I just got done watching The Storyboard, Patrick Rothfuss’s new show on Geek & Sundry— if you are at all interested in writing fiction, specifically genre fiction, I highly recommend this show. I don’t get to travel much, and I most certainly don’t get to got to many conventions (I haven’t been to one in a while, and there are other reasons for that… but I won’t get into those in this post) which means I get to miss all of the really awesome author panels that take place at said gatherings. Thanks to the interwebs, I can often find the panels on YouTube but the quality of the recording is typically dodgy (usually the footage is documented with a cellphone) and there’s usually a lot of background noise — so the essence of the experience is there, if you don’t mind someone jawing on about some shit while the authors are responding to the questions that are posed to them. The Storyboard takes the idea of the author panel and it shines the spotlight on the authors, not on the guy off-camera who’s opening a box of Goobers and complaining about the prices.
The Storyboard aired on Tuesday night (8:00 p.m. Pacific, I think) as a Google+ Hangout, so it was live which again is in keeping with the panel style set up of the program. In the house, talking about Urban Fantasy (a subject in which I’m particularly interested) along with Pat Rothfuss: Jim Butcher (who perhaps knows a thing or two about Urban Fantasy), Emma Bull (the godmother of Urban Fantasy), and Diana Rowland (prolific Urban Fantasy author with a lot of interesting things to say about this sub-genre). Setting aside all of the rough edges one would expect to find in a first webisode, The Storyboard (for me, at least) was pure magic. I, unfortunately, did not get to watch the program live on Tuesday night (I had company over, and didn’t want to be a rude nerd, “My program’s on! Everybody go home!”), so I watched it on Geek & Sundry’s YouTube channel.
As a hobby author creating his work in relative solitude who, having had the experience of a writing group and all the drama that entails, generally shuns other writers (not out of any kind of conceit on my part, let me assure you; but because often these associations become less about writing and more about everyone’s personal stuff… not that I’m opposed to socializing, but there’s bars for that), The Storyboard is a great way to get a peek of the inside of a published author’s head without a scalpel and the possibility of prison time. Rothfuss and his panel discuss the sub-genre and their respective approaches to it, as well as the appeal and greater purpose of Urban Fantasy stories; and it’s great (again, for me) to have Pat Rothfuss at the helm of this particular discussion because he’s an Epic Fantasy author, but an author none the less… which means he knows what questions to ask in order to eke out the essence of his panel’s knowledge while still remaining an outsider to the Urban Fantasy style itself. It’s plenty good if you just happen to be a fan of Rothfuss, Butcher, Bull, and (or) Rowland because there’s a substantial element of these esteemed authors talking about their stories and characters, but Rothfuss really steers the conversation toward meatier matters and these matters are brilliant brain food for the aspiring and hobby writers out there (even if you’re not interested in writing genre fiction).
Because writers are foremost readers, one of the best bits of the show comes in the form of the congregated talent discussing the books they feel don’t get enough attention in their contribution to the Urban Fantasy oeuvre. Named here are authors I like a lot: Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid series), Harry J. Connally (unfortunately now defunct, Twenty Palaces series), the works of Neil Gaiman, classic works by Ray Bradbury and other authors not traditionally thought of as Urban Fantasy, and works by up-and-coming authors like Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series). I’m always down for new reads, and Rothfuss and Co. don’t disappoint in this respect either with recommendations that include some of the authors I mentioned above as well as stuff by Thorne Smith, Nicole Peeler, and M.L.N. Hanover.
I really appreciate Patrick Rothfuss and the gang at Geek & Sundry (I’m looking at you, Ms. Day; you’re the queen!) for putting this out; although I’m sure the intent was not to offer a free writers’ workshop. obviously that’s not the purpose of the show, but I guess is depends on the individual viewer… for me (like I mentioned above): brain food (and nothing to do with Ms. Rowland’s morgue job… watch the show, you’ll see what I mean)… I’ll be watching every episode of this for as long as they continue.
On a far more local note: take a look at that handy word count widget thing I’ve got on the blog… over there in the right hand corner… notice anything? This past week I broke the 90,000 word count mark on my first draft manuscript of the novel I’ve been working on for what seems like forever. 90,000 words was the original target for the manuscript, but I knew at the 70,000 word mark that I was going to need more room to tell the story, so I arbitrarily up-ed that goal to 105,000 words. Well, I’m almost done: I have two and a half chapters left to go and I may well knock that out this coming week; the feeling is a mixture of relief held in reserve and terror… like I’m almost as afraid to finish as I am happy to almost be done… these kinds of conflicting emotions have plagued me over the course of writing the manuscript, and someone who has written a novel before assures me it means I’m doing at least something right…
So the plan goes like this:
- Finish the manuscript;
- Do a complete re-read of the manuscript;
- Begin edits;
- Send raw manuscript and survey to beta readers (by the way, if you’re interested in being a beta reader send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org – the pay sucks, but you get to read something for free and give your opinions which I promise not to ignore);
- Review feedback from beta readers;
- Begin revisions;
- Outline next novel;
- Complete revisions and test read;
- Do it all over again during NaNoWriMo in November.
Glutton for punishment? You bet’cha.