Tag Archives: meh

Book Two and a Reading in Duluth

Okay. In keeping with my tradition of slapdash scheduling. I’m going to be doing a reading/signing/Q&A session next week up in Duluth. It’s at the local Barnes and Noble on Tuesday the 12th at 7:00.

More details are over on the tour page. I also created a facebook event, if you want to use that to invite your friends without having to go to all the unpleasant work of actually talking to them.

If y’all would help spread the word a bit, I’d appreciate it. I hate doing these things on such short notice, but I only found out last week that I’d be up in the Duluth area.

And now, a piece of fanmail:

Dear Mr. Rothfuss,

As you are no doubt aware, in your April 28th blog post, you mentioned that the manuscript would be done by September.

I’m guessing you are furiously trying to put the finishing touches on the manuscript, but us fans would love an update about how the work is going. I really enjoyed your August 16th post about what revision work actually entails, and always enjoy getting a view of what your day to day work is like.

Thanks for updating the blog so frequently, it makes the waiting a lot easier, and we love hearing from you.

-Asa

Asa,

I did actually get the manuscript to my editor on schedule. She’s probably reading it even as we speak. Um. Type. Or rather, as you read what I have typed. In the past.

You know what I mean.

That means I get a little bit of a vacation while I’m waiting to hear back from her. Or rather, it means that I would get a bit of a vacation if I wasn’t still obsessively tinkering with the book.

Yesterday, for example, I re-read 87 pages of book two.

(Note that these pages aren’t the length of a paperback page or a manuscript page. They’re my own page layout that I use for editing.)

Anyway, I spend yesterday re-reading these 87 pages of the book. As I read, I try to winnow out the extra verbiage, making the book quicker and easier to read. My philosophy is that if I take out everything that is merely meh, all that’s left will be the parts that are really super-wow. That means that the book will be, in the parlance of our time, good.

Sometimes while I was reading I would get an idea for a different part of the book, and I’d skip off to another part of the book to make the change.  Sometimes I would make a change that necessitated making a few other changes throughout the book to maintain consistency.

But mostly I was just word-winnowing.

So yesterday I re-read 87 pages of the book. Pages that I’ve already read at least 100 times. It took 8 hours during the time that is, theoretically, my vacation.

At the end of those 8 hours, the book was 600 words shorter. I hadn’t trimmed a scene. I’m long past that stage. All the chaff scenes were gone months and months ago. These days if I want to tighten up the book, I have to hunt out little bits and phrases. Lines of dialogue that don’t sparkle. Non-essential snippets of description. Single superfluous words.

As I was going home, I wrestled with a familiar thought. Specifically, I wondered if I was insane.

Again, I’d spent an entire day making changes to the book that nobody would ever really notice. And I have to ask myself, is it really worth it?

Then I did the math.

A paperback page holds about 340 words, less if you use a lot of dialogue. (Which I do.) So by trimming 600 words, I’d effectively made my book about two pages shorter.

I’m guessing a quarter million people will read book two. In the US anyway. Last I heard, that’s about how many copies of NOTW have been sold.

That means, taken all together, I’ve spared my readers 500,000 pages of *meh* text.

Let’s assume it takes about a minute for a person to read a page. Roughly.

500,000 minutes = 8333 hours = 347 days.

That means, taken all together, I’ve saved my readers a full year of meh reading. That’s not counting foreign translations, book club versions, and people who read the book multiple times.

When I think of it that way, I guess it doesn’t seem so crazy. Which is good, because I don’t think I could stop being obsessive like this even if I wanted to.

Later all,

pat

Posted in appearances, book two, Fanmail Q + A, Revision | By Pat108 Responses
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