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."
Logged In (0):
Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,
By the way, Joshua—my agent—pushed until the end to get me to put the Kelsier action sequence in-scene, rather than having it happen off-screen. I resisted. Allomancy is a very complicated magic system, and my writing relies on the reader understanding how Allomancy works in order to provide action. I didn't want to slow the story down right here by giving an extended explanation of the magic. Instead, I just wanted to show the effects of what Kelsier can do. Later (chapter six, I think) we'll actually see how he does them.
The other big part of this chapter is, of course, the plan. This is where the story has been pushing up to this point. I worry that even still (despite several cuts) this section feels a little too much like an info-dump. I couldn't really get around that, since Kelsier is—essentially—dumping some information on the crew.
This is also where I begin to diverge from the 'heist story' framework. I started with that concept to write the book, but as I proceeded with the plotting and the writing of the actual novel, I realized that the heist structure was simply too small to fill the larger concepts for the trilogy I was working on.
So, in rewrites, I came back and reworked this section to take to focus off stealing the Lord Ruler's money. The truth is, Kelsier wants to overthrow the government and get back at the Lord Ruler. The money isn't half as important to him. And, as the story progresses, you'll see that the crew spends most of its time on the army.
Originally, by the way, Yeden wasn't the one who hired the team. There was no employer—Kelsier just wanted to try and overthrow the Lord Ruler. The main way I took the focus off of stealing the atium (making this less of a heist book and more of a Mission: Impossible style book) was to put the focus on raising and training the army. Having Yeden be paying them to get him an army worked much better for this format.
Okay, so I lied. I thought the fight scene came in chapter six, but it came in five. I'm better at pacing than I thought!The truth is, this is one of my least favorite fights in the book. I put it in primarily because it gave a good, quick showing of the basic concepts in Allomancy. You got to see Kelsier enhance his strength with pewter, his senses with tin (including using it to help him focus), and then use both steel and iron in a variety of different Pushes and Pulls. The thing is, it wasn't that exciting because it wasn't really a fair fight. As soon as Kelsier got ahold of that ingot, those soldiers were toast. I did spice up the fight a bit by giving them shields—something that was missing from the original draft of the fight. Even still, this seems like a kind of brutal combat, not the more poetic and flowing battles I generally envision for Allomancy. (This is, by the way, the only fight I ported over from MISTBORN PRIME. There was a similar scene in that book where the protagonist took down a group of men with only an ingot. Again, I decided to grab it because of how well it introduced the concepts of Allomancy. It was quick and dirty.)
This chapter is where, in my opinion, the book starts to get good. These kinds of chapters are part of what I write for—good, solid character interaction with some intellectual problem-solving going on. I really like the way that the crew works through their challenges here. The items presented really do sound quite daunting as they're listed; yet, by the end, I hope that the reader feels as the crew does—that this plan could actually work, if they pull it off right.
I had to rewrite this scene several times, bringing the focus away from simply stealing the atium. By the last draft, I had something I was very pleased with. It outlines things simply enough, yet doesn't make everything sound TOO easy. At least, that is my hope.
Originally, I had Vin far less emotionally affected by the scene of slaughter. I wanted to imply that she's seen a lot of death and hardship in her life, and so something like this wasn't all that shocking to her. Alpha readers, however, found her too callous here. I did a rewrite, and realized that I liked it much better with Vin reacting emotionally to the scene of death. She still puts up a strong front, which is very like her. However, she no longer just walks through it without reacting.
Oh, and no. I don't know what Camon's throat-rope is tied to. You did have a foreshadowing of this kind of execution earlier in the book. (Though, to be honest, I added that in during a rewrite. I didn't come up with particular method of killing someone until I got to this point in the book. It seemed to me that the Inquisitors wouldn't just kill Camon. They'd do something more drastic.)
The limelights were added at Moshe's suggestion. In the original drafts of the book, I had bonfires burning outside. That was problematic, however, since they not only required a lot of fuel, but getting them close enough to the windows to provide enough light meant getting them close enough to be dangerous to the glass because of the heat. In addition, Moshe pointed out that bonfires just wouldn't be intensely focused enough in their brightness to provide the right illumination for the stained glass windows. (And, of course, I HAD to illuminate the windows. Why go to all the trouble of putting the balls in gothic cathedrals if nobody could see the windows?)
So, anyway, Moshe came up with the limelights as a fix. They actually work quite well—they fit the general level of technology I place the Final Empire as having, and the provide focused and intense light. As I understand it, they were the way that stages were illuminated to show the actors during the nineteen hundreds. Hence, being in the limelight as a phrase for someone who is being paid attention to.
Several other things were added to this scene in later drafts. One was the moment when Vin looked up at the windows and contemplated the Deepness and what she knew of it. As I've mentioned, I wanted more chances to talk about the mythology of the world. Moshe mentioned this as well, and so for the sixth draft (this book took seven, including the copy edit) I added in this scene.
Another big change was renaming the Lord Ruler's priests. Originally, they were called just that—priests. And, the Steel Ministry was the Steel Priesthood. I made the change to Steel Ministry and obligators because I didn't want the religion and government in the Final Empire to feel so stereotypical. This was a world where the priests were more spies and bureaucrats than they were true priests—and I wanted the names to reflect that. So, I took out 'Priesthood' and 'priests.' I really like the change—it gives things a more appropriate feel, making the reader uncertain where the line between priests and government ministers is.
By the way, my friend Nate Hatfield is the one who actually came up with the word 'obligator.' Thanks, Nate!
Anyway, I when I changed the priests to obligators, I realized I wanted them to have a more controlling function in the Final Empire. So, I gave them the power of witnessing, and added in the aspect of the world where only they can make things legal or factual. This idea expanded in the culture until it became part of society that a statement wasn't considered absolutely true until an obligator was called in to witness it. That's why, in this chapter, we see someone paying an obligator to witness something rather trivial.
This was one of the main chapters where obligators were added in, to show them witnessing—and keeping an eye on the nobility. Moshe wanted me to emphasize this, and I think he made a good call. It also gave me the opportunity to point out Vin's father, something I didn't manage to do until chapter forty or so in the original draft.
Originally, the nobleman Kelsier met with was Lord Hasting. This was the only place he appeared in the book. I decided in a rewrite to introduce Elend's father here instead, since he's a character we'll see much more from.
I also strengthened Straff in this scene. Before, he came off too weak as he bought the lies Kelsier told him. (Which, by the way, I've weakened. I realized that spreading too many falsehoods would be dangerous, and not really effective. Kelsier needs to whisper half-truths, rather than outright lies.)
I worry a little bit about this chapter. The problem is, it's probably one of the chapters that has undergone the most revisions. Not in a "Fix problems" way—more in a "I need to add scenes to the book. Where shall I put them" kind of way.
For instance, the beginning has a few paragraphs that—looking at them now—I think drag on a bit. The reiteration of Vin's relationship with Shan, for instance. I put it in because I need to indicate that time has passed, and that Vin's relationships have continued, but I worry that I spent too much time on it at the beginning of the scene. Next, I added another scene showing skaa life (the one with children shaking the trees) in order to remind the reader of how bad things are. Then, later on, I changed the book to have canal convoys rather than caravans. So, this chapter got some more revisions. Then, I added a lot to the scene with Marsh, including Vin's discussion of her mother.
All in all, it feels like a hodge-podge chapter to me. A lot of important information is explained, but it doesn't fit together as well as I might have wanted. The rhythm of the chapter is just a little... off.
You can thank my editor Moshe for the canals in this book. He's a bit of a canal buff, and when he had read through MISTBORN, he excitedly explained to me how canal technology was just perfect for the level of development I had in this book. So, at his suggestion, I changed caravans into convoys, and swapped horses for longboats.
I really like the change. It gets boring seeing, reading, or writing the same old things. So, by getting rid of one standard fantasy element—highways and horses—I think we add something very distinctive to the world.
Moshe, though. Man. He knows TOO much about this stuff.
Originally, I started this chapter by going right into the logbook excerpt. Then, I realized that I had logbook excerpts before and after the chapter heading—which made things confusing. So, I added in the quick sentence about what Kelsier was doing.
This is our first chance to see the text of the logbook collected in a longer form. I don't repeat all of the chapter epigraphs in-text—just some of the more essential ones. Partially, this is to make certain everyone who's been skipping the epigraphs has some of that information, and partially it's so that those of you who HAVE been reading the epigraphs can see some greater context for their order and flow.
Originally, you may be amused to hear, I was going to have Vin go on this trip with Yeden, with Kelsier staying behind. I even wrote about half of the 'leave for the caves' scene with Kelsier telling Vin he's going to send her with Yeden.
I'm still not sure what I was thinking.
Fortunately, I came to my senses, and I quickly reworked the scene. Vin had to stay in Luthadel—she's go too much to do there. But, I did want to get a chance to look over the army, so I sent Kelsier instead. It worked out very well, as I was able to do some other things—such as have Kelsier show off for the troops.
However, I didn't want to spend TOO long out here. When Vin had been the one coming to the caves, I'd planned two or three chapters. When it became Kelsier, I knew I wanted to shrink it to one chapter. So, that's why we get the kind of weird 'time passes' omniscient bit at the beginning of the second section.
One final note for this chapter. Bilg. I prefer him dead. (This is the guy Demoux fought at the end of the chapter, with Kelsier's help.)
In the original draft of the book, I had Kelsier—through Demoux—kill Bilg in the duel. I thought this was appropriate, and would be the sort of thing that Kelsier would do. In addition, I really wanted to emphasize the ruthless edge that Kelsier has. He is willing to do whatever he has to in order to see that his goals are achieved. It's that conflict—the happy, joking Kelsier mixed with the hard, ruthless rebel leader—that makes him interesting to me.
Joshua was the big complainer on this one. He felt that my books are too optimistic for something THIS harsh to be done by one of the main characters. He felt that readers wouldn't go along with it—indeed, it was one of the main points that my alpha readers brought up. Some liked it, others hated it. The scene did it's job.
Eventually, I went with Joshua's suggestion, however, and left Bilg alive. To me, this kind of castrates the scene. However, I suppose the most important elements still get across, and Kelsier gets to remain less tarnished a hero.
Still, I would have liked the death to remain, if only for the future books. I'll eventually post this scene as a deleted scene from the book.
Feruchemy. Some like the word, others aren't as happy with it. It used to be called Hemalurgy, but I decided that would be a better word for the third magic system in the series. (You'll see it eventually.)
Feruchemy (not called that, however) was a magic system I lifted from FINAL EMPIRE PRIME, a book I wrote some years before I wrote this book. I had a person who could store up attributes, such as strength, then use them when he needed them. The thing is, the magic wasn't really that well formed, and this character never got any viewpoints, so I didn't get to use the magic as often as I wanted.
When I was developing this world, I knew I wanted the Keepers to have the fantastic memories. I realized that Feruchemy would make the perfect magic system for Sazed and his people. When I decided that I could use metals as a focus for this magic system (something that made it much more interesting, because it put a definable limit on what could be stored and how much of it could be stored) I knew I had something really good.
I like to use multiple magic systems in books, but I like it when they all have common elements. Feruchemy and Allomancy are like different aspects of the same concept. They both do some similar—yet different—things. There will be a lot more about this in the text.
Ham's family makes no appearance in this book. I added this line in on a whim, since I figured it would add some more depth to a character who—unfortunately—I just don't have much time to develop.
I am happy, however, that I found a chance to spend some time with Dox. The scene between him and Vin is one of my favorites in the book, since it humanizes him while at the same time giving us further insight as to who he is, and why he does what he does. Dockson feels the same way about things that Kelsier does; Dox is just far more subdued in the way he goes about life.
This aspect of the world—the fact that noblemen regularly rape, then kill, peasant women—is the most discomforting to me. I don't like my books to be overly sexual in nature. However, there is a difference between having sexual books and having sex in the books, I think. This is a very corrupt and fallen society, in many ways. I think I had to include this aspect to show just how terrible it is.
In addition, I wanted this scene to be shocking because I hoped to put the reader in Vin's shoes. You all know that this sort of thing happens in noble society—in the prologue, a nobleman tries to rape a young girl, after all. But, I hope that you—like Vin—have kind of glossed over that sort of thing in your mind. Seeing people like Elend, and the pretty balls, has helped you forget about the terrible things these people do. So, when Dockson lays it out so bluntly, I hope that it is surprising.
Some alpha readers thought that it was unrealistic that Vin would delude herself to this extent. She'd know about the whorehouses, after all. However, I think that this is the kind of thing that people naturally try and gloss over. It is natural for Vin to not want to think about these sorts of things until she is confronted by them so expressly.
One interesting aspect of the book that I haven't mentioned yet comes with the metal of tin. Originally, tin wasn't one of the Allomantic metals—I used silver instead. You see, I originally paired silver and pewter together, thinking that pewter had a significant amount of silver in it. Well, turns out that isn't the case. (Remember, each set of paired metals is a metal and an alloy made from it.)
My false impression on the belief that pewter is a silver/lead alloy goes back to my childhood. I remember when I used to paint lead fantasy figures that I bought at the local hobby store. One of the employees told me that they would be going up in price because the manufacturers wanted the figures to be safer. They were going to cast them out of pewter instead of lead, because pewter is much less toxic. I asked what the difference between pewter and lead was, and the employee told me that pewter is has lead PLUS silver, and that's why the figures cost more.
He meant tin, I guess. Either way, that's stayed with me for quite a long time. I soundly resisted changing silver to tin during the first drafts of the book, even when I found out the truth. The problem is, I really liked the name "Silvereye" for those who burn silver/tin. It sounds far slicker than "Tineye."
I eventually came around, however. Consistency in the magic system is more important than a single cool-sounding name. I blame Hobby Town in Lincoln Nebraska for my pains.
The scene where Vin looks at the gate and sees the people being mistreated is another example of a scene I added in during the rewrite to reinforce how difficult life is for the skaa. Moshe wanted a few of these sprinkled thorough the book so that we don't forget.
After that, the scene with Ham and Vin discussing pewter is nice, but not one of my favorite of the Allomantic explanation scenes. The thing is, I had to stretch to find things that Ham could tell Vin about this one. She's really good with the physical metals&mdashshe uses them instinctively—and may even understand them better than Ham does.
I do like how Ham comes across in this scene. His personality, as the one who doesn't fake or play games in the crew, makes him really work for me as a character.
Then, of course, everything goes wrong. It always does, doesn't it?
Killing off the army like this was planned from the beginning. I knew I needed some kind of big wrench in the plans of the crew, and figured this would make a pretty good one. Plus, it felt natural, since it was a problem with Kelsier's own growing reputation. The very thing he's been working so hard to foster eventually turned against him.
When alpha readers read this chapter, they didn't see the loss of the army as much of a setback. That was one of the first things that made me realize the big flaw in the early drafts. I'd talked a lot in the crew about stealing the atium, but I'd spent all the time with them actually doing things on recruiting the army. So, the readers were still focused on the job being the atium heist, rather than the capture of the city. In that context, losing the army isn't all that bad.
So, I like how the rewrite focuses much more on the army. It makes the events of this chapter all the more poignant. Yeden, the one that was employing the crew, is dead. That should mean the end of everything.
From my journal, written the day I finished this chapter (I sometimes keep a chapter journal for purposes of doing annotations later on.)
MBFE Twenty-Six: pewter dragging
The first half of this chapter came quickly, especially after I switched it to Vin's viewpoint. She's come to dominate the story far more than Kelsier, which is good—that's what I'd hoped would happen. Now, it's much easier to write in her viewpoint than Kelsier's, since she has more internal struggles and, I think, more depth.
Things got tough once I got back to the caves. I knew I wanted Kelsier to have a kind of soul-searching period of thought, followed by the return of Mennis. The problem is, I wasn't exactly sure how much I wanted him to self-doubt. He isn't really the type to second-guess himself, so I didn't want him to brood for too long. Also, I didn't want his discussion of Mennis to go into the things I need to discuss in the next chapter—namely, the reasons the plan hasn't failed just because the army is dead.
The second half didn't start to work until I made Mennis more of a conversation-antagonist, having him advise that Kelsier just give up. This was kind of his function in chapter one as well, so I'm not certain why I didn't figure out his place in this chapter more quickly. In a rewrite, I think I'll strengthen this idea little more. It's good to pile on the 'you can't succeed' sections of the book, so that when the rebellion finally does happen, it's all the more sweet because of the overwhelming sense of the odds.
Another focal chapter. I like how this one turned out. The fountains were a last-minute addition. Originally, I'd planned executions, but I wasn't sure how to do it. I knew I needed something dramatic and memorable, but I didn't want to be so cheesy as to do something like a guillotine. Since I'd already established that there were fountains in the city, I think this way created a distinctive image.
One worry in this chapter is the population. There are a lot of people in Luthadel, and packing them all into one square is kind of a stretch. I hope that it would be believable that they would gather this many people together, and I changed the executions from single-people to four-at-once in order to make it seem like the Priesthood was taking the large population into account.
Here's my original journal entry for this chapter, written right after I finished the chapter itself:
Chapter Thirty: Vin saves Elend at the party.
It's wonderful when a chapter turns out just the way you envisioned it.
I worked on this chapter for a long time—from the beginning of the planning process, I imagined this as one of the major action sequences in the book. I began with the image of Vin shooting up through the air as the rose window twisted and fell beneath her in the mists, then I expanded that to her protecting Elend, giving Vin a real scene of heroism. Originally, I wasn't intending her to fight the Allomancers, just to lead them away, but I decided that I needed a pure Mistborn-on-Mistborn fight in the book. Every other Allomantic battle involves Inquisitors.The scenes in this chapter are some of my favorite so far. Though, oddly, it took me a long time to get into them—I hedged over what the first part of the chapter should entail. Eventually, I decided that this would be a perfect place to give Vin some abandonment issues. This is a hold-over from the original Vin from the first FINAL EMPIRE write–the fear of abandonment was a large part of that Vin's personality. It worked well in this setting, and I think I'll emphasize it just a bit more in the rewrite. The next chapter really plays off of this idea.
It feels a little bit weird to be writing about a young girl running around killing people in her skivvies, but I don't really see any reasonable way for her to fight in one of those bulky ball gowns I'm using in this book. So, underwear it is!
Kliss and Shan have both come to have much larger parts in the book than I'd intended. Kliss was intended to be a throw-away character used in one chapter, but now she's become an informant and a conspirator. In a rewrite, I think I'll have to introduce her sooner and try and give her a more distinctive personality. As for Shan... well, I only added her a couple of chapters ago. Obviously, she'll need more time in the rewrite as well. Vin's battle will be much better if I can have her fight a named character that's been an antagonist in a few chapters. The Vin ball scenes have become a larger part of the book than I had thought, and adding Kliss and Shan as recurring characters will help flesh out that plot-line, I think.
Like how I ditch Sazed in this chapter so that I can have Vin's 'grand' entrance in the next chapter? Pretty smooth, eh? I was worried about how I was going to deal with him... As for the actual fight and the scenes, I think everything flowed quite well. We'll see what readers think!
(Note, when I wrote this, ELANTRIS wasn-t even out yet—it was still over a year away from publication—so I really had no idea if people would be responding well to my writing or not.
This is another of my favorite chapters. (How many of those am I allowed to have, by the way?)
Anyway, it was about time for someone to say the things that Vin did in this chapter. Kelsier and his group really ARE a bit disconnected from regular skaa. In a way, they're like Elend and his little band of philosophers—they feel bad for those beneath them, and talk about helping, but it's really hard for them to really understand the skaa.
I love Vin's entrance. Perhaps I have a flare for melodrama, but I think it worked very well here to have her burst in, bloodied, carrying her dress. (Which, of course, she went back and fetched so that it wouldn't give her away.)
I did change the last line of this scene. Up until the copy edit, the last line from Kelsier's viewpoint (before we switch to Vin atop the roof) was him thinking "Well, she certainly has changed!"
This seemed like too much of a quip, and it undermined the tension and emotions of the last chapter. Sometimes, a good one-liner is good to release tension. However, in this case, I found that it really did feel out of place. This just wasn't the time for some half-snarky comment from Kelsier.
If you couldn't tell, this is one of the climactic scenes I was writing toward.
I'll admit, I didn't have this exact twist down when I started the book. As I worked through the novel, I quickly began to realize that Kelsier had to have some master plan—something greater than he was letting on. That's just the way his personality is. Plus, I needed something that lent more weight to the book. Made it more than just the simple heist story that I'd originally conceived. (After all, a heist story could be told in far less than 200,000 words.)
Kelsier's real plan wasn't firm for me until I wrote the scenes with him in the caves, influencing the soldiers. By then, of course, over half the book was written. So, I had to begin building Kelsier's true plan from there—and then do a rewrite to put it in from the beginning.
I had known from the beginning that Kelsier was going to die, and that he was going to gain such renown with the skaa (before his death) that the crew began to worry that he would turn into another Lord Ruler. Putting these two things together so that his growing reputation was part of his plan all along was the realization I needed to connect. Then, I could have the bang I wanted in the ending chapters, when the crew realized what Kelsier had been planning all along.
As surprises go, I think this is one of my better—but definitely not one of my best. It required keeping too much back from the reader when in Kelsier's viewpoint, and it required to much explanation after-the-fact to make it work. There's a much better surprise later on. Still, I'm pleased with the bang on this one—especially since I got to have such a beautiful scene with the crew standing atop the building, the mists coming alight around them, as if representing their own growing understanding of the job they'd always been part of.
I was forced to cut one of my favorite lines from the book, and it was in this chapter. I'll write it now. Near the beginning, the narrative says regarding Vin:
"She was, as if, nowhere."
Moshe convinced me that this sentence just didn't make enough sense. Yet, to me, it somehow expressed how Vin felt. She had been cut free by Kelsier's death. Yet, she was still there. She wished she could just meld with the mists—she felt as if her soul were already cast away. Yet, she couldn't vanish, as she wished.
Ah, cursed grammar, ruining a perfectly good sentence!
If I had a chance to rewrite the book again, one of the things I'd change is the scene where Vin gets caught here. If you want to imagine it this way instead, pretend that she dropped both Inquisitors completely, and therefore thought she was safe to inspect the room beyond. The Inquisitors can actually heal far more quickly than I've had them do in this book.
My problem with this scene is how easily Vin lets herself be cornered and captured. I think that breaking into the room is exactly the sort of thing she'd do. However, I just don't think the writing works here (around the section where she gets surprised and grabbed by the Inquisitor.) She's more careful than that. The way it's written makes it seem like she gets grabbed simply because that's what needed to happen. There isn't enough drama, or enough realization, to the scene.
I do like what happens afterword, however—Vin using the Eleventh Metal. In this book we get our first hints regarding just how much Allomancy has been hidden and obfuscated by the Lord Ruler. Vin realizes that the Eleventh Metal must be part of the structure of Allomantic theory, as is the metal that she's given that makes her lose all of her other metals. (It's aluminum, by the way.)
My one disappointment with this chapter is that I had to end up making it look like I was breaking my own rules. The Allomancy-Feruchemy-Hemalurgy triad is one of the most complex magic systems I've ever devised. The interplay between the three systems, mixed into the mythology of the setting (which involves the mists at a foundational level) makes for some very complicated rules. I try to explain them as simply as possible—simple, basic rules are necessary for most sequences to work.
Yet, the depth of complexity leads to some things that are confusing at first glance. I wasn't planning on having Vin draw upon the mists in this book—I was going to save it for later—but the initial version of this chapter (which had Vin simply grabbing the bracelets off the Lord Ruler's arms with her hands) lacked the proper drama or impact. So, I moved up my timetable, and gave her access to some abilities she wasn't going to get until the next book.
A lot of the 'Rules' of Allomancy are, in my mind, like our basic rules of physics. They make simple sense, and can be explained easily. However, they only apply when generalities—or large-scale events—are explained. When you get down to the really advanced physics, traditional Newtonian Laws start to break apart.
The same is true for Allomancy. The vast majority of Allomancers aren't powerful enough to look beyond the basics. For them, simple rules like "You can't Push on metals inside of someone's body" apply. It's much easier to tell someone that, as opposed to "People's bodies interfere with Allomancy, making it much harder to affect metals inside of them—so hard, in fact, that only some people you'll never meet can Push on metals inside of people's bodies."
It is a matter of degree of power. Vin, for reasons I'll explain eventually, has access to far more Allomantic power than regular people. The Lord Ruler is the same way, though for different reasons. And so, he can affect metals that are blocked by blood. Vin has to draw upon another, external source of power in order to produce the same effect, but it is possible for her.
Narratively, I worry that this looks too much like I'm breaking my own rules. However, I had to balance drama with effect in this chapter, and eventually decided that I could make it work. I've established throughout the book that there are flaws in the commonly-perceived laws of Allomancy. There are metals nobody knows about. You can pierce copperclouds. In fact, one of the unwritten laws of Allomancy is that it isn't understood as well as everyone seems to think.
Koloss are something I've been trying to work in for a time. Originally, in the very first draft of Mistborn one, I had them make an appearance in the prologue:
The skaa worked the fields with the lethargy of the hopeless, their motions methodical and listless. Though the sun's light was darkened and ruddied by the ever-present smoke, the day was still oppressively hot. Yet, no skaa man paused to wipe his soot-stained brow—being seen resting by a koloss fieldmaster would invite a whipping.
So, the skaa worked. Eyes down, watching the dirt by their feet, they dug at the weeds—daring not to speak, barely even daring to think. Koloss stalked amidst them, blood-drop eyes alert for signs of skaa laziness.
Obviously, I changed their place in the world drastically. During the drafting of book one, I was still working out what I wanted the koloss to be. I knew they were going to be something monstrous, and as the first draft of Mistborn One progressed, I slowly cut them from the book and decided to save them for book two. As the characters talked about them, the koloss reputation became more and more nasty—and I went so far as to explain that the Lord Ruler himself feared to keep them near human settlements.
So, when it came to plan book two, I put a lot of effort into developing the koloss. I wanted them to be cool visually, live up to their reputations, and work within the worldbuilding and magic of the setting. You'll find out a lot more about them as the series progresses.