Monthly Archives: April 2010

I said I’d tell you when I knew….

So my editor has finished reading the great beastly draft of The Wise Man’s Fear I sent her a while back.

It’s the third draft she’s read, but it’s the first one I’ve really had any confidence in. The first one was pure crap. The second one was mostly complete but still pretty shaky in parts.

This draft was good. I’m verging on being proud of it. It still has a few problems, but they’re manageable problems.  They’re problems I can percieve and get my head around, and that means they’re problems I can solve.

So Betsy got back to me with her feedback on the manuscript: a list of 27 things she felt needed attention in the book, arranged in nicely worded bullet points. (The formatting was at my request. I’m fond of bullet points.)

Some of her 27 points are small things. Some are bigger issues. We agree about most of them. Two or three will require a bit of negotiation.

It’s really not a long list, especially when you consider that my own list of things-that-need-fixing-in-book-two currently stands at about 50 or 60 items.

Every time I sit down to work on the book, I try to resolve a few of those issues. Sometimes I fix something and cross it off the list. Other times, a beta reader will bring something to my attention and I add it to the list. As I work, sometimes new problems occur to me, and I add those to the list as well. Sometimes I fix something, and that causes a new problem. So I cross something off and add something at the same time.

It’s kinda like trying to iron all the wrinkles out of a shirt. A huge, living, n-dimentional shirt.

As an example: tonight I worked on the book for about 9 hours. I crossed off four things on my list and added six things. But most of those six things are small, while two of the things I fixed were moderately big and complicated. So it was a good day’s work. (Unfortunately, because one problem tangled me up for four hours, I didn’t get home until 1:30 AM, which means I didn’t get to say goodnight to Oot, which sucks.)

Anyway, earlier today I talked on the phone with my editor about the book. We talked about her 27 points.

My editor asked me if I could have the book done by September.

I thought about it. I thought about her 27 points and my ever-changing 50-60 points. I thought about who I can still use as beta readers, and how many drafts I’ll be able go through in four months. I thought about how many times I will personally be able to read the book in four months.

I said I was sure I could finish it by September.

She asked me if I was sure. Really sure.

I thought about it. Back in 2007, I was sure I’d have the book done by 2008. But I was hugely ignorant and optimistic back then. So I was dead fucking wrong. That caused a lot of grief.

I told her I was really sure I could have it finished by September.

Come hell or high water? She asked me.

Come hell or high water, I said.

So we agreed that I’d have the book finished by September. It was nice. It made us both happy.

So that’s part of the news, that I’ll be finished writing The Wise Man’s Fear by September.

But here’s the rest of the news: that means that the book can’t come out until March of 2011.

Why? Well, for a bunch of reasons. Mostly because there are a lot of things that have to happen before a mass of text becomes a printed book on a shelf. It needs to be copyedited. The edits need to be confirmed.  It needs to be proofed, checked for consistency, fiddled with. Fonts need to be chosen. It needs to go through layout. Then it needs to be proofed again. Marketing needs to happen. It needs to be sent to reviewers, and the reviewers need to have time to read it before they write the reviews. It needs to be put into catalogs of to-be-published-books so people who run bookstores can learn about it and order copies for their stores. It needs to be printed, boxed, warehoused, shipped. We need to sacrifice a black she-goat and pray to strange and terrible gods. Then we need to proofread again.

A lot of these steps are going to take longer than normal because my book is 2-3 times longer than most ordinary novels. Other things are going to take longer because this book is kinda important to a lot of people, and we want to make sure everything gets done just right.

The simple truth of the matter is this: that’s just the way it is. I wish it could be sooner, and I’m guessing many of you feel the same. Believe it or not, if the publisher could wave a magic wand and make that happen, they would. (Remember, they don’t make money on the book until they can sell it.)

But there’s no way the book can come out earlier and still have it be the best book possible.

So that’s what happened today: I found out the publication date for The Wise Man’s Fear – March 1st 2011.

Honestly, it would be way easier for me to sit on this information for a while. I could wait until the date was a little closer, thereby avoid some of the great wailing and gnashing of teeth I expect will follow this announcement. That shit brings me no joy. It damages my calm and makes it harder for me to write.

But I promised y’all I would pass along the *real* publication date as soon as I knew it. So that’s what I’m doing.

March 1st 2011.

pat

Posted in book two, Things I didn't know about publishing | By PatComments closed

Signing in the Detroit Area

Is it just me, or does the phrase “Detroit Area” seem like some sort of horrifying euphemism?

Most euphemisms are kinda friendly, playful even. It’s easy to say things like “my privates” or “my special purpose.” That’s the whole reason behind a euphemism, to give us a way to refer to indelicate things in places where we can’t simply say, “genitals” out loud.

But man, “Detroit Area.” That has the opposite effect, doesn’t it? What sort of wretched, demented individual would use the term “Detroit Area” to refer to their nethers? In what context would that be considered even remotely appropriate? I can’t help but think of dimly lit alleys and phone-sex hotlines that charge 29 cents a minute.

Gech. I can’t stop thinking about it now. This shit’s gonna give me bad dreams…

What was I talking about again?

Oh. Yeah. I wanted to tell you that I’m going to be in the… out there. In eastern Michigan.

I’ll be attending a convention Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then doing a my usual reading/signing/Q&A combo at the Baldwin Public Library on Sunday afternoon.

The details, as always, are over on the tour-schedule page of my website and on facebook, but I know how lazy y’all are, so I’ll just cut and paste the upcoming weekend’s events here for those of you who pay for your internet on a per-click basis.

PenguiCon 2010
April 30th – May 2nd
Panels, Signings, Q&A
Troy Marriott
200 W. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, Michigan 48084
Website

Reading, Signing, and Q&A
Sunday, May 2nd 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Baldwin Public Library
300 West Merrill Street
Birmingham, MI 48009
Website

I’ve never been to PenguiCon before, but I have high hopes. The last time I went to a convention in Michigan this happened:

[Edit: for those of you who are curious, that’s John Scalzi in the middle of this freaky little love in. Jim C. Hines is on the left. I’ve mentioned his Goblin books on the blog before. He’ll be at Penguicon this weekend too…]

There, now we’ll both have trouble sleeping tonight…

pat

Posted in appearances, tangentality | By Pat76 Responses

Books for Boobs

Sometimes I write a great blog and then struggle over the title for a ridiculous amount of time before eventually settling on something vaguely mediocre.

Other times, I write the title first and then think to myself, “Well, that pretty much says it all. Everything is going to be downhill from there.”

This is one of those times.

Earlier today someone sent me a message saying, “Are you going to blog about the books for boobs thing you did?”

My first thought was, “What the hell are they talking about? Was this something I did at a convention when I was really sleep deprived and crazy on sugary mochas? What did I do?”

I thought about it for a minute and dragged up a memory from a convention last July. “How the hell did they find out about that?” I thought to myself. “Did someone get pictures and post them on their blog?”

Luckily, it turns out I was thinking of something entirely different. But that, as they say, is a story for another time.

Books for Boobs is a charity event I donated a book to last year. They’re auctioning off stuff from different authors, including Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, my mortal enemy Anton Strout, and the recently mentioned Amber Benson.

I recommend you go and check it out if only because I look kinda good in the picture they took of me. Forgive me my tiny moment of vanity, but it’s such a rare treat for me to see a picture of myself that doesn’t make me look like a bloody shambles.

Here’s the link.

Have a great weekend everybody….

pat

Posted in a billion links, conventions, Jim Butcher, my beard | By Pat46 Responses

The Adventures of Sexton Blake

Let’s get right to the point here….

This, is awesome.

If you like things that are awesome, you should buy it, listen to it, then probably buy it again just to give away to your friends who also like things that are awesome.

Need more reasons? Fine, here you go…

First, it’s BBC. So you know it’s not crap right off the bat.

Moreover, it stars Simon Jones. (Who many of you know as Arthur from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.) He absolutely nails the comedic timing of Blake all the way through this.

Secondarily, this is the best the best radio drama I’ve ever come in contact with.

Sixth and lastly: It’s cleverly written, brilliantly acted, and directed with a smooth, fast-paced clarity I’ve never experienced before.

Thirdly, I have bought no less that eight copies and given them all away as gifts.

And, to conclude, I’d like to officially add the director, Dirk Maggs, to the very short list of people I would unreservedly trust to do an alternate-media version of The Name of the Wind.

pat

Edit: I’m removing all “First” posts in order to nip this behavior in the bud. I did it as an ironcial-type joke in the last blog, and didn’t mean to establish a trend.

Posted in audiobooks, cool things, recommendations | By Pat56 Responses

And it’s off to the printer….

For those of you who haven’t heard the news, my new pet project is going to be coming out at the end of June.

While I’ve mentioned the book on the blog before, it’s only been while talking about something else, like the fundraiser or my recent road-trip.

Today, after talking about the final edits before we send the book off to the printer, I figured it was time that I give The Princess and Mr. Whiffle its very own blog. Especially as it will be coming out in just a couple months.

The other reason I wanted to mention it here is so that you folks who care enough about my stuff to check the blog regularly have a chance of actually buying one.

So here’s the brief pitch. It looks like a children’s book, but it’s really not. Seriously. It’s more like an old-school faerie tale, and I’m profoundly, almost ridiculously proud of how it’s turned out. If you have a dark sense of humor, odds are you’ll enjoy it. If not, you probably want to avoid it.

Here’s the deal: this book’s print run isn’t very big. And I have a lot of readers. That means there’s a very decent chance that the book will sell out.

In fact, there’s a good chance it might sell out really, really quickly.

That means if you want to make sure you get one, you should probably pre-order a copy. Here’s a link to the publisher’s website.

And before somebody says, “why don’t you just print more books?” let me explain that I’m just the writer here. The publisher makes all those decisions. I don’t have any say in how big the print run is.

Okay. My work here is done. Consider yourselves fairly warned.

Hope y’all have a lovely weekend, folks. Myself, I have to go dress up as Zeus for a parade….

pat

Posted in cool news, Nathan Taylor, The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle, upcoming publications | By Pat132 Responses

How to Embarrass Yourself in Front of Famous People

Over the last couple years I’ve learned that whenever I do a signing, I will inevitably screw up the inscription in at least one book.

This trend started with my very first signing, the day The Name of the Wind hit the shelves. I actually wrote about that in one of my earliest blogs. I still have that book inscribed “To Hell” on a shelf.

A lot of times my screw up is a minor thing. It’s not uncommon for me to misspell a word. This is embarrassing, but it’s easy to laugh it off. I usually correct my mistake with proofreaders marks, and say something like, “That’s what editors are for.”

Occasionally I misquote a piece of my own book. That’s not so bad either. Understandable, as I’ve known the book it for 15 years in several hundred different revisionary versions.

Sometimes it’s just my handwriting itself that’s embarrassing.

But nothing is worse than screwing up someone’s name. This is why, when I do a signing, I usually ask people to spell it out for me. I write it down on a separate piece of paper, point to it, and ask, “is this right?”

Most people don’t bat an eye at this. They’re not Nicky, they’re Nikki. It’s not Sandy, it’s “Big S, little A, little N, Big D, little E, Big E. With a star at the end!”

I ask everyone. If you get to the front of the line and say, “Can you sign this to Joe?” I write down J O E in my childlike scrawl, point to it, and ask, “like this?”

The reason I’m so careful is because I can fuck up any name. Once a guy got to the front of the line and said, “John. With an ‘h.'”

So I write, “To Jhon.”

Then I sat there, staring at it, thinking: “I am a fucking idiot.”

The thing is, not only do I tend to screw up one book at every signing. I typically screw up the worst possible book. If someone drove four hours to get there and brought the first edition hardcover their mom gave them… that’s the book I’m going to make a mistake in.

Or, if someone cool shows up to the signing, someone I’d like to not look like an idiot in front of, I’ll cock up that book instead. That’s what happened when Felicia Day showed up when I was doing a signing in LA. I made a real mess of the book I was signing for her brother.

Are we sufficiently backgrounded for the story? I think so.

So let’s jump back to last year when I went to San Diego Comic Con. While I was out there, I did a few signings. One in the main autographing room, one at at Mysterious Galaxy’s booth, and one in the nearby Borders.

The Borders gig sounded pretty cool. First we were going to have a panel where a bunch of authors would discuss urban fantasy vs epic fantasy, then we would do a signing.

I was really looking forward to it. Partly because I love discussing books with other authors, and partly because I love doing signings and meeting fans. But mostly because one of the other authors on the panel was Amber Benson.

I was excited all weekend, telling everyone I met about the panel/signing. But when I mentioned Amber Benson’s name, they mostly looked at me blankly. “I don’t think I’ve read her stuff,” they’d say.

“She hasn’t been doing books that long,” I said. “She does comics. Screenplays. Directs stuff. She’s an actress too. You probably know her as Tara from Buffy. Willow’s girlfriend.”

It was only when I mentioned the last bit that I would see the light of recognition go on in people’s eyes. So eventually I just started skipping straight to that, saying, “She played Tara in Buffy.”

I had one signing earlier that day, and despite the fact that a ton of people showed up, I managed to make it through the whole thing without screwing up anyone’s book.

Maybe that’s it, I thought to myself. Maybe my streak is broken.

Later on in the evening I went to Borders and had a great time. I managed to say a few clever things during the discussion which is nice, because, well, Amber Benson was there, and I wanted to look cool.

 

[Photo link dead]

 

After the panel everyone signed books. I had a nice line of people, which gave me another iota’s worth of cool. More impressively, I didn’t screw any of them up, not even a little. My streak finally seemed to be broken.

After all the fans had their books signed, the authors hung out and chatted. Amber came over from her end of the table and said something along the lines of, “I don’t normally do epic fantasy, but after what you said, I’ll admit I’m curious about yours….”

“I’d love to give you a copy,” I said. “So long as you’ll sign my copy of Death’s Daughter.”

She agreed and signed my book. I was all aglow with geeky joy. I’d met someone cool, made a good impression, and even had a little bit of banter. I was awesome….

So I grabbed one of my books and opened it to the title page. Then, so I didn’t screw up her book, I looked up and asked, “Do you spell it T-A-R-A?”

She looked at me, slightly confused, as if she didn’t understand what I meant.

I looked back at her, slightly confused, not understanding why she wasn’t following me.

Then, at the same moment, we both realized what I’d done. At the same moment, we both realized that I wasn’t awesome at all. I was, in fact, a fucking idiot.

The other authors standing around overheard this. They realized it too.

Amber was very gracious and laughed it off. But I was still covered in shame. Even now it makes me cringe to remember it.

So there you go. Welcome to me.

For those of you who don’t know, Tara Amber has written and directed a couple movies. In fact, her most recent one, Drones, is being shown in a few select locations right now.

In fact, it’s being shown tonight, (Tuesday the 13th) in LA, with all the proceeds going to charity. If you live nearby and you aren’t going, you might want to seriously reconsider your priorities. In fact, you might want to reconsider what you’re doing with your entire life.

I’d be there in a heartbeat if it wasn’t 2000 miles away. Right now I’m kinda pissed at you cool kids who live in your big cities with your film festivals and fancy hats. Yes. I’m looking at you Orlando, Boston, and LA.

If nothing else, you should really check out the trailer. I was curious about the movie before I watched this. Now I’m filled with a terrible longing like unto hunger. I love Jonathan Woodward.

Share and Enjoy,

pat

Posted in buffy, meeting famous people, my dumbness, signing books | By Pat103 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

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, BJ Hiorns Art, blogging, College Survival Guide, emo bullshit, ethical conundra, my beard, Oot, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat113 Responses
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