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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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It will not be split. I'm pretty certain. 2012 for sure.
FINALLY done with the through line I've been working on for weeks now. Progress bar moved to 70% done.
(For you trivia buffs, the longest book I've ever written was 306k long. It was The Way of Kings, which was the book I wrote right before Mistborn. The first draft of Well of Ascension was second, topping out at 258k in first draft form, though we cut it to about 245k before it went to press. So yes, A Memory of Light is going to be the longest book I've ever worked on. Though, since Mr. Jordan left large chunks of writing for the book—including much of the beginning and ending—I don't know that this will technically be the longest book I've written, assuming you count only words I myself wrote.)
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.
On October 27, Book 12 of The Wheel of Time, The Gathering Storm, goes on sale nationally. Completed by Brandon Sanderson from notes and partials left by Robert Jordan, it is very good. I was its editor, as I was editor on ALL the Wheel books, and Maria Simons, Jordan's right hand for over 12 years, and Alan Romanczuk, Jordan's left hand (just because you can't have two right hands unless you are ... Shiva, is it?) have worked very closely with Brandon as well. We three—Harriet, Maria, and Alan—have really worked as Team Jordan on this book, and will do so on the following two, which will complete the Wheel. Book 13 will be titled Towers of Midnight, and Book 14 will be A Memory of Light.
Even Jordan couldn't have written everything he left in one volume, although he thought he could. But you recall that he thought he could write the entire Wheel in six volumes.
Try The Gathering Storm. I think you'll like it a lot. I do.
Brandon, you are noted for your fairly concise epic novels. But I am curious about how the final volume of The Wheel of Time, which was envisioned by Robert Jordan as a final and single book, got to be so long? Not just a little longer but incredibly longer (possibly over 900,000 words).
1. Did Robert Jordan totally miscalculate the size his final book? Or didn't he get too far writing it and had no idea of how long it would be?
2. Is it including every note Jordan had on the subject because no one is sure what he really wanted to use?
3. Is it being turned into a self-contained trilogy because a lot of people (like me) haven't read the entire 11 book series (or by now have forgotten the story), and it has to include some back-story?
I've wondered this myself, actually, in some form. As a long time reader of the series, when he began saying it would be one book, I was very curious how he'd pull it off. And then I saw the notes, and I was left scratching my head a little bit.
It's not option three—I was doing a little bit more of this, but Harriet requested that I scale it back. Her opinion (and it was Robert Jordan's opinion) is that the series is much too long to spend time recapping in every book. She was right, and I trimmed a lot of it.
#2 might have some influence here. Robert Jordan could have chosen to cut out characters and leave out scenes he had in the notes; it doesn't feel right for me to do that.
But I think, overall, it's something that you didn't mention at all. Robert Jordan knew this was going to be a BIG book. He began promising it would be the last, but also that it would be so big that readers would need a cart to get it out of the store. I think he was planning a single, massive book at 800k words or so.
But he DID want it to be one book—partially, I suspect, because he knew his time was short. He wanted to get it done. If he hadn't been sick, however, I don't think he would have started calling this the last book.
Harriet has told me on several occasions that she didn't think he would have done it in one book, if he'd been given the freedom to approach the writing how he wanted. In the end, there is SO much to do that it was going to end up like this no matter what. Unless I crammed it all in and forgot about a lot of the characters.
Would Robert Jordan have been able to do it in one book? Really? I don't know. I think that, if he'd lived, he might have worked some magic and gotten it done in one 400 or 500k volume. But I feel the need to be very careful and not ruin this series by strangulation. It's not going to go on forever, but it does need a little room to breathe.
I have a very specific question about The Wheel of Time series. One of my favorite characters has been MIA for way too long. I'm assuming Moiraine Damodred returns to the playing field. I'm just wanting to know if it will be in the upcoming book or further on?
This is exactly the sort of thing I've been asked by the Jordan estate to stay quiet about, I'm afraid. (Sorry.) Some things the fans are expecting will happen in this book. But some things had to be saved for the next two volumes. And of Mr. Jordan's instructions were quite surprising, when seen in the light of what everyone expects will happen.
That's really not an answer, is it? Well, let's just call it a RAFO.
OK, I’ll start by saying Brandon did not tell us any names/characters who are going to be where, so I will have to be as vague as him. Although, I think I saw a chart somewhere that will give us an idea, if someone wants to be investigative.
So, the story as stands at the end of Knife of Dreams has four "plot arcs" that are more or less related through "geography, fate, thought, etc." At the end of each of those arcs was a giant chunk of joined material that was "Tarmon Gai'don" and made up roughly 1/3 of the story. Brandon started writing these plot arcs like four separate novels with the intent to intersperse them. He had finished the third arc and hit 400k words when they decided they had to split it.
So, what they are doing: the first two plot arcs he wrote are going to be MOSTLY included in The Gathering Storm, as well some set-up/teaser of the other two. Then, in the second book (Working title The Shifting Winds, by the by, but we were promised it is going to be changed) is going to continue from that set-up/teaser of the third and fourth plot arcs, and including the final setup of the first two so that everyone hits at the same point and is ready for Tarmon Gai'don. Book three (working title is Tarmon Gai'don, but it might be A Memory of Light), will be, yes, Tarmon Gai'don. So, there ya go.
Anyway, be sure to check back during this week, as I intend to make up for missed blog posts (sorry about the lack of those these last few months) by posting frequently this week. I'll probably do a few posts about The Way of Kings, which is only about a week away now, and maybe talk about the projects I've got planned for the free months.
Right now, my plan is to start on A Memory of Light on January first.
Thank you all for being awesome.
If you can tell us, what's the tentative title for Book 2? And estimated release date? I know you've plenty left to tackle with WoT 14 so we'll take anything you say with that in mind.
Good. The tentative title was originally Highprince of War. I’m not decided on that yet, because it might be Shallan’s book, not Dalinar’s book. It depends on whose flashbacks I decide to tell, and which ones will complement the events of the next book. Though I have an expansive outline for the series, I really have to sit down and get a more detailed outline for the second book before I decide which title I want. If it’s Dalinar’s book, it will be Highprince of War. If it’s Shallan’s book it will not be. Tentative release date? I’m going to start on A Memory of Light January first, and it will be published probably about three months after I finish it. (Knowing how Tor’s publishing my books these days.) It will just depend on how long that takes to write. Then I will start on The Stormlight Archive 2 after that. I don’t anticipate that book being as hard to write as A Memory of Light, which is going to take a lot of time and a lot of work. Best case is that I finish A Memory of Light in August of next year, it gets published in November, and I write the sequel to The Way of Kings starting immediately after that and finish it in the middle of the next year so it can be published November 2012. That’s the best-case scenario. But it’s what I hope to be able to do; we’ll see.
I originally had titled the second book Highprince of War. I'm not sure if I will keep that title, depending on who its central character ends up being. With the Stormlight Archive, I am playing with the form of the epic fantasy novel in a way that's very exciting to me that I haven't done since Elantris. If you read Elantris, the form of that book was very important in how it developed, with its chapter triad system. The books in this series also have a very specific form. Each book will focus on one character. That character will get flashbacks exploring their past, to show you how they arrived where they are. But the book will progress the narrative for everyone. For instance, this book was Kaladin's book, and you got flashbacks for him. He will appear substantially in the next book, and you'll have lots of viewpoints from him, but it will be someone else's book and that character will get flashbacks. Each book will have one central character, with two or three major characters who have no flashbacks and not quite as much screen time—characters like Dalinar and Shallan in the first book, and to a lesser extent Adolin and Szeth.
The other thing that will continue is the interludes. I really enjoyed including those in the book; I'm not sure what people will think of them, but most of them are essentially going to be short stories set somewhere in the world, that enhance the main narrative and show different aspects of the world without forcing you to follow yet another plotline. They're just quick one-offs. You'll see those between parts in all of the other books.
Tentative release date? I have to finish A Memory of Light first. I don’t know how long that will take to write. In a perfect world, which is probably not going to happen, the ideal case is that I’m able to finish A Memory of Light by around August of 2011, whereupon it gets published in November 2011 and I start Stormlight Two January of the next year and it's ready for publication in November 2012. That would be the ideal situation. I often do manage to hit the deadlines in ideal situations, but I'm not making any promises on this one. I'm thinking 2012 spring is more likely for A Memory of Light, but we'll see.
Actually, the balance is rather similar, because of the way I developed the books. Half of the prologue scenes that Robert Jordan worked on ended up in The Gathering Storm; half ended up in Towers of Midnight. I'd say a third of the other material he worked on ended up in The Gathering Storm, and a third ended up in Towers of Midnight. In both cases I've had one character's plotline at the core of the book that was very well plotted out and worked on by Robert Jordan, and one plotline that to a greater extent I've had to add to of myself. That's been the same in both books.
Working on A Memory of Light is going to be a different experience, because the greater amount of what Robert Jordan worked on is weighted toward the end of the book rather than all along one character viewpoint. But there will still be a lot of it there, and in that case I'm writing toward it. You have to remember that the way I write these books often is to take a viewpoint cluster, a group of characters, and write them through from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. Which means that I've already, even in The Gathering Storm, had to work on viewpoint lines for which there was less from Robert Jordan to use. So it's been the same experience—it's really divided by plotlines.
PART ONE: WHEEL OF TIME BOOKS PUBLICATION TIMELINE
I posted earlier that Towers of Midnight is done, turned in, and ready for a November Second release. I'm feeling pretty good (though a little frazzled) at managing to get it in on deadline, by the promised date I gave you all in the blog post I made regarding splitting the novels. I stand by what I said there. I'm not expanding the outline left to me; I'm telling the same story I would have, even if the book hadn't been split. The order of chapters will be different in some cases, but nothing will be deleted or added.
Current projections are for the final book, A Memory of Light, to be about the length of the other two. (Around three hundred thousand words, or eight hundred pages in hardcover.) There are some who are hoping for it to be huge, the biggest in the series, but I will write it at the length it needs to be. I've finished two books, and have done two-thirds of the outline. So that gives a good indication that the final chunk will be the same length as the other two.
However, I do have to acknowledge that this is going to be the hardest chunk, for several reasons. The number of plots to be dealt with, the number of characters that need to be balanced, the sheer tactics and logistics of the Last Battle . . . there is a lot going on in this book, and it will be orders of magnitude more difficult than the previous two novels.
PART THREE: WARNINGS
And so, we're entering the "refresh and work on side projects" stage of the writing process. I did this after The Gathering Storm, and I really need it now. I am therefore taking time off between now and January first. I get to write anything I want. It will probably be bizarre and unexpected; things that keep me fresh, things I haven't tried before.
I ask your forbearance. I do believe that as a writer who has begun series, it is my responsibility to see that the other pieces of the story are written in a timely manner. However—and it may seem odd—I need to work on these other things to keep my next Wheel of Time and Stormlight installments good. It's how my process works.
So, that's the first warning. I'm taking a break for three months. The second warning is that I can't promise I'll hit the final deadline on the Wheel of Time series. (The last one was supposed to be out in November 2011.) The problem is this: starting January, it will have been three years since I read the Wheel of Time series start to finish. That's too long. I'm starting to forget things. I won't feel comfortable starting the final book until I've done another re-read, and this is going to slow me down by three or four months. It's an unexpected delay I didn't fit into my original projections of how long it would take me to write the books.
If I miss the deadline (which is more likely than not) it won't be by much. A few months, likely the same amount of time it takes me to do the re-read. But it is what must be done. So, I'd suggest that we set MARCH 2012 as the expected date of A Memory of Light. I suspect there will be some grumbling about this, but I feel I should let you know now, rather than later. It won't be an enormous delay, however. If my previous track record earns me anything, I hope it is the benefit of the doubt when it comes to me promising the release dates of books. I won't leave you hanging too long.
He mentioned that doing Towers of Midnight and rewriting/editing The Way of Kings the same year was quite intense in terms of time. He is still committed to getting books out quickly and regularly, but The Way of Kings and Towers of Midnight in one year was more than he wants to do on a regular basis.
He is going to take three months to reread the series and plans to have A Memory of Light done by end 2011 for a release in early 2012.
I spent the next little while tweaking Alloy of Law. I did a writing exercise to practice dialogue, which I posted. I've actually got more of that than I posted. (Maybe five chapters' worth.) I'll try to post more of that in the weeks ahead. I also did some work on Steelheart, which is coming together—but slowly.
I'm through with all of that now, however, and as of Monday I'm working full-time on the Wheel of Time. I'll do another blog post on that here soon.
Some time next year.
I can answer some of that a little more in depth. I am anticipating the length of the book to be about the length of The Gathering Storm. I am two-thirds of the way done with the notes with two of the three books, so that's a pretty good indicator. Because of that, I keep a progress bar on my web site, and every three thousand words of rough draft I write, I will increase that progress bar by 1%. Which means that you can know exactly how much is written. And three thousand words... I think in word count because I'm a writer—it's what we start doing—that's for a Wheel of Time book, that's like between half and a third of a chapter because Wheel of Time books have long chapters. It's basically a medium length to longer scene, but not a chapter. And so there are two scenes done. And you can go and you can look at The Gathering Storm which is about 300,000 words, and you can guess based on that, 1% of that is 3000 words.
(Mumbled conversation ensues between Alan and Brandon and something about battles...)
I'm gonna RAFO that. Because that's talking too much about the core soul of what the book is. And honestly, you're going to have to decide that. I'm going to have to see what people think of it after I write it, if that makes sense. I don't think I can armchair decide if people are going to feel that this is . . . how people are going to feel this is. It's going to be a good book, and it will feel slightly different from Gathering Storm and slightly different from Towers of Midnight, just like each book in the series has felt slightly different than those before them.
There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, though Robert Jordan has in his notes specifically several to not tie up. He says, 'this does not get resolved'. And so those will not be resolved. He wanted the world to keep on living and breathing even after the series was done. We are tying up pretty much everything that he did not tell us not to tie up, if my double negative worked there. And so the pace is going to be fairly quick-paced is basically what I can say, but I don't want to say anything more than that.
Right, so on the trainride, there was talk of the prologues, Brandon said that in each of the prologues for the last three books there is one section that was fully written by RJ—in The Gathering Storm it was the farmer scene and in Towers of Midnight it was the Borderlanders' scene.
He said that the prologue will most probably be released ahead of time again (no big surprise there) and ideally he'd like for people to be able to buy the prologue and then get that much discount on the actual book, however that's difficult to manage with laws and regulations and such.
That is perfectly clear, Brandon knows every scene, but he just has to write it.
The title A Memory of Light is still fitting for the book. I was wondering about it, because RJ origiinally wanted all in one book.
Yes, I do feel that desire to get on to Stormlight 2. However, this is not a new feeling. In every book—at about the 50% mark or so—I want to be moving on to the next book. By then, I've already done a lot of the exciting things in worldbuilding and discovering characters, but I'm not yet to the exciting ending.
This is a challenge for a lot of writers. I know Neil Gaiman has spoken on it before. I have trained myself to remain focused on the project at hand.
Do you ever take breaks away from A Memory of Light and go over notes and ideas for the next installment of the Stormlight Archive?
Yes, I do take breaks and outline other projects (specifically Stormlight.) But not for long.
For a lot of books, I go faster and faster as I approach the ending.
My goal for this one is to be done November 8th, when I go on tour. That means doing about 5% a week, or 15k words. At six days a week, that's very doable. Assuming I don't do any more day-long reddit AMAs...
Fast speed for me is 4k a day. Slow is about 1.5k.
Will the material written for A Memory of Light by Jordan remain intact in the published novel or will you rewrite it to match your on style of writing?
I am leaving it as intact as possible. In some places, a paragraph at the beginning or end of a section has to be changed to streamline it into the rest of the narrative. In others, line edits have to be done (mostly by Harriet) to fix the language. (Nothing we have from him is in more than a rough draft form.)
But where I can, I'm not changing anything. Because of this, readers who look very closely might be able to tell where I wrote and where he wrote. But I don't think it is noticeable without detailed scrutiny.
I suggest to readers that they read the book straight through the first time without trying to pick out which piece was written by which author. I'm hoping to get permission to speak more specifically about how it was all divided once the three books are all out. Then, you can know for certain. But for now, I would prefer (and I'm certain Mr. Jordan would prefer) that you see through the prose and enjoy the story.
WOT questions: Will all three A Memory of Light books feature Rand, Mat, and Perrin?
Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: They will all three appear in all three books, but it will not be equally balanced. Some characters will be more of a focus in some of the books, and other will be more of a focus in others. This is particularly true of the first two volumes, where I had to juggle which characters would be a focus in one, and which will be a focus in the other.
I tried to keep story arcs contained in a single book. We'll get glimpses from some of the characters in the first book, with a more complete story arc in the second book. And we'll get story arcs in the first book from some characters, followed by glimpses in the second.
The split actually turned out really well. I think I managed to get a balance working where characters don't vanish for entire volumes, but we still get to have complete character arcs.
Well, I'm off on my tour. The Alloy of Law release party was a blast, even though the bookstore was a little light on copies. We managed to get everyone a book, I think. So huzzah, and forward.
One of the things I announced yesterday on Twitter and Facebook was another Great Hunt to coincide with my tour. If you aren't familiar with it, this is a concept from the Wheel of Time books which I (very loosely) adapted into a scavenger hunt to hold while on tour. I leave codes hidden around the world for Wheel of Time fans to locate, and they collectively input them into a web page which slowly unlocks text for everyone to see. (You can read a recap of last year's Great Hunt here.)
I have some thirty codes to reveal, hide, or otherwise give out while on tour this time. I may hide some inside books in certain bookstores. I might give them to individuals (like Tor employees) for safe keeping, and require you to figure out who they are. Or, perhaps, you might have to do something else. Whatever strikes me.
Before we go farther, however, some ground rules:
1. The codes are inside envelopes this year, with a label requesting that a bookstore employee NOT open the envelope and read the code over the phone. I'll probably prepare the bookstore employees for what is coming. You are required to fetch the codes yourself, or at least send someone you personally know to get the code. I don't want you bothering employees of any store—whether it be bookstores or someone from a store next door—to do the work for you. They aren't being paid to fetch codes. If you know someone in the area and can send them, go for it. Avoid bothering strangers.
2. All but four of the codes need to be entered in order to reveal the secret, but each one inputted will reveal small bits. This is a collective endeavor. Share information, work together. Once you find a code, input it on this page. Everyone else, feel free to watch the page and try to figure out what the secret is going to be as more is revealed.
3. It is okay to try to guess codes. They have something in common. In a way, they are some fun information themselves.
4. If you want to get involved, both Theoryland and Dragonmount (among others) are likely to have threads where you can post, participate, and see what codes have been found and what others have been tried. You can follow the hunt's progress by searching for the hashtag #wotgh on Twitter.
Now, as to the secret itself, I feel I should manage some expectations. Last year, we revealed a chapter from the upcoming Wheel of Time book. There are no chapters that are ready this time; they're all in first-draft stage. So the secret this time will not be something quite so earth-shattering. (Sorry.)
I still think it is cool, though it is more in the 'cool curiosity' category rather than the 'sneak peek' category. This is something that was written by Robert Jordan himself, and is taken directly from his notes. People have frequently asked us to show some of the notes, and Harriet agreed to let us show you this chunk. It is illustrative of the kinds of things you'd find in the notes themselves.
So, swear the hunter's oath and get to it! Let's have some fun. I plan to give away some of these in each city I visit, so UK Wheel of Time fans, you should have plenty of opportunities this year to help out.
As of doing this interview, the last book of the Wheel of Time is nearly done, but boy, that's a big "nearly." There's so much work to do with the last chunk of this book that it's feeling pretty overwhelming right now. My goal is to have a revised manuscript in to Harriet by January 1st. When it comes out will depend on how long it takes to edit it.
The second Stormlight Archive book is in the planning stages; I should go right into writing that starting January 1st, with it coming out hopefully around a year after that, maybe March 2013. That's a long wait since The Way of Kings was released, and I hate to make people wait that much, but I plan to write the third book fairly soon thereafter.
Alcatraz is on hold until I decide what to do with the series. I will write one more book in that eventually. The Rithmatist is exciting; it's fun; but I also don't want to have too many balls up in the air that people are reading and having to keep track of. So I keep delaying it with Tor, saying we shouldn't release it until I'm sure I can commit to getting the trilogy done in a reasonable amount of time.
Other than that, I have a few random side projects in the works that should be coming your direction. I always have random side projects in the works, but none of those are ready for announcement yet.
After three weeks on the road, and 25 hours of travel today, am finally home.
Back at home, sitting before my fireplace, taking a deep breath and preparing to dive back into A Memory of Light.
Still hard at work on A Memory of Light here. Want to do a blog post to wrap up The Great Hunt and my tour, but so far, haven't had time.
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.
Okay, A Memory of Light is going fine..the book is awesome, but it feels like I've been working on it FOREVER. I need some motivation, so...
I'm going to start doing what I did last year. If I hit my wordcounts, I will open a pack of Magic cards as a reward. Yes, I'm a nerd.
People are asking how close the draft is to being done. Close, but I keep realizing there are points that need expanding.
Current length of A Memory of Light: 313,000 words. Towers of Midnight—the longest of the two I've done so far—was 335k. A Memory of Light will be at least that long.
It WILL come out next year, and will not be split again. I'm close to the end, but still have several weeks worth of hard work to do.
Is there a word-count length that you are encouraged not to exceed?
Over 400k would really be pushing it.
And, as 5:00 rolls around, I have managed (barely) to hit my 2k wordcount goal so far today. Time for a Magic pack!
This one was sent to be by a fan, via my Amazon wishlist. (No name was included.) Whoever you are, thanks! The rare is: http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=246954
Is the infamous last scene Robert Jordan left behind already part of the 313,000 words?
No, it is not. So the 'finished' length is actually longer. I haven't put that chunk in yet.
Is your average word count goal/day usually 2k?
On a WoT novel, which is much harder, that is a fair count. On something simpler, 3-4k is average.
I'm just wondering why you have a daily wordcount—surely the quality is more important than the length?
I believe that daily goals are important, as crafting a great book requires work as much as it does inspiration.
Laying down a rough first draft, then polishing over and over, is the path I've found to creating excellent work.
Have you written through the ending for all the main characters? If so, is the rest just "expanding" scenes out?
Not all of them yet. Just a few.
You are working on the final book in an epic series that people have been reading for decades and you need a game for motivation?
Even when you love what you do, it can be hard to work 12 hour days to finish a book after an exhausting tour.
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. :)
Quick question I get asked all the time working here at Barnes and Noble. When are you expected general release dates for Stormlight Archive #2 and A Memory of Light?
Alright, so this is what I'm doing right now. I am turning in A Memory of Light December 31st. If I don't, Harriet will probably fly to my house and shake me. And so I will start writing Stormlight 2 right then. It's going to be a tough year because I want to get that done as soon as it is reasonable but I also have to edit the wheel of time book. and I will balance those two projects. Wheel of Time—I will tell you, most likely is October, November. We would like it to be sooner, but we have to wait on Harriet's edits, and beyond that, it's the last book, and she requested extra time to make sure we get everything in it.
That is my guess right now. Stormlight 2, if I'm on the ball, is March or April of the following year . That is what I'm really shooting for. The only other release that I have potentially is Tor has been hanging on to my children's books that they haven't yet been sure when they want to release. They actually have a book that is called Scribbler , which has been renamed the Rithmatist, and people see me talk about it. I actually wrote that one back in 2007 I think? Yeah, 2007. They've been hanging on to that one. I keep being noncomittal on that because it needs heavy rewrites.
So it needs a heavy rewrite. It would take like 2-3 months, and I've not had 2-3 months to dedicate to it. The other book they have of mine is Steelheart, which I've read from at things at signings and whatnot, it's a book I wrote a while ago during one of my breaks. They may release one of those next year, I'm not sure. Probably not The Rithmatist, because I don't have 2-3 months to spare. We may see Steelheart next Summer or next Fall. The thing is, they are in the process of acquiring the Alcatraz books from Scholastic, to repackage them, and they said they probably going to get that deal for sure, so they have them. So they probably want to do an original, like Steelheart, or Rithmatist, before they release the Alcatraz books, so they say "Hey, Tor has Brandon's children's books, now here is a new children's book, and by the way, here are repackaged books." Kind of in tandem in the publicity place. If they were going to do this, Steelheart in September, alongside Alcatraz 1 repackaged in September, and then 2, 3, 4 repackaged in the next months, and then Alcatraz 5.
So that is what's going on right there. A lot of it depends on how long it takes to write Stormlight 2.
It's okay, we're Wheel of Time fans. We're used to waiting. (laughter)
I want to be more punctual than some authors have been recently in fantasy. (laughter) The thing about it is, we sometimes give Robert Jordan some grief about this but he was really good. There was a book a year for many years and then he went to a book every two years, and it wasn’t until late in his career when he was sick that he got a lot slower. He is actually a good model to follow. I’d like to have a book every year, going forward for as long as I can. I’d really like to do 2 Stormlight Archives every three years, if possible. I’m not sure if that’s viable or not.
We would like that too. (laughter)
Back at work on A Memory of Light. I have two early sequences I left half-finished because I felt I needed to lay down more important sequences first.
Still working on those smaller, early-book sequences I mentioned . This one involves a character who had his first viewpoint in Towers of Midnight.
Good progress on A Memory of Light this week. Around 3k Monday and Tuesday, and 2.4k words today so far.
Scene I'm working on needs to be trashed and rewritten from a different viewpoint. Ah, well.
Okay, the scene is working much better now. Basically, a half-day lost, but it is worth backing up if something isn't working.
When you say a scene isn't "working" what does that mean? Bad mojo, doesn't feel right, or its there a technical reason?
All three, actually. Mostly, it just feels wrong.
And it is fixed now. Hard to judge my wordcount today, since I spent time fixing, but I'm opening a pack of Magic cards as a reward.
Current length of A Memory of Light: 335,000 words, same size as Towers of Midnight. And I haven't finished yet, nor have I added in RJ's ending.
Even with edits, this will be the longest of the three WoT books I've done. Don't worry about it being split, though. That won't happen.
Is RJ's ending ready for primetime? Or do you have an outline of how it is supposed to go?
I should be able to put it in without changing anything other than a quick smoothing of the language.
Will there be any indication in the book as to when RJ's ending starts? Like a footnote from you or Harriet or something?
No, but I will tell you once the book is out, after you've read it.
Hello! Just wondering, was the Borderland Tower sequence in Towers of Midnight (with Malenarin Rai) originally part of RJ's prologue?
He wrote most of that scene himself, actually.
Cool! Are you allowed to say whether it was part of his prologue (which I gather you split and distributed over The Gathering Storm/Towers of Midnight)?
Yes, it was.
What was the logest of all the WoT books? How many words?
Longest ones have been around 390k words. Books Four and Six. I forget which was the longer.
Any chance of reading these alternate scenes once A Memory of Light is released; on your website maybe? Kinda like DVD deleted scenes...
Why do you suppose Wikipedia is inaccurate, saying Towers of Midnight [is] 325,998? Should it be edited? Are those word counts reliable?
Likely, theirs is without the glossary, which I just noticed mine has in it.
but but but...Wikipedia says Towers of Midnight is 325,998 words! Who to trust, Wikipedia or the author!? *brain explodes*
Just noticed my edocument has the glossary attached. Maybe that's the reason for the difference. Mine is pre-copyedit too.
You usually go through a vicious edit phase right?
Yes. I tend to cut 10%, but Harriet's suggestions have usually added about that much, and we've balanced at the end.
Still have a little work to do on this little sequence near the beginning of the book.
A little background: I wrote half of it in June, but felt I needed to be working on main characters more, so left it to write Perrin.
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. :)
Whew. Got the flu on Sunday night, only now recovering. Time to start the Memory of Light second draft.
I'm curious—will Harriet edit RJ's last scene or are we going to see it as is?
Harriet will edit it, as she's edited everything else. (But maybe we'll post the earlier form sometime after the book's out.)
For second draft are you going through and making corrections to stuff Team Jordan pointed out?
No, second draft is for fixing things I know need fixing. The draft is pretty messy right now.
Ah ok that's interesting. That's one great thing I love about you updating us on this is I'm fascinated at all that goes...
...into large books like these. It's definitely not one or two draft processes haha.
Both of the previous ones went through about a dozen drafts.
How long does a second draft usually take?
A couple of weeks, usually. It's different for different books, though, depending on how 'clean' the first draft is.
Yay! First scene revised. Only (...counts...) two hundred and twenty one left to go. ... Oh. Back to work, I guess.
Of course, not all scenes are the same length. A better guide will be this: I'm on page 15 of 1800 manuscript pages in the revision.
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.
Right now, taking a (short) break from the WoT rewrite to spend an evening working on the Mistborn video game script.
Any plans for a WoT game?
Yes, there are many plans. I don't know how far along they are, however.
Any news for a date on WoT?
Fall, most likely.
For those curious, I did finish the video game work I needed to do last night, and am back at work on the WoT revision today.
Was Towers of Midnight the last book to be published? I live in Ireland so news travels slow. XD
Boarded the plane for Tokyo, stage two of my Flight to Taiwan. 10 hours, during which I will be editing A Memory of Light.
Hm. 1:00 am at home, 5:00pm here. I've been up for twenty-three hours now. Perhaps not the best time to try working on A Memory of Light.
I wrote a few short Wheel of Time posts for @tordotcom. The first, on THE EYE OF THE WORLD, went up today.http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/02/wheel-of-time-musings-the-eye-of-the-world
Oh, bureaucracy, you are my bane. It always takes me like five minutes to figure out how to spell that word...
Other fun things from Brandon's spelling mind: I always want to write Darlin Sisnera's name "Darlin Sinestro." Crossover time!
Don't even get me started on algai'd'siswai and siswai'aman, by the way.
Just updated the % for A Memory of Light draft two to 70%. Should have the whole book done and off to Harriet in a week or so.
Hi Brandon. What's the official release date for the final Wheel of Time novel? Can't wait!!!!
I don't think there is one yet. Fall, sometime, probably. But Harriet is the one who will decide.
A lot of people ask after the release date. Fall/Winter this year is still likely. However, I would like to note that Harriet is in charge.
She hasn't yet read the entire book; she gets to decide when it will be released. She can delay it or push it up, whatever she wants.
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
/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?
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.
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.
As you know, there was a specific scene already chosen as the source idea for the cover image, so I was spared going through my usual process of reading the book, then trying to distill it into one image. I often lose a lot of time trying to pick which scene or cover idea to go with from the narrative. On the other hand, there was a lot of research required to familiarize myself with the particular attributes of the three characters I knew were going to be in the image. Not having read the Wheel of Time series yet, I had a lot of catching up to do! I knew a cave was going to be in the image, so the question then became “should we see the characters from the outside going in or from the inside as they are entering?” While I mulled the possibilities over in my mind I began to sketch out some poses and costuming ideas, trying to feel my way into the image.
Then I did several preliminary layouts in monochrome acrylics or digital media, sometimes going back and forth between the two.
After it was decided which concept to go with, I first played around with my acrylics experimenting with making stalactite shapes using paint and a squeegee. After that, I felt ready to start the background work. Usually I work from background to foreground, but this time I decided to work the middle area first, then do the figure of Rand and the background/sky area at the same time.
Here’s a few shots of the painting as it progressed. The background color of the panel was a light grey tone. The acetate in the center was left in place to mask out the sky area and keep it clean until I was ready to work on it.
I was fortunately well supplied with cave photos to use as reference because I had recently gone to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, where I took some pictures of some pretty strange stuff:
But I wasn’t happy with my visualizations of the figures, especially Rand. I tried using myself as a model, without much success.
I was also feeling frustrated about the coat I wanted to have Rand wearing in the picture. Sure, I could have faked it if the figure was small in the picture, but with Rand being so “up close and personal” as it were, I thought I should take the time to get it right.
I mentioned all this in a conversation with Dan Dos Santos, and he graciously took the time to help me find a model and find the kind of coat I was looking for. He introduced me to famed illustrator Edward Vebell, which was a humbling experience, I can tell you. Ed’s had a stellar career and is a real pro’s pro—and there were stacks of his paintings all over the place, amazing stuff from the 1940’s onward.
But the thing is, Ed also happens to own an amazing costume collection which he rents out to other artists, photographers, theatre productions, etc. Dan and I almost got lost in his attic looking through the hundreds of coats and military uniforms. We found a couple of likely candidates, and the next day the model came to my studio and Dan shared his photo and lighting setup with me so I could try out his equipment setup.
It was great; almost too good, actually. I felt a little like a guy wearing several watches and never knowing what the real time is. There were so many good reference photos to work with it was hard to cull out one or two to work from and leave the rest. The main thing I look for in posing a model is to check the reality against my visualization of a pose, and correct any errors. Once I had the information I was looking for, things proceeded at a steady pace until the painting was complete.
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.
Team Jordan update: We’ve been getting a lot of questions about Brandon’s note that Harriet and I are finished with A Memory of Light, and Alan is almost finished. “Finished” here refers only to the first draft. The same day that I finished A Memory of Light, I started A Memory of Light (the second draft, or at least the portion of the second draft that Brandon has sent us). Harriet has already completed that section, and is ready to move on when we receive more. Alan should finish the first draft this week, and he will immediately begin again too. We’re not by any means truly finished with the book—we’re all working very hard, and we trust that Brandon is too. We want to get every detail right, and that takes time. Don't worry; it's worth waiting for.
Currently about 250,000 words (of 350,000) into my fourth draft of A Memory of Light. This is the hardest of the drafts. Next one should go faster.
How many drafts do you usually do on your novels?
Between eight and twelve, if you count the proofreads.
Curious... How many drafts is typical for you?
Between eight and twelve.
Do you from scratch on each draft?
No, I don't start from scratch most times. Only in extreme cases. A "Draft" for me is a complete, beginning-to-end, revamp of the book line by line. About half of the drafts are deep content drafts, the other half focus on prose.
Re: Timing—Yes, we're still on track for January. (I still secretly hope for sooner.)
Curious what makes this one the hardest.
This one is the hardest because it's the first one I do where I have to fix problems Team Jordan has found. That is difficult, as sometimes I've written entire sequences that have continuity errors with something in the series, so those sequences need to be pulled out and replaced with something that works.
Does it get longer and shorter from draft to draft?
Some drafts make the book shorter, others longer. Usually, prose focused drafts shorten the book while content drafts make it longer.
Brandon, you've probably explained the draft system before, but for the uneducated can you possibly explain it again to me please?
Sure. First draft is my initial write of the book. Second draft is where I go through and fix major problems I introduced while writing the book. (For example, sometimes I'll add a character in because I find I need one, but I don't go back and revise them into earlier chapters until the second draft.) Third draft is a polish, fixing language and prose. Fourth draft is my first editorial draft, working with the editor to fix problems. Fifth is a second editorial draft. From there, I alternate between further polishing drafts and smaller-level editorial drafts as long as needs be.
Re: Stormlight—It's next. I will begin it as soon as A Memory of Light is done right. Likely, I'll start into it after draft five or six of A Memory of Light.
RE: Length—This will be slightly longer than Towers of Midnight, I believe.
Re: Stormlight 2—It is next, I promise. I'm very eager to start, but I have to make sure A Memory of Light is done right first. You don't get many chances to work on a book like this one.
Working on a new Rand scene today too. Still a few more I want to add. This is probably the last draft where I will add new scenes, though.
New Rand scene turned out great. Now, to revamp the next five to be just as awesome.
It's funny how time passes when I'm working on writing. It's been four hours since I started on the scene, and I barely noticed.
That I understand. I get in a writing groove and the next thing I know it's tomorrow!
Focus is like an alternate plane of existence.
It's funny. I make a post, like the one a while back, and then think "I'll get back and answer people in a bit." Then, four hours later, I think "Okay, scene is done. Let's see what people are saying." That timestamp glares back at me, and there are like fifty posts I haven't ever replied to.
Do you know the Game of Thrones guy? He could learn something from your work ethic.
Ha. Well, perhaps. But I could learn something from his writing skill, I suspect. We'll see how prolific I am when I'm his age.
We need @BrandSanderson to stay healthy; you're supposed to get up and stretch every 20 minutes!
Don't worry. I have a treadmill desk I work at.
How long is the book going to be at minimum?
350k words, I'd guess. First draft was 360. Next draft trimmed about 30k. I'm slowly increasing it back up.
A Memory of Light Update: On page 1500 of 1900 pages in my fourth draft. Still have a few new scenes to add.
Will do one more major draft after this, and then we will move into more line-edit/small tweaks drafts.
For those asking, about two manuscript pages become one final hardcover page. (Though it varies.) I'm planning seven or eight drafts total.
The drafts of this book have been more extensive than those of the previous two, but we will do fewer of them, probably.
How many offers do you get for volunteer proof readers each day?
At least one a post. :)
Is the word count still about 370K or has it increased?
It is hard to say, as my draft has lots of Team Jordan comments that are being counted in the final. I think it's 340k right now.
So would you say final book will be around 1000 pages or so?
That's a good estimate.
Do you ever sell/auction copies of your drafts? Are you allowed?
I have done it for charity in the past, but never with a WoT book.
Still on for The 8th of January? #countingthedays
A Memory of Light teaser: The book contains a new verse to a beloved WoT song. (Just posting to let you all know the revision goes well.)
Do you revise sections that Mr Jordan wrote, or just your own? No implication, just curious. :-)
It's a good question. I initially tried to leave them all alone and let Harriet revise them.
She told me to be more aggressive in smoothing out scenes to blend them together. I still do try to touch his as little as I can.
First tweet to you, but I wanted to say I'm so very excited for A Memory of Light! Can we change the release to January 7th? That's my birthday!
I'll see what I can do... ;)
I just sent my complete revision of A Memory of Light to Harriet. This is the fourth draft, and was every extensive a revision.
Drafts of this book so far have been more in-depth than on Towers of Midnight or The Gathering Storm. I suspect we'll do seven or eight drafts total of this book.
Are you trying to hint at a 2015 release date now? Because now I'm picturing Doc Brown with the book in the Delorean. >_<
No, we'll have it done and ready for January.
Still January 8th, so far as I know. One more draft to do.
When the WoT is done, are you planning to write anything about the process of adapting RJ's work, like a Special Feature?
I would like to, but no promises.
This is tragic, on the final draft and we still can't get the book by October or November!
Well, when you count copyedit, proofreads, and printing time, it is still going to be tight.
Last draft of A Memory of Light needs to be done soon. For today, I'm polishing off the last two new Rand scenes (of about eight) I'm adding to the book.
Any news on WoT? Know you're sick of that question. Sorry... :)
Well, other than the last Rand scene (which I'm writing right now) not much. Need to finish the final draft as soon as possible.
Comic-conning for the night done. (Had dinner with a Hollywood producer.) Now, for some more WoT editing!
You know, it IS okay to rest and play once in a while!
Ha. Not when we're past deadline on this book. I'll rest when it's done.
Working on A Memory of Light's final draft?
All right, WoT editing for the day done. This is going really well—the book is very nearly done. Just polishing, now.
Wow I am amazed that you actively Reddit, how in the name of the dark one didn't I know this? If you have the time I just have one question! Is WoT really going to end this next book? there seem to be SO many loose end that, if the series is tried too be ended in one book, will be rushed or left unacknowledged/uncompleted! Anyway thanks for yor amazing work I loved the latest books!
Well, I guess "active" is a relative phrase, as I only now saw this.
Yes, this is the ending. No, not every loose thread will be tied up. Robert Jordan left instructions for some to be left open.
It doesn't feel rushed to me, but we'll have to see what the fans think.
About The Wheel of Time:
Brandon delivered a little preamble/update on the progress of the book before reading the portion of Chapter One. "We are on time. Well, okay, we're late but we're on time enough that we're going to hit the January 8th [release date]."
He went on to explain, "We know you were hoping we could push it up to a November release, but we need the extra time to make sure we get this right. [Unlike The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight] we don't get another chance at this. This is the last book."
Further, Brandon mentioned that he had been up until 5 AM revising the novel, but added that he kind of likes to do that impulsively anyhow.
You've mentioned baseball a number of times, so what's your batting on screwing it up as little as possible, at this point?
So far, it's pretty good. There are a few things I got wrong, particularly in The Gathering Storm that I feel I did much better in Towers of Midnight and hope to do even better in A Memory of Light.
Comparing it to batting averages, I would say I'm doing a decent job. What is that? A .28? [Laughs.] Percentage wise, I'm doing better than that—maybe 85 to 90 percent of the things I needed to be doing I've been able to hit.
There's still that 10 percent that fans have to be lenient with me on, to some extent, because no one is going to get it to 100. I can hope to push it higher than I have, but there are certain things I've done that I've done a worse job on than I would have liked. There were some characters I didn’t quite get right in the first book.
What was the impetus for splitting the last novel into three novels?
I was writing it to the length he instructed it was to be written. He wanted it to be so long, he said, that “it would take a wheelbarrow to get it out the doors.” The publisher and Harriet decided that was too long. I was supposed to split it into three novels because of the length I was writing it at. It came down to binding issues and things like that.
You're close to finishing the last draft of A Memory of Light, which will publish in January. How does it feel knowing the series is almost done?
Well, ask me in January, because I still see a huge mound of work ahead of me getting the last revision done and the copy edits and things like that. Ask me in January.
I finished the final revision on A Memory of Light early in the morning Saturday, then sent it off to Team Jordan. And I was done. Team Jordan will handle the copyedits and proofreads; I might have a chime-in now and then on how a passage should be tweaked or how a continuity issue should be addressed, but essentially, my involvement as a writer in the Wheel of Time has come to an end.
Now, that doesn't mean my involvement with Wheel of Time fandom is over. I'll have my appearance at Dragon*Con this year, as well as the tour in January for A Memory of Light. Beyond that, I intend to frequently attend JordanCon and be available to WoT fans for years, even decades, to come. I intend to talk a great deal about the experience of writing these books, perhaps even post some blog entries about the subject.
But the writing is done. I'm still a little in shock about that.
For five years, whatever I've been doing—whether it be going out to dinner, sitting down to write, or checking my email—I've known that there was more to do on the Wheel of Time. I've known that I gave my word to Harriet and to the fans that I would work hard to get those books out quickly, and I carried a weight of responsibility for the book being split and people being forced to wait years beyond when they expected to get the ending. For five years, I have worked long hours because of those reasons. All the time I could find, I dedicated to the Wheel of Time in one way or another.
And then, today, I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on.
I've reached the end of the journey and set down my burdens. It's wonderful, relaxing, and solemn all at once. I love the Wheel of Time. It's also great to be done.
And so, today, I officially take a step toward a line. I step away from being pilot of this series, and toward once again being just a fan. I will never cross back over that line—whatever else happens, I will have written three books in this series. I will continue to support and engage with Wheel of Time fandom. However, an ending has arrived for me, and it is time for my attention to be turned elsewhere.
Working away at A Memory of Light last draft. 80 pages remaining, and I'll be done. Probably will finish tonight.
Last draft is done, folks. From here, we head to copyedits. (And perhaps small tweaks here and there.) Basically, though, A Memory of Light is finished.
Thanks for the good wishes, all. Final length of the book is around 360k words. Towers of Midnight was 335k, for reference.
Congratulations, Brandon. Most cool.
Thanks! I'll tell you, I barely know what month it is, let alone what day... This has been a grueling set of revisions.
Do we know if January 8th is the official A Memory of Light release or the date could still change?
Probably not going to change at this point.
Out tonight with Emily enjoying a celebratory steak for having finished the Wheel of Time. Five years of work, hard but satisfying.
Got up today. No Wheel of Time book to work on. THIS IS VERY STRANGE. I think I will do a blog post about it.
For those who missed it, yes, all of my drafts on A Memory of Light are finished. There will be little tweaks here and there, but it's basically done.
My thoughts on finishing the Wheel of Time.
Once A Memory of Light is released will you go back and point to which chapters in all three books were written by him?
I think I'll be allowed to do this.
My progress bar is not updated because I'm lazy—I need to tell Peter to update that when I post. I'm 50% through—maybe more like 55% of the way through the final revision of the last book. So, the final revision, here's how the process goes for those who are curious: I turned in the book like January 1st. At that point, that was first draft. Usually, I don't do revisions from editorial revisions on the first draft. I actually go through it a second time and do a second draft, and that's what I turn in. If I can get the time, I turn in a third draft. This time I turned in a second draft, so I did first draft and I said, "Okay, wait two weeks and let me get ahead of you in the second draft," and I was just sending them chunks as I finished the second draft. There's not time on this book to do the whole thing straight through and then send it, and things, and so they then start sending back things, and I start the third draft immediately, and we keep doing that until we get to this one which is seventh draft, I think is where we are right now—somewhere in there—like I've been, some of them I would do two drafts while I was waiting for things back on theirs.
Anyway, and they just kept feeding me sixth draft sort of stuff that [had] been sitting on my computer, and they finally got the last of that to me last week which means that Maria and Alan and Harriet are all done, and it's all on me just to finish the last tweaks that they've requested in the book, and that's what this draft is, is the last tweaks. Things that they say, "Hey, we need this little thing fixed; we need to add this thing to this scene," or all that little stuff. Nothing major is happening in this one. I did add one new scene in this draft that I felt we needed but it's kind of a short one—it's only like five pages—um, but yeah, so that's where we are. My hope is, and goal is, to be able to turn it in next week some time. I dunno how viable that is. I'm probably way past 55% as I think about it, because I've been working each night. I was at 50% on like Wednesday, so I'm probably around the two-thirds mark, or something, right now, and then that will be it; it'll go to copy-edit and proofreads, all of which are handled by Team Jordan, of which I don't do anything unless they come up with a major continuity error or something like that. Somewhere in there, it will hopefully go to our lovely beta readers to make sure that I didn't put people in two places, so...that Sulin doesn't end up in two places at once. They missed that one though, so you can blame all of us on that one.
I was like, "Whoa, a Wheel of Time book, I'm gonna just read this; I can't talk to anybody about it."
Yeah. So, anyway, it'll go to copyedit and proofreads, and hopefully some beta reads for three months or so, and then it'll go to the printers, and that takes about...it's about a three month process, and they'll ship 'em here, and we ship 'em out to bookstores, and then that's when it comes out.
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.
The book was originally planned for November, but when we got down to it in January, when Brandon turned in first draft material, I saw to my horror that Tor was planning to publish on November 27th. Excuse me, that's not really November—that's after Thanksgiving—and it seemed to me kind of a not very wonderful date. We needed time for editing, and for Brandon to come to a later draft status on the book, and the more we thought about it it seemed pretty nuts to break Brandon's back as well as ours to get a book ready for November 27th, which is sort of nothing...if if you're looking for Christmas, you have to get the book into the stores before Thanksgiving. You really do, because things are so nuts with Black Friday that the staff isn't actually gonna get stuff out of the back room in time, and thus we got to January, which seemed like a good bet. We would gain more time for the editing and to maintain the sanity of people at Tor Books and Peter and Maria and Alan, and moi. So somehow we arrived at January the 8th, which is a Tuesday, which it must be if you're aiming for number one on the Times list, because of the way Times reporting happens, and it keeps it in the last month of the Year of the Dragon, which seemed like a really good thing to do.
Harriet, I think that a lot of us would agree that, take all the time you need to make us the best book possible, right? (applause)
If you reserve a copy of the book, that's not so long to wait after Christmas day itself, and in the old way of counting, the twelve days of Christmas do exist. Christmas is the first day.
Well, I think our families probably appreciate the fact that we will not be reading this during Christmas. I for one know I'm going to have to take two weeks off.
Well, the first thing is that Brandon writes, and...you could talk about that, Peter. I don't really know much about Brandon's writing process except that it tends to be at night. (laughter)
Well, for those who aren't aware, Brandon...(sigh)...Brandon tends to stay up until four o'clock in the morning writing, and then he gets up at noon. So he gets up at noon, and then he writes from about one to five, and then he is with the family until bedtime for the kids, and so from about...I guess he starts writing again at about eight, and then he keeps going until four. Some of you may be interested to know that he has a walking treadmill desk, so he does a lot of his writing standing up, walking on the treadmill (laughter) and when he's not at the treadmill, he's got multiple fireplaces around the house now, so he's usually in front of one of those.
Are they wood-burning, or gas, or what? (laughter) I love fireplaces!
Uh...they are gas fireplaces.
Yeah, those are fun. Then Brandon gives us the first draft, and some bits are rough, and some are polished. And we go through it with our three various combs. Mine is characters and prose. Maria is continuity. I am not. (laughter) And she's a wizard at that, and Alan is a military wizard. And notice it's...I guess sexist, to give him the boy's stuff. (laughter).
I get all the alcohol as well. (laughter).
That's just 'cause he's lucky.
And Alan does Old Tongue and geography as well, because I kinda stink at both of those.
And I just kind of lose my temper with the geography. (laughter) And then, we get this stuff, and with this book, we're doing a better...it is a better thing we are doing for our country this time. (laughter) We send our combined nit-picking to Brandon section by section, and right now he's had...what did I send you last week? Five?
Six! I'm in eight; so is Maria. (to Alan) Where are you?
Seven. And we'll wait until Alan has finished eight before it goes back to Brandon, so that he doesn't lose his mind, and nine is followed only by the epilogue, so we're almost through. And then Brandon will send it back and there will probably be more animated conversation (laughter), and this time it will include words from Brandon that sort of say, "But you said..." (laughter) And we'll work it out, and we hope to have it in New York June 15th, and that might seem like a long time for January 8th. Believe me, it's not. And it will...is Paul Stevens here? Yeah, hey Paul! This will save...if we can do it, it will save the coffee cart from adding Prozac and Gelusil in massive amounts, right?
But it might be...there is [?] [whispered conversation with Alan, something about June 15th]
Scary, isn't it? (laughter)
That's the goal.
It is in two months.
But, we don't think Brandon really needs to sleep. (laughter)
Man, it feels good to be writing again. Revision (which I spent most of last year doing) is very important. But the writing is what I love.
About a year ago I turned in the rough draft of A Memory of Light. It was VERY rough. Took eight months of hard work to get it into shape.
Yeah, I can totally talk about this. So, "River of Souls" is about a specific character, and in the drafting process this is not something I actually pitched to Harriet early on, but in the later meetings I got together with them and pitched something which was a deviation from things Robert Jordan had said. Harriet told me from the get-go, Look you've got the notes, you've got the outline, you've got to be a writer, not a transcriber. Robert Jordan would not have kept this the way it is, that's not how we work, and in a lot of places he said I'm thinking of doing this, OR this, and you'll have to decide which of those to do, or to do a third.
And so I pitched one of these kind of audacious sequences to her; sometimes these work, sometimes they don't. It's the sort of thing you need to do to create fiction, that I feel is daring, and you need to take these chances. But a lot of times you don't know if it's going to work until the book is done, and you can look at it together. And this was taking place in a region of the Wheel of Time world that Robert Jordan said I really don't think we're ever going to visit. Which is the part that was deviated, by doing this sequence. And it's not that long, only about 7,000 words, so it's like a novelette. I sent it to Harriet, and she said "I really like this, but we're going to cut it". The reason being, that it broke up the flow of the novel, and it was introducing too many new elements at the beginning of the volume that was supposed to be wrapping up elements. And those who do storytelling know that can be a really dangerous thing to do.
That was the reason. It was a big additional segment, and this is not what you call a slim volume anyway. So as a reader, it was not fun. Not that there was anything wrong with the sequence, but it was not what my antennae said we needed. We needed to get on with it.
Yes, instead of going sideways, when we needed to go forward.
Someone in the audience said "magic". I don't know that there's a better answer.
It was the biggest challenge of this last book. I've said for years, even before I was involved in the project, once you hit book seven in the Wheel of Time as a reader, you have to realize something that I realized. The series itself is not about Rand. The series is about all of these people facing the end of the world. Rand of course is at the center, and there are other figures close to the center, but the series is about all of these people. And going into the last book we all felt that the last book needed to evoke that. Rand needed to be the heart, but it needed to be about the world, all of these people facing the end of times. That was something we struggled with, went back and forth on. The creative process is a mysterious thing, even to us involved. I'm glad that you felt that, because when I went into it that was one of the things I said, this is what we need to do, it needs to feel like this, and if we are successful, that's what it will feel like.
Oh, you're talking about the several hundred page chapter, and then the five page chapter?
...was that sort of picked to try to break up things specifically, or was that more in how it fell out?
The chapter lengths, in this book in particular, were very consciously chosen. Under Harriet's direction, through the first two books Harriet came to me a lot and said "No, this chapter needs to be these viewpoints, and this chapter needs to be those viewpoints", and she actually taught me, I don't know if she realized that she was doing it, and then in the last book, she didn't have to do any of that. There was no changing of viewpoints between chapters. (Meaning via revision) Harriet had trained me better in chapter breaks and things like that, so I broke up the chapters. (To Harriet) I don't know if you even noticed that, in the previous two you did a lot of that, and this one you didn't.
The very long chapter, a very, very long chapter, you can see it in the Table of Contents, the purpose of that is, I wanted you to feel like the characters do in that chapter. They can't put down their weapons and go to sleep. I don't want you to be able to put down the book and go to sleep. I want you to hit that chapter at 1AM, and be like "I gotta to be at work at seven, and I'll read just one more chapter". One of the things Harriet unconsciously showed me that I picked up on, was the use of chapters for that kind of narrative structure in a better way, so that was done very intentionally.