Category Archives: fanfic

My First Fanfiction, With Apologies to Terry Pratchett

Back in the long ago. Back in the beforetimes. Back when I didn’t even know there was such a thing as fanfiction, I wrote fanfiction.

It was in 1992. I was 19, and while it was my third semester in college, I think I was still technically a freshman because I kinda sucked at being a student. I was in an Introduction to Creative Writing class.

(Interesting fact: Brett was also in this class. That’s how long I’ve known him.)

Half of the class was prose, which suited me to a T. Because I was still working on the dreaded High School Novel, which I was convinced was awesome, even though it was actually pure shit.

The other half of the class was poetry. Which I’d dabbled with, but never really taken a serious stab at.

At this point, I’d already read a fair number of Terry Pratchett’s books. I know this because when forced to write a poem for this class, I wrote one called “A Wizard’s Staff Has a Knob on The End.”

For those of you familiar with Pratchett, you’ll recognize this as a song that is frequently sung by Nanny Ogg. Usually when she is drunk.

At this point, I would like to formally and profusely apologize to Terry Pratchett.

So I wrote this poem for class. And I turned it in to the teacher. And I got it back with comments.

And when the time came for us to read our work aloud to the class, I read it.

That was more than twenty years ago. And I haven’t read it aloud since then.

But I will read it to you now:

When I read it to the class, it was rather gratifying. Everyone laughed. Everyone laughed and laughed and laughed.

Everyone except for the teacher. She just sat there, confused, and obviously slightly offended. When I was finished, and everyone was still chuckling, she spoke up, raising her voice so the whole class could hear. “Well, you don’t have to take it like that!”

And I remember thinking, “Good lord. If you don’t take it like that, there’s no fucking point to the whole poem. How could can you *not* take it like that?”

True story.

Anyway, there you go folks. One of the many secret shames I posses is secret no longer.

At this point, I would like to repeat, reinforce, and reiterate my apology to Terry Pratchett.

I had to go digging through my old papers to find a copy of this poem. It took a lot of doing, but I found it. It’s truly a document from a different era, a faded dot matrix printout. (For those of you who even remember what a dot matrix is.)

At the urging of the rest of the Worldbuilders team, I’m putting this item up for auction. I don’t know who among you might want evidence of my shameful past. But if you want to give money to charity for it, I won’t stand in your way.

Wizards Staff - shame photo

You can bid here.

Shamefully yours

pat

P.S. If you don’t care to bid on an auction, but would still like to support Worldbuilders, you can donate to our fundraiser here, and get the chance to win some cool books while you’re at it.

P.P.S. Mr. Pratchett. (Sir Pratchett) I know you’ll never see this. But if for some reason this ends up on your radar, I really hope you aren’t offended.

The truth is, you’re my favorite author. Your work amazes me, and I know I will never equal it.

When the world gets to be too much for me, I read your books. And afterwards I can move on with my life again. They remind me that underneath it all, people are fundamentally good. They remind me, that the world, while not perfect, is a pretty great place to live.

Or at the very least, it’s a convenient place for me to keep my stuff.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

pat

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat55 Responses

My Terrible Surprise – The Dreaded High School Novel

A couple days ago, Mary Robinette Kowal asked if I’d care to donate an act of whimsy to a fundraiser she was planning to Sequence Jay Lake’s Cancer.

I said I’d be happy to, and she put me in as their $17,500 goal, tucked between Scalzi and Gaiman like the ham in a coolness sandwich.

I had a couple ideas for what I could do, but wasn’t sure what would sound best, so I told Mary to put me down for “A terrible surprise.”

I figured I’d have at least a week or two before I had to come up with anything. Plenty of time for me to wrap up my own fundraiser, finish a story I have due, and do my amazingly good Kermit the Frog impression singing Rainbow Connection.

Or maybe I’d dig out my Dr Horrible lab coat and engage in a little mad science on my webcam…

Then Mary launched her fundraiser raised more than 20,000 in a single day.

Which was cool. Don’t get me wrong. But it meant I owed them something whimsical NOW.

Unfortunately, I have a bit of a cold right now, so singing is out. And all my glassware is boxed up in the basement. So I decided I’d post up a poem I wrote twenty years ago when I’d first started reading Terry Pratchett. It was called “A Wizard’s Staff has a Knob on the End.”

Despite the fact that I wrote it ages ago, and I can still remember the first few lines:

Oh wizard’s staffs are long and hard and known throughout the land.
A sight to heed, and fear indeed, is a wizard, staff in hand.
 

It’s everything you’d expect, a long, metrical double entendre. Fanfic I wrote before I knew what fanfic was….

Here’s the problem. I can’t find it. Not in my computer files, and not in the hoarder-esque boxes of old writing I keep squirreled away. Not anywhere.

But I did find something else. A piece of the novel I wrote in high-school.

While it isn’t terribly whimsical in and of itself, I’ll post it up here in a whimsical way, laying open my secret shame for everyone to see.

For you youngsters out there, this is what a dot matrix printout looks like. It’s the closest thing to a cuneiform tablet you’ll ever see.

I started this novel when I was 15-16. It’s the characters are D&D characters created by me and my friends.

This is the start of chapter 4. Don’t worry about being brought into the middle of things. So far the novel has consisted of two flashbacks and a dream sequence. The only action has been our three intrepid adventurers (A barbarian, a dwarf, and a Cat-Man samurai) have moved from one bar to another and  been given a quest by a monk named Dron.

Brace yourselves….

*     *     *

     Lambernath, the all seeing, stood wiping his clean oak bar with his clean, white, linen cloth. As his hand continued it’s unceasing movement it’s owner watched the four figures at the bar and silently gave thanks that there was more to be seeing lately.

     His eyes slowly passed over them all in turn, first the self proclaimed monk, Dron, who had sat waiting at his bar for nearly a week for a band of adventurers to respond to the leaflets that he had posted all over the town. Lambernath knew how anxious he was for help after the many long hours slowly sipping wine in the Cask. Lambernath had known when the trio of adventurers came in that the monk would do everything he could to sign them up.

     Still polishing, Lambernath looked over the dwarf sitting next to Dron. He seemed to be the stereotypical dwarf, his beard was more jet than silver and bristled out from his face and hung down to his waist. His commonplace chain mail hauberk hung to his knees and hooded his head, nothing surprising, as a matter of fact he had seldom seen an adventuring dwarf clad in anything else. His weapons though smaller than the battle axes that so many dwarves preferred were axes nonetheless. His ruddy complexion, fondness of ale, long pointed nose, the swagger and boisterous manner all perfectly dwarven. ‘If I saw him in a room full of mercenaries I wouldn’t notice him at all.’ All of these things viewed together make what a dwarf is expected to be, but it was too perfect and thus suspect.

     Lambernath shook his head as if to clear it, and chastised himself for thinking too much. “Just a dwarf,” he though, “they’ve never been much for originality anyway.”

     Following in dwarven tradition, instead of hammering out the details of the deal Deverax preceded to get hammered.

     Dismissing the dwarf from his mind, the magic user turned his attention to the two oddly matched friends that sat, huddled together. One was dressed in simple leathers, unremarkable except for their size. Occasionally they creaked as Kahn’s muscles bulged when he gestured to emphasize something he was saying. Lambernath strained to hear what they were talking about, but their speech was nonsense, unlike any of the half dozen languages he was fluent in, or another dozen that he could recognize.

     The other’s garb was foreign, and though the eyes of Lambernath the all seeing had beheld many things, they had never seen anything like what the black cloth mask and half cloak hid. His curiosity piqued, he brought to memory every reference to human/animal crossbreeding he could. But nothing matched up. The magic required to make a mating between two different species would be enormous. And the result would probably be much more animal than human. Lycanthropy seemed out too, the change from human to animal was quick and at both human and animal stages the lycanthrope was virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

     After a long moment of deep thought on the subject Lambernath gave it up as another one of the many things that he would probably never know.
The three seemed to be well prepared on the physical side of the adventure, But it was always a good plan to have a cleric or a mage along on an adventure. Or, if you could manage it, both. This group had neither, and aside from the obvious magical benefits that come with a wizardly companion, it was good to have someone along to do the heavy thinking. Fighters never were much good at that.

     “Admit it.” Lambernath said to himself, “You want to go with them, you’ve tried the life of an innkeeper and it bores you!” But another part of him wanted to stay where he was, where it was safe. This part had been stung by the dwarf’s remarks about mages. Meant to goad Dron, the bars had hit home with Lambernath instead. Finally he decided on a course of action, he would make his availability known and wait to see what happened. But they would have to ask him, his wounded pride demanded that much.

     Lambernath turned to the dwarf, obviously the leader of the group. His mind working out the perfect thing to say to him. Something that would suggest his availability without making it seem as if they couldn’t handle the adventure themselves (even though they couldn’t) , something that wouldn’t make it seem as if he really wanted to go (even though he did), and most importantly something to appear to the dwarf’s rough nature. In the second that this took, Lambernath turned to Deverax to find that the dwarf was staring intently at him. Cool and calculating, the dwarf’s icy blue eyes showed no hint of the ale that Lambernath had seen him consume.

     Lambernath started to wonder how long the dwarf had been watching him while he had been watching the dwarf’s friends. The carefully thought out words lay forgotten and unused, indeed useless under that gaze.

     They’ll do just fine without me, Lambernath though. He dropped his eyes to the hand that still polished the bar. He stopped the hand and turned his back on the bar. When he spoke his voice was oddly subdued.

     “More ale, anyone?”

*     *     *

Ahhh…. The terrible commas. The recurrent it’s ~ its mistakes. The obsessive internal monologue. The over-description. The cloying reek of cliche….

Best of all, you should know that Lambernath wasn’t a main character in the book. He wasn’t even a secondary character. He was just the innkeeper. The next day everyone left the inn and you never saw him again. He had no business being a POV character.

Simply said, it’s a train wreck.

Here’s the thing. Am I glad I wrote this book? Were the hundreds of hours I spent slaving away at it worthwhile?

Absolutely.

The whole purpose of your early writing is to make mistakes so you can get them out of your system. That’s what first novels are for.

You can see a few good ideas in there, desperately struggling to raise their heads out of the morass of mistake. I was trying to build mystery. (The cat man was actually a Kensai with a magical curse in his past.) I was trying (and failing) to figure out what a plot was.

And I was trying to show that while the dwarf *looked* cliche, there was something more to him that just a stereotype. It was my first fumbling attempt to twist a genre trope into something fresh and new. Not that I knew what the word “trope” meant back then….

And of course, you can see that Lambernath contains the seeds of a very, very early proto-Kvothe.

 (Photo Courtesy of Deviantart.)

If I hadn’t written that terrible book. If I hadn’t made the pointless decision to have the characters move from one bar to another. If I hadn’t foolishly switched POV to focus on a character that was utterly useless to the story, I might never have written Kvothe. Which pretty much means The Name of the Wind wouldn’t exist.

Anyway, I hope y’all have found this at least slightly amusing. Thanks so much for helping out Jay.

*     *     *

And if any of y’all are still feeling altruistic, you could always check out my fundraiser: Worldbuilders. We’re giving away thousands of books to encourage people to donate to charity.

You can click here if you’re interested in the details.

Also posted in Dr. Horrible, Fuck Cancer, My checkered past, Stories about stories., the craft of writing | By Pat24 Responses

And the Winner is….

Many of you already know that my editor, Betsy Wollheim, was nominated for the Hugo Award  this year. If for no other reason than I talked about it on the blog a couple times.

Guess what happened this Sunday night?

She won.

Thanks to everyone who voted for her, spread the word, or even quietly rooted for her from the sidelines.

The only downside? I wasn’t at the award ceremony. Because I’m an idiot.

You see, I *was* at Worldcon, and I assumed the Hugo Awards were going to be on Saturday night. So when Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub invited me out to Seattle to be on Kris and Scott’s Scott and Kris show on Sunday night, I said, “Sure.”

So while my editor was winning her Hugo. I was in Seattle, catching the tail end of PAX and doing…. well… this:

More details about the show, and a transcript of the Kris’s fanfic are here.

And I’m not saying the show wasn’t fun. Because obviously it was.

And I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy getting to meet Johnathan Coulton out at PAX, because I did. I super did. And I found out he’s read my books, which gives me a happy.

And I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy being in Seattle, visiting the Geek Chic headquarters, having a great signing at the University Bookstore, and having some amazing Thai food.

I’m just saying I wish I could have been there to see the look on Betsy’s face.

More blogs are coming. Big announcements. Cool news.

Stay tuned.

pat

 

Also posted in awards, cool news, videos | By Pat28 Responses

(Fantasy) Avengers Assemble!

I’m busy writing stuff and otherwise being awesome.

So instead of a great wordy blog you get a link to an article on Tor.com where they talk about assembling an avengers-style team out of fantasy characters. I was flattered to see that Kvothe got a spot on the team. That’s some rarified air he’s breathing up there with LOTR, Song of Ice and Fire, and the Princess Bride.

Quite aside from the obvious observation that Kvothe would have to be played by Robert Downy Jr. This list raises some interesting questions.

More to the point, a list like that is fanfic waiting to happen. And I personally wonder who Kvothe would:

1. Buddy up with.

2. End up Fighting in a Dark Knight Returns style grudge match.

(Yeah. Yeah. I know. That’s DC. Shut up.)

3. Rub the wrong way.

4. Rub the right way. (If you know what I mean.)

Feel free to speculate away in the comments below. I know I’m going to….

pat

Also posted in Fantasy, Fucking With You, geeking out | By Pat74 Responses

Suvudu Cage Match….

Two years ago, Suvudu hosted a sci-fi fantasy cage match, where they pitted fictional characters against each other in a tournament style series of one-on-one fights.

It was a cool concept, and it led to interesting match ups like Cthulhu vs Lyra. Cthulhu being an omnipotent elder god from the outer darkness, and Lyra being a plucky 13 year-old girl from Oxford.

Simply said, good times were had.

Kvothe was one of the characters they chose that first year, which was flattering, as back then I only had the one book out, and I was very new to the scene.

Even more surprising was the fact that Kvothe won his first match. Then his second. He made it all the way to the semi-finals after beating  Dumbledore, Garret Jax, and Aslan.

Y’know. Now that I’m thinking of it, I’m going to retroactively award myself an achievement for that. Because it was awesome.

In my opinion, the best part of the cage matches was the fact that Suvudu posted write-ups describing how they thought the fights would settle out.

Even better, they invited the authors to submit their own write-ups, so WE could describe how we thought the fights would go.

I did a write up for Kvothe vs. Aslan, then later did another for Kvothe vs. Jamie. It was the most fun I’d had writing in a long time. At that point in my life, trapped under the crushing weight of book two, it reminded me that writing could actually be fun….

*     *     *

Fast forward to today. Suvudu is running another tournament, and this time Bast is one of the players….

The Suvudu Cage Matches have been going for a couple weeks. I’ve been meaning to mention them here on the blog for a while, but I’ve been busier than usual lately, so I’m only now getting around to it.

Bast’s first opponent was Seregil, from Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series.

I read the first two books of Lynn’s series and liked them. But in addition to being busy, I really wasn’t able to come up with a good idea for a scene between the two of them. I briefly entertained the thought of writing it up as a kissing contest between Bast and Seregil, but that seemed kind of… inappropriate.

Lynn, of course, is a better person than me, and did a delightfully playful write-up of the bout between them that you can see over on Suvudu’s site. It was a good scene, and I expected her to win because of it. But Bast squeaked by….

Bast’s second fight was against Richard Rahl. And again, I found myself at a loss for an idea for a scene. My only idea there was something involving bondage. And since I’m still fuzzy on the parody-as-fair-use laws, I decided to focus on a few interviews I was late on and the questions in my translator questions instead. Luckily, Bast won through that one without my help, too.

Now it’s the third week, and Bast is going head to head with Anomander Rake from Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series.

I feel like a bit of a slacker by this point, like I should really do a write up for this one.

So here goes….

“So, Rake,” Bast said. “At last we meet again for the first time.”

“Indeed,” said Anomander Rake, tossing his flowing white hair over his shoulder.

Bast looked over his opponent calmly. “I’ve heard tell that you are old as ages.”

Rake nodded, his face giving nothing away.

“I’ve also heard that you are well versed in the arcane arts, you have a floating fortress, and that you..” Bast snuck a quick look at a piece of paper he held cupped in the palm of his hand, “…can turn into a dragon.” Bast looked up, his expression a little disgusted. “Seriously? You can turn into a dragon, too?”

Rake had the decency to look slightly abashed, if only very slightly. “Yeah,” he said. “All that and a bag of chips, too.”

“And you’re also nigh-invulnerable,” Bast said.

“That’s The Tick, actually,” Rake said grudgingly. “But yeah. I’m pretty much nigh.”

Bast nodded at this, seemingly unsurprised. “I see,” he said gravely. Taking a deep breath, he looked up, meeting the tall man’s eyes. “All that aside, do you seriously think you can eat more pie than me?”

Okay. I’ll admit it. I haven’t read Erikson’s series. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, and it’s on my list. It’s even a complete series, which is a huge selling point in my opinion. (*ahem*) But it’s also ten books long. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Given that I don’t know anything about Rake (And I don’t care to, thank you very much. So no spoilers, please.) I’m going to have pass on writing a full scene for this match too.

Right now, Bast is taking a bit of a drubbing, and perhaps rightly so. If he loses this round, I’ll still be proud he made it this far.

But I’ll also be a little sad. Because if Bast wins this round against Rake, and Zaphod Beeblebrox wins his match against Saphira…

…then the next round would be Bast vs. Zaphod.

So I’m not saying anyone *should* go and vote. I’m just saying that if the Bast vs. Zaphod match ends up happening, I would write the hell out of that scene.

That’s all I’m saying.

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, I mock because I love, Nathan Taylor Art | By Pat66 Responses

Cage Match – Kvothe vs. Jaime

As many of you know, Kvothe is one of the final four remaining fighters in Suvudu’s fantasy cage match. After beating Aslan and Dumbledore, he’s come head-to-head with Jaime Lannister from Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books.

Right now I’m losing. And while that stings a little, it doesn’t sting nearly as much as what Sarah said to me last night.

Are you still losing to Jaime Lannister?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “By a couple percentage points.”

Well, Jaime’s a pretty awesome character,” she said. “I don’t think that Kvothe will be able to beat him.

Now she’s entitled to her own opinion, of course. But still, what the hell? Whatever happened to “Stand by Your Man?” Even leaving aside the fact that I’m the pater familias, you’d think that she might at least show a little brand loyalty. After all, Kvothe as the one who puts food on our table and gives us the money to buy Oot jingly toys.

Seriously. Ow. My authorial pride is all hurty now.

Anyway, since I had a lot of fun writing up the Kvothe Vs. Aslan scenario, and a bunch of people asked for something similar for Kvothe vs Jaime, I decided to type one up. I just sent it in to Suvudu site, so it should be up there for you to see pretty soon.

Here’s a link to the fight, if you want it.

And remember, this round of the fight only lasts until Friday (tomorrow) noon. So if you want to vote in the last two matches, you need to do it soon.

pat

Also posted in cool things, Sarah | By Pat136 Responses

Thunderdome part II – Kvothe Vs. Aslan

So Kvothe is going up against Aslan right now in round two of the fantasy cage match on Suvudu. What’s surprising is that right now the votes are pretty much dead even. Half for Kvothe, half for the big cat himself.

I didn’t write up a little blurb for the last fight. But I’ve been driving a lot over these last couple days as I go from reading to reading. So I’ve had plenty of time to think about how the fight between Kvothe and Aslan would go.

So I wrote it up this morning and sent it off to Suvudu. If you wander over there, they should have it posted up pretty soon. I’m actually kinda proud of that little scene.

And for those of you wondering who did the cool picture of Kvothe they’re using over there on the site: it’s Kim Kinkaid over at Twirling Dragon. It’s one of my favorite pictures of Kvothe so far.

When Sarah saw it, she said. “Oh. He’s beautiful. No wonder Fela bought him a cloak….”

That’s all for now folks. I’ve got to get back on the road. See some of you tonight at Prince Books.

pat

Also posted in cool things | By Pat118 Responses
  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)