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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Monday, February 22, 2010
Powells

For those of you who have never been there, Powell's Books is like no other bookstore I've ever seen.

It takes up a whole city block. As I mentioned before on the blog, I've only been there once, and that was only for a bare 45 minutes or so. Even so, that was enough time for me to get lost.

And I'm not speaking metaphorically here. I was actually physically lost. Lost as in, "I don't know where I came in or how I can get out."

Simply said, if heaven turns out to be something like Powell's, I wouldn't complain too much.

As if that weren't enough coolness all by itself, a friend recently stopped there and snapped a few pictures of what he found.

(Click to Embiggen)

Awww.... Thank you Powell's.

(Click to Embiggen)

Wow. That's unprecedentedly forthright. Thanks again, Powell's.

And just a couple days ago, someone sent me a link to Powell's "Puddly Awards" where customers and staff pick their favorite books. Even better, Powell's then sells those books at a discount until the end of February. So you've still got a week or so to take advantage of it.

That's the hat trick. Thanks a third time, Powell's.

More soon,

pat

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Thursday, February 18, 2010
Signs of things to come...

Well, it took a little doing, but at this point we've got 99.9% of the raffle prizes packaged up and in the mail.

(Note: Oot is not a prize.)

Valerie did most of the packing and mailing, with solid assistance from a few others including Sarah and Oot. Though really, I don't know if what Oot does can be considered assistance. Personally, I think he's the weak member of the team. But Sarah and Valerie place great stock in cuteness, cooing, and the desire to bounce up and down while being held.

I don't doubt that some of the books have already started arriving at the winners' houses. If you'd like to send in a picture of you loving you cool new books, feel free to mail them to: paperback.contest [squiggly atsign thinger] gmail.com.

I helped with some of the packaging, but Valerie has perfectionist tendencies, and I tend to be a hardline proponent of function over form. After one particularly ugly wrapping job, I was told that my time would perhaps be better spent doing something else, like bouncing little Oot.

Personally, I thought the package was a marvel of engineering. Nigh-indestructible, in fact.


Sure it's ugly, but it gets the job done. (I'm talking about the package.)

Anyway, the upshot is that the girl members of Team Elodin did most of the post-fundraiser sorting and shipping. Which is nice, as it freed me up to concentrate on the book.

And yes, I'll be posting up news about that soon, so y'all can stop asking.

And no, there isn't a publication date yet, so y'all can stop asking about that too.

I mean seriously. If the book had a solid pub date, don't you think I'd mention it? Do you think I'd sit here at home, rubbing my hands together and chortling: "Yes! If I withhold this information another week, I'm sure to get another 100 e-mails asking me about the book!"

Yup. That's exactly what I'd do. Because obviously I am some sort of alien life form that lives on snarky fanmail and bitchy blog comments. Since I became stranded on your strange world years ago, they have been my only means of sustenance.

That's really the only explanation that makes any sense... Unless, of course, the reason I haven't posted up any news is simply because there *isn't* any news.

Now that I *do* have some news, I'll write a post about it. It's that simple. These things don't happen faster because you ask for them, you realize. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So, if you care about that sort of thing, stay tuned. I'm planning on titling the post: "Why I Don't Talk About Book Two."

Oddly enough though, I *will* be talking about book two in that particular blog. Go figure.

pat

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
So You Want to Be a Hero?

A while back, I said I'd be giving people a chance to get their names into my second book: The Wise Man's Fear.

I've finally managed to work out all the details. So we're going to do our best to kill two birds with one stone.

You want to get your name into book two....





...and I want to raise money for Heifer International.





So, as a prologue to this year's fundraiser, we're going to have a raffle.

There are three ways you can get your name into the book. Pay attention.


Option One: The Regular Raffle.

You buy chances to win, like raffle tickets. Tickets will be 10 dollars each.

That means if you donate 30 dollars, your name gets thrown into the drawing three times. Simple.

However, if you want to be a big spender and donate fifty dollars, you get a free ticket. So fifty bucks gets you six tickets total.

At the end of the lottery, I'll be drawing a winner from these tickets. If you don't win, your ticket will enter a second drawing combined with the free entries. (See below.) What this means is that every ticket you buy gets two chances to win.


You have two ways to buy tickets:
  • To Buy Your Tickets by Mail:
You only need two things.

A check, made out to Pat Rothfuss. Signed by you.

A 3x5 index card that looks like this:




(Click to Embiggen)


Remember folks, I have to read these. That means you should probably print instead of using cursive. It doesn't need to be pretty, just legible.

And you see what I did up there? Where I wrote an "a" then wrote over it and made it a "u?" That's not very clear, is it? I should have used some white out, or done something else rather than leave it ambiguous. That would have been the smart thing to do...

Lastly, mail the check and the card to:

Pat Rothfuss
PO Box 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

  • To Buy Your Tickets Online:
[EDIT: Woo Hoo! After a relatively painless review process, the online option is back! Thanks for being cool about this, Paypal!]

Because international post is slow and expensive, I decided to make a paypal option available. (You can use the three custom buttons below to donate.)

Note – Tickets through paypal will actually be $11 each. This is because paypal takes a percentage of all the money it helps transfer. And, to be completely honest, because it's going to be a bit of a pain for me to sift all these digital entries onto paper tickets.






(Click the picture to be cool and donate 11 bucks.)


However, if you donate an even 50 bucks through paypal, I'll cover the extra fees myself, and you can still have six tickets.






(Click to be awesome and donate 50 bucks.)


If you're feeling extraordinarily extravagant, you can donate as much as you like with this button. (Keeping in mind that it should probably be some multiple of 11 or 50.)






(Click to be a rockstar and donate according to your desire.)


Remember: when you submit your paypal order, you need to include all the information you would have written on the note card.

DO THIS BEFORE YOU COMPLETE YOUR DONATION! After you donate, there's no way to go back and add this information.


Your phone number.
Your name.
Your e-mail.
The name you're hoping to get into the book.


Option Two: The Poor-Boy Raffle.

I spent nine years as an undergrad, so I know what it's like to not have a lot of folding money. This is the option that will give everyone a chance to throw their hat into the ring, even if they can't afford ten dollars for a ticket.

To get into the free option, you just mail a 3x5 note card, filled out just like the one above.

To this address:

Pat Rothfuss
PO BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

And that's it.

After I draw the winner from the paying option, I'm going to take all the non-winning tickets from that raffle, combine them with the free entries, and draw a second winner.

Important: If you buy a ticket, I will automatically enter you in the poor-man's raffle.

That means if you buy a ticket, DON'T don't send in an entry for the poor man's raffle too. This will only waste your time and anger me.



Option Three: The Cool Name Option

If I look through the entries and see a suggested name that looks cool to me, I might tweak it a bit and use it in the book.

Simple as that. I'm always on the lookout for cool names.


FAQ:

When is the raffle over?

One month from now: November 15th.


What are the odds of my winning the raffle?

Just like all raffles, that depends on how many tickets you buy, and how many people enter. But it should be obvious that you're (roughly) twice as likely to win than if you use the free option.

Edit: As of October 27th, we had raised a little more than 8000 dollars.

That means if you buy a ticket, your odds of winning are roughly 1 in 400. (Because I'm drawing two winners.)

Or, if you donate fifty bucks and get six tickets, your odds are about 1 in 70.

Those are pretty good odds.

Also, if we get a bunch more people participating. I'll draw an extra winner from the group that paid for their tickets.

That means it won't hurt your odds to spread the word to your friends. More participants will actually lead to more chances to win.


Can I use my own name as the one I want in the book?

Of course. I'm guessing this is what most people want. I'm just leaving the door open for people to suggest other options.

If I buy more than one ticket, should I send in more than one card?

No. There's never any reason to send in/fill out more than one card.

Does this mean book two isn't finished yet?

*sigh* Yes. That should be pretty obvious. I couldn't add things if it was finished. The revision process for a book this big takes a long time, and I'm still fixing things. Adding more awesome. Taking out things that aren't quite awesome enough. Making sure everyone's eyes are the right colour. That sort of stuff.

So if I win, I get to put whatever name I want in your upcoming book?

No. What will happen is the two of us will have a talk about how your name, or a variation of it, will fit into my book. Something that will make us both happy.

Read this blog for details and reasons why.

Will I get any control over who I am in the book? Will the character with my name look like me?

This will be part of our negotiation. If you really want to be a student at the University, and your name will work for that, we can make that happen. I might be able to tweak their appearance a little so it's closer to yours, too.

The short answer is that I'll do what I can to make you happy. But the book comes first, and I'm the final arbiter of what goes in and what doesn't.

Will you be doing this again for book three?

I don't know. A lot of that depends on how well this raffle works. If people are excited and we raise a lot of money, then I'll probably do it for book three.

On the other hand, if the response is small, and the whole thing ends up being a pain in my ass, there's a real possibility I won't do it again.

So all of the money you raise from this is going to charity?

Yes. All this money will be going to Heifer International. This raffle is actually just a warm-up to the bigger fundraiser that I'll be running on the blog next month.

If you're curious, you can look at last year's fundraiser HERE.


What's to keep people from swamping the free option with multiple entries?

There are several things that I think will keep this from being a severe problem.

1) Human Decency.

My readers are generous, kind human beings. Only a rapacious fuckwit would try to game the system on a charity raffle.

2) Human Laziness.

There's no online option for the free drawing. I doubt very much people will be filling out dozens of note cards by hand and sending them all in.

3) The name and phone number required with each entry.

I'm using phone numbers to catalog and organize the entries. That means I'm just going to throw away multiple free entries that have the same phone number, or those with no phone number at all. It's the classic "one entry per household." Except in this case it's not a house, it's a phone.

And yes, I know it's not a perfect system. But it's the best we can have without going to ridiculous lengths.

Are these prices in American dollars?

Yes. Foreign payments are one of the mail reasons I'm including a paypal option. Paypal will convert from your currency to US dollars.

If, for some strange reason, you want to send me a foreign check you need to do the following.

1. Figure out how much you want to donate.
(Let's say you live in London and want to donate 50 dollars.)

2. Add three dollars. Because that's how much my bank charges me to cash a foreign check.
(That makes your total 53 dollars.)

3. Convert this into your local currency.
(53 dollars = 32.96 British Pounds.)

4. Write your check out for this amount in your native currency. My bank can't cash it otherwise.
(So you write me a check for 33 pounds. Rounding up because you're a generous human being.)

Keep in mind that the raffle will be happening pretty soon after November 15th, and international post is slow. So if you're going to mail me a check, do it sooner rather than later.

I was really looking forward to this being an auction. I'm all full of money and was willing to pay whatever it takes to get my daughter's/husband's/dwarven monk's name in the book.

I'm willing to entertain the thought. If you really want an auction, let me know in the comments below and I'll think about setting one up, maybe in conjunction with the other auctions we're going to be running for the main fundraiser in a couple weeks.

More FAQ over here.


I'm excited, folks. Let's do this.

pat

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Monday, May 11, 2009
When in Rome....
Well folks, I'm in Rome. And you know what they say, "When in Rome, do what the Romans do."

Personally, I'm assuming that the Romans blog.

My overall impressions of Rome will have to wait for a while. As will the anecdotes of my first few fumbling days as a world traveler.

For now, I just wanted everyone to know that:

1. I did not die in a terrible plane-type accident.

2. I will be posting up a blog about my UK reading/signing dates and times as soon as they're all set up and solid. So far we've got the firm details on a Manchester signing at Waterstones on the 28th swtarting at 7:00. More specifics so that will be up on the Tour Schedule page soon.

3. Lastly, for those of you that care about this sort of thing, I got the first draft of book two finished Manuscript printed and mailed to my editor two hours before I got on my plane. To say it was a bit of a rush doesn't really convey the frantic nature of the past two weeks of my life.

The manuscript is a beast, by the way. Here's a quick picture I snapped of it. Included is the US hardcover to give some perspective.


Align Center


Thing is huge. Took more than 3 reams of paper to print. Took six hours just to spellcheck....

Do you know what it's like to run spellcheck for six hours? It's like a party in purgatory. A party in purgatory where all they have to drink is sugar-free Kool-aid, and the only game to play is Monopoly, and none of your friends show up.

On an unrelated note, recently, I got a really funny piece of fanmail from someone telling me how to live my life. I was going to post it up in a blog and make fun of it, but then I wondered if that would make me a dick.

I mean, it is my nature to mock. It is my way. It's who I am. I try to be honest about the me that I show here on the blog.

But at the same time, when I wrote the College Survival Guide, I developed powerful mocking abilities. Like superhero-level stuff. I don't know if it's fair to turn the withering blowtorch of my sarcasm onto an unsuspecting person who just happens to be a clueless, controling, passive-agressive fucker.

What do y'all think? Mock or not?

More later, as soon as I can get internet access again.

pat

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Sunday, March 8, 2009
Floating on a Sea of Love.

Gech. After I wrote that title, I threw up a little bit in my own mouth.

But just because it's nauseatingly sweet, doesn't mean it's not true. Since I posted the Longest Blog Ever about a week ago, I've received roughly one billion messages. There were e-mails, phone calls, facebook wall posts, strip-o-grams, and alien beams shot directly into my head from the icy depths of space.

Yeah. They read my blog in space, apparently. Who knew.

Seriously though, the vast majority of these messages have been displays of loving support and kindness. Many of them terribly sweet, funny, or touching in turn. Only a very few were snarky.

And yes, there was one turd. But it was a tiny thing among all the rest. A turdlet. And it didn't spoil my day. Instead I laughed a great booming laugh at his ineffectual flailing rage.

On synchronicity:

Now, I should mention that I don't actually read any blogs myself. There are a few I peek in on occasionally, but my addictive web-wanderings lean more toward comics.

So after I posted my blog, I was surprised to learn that George RR Martin wrote a blog on a similar subject about a week before I posted mine.

I saw Mr. Martin at Worldcon last year. And I almost went up to him and asked, "How have you gone this long without killing someone?" Because however much flak I happen to get from fans, he has to get a thousand times more.

In my opinion, he's a saint. If I had to deal with that level of fan dickishness, I would have already lost my shit in some spectacular way. There would be a video of me on youtube, gone all berserk with nerd rage, holding someone up by the neck, shouting "I've got your sequel right here, bitch!"

I didn't actually approach him and say that though. Because it seemed a weird way to introduce myself. Still, know that I'm on your side Mr. Martin. Slow writers represent. Um. Yo.

Several of you also brought Scalzi's post to my attention as well. Apparently, just a couple hours before I posted up my blog, John Scalzi over at Whatever wrote a blog on the topic of authors. It's a good read. Not only did we make a lot of the same points, we even made some of the same jokes. It was more than slightly eerie, to tell you the truth.

I just wish I'd skipped the last revision, and posted my blog a day earlier. That way it would have looked like he was ripping me off instead of the other way around.


Concerning the flood of love: (Ew)

I just wanted to mention that I did read all the messages. All of them. Though I only responded to a small fraction of what came in because there just aren't enough hours in the day.

While I was reading through them, I snipped out some of the clever, bizarre, and funny things people wrote.

Then I cleverly lost the file I saved those quotes into. And I just don't have time to winnow through several hundred messages again to dig them out. Rest assured that I enjoyed them all. Even the turd.

There is one message that I got after I made the post that just about knocked me over though.

My husband reads fantasy and I, the English teacher, prefer "real literature." The Name of the Wind is what I get for being so smug. It is an incredible novel! Our first baby is due this April and I'm not sure what the two of us anticipate more: our new daughter or the Wise Man's Fear!

Well done, Mr. Rothfuss, well done!

If that isn't intimidating, I don't know what is. I have a terrible mental image of a woman going into labor in the fantasy isle of Borders.

Oh, and here's something else I thought y'all might get a kick out of:





You might have to click on it to see the joke.

It's here...





I'm guessing that someone at B&N has a sense of humor, or there's a profoundly weird glitch in their system.

(Edit: B&N insiders reveal the truth about this in the comments below. Thanks for the clue-in folks.)

Either way, I would just like to say I'm confident of my ability to get book two out before this deadline. Rest assured.

That's all for now. I just wanted to thank everyone for their support. I'll be posting up a few other blogs this week, so stay tuned.

Fondly,

pat

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Thursday, February 26, 2009
Concerning the Release of Book Two
Huzzah.














Okay folks, here's the deal....

Whatever release date you've heard for book two is simply untrue. There is no release date because the book isn't finished yet. I'm working on it right now. Or rather, I would be working on it if I wasn't writing this blog.

Yeah. It sucks. I wish it was finished too. My life would be really great right now if book two were done.

I've been avoiding writing this blog for a while. It's not fun to write, and it's not going to be fun for most people to read. The truth is, I'd much rather work on the book.

But recently, a remarkably courteous and lucid e-mail from a fan made me realize that a lot of people out there are more curious than pissed about it.

So. There's the news. The Wise Man's Fear won't be out for a while. This won't come as a surprise to many of you. Especially those who know not to trust everything Amazon says. Plus, I've been pretty open about the fact that I'm still working on revisions.

You see, even if I finished the book today and it was perfect, it couldn't be on the shelves by April. It takes a long time to get a book into print. Months and months. There are a lot of steps.

Since many of you will be disappointed by this news, I figure the least I can do is explain why it's taking so long.

If you don't care about that, skip down to the bottom and check out "The Upside." That's the good news.

For the curious among you, here are some of the reasons My revisions are taking so long.


My book is long.

Over the last six weeks, I have written roughly 60,000 words. Pretty good words if I do say so myself.

To give you a bit of perspective, there are entire novels that are only 60,000 words long. Stardust, for example. Coraline was only 30,000 words long. (I mention these two because I just listened to an interview with Neil Gaiman.)

That means that since the beginning of the year, I've already written an entire novel's worth of text.

The Name of the Wind is bigger than that. It was over 250,000 words. The Wise Man's Fear is looking to be even longer, maybe more than 300,000 words.

Why did my book need these 60,000 words? Well, I realized part of the book wasn't as well-developed and satisfying as it needed to be. It needed more action, more tension, more detail. It needed to be re-worked, expanded and generally betterized.

It took 60,000 words to do the job. My book effectively ate an entire novel's worth of text. A short novel, admittedly. But still, it gives a sense of perspective.



My book is different.

In case you hadn't noticed, the story I'm telling is a little different. It's a little shy on the Aristotelian unities. It doesn't follow the classic Hollywood three-act structure. It's not like a five-act Shakespearean play. It's not like a Harlequin romance.

So what *is* the structure then? Fuck if I know. That's part of what's taking me so long to figure out. As far as I can tell, my story is part autobiography, part hero's journey, part epic fantasy, part travelogue, part faerie tale, part coming of age story, part romance, part mystery, part metafictional-nested-story-frame-tale-something-or-other.

I am, quite frankly, making this up as I go. If I get it right, I get something like The Name of the Wind. Something that makes all of us happy.

But if I fuck it up, I'll end up with a confusing tangled mess of a story.

Now I'm not trying to claim that I'm unique in this. That I'm some lone pioneer mapping the uncharted storylands. Other authors do it too. My point is that doing something like this takes more time that writing another shitty, predictable Lord of the Rings knockoff.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to write a that sort of book. It would be nice to be able to use those well-established structures like a sort of recipe. A map. A paint-by-numbers kit.

It would be so much easier, and quicker. But it wouldn't be a better book. And it's not really the sort of book I want to write.


I'm still pretty new to all of this.

Two years ago, I was a part-time teacher. I was poor, obscure, and pretty content to stay that way. I learned to write as a happy, carefree nobody. No deadlines. No editors. No stress.

Since then I have somehow become an international bestselling author. I've paid off my credit card debt. I own a house. I own a car. I get fanmail and invitations to conventions.

And, honestly, for big parts of this time I have been pretty miserable.

The reason for this is Psyke 101 simple. Stress is caused by change, and the last two years of my life have been nothing but change. Some bad. Some good. But it all boils down to the stress of suddenly having a completely different life.

It's taken me the better part of these two years to get my feet under me again. It's been hard for me to get back to the familiar headspace where my good writing happens.

I'm glad to say I seem to have finally made it. My writing is finally going well. I've made great additions to the book over the last three months, where before that when I sat down to write it was like masturbating with a cheese grater. (Vaguely amusing, but mostly painful.)

Not only do I seem to be back in my happy place, but I've managed to do it without destroying my relationship, developing a substance abuse problem, or getting all twisted up and bitter inside. I'm pretty pleased about that.

Best of all, I feel like myself again. But it was a long, slow while in coming.


I am obsessive.

A week or so ago, I wrote a sentence that wasn't quite right. It bothered me like a popcorn husk stuck in the back of my throat. The problem was the word 'girlish.' It wasn't the right word. Close, but not right.

I thought about it when I went to bed that night. I thought about it in the shower. And the next day when I was driving into town to buy groceries it came to me. 'Childlike.' That was it. The perfect word.

You need to understand that I am a freak, and words are just the tip of the iceberg. The order of scenes, characterization, tension and subplot. I obsess about these things. I don't want them good. I want them perfect.

I like to think this obsessive attention to every little thing is a part of what makes my books worth reading twice. Worth telling your friends about. Worth writing smutty yaoi fanfic about. But it takes time.

One word down. 299,999 to go.


I have a life.

Last but not least, I do have a life.

I have everyday things that need doing. I have a sidewalk to shovel, a lawn to rake, groceries to buy, and dishes to do. These things take time.

Okay. I lie. Sarah does the dishes.

I have a job. Part of that is writing book two, true. But part of it is also working with my foreign translators. We've sold The Name of the Wind in 27 countries so far, and there are a lot of seemingly innocent things in the first book that are important later on. I have to try to make sure these things are not lost in translation. That takes time.

Part of my job is also going to conventions, doing readings or workshops. I have taxes to manage. (And I fucked that up this year, let me tell you.) Part of my job is talking with movie people, or game people, or comic book people. This takes time.

Also, I like to have fun. I have a girlfriend who is good at kissing. I like to play boardgames. I enjoy role playing, though I don't get much chance these days. I like reading books and watching movies. These things are important. Without them I would become a dry, joyless husk of a man.

A dry, joyless husk cannot write a book that is full of wonderful things.



"Gee Pat, what can I do to help?"

Goodness. What a considerate question. Thanks for asking.

In concrete terms, there's not much you can do to speed book two along. Ultimately, nobody can write it but me.

That said, it would be nice if everyone was conscious of the fact that I am a person, not a whirling machine that does nothing but churn out EFP.

It would also be nice if folks avoided bitching to me about the delay. It's really counterproductive. I actually do read all my e-mail and the comments on my blog. When someone goes out of their way to snipe and bitch at me... Well, the best possible outcome is that it makes me tired and depressed.

At worst it makes me think things like, "You little fucker, I'll be damned if I write you a book! I'm going to play Spore for 15 hours just to spite you!"

Now I'm not saying you can't be pissed. Feel free. And I'm not saying you shouldn't express those honest emotions. Don't keep it bottled up. It's not healthy.

What I *am* asking is that you don't bring your frothy rage round here to my house. Screed away on your own blog, curse my name on a discussion board, punch your pillow. By all means, vent your spleen. Just don't vent it at me. It makes me hurty inside.

I say that as a joke, but like most jokes it has a grain of truth to it. That's the reason I've turned the comments off for this blog. I know they would break down roughly like this:

30 considerate, supportive comments.
20 touching, heartfelt comments.
15 funny comments
10 comments saying, "Meh, I already knew."
5 passive-aggressive snarks masquerading as one of the above.
1 comment from some anonymous frothy dickhole.

And you know which comment I'd focus on? Yeah. The last one. It would sit there like a steaming turd in my bowl of cereal. It doesn't matter how delicious the cereal is. It could be Fruity Pebbles, or even Cookie Crisp. But in a situation like this it doesn't matter. You can't just eat around it. All you can do is focus on the turd.

That's why I've turned the comments off for today. I'm really fond of y'all. Over this last year, interacting with my readers has been one of the true, rare joys in my life. You have shown yourselves to be intelligent, funny, and generous. And many of you continuously surprise me with how are gracious and kind-hearted you can be. Many of you are enthusiastic to the point where it gives me a tingle.

I'm not just glad to have you as readers, I'm proud to have you as readers. You are my Cookie Crisp, and I don't want one turd to spoil how I feel about you.

Good lord. I'm pretty sure I just wrote a completely new sentence. I'd be willing to bet what I just wrote up there has never, ever been said before in the history of history. Hallmark should turn that into a Sweetest Day card. I'd buy one.

Okay. We good here? Yeah. We're good. Let's move on to....


The upside.

A while back, I was thinking to myself, "This fictional release date is going to cause problems. My lovely readers will be powerfully ensaddened. What could I possibly do to ease the sting of it a little?"

Then someone sent me a link to something Brandon Sanderson was doing.

So here is the silver lining. I'm going to hold a lottery, and the winner will get to have their name in book two. Maybe your name, or your mom's, or your kid's. Your choice.

Now I'm not saying that I'll stick *any* name in. If your WOW character is named Wonkerbee Bumchuck, it just won't work. But I'm sure the two of us will be able to get to a place where you're happy, and the name is a welcome addition to The Wise Man's Fear rather than something that compromises the integrity of the story.

I'm still working out the mechanics. But it will be free, and it will be open for everyone. When I get all the details worked out, I'll make an announcement here on the blog.

This is my way of apologizing for the delay. It's also my way of thanking you all for being gracious and patient with me. This I appreciate more than words can say.


Fondly,

pat

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Monday, January 21, 2008
My Readers Are the Best Readers Ever....

... and I will engage in manly fisticuffs with anyone who says otherwise.

When I posted up last Thursday's blog, I was nervous about what sort of reaction there would be. While news of the book's delay was hardly secret, I was still worried that people would be pissed.

Anyway, whatever my best hopes were, y'all exceeded them. After reading your kind comments and messages, I'm filled with warm, tingly feelings that I usually reserve for fluffy kittens and Alyson Hannigan.

If you haven't already, I recommend taking a peek at the comments. A lot of them cracked me up, especially the ones making a case for a Pat Rothfuss action figure.

My love for you is such that were I able, I would give all of you backrubs and cake, no lie.





However, as that is problematical, I will settle for writing you the best goddamn book possible. Seriously. It's going to be so good the ALA will have to put a label on it warning people of the dangerous levels of awesome contained therin. It's going to be so good that you will read it and then die.

Well... I might want to scale it back a little from that. But still, when it comes out it would probably be safest to read it with one eye closed, just to be safe.

That's all for now, but make sure to stop back tomorrow for more news.... In fact, you might want to stay tuned for the rest of the week, I'll be making more posts than as is my usual.
I've got a lot of other announcements to catch up on (happy ones this time) and stories to tell from the convention I just got back from.

Later all,

pat

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
The unhappy announcement
I have to pass along some unhappy news, but before I do that, I have to tell a story. (For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while, or who have read the book for that matter, this behavior should not come as any particular surprise.)

A couple weeks ago, I was home for Christmas. While I was helping my Dad get ready for dinner, we talked about his Christmas letter. You know, the sort of thing I'm talking about: the yearly cute picture and Cliff Notes version of your family news.

My dad and I had talked about the letter before because this year's was a lot harder to write. It's been an odd year....

Wow. Look at that. "It's been an odd year." That, my friends, is what we call a classic Midwestern understatement.

Let me try again. This post is meant to pass along some important news, so I might as well speak plainly....

In some ways, this has been the best year of my life. The book that I've worked on for over fourteen years finally hit the shelves. I have met countless fans who have stunned me with their cleverness and kindness. I got to meet Tad Williams and Neil Gaiman and a host of other incredible authors. The book has gotten stunning reviews, and won awards, and they're currently translating it into twenty foreign languages.

I would say that my dreams had come true, but honestly, I never had dreams this big.

But in other ways, this year has contained some of the worst things I've ever lived through. My mom died this February, about a month before the book came out. She was my biggest fan, and liked me back before anyone else had a reason too. She was so exited about the book....

Later, my dad discovered he had cancer too. Just in time for last year's Christmas. His was, by comparison, a good cancer, and they removed his lung in January.

Yeah, as we say here in the Midwest, it's been an odd year.

Anyway, because of these things, writing the Christmas letter was tricky. Still, my dad managed to get all the family news summed up in a page and a half. Included was the most recent news about Name of the Wind and information about the release date of book two....

So, as I was saying, my dad and I are making dinner, and he tells me that two days after he sent out the letter, friends started to stop by his office at work. "The publication date of book two, was that a typo?" They ask. "Or is that really when it's coming out?"

My dad tells them that it's not a typo. That is when book two is really coming out.

Telling the story in the kitchen, my dad mimics their posture when they hear the news: the disappointed slump to their shoulders. One person went beyond disappointment and seemed truly distressed when he heard the news "This is awful!" the guy said, standing in the doorway to my dad's office. "I can't tell my son about this, it'll ruin his whole Christmas."

The story was pretty funny the way my dad told it, but my stomach still twisted into a knot when I heard it. It confirmed what I already knew, that people were going to be really disappointed when they heard the news about book two. I've known for a while... but I've been putting off making the official post here. It's easy to tell jokes and post up good news about awards. It's hard to make an announcement that's will make people unhappy.

But here it is: As of now, book two is scheduled for April of 2009.

I'm sorry. We were sure we could have book two out in a year, but it just wasn't the case.

There are reasons. For those of you who are interested, I'll cover them in the second half of this post, but the heart of the announcement is simply that: Book two has been delayed. It was unavoidable, and I am sorry.


The Reasons Behind the Delay
Or
Answers to Your Questions
Or
Why Pat is a Total Dick


"I thought you said that books two and three were done?"

I did. It wasn't a lie.

In some ways all three books were done way back in 2000 when I managed to write the story all the way through to the end. But there's a HUGE difference between a story that's finished, and one that is polished, revised, and refined into something really, really good.

I tend to revise A LOT. Over the years these three books have been put through hundreds of revisions. That's not an exaggeration. Some of them are small, just me tweaking words here and there to make things sound better.

Other revisions are huge and involve me moving chapters, removing scenes, and adding characters. On more than one occasion I have gone through this first book cut out over 10% of the total text. Then sometimes, in later revisions, I put some of it back. There's a lot of trial and error. A good book doesn't happen by accident.

(Warning: Minor spoiler alert for those of you who haven't read Name of the Wind.)

For example. If you were to go back in time and read The Name of the Wind one major revision ago, you'd discover that there wasn't any trip to Trebon, no draccus at all.

If you were to go back two major revisions, you would lose Auri and Devi. Their characters didn't exist in that version of the book.

Three revisions? You wouldn't have the scene where Kvothe and Elodin go to the asylum. Or the scene where Kvothe saves Fela from the fire in the Fishery. Or the scene where Bast talks to Chronicler at the very end of the book. I hadn't written any of those them yet.

Think about that version of the book. Would you want to read that instead? I wouldn't.

Were those early drafts finished? In some ways, yes. They had a beginning, a middle, and an ending. They probably could have been published, and people would have liked them fairly well, but they would not have been the best book possible, and that's what I want to write for you.

Hell, just thinking about the book without Auri nearly breaks my heart.

So when I say that book two needs revisions, you have to trust me. What I have right now is good, but it's not the best book possible. I want to give you a great book. A book that is as perfect as I can possibly make it. I want you to read it and laugh, and cry, and be horrified.

But that takes time....


"Fine, book two needs revisions. Why aren't they already done, you dick?"

Two reasons.

1) Mental Exhaustion.

As I've already mentioned, we found out my mom had terminal cancer in September of last year. That meant that I had to do my final revisions on The Name of the Wind while coming to grips with that, working my day job, and driving down to Madison to spend as much time with her as I possibly could.

Needless to say, it wasn't a lot of fun. Trying to re-write a scene so that it captures the delicate magic of budding young love when the main thing on your mind is your mom dying... it's kinda rough.

What's more, I didn't tell my publisher about my mom, because everyone at DAW and Penguin was really excited about the book, and I the last thing I wanted to do was take a big old shit on their enthusiasm. We were just getting to know each other professionally, and I didn't want our first interaction to be me backing out of a bunch of commitments, no matter how good my excuse.

Plus, sometimes when authors go through heavy emotional stuff, they stop writing. Sometimes for years. I didn't want the publisher to start worrying about that before my first book was even out.

But because I didn't tell them, I had to cowboy up and do all the pre-publication promotional stuff. I went to a lunch with bookbuyers on the same day my mom had to go in for emergency thorastic surgery. (This was made easier by the fact that my mom told me she'd kick my ass if I didn't go....)

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. In some ways it was nice to get away and be around people who didn't know. It gave me a much needed vacation from that traumatic part of my life.

A few months later, when my dad found out he had cancer too, I finally fessed up to my publisher. Betsy was very supportive and cut me every piece of slack possible. However, at that point we were looking at unmovable production deadlines. Because of that, the ten days I had to look over the final page proofs for The Name of the Wind, were the same ten days my dad spent in the hospital after getting his lung removed. I remember red-penning corrections into the manuscript while he slept in the ICU, the tubes everywhere and a machine helping him breathe.

In the end, I did it. I managed to meet my deadlines and get the Name of the Wind out on time. But I felt like I'd done the writing equivalent of running in the game-winning touchdown on a broken leg. We won the game, but afterwards, I really didn't feel that great...

I don't know. It was like I'd pushed things too far and pulled a muscle in my brain. Following my dad's surgery and my mom's death, I didn't even want to think about working on the next book. Not for months....

2) Unexpected busyness.

Just yesterday I read something that Charlie Stross wrote on a message board. He said, "The epiphenomena of a writing career can easily occupy about 30 hours a week, on average."

This, is some capitol-T fucking Truth.

Before my book was published, I had no idea how much extra work was involved in being a published author. I'm not talking about the writing itself. I'm talking about doing interviews, going to conventions and booksignings, answering fanmail, corresponding with the editor and agents, looking for promotional blurbs from other authors, answering questions for my foreign translators....

That means when my book came out, I suddenly discovered I had brand-new 30 hour-a-week job. That, plus teaching at the University, plus, teaching fencing, plus working with the College Feminists as their advisor.... Assuming that I still wanted to sleep, eat, and occasionally kiss my girlfriend, there just weren't enough hours in the day, and my writing time was slowly eaten away.

Also, the timeline for publishing a book is a lot tighter than I ever knew. It takes a lot of time to print, promote, and edit things. Because of that, for the book to come out in April of 2008, I actually would have had to have it pretty much finished this last August. Five months after my mom died. I tried, but I just couldn't make it happen.


"So what are you doing to make sure that you don't delay the book again, you dick?"

For starters, I've quit my day job. Starting this semester, I'm no longer teaching at the University. It was a hard decision to make. I'm giving up my health insurance, my office, and the ability to act as advisor to a lot of student groups that I really enjoy. Plus, I really love teaching. But it take a lot of time and mental energy, so I'm leaving it behind to focus on my writing.

I've also trimmed a lot of the extracurricular things out of my life. I've given up the fencing class that I taught at the YMCA, and the College Feminists don't hold their meetings at my house any more. I'll miss them, as they're some of the coolest people I know, but I need to buckle down and streamline my life.


Whew. Longest post ever.

In summary, I suck and I'm sorry.

That said, I'd rather disappoint you a little now by delaying things, than by crapping out some half-finished turd of a book and disappointing you a LOT in April.

Hope I didn't retroactively ruin your Christmas....

pat

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Slanderous Claims.....


Okay. About a week and a half ago, I posted up the cover art for The Wise Man's Fear. My second child. Or, as you probably think of it, book two in the Kingkiller Chronicles.

Now, some of you said some hurtful things after I made that post. Some of you implied that I was merely taunting them by displaying cover art to a book that they couldn't buy. Several people said that I was being a tease.

Words can hurt, you know. I resent being called a tease when all I'm trying to do is share thing with you. I'm trying to give you a little preview of things to come.


Besides, if I were a tease, I'd post up something like this....






(Guest Starring - my thumb)


Heh heh heh...

Love,

pat

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Thursday, August 23, 2007
A sneak peek of Book Two...


Well.... just the cover really....



Apparently, it's a novel....


pat

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007
When Will Book Two Be Out?
I just thought I might as well make a brief, public statement about this as a lot of people have been emailing and asking me about it lately.

*ahem*

The second and third books of the trilogy should be coming out fairly quickly, considering how long they are and the fact that I'm fairly obsessive when it comes to my writing. That means book two should be out about two years from now. Book three will be a year or so after that.

Why so long? / I thought I read somewhere that you already had the second two books written?

The trilogy is already written all the way through to the end, but there is still some editorial work to be done. I want the second one to be at least as good as the first, if not better. That takes time.

I know that on the reader's side, a year seems like a long time. It always used to piss me off, having to wait for my favorite authors to write new stuff. But now that I'm on the other side I know why it takes so long. There's a ton of behind-the-scenes work that has to happen: Editing, re-editing, shipping, cover design, printing, layout, more editing. It all takes time.

In order to make the wait marginally less painful, I'm going to be putting up new content on the website in addition to continuing the blogs. Some of the things I'm considering include:

  • Putting up an FAQ.
  • Expanding the clickable sections on the world map.
  • Getting a forum up and running.
  • Explaining in more detail the design of the trouper's lute in the Music section.
  • Getting the Bestiary up off the ground in the World section.
  • Posting deleted scenes/chapters from book one.
  • Posting teaser chapters from book two.

Which of these sounds best to you? Give it a little discussion in the comments below. Suggestions for other improvements are also welcome....

With love,

pat

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