Friday, February 26, 2010
Is it drafty in here?

So today I was going to pass along some news about the book in a blog titled, "Why I don't talk about Book Two."

The blog was proving rather difficult to write until I realized it was really two blogs. So today we're just going to get the news, and I'll talk about the other stuff later.

Here's the news: I've finally finished my latest draft of The Wise Man's Fear.


Oot is shown in order to give a sense of scale. And because my baby is frikkin adorable.

This manuscript is about 200 pages longer, and about 500 pages different than the last one I took a picture of. I've fixed plotting, tweaked characters, cut scenes, added scenes, re-written, re-organized, re-read, and re-re-organized sections of it so many times that I couldn't even begin to give you a number of versions it's been through.

Now last time I posted up a picture of a manuscript on the blog, people got all twitterpated. They saw that big stack of papers and said things like, "Yay! That means the book will be out next month!!1!" and "Wow! How are they going to bind something that big?!?"

So before we all go leaping to a bunch of unfounded and erroneous conclusions, let's talk about a few things.

First, this manuscript is printed in....(wait for it) manuscript format. That means it's one-sided, double spaced, and printed in courier new font. That's what makes it look so big. Typesetting the book comes later in the process. That's one of the many, many steps that comes later.

That said, The Wise Man's Fear is going to be bigger than The Name of the Wind by at least 100,000 words or so.

Second, let's discuss what a draft is. A draft is a version of a piece of writing. Almost always it is an early or preliminary version. You can have things like a rough draft, which is... well... rough. A second draft, which comes after the first draft. Or you can have things like a final draft, which is... well... final.

Is this going too fast for anyone?

This is not the final draft of book two. If it were, I would have said something like, "This is the final draft of book two." But I didn't. So it's not.

But it isn't a rough draft either. The one I turned in several months ago was rough. There were some bad plot holes, some logical inconsistencies, pacing problems, and not nearly enough lesbian unicorns.

This draft is tighter, cleaner, and all around better. I'm really pleased with it, but it's not quite perfect. Not yet.


What this *doesn't* mean.

The book will not be out next week. The book will not be out next month. Right now there's no publication date. Remember when I said there wasn't a publications date? There's no publication date.


What this *does* mean.

The book is a big step closer to being done.

The book is way better than it was before. That last draft of the book was okay. It had some great parts, some parts that were "meh" and some that were "huh?" Overall, it averaged out to about 70 percent awesome.

Which isn't bad, but I'm not content with a C-minus book. This draft is way better. I'm guessing about 90-92 percent awesome. Way better. But still not perfect.

I'm working on the book, even if I don't constantly talk about it here on the blog. More about this in the upcoming blog: Why I don't talk about Book Two.


What happens now?

This manuscript goes to my editor, Betsy. She reads it carefully, maybe twice. She makes notes, then we talk about what she thinks might need to be changed/tweaked/fixed.

Then, depending on how much work we think it needs. We put it into the production schedule. That means we'll have a publication date. Which I will tell you. On the blog. With words.

Then I do another set of revisions. Or more likely, several smaller sets of revisions, as I'm a freak like that. Luckily, these next sets won't be nearly so extensive as my last round.

In metaphorical terms, the last round of revisions was like an organ transplant. Invasive, complex, labor intensive, and with a long recovery time. The revisions I do after this will probably be more like cosmetic surgery. Or an appendectomy at worst.

But first, I get to relax. I've been working on this fucker nonstop for months. And now, finally, I get to take a break while I wait for Betsy's feedback.


I'm pretty excited to be seeing more of you too, Oot.

You see folks, Oot is one happy baby, all laughs and smiles. But in order to get this revision finished, there have been times over the last several months when I've spent weeks at a stretch working 10-14 hours a day. That's not counting e-mail, dealing with translators, and writing the occasional blog.

That means on some busy days, I only get to play with him for half an hour or so. If our sleep schedules don't match up, some days I don't get to see him at all while he's awake.

I'm not mentioning this to get sympathy. I'm mentioning it so you can better understand my life. I'm mentioning this so you know what exactly goes through my head when someone sends me an e-mail or posts on my blog, saying, "Just finish the book for fucksake!"

So.... that's the news. The book is going well. There are parts of it that I'm so proud of that I almost can't help but talk about them here. It's coming. Be patient. And rest assured that I'm not just lounging around, doing whippets and eating the cotton-candy underthings off nubile young catgirls.

As for myself, now that the book is out of my hands for a couple weeks, I'm planning on catching up on some family stuff and playing Bioshock 2 until I puke.

Oh, and I'll be catching up on a few blogs I've been meaning to post, too. Tune in on Monday and I'll be announcing some of my upcoming appearances for convention season.

There will also be a chance for you to get me to come do a reading/signing at your local bookstore if you live in the right part of the country. Specifically in between Chicago and West Virginia...

So stay tuned....

pat

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Friday, February 5, 2010
Elodin Enterprises: Making Tomorrow's Mistakes a Reality Today.

Over the years, I've learned a lot about women.

When I was younger, I was the guy all the girls came to for relationship advice. Don't ask me why. I'd never actually had a relationship. But I was thoughtful, and a good listener, and I didn't openly gawk at their breasts. (I did gawk, of course, I just wasn't rude about it.)

These three things may not seem like much, but from what I understand they rarely come together in a 16 year old boy. The result was that most girls found me to be trustworthy, fun to be around, and neuter as a Ken doll.

But I learned a lot by listening to their relationship problems. I learned what irritated them, what they really wanted in a relationship (or said they wanted, anyway), and the sort of jerky things guys were capable of.

Eventually I started to develop a list of things you should never do in a relationship. Rules of conduct that should never be broken. I continued building that list all through college.

Now I'm not talking about the obvious stuff here. Rules like, "Don't sleep with your girlfriend's sister." or "Don't jab her in the eye with a pointy stick." Shit like that is obvious.

My rules were more specific, but other people had paid for them in blood.

A few real examples:

* Never tell a woman she looks like her pet.

* Never compare a woman to a cow.

* Never compare a woman to any sort of cheese.

Maybe those last two don't happen so much outside of Wisconsin. But trust me, you really can't pull them off. Dairy products are fine. If you're careful, you can use creamy or milky. You can even, depending on the situation, get away with buttery. But cheese is right out. It can't be done in a good way.

Later on in life, as I started to date more, I began to add new rules based on my own experiences. Things like:

* Don't break up with a girl then send her roommate a love letter.

* Don't invite four different women to the same poetry reading. Especially if one of them is your ex-girlfriend, one is your current girlfriend, and one is the girl who kinda wants to be your girlfriend.

That last one might seem a little specific, and it is, I suppose. But if I can keep even one other person from making that mistake, I will be doing the world a very big favor.

Now some of you may scoff at my list of rules. Thinking them bizarre and overly specific. I don't really feel the need to defend myself or prove the efficacy of my system. Simply look at me, then look at my past girlfriends, all of whom have been lovely, intelligent, and sexy as hell. My results speak for themselves.

I'm not claiming to have it all figured out. Far from it. I'm still adding things to my list all the time.

For example, the other day I'm laying in bed with Sarah and little Oot. Because Oot is a happy little bundle of cute, Sarah experienced a moment of what I call Mom Bliss. I'm pretty sure this is an evolutionary thing. Specifically, it's a rush of endorphins designed to make moms adore their children, rather than devour them.

So we're all on the bed and Oot kinda squirms around, looks up at us, and gives us one of his trademarked triple-distilled cuteness grins. Then he makes a happy little shriek that sounds like he's trying to speak dolphin.

This presses Sarah's mom button, and the endorphins hit her brain like a pixie stick dissolved in a jam-jar full of heroin.

"Oh!" Sarah says, her eyes all dewy with Agape-style love. "This is so great! I'm in bed with my two favorite people!"

"Yeah," I say, pretty much agreeing with her. "It's kinda like a lame three-way."


New rule: Do not refer to quality time with mom and baby as "kinda like a lame three-way."

Here endeth the lesson.

pat

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Aftermath and an Introduction

Y'know, as much as I love doing the fundraiser, I'm glad it's over.

I started writing this blog mostly to relax, share interesting news, and amuse myself. I like to cuss in my posts and make the occasional odd joke about clown sex. But, strangely enough, I don't feel comfortable doing those things in the middle of a charity fundraiser.

Now that we're done being all charitable on the blog, I can get back to buisiness as usual here. Which is to say I can get back to not doing business and start screwing around instead.

Rest assured that in a week or so I'll post up some final details about the fundraiser, and some exciting news about a few things that happened right at the end. But right now we're dealing with the aftermath, assigning prizes, waiting for checks to clear, and preparing to wrap and package roughly a zillion books.

[Editorial note: Don't email me asking if you won anything. Seriously.]

As many of you might remember from last year's fundraiser, Sarah was my plucky assistant who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, helping me manage donations, take pictures of books, and package all the prizes.

This year, however, she's been absolutely no help at all. When I asked her why she was being such a slacker, she reminded me that we had a baby now, and that boobing him took priority over pretty much everything else.

What's that? Can I post a picture of him? You bet your ass I can....

(Click to Embiggen.)

Here Oot accompanied by one of his compatriots: Friendly Carrot. Not pictured here are Crazy Chicken, Subtle the Colorful Not-Mime, and Perverted Elephant.

Anyway, since Sarah is busy cooing and gurgling, I needed someone else to help me tend to the shop, as it were. That meant that until little Oot is old enough to copyedit, I needed an assistant.

So, without any further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Valerie:

(Say it with me now, "Hi Valerie!")

Valerie has been helping me take care of a lot of the epiphenomena that tend to clutter up my life. She does research, organizes stuff, takes care of mail, runs errands....

Generally speaking, she takes care of a bunch of stuff for me, leaving me more time to work on the book.

Over the last two months, that means Valerie has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes of Worldbuilders. She takes pictures of the donations and has managed all the personalized books and posters people bought to support the cause.

She's also been stockpiling the materials we'll need to package up this year's prizes.

(It's fun to play with big rolls of bubble wrap.)

Suffice to say that without her help, Worldbuilders would have been a chaotic mess, and I wouldn't have gotten a lick of work done on my revisions.

Anyway, she's been working really hard on all this stuff. So I figured it was high time I introduced her...

Say hello Valerie.

Hello.

No. Sorry. That won't work. You can't be purple, Sarah's purple. There will be mass confusion. You'll have to pick a different colour.

I like green. Can I be green?

That suits you, but it's a little too bright. Could you bring it down a bit?

How about this?

Perfect.

Everyone, meet Valerie. Valerie, this is everyone.

Say hello, everyone.

pat

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Important Milestones.

Well folks, I didn't think we'd be able to do it, but we passed the 20,000 dollar mark on the name raffle. I'll never doubt you again.

Can I just take a moment to say how awesome y'all are? Yeah. You're awesome.

Because we hit 20K, I'll be drawing three winners. But it won't be for a couple days yet, as we're waiting for the last of the mailed-in entries to trickle through the postal system. Rest assured that I'll be posting up the results as soon as I've had a chance to chat with the winners.

On a related note, it warms my heart to see so many people rooting for Carly Trowbridge to win. A few people even donated money on her behalf. Extra style points there.

I'll admit that I'm excited for the drawing, and a little nervous too. There are some great names in there, and others will fit with some tweaking. But a few I can't think of how I could make them work. If I draw one of those, we'll be able to work it out, but I don't relish the thought of telling someone the name of their beloved dead goldfish just won't work in The Wise Man's Fear.

In other news, Oot rolled over yesterday. This might not seem like a big deal. But it is. It is a Big Deal. It's possible that there has never been a bigger deal happen in this house. If you'd been listening outside, you probably would've thought Sarah and I were watching the Packer game, or perhaps celebrating man's first step on the moon or something.

For those of you who have an interest in such things, here's a picture of him looking very pleased with himself.





That's all for right now. I'm in the midst of some pretty intensive revisions, so I don't have much brainspace to spare for being blog-witty. Rest assured there is some profound coolness right around the corner.

Stay tuned,

pat

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Monday, October 12, 2009
Distracting Cuteness

I know I said I'd have the details about the name raffle up by Monday. But I didn't say *which* Monday, now did I? [Insert maniacal laughter here.]

Seriously though. I decided to add a paypal option for overseas people to use, and it's taking me a longer to figure out the details than I thought it would. Plus, I want the details of this particular blog to exceptionally clear and easy to understand. Otherwise I know there will be chaos and confusion.

Anyway. I'll have the kinks worked out of the blog by tomorrow (hopefully).

Until then, for those of you who have been asking, here's a picture of Oot.




(Click to embiggen)
(The picture, that is. Oot will remain regular baby size.)

Awwww. How cute is he? Plus his mouth is open, just like his daddy. In my experience, that means he's thinking about breasts, just like his daddy.

I wish I could take credit for that piece of dashing haberdashery, but I can't. The onesie he's wearing is a gift from a very thoughtful fan. Pure style.

Also, for those of you who keep asking. I think he's going to continue to be known as Oot here on the blog. Later on, if he wants, he can choose to be an internet rockstar. But for now, we'll let him keep a little anonymity. Literally.

Soon...

pat

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Friday, September 25, 2009
What all the Fuss is about....

It's been a busy couple days over here.

Because:





There are many of you out there who deserve to hear this news by phone. Or by getting an e-mail. Or through a sarcastic gorrilagram of some sort. But I just can't manage it right now. As you can see by the picture, we're all pretty tired around here.

Everyone always says things like, "The labor was 8 hours long..." or "She was in labor for 15 hours." Or something like that. I don't know where to officially start counting the official labor, but she started having contractions Friday night, and we had the baby Tuesday morning. So no matter how you count it, it was long.

The end result is pretty good though. Little Oot is healthy and happy. He resembles his daddy in that he likes boobs and sleeping. Everything else will be sorted out later.

I won't trouble you with his measurements. I've never really understood the desire people have to quantify a baby. "He's X big and Y long," As if the baby is a fish you're not sure you're going to keep. Or some prize potato you're hoping will win a prize at the county fair.

Rest assured that he does posses mass and volume. He has all three dimensions and the requisite number of usual parts. He is a boy child. A Libra. Full of grace. An ox. Pinkish in color. Soft. And we have just received independent verification that he is cute as a button.

I've been stockpiling blogs over the last couple months, so you'll see some of those when I'm too busy writing and being domestic to write a new one. If anything, posts will probably be more frequent for a while.

If you have a piece of baby advice (and it seems like everyone I meet does) feel free to post it below. I will also accept cute baby stories. Everyone likes cute baby stories.

Sweet dreams everyone,

pat

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Monday, June 15, 2009
A modest proposal
So today Sarah e-mailed me a link to a baby website.

This isn't anything new. As I've mentioned before, Sarah is a font of baby information. She's a veritable cornucopia of nativity trivia.

Say that out loud. It doesn't matter if there's someone else in the room with you and you worry they'll look at you funny. It's worth it. Trust me. Say, "veritable cornucopia of nativity trivia." I put those words together just for you, and you have to say them out loud in order to appreciate them properly.

Anyway, this current site talks about how big your baby is... compared to different foods.

Now at first, this seems okay. Babies and fruit share certain characteristics. Babies are natural. Fruit is natural. They both grow. They're both tied to reproduction.

Also, fruit is a good frame of reference. We all know how big a lime is, for example.




(Week 12: Your baby is as big as a lime.)


But as you scroll through the pictures, they don't use fruit exclusively. They use other foods, too, and some of these are... odd. Personally, I find it odd to compare a baby to things like a cooked shrimp, (which strikes me as creepy) or a pineapple (which makes my imaginary womb profoundly uncomfortable).

Plus, since they have a different food every week, they start running out of familiar fruits. I mean, when you tell me my baby is as big as a Mexican jicama, that's not really informative. The purpose of the fruit is to give me a handy basis for comparison, not to send me running to wikipedia.

Part of me would like to put together a different set of photos with different size/weight references. Week 20: Your baby is the size of a can of beer. Week 27: Your baby weighs as much as the US hardcover of The Name of the Wind.

I understand they were following a theme here. But really, why would you want to compare your baby to food? It's like Anne Geddes' work: cute when you first see it, then creepier and creepier the more you think about it.

Am I alone in thinking this?

pat

P.S. Oot is, apparently, a rutabaga now.

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Friday, June 12, 2009
Adventures abroad: Prologue

Before I start talking about my trip to Europe, I should mention that in many ways I am embarrassingly American. I'm monolingual. I'm fat. And in many ways, I'm terribly ignorant of the shape of the world. For example, until a couple years ago, I didn't know where Belgium was. True story.

This means that about 95% of my knowledge about Italy comes from two sources. 1) The movie Hudson Hawk. 2) The episode of Angel where they go to Rome to face down the Immortal.

This is important because Rome was going to be our first stop on our European walkabout.

Sarah was good about preparing herself for the trip. She did research. She got phrase books. She looked at maps. I was too busy getting the first draft of the book ready to do much preparation. I didn't study any languages. I didn't look at any tourist guides. I know that somewhere in Rome there's old stuff and a cool fountain. I know that somewhere in England there's Stonehenge. Somewhere in Amsterdam there are whores. Other than that, I'm flying blind….

And I do mean flying. Our flight goes from Central Wisconsin --> Detroit --> Amsterdam --> Rome. I've done a lot of flying in the last couple years, but this is different by an order of magnitude. Pretty much a whole waking day spent in the air.

Interesting fact: When you get pregnant, your body makes a bunch of extra blood. Pints and pints. Sarah told me this. She's a font of bizarre information about pregnancy. "Today Oot is growing a pancreas," she'll say. "Now he has gills like a fish."

I'm fairly certain that she makes a lot of it up. But still, I look attentive whenever she gives me these facts. Partly because I prefer things that are interesting to things that are true, but also because Sarah will cry at the drop of a hat under normal circumstances. Pregnancy has magnified this amusing quirk in a exponential way.

I actually took a video of her crying on the trip. Yes really. These things need to be recorded for the sake of science. She cries because she's upset, then I cheer her up and she cries because she's happy. Then she cries because she loves me. Then she cries because she's crying.

I probably shouldn't post that video without asking her, but here's a picture, just add a little verisimilitude.





Witness my mad comforting skills. She was weeping just minutes before this picture. After all these years with Sarah, I can stop someone's crying jag with two hugs and less than 50 words. You'll be tear-free in 60 seconds or your money back.

By the way, Oot is the baby's in-utero name. I figured we couldn't just call it "it" until it was born, so I gave him a temporary name. It's pronounced like "boot" without the "b." Just so we're clear.

Anyway, the point is that pregnant women have a lot of extra blood. So Sarah says. I can't remember her saying if it happens to all women, or just her. For all I know it might be something Sarah decided to do on her own.

Either way, apparently all this extra blood makes it a bad idea for her to sit still for long periods of time. There's a risk of blood clots. To prevent this, she has special stockings to wear and instructions to get up and walk around regularly.

Luckily, the guy next to me is willing to switch seats so Sarah can sit next to me. It's easy to forget if you watch too much news, but the vast majority of people in the world are kind and generous.

The down side is that Sarah's fear of blood clots combined with her favorite hobby, peeing, means that she wants to get up every three and a half minutes. This means that I, sitting in the isle seat, have to get up so often you'd think I was doing jumping jacks.

Why didn't I just give her the isle seat, you ask? Well... mostly because I like the isle seat. And jumping jacks, for that matter.

Eventually we made it to Amsterdam. And while Sarah and I were walking to the new gate so we could catch our connecting flight to Rome, I hear two people talking behind us. They're speaking Italian, and I hear one of them exclaim, "Mama Mia!" He says it twice in the time it takes us to get to the gate.

What really throws me off is the fact that he sounds like a bad stereotype. His accent sounds exactly like someone pretending to have an over-the-top Italian accent. If a really bad sitcom was going to have an embarrassingly unoriginal Italian character, that character would say "Mama mia!" in exactly this way.

Since this is, in many some ways, my first European experience, I can't help but wonder: is all Europe going to be like this? Are all the stereotypes true? Will a dark, handsome Italian man try to seduce Sarah? Will English food be horrifyingly bad? Are the French going to wear berets and mime at me?

These were my thoughts as our plane touched down in Rome….

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