The value of Outlines.
Sent 68-page (90 chapters) outline of SISTERHOOD OF DUNE back to Brian Herbert for his last revamp. We should start writing this weekend.
Today we will utilize the twat by KJA as the basis for our discussion.
There are as many types of outlines as there are writers. David Drake, of Hammer's Slammers fame, is on record saying he needs very detailed outlines when he is working on a book. That means before he sits down to write, he maps out all the details he needs to get the reader from point A to B in detail. In other words, he has everything worked out before hand. This means that he spends a large amount of time planning what he is going to write, working out all the details concerning characters, background, etc., before he commits himself to writing the narrative of the work he is working on. Drake has posted in the past that he has spent months even years working out books before he writes them, like most successful writers, he works on multiple projects, moving between them to keep his interest up and the paychecks coming in.
Then we have Keith. On July 15 he posted a blog about brainstorming with Brian Herbert. Today, the 19th, he sent of an outline. In less than two weeks the "Writing" team has produced a 68 page outline covering 90 chapters for the upcoming book.
That is 1.3 chapters per page. Flesh them out to three or four pages and you have the average page count for a Herbert/Anderson work. I bring this up because based on further reading of Keith's blogs, his background, and the extremely simple plotting employed throughout the books, that this outline is all the "writing" Keith does. A KJA book reads like a dry, bland piece of technical writing, no surprise there, he spent twelve years as a technical writer and editor at Lawrence Livermore. Looking at his past twats about "editing" further reinforces this belief. He does not edit, he does line passes. Odds are, he takes chunks of "story," goes over the chunk makes a few technical corrections and that's it.
It shows in the quality of work that eventually is published. Reading KJA is like finding a choose your own adventure book and discovering some one has done all the work for you. Boring as hell. No depth, no opportunity to ponder, a complete lack of detail. The same happens when you watch the Transformers movies, Optimus Prime is good, not because of his actions, but because we are told he is good.
What does this have to do with the outline KJA sent off? Well, he finished the outline in four days. He took the brainstorming idea's, and cranked out the story of the creation of the Bene Gesserit in four days. That is extreme arrogance. Under Frank Herbert, the Bene Gesserit resembled, in part, the Jesuit's. Under Keith and Brian, they were female Jedi with magical powers.
KJA has repeatedly shown that he is not a writer on par with many in the field, he has grown arrogant and lazy, and
his ego has taken over to hide his insecurities. This paint by numbers approach to his outlines translates over to the books, resulting in published writing that is an embarrassment. The only resemblance to Dune KJA and Brian's writing has is the massive DUNE on the cover.