Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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I think it's unlikely to see the rough drafts. Because I know that the team working on the Wheel of Time—Harriet and those—are somewhat more...skeptical is the wrong word. Robert Jordan didn't like to show his work to people until it was on the twelfth draft. Harriet didn't see it until it'd gone through twelve drafts. He was very...Didn't like to show unfinished work to people. That was just how he was. Different authors approach things different ways. With Warbreaker, my own book, I put the first draft on my web site. I do stuff like that. I work from a different kind of angle. I don't know what it is.
But I'm going to probably push to get her to let me publish the notes, or to publish a book talking that includes part of the notes along with a discussion of how I translated the notes to book. Something like that. I would like to do something like that. The call will be Harriet's. And I probably won't even talk about it with her until the book is done. 'Till, you know, we've got the Wheel of Time done. Then I might approach her and say, "Hey, would you mind if I did something like this? Would you be interested?" Because I think the fans would really like to see it.
I think it would be definitely an interesting idea.
You mentioned the three books. And, I mean...The Wheel of Time is huge. There's lots of different places we could go. They are not places that I think we're going to go. Because we don't want to see this turn into something...Not to say anything against the media properties, that's fine, but we don't want to see the Wheel of Time become that. Robert Jordan left notes on this book, which has become three, but it's become three that are collectively of the same length as the book he was going to write. That's the thing you have to remember with the split. He was writing an 800,000 word book, I'm writing an 800,000 word book—8 to 900,000 word book—Tor has decided to slice it up and release it in three segments. It's not like I've decided to write two extra books. I'm writing the one book and I'm allowing them to split it into three. I don't really have the call on it. But that's something different.
He did leave notes on a few other things. One was called the Outriggers, which he had talked about with his fans writing. He actually had a contract with Tor. I don't know what happened with those, but that was a trilogy that he had planned to write that he had notes for. And then he also had notes for two additional prequels. He had done... He had told Tor he wanted to do three of those; he wrote one of them called New Spring. There was going to be one that was focusing on Tam's story—that's Rand's father—and he was going to do one that was essentially the sequel to New Spring, with Moiraine, how she arrived at the—how she and Lan arrived in the Two Rivers. That sort of thing. And those were planned. There's a chance you'll see those. A chance. My suggestion to Harriet has been to, you know, to be very careful. We don't want to exploit the Wheel of Time to make it go on and on and on. And so, while you may see those books—I know Tom Doherty is pushing for them a lot—we're not going to go back and do the prequel about Lews Therin. We're not going to do a prequel about Artur Hawkwing. We're not going to... You're not going to see this—
—shared world sort of thing. And so, if Harriet asks me to do those, I probably will. Meaning the Outriggers or the prequels. Because I don't want anyone else to do them, if that makes any sense.
Since you've taken over, it's a little bit now your baby.
Yeah. But if we do those, there'll be years between. If that makes any sense.
I think there has to be, yeah.
I mean, I got into this because I want to write books. My own stories. And that's what I'm excited about, that's what I do, and I'm really having a blast doing that. And so...the Wheel of Time is an exception. It's a special thing, that I am really honored to be part of. But I don't want to make my career doing other people's books.
This week's Writing Excuses podcast covers the business of writing comics, again with Jake Black filling in for Brandon (whose we-don't-ever-discuss-it stint writing the webcomic "American Bachelors with Mecha(s)" is not nearly as relevant as Jake Black's professional experience in the industry).
In the most recent Mistborn 3 annotations, Brandon talks about Preservation's power and the working mechanism of Hemalurgy. He specifically does not say anything about Adonalsium. Writers can be so cruel.
Have you ever considered writing a book (or something) about the writing of the WoT?
I'd like to hear more about the process of compiling Jordan's notes and filling in the gaps. I'd also be really interested in seeing the manuscripts you started with from him and the final product.
Ok, the question is twofold. The first one is: mentioning the annotations I do on my website, I’ve annotated a large number of my books chapter-by-chapter on my website, so if you like behind the scenes stuff, particularly on the Mistborn Trilogy, there’s a lot of really good information there. I did do annotations for Alloy of Law that we’ll eventually start releasing. I’ve not done them for Way of Kings yet. And so the question was, will I be doing them for the Wheel of Time?
Once the book is out, I would really like to do a collection of Robert Jordan's notes—it alternates with annotations, with me saying, "Here is what he left me, you can now read these notes, and here is why I decided to adapt it the way I did, and here is a hole in the notes, so you can see what I did."—essentially do an annotation that way, a book about the process. I don't know if Harriet will want to do that. It'd be up to her, and she has a really good reason for not wanting to do that, and that is that she doesn't want people's last memories of Robert Jordan to be the unfinished. He was very...he didn't like showing his material to people, when it was in an unfinished state. He liked showing them finished things, and so it made him uncomfortable when people would read early drafts, and it would have to release some early drafts in that. And so, it would really be her call, and I can't make that call for her. If she lets me do it, I'll do it.
I would like to release some annotated editions of my books, maybe for the tenth anniversary of Elantris, we'll do an annotated edition, and then a sequel the next year. That's kind of what I'm hoping to do, if I can.
Do you plan to annotate Warbreaker?
I've written annotations for WARBREAKER already. There is supposed to be a special edition WARBREAKER e-book from Tor.com coming that will include all the annotations right there with the text, but I'm not sure when it will appear. The annotations will still go up chapter-by-chapter on my website, but if you get the special edition e-book you can have them all at once. We'll see when that happens.
Well, I do these things kind of for the same reasons I mentioned above. First and foremost, I want people to feel like they get their money's worth from my novels. When they buy one—particularly in hardback—they're investing quite a chunk of change to be entertained. I want to give them as much as I can, kind of like the bonus material on a DVD.
It takes between a half-hour and an hour a day, four days a week, to keep my blog updated and to provide this bonus material. A fairly big investment, but worth it, I think. I go a year between publishing novels. If I can keep people coming back to my website to read new and good material, they'll be that much more likely to know when my next book comes out, then buy it!
The annotations came from my desire to do something like a DVD director's commentary. I'd never seen anything like that done on a book website before, so I went for it. I hope people enjoy them!
In the most recent Hero of Ages annotation, you said that Preservation chose Vin to be the recipient of the power, just as Preservation had chosen Alendi previously (thus, this was why Ruin had manipulated the Prophecies). Was Alendi also chosen precisely sixteen years before the Well of Ascension's power returned?
Yes. He was chosen exactly sixteen years before, but he was a bit older then Vin when he was chosen.
Why did Rashek create mistwraiths the way that he did?
He wasn't sure what you meant by this, but he was sure that the annotations would cover what you wanted to know.
You've spoken a lot about, I think, something that's really...kind of...beloved—a beloved topic of one of our panelists—and he's online and hasn't had a chance to talk yet this evening. Bill, I know you're very excited about internet promotion and the use of the internet as a distribution device, and kind of DIY publishing and promotion. Do you have a question for Brandon about how he went about it with Warbreaker, or just what his thoughts are on the industry in, kind of, extension of what he already mentioned?
Right. Hi Brandon, how're you doing?
Pretty good; thanks, Bill.
I just...I'm sorry I'm kind of late to the show today; I have been having a computer nervous breakdown, so...
Oh boy, I hate those. I've had a couple myself.
Yeah. I have been backing up some files and doing other things before I go into the major surgery. But I guess that leads me to my point, and I'm trying to back up your earlier point, [which] was, the genre community—fantasy, science fiction, horror, and so forth—we do have this collector mentality gene within our pool there. I know that if I see a book that's cheap, I will want to get the collector's edition.
You know, so the whole online thing is part of that revolution—it is part of that evolution, I guess—and I think that one aspect that Tor has been able to harness is the idea that they are, you know, putting out books online for free for people to get that 'taste', to get, you know, the free one and then go, "Oh yeah, I gotta have that for my collection." Now, do you see yourself ever doing something on your own—you know, you do have your book on your website as you said earlier, for free—but do you feel that for...you know, yourself, is there a print-on-demand book from you coming out in the future?
I could see a reason to do that. You know, I've kicked around concepts. It would never be one of my main books. What I might do is, you know, if people were interested in one of those early novels of mine, just to see how I've evolved as an author, and maybe print on demand my first or second book that if you just want the collector's copy, for the collectibility, say, "Hey, let's see what Brandon was like when he was a terrible writer," and I would have to make sure that they knew, "This is a terrible book. It's a terrible book by someone who eventually became a good writer, and so maybe you can see the evolution." That...I thought about collecting...one of the things I do for my books is I release annotations. This works like a director's commentary on a DVD; every chapter in my books—during the copy-edit phase, when I read through the book for the last time—I stop after each chapter and I write a few paragraphs about it—where it came from, maybe some history for the world and the characters, or what was going on in my life when I wrote that chapter, what inspired me to write that chapter, these sort of things—and then I post them at about [?] space of about two a week after the book comes out. And so, I think that's a really fun thing that you can only do with the internet, that ties into all this. I've considered collecting all of those and adding a little bit more bonus material, and then selling that as a print-on-demand book that people can just buy a copy for, you know, ten bucks through Lulu or something, that they can set on their shelf that then they can have all the annotations printed, that they can have their own annotated version of one of my books, that sort of thing, which I think would be a really fun thing to do.
So I see the potential for that. I see the potential for using this viral marketing—I don't know; there's a whole lot of exciting things going on with this. This all excites me; it doesn't scare me. And I think part of what's happening, um...Orson Scott Card, in one of the magazines he writes for just a couple of months ago, said that he believes fantasy is entering its Golden Age, which excites me because fantasy has lagged behind science fiction a little bit—quite a bit. For a while, science fiction was the big genre in our little spec-fic, underneath our spec-fic umbrella, which includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all of these other things. Science Fiction was dominant for a while; it really had some time to grow and to explore some ground, and I don't know that fantasy has done that yet. I think that, fantasy, the best is yet to come, so to speak. I think that, certainly we've had some fantastic writers—I'm a big proponent, obviously, of Robert Jordan; I think that he did some wonderful things with the genre—but I do think that there's a lot of space left in the genre, a lot of places to go, new things to be explored. The genre has only barely been explored. It seems like for a long time we were telling the same types of stories, essentially over and over, as we were trying it right, trying to figure it out, and I think readers got a little bit tired of those same stories. And this ties back into the whole marketing and internet thing, because the internet's going to give us an opportunity for some of those really explorational things to get out there and get some attention where they might not otherwise have done so, and I think this is going to spur the writers who, you know, the entire community, to have to stretch a little further, to be a little bit better.
I think it's the same thing that happened to the community, honestly, in the late 90s with the YA explosion. Young adults, and middle-grade, with Harry Potter becoming so high-profile, a lot of really great authors released some really powerful fantasy during that era. Phillip Pullman, Garth Nix, and J.K. Rowling herself—I love her books; I think she's a genius—and I think 'epic'—which we, I use that instead of 'adult fantasy' cause the term 'adult fantasy' just doesn't sound right when I tell people I write 'adult fantasy'; anyway, they get the wrong impression—so, I think during that era, 'epic' was forced to say, "Whoa, what are we doing? All this exciting stuff is happening in children's, and all of our readers are going to children's, because they're doing the exciting stuff where we're the same old stuff," and I think that forced a revolution in the epic fantasy genre, that we're still feeling it shaped because of that.
Yeah, nobody wants to keep on rereading Tolkien done over and over again.
In this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode, Dan, Mary, Howard, and I talk about brevity.
Since all the chapters of my abandoned novel Mythwalker have now been uploaded, it's time to start dishing out something else for your weekly bonus content. So my assistant has put up the first annotation for Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. This one talks about the process of coming up with the title for the book, with the various (and often ridiculously long) options that were considered.
If you're not familiar with my book annotations, think of them as the director's commentary on a special edition DVD. On your second read-through of a book, you may be interested to hear what I have to say about each chapter. Currently I have completed annotations for Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy, and Warbreaker. Check them all out. (Spoilers from later in the book than the current chapter are hidden.)
My assistant also uploaded another Twitter posts archive.
A manifestation of Ruin's gathered consciousness, much like the dark mists in book two. The lake was still around in Vin's era, but had been moved under ground. (Note that the Well is a very similar manifestation. You've also seen one other manifestation like this....)
The "lake" was barely ten feet deep—more like a pool. Its water was a crystalline blue, and Raoden could see no inlets or outlets.If that's what you're hinting at...I never thought of the connection before! I just kept thinking of Aether of Night, and never thought of this pool at all.
Both are accurate, but the first is what I meant, as most people here don't have access to Aether.
I'm also thinking that the Dor in Elantris is another Shard of Adonalsium. Certainly in the Elantris world, where the Dor came from is rather ambiguous, which I expected it would be. Of course, if other Shards of Adonalsium do exist, the Dor could have come from that source.
I will RAFO from here on the other Shards of Adonalsium, as it would be better for me not to give spoilers. Please feel free to speculate. Readers have met four shards other than Ruin and Preservation.
Have we met these four by name, or just by influence? I can't think of a name that would go with the one that the Elantris lake is a manifestation of.
Hoid could be one? I know nothing his purpose other than that he shows up in lots of different books, sometimes begging and sometimes telling stories. Since most of these series happen on different planets (though two of them may happen on the same planet as each other), I'm assuming he has mad planet-hopping skills.
Ookla, I'm going to be tight lipped on this, as I don't want to give things away for future books. But I'll tell you this:
You've interacted with two directly.
One is a tough call. You've never met the Shard itself, but you've seen its power.
The other one you have not met directly, but have seen its influence.
I thought Nightblood was explained sufficiently for my tastes in Warbreaker, so I doubt that it is a Shard, but I've been plenty wrong before. Also, I don't know if Hoid could even be a Shard. Certainly he has mean planet-hopping skills, but I don't know what purpose a celestial storyteller would have in this universe. He doesn't really have the same kind of power as Ruin or Preservation did, so normally I would rule him out right off the bat. But it is possible that these Shards come in many shapes, not just in the near-deific quantity Ruin or Preservation had. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Hoid is a Shard... but, then again, I don't have any ideas for what those four other Shards are.
Maybe Hoid is just a traveler trying to find remnants of Adonalsium and stories about them. He doesn't need to be a shard, I suppose.
This is slightly a tangent, but here is a relevant chunk from the Warbreaker Annotations. As this won't be posted for months, I'll put it here as a sneak preview.
This whole scene came about because I wanted an interesting way to delve into the history. Siri needed to hear it, and I felt that many readers would want to know it. However, that threatened to put me into the realm of the dreaded info dump.
And so I brought in the big guns. This cameo is so obvious (or, at least, someday it will be) that I almost didn’t use the name Hoid for the character, as I felt it would be too obvious. The first draft had him using one of his other favorite pseudonyms. However, in the end, I decided that too many people would be confused (or, at least, even more confused) if I didn’t use the same name. So here it is. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about. . .well, let’s just say that there’s a lot more to this random appearance than you might think.
Brandon, I believe in one of Sazed's epigraphs, he actually called it "Adonasium" rather than what you are referring to here, which is "Adonalsium". I'm thinking that's just a typo, right?
I don't suppose you could tell us which book series of yours will tell us more about Adonalsium, would you? You know, just so us theorizers on the forum know when to properly theorize about these things...
Well, I guess this means that the proofreaders did not add the "L" when I marked the error on the manuscript.(sigh). Yes, the correct spelling is Adonalsium. I will try to get this fixed for the paperback, but I've been trying to get that blasted steel/iron error in the back of book one fixed for two years now. . .
If it helps, Sazed would probably under-pronounce the "L" as that letter, like in Tindwyl's name, is said very softly in Terris.
As for your other question, you will have to wait and see. Now, you could search my old books for clues, but I would caution against this. While there are hints in these, they are not yet canon. Just as I changed how things were presented in the Mistborn books during editing, I would have fixed a lot in these books during revision. Beyond that, reading them would give big spoilers for books yet to be released. White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Way of Kings in particular are going to be published some day for almost certain. (Though in very different forms). Aether of Night should be safe, as should Final Empire prime and Mistborn prime, though of those three, only Aether is worth reading, and then only barely. (It is still pretty bad).
The newest Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians annotation covers chapter two and talks about how The Simpsons already did everything.
In this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode, Dan, Howard, Mary, and I cover these questions from Twitter in a rapid-fire fashion:
* What do you do if you don't like your characters?
* How do you keep your plot on track?
* Is it better to use real locations in an Urban Fantasy?
* What do you do about plot holes?
* How do you know if you should abandon a story and move on to something else?
* How do you ensure the answers to mysteries are satisfying?
* What are some language-level mistakes that mark writing as amateurish?
* What should a scene consist of?
* What kind of bacon is best?
* Why is Schlock, who looks like a pile of poo, lovable instead of disgusting?
The most recent Writing Excuses episode features David Brin talking with Dan and Mary at the World Fantasy convention about the importance of criticism.
The Hugo Awards nomination deadline is the end of this week. If you're already a member of the 2011, 2012, or 2013 Worldcons, be sure to get your nomination form submitted. I talked about this two months ago, but I and my Writing Excuses partners have various works that are eligible, particularly Writing Excuses Season Six in the Best Related Work category.
There's a new Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians annotation up. This one covers chapter three.
In the most recent Writing Excuses podcast episode, Howard, Mary, and I talk about writing the omniscient viewpoint. (Dan wasn't there; he was off saving his son from ninjas or something like that.)
The newest Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians annotation discusses my use of prison names, the setting, and Bastille. And I'm very pleased to announce that the audiobook for Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones is finally available. The other two audiobooks will follow within a few months. Rutabaga.
This week's episode of Writing Excuses features Mary, Howard, and I talking about Man vs. Nature. If you're as confused about that as Howard was, it's one of the basic narrative conflict archetypes (along with Man vs. Man and Man vs. Self). Check it out.
There's also a new Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians annotation up. This one covers chapter six.
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn of Bull Spec interviewed me for Audible SF/F about audiobooks.
This is the last week to vote on the long list for the David Gemmell Legend Award (the poll closes March 31st). The Alloy of Law has been nominated, but you should vote for the book you want to win, of course.
What can we find on your website?
One of the things I’m really excited about in entertainment these days is the behind-the-scenes look you get on the DVD extras when you buy a movie, when you hear the director’s commentary, see “making of” videos. I wanted to try to do some of that for my books, so on my own website, I started doing annotations of my books. I’d read a chapter from one of my books and write how I thought when I came up with that chapter, the ideas in it. I started posting those on my website and they’ve been enormously successful, kind of like a director’s commentary for my book. I try to make my website the behind-the-scenes DVD extra for my books. So if you have questions about what I was thinking when I wrote a particular chapter, you can go to my website, brandonsanderson.com, and you can look up all sorts of fun things: sample chapters of new books I’m working on, there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on there.
Welcome to the ELANTRIS Annotations section!
The following are a series of short commentaries I wrote, each one individually linked to a specific chapter, page, or section in ELANTRIS. They give a lot of 'behind the scenes' information relating to the writing process, the concepts and characters of ELANTRIS, and whatever else I was thinking about at the time!
Ideally, I think these would be best read by someone who has completed the entire novel—used as a companion, perhaps, during someone's second read-through. Though I've taken efforts to hide any spoilers, I worry that pausing after each chapter and reading my annotation would slow the reading process down and make the book less enjoyable.
However, I try very hard not to give anything away that doesn't have to do with chapters already read. So, if you've finished chapter four, then you should be safe reading up to annotation number four.
At the top left corner, you'll see a check box and a button you can use to turn on the 'hidden' spoiler text for each chapter. Not every chapter has spoiler text, but many do. In fact, some of these spoilers reveal important plot twists later in the book. It is my request, as the author, that you avoid looking at these unless you've read the entire novel. My works often depend a great deal upon their endings, and I'd hate to think that I myself had contributed to ruining one of those endings for a reader.
But, you're free to use these as you wish.
Thanks for reading
Things certainly are moving along now. I told you the book would speed up as it approached the ending.
There were some very good moments in this part. I like how removing the Mad Prince from the book streamlined the pacing, and I think it pushes quite well to the final section. A lot is happening now, so I hope that it's hard for you to get to these annotations—I want you to keep reading the book! You can always re-read it a second time, and look through the annotations then.
So, this is where the book turns a little violent. You can read some of my earlier annotations on the topic. I was a little bit worried about putting any strong violence in this book, since it was generally focused around politics and other, more subtle methods of building tension. However, I decided to go with contrast instead. So far, nearly everything in the book has been surprisingly peaceful. We didn't even see Shaor's men kill many people.
Now things are going very wrong. An evil that nobody was expecting has come against the city, and it's controlled by a demented, hateful creature. I don't see how we could get around having these scenes be particularly dark. I think there is an element of realism here too, however. This is what happens with all of the politics and the maneuvering breaks down.
So, that's my book. It may be about seven years old to me now (it was written in '99), but I still retain a great fondness for it. You have no idea how exciting it is to finally see it in print.
Hopefully, you enjoyed these annotations. I want to do them for all of my novels, but we'll see how things go. (Note from future Brandon, who is posting this after he wrote it some months earlier. There WILL be MISTBORN Annotations starting July, 2006!)
For now, I've got about 40,000 words here—a good half of a novel for free. Keep coming back to the website for more information, and make certain you check out the other bonus materials. (Deleted scenes will be posted throughout June.)
Oh, and make sure you go by MISTBORN when it comes out! If ELANTRIS was this good and I did it seven years ago, think of what kinds of things I'm working on right now!
I did most of these annotations while doing the copy edit of ELANTRIS—which is probably the last good read I'll give the book in the drafting process. Ten drafts. And now I turn away from the book and call it complete. Thank you so much for reading.
The ELANTRIS project
Begun 9-27-1999 (First Word to Page)
Finished 10-18-2004 (Final Annotation Written)
The most recent Alacatraz Versus the Evil Librarians annotation covers chapter eight. It explains why elevators are more primitive than stairs, and talks about the hidden continents that the Librarians don't want you to know about.
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.
Okay, first of all I’d like to say I love reading the annotations, and kind of finding out what was going on in your mind, kind of behind the scenes, like the Director’s Commentary
Oh, thank you
So thank you for doing those. And my question is: I’ve noticed in a lot of the books—Mistborn, Warbreaker, even Elantris—that the characters are working so hard towards a goal, and then once they did it or when they get close, all the sudden they realize that it’s doing the complete opposite of what they were expecting, or just was kind of a distraction for them or whatever, and so my question is:
Is that just a good way to kind of throw in a plot twist that’s unexpected, or is that a reflection of kind of how you see our lives and what we’re doing, or something else?
I would say it’s both of those things, certainly. I was going to say as you were saying that “that’s just how life is,” but, plot wise, plot twists are tough, because—okay, how should I say it—bad plot twists are easy, right, you can just do anything, you can be like “alright, and then ninja’s attack.” (Aside: this is a regency romance, I don’t know where those ninjas came from…(That’s actually a story, if you’ve read that)).
Bad plot twists are easy. Good plot twists, I use a phrase that they use in Hollywood, which is “surprising, yet inevitable.” This is an age-old term in Hollywood where you want it, when it happens everyone to be surprised, and yet, as it happens, then they say “oooh, I should have seen that coming.” Those are the best plot twists. You can’t always pull those off—they’re really hard—but when you can they’re great, and that’s what I’m shooting for. I don’t necessarily twist my plot just to twist my plot; I try to find a story that is engaging and interesting and then the further we go along in it, the more you learn about the characters and the world and what’s actually going on and hopefully that reveals a hidden depth.
It’s like life. Everyone that you meet, you’re going to make a snap judgment on them. The longer you know them, the more depth you will see to this person. I want you to have that feeling about a book. You’ll make a snap judgment, “okay, this is an action-adventure story.” You’ll read it more and hopefully you’ll see those levels, of world-building, the hidden depth of the characters, the things you can’t get across in one page; that’s why I like writing big epic fantasies because it gives me a lot of time to explore all that depth. And I do the same thing with the plot. Everything is about more than one thing, and I think that that just makes for interesting stories that I like to read.
There's a new ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation on the site. There are only three left after this one, which mentions that the end of a book is the best and worst part, among other things. My assistant has also uploaded another Twitter posts archive.
So, here we are, the annotations for my second book, MISTBORN. I hope that everyone enjoyed the Annotations for ELANTRIS. If you haven't read the book, it's out in paperback now, so hurray!
In case you're not aware, this is how the process works. When I do the copy edit for one of my books—a process I find rather boring—I pause after each chapter and write out my thoughts, ideas, and impressions of that chapter. It try to talk about where the ideas came from, what my reaction is to the chapters after the fact, and what I was trying to do with some of the themes.
These are all posted for free, intended as a kind of companion to the text of the book. They're designed so that any spoilers of future chapters are hidden. So, if you want to pause after each chapter and read what I thought on that chapter, you're welcome. I more intend these to be used during subsequent reads of the book, however—a way to give you a little bit more value for the money.
I post about two of these a week, usually on Monday and Friday, though that isn't exactly set. Check back once or twice a week, and you should find a new annotation that you can peruse. Beware! I don't do a lot of proofreading on these, so they're bound to have some typos.
Anyway, enjoy! Remember, these WILL spoil the book for you if you haven't read it. However, they WILL NOT spoil future chapters. Anything that might be revealing of what is going to happen after the chapter of the indicated annotation is hidden. You can reveal any of this text (if there is any) by pressing the button on the top left portion of the screen.
July 29th, 2006
The 'bumps' or 'trailers' or whatever you want to call them—those things at the beginnings of the chapters—are a very interesting part of the book for me. If you're reading the novel for the first time as you go through these Annotations, I'd recommend paying good attention to what happens in the bumps. This isn't like DUNE, or even ENDER'S GAME, where the bumps give interesting—but tangential—information. These little paragraphs are vital if you want to figure out the climax of the story before it happens.
It will be very hard to do simply because, you know, you would have a lot of sentences that would four colors in them (laughter), because, here are three words from Brandon; here are a couple of words from Robert Jordan; the rest are from Harriet, that she has edited, and then here's the insertion by Maria as she's doing the copy-edit, that something needed to be [put] in. It would be very difficult to get right.
The other thing is, Harriet has several times expressed a reluctance to let people see the notes because she doesn't want people focusing when reading the books on what was me and what is Jim. I do still kinda tend to work on her and see if I can get her to let us do something with the notes. I'm not too expectant—if it doesn't happen I'm gonna be fine—but I tend to ask on behalf of the fans, people like yourself, and if I can do that I can then bring them out and I will talk a little bit more about that.
One thing that I've said to people a number of times, that in each of the three books there is a prologue [scene] that Robert Jordan wrote almost completely, or completely, for the prologue of the book, then since we split it in three, I took one scene from each completely that is Robert Jordan's—and there are a few fragments in each prologue as well that were also his—but there's one complete scene in the prologue. In the first book, it was the farmer sitting on the doorsteps watching the storm; that was one of the scenes he dictated, and we actually at JordanConI got to listen to that dictation. In the second book it was the Borderlander tower with the soldier and his son; that was one of the more complete scenes we had from Robert Jordan which had some minimal revision and editing during the process but was basically a complete scene that he gave us. And there's one like that in the third book as well.
In The Gathering Storm, I've said before that, as the notes went, Rand was a little more me; there were fewer notes on Rand. There were more notes on Egwene. We're both involved in all the viewpoints, but Rand from that is a little more me, and Egwene's a little more Robert Jordan, and then in Towers of Midnight, Perrin's a little bit more me, and Mat is a little more Robert Jordan. And maybe we'll be able to release more than that, but so far that's about all I've said. There are certain scenes that he did write, by the way—I'll give you everything; this is what I've told people; I haven't told people much—but there's a certain scene in The Gathering Storm where Egwene has an unexpected meeting with an old friend in the Tower. That one was done by Robert Jordan. And in Towers of Midnight, there is...most of the Mat stuff including the ending where a certain engagement happens was Robert Jordan.
Moving on, another of your projects is the standalone fantasy novel Warbreaker. What's cool about this book is that you're offering it as a free download while you're writing it, giving readers the opportunity to witness & provide feedback on the book as it evolves from its roughest stages to eventually, a final version and publication, all in the name of publicity. Personally, I love the concept and just wondered if you had any other innovative ways for authors & publishers to promote books, especially with newer writers?<.p>
I like the multimedia idea. I've often wondered if offering a CD with a book might be good—an audio book with some of it read by the author, or music inspired by the story, or something like that. I post excerpts of different drafts of my books on my website, and readers, especially those who are aspiring writers themselves, seem to like that. I think there are many kinds of "bonus material" that writers could include with their books in the way of special features that are often included on the DVD versions of movies. This is what I try to do on my website with my annotations and deleted scenes.
Hay Brandon, Huge fan! Finished A Memory of Light, Re-read all 3 Mistborn for the 2nd time, re-read Way of Kings for the 4th time and am currently listening to Alloy of Law while I toil away at work. Also recently listened to all of season one of Writing Excuses, very cool stuff please keep doing it, maybe a live podcast from SDCC this year?
I also wanted to mention I met you last year at SDCC on preview night and I'm working on that Memento. http://i.imgur.com/tve4Xqv.jpg
To the questions...I believe I've heard you mention more than once that you weren't happy with Way of Kings, could you explain a bit exactly what you would change or love to do-over with it or expand on your comments?
Also, any teasers for the new Stormlight archive?
The problem with doing something live like that at SDCC is that it's really hard to get the space or work out the logistics. We keep talking about it, but have trouble making it happen. Everyone is just so BUSY there. But maybe!
The original draft of The Way of Kings had some big issues. One of the largest ones was that I was trying to do too many characters with too many separate plots. (Jasnah and Taln both had full sequences with as much complexity as the three main characters in the current draft.) Beyond that, Kaladin's character (he had a different name there) was bland and never worked. I needed to rebuild him from the start.
I'll post more explanations of this in the Kings annotations, which I'm working on right now. As for teasers for the second book, one of the interludes is from Taln's viewpoint. (He's the guy who shows up in the epilogue of the previous book.)
Can you elaborate on the use of atium at the end of Mistborn: The Well of Ascension?
Heh-heh-heh. Yeah, this is a pretty in-depth one. So . . . yeah. How about I send you to my annotations for that chapter, where I explain in depth on my website. I have annotations of all of my books. And in Mistborn 2, if you read the chapters through there—like I can't talk this through in the right way—and if you go look at the annotations and read those chapters, the explanation is in depth in there. And hopefully the explanation there will make better sense to you than what I can blab out off the cuff right here.