Vision and Revision: Geek Redux.

So yesterday I read Just a Geek.

I found the book strangely moving, so when I finished writing it, I hopped online to write a review on Goodreads. When I enjoy a book, I like to spread the word about it.

I started to write the review, but it kept getting longer and longer. So I figured I should probably write it as a blog, instead.

So I wrote a blog, and it went terribly, terribly wrong. It was a complete trainwreck.

I considered not posting it. But when you spend two hours writing something at four in the morning, it’s hard to just erase it. So I shrugged and posted it up, figuring that while the blog itself was an embarrassing mess, the underlying theme was pretty clear: I liked the book.

But today I woke up and thought that I’d go onto Goodreads and actually write the review I meant to do last night. More to prove to myself that I could than for any other reason.

This time it came out fine. Easy as anything.

As a writer, this is extremely interesting to me. It’s important. If one day I try to write something and it sucks, then the next day I try to write and it works, something big is happening. There’s a secret here, something that’s close to the heart of my magic.

It took me a while to figure it out, but here’s what I think happened:

Generally speaking, I don’t worry too much about ripping off other authors’ styles when I write. It’s a common fear of newer writers, and I spent a couple years anxious about it, just like everyone else.

But eventually I got over that particular fear for the simple reason that I never found any real evidence that it was happening. At least no more than is strictly necessary and/or polite.

There was one exception to this. Back in 1997 I read every Sherlock Homes story Doyle ever wrote in about five days.

On the sixth day, I wrote a chapter in my book. And what do you know? Kvothe turned into Sherlock Holmes. He was deducing shit all over the place. Bast fell into an odd Watson role, too.

It took me years to get all the Holmes out of that chapter. Many revisions.

The point is, I’d soaked up so much Holmes in those five days, that I couldn’t properly assimilate it. So when I tried to write, it spilled into my book.

After a couple of days my brain managed to digest all the Holmes and get itself back into its baseline state. But I’d learned my limit. A thousand pages of compelling, distinctive prose in a week’s time is bound to influence my writing for a day or two.

(This is part of the reason I haven’t tackled Martin’s series yet.)

I suspect the same thing happened to me after reading about 150 pages of Wheaton’s strangely compelling anecdotal bloginess. I doubt very much it would have thrown a monkey wrench into my novel writing. But it sure as hell confused my blogging. What I wrote yesterday was probably some bastard hybridization of my style and his.

Why do I mention this? Partly because it’s interesting to me, and writing about things helps organize and clarify things in my own head. But I also mention it because I know a lot of you are writers, or are at least curious about the writing process.

Anyway, here’s the better write-up of Wheaton’s book.

*     *    *

I’ve always known Wil Wheaton as one of the greater internet Powers.

That’s how I think of people like Wheaton, Doctorow, Scalzi, and Jerry over at Penny Arcade. They are people who occupy the internet community on an almost deific level. They’re actively engaged in discussions about things like creative commons, and web freedom, and other bigthink information-age issues. When they speak on a subject, the air shakes, people tweet and link and perform other media-appropriate types of adulation.

These people are their own Metatrons. They’re like the totem spirits of the internet.

That said, I don’t tend to read their blogs with any sort of regularity. I poke around Jerry’s blog every week or so. I read Scalzi a couple times a month, or if someone sends me a link. Same with Gaiman. It’s odd. I find their blogs interesting and well-written, but I’m just not drawn to follow them in my regular compulsive way.

That means that when I picked up Wheaton’s book, I wasn’t wearing fan-colored glasses.

Don’t get me wrong, I know who he is. I liked Wheaton in Stand By Me and Next Generation. I loved to hate him in The Guild. I even wrote an epic poem about him, once upon a time. A poem I dream of reading in public one day, as he, Scalzi, and Felica Day perform an elaborate dumbshow, acting it out while dressed in period costume appropriate for a 9th century mead-hall.

During this reading, I would like to be wearing a fur cloak of some sort. And perhaps a crown. In this little mental fantasy, I look rather like a cross between Brian Blessed and an angry bear. I also imagine myself as being profoundly drunk on mead.

My point is, when I started reading Just a Geek, I didn’t know what to expect.

Quite to my amazement, I was sucked into the story. It’s autobiographical, and covers a time in Wheaton’s life when he was going through a bit of a rough patch, trying to come to grips with his life, his acting career, his fluctuating celebrity, and his feelings about Star Trek.

Simply said, I enjoyed this book to a startling degree.

It was funny, touching, snarky, and remarkably sweet. I didn’t start the book as a Wheaton fan, but now that I’ve finished it, it’s safe to say I’ve swung over to that side of the fence.

In my opinion, you really don’t need to be a fan of Star Trek to enjoy it. (Though it probably wouldn’t hurt.)

But this isn’t a book about a guy that used to be on Star Trek. It’s not a book about being a celebrity. Or being an actor.

Ultimately, it’s a book about a guy dealing with being human. That makes it interesting to everyone.

It’s worth your time. Check it out.

*     *     *

There. That’s a good write-up.That’s what I meant to do the first time around.

Goes to show that if you write something that’s a shitty mess, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes all it takes to fix it is a night’s sleep and a willingness to get back on the horse that threw you the first time around.

Later space cowboys,

pat

This entry was posted in musings, recommendations, Revision, the craft of writing, Wil WheatonBy Pat68 Responses

68 Comments

  1. Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:03 AM | Permalink

    I rather liked the first attempt, though. Says something about what we consider an improvement, I guess. I’ll check out the book too, thanks.

    • Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

      Heh. That is interesting. There’s a lesson to be learned there, too.

      • nb
        Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

        I actually enjoyed the first review more because it’s fun to read something written straight from the gut. When I read a book, I expect it to be perfectly crafted work of art, but I blogs can be a chance to glimpse the person behind the art. Seeing a writer’s ‘imperfections’ can be illuminating.

      • Posted July 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

        The first attempt was a 4:30am stream-of-consciousness log (not blog, log) of a brain attempting to analyze something that it is still in the process of assimilating. There’s lots of attempts to contextualize, lots of groping for the source of realized emotions and in those processes a fair amount of self exposition. It was fascinating, entertaining and informative, but more because of what is said about you than the book. I liked it more than the subsequent, post assimilation, polished version because I read this blog to hear your thoughts on things, and the first take was like a glimpse behind the curtain. The well written piece isn’t always the most interesting piece.

        Oh, and if you liked Just a Geek you’d probably also like Memories of The Future: Vol 1 which collects his blogs (no longer online) in which he records his thoughts on re-watching the first half of season one of ST:TNG. It has some neat backstage Start Trek stuff but it’s Wheaton that makes it work by being humorous, thoughtful and just a little heart rending as the young starry eyed fanboy who got to live the dream only to become one of the most loathed characters in the franchises history. Hopefully he’ll finish his trip through the first season eventually.

        I avoided saying “his trek through the fist season” but only just.

  2. kenevins
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

    I always HATED Wesley on STTNG because he was a kid, yet he was the one solving all these big mysteries. In fact, I loved the ending of his story arch, because he finally had to make hard choices that wouldn’t necessarily make him the hero (again). My husband recently gave me Simon Pegg’s autobiography, “Nerd Do Well”, and it was crap, lots of stuff about his first blow job, why he was scared to swim as a child, etc… For both these reasons, I wouldn’t have considered picking up Wheaton’s book or reading his blog, had I not read your review(s) on this. Now I’m intrigued. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    Pat in the second or third line I think you meant when I finished “reading” it not writing it…. Just thought I’d heads up you there… But thanks for the heads up on this book, I didn’t know it was even out, but I am seriously interested in it! Thanks also for your blogs, I think they do the same for you(show a guy dealing with life).

  4. Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:11 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for throwing open the closet and shedding some light on this particular demon. Fully digesting and assimilating something before getting into the pool makes a lot of sense. I had this same experience after reading Tinkers by Paul Harding. The style was so earth-shakingly wonderful that I caught myself trying to emulate it all the time.

    I didn’t know WIl Wheaton was still out there being relevant. I’ll habe to check out his stuff. Thanks again, Pat!

  5. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure everyone absorbs their favorite authors’ styles after reading a great deal of their work. It’s interesting to me to watch it happen to you, of course.

    Really, I attributed the disjointedness to lack of sleep and enthusiasm, and didn’t see it as bad, but colored by the circumstances.

    Also, I love it when you sneak in 1984 Newspeak.

  6. Harken
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    I know exactly what you mean. I once read Steven Brust’s The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After over the course of two or three days and it did all kinds of weird stuff to the things I wrote and even the way I talked for a day or two after.

  7. Posted July 7, 2011 at 6:50 AM | Permalink

    This is an interesting insight into the creative process, and something I think most writer’s struggle with without identifying as clearly as you have. But don’t discount the 4:30 am effect, either…

    In my day-job for the past decade I’ve run a software development shop, and one of my rules is that developers have to go home at 6 pm (it’s a 9 -5 kind of business). Over the first year after I implemented this rule everyone (including me!) violated it exactly once. In no case did anyone solve the problem they were working on–always something ugly and complicated and yet tantalizingly close to solution. Instead, people would go home late, tired and frustrated… then come in the next morning and nail the sucker in the first hour of the day.

    Sometimes giving in to our human limits as creatures who need sleep and the company of our loved ones is by far the most efficient way of doing our jobs as creators.

    • Posted July 7, 2011 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

      “writer’s” => “writers”… clearly some of us have troubles solving simple problems in the morning, too!

    • fordified
      Posted July 7, 2011 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

      “Sometimes giving in to our human limits as creatures who need sleep and the company of our loved ones is by far the most efficient way of doing our jobs as creators.”

      I really like what you stated here, I would tweek it here for complete application to all jobs:

      “Sometimes giving in to our human limits as creatures who need sleep and the company of our loved ones is [...] the most efficient way of doing our jobs [...].”

  8. ValDurfee
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I enjoyed your original post about Just a Geek, but this was enlightening and actually more eloquent.

    I appreciated hearing that other writers absorb great writing. When a book really gets under my skin, I find my writing reflects the author’s style. This happens with my literature response papers as well as my Goodreads reviews. It’s good to know that doesn’t mean I can’t write and I’m in quite good company. :-)

  9. LaMiss
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    I enjoyed both reviews and find the developement very interesting. I think I am going to check this one out when I finished my current read.

    You never posted anything about a ‘comment on spelling mistakes etc’-rule, eventhough it’s probaby a bit annoying. But this confused me just a little:

    ‘I found the book strangely moving, so when I finished writing it’

    You do mean reading, don’t you?

    I’m sorry, I hate correcting stuff like this, especially since I’m not a native English speaker (there probably are many mistakes in my post, as well) but I also am grateful about people who show me the mistakes I made myself.

  10. Posted July 7, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    I really enjoyed both reviews. The first wasn’t as polished, but it felt quite real regardless.

    And you’ve no idea how many little tidbits I picked up from you after reading NoTW back-to-back, twice, within the span of two days. Gah, I couldn’t write for a bloody week.

  11. Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    “I even wrote an epic poem about him, once upon a time. A poem I dream of reading in public one day, as he, Scalzi, and Felica Day perform an elaborate dumbshow, acting it out while dressed in period costume appropriate for a 9th century mead-hall.”

    I would so pay to see that. :D

  12. Skye
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Seems to me like your first review was a blog post about reading the book, and your second review was a review of the book.

    The first review made me want to read the book *now*, and I’m not sure the second the second review would have. However, the second one is a whole lot “easier” to read, and wouldn’t make a publisher want to weep.

  13. Constance
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    During this reading, I would like to be wearing a fur cloak of some sort. And perhaps a crown. In this little mental fantasy, I look rather like a cross between Brian Blessed and an angry bear. I also imagine myself as being profoundly drunk on mead.

    You spelled that wrong. It’s BRIAN BLESSED!

    And yes, you would look like that.

    • Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

      Um…. It looks like you spelled it the same way I did….

      • Paul Harraghy
        Posted July 8, 2011 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

        I think it’s more that BRIAN BLESSED is so loud that he should never be in lower case :)

      • Illarion
        Posted July 8, 2011 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

        I believe he means that BB *must* be written in ALL CAPS ;)

  14. Posted July 7, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Hello,

    You wrote : “I found the book strangely moving, so when I finished writing it [...]”

    Didn’t you mean : “[...] so when I finished READING it [...]” ?

    As always, it was a very good read.

    Continue your great work !
    al360ex

  15. gypsymaria
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    I found your first review intriguing as well, if not quite as put-together as this one. Thanks for the update, though. Definitely sounds like a book worth checking out. :)

  16. Jsherry
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    I liked the first one fine, but any post that includes a mention of Brian Blessed is clearly superior to one that doesn’t. (“Flying blind on a rocket cycle?!”)

  17. Dryft
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    “Later space cowboys” = Cowboy Bebop?! Love that show.

    I thought the first review was great! It boiled down to: “this is a good book and you might want to consider picking it up”. What more can you ask?

  18. DMage
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    say, Pat, when you say “I wrote a chapter in my book. And what do you know? Kvothe turned into Sherlock Holmes. He was deducing shit all over the place. Bast fell into an odd Watson role, too.”
    I inmidiatly wonder… would you happen to have that… i don’t know, a back up or something? i would love to read what happened there.

  19. ErrickTheRed
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    As a huge fan of both your work and Sherlock Holmes, I am dying to know what chapter that was. Do you remember? And is there an old copy of the pre-revision Sherlock Holmesian Kvothe lying around?

  20. Zzigzag
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    Simplemente Excelente, al Menos ya tengo idea de cual sera el Proximo Libro a leer, al menos hasta que traduzcan El temor de un Hombre sabio al Español.

    Saludos.

    Camilo.

    —————————Traduction————————————–
    Simply Excellent, at least now I have no idea what the next book to read, at least to translate the fear of a wise man into Spanish.

    Regards

    Camilo.

  21. danreyno
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    I bought the book yesterday due to your blog post about it and finished reading it today. I found it very enlightening and useful to me, the post and the subsequent reading of this book came along at the right time as this has been a very difficult and sad week for me. It helped. Thanks Pat.

  22. Duckwark
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    Sooo when’s book three coming out?
    :3

  23. Bill Ticknor
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Will Wheaton is not the boy that originally showed up on the deck of the Enterprise. I remember thinking that the TNG bridge looked more like a living room than the nerve center of an intergalactic vessel capable of intergalactic ass kicking. To make it worse, the bald captain appointed a kid as the helmsman.

    Of course, like everyone else, I kept watching and it became and now remains my favorite of all the shows. Just like Wheaton. And Takei (that guy’s had the most amazing post-Trek resurrection).

    But I digress…

    Just finished Book 2 and am going through my typical post-epilogue let down. What a great book. Loved it. Glad to be back following this blog (which I avoided until I could get a chance to read the Book).

    Pat- thanks, man. Thanks for a really great book. Hope you sell millions of ‘em.

  24. slick447
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    Teehee, Space Cowboy…

    I think I may have to give this book a go next time I run across it, Thanks Pat!

  25. Barricade
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    Damn you Pat….you made me look up Metatron! lol

    Have you seen Wheaton on The Big Bang Theory?? Its a hoot.

  26. WolfTaker
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    First off, love the Bebop reference. Secondly, YOURS is the only blog I read regularly. I started reading yours and Martins for announcements about publishing dates, but yours is the only one I still read. Nine times out of ten you say something that makes me laugh or smile, and that makes my day a little brighter. so now that your next book is a few years off, I use your blog to get little doses of Rothfuss to help get me through the day.

  27. MouetteSheridan
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    I get a happy skitter whenever my newsfeed tells me there’s another Pat post up; I feel spoiled this week.

    Count me among those that liked the first review better, but that’s more for the wandering, philosophic nature of it than the quality difference between the two. This one is more publishable.

    And hells yes, what we read and even watch/experience affects what we write and say – after I go on a Harry Dresden binge, I spend a week saying hell’s bells, empty night, stars and stones…

  28. ben in el cajon
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Don’t worry about Martin’s series. Each book is worse than the last, in ideas, prose, and structure. I’m desperately hoping that the TV series has helped him with his project, so that the next book, (out in four days?) is better. The initial concept is so strong and important that I’ll probably finish it no matter how terrible it gets. Isn’t that sad?

  29. RH
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    Your first review captured your initial reaction, while your second is less reactive and more considered. What I find interesting is that each helped me appreciate the other – the duality is key to your response to the book, so neither alone could convey it as well as both do together.

    Your bit about the effect of the Holmes immersion reminded me of something I experience all the time. If I watch a movie or TV program, and then read fiction, the “voices in my head” for the characters are the voices from whatever I watched – even when really inappropriate. It tends to happen most for distinctive voices – increasing the chance of a mismatch. It gets really bad when I have been doing a marathon of one program.

    • MouetteSheridan
      Posted July 8, 2011 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

      Yes! The voices in my head change as well. So glad this happens to someone else.

  30. MereShadow
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

    Wait… Cowboy Bebop reference? Genius! Best show ever, no wonder I like your books so much, haha.

  31. rudejude00
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    I definitely want to check out this book, but thats not why I’m commenting. If there’s one major thing I took away from this post, it’s your mention that you have not read Martin’s series yet. I was actually wondering this for a while, being a reader of your blog for over a year. In the last few months I assumed that your lack of geeking out about the 5th book coming out and the show airing was just you holding back your insane excitement over it all. I mean, practically everyone has read this, and the fact that you are very well read…well, it seemed obvious. But now I have to tell you just how excited I am for you to read it for the first time. How jealous I am, and how much I wish I could be you. People don’t just get into these books, they become fanatics. I wish you well, sir.

  32. AO_22
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

    As with many others, I preferred the first one, but found that this 2nd post did indeed provide an an interesting insight on the creative process.

    That being said, I would definitely love to hear that you read (and hopefully reviewed) Martin’s ASOIAF. And for all that I love his series, your prose is quite a bit better, so I have trouble imagining that it could influence you overly much. Especially if you were to take a short break from Book 3 while you read and digested Martin’s series.

    But thinking on this caused me to wonder what Book 3 might look like if it was influenced by ASOIAF and my conclusions caused me a bit of a chuckle. I firmly believe that a mashup of your series and his could make for some great humor.

  33. Basil
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    I now many people already said this, but I didnt think the first blog was so bad. (Forgive the lack of apostrophe there. Im on a Japanese keyboard, and Im not entirely sure how it works yet… I could say “did not” instead, but that sounds too stuffy for a simple blog comment.) I definitely feel like that after finishing a really good book, though. A lot of times, I want to go straight into writing or drawing while Ive still got that excited energy, but all I can really get out is a sort of jumbly, crumbly mess of thoughts. Later when I look back at what I have created, I can only think, “WTF?”

    Though on the other hand, I think it is important to let out some of that immediate reaction in some form, even if it seems like total nonsense later. After some time passes, that immediate… I guess you could call it catharsis (sort of)… that kind of feeling fades away, and it can be hard to remember what it felt like, much less bring yourself to feel it again. Plus, for me at least, its not like that kind of excitement comes from just anything. It has to be a really, mind-blowingly amazing piece of work. And writing those first reactions down (or sometimes doodling them, too) sort of monumentalizes that.

    Also, I hadnt actually heard of this book before, but now I think I would like to read it.

  34. brrbear
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

    We’ve all had those moments of sudden clarity when you realize your actions are those of a drunken fool. Whether or not the impairity comes from fatigue or chemical help is not relevant. What is relevant is “in vino, veritas”. Thank you for a look into the subconcious that shapes the words we cannot turn away from, and if you are worried how you came across, let me tell you. Your “ravings” are more eloquent than many people’s carefully chosen words, and while your second post may be more succinct, it lacks the depth of true conversation. I, for one, don’t read your blog for an english teacher’s guide to writing, I read it for a glimpse of the conversation I would enjoy having with you.

  35. James F
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    Liked the first post better than the second. Not as a blurb, but as a blogpost. Obviously blurbs have to be tighter.

    I found this post incredibly depressing. I’ve taken PR’s books as an inspiration to try writing again for the first time in 15 years. Not the medium (“fantasy”) but just the idea that if you put enough effort into it, a nobody with no established literary parentage or prestigious schooling can make something people respond to. Because the voice behind it is original and honest and worked hard on the craft it takes to express those attributes.

    This made it seem like distinction, honesty, and craft aren’t comparable to paring down passion for popular consumption. Which is important for a blurb or novel but not for a blog. (PR’s novels certainly aren’t as short as they could be, and that’s one of the things I found inspiring about them, that he felt confident enough in his exertions to stand by things he knew only he and a few others would enjoy as much as he did.) Here’s my tweetable take: “I’m bummed, now.”

    Oh, well. You have to do things because you think they’re worth doing, not because others approve or succeeded doing them.

    • James F
      Posted July 9, 2011 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

      Sorry I wrote this. I was feeling a little (or lot) down on myself. (No excuse to take it out on others.) Keep it up, PR, your heart’s in the right place.

  36. sarahem
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    Just a comment that needed to be thrown in somewhere. Anyone who gave WMF a 1 star review (I know you said you read them sometimes), is a complete and utter fucker.

  37. Jonathan Eaton
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    About reading Martin, with the clear understanding that I may be e-lynched:

    (Disclaimer: I will admit right now that I am in no position to critique Martin, having no catalogue of published work myself. I am a fan of the English language and fantasy fiction, though, and am a good reader.)

    Pat, I would worry about absorbing Martin’s style. Since I started reading Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, I’ve been having conversations with other readers about his style. The consensus is that he is a brilliant plotter, though he leaves readers wanting for a good solid climax sometimes (literary foreplay only lasts so long). He also does a nice job of surfing the sweet spot between 2D archetype characters and 3D fully realized characters. He’s pretty good at describing settings in a way that allows his readers to see his world. He nails the three basics, but where he is lacking is in style. For some reason he feels the need to describe every piece of clothing a character is wearing, everything they eat, and every horse or accessory they may come with. He is the anti-king of exposition in that he exposits too much that isn’t note-worthy. Because of the first three qualities I like the series and continue to read it, but the fourth quality makes it very tedious at times.

    So please, Pat, do not read that series in two days and absorb his style. I simply couldn’t handle reading about Kvothe’s and Bast’s meals and clothing and bling. Read it, because it is very good, but maybe read a book a month.

    If you want to read something better, read Guy Gavriel Kay’s work from 1990-2004. He nails plotting, character, setting AND style, and it would not be horrible for a bit of him to creep into anybody’s work. :)

  38. EL-izabeth
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    It is serendipidous that this should come up today. Last night I watched “all good things” to finish off TNG for the first time. It has been a regular part of my life every couple of days for the past year or two, and now it’s over and I am a little heartbroken. My soul actually feels a bit fragile. This is probably not a healthy state of existence, but when I have re-stabilized, I may check out this book. I have to say that I was downright proud to see Wesley go from a precocious wearer of awkward sweaters to a person thinking for himself and pushing the boundaries of human existence. (reality is fuzzy right now to my greiving soul, I know that Will Wheaton isn’t REALLY Wesley Crusher…)

    • James F
      Posted July 9, 2011 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

      Best ending to a TV series, ever. I’ve had this conversation with friends. Every TV series always ends too soon (when idiots aren’t watching enough) or ends too late (when the ideas have dried up but creators were loathe to leave the gravy train.) Nobody I know can come up with a TV series that ended as perfectly as “All Good Things,” the culmination of TNG actually getting better for seven years. Just don’t try to ease your loss by watching the movies!

  39. Fattimus
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    So what you’re saying is, you’re some kind of literary Megaman, and after defeating the works of one author in a particularly rousing bout, you are able to temporarily absorb their powers.

    I don’t think you are giving proper weight to your superpower here, Mr. Rothfuss. Next time Kvothe and Jaime Lannister are embroiled in online combat, you can marathon ASoIaF, gain Martin’s powers, and write a short story that obliterates his characters.

    Also, unrelated to the topic at hand but related to Song of Ice and Fire, have you by chance checked out the Game of Thrones HBO series, or perhaps waiting to watch it on DVD? Or would you rather pop your Martin cherry on the books first?

  40. Zemquat
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    As a pre med in the middle of personal statement hell I really appreciate that even the professionals have their good days and bad. Hey, how would you feel about taking a gander when I get a draft down? Its only 5300 characters long…

  41. Corgyll
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 2:45 AM | Permalink

    “During this reading, I would like to be wearing a fur cloak of some sort. And perhaps a crown. In this little mental fantasy, I look rather like a cross between Brian Blessed and an angry bear. I also imagine myself as being profoundly drunk on mead.”

    All I’m seeing right now is Patrick Rothfuss as Robert Baratheon.

    • rudejude00
      Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

      hahaha amazing. Pat would make a way–too-cheerful King Bob

  42. Posted July 9, 2011 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    I enjoyed both reviews, and having been an intermittant reader of Wil Wheaton’s blog I feel I shall want to get hold of the book, too, at some stage.

    Incidentally, I would pay proper folding money to see that performance of your epic poem become reality – surely some Con could make this happen? (And film it for world-wide geeky joy)

  43. MLBurt
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    I once, in a panic, had to read the Grapes of Wrath in one night to be ready for a quiz. The Grapes of Wrath, cover-to-cover, and for some reason I put it off until 8PM.

    The following day I tried to write a bit of my ongoing (terrible) attempt at a fantasy series. There has never been anything that has made me laugh more than realizing I was writing a dead-serious fantasy assassin-ish character with an extremely thick American southwest accent.

    • MLBurt
      Posted July 9, 2011 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

      Did I say series? Jeez, I mean story … potential one book … whatever. Night shift end = me no English so good.

  44. Cloudgazer
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    During my misspent youth I read a ton of Racine that had been translated into English, and switched from Alexandrine verse into a very rigid iambic pentameter. After several days and a dozen or so plays I went out to meet my sister and found, that pretty much every sentence I said came out as 10 syllables. It took an effort not to think in verse. Was very peculiar, but fortunately of course it didn’t stick.

  45. DietchyPeach
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

    damnit…. i wanted the first post

  46. Garyt
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    Although many of you like the 1st review because of the insight it gives us into Pat’s razor sharp mind (even at 4 in the morning), I think many of you missed the most important fact in both blog posts… The fact that Pat is a closet Cowboy Bebop fan.

  47. Beej
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    I have the perfect fund-raising idea for WorldBuilders.

    Pat, this Christmastime you can have an auction for the reading of the epic poem at a major con next year with you, Scalzi, Wil, et al., performing just as you described it, if people donate enough money to WorldBuilders. Clearly you already have some grassroots support (see Marjorie’s and others’ comments above). I’ll bet you can get at least $5,000 for that alone.

    Show of hands: how many of you reading Pat’s blog would pay to see this?

  48. EmperorCohen
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    Completely off-topic (sorry) but have you seen the Spanish book-trailer for “El temor de un hombre sabio”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjSljmIecR0

  49. JessicaJo
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Sorry if I missed it and someone already shared this – but did you see that Mr. Wheaton himself saw and liked your post? Full circle internet awesomeness.

    http://wilwheaton.tumblr.com/post/7393353774/patrick-rothfuss-really-liked-just-a-geek

  50. mysecretlove
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    I read this post a while back and agreed quietly to myself, but I’ve been reading The Wise Man’s Fear for the past couple of days and when I sat down to write myself, amazingly epic metaphors kept pouring out of me. Which do not fit with my YA scifi novel! I may need to wait a few days to stop channeling your writing spirit. :)

  51. Lie
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    Well said, pat

  52. jbmcarth
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Hey, Pat. I’m a huge fan and first time commenter. I’ve read NotW and AWMF several times each, and I always seem to rename at least one character in my favorite video games “Kvothe.”

    Anyways, I think it’s fascinating (but not terribly surprising) that immersing yourself in such a way changes your style of writing. There’s a difference between allowing another author’s style to influence your work and blatantly ripping them off. If you can really control this phenomenon, maybe you could use this as an editing technique for sections of your book that you think need a bit of work.

    For example, Kvothe’s mercenary companions in TWMF could have benefited from a bit of Joe Abercrombie’s style in The Heroes. Or perhaps Kvothe’s dalliances late in the book could have been enhanced by reading the fantasy parts of The Void Trilogy. Don’t take that as criticism; you’re my favorite author, and I like to think that I have very sophisticated tastes.

    I think most people here would agree with me when I say “I just want the next book to be as good as possible.” If that means amalgamating your style with other styles in a few places, I think it’s worth it.

  53. chat
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

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