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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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How many books?—"I don't know. Two, maybe three, maybe four. I know the last scene. But after I write the last scene that is all there is for these characters." (No Eddings sequels) "Maybe a series in another Age."
What other books?—"More books planned than I have years to write them."
Just a very brief update on some of the questions asked during RJ's signing in Midtown. Not very many questions were asked, surprisingly. And he was packing to leave at about 1:50pm [for a signing that began at 12:30pm].
Perhaps the most startling revelation was that he has been in talks about doing "2 or 3" extra WOT books beyond the final installment and the prequels. They would focus on subsidiary characters we have encountered.
The second signing session of the day was local, just a short drive up a rainy, traffic filled highway. This one had a Q&A session also, same restrictions on autographs though (two hardcovers, no personalization per trip in line). RJ seemed like he wanted to get going quickly for an early trip to the next stop tomorrow, so I only went through the line once.
In the Q&A, everyone was using the same questions that are answered in just about every Q&A RJ does, or at least recently: about writing female POVs, about compiling his notes, how does he store all the info about the plots and characters, etc... He did give some new info/answers on a couple of topics. He did repeat the tidbit about writing additional side stories that was on Wotmania today. He mentioned that he hates Apple computers because the early versions were not compatible with each other :p He mentioned if a mini series is done on NBC, there might be other sequel series on showtime or sci-fi channel.
I've stopped saying how many more books there will be.
"No prequels, no sequels, and no one else writing in my universe."
With the final scene in the final book (which he eloquently said did not have to be identical with Tarmon Gai'don), all major plot lines will be resolved, and most minor ones. Some minor plot lines would still be unresolved, as a way to let the world continue to live and breathe. The surviving characters would still have lives to go on with, even if more "boring" ones. Robert Jordan though stated clearly that if he was going to write another book(s) in the WoT universe (something he thought was not going to happen), it would be placed at least 1,000 years apart from the events in the current books. There would not be any spin-off stories, or stories written by other authors set in the WoT universe, either.
If and when you start another series of books after the Wheel of Time series will you use some of the characters from that series?
No. Absolutely, positively, never under heaven! I have no plans ever to return to this universe once I reach the end. If I have such a compelling idea one day that I simply must go back, then I’ll shift the story so far in time that it might as will be a different universe. Anything else would be doing the same thing over again. For the next set of books, I will be in a completely different universe with different rules, different cultures, different people. I expect I will examine some of the same issues—the clash of cultures, the tide of change, the difficulty men and women alike have in figuring out the rules of the game—but I certainly don’t expect to chew my cud twice.
No, not really. There are three short novels that I'm going to do. They're prequels in a way, and they cover specific incidents that I think are interesting, not considering the major characters really.
One of them will be an expansion of the novella, "New Spring", which appeared in the collection called Legends. I wrote that at 35,000 words after a great deal of compressing, and I had to drop several storylines to get it down to that length. So, I'd like to do it the way I'd done it originally, at 70,000 words perhaps. There are two others of that sort that would be shortish, but no, I won't write any more in this universe when I reach the end...unless I come up with something stunning, otherwise I'd just be running over the same ground again, and I don't want to do that. I want to do something different.
He said that he plans to finish the two planned prequels "eventually" (he didn't expound on what that meant) and then he said something very surprising to me.
He said that he is considering TWO OR THREE SIDE NOVELS! Stories that suggested themselves to him. I was thinking, "WAY COOL"!
He then went on to talk about "Infinity of Heaven" a bit. Saying that the society portrayed there would be horizontally and vertically stratified, a la the Seanchan, but even stricter. His writing style will stay the same and he won't change the male vs. female viewpoint expressed in WoT.
He showed up about ten minutes late and went through his normal pronunciation spiel looking slightly perturbed. He then reiterated the answers for what have seemed to become the most oft-asked questions this time around: Book twelve will be done when he’s finished with it, it will be last one no matter what, Infinity of Heaven is the next thing he’s doing, the two WoT prequels will be done at some point in the future, and that he’s come up with an idea for a trilogy of “outrigger” novels in the WoT world, but that he has to let it stew for a few years before he decides on doing it.
Then, probably because he arrived late, he skipped the Q&A and went straight to signing. Somewhat disappointing, as the event was billed as a Q&A / Signing, and the Q&A was the main reason I went in the first place. I would have liked to just hear him talk for a little bit.
Well, I've been offline for a while, but I thought you had the news pretty well from Wilson, plus I needed to rest up, frankly, having had a stretch of in the hospital, then out of the hospital, in and then out, in again, and this time out on a Saturday so I could get on a plane on Sunday, have my tests done at the Mayo on Monday, talk with the doctors on Tuesday, then drive to Minneapolis to speak at Mike Ford's Memorial service. Frankly, I got home in some ways stronger than when I left, but in others, well, I was ready to lie down and sleep as long as I could get by without having an ice cube slid down my back. I really needed some rest, in my own bed not a hospital or hotel bed. And every time I've thought about posting here the last week or so, I just couldn't find the energy to do more the most cursory sort of entry, likely dull-witted with weariness at that, and I thought you deserved more than that.
You might find a small interest that I codified a list of things to be done once I have regained (1) over-all strength, (2) hand-eye coordination, and (3) some degree of balance. I am convinced that I will recover these things—the strength seems the easiest—and have even agreed, after some urging from Harriet, to submit my hands and feet to acupuncture! Go figure. Me, the Great Skeptic! Well, she's a cousin of sorts, through marriage—it can get complicated in Charleston—and she is fully qualified and all of that.
Anyway, the list.
1) Purchase Harley. I already have this picked out, as I think I've told you, and though Harriet SAYS she won't mind riding postillion, I'm figuring a sidecar is my future, too. That's okay. But not quite as soon as I hoped. It won't be under the Christmas tree this year. Maybe next.
2) Sky diving qualification. I'm not talking buddy-jumping strapped to some guy's belly like a kangaroo trying to escape from it's mother's pouch. I mean to take the whole nine yards so that I can walk into any place where such a thing is possible, rent a chute, rent a plane to take me up, and go jump, no questions asked. Wilson says we are too old, and my knees are too bad, for this sort of thing, but the thing is that having achieved that qualification, I doubt that I will ever use it. I will have done it, however, and that will be enough. When I was young, before my first tour in the Nam, I volunteered to airborne. I got turned down on account of bad eyes, and that is something I have regretted ever since. That I've held on that regret so long indicated something to me, because I have always operated on Lan's rule, bury your dead and ride on. I don't hold onto regrets. This one remains, however. So I will try to lay it to rest once and for all. Besides, I WANT to jump out of the bloody plane!
3) Take up ball-room dancing lessons with Harriet. Funny, after saying that I don't hold onto regrets, that I should come to this one straight away. You see, before I began having nerve problems with my feet and loss of balance, I was a pretty good dancer. Good enough to have 20-something guys complimenting me on my moves and women of various ages cutting in on Harriet to dance with me. It was also neat to be addressed on the street, sometimes by women I could swear I never met in my life, with cries of "Hello, dancer!" Well, I want that back. And, since I am completely untrained—I grew up poor; there was no childhood dance class in my background—I want to take the lessons because I want some dances, the tango, the rumba, the cha-cha, that you just can't fake. And not that Dancing with the Stars baloney, either. That is strangely entertaining, one might say weirdly entertaining, much like a train wreck involving Borat and Rush Limbaugh in clown makeup, but in most cases, the dances they do have no resemblance whatsoever to the dances they claim to be. Let them take their so-called tango to Argentina. And see if they can get out of the country alive. Anyhow, #3, dance lessons.
And 4) Take up golf. This something I had just begun to get into when things when blooey in general. You need balance to make a good swing, and I found out I have a pretty good natural talent for the game. My drives are straight—in two rounds with Wilson and his son, Jonathon, both golf fiends—I lost fewer balls than either of them, and if the length of my drives has been somewhat erratic, I was beginning to get that straightened out. I figure if I can get the occasional but not uncommon 200 yard plus drive without golf shoes, which means no proper swing, I can match and top and that with the shoes and with practice. It only needs the balance back a little. And you know, it's fun reading the greens for puts. I got a few tips from a pro who was earning some extra money by caddying at a club where I'd won a round in charity auction, and he had some wonderful tips for that.
So there you have it. Oh, finishing A Memory of Light, of course, and getting started on Mat and Tuon, and some others, five to ten years after the Last Battle. Those go without saying. Not a bad plan for the coming year, eh? And fishing. I'd like to call Billy Glenn and run up to Cape Romain, where the beaches are so pristine you can walk for miles without seeing a footprint not your own, where the truly big redfish, 40-pound, 50-pound, 60-pound, are cruising down the coast in the surf, too big to keep, of course, but great fun to catch and release, using circle hooks for survival of fish, and if a little time goes by without a redfish, then a 6 or 7-foot blacktip shark is sure to grab hold, leaping like a bloody tarpon. It's a great day's fun, with the wind cutting in directly off the Atlantic and nothing but water between you and Portugal. But Thanksgiving is almost here, and Christmas is acoming in, Lud sing God damn, with lots of house guests for each and also in between. No time for fishing. Unless I sink to trying an ultralight fly rod in the goldfish pond. I don't think that would play well with Harriet. Besides, there's no real way to get a decent backcast. I know. I've checked, and believe me, I can find a backcast in a china closet if one is to be found.
No. When I started this series, there were only two commonly used means of publishing: a single book or a trilogy. I, however, told my publisher: this won’t be a trilogy, but a series of at least four or five volumes, possibly even six. At that time I knew the overall content of the story, I knew what events I wanted to put in them and also had the final completely ready-made in my head. But I soon discovered that I could fit much less in the first book than I thought. That first book was actually supposed to hold the story of The Great Hunt and at least a part of The Dragon Reborn. At that point, I though: “Okay, it will probably be six or seven books.” Exactly the same thing happened to the second book. At this point, I no longer dare make predictions how long the series will eventually become. It will end sometime, I swear, but I don’t know when exactly that will be.
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 afternoon I got word from Tor that the release date of The Gathering Storm has officially been moved up one week. The new on-sale date in the U.S. and Canada will be October 27, 2009, so mark your calendars. We don't yet know if other markets will be following suit; as more information comes in I'll keep you posted.
Jason Denzel at Dragonmount is one of the lucky few who has had the opportunity to read the finished book, and he posted his review of The Gathering Storm at the end of July. The review does include some very minor spoilers that he's marked off so you can skip them if you want the book to be completely fresh when you open it up in October. Also over at Dragonmount today Jason posted my comments on the situation with the outriggers and prequels. Short version: A Memory of Light is what Harriet and I are focused on right now.
There were going to be two prequels; one about Tam and one about Lan & Moiraine arriving at the Two Rivers. There were also going to be several outrigger novels. Brandon the fan doesn’t want to see the series go on and on, but now that he could be the one to write these books, he also doesn’t want it to turn into “the one ring” so to speak. He’d have to let it go eventually. However, the ultimate decision will be Harriet’s.
There are notes for two prequels, one based around Tam's story, and the other about Moiraine and Lan before they went to the Two Rivers. There are also notes for three additional books, outriggers, which take place in the Wheel of Time world.
Brandon equates being handed the Wheel of Time series with being handed the One Ring—the longer you hold onto it, the harder it gets to let go. He doesn't want to ruin Robert Jordan's world; Robert Jordan and the series deserve to be allowed to rest. However, Tom Doherty wants them to be written, though the decision is ultimately up to Harriet—if she decides they should be written, he'll do it, but his gut says 'no', they won't be. At this, he was met with an "aaawwww!" from the fans, and nodding, he said that it is with a heavy heart but he feels it would be best. The last he heard, Harriet was leaning towards 'no'. If he does write them though, he feels there should be no more after this, "it would be nice to have a will" so no more can be made. He admitted that this is a half answer, but concluded with "Robert Jordan's legacy is more important."
Alright, well, there was discussion of the outrigger novels by Jason Denzel and he handled that very beautifully. I wasn't on the panel, but I added this, and I'll give it to you too. The big reason that there are these three books, the three books to finish the main sequence, is that a couple weeks before Jim died he asked me who he thought could finish the books.
Now, all along, while he was talking about this piece of work, as we were fishing, one of the things he would say, and other people in the family had heard it too, was, "If I die, and somebody tries to finish this, you will kill them. And if you don't, I will come back and haunt you and them. Because this is my work, and nobody is going to finish it but me. And if I go too soon, that's it." And we'd do that in laughter, but he was serious. This is his work.
So when he asks me, two weeks before he died, "Who do you think could finish it?," it set me back on my heels. Now, with that he told us that he wanted the work finished, really wanted it finished. So even though Harriet was devastated by the loss, we all were, we felt obliged to finish this work for him. That doesn't mean there will be outriggers or what-have-you. There may be. But the big thing here is now about Harriet, and if at the end of this, if she is still having fun, who knows where it goes.
A lot of people have asked this question. It's good to speak of it here because a lot of you are probably still wondering this. I get to answer this about once per signing. The short answer is probably not. I will give you the long answer, though. Robert Jordan was very uncomfortable with people writing in his world. You probably all know that. The stories of...people would ask what happens if you die before the series is done? He says, "I will have my hard drive reformatted and all of my notes burned," is what he used to say. He started changing his tune later in his life. And finally started, said "Well I'll have someone finish it," but mostly just said that to Harriet. Anyway, but he was very uncomfortable. I personally don't think there would be anything wrong with doing the prequels or the outriggers since he said he was going to do them, and he signed contracts for them. However, they are a slippery slope. And I've used the metaphor before on tour that working on the Wheel of Time for us has been a little bit like being handed the One Ring. And we are now standing, holding the Ring over the gulf, and the question is when do we let go? And if we hang on too long, we risk undermining the legacy of a very great man and a very great series. And when we've talked about this, the general sentiment seems to be we would rather stop earlier and err on that side than err on going too far.
Yeah, I mean Tom pretty really wants to see them. You know, it's all going to be up to Harriet. If she makes the call, I will write them. But right now, this is the feeling that pretty much all us of have, and so I have a sense that it's going to be what I say.
One of the questions that I asked him was, "Do you think it is fair to you, as a prolific author, to be asked by the rest of "Team Jordan" to write the prequels and/or outriggers?"
I asked because as a BWS fan and as a WoT fan, I'm torn between wanting to let Brandon get on with his other work (he still has nine Stormlight books to write, six Mistborn books, an Elantris sequel, a Warbreaker sequel or two, AND another 10 book series called Dragonsteel to write!), and wanting to see more WoT after the main series ends. I told him this, and he was very open about it.
Will there be prequels or books about the Age of Legends?
Brandon stated he didn't want WOT to be like Star Wars with books telling scattered stories, but would like to do the prequels that RJ planned about Tam and Moiraine, and possibly the outriggers about Mat and Tuon as well (but not the other planned series, Infinity of Heaven).
He did mention the forthcoming WOT encyclopedia, and how extensive RJ's notes were—when he asked for a file on Perrin, he got notes that included 50 people from the Two Rivers who never even appeared in the books.
Will the series EVER END?
Edit: I swear, my wife is karmic poison. This was her question. She's a huge fan of the Wheel of Time but wants some resolution.
Don't mind the downvoters, Warlizard. I'm sure people just are worried about me taking offense. They forget that I've been involved as a fan with this series for twenty years. I've felt the feeling you express several times during my history with the WoT—and I bet most of us have.
It WILL END. I am about halfway through the final book. I have told Harriet that I would prefer that we not do any more books, as to not exploit RJ's legacy. Even if she decided to do those (the other two prequels RJ mentioned, for example) the real ending to the series is here.
Also, on another note, I've watched many of your posts and been interested in your publishing experiences. I find that you often have very useful things to say, and are a real strength to the reddit writing/publishing community. I don't always agree with you, but what you bring is very engaging. So thank you for what you do. I'm going to have to read one of your books, eventually. (I'm sorry that I haven't gotten to them yet.)
Thanks for the response. Just told my wife and she said, "Oh thank GOD!" It's a bit like watching Star Wars, having Empire finish up, then waiting 6 more books to find out if Darth Vader is REALLY his father.
I know there has to be vast pressure to continue writing books and not just because of the financial aspects. People want to read them more about that universe and it's hard to deny them that.
I don't mind the downvotes. Reddit has been pretty good to me and I wouldn't have put out any of my stories if the feedback hadn't been so strong and persistent. I always give away the books to Redditors first and put 'em up on Amazon second as a way of saying thanks.
I appreciate your kind words and if you'd like a copy of anything I've written, please feel free to PM me an email address were I can send them.
Well, let me change that. Stories, maybe. But when I finish the Wheel of Time I have no intention of doing novels that are prequels or sequels. I'm going to go to another fantasy universe, another world, another set of characters, another set of cultures, another set of rules. I won't say that I'll never do something like that, but I have no plans to.
About the end of the book, as we all know, Jordan explained that he has always had the series’ ending planned. However, he was also careful to mention that he didn’t want all of the minor sub-plots to be neatly tied up at the end of the series. I think he may have been implying that such sub-plots might also make for great (long) short stories and mini-epics.
Regardless of whether or not this is true, it is clear that much will still go unanswered and leave us much to debate about, even after the series is through. In reality, every situation does not get neatly tied up and patched at the end, and after so much conflict in Jordan’s fantasy world, he doesn’t want something that unrealistic to happen there, either.
Robert Jordan often said that he intended to plant a 'hook' in the last scene, a teaser for an unresolved issue. Was this 'hook' something he planned to explore in the outriggers?
Yes, and he actually wrote that part. You'll see it when the book comes out, and it's one of the lines that will go in unchanged. Sorry!
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. :)
RJ was very uncomfortable with the idea of people writing in his world. I want to respect that. You might see the Outriggers or the two prequels he planned to write. But no Age of Legends or Hawkwing. At least, that has been my suggestion to Harriet. It is her call.
Yes! Please do what you can to get the prequels or outriggers published once you've finished writing A Memory of Light.
One thing I did catch, Robert Jordan claims to have enough notes to write books based on WoT for the rest of his life. That's not a quote, but he mentioned something to that effect.
Will the prequels or outriggers be written?
Harriet answered no.
To be clear, the question was were there any plans to do the outriggers/prequels, and she said no, there are no plans. She still hasn't given a straight answer; I paid very close attention to the wording.
If no official prequels or outriggers will be written, will permission be given for others to write in the world of the Wheel?
Harriet answered absolutely not. She said that RJ threatened to rise up from his grave in wrath if that ever happened.
After Memory of Light would you finish the 2 Wheel of Time prequels that Robert Jordan was planning?
: Oh boy, okay so serious question. Harriet and I have both given this much thought and we feel that there is a danger in continuing to write in the Wheel of Time. The metaphor I like to use is that we've been handed the One Ring and we are marching toward Mordor and we have to let go of that ring. The longer we keep a hold of it, the more dangerous it is for us, the more we will want to keep hold of it, and the more we just risk exploiting Robert Jordan's name and legacy, rather than just doing what he envisioned being the appropriate thing to do with his world and his series.
We have both decided that we don't feel comfortable doing the prequels, perhaps that will change. I don't think it will, but for right now the answer is no. We are not going to do the prequels or the outriggers, which is another sequel series he had planned. Simply because there's nothing wrong with those, he said he was going to do them, but the longer we keep going the more dangerous and risky it becomes and we'd rather just stop while we're ahead.
Brandon said that he didn’t know but he hoped that the answer would be no. His reasoning was that WoT was RJ’s universe and that after A Memory of Light and the encyclopedia it should be “allowed to go to rest” however he did say that the final decision was Harriet’s.
Harriet said there was a Kenny Rogers song that fit perfectly here. “Know when to hold them and know when to fold them”. She said that she hadn’t made up her mind yet and would not until after A Memory of Light and the Encyclopedia were published. [From Peter's other report: "It is something they will get into once the A Memory of Light is in the bag, but the tone of their replies seemed to suggest that is was not even close to a done deal."
He is particularly interested in the story of Tam.
Later, I also overhead Brandon say that chances are very slim on the books (prequels and/or sequels—couldn't hear which) being written. He is concerned on the commercialization of RJ's name—where can they draw the line if they start with the prequels/sequels?
For what it's worth, I would love to read about Moiraine and Lan's adventures searching for Rand.
Myself and many others love the universe of the Wheel of Time. I know the possibility of future books has been discussed between yourself, Mr. Jordan's wife, and the publishers. And it's been said none of you wish to "cash-in" on Mr. Jordan's work.
I for one think you are all looking at this backwards, for you to continue writing books about the world and characters we've all come to know and love over the past two decades would do nothing but keep Mr. Jordan's legacy alive! It would not be "cashing-in" to make all his (and your) fans happy by providing them many more stories that we will all enjoy. I don't believe any of us want to just give up this universe after following it for this many years.
I for one do not want this story to end with A Memory of Light. I would love to be able to continue reading about all our friends for another 20 years. None of us want Mr. Jordan's world to simply end, he created a vast and wonderful world that is filled with endless stories. Please continue to write them!
If you truly believe it would be bad for Mr Jordan's memory or that it would appear you're writing more to make money off him then by all means donate the proceeds of any future books to a worthy charity.
Please don't deny us the future stories.
Signed, A dedicated fan
A thoughtful letter. Thank you for writing it.
Let me make a few points. The first is that Robert Jordan was very uncomfortable about people writing in his world. He said several times that if he died before the series was finished, he intended to have the notes destroyed and the series left undone. (He later changed his mind about this, or may have been mostly joking in the first place.)
The Guide to the Wheel of Time (known as the big white book) was originally going to have fiction in it written by other authors in the Wheel of Time world. Robert Jordan eventually decided he was uncomfortable with this idea, and they pulled the stories.
To be honest, there probably wouldn't be anything wrong with doing a few more books—the ones RJ said he was planning to write, like the two other prequels or the Outriggers. However, I worry that the further we go, the more we will invariably stray from RJ's original vision for the series. (Because we'll have less and less direction left by him.) Therefore, I will have to step in to fill the gaps, and the series will more and more become about me and less about him.
I don't want that to happen. I never want to reach a point, for example, where I've written more WoT books than RJ did. Is it not much better to quit while we're ahead? I'd rather be Bill Watterson than George Lucas. I'd rather stop on a high note and not drive the series into the ground.
Perhaps I will change my mind eventually. (Though, I should point out it's not even my call, but Harriet's.) However, the price of stopping now is leaving a few stories untold that might have been great to tell. The price of continuing on is to risk undermining the Wheel of Time's integrity and Robert Jordan's legacy. I don't know that I want to roll those dice.
If I could do one absolutely terribly immoral thing, and get away scott-free, it would be to steal the notes after A Memory of Light is done. I want to read them very badly.
It's not impossible that Harriet will let me post them once this is through. I've asked before, and she's undecided.
If it really matters either way, what I'm after is not super-spoilerific, but things that are either interesting but ultimately unimportant easter-eggs (the allusions to modern events at the beginning of The Eye of the World for example) and things like character notes and place notes (if those exist.) Above all else, I want to see what Jordan was thinking when he wrote the world.
I think these are completely reasonable questions that should either be answered in the Encyclopedia or (hopefully) when we're allowed to release the notes. I'll say what I can once the book is out.
Are the notes for the prequels quite extensive like for the final three you have written, or are they just general theme and plot?
The notes are not great for most of the outriggers or prequels. We'd be relying mostly on things Team Jordan remembers of what he said about them.
One conversation we've had is potentially doing these other stories as video games. That way, the fans can experience the stories—but if we flub them, they won't detract from the main sequence of books.
If we're very lucky, there will be some good video games that come out and things like that, and that could be...I've always felt that's a great way to kind of continue the Wheel of Time without having to risk Jim's legacy with more books, if that makes sense. If there was a way that the outriggers could be done as an epic trilogy of RPG adventures, or something like that, or you know, some of the prequel stuff, I would love to play something that's like the Mass Effect / Dragon Age version of Tam's story, going out of the Two Rivers and going and fighting a war, and things like that. And so, if...hopefully, if that can happen and Red Eagle is able to get those going, you will still have some stuff like those coming that don't necessarily have to be 100% canon, that you can accept and say, "Okay, this is interpretation..."
It's a Portal Stone.
Yeah, exactly; it's a Portal Stone version of things, and I hope that will happen.
That would be exciting, if they do that.
Yeah, I might actually start playing video games again if that was going on.
Here's the thing about spoiler questions. I'm only going to answer things that Robert Jordan has already said. And so, the only answer I can give you to that is, if you want that spoiler, go read what the outriggers were going to be about. This is the sequel trilogy that Robert Jordan said he was going to write that we're actually not going to do, and that might give you some clue of what's going to happen in that plotline in A Memory of Light.
Wow, this is the least question-filled room of you Wheel of Time fans I've ever experienced. Where's Emma when you need her?
Sorry, I just lost my train of thought.
We got one up front. Sir?
I'm just wondering, where do you find the outrigger outlines or whatever?
The Q&A database, which is now hosted....where? Where's Terez have that?
I dunno, she keeps moving it around, so I can't keep it straight. She's gonna have a link somewhere on the Theoryland forums to that.
If you look for the Wheel of Time Q&A database, would be a great place, but I've done just googling....
It's also in the Wheel of Time FAQ, if you can find wotfaq.dragonmount.com, and there's a question on there like, 'What other books was Robert Jordan planning?'...something like that, and that's where I wrote out about the outriggers and things like that.
If you just google 'Robert Jordan' and 'outriggers', I've found quotes by him, and that's what I've used to guide what I say about them, is just by doing that google search, because I know more about them, obviously, than he's said, and I try to keep to not saying very much about those just because they may be used for video games or things like that in the future, so I don't want to give spoilers to what someone's else's story might end up being.
No. Excuse me, there will be an encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time, but that's the only other book that's planned.
As a continuance, will you be willing to license it out to people who you feel are worthy to do it?
No. My husband was very strong that he would rise from the grave in wrath if that happened. He really, really didn't want it.
No zombie Jordan!
First (and most surprising to me—did I miss something) he mentioned that he is considering writing 2 or 3 "outrigger" novels in the Wheel of Time world in addition to the final book and the two other prequels. He said that he had always maintained that he wouldn't write any more in the WoT world unless he came up with a really good idea. Now he's afraid he has come up with such an idea, but he says he'll have to think about it for a couple years to really decide if it's good enough. So, it sounded like those novels wouldn't come out until after his "Infinity of Heaven" series, but he made it seem like they were a definite possibility and that they'd be about a side story or minor character from the main sequence books.
It's not likely. We feel that RJ's legacy is better protected by doing fewer books.
Would Harriet publishing RJs notes regarding the prequels and outriggers in the encyclopedia she's going to write?
It's possible. You could always ask her if she will. I'll have very little to do with the process.
Honestly, I'm hoping that they will release his [RJ's] raw notes, untouched. I'd like to see how he planned and imagined the universe in his own form of organization.
I would like that too just as long as Sanderson isn't planning to do anything with them. If Sanderson is planning an Age of Legends series after this then I would rather not know everything about everything. Considering that there was approximately 100 years between to creation of the bore and Lews Therin and the companions sealing it, that creates a lot of opportunity to expand upon.
I have only read up to Winter's Heart in the series so far so I don't know how much more is revealed about the creation of the bore, if the people involved in the creation of the bore did it intentionally or if it was accidental and about a million other questions on top of that. What we learned in Rhuidean in book 4 was only the tip of the iceberg compared to what could have been done.
There aren't any plans to do future books. We don't have any desire to see the Wheel of Time turn into a legacy series, like some have become, with writer after writer taking a turn at the helm. There isn't anything wrong with that for the series where it works, but I have the sense that Robert Jordan wouldn't want it to happen—and so I am against it happening. That being the case, it is my goal to do what Davenport suggested, and release the notes in as much detail as I am allowed.
I know he had planned outriggers; do you happen to know if any of the notes touch on that, or was all that info lost to the hands of The Greatest Foe? Regardless, thanks for advocating for releasing the notes. Also, squeeeeeeereplyingtoBrandonSanderson.
There is a tiny bit about the outriggers, mostly little tidbits. (Some are pretty cool.) Not a plot, really, but some character touchstones. Certainly not enough to write like we've done these last three, however. The notes are far, far more thin.
Is Memory of Light definitely the conclusion of The Wheel of Time?
"There have been a lot of questions about this! Robert Jordan certainly wanted us to finish the series but we don't feel that he would have wanted us to write anything else after this. For all the desire of fans to want more, Robert Jordan—as far as I can see—did not want The Wheel Of Time to become a legacy series like Conan or Star Wars, where you have other authors working on stories. Robert Jordan didn't want that to be the vision for these books, so we're going to stop here. We're going to end on a high note and not continue it with any prequels or anything like that."
What about the outriggers? (The sequel trilogy to the Wheel of Time series that Robert Jordan had planned to write.)
It's not going to happen. Harriet and I are both firm on this. Robert Jordan wouldn't have wanted it to happen. He said that he wanted the series to be finished, but he did not want anything more. (He was even uncomfortable with the idea of someone like myself finishing the series.)
Beyond this, at the Q&A on Monday, Harriet revealed something I previously haven't been able to tell you but that I've known for quite some time—that Robert Jordan didn't leave much of anything in the way of notes for the outriggers. There are, quite literally, only two sentences of explanation from RJ telling us what the plot of the outriggers was to be about.
So no, no outriggers. I highly doubt you will see the prequels either, and for similar reasons. All good things must come to an ending. And this is ours.
It was not, but I agree with how it is. Those sorts of endings—like in Harry Potter—don't work for me as well.
However, Harriet has promised to release what we know of RJ's planned sequel trilogy to give you more info.
Will the prequels be written?
The answer, directly quoted from Harriet, is, "This is it. Except for the Encyclopedia, this is it." There are not enough notes to write them, and Robert Jordan didn't want any sharecropping, once stating he would "run over his hard disks three times in a semi" before he'd let that happen (which makes Tom Doherty sad).
Robert Jordan left two sentences about the outriggers. Later, someone asked what the two sentences were. Harriet stated they contained spoilers, but they would be released at a later time, possibly six to seven months, possibly included in the Encyclopedia.
I think I'm the villain who should answer this. [laughter]
And I understand.
There will not be outrigger novels. Robert Jordan left a total of two sentences about the outrigger novels. He had expressed a horror of people sharecropping in his universe, and this would have been such a thing, and I think my darling husband would come back and do terrible things to me [laughter] and so there won't be any outriggers. And it's a pity; it would have been fun to see Shara. [oooohs] Seanchan! The Seanchan, I mean; excuse me. [laughter]
Well I can, but it's a spoiler. Later, I certainly will, but right now that is a spoiler, in the two sentences.
The question references the outriggers, which was a sequel trilogy that Robert Jordan had intended to write to the Wheel of Time, involving some of the characters. We can't say much about it. You can find out more online, because we don't want to give spoilers, but he only left two sentences telling us what was going to be in those, and so it's basically impossible to write them, even if we had wanted to.
Well, if he hadn't expressed himself so thoroughly, that before he let other people write in his universe, he would take his hard drives and run over them with a semi three times to be sure that that didn't happen, and it's...I mean, since there was literally two sentences, it would be very much a sharecropping operation—exactly what he didn't want to have happen.
Afraid not. RJ did not leave notes about that series, and we feel that to do it would be exploiting his legacy.
Do you think you might revisit WoT to continue some of the stories left untold?
No. It is very unlikely. I feel that from here out, writing in the WoT world would be against RJ's wishes.
I understand the series as it were is complete, but is there any chance for further novellas?
Unlikely. I don't believe that RJ would want us to do that.
Will you be finishing the prequels as well?
Unlikely. I don't think RJ would want me to.
Rereading the series, what is your opinion, could more books be written on the Fourth Age?
Yes, many could—but they would be our projections, not RJ's vision. So we shouldn't do them.
Is this the absolute end? Darkfriends must still exist and the future is very unclear. Seems scope for more?
It is not the end, but it is the end of what we will write. The rest is left to fan imaginations.
I also asked if we would ever get to hear the conversation between Hawkwing and Tuon, and he said that it did happen and would have had a great impact on future novels were they to be written.
Not really the answer I was looking for but an interesting revelation.
Oh, excellent question. I should have put this during the frequently asked ones at the beginning. Are there any more plans to do anything else with the Wheel of Time universe?
No, there are not. The encyclopedia was put under contract in my husband's lifetime. He did enter into a contract for a trilogy of novels that are not part of the series but set in the world. He left either one or two sentences about that trilogy, which is not enough for anyone to work with so that it would very much still be his. He also said that—in the trade, it's called sharecropping in somebody's universe—and he said if anybody tries to sharecrop in my universe, I'll take out the hard disk, and I'll rent a semi—or a big rig, you might say, since his name was Rigney—and I will drive it backwards and forwards over the hard drive three or four times to be sure that no one will be able to do it. He really didn't want it done. And since he made it clear in his last months and weeks that he really did want the series finished, you have the end of the series, but there won't be any more done in the Wheel of Time world. [applause]
Along those lines, though, I will mention—people ask a lot—the film rights are held by Universal Pictures, and they're working toward feature films, one film per book. We don't know how far along they are. They have a second draft of a screenplay, which I have not seen. They're on a second draft.
And I haven't either.
Yeah, and Harriet hasn't either. There is one other little tidbit—there's an anthology coming out called Unfettered. It's a charity anthology for a member of our community, in the science fiction and fantasy community, who had huge medical bills. And in order to help pay those off, we donated a deleted sequence from A Memory of Light. It's something that was written, but we decided for pacing reasons did not fit in the book. And so we donated that to Unfettered and so you can read that to see something behind the scenes. I will admit it's much more me than Robert Jordan, but it is something that we cut from A Memory of Light, just it didn't fit, pacing-wise, in the book.
Here's a tidbit from yesterday's signing:
Brandon revealed the gist of the two lines written for the outrigger novels. He says they will be released eventually, but the gists are: The first is about Mat waking up in a gutter somewhere, likely in Seanchan. The second is about Perrin heading out and thinking about how he may be forced to kill a friend.
I was at the Toronto A Memory of Light signing last night, and one of the things Brandon mentioned was that Robert had plans for TWO more WOT trilogies!
He then killed all our hope by saying that there will not be any more WOT books as per Robert's request. The WOT is done.
He also mentioned that the sequels only had one sentence each for a description. He didn't say what they were out loud as it could spoil A Memory of Light for people.
I asked him what they were as I was getting my books signed and this is what he said:
The first is "Perrin is going to Shara to kill an old friend."
I got Trae Cooper to ask Brandon about this in Atlanta, because I was pretty sure it was supposed to be Seanchan rather than Shara. Trae reported that it was indeed supposed to be Seanchan.
And the second is:
"Matt lying in a gutter wearing a tattered cloak."
I'm thinking the Perrin one could be him going to kill Rand or Gaul. Could also be Longtooth. It could also be "old friend" in a sarcastic way and could be some form of Slayer returned.
The Mat one could be him having issues with the rebels back in Seanchan? That one's very vague.
Unfortunately we'll never know as even Sanderson knows nothing beyond these two sentences, but still exciting!
Who was his favorite character to write and who does he see himself the most in?
Perrin was his favorite. Even though Perrin went through "a slump" in the series in order to build tension, Brandon always stayed "Team Perrin." Perrin was the most natural. Mat was tough and thus a cooler character to write. Brandon enjoyed writing Mat, especially in A Memory of Light. Mat challenged his skills more than anyone else. The saddest part for him with finishing the series is that he can't write Mat anymore.
Harriet added that there will not be any more WoT books (other than the encyclopedia). She said that Robert Jordan hated the idea of someone taking his material, although he did want the series finished. He stated he would run over his hard drive before allowing others to "sharecrop." Harriet stated that the two sentences about the outriggers that Robert Jordan left behind will be released in April or May. She said that with the encyclopedia there is "the work of at least a year."
Regarding planned future WoT outriggers.
An emphatic no. However, HM did say there will be an encyclopedia (the original contract was signed with a due date in 2008). HM expects that it will take most of 2013 to put together and then some additional time to have illustrated. At this point, HM thinks it will not be out until late 2014 at the earliest.
When a fan asked about the Outrigger novels and Prequels, Harriet answered "No." After a moment of silence, she recounted that while Jim very much wanted the mainline Wheel of Time series to be finished, he didn't want anybody making up things in his sandbox. Jordan's extensive notes, dictated and written, were the framework for the final three novels while three sentences at most constitute the Outrigger and prequel novels.
Do you think that there will be post AMoL books that follow Rand or his children at any point in time, or is the Wheel of Time series done for good?
Edit: Actually more like the Wheel of Time universe, since the series that lead to the last battle is completed.
Edit2: Also sorry if you mentioned that you were or weren't going to continue with that universe already, but I had to ask. I just finished the book today at 3:30 am and I just don't want to move on... :(
Sorry for the slow reply. Haven't been around much lately. I figured you'd still want some sort of response, however.
There is no more. I'm sorry. I understand not wanting to move on (I still hope for some good video games or films that will let you explore the world more) but I don't feel comfortable going forward in the world any more. I'm confident Robert Jordan wouldn't have wanted it. He didn't leave enough notes for future books that I feel they would be able to be true to his voice.
I'm sad about this too, honestly. I love the world and the characters. But all good things must end, and it is for the strength of the work as a whole that I think we must allow this one to conclude.
The second time through I made sure I was last in line. There was one guy who tried to be last until I convinced him I had more questions than he did. He was asking stuff on behalf of his friend David who was ill and couldn't be there. He video-recorded it and asked Brandon to address David personally because it would 'make his world'.
Robert Jordan...did he lay out all the war tactics for you, because he is a war historian, or was...
Actually, David, no he didn't; he didn't have an opportunity to do that. He indicated that it was supposed to be a big, long battle for the last book—basically all battle—but he didn't give us much of the tactics. There are a few things that he put in there, that he told us to do. But what we did is, we went to several experts that Harriet knows, and asked them for suggestions, and then we relied on Alan Romanczuk, who is part of Team Jordan, and we had him outline the battle tactics, which I then used to tell the story.
Okay, good. Thank you. And another question:
When you got his notes, were they digitized or was it a big stack of papers?
It was both. I got them in digital form—the bulk of it was in digital form—but they had printed off about 200 pages of them for me, which were ones that were relevant specifically to the last book, which turned into three.
Okay, and the final question is:
Are there any—and I'm sure you get this question a lot—are there any plans for any aspect of the Wheel of Time universe to keep going, maybe in another story?
No, we are not doing any more books. Robert Jordan specifically didn't want more books being written, so we feel it's best to both respect his wishes and stop while we're ahead. That doesn't preclude video games from being made, and so we perhaps may see films or video games or sort of things like that that will tell some of these other stories, but as for fiction, it is done. So, thank you for the questions, David, and thank you for reading.
A movie would be irritating, because it would just ruin it. They could never capture it.
Are any of [the outrigger books] going to happen?
No. I'm sorry about that, but as you all may know, Jordan expressed his horror of anyone writing in his universe. He said he would rent a semi and drive it back and forth over his hard disks before that happened. He made it clear in the last months that he did want them finished. But as for the outrigger novels, he only left one or two sentences, and there isn't enough of Robert Jordan for him to be present in those books in the way he would have wanted. The same with the prequels. I'm sure you’ve all seen A Christmas Carol and Marley shows up all in clanking chains? He'd come and get me!
Are there any characters in Wheel of Time that you could see having their own series?
Yes, because Robert Jordan was going to write a series about them. We call them the Outriggers. You can Google what the Outriggers were going to be about. However Harriet can tell you the future of this series.
They won't happen. Well, the reason is, he left only two sentences. And you can't build a trilogy from two sentences. It would be purely the work of someone else. And Robert Jordan had a horror of that happening. He didn't want it, so it won't happen. I mean, he would have loved to write them, but he didn't want another person, even Brandon, turned loose in his universe. So it's not going to happen.
Yeah, we have to be really respectful of what Robert Jordan wanted, plus there's just the "stop while you're ahead" sort of mentality, that comes to a really great ending that he himself wrote. So adding anything else would just be a bad idea. So yes, I could imagine stories about lots of people, and if he were here instead of me, I would be in line begging him to write them. But we can't have them, so you'll have to imagine them yourself.
This is the last stop of the tour for Memory of Light. How do you feel?
How do we feel? The last hurrah, the last stop on the Memory of Light tour. It's really kind of, honestly, a weird experience for me, because after today, I basically set down, you know, the mantle, right, that was handed to me five years ago. This is my last official event involved in the Wheel of Time.
Now I will be involved for the rest of my life. I will go to JordanCon every year, which is only over in Atlanta, so you should all go. I just drove there today, from Atlanta, I know how easy a drive it is. I will be going to JordanCon, I will always be willing to sign these books, and talk about the Wheel of Time, but after today I take a big step toward fan, and away from author.
And so it's a really . . . It's the culmination of a bittersweet experience, it has been five years of bitter-sweetness. It started with reading his last scene, that he'd written, and it comes up to here. Where after five years of a lot of hard work, I put down that burden and, I move on to other things, which is really, really sad. You know, it's kind of weird, because every other series that I put down, there's been that voice in the back of my head that said, well you could return to this, if you want to. In this one I can't.
That's been made off limits to me by myself from the beginning. You know, Harriet and I, on one of the very first times in Charleston, we had this conversation about the other books and we both were very adamant about the idea of them not happening. And so, it's not, you know, it's not Harriet saying, no, it's me saying no too. I would not do these if the opportunity were even offered. And so, it's strange, because these characters I can never do more with. Everyone else I can. So it's a final farewell to Robert Jordan, and it's sad, but it's also awesome because the last book has been well received. I think it turned out very well. And the experience has been amazing.
What happens next? Somebody please tell me.
Well I can tell you a few things actually. The sequel trilogy that he was writing, he left us two sentences. One is, Mat is dicing in a gutter somewhere. And the other is Perrin is on a boat traveling to Seanchan thinking about how he's got to go kill a friend.
No, The Wheel of Time universe will not become open source.
At a book signing the other day Brandon said that there would be no more books written, prequels, sequels etc. He said that the only extra book would be this updated encyclopedia. Will all the characters bios include what happened before and after the WOT series?
Some characters' bios will contain more information about a character’s history. For the most part, they will not contain what happened to them after the end of A Memory of Light. Robert Jordan is on record as having no intention of wrapping things up neatly for all characters. As a fan myself, I like this, because it means that in my own mind, the character that I loved can live on happily forever, and the characters that I hate can suffer woefully and die painful deaths.
In addition, Robert Jordan’s notes did not have information about what happened to each character before and after the series, and since we at Team Jordan don’t know his thoughts on these things, we are reluctant to just make things up. I would be happy to share my personal imaginings for the characters that I care about, but they are not canon.
I do not have permission or inclination. Mostly because I don’t think that Robert Jordan would have wanted it to continue. If Harriet decides she wants to do more I would probably say yes, if she asked me, to the prequels, because we at least know he wanted to do those. But my instinct says we should just let it be done.
We might see them as video games. I really would love to see them done as videogames. Because that’s not canon, but you can still experience the story. Anyway, something like that.
Re: Tuon and Arthur Hawkwing's meeting. Brandon said #1: That while Hawkwing might have issues with certain aspects of Seanchan society, as a whole he would have found Tuon and her people to be awesome. He further said the reason he didn't show the conversation is because that and the fall out was supposed to be part of the outriggers that we won't see, and so Brandon wanted to leave that open the way Jordan would have.
Lastly, and IMO, most important. While he stated he was paraphrasing from memory, he revealed the "two sentences" that Jordan had left for the outriggers. The first was a scene of Mat in a wool cap laying in a gutter having gambled away everything. The second was a scene with Perrin on a ship thinking that he was going to have to go kill a friend.
So, I've heard you answer or explain in other interviews, and Mrs. McDougal, you expressed your late husband's fear, or not being comfortable with others writing in his universe. But I'm still curious, did he leave notes, or other bits of information about the outrigger novels that he has alluded to so many times?
About the outrigger novels, he left . . . it's either one sentence, or two sentences.
And that's a major reason why they won't exist. There was not enough. Of course, there are all the notes on this series and all. I can't tell you what he said, because for the people in the room who haven't finished, oddly enough, there's a spoiler in there. But it just couldn't be. It wouldn't be in any way his outriggers. And I'm sorry.
No, I understand that. But I appreciate the answer.
But they sounded wonderful.
Was anyone else a little disappointed with the way to Ogier showed up for the Last Battle? Kinda just like "Oh yeah, we are here too." Then that was it. The scenes in which we see Ogier fighting are awesome, but I felt their introduction to the Last Battle was a little lacking. Anyone else?
The way they show up is actually the result of a sequence being cut. Originally, Perrin led an expedition into the Ways to try and close the Waygate in Caemlyn from behind. During this, the Ogier arrived, full of song, to drive off the Black Wind. Unfortunately, this sequence had logistical problems with the rest of the book, and had to be deleted entirely. The biggest casualty of this cut was the Ogier introduction, which didn't work nearly as well in the new sequence as it once had.
Thanks so much for adding your insight.
Ever thought about publishing a deleted scenes book? If movies can do it, why not books?
Afraid it isn't my call. You'd have to convince Harriet. That said, we are releasing some deleted scenes in the Unfettered Anthology to help with a friend's medical bills. (They aren't the Perrin ones, though.)
Thank you for being a redditor as well as an awesome author.
Did the same thing happen with Mashadar?
No, no deleted scenes here. I did Mashadar the way I did because of the small amount of information in the notes about it or Fain, and I felt that going with what little I did have was better than exploring widely without knowing where RJ wanted to go. In some other cases, I did extrapolate when we didn't have much from RJ, but here it felt better to go with the "less is more" idea.
There was a big danger in these books in me taking over too much and driving the books far from RJ's original vision. I had to pick and choose carefully which parts I extrapolated, and I did it based more on my own instincts and talents than anything else. For example, I felt very comfortable with Perrin as a character—he'd always been my favorite, and I felt like I knew him very well and could write him strongly. So, in Towers of Midnight where we had very little direction on what to do with Perrin, I felt that the right move was to expand his part and develop a sequence on my own.
However, for Mat in the Tower of Ghenjei, RJ had been planning this sequence for years and years. He wrote or outlined a good portion of it before he died. It was a small sequence, however, only a couple of chapters worth. I realized fans would be expecting more from this sequence, but my instincts said that it would be wrong to develop it into something much larger. That would not only go against RJ's wishes, but would risk messing things up royally. RJ had laid careful foreshadowing and groundwork for the scenes, and had a specific vision for this sequence. Perhaps if he'd lived, he would have expanded it in additional directions, but it would have been the wrong place for me to add.
Fain through my three books feels very similar to me. It wasn't as strict here as it was with the Mat/Ghenjei sequence—I COULD have expanded, and perhaps I would have, given more time. However, at the same time, there is an argument to be had that RJ wanted Fain to have a lesser-than-expected place in the Last Battle, and expanding him would undermine this.
I wish the Ways had been touched on. They were very interesting, as well as the portal stones. Was there any more info, or back story, on the Black Wind that hasn't been shared? Thanks for responding to us, by the way. I loved the last three books, you did an awesome job on them. I am getting ready to start going through some of your own stories.
There is some, but not as much as I think fans hope. In regards to something else mentioned on this thread—I believe that RJ was planning to do the Ogier/Seanchan Ogier relationship exploration in the Outriggers.
What logistical problems were there?
IIRC in some of Brandon's other posts on Reddit, he indicated that the deleted scenes were casualties of keeping the book reasonable in length. Additionally, Harriet or the publisher preferred that the storyline in A Memory of Light should be directly approaching the Last Battle, and this sequence got a little too far away from that.
There were a number. The biggest one was that the sequence wasn't needed. As you can judge from the final book, the Waygate didn't NEED to be closed. The structure of the battle worked just fine without it, as the plan was always to draw the Shadow's armies upward and through the woods. By the time the big fights here played out, it didn't matter terribly much if the Trollocs were being resupplied from behind.
Beyond that, the weight of this heavy Perrin sequence in the early middle of the book was distracting, keeping attention away from Rand and from the push toward the rest of the Last Battle. (this is what simps984 mentioned in his reply, which is correct.) The sequence was awesome on its own, but distracting in conjunction with the rest of the novel.
I would still have liked to have found a way to make it work, but I feel that way about every scene I end up deleting from the book. The truth is that aside from the Ogier arrival, nothing big was lost by cutting this ten thousand words—and a whole lot was gained.
After Knife of Dreams, there's going to be one more main-sequence Wheel of Time novel, working title A Memory of Light. It may be a 2,000-page hardcover that you'll need a luggage cart and a back brace to get out of the store. (I think I could get Tor to issue them with a shoulder strap embossed with the Tor logo, since I've already forced them to expand the edges of paperback technology to nearly a thousand pages!) Well, it probably won't be that long, but if I'm going to make it a coherent novel it's all got to be in one volume. The major storylines will all be tied up, along with some of the secondary, and even some of the tertiary, but others will be left hanging. I'm doing that deliberately, because I believe it will give the feel of a world that's still out there alive and kicking, with things still going on. I've always hated reaching the end of a trilogy and finding all of the characters', all the country's, all the world's, problems are solved. It's this neat resolution of everything, and that never happens in real life.
I originally thought I was signing up for a 10 or 15K run, and somewhere along the line I found out it was a marathon. So yes, I would like to cross the finish line on this thing and get on to what's next. I'm not that old, and I've got a lot of writing left. There are two more short prequel novels to be done at some point, but aside from that, I have said I would never write again in this universe unless I get a really great idea—which would have to be an idea that would support two or three of what I call "outrigger" novels, not part of the main storyline. Well, I may have had one! But I'll have to set it aside for a year or two because I've already signed contracts for an unrelated trilogy called Infinity of Heaven, which I'm very excited about. I've been poking that idea around in my head for 10 or 12 years.
I've also thought about doing a book set during the Vietnam War, but Jim Rigney will probably never write the Vietnam book. If I did, it would be history now, and I decided a long time ago that Rigney was going to be or contemporary fiction, and my name for historical novels is Reagan O'Neill. Maybe Jim Rigney will never become a writer!
There have been some computer games and comics, and a movie based on The Eye of the World is still in the works (with contracts that allow me a lot of involvement), but nobody else is ever going to write Wheel of Time books. For after I die, I've purchased an insurance policy with a couple of guys who have a kneecap concession in the southeastern United States, and they have rights to expand this concession should it be desired. For a very small fee, they have guaranteed that they will crack the kneecaps of anybody who writes in my universe, and nail them to the floor!
Will you write any other WoT Books after the series is finished?
That depends on a lot of things. First of all, if Harriet wants them written. Second, if Brandon feels that they are being written for the right reasons. He would consider writing the Prequels and outriggers if and only if he felt they were being written to complete and enhance the story. If on the other hand he feels like they are just continuing the WoT Franchise, then no. He also said he wouldn't write anything other than the prequels and outriggers no matter what.
It's unlikely that I'll ever do any more Wheel of Time books. I don't think that Robert Jordan would want it to keep going.
What about your Steelheart, how many—?
That is a trilogy. I've finished the second book and turned it in, then one more left to do, and then it'll be done.
Final and kaput? No multiple trilogies?
Hmm ... you know, I could see ... but I have no plans right now to do any more. I have my next YA book that I've already got planned what I'm going to do.
The Rithmatist, how many in that series?
That's also three.
So, a lot of people are very curious about this conversation, rightfully so. They had many interesting things to say to one another. And I didn’t put that on-screen on purpose because I think that there are . . . Number one, I feel like it was the wrong place, narrative-wise, to have a break for something like that. And it’s also one of these things that I feel is going to work better in your mind than it might have worked on the page because there are so many places that conversation could have gone, that locking it down into to one of them would not have . . . I don’t think would have fully accomplished what we needed to accomplish there.
Beyond that, the conversation that they have would be directly tied to the sequel series, which is not going to be written. And, you know, I feel that if Robert Jordan were still with us and were going to write that sequel series, that scene would have appeared. He would have had them talk, because that would be important then for character motivation, or at least would have been referenced in the sequel trilogy. But since we’re not doing the sequel trilogy, doing that makes promises, also, that you’re not going to get fulfilled as a reader. And so, leaving that off-screen, I felt, was very much the right move.
That said, a lot of people make the assumption that Artur Hawkwing would be—and I’m not sure why they make this assumption, but I do get this from people—that he would be upset, that he would quote/unquote set her straight, or things like that. I think the conversation would have gone in a very different direction. In a, “You're doing a good job. There are certain things that I would suggest to you, but you need to conquer the work. That’s what your job would be. And here’s some advice on going about it.” Rather than a setting her straight, I think personally he would be proud of her. Granted, you know, now that he has all of his memories back, and he’s no longer under the dark influence that he was under during certain parts of his recent mortal existence, he will not be the exact same person he was back then. But he still is a conqueror, and that’s part of who his make-up is. And so, just keep that in mind as you imagine that scene however you want it to go. And I am still adamant about the fact that I think he would not like Aes Sedai even without the influence upon him. They are not his . . . yeah, he would not want to be involved with them.
This is a follow-up to that. We have a certain tall red-headed lady who goes through a magical object that shows what the future is. Does that future take into account the conversation that would have been had between the leader and her ancestor? Or is that something outside of the overall scheme of the world, and therefore would not have been taken into account in the future that was presented in that magical object?
So the future that was presented is—I think people are clear about the idea that this is a possible future. And that is not . . . You know, some of the things that we get as glimpses of the future in the Wheel of Time are set in stone, and some of them are not. And this is one that is not. And so that conversation could have been part of that, but could also not have been part of that.
Everything I'm saying right now is not 100% canon, because I'm only working off of my guesstimates based on his notes. I believe that Mat's luck is a soul attribute that is independent of him being a ta'veren, but enhanced by his ta'veren nature. Part of the proof of this is the Heroes of the Horn knowing him as Gambler, which means in other Ages when he's been born and not been ta'veren, he's still had luck and attraction to things like that. Plus things in the notes, I'm basing on that. So it does not necessarily mean they aren't ta'veren right now, but even if they weren't, I think Mat would still have his luck.
So you don't know whether they're ta'veren or not?
I do not know. My suspicion is that if he would have written the outriggers, Mat still would have been, and maybe Perrin, because Perrin was going to be in the outriggers, we know this. But I don't know for sure. But I think it would have been fun, if in some parallel dimension if I were to have written them, which I'm never going to, I would have not made Mat ta'veren, or Perrin, I would have made Tuon ta'veren, and forced Mat to deal with someone else who was ta'veren, which I think would have been interesting.