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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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The evening began with the amusing sight of Brandon Sanderson piling various items of furniture on top of one another to create a home-made lectern for his laptop. Following a brief aside on the difference between a lectern and a podium (and how this plays into the editorial process), Brandon read from a novella he’s recently written. [Legion] Apparently, he started it on the flight back to the US the last time he came to the UK. He couldn’t work on the Wheel of Time since he was awaiting the outcome of some research on the notes. He went on to explain that Robert Jordan left a pile of notes roughly half Brandon’s height that his two researchers dip into when Brandon needs an answer to one of his questions. This is normally quick, but it can take several months to come up with a fully researched answer. The reading lasted about eight minutes and seemed to be from the beginning of the novella. I won’t spoil the concept, but it’s clever and deeply silly.
The evening then moved to a Q&A. Questions and answers are paraphrased from my notes and memory, so they won’t be absolutely word-for-word, but they shouldn’t be much different from the original conversation. I’ve included all the questions, not just the Wheel-related ones.
How long before is the game going to be? I remember you saying it was going to be before Final Empire, but I was wondering how long before?
I sold Legion, which is a novella I wrote, to Lionsgate, for a television pilot. We will see if they will actually do it or not. That’s a modern day thriller I wrote. It’s a novella. I’ll release it next summer or something. It’s short, but it was meant for a pitch for a television show. So that’s coming out, and we’ll hope that they actually film that. We did sign deals on that, and since there’s Lionsgate, which is a big studio, behind that, there’s a production house attached to it, and it will go much faster.
Other than that, there’s the Wheel of Time, which keeps slowly moving forward. It is moving forward, but really slowly. And Alcatraz is basically dead in the water right now. The option lapsed in June, and no one else has snatched it up, so it’s now been six months, and that one’s pretty much dead in the water. Which is sad. We got really close on that one.
Will you still write the fifth book?
Yes, I will write the fifth book. Just the movie is dead in the water.
Subterranean Press has announced preorder availability of my new novella "Legion," coming sometime in the summer/fall. (link)
Did you know there's a Marvel Comics character called Legion who has abilities very similair to those found in your novella?
Someone mentioned it to me yesterday. I'm afraid, though, it's impossible not to do things that Marve/DC haven't covered.
Magneto vs Allomancy, for example, or about a billion gravity manipulation superheroes vs Szeth.
When I write something, I can't ask "Has anyone done this before?" because the answer will ALWAYS be yes.
:) That said, it's amusing (but perhaps not surprising) that we both used the same idea with the name.
Have you ever felt the need to change anything in your writing that was TOO close to something already out there?
Yes, I have—but only in the pre-publication stage. If I'd known about the Marvel character, for example
I probably would have used another name. Still, knowing now means I can change it if I do a full novel.
Firstly he read from his novella, Legion, which is out in November [I think??]. It's about a genius whose genius manifests in the form of hallucinations. Basically whenever this guy studies anything, he creates a hallucinatory expert that retains the full extent of all this knowledge like a repository, and it is with his 'legion' of hallucinatory experts that his full genius and ability comes from.
On the second day he read from a new novel set in the Elantris world (though in a whole different part of the world, with completely new characters (barring, of course, Hoid)). I didn’t write it down, but the title was something like 'Soul of the Dragon Emperor'. The magic system involves Forgers, people who can through study and understanding something’s past, forge a soulseal which can change that past so long as it is touching the thing itself. So a Forger could look at an old and battered table, and by studying it—understanding where the wood came from, where the polish came from, so forth—they could then create a soulseal that says the table has been lovingly and carefully cared for, and so long as that seal is laid into the table, the table will no longer be battered and old, but perfectly polished. This is the gist of the plot as well, that something has happened to the Emperor and a talents Forger who works as a thief is supposed to Forge the Emperor’s soul so that it appears as if nothing has happened.
Other than that the only other thing I have in my notes is that Shallan is to be the Stormlight 2 Flashback character.
I debated writing this because you seem like a genuinely nice guy who cares about his fans, and I don't want to hurt your feelings. If you find it difficult to read criticism, please don't read any further.
To be honest, I am hoping that you won't write the outriggers/prequels because it seems to me like your heart's just not in it anymore. In 2011 you announced that you needed time off to reread the entire series before starting work on A Memory of Light since you'd forgotten too much and this had led to continuity issues in Towers of Midnight. But according to your own website, you only reread a third of the series, then went on to work on Alloy of Law, Legion, The Emperor's Soul, The Rithmatist... As someone who enjoyed Way of Kings a great deal, I'm glad that you've continued to work on your own books, but the fact that you abandoned the reread does make me worry about the quality of A Memory of Light. If you cannot give WoT as much time and attention as it needs, it's better to let it go.
Another big issue for me is the characterization. You're great at writing Perrin and also did a good job with Rand and the girls for the most part. Others felt off, and that unfortunately includes the main characters the outriggers and prequels would focus on. I'll leave out Mat since that's been discussed to death already, but Lan and Moiraine's scenes in Towers of Midnight were a huge disappointment for me. Lan has always been a favorite of mine, but here he came off as a whiny combination of Gawyn and Perrin. He's a grown man in his late 40s, not a sulky teenager.
Then there's Moiraine, now ready to give up all her power if only Thom tells her to. Yes, her captivity undoubtedly changed her, but at her core, she is someone who was ready to sacrifice everyone and everything to win the Last Battle, including herself. So it didn't seem right for Moiraine to offer to give up an important tool like the angreal.
""Egwene, I know what you feel for Rand, but you must realize by now that nothing can come of it. He belongs to the Pattern, and to history."—Moiraine, The Shadow Rising
For an instant she regretted sending Thom away. She did not like having to waste her time with these petty affairs. But he had too much influence with Rand; the boy had to depend on her counsel. Hers, and hers alone.—Moiraine, The Shadow Rising
That had been one of Moiraine's more succinct bits of advice. Never let them see you weaken.—Rand, Lord of Chaos
I happen to like Moiraine a lot, but there's no denying she was partly responsible for Rand thinking he needed to be hard. Yet in Towers of Midnight you have Rand speak of how caring she was; even Mat and Nynaeve sing her praises. You seem to be trying to retcon Moiraine into a saintly figure she never was. All WoT characters have major flaws; Moiraine's was that she treated people as chess pieces that sometimes needed to be sacrificed for the greater good. In The Shadow Rising she intentionally tried to separate Rand from his friends so she could be the only person influencing him. It wasn't until Rhuidean that she discovered firsthand what it felt like to be the person forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, and she finally became the advisor Rand needed. But even then she was still manipulating him and encouraging him to be hard, so obviously she hadn't changed completely. To ignore her flaws and mistakes is to do the character a disservice and hides her growth in The Fires of Heaven.
This is getting long, so I'll wrap it up here. I hope this made sense and that I didn't hurt your feelings. I still think you're a very talented writer and look forward to reading both A Memory of Light and the next Stormlight book.
Well, thanks for the thoughts. I will take the comments for what they are worth, and appreciate your sincerity.
By way of correction, I do want to point out that Alloy of Law, Legion, and The Rithmatist were all written BEFORE I started work on A Memory of Light. The only thing I've written during A Memory of Light was The Emperor's Soul, which is a short work I wrote on the flight home from Taiwan earlier in the year. I have always stopped my main projects for side ones. It is part of what keeps me fresh. Alcatraz was in the middle of Mistborn, Rithmatist in the middle of Liar of Partinel (which I decided not to publish; it was the last book I wrote before the WoT came my way.) Legion was during Towers of Midnight. Emperor's Soul during A Memory of Light.
My heart is completely in it—that I can assure you. I stopped the re-read because I was just too eager to be working on the book, and I'd already re-read (the last year) books 9-11 in working to get Perrin and Mat down for Towers of Midnight. But your complaint is valid. I did not re-read 6-8, except for spot reading. I kept telling myself I needed to get to them, but I was too deeply into the writing by that point.
As for where I misfired on characterization, I apologize. In some cases, I don't see them the same way as you do. In other cases, I am doing a worse job than RJ would have, and the failings are mine. I don't want to diminish your opinion, as it is valid. I certainly have struggled with some characters more than others.
Though, for the scene with Moiraine and Thom you quote above...I, uh, didn't write that scene, my friend. That one was RJ in its entirety, and was one of the most complete scenes he left behind.
Brandon, thank you for the thoughtful response. I understand that it's very difficult for most authors to read criticism (let alone reply to it), so I appreciate that you took the time to read and reply.
I'd like to stress that I wholeheartedly agree with Neil Gaiman's "GRRM is not your bitch" post and hope it didn't come across like I thought you shouldn't be working on anything besides WoT. Side projects are very much a good thing (happy and creative authors→better books), and I am personally excited about your upcoming books. It was mainly the fact that you seemed to have given up on the reread that felt like a reason for concern since you had previously said you needed to refresh your memory to avoid a repeat of Towers of Midnight's continuity errors. It also made me worry that you had gotten weary of working on A Memory of Light, which would have been understandable given that it's a very time-consuming and demanding project that you've already spent 4-5 years on. I'm glad to hear this is not the case.
"In some cases, I don't see them the same way as you do."
That's not something I object to since we all have different perceptions of the characters. In most cases I understand where you are coming from even if your interpretation differs somewhat from mine. Unlike me, you also have access to all sorts of character notes and spoilers about their futures.
However, in some cases it felt like your personal love or dislike of certain characters also played a strong role. To put it bluntly, it's easy to tell that Perrin, Egwene and Moiraine are your favorites since they've received a disproportionate amount of PoVs or praise from other characters, Egwene in particular (how many scenes do we need where people talk about how brilliant, clever and talented Egwene is?). I don't know how much you follow other WoT boards, but there's been a lot of debate in fandom as to whether Egwene has become too much of a Mary Sue-type character who easily defeats supposedly shrewd political opponents and is constantly praised by other characters, often at the expense of people like Siuan. It's impossible for a writer to remain completely objective, and your background as a fan is on the whole one of your biggest strengths, but sometimes things like that can feel jarring. I would not want to see the same happen to a complex, flawed and interesting character like Moiraine.
"Though, for the scene with Moiraine and Thom you quote above...I, uh, didn't write that scene, my friend. That one was RJ in its entirety, and was one of the most complete scenes he left behind."
I have to admit, this comes as a surprise to me, partly because of Moiraine's seemingly uncharacteristic offer to surrender almost all her power for Thom's sake and partly because she used contractions in this scene (in the New Spring graphic novel, there's a note from Jordan informing the comic writers that Moiraine never uses contractions). She and Thom seemed to have a mutual respect and attraction in the early books, but spent very little time together, so I would not have expected any full-blown love or a marriage proposal at this point. It just seemed very strange for Moiraine to be willing to sacrifice her only chance at regaining her strength when she's barely even thought about Thom in her PoVs before. But since Jordan wrote that scene, there's nothing to do but accept that it's where he wanted to take the characters.
Re: Contractions Interesting story here. Harriet and Team Jordan worried about my use of contractions in places that RJ did not. It seemed very striking to them. Their first instinct was to go through and change it, after the fact, in order to match RJ's style.
Harriet didn't like how that looked. She felt that my style needed to be blended with RJ's, rather than taking my style and forcing it to fit into something else. So it was decided that one of her tasks, as editor, would be to blend the writing after it was put together. She'd go through and make scenes feel right together, and would blend the two styles like a painter blending paint.
So, she takes away contractions from me where she feels they need to go and she actually adds them to RJ's writing where she thinks it needs to be blended. I was curious if that was the case here, so I went back to the original notes.
And it turns out RJ wrote the scene with contractions. Most likely, he was planning to trim them out with editing. Remember, even the most complete scenes we have from him are first drafts. In fact, in some of them, the tense is wrong. (Much of this Moiraine/Thom/Mat scene is in present tense. )
An example from the notes is:
He puts the angreal on her wrist, and says 'I'll marry you now.'
In revision, this line turned into:
He put the bracelet back on her wrist. "I'll marry you now, if you wish it."
Anyway, I don't want to spend too much time defending myself, because that's not the point of your post. Really, the most important thing for me to say is that I understand. I'll do my best, and criticism like this is important to me. (Particularly on the Wheel of Time books, where I feel that listening to fan direction is important for gauging how well I'm doing on the characters.) It was fan criticism that brought me around to finally seeing what I was doing wrong with Mat, and (hopefully) making some strides toward writing him more accurate to himself.
Thanks, all, for the good wishes on this.
I first started talking about Steelheart a number of years ago. (Five, maybe six?) It was one of the projects I'd been planning to do in 2007 when the Wheel of Time came along and kind of distracted me.
Unable to work on it for years, I instead did up a proposal and started shopping it in Hollywood. I got interest, but everyone said "We'd be more comfortable if the book were done." So, over the years, I slowly pieced together an outline in my spare time and did chapters when I could. (I think a reading I did of the prologue of this last year is floating around on-line somewhere.)
One of the problems with working on the Wheel of Time is that it's so time-consuming, I basically can't work on any other big project while writing it. I stay creative by changing to new ideas and new concepts whenever I start feeling burned out—I work on them for a short time, then get my groove back and turn to the larger project.
That's why you see all kinds of little projects popping out here and there from me. I can't do Stormlight 2 at the same time as WoT. Two big series are just too much to do at once; one would suffer. Yet, I still need artistic liberation now and then to try something new and refresh myself.
The two novellas I'm releasing this year (Legion, The Emperor's Soul) and the short Mistborn novel last year (Alloy of Law) are things that came out of these side deviations. Steelheart is another. Shouldn't affect Stormlight 2 very much. I always like to have one large project and a handful of smaller ones running at the same time.
It may seem like a lot to have on my plate, but if you add Alloy of Law, Steelheart, and the two novellas together they are combined around half the length of The Way of Kings. (And took about 1/10 the brain space...)
I don't want to make excuses for not doing Stormlight 2, but this might give a little insight as to why you keep seeing all of these other projects popping up.
Are any of these stories within the cosmere?
The Emperor's Soul, a novella, is in the cosmere.
What does the future hold for you?
Keep writing books, keep telling stories. Now that I have finished the Wheel of Time, I can get back to a bunch of these little side stories that I’ve been wanting to do. This year I am releasing two novellas in published form.
Emperor’s Soul—you wanted to say Emperor’s New Groove, didn’t you?
NO! What I am visualising is the cover of the book, which kind of looks a bit like pen and ink drawing, it’s gorgeous. I was going to say Emperor’s Ink, getting the artwork and the title confused.
Yes. Often when I do a big trip, I kind of try to absorb everything from the culture and spit out a novella. That’s what I did in Taiwan. The Emperor’s Soul came from my trip to Taiwan. I actually have one that I’m absorbing that’s built—growing—from Australia. If I can work drop bears into a book and actually make them not silly I am totally going to do it. These novellas are both ones that I did that for: Legion and The Emperor’s Soul. Legion comes out in June, and The Emperor’s Soul in November, I think.
So that’s something I can be releasing since I didn’t have time to write a novel. It’s something I can give the readers, so hopefully people will enjoy those. They are both quite good—I think, if I may say so for myself—as novellas go.
I’m not a great short fiction writer; I’m trying to learn how to be a great short fiction writer. A step toward it is to be a novella writer first. I can use those novel writing skills. So those are coming out. From there, I will write the second Stormlight book, and I will write the sequel to Alloy of Law. After that I will probably just let myself do anything. I will take time off and say, ‘Brandon, you don’t have to write anything specific, just see where you go,’ and I’ll write something crazy. After that I’ll come back and do more of the other stuff I’m supposed to do.
Everyone welcome Brandon Sanderson. [applause] Thanks guys. I—hey, I see a Doctor Horrible out there. Nice!—I usually like to, when I do something like this, do a reading of something you can't hear somewhere else, and so—something published. Unfortunately I can't read to you from A Memory of Light. Now you go "Awwwwww." I know. Harriet is doing a reading from that at JordanCon, and I can't read anything from it before we do the reading at JordanCon—it just didn't seem appropriate—and so, instead, I'm just going to read to you shortly from a novella I've been working on called Legion, and I'll do that for maybe ten minutes, and then after that I'll just do a Q&A. So are we all capable of hearing? Am I holding the mic in the right way? We're all good? Okay, great. Hey, Anika, can I get a water? I didn't bring one. I left one on my table? That might be....that's my handler. I'm going to run out of....ahem ahem...my throat is going to need that. So I'm quickly going to, if you don't mind, sit down and read to you from this. Oh! They're right there. Wow, that was fast.
This is a fun story. This story came from me sitting around....uh, it's got a great history. I have a friend named Dan Wells who writes stories about people with deep psychological problems, and I was sitting and talking to him about deep psychological problems, and I started saying, "Hey, I got this great idea; you should write this story! Yada yada yada, yada yada yada yada yada..." and I kept telling about this great story he should write, and he said, "Go write it Brandon!" Um...it's not something I had ever done before. It is a modern setting. It does have a science fiction twist, but it's way cool. So I went ahead and gave it a try, had this concept for it, and it actually kinda turned out. I liked it. So I went ahead and I am releasing it with a small press, 'cause it's just a novella, this summer. You can get it from them at Subterranean Press, if you're interested—they're doing preorders—but we'll also do it as an ebook release at the same time, so if you want the nice collector's hardcover that they're selling, Subterranean has those; if instead you just want to read the story and get it cheap, then you can get it on Amazon or any of those places; we'll probably even put it up on our website.
So, I will just start this; it's kind of a—like I said—shorter reading, and then we'll do the Q&A.
And I'm going to stop there. [applause] So, the story is about this guy who is a complete genius, but the way his mind works is, he will research a topic, learn everything about it very quickly, but the way his genius manifests is a new hallucination appears who is an expert in that thing, and he has to lean on and rely on all these hallucinations to get the jobs done that he wants to do, and they all have very distinctive, strange and odd personalities. In the book, for instance, in the story, he needs to learn a language, and so he spends a couple of hours just looking through a dictionary, and memorizes the language, but then an interpreter who is a hallucination appears for him to use, and he has to go through her in order to actually understand the language; it's how he fragments his mind. And the story is about a camera that can take pictures of the past that someone has invented, and he is actually hired to recover it after it after it's stolen.
So that's what Legion is. It's a very fun story about someone who is really, really kooky which, you know, is a lot of fun to write. So like I said, you can go to Subterranean Press, or wait for that to come out online. So we're gonna do a Question and Answer, and (to moderator) I can run that myself, if you want. You want to do it? Okay. Alright, so she's gonna run the microphone out to those that...to ask me questions, so, what do you guys want to know? You can ask me pretty much anything, right here.
If you bought Legion hardcover, send me a picture of you and the book/receipt and I'll give you the e-book FREE!
I told people I was trying to figure out how to do this with A Memory of Light. I failed there—the publishing end of that book is too far out of my hands. I can at least do it with stories for which I own the electronic rights.
The sad thing is, this shouldn't actually be news. It should be the standard. I feel that publishing should have figured out how to make this work already.
The next step is to figure out how to make this happen for my Tor books.
As a personal opinion, how good do you feel A Memory of Light is? I feel like I've been waiting for this book since I was a child. As a side note, I just finished The Way of Kings and have been told it will be a 10 book series which makes me worry when it's done I'll feel like I do about A Memory of Light right now.
On The Way of Kings: If it helps, it's two five book arcs. The first five will draw to a natural conclusion. (Kind of how Mistborn one comes to its own conclusion, then two and three are in another arc.)
A Memory of Light is good. How good? Hard to say. I don't know that any book can live up to two decades of anticipation—or, at least, I don't know that any book I write can manage that. I think it will hold its own with the other two I've done, and then will have Robert Jordan's own ending on it, which makes it feel RIGHT to me. I won't try to falsely inflate the book, however. I did my best with it; I hope it is a worthy capstone to the series. The ending sequences are majestic. Some of the lengthy war chapters may drag for some people, though.
Is the ebook date set in stone by now, or is there a chance of it changing?
For Legion or A Memory of Light? I guess I don't need to ask, since they're both pretty set at this point. I wish I could get A Memory of Light earlier (or at the very least, get an ebook sold with the physical copy.) However, I am not in charge of these decisions, and this book doesn't seem the one to use for rocking of the proverbial boat.
True, of course. Thanks for your interactions with the community!
My novella Legion from Subterranean Press should also make its debut at the convention, at a Saturday signing in the Missing Volume booth in the dealers' room. That depends on whether the books ship from the printer on time. We're crossing our fingers!
This post will be another run-down of a bunch of different topics.
Weller Book Works is once again handling a signing-by-mail for one of my releases. In this case, since The Emperor's Soul is already out in bookstores, it's going to run slightly differently. They are limiting it to 200 copies, and I'll be signing and numbering them the same day I do my in-store signing there, November 6th. They're also experimenting with cheaper shipping this time around (the book is a trade paperback and much smaller than my usual, which helps), and I hear that the email they sent out to people who ordered previous books says all orders must be done via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And a note for those of you waiting on ebooks: the ebook will come out toward the beginning of November. Anyone who orders the print version can get a free copy of the ebook (as soon as my assistant Peter makes it) following the routine we used for the Legion ebook.
So . . . While the plane was landing, I had a great idea for fixing Death By Pizza, a novel I abandoned a few years ago. NOT RIGHT NOW, BRAIN.
Lol. Have you even read that one?
No. But I wanted to react anyway.
You and your ideas on planes! Isn't that how Legion got started?
Yeah, traveling does that to me. Mistborn started while I was driving on a road trip.
Given I don't know anything about you besides the fact that you're a ridiculously talented writer, that title and you don't seem in-sync.
Heh. It was one of my "breather projects." Stories I free-write (rather than planning in detail) between larger books.
What other projects do you have planned or in the works?
My novella Legion just came out from Subterranean Press and I'll do a signing for it at the Missing Volume booth at noon on Saturday; it's a modern-day story about a guy who has something like schizophrenia, but he's a genius. He himself can't do anything special, but all of his hallucinations are experts in their respective fields. People come to him with problems they need solved, and he brings a few of his hallucinations along with him to help solve them.
In November I have another novella, The Emperor's Soul, coming from Tachyon Publications—it's more like my fantasy books, in a world where trained Forgers can change reality, and the main character has to Forge a new soul for the Emperor, who was left brain-dead in an attack.
Next summer I have two YA books coming out: The Rithmatist, which is about fighting with magical chalk drawings, and Steelheart, which takes place in a world where all the superheroes are evil; the main character is a boy who knows the weakness of the Emperor of Chicago and wants to hook up with a team of assassins to hunt him down.
Then my next book that will come out after those is the sequel to The Way of Kings, which I'm working on the outline of right now.
In your novellas Legion and The Emperor's Soul, there was a common theme of a creation of character. Were you making a comment on that as a writer?
The Emperor's Soul was much more so, specifically dealing with the artistic process. That was part of the theme for me. Legion was more "Wow, this idea's awesome." I originally told Dan (from Writing Excuses) that he should write this, it's really quirky. He said, "I got my own ideas—go write it yourself!"
So while writing two massive books in Memory of Light and Stormlight 2 you found time to write (at least) four novellas? I'm not going to ask how you manage it, I just want to know how you stop your fingers falling off?
Well, two of these are older. (The ones that are free on my website.) The other two I wrote while traveling, when it's difficult to manage something as in-depth as the WoT/SA.
But the real answer is that if I spend too long editing, and not enough time actually writing, I find myself burrowing down for a week and wanting to write something new. This is where a lot of these side projects come from.
I'm definitely excited for your upcoming books. Are you going to sell signed and numbered copies of Legion and Emperor's Soul? Just got used to having my Sanderson books numbered and signed. a bit spoiled, i know.
Are Legion and Emperor's Soul contained in their own worlds or are they part of the universe of The Stormlight Archive, etc (anywhere with Hoid in it. lol)
The Emperor's Soul is set on Sel, the world of Elantris. It's far off, though, so you have to have your eyes open to catch the clues. Hoid shows up in a deleted scene, and is referenced in the story.
I saw the question asked, but I did not see an answer. I noticed you listed one reason of doing these project yourself is to create nice, collectible print versions. Where/when can we pre-order our copies?
Legion is up for pre-order on the website. I think they have a certain number of signed, numbered editions and then a general edition for cheaper. The Emperor's Soul isn't up for pre-order quite yet. I suspect they'll do it soon. The last one is something I'll be taking to cons this summer. (I'm a guest of SD Comicon, Gencon, and Dragoncon all this year.) I don't know if I'll have it done in time for San Diego, but it should be ready for the others. I will have plenty left over to sell on my website for those who want one. There's no real 'order' for this yet. I'll try to do another post when these are all ready for sale. Right now, the focus is on Legion, which is up for order and coming out soonest.
When I saw that Brandon Sanderson posted here, I squeed.
Love your work, B!
I do have a question though, why $20 for a novella? (Legion)
I wasn't originally going to do a print edition. When I priced it out to do myself, I wasn't certain I could both make it worthwhile time-wise but still be cheap enough to be reasonable.
My agent suggested to me that we go to sub-press. The print editions they do are considered collector's editions. There will be an ebook release (probably at the same time) for $2.99--the idea is that anyone who just wants to read the book can buy the inexpensive ebook. Those who want a nice copy to put on the shelf can buy the limited edition print.
I don't know how sub-press arrives at their prices. Their print runs aren't huge, though, and so I suspect a lot of it is the due to the requirement of maintaining staff, office space, and the like.
Well, I don't want to wait until 2013 for the next Stormlight book! However, I will be content reading your side novellas. Is there a way to download them for my kindle?
Yes. The two new ones will have ebook launches at the same time (or soon after) the print editions come out. They'll be on the kindle store.
The older two are on my website for free, though one is on the kindle store already. (Firstborn.) $.99
I'll see what I can do about getting the other one on Kindle soon.
Given how George R.R. Martin got Game of Thrones to come out on a TV format, if you had to choose one of your series to receive a similar exposure to television, which would you choose and why?
(For fanboy's sake I'll also include the option for Wheel of Time, R.I.P. Robert Jordan)
I would most certainly pick the Wheel of Time. I've been very straightforward with Universal in stating my preference that WoT be adapted for television, as opposed to the big screen. Both could be awesome, but I think the long form of a season would be better for the books.
After WoT, I'd pick Legion, which I envisioned as a show even as I wrote it.
I see having the WOT becoming a series would be awesome if it is taken care of, for example the The song of Fire and Ice series on HBO. It would be unfair to Robert Jordan if it turns out like The Sword of Truth series did in the form of Legend of the Seeker.
Yeah, that's the danger with the TV series route. I certainly wouldn't want to see that happen.
Someone asked if he planned to do more with Legion, to which he replied that was working on something else, and that he hoped to be able to turn Legion into a mini-series like the BBC's Sherlock Holmes.
He also read a brief bit of the next Legion, but stopped about two paragraphs in as he realized how unorganized he'd written it the rough draft and kept getting lost.
1. Do Stephen's aspects exist in the way bonded spren exist (independent Spiritual and Cognitive aspect but tied to a human.)?
2. Did Razon's camera use the same spiritual gravitational anchors as time bubbles?
Ah, Stephen Leeds. So this is the main character from Legion. Legion is- actually kind of got some cool stories behind it. Legion, you know, is one of these quirky ideas I came up with. And actually since it was mainstream and things I said, "Hey Dan," talking to Dan Wells, my friend, "You should write this story, let me tell you about it." And he was not nearly as excited about it as I was. I'm like, "Dan, you need to write this story, you need to write this story." And finally I realized, "Oh, I should write this story cause I came up with the idea, rather than telling Dan to. It's okay, Brandon. You can write something mainstream".
So, I kicked it around for a while. For me, I viewed it as being a television show, a pitch for a television show particularly. So I wrote a pitch on it, and I wrote that story to be kind of a pilot pitch. Which then sold the television rights on it, which was always kind of the goal for me was to get that because I view it as being a really awesome television show. So we sold the rights to Lionsgate and I went ahead and released the story that I wrote
I would like to do more things like that. I have so much on my plate, who knows? My little notebook that I carry around places where I expect to be bored, it has scribblings, you know, of maybe a quarter of another Stephen Leeds story. I ran into a hangup with some of the science and so I fired off a furious email to Peter, my assistant, and he was like, "I don't know". And usually that doesn't happen with Peter on the science, so maybe it is a real quandry. So, answer is, yes there should be more. Hopefully we can get the television show off the ground and that would be a lot of fun.
Hi. So, you mentioned earlier that you have a tendency to write books you're not supposed to write, so you could kind of take a break.
Yes, uh huh.
I assume a couple of those are like Alloy of Law and Legion.
Yes. Legion was one, yep.
So, I really liked those books, but it seems kind of mean of you to leave so many unresolved plot threads. [laughter] Any chance we'll get anything there?
Yeah, Legion I actually wrote as a television show pitch, was the idea for it . . . pitch a series. And I immediately sold it to Lionsgate. And so, we'll see. It's always hard to say what will happen in Hollywood because there's so much moving there, and to get the pieces in place to make a show or a movie just takes so much work. But I'm hopeful that you will see more there. I am doing more with Alloy of Law. I'll explain that in a minute. Okay?
Are there any plans for more Legion stories? I really just want a book full of "episodes". Do you think maybe Legion would work as a comic book?
I plan to do more. The goal was to get a television show going, though I don't know if that will happen. I plan to do a few more episodes to try to motivate the people who bought the TV rights. If that doesn't work, I could see a comic.
Do you have any more Legion? Is there anywhere to find it or is a limited print run?
Ah, Legion had a limited print run, but we are in discussions that- enough people are asking that that I think we’re going to do a paperback that’ll come out. So, eventually we should be releasing a little paperback of that that you can get. At the very least you should be able to get it on my website eventually. This is the first time I’d done something that small and we didn’t know about the limited edition and things so we just wanted to do- we were very cautious about it and it sold out very quickly. So hopefully we’ll be able to do some more.
Great effort from Brandon!
I just wanted to share with you this mail I got from Subterranean Press, through which Brandon sells his new book Legion.
I think this is a great development, and I hope this experiment succeeds. Keep up the good work, Brandon!
That is fantastic. Brandon appears to be approaching the ebook market in a really wonderful way, embracing it, and delivering intuitively. Now that I have an ereader, I don't buy physical books as much, but I love having the actual paper copy, too.
I will happily purchase the paper copy of books if an ebook comes along with it. Does anyone know which version, the paper vs. electronic, gives more to the author? Ultimately, I want to pay my dues here! Brandon is a really great author, and I'd love to support him as best I can. (Would it be weird to check out a copy from the library, then paypal/mail Brandon the retail price of the book? He's an exception- I wouldn't do that for every author!)
Anyway, I love ebooks and this is a great step towards helping and forwarding the market. Kudos Brandon, thank you for all you do, and for furthering this cause.
The offer will last the life of the book.
In this case, I make about the same from either copy, so don't worry about that. Do remember that this is a novella, however, so either think of it as a very long short story or a very, very short novel. At $20, that length can be a bit pricy for some wallets, which is one reason for the $2.99 ebook.
If you ever read my books from the library, don't feel bad about me money wise. I love libraries, and your interest in my books there makes them order in more copies. If you want to give something back to me in that case, just loan one of my books that you own to someone else and get them to read it. That can do wonders for an author.
Just a heads-up: you may want to have the folks at Dragonmount.com work on their SEO a bit. The page to purchase the ebook version of Legion doesn't come in the first page of search results for "Sanderson Legion ebook."
Ha. Okay, I'll give them a heads up. Thanks. :)
It was a great story with lots of promise.
I just fear it'll get turned into crap. I loved the book Flashforward and look what they did to that trying to make it a TV show. =P
I have high hopes—but, then, I always have high hopes. One problem is that about eight months after we sold this, a show with a similar premise came out. (Called Perception.) That might have killed our chances. We'll see.
Who do you see as the lead in the Legion tv show?
Personally, I can see Hugh Laurie being brilliant in that role.
Fun fact: I usually don't 'cast' people in my books. They are who they are in my head, and that is not any actor in specific. However, for some reason, in writing Legion I didn't follow this. The aspects all naturally became either actors or people I know—perhaps because they are fabrications within a fabrication.
Anyway, the main three—Ivy, JC, and Tobias—are all based on famous actors. The other aspects are generally people I've met that I found interesting.
"I cheated a little bit in Legion and based each personality off an actor." He pointed out that his favorite personality was JC, who was based on [Adam] Baldwin from Firefly. He also related that Ivy was based on Gwyneth Paltrow. The fan commented that he envisioned Brandon having a folder on each personality, which Brandon confirmed.
When asked how he approaches writing a novella as opposed to an epic, Brandon reiterated that he was an "architect" style writer, and viewed novella writing as an opportunity to practice his pre-writing skills and his "discovery writing."
Normally I don't cast actors in the roles in my books, they're just who they are, but each of the aspects is an actor to me. If you look really closely, you might be able to guess who they are, because they're all famous actors.
We sold it to Lionsgate, and they never made it, and the option lapsed. We've sold it to somebody else now, but we'll see if it ever gets made.
So you would say that Legion is best consumed in forty-four minute blocks?
Yeah, I mean, when I came up with the idea, I thought, this would make a great television show, let me write a few episodes.