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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I realized the wording wasn't very clear on @e_wot. Here's the full quote:
In the way of dreams she floated above a long, straight road across a grassy plain, looking down upon a man riding a black stallion. Gawyn. Then she was standing in the road in front of him, and he reined in. Not because he saw her, this time, but the road that had been straight now forked right where she stood, running over tall hills so no one could see what lay beyond. She knew, though. Down one fork was his violent death, down the other, a long life and a death in bed. On one path, he would marry her, on the other, not. She knew what lay ahead, but not which way led to which. Suddenly he did see her, or seemed to, and smiled, and turned his horse along one of the forks... And she was in another dream.
Any chance of giving us another #wotgh clue? There are a few codes left that people seem to have gotten stuck on...
Go ahead and tweet at Peter, my assistant, and prod him. He can give you some hints.
For Segovia, my intention is finish with twelve books, and that may mean that the last book will be VERY long, but I really can't say how long it will take me to write. My publisher is always trying to get me to commit to a time frame. I just do a little sand dance until he goes away. I carry a small bottle of sand with me in New York for exactly that purpose.
He showed up about ten minutes late and went through his normal pronunciation spiel looking slightly perturbed. He then reiterated the answers for what have seemed to become the most oft-asked questions this time around: Book twelve will be done when he’s finished with it, it will be last one no matter what, Infinity of Heaven is the next thing he’s doing, the two WoT prequels will be done at some point in the future, and that he’s come up with an idea for a trilogy of “outrigger” novels in the WoT world, but that he has to let it stew for a few years before he decides on doing it.
Then, probably because he arrived late, he skipped the Q&A and went straight to signing. Somewhat disappointing, as the event was billed as a Q&A / Signing, and the Q&A was the main reason I went in the first place. I would have liked to just hear him talk for a little bit.
RJ then went on to say that during the signing, he would be asked a few questions, as he always is. The second person in line, he said, would ask, "When is the next book coming out?" He gave us a guarantee that we could "take to the bank" that it would be on shelves shortly after he finished writing it.
And the fourth person would invariably ask, "How many more books in the series?" which he explained the same way as other signings, about needing a 'dolly' to carry the thing out. But unlike other accounts, he said at this point, it is not possible for him to write two more coherent books. He said he might get one coherent book, and one incoherent, or two semi-coherent, so WoT would be finished by book 12.
RJ wound up with a fist like he was going to punch him, and the groan that had run through the store turned to laughter.
He reiterated why he isn't telling, and that he has tried to place a few clues in the latter books. He said that if occasion permits in the last book, and it seems appropriate, the character doing the deed will probably think to themselves about killing Asmodean. However he gave no guarantee. But he did say he will reveal Asmodean's killer if he doesn't in the book before the paperback of book 12 comes out.
He also went on to mention that there is one website that gets it right with a very complete listing of the suspects with motives and facts that gets it right. He wasn't going to tell us which one. He said they got the right 'why' as well, and they used only facts in prior to the murder. I later asked him if he could say when he found out about the website and he said he couldn't remember, but it was quite some time ago.
Before I start a book I always sit down and try to think how much of the story I can put into it. The outline is in my head until I sit down and start doing what I call a ramble, which is figuring how to put in the bits and pieces. In the beginning, I thought The Wheel of Time was six books and I'd be finished in six years. I actually write quite fast. The first Conan novel I did took 24 days. (I wrote seven Conan books—for my sins—but they paid the bills for a number of years.) For my Western, I was under severe time constraints in the contract so it was 98,000 words in 21 days—a killer of a schedule, especially since I was not working on a computer then, just using an IBM Correcting Selectric!
I started The Wheel of Time knowing how it began and how it all ended. I could have written the last scene of the last book 20 years ago—the wording would be different, but what happened would be the same. When I was asked to describe the series in six words, I said, 'Cultures clash, worlds change—cope. I know it's only five, but I hate to be wordy.' What I intended to do was a reverse-engineered mythology to change the characters in the first set of scenes into the characters in the last set of scenes, a bunch of innocent country folk changed into people who are not innocent at all. I wanted these boys to be Candides as much as possible, to be full of 'Golly, gee whiz!' at everything they saw once they got out of their home village. Later they could never go back as the same person to the same place they'd known.
But I'd sit down and figure I could get so much into a story, then begin writing and realize halfway in that I wasn't even halfway through the ramble. I'd have to see how I could rework things and put off some of the story until later. It took me four years to write The Eye of the World, and I still couldn't get as much of the story into it as I wanted; same with The Great Hunt. I finally reached a point where I won't have to do that. For Knife of Dreams I thought, "I've got to get all of that into one book: it's the penultimate volume!" And I did. Well, with one exception, but that's OK. That one exception would probably have added 300 pages to the book but I see how to put it in the last volume in fewer.
I spent the weekend with a man walking a tight rope holding a small parasol in one hand for balance while tipping his hat to the crowd far below with the other. I'm stealing the metaphor from Harriet for that was her description of the circus act RJ is performing trying to keep the medications in balance, do some work and keep you (fans) and we (family) informed.
Over the past two weeks the balance has been difficult to attain. Reining it in slowly, but surely however.
RJ, Harriet, Janet and I spent time on Saturday afternoon thumbing through your posts. All touched us, some to tears. Thank you for sharing your stories. You provide more inspiration than you'll ever know. Were I to possess but an ounce of the strength of Ben N, Don Webb, Julia or Lynn I could move mountains. RJ singled out several individual posts for a personal answer.
The four of us made it out on the town for dinner on Saturday night. Charleston is replete with fantastic places to dine. RJ knows that being land bound I prefer food from the sea on our visits. Picked a grand one he did, Coast. Highly recommended.
The BBQ chicken we had planned for Sunday evening had to be postponed. Too bleeping hot outside to stand by an open grill, and other things to do anyway. We'll try your many home recipes for sauce and rubs at a later date.
RJ and Harriet will be making their monthly trip to the Mayo next week.
He's working. Good therapy it is. Also gives him and his editor-in-chief, love of his life, first and only wife, Harriet something to talk about rather than the 800 pound medical gorilla sitting in the middle of the room. You'll hear from him soon.
Brother-Cousin, 4th of 3
Well, I've been offline for a while, but I thought you had the news pretty well from Wilson, plus I needed to rest up, frankly, having had a stretch of in the hospital, then out of the hospital, in and then out, in again, and this time out on a Saturday so I could get on a plane on Sunday, have my tests done at the Mayo on Monday, talk with the doctors on Tuesday, then drive to Minneapolis to speak at Mike Ford's Memorial service. Frankly, I got home in some ways stronger than when I left, but in others, well, I was ready to lie down and sleep as long as I could get by without having an ice cube slid down my back. I really needed some rest, in my own bed not a hospital or hotel bed. And every time I've thought about posting here the last week or so, I just couldn't find the energy to do more the most cursory sort of entry, likely dull-witted with weariness at that, and I thought you deserved more than that.
You might find a small interest that I codified a list of things to be done once I have regained (1) over-all strength, (2) hand-eye coordination, and (3) some degree of balance. I am convinced that I will recover these things—the strength seems the easiest—and have even agreed, after some urging from Harriet, to submit my hands and feet to acupuncture! Go figure. Me, the Great Skeptic! Well, she's a cousin of sorts, through marriage—it can get complicated in Charleston—and she is fully qualified and all of that.
Anyway, the list.
1) Purchase Harley. I already have this picked out, as I think I've told you, and though Harriet SAYS she won't mind riding postillion, I'm figuring a sidecar is my future, too. That's okay. But not quite as soon as I hoped. It won't be under the Christmas tree this year. Maybe next.
2) Sky diving qualification. I'm not talking buddy-jumping strapped to some guy's belly like a kangaroo trying to escape from it's mother's pouch. I mean to take the whole nine yards so that I can walk into any place where such a thing is possible, rent a chute, rent a plane to take me up, and go jump, no questions asked. Wilson says we are too old, and my knees are too bad, for this sort of thing, but the thing is that having achieved that qualification, I doubt that I will ever use it. I will have done it, however, and that will be enough. When I was young, before my first tour in the Nam, I volunteered to airborne. I got turned down on account of bad eyes, and that is something I have regretted ever since. That I've held on that regret so long indicated something to me, because I have always operated on Lan's rule, bury your dead and ride on. I don't hold onto regrets. This one remains, however. So I will try to lay it to rest once and for all. Besides, I WANT to jump out of the bloody plane!
3) Take up ball-room dancing lessons with Harriet. Funny, after saying that I don't hold onto regrets, that I should come to this one straight away. You see, before I began having nerve problems with my feet and loss of balance, I was a pretty good dancer. Good enough to have 20-something guys complimenting me on my moves and women of various ages cutting in on Harriet to dance with me. It was also neat to be addressed on the street, sometimes by women I could swear I never met in my life, with cries of "Hello, dancer!" Well, I want that back. And, since I am completely untrained—I grew up poor; there was no childhood dance class in my background—I want to take the lessons because I want some dances, the tango, the rumba, the cha-cha, that you just can't fake. And not that Dancing with the Stars baloney, either. That is strangely entertaining, one might say weirdly entertaining, much like a train wreck involving Borat and Rush Limbaugh in clown makeup, but in most cases, the dances they do have no resemblance whatsoever to the dances they claim to be. Let them take their so-called tango to Argentina. And see if they can get out of the country alive. Anyhow, #3, dance lessons.
And 4) Take up golf. This something I had just begun to get into when things when blooey in general. You need balance to make a good swing, and I found out I have a pretty good natural talent for the game. My drives are straight—in two rounds with Wilson and his son, Jonathon, both golf fiends—I lost fewer balls than either of them, and if the length of my drives has been somewhat erratic, I was beginning to get that straightened out. I figure if I can get the occasional but not uncommon 200 yard plus drive without golf shoes, which means no proper swing, I can match and top and that with the shoes and with practice. It only needs the balance back a little. And you know, it's fun reading the greens for puts. I got a few tips from a pro who was earning some extra money by caddying at a club where I'd won a round in charity auction, and he had some wonderful tips for that.
So there you have it. Oh, finishing A Memory of Light, of course, and getting started on Mat and Tuon, and some others, five to ten years after the Last Battle. Those go without saying. Not a bad plan for the coming year, eh? And fishing. I'd like to call Billy Glenn and run up to Cape Romain, where the beaches are so pristine you can walk for miles without seeing a footprint not your own, where the truly big redfish, 40-pound, 50-pound, 60-pound, are cruising down the coast in the surf, too big to keep, of course, but great fun to catch and release, using circle hooks for survival of fish, and if a little time goes by without a redfish, then a 6 or 7-foot blacktip shark is sure to grab hold, leaping like a bloody tarpon. It's a great day's fun, with the wind cutting in directly off the Atlantic and nothing but water between you and Portugal. But Thanksgiving is almost here, and Christmas is acoming in, Lud sing God damn, with lots of house guests for each and also in between. No time for fishing. Unless I sink to trying an ultralight fly rod in the goldfish pond. I don't think that would play well with Harriet. Besides, there's no real way to get a decent backcast. I know. I've checked, and believe me, I can find a backcast in a china closet if one is to be found.
There are readers, and then there are fans. Readers offer condolences when a favorite author falls ill. Fans offer bone marrow.
Robert Jordan, author of the best-selling Wheel of Time series, has fans. And if you want to understand them, take a look at his blog. Since last spring, when he announced he had a rare blood disease called amyloidosis, Jordan, 58, has been chronicling his life-and-death struggle online. Whenever he's well enough to write, he thanks the fans who sent care packages, and those who donated to the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., where he is being treated. Then there's this:
"For Jaime Platt and her sister, your offer touches me deeply. They were able to harvest enough of my own bone marrow stem cells that I don't need marrow donation from elsewhere, but thank you very much. That was a kind and generous offer."
And you thought Harry Potter fans were enthusiastic?
Jordan's readers are offering help because they've developed a close connection with him through his books. They're also desperately hoping he lives to finish the series. Wheel of Time is like Lord of the Rings on steroids. Since Jordan launched the series in 1990, he's added another ten books, and more than 14 million copies have sold. Fans are patiently waiting for book No. 12, A Memory of Light, which Jordan promises will be the last, even if it reaches 2,000 pages.
"I've told people you might need a forklift to get it out the door," says Jordan, speaking by phone from his home in South Carolina.
But there is, of course, an elephant in the room. Amyloidosis has no cure. Untreated, the average patient lives only 12 months after diagnosis, says Dennis Krysmalski, founder and CEO of the Amyloidosis Support Network. With treatment, patients survive an average of four years.
Jordan's fans are full of sympathy, but also fright of a more personal and perhaps selfish kind. His readers have been following the lives of Rand, Egwene, Elayne, Mat, Nynaeve and Perrin for more than 16 years. Fans have shared their concerns on Web sites like Dragonmount, Theoryland and WOTmania. "Of course you wouldn't ever wish a possibly terminal disease on anyone," wrote one poster, codman25. "But what happens if he doesn't finish the book?"
It's a dangerous question. Most fans avoid posting such sentiments for fear of appearing tactless. Posters like codman25 are often chastised as insensitive by others who claim to care only for the well-being of Jordan and his family.
FINALLY done with the through line I've been working on for weeks now. Progress bar moved to 70% done.
Well guys, I'm back. I know you'd like to hear from me every week or even more frequently, but I'm afraid that once a month is going to be about it for a time. I am trying to put every spare moment into A Memory of Light. There aren't too many of those spare moments right now. My meds induce fatigue, so it is hard to keep going. I'll fight it through, though. Don't worry. The book will be finished as soon as I can manage it. NOT in time for this Christmas, I fear. I don't know where that rumor got started. Except that Tom Doherty, my publisher, wants to put out the Prologue if I can have it polished to my satisfaction by August. That isn't easy. I always hate letting go. I have rewritten prologues almost from scratch after I finished the rest of the novel. I always think I can do better with another go around. Oh, well, I'll give it a try.
Well, guys, I have to hang it up for now. I'll be back to you when I can, and I promise to keep you abreast of the medical news, whether from Mayo or elsewhere. But my main focus is going to be on A Memory of Light. I think that is how you would want it.
Take care, everybody.
He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone.
These are words Jim said to me several books ago, in the weary but always thrilling hours of putting the manuscript to bed, ready to carry to New York in the morning—I remember grabbing a piece of discarded script and scrawling those words up the margin, because they were so beautiful. He was talking about Rand. I of course am not.
I know he touched all of you. Thanks for being there.
Whew. It's surprising how busy things are, considering that it's the slow season (my books generally come out in the falls) for me. Mixed with the fact that I'm not writing right now, just reading, one would think that I wouldn't feel so busy. The thing is, when writing, I can really only do a certain amount in a day. Like a lot of authors I know, I kind of have a cap (it's between 2k words and 4k words, depending on the day and the book.) Once I hit that, my writing reserve is low, and I have to stop for the day and let my subconscious work out how I'm going to write the next section. What that means is that I can generally get up, write for half of the day, and be done—and then have time to do email, blog posts, and other business items.
When I'm reading, though, there's nothing to stop me from just reading straight through all hours of the day, as opposed to stopping and doing other work. That, mixed with the urgency I feel to get to work on actual pages of AMoL, has made me keep reading and pushing long after I would have stopped for the day if I were writing. Ah, well.
Anyway, I didn't intend this to be an extended defense of the book, but that's what it came out to be. It's now been over a week since I finished it, and while there is much more I could write, I think it's time to let the blog post end for now. The big news is that I'm done with my read through. In fact, I officially began writing on Book Twelve this afternoon.
There was a powerful moment there for me when I got to write those words "The Wheel of Time turns. . . ." Mr. Jordan, despite his preparations for the book, didn't actually write those words that have started each book in the series. I guess he figured he didn't need to, since they've been the same since book one. He knew that his time might come soon, so he focused on more important scenes.
That left me being able to write the opening paragraph to chapter one. (Though, of course, there will be a prologue. While those words won't start the book, I decided that they would be the way that I started work on it.)
It has begun.
I posted that other email I got that was somewhat negative, but the overwhelming majority are very encouraging and thoughtful. I got one piece recently from a reader named Matt which got me thinking. It relates to A Memory of Light, and so I figured I'd answer it here.
Brandon—My name is Matt, and I have been following your blog posts and website since you were announced as the writer for A Memory of Light. A question to ask occurred to me today that I don't think I ever saw in any of your interviews/posts about being selected to write the book. As a fan, is a part of you disappointed to read the ending of the story the way you did, that is through RJ's notes and not after reading an entire book?
Excellent question! My answer follows:
It was indeed a different experience to read through the outline and materials, with the holes and occasional vague sections, rather than reading a complete novel. A little bit of me is regretful. Of all the readers and fans out there, I'm one of the few who won't be able to experience this book for the first time in its complete form. Mr. Jordan's assistants and wife have probably been in that boat for years!
And yet, I am a writer, and I don't look at an outline the same way that a regular reader might. The closest approximation I can make is to origami masters. If you go and look at their websites, they will often release 'patterns' that go with a new piece of origami they've developed. The pattern is just a sheet of paper with lines on it. I look at that, and all I see are lines. But to another origami master, that pattern reveals the exact method used to create the piece. They can look at the pattern and see the finished product.
This outline was kind of like that for me, particularly since the ending was the most complete section. I could look at it, and my mind filled in the gaps, adding the foreshadowings and character climaxes that had come before, taking the hints and the outline chunks that Mr. Jordan wrote and putting them all together. It didn't feel like reading a complete book, but I felt like I could SEE that complete book as he would have written it, and that has become my guide in writing it myself.
(I might also note at the end here that one thing I forgot to include in my email to him is that while I didn't get to read the final book like you all will, I DID get to find out what happened at the end of the series a good two years ahead of anyone else!)
Though, oddly, I'm thinking I'm going to have to do another re-read of the entire WoT here pretty soon. It's been over a year since I finished the last read-through. (Whew. Hard to believe I've been at this a year and a half already.)
In a small bit of WoT news (and in answer to a lot of emails I've been getting) I've been lobbying to Harriet for the chance to keep A Memory of Light for the final volume of the WoT. If you don't remember the backstory, we were planning all three of these final books to collectively be known as A Memory of Light. Each would have the title A Memory of Light with a subtitle. (Gathering clouds for the first one, which became The Gathering Storm.) Well, now that we can't use this idea (for various reasons) and the first third is coming out as simply The Gathering Storm I want to use A Memory of Light for the final of the three. I think it's a beautiful title, and it is something that Mr. Jordan left for us.
Harriet seems agreeable, though nothing official has been set yet. Really, we need to get on the ball and choose a title for the second book. I'm working on that. (Though if you're passionate about the topic, you can feel free to email me.)
Here is an alphabetical list of names chosen, with details if given. They will be linked to EWOT pages when those are updated after the A Memory of Light comes out. The main auction for the speaking part was won by Sandip Mehta.
Eric Allen (In the Tower Guard; gets sworn at by someone who swears a lot. Perhaps Uno?)
Charlie Bachelder (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. (Deathwatch Guard)
Paul Benish (Malkieri)
Jonathan Brockelman (Whitecloak)
Joff Brown (a city)
Brandon Bryant (Band of the Red Hand)
Jonathan Burt (Whitecloak)
Jay Dauro (Deathwatch Guard)
Jacob Figler (Band of the Red Hand)
Craig Foster (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Filis [Emery?] (Green Ajah)
[?] Gilbert, son of Chris
Courtney Gliszczynski (First name used.)
Einar Laastad Kjosavik (Asha'man who is balefired by a Forsaken.)
Nils Loodin (Aiel scout)
Glen MacDonald (Deathwatch Guard)
Mikayla Micomonaco (damane)
Bach Payson (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Eleanor Pettener (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Bryan Ragon (Borderlander; does not live long; dies well.)
Kimberly Readdy (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Kris Ring (Seanchan Blood)
Nikhil Rode (Aiel scout)
Maureen Sampson (Aes Sedai)
San D'ma Shadar (Group referenced by Mat which fought in a historic battle; translates to "Slayers of the Shadow".)
Michael Sarcone (Darkfriend, on request.)
Shane Spears (Aiel, of course.)
Margaret St. John (Maiden name [not tweeted] will be a Seanchan general.)
Caitlin Sullivan (White Ajah)
Roger Trask (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Lindsey Turnbow (wolf)
Neil Tweed (Some woods, named after the original owners.)
Pia Maria Vaajakallio (Aes Sedai)
Kurt Wagoner (Two Rivers man)
Jordan White (wolf)
Savannah Rose Young (Seanchan general)
Thursday is the final day to enter the drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light. Details here.
Today's the final day to enter the drawing (& support JordanCon) to get your name in A Memory of Light. Last chance.
The drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light closes to entries in 4 hours. I still have a lot of names to draw.
How many more names are left to draw?
Still a good fifty, I'd say.
Have you been using people's names for characters? Haven't seen any posts/updates with that in a long time.
I've been putting in placeholders, and will be drawing out names over the next few months to replace them.
Shaun Davis, I just used your name in A Memory of Light.
Shiv Whorra, I needed another name, and you're in too.
Is there a running list somewhere of the reader names you've used? And I hope you're feeling completely well soon. : )
We'll post them all once I'm done.
For those asking about names: this was done as a fund-raiser for JordanCon, so I'm no longer taking names. (Sorry.)
Explanation follows. (I do this sort of thing for all of my books, though, so there will be chances for other books.)
Robert Moreau and Robert Rose, you two are next. Welcome to A Memory of Light.
It is so exciting to see you pulling the names out of the hat... how many do you think you'll end up using? :)
Still many more.
Since you're not taking names anymore and have a full rough draft, could you make a guess at our odds of being drawn?
Really hard to guess. I have about 1,000 placeholders in the book, as told to me by Word, but...
Most of those are not "replace a name here" notes, but instead "Look this up" or "describe this better" or "continuity check."
Brandon Bryant, welcome to the Band of the Red Hand. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details)
I know no new names—for those of us who put ours in the hat before, how many spots approximately are left? What are our chances?!
I have no idea, I'm afraid. There are about 2k people in the drawing. Maybe a hundred names? Rough guesses.
Daniel Egonsson, I drew your name for A Memory of Light. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details: http://www.mistborn.com/blog/1021/)
But for those of us in the drawing we still have a shot right?
Gavin Doyle, you're in too. (Yes, I will eventually post a list of all of these.)
Jacob Figler, you're next. (Sorry, ladies. I'll draw some female names soon.)
Hey that's me!!! Are you saying my name is going to be in A Memory of Light???
Yup. You're in the Band of the Red Hand.
YES!!! Check out the shirt I got yesterday hahaha! Perfect! And THANKS!!! http://yfrog.com/ob7i2zpj
Useful picture. Now I can describe you. :)
haha, well if you need any details let me know!
Okay, here's a woman: Jesamyn Angelica, you're in A Memory of Light.
Kevin Fanshier, I only needed one name for A Memory of Light today, but yours is it.
Kurt Wagoner, you're in A Memory of Light as a Two Rivers man.
Laura Hepburn, I have chosen your name for A Memory of Light.
Leisha Springer, your name came up next.
Nathan Sawyer, you were drawn next.
Do you or your assistant keep a list of drawn names? Can you post them?
I do keep a list, and will post them eventually.
When you write a book do you fill the less important names in later?
Often I do just that. It can break the flow of writing to develop the right name, particularly when I might cut that scene.
Angela Ryddingwood, I have drawn your name.
Bach Payson, I put you in A Memory of Light, but immediately killed you. Sorry 'bout that.
Oh, and Bryan Ragon, same goes for you. You died well, though.
Craig Foster, you round out the trio of dead Borderlanders I needed for this scene.
Just curious Brandon, are the names coming out of the proverbial hat, or do you look for names that can be easily WOTified?
Most things are pretty easy to wot-ify. And, since I can use either first or last, I haven't yet found any that don't work.
Are you changing the names of people you put in A Memory of Light to make them more "Randland" appropriate?
They are changed.
Michael Gonzalez, your name came up next. (Yes, I am wot-izing all of these.)
Mione Haak, I drew your name for A Memory of Light.
Neil Tweed, you too.
Who am I? Dark or light? Do I die well?
I try not to use fan names for the shadow very often. I actually named some woods after you.
You would have been one of the original owners of the land where the woods were, I should think.
Nikhil Rode and Nils Loodin, I needed two Aiel scouts.
Kris Ring, you're a member of the Seanchan Blood.
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. and Jay Dauro, you are members of the Deathwatch Guard.
Paul Benish, hope you look good in the hadori.
I'm confused. You are still using names but won't take anymore? So my name may still come up assuming you aren't done us ...
It very well might. If you are on the list, there is a chance.
Pia Maria Vaajakallio, you are Aes Sedai.
Maureen Sampson, you're in the White Tower too.
Natalie Doyle, your name came up for A Memory of Light.
Melissa Bergevin, your name came up next.
Harm Wieringa, your name came up next.
Taking a long time to add the names hehe
I'm doing the first revision, and running across places where I left placeholders instead of names.
Jordan White, you're a wolf.
Lindsey Turnbow, you too.
Is anyone keeping track of the names that are being drawn for A Memory of Light?
Yes, they are. We'll post them eventually.
Savannah Rose Young, you're a Seanchan general.
Sally Rankin, your name came up too.
They all get changed. Some as little as Thom or Mat (if appropriate.) Some to things very different.
How many names got submitted?
Three thousand, I think.
Anna Roberts and Andrew Holcombe, I drew your names most recently for A Memory of Light.
Caitlin Sullivan, you're in the White Ajah.
Courtney Gliszczynski, your name came up next. I think I'll adapt your first name, not your last, if that's all right...
Michael Sarcone, you asked to be a Darkfriend for some reason, and I obliged.
Chris Gilbert, you entered your son's name into A Memory of Light and it has been used.
Drew a bunch of names I didn't report. Eric Silva, Hugh Hill, Sean Little, Rion Kinosaki, Helen Cousins, Eyal Weinstock.
This is Sean Little, the guy that emailed you previously regarding putting in a group name. Did that entry have...
...San D'ma Shadar as the name?
Thank you very much.
Trying to figure out the San in that phrase, though. Is the "San" a name, or a word in the Old Tongue I'm missing?
The translation used on the site (made by our Old Tongue experts) is Slayers of the Shadow. I could ask for the exact translation.
That works for me. I actually put the name in a place where it could refer to a group, so I'll tweak it to do so.
Your favorite Two Rivers man, Azi al'Thone, back to bug you again :D I had put in an entry for SDS as well... and since...
...I'm a member of SDS of TV.Net, I'm wondering what (if any) possibility there is of making Azi part of it?
Of course, I understand if that's complicated or doesn't fit with the story—had to ask anyways.
The group is referenced by Mat as being part of a historical battle.
Oh okay! Yes, that would be really hard to make work then :P Thanks for the response, Great Lord :)
Working on one of the big, climactic sections at the end of A Memory of Light right now. Not many names left to draw, I'm afraid. A handful, maybe.
Remember, there is a special group of Dragonsworn in the Last Battle representing all who donated, so even if you aren't named, you're there.
Roger Trask and Charlie Bachelder, turns out I needed two more Aiel to fight in the Last Battle.
RAFO, but I will tell you something about the Horn. People always ask why the inscription on the Horn is in the Old Tongue, if it's so old. It was added in the Age of Legends.
It should also be noted that, when a panel moderator asked the audience if we wanted to see the Heroes of the Horn come back before the end, Maria raised her hand high.
And if you look at that events page you'll notice that the book tour for Towers of Midnight has been arranged, and Harriet McDougal will be accompanying Brandon in every city this time around. It's going to be a shorter tour; Brandon has spent over half a month on tour already and needs a bit of a break. He does plan a much longer tour when A Memory of Light comes out; Brandon has some ideas about how to make that the best tour ever for the fans. But that's a long way off; Brandon still has to write the book! In any case, for those who will ask, yes, there will be a "Storm Leader"-type program for the Towers tour; keep your eyes peeled on Dragonmount for details on the Tower Guards program.
That suggestion came about because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to fit it in. In the end I decided to get three or four chapters of it into Towers of Midnight. So it is there. I haven’t yet decided whether the rest of that story will happen on screen in A Memory of Light or whether it will have to happen off screen. The outline is all there, but I’m still not sure what I’ll have time for and what will work with the pacing.
Posting something on my website is not something that I could just do offhandedly. If I were going to do it it would take a lot of talking to Harriet and Tor and getting permission. So that was really only a long-shot contingency plan. Will it happen? I don’t know. We’ll have to see what gets into A Memory of Light. I’m pleased with the parts I was able to fit into Towers of Midnight, which means there’s a good chance I’ll be able to fit the rest into A Memory of Light.
Taim may not be a standard Third Ager. Brandon wouldn't say any further because he has about five chapters revolving around the Black Tower to write for the beginning of the next book and he didn't want to spoil, so it was half a RAFO.
I just asked if Taim was a "standard" Third Ager. He pondered it for a minute or so before explaining that he had a few more chapters to write about what was happening at the Black Tower, so he didn't want to give too much away.
I'd been wondering why Demandred didn't just use the True Power to dispatch the various swordsmen that challenged him, and I got to ask it last night at the Huntington Beach signing. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else was wondering the same thing.
Brandon's response was that Demandred was the most wary and cautious of the Forsaken and he wasn't going to "mess with that medallion", not knowing fully what it was or what it could do, especially since he suspected that the swordsman was Lews Therin in disguise.
The area it covers? Yes, it is.
That’s a good question.
I'm actually going to RAFO that. And that's actually not one I'm RAFO'ing...I'm RAFO'ing that for very good reasons. Not just out-of-hand RAFO'ing.
He said there are lots of little things that come to fruition in interesting ways.
I said yeah, I can't wait to see how "his blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul" turns out. Do you know there are some people that think Elayne will have her babies on Shayol Ghul and that will fulfill the prophecy?
He said well, Elayne is like four months pregnant at this point... Lots of things are possible with the One Power though.
In my mind, this debunks that theory somewhat.
RAFO. (You knew that was coming, eh?)
Though...it should be noted that prophecy says that Aviendha will have Rand's children...so, that's going to be kind of tough if they don't see one another again.
A couple of things here.
The primary one is that Verin had to work around her oaths, which required her to go through some strange mental gymnastics. She actually tried out different ways of getting this information across, and could never make it work. (In her pouch was actually a letter that said something similar to Mat, but which read "Ignore what I say and open this immediately.) She couldn't pick it up at the moment, however. The oaths were binding. She would either have had to take poison right then, or bet on Mat being too impatient to wait.
Second thing is this, and it's a slight spoiler for the next book. She did build in redundancy.
My question isn't regarding the loophole that she found, the question is as to why make Mat promise to obey the letter. She could have made him promise not to open the letter for three days and still maintained her loophole. It's the promise to obey the letter that makes Mat not read it and now they are in a whole lot of trouble because of it.
Let's just say that Verin...didn't understand Mat as well as she thought that she did.
It's unlikely. Harriet has much worry about the ebook format, and the fact that we wouldn't have gotten #1 on the New York Times list if we'd done the ebook release at the same time has her extra jumpy. She released the ebook earlier than expected by my request last time, and I think we'll get it even earlier this time. But it probably won't be at the same time.
(Though, it may depend on how the Times counts ebooks then. Harriet feels it's important for RJ's legacy that these last few books continue the string of being #1 hits.)
I know what that was about. Will it be in the next book? Er...RAFO. Sorry.
Will we know by the end of the series though?
I really can't say yes or no. This is one of the things Harriet has asked me to be very quiet about.
Okay, so I have this idea for A Memory of Light. Hear me out.
I think you/Harriet/whoever should allow some sort of money raising contest to write a dedication for the book. Any money raised could go toward amyloidosis research (or maybe something else, if Jordan had some cause he really believed in).
You could run the contest one of two ways. First, an auction, which could potentially raise the most money. However, I've always hated these, since only people with tons of spending money ever have a chance.
Or you could charge everyone a flat price—$1, $5, something like that—and then your or Harriet could draw the winner from a hat or whatever.
Obviously you'd have to have some sort of disclaimer so that if the winner ended up being something like, "I hope we see Nynaeve smother Faile with her braid in this one," it could be ruled inappropriate.
Anyway, I just think it'd be a nice way to encourage reader interaction, raise money for a good cause, and give a lucky reader the chance to immortalize him- or herself in one of the most awesome, epic series of all time.
(I once gave this idea to Jason over at Dragonmount and he said I should suggest it to you or Harriet, but then I forgot about it. And now the opportunity to mention it has presented itself. Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
That is a kinda cool idea. I'll think about it, but the thing is, I strongly feel that RJ would have dedicated the book to Harriet—and I kind of think that should be the case.
I'll consider it, but I'm more likely to auction off naming rights to a character or two to let people have a stamp on the book like you suggest and do something good, but not use the dedication. We shall see. I'll consider.
Moved A Memory of Light from 90% done to 92% done on my website progress bar. Getting very close now.
Writing a conversation between two of the Forsaken right now.
I read this too quickly and thought you said "writing a conversation between two of the Foreskin right now".
That would be a VERY different book, eh?
For those who do not know, Darrell Sweet—illustrator of all of the Wheel of Time covers—has passed away. My thoughts.
If the cover is scrapped, will the book be delayed?
No. We have enough time for someone else to do one.
Back at work on A Memory of Light. May be the day to reveal a side-character's long-hidden motivations .
Do we get a clue as to whom this character is?
If I told you that, you'd be expecting it. I'm afraid it is a RAFO. This character HAS been a little suspicious.
Mr. @BrandSanderson please stop teasing A Memory of Light.
Sorry. Some people really want to watch the progress, and so I try to keep the posts as spoiler-free as possible.
This afternoon's "Brandon opens Magic cards as he writes" comes sponsored by Sarah Bartram, who sent the cards off my wishlist. Thanks!
The rare was this card (which is sweet, since I like zombie cards): http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=230786
Just wrote a scene with Bela in it.
This scene is one that RJ left instruction for in his notes; it gave me shivers when reading.
Okay, that scene's done, and it is beyond awesome. Over 3k done; opening another pack sent by Sarah B. ...Mythic rare! http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=247236
Okay, deep breath, back to work at the WoT. Can I be finished by Koloss Head-munching Day? (December 19th.) We shall see...
Who would win—a massive Koloss or an Ogier warrior from Seanchan?
Ogier are far smarter and better-trained. A koloss would have a hard time winning.
(For those confused, Koloss Head-Munching Day happens on my birthday. It has a long backstory that won't fit into my post here.)
The short is this: A fan asked if there were any holidays in the Mistborn world. I jokingly said Koloss Head-Munching Day. Fans ran with it.
For today's A Memory of Light work, I'm jumping back in the book a little ways and catching up a character to the rest.
Just finished re-reading some important bits of WoT Book Two in order to write this next section of A Memory of Light.
When is A Memory of Light out? I thought January, but I've heard it's been put back?
My goal is to finish it by January. Sorry about the delay. It will be next year some time, but probably later in the year.
Current A Memory of Light length: 322,000 words. Moving us to 94% done, though I can't say exactly how much is left. 94% is just a guess at this point.
Just finished a scene in A Memory of Light that ranks among the most visually powerful I've ever done. I REALLY want to see this one in film form.
A lot of questions about the WoT film rights. Universal has the rights. Maybe I should have phrased my last tweet as...
"Dear Universal, please do a good job on the first WoT movie, because you really, REALLY need to get to book 14 and do this scene."
I don't know how far off the WoT film is. The screenwriters produced a new draft of the script a few weeks back. I have not read it.
I would love to see a Wheel of Time movie series or TV miniseries. Has anyone optioned that you can mention?
Universal has the rights. Not an option, but a full buy-out.
Just out of curiosity would you prefer WoT to be a film series or a TV series a la Game of Thrones? Also keep up the great work.
I would prefer television.
Do you know if the film is going to be super-long like the Lord of the Rings movies, split in parts like Harry Potter or something ...
...else? Also, thank you for finishing WoT! I really, really like the books you've written, they're excellent!
By that I mean the WoT books. I like the other books too (especially Mistborn), but not as much as WoT.
Thanks for reading! The plan now is one film that covers Eye of the World, and will be somewhat long.
I don't understand why you wouldn't be working integrally with the screenwriter, I hope they realize that this isn't a movie...
...that they can just pump out. They need to do an amazing job or not waste their time.
I'm hoping they will let me comment on the screenplay, but so far, I've been kind of busy with A Memory of Light...
I haven't read WOT but these A Memory of Light Tweets are making me want to check it out! I've not read any of Jordan's work. Thoughts?
I love the WoT, and have for many years. It is a long journey, however, so be warned.
When is A Memory of Light out; I thought January, but I've heard its been put back?
Gah,this is unacceptable!! You've already delayed this once!!
Not much I can do, I'm afraid. I'm turning it in on time; the date is being set by the publisher.
Okay, that scene is done. Now I have a few quick, one-shot viewpoints to do. People you may not expect.
Do we get a Dark One PoV? Is that question an auto-RAFO?
RAFO, of course. :)
Many thanks, all, for the birthday (and Koloss Head-munching Day) wishes! You are all awesome. To celebrate, I'm writing A Memory of Light. ;)
To get ready for today's writing, I have put on my "Blood and Bloody ashes" shirt from Ta'veren Tees. (https://taverentees.com/threads/)
Note that my wife stole my Koloss Head-Munching Day shirt for the day, which is why I'm not wearing it. (http://store.inkwing.com/happy-koloss-head-munching-day-t-shirt)
Also, for A Memory of Light, I did finish the early-book material I'd left for later, and am back at the ending. My shirt is very appropriate today.
Hm... I haven't given any good A Memory of Light teases today, have I? Well, right now, one of the Forsaken is wearing the image of another Forsaken.
And I was hoping you would say one of the Forsaken was wearing another's pants.
Well, that too, of course.
Still hard at work on A Memory of Light. Today's scenes involve lots of loud noises.
Just curious, have you read the end scenes that RJ wrote? Or are you waiting till you get there?
I read them as soon as I got them. I needed to use them as a target 'goal' for the book.
Now, on to a scene that finally, at long last, fulfills something Min saw long ago...
I've finished all characters except Rand and Mat. (Note, I'm not writing in order; other characters have already-written scenes after this.)
Now, I have to finish Mat's climax, write a few more Rand scenes, then add in RJ's ending material. Then we're done. Very close now.
What are your thoughts on ending the WoT series that Robert Jordan started so long ago? :)
After a few hours with the family, am back at work on A Memory of Light. It's slightly possible that I'll finish it sometime during the night.
Would that make tonight A Memory of Light Eve?
Ha. Yes, I guess it would.
You can follow along, if you wish. I have twenty small points on my outline left to hit. Maybe 10k words or so. I'll tweet as I pass them.
First scene out of twenty finished. (Note that I'm using 'scene' here liberally to mean a point on the plot outline.)
Can you tell us who has the last chapter?
Afraid that would spoil too much.
Note that as I approach an ending, my writing speed goes up, as I get momentum. 10k tonight is not impossible. (Though most days I do 2-3.)
Two out of twenty scenes done. Eighteen left, and A Memory of Light will be finished.
Three out of Twenty of the remaining scenes in A Memory of Light have been finished. (If you're just now seeing this, check back to my last few posts.)
How long was it after the first two books were finished until they were published?
For the first one, about a year. For the next, about six months. This will probably be closer to the first than the second.
Scene four was slightly shorter than the others. 4 out of 20 finished so far tonight.
Scene #5 finished. 25% through the ending of A Memory of Light. Feeling good about these scenes. All is going very well.
Some of you have asked if I got the Magic cards you sent me off of my Amazon wishlist. I did! I'm waiting to open them until I'm done with A Memory of Light.
A few of these scenes are pretty emotional ones for me. It's been a long, long road. I started reading the WoT twenty-one years ago.
Just finished scene #6 out of the 20 remaining in A Memory of Light.
Scene seven is done. Thirteen more to go. This one...this one was tough to write.
I've apparently inspired a drinking game with this on both Twitter and Facebook. I'd join in, but: 1) Mormon. 2) BUSY WRITING END OF WOT. :)
Scene #8 is a tricky one. I know how it has to go, I just need to do it carefully. Getting close to having it right.
Scene #8 is finished. This is going well. I often build momentum like this during a powerful book ending, and this one is very powerful.
We shall see. We've still got three or four hours before I'd normally turn in for bed. If I start to get sleepy, I'll call it for the night.
No sense in pushing on if the quality starts to flag. Knowing myself, though, I'll be too excited to be tired for a while yet. Onward!
Glad to hear things are ending well! I can't wait to read it. Think I have time for a full re-read before A Memory of Light?
Depends on how quickly you read. :)
Cannot wait, but I agree. Is it really going to take a year to edit and publish?
I've done a dozen drafts each of the previous two books. That kind of thing takes a little bit of time...
I just did something to Mat that I've been gleefully waiting to do for three years.
Don't stress the thing I did to Mat too much. It's a little (and fun) thing I've wanted to see him do for a long time.
I have finished scene #9 out of 20 I need to write before A Memory of Light is done.
Best of luck to @BrandSanderson as I turn in for the night. I'm giddy for A Memory of Light.
Hopefully, you will wake to find the book finished.
It's almost 3:30am here and I SHOULD be in bed, but I feel like I need 2 stay up and cheer you on and also to witness THE END!
Ha. Well, there are still hours left to go, I suspect. I started at...what, 9:00 here? I'm to 1/2 and it's almost 2:00?
For those asking, it's almost 2:00 am here. The night is still young.
Just finished Scene #10. Halfway there!
I don't expect it to go longer than those. After editing, I'm pretty sure we'll settle at 350-360k words. (About 10% longer than Towers of Midnight.)
Brace yourselves. I just finished the last Mat Cauthon scene that, in all likelihood, will ever be written.
General writing question: after The editor edits, is it typical for an author to add/rewrite, or only the editor?
Only the author rewrites or adds. Never the editor. (in most cases.)
The fourteenth scene was Mat's, and now I've finished the fifteenth scene. Five more to go, and A Memory of Light is done.
Just finished scene #16. Four more to go. Guess I'm not stopping tonight, eh?
Scene #17 is finished. I was a tad on the longer side for the ones I'm doing here, as are the last three. 5:00 am here.
I keep flashing back to times I've read the WoT books through my life. Looking back, you could call Rand/Mat/Perrin my oldest friends.
Scene #18 is done. Two more to go.
Scene #19 is done. Deep breath. I'm beginning the last scene I will write in the Wheel of Time, then will add RJ's ending.
I've been listening to Pandora as I do this, but am wondering if I should pick a specific song to listen to as I finish. Suggestions?
My choice for a song to play as I write the last few paragraphs here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-0G_FI61a8
Ladies and gentlemen, A Memory of Light—the final book in The Wheel of Time—has been finished.
Now I'll open a metric gigaton of Magic cards that have been sent to me by fans, sleep for a day, and rest until next week.Then: revisions!
As for when the book will come out, Tor should do an announcement soon. Revisions will take a good six months. So fall, I expect.
Another common question: How many revisions will I do? The last two took about a dozen. (On non-WoT books, I do about seven or eight.)
Also, it's going to be tough to give direct replies to questions right now, what with like 1000 people tweeting/facebooking at me. :)
But lots of people are asking about outriggers/prequels. The answer is still the same. We'd rather not risk exploiting RJ's legacy.
It is a step I don't think we want to take. Better to stop while we're ahead. I'm sorry, but they probably won't ever happen.
And now, yes, I will go to sleep. 7am here. That's 10 hours of solid writing after a full day of solid writing, so I'm beat.
Thank you all for the good wishes. May you find water and shade.
Ah. Good morning, all. (Yes, it's five in the afternoon here.) Checking email, and...INBOX EXPLOSION. I guess I was expecting it. :)
I'm trying to get it revised as quickly as I can. This book is going to need a lot of care to make sure I don't miss anything.
Who has the most POVs? Is it a tie between a couple people?
Boy, I haven't counted. Rand/Perrin/Egwene/Mat are all probably about neck and neck.
[Now-protected tweet that said something about Egwene getting so many POVs.]
Well, she IS one of the main characters of the series. It would be kind of odd to leave her out of the Last Battle...
Will there be an audiobook release along side the text (with Micheal perhaps)?
Yes, there should be.
Okay, I'm off until later tonight. Progress on the revision is going well; I expect to be done by mid-February, maybe by the end of January.
Is there an official release date for the final book yet? Last I heard was March.
There isn't yet, though it will be fall. Harriet asked for more time to edit, and I needed time to do more research.
You probably hear this often, but you have done an outstanding job on WOT books. Thank you for honoring Jordan and saving fans. #mistborn
It has been an honor.
I think those who know our different writing styles will be able to pick out the differences.
It depends on how closely one watches the prose.
Working on one of the big, climactic sections at the end of A Memory of Light right now. Not many names left to draw, I'm afraid. A handful, maybe.
There's another of my Wheel of Time musings up at @tordotcom, this one about The Great Hunt. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/02/wheel-of-time-musings-the-great-hunt
By the way, as many have noted, it appears that RJ, myself, and Wheel of Time were involved in a Jeopardy! clue yesterday.
The release date for A Memory of Light, the final volume of The Wheel of Time (@torbooks ), has been revealed: http://bit.ly/x2BVp5
For people wondering, it takes a long time to go from a first draft to final draft. @BrandSanderson did 16 edits on The Gathering Storm.
It must publish before 21.12.2012... what if the Mayan are right?
So...January 2013? Is this because @BrandSanderson needs time to join the witness protection program before the fans learn who dies in A Memory of Light?
No, but I might need to head into it now, once the more vocal fanbase hears their book is delayed a few more months.
My respect for Harriet has gone downhill. I think If I were to look in her eyes all I'd see are $$
I'm not sure why, since this choice might end up costing her money. It certainly isn't a market decision.
The release date for A Memory of Light has been set. Here are my thoughts. http://brandonsanderson.com/blog/1058/A-MEMORY-OF-LIGHT-Release-Date
For anyone having trouble reaching my blog post on the release date of A Memory of Light, it's mirrored on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/notes/brandon-sanderson/a-memory-of-light-release-date/10150562895062219
Wetlandernw from the Tor.com reread offered some insight into the cover DKS was working on, from her recollection of a conversation she had with Brandon at a signing.
In a conversation at a signing (14 September 2010) the subject of the cover art came up. My recording of the conversation got wiped out by a certain 9-year-old, so I can't give the exact wording, but he said something like this. Mr. Sweet needed something to work with, to get started on the Memory of Light cover art, so Harriet went to Brandon and asked if he had any suggestions. He immediately thought of a particular event or scene which hadn't yet been written, but of which he had a pretty good mental image. He wrote up a 3-4 page description of the scene for her; she liked it and passed it on to DKS. At the time of my conversation with him, he had seen (what I now realize was) the concept art, and he loved it. It was, in his opinion, the best in the series. With the awareness that Brandon has always liked the DKS art, it seemed like a pretty high recommendation. It also made me really want to see it—both the art itself, and the scene Brandon thought would be the perfect cover for the final book.
No. Nice try! That's eliminating one theory, I'll give you that one.
Was Aviendha in Tel'aran'rhiod or in a mirror/portal world when she met Nakomi?
Is Nakomi Jenn Aiel?
[laughs and grins] I should RAFO that shouldn't I?
I'd appreciate it if you didn't.
[laughs] I want Nakomi....We're gonna RAFO that for now. Nakomi needs...there's gotta be a few things I don't answer. I'm so bad, I answer everything Robert Jordan put an answer [for, to?] [bunch of people laugh]. Track me down another time, after A Memory of Light is out.
I've been thinking lately of ways to give away digital copies of my books when you buy a hardcover. There are some issues with this.
I don't know much about the logistics; it may be impossible. If there is a way to make this work, I'd propose it to Tor and Harriet for A Memory of Light.
Here's a reddit thread where I mention issues with the process. Weigh in here or in that thread to give me advice.
The only way I could think of would be to include one-time use codes with the books. But what's to stop people from selling?
Yeah. The other problem with that is securing the code. Books aren't wrapped up, so the code could be scratched off/stolen easily.
My preferred method would be to put a code in a book that, then, you can redeem for free or a small price. But how do we secure it?
You don't. Your stuff is already being pirated and publishers shouldn't consider those lost sales. Trust people a la Apple.
I'm not worried about piracy. However, a digital code that can be used many times seems foolish. A one-use would be stolen.
One use has to be secured, or the person buying the book is in danger of being ripped off.
Multi-use means that we're hosting the book, and paying the bandwidth, for those who want to pirate. Bad idea, I think.
I'll host it for you. :) No charge.
Lol. One other problem is that this needs to be reasonable enough to the publisher's ears to get them to go along.
My point exactly. Big Pub doesn't get the new model. They consider pirated copies as lost sales. See Seth Godin for new model.
The publishers aren't as ignorant as you think. The investors, however, are another story. (You're right about them.)
Tor has done plenty of giving away free, DRM-free ebooks. They did it with Mistborn, for example.
Ah! To me as an outsider they are one and the same. :)
Publishers and editors in sf/f tend to be techies. Notice that Cory Doctorow, with Tor's blessing, releases all of his books for free.
How is Marvel doing it? They don't tend to wrap Comics either.
I think you order directly from them, and they send you the comic and deliver through their own secure app.
Baen used to put a CD copy of the book inside the hardcover versions of @davidweber1 Honor Harrington books.
I asked if we could do that, and the answer was that it was expensive enough it couldn't become the standard.
Maybe like a gift card where it's only active after purchase?
Yeah, this is probably the best idea. I don't know how hard that is to accomplish, though.
A lot of textbooks used to include a disc in the book for additional material. Discs are a bit harder to steal than codes.
Textbooks also have a much larger profit margin than novels. I asked about discs for my last book, and the publisher said no.
They said it was just too expensive.
Old school tech, I know, but how about a coupon you have to fill in with your email address then post back to the publisher?
Ha. You know, I never thought about that. The problem is, how do we keep people from stealing them out of the books?
People with a nice hardcover don't want to cut their book apart to get a coupon.
Here are a couple of problems with what people are suggesting. 1) We don't want to shrink wrap books, but a code can be stolen very easily.
Anything involving the retailer verifying a code, or printing one out, requires large-scale involvement of retailers.
That's not something I can change. They may be working on this already. I want something I could take to Tor, that we could do in house.
Or if you're talking about securing the code in the book...it seems easy enough with textbooks. Peel-off? :)
People would walk into the store, peel off the sticker, write down the code, then sell it or use it.
How do you stop people from sharing a hardcover copy?
The physical product can be made to set off an alarm. A code can be copied and carried out.
Could codes be single use? That would largely get around the securing problem?
People would walk into the store, write down the code, go home and download the book.
What about one-time scratch codes like what's used on gift cards?
Those are usually activated by the retailer. I'd love for us to be able to do that, but it would involve more than I can do.
Another issue with this is that if I did it, I would need it to work for indy booksellers and not just Amazon/Barnes & Noble.
Can you sell the digital copy at http://tor.com, which provides a coupon for the hardcover?
This is actually what I proposed to Tor a few years back, and they said they didn't want to offend the retailers.
I still like the idea, though.
I won't have time to reply to everyone here, but keep sending thoughts. I'll read and see if I can come up with something to take to Tor.
How about this: Put the code in the book. Don't secure it. Each code works three times. Hope people don't abuse it.
That risks punishing the person who buys the book (but their code has been stolen and used.)
More on the A Memory of Light ebook thing. What would you guys think if I tried to talk Tor into a 'special edition' release.
A kind of 'boxed set' that came with hardcover, ebook, audiobook, a medallion or other keepsake, and maybe some interviews with me & Harriet.
Shrink wrapped & sold at bookstores for, say, $50 instead of $30? Does that get too far away from the 'free ebook w/the hardcover' concept?
It does seem to defeat the purpose, as far as most people would be concerned. Though many would buy it.
A Memory of Light e-book release announced with three month gap. Can you explain the rationale behind this? Lot of vitriol on Tor site.
Harriet worries, among other things, at the impact on the bestseller lists by releasing at the same time.
Ebooks make her uncomfortable.
Making us wait three three months for the A Memory of Light ebook is very obnoxious and shows contempt for the fan base. I have been reading...
...WOT since 1992 and deeply resent this type of staggering.
I've been working on it. The delay is not Tor, but Harriet, who worries at the implications of releasing an ebook immediately.
She originally wanted a six month, or longer, delay. I was able to persuade her to move to three months.
Brandon tried to get moments for every character in A Memory of Light. Egwene is ready to be bad ass in the Last Battle; her character development is done.
Perth Exclusive for #WoT counted scenes by viewpoint. Rand has the most viewpoints in A Memory of Light, not a huge margin. Others tied.
Caveat, still revising A Memory of Light, so that can change.
It's not much but Brandon S just told me that Lan has the most POVs in A Memory of Light, only just ahead of Rand. But that could change with editing.
I thought he said Rand ahead of the other main characters?
That doesn't even make sense. :s Sure, Lan is vital, but it's hard to see how the story could focus on him that much.
Confirmed it was Rand with the highest number of POV scenes in A Memory of Light (at the moment).
Ask him if there is a Waygate anywhere near Lugard. We suspect that Ogier-built Shaemal was somewhere in Murandy.
Why does it matter where Shaemal is?
It only matters because of the possibility of a Waygate in Murandy, which is why I phrased the question the way I did.
It has to do with the theory that Roedran is Demandred. ;)
Okay, I'll ask that one next time!
Answer re Lugard Waygate: "*chuckles* That's clever! Anything I say will give away too much, so I'll have to RAFO that one."
/r/Fantasy is closing in on 10,000 readers and, to celebrate, one lucky r/Fantasy member will win a hardcover copy of The Name of the Wind or The Wise Man's Fear—signed by Patrick Rothfuss with a personalized message of the winner's choice.
To enter, simply put your favorite fantasy-related quote below. Don't have a favorite quote? Hmm...google one up or just write down something clever.
At an arbitrary point of my choosing on Friday, February 3rd I will tally up the total number of people who entered and use a random number generator to help pick the winner.
So tempted to post a quote from the unpublished last book of the Wheel of Time here.
If you win, your personalised inscription could be one for the ages.
"I, Patrick Rothfuss, acknowledge that Brandon Sanderson's beard is superior to mine."
Ha. Now that might just be worth it...
Of course, I already have Pat's books signed to me. I don't want to take the chance from anyone else. More importantly, though, I haven't gotten back edits on A Memory of Light from Harriet yet—so any line I post could be one that she decided to cut, or one she found a continuity error in. If I had a draft she'd seen, I might actually do it.
Mat does say "Blood and Bloody Ashes!" a few times, though. Does that count?
If not, at least post a quote from another source. I find it interesting to see what one the best writers of the genre (not to blow smoke up your ass) favorite quote is.
From the Wheel of Time, it's Lan's "Portion of Wisdom" quote.
"You can never know everything, and part of what you do know will always be wrong. Perhaps even the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing this. A portion of courage lies in going on anyway."
From any fantasy work? Wow, that would be a tough one. Maybe Vimes on the economics of buying new footwear?
When Robert Jordan, one of his favourite authors, died in 2007, Sanderson wrote a eulogy on his blog. (You can read it here.) It came to the notice of Harriet McDougal, Jordan's widow. She had promised her late husband that she would ensure the series was finished, and as an editor of note herself, she was in a good position to choose a worthy successor. After being moved by Sanderson's eulogy, she hunted for his work, discovered The Final Empire and knew she'd found a writer worthy of bearing her husband's sceptre.
"The call came out of the blue," says Sanderson. "I felt excited, humbled and honoured all once." It was decided that the projected final volume, A Memory of Light, would be split in three. The first, The Gathering Storm was published in 2009, followed in 2010 by Towers of Midnight. Fans eagerly await the release of A Memory of Light in January 2013.
Tor and Harriet have set the release date for A Memory of Light. Again. While I've been working on the book, this has happened a half dozen times, with varying levels of publicity surrounding the date.
This time we're saying January 8th. How likely is this one? Well, honestly, I don't know. Seems like it's the most firm of the lot. However, you've got to understand a couple of things.
First off, I don't set release dates, particularly not on these books. I pick my deadlines, then work to meet them. Tor and Harriet decide when the book is going to come out, judging by editing requirements, market factors, and the workings of the publishing machine. I didn't find out this one had been set as this day until long after the fact. So please, complaining to me . . . well, it's just not going to do anything but distract me from working on the book.
Secondly, Harriet is very, VERY worried about getting this book right. It's the last book in the series. There are no chances to change things after this, and revising a book like this takes time. Harriet would probably prefer even more space than this publication date gives us. She also isn't capable of pulling the long hours she might once have pulled. (And she shouldn't be expected to.)
It's not all on Harriet, though, not by a mile. I turned in a 360,000-word book. That's 20% longer than what they wanted, and that means each step of editing and production will require 20% more time than they had set aside. In addition, while I've set my own deadlines, I've come right up against them and (in a few cases) tiptoed across. For example, instead of sending a revised book at the end of December, I only had a first draft. That's the length pushing me back and making me revise expectations.
I realize that all you care about is getting your book, and this sounds like a lot of excuses. But here's the thing. You'll get the book when Harriet is ready to give it to you. Not before. If this were just me, I could work a big pile of 16-hour days and get it to you in the fall. But it's not just me, and beyond that, the last time I did that (on Towers of Midnight, which went through eleven drafts) we ended up with a pile of typos and wore Harriet out so much she said she didn't recover for well over six months.
I sincerely thought that we'd be releasing the book this fall. January 8th was a surprise to me when they told me. However, Harriet picked the last possible week the book could reasonably come out, because she wants as much time as possible to edit it.
I still think it's very possible that all will go smoothly and Harriet will push the book up. It happened with The Gathering Storm, I believe, though that was only pushed up by a week. However, for now, we just have to assume January 8th is when it's coming out.
Something which just occurred to me was that, other than editors, advance reviewers, etc. the first people who will get their hands on the conclusion to The Wheel of Time will be the audiobook narrators—including Kramer, who has been a constant voice in the series. You've written that the final words in the series are Robert Jordan's—can you give away whether the final voice on the audiobook might be Kramer's?
Ha! I can't give you something like that. I'm sorry. Nice try, though.
Yeah, oh yeah. That's a very fair assessment. That's the situation I'm in. I was so tongue-tied, Louie, that I don't think I was able to even speak two words together. I wrote her an email the next day that said, "Dear Harriet. I promise I'm not an idiot, even though I sounded like one." I took that whole night thinking about it. And eventually what I came up with was that I didn't think anyone could replace him, I didn't think I could replace him. I did not think that I could write as good a book as Robert Jordan could have, and I still don't think anyone could have written as good a book, because he should be here to write this book.
But I came to a decision that night. I realized if someone was going to write this book, I wanted it to be me. If it couldn't be Robert Jordan, I wanted it to be in the hands of somebody who loved and revered the series. I'd read some of the books eight times at that point. I'd reread most of the series all the way through often when a new book would come out. I knew that at least then it would be in the hands of someone who wouldn't take it and run off with it and make it their own, but would have tried to make it see his vision and be his story. And I'd made that decision, I realized, yes, I do want to do this. It's a tragedy that we lost him, but if I'm doing it, then I know it won't be screwed up. And so that's when I wrote her the email and said, "Harriet, I'm sorry I sounded like an idiot. I do want to do this, and these are the reasons."
That is an awesome theory. No. But I am very glad you came up with it—it fits very neatly with how Sanderson would have done it. But still, no.
Can you tell me the actual cause for the difference?
Haha, no. RAFO.
Can you tell me what the Crossroads of Twilight superpack are hunting?
Ummm. No, I still might... it still might be in the books. So RAFO. But if it’s not in the books then it’s open for you all to ask again after A Memory of Light. But for now, RAFO.
*we talked about this for a while, and I didn’t take any notes on that part of the conversation (so it was nothing big) we dropped back into interesting stuff a bit later and I resumed note taking*
I will say that, in the course of writing A Memory of Light, I learned some very interesting things that went against some strong preconceptions I had about the Horn. Some of the ideas I had, about how it worked, turned out to be incorrect.
Why are they choosing Callandor over the Choedan Kal?
Well, not even that, really, because two of those have nothing to do with the Callandor. I guess it’s more, was there something dodgy... did they know something about the Choedan Kal... why did they leave it?
There is a reason. It has to do with Callandor being key to the ending, and the Choedan Kal not.
No, no it’s fine. His name was Darrell Sweet, and no. Look it was a hard decision, but we talked about using the original sketching and—
Oh, no, I meant like... the concept. Like will he be drawing the same scene?
Oh, right. No. No, I originally sent the suggestion of three different scenes, and Michael and Tor’s art coordinator, Irene...
Yeah. Michael and Irene chose a different one between them than Darrell and Irene had.
Brandon again spoke of Aviendha and the Aiel, due to the way they think, mentioning how he went through several drafts and back and forths with Harriet, whilst doing multiple re-reads of Aviendha’s POVs.
Then he spoke of Mat, saying that Mat is such a complicated character, though you might not think he is at first glance. He is an unreliable narrator, with vast differences between how he thinks and how he acts, and that Jim’s Mat POV’s are some of the best in the series. He then spoke of his own writing and that because of these elements it’s easy to miss things with Mat, and that that is why his early scenes in The Gathering Storm are not as good as his scenes in Towers of Midnight, where Brandon began to ‘get him’. Brandon finished by saying he’s best in A Memory of Light.
Hey went to the signing in Sydney tonight. Nothing really new, except that both times he spoke of the climax of the series (that Jordan had written) he spoke of it as one chapter (he spoke much the same in Melbourne too, but I didn't really note it then).
The second thing is that someone asked whether he had freaked Harriet out with how well he channeled Jordan, and he replied that he had freaked Harriet out, though not so much for that as for some of his crazy ideas. He said he thought Jordan would have been innovating and creating as the process of writing unfolded, and that he did much the same, throwing thoughts at Harriet, some of which made it into the book. An example of one which didn't end up in the books, and which apparently Harriet 'freaked' out about was that he suggested Perrin might take up the Way of the Leaf.
Amadine just reported that the answer to Terez's question of 'Was Taim's palace made from Shayol Ghul stone' was 'yes'.
Here is the message I sent Ama: Tell Brandon I said hi. Oh, and ask if Taim's palace is made of Shayol Ghul rock. Tell him Terez was very cranky with me that I didn't ask. LOL. James.
Ama's reply: The answer is yes!!!
As far as I recall, yes. But I'm not a hundred per cent sure.
No notable expression changes. Can someone check that map on Deviant Art?
There will be a map in A Memory of Light. (Added something along the lines about not being aware of debate on the location.)
I wish I'd had the full background on the debate on this one with me. As it was, I didn't have enough to describe with any clarity. I know the basics of the contradiction but not the full story.
No.(Will we know more?) They will be partially revealed.
This one I can't remember too well from the notes taken, so the wording may be a little off. He looked certain and a little cheerful on this one.
I can tell you it will be addressed in the book. (A bit more was said, but not much save me acknowledging I had not expected much of an answer from this one.)
Yes, you ask a terrible question...and you actually get a better, less pitying answer than it merits. I was not very hopeful with this question but could not think of a way to de-RAFO-worthy it.
Again, you ask a terrible question...BUT THERE IS MORE ON THIS.
I think he felt a little sad about my Sorilea attempt and his inevitable RAFO, and thus offered the following tidbit:
"At least one of the named characters is an unrevealed Darkfriend."
I know that this is pretty much a given anyway, but the way he said it—the way he presented it (with this gleam in his eyes and an invisible flourish) it suggests it is...not any old named character, but one with some importance. Of course, that is just my opinion and as such is...debatable.
But have we a list of second- and third-tier named characters who could possibly be Darkfriends?
Will there be fighting in the Waste? That is, Shadowspawn?
For Shaido = remnant of a remnant. I think he knew EXACTLY what I was not asking.
This one I basically composed on the spot, so it got the answer it merited.
The darkness surrounding Bashere—can you give us any info on that? Was it caused by his past actions or by his future actions, or is it a result of someone else's actions against him?
What I can tell you is that being surrounded by darkness is rarely a good thing in the WoT world.
Was trying to attack the Bashere = Darkfriend uncertainty, but, uh...This was in direct response to the tidbit he considered tasty mentioned earlier on.
Will the kindle edition of A Memory of Light be released at the same time, as the hardcover?
I'm afraid that Harriet has decided there should be a delayed ebook release.
I'm afraid not. Harriet would rather it be special to JordanCon.
Tor dot com has posted the single-scene excerpt from the prologue of A Memory of Light that Harriet read at JordanCon.
Harriet read the first scene of the prologue of A Memory of Light, which was from the point of view of Bayrd, a member of Jarid Sarand's army, whose family had remained loyal to House Sarand for years. The scene told of the army's suffering as a result of starvation (they had resorted to boiling bits of grass and leather to try to eat) and also due to a bubble of evil which had turned all the metal in the camp soft and pliable. Jarid Sarand, however, was convinced that the hardships the army had been struggling with were the work of Elayne and her Aes Sedai 'witches' (Jarid seemed just a little bit looney). Because all the metal weapons were no longer useful, Bayrd resorted to fashioning a spear point from slate to replace a metal one. The scene ended with Bayrd restraining Jarid by tying him to a tree and the remainder of Sarand's army leaving to head north to fight for Andor in the Last Battle.
The excerpt from the Prologue of A Memory of Light was released a few days later by Tor.
Harriet was asked about the change in the publication date for A Memory of Light from November 2012 to January 2013.
She noted that the publication date previously set by Tor was November 27, 2012, which falls after Thanksgiving. Upon seeing that release date, Harriet felt that it would be too late for substantial marketing and sales for the holiday season, and probably more importantly, she felt strongly that she didn't want to rush this final book in any way. Therefore, it was decided to move the release date to January 8, 2013, which will provide extra time for editing but still falls within the Year of the Dragon.
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.
Harriet indicated that the Whelan cover art is actually done and originally was going to be revealed at JordanCon. (Whelan was tapped to do the cover of the ebook of A Memory of Light before Darrell K. Sweet passed away.) However, because Darrell K. Sweet, Jr., was kind enough to bring to JordanCon several of his father's original paintings for the cover art of the previous books, as well as the preliminary version of Sweet's A Memory of Light cover, it was decided to celebrate the work of Darrell K. Sweet at JordanCon and to wait for a while before the Whelan cover art is revealed.
It was also mentioned that Whelan initially sent a number of versions of the cover art to Team Jordan and Tor for review before he produced the final version for A Memory of Light. The scene depicted is a different one than that shown in Darrell K. Sweet's preliminary artwork. Also, at one point it was mentioned that Whelan sent out a query to someone asking, "What's a ter'angreal?"
The preliminary version of Darrell K. Sweet's cover for A Memory of Light may be see here, along with some of his other Wheel of Time covers.
There's a good chance that the book cover will be shown this weekend, Nynaeve will be TINY in the back flap.
During the A Memory of Light reading/panel this was sadly not confirmed—the cover is ready but not for viewing at this time. (see Marie's write-up of the A Memory of Light reading for more details).
He indicated that [Bayrd's POV] was not the part of this prologue that RJ wrote. Meaning that scene was his.
I thought he did a really good job with it. Very RJ-esque in my opinion.
The scene depicts Min, Aviendha, and Elayne gathered on a battlefield around what is presumably a funeral pyre for Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn. What we recognize as a yin/yang appears in the clouds, possibly signifying a unity that has evaded male and female channelers for over 3000 years.
We are very excited to reveal the cover to A Memory of Light, the final volume of Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. The artwork for this final edition is by, arguably, one of today’s most beloved illustrators, Michael Whelan.
The task of jumping into a 14 volume series on its last installment must have been a daunting one but Michael rose to the occasion. Harriet McDougal, Jordan’s editor and widow remarked, "that is the Rand I have waited to see for twenty years” when she saw the image. And while the artwork clearly has all the earmarks of a Whelan painting, its theme and coloration make it a fitting heir to Darrell K. Sweet’s series of Wheel of Time covers.
In keeping with the series’ covers, the scene gathers elements from a key scene in the book. Here, Rand stands with Callandor on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, heading down into its depths to confront the Dark One even as the sun itself vanishes from the world. Two Aes Sedai follow the Dragon Reborn into the mouth of darkness, two women who have been with Rand since the very beginning.
Not sure why there's still confusion. It's Nynaeve and Moiraine on the back cover. The yellow and blue dresses should make that apparent. Nynaeve's hair is obviously shorter than it used to be.
I spoke to Michael about the cover as he was finishing it. Since he didn't have the opportunity to read all fourteen books for the assignment, I was one of the people he leaned on to fact check his work.
Michael mentioned there are details the readers (like me) wouldn't be privy to yet. For example, Nynaeve takes the bulk of her jewelry off before this scene.
Callandor is a sword that isn't a sword, right? He's not holding it for defense. It's a source of power as well as his source of light (there's a clue about that in the lighting on his face). He's shielding his eyes as he stares in to the pit. Apparently, the deeper he goes into Shayol Ghul, the brighter it shines.
A little background that some might not know... Michael has studied martial arts, including Filipino Kali and Arnis. The forearm slash position actually has some utility in fights with bladed weapons.
Compositionally, the line of the sword is another element that draws you into the intensity of Rand's stare. Further, the opening of the cave is the shape of an eye; the eclipse suggests an iris. It's as if the gaze of the Dark One is falling on Rand. We see his strength and determination in response. How many illustrators can convey that kind of depth in a scene?
Say what you will, but I think Michael brought a lot to the plate on what was a very difficult cover assignment. He put his stamp on Rand while producing a cover that fits well with the first thirteen that DKS painted.
Thanks for confirming that. However, Nynaeve's hair is still the wrong color and, while it's shorter after the Aes Sedai testing in Towers of Midnight, it should still be in a shoulder-length braid. She never gave up her signature braid. That's why many people don't think it looks like Nynaeve—the braid is the main thing that would identify her as Nynaeve to the readers.
The loose light hair makes the woman on the cover look more like Alivia, who many fans believe is the woman in yellow. So I'm still of the opinion that Whelan did not do a good job with Nynaeve if longtime fans don't even recognize her. I think it's a beautiful cover, but as a reader, the main thing I care about is seeing the characters—who we have been reading about for twenty years—done right, not so much whether the cave looks realistic or happens to symbolize the Dark One spying on Rand. So it's disappointing that Nynaeve ended up virtually unrecognizable. She doesn't even wear yellow dresses in the books, despite being Yellow Ajah (she makes a point of wearing green or blue since that's what Lan likes), so that's not something that makes the woman's identity apparent either.
If you don't mind me asking (not trying to be rude here, it just strikes me as a bit strange), why did Whelan rely on fans to check his work instead of Team Jordan? I'm assuming you work for Tor, but you refer to yourself as a reader who hasn't read the book. To what extent were Brandon Sanderson and Team Jordan involved with the creative process behind this cover?
I was just one of the people helping with the details. Obviously Michael had Irene Gallo's art direction and was in contact with editors including Harriet.
Michael's wife Audrey usually serves as his sounding board, but she hadn't read the books. (For the record, I'm not affiliated with TOR. I've worked with Michael since the mid 90s, primarily on his website.) I'm a WoT fan and that's the kind of feedback Michael was looking for... someone he knew who had read the previous thirteen books.
Michael and I did discuss Nynaeve's dress color. I mentioned that she catered to Lan's color preference of green and blue. The yellow of her Ajah usually came in slashes of color, accents if I recall correctly.
Like I said, I haven't read the manuscript for A Memory of Light and Michael couldn't talk about it. But I distinctly recall Nynaeve taking pride in being a true Aes Sedai finally. Going into the Last Battle, I don't think it's a stretch that she would choose yellow. I suppose we'll have to RAFO on that.
In the background information I provided, I described Nynaeve's hair color as darker brown and referenced previous covers (among them the Melanie Delon's cover for A Crown of Swords that drew criticism for being too red).
I'd have to ask him why he chose lighter highlights. Just my speculation here, but Callandor is a light source. There's also illumination from the eclipse filtering in from the mouth of the cave to consider.
Michael got the length of Nynaeve's hair right, and this isn't simply opinion. Hopefully Brandon or Harriet will confirm at some point that her shoulder length hair was too short to braid.
Interestingly, Michael and I spoke about the challenge of pulling character descriptions from the text. If you're familiar with his illustration, he's known as a stickler for details. But it isn't always easy to translate text literally, especially when Jordan and Sanderson contradict in their description.
In correspondence, Michael wrote,
"Major characters are described as diminutive in size, yet 'commanding' in presence. Faces are youthful, yet ageless. Or young but having eyes full of wisdom of the ages. Rand is tall and manly, yet has an almost "feminine" beauty in his eyes or mouth. It's a bit confusing how one is supposed to render such conflicting elements."
Honestly, I don't mind the nitpicking. Criticism comes with the territory. My point in responding is to state that Michael was mindful of details here. There's evidence of it in the painting. I can tell you that he had Moiraine's kesiera and Nynaeve's ki'sain accounted for before I even spoke to him.
On a personal note, I had the privilege of meeting Robert Jordan before a signing on the Knife of Dreams tour. One of the things we talked about was the cover art for the series. I think Mr. Jordan would be pleased with this one. Obviously Harriet was when she said, "that is the Rand I have waited to see for twenty years."
Firstly, thank you very much for the thorough answer. It answered many of my questions, and it was also interesting to hear more about the creative process behind the cover.
[Nynaeve's hair] got singed off "a handspan below her shoulders" (Towers of Midnight ch 20), and she wore a shoulder-length braid in every scene she was in after the Aes Sedai testing. That's why it seemed odd for her signature braid to be missing on the cover. I don't really care about the dress or even much about the hair color, but Nynaeve isn't Nynaeve without her braid—it's part of who she is. It's like Mat showing up without his hat and ashandarei. And the ki'sain is too small to be visible, so it doesn't do anything to make the woman on the cover look more like Nynaeve.
I also wish Nynaeve and Moiraine hadn't been delegated to the background/back cover—since they're going to be linked with him, they deserve to stand at his side. But that's not an error, just something I wish were different.
However, while the cover isn't what I hoped for, I understand and deeply appreciate that you and Whelan both worked incredibly hard on it, and Whelan remains one of my favorite illustrators. I think he did a wonderful job with Rand.
I appreciate the sentiment but Michael did the actual work. He pushed his calendar aside this spring to make the cover happen. I was just support. But I will admit it took a lot of restraint on my part not to inundate him with questions that I knew he couldn't answer, so there is that.
As readers, we all have so much invested in this series that I completely understand what you're saying. I love Brandon's work, but I felt Towers of Midnight was a bit of a letdown, especially the resolution with Moiraine.
Moiraine has always been a favorite of mine. I would have liked to see her on the front cover as well. Thankfully Dan Dos Santos gave us that in his brilliant cover for The Fires of Heaven.
I think MRJackson & Mr. Whelan made a very good point, in that we have not yet read this book. By the time this scene happens, we may see several other events that make sense of the seeming discrepancies. Specifically, there are only two scenes after Nynaeve's testing which mention her braid, and in both cases it is specifically noted that it is too short and she finds it quite annoying. Quite possibly she'll meet up with Lan and find out that he likes it loose, or she'll simply decide that it's too irritating to fuss with a too-short braid, and we'll see her with loose hair in several scenes before this.
Someone was bothered earlier by the missing jewelry—but now we know that she specifically and deliberately removed the jewelry before this scene, probably so that someone else could use them. (That's what happened during the Cleansing; why not here as well?) Seems to me that we should make the assumption that the same kind of thing might happen with The Braid, instead of insisting that she should look like she did in the previous book, and claiming any discrepancies as mistakes. Such claims are not only rude, they are unfounded. Once the book is out and we've read the whole thing, we might have grounds for nitpicking; until then, not so much.
MRJackson—Thank you for your contributions, both to this thread and to Mr. Whelan.
Glad to be of help. Maybe someday we'll find closure in the great braid debate...
Seriously though, Michael painted Nynaeve's hair at that length (without a braid) for a reason. I wasn't trying to sidestep debate. I was expressing certainty. Michael was aware that the braid was an identifying feature of her character. The painting turned out the way it did through a long process that involved editorial input. I'll leave it at that.
I look at it this way (and this is my opinion)... Nynaeve has grown enormously through the books. She was always uniquely powerful, but it took time for her to grow into that power. More so, it took a dozen books to accept herself and decide who she wanted to be.
Nynaeve worked through enormous difficulty to channel reliably. Remember how she used to tug on that braid? It really was a symbol of who she used to be. Kind of fitting that the symbol is gone.
Old habits die hard, of course, but she isn't that girl tugging on her braid any more. She's a woman who fought to gain acceptance as an Aes Sedai, and she's going to stand at Rand side to face the Dark One. It's impressive how far she's come as a character.
The Fires of Heaven ebook cover was definitely one of the best, though there were a few things the artist got wrong (Moiraine does not have blue eyes). The New Spring cover was great too, especially Lan. It's mostly Nynaeve who has suffered bad luck with the ebook covers. There's A Crown of Swords where she got red hair and Lan looked like an underwater zombie, Winter's Heart where she didn't appear at all despite being linked with Rand for the Cleansing, The Path of Daggers where she got a Saldaean nose and Elayne looked suspiciously like Jean Grey...
I think much of my disappointment with the A Memory of Light cover stems from the fact that there's already an earlier cover (Winter's Heart) where Rand claimed the stage and his female linking partner was left out. "Hero poses manfully brandishing some kind of phallic object" is a pretty tired concept, especially on WoT covers. Rand does the same on Sweet's The Dragon Reborn and The Path of Daggers, the ebook covers for The Dragon Reborn, Winter's Heart, Knife of Dreams... Winter's Heart is probably the worst offender, if you look at the placement of the Choedan Kal. ;)
Sweet's A Memory of Light cover was a welcome break from that—I'm not usually a fan of Sweet's covers, but I liked that he gave Elayne, Min, and Aviendha a prominent role and added some emotion to the cover. So I really would have liked to see something different on the final cover, like Rand having the two women from the Callandor circle at his side. Here, Nynaeve and Moiraine are present, but only in the background, and not at all on the ebook cover.
The only female lead who held the cover spotlight on par with the men was Moiraine, and that is a shame.
There was definitely opportunity to feature Nynaeve linked with Rand on Winter's Heart. Despite the hair, I liked Nynaeve on the cover of A Crown of Swords. Lan not so much. The Path of Daggers was another miss, mostly because the colors were a distraction. I thought I was looking at an X-Men cover. Even if that was intentional, it didn't work for me.
I can only assume Rand was intended to stand at center stage alone on the last cover, but I think what you suggest would have been great too. Moiraine and Nynaeve definitely earned their place at Rand's side on the front.
That was a beautiful description of why Nynaeve is one of the most compelling characters in the series. She and Moiraine kept me invested during some dark years of almost giving up on WOT. I always hoped they would be the other Callandor channelers, as I could not imagine Rand putting himself in such a vulnerable position with anyone else. Aviendha, Min and Elayne included, though I do love Aviendha! So thank you for shedding light on why some things are portrayed as they are on this excellent new cover. Just don't think that it will put a dent in the debate. ;)
Thanks. I feel much the same way about those characters, and I'm sure the debate will keep going on well after the publication of A Memory of Light.
Mr. Jackson (your name isn't Michael is it? because that would be unfortunate),
Thanks for the reassurances. Do you happen to know if specs were given for the eclipse? We're wondering if we can assume it's accurately portrayed from the perspective of an astronomer (we have one of those at Theoryland, and a hobbyist as well). That's not to say we can figure anything out about it right now, or even that we'll be able to figure it out when the book comes out judging on recent portrayal of chronology. Just curious. No worries if no particular care was taken to portray it accurately; I understand it's complicated, but it could have been made simple if RJ left notes about it. Also curious as to why it didn't show up until the final draft.
We didn't talk about it, but I can ask him. Michael has more than a passing interest in astronomy so it's possible.
And M and R are my initials...
The few pages of manuscript I was given to work from didn't have any mention of an eclipse. The subject didn't come up until I had done several conceptual renderings. After sending some of them to TOR I got an email from Irene telling me that if I showed the sky through the mouth of the cave I might want to work an eclipse into the scene.
For reference I looked at a lot of photos of eclipses and liked the idea (for symbolic reasons) of indicating an imminent annular eclipse, the kind where the moon doesn't entirely cover the sun but leaves a thin ring of light in the sky.
Anyone know why his left hand is hidden? I think it is because his hand grows back and they didn't want to give that part away (The Dragon Reborn is causing all sorts of broken things to go good again).
Nice thought but Michael was just hiding the stump.
I'm sorry I don't have more specific WoT posts for you—I know that Harriet prefers me to be more closed-mouthed. However...
Maria from Team Jordan has finished her revision notes for the entire book, as has Harriet herself. So we're only waiting on Alan's notes.
As he's playing "Great Captain" for me on A Memory of Light, his notes are vital—and he needs to be detailed. When I get them, I can finish revising.
Sooooo...there might be a sooner release date than the current for January?
It is possible, but I don't know how likely.
Darn, I need to haste to be ready for A Memory of Light once it releases. Is there gonna be a ebook version along with the physical book?
(Winces.) Harriet has a distrust of ebooks; she prefers to delay the release. It is her call. (Ebook is a few months later.)
Do we have chapter names yet? Or do you know how many chapters there will be? Or is that a secret?
No chapter names yet, as it won't be until this draft is finished that I settle on the number of chapters. Some are being combined.
I'm truly hoping this book is 1/3 battles/fights.
More than 1/3, I'd say...
Forgive me for not understanding, but what does this mean? Release date's not going to change, is it?
Probably not. It's just a progress update, so people know things are still moving behind-the-scenes.
How's The Stormlight Archive coming? I need more.
A Memory of Light comes first. I will get to the next Stormlight book soon, but not until A Memory of Light is done to my satisfaction.
So this means we will be reading the final volume sooner than first announced?
It is possible, but I don't know how likely. I still need to do two drafts, I feel. Then there are beta reads, then proofreads, then we need at least two months to get the books printed and shipped.
What does it take to be one of the beta readers?
Be one of the major members of fandom for years, and personally know Harriet. (Sorry.)
WoT update: Today, I added a new Rand scene to the book. One of many I've been working on, but this one came together first.
? Is it a complete NEW scene? If so is it because the editors thought it would fit into the book more, is this the second draft?
New scene. We often add new scenes in the second, third, or even last drafts of a book.
Feel free to add as much as the binding will allow!! Thanks for everything! By the way do you have an updated word count estimate?
No updated count yet. We'll see how much more I add this time around—I'm cutting it too.
Can/Will you tell us anything about it? Please? :)
I'm afraid I can't say much. I try to be extra-careful with WoT scenes out of respect for Harriet.
When is the last book being published? I can't believe it's the end of the series already.
Brandon drew a graph of A Memory of Light's structure and explained in some details how he ended up re structuring it as three books. Not much that isn't already known in there, book 12 will have two main story lines (we know it's Rand and Egwene, but as I said Brandon didn't say so explicitly at the Q&A) and teasers for three more (Mat—and seemingly Perrin and Elayne). By 'teasers', Brandon precised he means 3 or 4 chapters per story line, the rest of the chapters being divided between the two main story lines (by recent books, this could means Egwene/Rand have about 10-12 chapters each, or a few more). Some developments happen in the teasers but it's not huge stuff, more like set ups chapters for what happens in book 13.
Book 13 will have the opposite, with 3-4 chapters each for Egwene and Rand, "toward the end". Brandon kept those for book 13 to avoid spoiling in The Gathering Storm the climax of book 13, which will mark the reunion of all the main story lines at some location, and launch Tarmon Gai'don. So in book 13 we will have the residual Rand/Egwene chapters that specifically build up to the reunion.
Brandon explained the decision to split the books this way came about between Harriet and him, in part to avoid the "Crossroads of Twilight trap". Apparently, RJ went that way in Winter's Heart/Crossroads of Twilight mostly because he had been affected by all the grief he got for keeping Mat out of The Path of Daggers. He decided to try to put all the main characters in the next books, even if it meant all the story lines would advance more slowly if they were all told in parallel like this. He very much regretted this after Crossroads of Twilight, for which he got even more grief than for The Path of Daggers, and decided to return to his more organic/uneven approach for Knife of Dreams and A Memory of Light. The original plan for The Gathering Storm was to develop all the story lines in parallel again, but Brandon and Harriet had qualms about this and Brandon came up with an alternative to focus on two story lines in one and three in the other.
There is one of the 'POV clusters' Brandon had written that it mostly unused for The Gathering Storm and will go in book 13.
Brandon of course wouldn't tell who is the character not in The Gathering Storm at all, though he gave a few clues. Piecing all his bits of answers together, the character isn't Aviendha, Cadsuane or Nynaeve, nor Mat (the only character he confirmed is in the two first books, but we already knew this). He basically destroyed the speculation it could be Perrin by hesitating on the words 'major character' and then adding the bit that the vast majority of fans would actually place this character at the very bottom of the list of characters to be considered 'major'. The way he put Elayne over and over among the five really major ones during the Q&A suggests it's not her either after all. He also said while explaining his graph that there were chunks (his "teasers" for three story lines in The Gathering Storm and the core of the story for two—and his 'five' clusters he explicitly said were Rand, Egwene, Perrin, Mat and Elayne.
So perhaps we've read too much in his 'major POV character' comment (Jason's review may also allude to this, when he commented that one major character is missing but it's pretty much up to each reader to decide who is major and not in WOT). At some point, he said a major POV character in A Memory of Light will be missing in The Gathering Storm, which is not exactly the same as saying a major POV character from the earlier books isn't in The Gathering Storm—which is the way his previous comment was interpreted by many.
Lan isn't a major POV character in the earlier books, but now he's on his own he may very well become one in A Memory of Light.
In any case, I'm more and more thinking it's Lan (or possibly Moiraine), not Elayne or Perrin which I doubt many would place 'at the very bottom' of the list of characters to be considered major. Most people would place Elayne not near the bottom at all but among the top 7 or 8 most important characters. Above Moiraine and Lan, Thom, Loial and probably even Min and Aviendha.
When I met Brandon on the book signing tour, they gave us a sticky to write what we wanted him to write what we wanted. I am the proud owner of the only copy that says:
"To Kristi, I promise Demandred will be in A Memory of Light!"
I asked if I was right in thinking that RJ had saved the best for last, and Brandon simply said as far as the Shadow is concerned, the main player will be Demandred.
[long spiel about how Demandred is awesome and sexy and the only Forsaken that has not been killed, captured, or punished]
I said as much to Brandon, saying I expected a RAFO to that. He said that all he could say would be that point would be addressed at a further point in the books.
But I've already read Book 13; that's why I'm asking.
RAFO after A Memory of Light.
Harriet mentioned in the Kaffeklatsch that it was possible A Memory of Light would end up being too big to fit in one volume, and so it might end up two books. But then Sanderson in the status update really didn't leave much opening that it would at all be possible. So.....
That was the one shocker that I heard personally, but there could be others. Oh yeah and A Memory of Light released November 2012, but I'm sure that's been mentioned somewhere else.
She hinted at that it would be a big book. I think that she said something that if A Memory of Light would be something like 500,000 words it would have to be split.
She could be preparing me for a small chance that it would be that big.
Another question commonly asked is whether Michael Kramer and Kate Reading will return to voice the audiobook for A Memory of Light. The answer is yes, and the audiobook will definitely be released the same day as the hardcover.
@Terez27 Trying to figure out who the gay character was that @BrandSanderson put in Towers of Midnight. Was it Androl?
That is my best guess. I wonder if we scared him away from going through with that...'twas very controversial.
The place wasn't right in Towers of Midnight. Gay character is in A Memory of Light. It's really not a big deal; just a small mention.
I will say, at this point, that it is a character RJ mentioned was gay in the notes, so I noted it in the text.
[Links to following tweet from this conversation.]
I won't say if it's a new character or one I made a decision on, since there weren't notes either way.
I'm guessing that's a product of Twitter being a bad place for trying to say things clearly. The older tweet was confusing anyway.
Wow, that was indeed confusing. I don't even know what I was trying to say.
What I remember typing was "I won't tell you if it's something RJ had in notes or not."
I debated writing this because you seem like a genuinely nice guy who cares about his fans, and I don't want to hurt your feelings. If you find it difficult to read criticism, please don't read any further.
To be honest, I am hoping that you won't write the outriggers/prequels because it seems to me like your heart's just not in it anymore. In 2011 you announced that you needed time off to reread the entire series before starting work on A Memory of Light since you'd forgotten too much and this had led to continuity issues in Towers of Midnight. But according to your own website, you only reread a third of the series, then went on to work on Alloy of Law, Legion, The Emperor's Soul, The Rithmatist... As someone who enjoyed Way of Kings a great deal, I'm glad that you've continued to work on your own books, but the fact that you abandoned the reread does make me worry about the quality of A Memory of Light. If you cannot give WoT as much time and attention as it needs, it's better to let it go.
Another big issue for me is the characterization. You're great at writing Perrin and also did a good job with Rand and the girls for the most part. Others felt off, and that unfortunately includes the main characters the outriggers and prequels would focus on. I'll leave out Mat since that's been discussed to death already, but Lan and Moiraine's scenes in Towers of Midnight were a huge disappointment for me. Lan has always been a favorite of mine, but here he came off as a whiny combination of Gawyn and Perrin. He's a grown man in his late 40s, not a sulky teenager.
Then there's Moiraine, now ready to give up all her power if only Thom tells her to. Yes, her captivity undoubtedly changed her, but at her core, she is someone who was ready to sacrifice everyone and everything to win the Last Battle, including herself. So it didn't seem right for Moiraine to offer to give up an important tool like the angreal.
""Egwene, I know what you feel for Rand, but you must realize by now that nothing can come of it. He belongs to the Pattern, and to history."—Moiraine, The Shadow Rising
For an instant she regretted sending Thom away. She did not like having to waste her time with these petty affairs. But he had too much influence with Rand; the boy had to depend on her counsel. Hers, and hers alone.—Moiraine, The Shadow Rising
That had been one of Moiraine's more succinct bits of advice. Never let them see you weaken.—Rand, Lord of Chaos
I happen to like Moiraine a lot, but there's no denying she was partly responsible for Rand thinking he needed to be hard. Yet in Towers of Midnight you have Rand speak of how caring she was; even Mat and Nynaeve sing her praises. You seem to be trying to retcon Moiraine into a saintly figure she never was. All WoT characters have major flaws; Moiraine's was that she treated people as chess pieces that sometimes needed to be sacrificed for the greater good. In The Shadow Rising she intentionally tried to separate Rand from his friends so she could be the only person influencing him. It wasn't until Rhuidean that she discovered firsthand what it felt like to be the person forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, and she finally became the advisor Rand needed. But even then she was still manipulating him and encouraging him to be hard, so obviously she hadn't changed completely. To ignore her flaws and mistakes is to do the character a disservice and hides her growth in The Fires of Heaven.
This is getting long, so I'll wrap it up here. I hope this made sense and that I didn't hurt your feelings. I still think you're a very talented writer and look forward to reading both A Memory of Light and the next Stormlight book.
Well, thanks for the thoughts. I will take the comments for what they are worth, and appreciate your sincerity.
By way of correction, I do want to point out that Alloy of Law, Legion, and The Rithmatist were all written BEFORE I started work on A Memory of Light. The only thing I've written during A Memory of Light was The Emperor's Soul, which is a short work I wrote on the flight home from Taiwan earlier in the year. I have always stopped my main projects for side ones. It is part of what keeps me fresh. Alcatraz was in the middle of Mistborn, Rithmatist in the middle of Liar of Partinel (which I decided not to publish; it was the last book I wrote before the WoT came my way.) Legion was during Towers of Midnight. Emperor's Soul during A Memory of Light.
My heart is completely in it—that I can assure you. I stopped the re-read because I was just too eager to be working on the book, and I'd already re-read (the last year) books 9-11 in working to get Perrin and Mat down for Towers of Midnight. But your complaint is valid. I did not re-read 6-8, except for spot reading. I kept telling myself I needed to get to them, but I was too deeply into the writing by that point.
As for where I misfired on characterization, I apologize. In some cases, I don't see them the same way as you do. In other cases, I am doing a worse job than RJ would have, and the failings are mine. I don't want to diminish your opinion, as it is valid. I certainly have struggled with some characters more than others.
Though, for the scene with Moiraine and Thom you quote above...I, uh, didn't write that scene, my friend. That one was RJ in its entirety, and was one of the most complete scenes he left behind.
Brandon, thank you for the thoughtful response. I understand that it's very difficult for most authors to read criticism (let alone reply to it), so I appreciate that you took the time to read and reply.
I'd like to stress that I wholeheartedly agree with Neil Gaiman's "GRRM is not your bitch" post and hope it didn't come across like I thought you shouldn't be working on anything besides WoT. Side projects are very much a good thing (happy and creative authors→better books), and I am personally excited about your upcoming books. It was mainly the fact that you seemed to have given up on the reread that felt like a reason for concern since you had previously said you needed to refresh your memory to avoid a repeat of Towers of Midnight's continuity errors. It also made me worry that you had gotten weary of working on A Memory of Light, which would have been understandable given that it's a very time-consuming and demanding project that you've already spent 4-5 years on. I'm glad to hear this is not the case.
"In some cases, I don't see them the same way as you do."
That's not something I object to since we all have different perceptions of the characters. In most cases I understand where you are coming from even if your interpretation differs somewhat from mine. Unlike me, you also have access to all sorts of character notes and spoilers about their futures.
However, in some cases it felt like your personal love or dislike of certain characters also played a strong role. To put it bluntly, it's easy to tell that Perrin, Egwene and Moiraine are your favorites since they've received a disproportionate amount of PoVs or praise from other characters, Egwene in particular (how many scenes do we need where people talk about how brilliant, clever and talented Egwene is?). I don't know how much you follow other WoT boards, but there's been a lot of debate in fandom as to whether Egwene has become too much of a Mary Sue-type character who easily defeats supposedly shrewd political opponents and is constantly praised by other characters, often at the expense of people like Siuan. It's impossible for a writer to remain completely objective, and your background as a fan is on the whole one of your biggest strengths, but sometimes things like that can feel jarring. I would not want to see the same happen to a complex, flawed and interesting character like Moiraine.
"Though, for the scene with Moiraine and Thom you quote above...I, uh, didn't write that scene, my friend. That one was RJ in its entirety, and was one of the most complete scenes he left behind."
I have to admit, this comes as a surprise to me, partly because of Moiraine's seemingly uncharacteristic offer to surrender almost all her power for Thom's sake and partly because she used contractions in this scene (in the New Spring graphic novel, there's a note from Jordan informing the comic writers that Moiraine never uses contractions). She and Thom seemed to have a mutual respect and attraction in the early books, but spent very little time together, so I would not have expected any full-blown love or a marriage proposal at this point. It just seemed very strange for Moiraine to be willing to sacrifice her only chance at regaining her strength when she's barely even thought about Thom in her PoVs before. But since Jordan wrote that scene, there's nothing to do but accept that it's where he wanted to take the characters.
Re: Contractions Interesting story here. Harriet and Team Jordan worried about my use of contractions in places that RJ did not. It seemed very striking to them. Their first instinct was to go through and change it, after the fact, in order to match RJ's style.
Harriet didn't like how that looked. She felt that my style needed to be blended with RJ's, rather than taking my style and forcing it to fit into something else. So it was decided that one of her tasks, as editor, would be to blend the writing after it was put together. She'd go through and make scenes feel right together, and would blend the two styles like a painter blending paint.
So, she takes away contractions from me where she feels they need to go and she actually adds them to RJ's writing where she thinks it needs to be blended. I was curious if that was the case here, so I went back to the original notes.
And it turns out RJ wrote the scene with contractions. Most likely, he was planning to trim them out with editing. Remember, even the most complete scenes we have from him are first drafts. In fact, in some of them, the tense is wrong. (Much of this Moiraine/Thom/Mat scene is in present tense. )
An example from the notes is:
He puts the angreal on her wrist, and says 'I'll marry you now.'
In revision, this line turned into:
He put the bracelet back on her wrist. "I'll marry you now, if you wish it."
Anyway, I don't want to spend too much time defending myself, because that's not the point of your post. Really, the most important thing for me to say is that I understand. I'll do my best, and criticism like this is important to me. (Particularly on the Wheel of Time books, where I feel that listening to fan direction is important for gauging how well I'm doing on the characters.) It was fan criticism that brought me around to finally seeing what I was doing wrong with Mat, and (hopefully) making some strides toward writing him more accurate to himself.
Oh yes. There will be NO doubt in anyone's mind what Rands fate will be at the end. It will sure to surprise and amaze people. When Jim (RJ) told me how the series ended I just shook my head and said, "Bubba, that is just beautiful. Just beautiful." So yes, you will all know.
Ok, I was afraid that might get a read and find out type answer so thanks for assuring us that Rand's fate will not be open-ended for interpretation.
Yep, there will be a definite confirmation by the end of what happens to him.
Here's a video I took at LibertyCon of Brandon reading the A Memory of Light opening again. No new text (he actually stops a few paragraphs short) but he does talk about about why he structured the scene as he did. Sorry for the shakiness, it was taken on my iPhone (my arms were pretty sore near the end!).
So, the last wind scene. I spent a long time thinking about this one, and what I would do with this, because Jim had intended one book, so from the notes you can guess that there was only one wind scene indicated, and I had three to do, because of three books, and it felt very appropriate for me, as I was going over it, to have the wind come out of the Two Rivers. It felt appropriate to me; it felt thematic with the first book—if you go back and look at the wind scene from the first book—and I actually had it blow across the course of book one, basically. We don't get all the way up where book one is, but we head out to Caemlyn, and then they kind of veer off. The point of this scene is kind of...again, it set everything that's been happening—where we are, and what's going on—but I also felt that this is a book of contrasts. This is a book of stark, stark whites and deep, deep blacks. It's named A Memory of Light for that reason, and so I wanted to end the scene at Rand laughing, with warm light spilling out of his tent, and that's kind of what we've got going on there—the contrast that's going on in this land—and there is this pool of light right there, represented in him, and that's our metaphor for this whole book: death, destruction, and the Dragon Reborn.
Robert Jordan was a great man, and was the single greatest influence on my development as a writer. What I have done these last five years has been an attempt—a sometimes flawed but always earnest attempt—to show my appreciation. This entire genre owes him an enormous debt. My debt to him, and to Harriet, is greatest of all.
Mr. Jordan, may you rest in the Light. Everyone else, take a breath and get ready for the end. May you find his final words as satisfying to read as I did when I first picked them up five years ago. The very last scene is his, touched very little by me, as are significant chunks of the ending at large. I have achieved my goal in writing the books so that they pointed toward this ending he wrote, allowing us to include his words with as little alteration as possible.
Once again, thank you. May you always find water and shade.
Written July 30th, 2012
Posted August 1st, 2012
It probably will end up being the last actual writing, will be that scene.
Is it sort of like, you know, cathartic to you, or is it...you're so close to the end...
I'm so close to the end...ask me after the end. It's really weird, adding these new scenes. It's kinda like the shawarma scene from The Avengers...you know, they added that way after the fact, and that becomes their last touch—of course they'll probably do a sequel and things—but it's weird to add these scenes that are just right in the middle of the book, and that's actually the last writing you do, and that's the last writing you'll do on the Wheel of Time, if I don't add any more scenes, it will be this random little scene that's really just there to patch a hole, where I'm like "Oh, I haven't...you know, never mentioned this; I didn't foreshadow this correctly; I need an extra little scene here." It's by no means the most powerful scene in the book—it's a set-up scene, and it might end up being the last scene that I did—so if you ask me after the book's out, I'll tell you what it is.
Yeah, the battle scenes were the toughest part of A Memory of Light, definitely. At least the toughest for me, because it's not necessarily something I naturally excel at. I think I'm okay at it. I've read a lot of books...but I've read a lot of books. I haven't done it. Fortunately, Alan Romanczuk has done it. He was a soldier and Jim was a soldier, so I'm really relying a lot on him for getting it to feel right. You know, my book learning only gets me so far in the way that tactics are done and the way a battlefield plays out. So, that's been one of the big slow-downs for this. The other big slow-down for this has been just making sure we get everything in there. There are a lot of things that need to go in the book and there are some things that aren't going to make it. Jim said that certain things don't get resolved, and there are certain things we just didn't have time for and we said, "Okay, this just doesn't get resolved." And I'm sorry about that. He warned you, I will warn you: there are some non-resolutions.
I don't know how other people would feel about that, but I kind of enjoy that. To me, that's where a fandom would go. We can continue to speculate and wonder and think about.
Yeah, it gives us something to talk about. We can ride that or like ten years at least. (laughter)
JordanCon will be good for a while. We'll have a lot of talking panels on that one.
I will try to keep them quiet. There are two deleted scenes from the book that actually covered very interesting things. And after the books are out I will give you guys some hints and then you can spend the next ten years deciding what was in them.
Yeah, we'll ask you some really weird questions over the next ten years. We used to do that to Robert Jordan. We'd ask him very oblique questions, hinting at the thing we really wanted to know, because we were like doing process of elimination, and logic trees and...yeah, he caught on.
Not really. I could tell you, and the reason is that the number...I've worked out the number of pages because the computer tells me, and as Brandon sends us parts, and I've added them all together with a pencil. But this is in 12-point type, and it includes a lot of editorial back-and-forth, so it's looking fat. But it's skinnier than it looks. And there are some sections Brandon and I are having—well, even one I don't think he's seen yet—animated conversations about cutting. Well see, I really hesitate very deeply to say because 12-point type is a lot bigger than 10-point, and then you have to adjust from manuscript page to printed and on and on...I think probably at least eight hundred.
It's gonna be fat.
It will at least be pleasingly plump. (laughter).
And it'll look great on the bookshelf.
Absolutely, very impressive!
I'll be reading a new section from A Memory of Light at Dragon*Con. My complete schedule is here.
Tor dot com has posted the excerpt from A Memory of Light that I'm reading today.
A little disgusted that you included a throwaway line about Tylin raping Mat. Still buying the book though. Probably twice.
Hard to ignore that it happened, returning to the city as he was.
... you re-awakened the Mat/Tylin sexual assault vs. super funny joke fury. Ahh the indignant fandom. *sighs*
*sighs in agreement*
I feel the same way about all the characters saying "you go Tylin" in A Crown of Swords, too.
It is one of the WoT's most controversial sequences, to be sure.
The three excerpts of A Memory of Light that have been released so far: http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/04/a-memory-of-light-prologue-excerpt http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/07/read-an-excerpt-from-chapter-one-of-a-memory-of-light http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/09/a-memory-of-light-chapter-11-excerpt
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.
Let's see here. Harriet killed a character in the book that I did not intend to kill. So I wrote the entire book with a character living and she killed this character.
Did she tell you right before you finished, or what?
She sent back the draft and said "This person dies."
So did you have to change a lot?
So they succumb to their wounds. I intended them to live, so there is a character who died unexpectedly. So that's a slight spoiler. There is like a chapter that's over a hundred pages. It's a Super Chapter.
Did you have to invent any of it yourself, or did Jordan leave a lot of it for you?
He left some of it for me, and then I had to make the rest. As you're reading through the books, probably about half and half. Half will be stuff that he wrote notes on, half will be stuff that I wrote.
Do you feel like it comes pretty easy?
Some of it does. I mean I've been reading since I was a kid. So some of the characters like Perrin is very natural for me. And Rand's super natural for me. Others are a little less natural for me.
Yes, like Mat. Mat's harder for me to write.
Why is that?
Because Mat is very complex. Not to say that Perrin's not, but Perrin's straightforward. You know what I mean? Perrin says what he means, and does what he means. Mat says the opposite of what he means, and does the opposite of what he says. Making that tone correct for that is very hard. He's one part rapscallion, the other part Awesomeness. And balancing when he's playing the fool, and when he's just being awesome is very hard to get that balance down, because you don't want it to be silly, you know he can play the fool a bit but he shouldn't be silly. Otherwise it won't match from when he's being Awesome as well, if that makes sense.
I don't want to say anything about that because there's a potential confrontation coming up between all of these folks, and so there may be mention made of what various people knew and didn't know.
It's not a big RAFO—it's not like there's some big secret there—but I don't want to say anything that's going to spoil a potential read of scenes that are coming.
Yes, he does.
Okay, cause we've been trying to figure out who the heck is it, and we can't figure it out. We're thinking Roedran, but it's like, too obvious.
Is he in Randland?
I won't say whether or not he's in Randland.
He's not in Shara! He can't be in Shara!
Oh, I'm TOTALLY gonna RAFO that. Come ON! Come on. You KNEW I was gonna RAFO that. That's very important to the book.
Okay, related: Moridin says 'the one who is punished the most'. Obviously that's gotta be Cyndane, right?
Okay, yes. That is Cyndane.
So, is it possible that what happened in the epilogue, she was really going through that torture?
You will have to see it. RAFO. Okay, like someone [?] related. I don't think, by the way...when you read the book, what Cyndane is up to should be of paramount importance to you, and DO NOT believe everything that you think happens in the book.
From her point of view, or from our point of view?
From your point of view, regarding her.
Ah. Yes. You have before. [To Maria] You're wanting to nod. [To questioner.] Maria's here. [To Maria] Do you want to handle this one?
I can't remember details, but there's a scene where Mat remembers being on both sides of a battle.
Because he rode for and against Hawkwing.
Yeah. So in this last book, Mat's memories will certainly play a part. That's a very nice RAFO.
Brandon pointed that Jordan himself began that trend in the prologues; "Embers Falling on Dry Grass" being among Sanderson's favorite uses of that device, and revealed that readers should expect even more in the final volume.
How many more?
Upwards of 80. In a single chapter. That’s around 70,000 words and which takes place near the end of A Memory of Light. (We're very curious to see if that chapter is titled "Tarmon Gai'don.")
Hi all, this is Brandon Sanderson, fresh off of finishing the last book of The Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light, and I'm here to introduce the story collection Unfettered to you. Shawn Speakman is putting together—actually asked all of us to do something like this, to talk about how we got involved in the project—he first approached me when I was on tour—it was probably I guess for Alloy of Law—and he explained that he was having...he had a lot of medical bills—Shawn has had some health troubles lately—and he's a good friend of a lot of us in the community, and he was looking to put together an anthology to maybe help to defray some of these costs, at the suggestion of Terry Brooks. And he just asked if I'd be interested; he said, "Really, it could be anything." That's why he's calling it "Unfettered", is because he didn't want to put any restrictions; in fact, he said it could be deleted scenes, it could be any sort of material relating to anything we wanted to do. He sounded most interested in something relating to one of my worlds that I've already written in, but he really said it could be anything.
Well, I wasn't sure I'd be able to be involved, because A Memory of Light has taken...it was taking quite a bit of my time. It's quite the big project, and finding any time at all to work on anything else was really difficult. At the same time, however, there's a sequence of viewpoints in A Memory of Light—and I'm not at liberty yet to say who it is, but it's a character that you will know—that I was working on that were somewhat more daring than some of the viewpoints I've done. I wanted to try and give some deeper backstory to someone, and at the end of the day, showing the scenes to Harriet, we all liked them, but they didn't fit in the book. Harriet felt that they were too distracting, because of the new, sort of...new things I was adding, the things I was fleshing out. This is something that sometimes you want to avoid in storytelling, where you're near the end of the climax, introducing new concepts to kind of distract and derail.
She felt that these scenes were doing that, and so after some discussion, we decided that they should be cut. And I always kind of felt sad, because while I agree that they were distracting, I really felt that they were strong and that they added a lot to the character, and give a lot of extra motivation—a lot of extra poignancy to some of the things going on in A Memory of Light—and so I began to think maybe this would be the place for them. I approached Harriet, and she said she thought that was a good idea.
So what we'll be doing, it's a story called "River of Souls" but it's actually a sequence of deleted scenes. They are a complete arc for a certain character; they are meant to be read companionly to A Memory of Light. It's not going to make a whole lot of sense if you haven't read at least the rest of the Wheel of Time, but I find them very exciting; I think you'll really like them, and I think this is a good place for them because they won't be distracting from the rest of the story.
So, "River of Souls" is going to be part of the Unfettered anthology which has lots of wonderful other people in it—in fact I'm honored to have a story in there, to be alongside some of the names that are in this anthology—and I really wish Shawn the best. He's been a wonderful help to me in my career, and to a lot of the writers out there, so I hope you guys enjoy reading Unfettered, and look forward to reading "River of Souls", and once A Memory of Light is out, I'll be able to talk a little bit more about this character, why these scenes were important, and what's going on there.
Peter added a clarification to this on Dragonmount.
It was actually Harriet's suggestion that this go in the anthology. When we talked to her about Unfettered around the time of JordanCon, we asked her about including a completely different and much shorter deleted scene. She said no to that but suggested this sequence instead.
A question I had, if you're still answering. I believe you said on your blog that the "very last scene" is Robert Jordan's, and touched very little by you.
Could you please specify what you mean in this? (Last scene of the main story arc, last section of the epilogue, last section of the last chapter, etc)
Thanks for all the work you have put into the series!
It's the last scene of the book. RJ had a large influence on the ending as a whole, but when I say "Last Scene" I'm referencing the final 1000 word section with the words "The End" following it.
Cool, thanks! : )
If you bought Legion hardcover, send me a picture of you and the book/receipt and I'll give you the e-book FREE!
I told people I was trying to figure out how to do this with A Memory of Light. I failed there—the publishing end of that book is too far out of my hands. I can at least do it with stories for which I own the electronic rights.
The sad thing is, this shouldn't actually be news. It should be the standard. I feel that publishing should have figured out how to make this work already.
The next step is to figure out how to make this happen for my Tor books.
As a personal opinion, how good do you feel A Memory of Light is? I feel like I've been waiting for this book since I was a child. As a side note, I just finished The Way of Kings and have been told it will be a 10 book series which makes me worry when it's done I'll feel like I do about A Memory of Light right now.
On The Way of Kings: If it helps, it's two five book arcs. The first five will draw to a natural conclusion. (Kind of how Mistborn one comes to its own conclusion, then two and three are in another arc.)
A Memory of Light is good. How good? Hard to say. I don't know that any book can live up to two decades of anticipation—or, at least, I don't know that any book I write can manage that. I think it will hold its own with the other two I've done, and then will have Robert Jordan's own ending on it, which makes it feel RIGHT to me. I won't try to falsely inflate the book, however. I did my best with it; I hope it is a worthy capstone to the series. The ending sequences are majestic. Some of the lengthy war chapters may drag for some people, though.
Is the ebook date set in stone by now, or is there a chance of it changing?
For Legion or A Memory of Light? I guess I don't need to ask, since they're both pretty set at this point. I wish I could get A Memory of Light earlier (or at the very least, get an ebook sold with the physical copy.) However, I am not in charge of these decisions, and this book doesn't seem the one to use for rocking of the proverbial boat.
True, of course. Thanks for your interactions with the community!
Okay, so it looks like Tor has managed to get hold of English language rights to the prologue in some other countries. It looks like the list does NOT include Australia/UK/Ireland/New Zealand. That would be because Orbit has the rights there.
This isn't my doing—my emails only went out late last night, and this would already have to have been in the works—but many of you should now be able to buy it on Amazon.
I'll keep working on the above mentioned countries. It feels like a strange thing to be fighting for, since I think the prologue should have been free in the first place, but it seems this is enough a point of annoyance for some readers that it's worth me pushing on.
I can't download it from anywhere, it seems. I wouldn't dream of torrenting this under normal circumstances, but there are spoilers all over the internet, and dammit, I have been waiting for well over a decade for the end of this story. I want as much information as I can get—to finish the story, to participate in online communities such as this, and to be able to highfive my bro because its all so awesome. Teasers and pre-released materials are awesome, but it really isn't cool that we have to wait because the publishers can't sort their shit out.
Here is my suggestion—Mistborn, post the damn thing on reddit, please. I cannot imagine that you are content to let fans miss out because of legal wranglings about copyright, so throw caution to the wind and fix this for your European fans if you can!
If it were my own book, I'd do so. It's not mine, however. I don't own it—and it's not just about copyright. It's about my respect for Harriet, and my word of honor to her.
I've said before that I am not, personally, a fan of selling the prologue in the first place. I don't like the idea of people paying twice for the same content. This choice, however, is not mine to make either.
The only thing I can think to do is personally contact the UK publisher, who owns the rights to distribute the book in English everywhere outside of North America, and ask if something can be worked out. I'll try. If I get anywhere, I'll post an update in /r/WoT.
If you really want something to happen, you could also contact Orbit UK and ask if they'd be willing to let it be sold on Dragonmount, with the proceeds going to them.
Just opened the document, as I figured I could give some hard statistics on this. The chapter is just shy of 79,000 words. It contains (by my quick count) 72 scenes—but only 31 distinct viewpoints, as numerous ones repeat. (There are eight Rand scenes, for example, and six each for Mat and Egwene. Three or four each for another eight characters.)
It is not the last chapter of the book, but is a very important one, as you might have guessed. From the get-go, I lobbied Harriet to let me do this sequence as a single, massive chapter as I felt it fit with what was going on in the book as well as fitting with the series as a whole. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
This may be a silly question, but what exactly is it that defines a chapter? Why the reluctance to break it up?
This is a tough question to answer because what defines a chapter is dependent upon context. I have done chapters a paragraph or two long, and I've done some (well one) at this length. In addition, if I were to go into depth about what makes this chapter a single chapter to me, I feel it would give too many spoilers. It has to do with the pacing, the sensation I wish to convey, and the attempt—through prose and the form of the storytelling—to evoke the same emotions in the reader that the characters are feeling.
It was very interesting to read this while trying to figure out what scenes she was referring to...
I know you're incredibly busy on Stormlight 2, but if you have a few minutes, I would love to hear how you approached the notes that RJ left behind. I've heard the story about the ending and who killed Asmodean when you first visited Harriet's house, but where did you go from there? I assume you didn't just read all of the notes straight through...
Well, okay, this is going to be kind of long.
To understand my next step, you have to understand what we mean by "Notes." There are really three groups of these.
1) Robert Jordan's Worldbuilding Notes. These were in a series of dozens, maybe hundreds of files embedded chaotically inside of files inside of files, using his own system of notation. The notes reach all the way back to early books he was working on, as he was working on them. They aren't intended to be read by anyone other than him, and are sometimes very difficult to figure out. This is the group that Harriet has said, in her estimation, include a total wordcount equal to or greater to that of the published series.
2) The notes for the last book, gathered by his assistants Maria and Alan, with Harriet's help. These are far more focused on the last book, notes that RJ wrote specifically focusing on the last book. This is a much more manageable amount, maybe fifty or a hundred pages. It includes interviews that Alan and Maria did with RJ before he died, asking him what was to happen to certain characters.
3) Scenes for the last book, either in written form or dictated during his last months. This includes some completed scenes. (The last sequence in the book, for example. Also a lot of prologue material, including the scene with the farmer in The Gathering Storm, the Borderlander Tower scene in Towers of Midnight, and the Isam prologue scene from A Memory of Light.) A lot of these are fragments of scenes, a paragraph here and there, or a page of material that he expected to be expanded to a full chapter. This is different from #2 to me in that these are direct scene constructions, rather than "notes" explaining what was to happen.
Together, #2 and #3 are about 200 pages. That is what I read the night I visited Harriet, and that is what I used to construct my outline.
I took all of the items, but particularly the things in 2&3, and then I re-read the series start to finish, taking notes on character motivations, plots that had not been resolved, and foreshadowing. I used this to create a skeleton, using character touchstones from the notes (like Egwene's climactic moments in The Gathering Storm) to construct plot cycles.
Where there were big holes, I used my instincts as a writer and my re-read to develop what the story needed. From there, I started writing in viewpoint clusters. I would take character who were in the same area, and write their story for a chunk of time straight through. Then I would go back and do the same for another group of characters.
Can you supply date, town, and bookstore?
This past Wednesday May 2nd in Las Vegas in the lobby of the Golden Nugget hotel. He was in town as one of the guests/teachers of a writers convention. He squeezed in a quick signing for local fans. If you signed up for his newsletter and gave your location as in the Vegas area you got an email from Peter about the signing. There were 8 or 9 of us there so it was pretty cool.
He let us ask some questions but didn't give any new details that aren't already out there. The info on the prologue came up as he was talking about his progress revising the book and how the ending was pretty much all RJ and didn't even need to be polished. He then mentioned that parts of the prologues of all 3 books had been written or dictated by RJ but the scene that was released was not one of them.
On every visit abroad, Sanderson said, he takes notes and tries to write down a story that inspired him, to be used as a "seed" for later stories.
For example, an exhibit of necklaces and armors made out of coins that he saw nine years ago in the Middle East inspired him to create "coin armors" for the characters in his new book A Memory of Light, which is scheduled to be launched in fall this year.
My complete Dragon*Con schedule is below, but the event many people are looking forward to is the A Memory of Light preview on Sunday, where I will read a new section from the final book. And speaking of the book, Team Jordan sent the approved copyedit changes to Tor yesterday, so it continues to be on track for its January 8th release.
Also at Dragon*Con I read a new excerpt from A Memory of Light. There will probably be three excerpts released after this, before the book comes out. I'm guessing they'll arrive in October/November, but I don't know for sure. As with previous volumes, the prologue will be released as an ebook. Tor.com will likely put up the full text of chapter one, and chapter two will probably go up in the audio form. The three segments that have been released so far, you can read on Tor.com now: the first scene of the prologue, a short clip from chapter one, and a scene from chapter eleven. You don't have to worry about the chapter eleven scene spoiling anything that goes before it. The hardcover book will be released on January 8th.
Finally, a summary of some recent Wheel of Time news. The book comes out January 8th, but Dragonmount's Jason Denzel has read it and has written a response to the book in the form of a letter to Robert Jordan. (There are no spoilers.) Also, as has been done in years past, the prologue has been released as an ebook. It's available from Tor in this list of countries, and the UK publisher Orbit will release it in the other countries next week.
I'm still not a fan of charging people multiple times for the same content, but a prologue ebook has been established practice for the Wheel of Time for over a decade, and many readers feel the length of the prologue makes it worth the money. Still, this is something that's really only for the hardcore fans who just can't wait any longer. Most people will wait and that's perfectly okay. There will be free previews too; the first scene of the prologue is available here, and there are excerpts from chapter one and chapter eleven. Tor.com will release the whole first chapter sometime in the next few months, followed probably by an audiobook preview of chapter two. The wait is almost over, folks!
Shawn Speakman has put together a great anthology coming out in early 2013 that features a bunch of big names in the fantasy field (including Terry Brooks, Pat Rothfuss, Tad Williams, and others). He asked the authors to record videos to promote it, so here's my video explaining my contribution.
If you're interested, you can preorder Unfettered here. It will also be available for Kindle and Nook once the book is released.
Macmillan Audio is running a little promotion for the A Memory of Light audiobook on CD (sorry, US residents only). This image pretty much says it all:
Looks cool! For more details, see this link.
ITEM #1: THE TOUR
Tor is almost ready to announce the book tour. When it gets announced, all of the signings will be listed on my events page, so check out that page to see if I'm signing near you. I can tell you now that the tour will contain only US and Canadian cities, and it will be split into two sections.
I do plan to take a trip to Europe sometime in 2013, but it hasn't been arranged yet. If you want a signed copy of the book and won't be able to make it to one of my tour cities, there will be a couple additional ways to get signed copies. But if you want your book personalized, the best way to make that happen is to call one of the bookstores on my tour and ask if they can arrange it for you. As I'll mention below, the Weller Book Works signing by mail has already sold out.
The focus on my tour stops will be on getting everyone's books signed. I'll probably read and answer questions at every stop, but I will also try to pre-sign some stock so if you just want a signed book and don't want to stand in line for me to personalize it for you, you can just grab the book and go.
Harriet will be joining me on some tour stops; more details will be forthcoming when the tour is announced.
Some of the events might be ticketed, which means that the bookstore requires you to buy the book FROM THEM in order to get it signed. I've asked for this to happen at as few booksellers as possible, but each store has the final call. Why would they do this? Well, a lot of stores have to bring in extra staff (or even rent extra space) in order to handle an enormous event like this. In the past, they've spent this money and then had everyone bring in books they bought from Amazon to get signed. It makes them very bitter, as they lose money after all the work they put into holding an event. (In one famous case I heard of, a small bookstore held a signing where they spent hundreds on staff, promotion, and cookies, only to have over a hundred people, out of the hundred and twenty who came, bring in books they bought from Amazon.)
As I said, I've requested that the signings all be open to anyone. However, I can see the bookstores' point. Please be respectful and realize one of the reasons that places like Amazon can give you the books so cheaply is that they don't have to maintain or pay rent on expensive storefronts in retail areas. Support your local booksellers; it's because of them that we can have signing events. If possible, I'd ask that you go and buy the book from the store where you're planning to see me. You can buy it early and keep the receipt. If you bring the receipt with you to the signing, that's as good as buying the book at the signing. Generally, at ticketed events, as long as you buy any hardcover book, they will let you get your other books signed. So, for instance, you could buy A Memory of Light and then get it, The Gathering Storm, and Towers of Midnight (or any of my other books) signed. And even if you don't buy your copy of AMoL at the signing, it's nice to support the store hosting me by buying at least one book (by any author) while you're there.
I don't know which events will be ticketed—or even if any will. I'm slowly gathering information on this. There probably won't be many that are, but I wanted to lay the groundwork just in case. I'll add more information to the events page as it trickles in.
Finally, there may be a cap on the number of books I will personalize for you at a time. I'll sign all your books, but personalizations can take a while, so if there's a large crowd, to keep the line moving I may only personalize three books at a time. However, it's just fine if you want to go to the end of the line again and wait to get three more books personalized. I WILL sign paperbacks. I WILL NOT sign books I did not write—e.g. the Wheel of Time books before The Gathering Storm. Yes, people have asked; often about one per signing. However, for the signings on this tour where Harriet will be with me, she will be happy to sign them.
Irene Gallo at Tor.com posted a picture of the first printed copy of A Memory of Light. This is called an F&G (folded and gathered pages). The book comes out next month!
Most of my A Memory of Light book signing tour has been announced and posted on my events page. There are still a couple of Canadian dates to be added, but Tor should have those finalized soon. If you want email reminders when I'm near you, tell me your city at this link. I also have a handful of events in December, including this week in West Jordan.
Tor.com also put up a video where Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, Jason Denzel, Pat Rothfuss, and I talk about A Memory of Light. Check it out.
This is the last week for the A Memory of Light audiobook/iphone case promotion that I talked about a few weeks ago. If you buy the CD version of the audiobook, you can get a free iPhone 4/4S case. Details are here.
Moses Siregar III has an interview with Jason Denzel on the Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing podcast. It talks a lot about A Memory of Light, as well as other things Jason is involved in.
I've been getting questions about "Unfettered," an anthology next year with a Wheel of Time story in it. Blog post next week, but...
The "story" is actually a deleted sequence from A Memory of Light we cut for pacing reasons. We donated it to Shawn to help pay his medical bills.
As I said, I will blog this soon. It is from the viewpoint of someone you know, but not one of the main characters.
Could you let us know where the "story" would have gone in the book once its released so we can read it in order?
A deleted sequence from A Memory of Light called "River of Souls" will appear in the anthology Unfettered (early 2013). http://youtu.be/UtHQbOMiD-k
Will we see more of the serious, dark Mat that we left in Knife of Dreams? That is, the one Tuon refers to as...
... "a lion on the high plains" and who leaves wounded enemy combatants to suffer and die (Knife of Dreams ch. 27)? Thanks for your time.
I've tried. I do worry that sometimes I'm too lighthearted with Mat, and need to remember his dangerous side too.
I have attempted to walk this balance in A Memory of Light.
Tor put up a video where Harriet, Jason, Tom, and I talk about A Memory of Light.
Jason Denzel was interviewed on the Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing podcast. It talks a lot about A Memory of Light.
Irene Gallo at Tor dot com posted a picture of the first (unbound) printed copy of A Memory of Light.
Irene Gallo at Tor dot com has a picture-filled post on the printing & binding of A Memory of Light. Very cool.
With Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight complete, Brandon Sanderson had to face his greatest challenge yet—writing the final battle in A Memory of Light.
A Memory of Light was a challenge for a number of reasons. There is a lot of warfare in this book—more so than all of the others—which needed to be realistic, and the tactics needed to be sound. And these were the sorts of things that Robert Jordan was extremely good at doing—he was a military historian. I don't have his background, so I had to rely a lot on the notes, and on Team Jordan. You want the story to be focused on the characters—it has to be a personal story. How to balance that, how to tell the story of these wars in a series which is primarily concerned with the characters was a real push back and forth with the text, trying to massage it and edit and work it to the point that it would convey their stories but still be true to the tactics that would make this all come together.
There's been huge enthusiasm. People have been waiting for this for a long time. If they once dipped into it, they wouldn't be able to put it down.
And in January, they will finally get the full story—the final volume of the Wheel of Time. The end of an Age has arrived. The Dark One is almost free. The Wheel of Time hangs in the balance, and prophecy must be fulfilled. The Last Battle begins January 8th.
A little bit of spoilers here: One of the big things we got going on is Rand and Egwene on opposite sides of the big decision regarding what needs to happen with the last battle. It's a power struggle that has been brewing for a long time behind the scenes. Some may not have noticed it until I brought it to the forefront in the last book. We've just had a main character who has been gone for a long, long time show up again in the end of Towers of Midnight, and there are ramifications for that. Can we work together? How do we work together?—that's going to be one of the themes.
And, of course, this is the last battle, which means there's a lot of war in this book. And that's actually very different for a Wheel of Time book. There have been big battles before, but not ones that span half of the book or more.
Tactical use of gateways is honestly all me. I hadn't even played Portal before I wrote these books. I have since went back and played it, and they're doing some of the same fun stuff. That was me from years and years ago as a guy who likes magic systems reading the Wheel of Time books and saying, "If I had gateways, this is what I would do." In fact, I had built up some magic systems using things like gateways that I will never be able to use now, because I got handed the master magic system with gateways.
Team Jordan was somewhat uncomfortable with my use of gateways, in a lot of ways. They felt I was pushing them. But my response back was that I didn't want to push the magic system in other ways; I didn't want to be inventing a lot of new weaves. I didn't want to be doing a lot of things like that, because I felt it would be taking the system too much in the directions I take the Brandon Sanderson systems. I really do like Robert Jordan's magic system, but I wanted to take some of the specifics that had already been done, such as gateways, and say, "Here's where you can extrapolate with them."
As for other things that have been discussed in the fandom—I certainly wasn't as big a part of the fandom as I am now, not anywhere near it. For instance, I didn't care about Asmodean until I started talking to other Wheel of Time fans, and it was a big deal to them, and so it became a big deal to me. There are certain things that through fandom and talking to other fans you tend to rally around, that I kind of wanted. One was a reunion between Tam and Rand. There are other things like that, that for a long time we'd been waiting for and we'd talked to each other about, and we'd imagined what they'd be like. Those sorts of things did influence me; I had to be really careful not to be too influenced though. Being too influenced would lead me to put in lots of inside jokes, things like Narg—that would have been letting the fan in me run too wild. So I did have to rein that in.
It’s hard for me to separate the years of talking about the Wheel of Time with friends and reading about the Wheel of Time from what I eventually ended up doing in the books. Once I did start working on the books, I didn't go plumbing through fan forums looking for things that should be included. I specifically stayed away from things like that, though I did suggest to Maria at times that she should watch and see what people were expecting, so that we would know what things we were not going to end up fulfilling, and could be prepared for them.
He began all his books with the wind blowing. Breath, to instill life into his characters. In the Bible, Job 33:4 says, "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." When other writers would talk of their characters taking on life of their own, and controlling the story, he said, "I am an Old Testament creator: My fist is in the middle of my characters' lives."
Oh, dear, dear man. And what a creator he was! And, as Scott Card said of The Eye of the World, what a powerful vision of good and evil.
On January 8 you will see the final turning of his powerful vision. It comes to you with his love. And mine.
So, I spent the next hours late into the night sitting in a chair beside Robert Jordan's computer (it had been moved, by coincidence, out of his office and into the sitting room) reading his ending to The Wheel of Time, then poring over the rest of the notes. I remember Harriet passing by once and asking—with a satisfied smile—"It's good, isn't it?"
And it is. As a Wheel of Time fan for nearly 20 years at that point, I found myself supremely satisfied. The ending is the right one. Somewhat unexpected, somewhat daring, but also very well done. I knew that whatever else happened—whatever mistakes I made—at least this ending would be there, as Robert Jordan intended. We've put it in almost untouched, with just a few edits here and there at Harriet's direction.
You're going to love it.
Robert Jordan's notes on this are very clear: the Tinkers will never find their song. They've lost it for too long, that even if someone stood in front of them singing The Song, they would just nod their head, say 'that's a nice song' and go on their way.
He also confirmed that Rand was singing The Song in Tuon's garden.
I'm sitting here on a plane, flying to Minneapolis after signing 1280(!) books last night at the midnight release of A Memory of Light. That marks it as my largest signing ever, though a whole lot of readers (understandably) grabbed their pre-signed books and ran off to read them, rather than waiting for a personalization.
Harriet did a reading, which my good friend Earl filmed (along with the Q&A). I'm sure he plans to post that as soon as the editing is done, and we'll get you a link. I'll be doing many more signings and readings in the coming weeks. (Of special note is the signing in Lexington, where the bookseller wanted me to let you know that he has been able to get Michael Whelan to send prints of the cover of A Memory of Light. See below this post for details.)
A lot of people are asking what it feels like to be done. That's an odd question to consider for a couple of reasons. In some ways, the Wheel of Time was "done" for me when I read Robert Jordan's last scene back in 2007. The work wasn't done, of course, and I had a very long road ahead of me. And yet, I'd read the ending. We managed to get it into the final book virtually unchanged, with only a few minor tweaks here and there. The sequence (it is more than one scene) that I am referring to most of the time when I talk about this encompasses the entire epilogue of A Memory of Light. Once you get there, you can know you're reading Robert Jordan's words, though of course there are other scenes scattered through the book that he worked on too.
So that was one ending, for me. Another came in January of last year, when I finished the rough draft of this book. Still, there was a great deal of work to do, but I was "done" after a fashion. From there, I transitioned from writing a new Wheel of Time book to doing revisions—and for the last time ever.
Another ending came for me when I handed the book over to Maria from Team Jordan to handle all of the final tweaks from the proofreads and copyedits. That happened late last summer, and with some regret, I stepped away from the Wheel of Time. Like a parent (though a step-parent in this case) waving farewell to a child as they leave the home, I no longer had responsibility for this book in the same way. I was done.
And yet, I wasn't. This month and next I'll be touring for the Wheel of Time. That will probably be the final ending, seeing all of you and sharing in your mixed joy and regret at the finale of this series. Over twenty-three years ago now, I picked up The Eye of the World for the first time, and my life changed. A lot of you have similar stories.
I know how you feel. I've been feeling it for five years now, ever since I read that last scene. There is no glossary in this last Wheel of Time book. We wanted to leave you with the memory of that scene, as Robert Jordan wrote it, for your final impression of the Wheel of Time.
I'm happy I can finally share that scene with you. After five years of waiting, I can talk about it with others and reminisce without having to worry about what I'm spoiling. I hope to chat with as many of you as possible in the upcoming months. For those who can't make it, I'll post some responses to frequently asked questions below.
May you always find water and shade.
January 8th, 2013
You said something about cover art prints of A Memory of Light?
Yes! Brian from Joseph-Beth is one of those booksellers mentioned above. From the start of my career, he's been in my corner, rooting for my books to do well. (And he has probably hand-sold more copies of my books than any person other than myself.) He tends to do awesome things for booksignings. This time, he called up Michael Whelan and asked if he could somehow get prints of the cover to sell.
The result is that we're going to be selling them at that signing, and ONLY that signing. In fact, so far as I know, this is the only place to get prints of the cover painting right now. Mr. Whelan has already signed each one, and I'll be signing them when in Lexington. [Assistant Peter's note: Michael Whelan will also sell them on his own website—we'll put up a link later—at the same price ($95), but getting it from Joseph-Beth will be faster. If you're not going to the signing you can order it here. There may also be a few prints of the The Way of Kings cover painting available at the signing itself.]
Why a delayed ebook release for A Memory of Light?
This is not my decision or Tor's decision, but Harriet's. She is uncomfortable with ebooks. Specifically, she worries about ebooks cutting into the hardcover sales. It isn't about money for her, as the monetary difference between the two is negligible here. It is about a worry that her husband's legacy will be undermined if sales are split between ebooks and hardcovers, preventing the last book of the Wheel of Time from hitting number one on either list. (Many of the bestseller lists are still handling ebooks in somewhat awkward ways.)
As the last books have all hit number one, she doesn't want to risk one of these not hitting number one, and therefore ending the series on a down note. (Even though each Wheel of Time book has sold more than its predecessor, including the ones I have worked on.) I personally feel her worries are unfounded, and have explained that to her, but it is not my choice and I respect her reasoning for the decision. She is just trying to safeguard Robert Jordan's legacy, and feels this is a very important way she needs to do so. After talking about the issue, we were able to move the ebook up from the originally planned one-year delay to instead come out this spring.
What were you thinking when you wrapped up the final chapter of the book?
I felt like a person who had just run a mental marathon. I was tired, I was satisfied, I was excited, and I was saddened. That was five years of my life writing, and twenty-something years of my life reading and working on it. It was really bittersweet. But you have to remember that that was tempered for me, because the ending that Robert Jordan had written—I had read that years ago. So in a lot of ways the series was already finished to me, and had been finished since 2007 when I read the ending.
That last chapter was his chapter. There were only minor tweaks that I put in; there's one scene that I added from a certain character's viewpoint. But basically, that whole ending sequence, the last chapter, and the epilogue, are Robert Jordan's. So it was more a matter of finally putting it in with the rest of the book. Now, it's finally done. The capstone that was finished five, six years ago can finally be slipped into place and the book can be complete. So all of those emotions were mixed together.
Are we going to be happy with the end of A Memory of Light?
The ending was written by Robert Jordan, and as a reader I found it extremely satisfying when I reached it. And so I feel very confident that the ending of the book is going to be what everyone has been hoping for and wanting—without being exactly what they expect. I think the ending that Robert Jordan wrote is just wonderful.
Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time, launched in 1990, quickly became one of the most popular series in the history of fantasy, though as the story continued year after year, swelling into many mammoth volumes, some fans wondered if the tale would ever be finished, especially after Jordan's death in 2007. But this month sees the release of A Memory of Light, the 14th and final volume, completed by author Brandon Sanderson, working off Jordan's notes.
"The last thing that Robert Jordan wrote is the last chapter of this book," says Brandon Sanderson in this week's episode of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "I felt when I first read it that it was a satisfying ending. I felt it was the right ending. It's been my guidepost for all the work I've done on this."
Fantasy and science fiction fans have every reason to be skeptical about the endings of long-running sagas, many of which never materialize or prove resoundingly disappointing, but Sanderson hopes A Memory of Light will be the exception. Certainly fans have high expectations, with some lining up at Sanderson’s first signing as much as two weeks in advance.
"It's not particularly pleasant outside in Utah in December and January," says Sanderson. "These are real troopers."
Listen to our complete interview with Brandon Sanderson in Episode 77 of Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, in which he reflects on his 50,000 unread e-mails, explains why so many Mormons write science fiction, and talks about whether this is really the end of The Wheel of Time. Then stick around after the interview as guest geek Douglas Cohen joins hosts John Joseph Adams and David Barr Kirtley to discuss movies based on the works of Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian.
There was some discussion about Brandon's suggestion that RJ wrote the entire epilogue, since we knew from his tweets while he was working on it that he had to modify the epilogue material, and we knew from Peter that Brandon wrote the Cadsuane scene (and possibly others; this has never been clarified). In the comments on this post on Facebook, Isabel asked some questions and got some answers from Peter. The last quote is from Dragonmount, in response to some fan assumptions about how much had been written by RJ.
One question: regarding the Cadsuane scene. It is said that this was added by you. Is that correct? Was Cadsuane's fate in RJ's notes?
Team Jordan said I could say that Brandon himself wrote the words of that little scene. Brandon is still being closedmouthed about what specifically came from the notes, but in general, Robert Jordan left quite a few notes on where people ended up at the end of the book.
Am I right to assume that her implied fate wouldn't have been put in, if the notes say something different? (assuming there were notes on it)
The notes about fates at the end were not contradicted.
What Brandon was given from RJ specifically on the last three books was 200 manuscript pages containing some finished scenes (including the final scene) and some summaries of other scenes, some lines of dialogue here and there, some "I might do this, or I might do this," etc. It's definitely not the last 120 pages of the book.
@Terez27 Do we know which character is dead by Harriet's choice?
Yeah. Harriet felt that we had painted that character into a corner, and the story demanded that conclusion.
Is that the GRRM moment? Or the character that was gonna recover from their injuries?
Character was going to recover.
She was right to make that call, but it does turn me into a liar. That's what I get for speaking too soon...
That does seem slightly ludicrous. I think the fanbase turned Bela into a bit of a meme.
True, but I will note that Harriet personally has a special fondness for her.
She has said that she would joke with RJ that Bela was the character based on Harriet in the books.
Harriet even has "Bela" in her email address. She took her fate quite seriously.
The average reader wouldn't even remember who she was. Weird this much effort was spent on her.
You think? Back when I was an average reader and hadn't talked about the books online, I loved Bela.
I once wrote a poem about writer's block. I was reminded of it when I the last scene of chapter 44... @BrandSanderson https://twitter.com/BrandSanderson/status/106123521532493824
I would love to see the poem. And it sure was nice to have Thom around to help with inspiration.
Thom's chapter viewpoint in Memory of Light, hands down for me, was my favorite. Beautifully written.
It was not, but I agree with how it is. Those sorts of endings—like in Harry Potter—don't work for me as well.
However, Harriet has promised to release what we know of RJ's planned sequel trilogy to give you more info.
So, I was lucky enough to get to go to the Memory of Light signing in Lexington at Joseph-Beth on January 11th.
When I was getting some books personalized, I told him how much I really liked the characterization of Androl and Perava.
He told me that Androl was a fun character for him to write, because it was his "own" Asha'man.
When he agreed to finish WoT, as he was looking over his notes, he asked if he could create an Asha'man to do with what he wanted. Thus, Androl.
He also talked about how Perava was his idea of how the Red Ajah would make their way in the world after the taint was gone from saidin.
Granted, they were relatively minor characters, but they had the best side story in the final three books, IMHO.
(Consternation on his face) He was goofing off somewhere.
And his army? They didn't do anything of note, eh?
Did Brandon insert a character in the story based on himself?
No. He did however mention two items, one for Robert Jordan, one for him. In the ter'angreal cache found in Ebou Dar, there is a man with a beard statue. The power of the item is to be like an easily movable library. [MY NOTE: We see this in A Memory of Light.] This was Robert Jordan. Brandon then told the story of how he got his sword, with the dragon scabbard, while in Mr. Jordan's home in South Carolina, and meeting with Wilson. That sword appears in the book, and is the one which Rand gives to Tam in A Memory of Light. So Brandon's sword is in the book, but not Brandon himself.
RJ referred to his appearance in the form of the bearded man ter'angreal as his "Alfred Hitchcock moment". Aviendha first discovered the use of the bearded man ter'angreal in Knife of Dreams 15. Brandon's sword appears in A Memory of Light 15.
[Side note: One person almost got himself lynched by asking a somewhat spoilery question, regardless of what people had been instructed...] Some characters die in A Memory of Light. How do you choose which characters to kill and which to keep alive?
[My note: Brandon tried to keep this out of spoilers and make it more general about writing and dealing with killing characters off in general.] In this book, Robert Jordan had left very specific instructions regarding the fates of some characters. He left a lot of notes, and some of those determined their fate. In general, characters have to be allowed to take risks in order to create a compelling story. There has to be a real danger for them, or the characters fall flat. Sometimes, that means characters are going to die. (Brandon added a nice bit that made the crowd laugh: "Which character can I kill off that will really piss everyone off and which no one expects?")
Who was the Aiel woman that Aviendha met on her trip to Rhuidean?
Nakomi. Also, RAFO, there's a hint in A Memory of Light.
(Later in the evening, he said that hint can be found between the chapter "The Last Battle" and the end of the book. He also said she came from deep in Jordan's notes, and he did not feel like he could give more information than that. Also, she might be explained in the encyclopedia, but no promises regarding that.)
This Q&A was later clarified by a Twitter conversation in which Brandon said that something he found deep in RJ's notes made him include Nakomi. He refused to confirm that Nakomi actually was in the notes.
How much was already completed when you took over the series?
Brandon referred to what Tom Doherty had previously said on the issue. He said there were about 200 pages when he took over. Also, the Epilogue in A Memory of Light was almost entirely written by Jordan with Brandon trying to bring everything else to that point.
In a charity drive, a lot of people were chosen to have their names inserted into A Memory of Light; specifically, we were told a large group would consist of these people. Who are they in the book?
The Dragonsworn. Aes Sedai have joined this group, and many others. That's where they were added.
There was a new weave used by someone in book 14; did anyone else see it?
"Yes"—and that's all that was spoken about it, since it contained spoilers.
Presumably this is in reference to the "Flame of Tar Valon" weave, which Egwene used in A Memory of Light 37.
What was Brandon given to start his work?
He received one scene from each prologue—the first scene from The Gathering Storm that was dictated, the Kandori tower scene from Towers of Midnight, and one scene from A Memory of Light that I will not state since it contains a spoiler. There were large chunks of the ending, including the entire epilogue. He received fragments of Egwene's visit from her "special visitor" inThe Gathering Storm, and a proposal at the end of Towers of Midnight. There were also discussions of scenes, and answers from Team Jordan.
How does it feel now that you are done with the series?
Bittersweet. Has been reading the series longer than he has had some friends!
It was truly done well.
Bittersweet. And wow!
Why is the Last Battle chapter so long?
It is two hundred pages, and takes place for almost 24 hours, but the goal was for the reader to feel as exhausted after as the characters themselves did.
My assistant has also uploaded two more Twitter archive posts. [Assistant Peter's note: The first one is spoiler free, but there are plenty of spoilers for A Memory of Light in the second one. Brandon tries to keep spoilers out of his Twitter feed, but there are major spoilers in several of the questions that Brandon answered.]
We'll find out how A Memory of Light did on the New York Times bestseller list later today or tomorrow, but we already know it hit #1 on the Ingram and National Indie lists. (The USA Today listing above was for the week before the book came out.) We also made Shelf Awareness's Image of the Day for January 16th, which you can see here (taken at Joseph-Beth in Lexington):
Thanks for all of your support, and I hope you're enjoying the book! It has been an honor.
Okay, no spoilers about the book itself, please.
There are characters we've been with for twenty years or so who don't survive this book. How do you choose when characters meet perhaps an untimely end in a book? [laughter]
For this book in specific, there are characters that Robert Jordan left notes on requiring what would happen to certain characters; he was actually fairly detailed. There are a couple of cases where we made decisions on our own, and in any case, when a character dies in a book, I am trying to do what is best for that character and for the emotional beats of the storytelling. I don't look at it as killing off characters; I look at it as letting characters take risks, the risks that they would demand of me that they be allowed to take, and if those risks don't occasionally come with consequences, then there is no story to me, because there is no tension, and there is no possibility for things to go wrong, and without that possibility, I wouldn't be able to write the books. I would be unable to write novels if the characters were unable to have actual danger from the actions that they're taking.
And so, I make these decisions based on what the character demands and what the story demands. It's never easy. I don't sit there gleefully, as I do imagine certain writers doing [laughter], who will remain unnamed [laughter], saying, "What two don't they expect me to kill, and how can I do it in a really, really brutal way?" [laughter] And that's a certain skill that certain authors have; that's not how I approach it. It's what the story demands of me, is how I approach it, and in some cases what Robert Jordan demanded of me. I agree with everyone that he killed, though. [laughter] I felt that it was right for the story.
You will find them in there. They call them Dragonsworn. They are a group of unaligned Dragonsworn which include people who have just left their oaths behind and joined this group. There are Aes Sedai in there; there are Aiel in there; there are people from all around, and that group represents the fandom. They just call themselves the Dragonsworn.
Why, her name is Nakomi. [laughter] Obviously.
That's an Aes Sedai answer.
Heh heh heh. [laughter, applause]
If you read online, there are many fan theories which may engage you. How about this, I’ll give you an official RAFO. There is at least one clue in this book.
(to Melissa) Cool t-shirt! [laughter]
Hi; my name's Melissa Snedeker; I'm from Colorado Springs. I have been reading the series for about ten years now. Love it. My question is to Brandon. There is a notable difference between you and Robert Jordan's writing. I was wondering what the biggest influence that you had on the books [was], and what were your main thoughts that you added on top of Robert Jordan's?
I usually shy away from saying too much about this because we prefer that when you read the books you not spend a lot of time trying to figure out what was me and what was Robert Jordan. It's safe to say that, at any given point in the book, you will find my influence and his influence.
That said, I've said before the epilogue of this book—and significant chunks of the last little part as well, but specifically the epilogue—was written by him before he passed away, so you do know that. Things I've said before—and I'm probably not going to say much more than this, at least until the books have been out for a while—in Gathering Storm, if it was Egwene, Egwene's plotline was more Robert Jordan, and Rand's plotline was a little more me—we both were involved in both, but there is that—and if it was in Towers of Midnight, Mat's plotline was more Robert Jordan, and Perrin's plotline was more me.
But it's really hard to get down into specifics, because I don't want you focusing on that, and beyond that, I've even started to forget. [laughter] Because I've been working on this... No really! You guys laugh about that, but I've been working on it so long, I will do things, and it's things that came out of the notes, and then I'll go back and look and I have forgotten that those things came from the notes, because at this point in the creative process, you're building a book, and you're looking for the inspirations from the stories or from the notes, and they're kind of sometimes the same to me, whether it's the notes or the stories. And so, anyway, I'm sorry to give you kind of a roundabout non-answer to your question, but maybe in another year or so I can say a little bit more. But really, we would rather it just remain....we don't want it to be at the forefront of people's minds when they're reading.
Yeah. Alright, thank you so much.
Thank you. [applause] Thank you for wanting it. [laughter]
Two things. If circumstances had been different, would Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson get along, and would they be friends? [laughter] And second, with this...now that it's all written, as he looks down, is he proud? What would his thoughts be tonight?
Oh, I think he'd be proud. I think he'd be proud, and I do think he and Brandon would have gotten along. [laughter]
One thing that was really strange...the first time Brandon came to Harriet and Jim's house, we were...when Jim was still alive, on Fridays we would order out from a restaurant and sit down and talk and everything, and so Brandon came. We ordered from one of the same restaurants. He ordered what Jim ordered, without any hints or anything. He sat in Jim's seat. It was kinda like, "Wow, this is kinda cool!" [laughter] It felt like it was meant to be.
Harriet tells a story—at least on the Gathering Storm tour, someone asked a question like that—and she said...(to Harriet) back then you said...she thought he was probably up there and looking down and saying, "Who is that kid?" And then kind of nodding and saying, "Yeah, it turned out alright." [laughter]
I think he's definitely saying that now.
The complete Karaethon Cycle will not be in there, because Jim didn't write the complete one out. Same for the Prophecies. I'm not sure about the maps...(looks at Harriet)
I do think you'll find that, as published, the strategic movements are really very clear.
Hi, I'm Michael Chantry from Podunk [?] Idaho—[claps] someone knows the area. Thank you for the books; they're amazing. Thanks Robert Jordan for the books. I like them so much I actually named my second child Perrin. [applause]
My question is to both Brandon and Harriet. I know you love this new book, A Memory of Light, that you've created for us, and out of it, is there anything that we... What is your favorite part? What did you enjoy most about it? If you can give us a chapter, a section...anything. I know you're going to say "the whole thing." [laughter]
(flips through book) [laughter] There's a 200-page chapter in this book. [hoots, buzz of talking] I felt it very thematically important, and my favorite part is right at the end of that chapter and the beginning of the next chapter, and the next chapter is actually very short, and so really, it's probably Chapter 39, but with the lead-in at the end of chapter 38.
And Harriet, do you have a favorite part?
(talks to Peter) 37 and 38? Okay, 37 and 38. Peter knows these things better than I do. [laughter]
Well, I love the end of Chapter 23—the final sequence—and as you're aware from Brandon's other books, I mean a lot of the chapters will have a piece here, and then there's a two-line space and you jump five hundred miles away, and so on, but the last segment of 23 I think is just super. But there are an awful lot of things that I do love in this book; the scene I read for you is one of my favorites; there's more of it, but I thought, "Oh, I don't know; I think I'm getting on too long," because we hadn't quite timed it out. I think it's a wonderful book. [laughter, applause]
I know that the question wasn't directed up here to me, but I think I definitely need to say that—without being cliché—the ending, the epilogue, was far and away everything I could have hoped it was, and it was my favorite part of the book. It was just...I can't wait for all of you to eventually read it, and hopefully have the same kind of reaction that I did. It's pretty awesome.
I can talk a little bit more about that, because...I told you the Asmodean story, but next under that sheet was this, was the...were the scenes that Robert Jordan had written for the book. And so, that included sections from the prologue, which got split into various pieces of the various prologues of the three novels; sections out of the book; and then this ending, the epilogue, and it's one of the most...one of the scenes where you're able to preserve, a sequence that's the most close to the way Robert Jordan left it. Because a lot of scenes he'd leave, he'd leave like a paragraph, and then it's like I have to expand that into, or I have to work a whole thing and then have that paragraph in.
There's a famous scene, for instance, with Verin in Gathering Storm where he left, you know, the kinda...what you would imagine is the important parts, but it's only the important parts, and then it doesn't have a lead-in or an exit to the scene, and so I had to write up and then lead in to what he'd written, and then lead out of it, and that sort of stuff. And this, it's actually...we've got complete sequences that he wrote before he passed away. And so, when you get to that epilogue, you can know...there's some very non-touched-by-the-rest-of-us stuff that he had in a very good shape to be published before he passed away.
And I should have thought of that, but as he read it in 2007—and so did I, and I had known some bits of it for years before that—but it really is splendid.
Thank you very much. [applause]
My name's Jeremy Griffin; I'm from Orem, Utah as well. I bought Eye of the World in 1991, so I've been reading them for a very, very long time. So thank you so much. By the way, Brandon—Alcatraz, fantastic—if you guys haven't read any of them...rarely does a book make me laugh out loud. So thank you. Thank you very much.
Harriet, did Mr. Jordan have enough clout to be able to push his last book through to make it one novel like he wanted to? He said two thousand pages, I don't care if that's what it is...could he have done that because of his history?
Well, the problem is, it wasn't clout; it was pushing up against the laws of physics. [laughter] There are limits to the size a bound book can be without sort of falling apart the minute you open it. And then you're up against the shelf space in bookstores.
Okay, great. Real quick too, please don't sell the rights to a computer game for it if it's going to be as bad as [?] was...[laughter] Please, please don't do it.
Ah, the rights are sold. [laughter]
I'm gonna say...[audio cut]...is the ending, writing the last sequences that I've been planning so long—because I always know what my ending is, and I tend to point everything at the ending—writing that last sequence is my favorite. For instance, my favorite scene to write in A Memory of Light comes right near the end. There's a very long chapter that you'll read; it's the last part of that very long chapter, into the next chapter which is very short. (something from audience) Yeah, it's 200-something pages.
For good reason.
Yes, for good reasons.
Egwene. After that, Bela. I'd promised she would live, but Harriet decided that I was cheating to keep her alive.
How long did it take you to write Egwene's death? What were your emotions then? How much had RJ written of it?
It was a hard one, to be sure. Hardest in the books. Had a long conversation with Team Jordan about how to manage it.
RJ had not written much of that sequence.
Why did Egwene have to die? Very sad.
I agree. But if you look at the arc of her character, you might begin to see why it was important.
Without spoilers, were there any characters you want to kill/save that you couldn't do to Jordan's wishes?
There was one. But it was Harriet's call, not RJ's, that ended them.
Who did you find hardest to kill?
Egwene by a mile. Followed by Bela.
Why did you kill Bela?
I tried to keep her alive! Harriet told me I'd put her in too bad a situation, and she needed to die.
She was right, of course, but it still hurts.
Finishing everything that RJ left to be finished in the amount of space required results in some dynamic pacing.
I don't feel rushed is the right term. But I can see how people might feel that way. I could have gone three more books.
It was not right to do so. This was what he wanted, and I did my best to fit everything in. I'm pleased with the result.
In regards to your specific questions, the Demandred kills were supposed to be abrupt to convey emotion of sudden loss.
That's how things are in war. As for Fain, a piece of me does wish there had been time for more with him.
Do you plan on expanding on the Wheel of Time series more or is it done? Why did you have so many abrupt deaths?
No, no more. RJ wouldn't want it. Abrupt deaths happen in war; it is the way this sort of thing plays out, I'm afraid.
Was there anything in A Memory of Light you wished you could have changed?
I might have done more with Fain if I'd had the time and the pages.
The biggest challenge for the book was fitting everyone in, and making sure they had relevant things to do.
I have been advised to RAFO questions regarding most everything from there on.
It's funny to say RAFO when there is no more to read, but what that term means is "This is supposed to be ambiguous."
With all of the homages to global myths/legends, is Nakomi the Wandering Jew/Jenn?
That's a very clever question that nobody has yet asked me. I'm not going to say more, however.
I gotta ask, is Nakomi / the Woman at the End a Shard of Adonalsium? Perhaps Balance?
No. There is not crossover between my shared world and the Wheel of Time. (Sorry.)
Who helped Rand out of the Shayol Ghul after the fight with the Dark One and told him he knew what he needed to do?
Hi, Neth. This is one I'm not answering, but if you track me down in person, you might be able to beat it out of me.
Is Nakomi the avatar of the Creator?
SIFADFOE (Scream In Frustration And Don't Find Out, Ever) :-)
Yay, that means I can officially not give a shit about Nakomi. :)
You are allowed that right officially. She's becoming the Asmodean kill of this sequence of books.
I, of course, should have realized she'd become so big a thing as she did—but that wasn't the intention.
I want to know what the heck was with Nakomi—who/what she is. Also was that her at the end of A Memory of Light?
Just answered this. Have a look below. (Sorry. It's a RAFO, I'm afraid.)
Who/What is Nakomi?
That is a good question, but not one I'm planning to answer any time soon. (sorry.)
Who was Nakomi? How did the body swap happen? How did Rand light the pipe?
You've asked all three of the big questions I'm not allowed or unable to answer, I'm afraid.
Who was the old Aiel lady at the end of Rand's battle?
Is Nakomi the person that Rand encountered at the mouth of Shayol Ghul? And is she the embodiment of The Creator?
This is one that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.
RJ always said he could have written the scene in 1984, but he didn't actually write it until he was working on A Memory of Light.
Robert Jordan wrote the entire epilogue.
Almost all. There were a few small inserts by me. Perrin was mine in the epilogue.
I would like to know, how much of the last chapter was written by RJ and how much did you do?
I did Perrin and some of the in-between writing with Loial. RJ did Mat, Rand, scene exiting the mountain, and others.
There are places where I tweaked bits, per editing, and places where I slipped in things he'd written to my sequences.
Was the last scene written or dictated?
Written down. As was the scene with Isam [in] the prologue.
The Borderlander tower scene was dictated, I believe.
Dobraine makes it. RJ's only note on him for the last book was that he was at Merrilor when Rand/Egwene clashed. Dobraine...
...was one I kept meaning to find a place to mention, but never quite got around to working it in.
Perrin's spirit guide. Note that the "he" in the next sentence does not refer to the same creature.
Did the Shadow Prophecy at the end of Towers of Midnight come to pass? If so can you explain as I did not recognize it.
Everything in it happened, but not exactly as many would have interpreted.
I think Maria and Harriet are planning to put these in the encyclopedia, but you are right on the third question.
What did Moiraine ask Aelfinn/Eelfinn?
Ooh, good question. And one I don't have the answer to that handy, but we can MAFO that and ask Maria.
Everything I know about Aelfinn/Eelfinn questions/wishes will be in the encyclopedia.