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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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Once I was to this point in the book, I knew that I had something. I needed a book to follow ELANTRIS—one that did all the things that ELANTRIS did well, but then expanded and showed off my strengths. In other words, I needed a "You haven't seen ANYTHING yet" book.
MISTBORN is, hopefully, that book. I took the best magic system I've ever developed, and put it together with two killer ideas and some of my best characters. I cannibalized two of my books for their best elements, then combined those with things I'd been working on for years in my head. This is the result.
We've now seen Sazed preach a couple of religions to members of the crew. You may be interested in my process of coming up with his character.
It actually began when I was watching the movie THE MUMMY. Yes, I know. Sometimes it's embarrassing where we come up with ideas. However, my inspiration for Sazed was the moment when the oily little thief character gets confronted by the mummy, and pulls out a whole pile of holy symbols. He goes through each one, praying to each god, looking for one that would help him.
I began to wonder what it would be like to have a kind of missionary who preached a hundred different religions. A man who, instead of advancing his own beliefs, tried to match a set of beliefs to the person—kind of like a tailor looking to fit a man with the prefect and most comfortable hat.
That's where the inspiration for the entire sect of Keepers began. Soon, I had the idea that the Lord Ruler would have squished all the religions in the Final Empire, and I thought of a sect of mystics who tried to collect and preserve all of these religions. I put the two ideas together, and suddenly I had Sazed's power. (I then stole a magic system from FINAL EMPIRE PRIME, which I'll talk about later, and made it work in this world. Feruchemy was born.)
Feruchemy. Some like the word, others aren't as happy with it. It used to be called Hemalurgy, but I decided that would be a better word for the third magic system in the series. (You'll see it eventually.)
Feruchemy (not called that, however) was a magic system I lifted from FINAL EMPIRE PRIME, a book I wrote some years before I wrote this book. I had a person who could store up attributes, such as strength, then use them when he needed them. The thing is, the magic wasn't really that well formed, and this character never got any viewpoints, so I didn't get to use the magic as often as I wanted.
When I was developing this world, I knew I wanted the Keepers to have the fantastic memories. I realized that Feruchemy would make the perfect magic system for Sazed and his people. When I decided that I could use metals as a focus for this magic system (something that made it much more interesting, because it put a definable limit on what could be stored and how much of it could be stored) I knew I had something really good.
I like to use multiple magic systems in books, but I like it when they all have common elements. Feruchemy and Allomancy are like different aspects of the same concept. They both do some similar—yet different—things. There will be a lot more about this in the text.
Here's my original journal entry for this chapter, written right after I finished the chapter itself:
Chapter Thirty: Vin saves Elend at the party.
It's wonderful when a chapter turns out just the way you envisioned it.
I worked on this chapter for a long time—from the beginning of the planning process, I imagined this as one of the major action sequences in the book. I began with the image of Vin shooting up through the air as the rose window twisted and fell beneath her in the mists, then I expanded that to her protecting Elend, giving Vin a real scene of heroism. Originally, I wasn't intending her to fight the Allomancers, just to lead them away, but I decided that I needed a pure Mistborn-on-Mistborn fight in the book. Every other Allomantic battle involves Inquisitors.The scenes in this chapter are some of my favorite so far. Though, oddly, it took me a long time to get into them—I hedged over what the first part of the chapter should entail. Eventually, I decided that this would be a perfect place to give Vin some abandonment issues. This is a hold-over from the original Vin from the first FINAL EMPIRE write–the fear of abandonment was a large part of that Vin's personality. It worked well in this setting, and I think I'll emphasize it just a bit more in the rewrite. The next chapter really plays off of this idea.
It feels a little bit weird to be writing about a young girl running around killing people in her skivvies, but I don't really see any reasonable way for her to fight in one of those bulky ball gowns I'm using in this book. So, underwear it is!
Kliss and Shan have both come to have much larger parts in the book than I'd intended. Kliss was intended to be a throw-away character used in one chapter, but now she's become an informant and a conspirator. In a rewrite, I think I'll have to introduce her sooner and try and give her a more distinctive personality. As for Shan... well, I only added her a couple of chapters ago. Obviously, she'll need more time in the rewrite as well. Vin's battle will be much better if I can have her fight a named character that's been an antagonist in a few chapters. The Vin ball scenes have become a larger part of the book than I had thought, and adding Kliss and Shan as recurring characters will help flesh out that plot-line, I think.
Like how I ditch Sazed in this chapter so that I can have Vin's 'grand' entrance in the next chapter? Pretty smooth, eh? I was worried about how I was going to deal with him... As for the actual fight and the scenes, I think everything flowed quite well. We'll see what readers think!
(Note, when I wrote this, ELANTRIS wasn-t even out yet—it was still over a year away from publication—so I really had no idea if people would be responding well to my writing or not.
This chapter is meant to be our 'pay off' chapter for the time we've invested into Sazed over the last few chapters. I, personally, think it's the coolest chapter in this section of the book.
Feruchemy really turned out well as a magic system, and I'm glad I found a place for it in this book. It connects with Allomancy perfectly; I'm actually surprised at how well they go together. (As you may recall, I originally tried out Feruchemy in a book I now call Final Empire Prime.)
Here, you finally get to see some REAL Feruchemical tricks. Sazed can do so much more than just make himself strong (like he did in book one) or memorize things. If you think about it, there are an awful lot of things that can be done to intertwine Allomancy—with its Pushes and Pulls—and Feruchemy, where a person can increase or decrease their weight.