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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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It has become a tradition for me to auction off naming rights to one of the characters in each of my novels. In the past, I've done this locally, with a church group. People would 'bid' cans of food that they would donate to the local food bank, and the winner got to name a character in one of my books. The first appearance was Lord Penrod, named for a woman who's last name was—not surprisingly—Penrod. Lord Yomen in The Hero of Ages changed the tradition slightly in that I started describing the character to look like the person who won the auction. Warbreaker's Llarimar is another of these winners.
When I started working on the Wheel of Time novel, it was my assumption that I would forego the tradition for this particular book. I wasn't planning on doing anything. But then the awesome Pat Rothfuss (by the way, Pat, I'm going to answer your email soon. Sorry—I got distracted. Bad Brandon!) started up a charity drive this Christmas. This was a particularly bad year for charities, as a lot of people were tightening their belts and cutting their spending. I read several articles talking about how difficult a year it was going to be for a lot of people in underdeveloped areas of the world, where the economy doesn't just mean fewer trips to the movies—it means children starve because there isn't enough food to be had.
At that moment, I realized that we had something very special in the Wheel of Time book—an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up. I wrote an email to Harriet, telling her about the charity that Pat had been using for his drive. It's called Heifer International. Instead of just giving food to the poor, they go into developing countries, give them animals to care for, and teach them how to use the livestock to create a sustainable source of income and food. It's a fantastic idea, and a worthy charity. I asked Harriet if she'd mind me auctioning off a character in A Memory of Light. She was behind that 100%. As some of you may know, Robert Jordan did something like this once, giving a walk-on part to a fan in one of the books. There are a LOT of people who need to be named in this story, and so why not let a few of those names and descriptions go to real people?
Setting up the infrastructure for this took long enough that we couldn't just make it part of Pat's charity drive, but he was the inspiration, so he gets a bow and a tip of the hat. I talked with Melissa over at TarValon.net—which deals with the charitable work among Wheel of Time fandom—and we kicked around some ideas. Here's what we came up with.
You can appear in the Wheel of Time. There are two ways.
First, you can bid in the silent auction. This is just what it sounds like—you bid an amount, if you bid the most, you get a walk-on part in the Wheel of Time. I promise you a few lines of dialogue at least, and I'll let you pick your nationality and affiliation. We get veto rights over the spelling of your name—it has to fit the world and culture—but other than that, you've got a lot of control over what your character will look like and act like. The bidding ends early April; details are on TarValon's website.
However, Melissa and I realized that this auction would probably go high, probably into the thousands of dollars. We'd get one huge donation, but a lot of people would feel left out. And so we decided to create a SECOND way that you could appear in the Wheel of Time. During the Last Battle, there will be a lot of groups fighting the Shadow. Well, we're going to develop and include a special group to represent the Wheel of Time fans who donate in our charity drive. If you can't participate in the auction, you can still donate a few bucks to Heifer through Tar Valon's link, and you can consider yourself part of this group. We're letting the fans vote on what the group's nationality is, and from there we'll probably let the fans pick the banner for the group as well. This group will be written into the novel (there are several places where I'll need to be doing this and inserting various groups of people) as participating. Several of the officers of the group will be mentioned by name. Those officers names will be drawn randomly from everyone who donated at least $20 to the fund raiser through TarValon.net.
I hope that's not too confusing—there's another explanation on the official rules page, which I suggest you look over. In short, you can do one of two things (or both:)
1) Bid on the naming rights through the auction.2) Make a donation and join those fighting in the Last Battle. (With a $20 minimum donation getting you a shot at appearing in the book.)
This is the sort of opportunity that doesn't come around very often. Happy bidding, and thank you.
As one might expect, I've had a lot of feedback about the cameo in A Memory of Light charity drive. Many people are excited, some people are concerned. I'd like to take a few moments to answer a few general questions I've gotten.
First off, if you want to vote for the nationality of the group, it's happening right now on Tarvalon.net. I won't say anything about who is winning here, though I'll link when the announcement is made. Why? Well, some people don't want to know.
There are a LOT of hidden secrets in the Wheel of Time books like this. Everything from cameo appearances by Robert Jordan himself, to the names of street near where he lived, to legends about people in our own world, to appearances by fans. But I understand that some people don't want to know about most of these—they don't want to be pulled out of the world and the story. Therefore, I'll stay away from mentioning specifics here.
The final cameos will be written in such a way that you won't be able to pick them out without knowing already. The thing about a book like this is that you NEED a lot of new names. You don't need to worry that the people who win will walk on and say "Hey, I won the cameo! Neat!" It will be more subtle than that.
Remember, also, that there are very valid in-world reasons for this. According to the Wheel of Time mythology, we all live countless lives, over and over again, woven and re-woven into the Pattern. Because of that, people living on the Earth right now could very well be living again when the events of A Memory of Light come to pass. ;)
Anyway, thank you all for your enthusiasm.
This is your last week for a chance at appearing in the final book of the Wheel of Time. The auctions end on the 10th of April, and it stands at $10,000 right now. If you were eying this chance, now's the time to make your bid.
Also, if you want to donate a smaller amount to get a shot at appearing in the last book, you have to donate by the 10th as well. We'll be drawing names at JordanCon next week. I'll need more than just the couple of names promised, and I'll be going to this list of donators when I need inspiration for names in the book. It's for a worthy cause. Please consider throwing twenty bucks or so at Heifer to help feed those who need it. (And note, for those who are vegetarian and don't feel comfortable donating to Heifer, contact Melissa at TarValon.net. I'll bet you could work something out, and I'll authorize donations to an alternate charity for those special cases. I respect your view, and while I don't subscribe to it, don't want to place you in a position of being excluded.) We've raised over $20k so far, mostly in small donations here and there. Frankly, I'm astounded at how well this has gone.
For those who don't like the idea of this fundraiser, remember that I promise not to post names of winners directly here on the blog. I'll always link to specifics so you can ignore it all if you like. I promise that it won't spoil the book. You'll have to know what to look for to even notice it.
Unless other arrangements are made, the appearances will all happen in book three of the three book split.
In an unrelated note, yes, I'm on Twitter now. (As some have noticed.) The tweets are mirrored to my Facebook status, however, so you can watch them either place. Find me on Twitter @BrandonSandrson.
Here is an alphabetical list of names chosen, with details if given. They will be linked to EWOT pages when those are updated after the A Memory of Light comes out. The main auction for the speaking part was won by Sandip Mehta.
Eric Allen (In the Tower Guard; gets sworn at by someone who swears a lot. Perhaps Uno?)
Charlie Bachelder (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. (Deathwatch Guard)
Paul Benish (Malkieri)
Jonathan Brockelman (Whitecloak)
Joff Brown (a city)
Brandon Bryant (Band of the Red Hand)
Jonathan Burt (Whitecloak)
Jay Dauro (Deathwatch Guard)
Jacob Figler (Band of the Red Hand)
Craig Foster (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Filis [Emery?] (Green Ajah)
[?] Gilbert, son of Chris
Courtney Gliszczynski (First name used.)
Einar Laastad Kjosavik (Asha'man who is balefired by a Forsaken.)
Nils Loodin (Aiel scout)
Glen MacDonald (Deathwatch Guard)
Mikayla Micomonaco (damane)
Bach Payson (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Eleanor Pettener (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Bryan Ragon (Borderlander; does not live long; dies well.)
Kimberly Readdy (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Kris Ring (Seanchan Blood)
Nikhil Rode (Aiel scout)
Maureen Sampson (Aes Sedai)
San D'ma Shadar (Group referenced by Mat which fought in a historic battle; translates to "Slayers of the Shadow".)
Michael Sarcone (Darkfriend, on request.)
Shane Spears (Aiel, of course.)
Margaret St. John (Maiden name [not tweeted] will be a Seanchan general.)
Caitlin Sullivan (White Ajah)
Roger Trask (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Lindsey Turnbow (wolf)
Neil Tweed (Some woods, named after the original owners.)
Pia Maria Vaajakallio (Aes Sedai)
Kurt Wagoner (Two Rivers man)
Jordan White (wolf)
Savannah Rose Young (Seanchan general)
Thursday is the final day to enter the drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light. Details here.
Today's the final day to enter the drawing (& support JordanCon) to get your name in A Memory of Light. Last chance.
The drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light closes to entries in 4 hours. I still have a lot of names to draw.
How many more names are left to draw?
Still a good fifty, I'd say.
Have you been using people's names for characters? Haven't seen any posts/updates with that in a long time.
I've been putting in placeholders, and will be drawing out names over the next few months to replace them.
Shaun Davis, I just used your name in A Memory of Light.
Shiv Whorra, I needed another name, and you're in too.
Is there a running list somewhere of the reader names you've used? And I hope you're feeling completely well soon. : )
We'll post them all once I'm done.
For those asking about names: this was done as a fund-raiser for JordanCon, so I'm no longer taking names. (Sorry.)
Explanation follows. (I do this sort of thing for all of my books, though, so there will be chances for other books.)
Robert Moreau and Robert Rose, you two are next. Welcome to A Memory of Light.
It is so exciting to see you pulling the names out of the hat... how many do you think you'll end up using? :)
Still many more.
Since you're not taking names anymore and have a full rough draft, could you make a guess at our odds of being drawn?
Really hard to guess. I have about 1,000 placeholders in the book, as told to me by Word, but...
Most of those are not "replace a name here" notes, but instead "Look this up" or "describe this better" or "continuity check."
Brandon Bryant, welcome to the Band of the Red Hand. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details)
I know no new names—for those of us who put ours in the hat before, how many spots approximately are left? What are our chances?!
I have no idea, I'm afraid. There are about 2k people in the drawing. Maybe a hundred names? Rough guesses.
Daniel Egonsson, I drew your name for A Memory of Light. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details: http://www.mistborn.com/blog/1021/)
But for those of us in the drawing we still have a shot right?
Gavin Doyle, you're in too. (Yes, I will eventually post a list of all of these.)
Jacob Figler, you're next. (Sorry, ladies. I'll draw some female names soon.)
Hey that's me!!! Are you saying my name is going to be in A Memory of Light???
Yup. You're in the Band of the Red Hand.
YES!!! Check out the shirt I got yesterday hahaha! Perfect! And THANKS!!! http://yfrog.com/ob7i2zpj
Useful picture. Now I can describe you. :)
haha, well if you need any details let me know!
Okay, here's a woman: Jesamyn Angelica, you're in A Memory of Light.
Kevin Fanshier, I only needed one name for A Memory of Light today, but yours is it.
Kurt Wagoner, you're in A Memory of Light as a Two Rivers man.
Laura Hepburn, I have chosen your name for A Memory of Light.
Leisha Springer, your name came up next.
Nathan Sawyer, you were drawn next.
Do you or your assistant keep a list of drawn names? Can you post them?
I do keep a list, and will post them eventually.
When you write a book do you fill the less important names in later?
Often I do just that. It can break the flow of writing to develop the right name, particularly when I might cut that scene.
Angela Ryddingwood, I have drawn your name.
Bach Payson, I put you in A Memory of Light, but immediately killed you. Sorry 'bout that.
Oh, and Bryan Ragon, same goes for you. You died well, though.
Craig Foster, you round out the trio of dead Borderlanders I needed for this scene.
Just curious Brandon, are the names coming out of the proverbial hat, or do you look for names that can be easily WOTified?
Most things are pretty easy to wot-ify. And, since I can use either first or last, I haven't yet found any that don't work.
Are you changing the names of people you put in A Memory of Light to make them more "Randland" appropriate?
They are changed.
Michael Gonzalez, your name came up next. (Yes, I am wot-izing all of these.)
Mione Haak, I drew your name for A Memory of Light.
Neil Tweed, you too.
Who am I? Dark or light? Do I die well?
I try not to use fan names for the shadow very often. I actually named some woods after you.
You would have been one of the original owners of the land where the woods were, I should think.
Nikhil Rode and Nils Loodin, I needed two Aiel scouts.
Kris Ring, you're a member of the Seanchan Blood.
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. and Jay Dauro, you are members of the Deathwatch Guard.
Paul Benish, hope you look good in the hadori.
I'm confused. You are still using names but won't take anymore? So my name may still come up assuming you aren't done us ...
It very well might. If you are on the list, there is a chance.
Pia Maria Vaajakallio, you are Aes Sedai.
Maureen Sampson, you're in the White Tower too.
Natalie Doyle, your name came up for A Memory of Light.
Melissa Bergevin, your name came up next.
Harm Wieringa, your name came up next.
Taking a long time to add the names hehe
I'm doing the first revision, and running across places where I left placeholders instead of names.
Jordan White, you're a wolf.
Lindsey Turnbow, you too.
Is anyone keeping track of the names that are being drawn for A Memory of Light?
Yes, they are. We'll post them eventually.
Savannah Rose Young, you're a Seanchan general.
Sally Rankin, your name came up too.
They all get changed. Some as little as Thom or Mat (if appropriate.) Some to things very different.
How many names got submitted?
Three thousand, I think.
Anna Roberts and Andrew Holcombe, I drew your names most recently for A Memory of Light.
Caitlin Sullivan, you're in the White Ajah.
Courtney Gliszczynski, your name came up next. I think I'll adapt your first name, not your last, if that's all right...
Michael Sarcone, you asked to be a Darkfriend for some reason, and I obliged.
Chris Gilbert, you entered your son's name into A Memory of Light and it has been used.
Drew a bunch of names I didn't report. Eric Silva, Hugh Hill, Sean Little, Rion Kinosaki, Helen Cousins, Eyal Weinstock.
This is Sean Little, the guy that emailed you previously regarding putting in a group name. Did that entry have...
...San D'ma Shadar as the name?
Thank you very much.
Trying to figure out the San in that phrase, though. Is the "San" a name, or a word in the Old Tongue I'm missing?
The translation used on the site (made by our Old Tongue experts) is Slayers of the Shadow. I could ask for the exact translation.
That works for me. I actually put the name in a place where it could refer to a group, so I'll tweak it to do so.
Your favorite Two Rivers man, Azi al'Thone, back to bug you again :D I had put in an entry for SDS as well... and since...
...I'm a member of SDS of TV.Net, I'm wondering what (if any) possibility there is of making Azi part of it?
Of course, I understand if that's complicated or doesn't fit with the story—had to ask anyways.
The group is referenced by Mat as being part of a historical battle.
Oh okay! Yes, that would be really hard to make work then :P Thanks for the response, Great Lord :)
Working on one of the big, climactic sections at the end of A Memory of Light right now. Not many names left to draw, I'm afraid. A handful, maybe.
Remember, there is a special group of Dragonsworn in the Last Battle representing all who donated, so even if you aren't named, you're there.
Roger Trask and Charlie Bachelder, turns out I needed two more Aiel to fight in the Last Battle.
Finally, progress on Towers of Midnight is continuing at a fair pace. As always, there are sections that turn out beautifully and sections that don't. (The latter get thrown away and rewritten, the former get kept and rewritten. That's just how this goes.) I'm feeling very good about my deadlines on this one. It's going to be tight, but I think you'll get it next year as planned.
One of the things I felt could be improved on from The Gathering Storm is my use of names. Robert Jordan had a distinctive way of using names, and I think that some of my names for the book didn't quite hit the right mark. We're talking about very minor things—people who are named and don't appear, or maybe who speak one line or another. Anyone more major than that generally had a name already (or if they didn't, I pulled a name from one of Mr. Jordan's unused names files).
The thing is, a good epic fantasy like this uses dozens and dozens of new names in a book. I wanted to take a stab at approaching the naming in the way Mr. Jordan did. During my very first ride with Harriet, coming back from the airport two years ago to her home in Charleston, I remember her talking about some of Mr. Jordan's names. One came from a street we passed, another from a person he knew, and another from a word he saw on a sign. His goal was to hint at our world far in the future—or perhaps far in the past—by giving occasional hints to our world through legend, story, song, and name. Hence we get names like Thom or Artur, which are direct adaptations of names from our world.
Therefore, for Towers of Midnight I've been using a list of names from our world as inspiration. I chose the list of donors for the charity event that TarValon.net did last spring, and I've been posting the names on Twitter and Facebook as I choose them. So if you're curious about this, you can watch and see who gets chosen. I'm certain someone out there is keeping a list of them all as well. (I've got one here, and may post it eventually.)
I don't want to make it seem like I'm playing favorites or soliciting praise in order to get people into the Wheel of Time, and so for now I'm using this list ONLY. If we decide to do another charity event, I'll let you know. If you don't want to find out about the names, I won't post them here on the blog, but those who do wish to know can follow along. Remember, these are very small characters, often just mentioned by name but not seen. I'm adapting all the names, so the name I post is not what will appear in the book—it's just the inspiration for what will appear.
Still, I think it will make some people very happy and will allow me to try a method that Robert Jordan used in making these books. Perhaps it wasn't so conscious for him as it is for me, but one of my duties in writing these novels is to try—to the best of my abilities—to maintain the proper feel of the Wheel of Time. I think this will help. We'll see; I've got Harriet and Team Jordan backing me up, and so if any of the names stand out to them, they'll vanish and get replaced with something more appropriate.
(And, as I've said before, remember that the Wheel of Time turns, and people are constantly spun in and out of the Pattern. Those who are alive today could very well live again during the Third Age, and so it's not so odd at all for people who loved these books during our time to get pulled into Rand's ta'veren web and spun out again during the events of the Last Battle. . . .)
Want your name to appear as a character in the Stormlight Archive? There's going to be an auction for just that starting on Wednesday to benefit the Life, the Universe, & Everything (LTUE) symposium. I'll post more details when the auction begins.
This year's LTUE hosted the recording of a number of episodes of the Writing Excuses podcast, one of which aired this week. In it, Dan and Howard are joined by Robison Wells and Sarah Eden to talk about writing romance.
There are also a couple of other updates. Towers of Midnight has made it to the semifinals of Audible's Tournament of Audiobooks, but it is currently behind in votes to Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. If you liked the Towers of Midnight audiobook, consider giving it your vote. (Of course you can vote for Matterhorn instead, if you think that was a better audiobook.)
I haven't linked this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode yet. Recent episodes were recorded at LTUE when I was at ConDFW, so I haven't been appearing, but this episode marks my return. Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and I talk about urban fantasy.
Long version: If you were following me on Twitter and Facebook early last year, you saw me mention a large number of readers whose names I was adapting to appear in Towers of Midnight. The most common question I got in response was, "How do I get my name on that list?!" My response was that you had to have contributed to a fundraiser that TarValon.net ran back before The Gathering Storm came out. But I let people know there would be another chance to get your name into the final book in the series, A Memory of Light.
Each Wheel of Time book has around two hundred new character and place names. When I was writing The Gathering Storm I tried inventing names the way I usually do, and I found that some of them didn't blend so well. So I decided to move to the method Robert Jordan used: He picked many names by altering ones that appear in our world today. This fits with the way he constructed the world of the Wheel of Time, as that world is both our world's distant future and distant past, and our legends are based on events from that world and that world's legends are based on events from our world. Picking names that way for Towers of Midnight resulted in ones that blended in better, with the happy bonus that a lot of fans who had contributed to the fundraiser but not won the contest for the three individual name winners at the time were still able to have their name appear in the book as a minor character (or location).
Auctioning off naming rights was something I started doing even before I had the opportunity to work on the Wheel of Time. I spoke some about this in my original post on the subject back in 2009. Well, in April this year, we did another auction to appear in the next Stormlight Archive book. That auction benefitted a local Utah not-for-profit corporation for educational, literary, artistic and charitable purposes, with primary interest in science fiction and fantasy. They in turn donated the funds to BYU's volunteer-run science fiction and fantasy symposium, Life, the Universe, and Everything. The symposium was a great help to me back when I was an aspiring writer, and supporting something like that is a cause I can get behind completely.
So we're doing something similar this year for names in A Memory of Light. The process is being run by JordanCon, the not-for-profit fantasy literature convention that was founded in honor of Robert Jordan. I've been to three JordanCons now, and it is a great convention. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit both JordanCon and the Mayo Clinic.
For the details, I'm just going to quote their news release in full.
The Robert Jordan estate, Brandon Sanderson and JordanCon, Inc are pleased to announce a joint effort to raise money for two incredible not-for-profit organizations and offer fans the chance to become a named character in the final installment of A Memory of Light.
Fans will have two opportunities to participate in this fundraising effort.
The first option will be a highest-bidder auction through eBay's eBay Giving Works. The highest bidder in this auction will be memorialized as a character (physical description, name within guidelines) in the final installment of The Wheel of Time. This auction will run from November 1 to November 10.
The second option is through a drawing. Fans who donate $10 will have their names entered into a drawing to included in the final installment of A Memory of Light. The final number of names drawn is determined by Brandon Sanderson as dictated by the needs of the story. Donating is not a guarantee that you will be included.
The Mayo Clinic, a non-profit organization and premier medial research center; as well as JordanCon, a literary convention and non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia are both set to benefit from this fundraiser.
WHAT IS JORDAN CON?
JordanCon is a fantasy literature convention founded in honor of the late author, Robert Jordan. Jordan was the author of the best selling The Wheel of Time series. JordanCon features four tracks of simultaneous programming, a Dealers Hall, and charity events benefiting the Mayo Clinic. Past guests have included Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, David Wong, Jana G. Oliver, David B. Coe and Eugie Foster.
New to JordanCon this year will be the Art Show featuring art from a variety of fantasy and sci fi artists. Guests this year will include author Mary Robinette Kowal, artist Sam Weber and Toastmaster Melissa Craib Dombrowski.
Please note that JordanCon, Inc has applied for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 corporation. While we are awaiting the final verdict from the IRS, we are allowed to begin soliciting donations. Our tax-exempt status will be retroactively applied to the day of our filing.
WHAT IS THE MAYO CLINIC?
For more than 100 years, Mayo Clinic has inspired hope and contributed to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research. Today, your generosity is at the heart of sustaining Mayo's mission.
As a not-for-profit organization, Mayo Clinic reinvests all earnings into improving patient care. Yet philanthropy provides essential support as we develop better methods to understand, predict, prevent, diagnose and treat disease, and train the next generation of physicians and scientists.
Mayo Clinic has more than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers from every medical specialty. They work together with 46,000 allied health employees to care for more than half a million patients each year, from every U.S. state and many countries.
In 2006, Robert Jordan was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, which is a rare blood disease where abnormal proteins form in the bone marrow and become deposited in the patient's heart. During his illness Robert Jordan received treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and encouraged his fans to donate in support of the clinic. JordanCon is proud to continue to honor that request each year through various charitable fundraisers at the convention.
Q & A
If I donate, What happens to the money?
All funds received will go directly to JordanCon with 10% of the proceeds going to the Mayo Clinic.
May I participate in both?
Yes, you may participate in both the General Auction and the Drawing. Please note you cannot win more than one character named for you.
Please follow these instructions! In the notes section, include your full name, and email address.
What are the rules for naming characters?
You may use your name or an appropriate name of your choice, but the author reserves the right to approve it or change it to fit the type of character created. A physical description of yourself may be used.
How long is the Fundraiser and when will winners be announced?
The fundraiser will run from October 1 to December 1, 2011, and winners will be announced at www.jordancon.org. The auction will run from November 1 to November 10. We will announce the winner of the auction and the first name drawn by Brandon Sanderson. All future names drawn will be announced via Brandon's website.
Can I be entered multiple times in the General Drawing by giving several donations?
Yes! For every $10 you donate, you name will be entered into the drawing. If you donate $100, your name will be entered 10 times. However, your name can only appear once in the story.
I am trying to donate to the General Auction or enter the Drawing, but have difficulties. Who do I contact?
You must contact eBay for issues regarding payments. They are our vendor handling all the transactions. If you are having an issue with the drawing, please contact email@example.com.
May I pay by check or cash?
At this time we are only able to accept credit card, debit, or PayPal as methods of donation.
Who is eligible to win?
All fans are eligible to win with the exception of members of JordanCon, Incorporated's board of directors and their immediate families.
I have questions about my privacy.
All donors give consent to have their names published publicly. This is done to ensure fairness and so you may see that your name did go through before we randomly draw the winners for the Drawing. All winners, including the General Auction winner, further agree to allow us to use their names to announce them as the donors selected to be use in A Memory of Light, including use of their names in any publicity associated with The Wheel of Time in this regard.
Private information such as contact emails and phone numbers will be given to Brandon Sanderson in case he chooses to use additional names at a later time. All other copies will be destroyed.
What if I have more questions?
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject heading indicating your question. We will get back to you as soon as we can!
Okay, so I have this idea for A Memory of Light. Hear me out.
I think you/Harriet/whoever should allow some sort of money raising contest to write a dedication for the book. Any money raised could go toward amyloidosis research (or maybe something else, if Jordan had some cause he really believed in).
You could run the contest one of two ways. First, an auction, which could potentially raise the most money. However, I've always hated these, since only people with tons of spending money ever have a chance.
Or you could charge everyone a flat price—$1, $5, something like that—and then your or Harriet could draw the winner from a hat or whatever.
Obviously you'd have to have some sort of disclaimer so that if the winner ended up being something like, "I hope we see Nynaeve smother Faile with her braid in this one," it could be ruled inappropriate.
Anyway, I just think it'd be a nice way to encourage reader interaction, raise money for a good cause, and give a lucky reader the chance to immortalize him- or herself in one of the most awesome, epic series of all time.
(I once gave this idea to Jason over at Dragonmount and he said I should suggest it to you or Harriet, but then I forgot about it. And now the opportunity to mention it has presented itself. Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
That is a kinda cool idea. I'll think about it, but the thing is, I strongly feel that RJ would have dedicated the book to Harriet—and I kind of think that should be the case.
I'll consider it, but I'm more likely to auction off naming rights to a character or two to let people have a stamp on the book like you suggest and do something good, but not use the dedication. We shall see. I'll consider.
This entry is a collection of tweets by Brandon announcing the names of the fans who won the charity contest to get their names in Towers of Midnight. Also named in the book were Matt Hatch, webmaster of Theoryland (innkeeper at The Dusty Wheel); Melissa Craib, webmaster of Tar Valon (innkeeper at The Seven-Striped Lass); and Jason Denzel, webmaster of Dragonmount (innkeeper at The Happy Throng). Also included were Kate Nepveu, an old rasfwrj fan and blogger for Tor.com, and Anthony Aziz of TarValon.net, who won the JordanCon 2010 auction. According to Linda's article on the subject, Padra was named after Tricia Erikson, a JordanCon publicist who passed away recently from cancer.
I missed these tweets by Brandon (date unknown), but Linda kindly shared them with me:
Oh, one more. Joel Derby, you're dead too.
Also, Nick Okamoto, I used your name in Towers of Midnight this morning. Congrats.
Also, John Sloan, you survive.
I would feel worse about it if Robert Jordan hadn't done it too. And GRRM. And Stephen King. And Asimov. And Anne McCaffrey...
Did those authors auction off naming rights, though? They've all Tuckerized friends/family, but that's not the same thing.
Many of them did them as charity auctions at various conventions, I believe. It has a long tradition at sf cons.
I tried to list only people who had specifically put in fans, not just people they know.
RJ did it in a pretty limited way, though. That's why I defended it at first, but IMO it was a little gratuitous in Towers of Midnight.
What do you mean, limited? Pretty much every name Jordan used was adapted or straight lifted from our modern world or mythology.
I was specifically talking about fan names. Even fan names don't bother me so long as they're smooth as the parallels all are...
...but in Towers of Midnight, there were names dropped in when it seemed there was no practical purpose to name the characters in question.
Like, the characters showed up, got named, went away, and never came back. For example...
"Two Maidens—Surial and Lerian—guarded the open doorway to the hallway..." and another example (cont)...
"They stepped through the gateway into a small alley, guarded by two Maidens—Lerian and Heidia..." In cases like that...
...it seems like name-dropping for the sake of it. Though I'm sure the effect is exacerbated for those in the know.
RJ named a ton of characters with no practical purpose who never showed up again. Brandon's intent was to follow that practice.
Sure, but RJ also had a ton of unnamed characters, and IMO didn't name them awkwardly like those two examples I gave.
I'm not sure if you noticed, but there was a lot of discussion about this after Towers of Midnight came out. Many people noticed it.
I didn't notice the discussion, and those examples don't look at all awkward. But it wouldn't surprise me If RJ did a better job.
Brandon also has plenty of unnamed characters. I'm just saying RJ's use of random named characters wasn't particularly limited. [And of course, no one ever said that it was. His use of fan names was limited.]
The reason why they're awkward is became the naming of the characters is a sideline to what's actually going on, rather than...
...serving a purpose in the narrative. It's a subtle difference, that could be easily solved with a tiny bit of effort. (IMO)
Seems to me RJ had a lot of named characters with no particular narrative purpose. Others may have a different impression.
You misunderstand me. Characters can have all ranges of purpose. That's not a problem. But how is the name worked in?
No, I understand you just fine.
But in any case, there's no point being defensive about it. Either the criticism is important to Brandon or it isn't. *shrug*
I suggest that the names stuck out more when Brandon did it than when RJ did it largely because readers knew what Brandon was doing...
...whereas the writing process was much more of a black box for RJ.
Didn't I already suggest that? But again, it could easily be smoother with a little effort.
And that's a difference Brandon is fine with. Other things he tries to do more like RJ but doesn't quite because he's not RJ.
Yes, we're aware that Brandon is fine with this difference. Sometimes it's best to err on the side of caution, when possible.
And as I said, the examples you gave look smooth enough to me.
Yes, but you defend nearly everything Brandon does. We're talking about something that bothered several fans, not just me.
Again, either the criticism matters, or it doesn't.
"could easily be smoother with a little effort" is very easy for a non-writer to say.
Something very easy to demonstrate, even for someone who doesn't write much. (I do write some, by the way.)
If it's too difficult to make smoother, then just don't name the characters it's not necessary. If the best you can do is...
...throw the names in a parenthetical, then perhaps the characters simply don't need to be named.
So you're saying RJ never threw names in a parenthetical. That may be.
I don't mean to defend for the sake of defending, but when someone complains about something Brandon does that RJ did, it's irksome.
I understand. I wasn't even trying to compare to RJ, except the quantity of fan names used. I felt like it was quantity...
...that led to situations like the two examples I gave. A desire to fit in more fan names.
The word "irksome" is that often used in daily English or a more history/fantasy word used in such lit? (work related inj)
It's a fairly common word.
For the most part I'd say Brandon is only naming characters he thinks RJ would have named. Not to fit in fan names just to fit in.
He goes to the list only when he needs a name. He doesn't pick out names first and then try to fit them in somewhere.
Except for the top auction winners of course.
I find it hard to see how names were needed in those two places.
If he thinks RJ would have named them, then that counts as "needed."
Even in later drafts sometimes Maria or Harriet would say "give this character a name" when Brandon hadn't already.
Some people complained about names Brandon made up in The Gathering Storm. You can't please everyone. :)
You can't please everyone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to do the best you can. Especially when you constantly...
...go out of your way to reassure fans that it is important to you to uphold this legacy. Small details do matter.
That line is often used when you're doing something that will please some and upset others. This isn't such a case.
Yup. Giving random characters names is a small detail that matters to Brandon because it mattered to RJ.
I'm not complaining about giving random characters names. You keep trying to paint it that way, though. Why?
You keep trying to paint this as something RJ didn't do. Why? Maybe you can prove he didn't name characters in parentheticals.
I think the way Brandon is doing it is fine and basically the same as the way RJ did it. You disagree.
Did you just ask me to prove a negative? Really? LOL. Maybe you can find an example where he did the same thing.
It's not worth it to me to try that.
If you're wondering why some fans are getting increasingly frustrated with this process, then this is why.
We have bent over backward to be supportive of Brandon in cases where our support was dubious. But the minute we have...
...a criticism of any sort, we get defensiveness. Not 'filed, taken into consideration'. But 'you're imagining things'.
And yes, this [re: Peter's last tweet] is becoming increasingly clear as well.
You see this as a much bigger deal than me, clearly.
WoT? Clearly. This issue? Worth a tweet to Brandon in the hopes that he will take it into consideration.
This issue. And maybe he will.
I think we can just concede that the author has the freedom to do what he pleases with the naming of characters?
I think everyone is aware that Brandon has that freedom. That's not the point.
Terez27's avatar does say "Serious Business"—are you surprised she'd see it as a bigger deal? lol
In my mind it's still something where Brandon is doing pretty much what RJ did.
It's not my job to go through every paragraph in the series to try to prove that.
No one ever said it was. Apparently it's your job to get defensive, though. Or is it? Next time, just make a note of it.
It sounds like you only want a non-response to anything brought up. "filed, taken into consideration" is a non-response.
It can be. If the issue isn't important to you/Brandon, I'd rather a non-response than a pointless argument.
I don't think that saying "This is basically what RJ did" is defensiveness. My first tweet to you just asked for clarification.
Yes, and I clarified, and you dismissed my clarification as irrelevant. Instantly.
Once I got the clarification I gave the "this is basically what RJ did" answer.
It takes two to make a pointless argument. I guess you're saying if I think something isn't important, I should say nothing.
I apologize to the folks who follow both me and @PeterAhlstrom. Done spamming your feed now. ;)
I'm sure it would have been a much different conversation in person. Twitter strikes again.
That's fine. Made my walk with the dog a lot more interesting!
Don't you need to watch your step when you do that, instead of watching your phone?
I posed the "irksome-question" to let you know (in a subtle way, I hope) that people were "listening" out here.
heh, I was well aware from the beginning, and I'm sure Peter was as well.
Next time you can just say "Get a room, you two!" ;)
I thought some of RJ's were fairly obvious. Paitr Conl, Jac, Bili, Joslyn, Jaim, Dannil, and 5 spellings of Alice.
Ya, though in this case the adapted forms weren't what the discussion was about. Some people have complained about those though.
[re: this tweet] I don't think he's saying that... Think he just doesn't see it the way other readers evidently do.
I do think Reader Response is the most relevant type of literary criticism.
Definitely. But felt that whole argument was a big misunderstanding. Felt bad.
More like a difference of opinion on a very minor issue.
I do apologize for coming off that way. It's really not my intent. Criticism is important to feel free to share.
Specifically I personally give your comments a lot of weight because I know you know your stuff.
Thanks. We know that Brandon has a tough job, and an awkward situation at best. But it's awkward for us too, in many ways.
It's a little difficult to be someone who knows more about WoT than the guy who is writing it, aside from the secret stuff...
...and to have to watch it all unfold from a rather passive position. I'm sure you understand. ;)
Chuckles, you can say that knowing about Terez's "Gawyn will kill Rand with Callandor theory"? Poke-poke.... ;o) [Not sure where Felix got the Callandor bit from.]
Theories and a thorough working knowledge of what's actually in the books are separate things.
Note that in many of these cases, Harriet said to me "What are their names?" when I just wrote "Two Maidens."
Harriet always pushes me to be more specific. You'll find it in The Gathering Storm too, where I wasn't using fan names.
Yeah, I understand that much—and sometimes, it works. I imagine that not all examples of Harriet asking...
...for such ended up with examples like I gave, where the names are thrown in parenthetically.
In the fan criticism I mentioned earlier, these cases were always the ones fans noticed. Even at DM...
...where the subject comes up every two weeks in a new thread, mentioned by different new users. [I should have said 'came up', because I was thinking about the period of a few months after the book came out, not recently. Also, crosstalk after this because Peter types faster than me so I was unprepared for the more stately tweeter, Brandon.]
The examples you gave—though I only looked briefly—could have certainly been done better.
Probably, they should have just been "*** and *** went and did such and such" rather than the parenthetical.
Right, something along those lines. And again, those of us 'in the know' were probably bothered more by it.
That's more of a prose issue than anything else, though—an area where RJ was very strong and I'm relatively weak.
Yes, I've noticed you have mentioned that before. Which is why I thought it worth a tweet. :)
We'll try to keep an eye on the issue. We should have more time on A Memory of Light than we did on Towers of Midnight for polishing.
I don't *Think* we'll have a 'shoehorn in fan names' issue, since I have just left placeholders for names I need.
Every one of them is a name I'd have had to make up, but instead, I'll adapt a fan name.
Still, it's worth a look-over specifically for this issue.
Oh great. Now that Brandon responded, how much do I need to put in the Twitter archive post?! >_<
LOL. See, we share this burden. It should create a bond between us! And if you want to skip it I'll cover it. You can link ;)
Nah. I think there's a good splitting point I can use to keep it relevant to Brandon's reply. You can include whatever though. :)
Before you can link you both have to reach/open yourself for saidin/saidar. And who will control the weaves? ;)
I said 'bond', not 'link'. And I wasn't talking about the Warder bond either. ;)
Really look at the earlier tweet here then. You typed bond in a previous tweet also.
I meant link to the website. *sigh*
I know, but the best work was when men and women worked together with the power of the WoT ;)
The fan names never hugely bothered me, but I do agree with Terez that they are noticeable.
I think because they feel more like blank spaces in the narrative than colouring in the scene by...
... Naming those present.
I'm somewhat more troubled by the treatment of fan criticism. This is about the fifth time I've...
...seen you do this Peter, with the same line: 'It's a problem in reader appreciation, not the writing.'
And not everyone has Terez's tenacity or confidence, and thus allow themselves to be silenced.
And given I've seen you both cite the value of the lack of fan criticism in judging Brandon's efforts...
...yeah...It's a little disconcerting.
Maybe I should back off.
I think Brandon has recognized it, by responding. And we have played the silencers before, haven't we?
Peter is in a tough spot. I can easily say, "Yeah, I did a poor job on that one. I'll watch for it."
Peter, however, doesn't want to put words in my mouth, or apologize for me.
Instead, he seeks to defend me, since he knows I won't see most people's posts or be able to respond.
It may surprise you, but we felt the same way after the release of The Gathering Storm, despite not being fans.
I empathise, I just don't sympathise. Not after the way you've both held up a lack of fan [criticism]...
...as validation for your work on the Wheel. It's a circle, the lack of criticism held up as proof...
...whilst the act of criticism is met with sweeping dismissal that most would never argue.
Point taken as well.
Makes me curious which criticisms you're referring to. I wouldn't mind if you emailed them to me.
So I can be aware of which ones the fans feel we aren't listening to.
Will do. :)
I think both Luckers and I have really tried to strike a balance over these last few years between...
...defense for the sake of support and criticism for the sake of criticism. I will email you.
(In other words, most fan response seems to fall under one of the two categories.)
I will admit most things I care about aren't things most fans would care about. Maybe scholars.
But that's assuming scholars ever take an interest in the WoT. ;)
Terez seems a little full of herself and I resent the fact that she seems to think she speaks for all fans.
Most fans love the books for what they are & don't pick them apart to show off.
[hours later, after a nap] Who ever said anything about me speaking for all fans? Now you sound like the guy who said he 'lost all respect'...
We're aware that most fans don't give a shit about the fine details. I never claimed to be most fans.
These kind of criticisms I find ridiculous and over the top—Guess I'm just too casual.
It's only ridiculous and over the top when it turns into a stupid argument.
I woke up on the wrong side of Twitter today. Sorry about that.
"Even he—Jori, bonded to Morvrin—managed it." #wotrr (Lord of Chaos Chapter 29, p2) For @PeterAhlstrom. ;)
Remind me what brought it up.
I favorited his tweet, and moved on.
In a charity drive, a lot of people were chosen to have their names inserted into A Memory of Light; specifically, we were told a large group would consist of these people. Who are they in the book?
The Dragonsworn. Aes Sedai have joined this group, and many others. That's where they were added.
Will anything be done specially for those who won the contest to have their names in the book?
In The Gathering Storm, many fans stated that the names felt off, and Brandon agreed. Robert Jordan's character names were inspired by the real world, such as Ogier St. in Charleston, his stove, medications he was taking, etc. There had been a fundraiser for one person to have his name included in one of the books, and that was being continued. Brandon decided to increase this, and put many people in the final two books. The short answer: Nope, the name in the book is the something special.
(Note: Later, I happened to be sitting up front when the person who asked this question came to the front, with his wife and an absolutely adorable two-year-old little girl. Turns out, he had his daughter's name placed in the book instead of his own. Brandon signed the book at the place where she was mentioned.)
Let me answer that in reverse. The whole fan name thing, where it came from is, I wrote the first book, The Gathering Storm, and I got several notes from Maria that said, "You know, a lot of your names don't feel right. They don't feel like Wheel of Time names." And it was one of the areas that, fans noticed it too when the book came out. I named people like I name people, and so for Towers of Midnight, I felt, "I need to radically change the way I name. I need to use Robert Jordan's methods." So while talking to Maria and Harriet, Harriet told me this wonderful story where...you think he named someone after...(to Harriet)...a washing machine, was it? You remember you said, like there's a little name on one of the washing machines...was it you?
The stove is a Jenn Air, and every time I looked at it, I would think of the Jenn Aiel. [laughter]
And at one point I was taking allergy medicine, and whoever considered Corianin's surname—Seldane?
And there's an Ogier St. in Charleston. And beyond that, Robert Jordan was naming a lot of characters in the books off of mythological figures, with some twists. And so I felt—I actually said, "I'm going to grab a phone book, and I'm just going to go looking for names and try and tweak those names to start naming in the Wheel of Time." And when I did that, I stopped and thought, "Wait a minute. I had a list of names; it's in the list of the names of the fans who were part of this one charity drive we did." So I just started grabbing their names; that's as random as the phone book for me, and that's where the naming [characters] after fans thing came from. It was me forcing myself to try and do something different in the way that I'd been naming.
Now, back to the original question, did I name anything after myself: Actually, there's a cameo by Robert Jordan in the books, of Robert Jordan. Do you guys know what it is? If you know, raise your hands. If you don't know...most of you do know? No, most of you don't know. There is a statue of Robert Jordan in the books. It is discovered among the ter'angreal that were originally in Rhuidean, right? Rhuidean? No, Ebou Dar; that's right, it's the Ebou Dar cache. See, that's why I looked at Maria, and I'm like, "Where did they come from?" And there's a man that has the contents of many stories contained, and that was described to look like Robert Jordan.
I gave myself a similar cameo to that, in that, one of the times when I was visiting Charleston, Wilson—who was Robert Jordan's cousin, and they were very dear friends, like siblings—was taking Robert Jordan's weapons collection, and figuring out what to do with, and he had so many weapons. [laughter] It was really awesome to go walking through his workshop, so to speak—where he'd work—and see all these weapons, and see all of the different versions of the ashandarei that he had, and you can just imagine him swinging them about and deciding how he was going to do this, and describing certain weapons. He had everything, and so he'd use it. And Wilson was doing this, and he said to me, "Brandon, go out there and pick one, anything you want. Go grab one." And so, I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that, stunned though I was, and I went out there and I found at the very back a katana with a scabbard that had a red-and-gold dragon on it, twisting around the scabbard. And I don't know if the idea for Rand's dragons came first, and then he bought the scabbard and the sword because it looked like that, or if that was part of the inspiration. I suspect it was the former, that he saw that and thought, "Wow, that's just like the..."
But either way, I picked that one, and then I wrote that sword into the books, which you will find if you look around; that sword is mentioned. So that's my cameo, is I put my sword in. It now hangs on my wall, inside a case—my wife had it, got a case and a little plaque that says "Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time," underneath. And it hangs on my wall with Robert Jordan's birthdate underneath it.
You will find them in there. They call them Dragonsworn. They are a group of unaligned Dragonsworn which include people who have just left their oaths behind and joined this group. There are Aes Sedai in there; there are Aiel in there; there are people from all around, and that group represents the fandom. They just call themselves the Dragonsworn.
Oh, boy. That's on a Google Doc somewhere. Not sure if I can find it easily. Maybe an email would be better?
Page 247, first full paragraph, Tween Forest.
Thanks Terez. Missed it on my read through.
FYI Brandon emailed me to say that Harriet changed it from Tweed Forest to Tween Forest as it made more sense—The In-between Forest.
Thanks for naming a Green Ajah Aes Sedai after me! (p 756)
As many of you know, I adapted a large number of readers' names for use in Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light. Linda over at the 13th Depository has an article that lists all of the names that were chosen for characters and how they were adapted into the books, including some character names adapted by Robert Jordan in previous books. Note that I also adapted some people's names as place names and other non-character names, and the list doesn't include those. There will probably be another list later.
Last Wednesday I did a Tor chat on Twitter. All of the questions I answered (the questions and my answers include a lot of spoilers, especially for A Memory of Light, so be warned!) are now up in these two Twitter post archives: one, two.
You do know that I've got a character in one of the books named Bowen? [Clarification: My name is Bowen. He said this while personalizing our books]
Yes. He's actually been in the books so far, but not by name. He's one of the Worldhoppers. If you go look and talk to them they may have identified him, some people who have read.
Thank you for naming a character after me!
Yes. I did it. He's from White Sand. I wrote the book in '98. Yeah, he's one of the Purelake guys.
Is he Blunt?
Yeah, yeah. [...] (later) So yeah, Bowen, you'll have to see because when I redid the linguistics for the world, his name I think got changed. I think it's now Baon. But in the very first draft of the very first book I ever wrote his name was Bowen. And the reason I think I changed it - is because he's a bowman. And I'm like I can't name the bowmanâ€”the archerâ€”Bowen. That's kinda dumb. But in my head he's still Bowen.
Anyway, my question...