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Patrick Rothfuss Ask me Anything Session Thought this may answer some of our questions as well

in particular this first Q&A I like his view that readers can interpret his story in their own way. and authors may like to "leave my readers free to wonder ".


Could you talk a little bit about Kvothe as an unreliable narrator? One of my favorite things about your books is that you tell the readers right upfront that he's a bullshitter and this is a tall tale, and then you lull us into taking him at face-value anyway. How much of this was deliberate choice and how much the novel dictating its own form?

(As an aside, I just want to say that The Slow Regard of Silent Things is one of the most perfect and touching things I've ever read, and I can't even articulate why.)

Patrick Rothfuss

This is a really good question.

The problem is this. As an author, I can't discuss it.

Your observation can bring attention to the question. Your comments (and those of other people) can foster a discussion on the subject. But if I were to enter this discussion I would destroy it, as surely as if I tried to contribute to a spider building its web. There is no touch I can make that could be gentle enough.

If I come in and say, "Oh, Kvothe is telling the absolute truth." It will entirely ruin the effect (affect?) you mention above.

If I say, "Part of the point of the joy I intended people to get from the story was puzzling out what's true and what isn't." Then I effectively admit he's bullshitting.

Both of these statements, in fact any statement I make on the subject, is going to remove the ambiguity from the text. I would, effectively, be stealing the reader's opportunity to read the book, think their own thoughts, and make their own decisions.

In my opinion, this is terrible thing.

I am a writer who enjoys the implicit over the explicit. I want my books to be wondrous. But to achieve that, I need to leave my readers free to wonder.

So... yeah. What I'm saying here is that this is a great question. I'm glad you asked it. You are my favorite sort of reader.

But that's all that I can say.

June 06, 2015, 01:47:04 AM
Re: My every other month book binge! I need your help! My name is Eclipse and I have a problem, I'm addicted to reading recommend threads at Fantasy Faction  :) I just can't help myself I have to read everyday or I just don't know what I do.
June 27, 2015, 02:28:47 PM
Re: The King's Paws
But I guess the bigger question is, what has Finland done that would warrant patriotism?

You don't know?

This, for example:

June 30, 2015, 08:57:02 PM
Re: The Liar's key (No Spoilers) I finished this last evening, but since yesterday (and a bit today) was a very difficult day for me, I'm not able to actually describe how much I love this book :D

I know I keep saying I love Jorg more than Jalan, but in this book Jalan grew on me. He became... more human - or rather, the type of person that I wouldn't mind hanging around with, while in Prince of Fools he was the person to keep at arm's length, hehe

I loved all the 'old stories', I could read a whole book just with Garyus and Alica and the Silent Sister's stories, even without Jalan and Snorri...

The second part of my sig comes from this book, and it's not a spoiler because Jalan says it quite early on. I just love it, due to Mark's history and his old blurb ;D

And a little spoiler/spoiler question:
Spoiler for Hiden:
Love how they use mobiles as devices to talk to God ;D and what is the second object that marks the religious ranking: was it a grenade? I'm kinda wondering...

July 01, 2015, 01:06:43 PM
Re: Annoying Reading I managed (at last!) to find a piccie of what I am talking about, or similar anyway

Apparently, today's reading suggests, in Europe back-scabbards were not the thing, but they were in parts of Asia. Which makes sense as the book I am thinking of had Japanese...themes?

Anywhere here is pic

The string? or whathaveyou would be worn short to keep it on shoulder, but could be slipped so the blade drops down to draw.

As for blade getting in the way -- that probably depends a lot on the size of the sword! In Europe, many times big swords were taken to battle on carts. Which is probably even a slower draw....but a big thing flapping behind your legs knocking stuff is not ideal in many situations

If you know you aren't going to use a sword, or need to, in the foreseeable makes sense to have it out of the way, but still accessible

And thank you for today's procrastination

July 02, 2015, 06:48:26 PM
Re: Fantasy books with elves, dwarves, wizards, and dragons
I was underwhelmed by stan Nichols Orcs there was nothing which made them different from humans except the green skin. If anything they are more compassionate than his humans. A remarkable lack of orcishness to my mind.

Robert Siverburgs Majipoor series springs to mind not elves and orcs per say but travelling long journeys through strange races and their territories.

Mary Gentle has published books that fit the bill. If only I could remember the titles.
The Mary Gentle (she writes across a number of genres) that you're probably thinking of is Grunts! It, like Orcs, takes the point of view of the usual 'bad guys' in traditional fantasy. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn has a lot of what the OP was looking for.

July 06, 2015, 12:28:42 AM
Re: The King's Paws Oblivious french in Oz is oblivious...
However late I might be... Happy independence day guys.

July 06, 2015, 03:15:21 AM
Re: Fantasy Memes and silly stuff about books from the internet
July 28, 2015, 02:56:34 AM
Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing.
I have read any number of books picked up by publishers after they were put on the web or were self published, but the quality range is controlled when professionals are involved there simply are no quality controls with self pub.

Heh. Sorry. Bit of a post incoming!

This is one of the misconceptions I wish I'd know about self-publishing three years ago, when I finally published my first book through a (very) small press. It's not that "there are no quality controls" and it's not that there are no "professionals" involved. It's that a vast majority of self-pubbed authors choose to ignore quality entirely, and choose *not* to involve professionals. It's a subtle difference, but important. People who believe the former dismiss all self-published books, even the high quality titles by great authors.

It's the same with indie games. Indie games can be very high quality, but the developers must choose to make them so. If you play an indie game and it's awesome, you can bet the developer tested the hell out of it and iterated constantly. If it's terrible, they spent a weekend coding it and uploaded it to the Android store.

As mentioned, traditional publishing is *almost* always a better option. You pay nothing and actually get paid money. You must still market, but you're way ahead of everything but other traditionally published titles. The only problem (and why self-publishing is so popular) is there are almost no slots available at traditional publishers for new talent right now, even with great books. They're simply full (just like game publishers). If you haven't been published already, even the best book you've ever written will get turned down. Repeatedly.

So, if you decide to self-pub? Understanding that you will be buried in a sea of low quality titles and have to be a real pro at marketing to succeed? Then *you* are responsible for quality control (because if you release a poor quality book, no one who reads it will ever touch your work again). As the panelist I mentioned suggest, you are becoming the publisher. This means you must act like one.

To self-pub a book "properly" (this assumes you are aware of how incredibly difficult it will be to market, and that it will be very hard to get anyone to review it) I'd recommend a process like this.

1) Finish your book, then set it aside for a month.

2) Read it again, find all the place it doesn't work and is slow, and fix those.

3) Find at least four dependable and honest advance readers who either read what you write (don't send your fantasy book to a mystery reader) and/or authors about your same level (hello, writer's group!) Make sure they give you honest feedback (they will discover many problems).

4) Rewrite your book and implement all the great feedback you've received.

5) Repeat step 3 with your second draft.

6) Repeat step 4 with your second draft.

7) If the second group of advance readers says "Hey, this is actually pretty good" you might actually be close to having something publishable! Now, go hire a professional editor (if you aren't sure they're professional, ask for a list of other authors/books they have edited and make your decision based off those). Yes, a professional will cost money. The average rate is around $0.02 per word, so for a 120,000 word book, that's $2400. Yes, self-publishing (the right way) is expensive (just as with indie games).

8 ) Guess what. Your book still has a ton of problems. That's where your editor earns their money, because they have the experience and see those problems. Take most of their advice. Rewrite your book again.

9) Your book might actually be ready now. Are you an artist? No? Then contract and pay a cover artist. This will run from $400-$1500 (average) depending on the quality of the art. Self-publishing (right?) is expensive.

10) You now you have a decent book and a good cover. Do you know how to layout a book in Word so that it is compatible with Amazon Createspace POD, Amazon Kindle E-Books, and other retailers? No? Hire someone to do it (more money) or learn to do it yourself (it's really not that hard).

11) Now read your book one last time to catch any remaining typos or errors, and enlist whoever you can to do so as well. Use Amazon's preview to see how the print layout looks. Use a program like Calibre to convert your e-book file to MOBI and load it on your own Amazon Kindle to see how it looks.

12) Everything look good? Everything read well? You're finally ready to publish a quality book!*

*Everything you just did is pretty much what the traditional publishers do. Except you paid to do it, rather than being paid while they do it.

In the self-pubbed books you've probably sampled, here's the process the author probably followed.

1) Write your novel.

2) Publish your novel.

*This* is really the thing I wish someone had sat down and told me about self-publishing years ago. There is no mystical barrier to quality that somehow can't be overcome. Self-publishing is simply time consuming and expensive, and you will almost always lose money on it (but maybe start building an audience so you can become profitable by your third or fourth book). If you're a really good marketer and have a great book, maybe even sooner. Or you might never get it back at all.

If all this sounds discouraging, then good! Keep trying for a traditional publisher or a small press (an actual one that pays for everything - not one that requires you buy their services). If you think you can hack it on your own, however, and you know you can market, and you do things right, it's possible to self-publish a great book and succeed (I know a number of authors who have done so). They just had to work a hell of a lot harder.

As with an indie game, quality is quality. How it was published doesn't matter.

August 05, 2015, 02:07:07 AM
Re: Violence in fantasy In fiction in general - not necessarily fantasy - I often get a lot more marked by violence when it has an active psychological mark.

One of the most disturbing book to me from memory still is The Collector by Fowles, but also McCarthy's The Road.
Both book portray violence both physical but also psychological. I find that a certain form of pointlessness is absolutely devastating (in a good way).
The moral system is different and the violence appeals to us through that distorted lens, a reminder of how easy death comes, how meaningless lives actually are, unless you're here to give them value.
Both are books that made me bond with the characters in a very particular way and made me care and root for them, making any act of active violence a much more intense moment than in any other epic fantasy.

August 06, 2015, 05:47:56 AM