Category Archives: Interviews

Rothfuss and Brooks: Part IV

Here’s the final installment of the mutual interview I did with Terry Brooks. If you’d like to start at the beginning, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

And now, without further ado, Part 4….

*     *     *

Pat: What’s your revision process like? How many drafts do you go through?

Terry: I outline pretty thoroughly before I put pen to paper.  I don’t write anything until I have it all pretty clear in my head, then I do the outline, and then I do the book.  This doesn’t mean there won’t be changes, some of them extensive.  But it is my blueprint for the book’s foundation and support timbers.  I can pretty much rely on it to see me through.  That said, nothing tells you more about your book than the writing of it.  So I pay attention to newer, fresher ideas that crop up as I write.  I listen to my instincts.

But here’s the good part.  With this method, I only write one draft.

Pat: Boy. I think I’d hate to outline everything. But I have to admit, I’m really jealous of a one-draft model. I end up doing somewhere between 50 and 300 drafts, depending on how you want to count them.

Hopefully I’ll manage to streamline that a bit as I gain more experience. I’m the first to admit my way isn’t very efficient. I end up going back and forth a lot. Once or twice I’ve gone back and realized the best thing for the book was to hatchet out an entire chapter.

What’s the biggest cut you’ve ever made to a manuscript?

Terry: I did a lot of cutting when I was learning the craft under Lester.  Lots of pages went by the board.  But along the way, I’ve learned a few things.  So I haven’t had to cut anything much in a long time.  I should add, though, that I decided a while back to curtail the length of my books.  I am an advocate of less is more these days.  I use fewer words and actively look for ways to cut bits and pieces as I write.  I was feeling wordy about my books about 15 years ago, and that was the end of big books for me.

Pat: Strange as it might seem, that’s actually my philosophy too. I really believe in less is more. And yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds coming from someone who just wrote a 400,000 word book. Believe me, it would have been much longer if I wasn’t constantly riding my own brake.

Terry:  I think you will do more of this the more you write and the older you get.  This isn’t meant to be a warning.  I just think that you learn how to say more with less (that less is more thing again) as time passes and writing skills improve.  You change because that’s in the nature of who we are as writers.

Pat: Roughly speaking, how many copies of your own books would you guess you have in your house?

Terry: I don’t know how many of my books I’ve got in my house, but I’ve got thousands in my book storage rooms, and about half of them are European paperbacks!!  Those guys insist on sending out dozens of author copies every time there is a new print run.  If you put them altogether I think you would find I have somewhere around 20,000 on hand.  Anyone need a foreign edition?  Croatian, Thai, Hebrew or Inuit?

How about Martian?

Pat: The foreign editions really do pile up after a while. And I’ve only got the two books. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you, so many different editions of so many books. There’s really only so much you can do with them, too. One to the library. One to a friend who wants to brush up on his Estonian, then the rest of them sit on a shelf…

Terry: Do you see yourself writing fantasy twenty years from now?  Or do you think you might go off and write something else entirely?

Pat: I don’t think I’ll ever stray very far from fantasy. Not only is it what I love best, but there’s so much room to write any sort of story you want.

Terry: That’s pretty much my thinking, too.  I’m writing what exactly what I want to.

Pat: Rumor has it that Edith Sitwell used to lie in an open coffin for a while before she began her day’s writing. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

Terry: I’m kind of like Monk.  Very anal.  I have my writing space and I never write anywhere else.  I have my stuff all carefully arranged, and I don’t like it if something gets moved.  I have several recourses that I can turn to when I am stumped or bothered about a piece of writing to remove the so-called block.  I always write in silence.  No sounds, no music, no interruptions.  This is all weird, but it beats lying in a coffin!

Pat: We’re birds of a feather there. I’m not orderly or neat. But I do have my writing space. Nobody is allowed in there, with a few rare exceptions.

And I’m with you. Silence. No interruptions. I can’t understand how some folks write with music playing. I know it’s an issue of different strokes for different folks, but writing with music on strikes me as being profoundly counter-intuitive. Unnatural even.

Pat: The internet has really changed the face of fandom in the last ten years. Has it had much of an effect on the way you interact with your fans?

Terry: When I started out, there was no internet, of course.  My connection with fans was all by snail mail and personal appearances.  I’ve never been good about mail, but I loved going out and meeting readers.  I did it every year, sometimes for as many as 5 or 6 weeks a year, here and abroad.  Can’t do that anymore because my energy level and tolerance for airport security won’t allow for it.  Now I do maybe 2 or 3 weeks a year.  But the personal connections, face to face, always mean more.

On the other hand, the internet allows for instant communication, and a different kind of closeness between writer and reader.  Before, there was no central venue for communicating with readers.  It was all done one on one.  If you were doing a tour, you could send out fliers or the stores could print and distribute them.  You could rely on word of mouth, but you didn’t have video or audio mass distribution available that didn’t cost an arm or a leg.  The internet changed all that.  About ten years ago, I went out on tour and asked at every stop how many people were there because they had read about it on the website.  Web Druid Shawn asked me to take this survey.  The response was eye opening.  More than 80% were there because they had read about it on the site.

How about you, coming in later on when the internet was already the established form of communication? I know you blog regularly.

Pat: Yeah. I have a lot of fun interacting with my readers online. I’ve met a lot of cool people that way. It can be very rewarding….

But part of me also thinks that it would be nice to be able to go back to writing in a vacuum, like I did before I was published. I get about 10-15 e-mails a day from readers. That’s not counting print letters, or Facebook, or Goodreads. It can get a little overwhelming.

As for the blogging, I do that almost as a defensive measure. I know I can’t write a detailed letter back to every one of my fans that contacts me, but I can write something that anyone can show up to read. I use it to tell little stories out of my life and answer questions. I’ve run a contest or two. We’ve sold some t-shirts at our online store, The Tinker’s Packs, to support my charity.

I mostly goof around, in all honesty. But in between the goofing around, I keep people filled in about events and new projects.

Plus it gives me a venue to do the occasional interview with another cool author….

Terry: I like your thinking about using the blogs to answer questions for a general audience when it is virtually impossible to answer individual letters.  I used to do that by snail mail before the internet, but I can’t manage it anymore.

Pat: It works out pretty well. It lets people know that you care. Plus you get to be helpful without having to spend three days of the week doing nothing but correspondence.

Terry: Hey, Patrick, this has been a lot of fun.  I love finding out how other writers manage their lives, why they choose to write what they do, and what makes them tick.  Especially writers I admire.  Thanks for taking time to do this.

Pat: The pleasure has been all mine, Terry. This has been such a thrill.

*     *     *

There you go folks, share and enjoy….

pat

 

Also posted in fanmail, Me Interviewing Other Folks, meeting famous people, Revision, the craft of writing | By Pat22 Responses

Me me me memes…..

The title of this blog makes more sense if you pretend you’re singing it….

Today we’ve got some Link Salad and an interview.

So apparently, (he said without preamble) folks have been making Kvothe memes.

Like this:

In a similar vein, someone sent me a link to a blog appropriately titled “My God What Horrors have I wrought?” A blog in which they take several pictures of me and… well… lolcat them.

I really don’t have anything to say about either of these things. I find myself ambivalent, but strongly ambivalent.  It’s like feeling extra-medium about something.

It’s like yesterday. I was digging in the garden with Sarah, and I found a rock that was kinda cool, so I wanted to show it to her.

“Look at this cool rock,” I said.

She looked at it. “Cool,” she said.

“It’s flint,” I said.

Then I just stood there holding it. Kinda at a loss.

What are you going to do with it?” She asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

And that’s where I kinda stalled out. The main thing I wanted was for other people to acknowledge that it was interesting. It wasn’t purposeful. It wasn’t useful. It was just….

There should be a word for that. I think we have a hole in the language. We need a word for something that feels more significant that it actually is. Or perhaps something which is only significant in that it possesses a feeling of significance beyond any practical value or purpose.

I think the word should be…. hygapean. Maybe just ‘agapean?’ Can you adjectiveize “agape?”

Is adjectiveize even a word? It should be. Adjectiveate?

Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ve just invented at least one word up there. So I can cross that off my list for the day.

I think ‘hygapean’ is the right way to go though.

Pronunciation: Huh Gape Ian. Emphasis on the first syllable.

Proper usage: “I used to have a crush on her, but it turns out my attraction was primarily hygapean.”

“Look at this hygapean rock I found.”

There. Now each of you has to use it at least once today and we’re all set.

Okay. Moving on.

In other news, here’s a photographer that makes me feel like I really should step up my game when it comes to taking pictures of my kid.

And lastly, here’s an interview I did over at Toonari.

Share and Enjoy,

pat

Also posted in Link salad, musings, Surreal enthusiasm, The difference between 'slim' and 'slender' | By Pat76 Responses

New Interviews

In my last blog I mentioned I was going to be doing a signing  in Columbus at the end of the month. Afterwards, more than a few people asked if the timing of my visit was a freakish coincidence, or if I was going to be a guest at Origins.

(For those of you who don’t know, Origins is a big gaming convention that’s going on that weekend in Columbus.)

The answer to this question is both yes and no. I am going to be there, but I’m mostly going to be ghosting the convention. Not in the traditional sense, I plan on getting a badge and everything. But I’m not going as an official guest like Felicia Day and Will Wheaton are going to be.

I might do a panel or two if they have an empty seat and want me to pontificate on one thing or another, but mostly I plan on bumming around and talking to people. See what new games are coming out. Maybe rub some elbows. Maybe see if anyone would be interested in doing a board game set in the Four Corners world….

It’s rare that I go to a convention where I’m not being all officially authorious. Usually I’m booked pretty tight with signings and talkings. Since I’m ghosting this one, maybe I’ll play a few games instead. If I’m feeling exceptionally energetic, I might even see if they have a spot open in one of the LARPs.

Yeah. I’ll admit it. I’ve LARPed in the past.

(You can embiggen this. But you probably shouldn’t)

Okay. Fine. I can’t blame that photo on a LARP. I was just dicking around. And that’s mostly what I’ll be doing at Origins, dicking around.

Maybe I’ll see if I can find another catgirl hat, then I’ll stalk Wil Wheaton, then at an opportune moment, I’ll put it on, and rush toward him, arms outstretched, uttering my loudest profundo basso, “SQEEEEEE!”

Yeah. I think I’m going to have a good time.

And if I find out that I am doing any particular panels ahead of time, I’ll come back to this blog and post the details on them right here.

(Placeholder for potential details.)

  • Anyway, on to business. Today we have some new interviews:

This first one is by my UK publisher, Gollancz. It’s a brief interview they’re using to draw a little attention to the fact that I’ve been shortlisted for the David Gemmel Award this year. (Voting ends May 31st).

Fair warning, this one’s kinda short, and I was realllly punchy when I answered their questions. Really punchy.

The second interview was a little different for me. It was done by a woman who normally runs a fashion blog. So a few of the questions ended up being a little different than what I’m normally asked.  I think I might have horrified them a little when I told them I only own one pair of pants.

That’s all for now, folks. Share and enjoy.

pat

Also posted in accolades, appearances | By Pat39 Responses

A Different Sort of Interview

So as some of you know, Jo Walton has been doing an in-depth reading of my first two books over at Tor.com for more than a year now.

That’s a bit of a boggling thought by itself right there. That there’s a whole community of folks over there that have been going over my books with a fine tooth comb for over a year. The fact that the discussion is being headed up my a World Fantasy Award winning novelist is the cherry on top of my surrealism sundae.

While it’s flattering knowing that the discussion is out there, I’ve been keeping myself away from the posts because I don’t really want to know *too* much about what speculation is going on. That sort of thing can be bad for a writer.

But when Jo contacted me to let me know that they were wrapping up book two, and folks were dying to ask me some questions, I couldn’t say no.

I only had two stipulations:

1. I wouldn’t give any spoilers.

2. I could be cryptic and evasive, if not downright opaque in my answers.

3. I reserved the right to make puns, flippant jokes, and obscure quotes without fear of reprisal.

Jo agreed and sent me the questions.

There were roughly a billion of them. So many that even after I weeded some out, the finished interview ended up being over a dozen pages long.

Because of this, we decided to split it in half. The first part is here on my blog. The second half is over on Tor.com. (I’ll give you the link later.)

What really impressed me was the nature of the questions. The quality of the questions. A lot of these made me stop and think. A lot more made me pull copies of my book down off the shelf to double check things before I gave an answer.

The truth is, I’ve never been asked questions like these before. Or at least I’ve never had to deal with so many of them packed into one short period of time. It felt a little bit like I was being tested on my own book. But in a good way.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the first half of the interview.

  • Geography

Why did you choose to give us the kind of map you did? Is there any hope of a really detailed map that contains locations of vital interest like Caluptena and Newarre?

This is a question that many, many people have asked. And I’ve been meaning to post a blog about it for years and years.

How here’s the deal: I’ll pass over this question lightly so I can spend more time on the rest of the interview. But I promise to post up a detailed answer here on my blog in just a month or so. Lhin?

As far as future maps go, where there is life, there is hope. (And need of vittles.) I’ll probably include some more detailed regional maps if/when I ever do the role playing game based off my book.

What is the physical shape of the world of the Four Corners? (Spherical, flat, hyperbolic, …)

I try to avoid hyperbole in my writing. I find it distasteful.

In a related question, what’s up with the moon being always full before the War of Naming?

I can only refer you to Chapter 102. At this time, all I have to say on the subject is right there.

Also, it’s not called the war of naming. It’s called the Creation War.

Were there any particularly cool scenes/ideas/random facts about the 4C world you had to leave out, and could you please tell us about them if so?

Generally speaking, I leave the cool parts in the book. When I take something out, it’s because it’s not cool enough, so it drags down the overall awesome of the book.

If I do cut something cool, it’s usually because there’s a better place for it somewhere else. There are two whole chapters that used to be in book one, that are now going to show up in book three. They work much better there.

Can you tell us about any locations we haven’t seen yet which we’ll be visiting on D3?

Hmmmm…. You see, the thing is, even a relatively innocuous question like this could be considered a spoiler to some people.

Let me give you an example. I’m going to assume you’re all solid geeks, and that you’ve already gone to see The Avengers.

(I’m going to talk about the movie, so consider this your spoiler alert.)

You know in the trailer for The Avengers where they show the hulk catching Iron Man out of the air?

That’s a spoiler.

Why? Here’s why.

There I am, watching in the theatre, watching Tony Stark flying off into space to jam a nuke up the ass of some aliens. Good times. High stakes. Big adventure. Then his HUD starts to get all crackly.

Now they’ve already established Tony as being the selfish guy who’s ripe for a transformational moment, ready to become the self-sacrificing hero. He’s just called his girlfriend to say goodbye.

And I think, “Oh shit. This is Joss Whedon directing this. He’s at the helm. He wouldn’t…. Fuck. No. Of course he would. Joss would totally kill off Tony Stark….”

Except that moment of honest dread only lasts a microsecond because I’ve seen in the trailer that the Hulk grabs Iron Man out of the air and slides down the building.

So I know he’s not going to snuff it. I’m robbed of my dramatic tension.

Spoiler.

So I’ll answer this question, and give away a little piece of advance knowledge to the folks that hunger for such things.

But here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s move this question WAAAAAY down to the end of the interview. Way at the end of the second piece over on tor.com. We’ll have the tiny potential spoilers tucked away safely down there. Because I know some of you are like me, and you like your stories pure.

Does that sound fair?

Where do they get all of the chocolate from?

The same place we do. From coco beans.

  • Naming

Does time have a name that could be learned?

Boy. That’s a really good question. Any question I can’t answer off the top of my head is a good one.

Elodin would probably have a really great reply to this….

My gut response, given about a minute’s thought is that no, it doesn’t. No more than, say, height has a name.

That’s not cannon though. I might be wrong.

Does the difficulty of learning names vary from name to name, or namer to namer?

Oh god yes. That should be really obvious from the books.

What is the difference between shaping and naming?

That is a very good question. A very, very good question. You have no idea how good a question that is.

Whoever asked this, you’re going to really enjoy parts of book three….

Is there a Collective Sleeping Mind, akin to Jungian ideas of the collective unconscious?

While I’ll admit I find the concept of the collective unconscious appealing, I don’t really know if it exists in this world…. Let alone if it has an analog in the Four Corners….

And if so, did Iax take a big chunk of it, weave it into whole-cloth and Shape Faen, thus separating essential energy from the mortal world?

Boy. Wow. There are a bunch of assumptions in that question. I can count three distinct underlying implied concepts without even trying. It’s the onion-layered cosmological version of, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

So I’ll have to pass on answering it. But it’s a good question. It reveals that you’ve put a flattering amount of thought into figuring out how the world works.

  • Sympathy

You say sympathy was invented at the University. Are magics truly invented or just discovered and developed, like radio? If invented, are there other magics to be created? Does Kvothe create one? Is the Fae realm different from the 4C in the kind of magics that can be created there?

Merciful Buddah. A four question, question. You don’t write high-school essays by any chance, do you?

Questions like these are a huge mess to answer all at once, so I’m going to separate them out. One answer for each sentence.

1. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that.

2. I’m pretty sure that a radio counts as an invention.

3. That’s a good question.

4. No spoilers. But nice try.

5. No. (But faen magic is notably different than the sort of magic normally practiced in the four corners.)

In Austin, you said there were six kinds of magic of which we’d seen five. What are they? If the sixth is a spoiler, what are the five we’ve seen?

Depending on how you look at things, there are a lot of different ways you could group, and therefore count, the different magics in the books.

For example. Sympathy and Sygaldry are both very similar, as they both deal almost exclusively with the manipulation of tangible force in all its varied forms.

Which means, of course, depending on how you count them, (or on how I was counting them that particular day in Austin) there could be more that six types of magic.

Still, here are the names of the five I’ve exposed you to in the book so far.

Alchemy.
Sympathy.
Naming.
Sygaldry.
Glamourie.

You’ve seen glimpses of one other, but you don’t have a name for it yet.

Are all the different types of magic (e.g., naming/shaping, sympathy/sygaldry, alchemy, glamourie, gramerie, etc.) fundamentally different, or are they actually different sides of the same six-sided die?

Whoops. Did I mention grammarie in the book by name.

[Pat goes to look.]

Huh. I guess I did, twice. That was probably later in the revision process.

So yeah, I guess that’s six magics I’ve shown in the books.

(Whoops. Seven. I just remembered one more that gets a whisper of a mention. And there’s an eighth you haven’t seen yet.)

To answer your question though, some types of magic are very much the same (as I mentioned above.) While others are very, very different.

Whether all types of magic somehow follow the same underlying principles is a matter of some discussion at the University. But nobody has discovered the Grand Unified Theory of magic, if that’s what you’re asking.

People have tried, of course. But mostly that’s the sort of thing that students talk about late at night when they get drunk. It’s also the sort of thing that rhetoricians and philosophers discuss. But those aren’t the sort of people Kvothe hangs out with.

*     *     *

For the second, larger chunk of the interview, you can head over here.

For bonus points, see if you can spot and identify all four of my quotes references in the interview. Without using google, lameass.

Best,

pat

Also posted in fan coolness, geeking out, Surreal enthusiasm | By Pat78 Responses

Author Talk: Building Character

About a month ago, I did a G+ hangout with Felicia Day, John Scalzi, and Amber Benson in order to promote the launch of Felicia’s new maelstrom of nerd-awesome: Geek and Sundry.

We set out to talk about what makes for good, interesting characters, and the conversation spiraled pleasantly through all manner of interesting tangents after that. In addition to being a fun talk with some of the wittiest geeks around, I think we also ended up raising some interesting points about stories, writing, truth, beauty, etc.

Anyway, if you missed the live broadcast, you can stop weeping softly to yourself in the corner. They’ve just posted up the video over on youtube.

Here it is:

Man, I really need a haircut….

pat

Also posted in Felicia Day, tangentality, the craft of writing, videos | By Pat48 Responses

Love Story, Horror Movie, and WPR

A couple weeks ago I did a radio interview with Veronica Rueckert on WPR. We had a fun discussion with Laura Miller about The Hunger Games and what makes for a good female character. (Among other things.)

For those of you who might be interested, they’ve got an archive of that broadcast, as well as a few other things I’ve done with WPR over the years.

Or, if you’re looking for something a little more texty, here’s a sweet story of a young couple in love., and how they met, in part due to a certain book….

Lastly, I feel morally obliged to remind y’all that Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods is coming out this weekend. Early reviews look good, plus, y’know JOSS WHEDON.

My plan is to go see it, preferably in the company of an attractive, easily startled young woman. That way, when the movie gets scary, she will cling to me desperately for comfort.

My plan is a good plan.

pat

Also posted in Joss Whedon, movie talk | By Pat28 Responses

Maps, Brackets, Interviews, and Wind

On today’s menu we have:

Warning, it will bog down your browser a bit.

Edit: Whoops. Turns out the voting on this round is over. I thought it went *through* the 2nd. Not *until* the 2nd.

The title seems a little argumentative, but I didn’t mean it to come off that way. I’m also a little irritated that the pictures they used to punctuate the article are from The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, two series two authors who are delightfully NOT-guilty of following in the tired rut of fantasy cliche. (Tolkien because he wrote before these things were cliche, and Martin because he’s skilled at avoiding it.)

And yes, I’m aware that it’s a little hypocritical that I say people should avoid writing about dragons even though I include something very similar to a dragon in my book. We actually talked about that in the interview as well, but we had to cut that piece out because I’m a wordy bitch and the interview ran long….

  • Lastly, there’s an article over on IGN that asks, “What’s the next Hunger Games?” A grammatically baffling title to an article that speculates as to what the next hot book-into-movie adaptation might be. Kingkiller gets a nice nod on there.

Normally I wouldn’t mock their title, but they took a dig at me for how long I take to write. So fair’s fair.

*     *     *

In related news, I actually got to watch Hunger Games in the theater. That’s not something I get to do very much these days.

I liked it a lot. It’s rare that I leave a movie without some fairly major gripes. Especially one based off a book that I enjoyed.

But Hunger Games was solid. Good casting. Good acting. Sensible changes to suit the adaptation into a different medium. And properly subversive. I love me some good subversive.

It was also nice to see the author of the books having a hand in the screenplay. Things like that tend to warm my bitter old heart.

Later,

pat

Also posted in miscelany | By Pat62 Responses
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