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  1. #1

    Kingkiller Chronicles - the next ASoIF?

    Among recent epic fantasies there are three series in particular that are notorious for their current lag time between books: Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastard (three+ years), George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice (five years, projected to be six or more), and Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicles (three+ years, projected to be four). The Rothfuss is particularly puzzling considering that his first book, The Name of the Wind, was also his first, with the second--supposedly already written--due out just a year later, in 2008. No sign of it yet. I understand...art takes time, and better good and late than early and bad. But...really?

    I started The Name of the Wind not long after it came out and got distracted and stopped reading it (I was liking but not loving it). I have planned on diving back in at some point but was going to wait until at least the next book was out. The quality about the book that I least liked was that it was all backstory; it was certainly interesting, but I wanted to know what happened next. I googled around a bit, trying to figure out whether the second book got to What Next and didn't find anything until, on a completely different google search, I came up with this quote, from Pat's Fantasy Hot List:

    [After speaking with Betsy Wollheim, president of Daw Books]...it turns out that Rothfuss' first trilogy will focus on the main character's past, with occasional tantalizing hints of things to come. A second trilogy will then recount Kvothe's "present" tale.


    OK, my question was answered but I almost missed it when I read that there was a second trilogy planned, and What Next would have to wait until then. But when is that?! Going on Rothfuss's record, if book 2 is out in 2011 and book 3 out in 2014, then we're talking about 2017 or later for What Next. That would be ten years from the publication of Name of the Wind before we find out about What Next.

    Thus the thread title. Any comments on this? And does anyone know what Rothfuss's intended timeline for publication is?

    I can't help wondering when, or to which author, this sort of thing is going to backfire on. And is it killing the sub-category of "big fat fantasies?" Brandon Sanderson has certainly earned his right to write a ten-book series because he has proven himself as prolific, but what about new authors?

    (A few different topics here - feel free to take off on whichever suits your desire).

  2. #2
    Statistician Luonas's Avatar
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    Well, Rothfuss is done, as far as I know. Or atleast it should be realesed next year. There is much pressure so I'm not suprised and think 4 years is pretty okay. I'm used to Malick doing one movie a decade so 4 years is just like a blink of the eye

  3. #3
    "Finished" as in with book 2 or book 2 and 3? From the sound of the interview in the latest Locus Magazine it sounds like he's still working on 3.

    Terrence Malick has been a bit more prolific of late--The Thin Red Line in 1998, The New World in 2005 and The Tree of Life this year. It was really only that twenty year span betweenDays of Heaven and The Thin Red Line...but the latter movie was just pure beauty, one of my favorite films. I still haven't seen Badlands; I guess I just don't have that fascination with serial killers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luonas View Post
    Well, Rothfuss is done, as far as I know. Or atleast it should be realesed next year.
    Well it's not done as in sent of to the publisher for printing. He's still revising and editing it. Peter V Brett mentioned on his forum that he was currently reading it so hopefully the final draft will be done soon.

    In answer to the title. Yes, it seems Rothfuss like GRRM is never happy with his work and is always revising it so I wouldn't expect the rest of the series to come out any faster.

    This recent blog entry from rothfuss should give you some idea how he works.
    Last edited by ChrisW; August 19th, 2010 at 07:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
    Well it's not done as in sent of to the publisher for printing. He's still revising and editing it. Peter V Brett mentioned on his forum that he was currently reading it so hopefully the final draft will be done soon.

    In answer to the title. Yes, it seems Rothfuss like GRRM is never happy with his work and is always revising it so I wouldn't expect the rest of the series to come out any faster.

    This recent blog entry from rothfuss should give you some idea how he works.
    Wow, he really turns it up to 11 in revision, doesn't he? Actually, reading that was quite refreshing--I myself am working on a novel and am finding the revision process (which I love) to be almost as complex (and I'm still working on the first draft, with bits of revising along the way), so it is good to see that he's even crazier than I am. Thanks for linking it!

    p.s. My favorite one was this:

    24. Resisted the urge to add a 4000 word chapter so WMF would be longer than Brandon Sandersonís Way of Kings.

  6. #6
    Registered User Roland 85's Avatar
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    Problem with rothfuss was that he advertised his series as already written even before The Name of the Wind came out. So it was a huge dissapointment for a lot of people when he dragged this "revising" thing for so many years. "Already written" series just don't take that long to publish. He might as well have written the book from scratch for all we know.

    And yes, I know the guy had personal problems and I also know that sometimes estimates could prove erroneous, but the bad impression won't go away, and Rothfuss doesn't have decades of work behind him like Martin does. Only one - admittedly - very good debut that I no longer remember or care about.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Roland 85 View Post
    Problem with rothfuss was that he advertised his series as already written even before The Name of the Wind came out. So it was a huge dissapointment for a lot of people when he dragged this "revising" thing for so many years. "Already written" series just don't take that long to publish. He might as well have written the book from scratch for all we know.

    And yes, I know the guy had personal problems and I also know that sometimes estimates could prove erroneous, but the bad impression won't go away, and Rothfuss doesn't have decades of work behind him like Martin does. Only one - admittedly - very good debut that I no longer remember or care about.
    Roland, revising takes time--as the blog illustrates, and also from my own experience. For many (most?) authors it actually takes more time than writing a rough draft, although it depends upon how rough that first draft is.

    From my own experience I would guesstimate that for every one hour I of writing rough text, I spend 3-4 revising it (and I haven't yet fully learned the very, very important discipline of waiting to revise until after you've completed the first draft). For some authors it might take about the same amount of time to revise; evidently Stephen Donaldson was (and perhaps still is) notorious for submitting very rough work. Then there are the authors that spend five or even ten times as much time revising as writing rough text (and just to clarify, "revising" includes a lot of writing, it is just a more critical and deliberate approach as to the more "vomitous" rough draft). As Rothfuss described, this includes reading, fiddling, even a touch of world-building (which we're not even talking about).

    Wise Man's Fear supposedly has 400,000 words. Let's say one can dedicate six hours a day to writing (I wish!) and churn out an average of 500 words a hour, or 3,000 words a day (about 10-12 pages in most mass market paperbacks, or about 5-7 pages in denser books like The Name of the Wid). Given that pace a 400,000 page rough draft would take 133 days; let's add in an off day every five days and we're up to 160 days, or a bit over five months. Including set-backs, let's round it off to six months. And that is a pretty fast pace, attainable only by the very professional, very inspired, and/or very lucky.

    Now Mr. Rothfuss supposedly had that rough draft already in hand, three and a half years ago when The Name of the Wind was published. Given that he is a, ah, dedicated reviser, let's say he spends about five hours revising for every one hour's worth of rough text. At the above pace, if the rough draft of Wise Man's Fear could have been written in six months, we're talking two and a half years for revision, which would place us in late 2009. But then there are life set-backs (like with his parents, from what I gather), reader feedback, etc.

    All of which is to say that it doesn't surprise me that it has taken him so long. As he has said, he originally "finished" the entire trilogy 11 years ago, but that was a very rough draft; it took him seven years just to find a publisher, and during that time he...revised. I would imagine he revised The Name of the Wind further before publication and didn't turn to Wise Man's Fear until sometime in early 2007, with new standards of what he wanted it to look like. If he had started it at that point we'd be right where I would expect us to be with such a long book, with a publication date four years later. Factor in personal issues and his "revisionist extremism," well, here we are.

    If you skipped all of my excess verbiage, here's the rub: Taking this long to revise a 400,000 page book is not unexpected or even out of the ordinary. Let's give him a break. If anything he might want to think about splitting his books up further and publishing 200,000-word books every year and a half to two years, but that might not be his style.

  8. #8
    Statistician Luonas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    "Finished" as in with book 2 or book 2 and 3? From the sound of the interview in the latest Locus Magazine it sounds like he's still working on 3.

    Terrence Malick has been a bit more prolific of late--The Thin Red Line in 1998, The New World in 2005 and The Tree of Life this year. It was really only that twenty year span betweenDays of Heaven and The Thin Red Line...but the latter movie was just pure beauty, one of my favorite films. I still haven't seen Badlands; I guess I just don't have that fascination with serial killers.
    Ah, I was thinking about the Wise Man's Fear, ie 2. 3 I guess is a long time off.

    True, true even if I think 7 years is quite a lot... Tree of Life is crazy fast for him, I agree. Thin Red Line and New World are both one of my favourite modern american films. Really looking forward to Tree of Life.

    Badlands is so-so. Good but nothing special. I think Days of Heaven is probably better even if I haven't seen it.

  9. #9
    Registered User MattNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    [After speaking with Betsy Wollheim, president of Daw Books]...it turns out that Rothfuss' first trilogy will focus on the main character's past, with occasional tantalizing hints of things to come. A second trilogy will then recount Kvothe's "present" tale.

    Good lord. After reading all the events described on the back cover of the first book, I was disappointed enough when almost none of them even occurred in that book. This takes the cake though.

  10. #10
    Registered User Roland 85's Avatar
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    Uhm, all of this would matter if the "already written" part wasn't used as ADVERTISEMENT. Obviously you cant advertise something as "already written" and then go on revising it for years without looking mildly hypocritical. I'm pretty sure that's not what Rothfuss intended, but it's how it looks from the outsied.

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