Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Sanderson’

Patrick Rothfuss Podcast InterviewI’ve somehow managed to interview three #1 NYT bestsellers over the last few months for the Adventures In Sci Fi Publishing podcast (where I’m also a co-host): Brandon Sanderson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and, now, Patrick Rothfuss.

Pat talked to me and fellow AISFP guy Dan/D.T. Conklin for about 90 minutes last week. Though it hurt to edit it down, I got the conversation down to a 65-minute audio interview.

Researching Pat’s success and talking to him left a righteous impression on me.

  1. For a #1 NYT bestseller, Pat’s a remarkably open and authentic guy. From all I’ve seen, there isn’t any question he won’t answer honestly. As someone who’s interviewed a lot of successful authors over the last year, I found that to be so refreshing.
  2. He’s a generous soul. Whether it’s raising around $600,000 for Heifer International in three years (with a lot of that money coming out of his own pocket), slaving away on his well-loved story for geeks everywhere, or putting in a lot of work on his hilarious blog, he seems to be all about making other people happier.
  3. He has incredibly high standards around writing and storytelling. Talking to him inspired me to be a better writer. Period. He talked about making every piece of your story exceptional, and doing all it takes to make your world believable in the context of the magic or the future that you imagine.

The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick RothfussIn our interview, Pat tells us which scifi or fantasy author he’d spend eternity with on a desert island, who’d win if he were to wrestle Brandon Sanderson, and why he’s tired of questions about his mighty beard. He also discusses the somewhat subversive nature of his work, and tells us a bit about what we can expect from the conclusion of book 3. We even talked a little bit about Dragon Age 2, his love for John Scalzi, and the current state of publishing.

Here’s the full podcast interview with Patrick Rothfuss.

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If you want to succeed, hang out with unsuccessful people. Er, am I remembering that right?

If you want to get somewhere, don’t ask for directions. Wait, that’s not how it goes.

If you want to master something, don’t learn from the mistakes of the masters. Hm. That just sounds wrong.

Because I don’t subscribe to the above philosophies, I’ve attended two of the Superstars Writing Seminars. I went there to hang out with some bestselling science fiction and fantasy authors to soak up their best advice about the business of writing. These events last three full days, and they’re chock full of great information.

I could never do justice to everything there is to learn from these seminars in one blog post, but here’s one thing I learned.

Successful writers don’t just write, they write their ____ off.

Brandon Sanderson writes a few books a year, making time to squeeze Wheel of Time tomes into his schedule. Kevin J. Anderson dictates his stories into a digital recorder while hiking the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. He also rents hotel rooms to get away from everyone (p.s. if my wife is reading this, I love you, Honey!) and write his ____ off. Eric Flint writes in binges that last for weeks and during those times, he is dead to the outside world.

Kevin J. Anderson says something obvious, but powerful: The top professionals in any respected field (medicine, law, you name it) WORK real, disciplined, long hours at their jobs, and then enjoy the fruits of their labor. When you have a ‘real job,’ you keep a schedule and you punch that clock. Serious writers shouldn’t expect to do any less. Kevin recently talked to the Writing Excuses guys about this very thing.

David Farland (Dave Wolverton) is also a Superstars’ presenter. In addition to hanging out with Dave at two Superstars seminars, I also attended his “Writer’s Death Camp” last November. What I’ve learned from Dave is hard to summarize in a flashy bullet point. I’ve learned from him so many fine points on the craft and business of writing, little things that can make all the difference. If you subscribe to his free Daily Kick emails, you’ll see what I mean.

A funny thing happened in one of Dave’s Daily Kick emails last week. Out of the blue, he said some exceedingly kind things about me and my work in his Daily Kick about “The Dangers of Self-Publishing.” Yep, this was a nice surprise. Now the following quote lives at the top of my ebook’s Amazon page:

“Moses is a fine writer and is deserving of success, and I think that it will follow … maybe his project will turn him into the next Amanda Hocking. Personally, I really enjoyed Moses’s work.”
–David Farland, NYT Bestselling author of The Runelords

Though this came as a surprise to me, this quote would’ve never happened had I not made a decision to hang out with some successful authors, to appreciate what they had to share with me (p.s. thanks, Dave), and to just be myself around them.

Here’s another cool thing I lucked into. At the end of the first Superstars seminar, I was hanging around the nearly empty conference room when I saw Brandon Sanderson reading the first few pages of someone’s manuscript. So I walked over to listen to the advice Brandon had for (someone who is now my friend) Joshua Essoe. Brandon asked if I had something he could read.

Uh. Yeah?

So he did. He gave me some great feedback on my first chapter, told me the story was strong enough that he’d continue reading if he was an editor, and then helped me with a technical issue I was struggling with at the time. I can’t tell you how how helpful his comments were.

Then at the second Superstars seminar, I got to sit and have dinner with Brandon and a handful of other seminar attendees. I got to pick his brain about which editors might be a good or a bad fit for me at different publishing houses, and again I learned a lot (thanks again, Brandon).

I also interviewed Brandon, Howard, and Dan from Writing Excuses at the recent conference, as well as Sherrilyn Kenyon (that interview will be up any day now at Adventures In SciFi Publishing), and I got to film a couple episodes of Writing Excuses (thanks, guys) that featured Mary Robinette Kowal and David Farland.

If there’s a takeaway from my ramblings, maybe it’s to spend time with writers you emulate, whether it’s at workshops, seminars, conferences, blogs, or even on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t do it with the mindset of getting anything from them, other than an education. Be yourself, be positive and grateful, and something–hopefully whatever you need most–will definitely rub off on you.

Oh yeah. And if you want to be a writer, write your ____ off.

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There’s a wealth of free video footage from the first Superstars Writing Seminar available on YouTube. Some of the topics on that YouTube channel include publishing myths, agents, self-promotion, increasing writing productivity, economics for writers, novel contracts, collaboration, self-publishing, networking, and many more (including Dan Wells on story structure).

I attended the actual seminar in March of this year, had a great time meeting other writers (aspiring and pro), and found the material enlightening. More than anything for me, it was a priceless chance to look inside the minds of a handful of best-selling authors and to try to absorb as much as possible by osmosis. I also got to ask more questions than I should’ve been allowed to ask!

There will be another Superstars Writing Seminar January 13th-15th, 2011 in Salt Lake City, UT. The presenters are Kevin J Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, David Farland, Eric Flint, and Rebecca Moesta. I found all of these speakers to be very friendly and helpful at the first event (all of them were at the first event, except for Sherrilyn Kenyon). I even video-interviewed a few of them while I was there (Sanderson, Farland/Wolverton, and Flint)

At the event, I also filmed some attendees who talked about their opinion of the seminar. One of them was Marc Scott Zicree, a multi-talented Hugo and Nebula award nominee. Here’s Marc talking about the Superstars seminar (the YouTube channel that the testimonial is on also has three others, including one from the awesome Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl):

I’m going to attend the next event as well, because anything worth hearing once is worth hearing twice (thick skulls and all that). I hope to see you there! By the way, if you can’t make it, they also sell the complete audio and video recordings from the first seminar.
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23
Jul

The Answer, My Friend, is Grasping for the Wind

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work

I’m taking my talents to South Beach–wait, no, I can’t play with D-Wade because I’m an alpha dog–to Grasping For the Wind. It’s a great site for fantasy and science fiction news and reviews, and I’m thrilled to be a monthly columnist at John Ottinger III’s always fresh blog/site.

He welcomed me to the fold today.

And then–as if by magic–I made my first post, featuring my video interview with Eric Flint on publishing and new writers. I also link in that article to video interviews I conducted with Brandon Sanderson and David Farland.

Do check out John’s site. He reads and reviews books at a brain-breaking pace, he’s reviewed for PW and many leading SFF publications, and he is awesome.
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