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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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Quick question I get asked all the time working here at Barnes and Noble. When are you expected general release dates for Stormlight Archive #2 and A Memory of Light?
Alright, so this is what I'm doing right now. I am turning in A Memory of Light December 31st. If I don't, Harriet will probably fly to my house and shake me. And so I will start writing Stormlight 2 right then. It's going to be a tough year because I want to get that done as soon as it is reasonable but I also have to edit the wheel of time book. and I will balance those two projects. Wheel of TimeóI will tell you, most likely is October, November. We would like it to be sooner, but we have to wait on Harriet's edits, and beyond that, it's the last book, and she requested extra time to make sure we get everything in it.
That is my guess right now. Stormlight 2, if I'm on the ball, is March or April of the following year . That is what I'm really shooting for. The only other release that I have potentially is Tor has been hanging on to my children's books that they haven't yet been sure when they want to release. They actually have a book that is called Scribbler , which has been renamed the Rithmatist, and people see me talk about it. I actually wrote that one back in 2007 I think? Yeah, 2007. They've been hanging on to that one. I keep being noncomittal on that because it needs heavy rewrites.
So it needs a heavy rewrite. It would take like 2-3 months, and I've not had 2-3 months to dedicate to it. The other book they have of mine is Steelheart, which I've read from at things at signings and whatnot, it's a book I wrote a while ago during one of my breaks. They may release one of those next year, I'm not sure. Probably not The Rithmatist, because I don't have 2-3 months to spare. We may see Steelheart next Summer or next Fall. The thing is, they are in the process of acquiring the Alcatraz books from Scholastic, to repackage them, and they said they probably going to get that deal for sure, so they have them. So they probably want to do an original, like Steelheart, or Rithmatist, before they release the Alcatraz books, so they say "Hey, Tor has Brandon's children's books, now here is a new children's book, and by the way, here are repackaged books." Kind of in tandem in the publicity place. If they were going to do this, Steelheart in September, alongside Alcatraz 1 repackaged in September, and then 2, 3, 4 repackaged in the next months, and then Alcatraz 5.
So that is what's going on right there. A lot of it depends on how long it takes to write Stormlight 2.
It's okay, we're Wheel of Time fans. We're used to waiting. (laughter)
I want to be more punctual than some authors have been recently in fantasy. (laughter) The thing about it is, we sometimes give Robert Jordan some grief about this but he was really good. There was a book a year for many years and then he went to a book every two years, and it wasnít until late in his career when he was sick that he got a lot slower. He is actually a good model to follow. Iíd like to have a book every year, going forward for as long as I can. Iíd really like to do 2 Stormlight Archives every three years, if possible. Iím not sure if thatís viable or not.
We would like that too. (laughter)
Whoís going to be the focus for the next Way of Kings?
I spent a long time deliberating this, and eventually, in my plotting, I came upon one of those moments where youíre ďAh, this is what I need to doĒ, so it is going to be Shallan. So the focus for the next book is Shallan, and half of you want it to be Dalinar, and half of you want it to be Shallan, Dalinar will get his book, Shallan will get her book, but thereís a funny story here. In my original outline, I named many of the books, like Dalinarís is named Highprince of War. Shallanís book was actually named after the book that Jasnah gives her, which is very thematically important to her. But then I started telling it to people, and they started laughing, because the book that Jasnah gave her is called the Book of Endless Pages (laughter).
So, I thought that was a really cool title, but apparently, thatís going to give the reviewers too much fuel. (laughter) So you can pretend in your head that itís called that, but Iíll come up with a different name.
Are you already decide whether it's Shallan or Dalinar story for book 2 central plot? What about the tentative title?
I keep going back and forth. I'll probably have to sit down and completely write out both of their backstories--their flashback sequences--and after finishing that see which one best fits the theme and the plot of the novel, the story I'm trying to tell. So it's going to take a while to decide that, and it would require enough of my focus that I really need to do A MEMORY OF LIGHT first. So we'll know more after A MEMORY OF LIGHT is finished and I begin writing out their sequences.
The Way of Kings is certainly a great first book of a series. It does, however, leave one hungry for more. What's the best guess on when for #2? And does it have a name?
I'll try to write it so it can be published in late 2012, but it really depends on how long it takes to write A Memory of Light, since I won't start until after that is finished. As for the title, if it ends up being a Dalinar book it will be titled Highprince of War, but if it ends up a Shallan book it will have a different title.
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 Iíve been wanting to do. This year I am releasing two novellas in published form.
Emperorís Soulóyou wanted to say Emperorís New Groove, didnít you?
NO! What I am visualising is the cover of the book, which kind of looks a bit like pen and ink drawing, itís gorgeous. I was going to say Emperorís 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. Thatís what I did in Taiwan. The Emperorís Soul came from my trip to Taiwan. I actually have one that Iím absorbing thatís builtógrowingófrom 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 Emperorís Soul. Legion comes out in June, and The Emperorís Soul in November, I think.
So thatís something I can be releasing since I didnít have time to write a novel. Itís something I can give the readers, so hopefully people will enjoy those. They are both quite goodóI think, if I may say so for myselfóas novellas go.
Iím not a great short fiction writer; Iím 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, ĎBrandon, you donít have to write anything specific, just see where you go,í and Iíll write something crazy. After that Iíll come back and do more of the other stuff Iím supposed to do.
Brandon's book release plan for the next five years:
After A Memory of Light is finished, Brandon's next focus is finishing the next Stormlight Archive book "as soon as possible, hopefully by this time next year." The next book is already intricately plotted out, which is about the halfway point for Brandon, and the rest of the writing "could take as little as 6 to 8 months."
There are two books that Brandon finished before starting on the final Wheel of Time book but which won't come out until after A Memory of Light, as Brandon wanted to properly support their release, which just isn't possible while finishing The Wheel of Time.
The first is The Rithmatist, a middle grade coming out from Tor Books next year about Joel, a non-magic kid enrolled in a magic school (his mom's the cleaning lady there) who starts investigating a murder that happens at the school. The magic system is "chalkboard magic," which Brandon likened to playing Starcraft. The kids draw a chalk circle around themselves on the floor then scribble in things that try and chew through the other kids' own chalk circles. Fans of his Alcatraz series will find the same appeal from The Rithmatist, according to the author.
Next is Steelheart, a post-apocalyptic superhero book where people in our world can only obtain super powers if they're evil. The inspiration for the story occurred to Brandon when he got cut off by another driver one day. "I thought, if I was a supervillain this guy would just be...BOOM." Which got him thinking about a world where people could actually do that.
In the world of Steelheart, these people are considered "forces of nature" and eventually the most powerful form little fiefdoms. The protagonist is an 18 year old boy whose father was killed by Steelheart, one of the most powerful superpowered villains, who joins an assassination guild in hopes of taking Steelheart down.
After Stormlight 2, Brandon will probably go straight into the third Stormlight book, although he might take a short break and write the follow-up to The Alloy of Law. And after that? Brandon really wants to write a follow-up to Elantris, as 2015 marks the ten-year anniversary of the publication of the first book.
Now I stroll back into my workshop and find that a little bit of dust has gathered. Out of necessity, the Stormlight Archive has been neglected. I am pleased I made the choice to work on A Memory of Light instead of Stormlight 2. However, it is time to pick up that story again and make this series all of the awesome things I've dreamed of it being for some twenty years.
The stories of Mat, Rand, Egwene, and Perrin are now done. Returning to the stories of Kaladin, Shallan, Jasnah, and Dalinar will be my next major project. You'll also see me doing revisions on both The Rithmatist and Steelheart this fallóas I've made arrangements for both to be published next year or the year after. You'll probably hear more about them in the days to come. And yes, I WILL be doing a sequel to The Alloy of Law.
Well, you'll be glad to know that I finished with the first section of it last night; the second book is Shallan's book, so I was writing her flashback sequences.
Any new name ideas yet?
Not yet. The name's still the Bad Name. [explains to others]. In my notes it's called The Book of Endless Pages, because that's the book Shallan gets at the end of Book 1, but the problem is that it's kind of a silly title for a book this long.
Next fall. If I'm on the ball. That's not supposed to rhyme, but it did. Tor said they'd put it out next fall if I turn it in on time.
When is turn in time?
April. They said if I get it to them in April, we'll be fine. The trick is, for Michael Whelan to do the cover, I need to give him a cover scene like next month. Because Michael takes his time, because he's the best artist in the business, so you need to turn stuff in early. So I need to decide "What's the cover going to be", and come up with a fantastic cover scene for it.
So is it finished? Is the book finished?
You can follow on my website, I'm at 7% right now. I have to turn it in in April, so if I can get to 100% by April (or 110% knowing Brandon) we'll be all right. If we can't than it gets a little more sketchy.
Is that turning in the first draft?
Yeah, we should be able to do it if I turn in the first draft in April.
Interesting. There will be Parshendi viewpoints in the second book, and you will be able to see a lot more of that.
Are Parshendi like a hive mind sort of culture?
They are not a hive mind. I thought people might assume that.
But because of the singing, it seems like...
There is a connection. It's more Union than Hivemind. You know about Jung?
Jung's philosophy was that all people are connected.
Oh, like the dream psychologist?
I believe that collective unconscious was one of his terms. So it's not hive mind, but there isóthere's something the Parshendi can tap into.
With the singing?
Yeah, like with the singing, where one sings over here, and one sings over there, they are actually in beat with one another even if they start at different times. So there is something there, a connection.
Brandon Sanderson on making videos of your creative process:
"Some artists that I like, they're doing this thing where they'll film themselves painting a piece, and you get this awesome thing where you start with the blank page and then you see in fast motion them painting the whole thing. . . I can't do that with writing. It's not nearly as engaging to watch someone typing as it is to watch someone creating this amazing piece of art out of nothing, but I wanted to try, and see what it was like . . . I do these things called 'interludes' in the Stormlight Archive where I basically write short stories in the world and put them between major sections of the book, and I screen captured myself typing that out . . . The idea is just to put those things up as something fun that people might enjoy, probably sped up a bunch, since it took me six hours to write the scene . . . It totally makes you self-conscious. Mostly it's the spelling. I'll be typing along and I'll see that I've spelled some word wrong, and I'll be like 'Oh man.' . . . It does actually keep you focused, though, because every time your instinct is 'I'm going to go check my e-mail' or 'I'm going to check this browser,' you're like 'Oh, wait a minute. I'm filming. I probably should not do that.'"
I am trying to get done for a fall, late fall release this year. Harriet snickers at me when I say that, because she knows that the chances of that actually happening are kind of slim. It could happen. It's more likely that it would be spring the following year, but I'm going to try. I'm going to try very hard. I'm about forty percent of the way through the first draft; the problem is never first draft, though; revisions take a long time on a book this big. Rothfuss once described it as, "It's like ninety percent awesome, but you don't want to release something that's only ninety percent awesome, and that last ten percent is really hard to get to sometimes." So we'll see.
And then, production on an enormous book is also very time-consuming, and the way I think of it is, there will be Gelusil on coffee carts at Tor, or other remedies for stomach upsets. They say, "You want this book by when?"
Tom, who runs Tor, is optimistic, though I noticed he had little stickersóthere's copies of Way of Kings to give out as prizes, and they have a sticker on it that says, "Watch for the sequel in late 2013."
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 Publicationsóit'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.
On your website, the completion status for the next book in the Stormlight series has been stuck on 0% for too long in my opinion. When do plan to get it written? And is there any hopes that Michael Whelan will do the cover?
I plan to jump right into the next book in the Stormlight Archive series as soon as I finish up with The Wheel of Time. I feel extremely honored that Michael Whelan came out of semi-retirement to do the first cover so I can't rightly expect him to paint the next one but we'll just have to see what happens. It was a dream come true to have him do the cover of one of my books.
I'm starting a new weekly bonus content feature for the next few months as a bit of an experiment. Right now I'm writing the sequel to The Way of Kings, and I've recorded my writing process for one chapter using Camtasia (which was provided to me by the folks at TechSmith). The chapter I've recorded is the new interlude featuring Rysn (who was in one of the interludes in the first book). I've split the recording up into multiple videos that I'm uploading to YouTube. The first one is up now, and it covers the prewriting/outlining for the chapter. For now, the videos are in real time, but once they're all uploaded I'll make a high-speed version of the whole chapter for those of you who don't want to sit and watch my normal typing speed.
Some of you are wondering if this video will have spoilers for Stormlight 2. As an interlude, it takes place away from most of the action of the rest of the book, so you shouldn't see more than hints. This first video has the interlude's outline in it, so it will partially spoil the rest of the videos, but you'll find that the outline is very sparse. It's probably more likely to make you more interested to read more than to spoil you for the rest.
The main point of these videos is to show you my writing process, which is something I get a lot of questions about. Enjoy. Stormlight 2 should come out before Christmas if I can get the first draft finished in April. I'm working hard on it right now, so we'll see if that happens.
I've uploaded the second video of me writing the Rysn interlude from the sequel to The Way of Kings. If you missed the first video with the prewriting, it's here. This week's video starts the interlude itself.
The third of my Stormlight Archive 2 writing videos is now up on YouTube. Be sure to watch it in 720p for the best quality. I WILL be posting a sped-up version of the whole chapter once I'm done posting all of the videos; if my typing is too slow for you, don't worry.
Another frequently asked question that I will get a bunch of times in line, so I will answer now: I am working on the second Stormlight book. (applause) Tor thinks it's coming out this fall; I'm hoping to meet their expectations. (laughter) If not, it will be the following spring. A sequel to Alloy of Law would be the next thing I would work on. (applause) Yeah, it's funny how these things happen. One of my favorite stories about Robert Jordan and the series is, you know...I started reading these books in 1990, right? How many people picked it up in 1990, when Great Hunt wasn't out yet? That's...the few the proud, right? 23 years?
How many times did you reread it?
Yes, and you would reread it every time a new book would come out, right? That's what I did. Until you...at one point, I reread the whole series, and by the time I got done, the next new book was out, and I'm like, "Whoa, this takes a long time!" (laughter) And...there's a lot of questions I had as a fan that I have now been able to get answers to.
For instance, I went to Tom DohertyóTom Doherty is the publisher at Tor; he started the company, and I don't know if you guys know, Harriet was the first person he hired, as editorial director; she was in charge of editorial, and Harriet edited a lot of wonderful books. One of the books she edited is Ender's Game, if you're familiar with that. (applause) And she did also discover Robert Jordan, and then she married him. (laughter) I've always noted that's a great way to make sure your editorial advice gets taken, right? (laughter)
And so I went to Tom, and I said, "Tom, really...how many books was it?" When you hear this talk of, "Oh, we expect it to be this long," "We expect it to be this long..." And Tom sat me down and said, "Okay, let me tell you Brandon. Robert Jordan came in, and he had this pitch for me, and he gave me this big, long description of this awesome book. He said in the first book...the first book ends with our hero taking a sword that's not a sword from a stone that's not a stone. That's where the first book ends. And from there, we have two more books; it's a trilogy." This is what Tom Doherty said, exactly. And then Tom said, "Jim,"óRobert Jordan's real name was Jim Rigneyó"Jim, I know how you are. Why don't we sign you for six books?" (laughter) And Jim said, "Well, I don't need six books. This is a trilogy." And Tom said, "Well, if you think you don't need that, we can do something else. You know, let's just sign you for six books in the series." Tom looked me right in the eyes, and he said, "Brandon, I thought I was so smart." (laughter) "I thought I was buying that whole series for sure." And here we are on book fourteen.
And so, yeah; this has been quite the experience; quite the ride, quite the journey of 23 years, and it's been amazing to be part of it.
The Q&A session then began, much of which involved questions about The Wheel of Time and Brandon's experience working in it.
He also noted that the second Stormlight Archive book is tentatively set for the fall/November 2013, and he hopes he can make that date. (So do we all Brandon!) Brandon also stated, unasked, that the film rights are with Universal and that questions this evening should avoid potential spoilers for A Memory of Light.
In the fourth of my Stormlight Archive volume two writing videos, two of the included songs are the actual songs I listened to while writing. I've been able to include them in the video thanks to the artists, Ray Lynch and Incendio. This might help you feel even more like you're looking over my shoulder while I write.
I really appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your revisions for us. We'll look forward to book fourteenóThe Memory . . .
A Memory of Light.
A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.
And is there maybe another Mistborn book coming soon?
I will be doing some of my own stuff. The second Stormlight book is what I'll be doing next, which is the sequel to Way of Kings.
Cool. Sequel to Way of Kingsódon't drop it on your chihuahua.
That's right. It will kill him.
Brandon I'm not sure if you have ever visited. But please come to Ireland on a tour or even for holidays get a pint of Guinness with me and a game of Magic.
I'm sure you've answered this a million times but i don't lurk the internet that much, second Stormlight Archive? I'm guessing 2013? First one blew my mind, Now listening to Elantris and reading the Final Empire.
I will do my best to get to Ireland on tour. I only just made it to England and Scotland on tour for the first time, so I will really try to expand next time. I get a lot of requests from Ireland.
Second Stormlight book is scheduled (by me) for fall of 2013. That really depends on me getting it finished by December of this year, at least in first draft form. That's possible, but I can't tell you how possible or not until I get the WoT done right. That will take as much, or as little, time as needed.
Book two has been renamed Words of Radiance, as it's Shallan's book. Dalinar's book will be Book Five. (Though I haven't promised he will survive that long. I reserve the right to do flashbacks for someone in a book after they have died.)
It WILL be Dalinar's book, however, not one of his sons.
Late 2013 is still possible. I'm about 2/3 of the way done.
How much control does he have over the Words of Radiance cover?
Some, by dint of being fairly well-known in the industry, but he's really fond of Whelan's work and more likely to pick a direction from concept sketches than push Whelan somewhere entirely new.
(I asked if he could, for instance, hold firm for epicanthic folds on Rosharan characters; he said probably yes, but most of Whelan's cover work has been figures in the distance for now so that isn't likely to be an issue. I didn't feel comfortable asking the same question over again re: skin color.)
I live in South America but while on vacation here in the states got a chance to see Brandon Sanderson at his signing in Albuquerque, NM. He said it was his last stop on the tour so apologized ahead of time if he started ranting. However, he did an excellent presentation and admitted to having gotten a chance to edit a chapter from Words of Radiance just before the signing.
As has been mentioned before, Sanderson has said that he hopes to have Words of Radiance out in November, but couldn't promise anything. He also mentioned, though, that they were talking about a January release, which would be a year from the day that A Memory of Light was released. Then he cracked an awesome joke about New Mexicans being use to waiting anyway, so we will be fine (because G.R.R Martin lives in NM).
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOON: (The books that are done.)
The Rithmatist (once named Scribbler): Summer 2013
Steelheart: Fall 2013 or spring 2014.
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOMEWHAT SOON: (Working on right now.)
Stormlight 2: Hopefully Fall 2013.
Shadows of Self (New Wax and Wayne): 2014
Alcatraz 5: I own the rights again now, and hope to write this book sometime in the near future.
Stormlight 3: Goal is to write this soon after Stormlight 2
Steelheart and Rithmatist Sequels: I will probably try to do one of each of these between Stormlight 2 and 3.
Elantris 2: I'd still love to do a sequel for 2015, the 10th anniversary of the book's release.
Warbreaker 2: Long ways off.
Dark One: Unlikely any time soon.
The King's Necromancer: Unlikely any time soon.
I Hate Dragons: Unlikely any time soon.
Death By Pizza: Turned out mediocre. Won't be released anytime soon.
The Silence Divine: Will be written someday.
White Sand: Will be written someday.
Mistborn modern trilogy: Will be written during the gap between Stormlight 5 and 6.
The Liar of Partinel Didn't turn out well. Scraped.
Dragonsteel: Won't be written until Stormlight is done.
Not a lot of changes from back then, except that Steelheart got finished and Rithmatist got a release date for certain.
How is Stormlight 2 going? It's going pretty well. This whole being trapped in a hotel during the storm thing was not actually as conducive as you might think. Cause I sat down and I worked on it for a bit but being away from home, being, you know, annoyed that I'm trapped in a hotel and things like that I actually ended up writing a short story I owed somebody instead, just to kind of further clear the plate.
I owe Charlaine Harris a story. Charlaine's a friend and she's been a dear to me and she keeps trying to get me into one of her anthologies. And I'm like "Charlaine, this isn't really my thing," but she keeps asking so I finally said yes to one of them because the concept sounds fun, it was called Games Dead People Play. So I wrote her a story for her Games Dead People Play anthology. So we'll see about that.
It was actually four thousand words; you can be impressed now. I don't write things very short very often, if you can't tell. My short stories are as long as the book you're holding in your hand usually. So that's how that tends to go. So four thousand words is really short for me; it's only like 20 pages or something, it's tiny. Anyway, Stormlight 2 is coming along well. Hopefully next Christmas-time is when it should be coming out. I'm supposed to be turning in a new title this week and a cover concept by the end of the month, so that Michael Whelan can paint one. So we will see if I'm able to keep these deadlines.
I did not like how they were treated by the publisher. And this has got a lot of different arguments and reasons for it. I lost my editor after the first book and I didn't feel like the new editor really got the books. And the second cover was awful and the sales on the series after the first book were mediocre. Anyway I bought the books back from my publisher, from Scholastic.
They got a sell-off period and I actually found out that it isn't until January 1st that their sell-off period ends, or I guess December 31st. So as of January 1st, I own the rights again. The UK is releasing an omnibus edition of all four together. And then I will eventually write the fifth book, at some future date, maybe this year after I finish with Stormlight 2. I really got to keep my eye on Stormlight 2 for a while. So, the answer is, kind of- stuff might happen. I mean, we will probably will, at least, release ebooks of them in the early part of next year, so they can be found. And there's also the omnibus edition, which I told the UK they could sell over here if they wanted to, so you can order it and things like that.
I enjoy Way of Kings, it seems like thatís the one where everyoneís coming together. I was reading online about Galladon and Demoux being in it. I enjoyed that. Is that going to happen more often?
In that book- that series, yes. There will be more crossover. Itís kinda one of the core stories, along with the things happening on the Mistborn world and things like that. And so, thereís going to be a lot more crossover. Most of itís still kind of subtle stuff, but if you keep your eyes open thereíll be some real zingers in the next two books.
So, is it next year, 2013 that [Stormlight 2] will come out?
2013, itíll be next year.
At the end of the- like the fall?
Yep, I am a quarter of the way through it, and as long as I turn in an early draft by April theyíll be able to do it by the fall.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Tor.com has also started a reread of The Way of Kings in preparation for the release of the sequel, Words of Radiance, hopefully later this year. Two reread posts have gone up so far, the first one covering the prelude and the second talking about the prologue. And the ebook of Kings is still $2.99 for the next week or so.
And here's the newest video of me writing a chapter from Words of Radiance.
Tor.com is continuing its reread of The Way of Kings. This week's article covers chapters 1 and 2, which include Kaladin's introduction.
And here's the newest video of me writing a chapter from Words of Radiance. This is the climax, but there are two short videos after this. I'll upload the sped-up version of the chapter the same day I upload the final video.
Tor.com has put up another two chapters of their reread of The Way of Kings: chapters 3 and 4. This covers Shallan's introduction and Kaladin's arrival at the Shattered Plains.
If you missed my AMA at Reddit, you can find my answers here.
I've finished uploading the videos of me writing one of the interludes from Words of Radiance, the sequel to The Way of Kings. I've also made a high-speed version of all of the writing, which you can see below, if the real-time version was too slow for you. There's a playlist of all of the real-time videos here, and the final video (if you were keeping up already) is here.
This has been a bit of an experiment, to show my writing process. Now that it's all done, what have you thought about the experiment?
Is Kaladin naturally stronger than Szeth in using Stormlight? Szeth can only hold onto it for a few minutes, but Kaladin has been shown to hold onto it for much longer. Or does it have to do with Kaladin having a spren?
Ah, so you all noticed that, did you. :) Glad you did. I have like a dozen things I nearly posted here, but all of them spoil a scene in Words of Radiance. So I'll just zip it for now.
Iíve got three names, and you can tell me what you think. Peter wants ďKnights RadiantĒ; Moshe, my editor, wants ďLightweaverĒ; and I want ďThe Words of Radiance.Ē For the second Stormlight book.
(general chaotic discussion of names, pros and cons)
I donít like yours, itís too long.
They like ďLightweaverĒ Ė Iím worried, having a book called ďA Memory of LightĒ and then another one with Light in the title the same year, which was why I didnít go with that.
(more general chaotic discussion)
You guys are voting for Knights Radiant. It seems too on the nose for me, is the thing. Like naming Patís (Rothfuss) new book ďKvothe has sexĒ or something like that, you know? Yes, itís what the bookís about, but itís very on the nose Ė itís exactly what the bookís about. Does that make sense? Thatís why it bothers me, but thatís why all the marketing people are like ďYeah, thatís what itís about! Letís make it!Ē
Think. up. a. new. one.
Yeah, but Moshe needs it like two weeks ago!
Some other weaver. Radiant Weaver.
Hey, thatís not bad. Thatís actually good. You can make it two words.
Itís better than the other three. I havenít read a word of it...!
Regarding the topic, a quick question: Are Truthspren originally sentient, or do they gain/regain sentience from a bond, like Syl?
RAFO for Words of Radiance, where a lot of these questions will find answers.
I heard that if he's away from a keyboard for more than fifteen minutes he develops a nervous tick where he starts tapping out rough drafts with his fingers in Morse code. He doesn't even know he's doing it.
. .- -.-. .... / - .. -- . / -.-- --- ..- / .- .-.. .-.. --- .-- / - .... .. ... --..-- / .- -- .- .-. .- -- / ... .- .. -.. --..-- / .. - / -.. .-. .. ...- . ... / .- / .-- . -.. --. . / -... . - .-- . . -. / .... .. -- / .- -. -.. / - .... . / - .... .-. --- -. . .-.-.- / .- -- .- .-. .- -- / - --- --- -.- / -.. .- .-.. .. -. .- .-. / -... -.-- / - .... . / .- .-. -- --..-- / ... - --- .--. .--. .. -. --. / .... .. -- / ..-. .-. --- -- / -.-. --- -. - .. -. ..- .. -. --. / ..-. --- .-. .-- .- .-. -.. .-.-.- / .-- . / .... .- ...- . / -... .. --. --. . .-. / .--. .-. --- -... .-.. . -- ... / - .... .- -. / -.-- --- ..- / .- -. -.. / ... .- -.. . .- ... --..-- / -- -.-- / ..-. .-. .. . -. -.. .-.-.- / -.-- . ... --..-- / .... . / -... . - .-. .- -.-- . -.. / -.-- --- ..- .-.-.- / -.-- . ... --..-- / .... . / .-.. .. -.- . .-.. -.-- / .-- .. .-.. .-.. / .- --. .- .. -. .-.-.- / -... ..- - / .-- . / -.-. .- -. / - / .- ..-. ..-. --- .-. -.. / - --- / .-.. . - / - .... . / - .-- --- / --- ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / --. --- / - --- / .-- .- .-. .-.-.- / - .... . / ...- --- .. -.. -... .-. .. -. --. . .-. ... / .- .-. . / -.-. --- -- .. -. --. .-.-.-
Crying from laughing. That's a real passage. You're awesome, Brandon.
EACH/TIME/YOU/ALLOW/THIS,/AMARAM/SAID,/IT/DRIVES/A/WEDGE/BETWEEN/HIM/AND/THE/THRONE./ AMARAM/TOOK/DALINAR/BY/THE/ARM,/STOPPING/HIM/FROM/CONTINUING/FORWARD./ WE/HAVE/BIGGER/PROBLEMS/THAN/YOU/AND/SADEAS,/MY/FRIEND./ YES,/HE/BETRAYED/YOU./YES,/HE/LIKELY/WILL/AGAIN./BUT/WE/CAN/T/AFFORD/ TO/LET/THE/TWO/OF/YOU/GO/TO/WAR./THE/VOIDBRINGERS/ARE/COMING.
Sitting in the audience at Superstars right now. We miss you this year, man. Tracy Hickman and Joan Johnston have been quite awesome, though.
Say hi to everyone for me!
So whatís going on here is, for Stormlight 2 I needed a lullaby in-world. And poetry is not my forte. However, my father-in-law is a semi-professional singer/songwriter. Heís released a couple of albums, theyíre just local, he does stuff like that. So, I asked him to compose a lullaby that I just left blanks in the story from. And he actually turned it in just like a couple of days ago. And itís quite good and it fits in.
So, what Iíve been doing lately is writing on Stormlight 2. And Stormlight 2, if youíre unaware with whatís going on in the Stormlight series, I conceived the series as ten volumes, two five book arcs, with each volume focusing on a character by giving them a flashback sequence. So if youíve read the first one, Kaladin, one of the main characters, thereís a sequence of flashbacks that kind of inform how he came to be where he is at the start of the book. And I intended that for each of the ten primary characters because I kind of began them all in the middle of their stories, which is what happens when youíre writing a book. The beginning of a story is not the beginning of a book. Itís impossible to tell the beginning of a story because thereís always something more that could come before. So you start with people who have passions, who have lives, who have things going on and then I wanted to use these sequences to bring you back up to where they were when they started.
This was a method I thought I would use in order to help divide each book and help me envision each book as a stand-alone volume in the series. Because one of the challenges of writing a big series like this is you donít want them all to blend together. You want them each to feel distinct, to have their own climaxes and their own story because when they start to blend together it can be detrimental to the series in the long run. So in my original outline, I spent a lot of time figuring out what everyoneís story was going to be but I didnít actually have to do them in a certain order because they all are flashbacks I didnít have to have the flashbacks in certain parts. And so I wasnít sure whether I was going to do Dalinar or Shallan for the second book, I always knew I was going to do Kaladin for the first book. And I ended up deciding on Shallan, in part because I want to get into her story because of things that are happening in the plot but also because I wanted Dalinarís sequence to come later.
Now, Iím not promising that characters all survive that long. Itís entirely possible, just so you know, that I would kill someone off and still show their flashback sequence. Because the flashbacks arenít them having a flashback, the flashbacks are- itís not them sitting there and remembering that, it is simply a non-linear way of telling their story. So just so you know, that doesnít necessarily mean that Dalinar survives til book five.Shallan Flashback
A question related to that. Thereís an idea going around that all the spren that can Nahel Bond, all Knight Radiant spren are called honorspren, and then Nohadon talks specifically about honorspren. Is that the case? You know, is it just the Windrunner spren, or is it all the spren?
Iím going to deal with this in the next book. So Iíll just go ahead and let it be a literal RAFO. It is coming.
(interruption, leading Brandon to lose his train of thought)
So what we are dealing with here is that all Spren are indeed all pieces of the one who has gone, so those spren are all- except the Windrunner spren, the spren like Syl, have certain umm.
Nohadon mentioned that "All the spren arenít as discerning as honorspren."
So there has been dissension among them about who gets to call themselves honorspren, if that makes sense, and there is some disagreement among scholars about which ones are really, you know "This is what defines an honorspren".
But the spren you are running into are all (something) of either Honor or Cultivation, or some mixture between them. And you can usually tell the ones that are more Honor, and the ones that are more Cultivation. That should be able to be (something).
You've been described as "insanely prolific," and with all of your recent releases that's an apt descriptor. How do you find the time to write so much, and more importantly, how do you keep the stories and characters fresh?
How is it going with Words of Radiance?
Ah, yeah. It's going. It will meet the March deadline, this one. The reason it got delayed just was a couple of things, mostly that this year has been so busy for me. I wanted to give the book the time it needed, we needed time on the art. I just turned in the first chunk of the next draft to my editor. It looks our deadline to turn it in is November 1st, and that's what weíre going to want to do, is bring the last draft to be copy edited then. So it's going all right.
You gave me really good wiggle room on that one. Obviously the other person with Galladon and Demoux.
Right, the one from a future book.
His characteristics areÖ What is he like? Some people have read his book so they know what he's likeÖ
Which book is he from?
He's from White Sand.
Okay, that's one I have but have not gotten to.
It's only mediocre so don't worry about it. Let's see what other worldhoppers I want to give you clues aboutÖ Thereís a Terriswoman running around, if you keep your eyes open.
I have to read it, everything.
Who else do I want to talk aboutÖ Words of Radiance has a couple good ones, that will be pretty obvious.
Just got back, asked a few questions. Please note that these are super paraphrased, but I did see someone's IPhone on the table, so we hopefully have a transcript!
Have we seen another Lightweaver?
Please note that a family member decided to drop in at this point, so I may have heard wrong. Woops.
Why does he do that?
Because when Kaladin was there and they were touching it, they actually heard the spren that was inside of it.
So it wasn't Syl that he heard, it was —
It was the sword's spren. That Kaladin was touching it — when a Knight Radiant touches it — you'll see when other Knights Radiant pick up sword, they can hear the screaming.
She did not, it was actually Syl. But he was in the process of breaking the bond, and so she was able to get some stormlight to him, but that is what really — Like you can imagine, this bond was really a strain for her to use at that point, so it was her, but doing what she did just about destroyed her, which is why you don't hear from her after that.
Is healing a universal stormlight power then?
Yes, within reason. Some are better at it, but it is a universal power.
With Dalinar, as a bondsmith, what does that mean his power-?
That is a good question! That is going to be an [RAFO card].
Anyone else have questions or books that they need signed?
I have a question. You gave me one of these little Szeth cards. I noticed on the back it looks like a game.
Yeah, yeah it does, doesnít it?
Whatís the story with that?
Those—that was just like randomly printed there.
[in a stage whisper] I donít think heís telling the truth.
We just got them back and we were like, "Wow, those random collection of letters look surprisingly like words from my books. How did that happen?"
[inaudible ]Ö look forward to that?
Heís not allowed to say.
Itís not a ďNot allowed to say,Ē itís that this is a fun little thing that may become something in the distant future.
Perception is a very important part of how these things all work, and remember, the Honorblades work differently from everything else. Everything was based upon them. Why donít you read and find out whatís going on there, but remember, the charactersí perception is very important.
So then thatís why at one point Shallan requires ten heartbeats and now she doesnít.
Right, just like—itís the exact same reason why Kaladinís forehead wounds donít heal, because he views himself as need—as having those, somewhere deep inside of him, and that canít heal until that goes away. And itís the same reason why in Warbreaker, when you bring something to life your intention, rather than really what you say, is what matters. Itís all about perception.
It depends on if you're speaking culturally or actually magically.
Magically, I guess.
Because he would claim to you that he did it all with strength of mind and no magical influence other than enhanced mind. That's what he would tell you. And so in that case it would not beóculturally they'd look very weirdly at it, but spiritually he would say it's not of the Voidbringers.
Right. He would say that.
It's a cool thing, it's also a very dangerous thing.
Well [the Stormfather] controls the highstorms ... follow-up question: if he dies, does that affect the spren?
Dying, as long as the oaths are not broken, does not affect the spren in a very terrible way. There are effects.
Angrier, and my question is, why did you write him that way?
He has always been angry. In the first book, he is focused on saving his men and now that his men are safe, all of those emotionsóif you go look at him from the first nine chapters of Way of Kings, he's that way there, it's when he becomes focused on saving his men he has something to drive him and it kind of subsumes these things, but once they're safe all these things he hasn't dealt with came back out.
The Stormlight Archive already has that feeling of an "epic" tale, not just in the size of the novels and the rich world building but the story too. Do you have any idea how long the book series might go on for?
Yes. I conceived The Stormlight Archive as a series dealing with ten characters, where each book took one of the characters and delved deeply into their past and their psychology. Granted, the other characters will appear, as Kaladin is a big part of Words of Radiance even though this volume could be described as Shallan's book. Since I have those ten characters, and there are ten orders of Knights Radiant, I built a ten-book series with two five-book arcs: five books and then a break, followed by another five books.
1. On a scale of flashlight to floodlight, how radiant are the words in Words of Radiance?
I would say at least 300 broams' worth, if not more. Full broams.
1. So: Book 2. How does this book differ from Book 1?
Living up to a really successful book is always hard. The second book expands the world and the characters. It shows off a new magic. It has Wit being himself. It involves more depth into the understanding of Realmatic theory and the Cosmere. It lets several of the characters really come into their own. It moves at a fast pace, and things where you may have been thinking, "Oh, it's not going to go there at least for a few more books," happen immediately instead of taking forever. This is all part of my desire and goal for the series. I wrote a really big essay for Tor.com about how I envisioned these books going, where I look at each one as being more than book, where I'm playing with the idea of what it means to be an epic. Words of Radiance went very well in that regard. I plotted it like a trilogy, and wrote it as this one book made of three books. Anyway, I'm just super excited about how it turned out. The major difference between this book and the first book is that Shallan comes more to the forefront. Kaladin's presence in the second book is about the same as it was in the first book. But this one is more Shallan and has a little less Dalinar than the first one.
I also heard he was part of your unpublished Dragonsteel.
And is that a series you are going to be publishing?
I will eventually rewrite it, it is not up to my current standards. I consider the events that happen in it basically to be canon. With some exceptions, like for instance when I originally wrote Dragonsteel the Shattered Plains were there and Dalinar was there and I split off Way of Kings into its own book. I took half of what had been Dragonsteel and made it into the Stormlight Archive and I split half of it off onto a separate planet. If you were to read it, you can check it out from BYU, half of it will be a less well-written version of the Shattered Plains sequence of Way of Kings and the other half is Hoid's story. And Hoid's story stuff is still kind of canon but the rest...
I do not believe there is a 111 to separate words unless it was added by Peter when I wasn't looking.
Is this a question from the 17th Shard?
I will say this, the key is in another epigraph.
No it should not have. It's a clue that something has happened. There are other clues that something is wrong with what the story you've been told is.
Because Option 2 is that it's unsafe to touch an honorblade, but there's no evidence of that.
There is no evidence of that. There's much stronger evidence that something else is going on.
Did Hoid switch out the blades?
Hoid did not switch out the blades, but good question.
How deep are you going into Shadesmar in WoR?
Not terribly deep in WoR. We're going to have to wait until Jasnah or Shallan are exploring it more.
Are you going through the five stages of grief?
I don't know. I had such a long time to prepare for it. It's not like getting hit with the five stages of grief in the same way, since I knew this was only going to be a short thing. But there is a sense of regret. At the same time, being able to write the Stormlight Archive is awesome.
I had been planning this series for many years and being able to share with people these stories that I've wanted to tell for such a long time is very gratifying. Words of Radiance, the second book, this has scenes in it that I initially sketched out to write some eight, nine years ago that I'd been planning.
They came out just as I'd been planning them and it was really exciting that people can now read those.
Thank you for the hundreds of hours of entertainment you've provided me with your works. I am currently fascinated by your decision to alter the ending to WoR. I understand it was especially necessary for you considering how intent and self realization are inherently tied to the surgebinding magic system. It must have been a tough decision to move forward with a mass change like this nonetheless. What are the logistical implications? Do you know the time frame or if it will be possible at all to change the audiobooks? I'd think at the earliest those wouldn't be possible until the third book comes out (since Michael Kramer and Kate Reading will already be in the booth) but I'm just guessing at this point. How will the roll out of WoR 2.0 proceed?
It was a tough decision. I think Lucas has ruined doing things like this for a lot of people, and I was certain many readers would dislike it. (Turns out, there have been fewer voices against it than I'd assumed.)
One of the things I'll be doing is making sure Book Three works with either version of the ending. I consider the changes minor. The big reason I made the swap, however, was that (I hope) these books will be read for years to come, and I wanted to get the right ending.
It shouldn't be TOO bad logistically. Remember, the changes shouldn't matter too much for the story as a whole. We will be changing the audiobooks if we can, however, but you're probably right--book three will be when it happens.
I don't plan this to be a common occurrence, but at the same time, I was increasingly certain I wanted this tweak made. So I did it for my own peace of mind, though I figured the majority of fans would rather I not.
Hi, Brandon, I read Mistborn last year and now you're my favorite author. Thanks for writing books that make me go "hell yeah this is awesome!". Also, your video lectures are great. I have no writing aspirations myself, but it is really cool to know all that inside info on the craft and the publishing industry. So, the questions...
1. You recently changed up the text of Elantris and Words of Radiance. Do you feel like you need to change something about the Mistborn trilogy? I think it's perfect
2. Will we ever see you write a series with a non-rigid magic system? Not that there's anything wrong with allomancy etc. (they're pretty cool to be honest), but I would be really interested in seeing you handle something vague.
3. On Scadrial, humans were created as the result of deal between Ruin and Preservation. But what about the rest of the humans on the other worlds of the Cosmere?
4. Do you think Kelsier could defeat Miles one on one?
5. I recently started the Wheel of Time (2 books down), and it is quite fun. What would you say is your favorite book a. among the ones written by Mr. Jordan? b. Among the ones written by you?
6. What can you tell us about your new book, Rampart? ;)