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Category Archives: trepidation

Hollywood News

As many of you know, a few days before San Deigo Comic-Con this year, the option on my books expired.

What this means is that ages ago, I sold some people the rights (the option) to make a TV show based off The Kingkiller Chronicles. They tried to make it happen, but it didn’t work out. Then, when the option period expired, all the rights reverted back to me.

Just so you know, this sort of thing happens all the time. The vast majority of things that get optioned never get made. The same way that most people that think about writing a book never get it published. Shit happens. People lose interest. Things get complicated. Projects lose momentum.

I don’t have handy statistics at my fingertips, but I’d be willing to bet a dollar that more than 98% of all book options end this way, with no TV show or movie or anything happening.

Anyway, my rights reverted. It didn’t come as a huge shock to me.

This, on the other hand, was a surprise:

BiddingWar

(Click on the headline if you want to read the article.)

Because everyone was suddenly interested in the books,  I spent most of my Comic-Con having meetings with representatives from every major Hollywood power. At least that’s what it felt like to me. It was a strange experience, and I talked about it in some detail on the episode of Untitled Rothfuss podcast that Max and I recorded out at the convention.

To say that I didn’t know what I was doing in those meetings is a bit of an understatement. In fact, I remember starting several of the meetings by saying, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do in this meeting.” I also dimly remember explaining to someone that there was no way you could turn The Name of the Wind into a movie. I explained it rather, well… emphatically for, like, 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s fairly high on the list of things you’re not supposed to do in a meeting with someone who wants to turn your book into a movie.

I had fun though. It’s nice to be desired. For that brief moment in time I was the prettiest girl at the party, and everyone wanted to dance with me. (Only frequent readers of the blog can appreciate how clean I kept that little analogy.)

Princess Pat

The meetings weren’t stressful for this simple reason: I wasn’t that interested in turning my books into a movie. I know for a lot of authors, a movie deal is like the holy grail. It’s kinda free money. And if a movie gets made? Well, then, you get a truckload of cash, a bucket of fame, and your books get to hang out on the bestseller lists for a while. Usually a long, LONG while.

But honestly? Money’s never been a huge motivator for me. And my books already sell well. And I’m already more celebritous than I’m entirely comfortable with.

Most importantly though, I’ve never been that interested in a straight-up movie deal. Pretty much every fantasy movie created so far has been an action movie, or plot centered, or both. And my books aren’t like that. My books are about the characters. They’re about secrets and mysteries and the hidden turnings of the world. My books are all about antici-

 

-pation. And a movie, even a long movie, simply doesn’t have enough time to fit all of that stuff in. That’s why my original option was for a TV show. I wanted space for the story to breathe.

So when I met with these people from movie studios, I told them that I wasn’t terribly interested in a movie deal. Not to be a dick, but because I prefer to be honest with folks. I’m happy to have meetings, talk about stories, listen to a pitch…  As I said, it’s fun to be desired. It’s nice that you think my books are pretty. Let’s have a dance. But I wanted them to know that I wasn’t really planning on jumping into bed with anyone. (Damn. I knew the analogy was going to end up there eventually.)

KvotheDress

There was one exception. When I met with Lionsgate, I said, “If you come at me with a movie offer, it’s going to be a hard sell. I’m not that excited about movies by themselves. But you guys are different from a lot of other studios. Those guys are huge. Monolithic. But you’re more agile and innovative. Your movie people and your TV people actually know each other. They could work together. Share resources.

I continued: “If you came at me with a pitch that involved a television show AND a movie, I’d listen to that. I’d listen really hard, because something like that would let us be big-budget while still giving my story room to breathe. It would give people the ability to spend more time in my world. I can’t think of anyone who has really done that, but it seems like we could have the best of both worlds that way. And it seems to me that you guys are one of the only places that could realistically pull something like that off.”

Yeah. I’m from small-town Wisconsin. But I’m not stupid. And it’s impossible to have 15 hours of meeting with Hollywood people without learning something about who’s who and how that world fits together.

But ultimately, I was just shooting my mouth off and I knew it. I was running on too much caffeine and too little sleep, but I still realized what I was saying was something along the lines of, “I see you guys are offering me the moon, but I’d really like the moon AND a chocolate cake with solid gold frosting. And you need to make the cake from scratch.”

So comic-con finished up. I went home. My coach turned back into a pumpkin and my pretty dress turned back into a geeky-tshirt and kinda grubby pair of cargo shorts. Which is probably for the best. As I’m not very good at important meetings or dancing. I’m way too beardy to be a princess.

PumpkinPat

The End.

*     *     *

Then Lionsgate got in touch. “About that whole TV-show-and-a-movie thing you mentioned,” they said. “If we’re going to do some sort of big narratively intertwined multi-platform development deal based on your books, wouldn’t it make more sense to do a video game along with the TV show and movies? Because seriously, why wouldn’t we want to do a video game too?” (I’m paraphrasing a little here you understand.)

I said, “What?”

*     *     *

Since then, I’ve been talking with Lionsgate kind of a lot. Going over particulars. Talking serious talks.

And when I say, “I’ve been talking with Lionsgate” I mean “Me and my team of skilled movie-smart people who do this for a living and some of them are powerful, hard-eyed lawyers.” Because like I said, I’m from small-town Wisconsin, but I’m not stupid.

And I’ll be honest, from the first moment I sat down at the table, I was ready to walk away. I liked the way Lionsgate was willing to dream big with me about adapting my books. They were willing to think outside the box. They were willing to make a whole new box just so we could go outside of it.

But… well… Hollywood is scary. The contracts are, to be quite honest, horrifying. And the power differential is immense. Even the smallest of studios is more powerful than some countries. And the biggest author ever is kinda not a very big deal at all.

So yeah. Silly as it might sound, from the very beginning of this process, I was willing to walk away from the deal. I was almost looking for an excuse to do it, because life is too short. I didn’t want to get a sack of money and pat on the head, then spend the next three years watching helplessly as they molested my books.

LolliPat

So we started to negotiate, and that’s where I received my biggest surprise of all.

You see, I never expected a studio would treat me like a human being. But through this whole process, Lionsgate has treated me with amazing respect. I’ve made what to me seem like reasonable requests, and they responded to them… reasonably. And I’m not just talking about pretty words here, they’re making contractual agreements granting me control of things. They haven’t just been reasonable, they’ve been kind, and understanding.

WandPat

To be perfectly honest, it’s a bit disconcerting. I never anticipated that a Hollywood studio would treat me like a human being. Let alone want to work with me as a creative partner and respect the fact that I do, in fact, know a lot about how stories work. This story in particular.

So… yeah. That’s the news. Me and them, we’re gonna do a thing.

Lionsgate is making its own press release today and there will be stories in all manner of Hollywood news outlets pretty soon. It’s not a coincidence that my blog is launching up on the very same day as their big announcement. In the same hour, even. Lionsgate coordinated with me so I could share this news on my blog at the same time they’re launching their story.

This was important to me because if you read my blog or follow me on social media…  well… you’re a part of the reason my books are a big deal. A lot of you have been a part of my team for years, and I wanted the chance to tell you about this piece of news myself rather than have you hear it on the street.

The fact that Lionsgate was willing to go to some lengths to let me launch this blog simultaneously with their press release is another good sign, in my opinion. It shows they respect me, and it shows they respect you guys, too.

Now I know some of you will be reading this news with fear in your hearts. You’ll worry about them screwing it up. I understand. I know you love these books.

But hear me when I say this: You cannot love these books more than I do. You can’t care about them more than I do. I’ve put twenty years of my life into them. They ride next to my heart. They are my tangible soul.

And I’m not stupid. I hope by this point you know me well enough that you can trust me not to rush into… well… anything. If I cut a deal like this, it’s only because I really think there’s a chance for us to make something beautiful.

I’ll talk about this more on the blog later. I’ll answer questions and explain things and give more details.

Later. We’ll do that all later.

For now. Just for the next couple of days. How about we just let ourselves be a little excited about this? There will be plenty of time to fuss and fidget in the days to come. But right now, I’m not going to worry. Right now I’m just going to spend some time being a happy geek, excited at the thought of getting to see the Eolian or the Fishery. There are some scenes I’d love to see somewhere other than inside my own head.

I’m guessing there’s some scenes y’all would like to see, too….

See you later Space Cowboys,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, BJ Hiorns Art, cool news, movie talk, the longest fucking blog ever, the man behind the curtain | By Pat287 Responses

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

So my book is launching today, and so far I’ve spent the day trying not to think about it.

I am not a nervous person, but I’ll be honest with you. This book has me tied in a bit of a knot. I didn’t feel this way when Name of the Wind came out because I knew that book was good. I’d carried it around next to my heart for 14 years before it was published. I was confident in it.

But this book… When I finished it, I honestly expected it to just sit in a trunk for years. I knew I liked it. But I also knew it wasn’t like any sort of fantasy story I’d ever read before. At best it was arty, at worst it was incomprehensible. Bizarre. I mean, just look at the title: The Slow Regard of Silent Things. What does that even mean? My translators can’t figure it out, and I can’t articulate it in any sensible way. So in the rest of the world, the book is going to be “The Music of Silence.”

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And yes, yes, I liked it, but it was *my* book. Of course I like it. An author’s view of their own work is never objective.

So today I’m nervous. I’m resisting the urge to go look for reviews. Actively fighting the urge. The almost overwhelming urge. That way lies madness.

So I go onto twitter instead. The first, best refuge of a desperate man looking for substanceless distraction. And instead I and see people talking about the book. They’ve already read it, and before I can look away, I see this:

@PatrickRothfuss Just finished the book. I can only compare it to Ulysses, but not boring. You just made art. Makes the world brightier.

— Deoch y Stanchion (@DeochyStanchion) October 28, 2014

And it helps. A little. The twitter handle lets me know the reader isn’t exactly objective either. They’re obviously a fan…

But the more I roll this around in my head, the more it troubles me. Ulysses was one of those books that I was supposed to read for class but I never did. All I really know about it is that it’s one of the all-time front runners for pretentious, literary self-indulgence, right?

So I turn off twitter. I avoid reading e-mails that might even imply they have anything to do with my book. Then I grit my teeth and answer them anyway, because most of them are from my publisher, and I can’t just leave them hanging.

book

I just went online to find a copy of the US cover to post up, and I found this. This sort of thing warms my heart. Y’all are so enthusiastic and encouraging and kind. It makes me smile. It makes me think that things will be okay. My readers are up for something a little different. They’re geeks. They’re smart.

Then I picture the person above reading the book, their forehead furrowed, their expression screaming, “What the actual fuck Rothfuss? What the hell is this story even about?”

I hate the thought of disappointing people. And this is something that I didn’t understand until I was a parent. The more someone loves you, the more you have the ability to disappoint them. I love my little boy, and I get so irritated with him sometimes. Oot loves me beyond all reason and sense, and when I tell him no, I have hours of work to do, I can’t play, his face falls. Then he smiles a fake smile at me and tells me it’s okay. He’s only five and he already knows how to fake a smile to hide his disappointment. It breaks my heart.

I’m doing an event in Portland tonight in just a couple hours. It will be a good time. The Doubleclicks are opening for me, and last I heard we’d sold over 700 tickets.

What’s the point of all of this? There’s no point. I’m just rambling. Fretting.

I should go take a shower and see if I can do something to make myself look slightly civilized. Maybe eat some dinner. I should definitely Coffee-Up for my performance. Caffeine will probably help.

I hope all of you are well. If you’re reading the book, I hope you’re enjoying it. If you’re not reading the book, I hope you’re enjoying not reading it.

As always, yours in verbosity,

pat

Also posted in emo bullshit, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat267 Responses

Contemporary Mythology

I was going to post up a little story about my recent Halloween adventures at Neil Gaiman’s House on the Rock shindig. But I can’t find the right pictures I need to illustrate it, so I’m guessing it will have to wait a little bit.

In the meantime, I have a link to a video of the panel I was on about Contemporary Mythology.

I post this link with some trepidation, as I don’t remember exactly what I might have said on the panel. This isn’t anything odd. I rarely remember more than a few snippets after I’m done speaking on a panel. But the snippets I remember from this panel particular panel make me vaguely uneasy. I dimly remember saying something about “the revolution” and something else along the lines of “you can all roll around in your own filth if you want.”

Soooo…. yeah. It seems like I should remember more than a handful of words out of a 45 minute panel. But I don’t. I wonder if that’s weird. Maybe I have a disorder or something.

Anyway, feel free to watch it if you’re interested.

The picture is a little fuzzy, but then again, so am I….

pat

Also posted in panels, videos | By Pat17 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 blogging, calling on the legions | By Pat101 Responses
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