Category Archives: BJ Hiorns Art

Even More Manuscript Critiques and Guest Appearances

Well folks, we’re in the last two weeks of Worldbuilders, and we’ve got a lot of things to show you before the end.

First off, at our last count, we’re already giving away more than 1,500 books in our prize lottery.

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A lot of those books are signed, limited edition, or otherwise rare. And we’re not even counting the books we’ll be announcing over the next couple weeks.

So remember that for every ten bucks you donate to Heifer International on our team page, you not only make the world a better place, but you get a chance to win these books and many more.

And now for today’s dose of awesome….

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This year we’ve had a lot of professionals offering to read-and-critiques manuscripts for unpublished authors. Even more rare, we’ve had authors offering up cameo appearances in their books. We posted a blog full of them earlier in the fundraiser, and now we have some more.

As always, be sure to read each of the descriptions closely, since everyone is offering something a little different.

First the cameo appearances….

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Hugo-award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal will tuckerize your name into a forthcoming piece of fiction. What does this mean? It means that she will work your name into a story or novel depending on what your name is and which project it seems to fit best into. She’ll also send you a signed manuscript before publication.

If you want the joy of being in Mary’s work, head over here and bid.

  • Become part of a series about time travel by Wesley Chu.

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Find your place in science fiction immortality. Wesley Chu is pleased to offer one tuckerization in his upcoming series, Time Salvager, about a time traveler who jumps back in time to reclaim resources from more prosperous pasts.

Wesley Chu is the author of The Lives of Tao (Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 Finalist for Best Science Fiction) and The Deaths of Tao (Booklist and Shelf Awareness Starred Review). Time Salvager has been sold to Tor Books and Tor UK and is projected to release in 2015. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the 2013 Worldbuilders fundraiser.

To show that he’s such a cool guy, Wesley has stretch goals in place, making the character cooler (and more likely to survive) the more money it raises for us.

If you want to be a part of this series, be sure to go bid here.

And now the Read & Critiques….

Pat’s Note: Some of these auctions include feedback of your query letter and/or synopsis. I would like to say that I would have killed to get a professional’s opinion of those things back when I was trying to get published.

Well, maybe I wouldn’t have killed. But I would have maimed the hell out of someone.

Also, please only bid on these if your manuscript will be ready for critique in 2014.

  • A read and critique of the first 15,000 words of your manuscript, as well as your query letter and synopsis, by Cassie Alexander.

CassieAlexander

Cassie Alexander is offering a read and critique of the first 15,000 words of someone’s novel. You’re welcome to include your query letter and synopsis on top of that word count.

She’ll be critiquing for plot, pacing, readability, character arcs, voice, how well the opening works, and give overall, general impressions of the story.  All critiques will be done in MSWord via track changes, and will be done in under a month.

Cassie Alexander is the author of the five book Edie Spence urban fantasy series, comprised of Nightshifted, Moonshifted, Shapeshifted, Deadshifted, and Bloodshifted, and has been published in Germany, France, and the Republic of Czech. She’s an experienced workshopper, having attended Viable Paradise and Clarion West, and frequently is a writing workshop professional at conventions she attends.

To bid on this awesome chance, head over here.

jaimeLeeMoyer_logoFinal

Jaime Lee Moyer is offering a read and critique of the first 75 pages of your finished novel. While she won’t line edit for grammar, she will comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. Critique will be done in MSWord via track changes, but please use a readable font and double-space your work. The critique will be returned to you within three months, edit letters and deadlines allowing.

Jaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet and recovering editor. Jaime is the author of Delia’s Shadow, the first in a three book series coming from TOR beginning in September 2013. Delia’s Shadow won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for Fiction, administered by Thurber House and funded by the Columbus Art Council. She doesn’t take herself nearly as seriously as that credit implies.

Jaime’s short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Lone Star Stories, and two of the well-respected Triangulations anthologies. She was the editor of the 2010 Rhysling Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, a poetry and short fiction editor for a semi-pro zine for five years. For a short period of time she read slush for a literary agent, and has critiqued more novels and short stories than she wants to count.

Get in on this one by bidding over here.

  • A critique and commentary on your complete submission packet by literary agent Jennifer Azantian.

Jen

Jennifer Azantian is a literary agent at the Paul Levine Literary Agency where she represents science fiction, fantasy, and smart, psychological horror. She began her career with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency in 2011 where learned from the best and had the pleasure of working with some of the most prolific and talented authors around. In her limited free time, she is a published author of several short stories and brings to the agency her passion for literature born of a writer’s heart. Her personal tastes run toward all flavors of the fantastic. She believes that it is against the backdrop of fantasy and science fiction that basic human truths can be best examined, magnified, and delighted in.

Jennifer Azantian is offering a detailed critique and commentary of your submission packet (query, synopsis, and first three chapters up to 15,000 words) as someone who has worked as gatekeeper to thousands of submissions in her budding career. She’ll include her thoughts on pacing, impact, characterization, world-building, and more within three months of receiving your submission. Though she makes no promises, she would be a fool not to consider representing a project if it truly blows her away.

Getting in with a literary agent isn’t easy – bid for your chance over here.

Josh and Patricia

Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray (co-editors of the DAW Books anthologies AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR and THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY) will each read and evaluate your short story (up to 7500 words in standard manuscript format) within six weeks of submission. Each author will write a general evaluation of the story and mark up the manuscript using comments and track changes in the document itself, although this will NOT be a formal line or copy edit, simply commentary at specific points in the short story. Patricia Bray is the author of six fantasy novels from Bantam Spectra and has published numerous novellas and short stories in various anthologies.

Joshua Palmatier has five dark, epic fantasy novels published by DAW and four short stories in various anthologies. Their experience is mostly with all forms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Their intent will be to offer editorial advice on how to improve your story and to use their experience as both authors and editors to make it the best it can be.

Joshua and Patricia have requested that you send them your manuscript no later than July 1, 2014.

To bid on Joshua and Patricia’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

  • A critique of the first 10,000 words of a sci-fi/fantasy novel from urban fantasy novelist Michael R. Underwood.

Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. Underwood is pleased to offer a critique of an excerpt of up to the first 10,000 words of a fantasy/science fiction novel (adult or young adult) and offer critical feedback, covering how the excerpt opens, characterization, plotting, setting, and the expectations set for a reader by the excerpt, as well as an overview of strengths and weaknesses of the excerpt.

Mike will make notes throughout the manuscript and offer a formal overview of the manuscript in the form of a critique letter. This critique does not count as or entitle the winner to a submission to Angry Robot, an endorsement or a blurb, though if the sample is particularly strong, Mike may be willing to pass it along to someone. This auction is only for the critique.

Michael R. Underwood is the imprint-bestselling author of the comedic urban fantasy novels Geekomancy and Celebromancy (from Pocket Star Books), as well as the forthcoming Attack the Geek, Shield and Crocus, and The Younger Gods. Mike has been a bookseller, an independent sales representative, and is currently the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike is a graduate of the 2007 Clarion West Workshop, and his short fiction has appeared in Escape Pod and Crossed Genres.

Bid on this awesome opportunity over here.

  • A consultation about your query letter and synopsis, with a Skype discussion from Michael R. Underwood.

Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. Underwood will read and critique a query letter and short synopsis (2-5 pages) for a young adult or adult science fiction/fantasy novel, giving detailed written feedback.

In addition, Mike is offering a 20-minute Skype discussion about the query and synopsis. The discussion will also include advice on how to refine the pitch with an eye toward submission to agents and professional markets. This critique and consultation does not count as or entitle the winner to a submission to Angry Robot, an endorsement, or a blurb, though if the query is particularly strong, Mike may be willing to pass it along to someone. This auction is only for the critique and the consultation.

Michael R. Underwood is the imprint-bestselling author of the comedic urban fantasy novels Geekomancy and Celebromancy (from Pocket Star Books), as well as the forthcoming Attack the Geek, Shield and Crocus, and The Younger Gods. Mike has been a bookseller, an independent sales representative, and is currently the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike is a graduate of the 2007 Clarion West Workshop, and his short fiction has appeared in Escape Pod and Crossed Genres.

This is a great additional auction, especially if you’re more concerned about your submission packet than your manuscript.  If it interests you, head over and bid on it.

Peter and Friends

Head to Seattle to attend a full day of writing discussions and workshops. The Day of Narrative Design will consist of three parts throughout the day: Game Writing, Short Fiction Writing, and Novel Writing.

This event has not been scheduled for a specific date as yet, so that schedules can be worked through, but contributing authors have agreed to be flexible on date anytime between February 2014 – June 2014.

Peter Orullian, author and musician, finalist for the Compton Crook award and short-listed for the David Gemmel Morningstar award, will lead and participate in these sessions, having had a hand in each. Peter’s worked in the video game industry for ten years, and previously in the publishing industry for five.

 If you’re an established writer looking to branch out into another area of the field, or an aspiring writer looking for pro advice and instruction, or a reader interested in talking with writers working across these different mediums, then this will be a day to remember.

There’ll be a grab-bag of signed books from the cool folks you meet with throughout the day.

This is a really cool opportunity, and there are even more details over in the auction, so be sure to head over, check it out, and bid.

  • A read and critique of the beginning of your novel (up to 25,000 words) and pitch letter or summary, by Del Rey fantasy author Robert V.S. Redick.

Rob Redick

Currently based in Indonesia, Rob is the author of The Chathrand Voyage Quartet, described by Locus as “one of the most distinctive and appealing epic fantasies of the decade.” The series began with The Red Wolf Conspiracy and concluded in February 2013 with The Night of the Swarm. He is also a seasoned editor, international development worker and writing teacher. He loves all good storytelling but has a soft spot for the literary end of the SF/fantasy spectrum.

Rob is offering a critique of the beginning of your novel (to a maximum 25,000 words), and will also be glad to assess a pitch letter or brief summary of the same. He generally includes a few line edits, but concentrates on providing no-nonsense, no-attitude feedback. He seeks to balance a professional & analytical critique with his own spontaneous but self-aware response as a reader. And Rob’s always careful to remember that this is your book and your agenda, not his own.

You can bid on Rob’s auction right over here.

  • A read and critique of the first 150,000 words of your manuscript from the person who made Name of the Wind not suck, Brett Hiorns.

Brett Monkey

Brett has been one of Pat’s go-to beta readers since the beginning, and was even called in as an alpha reader for Wise Man’s Fear (the book really didn’t make sense at that stage). He’s currently the voice behind a lot of the Worldbuilders website content and auction descriptions, and has done webcomic work, amusing movie reviews and plenty of longer-form horror fiction. Pat keeps pestering him to publish a book or two, but apparently he’s afraid of success.

His preferred genre is horror, but he’ll tackle fantasy and science fiction, or anything that sounds interesting. He also enjoys young adult fiction for its brevity and creativity.

Brett can help you with character voice and dialogue, concise writing, and the nuts and bolts of grammar and punctuation. He’ll also analyze pacing and the consistency of world building, and he’ll do his best to poke holes in the book’s internal logic.

The critique will include reading up to 150,000 words, marking up the margins with suggestions, corrections, and random comments. He will also type up a detailed explanation of the manuscript’s strong points and possible weaknesses, as well as clarifications and expansions of his marginal notes.

A note from Pat Rothfuss:

Okay folks. Here’s the deal. When we were putting together this second batch of read-and-critiques. I said to Brett, “You give really good editorial advice. How would you feel about offering up a critique?”

“Nobody would bid on that,” he said.

“A chance to get feedback from the person who has been a pivotal part of my revision process?” I said. “I think people would jump at it.”

He just kinda shook his head at me, as if the extent of my dementia made him sad inside.

Still, he’s said he’s willing. So let me explain a few things about Brett, because he doesn’t feel entirely comfortable talking about how great he is.

I’ve known Brett for over 20 years. He was my first writing tutor back in college. He gave me advice on my first, horrible high-school novel. Later, he gave me feedback on a book I called “The Song of Flame and Thunder.”

That book changed titles several times, eventually becoming The Name of the Wind.

Brett read several drafts of The Wise Man’s Fear, too. Probably more drafts than anyone other than myself. More drafts than my editor. Not because Betsy isn’t awesome. It’s just that Brett started reading those drafts back in 1997.

Now is Brett a professional fiction writer? No.

But let me say this. Brett is a *great* writer. I know this because I’ve read his unpublished urban fantasy novel and it’s fucking brilliant. One of my greatest sources of guilt is the fact that his work here at Worldbuilders keeps him too busy to finish his final round of revisions and start submitting it to publishers.

Is Brett a professional editor? Also no. But he gives great feedback. He has the rare gift of not letting his ego interfere with his critique.

Let me say one last thing: Right now I’m writing a novella about Auri. I’m about a hair’s breadth from being done with the first draft, and I’ve never been so torn up and confused about anything I’ve ever written.

Part of me thinks this story is some of the best writing I’ve done: brave and different and brilliant. Another part of me thinks this story is… just the dumbest concept ever. Just vastly hugely embarrassingly stupid.

Brett is the first person I’ll be showing this story to. Because Brett is clever and honest and gentle. I know that after his critique, I won’t want to throw this story into a fire or put a gun in my mouth.

And even better, I know after Brett’s critique, I’ll understand my story better. I’ll be able to move forward and revise it in a productive manner.

So. If you’d like Brett to critique your stuff, you can bid on his auction over here.

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There you have it, folks.  Another blog full of cool opportunities for aspiring writers.

You can also see *all* the current Worldbuilders auctions by clicking the link below.

Stay tuned to the blog, because we’re going to be posting up more and more marvelous things until the fundraiser ends….

 

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat14 Responses

The Harry Potter Alliance

When I was at ConQuest in Kansas City this year, I met up with the head of the Harry Potter Alliance, Paul DeGeorge.

What’s the Harry Potter Alliance? Well funny you should ask. The HPA is a charitable organization created by Harry Potter fans.  They take an outside-of-the-box approach to civic engagement by using parallels from the Harry Potter books to educate and mobilize people across the world. They focus on issues like literacy, equality, and human rights.

While it might have started in the Harry Potter fandom, these days people from all different corners of the geek world work with them on their projects. Most notably the Nerdfighters, fans of the Vlogbrothers channel on YouTube. (As some of you might remember, Amanda is a Nerdfighter).

What do they do specifically? Well, this last year alone, they:

  • Made over 3,000 calls for marriage equality in Maine last November, and it passed.
  • Collected over 30,000 books from fans and donated them to various literacy charities during their Accio Books campaign.
  • Debuted an Apparating Library at LeakyCon London – something of a pop-up convention library where if you donate a book, you can “check one out” at the end of the convention.
  • Launched the Superman Is An Immigrant campaign to collect and share immigration stories, and helped pass the Maryland DREAM Act this summer.
  • Ran a campaign that led over 200,000 Harry Potter fans to ask Warner Bros. about the sourcing of cocoa used in their chocolate frogs.

It turns out that Paul is a fan of my books, so when they started the Apparating Library the first book included was the Name of the Wind.

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Here’s the thing: they’ve been doing a lot of cool things, but enthusiasm can only get you so far. Eventually you need money to keep the wheels turning for a charity.

That means every year, the HPA runs an annual IndieGoGo where they give away cool perks in return for donations.

So when they asked me if I’d like to help this year, I threw this into the ring.

HPA Cover Final

(My house on an average day.)

We gathered together a bunch of my previous writings into one place. Ancient blogs and columns that I wrote for the local paper back in the day. I tweaked and edited them. The fabulous Brett Hiorns did a bunch of new illustrations for it. And I added a bunch of footnotes to give historical context or make snarky comments about my past self’s writing style.

Topics include writing advice, the nature of love, and jokes about methadone and monkeys. Plus, you could read a story about a time I was nearly arrested.  Who doesn’t want to do that?

It’s at the $20 tier, and all of that money will go to charity, since it’ll be a digital download that won’t cost them anything to ship out.

[Edit: Over on the donation page it says the booklet is 20 pages long, but I've added a bunch of stuff to it since then, so now it's closer to 30 pages.]

If you’re interested, and you want to help make the world a better place for everyone, feel free to head over to the campaign and contribute.  It’s only running for 5 more days, and the perk won’t be available anywhere else anytime soon, so be sure to go grab yours.

Caffeinatedly yours,

pat

Also posted in cool things | By Pat42 Responses

150K Blog: Rare Books and a Chance to Game with Pat

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

As I write this, we’ve raised over $202,000 which means we’ve beaten last year’s total by over ten thousand dollars.

This seems to indicate that we, as a group, are awesome.

I’m going to celebrate by moving our donation goal up to 225K. Part of me wants to shoot for 250K. It would be nice to say, “We raised a quarter million dollars this year.” But we only have a week left, and I don’t want my reach to exceed my grasp….

Unfortunately, this burst of generosity draws attention to the fact that I haven’t posted the 150K bonus blog yet.

I’ve been slow posting this blog because I wanted to do something a special for this milestone. Specifically, I wanted to post up a video of me reading a picture book to y’all.

The book is called Beatrice’s Goat, and it’s the story that made me fall in love with Heifer International.

I’m donating 10 copies to the fundraiser:

I’ve been planning this for months. I got permission from Heifer International to read the book in a video. I found a guy that does video editing here in Stevens Point. I looked into the proper pronunciations for the names….

I even (and this should really underline how seriously I was taking things) got a haircut so I wouldn’t look like a hobo on the video. Or at the very least, I’d look like a halfway respectable hobo.

Lastly, in a stroke of genius, I decided to bring my son into the project. He’s way more photogenic than I am, and he loves books. Why wouldn’t I shoot a video of me reading the book to him?

So yesterday I got the edited video back, sat down to to watch it…. and was appalled.

The problem is my voice, you see. I never realized that my voice goes up about three quarters of an octave when I read to little Oot.

You know how that uncomfortable feeling you get when you hear your own voice played back from a recording? That’s how I felt watching the video, except about a hundred times worse. I was in a constant state of cringe.

I know it’s a silly thing to be embarrassed about, but I don’t know if I want a video out there of me reading to my son in this goofy-ass voice.

Why am I telling y’all this? Well, over the last month, I’ve told a lot of people that I was planning on posting the video, so I figured I owed you an explanation as to why I’m not posting it up here with the books.

Sorry to sissy out on y’all…. Let me make it up to you by tossing some more cool stuff into the fundraiser.

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As some of you on facebook might have already seen, when I was out at Confusion a week ago, a bunch of authors got together and played a game of D&D. Old school D&D. AD&D.

There was a lot of talent at the table: Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Jim Hines, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, and Jay Lake. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed ran things.

Brent Weeks did a write up of the adventure over here, if you want to hear the epic details of how we were almost killed by goblins.

Simply said, it was a great time. I got to cast Magic Missile and everything.

In order to pass on some of the geeky love, I’ve decided to run a game at the next convention I’m attending: Stellarcon 36.

So if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have an adventure in the Four Corners, this is your chance to find out.

The winners of this auction will get to play in a one-shot role-playing geekfest set in the Four Corners world. You will join Pat Rothfuss and Steve Long of HERO Games for a collaborative storytelling experience of such intensity that it will doubtless leave you a shattered wreck of a human being.

Pat will pre-generate characters and provide a brief explanation of the HERO gaming system. (You don’t need to know the system in order to play and enjoy the game.) The game will be run on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in the afternoon or evening.

In addition to a seat at the gaming table, the winners of these auctions will receive free memberships to StellarCon 36 where the game will be held.

StellarCon 36 runs from March 2nd – 4th, 2012. The convention will be held at the Best Western High Point Hotel in High Point, North Carolina.

Please note: this auction does not include food, lodging, or transportation to the convention.

Two more seats will be in auctioned or raffled off at the convention itself on March 3rd. Folks who are through registration by 11:00 AM will definitely still be able to throw their name in the hat and/or bid on those at the convention.

You can bid on the first game seat here.

The second seat here.

And the third seat here.

Or you can stalk all the auctions at once by following this link.

  • 10 first edition hardcover copies of The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. The first WMF books ever signed by Pat.

I wasn’t going to include any copies of my book in the fundraiser, then Penguin sent a couple boxes of books along to help out with the fundraiser.

They were the last remaining books that I signed in New York back in January of 2011, months before the book was even out. I wrote about the surreal experience in the blog.

I’ve taken the liberty of dating these books January 26, 2011. Which makes them something of a rarity, as they’re dated two months before the publication date.

  • One hardcover copy of Subterranean Press’s Tales of Dark Fantasy.

A long out-of-print collection featuring an early version of my short story, “The Road to Levinshir,” as well as stories by other notable authors like Mike Carey and Poppy Z Bright.

  • Three first edition copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. Signed by the authors and doodled by Nate Taylor.

These are first edition copies that Nate was kind enough to doodle in:

I wish I could doodle….

  • Three hardcover copies of Gollancz 50th anniversary edition of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Gollancz printed retro-style copies of 5 classic fantasy books in celebration of their 50th year in publishing. The fact that Name of the Wind made it into the mix still makes me blushy with pride.

The introduction in this book by Steaphen Deas makes me kinda blushy, too.

  • One copy of Your College Survival Guide. Signed by Patrick Rothfuss and doodled by B.J. Hiorns.

This book was my first publication from back in 2005. A shameful piece of my sordid past.

It’s a collection of of humor columns I wrote for the college paper between 1999 and 2003. Columns dealt with pressing philosophical issues such as the fast zombie/slow zombie debate as well as everyday problems like how to bribe your professor or start a career as a prostitute.

The book is full of illustrations by BJ Hiorns, the same guy that occasionally illustrates my blog. It also contains annotations where I explain how some columns got written, the lies I told, and what sort of trouble various jokes got me into.

Only 500 of these were printed, and I have less than a dozen left.

The last time I looked online, the only ones I could find were being sold for over 800 bucks on Amazon:

Here’s the doodle Brett did in this one.

You can see why I love him….

  • AUCTION: One-of-a-kind Leather-bound Hardcover of  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

(Click to Embiggen. It’s worth it.)

Last but not least, we have a real gem.

This is a one-of-a-kind copy of The Name of the Wind, hand-bound in leather by bookbinder Hunter Ford.

This hardcover book is bound in blue Northamptonshire goat leather and decorated with gold acrylic paint. Printed on acid-free paper with marbled end pages, it is 636 pages with size 12 font and narrow margins.

It’s not just a rare book, it’s a unique book. And I’ll gladly sign it to the winner, if the winner so desires.

Our thanks to Hunter Ford for this treasure.

To see more pictures or bid on this book, click here.

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Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on our Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and many more.

Even better, if you chip in before February 7th of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Also posted in a billion links, gaming, geeking out, Tales from the Con, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat40 Responses

The Final Day, our Final Goal, our Final Donations.

Our Final Day:

Tomorrow, Worldbuilders is over for another year.

More precisely, after Friday Dec 17th 2:00 PST Worldbuilders will be over.

While this has been our best year so far, I feel a little bad that I wasn’t a little more organized.

I was planning on doing more author interviews like the ones I did last year. I wanted to write a blog about my adventures on House on the Rock to accompany Gaiman’s book. I wanted to write another about how I met Paolini at Comic-con to go with his donations. I’d planned on finishing the second half of my Perils of Fanfiction post from months ago.

Unfortunately, edits on book two took a lot more time and energy than I expected. And as a result, I had to let some of those plans go.

Because of that, we have a lot of items in this final blog that are cool enough to be set aside in blogs of their own.

But there’s just no more time. So you’re getting them all at once. Try not to let their combined awesome overwhelm you.

A Final Goal:

So yesterday in the blog that posted Neil Gaiman’s donation, I said I hoped we might be able to hit 150,000 dollars before the end of the fundraiser.

We hit that goal in less than ten hours. So I’ve decided to re-set the donation thermometer one last time.

Our last goal, the goal that I really don’t know if we’ll be able to meet, is going to be 166,700 dollars.

It’s an odd number. But if we raise that much money on our Team Heifer page it means that after Worldbuilders makes its matching donation, we will have raised a quarter million dollars for Heifer International this year.

That would be an amazing milestone. Plus when I’m trying to persuade people to donate books next year, I could say to them, “Last year we raised a quarter million dollars.” That’s a persuasive piece of information…

I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it. But I’m excited to try…

  • A copy of the UK and a copy of the US version of The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. Signed by the author.

I did an interview with Brent Weeks last year. And this year he’s not only kicking in some books, but stepping up to the plate and helping me match donations as well. This earns him a warm place in my heart forever.

Black Prism is his new book, and BSC review says that it’s full of “Multiple twists and compelling  characters…a page-turner.”

  • A set of The Night Angel Trilogy: The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks. Signed by the author.

  • A set of Graphic Audio books of Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks. Both signed by the author.

“I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, nonstop action and the kind of in-depth storytelling that makes me admire a writer’s work.” – Terry Brooks

  • A hardcover set of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. Signed by the author.

As I mentioned above, this is one of the donations I wanted to set aside in its own blog.

You see, I met Paolini at Comic Con this year. He’s a hell of a nice guy. He conducted an interview with me on Suvudu. It was the first interview he’d ever conducted, and he did a way better job with it than I did with my first interview earlier that day with Sandeep Parikh.

The blog I was writing was a tricky one, and I talked a lot about the strange place Paolini occupies in fantasy. In some ways he is the biggest rags-to-riches story we have in the genre. Young kid writes a book, gets published, gets a movie, becomes an international bestseller.

A ton of people read his books. A ton of people love his stuff. Published in 50 countries.

On the other end of the spectrum there’s a big camp of people who get all bitchy and snarky whenever his name comes up. They talk about plagiarism and such.

My blog talked about my own preconceptions about Paolini’s work. Most importantly it talked about something embarrassing: that I judged his books without ever reading them. That’s a hard thing to admit, because I like to think that I’m better than that.

After months of tinkering on the blog, doing research, finding links. It was finally finished. It was about 2000 words long. I was going to post it last Sunday night. It was going to lead off our final week of the fundraiser. I even got my friend to illustrate it, depicting me in all my ignorant judgmental glory:

Then, about 45 minutes before I was finished with the blog, my computer crashed and I lost it.

I’ll reconstruct that blog eventually. Then everyone will get a chance to voice their opinions and discuss in the comments.

But not today. This isn’t the time or place for it, understand? During Worldbuilders geeks of all genres come together and make the world a better place. We do not snark and froth at each other no matter what our differences of opinion. Follow me?

In addition to these signed books that we’re adding to the general lottery, Christopher has offered up another set of books for auction….

  • A set of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, signed and personalized by the author.

If you win this auction, Christopher Paolini will sign and personalize these books to you however you like.

To see more pictures or bid on this auction you can follow this link.

  • A copy of 3 Dead Princes, An Anarchist Fairy Tale by Danbert Nobacon and illustrations by Alex Cox. Signed by the author and illustrator. Donated by Exterminating Angel Press.

“This is a beautiful book. The illustrations are wonderful. It definitely rocks! I ought to know.” – Iggy Pop

  • A copy of Sorceries edited by Katharine Kerr. Signed by Katharine Kerr.

Another donation from Katherine Kerr who was nice enough to donate an original manuscript to the auction this year. Sorceries has been out of print for a while, so this signed copy is pretty cool.

  • A set of anthologies: Timeshares; Terribly Twisted Tales, signed by author Kelly Swails; and Stalking the Wild Hare, signed by author Dylan Birtolo.

Here we’ve got three different anthologies; a veritable buffett of new authors and stories to sample from. You have twisted faerie tales, hard sci-fi, epic fantasy, urban fantasy. A little bit of everything…

  • A copy of Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance edited by Lori Perkins. Signed by the author.

This anthology only needs two words to describe it: Zombie Romance.

Yeah. A whole anthology of Zombie Romance. I’m going to have to pick this one up…

  • A set of the October Daye Novels: by Seanan McGuire. Signed by the author.

“A refreshingly original story told in a wry, confident voice. Rosemary and Rue is a treat to read.” – Kelley Armstrong

 

If you’re a geek trying to raise geek children, you might want to check out this charming picture book for kids. It’s received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and is a 2011 ALSC Notable Nominee.

Here we have some lovely donations from Apex Books.

“Fresh, inventive, stylish and captivating, the work of a writer of unusual promise.” – Dean Koontz

  • A copy of The Apex Book of World SF edited by Lavie Tidhar.

“This literary window into the international world of imaginative fiction, the first in a new series, is sure to appeal to adventurous sf fans and readers of fiction in translation.” – Library Journal.

“Burrow’s debut is a swift-moving, pathos-free, creatively amusing riff on zombies from the zombie perspective.” – Publishers Weekly

“Braoddus and White are an unlikely pairing of talents that works astonishingly well. Orgy of Souls is a powerful, innovative work of fiction and one I recommend wholeheartedly. A damned fine read.” – James A. Moore

“Michael A. Burstein is an Isaac Asimov for the new millennium” – Robert J. Sawyer

“A remarkable collection, bursting at the seams with thought-provoking ideas and shattering visions.” – Brandon Massey

*     *     *

  • Two hardcover copies of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade. The 11.5 Anniversary Edition. Signed by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins.

Earlier this year, I got a bit of thrill when I was mentioned on Penny Arcade on their blog.

Okay. That’s a slight understatement. I was giggly as a schoolgirl. It might even be fair to say that I was twitterpated.

When it happened, I realized that my life was pretty cool. I also decided that since I don’t get to play many video games these days, I was going to start celebrating the cool things that happen to me by giving myself achievements.

Getting mentioned on Penny Arcade, I decided, would be the first achievement I officially unlocked.

I even got a friend to do an illustration to commemorate the event:

Note to people who don’t read Penny Arcade: Wanged is a technical term.

Suffice it to say that I love me some Penny Arcade, and these books are lovely collections.  If you want more details than that, you can read the interview with Jerry Holkins I posted up just a couple hours ago.

“Sanderson knows how to wrap things up cleanly. He spins a world that’s easily complex and mysterious enough to warrant sequels, but prefers to end it climactically, answering many of his biggest questions, while leaving others to the imagination.” – The Onion

*     *     *

Lastly, we have another set of donations I wanted to put into its own blog.

The lovely folks at Badali Jewelry make rings, necklaces, pentants and pins. What’s more, some of the stuff they make is based off the jewelery in fantasy novels.

They got in contact with me recently in order to talk about plans for… things. Secret things. Things which will be revealed in the near future.

When they found out about Worldbuilders, they were eager to donate some of their stuff to the fundraiser.

Then I dropped Brandon Sanderson a line and asked if he’d be willing to donate some books to go along with the Jewlery. He said he would, because Brandon is a hell of a nice guy.

  • A hardcover set Mistborn, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages of by Brandon Sanderson. Signed by the Author.

With accompanying Steel Alphabet Medallion from Badali Jewelry.

“Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh complexly in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters.” – Booklist

  • A hardcover copy of The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Signed by the Author.

With accompanying set of Asha’man Dragon pin and a Dedicated Sword pin from Badali Jewelry.

“The Wheel of Time . . . is a fantasy tale seldom equaled and still less often surpassed in English.”—Chicago Sun-Times

With accompanying Aon Omi Love Pendant from Badali Jewelry.

“Outstanding fantasy debut . . . . The intrigue and excitement grow steadily in this smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won’t want to put it down.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

I think that’s a great item to end the fundraiser on, don’t you?

I don’t need to mention that I can actually read what’s written on this ring, do I? That I can actually recite it from memory… in the original language?

No. I didn’t think so. Let’s pretend that I’m not quite that much of a geek.

*     *     *

Well folks. That’s it for this year. Remember that for every 10 dollars you donate on the Team Heifer page you get the chance to win these cool donations and hundreds of others.

We also have a few auctions that are still running for a little while. You can find them here.

Lastly, here’s the link to the main Worldbuilders page. You can head over there to see all the other donations and cool things.

Thanks again for eveything folks. Here’s hoping we can make our final goal.

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, Nathan Taylor Art, videos, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat50 Responses

Fanmail Q&A: Revision

Pat,

I know from your comments on facebook and your postings on the blog that you’re busy revising. What’s more, that you’ve been doing it for months. What I’m wondering is what, exactly, you do when you’re revising that it takes you so long to do it? Please don’t get me wrong. This isn’t another bitchy mewling e-mails from people complaining about waiting for WMF. I’m genuinely curious. You see, I’m not a writer or anything. The most I’ve ever written is papers for classes, and those I pretty much write, spellcheck, print, and then hand them in.

Consequently, this whole revision process is a big mystery to me. I know writers do it. And I know some writers (like you) seem to spend a lot more time on it than others. Back when I was a kid, I read about Piers Anthony’s revision process in his author’s notes. Where he would write the first draft of his books longhand, then revise them as he typed them into the computer. Then he was pretty much done. I know your books are much more complex than his, and a buttload longer. But still, I’m curious. Is there anything you can do to explain to us non-writers out here what exactly happens in the revision process? Can you show us how it’s done?

A big fan,

James

When you ask about *the* revision process, James, I get nervous. Every writer has their own way of doing things. I can only talk about *my* revision process, because that’s the only one I know.

Still, you aren’t the first person to ask about this. So I decided to take some notes on what exactly I did over the course of a night’s revision.

Here’s what I wrote down: (And don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers below. I don’t go in for that sort of thing:)

1. Changed a curse to be more culturally appropriate for the person using it.

2. Looked at all instances of the word “bustle” in the book to see if I’m overusing the word.

3. Considered modifying the POV in a particular scene. Decided against it.

4. Added paragraph about the Mews.

5. Changed the name of a mythic figure in the world to something that sounds better.

6. Spent some time figuring out the particular mechanisms of sygaldry to prevent consistency problems.

7. Reconsidered changing POV in same scene as before. Decided to just tweak it a little instead.

8. Trimmed two excess paragraphs.

9. Looked at my use of the word “vague” to see if I’ve been using it too much.

10. Removed about 20 instances of the word “vague” from the book.

11. Spoke with beta reader on the phone, getting their general impression of the book. Asked questions about several issues/concerns I have about the book. Took some notes.

12. Added two paragraphs to a chapter in order to adjust reader’s expectations for the following chapter.

13. Tightened dialogue in two key scenes, making them move a little more quickly.

14. Went through a manuscript copy of the book returned by one of my beta-readers. Fixed the typos they noticed, read their comments, and made a few minor adjustments to fix areas of the book where they were slightly confused.

15. Expanded scene to improve pacing and dramatic tension.

16. Considered moving a chapter to earlier in the book.

17. Moved chapter.

18. Read section of the book with new chapter order.

19. Moved chapter back to where it was before.

20. Re read several new-ish scenes to check their clarity and make sure they’re properly integrated into the book. Made small adjustments to smooth things out.

21. Invented several new religious terms.

22. Added paragraph to clarify character motivation.

23. Developed several new elements of the Commonwealth legal system.

24. Resisted the urge to add a 4000 word chapter so WMF would be longer than Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings.

25. Changed chapter ending to add slight foreshadowing.

26. Read the book for about two hours, making many small changes to tighten, clarify, and generally improve the language used.

That’s how I spent my Friday night, James. Altogether it took me about 11 hours. (10:30 PM to 9:30 AM the following morning.)

Some of these pieces of revision take more time than others. Something like #8 is relatively quick and easy once I’ve decided to do it. But something like 6  or 16-19 might take me an hour, and result in nothing at all in the book being different when I’m finished.

While most of these are in no particular order, the last one, # 26, is how I normally finish out my night, re-reading the book on the computer and tweaking the language it in a thousand small ways. When I do this, I also try to trim some of my excess wordage a bit. My first drafts are fairly verbose, and stories are better when the language is lean.

I know that sounds strange coming from someone whose novel is almost 400,000 words long, but brevity is something I really strive for. Everything in the book is there for a purpose. Every scene has to pay for itself. Every piece of description really needs to be worth reading.

During the two hours I tweaked the book, I trimmed out about 300 words, removing little bits of sentences and superfluous bits of description. I’d say over the last year, I’ve removed over 100,000 words from the book. Some of that was whole scenes and chapters, some of it just little bits and pieces.

I realize a lot of this is kinda vague. I apologize for that, but I don’t want to spoil any of book two by saying things like, “Added two sentences so it would be more of a surprise when Bast and Chronicler kiss.”

But since you asked me to “show you how it’s done,” I will. Since you admitted your letter that you only tend to write a first draft, I hope you won’t be offended if I revise your letter.

(Editor’s note: I felt weird doing this, so I e-mailed James to ask for permission. He said it was cool.)

Here’s how your letter looks after I gave it the same treatment that I give the book. I read through it twice, fiddled, tweaked, and tightened up the language.

Pat,

I know from facebook and your blog that you’re in the midst of revisions. I’m curious. What do you do when you revise, and why does it take so long?

Please don’t get me wrong. This isn’t another bitchy, mewling e-mail complaining about the wait for WMF. I’m genuinely curious. The only things I’ve ever written are papers for school. I just write, spellcheck, print, and hand them in.

Consequently, the revision process is a big mystery to me. Back when I was a kid, I read about Piers Anthony’s revision process in his author’s notes. He writes the first draft of his books longhand, then revises them while typing them into the computer.

I’m guessing your process is more involved than that. Your books are more complex than his, and a buttload longer. Is there anything you can do to explain the revision process to us non-writers? Can you show us how it’s done?

A big fan,

James

First off, James, I don’t mean to imply that your letter was in desperate need of revising. There’s a reason I answered yours and not someone else’s. Your e-mail was delightfully polite. It had punctuation and capital letters. It even looks like you spellchecked it. It was a lovely letter.

I just did this to show you what exactly I’m talking about when I say I tweak things around. I like shorter sentences and paragraphs because they’re bite-sized and easier for the reader to digest. Also, now each paragraph centers around a separate idea. That makes it easier for the reader to follow your points.

Also, my revised version is about 30% shorter. I clipped out a few phrases and some repetition. I removed prepositions when I could and combined some sentences. It says pretty much the same thing, but it’s about 160 words long instead of 225.

That’s what I’ve been doing all these months. Except instead of doing it once to a tiny letter, I’m doing it a billion times to a huge, bugfuckeringly complex metafictional narrative.

Hope this clears things up a bit,

pat

Also posted in Fanmail Q + A, Revision, the craft of writing | By Pat123 Responses

Ultimate Chalupa

So I’m driving by Taco Bell the other day, and the sign outside says, “Ultimate Chalupa.”

Naturally, I’m intrigued. Not just any old chalupa, not even a Really Good Chalupa. They’re selling the Ultimate Chalupa. The end-all be-all of chalupas. How can I pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

So I lane-change across three lanes of traffic and hurry inside. “Do you still have the Ultimate Chalupa?” I ask.

The guy behind the counter gives me a blank look and nods.

I’m so relieved. “Thank god. I’ll take it.”

So I pay my two bucks and change, and step to the side, waiting to them to complete whatever terrifying alchemy is required to produce the Ultimate Chalupa. It takes almost two minutes, so I’m guessing something pretty complex is going on back there.

And all the while I’m thinking: Wow. Ultimate Chalupa. This thing is going to be awesome. It’s going to be the Chalupa equivalent of Optimus Prime.

But just as they’re finishing, someone else steps up to the register behind me. She orders the Ultimate Chalupa too. I felt a little guilty, but also a little smug as I wait for the guy behind the register to explain to her that they’d already sold it.

But get this. He nods and rings up her order! I look over at him, pissed, and say, “What the hell are you doing?”

He gives me a blank look. I think this guy specializes in blank looks.  “What?”

“I already bought the Ultimate Chalupa,” I said. “It’s mine. You can’t sell it to her.”

Another blank look. He buys them in bulk at Costco. He got his associate’s degree in blank look at the local tech. “There’s your Chalupa.” He points at a tray being slid across the counter toward me.

“That’s not the Ultimate Chalupa!” I said, pointing at the woman. “Now she’s got the Ultimate Chalupa!” I slam my hand down on the tray. “This is just the Penultimate Chalupa! That’s not what I ordered! I didn’t pay $2.79 for some fucking Penultimate piece-of-shit Chalupa!”

The conversation spiraled out of control from there. The woman left in tears, and the guy behind the counter eventually used up his vasty store of blank looks, and was forced to use other looks that he wasn’t nearly as skilled with, like confused, irritated, and exasperated. He even had one that might have been flummoxed, but I’m not sure. He wasn’t very good at it, and I don’t think he really knew it was for.

Eventually I produced a Webster’s dictionary and proof that I did, in fact, have a Masters degree in English. This left them with no choice but to throw my ass out of Taco Bell yet again.

I stood in the parking lot and cursed them for a while. Then I climbed up on the sign and found out that someone had left the box of letters there. So I changed the sign to read, “Rather Good but by no means Ultimate Chalupa.”

Unfortunately, that used most of the letters, so my options were limited for the other side of the sign. All I could spell with what was left was, “Taco Bell – Everybody Masturbates on Us.”

Then I left. All in all, I’m counting the experience as a moral victory.

pat

Editor’s note: I actually wrote this back when I was doing the College Survival Guide, but I figured I’d post it up here so people could get a cheap chuckle out of it while I’m busy with revisions.

Also posted in College Survival Guide, small adventures | By Pat77 Responses

My Fictional Nature

It’s strange to me, knowing that if I write a blog, thousands of people will read it. Thousands and thousands. A ridiculous number of people, really.

It was less strange when I wrote the College Survival Guide for the campus paper. With the column, I knew what my job was. I wanted to make people laugh, and maybe, occasionally, slip a bit of reasonable advice to my unsuspecting readership.

Pure advice is unpalatable. It’s preachy. But if you make people laugh a little, they may not notice you’ve slipped them a little bit of truth. And even if they do notice, they’re more likely to forgive you for it.

I was a tiny bit of a local celebrity when I wrote that column for the campus paper. A few hundred people read it every week. On rare occasion people would recognize me as that-guy-who-writes-that-column. Once, the guy delivering a pizza to my house looked at my name on the credit card receipt and said, “Are you THE Pat?”

I laughed. “I didn’t know I’d become superlative,” I said.

I haven’t done the column for a couple years. These days I channel my humor writing into the blog instead. But there’s a difference. Back then I was a little bit famous because people read my column. Now people read my blog because I’m a little bit famous.

There’s more to it than that, of course. People read the blog because it’s amusing, or because they’re interested in news about upcoming projects and appearances. They tune in because they’re curious about book two, or because they’re looking for writing advice.

But mostly, people read the blog because they read my book and were curious about the author.

So I tell stories and post pictures. I screed and opine. I post up little pieces of my life. Then y’all take those pieces, fit them together, and you form an impression of me in your heads.

This is the interesting thing. It’s something I think about a lot. That person you create in your head out of these bits and pieces. That Pat Rothfuss you get to know from the blog, he’s fictional.

(It’s true that you could say the same thing of anyone. You could say that you don’t really *know* any of your friends or family, you just have flawed impressions of them based on your limited perceptions and experience.

This might be true in some small theoretical way, but in a bigger more practical way it’s pure bullshit. You know your friends. Let’s not become hopelessly meta here. If you follow that line of reasoning too far you end up in the pointless philosophical morass of relativistic solipsism.)

Anyway, my point is this: I think about this fictional Pat Rothfuss sometimes. I wonder what he’s like.

I expect in some ways, fictional Pat is pretty much like me. I’m honest to the point of blinding stupidity, and I talk about things here on the blog that any sensible person would keep quiet about. Anyone who’s ever seen me speak in public can attest to the fact that I can’t help but express myself freely and clearly, even if it’s not entirely appropriate.

Still, I can’t deny that I present an edited version of my life on here. The blog lies by omission. I talk about my signings and answer fanmail. I post a cute picture of my baby and talk about the new foreign edition of my book. I link to an interview and do a fundraiser for my favorite charity.

Given all of that, fictional Pat seems to have a pretty swank life. He seems really nice. He seems kinda cool.

And that makes me feel dishonest, because it’s not really true. You’re putting together the fictional me without the grubby bits. The truth is, I am at times a contemptible human being. The truth is, I have deplorable habits.

For example, when I go on Facebook, I post status updates talking about Dr. Horrible. Or I joke about the dream where I ended up in bed with Willow and Spike. I don’t mention what happened the other day with Oot.

You see, right now Oot loves my beard. In terms of desirability, beard ranks #3 in all creation. Boobs hold the top spot, of course, and the telephone is currently a strong #2. But other than that, he loves nothing more than to clutch at my beard.

I think gripping it appeals to some primal, monkey part of him. He gets his sticky little hands tangled up in the beard, and some piece of his primal baby brain thinks: “Good. I’m safe. If we’re attacked by a predator and forced to run to safety, I won’t be left behind.”

The problem is this: if you don’t have a long beard, you have no idea how painful it is to have it pulled. He could swing from my hair from all I care. He’s even managed to kick me square in the junk several times in an ongoing  campaign of sibling prevention. Those pains are nothing by compairison. Having your beard pulled hurts as much as when you’re walking around barefoot in the middle of the night and you stub your little toe really hard against a table-leg.

Usually I’m able to head him off when he grabs for it, but his motor skills have really been developing lately. So the other day, before I know it, he has both drooly little hands in it up to his forearms, then he yanks on it for everything he’s worth.

“Ahhh!” I shout. “Stop it you little fucker!”

Oot doesn’t seem to mind in the least. For all he knows I’ve just called him by one of his other countless names, (Thunderbutt, Prancibald, The Dampener…) He just laughs and tugs the beard some more, happy to be safe from prowling lions and packs of hyenas.

Still, it’s a shitty thing to say to your baby, and I feel bad about it.

The point is this: I suspect that fictional Pat would never refer to his adorable baby as, “you little fucker.” I suspect he’s better than that. I expect he’s a nicer person than I am.

Part of me thinks, even as I write this, “Of course you don’t talk about those things on the blog. Why *would* you? That’s not why people read the blog. You’re supposed to be putting your best foot forward….”

But then I think about that fictional Pat again, and I feel dishonest. There’s a difference between putting your best foot forward and subtly misrepresenting yourself.

The thing is, professionally, I should be careful here on the blog. If I was going to be smart about this, I’d never talk about sex or politics or religion, never make any jokes that could offend anyone, never tell you a story that makes me looks like the idiot I sometimes am. The smart thing for me to do is carefully groom and maintain this fictional Pat and use him as a promotional tool.

But the truth is, the thought of maintaining that sort of professional persona makes me distinctly uncomfortable. Given the choice, I think I’d rather be too honest and have you like me a little less. I’d much prefer to look like a bit of an ass, because… well… I am a bit of an ass.

So tomorrow I think I’ll post up a story of one of the countless times I’ve made an fool of myself in public. Maybe I’ll tell a few of those stories. I don’t know if they’ll help round out the fictional Pat some of you have come to know, but I expect it will make me feel a little bit less like a poser.

Barring that, it should be good for a laugh or two.

See y’all tomorrow….

Pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, blogging, College Survival Guide, emo bullshit, ethical conundra, my beard, Oot, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat112 Responses
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