. A comma can be placed after an introductory element to what follows in the sentence. In this case, the element prior to the comma is a temporal introduction to the action that follows.

blackcherry
04-07-2013, 15:59
As someone who has an instinctive feel of how the language works there is nothing wrong with those sentences grammatically. Perhaps there is according to some of the rules of English Grammar, but then they are rarely all inclusive anyway ;)

Admittedly, the content of the sentence poor, but the grammar is correct. Most probably the OP has just never read a lot of English books, or else is used to short, punchy sentences. That stop. After every. Other. Word.

Now I will never claim the BL books are genre classics, but I do dispute the claim that the books are getting dumber (for the most part. There's no defending C.S Goto or the tide of average at best tie in novels). Its just that the 40K codexs are going for a more mythic quality these days. They also happen to be written by those who are fans of the original GW publications and so are drawing from a smaller pool of inspiration. Where as the original 40k writers were mostly uni students with a mixture of backgrounds that happened to stumble into making a wargame, so had different outlooks and knowledge sets to the current writers.

40k writing has gone through a lot of changes over the years. I'm sure in about 5 years when another direction has been taken, people will complain about how this current style was better written and had more nuance. But thats the internet for you :rolleyes:

MiyamatoMusashi
04-07-2013, 16:40
Its just that the 40K codexs are going for a more mythic quality these days.

I'm curious what you think that actually means. If you think it means they can write "Bob The Awesome New Special Character killed three million Orks in one afternoon armed with only a toothpick", and nothing more, and that that would be exempt from criticism on the basis of being "mythic", then fair enough. I personally look at mythic as something like the works of Homer as someone mentioned earlier, or Tolkien: something dramatic, extraordinary, supernatural even; not simply an excuse to not bother with believability or consistency or explanation or plausibility or verisimilitude or even just plain old simple being interesting.


40k writing has gone through a lot of changes over the years. I'm sure in about 5 years when another direction has been taken, people will complain about how this current style was better written and had more nuance.

Dear God, I hope not. I can hardly imagine something less nuanced than the current dross.

But yes, this is the internet, so all criticism is clearly invalid, and anyone who does criticise or critique is only doing so to look cool. Sorry about that. :shifty:

cornonthecob
04-07-2013, 16:42
I can tell you have never read The Odyssey.



I can admit to that. But the general point stands.

Sykorax
04-07-2013, 16:44
My complaints aren't so much with the BL books where they are written by authors though of varying quality. More so content in the codex, rule books or actual publications directly from GW.

The difference between the quote from Charles is that the punctuation is used to list or add detail whereas GW rambles on in a general and broad sense that adds no detail.

Compare:
For dinner I had a mixed veggie blend with carrots, peas, corn and broccoli, in addition to prime rib, all fresh from the farmers market.
VS
I had dinner of the most epic, absolutely epic, flavor, not yet eaten before, ever in this lifetime.

One you can picture when you read it whereas the other you have a general idea but is broken up by choppy wording and unnecessary verbal pause you would use if you were just talking casually. The writing is extremely informal and bland.

I've read plenty of books and educated with a university degree along with a professional designation, which is why I'm able to pick out good vs bad quality of writing. English is my second language but been using it since I was 5 so I'm not totally fresh with it.

As for the your you're argument that its just to annoy people and think you're above it, you're so wrong. It makes your writing and points so much weaker, changes meaning and appear less intelligent even if people do know what you're saying.

They're sea now yew no how smart aye um. See you get what I'm getting at but proper word usage matters. How smart would that make you look if you wrote that to someone? Off topic though, that has nothing to do with my issue against GW writing.

MiyamatoMusashi
04-07-2013, 17:06
I can admit to that. But the general point stands.

Not really sure how. Your point was that mythic writing like The Odyssey lacks detail. The Odyssey has tons of detail (http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.html). So... how do you conclude the point still stands?

Brother Asmodeus
04-07-2013, 17:26
Grammar Nazi's and fluff Nazi's...

This thread has it all. Intermawebz FTW pwnbeeeyatchnobb.

I will forgive the grammar at times but the fluff should be sacrosanct.

jack da greenskin
04-07-2013, 17:33
I dont really like any 40k literature, be in the heresy books or the frankly quite poor stuff in the dexes. It's far too much focus on individual badassery, because thats what I assume the kids and immature adults who buy it enjoy. I personally prefer more epic scale, grand engagements.

Imperial guard fluff is the only thing I find palatable to be honest, and even then, I can't stand it when they make the officers and heroes seem like really important to the overall universe.

Jericho
04-07-2013, 17:34
So I'm guessing the OP would be more into Hemingway than James Joyce. Go ahead and hate complex sentence structure if you want to, but don't try to convince anyone that commas are somehow unnecessary or are the enemy of good prose. There's nothing incorrect in most of the sample quotes, aside from the typos that have been mentioned. Codex authors might use a few too many superlatives, but I don't buy a codex for the quality of the fluff.

Glad to see you backing off from using quotes from the little fluff blurbs in a codex (or the campaign weekend players' packs put up on the website) to judge Black Library authors, some of whom are pretty well regarded wordsmiths.

...

Complete tangent here, but please indulge me. By "educated with a university degree along with a professional designation" do you mean that you're an engineer?

Grimtuff
04-07-2013, 22:28
Grammar Nazi's and fluff Nazi's...

Neither of which require an apostrophe... :rolleyes:

Jericho
04-07-2013, 22:30
Don't get me started on apostrophe usage :(

jack da greenskin
04-07-2013, 22:52
Neither of which require an apostrophe... :rolleyes:

This. Too much alpha-nerdage going on in this thread.

TheDungen
05-07-2013, 00:07
I read that with Shatner's voice.

you're right ward fluff becomes so much better when read as Shatner would have. Possibly because Star Trek is just as rife with these overly dramatic ways of explaining things. Why say bent when you can say hell bent? =P


How on earth did this comma make it through proofing:

"and in an instant, the two were locked in deadly battle"

I never understand why they don't just get Black Library authors to do the prose bits in the codices. Game designing and creative writing don't exactly go hand in hand, so why not get different people to do the parts they excel in rather than forcing the same person to do both?

been saying this for years, well since they stopped having bl writers on the codices.

weeble1000
05-07-2013, 01:42
I don't see what's wrong with that comma.

The only problem I see is that the sentence could have been written better, e.g. "and the two were instantly locked in deadly battle." "and in but an instant, the two foes became locked in deadly battle."

This stuff is written fast with little editing or review. I expect that the goal is simply to fill pages, and thus the content is given little professional attention or investment. But, at the prices GW charges, you would think that some of that cost would have gone towards paying a decent writer.

Sgt John Keel
05-07-2013, 03:02
This thread seems like a great opportunity to quote (http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1993/02/11) Watterson (by way of Calvin):


"[…] the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"

Lothlanathorian
05-07-2013, 03:10
'Grammar: the difference between knowing your crap* and knowing you're crap*.'

'Let's eat grandma!' or 'Let's eat, grandma!' is my favorite :D


I only picked them up due to cheapness; either 2nd hand from conventions, eBay or from clearance sales, and purchases were based only on what was there. I'll keep an eye out for some of those, but unless I find them cheap I'll stick with more reliable fiction :)

Aaron Dembski-Bowden's books are definitely worth reading if you want good stories in the 40K Universe that aren't poorly written. And they don't focus on individual badassery. If anything, everything of his I've read is some kind of group tragedy.

redben
05-07-2013, 07:46
My personal favourite is how "helping your Uncle Jack off a horse" shows the importance of using capitals :)

Tarax
05-07-2013, 10:38
Yup, the two sentences are extracted from fantasy classics that happened to be children's stories and were written by good authors.

I would call Alice in Wonderland a children's story. I've read it and either Lewis Carroll was intoxicated (or otherwise under influence) while writing it, or I had to be when reading it. (The Disney or Burton versions are (more) directed at children.) BTW this is not only my opinion, but also from some literary critics.


It must have at least 3-4 times the word count of any White Dwarf or Codex though, and is cheaper, and doesn't claim to be a premium. Though there's certainly room for improvement there.

I could have used any (quality) newspaper here also to have the same effect. But WI is a magazine, which puts it in the same category as WD, that's why I've used it.

Herzlos
05-07-2013, 10:51
Yup it's a magazine covering the same hobby (notionally), but I still maintain it's a much better magazine in terms of content and quality for less money.

But you're right; errors exist in almost all publications, but WD is less good than it's competition whilst attempting to take the premium spot.

MiyamatoMusashi
05-07-2013, 10:56
I would call Alice in Wonderland a children's story. I've read it and either Lewis Carroll was intoxicated (or otherwise under influence) while writing it, or I had to be when reading it. (The Disney or Burton versions are (more) directed at children.) BTW this is not only my opinion, but also from some literary critics.

I presume you intended "would" to be "wouldn't", from the rest of what you say?

Invoking argument by authority is rarely useful. "Some literary critics" may say anything you like, but Lewis Carroll (real name Charles L Dodgson, also a talented mathematician) wrote Alice Through The Looking Glass and Alice In Wonderland for the enjoyment of his neighbours' daughter, Alice. Inebriated or not, he certainly intended it as a children's story as he wrote it for a child. (And supposedly tried to do more than just write stories for her, leading to his neighbours eventually banning him from seeing her; say no more, though nobody knows for sure exactly what happened). ATTLG and AIW are very definitely both children's stories.

Inquisitor Samos
05-07-2013, 17:45
This stuff is written fast with little editing or review. I expect that the goal is simply to fill pages, and thus the content is given little professional attention or investment. But, at the prices GW charges, you would think that some of that cost would have gone towards paying a decent writer.
I don't believe The Big Man in Charge at GW (Mr. Kirby) has ever been too much interested in paying an extra person just to make sure the background material in any of GW's game-related publications was well-written. That would, after all, increase the initial cost to develop the product, and more cost means less profit . . .

. . . :rolleyes:

TheDungen
05-07-2013, 18:02
isnt alice in wonderland really about a child who is abused and escapes into a dream world in order to avoid it? a friedn of my who's studying to be a psychotherapist was asked to read it for that reason atleast.

Grimtuff
05-07-2013, 22:06
isnt alice in wonderland really about a child who is abused and escapes into a dream world in order to avoid it? a friedn of my who's studying to be a psychotherapist was asked to read it for that reason atleast.

No (http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_03_10.html), it's about Maths (http://www.cracked.com/article_18787_6-books-everyone-including-your-english-teacher-got-wrong_p2.html). ;)

Miredorf
05-07-2013, 22:17
The last HE book has valour of ages translated as..''family valour'' WTF? They are not even spending in translations anymore.

They also invented a new word in spanish for the dragon armour fire inmunity rule that i wont reproduce here out of shame..




The difference between the quote from Charles is that the punctuation is used to list or add detail whereas GW rambles on in a general and broad sense that adds no detail.

Compare:
For dinner I had a mixed veggie blend with carrots, peas, corn and broccoli, in addition to prime rib, all fresh from the farmers market.
VS
I had dinner of the most epic, absolutely epic, flavor, not yet eaten before, ever in this lifetime.


I think this sumarizes my feelings perfectly. I really dont think the authors can be that idiotic, it surely must be the directives they receive to do their work?

cpl_hicks
05-07-2013, 22:24
A couple of years ago I applied for a "job" as a black library proof reader, as part of a trial I got a document that explains black library style guide. I shredding the paper copy I had but I will see if I have the electronic copy about.

One of the things from this is the Black Library has a style that is counter to the English language, some words are capitalised/ formatted in such a way that would not be used in other English texts. Black Library at that time also played a pittance for the work and it had to be turned around in such a time period that you would need to read a manuscript in 48ish hours and then get it marked up and returned.

I hate the grammar/spelling and formatting of games workshop texts but I understand why it happens

GlenMorray
05-07-2013, 22:47
I won't defend the quality, as it's obviously intentionally "Light", but it should be pointed out that the books, much like the miniatures, are targeted at children not us...;)

Edit

Actually dat iz well bad as dey is preeechin bad habbitz!

Miredorf
05-07-2013, 23:06
The part of ''targeted to children'' is something i never understood. In my opinion that is just the most blatant excuse to do a crappy job. You can still write some amazing story and direct it to the children, unless by children we are now talking about 7-8 years old instead 12-14?. Sure they wont fully understand it (eventhough it will fill their minds with fantasy for years) until they come back to it several years later.

In my opinion is like all the ****** movies they are pulling off lately. ''They are intended for children'', but the reality is that they couldnt come up with anything more solid because that takes effort, time, and well, money.

cpl_hicks
05-07-2013, 23:44
Does most GW models say for 13 years and above, so ist that their base age range

Autumn Leaves
06-07-2013, 00:25
I liked the Bill King books for Gotrek and Felix, I really liked his fluff for Man O War as well, but I couldn't read anything else from BL and enjoy it. I tried but after 10 pages of something written by Gav Thorpe I gave up and never went back to the Black library.

Brother Asmodeus
06-07-2013, 11:12
Thank you for taking my bait their Grimtuff...

I love my grammar. Sorry, Grandma.

Grimtuff
06-07-2013, 20:35
Thank you for taking my bait their Grimtuff...

You did it again right there I see... ;)

Caiphas Cain
06-07-2013, 20:38
You did it again right they're I see... ;)

Fixed that for you.

:evilgrin:

TheDungen
06-07-2013, 20:50
No (http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_03_10.html), it's about Maths (http://www.cracked.com/article_18787_6-books-everyone-including-your-english-teacher-got-wrong_p2.html). ;)

no offence but complex math was invented in the 1500s. By 1800s the idea to use even more numberlines had begun cropping up.

Commotionpotion
06-07-2013, 20:50
The writing has changed for the audience. When GW started, their target audience was 16+ and/or bikers. It's also obvious that most of the writers from Bryan Ansell downwards were slightly older (late 20s/early 30s) when they started and either better-educated and/or having more life experience. They also employed a substantial number of professional freelance writers as well as artists in the early days.

The game and universe, just like WFB at the time, had a different 'feel'. It was anarchic and full of dystopian humour, less grimdark and more Judge Dredd/2000AD - very British satirical sci-fi. Some aspects survive in isolated and disjointed form (Ghazskull Mag Uruk Thraka = 'Margaret Thatcher', for example - originally a randomly generated Goff Ork Warlord created by Andy Chambers for one of the sample armies in 'Ere We Go' or 'Freebooters').

I was reading the stuff of this era from when I was about 10 years old (big brother into it at the time) - not fully understanding it but being fascinated all the same. Years later, I came back to it, and my now 30 year old+ eyes can appreciate it in a whole new manner. The times have changed, but superior prose and creativity is superior prose and creativity.

A lot of the background, especially the Codicies and rulebooks, is just like the rest of the game itself - workmanlike, bland and a bit forgettable. An unfortunate side effect I've found is that is seems to me to be 'shrinking' the 40K universe. Some personalities deserve to be infamous - Abbadon for example - but the more you emphasis every last two-bit hero's every sniff and fart, the more scope you steal from the milieu itself. I much prefer the sensation you got of the 40K setting from Rogue Trader and early 2nd Ed. The galaxy just seems so much more vast - even relatively huge conflicts such as Armageddon Wars, the Badab War and the Battle for Macragge, are drops in the ocean. The characters within them are grand in their own scope, but still drops in the ocean compared to the sheer scale of the setting.

Not any more - despite the efforts of the writers, modern 40K feels like its morphing into a much 'smaller' feeling setting - it almost feels analogous to Fantasy Battle, and that's set on just one world. There seems to be a general dearth of ideas, possibly connected with the push to write stuff mostly to sell the 'flavour of the month', rather than for its own sake. There seems to be precious little of WD these days expended on pure fluff pieces for people to use as inspiration; this might be connected with the very limited pool of writers in the modern Studio. The loss of Epic and Gothic has also harmed the scope of the game - even though they weren't terribly popular in the end, they gave you the means to orchestrate wars on a truly grand scale. Now all you've got is Apocalypse, where in my experience it merely looks like you're fighting over a traffic jam with a dustpan and brush.

You'd never see things like the Realm of Chaos sourcebooks or Waagh Orks these days, and that's a huge shame. Waagh Orks especially is an incredible book - the Orkoids are still comic-relief, but they have a fully functioning society even when they aren't at war. And that's without considering the awesome story that runs through the book about how one Mek's desire to build mechanical bodies for his gods (after seeing an Imperial Titan and thinking that it's the Emperor personified) starts a chain reaction that results in a full scale Waaagh!

Unfortunately, the background is often seen as art for art's sake - increasingly out of step with the perceived needs of the profit motive. You can't quantify it very easily, just like the artwork - which is presumably why a lot of both gets recycled.

TheDungen
06-07-2013, 21:06
The part of ''targeted to children'' is something i never understood. In my opinion that is just the most blatant excuse to do a crappy job. You can still write some amazing story and direct it to the children, unless by children we are now talking about 7-8 years old instead 12-14?. Sure they wont fully understand it (eventhough it will fill their minds with fantasy for years) until they come back to it several years later.

In my opinion is like all the ****** movies they are pulling off lately. ''They are intended for children'', but the reality is that they couldnt come up with anything more solid because that takes effort, time, and well, money.

You cant have quality for 7-9? i read the lord of the rings when i was in that age group. (sure i was likely 8 or 9 but anyway)

redben
07-07-2013, 01:02
The writing has changed for the audience. When GW started, their target audience was 16+ and/or bikers. It's also obvious that most of the writers from Bryan Ansell downwards were slightly older (late 20s/early 30s) when they started and either better-educated and/or having more life experience. They also employed a substantial number of professional freelance writers as well as artists in the early days.

The game and universe, just like WFB at the time, had a different 'feel'. It was anarchic and full of dystopian humour, less grimdark and more Judge Dredd/2000AD - very British satirical sci-fi. Some aspects survive in isolated and disjointed form (Ghazskull Mag Uruk Thraka = 'Margaret Thatcher', for example - originally a randomly generated Goff Ork Warlord created by Andy Chambers for one of the sample armies in 'Ere We Go' or 'Freebooters').

I was reading the stuff of this era from when I was about 10 years old (big brother into it at the time) - not fully understanding it but being fascinated all the same. Years later, I came back to it, and my now 30 year old+ eyes can appreciate it in a whole new manner. The times have changed, but superior prose and creativity is superior prose and creativity.

A lot of the background, especially the Codicies and rulebooks, is just like the rest of the game itself - workmanlike, bland and a bit forgettable. An unfortunate side effect I've found is that is seems to me to be 'shrinking' the 40K universe. Some personalities deserve to be infamous - Abbadon for example - but the more you emphasis every last two-bit hero's every sniff and fart, the more scope you steal from the milieu itself. I much prefer the sensation you got of the 40K setting from Rogue Trader and early 2nd Ed. The galaxy just seems so much more vast - even relatively huge conflicts such as Armageddon Wars, the Badab War and the Battle for Macragge, are drops in the ocean. The characters within them are grand in their own scope, but still drops in the ocean compared to the sheer scale of the setting.

Not any more - despite the efforts of the writers, modern 40K feels like its morphing into a much 'smaller' feeling setting - it almost feels analogous to Fantasy Battle, and that's set on just one world. There seems to be a general dearth of ideas, possibly connected with the push to write stuff mostly to sell the 'flavour of the month', rather than for its own sake. There seems to be precious little of WD these days expended on pure fluff pieces for people to use as inspiration; this might be connected with the very limited pool of writers in the modern Studio. The loss of Epic and Gothic has also harmed the scope of the game - even though they weren't terribly popular in the end, they gave you the means to orchestrate wars on a truly grand scale. Now all you've got is Apocalypse, where in my experience it merely looks like you're fighting over a traffic jam with a dustpan and brush.

You'd never see things like the Realm of Chaos sourcebooks or Waagh Orks these days, and that's a huge shame. Waagh Orks especially is an incredible book - the Orkoids are still comic-relief, but they have a fully functioning society even when they aren't at war. And that's without considering the awesome story that runs through the book about how one Mek's desire to build mechanical bodies for his gods (after seeing an Imperial Titan and thinking that it's the Emperor personified) starts a chain reaction that results in a full scale Waaagh!

Unfortunately, the background is often seen as art for art's sake - increasingly out of step with the perceived needs of the profit motive. You can't quantify it very easily, just like the artwork - which is presumably why a lot of both gets recycled.


The Ansell-era product wasn't aimed at 16+. It was certainly aimed at 16 year olds but also a few years younger as well. Ansell valued creative people working on his products in way Kirby & co never have. A number of years back I read an interview with a freelance writer (the name escapes me) who had been brought in to work on the initial wave of licensed fiction that GW put out in the late 80's. He mentioned that Ansell was very concerned with building the IP and took it very seriously whereas Kirby didn't really care about it. Ultimately it's all about the bottom line and if GW can churn out sub-standard fluff on the cheap that a large section of the fanbase will buy then why try harder?

Litcheur
07-07-2013, 02:17
You cant have quality for 7-9?

Please be indulgent, some people have never watched My Little Pony. :o

Brother Asmodeus
07-07-2013, 12:23
;) Hehehe, love it!

Miredorf
07-07-2013, 12:36
I liked the Bill King books for Gotrek and Felix, I really liked his fluff for Man O War as well, but I couldn't read anything else from BL and enjoy it. I tried but after 10 pages of something written by Gav Thorpe I gave up and never went back to the Black library.

Its the same for me. But that is because Bill is a real writer (eventhough his last book of gotrek and felix showed how much he had run out of ideas for the serie).

Another book i actually found good was that of the kislev riders. I dont remember the author nor the title of the book. Any other book ive read from black library (all 40k) have been good either at the paper recycle bin or as emergency paper when your bowels feel bad.


You cant have quality for 7-9? i read the lord of the rings when i was in that age group. (sure i was likely 8 or 9 but anyway)

Yes be indulgent as, eventhough you seemed advanced for your age, you are in the end proving right my reasoning with your post.

Orrinocco
07-07-2013, 14:23
The part of ''targeted to children'' is something i never understood. In my opinion that is just the most blatant excuse to do a crappy job. You can still write some amazing story and direct it to the children, unless by children we are now talking about 7-8 years old instead 12-14?. Sure they wont fully understand it (eventhough it will fill their minds with fantasy for years) until they come back to it several years later.

In my opinion is like all the ****** movies they are pulling off lately. ''They are intended for children'', but the reality is that they couldnt come up with anything more solid because that takes effort, time, and well, money.

As an example - Richard Briers was in Dr WHo in 1987. He is usually a good actor. His performance in Dr WHo is godawful, because, allegedly, he said uit was a kid's program and so only needed acting for kids. Seems he missed the point by about a million miles. A job is a job. Who the target is should not mean you do a more slapdash one

endless
07-07-2013, 15:16
I disagree, don't think that there existed a market for wargaming below 16 (ish) when Warhammer began to take off. Roleplay at the time was a largely 'adult' pursuit, wargaming most definitely so, combining the two and making it accessible is exactly what GW did. That is/was the fundamental basis of the whole company. The games could have been a massive springboard for creativity and development. Look at what Ian Livingston did post GW. Look at what many of the 2000AD stable have achieved. As for the idea of publication of fiction, Ansell/Mereitt had far too tight a grasp on what they wanted and pushed away some very talented writers such as Ian Watson and Kim Newman. At the time there was potential to attract the very best writers of British Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It could have been a huge source of talent and a powerhouse of such publications. Instead...

Black Library.

They obviously have ambition, they obviously aspire to produce interesting work. However, they recruit from a very small pool of talent and stick very rigidly to Merrett's brief. The choice of language is a painfully stylistic editorial choice. It might work, were it done well or with a semblance of consistancy, instead the reader is treated to a selection of 'not anger but choler' and such.
They do have some good people working for them who are constrained by the editorial team, the situation is not that great, but not that bad. I think the fault maybe
lies at the feet of the editor(s) who obviously regard their job as being 'Yay, you rock, We rock! Go us !' and regard that as the essence of their job.

redben
07-07-2013, 17:35
I disagree, don't think that there existed a market for wargaming below 16 (ish) when Warhammer began to take off. Roleplay at the time was a largely 'adult' pursuit, wargaming most definitely so, combining the two and making it accessible is exactly what GW did. That is/was the fundamental basis of the whole company.

This isn't my experience. I began rp-ing in 1984 at the age of 9 and there were a fair few kids in my school who were rp-ing as well. The generation of kids immediately before me seemed to have been into their Airfix before Warhammer came along and admittedly expanded the market.

Grimtuff
07-07-2013, 17:41
no offence but complex math was invented in the 1500s. By 1800s the idea to use even more numberlines had begun cropping up.

Which does not invalidate anything in the article. So what is your point exactly?

Freak Ona Leash
07-07-2013, 22:30
I'm curious. What about the older background did people find better, or even significantly different, than the background produced today? I have grown up with 40k, one of the first books I learned to read was the 2nd edition Space Wolves codex and the Codex Imperialis, and I have to say, the content is not all that different. The writing quality has not grown much worse, if worse at all. In the 5th edition codices it was dodgy, I agree, but I think Black Library's stable of writers has dramatically improved since the early days. Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Chris Wraight, Rob Sanders, Peter Fehervari, David Annandale and even Steve Parker have all written very enjoyable science-fiction; I would say that those Black Library authors produce some of the most consistently entertaining military science fiction I have read. They create great characters and evoke a great setting, often with their own spin on it while still remaining recognizably "40k". I grant you, they aren't producing stuff like Joe Abercrombie, or Glen Cook. But I still enjoy it. I recognize the flaws when they appear, and there are many of their authors I do not read due to personal preference.

I just wonder, with all the criticism, what do you guys perceive as having been better about the older background?

f2k
08-07-2013, 10:49
I'm curious. What about the older background did people find better, or even significantly different, than the background produced today? I have grown up with 40k, one of the first books I learned to read was the 2nd edition Space Wolves codex and the Codex Imperialis, and I have to say, the content is not all that different. The writing quality has not grown much worse, if worse at all. In the 5th edition codices it was dodgy, I agree, but I think Black Library's stable of writers has dramatically improved since the early days. Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Chris Wraight, Rob Sanders, Peter Fehervari, David Annandale and even Steve Parker have all written very enjoyable science-fiction; I would say that those Black Library authors produce some of the most consistently entertaining military science fiction I have read. They create great characters and evoke a great setting, often with their own spin on it while still remaining recognizably "40k". I grant you, they aren't producing stuff like Joe Abercrombie, or Glen Cook. But I still enjoy it. I recognize the flaws when they appear, and there are many of their authors I do not read due to personal preference.

I just wonder, with all the criticism, what do you guys perceive as having been better about the older background?

I would say that they're simply trying to hard.

I remember the Tyranid story in the Space Wolf codex. Full of heroics, yes, but not over-the-top-heroics and it ends with Ragnar Blackmane remembering the dead friends and wondering about his own fate.

Contrast with the new codices with Riptides going über-cool-mecha-style and singlehandedly decimating an entire hive or the Eldar that now forces twins into battle to create pilots for their Wraith Knights (why use twins here when the much larger titans works fine without?) or using their own dead to power weapons...

It's simply too much. They try to hard to be grim-dark-angsty-teenager and ends up becoming cheap pulp-fiction of the worst kind.

Also, I don't actually hold most of the authors that highly. Gordon Rennie can write a decent story (Execution Hour was good, the rest so-so), Dan Abnett is an okay pulp-fiction writer but just doesn't get the 40K universe, Bill King is quite good but really need to stick with the short stories - the longer Gotrex stories went downhill pretty fast...

All in all, the authors are just about okay - nothing more.

Also, the style means an awful lot. For example, I quite enjoyed Anne Bishops Dark Jewels books despite the fact that she wouldn't recognize a plot if she ever saw one and every last one of her characters are two-dimensional cardboard-cutout stereotypes. But she knows how to spin an tale, has an incredibly flowing language, and uses a good mix of violence, humour, and downtime to make sure that there's always something happening. The same qualities that makes Terry Pratchett such a good author - plus the fact that he can actually hatch a proper plot if need be.
The Black Library style, on the other hand, is over-the-top and extremely heavy handed.

But that's just, of course, my own personal opinion.

Darnok
08-07-2013, 11:14
no offence but complex math was invented in the 1500s. By 1800s the idea to use even more numberlines had begun cropping up.

Please stop commenting on subjects you obviously have no clue about. Especially if it is taking a thread off topic.

Freak Ona Leash
08-07-2013, 13:34
I would say that they're simply trying to hard.

I remember the Tyranid story in the Space Wolf codex. Full of heroics, yes, but not over-the-top-heroics and it ends with Ragnar Blackmane remembering the dead friends and wondering about his own fate.

Contrast with the new codices with Riptides going über-cool-mecha-style and singlehandedly decimating an entire hive or the Eldar that now forces twins into battle to create pilots for their Wraith Knights (why use twins here when the much larger titans works fine without?) or using their own dead to power weapons...

It's simply too much. They try to hard to be grim-dark-angsty-teenager and ends up becoming cheap pulp-fiction of the worst kind.

Also, I don't actually hold most of the authors that highly. Gordon Rennie can write a decent story (Execution Hour was good, the rest so-so), Dan Abnett is an okay pulp-fiction writer but just doesn't get the 40K universe, Bill King is quite good but really need to stick with the short stories - the longer Gotrex stories went downhill pretty fast...

All in all, the authors are just about okay - nothing more.

Also, the style means an awful lot. For example, I quite enjoyed Anne Bishops Dark Jewels books despite the fact that she wouldn't recognize a plot if she ever saw one and every last one of her characters are two-dimensional cardboard-cutout stereotypes. But she knows how to spin an tale, has an incredibly flowing language, and uses a good mix of violence, humour, and downtime to make sure that there's always something happening. The same qualities that makes Terry Pratchett such a good author - plus the fact that he can actually hatch a proper plot if need be.
The Black Library style, on the other hand, is over-the-top and extremely heavy handed.

But that's just, of course, my own personal opinion.

What exactly do you see the Black Library style as? And what recent novels have you read that have been published by Black Library? Gordon Rennie hasn't written anything in a long time, and Dan Abnett's recent novels have grown far beyond his original offerings in the Gaunt's Ghosts and Eisenhorn series, which I agree were rather bland. William King writes nothing but pulp-fiction, which isn't bad but it isn't the sort of pulp I enjoy :p . I agree that writing style possesses a great deal of significance in my enjoyment (or not) of a piece of literature. Stylistically, all of the authors I mentioned above and in particular Abnett, Dembski-Bowden and Fehervari write very engaging prose which is in my opinion a large part of their appeal.

The codex writing I grant you is more overblown, but I suspect that is because there is simply more of it than there was in the original books: the universe is far more developed, so the writers cannot simply stick to relatively general sort of background they included in the older codices. And in the latest codices from 6th edition, that trend has been reversed I feel; for example, examine the Dark Angels codex, which completely lacks the inane garbage filling many of the 5th edition codices.

Easy E
08-07-2013, 14:06
We need a gif/image that has Shatner screaming "WARD!" instad of "Khan!" It would be a great way to end most threads like this.

AsleepByDay
08-07-2013, 14:45
Rather than firing Ben Counter, BL published 'Battle for the abyss'. I don't think any more evidence is needed that BL didn't have an editing team worth having.

MiyamatoMusashi
08-07-2013, 15:26
BL quality is variable, but you soon work out which authors can actually write and which ones pulled strings to get published. (Or: "which ones suit your personal taste", if you're less cynical than I). If I don't like stories by a given author, I just don't buy them (or if they write an HH book, I endure their writing for the duration of that one book). No harm done, or not much.

It's the Codices that really bother me because they're core to the wargaming experience. If I've got a Necron army, which I did, and then Mat Ward comes along with a crayon and scrawls a load of unsubtle uninteresting unbelievable hamfisted nonsense on the page, it actually defines the perception of that army in a way that a tie-in novel never will... and in my case I sold my Necrons, because my vision of that army had been stated to be wrong; I had no interest in the new approach and it felt like my own approach had been declared invalid. I realised I'd never again be inspired to paint or game with any of those models so I got rid of them. I decided not to collect Grey Knights for exactly the same reason.

I think also (despite the aforementioned variable BL quality), it's less common for BL stuff to be quite as abject as the Codex stuff because at least the author has to try. They can't declare "then Draigo killed Mortarion and Angron and Lorgar then he had a cup of tea and killed Magnus then picked his nose and killed Fulgrim!!!!" because they actually have to show that happening, and will quickly realise that that just wouldn't make sense. In a Codex, they can (and apparently do) just write a throwaway sentence that isn't justified or supported by any other background material or even basic common sense, shrug their shoulders and call it done; and if called on it, invoke the excuse "It's mythic! Use your imagination!" and go and hide in a cupboard for a bit. It's horribly lazy and is corrupting everything they seem to write, lately.

Konovalev
08-07-2013, 15:41
This is why I don't read Fantasy genre books (to include 40k of course) as a rule. Bad writing and even worse plots are endemic in that genre.

redben
08-07-2013, 17:41
This is why I don't read Fantasy genre books (to include 40k of course) as a rule. Bad writing and even worse plots are endemic in that genre.

No argument here. Sci-fi has more than it's fair share of rubbish but at least there are some genuinely talented writers working in the genre. Terrible writing, characters, and plot are almost a genre convention of fantasy.

ColShaw
08-07-2013, 17:44
This is why I don't read Fantasy genre books (to include 40k of course) as a rule. Bad writing and even worse plots are endemic in that genre.

Show me a genre this is not true of. 90% of genre fiction is crap whatever the genre.

Spiney Norman
08-07-2013, 22:33
The codex writing I grant you is more overblown, but I suspect that is because there is simply more of it than there was in the original books: the universe is far more developed, so the writers cannot simply stick to relatively general sort of background they included in the older codices. And in the latest codices from 6th edition, that trend has been reversed I feel; for example, examine the Dark Angels codex, which completely lacks the inane garbage filling many of the 5th edition codices.

My favourite BL author at the moment is Andy Chambers, I'm really loving the Dark Eldar Path of the ... Books, renegade inspired me to pick up my paint brush and get those damned Kabalites painted even though I now loathe edge high-lights with a passion ;)

I'm currently reading Path of the Incubus and I'm fairly certain I will be adding a squad of Harlequins to my DE before I'm done with it.

GlenMorray
09-07-2013, 00:29
I think the books are targeted at a younger age group, and I also think with that comes restrictions, not only grammatically but time based and budget, the rate they pump out HH is pretty incredible IMHO.

I think books like the first steel legion one, where they siege the imperial fists (I can't remember the name) That was great for loads of kids I knew and got them into gaming, so I see them as a path way that activates the imagination.

I agree childrens books don't have to be rubbish, and sometimes one will come along that isn't, but anything that gets them reading is great so we shouldn't be too bitter. The Harry Potter series for example has been slammed by so many people but you can't argue that what it did for a generation was actually amazeballz! (:))

Maybe a little off topic but I think there's a message there...ish.

Abaraxas
09-07-2013, 11:19
Show me a genre this is not true of. 90% of genre fiction is crap whatever the genre.

Ive not read any Star Wars books that aren't crap-actually all the star wars books Ive read were worse than crap.

f2k
09-07-2013, 12:46
What exactly do you see the Black Library style as? And what recent novels have you read that have been published by Black Library? Gordon Rennie hasn't written anything in a long time, and Dan Abnett's recent novels have grown far beyond his original offerings in the Gaunt's Ghosts and Eisenhorn series, which I agree were rather bland. William King writes nothing but pulp-fiction, which isn't bad but it isn't the sort of pulp I enjoy :p . I agree that writing style possesses a great deal of significance in my enjoyment (or not) of a piece of literature. Stylistically, all of the authors I mentioned above and in particular Abnett, Dembski-Bowden and Fehervari write very engaging prose which is in my opinion a large part of their appeal.

The codex writing I grant you is more overblown, but I suspect that is because there is simply more of it than there was in the original books: the universe is far more developed, so the writers cannot simply stick to relatively general sort of background they included in the older codices. And in the latest codices from 6th edition, that trend has been reversed I feel; for example, examine the Dark Angels codex, which completely lacks the inane garbage filling many of the 5th edition codices.

Cheap and childish over-the-top-pulp-fiction-sci-fi, mostly.

The last Black Library book I bought was the Enforcer trilogy - and that reminded my of why I had stopped buying them. Before that it was Honour Guard which finally had me feed up with Abnett's version of 40K. I only mentioned Gordon Rennie because I recently managed to get hold of Shadow Point - I do realize that it's fairly old.

Each to his own, of course.

I do agree, though, that the 6. ed. codices are showing a bit of promise. But we've seen too few of them to call it just yet, I think.

Verm1s
09-07-2013, 13:15
Before that it was Honour Guard which finally had me feed up with Abnett's version of 40K.

Out of curiosity, what is it about Abnett's 40K that irritates? I can make a couple of guesses, but I wouldn't mind hearing specifics. I'd hazard it's a bit more than 'all antigrav, all the time'. ;)

By the way, mind if I sig this?


Now all you've got is Apocalypse, where in my experience it merely looks like you're fighting over a traffic jam with a dustpan and brush.

6mmhero
09-07-2013, 13:18
BL has its ups and its downs.
I have liked most of the HH books that have come out and the Battle for Calth was a really good read.
BL may not be high brow fiction but can be very readable and very addictive. They also make a good break from the non fiction I read will can be very dry at times.

I liked the Necron fluff as it gave them a bit of personality. For the most part I no longer read codex fluff any more for a number of reasons. My favorite codex to read the fluff was the 2nd ed Chaos codex.

f2k
09-07-2013, 13:45
Out of curiosity, what is it about Abnett's 40K that irritates? I can make a couple of guesses, but I wouldn't mind hearing specifics. I'd hazard it's a bit more than 'all antigrav, all the time'. ;)

Well...

It's a mixture, I think, of the style and the way he handles the universe. That is: he obviously don't understand it - the vibe is all wrong.

Commissars having sex in the midst of a battle? And leading regiments? Errr... No, just no...

And there's the whole chaos-thing. I like the old fluff where chaos was bad enough that killing billions of innocents were preferable to risking anyone even knowing about chaos. Now, they're just your average bad guys.

But worst of all - to me, anyway - are the extremely transparent and childish cliches he use again and again and again... The noble commander struggling against his stupid, foppish, cowardly superior? Check. The evil glory-at-any-cost general who puts the soldier at terrible risk? Check. The stealthy sniper? Check. The plucky sidekick? Check. The terrified soldier who still acts heroically? Check. The heroic I'm-just-a-common-man-honestly leader of the ragtag band of civilians who suddenly fights as spec-up soldiers? Check. The callous I-could-kill-you-at-any-moment-for-any-reason friend/adversary that the noble hero has to team-up with? Check. The evil-guy-lurking-in-our-midst guy? Check.

You get the point...

It's simply too formulaic. As I said above, I don't really mind the heavy use of cliches, but there must be something else to make the book worth my while. And Abnett, I'm afraid, just doesn't have that "something". He writes okay battle-scenes, but his writing is rather dry overall.


Also, I think I was simply burning out with the enough-is-enough syndrome. Had the Gaunt's Ghosts series stopped after Necromunda it might have been okay. Readable, certainly. But reading about them in battle after battle after battle after battle... It simply became too much in the end.
But that's not really his fault as much as a general fault with every long-running franchise. And that's also the reason why I won't get into series as Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones. I've always preferred a short-and-to-the-point stand-alone story rather than those long series. But that, of course, might just be me.

Verm1s
09-07-2013, 15:44
But worst of all - to me, anyway - are the extremely transparent and childish cliches he use again and again and again... The noble commander struggling against his stupid, foppish, cowardly superior? Check. The evil glory-at-any-cost general who puts the soldier at terrible risk? Check. The stealthy sniper? Check. The plucky sidekick? Check. The terrified soldier who still acts heroically? Check. The heroic I'm-just-a-common-man-honestly leader of the ragtag band of civilians who suddenly fights as spec-up soldiers? Check. The callous I-could-kill-you-at-any-moment-for-any-reason friend/adversary that the noble hero has to team-up with? Check. The evil-guy-lurking-in-our-midst guy? Check.

Jings. Sounds like an episode of MASH. :D

I haven't read much Gaunt's Ghosts. I vaguely remember reading the first in the series, but by that token it didn't grab me enough to keep reading. But I hear ya. From what you say I'm a little less curious to try the rest of the series.
I'm more into the inquisitorial side of Dan's writing, and I think Chaos is handled a little better there. I'm still quite fond of the Eisenhorn trilogy, although it starts to seem a little sparse in later re-readings. The Ravenor trilogy isn't bad, but I'm a bit cynical about the turn to the 'blue' it took, in the usual slightly misguided kind of effort to seem adult. Also little things like psychic fights with 'animal forms' - maybe necessary to provide some visual frame of reference for the reader, but it doesn't half read like something from a kid's saturday morning cartoon. One of the more rubbish ones.
And the untouchables, aka pariahs - introduced (AFAIK) and developed in the Eisenhorn trilogy, established as possessing an utter lack of psychic ability, even as acting like a psychic black hole. In the Ravenor trilogy it's basically reduced to another psyker ability - projecting a dampening field that can itself be dampened or 'switched off' with some extraordinarily convenient technology. Tech for dampening psyker ability I can understand, or at least accept, but how do you build a machine that dampens a lack of ability? (Although it leads to one of my favourite parts of the trilogy. And yeah, I know the untouchable condition was also a surrounding field in the first trilogy, but it was... different.)
But I digress. None of it's put me off wanting a look at the new Bequin trilogy, if it's in paperback yet. (I ain't spending over twice the amount for two bits of cardboard. I don't like Dan Abnett's writing that much!)

Some of your cliches put me in mind of Caiaphas Cain, too. I greatly enjoyed the first few short stories in the late, lamented Inferno! magazine, but the first couple of novels put me right off. They had to pad out the simple, great concept of a secretly cowardly, self-centred Flashman-style commissar, and did it with a whole bunch of said cliches; hypocritical moralising; a deathly boring lack of twists or surprise thanks to the line (or variation thereof) 'if only I had known what was in store for me next!'; and what seems like an attempt to twist it, as much as possible, into the same-old same-old ott action of almost every other BL book. Would've worked much better as anthologies of short, comedic stories, IMO. Emperor knows the 40Kverse needs a decent reinjection of humour, satire, and (self-) parody.

Though Dan Abnett and Graham MacNeill are the only two names writing for the BL that I'll consider, right now. I've had my once bitten twice shy moment. And twice bitten thrice shy. And one or two instances after that.
The first was A Murder In Marienburg. At the time I was on a roleplaying-in-Marienburg kick, and hoo boy did it read like someone's bad roleplay set in Marienburg. You want to talk about cliches! Grim ass-kicking antihero with a mysterious past. Check. Surrounded by bumbling, corrupt colleagues in the city watch. Check. Gets into bar brawl. Check. Watched from the shadows by mysterious hooded stranger. Check. Mysterious hooded stranger is hot ass-kicking chick. Check. Sleazy, corrupt city watch commander 'likes a girl with spirit'. Check. Hot ass-kicking chick knees him in groin. Check. That took me to the end of chapter 2, IIRC. I threw the book against the wall and never looked inside it again.
Second time, ages later, I saw the first Darkblade novel hit the local GW's shelves. Saw Dan Abnett's name on it, and since I quite enjoyed Dan's original strips in Warhammer Monthly, picked it up. (Although the first couple of 'books' were enough to convince me of any claims of Abnett's mediocrity in comic circles, though I wonder how much was down to editorial and the extremely short episodes in the '2000AD' format.) Turns out Dan Abnett's name was on there just for the original strips, and to draw the punters in, and Mike Lee isn't as good as DA, whatever your opinion about him. Terrible. Only thing I can solidly remember about the book is that Naggaroth must be rife with Parkinson's, they all shrug so much, at any time.

So at the mo I've been drawn back again by Abnett's Titanicus and MacNeill's Mechanicum. (I like a bit of giant robot mechs and their mad, mystic inventors, me. Can't wait to see Pacific Rim.) They're more good than bad, IMO, although I don't know if I'll read many more of the Horus Heresy series. I'm still of the opinion that it spoils the myth a little too much. (and who was it round here, who said once GW starts concentrating on the HH, that means they're in trouble?) Besides, picked up Descent of Angels in a second-hand bookshop after that, and never managed to get past the prologue.
I'm being very cautious about what BL books I pick up these days. TBH, apart from the Bequin trilogy and Priests of Mars, I think I'd spend a shorter time waiting for The Winds of Winter than a BL novel I can be confident about. ;)

Orrinocco
09-07-2013, 20:45
WHo wrote the Bllodbowl books? Truly truly awful. I've read some bad stuff in my time (I read Dr Who fanfic for gods sake), but these really did scrape the bottom of the barrel

Kensai
10-07-2013, 21:45
We need a gif/image that has Shatner screaming "WARD!" instad of "Khan!" It would be a great way to end most threads like this.

Sort of like this?174109

mostlyharmless
11-07-2013, 21:46
I concede that there are some occasions where the grammar and punctuation falter. For an example, just look at the warlord traits in Betrayal. One of them doesn't make a lick of sense.

However, the bigger issue is that the content is awful, which is a shame for such a rich setting.

xxRavenxx
12-07-2013, 11:09
you have no choice but to buy the codex along with Ward's atrocious writing. .... it hit me how bad of a writer Ward is was when I read the previous Daemon codex

I feel the need to interject, and point out that M. Ward does not write the entirety of a M. Ward book.

Here (http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/8559/4qxq.jpg) is the front page of one of his codices. Look at that list of names. Do you think Ward spent months telling them all to shush while he scribbled out fluff? He's heading a team, and taking them in an artistic direction sure. (Ie. Kid friendly, lots of explosions and content which Micheal Bay would be proud of...) but he's not the only one responsible.

Feel free to dislike GW's child friendly direction. Don't pin it all on Ward though. And also, be grateful. GW could have hired in Todd McFarlane to script all of their fluff. *shudder*

Inquisitor Engel
12-07-2013, 18:23
Here (http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/8559/4qxq.jpg) is the front page of one of his codices. Look at that list of names. Do you think Ward spent months telling them all to shush while he scribbled out fluff? He's heading a team, and taking them in an artistic direction sure. (Ie. Kid friendly, lots of explosions and content which Micheal Bay would be proud of...) but he's not the only one responsible.

Exactly.

GW's method of writing a Codex/Army book is very similar (though on a smaller scale) to how software is developed. The head writer basically serves as project manager/creative director on the project, and write the basic, first draft of the rules.

Easy E
12-07-2013, 18:56
workmanlike, bland and a bit forgettable.

You hit the nail on the head. The current writing is writing for a paycheck. The creators wrote it out of enthusiasm.


Sort of like this?174109

Yes, only much, much bigger!

MiyamatoMusashi
12-07-2013, 19:03
You put your name on it, you take responsibility, even for the criticism. You sure as hell get the plaudits when they come, after all.

What that scan conveniently doesn't show is the very first page of the book, which simply says "GREY KNIGHTS by Matthew Ward". No, obviously, he didn't do all of it single-handedly. He's credited as "the" author, though. Maybe if he/GW don't want him/an individual to get blamed as individuals, they should credit everyone equally. Until then... Grey Knights was written by Mat Ward, says so right there in the book itself.

Or to use your software comparison... Valve made Half-Life, not Gabe Newell. Load up the game, and the loading screen says Valve... not Gabe Newell. Yeah, we all know Mat Ward wasn't the only one working on Grey Knights. But his name is on it.

Tarax
13-07-2013, 09:33
Just to muse in:

Screenplay by ...
Directed by ...
Produced by ...

Whose movie/film is it? (And we don't even mention any actors/actresses.)
But now we've gone a little off topic.

Hellebore
13-07-2013, 10:15
Mat Ward has pretty distinctive writing for someone who doesn't write all his stuff.

Not sure how being 'lead' absolves him of guilt - all you've said is other people could have produced good stuff and then Mat 'in charge' Ward just edits it '....no no no. Strike missiles? *scribble scribble* BLOODstrike missiles!'. Or he deliberately tells those others to copy him 'when you write a codex think of what Mat Ward would do, ok?'.

Having looked back at a few books released fairly recently by GW, I can certainly see how 'written by:' and a lack of any other names sans front cover artist and playtesters would certainly lead one to believe that the single author given is not actually the author.

I mean, Mat Ward apparently wrote the 8th ed high elf book, Jeremy Vetock apparently wrote the Tau Empire 6th ed codex, but obviously they didn't really.

The 5th ed necron codex has a long list of other GW names listed under:
Art, Book Design, Eavy Metal, Games Development, Additional Playtesting, hobby Team, miniatures design, Production and Reprographics, Previous Editions, and Special Thanks To.

I can also see just how these groups of individuals are responsable for writing the codex and Mat Ward simply took the credit on the previous page with 'By Matthew Ward'.

174323174324174325174326

I think I need a spleen transplant.

Hellebore

Verm1s
13-07-2013, 10:22
:D


'....no no no. Strike missiles? *scribble scribble* BLOODstrike missiles!'

Waitaminnit... I heard Rob Liefeld had retired from comics. You don't suppose...?

Think about it. Has anyone here ever seen Rob Liefeld and Mat Ward together in the same room, at the same time?

Daniel36
13-07-2013, 13:05
However I think some of the writing that we are getting vitriolic about isn't being taken in complete context, things such as the sanguinor battle (which I will admit I haven't read) and the Calgar battle (which I have) are supposed to have a mythic quality to them.

Then again, the way some books have been written, even Calgar tying his shoelaces is considered epic and mythic in the eyes of the writer.
I HAVE studied English, and even I am sometimes taken aback by some of the ridiculous things I read. Mind you, I haven't studied at a university level, but still... I consider myself having a failrly large vocabulary for someone whose native tongue isn't English.

I remember when the book Riders of the Dead by Dan Abnett was given for free with a WD. Now, apparently most people regard him as a good writer... I think I read 5 words within the first two pages that I had never heard of before... I put it down after five words.

I felt I was reading a story where fancy words were just used for the sake of using fancy words, not because they conveyed the setting better than more common synonyms.

WD has the same problem though... I lost count on how often they have released models that "defied logic", were "jaw-droppingly amazing" and filled "to the absolute brim with extras which portray such gruesome and amazing and incredible detail that it must be seen to be believed and even then, it seems like they were taken directly from the Realm of Chaos and out of the clutches of the Chaos Gods themselves." or something like that.

Bah.

The army books so far are okay though, I do enjoy those. But I will never read another BL book ever again.

Commotionpotion
13-07-2013, 14:40
WD has the same problem though... I lost count on how often they have released models that "defied logic", were "jaw-droppingly amazing" and filled "to the absolute brim with extras which portray such gruesome and amazing and incredible detail that it must be seen to be believed and even then, it seems like they were taken directly from the Realm of Chaos and out of the clutches of the Chaos Gods themselves." or something like that.

Bah.

Ugh, purple prose. As a writer myself, I hate it, and would seriously hope that whoever is editing my work calls me out on any that might accidentally crop up, so I can rejig the hell out if :o.

A lot of GW's writing is redolent with purple prose, which I think compounds the problem. It can sometimes be a subtle line; you can easily overstep the mark when you think you're only writing enthusiastically about something, and it'll only dawn on you what you've done when someone else points it out. This is why proper critical editing and proofing is vitally important (aside from picking up typos and other obvious mistakes).

The trouble with purple prose is that it only achieves the opposite of what it's trying to do - instead of being exciting or fascinating, it comes across as overblown, pompous or excessively idiotic. Worse, when it's surrounded by a lot of bland stuff, it only stands out all the more.

f2k
13-07-2013, 15:26
Purple prose? So that's what it's called...?

Yeah, it's pretty bad. All I see when I read about the super-über-awesome-new-model is BUY! BUY! BUY! NEW AND SHINY! BUY! Which, incidentally, has the exact opposite effect on me...

Lothlanathorian
14-07-2013, 05:32
But...but purple is my favorite color :(


There is a line between 'purple prose' and 'evocative'. Some words, while seeming 'purple' are used to elicit a certain image or feeling that the writer is attempting to convey. It's when they get 'over enthusiastic' about that the grapes sour.

redben
14-07-2013, 09:30
But...but purple is my favorite color :(


There is a line between 'purple prose' and 'evocative'. Some words, while seeming 'purple' are used to elicit a certain image or feeling that the writer is attempting to convey. It's when they get 'over enthusiastic' about that the grapes sour.


Actual writing talent has a lot to do with purple prose actually being evocative. Anyone can write, very few people can write well. Licensed fiction of any sort, not just GW, tends to be saddled with the former.

Commotionpotion
14-07-2013, 10:04
But...but purple is my favorite color :(


There is a line between 'purple prose' and 'evocative'. Some words, while seeming 'purple' are used to elicit a certain image or feeling that the writer is attempting to convey. It's when they get 'over enthusiastic' about that the grapes sour.

Hence my point about effective editing. I've written a number of lengthy works in the past, including a full novel manuscript. At the time I thought I was doing OK, and it wasn't until I passed the pieces over to a professional editor that I was pulled up on some bits for 'purple prose', and changes were suggested. An outside perspective, and proper constructive criticism, is very important.

Yes, it is very subjective. However, one thing I will say is that a writer's first critic should be themselves. It's a good thing to take pride in your work and always strive to do better, but any writer who thinks everything they write is absolutely perfect and infallible is asking for trouble IMO. Writing is, or should be, a learning process.

However, on the subject of GW writing, especially codices; I think part of the problem is that there seem to be far fewer writers in the Design Studio these days, and they're probably pressed much harder for time. They're probably having to edit themselves for the most part, which is quite inadvisable to do under normal circumstances (even for spotting things like typos etc - it's REALLY difficult to edit your own work!).

By contrast, take the previous Imperial Guard Codex for example. It lists no fewer than five writing credits, three of whom were Andy Chambers, Pete Haines and Phil Kelly. They were probably able to bounce ideas off each other and critique one anothers' work effectively.

Writing army or campaign books is inevitably a collegiate effort - or at least it should be. The background is more important than a lot of people credit it for, since the concepts it creates influence the direction that individual factions take in their fighting style, which inevitably comes across on the tabletop. That is why when poor background is churned out, it is a cause for concern for the game and its universe as a whole - it loses its soul.

Lothlanathorian
14-07-2013, 11:29
I think that's part of the BL issue. A lack of competent editors. It's starting to look more and more like a group of 'Yes Men' pushing things through because 'who cares, it'll sell'. I imagine the only question they ask is 'is it done?' and, whether it is or not, if the writer says it is, they'll print it.

Sai-Lauren
14-07-2013, 11:54
I don't see what's wrong with that comma.

Agreed, a comma pretty much indicates a place to take a breath - imagine if you will someone telling the tale in a tavern, on a dark, stormy and portenious night, with the fire crackling.

Which would sound the better -
"and in an instant, the two were locked in deadly battle"

or

"and in an instant the two were locked in deadly battle"

?

As for proof reading and spell checking, some of the mistakes that get through are almost certainly overloading - they do spell check, but with all the created words that won't be in the spell checking dictionary and will get marked up as such, it's incredibly easy to assume that something that's marked as wrong is right, especially if it's the nth time you've seen it, and the time you've got to read it and give it the ok is dwindling rapidly.

redben
14-07-2013, 12:06
Multiple writing credits is not necessarily a good thing. It can be a sign of a book that has been passed around as each new writer struggles to get it right.

Sykorax
14-07-2013, 18:14
Agreed, a comma pretty much indicates a place to take a breath - imagine if you will someone telling the tale in a tavern, on a dark, stormy and portenious night, with the fire crackling.

Which would sound the better -
"and in an instant, the two were locked in deadly battle"

or

"and in an instant the two were locked in deadly battle"

?

As for proof reading and spell checking, some of the mistakes that get through are almost certainly overloading - they do spell check, but with all the created words that won't be in the spell checking dictionary and will get marked up as such, it's incredibly easy to assume that something that's marked as wrong is right, especially if it's the nth time you've seen it, and the time you've got to read it and give it the ok is dwindling rapidly.

There's a difference between formal and informal writing where depicting a story in a book is dominantly formal writing for stronger points, whereas informal is as if you're talking. You don't need to take a breath every 6 words when you're reading in your head compared to talking to someone or verbally telling a story.

I can see why you think excessive comma usage is correct though - just look at your last sentence.

Freak Ona Leash
14-07-2013, 19:04
There's a difference between formal and informal writing where depicting a story in a book is dominantly formal writing for stronger points, whereas informal is as if you're talking. You don't need to take a breath every 6 words when you're reading in your head compared to talking to someone or verbally telling a story.

I can see why you think excessive comma usage is correct though - just look at your last sentence.

It is a stylistic choice over all, and one that is grammatically correct despite your passive-aggressive parting shot. Someone who reads in their head as if they are verbalizing would prefer a more naturalistic writing style.

Lothlanathorian
14-07-2013, 19:05
In his last sentence, I see one comma that shouldn't have been there and two missing, actually.

Commotionpotion
14-07-2013, 20:52
Multiple writing credits is not necessarily a good thing. It can be a sign of a book that has been passed around as each new writer struggles to get it right.

True, but I suspect with the way GW used to operate, my interpretation is probably closer to the truth. I remember Andy Chambers and/or Phil Kelly writing in White Dwarf at about the time Codex: Witch Hunters was released, concerning their many discussions and debates when creating ideas. They even found themselves going into some pretty highbrow stuff (given the context of what they were writing about) such as the nature of divinity in the 40K 'verse; basically establishing what power the Sisters of Battle drew on to perform their minor miracles etc.

Be that as it may, there's no denying that they're relying on a much smaller pool of writers and designers to work on a stable of products that is still very wide-ranging. That's got to affect the quality of output, if not the quantity.

AsleepByDay
16-07-2013, 12:49
Agreed, a comma pretty much indicates a place to take a breath - imagine if you will someone telling the tale in a tavern, on a dark, stormy and portenious night, with the fire crackling.

Which would sound the better -
"and in an instant, the two were locked in deadly battle"

or

"and in an instant the two were locked in deadly battle"

?

I would read those identically.



As for proof reading and spell checking, some of the mistakes that get through are almost certainly overloading - they do spell check, but with all the created words that won't be in the spell checking dictionary and will get marked up as such, it's incredibly easy to assume that something that's marked as wrong is right, especially if it's the nth time you've seen it, and the time you've got to read it and give it the ok is dwindling rapidly.
For this reason spell check has an add to dictionary function.
I don't imagine that it would be difficult for the tech department to set up a system whereby words could be added to everyone's spell check as they were created.

Konovalev
16-07-2013, 13:45
Strike missiles? *scribble scribble* BLOODstrike missiles!'.
What about Phil Kelly's Space Wolves?
Where space marines wear wolf pelts, wield wolf claws, adorned with wolf teeth, riding rabid squirrels wolves? We get it Kellly, it's Codex: Lycanthropy.

Verm1s
16-07-2013, 18:06
That's one thing I don't like, although to be fair it's not limited to 40K writing: take one theme or noticeable trait of something, and keep cranking it up. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Flanderization)

In a few years time I expect Space Wolves to have armour made of wolf bones, to have wolf guns that shoot tiny wolves, and travel about space in giant longboats made of wolves.

nosebiter
16-07-2013, 18:15
I read that with Shatner's voice.

Well i read everything in Shatners voice...

nosebiter
16-07-2013, 18:28
Ive not read any Star Wars books that aren't crap-actually all the star wars books Ive read were worse than crap.

Lol! Then u are reading the wrong ones.

Setesh
17-07-2013, 00:02
GW has always had atrocious errors in their text. As for black library, from a literary point of view I find it pulpy but entertaining grimdark at best [Dan Abnett], and immature, camp star wars fan-fiction at worst[ADB].

Sai-Lauren
17-07-2013, 18:31
For this reason spell check has an add to dictionary function.
I don't imagine that it would be difficult for the tech department to set up a system whereby words could be added to everyone's spell check as they were created.
And chances are, you don't want to add every single new word, because they're proper names that will only exist in that particular piece, and there's a high likelihood that you again get overloaded, and start adding typos.

As for my personal writing style and use of commas, it certainly beats no punctuation whatsoever, which seems to be par for the course on the interwebs. ;)

xxRavenxx
18-07-2013, 10:02
Lol! Then u are reading the wrong ones.

It has to be said, that with GL's cunning business of renting out the SW brand like a cheap whore, the extended universe, along with 99% of the books is an amalgamation of four decades of bad fan-fic, crudely legitimised by a rubber stamp.

Kudo's to George though. No one ever got rich by having integrity :p

MiyamatoMusashi
18-07-2013, 12:26
Just started reading "The Best of Hammer and Bolter: Volume 2". Right from the off it's a bad start, with an absolutely dreadful incoherent sub-fanfic effort by Andy Smillie...

A Space Wolf is fighting in Dark Eldar gladiator pits, only he's actually really a Dark Angel Chaplain unconvincingly pretending to be a Space Wolf in case one of the Fallen turns up, then one of the Fallen turns up (what a remarkable coincidence!), the first guy somehow realises that he is actually one of the Fallen... somehow, then he stops pretending to be a Space Wolf so it was never actually necessary in the first place, then he kills the Fallen, and there's a sexy Dark Eldar for some reason

...which seems designed to prove nothing more than that BL will print any old tripe from anyone who works for GW already, even if it's absolute bobbins. The writing itself is abjectly bad, but the editing - oh, it's awful! By which I mean, non-existent. Take this excerpt from the very first paragraph of the whole story:


...he scolded himself for allowing the human to get so close. Human, the term barely applied... The man's, if he had been a man, musculature was swollen...

So in the space of two sentences (abridged to stop your eyes from bleeding) it contradicts itself twice and breaks up a sentence to do so. Ugh. It gets worse:


'The Emperor protects,' exhausted, Thorolf rolled off his opponent's corpse...

That doesn't even parse. I'm fairly sure there's a "said Thorolf" and/or a full stop and new sentence missing in there somewhere - the speech and the description of what happens follow straight on from one another and have no right being in the same sentence. But! It gets worse:


Thorolf grinned. 'Aye, it is as you say, brother.' He fought to keep the smile from his face.

...

What? Did anyone (a proof reader, an editor, even the author himself) actually bother to read that before publishing? Is he grinning or not? One minute he is, the next minute he isn't! Perhaps if he'd fought to suppress the smile it might have made sense (still pretty dreadful writing) but to keep a smile from his face implies he is not currently smiling - but we've just been told he is!

It's absolutely terrible. I know BL stuff can be of varying quality at the best of times, but I hadn't realised until now that when Hammer and Bolter was going they just didn't bother with any kind of editing or quality control. If this story is exemplary of the kind of quality H&B contained - indeed "The Best of" - then ending its run was a mercy.

Sykorax
18-07-2013, 14:54
Just started reading "The Best of Hammer and Bolter: Volume 2". Right from the off it's a bad start, with an absolutely dreadful incoherent sub-fanfic effort by Andy Smillie...

A Space Wolf is fighting in Dark Eldar gladiator pits, only he's actually really a Dark Angel Chaplain unconvincingly pretending to be a Space Wolf in case one of the Fallen turns up, then one of the Fallen turns up (what a remarkable coincidence!), the first guy somehow realises that he is actually one of the Fallen... somehow, then he stops pretending to be a Space Wolf so it was never actually necessary in the first place, then he kills the Fallen, and there's a sexy Dark Eldar for some reason

...which seems designed to prove nothing more than that BL will print any old tripe from anyone who works for GW already, even if it's absolute bobbins. The writing itself is abjectly bad, but the editing - oh, it's awful! By which I mean, non-existent. Take this excerpt from the very first paragraph of the whole story:



So in the space of two sentences (abridged to stop your eyes from bleeding) it contradicts itself twice and breaks up a sentence to do so. Ugh. It gets worse:



That doesn't even parse. I'm fairly sure there's a "said Thorolf" and/or a full stop and new sentence missing in there somewhere - the speech and the description of what happens follow straight on from one another and have no right being in the same sentence. But! It gets worse:



...

What? Did anyone (a proof reader, an editor, even the author himself) actually bother to read that before publishing? Is he grinning or not? One minute he is, the next minute he isn't! Perhaps if he'd fought to suppress the smile it might have made sense (still pretty dreadful writing) but to keep a smile from his face implies he is not currently smiling - but we've just been told he is!

It's absolutely terrible. I know BL stuff can be of varying quality at the best of times, but I hadn't realised until now that when Hammer and Bolter was going they just didn't bother with any kind of editing or quality control. If this story is exemplary of the kind of quality H&B contained - indeed "The Best of" - then ending its run was a mercy.

Seems like they should pay you for being one of their first line proof readers :/ That's atrocious

Shadey
26-07-2013, 16:12
That's one thing I don't like, although to be fair it's not limited to 40K writing: take one theme or noticeable trait of something, and keep cranking it up. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Flanderization)

In a few years time I expect Space Wolves to have armour made of wolf bones, to have wolf guns that shoot tiny wolves, and travel about space in giant longboats made of wolves.

Hehe, if I add that to my collection of smart **** and somewhat snide quotes I use in my sig, will that make my take on LotR a little more bearable? :P

Menthak
26-07-2013, 19:35
Just started reading "The Best of Hammer and Bolter: Volume 2". Right from the off it's a bad start, with an absolutely dreadful incoherent sub-fanfic effort by Andy Smillie...

A Space Wolf is fighting in Dark Eldar gladiator pits, only he's actually really a Dark Angel Chaplain unconvincingly pretending to be a Space Wolf in case one of the Fallen turns up, then one of the Fallen turns up (what a remarkable coincidence!), the first guy somehow realises that he is actually one of the Fallen... somehow, then he stops pretending to be a Space Wolf so it was never actually necessary in the first place, then he kills the Fallen, and there's a sexy Dark Eldar for some reason

...which seems designed to prove nothing more than that BL will print any old tripe from anyone who works for GW already, even if it's absolute bobbins. The writing itself is abjectly bad, but the editing - oh, it's awful! By which I mean, non-existent. Take this excerpt from the very first paragraph of the whole story:



So in the space of two sentences (abridged to stop your eyes from bleeding) it contradicts itself twice and breaks up a sentence to do so. Ugh. It gets worse:



That doesn't even parse. I'm fairly sure there's a "said Thorolf" and/or a full stop and new sentence missing in there somewhere - the speech and the description of what happens follow straight on from one another and have no right being in the same sentence. But! It gets worse:



...

What? Did anyone (a proof reader, an editor, even the author himself) actually bother to read that before publishing? Is he grinning or not? One minute he is, the next minute he isn't! Perhaps if he'd fought to suppress the smile it might have made sense (still pretty dreadful writing) but to keep a smile from his face implies he is not currently smiling - but we've just been told he is!

It's absolutely terrible. I know BL stuff can be of varying quality at the best of times, but I hadn't realised until now that when Hammer and Bolter was going they just didn't bother with any kind of editing or quality control. If this story is exemplary of the kind of quality H&B contained - indeed "The Best of" - then ending its run was a mercy.

Wow. Bloody, hell. I'm not the best writer in the world by any definition, but I read through every chapter to make sure that it all at least reads well.

Verm1s
26-07-2013, 20:52
Hehe, if I add that to my collection of smart **** and somewhat snide quotes I use in my sig, will that make my take on LotR a little more bearable? :P

It might soothe some of the sting, yes. :D