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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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Some disturbing news came my way today. I understand that people are making posts at Dragonmount asking where they can get free copies of 'Glimmers', and others are e-mailing copies of 'Glimmers' to them. Wotmania, the other site that partnered with Simon & Schuster in this, has yanked people's memberships for doing this.
The simple fact is, anybody who gives away a copy of 'Glimmers' or accepts one is engaging in theft. Stealing. No different from shoplifting, and only a degree removed from holding up a liquor store.
I've heard the arguments about how information should be free, especially in electronic media, but they all boil down to excuses as to why some people believe they can take what somebody else has created, but not pay for it. And if you think that the fact that an e-book is "only a copy of the original" or that "the author loses nothing because he still has his original," would anyone think they had a right to take a book to the copy-shop and then hand out the copies they made? I'd think they might see that every copy they give away is a copy that the author won't be able to sell. In other words, they have just stolen that royalty right out of the author's pocket.
Real-world and immediate, I suggest that anyone who believes they aren't stealing when they hand around copies of 'Glimmers' should walk into any mall shop and try walking out with their favorite posters. Without paying for it, of course. If anyone tries to stop them, they should just explain that they are only taking a copy. But they should be sure to have money in hand to pay their bail.
Various publishers have approached me wanting to publish the entire Wheel of Time as a series of e-books, but I always say no. One reason is that technology isn't mature enough. Another is the number of people who download e-books and proceed to give away copies. Maybe that makes them feel generous. It makes me feel that I will never allow e-book publication of WHEEL, and maybe not of anything else, either.
Amazon.com now lists Crossroads of Twilight as having a January 7, 2003 release date. Originally it was set to be released on November 12, 2002, but it has been pushed back at Robert Jordan's request.
Tor books was the first to confirm to us that it has been delayed because Robert Jordan wants to make sure he has enough time to make it just right. They would not comment on the exact release date yet.
When asked if he keeps notes to remember all of the plotlines, he stated that he does not—he tracks them all in his head. This seems relatively plausible given that we know from other sources that his IQ is well over 160. When fleshing out the novel before beginning, he did state that he makes a summary or jots a few notes on what and where he wants to go with the book. However, he is always forced to leave out material—to make Crossroads of Twilight fully comprehensive, he required 1200 to 1300 pages, nearly twice the length of the final total.
Here's a compilation of questions asked, some of which were from RASFWR-J through me or John.
How much time elapsed between the last chapter of Crossroads of Twilight and the epilogue?
The greatest challenges in writing The Wheel of Time have been getting it all down on paper in a form that pleases me and doing so in a reasonable length of time while trying to make each book better than what I've done before. I'm seldom completely satisfied with what I've written, and I almost always think that one more rewrite would make it better, but there are things called deadlines, and a good thing, too, or I might never hand in a manuscript.
I like trying new things with each book, too, especially tricks with time. Some of those work out better than others. The notion of starting each major segment of Crossroads of Twilight on the same day seemed a terrific idea, but by the time I realized that it would have been better to do it another way, I was too deeply into the book, with not enough time to rewrite the entire book.
For N.O. Scott, no development in any of the characters has ever caught me by surprise, though once or twice I have realized that I could use someone in a fashion I hadn't expected to. There have been a few things that I intended to do but didn't. Sometimes, choosing to take a character in a certain direction precludes other things. The only thing that I wish I hadn't done was use the structure that I did for Crossroads of Twilight, with major sections beginning on the same day. Mind, I still think the book works as it is, but I believe it would have been better had I taken a more linear approach. When you try something different, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
No, the story is NOT a dream. Jeez Marie!
A very strong male channeler bonded to a very weak Aes Sedai could not use the bond to control her. Whoever holds the bond is in charge, though she might have a hard time controlling him.
Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease. I have met many believers in reincarnation, and most of them seem to fear death just as much as anyone else.
Yes, Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene could pass the test for Aes Sedai with their current abilities, though Nynaeve might be a little hard pressed. Too much specialization.
And finally, as I have said, I would not change anything in the books except the way that I structured Crossroads of Twilight.
All right, I have to establish something before I get into my discussion of this book. First off, I've never been one who complained about the length of these books or the lack of motion in them. Like many fans who feel as I do, I would go along with others in conversations, giving a non-committal grunt when they lapsed into bashing the Wheel of Time for having grown too slow. But inside, I always thought "I think they're still as fun to read as they always were. Beyond that, why are you reading them if you always complain about them?" Anyway, it often wouldn't be worth arguing to me. (I still would sometimes on forums, however, and soon learned that that wouldn't get me anywhere.)
Now I'm the person who has become the visible face for the Wheel of Time series, and now it IS my job—in my opinion—to defend them. So, I want to talk about Book Ten and say straight out that I really do think it's as enjoyable as the rest of the books in the series. (By my own admission above, however, I am biased. I'm both a long-time fan of the series and the person working on book twelve.)
I know that readers feel that this book was too slow. The novel has one and a half stars on Amazon (and one star is the lowest possible.) I realize this, logically, but I have trouble seeing it myself. Perhaps people's complaints with this book has to do with the sense of narrative style. Mr. Jordan chose to jump back in time and show the timeframe in Book Nine over and over again from different viewpoints. However, this has always been one of the features of the series, and I—as a writer—was very interested in the format of this book. Rand's cleansing of the taint formed a wonderful focus around which everything in this book could revolve, much in the way that he as a person pulls at threads in the Pattern and forces them to weave around him.
I particularly enjoyed Mat's sections in this book. I find myself growing more and more interested in his plot, and am picking him as my favorite character of late. I really enjoy his interactions with Tuon, and they have an interesting relationship, as both know that they're fated to marry. (Or, at least, he knows and she's very suspicious.) As a side note, however, I feel that the covers for this one and book nine are reversed. Book Nine was more important to Mat, and this book is more important to Perrin. Yet the covers imply the opposite. I digress.
In truth, I have a lot of trouble understanding what people found boring about this book, yet at the same time exciting about Book Ten. The two—like all of the recent books in the series—very much seem to be chapters in a much longer book, all blending together and flowing as one. Perhaps it comes from us not being able to actually SEE characters react to the cleansing, as they don't know what happened yet—they only know that something big happened. But, then, that's an issue in book ten—and the complaints in reviews rarely, if ever, mention this item. In the end, I guess it has to come down to people's dislike of the Perrin/Faile plot. (But, once again, Perrin has always been one of my favorites, if not my favorite, characters in the book. So, his sequences are always fun for me.)
This plot is interesting because it offers Perrin a chance to change in a different direction—and, I think, in an important direction. His wife's imprisonment forces him to face some of the darkness in himself, and it is what finally spurs him to give up the axe. Those are important events—he needs to be forced to admit that he has begun to like fighting and killing. Confronting that aspect of himself is what will give him the strength to lead into Book Twelve.
It's been an interesting experience. So far as I know, I'm the only person in the world to have ever read through—beginning to end—the Wheel of Time, starting with Book One and continuing through until I reached the final scenes Robert Jordan wrote before he passed away. (Maria might have done it, but I don't think so—she pretty much has the books memorized by now, and seems to spot-read more than she reads straight through.)
This is an experience others will start having in the coming years, and perhaps they'll agree with me that it DOES change the series. First off, you gain a better appreciation for Robert Jordan's ability to foreshadow. Second, the slow parts don't seem so slow any longer, particularly as you see books seven through fourteen as being one large novel.
I have this theory that they were killed by Careane to try and get the Windfinders to leave the palace.
Melissa Craib, this year's JordanCon master of ceremonies, asked the Team Jordan members which parts of the story they had been surprised about.
Harriet told about an incident she has described before from when she was writing the blurb for the dust jacket of The Dragon Reborn and finally realized that RJ intended Callandor to be an analog of the sword in the stone. She yelled down to RJ, "You son of a ****, you've done it to me again!"
Maria said that she was surprised... well, actually I've forgotten what Maria was surprised about. Maybe somebody else remembers...was it from Knife of Dreams when Semirhage blows Rand's hand off? That's what comes to mind, but I don't remember any details about why that surprised her, really, so maybe that's not it. :s
Alan at first said that he wasn't surprised by anything; he had figured it all out, of course. Then he owned up to being a little surprised about the scene in Crossroads of Twilight in which Perrin chops off the hand of one of the captured Shaido, because it showed the depths to which a person could go when pushed to the brink.
Peter said he was surprised when it was revealed that Demandred was... (yeah, he was messing with us).
Nalesean at Theoryland pointed out that Maria said that she was surprised by the death of Rolan during the battle of Malden.