Tag Archive: Patrick Rothfuss

Damn, I Hate Fairies

Ask anyone I talk to about books, or read my thoughts about Felurian or the book Ghost Story.  I hate fairies.

Maybe I should clarify that a little.  I hate the fae.

No, I can do better than that.  I hate when the fae show up in fantasy books that I’m really enjoying.  They ruin everything.

And yet, I’m almost 400 pages into Cold Days, the latest fae-saturated book in The Dresden Files.

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My New Problem

In the past few weeks, I’ve become aware of a potential problem with Tesseract.  As strongly as I build the characters from the beginning and continue to do so in subsequent chapters, the plot is taking a long time to become a blatant force in the story.

That’s not a crime.  Some stories are simply driven more by character than by plot.  This is true of any story that relies on the length of the character’s life, like Tesseract does at times.  Patrick Rothfuss has even said that The Name of the Wind is a slow starting book.

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The Shoe’s On The Other Foot Now

I’ve encountered an interesting turnabout in the past few days.  As a writer, there are things I haven’t come to expect as of yet, even though, as a bookseller, I rely on them every day.

The skill I rely on as a bookseller is referred to in the business as hand selling.  A lot of people might think of this as a form of cold selling, with a more fine-tuned approach.  In book stores, there are two kinds of hand selling.  First is the version that companies deal in, either by arranging to give a book a prominent display or some other indirect promotion.  This takes a lot of effort to pull off, but, if it works, turns out well for the individual stores, the writer/publisher, and even the readers.

I’m more interested in the second one because that’s where I thrive.  This is the kind of hand selling where, if you get a clue about a customer’s preferences, you can talk to them about what they like.  From this sort of discussion, I would mention how much I like this author or that series.  Should that go well, I might even say, “if you like such-and-such book, you might like this one too,” only I’ll be much more conversational about it.

When my friends Jonathan and Rocky introduced me to The Name of the Wind, I was instantly curious.  When I read the book, I was hooked by the depth of Rothfuss’ words and the magnitude of his ideas.  With Jonathan, I sold so many copies of that book, it became a hand sell on the store level, not just for the two of us.

Keeping copies of Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts on hand changes that situation for me.  I’d love to push it, but I don’t want to look like I’m shoving my work down other people’s throats.  I wait for my opportunities, when customers ask about it or I find someone who is dying to find some steampunk stories.  However, there are other booksellers on hand that make the task a lot easier.

Probably the most helpful to me is Todd.  He’s not the kind of guy who tears through book after book, but he knows what he likes.  He’s also glad to know someone who’s actually had some writing published.  Regardless of his reasons, Todd emphatically tells people about Dreams of Steam II any time there’s a solid opportunity.  Even better, he manages to convince people to buy a copy.  It happens with enthusiasm, regardless if I am there or not.

I think that’s the real shock for me, discovering that other people are willing to stand up for my work, especially when I didn’t ask them.  Sure, my family has enjoyed the story and discussed it in a positive light without any prompting by me, but this is different.  This is professional.

The game has changed, the world has turned upside down.  Somehow, instead of me hand selling someone else’s book, someone else is hand selling a book with my work in it.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

Picking the Next Book

Reading is something all writers have to aspire to.  The more writers read, the more they’ll understand about how the publishing game has worked in the past, what structures work, what plots do nothing.  Reading gives writers the audience perspective, something that’s of great importance when starting or editing any project.

For someone with as varied tastes as myself, it’s not easy picking out what to read.  Unlike many people, I’ll stop reading a book if it doesn’t appeal to me or if I’m just not in the mood.  A great example of this is Mike Carey’s Felix Castor books; every time I try to read The Devil You Know, I find myself in the wrong mood and unable to get out of the first chapter.  That doesn’t mean I won’t read it, that just means I’ve been trying to read it at the wrong times. Continue reading

Stuck in the Trenches

I was checking twitter earlier, and saw something @BrianReed said:

“If B&N didn’t have lousy customer service, & if Nook weren’t a train wreck, AND if it wasn’t $50 more than Kindle, they might have a shot.”

He’s clearly referring to the announcement that Marvel would be supplying exclusive digital content to the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet and Nook Color.  That, of course, is a counter-offensive in response to DC offering exclusive content to the Kindle Fire.

And as a writer and a book lover, Brian Reed’s comment just pisses me off.

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Writers Can’t Write Fast Enough

In the past few days, I’ve been forced to wait longer, much longer than I would like to get my copy of Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story, a Dresden Files novel I pre-ordered and paid for at the beginning of June.  Usually, the book would have come out at the beginning of April, as most Dresden Files books do.  This one didn’t because Butcher wanted to take some time to make the book good and really worthwhile.

Of course, in the business of selling books, that just makes a lot of readers wonder what’s taking so long.  So I ask, why can’t writers write fast enough?

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A Change in Story

After seeing Super 8 and discussing how JJ Abrams’ work differs from Steven Spielberg’s, I started to think about how the craft of storytelling has changed in the past few years.  There was once a time when big visuals could sell anything, but in a world where Super 8 thrives and Green Lantern comes up short, something has clearly changed.  I can’t help wondering what that change might be. Continue reading

What Were You Wanting To Read?

Twice a year, I stock up on books.  I tell myself that I’m getting everything that I’m going to read for the next six months, but something, a Brandon Sanderson or Jim Butcher book for example, always comes up.  A lot of what I try to do is find things to read that will not only prove interesting, but also will help me become a better writer. Continue reading

Being a Book Snob

I admit it, I’m a book snob.  I wish there was a better way to describe it but there’s not.  This isn’t a minor thing either, but a major note on who I am, both in how I read and how I write.  Plus, I read slow, so my time is precious.

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The Wise Man’s Fear

After coming out on March 1st, I knew it would take me a while to read all of The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  In fact, I think I read the 994-page installment on the pace I expected, short the four days I spent fighting through the section on Felurian.  Now that I’ve finished, I will say, The Wise Man’s Fear is a worthy successor to The Name of the Wind, which is still one of the best fantasy books to come along in the past ten years, if not longer.

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