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


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.


This entry was posted in fanfic, Worldbuilders 2013. By Pat55 Responses


  1. Posted January 28, 2014 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    I know I will never win it, but I have high bid right now! Who wouldn’t bid for this, knowing the money goes to Heifer is just icing on the cake! ;)

  2. Andrew
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    Hahaha, I enjoyed this poem, thanks Pat. Too bad your prof was kind of a wet blanket, but who knows, maybe your poem helped her to come around in the end!

  3. Sandhya
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Oh my god! You are so silly and it is so lovely!

  4. ali rahemtulla
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    It’s nice to see a favourite author being a gushing fan, especially when you feel like that to both (Terry and Pat). And who knows Pat, maybe, if you work hard enough, you could be considered on the same playing field as good old Sir Terry. I think you have it in your future.

  5. Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

    Okay, this is pretty amusing. But I do have to ask, why is the shipping over $9? For a piece of paper? Is this thing already framed, or what?

    • SporkTastic
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

      A lot of handling goes into it.

    • Amanda
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

      It’s mostly that its insured, and we didn’t want to fold it up, so it’s shipping flat. We wanted to be sure it got to the winner safely and intact.

      • Steve MC
        Posted January 28, 2014 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

        Just hearing the poem, I couldn’t help but hear your reply in the same voice. :-)

        • Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

          Hmm… That a problem. Because I didn’t reply. Amanda has a much higher-pitched voice than I do, among other things….

          • Amanda
            Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

            I take it as a compliment on my cleverness and snark.

  6. SporkTastic
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    This put a smile on my face. So girded, I’m (mostly) ready to go deal with the VA. Thanks.

  7. Jsherry
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Heh. I like that the auction lists it as “Brand New,” since there is no eBay option for “Well, it’s sorta ‘new,’ but it’s 20 years old.”

    • Posted January 28, 2014 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

      I don’t want to know what it might have been “used” for. ;)

      • Jsherry
        Posted January 29, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Permalink


        • Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

          I think you meant “magic”. lol.

          • Jsherry
            Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Permalink


            Depends on the effect of the spell. ;)

  8. Posted January 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    This video is everything, at least until Pat & Mary perv out on some Kvothe erotica, of course.

  9. angledge
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Nice poem, Pat! I like how you crack yourself up while reading it. Are you staying warm up there in Wisconsin? We have freezing rain & sleet all the way down here in Houston, so I imagine you’ve got migrating herds of Tauntauns moving through Stevens Point….

  10. Linnet
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

    “I TOLD you to take the wizard’s staff!” >:|

  11. resemblelife
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    I heartily agree. Pratchett = tonic for the weary soul.

    • Posted January 29, 2014 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

      The President of the university I work for asked me one day if I could introduce him to a good series, since he saw that I always had books on my desk to read during lunch. I loaned him “The Color of Magic”. After he read it, he went to the book store across the street from our campus and bought every Pratchett book they had. I also got him hooked on Christopher Moore, but apparently Pratchett remains his True Love.

  12. bookwyrmpoet
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    For those of us with bad hearing can we get a transcript or a typed of version of the lyrics? If its anything like other version of this poem I have seen it is gonna be hilarious!

    • celticmoon
      Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

      With apologies for any mistyping:

      A Wizard’s Staff Has A Knob On The End

      Oh, Wizards’ staffs are long and hard
      And known throughout the land
      A sight to heed and fear indeed
      Is a Wizard, staff in hand
      Now, Mystics have their crystal balls
      And Witches have their cats
      And Mages can look pretty cool
      In spiffy, sparkly, pointy hats
      But a Wizard’s staff’s his pride and joy
      Although the others scoff
      Were I a Wizard, I’d go out
      And proudly show mine off.

      Oh, Wizards never lend them out,
      It simply isn’t done
      Did Bilbo’s friend, this Gandalf, lend
      His staff to anyone?
      Now Warlocks have their pentagrams
      And Prophets have mushrooms
      And Sages seem to get their kicks
      Alone with books in musty rooms
      But Wizards’ staffs are their best friends
      Or so I’ve heard them say
      Were I a Wizard, I’d go out
      And use my staff today.

      But if a Wizard loses his
      He’ll wish that he were dead
      For Wizards would laugh at a Wizard sans staff
      Or one with a wand instead
      Now, Sourcerers have flowing robes
      And Witches have broomsticks
      And no one seems to want to know
      How Necromancers get their kicks
      But Wizards’ staffs are judged by length
      If you believe in such
      Were I a Wizard, I’d go out
      And not amount to much.

  13. urimeir
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 6:49 AM | Permalink

    I’d just like to point out that with Pratchett this song is actually called ‘The Hedgehog Song’ – or ‘the Hedgehog can never be buggered at all’
    Mentioned at least in ‘Wyrd Sisters’ and ‘Witches Abroad’…

    • Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

      Oh damn. You’re right of course. I lose some geek points for that….

  14. CancerKiller
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    That was awesom! Thank you for the laugh to start my day.

    • CancerKiller
      Posted January 29, 2014 at 7:33 AM | Permalink


      Laughing to hard to type…

      • celticmoon
        Posted January 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM | Permalink



  15. Kthaeh
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

    Why in the world are you certain that Pratchett will never see this post or hear about your poem? You know you’re not simply another anonymous fanboy anymore, right? Gaiman knows who you are. You’re at least somewhat chummy with Wheaton, and Vi, and plenty of others no doubt. In other words you’re known by people with big social networks. So unless Pratchett is a luddite banging away on a manual typewriter, with no internet exposure whatsoever, it would be remarkable if someone doesn’t bring this to his attention. And probably sooner rather than later.

    It’s just a WAG on my part, but I think Pratchett would be amused and charmed by the poem, if not flattered.

  16. isaiasw
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Amazing poem. I never got past the roses are red part in my poems. If I wasn’t in a shitstorm of bills right now I’d so bid for this. Damn I hate excuses. Anyway, using all magic classes with that kind of conotation was amazing! Loved the Necromancer’s part. Now I’ll go find some Terry Pratchett material to read, got curious about what you said about him. Hugz!

  17. commodent
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Why are you just fucking around instead of writing the third book about Kvothe?

    • Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

      I just thought of another thing I’d like to do with a Wizard’s staff…

      • isaiasw
        Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

        Do it, show him the almighty white magic that comes out of your staff!

        • Posted January 29, 2014 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

          I had hoped I could just be concise for once and not spell out that I was avoiding the double entendre with this particular Wizard staff and going straight for the wooden walking stick variety. Alas… :-)

    • 17thSharder
      Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

      It’s something you’ll just have to make peace with. It took me a while to accept that he’s in a weird limbo between full time author and writing for a hobby. Honestly, it makes me resent Worldbuilders. I see it as nothing more than a distraction for him. Like a solid month where nothing gets done. That and I feel like there are dozens of better charities to be donating to, like the Wounded Warrior Project.

      Anyway, check out Brandon Sanderson’s work. The stories are better and Sanderson releases books like clockwork. Here is my brief comparison of authors.

      Rothfuss: Emo kid with money problems is stuck in the friend zone.
      Sanderson: Mystery. Intrigue. Suspense. Danger. Gods clash as a world dies.

      • Andrew
        Posted January 29, 2014 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

        Yikes, guys, seriously. Is Pat on your payroll? He can do what he wants, and you have no idea how much time he spends writing his book, to be honest. We know he is working on it and we know that his books come out amazing because of how much time he spends thinking about them, agonizing over details, re-reading and rewriting everything over and over. And in any case, he is a real human being who doesn’t actually owe you anything. You make it sound like he’s dicking around on his shift at YOUR factory, jeez.

        • 17thSharder
          Posted January 29, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

          I said no such thing and I resent your accusations. I said it took me time to make peace with his writing pace. What is wrong with that? I enjoy his work and I want more, and perceived distractions frustrate me. I am, however, not demanding that he write faster or putting any pressure on him like you seem to imply.

          I believe you owe me an apology.

          • Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Permalink


            Recently, one of my friends in the military taught me a really great word. I’d like to share it with you, as it seems to be appropriate to this situation.

            The word is “Butthurt.”

            Usage is like this: “Joey got all butthurt when we didn’t invite him over to play poker with us on Tuesday.”

            Urban dictionary defines it really well: An inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult.

            I’m bringing this up here because there seems to be a pattern of butthurt in your responses here.

            In your first comment, you’re very passive-aggressive. You encourage someone to “make peace with it” and imply that you’ve done the same.

            But you obviously haven’t, as every sentence after that is some manner of kvetching. I’m not a real full-time author. You resent the time I spend doing other things. You don’t like Worldbuilders. You don’t like Heifer International. You don’t like my books.

            Then, when someone calls you on it (albeit somewhat more brusquely than I’d like) you *demand* an apology.

            Why am I taking precious time out of my day to write this? Not to piss you off. Not to mock or ridicule you. (I could have done that in about 45 seconds using about 15 well-chosen words.)

            I’m mentioning this here with the assumption that you’re not actually a troll. With the hope that you aren’t actually aware of how your comments come off to other people. With the hope that you, like many of us here in the comments, are looking for good conversation, and constantly working toward some sort of self-improvement.

            If not, well… I’ve been wrong before. But I prefer to err on the side of assuming the best….

          • commodent
            Posted January 31, 2014 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

            I love you.

          • Rahl
            Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

            Trolls dont deserve Pat or anybodies time or apologies over anything…

    • Posted January 29, 2014 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

      Please see and repeat after me: Pat Rothfuss is not my bitch.

      • Posted January 29, 2014 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

        Ok – I know I have posted a bunch on here, so I apologize for that, but I just had to come back because something wasn’t sitting right in my head. What kind of person gets mad that an artist chooses to raise, oh, nearly HALF A MILLION DOLLARS for a charity that changes, even saves peoples’ lives. I watched the thermometer for this charity jump over 12k yesterday! It’s amazing and wonderful and I am so proud to be even a tiny part of it!

        We are talking about feeding people and providing a better quality of life! What is worth more than that? Reading a book you will be done with in one all-night reading session? Books are a luxury and a privilege to read, though we may take them for granted. How do you judge Wounded Warriors more worthy? It is apples and oranges, bro. Both are worthy causes, but I am guessing WW already has a lot of backing from other sources, in fact I know it does. Lots of celebrity backing and visibility in Hollywood.

        I am just appalled at the selfishness I see here. We all want to see the next book. I just can’t believe you guys have the nerve to say this crap right here to Pat himself. Grow up and think of someone besides yourself! I try not to feed the trolls, but I think in this case it isn’t even trolling just sheer douchebaggery!

        Sorry again – I don’t mean to hijack, this is just ridiculous!

  18. Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat–

    I’ve been reading the books almost since the first hit shelves, and I had never thought to ask this before: where does your name come from? It sounds northern european… obviously it’s difficult to know for sure unless you’re a first-generation American. But what do you know about the origin and etymology of your name?

    Just curious. My middle name is ‘Ahlroth’; it roughly means ‘red ash forest’ and supposedly comes from Finland (from what my father has found on genealogy websites and what my mother confirms).

    I looked up ‘Rothfuss,’ and what I’ve found so far is ‘dweller at the sign of the red fox’ from surnames.meaning-of-names[DOT]com.

    Anyhow, it seems like things are going well for you! Hope it continues that way.

  19. TheAman
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    The real question….what grade did you get on it?

    • Kthaeh
      Posted January 29, 2014 at 4:55 PM | Permalink


      (Oh, and did the teacher’s mouth resemble a cat’s ass in any way? )

  20. Robo
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    When Pat starts auctioning stuff like belly button lint and used dental floss, I’m outtie.

  21. Gavin enlow
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    It is nice to see that you Pat? Mr. Rothfuss? (I wonder which you prefer) fanboy over your favorite authors in a manner similar to (if in a slightly more elegant well phrased fashion) us. Thanks for sharing this liytle piece of your early works with us. Keep up the great work.

  22. lbutlr
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    I really really hope that somehow Sir Terry sees that video because I suspect he would really enjoy it. Very amusing.

    And seeing you’re a Pratchett and Whedon geek fills my soul with a warm glow.

    You know, if I had a soul.

  23. Sparkuus
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Before the auction ends and this gets shipped of, you should take a high quality scan, because I bet you could sell reproductions and make more money for World Builders! :)

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