The Name of the Wind

Posted on 11 March 2011

Chapter Ten: The High Meister. Yes, /that/ High Meister. I’m finally bringing Tesma onto stage. Let it be said of his importance that this is also the first time Prince Dorian is present and has dialogue as well, and I only know thought of the odd connection.

So, Patrick Rothfuss has released another amazing book. It is his second. I have not read it yet, as I’m a broke, starving author type and can’t afford the book off hand, but I am re-reading my mass-market edition of his first novel. And while my more-critical-than-first-reading eye is catching things that kind of bug me here and there, I cannot argue: the man deserves his blinding success. Not to mention, in person, he is a humble, funny, very approachable person. Seriously. And it kind of annoys me. Why in a bit.

Brandon Sanderson is another author like Rothfuss. I’ll admit his first book, Elantris, wasn’t quite as mind blowing as The Name of the Winds, his career sky rocketed quickly. Mistborn was amazing, as was Warbreaker, and his selection as the finisher of Wheel of Time is without doubt a major break both for his career and his access to one of the best editors of High Fantasy alive.

But, I am a man, and I must admit, some small bit of is jealous of these men. That I can accept and stamp out as the petty nature of man, and I can still admire them. But now there is another problem. Intimidation. See, all writers are a little arrogant. We kind of think we are hot shit. And well have dreams of getting the NYTBS #1 slot with our every book. But, I shall steal a line from Neal Stephenson, another author that awe inspires me, here.

“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Columbian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.

Hiro used to feel that way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this is liberating. He no longer has to worry about trying to be the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken.”

See, in this case, I am Hiro, and people like Rothfuss and Sanderson are Raven. Go ahead and fill in the rest of the needed conversions yourself. I do think I’m a good writer, but I read current Sanderson, or any Rothfuss, and I weep for my poor, sad fate. These men are my betters. I feel strange saying that. Perhaps there is still some small part of me that thinks if I can get an editor and agent, if I can just sit down and write something completely from the heart.

Except I do write from my heart, so I can’t really depend on that. Yeah, I put a lot of head-planning in my writing, but I write from my characters, they are in my heart. I just filter it from the brain. Several of my short stories weren’t even all that brain-filtered (the best, in my opinion). I look at them and still lament.

Now, I am probably being harsh on myself. After all, Rothfuss and Sanderson both have agents and editors. I am not comparing my unedited manuscript to their unedited manuscripts. I am comparing my first drafts to their final, and Sanderson has told me before that even now, his pages still bleed during editorial.

What’s the whole point of this ramble? Simply put: don’t despair, my fellow writers. I can keep writing despite my feelings that there is already no room for me at the top. Who knows, maybe I’ll get there one day regardless. The path of the writer is not one that is sudden or instant. Rothfuss spent ten years righting Wind, and Sanderson spent 8 years unpublished after he fully committed himself to writing, if memory serves. Kevin J Anderson had hundred, if not close to a thousand, reject letters, and if you are here, reading my work and enjoying it, remember: I am not formally published yet either. Just stay true to the path, and you will get there.

Now, to shatter that lovely ending point, I just want to comment on the end of this chapter. Sword fight! I love sword fights, and I tend to think they are one of my stronger points. If you can’t tell, I am actually a classically trained fencer, and while there is some technical jargon (such as the fact I use the terms piste and riposte) I tried to keep it simple enough. I hope you enjoy it.


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