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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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So, that's it, right? I think I've talked about everything. Now, some of you may be wondering what this means. Is there going to be no solo Brandon Sanderson book released in 2010?
As early as last summer, Tom Doherty began asking me if there was any way I could get Tor a novel for a 2010 release. He doesn't like going years without releases, and he worried that my readers would feel dropped in favor of the Wheel of Time readers. Plus, he really wants to see something more from me.
When he first mentioned it, I laughed. He was asking me, essentially, to finish the entire Wheel of Time book by spring of 2009, then write him a solo book by fall 2009. Even then, I knew it wasn't going to happen. A Memory of Light was too big a project.
However, now that A Memory of Light has been split, Tom has asked more and more often about getting a Brandon Sanderson solo book to release between the WoT books. He's very worried about there being a period of three years during which I don't release anything of my own. And so, with his questions, he got me thinking. Was there anything I would feel comfortable releasing? Liar turned out poorly, Scibbler isn't epic enough, Warbreaker 2 isn't written. What else is there?
The answer was simple. The Way of Kings.
The Way of Kings was the book I had just finished when I first got offered a book deal for Elantris. I originally signed a deal for Elantris and for Kings. (And because of that, you can still find an Amazon entry for Kings—which has some amusing reviews posted by readers with too much time on their hands. Note that the book was never released, so these are all just made-up amusing reviews.)
Yes, the original contract was for Kings—but I decided that Kings needed to be put off. Kings is a great book, perhaps the best I've ever written. But it just didn't FEEL right to release after Elantris. The Way of Kings is a massive war epic of legends, mythology, and magical revolution. It's intricate, complex, and was a bit daunting for me when I thought about readying it for publication. Just to give you an idea, Mistborn has three magic systems, Kings has well over twenty. Mistborn has six main viewpoint characters across the trilogy; Kings has dozens. I wrote about 30k of background material for Mistborn. Background material for Kings is over 300k.
Difference in scope is only one of the reasons Kings wasn't the right follow-up to Elantris. After a stand-alone novel, I felt that I wanted to publish a trilogy, perhaps two, before I offered my readers the first of a big, multi-volume epic. I also worried that the initial draft of Kings just wasn't good enough—because my skill wasn't up to making it good enough.
Working on the WHEEL OF TIME has forced me to grow immensely as a writer, however. Over the last year, the more I thought about it, the more I itched to dive in and do a revision of The Way of Kings. If I could effectively use all I've learned, I might be able to make the book become what I want it to be. And so, I told Tom about Kings, and he eagerly offered me a new contract for it. I've warned him that it might not be ready in time to come out next year, but I'm going to give it a try.
Kings needs a solid rewrite. I've been tweaking it over the years, worldbuilding the setting and so forth. I've been planning, working on, and revising this book for eight years. I think that if I do a rewrite now with my current writing abilities, it would turn out very, very well.
The thing is, I can't be certain. Maybe it won't work as I want. Maybe I will just have too many things on my mind. Maybe I'm not up to doing this book yet. But, because of the pleading of Tom, my readers, and (most importantly) my own heart, I'm going to give it a try.
As I said above, writing and revising take different parts of the brain. I can only write new material for a certain number of hours a day, usually around four or six. But I can revise all day long. Perhaps it's the difference between mental heavy lifting and mental long-distance running. Either way, in order to give this a try, I've hired a full-time assistant, Peter Ahlstrom, to do all the things in a day that normally take my time away from writing/revising. Usually, when I'm not revising, the 'non-writing' hours of the day are spent doing all kinds of tasks associated with being self-employed. Peter is going to be handling all of this, theoretically freeing up a few hours each day during which I can revise The Way of Kings.
This will not take my time away from writing Shifting Winds. If it starts to look like it will delay that book, I will stop working on Kings—not because of any criticism I may get from readers, but because I feel a debt to Mr. Jordan and this project I have agreed to do. I like to keep my promises.
I explain all this because I want you WoT readers to understand that I do have a life beyond the Wheel of Time. I have obligations, both to publishers and to myself. I feel very strongly that the time has come for me to show readers what I've been working on behind the scenes for many years. And so, on my blog I will spend time talking about projects other than the WHEEL OF TIME.
I like to be open. I like you to be able to see what I'm doing, and so I feel I should be up-front with you about what I plan. I've shelved a lot of books for THE WHEEL OF TIME, and rightly so. But there are two projects I WILL be spending time on this year—Alcatraz 4 and The Way of Kings. I plan to add progress bars for each of them, and link the titles here so those who come to my site later can read this explanation.
Sorry to be long winded . . . again. Occupational hazard.
Thanks Brandon for doing this, and Peter and Maria for helping it to happen. Much appreciated!
One of the tricks of working with this is, I basically have five editors, with Harriet at the top, and then there's Maria and Alan right below. And then Moshe my editor is giving us reads...because we can't use my normal alpha readers for this, which are my writing group, because they'd all have to be part of the NDA and that's just too many people. And so instead we brought on Moshe to just give me an alpha read, a dry alpha read. And then my agent also gives me dry alpha reads, because they all are interested professionals and part of the NDA and things like that.
But basically, even looking only at Harriet, Maria, and Alan, what would happen is on The Gathering Storm, I would send in some scenes, and then I would start working on the next ones. And I would get deep into the next ones, and then some papers would come. I'm like, oh revisions. So I'd go back and start doing revision. And then another group of papers would come from another one of them that had revisions that were different. And then another group of papers would come that were a third group of revisions. And in some cases, they've all caught the same typo, but then I have to end up searching for it three times because I can't remember if I've changed that typo or not. And then I can't find it. I'm like, oh I guess that's one I caught, but really sometimes I didn't catch it, I'm just on the wrong page or something. Anyway, I have three sets of paper all from different people making different revisions, and sometimes they disagree with one another on what should be changed, and they're not seeing each other's revisions.
Meanwhile, I'm on tour trying to fly around and carry all of these. You should have seen me on the airplane one of these days where revisions were needed the next day, and I'm flying on a six-hour flight in coach. And I'm cuddled like this between two people in the middle seat, with six hundred pages around me, trying to find all three pages that are editing the same section, and realizing that one's in my suitcase. This was absolutely a nightmare to do.
And so this time, I'm like, let's go all digital, I'll have them all on my computer, it will be so much easier. But Harriet had never done digital revisions before. None of you had, I don't think. And so the idea was we would have one person do a revision, and then they would hand the file off, and that person could go through and a revision and add their comments, and then the next person would be able to do it. And that would have been wonderful in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for that because we were so crunched for time. And so what would happen is they all would be working on their own machine because they all needed to be reading at the same time, they couldn't wait for the other person. And so then they would all three send me documents digitally, which is easier to work with than trying to dig out all fifty pages of each. But at the same time, then I have four documents: my document, and three documents with revisions in it, from different versions of Word or Wordperfect or Open Office or whatever it is. I basically would just send them all to Peter (Peter Ahlstrom, Brandon's assistant) and say, "Peter, meld these somehow."
Peter deserves kudos.
I would like to say, at the beginning of the editing process on the last book, Brandon was 7 feet, 3 inches tall.
Now that…obviously no one can fill the hole that Jim Rigney did. I mean, no one can take his place. But we have Brandon now, and you're working with Brandon, but now it's a long-distance relationship. How is that working out? And he's such a maniac for work; I cannot imagine how any human being gets the amount of writing that he does done, and all the other things that he does.
I'm convinced he's a robot. [crosstalk]
He's an android, yeah; he's an android; I'm sure of it. He's a big cuddly android, but I think, you know…really suspect!
He's pretty amazing, I mean…but the work ethic he has is just incredible. I mean…The Way of Kings and Towers of Midnight, the same year. It's amazing.
I know! And Alcatraz too, I think…and a tour! Two tours!
Oh yeah! Two tours, and a couple of cons—or more, actually, than a couple. But the long-distance thing…you know, living in the future makes it easy, and we actually, here, all of us, um…older farts in Charleston made the jump to digital editing for Towers of Midnight which made it a lot easier than The Gathering Storm when we were still doing everything on paper.
Oh, wow! I didn't realize you guys did that all on paper!
Oh yeah…oh yeah.
I can't even imagine how complicated it would be to do it on paper.
It was pretty, uh…it worked. We got it done, but we made [?], and it was still kinda complicated because I had no idea how to do some things, and I have to email, and Peter—Brandon's assistant—would tell me how to do it. Peter's great; Peter is fabulous, and…
I know; I heart Peter.
I wish I could have been at DragonCon, just so I could have met him.
Oh, me too.
But, um…you know, it's…it works. You know, we've got email, we email back and forth; occasionally we do the phone call; occasionally we actually get together, and it's...
Yeah, probably the most difficult thing is the time difference, and…not only is he, what, three hours behind us, but Brandon does so much of his work, ah, in the evening, and in the early hours, and consequently doesn't get up at five in the morning…
That's usually when he goes to bed.
…and so, if he has to ask us something quickly in the middle of work, or if we have to ask him something quickly, you know, we might have to wait for one or the other to wake up and get to the office.
He might as well be in New Zealand, as far as the time overlap.
Yeah. But, you know, we made it work.
Cool. Well, I think Peter's probably got Dream Job #2.
Oh, I dunno, how do you keep up with somebody who's like that? He's just…I mean, just talking to him in person—and I'm sure that probably Robert Jordan was the same way—I think it's a little overwhelming. There's so much creativity going on, and you can see that the mind is working so fast, it's almost like two or three different things going on at one time. And you know it's not, but it just almost seems that way, and you can almost get a little overwhelmed just trying to keep up with the flow of ideas, you know.
And that's very true, with Jim, and especially Jim and Harriet talking together sometimes. [Alan laughs] You know, it would be like, "Wow. What…what? Wow." Because they're just so incredibly bright, and it was just…very cool.
A related question. When you add to the wiki, do you soften the writing to add more information to the wiki?
Occasionally I do. Usually it’s at the end of a scene; I’ll go and add things. Or now that I have a Peter, I will say “Peter, go put this chapter ino the wiki, and fix whatever problems that don’t fit. That’s what he’s doing right now with his time is he’s going through the whole Way of Kings and making sure that the wiki matches, because the wiki actually contains like 5 or 6 iterations as I was building the world of “No, let’s rewrite the creation myth”, “No, let’s rewrite where this came from”, “No let’s rewrite this.” And it has all the old versions there as well as the newest version, and as I’m writing, I’ll change things because I’ll say “You know, this doesn’t work. I’m going to alter this.” Then I’ve got to stop and make sure that the continuity gets kept.
THis is a very very minor spoiler. It's just a statement that was made in Alloy of Law, that Smokers could...
Oh yeah, that was just a typo.
Is that going to change things?
Wait, go ahead and say it.
Can Copperclouds shield others' emotions?
Oh okay. Did we put that in Alloy of Law in the Ars Arcanum? Is that wwhere you read it?
I forget. I don't remember where it is.
I believe it’s in the Ars Arcanum, which in Alloy of Law was put together by Peter. And that’s mostly a mistake, though the thing is the Role Playing Game came to me and said “Is it feasible that this could happen?” And I said “It’s perhaps feasible, but only a very rare individual could make this work if they knew exactly what they were doing.” And so I said “Yeah, go ahead, but make it a power that someone really has to know what they’re doing to make it work.” And so they put it in, and so Peter assumed that it was canon, that anyone can do it, but that’s not what I intended.
So would it be easier to say that somebody discovered they could do it and now they are training copperclouds to do it?
I would say that it is viable that someone could figure it out, but it would be a very difficult thing to train, and it is not a common Coppercloud—A common Coppercloud isn’t going to be able to be doing it, and almost no Mistborn will ever be capable of doing it, they just don’t focus on that metal enough to learn it. Of course, there aren’t Mistborn around anymore. So it is a possible power, it is plausible, but it is not the standard. Perhaps I will allow it to become the standard eventually, but it’s not right now. It would be much easier to wear a tinfoil hat. (laughter) Aluminum, aluminum. Which does work.
Does Iron store mass or weight?
Excellent question. The thing is it really does involve mass, but I’m breaking some physics rules, basically. I have to break a number of physics rules in order to make Magic work in the first place. Those whole laws of Thermodynamics, I’m like “You are my bane!” (laughter) But I try to work within the framework, and I have reasonings built up for myself, and some of them have to be kind of arbitrary. But the thing is, it does store mass if you look at how it interacts, but when a Feruchemist punches someone, you’re not having a mass transference of a 1000 pounds transferring the mass into someone else.
So there are a few little tweaks. You can go talk to Peter, because Peter has the actual math. Oh Peter’s back there. Peter is dressed up as Allomancer Jak from the broadsheet. In fact we’re giving some out broadsheets, aren’t we Peter. So when you come through the line, we’re giving out Broadsheets. Please don’t take fifty—I think we might have enough for everybody. The broadsheets are the newspaper from the Alloy of Law time. It’s an inworld newspaper. It’s actually reproduced in the book in four different pages, and we put it together in one big broadsheet.
So anyway, you can talk with him, he’s got more of the math of it. I explained the concept to Peter and he’s better with the actual math, so he said “We’ll figure it out.”
How many marks to a broam? [Stormlight Archive currency]
Uh, Peter—take out the … It’s been so long. I had it at ten, but then I think he came in and said “it can’t be ten”, and so it’s actually in our wiki. Peter—hey, where’s Peter? How many marks are in a broam? Is it ten or 25?
Email Peter, and he’ll tell you. I have to get back into it when I start writing that series again, but I’m so in the Wheel of Time right now, so I’m like “Well it’s Tar Valon marks and...” (laughter)
Yes. I certainly would. If I were far enough along in it. If happened tomorrow, it were only one book in. At that point, I'd say, "You know what? Scrap the project. Don't make people... You know, don't..." I don't have enough notoriety for it to happen. But let's say I got seven books in and there were three books left. At that point I would say, "Definitely, it needs to be finished." I do keep very good notes. And so, basically, I would trust my editor to find somebody, and I would want them to work very closely with my assistant Peter who has known me for many years and is very... He's the one that knows the most about my books and my worlds, aside from myself. And there are lots of very talented authors. There are plenty of authors who are even more talented, you know...more talented than I am, certainly. Plenty of authors. And so, finding the right one, I would leave that up to editors and people like that. I mean, most people that I would want, that I would pick, are too popular in their own right to want to go write this dopey guy's books. I think Brent Weeks and I write very similarly, and I think he would be a fantastic choice, but there are plenty of authors out there that I think could do the job if I left the right notes.
Thank you. Again, a great answer there by Brandon.
The last two metals are Chromium and Nicrosil. We'll reveal what they do on the Allomancy poster. Suffice it to say that in the next trilogy, the main protagonist would be a Nicrosil Misting. And, to make a Robert Jordan-type comment, what those two metals do should become obvious to the serious student of Allomancy... (It has to do with the nature of the metal groupings.)
If I read the poster correctly, and have the correlations down, these metals are the external enhancement metals.
The simplest idea is that they do to another person what Aluminum and Duralumin do to the Allomancer burning them. If this is true, then Chromium would destroy another Allomancer's metals (useful skill, that, especially in a group of Mistings fighting a Mistborn) while Nicrosil would cause the target's metals that are currently burning to be burned in a brief, intense flash. This could be used either to enhance a group of Mistings or to seriously mess up an enemy Allomancer.
The other metals do not have exact one-to-one power correlations like that, so it seems more likely to me that they would work differently. It could be like an area effect weakening or enhancing spell. You would want an enhancer in your party, and you wouldn't want to go up against a weakener.
Nicrosil is a rather more complicated alloy than the others. It's an interesting one to pick, rather than something simpler like nichrome (though I guess that's actually a brand name).
Ookla is right, the others don't have 1/1 correlations. But I liked this concept far too much not to use it.
In a future book series, Mistborn will also have become things of legend. The bloodlines will have become diluted to the point that there are no Mistborn, only Mistings—however, the latter are far more common. In this environment, a Nicrosil Misting could be invaluable both as an enhancer to your own team or a weapon to use against unsuspecting other Mistings.
I take it either Spook did not have children or Sazed made him a reduced-strength Mistborn rather than giving him the full potency of the 9 originals and Elend?
Spook is a reduced power Mistborn.
Very interesting about the Nicrosil.
So, if there is no more atium, then that would mean in any future trilogy, there would only be 14 metals, right? Somehow, that doesn't seem right, but maybe that is because it irks me that one quartet to be left incomplete with the absence of atium.
Would it be possible for Sazed to create a replacement metal, by chance, or will the temporal quartet remain inherently empty? It doesn't seem like it's too far of a stretch for Sazed to make more metals: after all, the metal Elend ate was a fragment of Preservation, and now Sazed holds Preservation.
That's a RAFO, I'm afraid. Suffice it to say that what the characters think they understand about the metals, they don't QUITE get right. If you study the interaction between the temporal metals, you might notice an inconsistency in the way they work...
Uh-huh. That was already noticed by theorizers in the forums here. Gold works like Malatium and Electrum works like Atium. Yet they're on opposite corners of the metal square.
Ah. I wondered if that had been noticed.
I like it when my characters live on in people's minds. I have no plans right now to write any more books about Spook or Breeze, though what they do in the next period of time will create the history for the next series. However, there's a chance I'll change my mind on this. However, this ending was not set up for another book specifically. I just wanted to tell the best ending I could, and this is how it turned out.
Brandon does want to write more Mistborn books, but not with the same characters. There would be two more trilogies. The second trilogy would be set a few hundred years later, in a modern day–type setting, when the events of the first trilogy have passed into legend. The third trilogy would be set a few more hundred years later, in a future, outer space–type setting.
It's such an audacious idea I wish he would write it right now because I want to read it, especially the third trilogy. But Brandon has announced his next project (pending Tor approval) will be Way of Kings, a 10-volume epic fantasy. He'll sprinkle in a book from another project here and there, so the next Mistborn trilogy might start before Way of Kings is ended, but it will be years yet before there is any more Mistborn.
But Ookla, he already wrote that one!
I know. :)
The real story is that Brandon was writing (or revising?) Way of Kings when Tor offered to buy Elantris. Brandon signed a two-book contract for Elantris and Way of Kings. Then Brandon realized he wasn't in the point in his career yet where he could write Way of Kings the way he wanted to, so while he was supposed to be revising Way of Kings he secretly wrote the first Mistborn book instead, which he then sold to Tor as a trilogy, replacing Way of Kings in the original contract.
But for some reason Amazon already had a listing for Way of Kings, with a release date. Thence the fake reviews.
I've read an early draft of the first book, and it aims to be very epic. (No, Elvis is not involved.) I do wonder, though, whether when it actually comes out, the fake reviews will get attached to its Amazon listing. :)
This is all true. Note that the book would not be named The Way of Kings. Most likely, I'm going to make that the series name. So I guess the book "The Way of Kings" must be some kind of parallel novel or prequel or something... ;)
Oathshards is out, eh?
You're such a tease, Brandon. All these details about the next series will make everyone hungry for it, and then we'll all have to wait.
Of course, any other book you put out in the meantime will still be awesome, so we should be content, right?
I don't think Oathshards is as strong a name as "The Way of Kings." Plus, that's really what the series is about.
A manifestation of Ruin's gathered consciousness, much like the dark mists in book two. The lake was still around in Vin's era, but had been moved under ground. (Note that the Well is a very similar manifestation. You've also seen one other manifestation like this....)
The "lake" was barely ten feet deep—more like a pool. Its water was a crystalline blue, and Raoden could see no inlets or outlets.If that's what you're hinting at...I never thought of the connection before! I just kept thinking of Aether of Night, and never thought of this pool at all.
Both are accurate, but the first is what I meant, as most people here don't have access to Aether.
I'm also thinking that the Dor in Elantris is another Shard of Adonalsium. Certainly in the Elantris world, where the Dor came from is rather ambiguous, which I expected it would be. Of course, if other Shards of Adonalsium do exist, the Dor could have come from that source.
I will RAFO from here on the other Shards of Adonalsium, as it would be better for me not to give spoilers. Please feel free to speculate. Readers have met four shards other than Ruin and Preservation.
Have we met these four by name, or just by influence? I can't think of a name that would go with the one that the Elantris lake is a manifestation of.
Hoid could be one? I know nothing his purpose other than that he shows up in lots of different books, sometimes begging and sometimes telling stories. Since most of these series happen on different planets (though two of them may happen on the same planet as each other), I'm assuming he has mad planet-hopping skills.
Ookla, I'm going to be tight lipped on this, as I don't want to give things away for future books. But I'll tell you this:
You've interacted with two directly.
One is a tough call. You've never met the Shard itself, but you've seen its power.
The other one you have not met directly, but have seen its influence.
I thought Nightblood was explained sufficiently for my tastes in Warbreaker, so I doubt that it is a Shard, but I've been plenty wrong before. Also, I don't know if Hoid could even be a Shard. Certainly he has mean planet-hopping skills, but I don't know what purpose a celestial storyteller would have in this universe. He doesn't really have the same kind of power as Ruin or Preservation did, so normally I would rule him out right off the bat. But it is possible that these Shards come in many shapes, not just in the near-deific quantity Ruin or Preservation had. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Hoid is a Shard... but, then again, I don't have any ideas for what those four other Shards are.
Maybe Hoid is just a traveler trying to find remnants of Adonalsium and stories about them. He doesn't need to be a shard, I suppose.
This is slightly a tangent, but here is a relevant chunk from the Warbreaker Annotations. As this won't be posted for months, I'll put it here as a sneak preview.
This whole scene came about because I wanted an interesting way to delve into the history. Siri needed to hear it, and I felt that many readers would want to know it. However, that threatened to put me into the realm of the dreaded info dump.
And so I brought in the big guns. This cameo is so obvious (or, at least, someday it will be) that I almost didn’t use the name Hoid for the character, as I felt it would be too obvious. The first draft had him using one of his other favorite pseudonyms. However, in the end, I decided that too many people would be confused (or, at least, even more confused) if I didn’t use the same name. So here it is. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about. . .well, let’s just say that there’s a lot more to this random appearance than you might think.
Brandon, I believe in one of Sazed's epigraphs, he actually called it "Adonasium" rather than what you are referring to here, which is "Adonalsium". I'm thinking that's just a typo, right?
I don't suppose you could tell us which book series of yours will tell us more about Adonalsium, would you? You know, just so us theorizers on the forum know when to properly theorize about these things...
Well, I guess this means that the proofreaders did not add the "L" when I marked the error on the manuscript.(sigh). Yes, the correct spelling is Adonalsium. I will try to get this fixed for the paperback, but I've been trying to get that blasted steel/iron error in the back of book one fixed for two years now. . .
If it helps, Sazed would probably under-pronounce the "L" as that letter, like in Tindwyl's name, is said very softly in Terris.
As for your other question, you will have to wait and see. Now, you could search my old books for clues, but I would caution against this. While there are hints in these, they are not yet canon. Just as I changed how things were presented in the Mistborn books during editing, I would have fixed a lot in these books during revision. Beyond that, reading them would give big spoilers for books yet to be released. White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Way of Kings in particular are going to be published some day for almost certain. (Though in very different forms). Aether of Night should be safe, as should Final Empire prime and Mistborn prime, though of those three, only Aether is worth reading, and then only barely. (It is still pretty bad).
Hey @PeterAhlstrom could you tell us what Aona's Shard was? Brandon said he'd look it up and get back to us, but.... [he never got back to us.]
I thought sure that was answered already. But anyway, the answer is yes [Aona is Devotion].
This essay I just posted:
Started as a blog post for this thread, talking about the old books I wrote to give context to my previous post. It outgrew the length of a proper forum post, so I put it on the site instead. But this might help you understand some of my history as a writer, not to mention explain the origin of all these old books Ookla that references all the time.
I remembered a thread from ages ago in which Brandon posted a list of the books he'd written, I looked it up when I realised it wasn't in the article, and I figured you guys might be interested too, so here it is.
1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)
2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)
3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)
4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)
5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)
6) Elantris (You have to buy this one!)
7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic fantasy
8) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt)
9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)
10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)
11) Mistborn Prime (Eventually stole this world.)
12) Final Empire Prime (Cannibalized for book 14 as well.)
13) The Way of Kings (Fantasy War epic. Coming in 2008 or 2009)
14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Coming June 2006)
15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Early 2007)
16) Alcatraz Initiated (YA Fantasy. Being shopped to publishers)
17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Unfinished. Coming late 2007)
18) Dark One (Unfinished. YA fantasy)
19) Untitled Aether Project (Two sample chapters only.)
Thanks for posting that. Note that I can never quite remember which was first, Aether or Mistborn Prime. I always feel that Aether should be first, since it wasn't as bad as the two primes, but thinking back I think that the essay is more accurate and I wrote it between them.
This would be the new list:
1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)
2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)
3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)
4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)
5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)
6) Elantris (First Published)
7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic, other than the not-very-good Final Empire prime.)
8 ) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt, turned out much better.)
9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)
10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)
11) Mistborn Prime (Shorter fantasy, didn't turn out so well.)
12) Final Empire Prime (Shorter fantasy, didn't turn out so well.)
13) The Way of Kings Prime (Fantasy War epic.)
14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Came out 2006)
15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Came out 2007)
16) Alcatraz Verus the Evil Librarians (Came out 2007)
17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Came out 2008)
18) Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Came out 2008)
19) Warbreaker (Comes out June 2009)
20) Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia (November 2009ish)
21) A Memory of Light (November 2009ish. Working on it now. Might be split into two.)
22) The Way of Kings Book One (2010ish. Not started yet.)
23) Alcatraz Four (2010. Not started yet)
Will elements of your untitled Aether project be worked into the Dragonsteel series?
The Silence Divine (Working title. Stand alone Epic Fantasy. Unwritten.)These titles are news to me. You described two potential YA or middle-grade books to me and Karen when you came out to Book Expo, plus Dark One, but now I can't remember the plots except they were cool (and that one of them involved superheroes). Are they among this list? Also, is that really Harbringer or is it supposed to be Harbinger?
Steelheart (YA Science Fiction. Unwritten)
I Hate Dragons (Middle Grade fantasy. Maybe an Alcatraz follow up. Unwritten.)
Zek Harbringer, Destroyer of Worlds (Middle Grade Sf. Maybe an Alcatraz follow up. Unwritten.)
Bah! That's what I get for typing so quickly. Yes, Harbinger. It should be "Zeek" too. Short for Ezekiel.
Steelheart would be the superhero one, though that's a working title, since I'm not sure if it's trademarked or not. Haven't had much time for thinking about any of these books lately.
Brandon, here you said Alcatraz 4 is called Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent; is that still the working title? Also, you mentioned Dragonsteel: The Lightweaver of Rens, but now you say The Liar of Partinel is a standalone. Change of plans? (I know you can't get back to Dragonsteel for a while.)
The Alcatraz titles are in flux because I need to know if Scholastic wants the fifth one or not. (They only bought four.) Dark Talent will be one of them for certain.
The Liar of Partinel was part of a two-part story told hundreds of years before the Dragonsteel epic. However, since I've dropped plans to go with Liar anytime soon—A Memory of Light has priority, followed by Way of Kings—I don't know what I'll end up doing with the second book, or if I'll ever even write it. I was planning on not calling either of these "Dragonsteel" in print, actually, and just letting people connect the two series on their own. It wouldn't be hard to do, but I didn't want the first actual book in the main storyline to be launched by Tor as "Book Three" since there would be such a large gap of time.
Okay. Which metal steals the power of Feruchemic gold? The Hero of Ages epigraphs say it was pewter, but it can't be pewter, since pewter steals Feruchemical Physical powers.
Right…that's probably a typo. I will have to go back to the notes, that's more of a PAFO…
Is that a PAFO and actually find out? Or a PANFO…
Yeah, no, no. Peter and find out.
You've been involved with some pretty big projects over the last few years. Tell us what it's been like working on the art for novels such as the Mistborn trilogy and The Way of Kings.
Writing, art, and book publishing have always been my biggest interests, so working on these great books has been very fulfilling.
I get the manuscript early on in the process, print it out, and go through the whole thing with a pencil, marking it up with notes about artistic details and tiny maps marking places in relationship to each other. Then comes my favorite part of the process: working with Brandon and his assistant Peter to make sure that my vision melds with Brandon's vision for the book. We usually do a lot of revisions and emails to get to the point where we're all happy with the results. I cannot say enough good about Brandon and Peter; they are both gentlemen to the core.
Peter first spoke in general terms about Brandon's writing routine. He said that Brandon typically gets up around noon, writes from about 1-4pm, spends time with family and stuff, then goes back to writing from about 8pm-4am, and finally sleeps from about 4am to noon. Rinse, cycle, repeat. Peter also said that Brandon has a treadmill desk, and he frequently works at that when he's home or by one of the fireplaces he has in his house. Harriet then noted that she loves fireplaces and wanted to know whether Brandon's were wood-burning or gas. Peter said they're gas fireplaces.
Then Harriet described the editing process for A Memory of Light. She said that Brandon has completed the first draft (as was previously reported). Team Jordan is currently working on reviewing the first draft and making suggestions for corrections and edits. They have divided the manuscript into 9 sections plus the epilogue for editing purposes; Team Jordan has sent the edits for parts 1-6 to Brandon and are currently working on edits for the later sections. [Brandon recently tweeted that he is about halfway done with the second draft, and it is going well so far.]
With regard to the editing duties, Harriet primarily oversees the characterizations and prose, Maria deals with continuity issues, and Alan deals with military stuff, geography, and the timeline. Harriet also said that she and Brandon have had some "animated" conversations about whether or not to cut some specific scenes.
After all the suggested edits for the first draft are sent to Brandon and he has made the revisions, then presumably Team Jordan will review the second draft and provide another round of suggestions for revisions. The beta reader phase has to be fit in there somewhere, too. Ultimately, Harriet said that the goal for getting a final draft to Tor is June 15, 2012. That should give Tor plenty of time to get the book out by January 2013.
Melissa Craib, this year's JordanCon master of ceremonies, asked the Team Jordan members which parts of the story they had been surprised about.
Harriet told about an incident she has described before from when she was writing the blurb for the dust jacket of The Dragon Reborn and finally realized that RJ intended Callandor to be an analog of the sword in the stone. She yelled down to RJ, "You son of a ****, you've done it to me again!"
Maria said that she was surprised... well, actually I've forgotten what Maria was surprised about. Maybe somebody else remembers...was it from Knife of Dreams when Semirhage blows Rand's hand off? That's what comes to mind, but I don't remember any details about why that surprised her, really, so maybe that's not it. :s
Alan at first said that he wasn't surprised by anything; he had figured it all out, of course. Then he owned up to being a little surprised about the scene in Crossroads of Twilight in which Perrin chops off the hand of one of the captured Shaido, because it showed the depths to which a person could go when pushed to the brink.
Peter said he was surprised when it was revealed that Demandred was... (yeah, he was messing with us).
Nalesean at Theoryland pointed out that Maria said that she was surprised by the death of Rolan during the battle of Malden.
Anyway, you can see that there are a lot of names on this list. These are a great bunch of people—good critics, great fans, and many of them pretty good writers in their own right. Though at this point, only one of them has a professional novel publication (Rob Wells,) I'm sure that others will eventually join him. When they do, buy their books!
The top list of people includes my closest and most helpful writing groups. The first group, named 'Here there be dragons' actually started when I was writing ELANTRIS, and that was the first book the group dealt with. Though we didn't spend much time on ELANTRIS, I remember meeting in Ben's office in the BYU alumni house and chatting about the book's terrible title (see the title page annotation,) among other things. The founding members were Dan, Ben, me, and Nate. We added Peter a bit later on, and he went on to become an editor at Tokyopop. A couple of other people—Krista Olson, Alan Layton, and a few others—did short stints as dragons, but I ended up acknowledging them in other places on the list.
Of those three writing groups, only one is still going. The one with Alan Layton and Kaylynn ZoBell. We meet in Salt Lake every Friday night (yes, I know. That's the best thing we writers often have to do on Friday nights. . . .) Anyway, they're a great support and help to me.
Another interesting note is regarding my professors. I intend to dedicate a book some day to the teachers that have helped me over the years. It was a school teacher—the appropriately named Ms. Reader—who gave me my first fantasy book . I can think of few professions as noble as that of teacher, and I am deeply thankful to all of those who have helped me—not just the few names I had room to mention on this page.
180 days until A Memory of Light.
Just six months until this 20+ year journey is finished.
Gah! Don't remind me. (Gets back to editing.)
Are you working on it in San Diego? That's dedication!
Yes, he is. Brandon is not a party animal; his idea of relaxing after a hard afternoon at the con is to go back to his hotel room and write for 8 hours.
I've got a question-
One of the early typo's that was mentioned in the Way of King ARC was the numbering (changing from three to 3) in the chapter-header-death-quotes. Peter said he and the editor saw that too, but then you explained something to them, and they understood why you did it. Why did you do it?
Thank you for all you do. I truly love your works.
It's not a typo. Brandon may answer you, but I think the explanation to this one is easy enough to figure out on your own if you look at the big picture.
Correct me if I am wrong. But has Brandon not been planning sequels for Elantris and Warbreaker?
BUt writing a sequel after the fact does not mean the first book is not Stand-Alone.
The question will be whether the 2nd book is as stand-alone as Warbreaker was, for instance.
Totally true! That's why Fellowship of the Ring, Eye of the World, A Game of Thrones, A New Hope, and The Final Empire were all standalones!
(In less snarky terms, Elantris and Warbreaker may both be less obviously part of a series, but there's pretty obviously a ton of story hooks for potential sequels. Hell, Warbreaker ended with two characters going off on adventures! Brandon has said he's always planned on them being part of series.)
Brandon also adds story hooks even if he never plans on writing more. That's because books with no story hooks feel artificial to him. He wants to give a sense that the characters lived before the book started and will continue to live on (at least, those who don't get killed) after the book ends.
I've generally written most of the flap copies on all the books. The flap copy is what's on the inner side of the cover of the hardcover, on the dust jacket, the stuff that says "So-and-so..." I remember one of my favorite ones was when I went and..."Siuan Sanche is suspected of barn-burning, in her tattered straw hat." But I was writing the flap copy for The Dragon Reborn, and at the end of the flap copy, I said he is pulling the sword from the Stone... "You son of a gun, you've done it again!" (laughter) But I honestly hadn't figured out it was the sword in the stone. And it really did surprise me, even though I'd been all the way through it, and had edited it, and was writing that flap copy.
Do you have one Maria?
Yeah. It's not a huge one, but we were working on Knife of Dreams—I almost said Knife of Daggers, and I was like, "I know that's wrong." (laughter)—and I got to the part at the end, where Perrin whacks Rolan, and I went running downstairs..."Oh my god! You killed Rolan! I can't believe you killed Rolan!" And Robert Jordan says, "What? He was toast from the start!" (laughter)
Do you have one Alan?
No, I've pretty much nailed it all along. (laughter)
We all tell the truth, all the time.
One of the scenes I keep coming back to that very much impressed me was when Perrin cut off the limb of the captured Shaido, which was a scene...it was surprising, because this was a fellow who had been resisting his lower urges, if you will, all along, but his love for his wife was so great that we saw the degree to which he would push himself to save her, and it's the first inkling we had of what kind of stuff Perrin was made of, up to that point, I think.
Peter, do you have one?
When Demandred was revealed to be... (laughter) (applause)
That's not nice!
Um...sorry, I got nothing.
The prologue ebook for A Memory of Light, "By Grace and Banners Fallen," is up for preorder on Dragonmount. Other vendors to follow.
After prologue is released on October 2nd, will you be able to say which part of it was all RJ?
Will this be part of the whole book when it comes out, or will it only be sold separately?
Tor and Harriet like to sell the prologue early as a separate ebook. It will be the same one in the final book.
I know that this isn't your idea, but selling the prologue is a brutal cash grab. I'll save my $3 and wait for the book.
I have made it clear both to fans and Tor that I do not like this process. But you are right, I do not get to choose.
No normal book??? Only an ebook??
Tor releases the prologue of each WoT early as a for-sale ebook. It is the same one that will be in the print edition in January.
On September 17, the prologue showed up for sale on Google Books in Canada, including some revealing previews that tempted fans (aside from the Canadians who were able to buy it) to piece together the prologue from Google Book searches. Predictably, chaos ensued.
I blame Canada.
Last time it was some guy in China with an early Towers of Midnight copy. But Canada was the dark horse nobody saw coming. #amolgate
I hope moving up release date is a possibility, elsewise a little black market will emerge very soon...
I should disclose that I was essentially the ringleader of the put-the-prologue-together team, but I wasn't trying to make a threat here. It wasn't even my idea, and if I hadn't organized it, someone else would have; that's just how things go in the WoT world. But I was really referring to the possibility that some of the Canadians would share the whole prologue, or even sell it.
I'm going to pretend like Brandon did this on purpose. #wotgh
Now I just blame Google. What a cluster****.
What's sad about the prologue leak is that Harriet and others in publishing will likely see this as proof ebook releases should be delayed.
Wow. I know I'd be pretty pissed. Wonder how Sanderson feels about it. @BrandSanderson Spoiler thoughts?
Google's stopped the sale now, but some people already have copies and shared spoilers. So Harriet & Co. probably aren't happy.
I'm not fond of spoilers, but I can't see the original comment, so I don't know the specifics of this discussion.
This sort of thing happens. I don't really mind, personally. Harriet is probably upset, however.
If you're the type who wants the $2.99 A Memory of Light prologue ebook, it will be available September 19th instead of October 2nd.
Is that correct? The ebook will be available tomorrow instead of October 2nd? Pre-order or not?
I believe so.
Was the RJ part of the prologue the Bayrd scene?
No, actually. It was the Isam part, though I filled in a hole in the middle of the scene.
Looking forward to it. But do you know when it'll be available in Europe?
I don't know, I'm afraid. That is up to the UK publisher, and I don't think ebooks are as big a concern to them as they are here.
Where can European people get it from? Dragonmount won't sell it to me. Do I have to go for a torrent?
The problem is that Tor doesn't have rights to sell it in Europe. It's a frustrating system, but Orion UK has the European rights.
The system made more sense back before ebooks; a European company needed assurance US publishers wouldn't flood their markets.
I will check Orion UK once at work. Thanks for the tip!
Warning: they might have been planning to release it in October. This whole "Release it two weeks early" thing surprised us.
It's because of leaked copies in Canada. (Also, it's Orbit in UK—not Orion. I get them mixed up.)
What is your opinion on the North American exclusivity of the A Memory Of Light prologue?
It's because Tor doesn't have rights to sell anywhere else; Orbit UK has those rights. If you want the book, ask them.
I wish Orbit had it out too, and I'm seeing what I can do. But it is their call.
Tor has a post indicating that the A Memory of Light prologue ebook is now for sale in select countries outside the U.S.
Note that this doesn't include countries where Orbit UK has rights to the books. To buy it there, you'll need to ask them to release it.
Who do we contact to ask them to release it? Is there an email address we can write to?
They have a form on their website. That might work.
Where can Australian fans get a copy of the WOT release?
Orbit UK owns the rights. They'd have to either release it or authorize Dragonmount. You can email them through their website.
Is the prologue going to come out in audio or do I need to pick it up the written down on magic pixel paper version?
No audio I'm aware of. (Until the full book is out, of course.)
Oh, just saw that there was one. Never mind.
Any idea as to when will Weller @WellerBookWorks starts taking autograph orders for A Memory of Light?
By grace and banners fallen. Was that your line or RJ's? Exquisitely eloquent if I say so myself.
How bad is this? I honestly can't remember. It's one of my favorite lines, but I don't know if it was in the notes or not.
Will it be possible to order A Memory of Light signed, like the previous two books?
Yes, it should be.
Jason of Dragonmount writes the world's first review of A Memory of Light in the form of a touching letter to Robert Jordan.
I brought my friend Dick for company since it was roughly a five-hour drive one way. I think I have mentioned him before; he and I have been friends for more than ten years, though I used to be closer to his brother whom I lived and worked with in Baton Rouge for about six months (along with Hoda, who actually made it to Elder at Theoryland but is probably remembered by few).
Dick and I didn't see each other for several years, and then I happened to go to his house one day (this was after RJ died) and I noticed A Crown of Swords on his coffee table. He was reading it for the first time, and he had no idea any of his friends had read it, so I told him and Hoda and I had read it and that I had more than read it (insert long explanation of Theoryland here). So between that and the fact that he told me he played Tetris Attack (the only video game I love), he and I started hanging out regularly. He finished the series in time to read Towers of Midnight when it came out. Then he started reading Brandon's books, and has decided to name his as-yet-unborn son Kaladin, which resulted in a funny moment (paraphrased):
(Brandon is signing Dick's book which is addressed to Kaladin.)
(Says something appreciative.)
I told Peter about that, and he said "That's like the tenth Kaladin I've heard of." (Okay, so I exaggerated; I think he actually said fifth.)
*sighs* That sounds like the kind of thing Peter would say...
(to Dick) Yeah, Peter is not as unfailingly courteous as Brandon...
...which is why I like him.
I also saw the interview where you sat down with Tom Doherty and talked about your "master plan" to tie all your books together. And I know you're always big on endings, so how are you approaching writing something so big and tying it all together?
Lots of work in my internal wiki mixed with continuity editors. I've hired people whose job it is to just keep me honest. Because when I sit down to write the first draft of a book, I'm trying to lay down the emotional resonance, get the characters right, get the plot right, get these really important things right. Following that I'll worry about continuity sometimes—like, the little continuity. Of course you want character continuity from the very beginning, but some of these things we do like that. So having a continuity editor is very helpful in that realm and that's one of the things I've done. Peter Ahlstrom is doing a lot, and Karen, his wife, has jumped in since she was a professional editor as well. So they've jumped in and are keeping me honest.
How do you keep so many different worlds you created separate so they don't "float" into each other?
Lots of notes, a good internal wiki, and an even better continuity editor. (In the form of Peter Ahlstrom.)