Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
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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This page is much like the one from ELANTRIS. I don't know if people ignore these, or if they read through them. Regardless, these are some important folks. They do a great job helping turn the rough drafts of my books into things that people would actually want to read.
I really do like having writing groups. I don't know if I've talked about this before, but I find a good writing group to be a vital part of the process. Not only do they give you encouragement, but they provide great chapter-by-chapter responses to books. Giving the entire book to alpha readers helps a lot with the big picture—but those kinds of readers don't generally catch the smaller issues in a given chapter.
But, there's another reason I like writing groups. I really enjoy watching writers progress, and seeing their prose develop. It's a lot of fun to take place in a small community of people who are all working toward the same goals, and to give them encouragement and aid.
I also felt I needed to give David and Irene acknowledgements on this page. I added them in last, after I realized just how much I owe to the people at Tor. Without the people who do the publicity and the artwork, no book would ever get taken off the shelves—or even get out of the warehouse. These people do a great job, and I think they are part of the reason Tor is the powerful force that it is.
I haven't actually seen the map yet. I'm curious to see how it turns out. . . .
The person doing it is Isaac Stewart, a guy in one of my writing groups. He's a man of many talents, and works as an animator. He was very excited about MISTBORN, and when I mentioned he could do the map, he was enthusiastic. I've heard a lot of what he's talked about with the book—doing a map that is based on old Victorian-era maps of London and Paris. We'll see what he comes up with!
EDIT: Now I've seen the maps!
Wow, Isaac did a wonderful job with these. One of the things I asked for was a round world map, and he really stepped up. I love the embellishments around the border and the illuminated manuscript type feel for it.
The city map is probably more important to the story. Oddly, I didn't actually do one of these when I was writing the novel. In fact, I only had a very basic sketch for the world map. That meant, of course, that when I sat down with one of the later drafts, some things were inconsistent. It also meant that a lot of things on the map weren't named, such as the gates.
I owe a lot to Isaac on this one. His intricate map is very detailed—each of those slums was hand-drawn with the insane twisting of all the little streets. He was the one who named the gates, building eight of them and naming them after the basic Allomantic metals. All and all, he did a fantastic job. Make sure to check out his website, Isaacstewart.com
Where do you people find writers' groups?
I'm in Provo, UT, I write fantasy, and I need a good writers' group. I've looked on craigslist and tried google, but I really haven't found anything. Not meaning that I haven't found good ones; meaning, I haven't found any at all. I know that a number of you out there are writers, and I assume that most of those have some affiliation with a writers' group, so how did you find them? Did you grow them yourselves, or were they community things, or what?
Also, do you shop around? What happens if I get there and I'm the only capable writer of the bunch? I enjoy helping others improve their writing (and in fact, I'd like to do that for a living) but I admit that I'm looking for a group with selfish reasons as well. I want help improving from people that I can trust.
Do mixed genre groups work very well, or should I only be looking for a scifi/fantasy group?
Has anyone found an online group to work? Do you use Skype or something, or just text to communicate?
Finally, anyone in Provo/Orem area in a good one? Mind letting me audition? :)
Finding a good writer's group is a process, usually, not an event. It involves being a part of many writing groups, finding out what critique styles work for you, and discovering writers who have a dedication level similar to your own. If you write at a rate where you have something to submit every week, you want to be with writers who do the same. If you'd rather meet once a month, you want everyone to be on the same page.
I've been a part of around a dozen different groups. Usually, after a year or so of attending, I have a good sense of which writers I click with and which I don't. At a later date, if another group has need of members, I know which people to invite.
Right now, my group consists of mostly people I've known for years and years. I met many of them during my undergraduate days. Your best bet in Utah is to attend LTUE, Conduit, or Superstars. I guarantee I can get you a writing group if you come to Superstars, but it also is very expensive.
Or try to take my class (I used to just let anyone in, but this year, the university has clamped down and only given me a room that seats 30.) There's a shot if you show up on Thursday (when I'm going to have to turn away a lot of people who want to add) that I can point you all in the same direction and you can try to set up a writing group then.
What time of day does your class take place? On the off chance that you have fewer than 30 students, they wouldn't just let me come sit in, would they? I'd have to enroll and pay, I assume. Probably worth it, though. I wonder if they'd let me audit the class for no credit for cheaper. I know that at Weber, a single class for one semester was around $800, and I assume that's going to be a bit higher at BYU. Again, probably worth it, however.
I don't think that I could pass as a student for long due to some significant shagginess, but I'd certainly be happy to show up when you're going to turn everyone away and help them form writer's groups. Other than that, I guess I'm going to have to wait for LTUE and Conduit. Superstars looks like it's for someone who's closer to being ready to publish than I am, but I may be mistaken about that, and if I move to the day shift at work I just might attend. I've only got about 5 chapters and a few stories, though, so publishing is a ways off. What I mostly need is a deadline, preferably weekly, and a few better minds to help me clear away the crap.
I honestly just used to let people sit in, without paying. But the university is troubled by this, hence the cap. I doubt that there will be room, but if you want to show up, look up the 318R class taught by me. It's thursday night, 5:10. I honestly don't know the room number—my assistant will point me in the right direction on Thursday, and I'll go.
Superstars is indeed probably something beyond what you need right now, particularly for the price. I think it will be useful to anyone, but I think that you're right that right now, you need a deadline and a writing group far more.
As an aspiring fantasy writer do you really need a writers group? I mean certainly they seem like a nice thing but I am uncertain they are a necessity. Your thoughts?
No, certainly they aren't needed. Stephen King warns people away from them, as a bad writing group can do far more harm than good.
I didn't get one until I'd finished a few (unpublished) novels. At that point, it was extremely useful to have one for me—and has continued to be useful. They can be a great tool. But there are dangers. (Letting the group hijack your book being the biggest.)