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Category Archives: blogging

So I’m guessing some of you like stories….

Heya Everybody,

There’s a few projects we’ve been working on over here at RothCo. Some of them for years and years. The biggest of these is the website renovation. I’ve wanted a new website for 8 years, and we’ve been working on it for ages.

And now, believe it or not, it looks like we’re going to be able to launch it by the end of the year.

But here’s the thing. One of the big problems with the current website is that it didn’t really show off the blog properly. Because when we created the website, I didn’t know I’d be writing a blog. Or at least I didn’t know I’d be writing a blog as extensive as mine has ended up becoming.

Over the last decade, I’ve written stories I’m proud of. Some funny. Some sad. Some strange. I’d like to show those blogs off to people who swing by the new website, or to people who have only tuned into the blog in the last couple years, and have no way to find those old stories except to troll through

I have a few that I remember that I’m proud of, but to tell you the truth, I wrote a lot of them a long time ago. A lot of times, people say, “I love that blog you wrote about your dog,” and I honestly can’t remember writing it.

So if you have a blog you’re particularly fond of, could you let me know down in the comments below? Preferably with a link?

Thanks,

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, calling on the legions | By Pat140 Responses

So I was planning this whole other blog….

It was one of those end-of-year things. I was going to muse about 2013, share some photos and pieces of news I never got around to posting. Maybe talk about a few books I liked….

I even had a title for the blog, I was going to call it “New Year’s Resignations.” Which is probably the best title I’ve come up with all year.

I’ll write that blog eventually. Probably. I had some things to say, and until I write them down they won’t leave me alone.

But I’m not going to write that blog today. I can’t.

I was going through my backlog of fanmail today. Trying to play catch-up, as always. And a reader had sent me…

Ah, I’ll just show you:

Mr. Rothfuss,

There is a song by a woman named Dar Williams that always makes me think of you and Worldbuilders. I thought I would share it with you, if you have time to listen to it – just in case you haven’t come across her before. Every time I hear it, it makes me think of things you have said about Worldbuilders, and your most recent blog post about First Book made me think of the last verse, so I had to finally send the link. If you have 3 minutes for it, I think you will really like it.

S.

Generally speaking, if someone sends me an interesting link, I’ll follow it.

So I did. And I listened to the song. And I was doing pretty well until the last verse, which hit me so hard that I felt like there’s been a hole blown straight through me.

It’s a good song, I’ll link it here for you:

After listening to that, I don’t really feel much like writing a pensive blog, the main theme of which is that I wish I were a better father, a more reliable friend, a more  professional writer…. Overall, I wish I was… well… I wish I was the sort of person had his shit together.  Because, generally speaking, I really don’t.

No. After listening to that song, I decided to forgo a vaguely emo retrospective blog.

Instead, I’d just like to thank all of you.

I’d like to thank you for reading what I write. I’d like to thank you for tuning into the blog. I’d like to thank you for being graceful and kind.

I’d like to thank you for making Worldbuilders awesome. For helping out with First Book.

Thank you for making the world a better place. You make me hopeful for humanity.

That’s better than what I’d planned to write today.

That’s how I’d like to end the year.

Fondly,

pat

Also posted in the man behind the curtain | By Pat47 Responses

Fabulous Prizes and BFF’s

Okay. I think the problems with WordPress should be sorted out by now. I’m pretty sure that means I can both post things and have things be seen by y’all out there in internetland. Which is nice.

At this point, a lot of people might be tempted to say something bitchy about WordPress. Something along the lines of: “grumble grumble … fucking wordpress … mutter mutter …. pain in my ass….”

But the truth is, I love WordPress. It’s so much better than my previous blog hosting site. And if occasionally they have a hiccup and something goes wrong. Y’know, that’s just life. Shit happens. Whatever went wrong, they fixed it inside of ten days. And this is key, I didn’t have to do anything myself to get things back up and running.

So. Huzzah for WordPress. We’re still BFF’s.

Anyway, on to the news.

Worldbuilders:

Over these last couple weeks we’ve been diligently drawing winners for the Worldbuilders prize lottery, then packaging them up and mailing them out.

Pictured here are the first batch of prizes we packed and shipped. *Not* pictured here were the 100 or so other packages that we managed to get out the door over the course of that long weekend.

The more observant among you might notice two bright, smiling faces in this picture other than my own. (I’m the one with the beard.) Those are Amanda and Nicole, my two new assistants. Without them, y’all probably wouldn’t get your packages until next year. With them as newly initiated members of the team, I have time to do things like write, eat, and occasionally breathe.

Why are we grinning like we’re high on E? Well, because I’ve found that pharmaceutical-grade heroin is a much better benefit than health insurance. Also, we were really pleased with ourselves when we finally figured out how to work the timer on the camera.

A few other frequently asked Worldbuilders questions:

  • When will I be announcing the winners?

Well…. I won’t.

For one, it’s a privacy issue. It would be rude of me to suddenly post up everyone’s names without asking first.

For another thing, I really don’t have the time to sort all that out and post 500 winners up online. Or to e-mail you all individually. It’s just not possible. Not even with my delightful new assistants lending a hand.

  • What about the big prizes, like the ARC of Stardust and the Golden Ticket? Will we get to find out about those?

http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2012/01/gaiman-and-goats-gifts-that-keep-on-giving/

http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2012/02/200k-blog-the-golden-tickets/

As those prizes are drawn, I’m contacting the winners individually. First to make sure they want the prize, and then to make sure we have everyone’s address right.

I’m also asking those folks if it’s okay for me to mention them on the blog. If they say it’s okay, I’ll be posting up news about them when we post the official fundraiser wrap-up in about a month.

  • How will I know if I’ve won something?

It will show up at your house. Keep in mind that we’re shipping things media mail to save money, so they’ll take a little longer to get to you.

Fair warning: this is a random drawing, and therefore the odds are excruciatingly fickle, if not outright cruel at times. We had one person who donated $1000.00 but due to sheer bad luck didn’t win anything. While someone else donated 80 dollars and walked away with 6 gorgeous signed hardcover books. (I sent the thousand dollar donor something out of my personal stash anyway because I felt bad about their crummy luck.)

My advice is to assume you didn’t win, then be pleasantly surprised if something shows up on your doorstep.

  • How many of the books have you mailed out?

Somewhere between half and a third. We package everything carefully. Plus we had a lot of books this year, so it’s taking a long time.

Here’s the most important thing. Don’t e-mail us asking if you’ve won something. It slows down our shipping and makes my assistants cry. And while it’s true that I occationally enjoy the sound of my employees weeping softly to themselves in low, despondent tones. It’s one of those pleasures I prefer to enjoy in moderation, lest I develop a tendancy to laugh maniacally while gently petting a fluffy white cat.

More soon,

pat

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat33 Responses

Just a Geek

I’ve owned this book for a long while, but it was just two days ago that I finally picked it up and started reading it. You know how it is. Life gets in the way, the book gets buried, you wonder where it is, you get distracted by whatever. Candy. Sex. Aperture science.

I finished reading it less than five minutes ago, and even though it’s 4:30 AM, I came upstairs, woke up the computer, and now I sit here, trying to figure out what I can say about it.

But I don’t know what to say. I’m flummoxed. I’m positively wallowing in flum over here.

I suppose I should mention that I don’t read Wheaton’s blog. I’ve wandered by there now and again, following links friends have sent me. But I’ve never made a habit of it.

Don’t read too much into that. It’s not like I avoid his blog. It’s just that I don’t read blogs. Not at all, really. Not even engaging blogs written by clever people I’m interested in, like Gaiman, Scalzi, or Wheaton.

I know that might sound odd to people. As I’ve been writing this blog for… good lord… over four years now. But the truth is, I don’t think of this as a blog. I think of it as a continuation of the humor column I wrote for almost ten years back in college. I make jokes, talk about my life, and occasionally give some bad advice.

But I don’t think of this as a blog.

For me, it’s a relief valve. This is where I give vent to the parts of my personality that don’t have any place in the novels I’m working on.

This is the place where I can snark and bitch if I want. I can talk politics or get sappy about my baby. I can say “Monkeyfucker” and get it out of my system. Which is a good thing, because that would be really hard to work into book three.

What was my point here?

Oh, right. My point is that I’m not a Wheaton fanboy. I picked up the book because I was curious, then never got around to it because I wasn’t curious enough.

That said, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a bit of a Star Trek geek. I used to watch it in high school. I watched it with my mom who was a Star Trek geek since before I was born.

God. I haven’t though of that in years. I remember watching that first episode of The Next Generation with her. During the first commercial, we agreed that the new version of the ship looked all wrong. It offended our sensibilities.

But we grew to love the show. We watched it as a family. It was an event.

Later on I watched it with one of my best friends in high school, Steve. He was a true geek for the show, and it was one of the things that gave us some common ground.

Eventually I left for college and watched it with my new friends. It let me know I’d found the right sort of people to hang out with.

Much later, after the show was long over, I bought a bunch of collector’s edition VHS tapes at a garage sale. They became part of my nightly pre-writing ritual. I would eat dinner and watch an episode of Next Generation while drinking an insanely strong cup of coffee. Then I would go work on what I called, “The Book.”

It was 1999, and I was still writing the first draft of what would eventually become The Kingkiller Chronicle.

It’s strange to think of how big a part of my life Star Trek used to be. I bet I haven’t watched any in ten years.

So. In summary. I read this book as a Trek geek, but not as a Wheaton fanboy. I’ve known *of* him for some time now. Hell, I’d even written a story with him *in* it. But I really didn’t know much about him. I knew he was a powerful part of the geek culture, but he was one of the cool, famous, Hollywood geeks, and I was just a writer geek. Our paths have never crossed.

Okay. Enough context. On to the book.

Simply said, I found it absolutely fascinating. I wasn’t a Wheaton Fanboy before I read it, but now I kinda am…. Now I can understand why folks like him so much.

The writing is perfectly, painfully candid. It’s like a little backstage pass into Wheaton’s life back when things weren’t going so well for him. Back when he was dealing with some hard stuff in his life.

The story really got its hooks into me. It made me anxious. Gave me troubling dreams. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.

There are a lot of things I liked about the book, but I’m still having a hard time putting my finger on the crux of it. I can’t say what it was that made me come up to my computer tonight instead of sleeping. I can’t say what made me write a 1000 word blog tonight, rather than the gushy little goodreads review I’d been planning on.

I liked the fact that I got a behind-the-scenes peek at Star Trek and some of the actors that I grew up watching. That was cool.

I liked that Wheaton talked about what it’s like being an actor. I found that really interesting too.

He’s funny, and articulate, and self-deprecating, and honest….

But I still can’t point to what it is that really grabbed me by the nuts, here.

I really don’t know. Still flummoxed.

It could be I liked it because, ultimately, it was a story about stories. I have a weakness for those.

Part of me wishes I’d read this book back in 2008. Back when I’d missed my first deadline and was feeling like absolute shit. Back when I was sure I was ruining my entire career by delaying book 2. Back when I was still trying to get a grip on some of this celebrity stuff while at the same time being wretchedly messed up about my mom being gone. I think this book would have helped me sort though my shit a little more quickly.

Gech. I’m making a rambly mess of this. It seems like the more I like a book, the more trouble I have explaining why.

Okay. I’ll take one more run at this. I’m going to keep it simple this time:

It was a good book. You should give it a try. Unless you really don’t want to. Then you should do something else.

Merciful Buddha. That’s just awful.

Let that be a lesson to any of you that come looking for blurbs. Don’t. I suck at this.

pat

Also posted in mom, my dumbness, recommendations, the art of blurbing, Wil Wheaton | By Pat38 Responses

Minor Technical Difficulties

Last week I took a bit of a vacation to spend time with my family and attend a few events in Madison. This means that I also took a bit of a vacation from both my e-mail and my blog.

So, of course, during that time my blog goes wonky and the contact form on my website breaks. And I didn’t even know until I got home.

Hopefully we’ve got those issues resolved. But if you want specifics:

1. If you experienced something weird on the blog, I’ve been told that it’s because you’re using an old rss feed. So, if you’re doing that, do something else, and things will stop sucking. (I hope that wasn’t too technical for any of you.)

2. The contact form should be fixed. But if you sent me a message between the 24th of September and the 1st of Oct, I didn’t get it.

In other blog-related news, I’ve decided to spend the next couple weeks catching up on some blogs I’ve been meaning to write. Book recommendations. Fanmail questions. Funny stories about Oot. The kissing-booth story from Convergence….

At this point it’s safe to say I probably have more than 100 blogs I’ve been meaning to write, but that I just haven’t had time for. Many of them have been sitting around half-written for months, others have been left hanging for more than a year.

So, if there’s a particular blog that you’ve been waiting for, you can jog my failing memory by making a suggestion in the comments below.

Politely, of course.

pat

Posted in blogging | By Pat79 Responses

A Quick Request for Help

Normally when I write a blog, I try to make it something that can appeal to a wide audience.  Something that it’s worth your time to read no matter who you are.

For example, if I answer a piece of fanmail asking for writing advice, I try to make the blog entertaining even if you’re not an aspiring writer. I make jokes, arcane references, and interesting word usements.

So today, I’m sorry. Because this blog is really just for one person. That’s something I don’t ordinarily do.

Here’s the story:

A couple months ago, a reader sent me a piece of mail. She’s in a high-school senior, and she invited me, in a very polite, n0-pressure way to her graduation party.

It was a lovely letter. And it was a very charming and genteel request. So I thought to myself, “What the hell, if I’m not doing anything that day, maybe I will stop out.”

Then it turned out that I was free that day, (This Monday, Memorial day.) What’s more, I was going to be driving from Madison to Stevens Point that evening. And her hometown was right on my way home….

So I decided I’d stop by and surprise her.

Here’s the problem:

Two days ago when I went looking for the letter she sent, I couldn’t find it. I remember putting it somewhere safe so I wouldn’t lose it. And I can only assume that it’s still there, too safe for me to find it.

I never contacted her, because I wanted it to be a surprise. Also, I didn’t want her to be disappointed if I couldn’t make it.

That means I don’t have any record of her name, the address, or time of the graduation party. I can’t even remember the name of her hometown. I just remember that it was somewhere in south-central Wisconsin.

So here’s what I’m hoping.

That you, that one particular reader, happen to read this blog in time, and drop me a line letting me know when and where your party is. Barring that, maybe one of your friends might read this blog and think to themselves, “Mandy is a big Rothfuss fan, and we live in the right area, maybe she’s the one that blog is about…” Then they’ll tell you to get in contact with me.

(Mandy isn’t the name, mind you. Like I said, I can’t remember the name.)

I realize it’s kind of a vain hope, but I just can’t find the letter.

Here’s what I don’t want:

Now this is the big thing. I don’t want a hundred people to e-mail me asking if I’ll come to their graduations, keggers, bat mitzvas, ritual scarifications, handfastings, whatever.

I really don’t want this. I am specifically asking you n0t to do this. Not in the comments below, not in an e-mail to me. Seriously. Don’t wheedle and bribe and beg at me.

The reason is this, I just can’t go to everyone’s party. So if I have to slog through 30 of those e-mails, I’ll feel guilty as well as put upon and clawed at. And that bad feeling will shit on my day and completely negate any good feeling I’d get out of stopping by the party I’m actually hoping to swing through.

I’m trusting y’all to be cool about this. This is a test, in a way. I’m betting that y’all are polite, civilized people. Please don’t let me down.

Also, please don’t e-mail me with wild speculations as to who it might be. If you think it might be your friend, please e-mail them, not me.

Lastly, (and I hope this goes without saying) but don’t pretend to be the person who sent me the letter if you’re not. The letter had a few distinguishing features, so I’ll find out after a quick e-mail exchange. When that happens, not only will you be on my eternal shit list, but my faith in humanity will be damaged. I’m trying to keep that faith undamaged for at least another year or two….

So for that one reader out there: how about it? Is there a chance in hell that you might check my blog the day before your graduation party?

For the rest of you, I hope you have a lovely memorial day.

With love,

pat

P.S. If you’re in the Madison Area, I’m doing a reading/signing at Room of One’s Own at 2:30 today. Feel free to swing by….

Also posted in calling on the legions, trepidation | By Pat101 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, BJ Hiorns Art, College Survival Guide, emo bullshit, ethical conundra, my beard, Oot, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat112 Responses
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