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Your search for the tag 'rj's notes' yielded 413 results

  • 1

    Interview: Jan 25th, 2005

    Week 8 Question

    Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the task of finishing up The Wheel of Time while mentally planning for your next series? Have any of your WoT ideas been put on hold until the next series? (For example, a certain character.)

    Robert Jordan

    No, I don't ever feel overwhelmed by The Wheel of Time. I do sometimes feel that I set out on a 15K run and found that I had somehow been entered in the marathon, but I'm enjoying the run and hoping to make a good time over the distance. I believe I've been doing all right so far. (For those who think I've been slow, I've had well over six thousand pages in The Wheel of Time published over a thirteen year span, which in smaller books of a more usual size would come out at 15 to 18 novels, hardly a slow pace for thirteen years.) And no, none of the ideas for the The Wheel of Time have been put aside for the next series of books. That one has been forming in my head for...Lord, it must be ten years, now. Maybe longer. I've lost count. All of the characters and situations in that series will be distinct to that series and that very different world. When I think of something for those books, I tuck it away in my notes and compartmentalize like the very devil.

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Jul 19th, 2005

    Week 20 Question

    It seems that Elaida, leading the Sitters who arrest Siuan Sanche, must be a Sitter herself, yet she was just a few months returned from her position in Caemlyn. Was she actually a Sitter and if so when was she raised? Can you also clarify her change of heart on the Black Ajah from warning the three girls about them in The Dragon Reborn to violently denying their existence in later books?

    Robert Jordan

    Elaida wasn't a Sitter when she led the arrest of Siuan, but she had organized it, managed to arrange for a rump Hall of the Tower to vote on deposing Siuan and raising her in Siuan's place. By the time Siuan was arrested, Elaida was the "legal" Amrylin Seat, so of course she was leading the Sitters.

    As for her change of heart of the Black Ajah, she bounces on whether or not she believes in their existence. When she has convinced herself that they do exist, she is vehement on the subject, but uneasy over Darkfriend sisters, and so manages to convince herself that she was mistaken, whereupon she becomes vehement about their non-existence. But then she becomes uneasy over the possibility that they do exist after all and convinces herself that they really do after all, whereupon.... I have even had a character in the White Tower comment that sometimes Elaida doesn't seem to know from one day to the next whether or not she believes in the Black Ajah.

    ----Corrected version----

    CORRECTION: Answering these questions, I have always taken the assumption that I knew the books well enough that I did not need to refer to my notes. My answer for the Week 20 Question showed that I was mistaken. I said that Elaida was never a Sitter, but no sooner was that answer posted than my assistant Maria, who also is a fan, came to me with the relevant passage where Elaida is mentioned as a Sitter. I went to my notes, and after a lot of checking, I found the following in a file working out exactly how some points were to be structured and making sure that I had all the details covered. Somehow, I had never incorporated it into the base notes, perhaps because it seemed such a small matter, Elaida having been a Sitter for such a short time and then only as prelude to replacing Siuan and Amyrlin.

    “Returning to the White Tower, Elaida quickly became convinced that Siuan and Moiraine were engaged in a scheme that involved Rand al’Thor. Indeed, she had suspicions of this before departing Caemlyn for Tar Valon. Moiraine’s presence in Tar Valon had not escaped her, nor that Moiraine had been seen with Rand. If, as seemed the more likely, he was simply a man who could channel who Siuan and Moiraine intended to make use of as a false Dragon, then it was a scheme that was extremely dangerous to the Tower. Revelation of such involvement could easily shatter the Tower’s prestige, and with it the influence that was the primary cornerstone of the Tower’s influence in the world. And if he was indeed the Dragon Reborn, Elaida certainly had no confidence in Siuan’s ability to handle the him, as surely the Dragon Reborn would need to be handled, guided and directed, not to mention controlled. Helped by her long-standing personal animosity toward Siuan and Moiraine, Elaida came to the conclusion that Siuan must be removed for the good of the Tower. This was not something that could be accomplished by an ordinary sister, however the stepping down of a Red Sitter (Amira Moselle) gave her an opening, and she managed to get herself chosen as Amira’s replacement in the Hall of the Tower.

    In large part this was because of Galina Casban’s support as head of the Red Ajah, Galina having her own reasons to take any chance to pull Siuan down and, of course, favoring anything that would give the Amyrlin Seat to the Red Ajah again after so long. Galina made no attempt to attain the Amyrlin Seat herself because she knew she had little or no chance of being raised. Elaida, who had been so long away from Tar Valon and thus remained out of the political currents of the Tower, not to mention the favorable mention she had received for her guidance of Queen Morgase and Andor, was another matter.

    Once Elaida had a chair in the Hall, it was a relatively simple matter to identify the Sitters who seemed most likely to stand for deposing Siuan, since a number of Sitters were uneasy at best about what Siuan was up to. Her support in the Hall had eroded sufficiently by The Great Hunt that she had opposition to her journey to Shienar. As a Sitter, Elaida was able to call a sitting of the Hall while making sure that only the Sitters she wanted to attend actually received notification. Elaida is a forceful and effective speaker, and her arguments to this bare quorum in favor of deposing Siuan were also her campaign for being raised to the Amyrlin Seat herself, so the vote to depose Siuan was followed immediately by the vote to make Elaida the new Amyrlin. She did not expect the violent reaction that would come from this. She had not had access to the secret histories for very long at this point, so her view was that of most sisters. The Tower had always acceded to the will of the Hall however sisters might grumble. Like many others, she was blind-sided by what she thought she knew.”

    So there it is. I offer my apologies for giving an erroneous answer. From now on, I’ll be sure to check my notes.

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  • 3

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ben & Chris

    This obviously requires huge amounts of plotting and info outlining. Did you have any pertinent WOT info lost during Hurricane Hugo? (And did your house suffer at all?)

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, my house suffered during Hurricane Hugo, and no, I didn't have any significant information loss.

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  • 4

    Interview: 2010

    Shivam Bhatt (14 July 2010)

    Out of curiosity, do you have a list of the sundry unsolved mysteries in the books? Or untied threads and references?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 July 2010)

    Yes, I do. And, I even have a list of ones Mr. Jordan was planning not to answer or reveal.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mr. Jordan listed some mysteries in the notes that are NOT to be solved. Perhaps you should try to guess which ones.

    dopwensj

    Are they not explained, or are they explicitly noted to refrain from releasing the solution?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some of each. There's one that I really wish I knew, but he didn't tell anyone, and said no answer is to be given.

    Brandon Sanderson

    As for the mysteries, there are indeed some that Mr. Jordan did not reveal in the notes. All he said was: "This is not revealed."

    Kyle Litka

    A lot of mysteries or just a few? And any major ones (without going into specifics, I know you can't)?

    Brandon SANDERSON

    No major ones, in my opinion, except for a couple of unresolved plot threads he had been saving for the Outriggers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can't say much more about mysteries. I've said before that all major plotlines have resolution. Unresolved things are smaller.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I have my way, the notes Mr. Jordan [left] will be printed after the series is done. At least in part.

    Greuvy

    Are the unanswered mysteries at least interesting, or are they like, "who made the baked ham in book 4!"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some are very interesting to me.

    4th Age

    Are there also some that ARE revealed in the notes, but have an added "but this doesn't go into the books."?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there are, at least in implication. Many of these have to do with things I think he was reserving for the Outriggers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I will push for that to be in the notes we release, if the Outriggers aren't written.

    Brandon Sanderson (15 July)

    I'm afraid I'm not allowed to show any of the notes right now. Maybe after A Memory of Light. Some may go in the encyclopedia Harriet is doing.

    Callandor (17 July)

    Is the identity of who ordered the attack on Demira Eriff a mystery with an answer? My money is on Taim but surprises are fun.

    Brandon Sanderson (19 July)

    I'm not going to say which ones. But it's good to hear what people are curious about.

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  • 5

    Interview: 2010

    Stephan van Velzen (14 July 2010)

    Most of A Memory of Light was written by Robert Jordan, right? So that book will go faster? Or is that wishful thinking on my part?

    Brandon Sanderson (15 July 2010)

    About the same as he did on The Gathering Storm, I'm afraid. Lots of notes, few finished chapters. (He did write the ending, though.)

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  • 6

    Interview: 2010

    Gregg Fox (19 July 2010)

    Did RJ have a strength scale for each of the Five Powers for each channeler (similar to the one for overall strength)?

    Brandon Sanderson (20 July 2010)

    Not that I've seen. Now, there could be something in there I haven't seen.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But the list I have indicates power level and, in some cases, what they are strong/weak at. Not a full list of all five.

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  • 7

    Interview: 2010

    Matt Hagerman (1 August 2010)

    Is it harder to write a novel with the amount of detailed notes Mr. Jordan left as opposed to creating the world yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson (2 August 2010)

    Some parts are harder, some parts are easier. The notes mean lots of research before I can write some scenes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That slows me down a lot. But Mr. Jordan was a master worldbuilder, so—in some ways—it is easier. Hard parts have been done.

    Austin Moore

    For WoT specifically, is it tougher to write the good guys or the bad and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In WoT, I'd say the bad guys. We've seen fewer viewpoints from them, so it's tougher to research them, figure them out.

    Brandon King

    If you could be from any nation in Randland, which one and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Malkier, I think. Though others ask me this question, and I think my answer changes. I just think the Malkieri are awesome.

    Footnote

    The last Q&A was found later and added here for date proximity.

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  • 8

    Interview: 2010

    Andrea Millhouse (13 August 2010)

    Compared to the A Memory of Light note content and detail how much was left for the remaining two prequels? Were they as detailed?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 August 2010)

    There are lots of notes for everything. But RJ did not leave any scenes written, which is a big difference.

    MAGGIE MELCHIOR (13 August)

    Will you ever give us annotations for WoT like you did for your other books? Or would Harriet & Co. say no?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (14 August)

    This isn't likely to happen, as I don't think Harriet would want me to do it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, a book length work of annotations plus some of Mr. Jordan's notes might be possible. It will be up to Harriet.

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  • 9

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    sleepinghour (6 January 2011)

    Without revealing names, did RJ's notes say whether any character besides Rand is the reincarnation of someone important?

    Brandon Sanderson (6 January 2011)

    This is a difficult one to answer, as I think even an answer might give some people too much of a clue. I'll consider.

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  • 10

    Interview: 2010

    Paige Madison (8 November 2010)

    What was your first reaction after you find out how the story ended?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    Satisfaction. It ends well. It didn't knock me off my seat, like some things in outline, but it was wonderful.

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  • 11

    Interview: 2010

    Shivam Bhatt (8 November 2010)

    [Towers of Midnight] Chapters 48-49.—was that all in Jordan's notes? So so sad and dark!

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    I'm avoiding answering questions about what was specifically in the notes and what wasn't, for now.

    SHIVAM BHATT

    Ok, well, can you comment on your own feelings of those chapters, as a fan?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Awesome but very disturbing. As a fan, they're discomforting.

    Tags

  • 12

    Interview: 2010

    Jeff Edde (8 November 2010)

    The names for kids in Aviendha's vision: Were they from the notes for Outtrigger books? Or written up by you?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    I'll answer that specifically after the books are all out.

    Tags

  • 13

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Aaron Oster (17 January 2011)

    How could Verin write that note if she hadn't taken poison yet?

    Brandon Sanderson (17 January 2011)

    An excellent question, one I'm surprised I haven't seen talked about yet. (Though I'm sure it has been.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Basically, it's for the same reason that an Aes Sedai can kill if she puts herself into a situation where she's in danger.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It involves mental gymnastics and lots of requirements. In the end, she put so many on that the note didn't get read.

    MAX (19 JANUARY)

    What would have happened if someone were to balefire Verin's cup of poison to remove its existence when it was consumed?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    So far, I believe we've only see balefire used to remove living things from the Pattern that way. Am I wrong? @Terez27

    TEREZ

    There has been some serious debate over Nynaeve and her boat. Some think the rowers caused...

    TEREZ

    ...the temporal anomaly, while some think it had to be the boat itself. I forget the arguments...

    TEREZ

    I remember the argument now. The boat was filled with water at the moment of balefire, which rowers don't explain.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    Over a month later sleepinghour discovered an old letter from RJ to a fan in which RJ confirms that inanimate objects do get burned back just like living things. I suspect now that Brandon knew this from the notes, though, and that's why he used the words 'so far' and redirected the question to me. This was probably one of those things that Brandon and Maria had to piece together from the notes, and from the wording of his following tweets I'd be willing to bet that Maria won an argument.

    TEREZ (27 FEBRUARY)

    We just found an old letter from RJ to a fan in which he confirms that balefire DOES burn back inanimate objects in time.

    TEREZ

    Thanks to @sleepinghour for that. Though I know this probably drives you crazy, lol. It's almost like retcon!

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, good to know. You'd think he'd mention some of these things in the notes...

    TEREZ

    I know, right? lol. Wasn't it you that said that he didn't put many things in the notes because he kept it all in his head?

    TEREZ

    We observed @Theoryland that your descriptions fit his claim better than his own descriptions re: inanimate objects.

    TEREZ

    And your assumption about living things only fit his descriptions perfectly...aside from the stupid boat!

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. We get lots of fragments of things he jotted down, but they are more notes to himself, so he leaves things out.

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  • 14

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Shikha Singh (17 January 2011)

    Nynaeve knitting in Fal Dara is just not her. All later books are on how she can't sew and yet...

    SHIKHA SINGH

    ...in The Great Hunt she knits. Is there any explanation in RJ's notes as to why?

    Brandon Sanderson (17 January 2011)

    There might be an explanation for that, but it would be buried so deeply that...yeah. I'll let you know if I happen across it.

    BRANDON

    Remember, though, there are three million words worth of notes.

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  • 15

    Interview: Jun 17th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    On the question on how he could keep track of every person, culture, nation, etc., Robert Jordan answered that he had a file for every person, nation, city, culture, etc., describing it. In the case of persons, traumatic experiences, origin, favorite foods and colors, family, education, etc., is stored. Every person that appears several times, or has the chance to appear several times has a such file. Similar information is stored on the other entities. This information is used to flesh out the characters etc. and make them three-dimensional before the book itself is written.

    Part of this information is going to be given in the Guide to the WoT books that is going to be published this autumn, but far from everything.

    Tags

  • 16

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    The amount of notes he held on persons, countries, cultures, cities, events etc he approximated to be as large as the amount of text in the currently published books. Some of this information, albeit a very small part, will be included in the WoT Guide.

    Tags

  • 17

    Interview: Apr 5th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan's Writing Process

    Jordan spoke a bit and answered a few questions about his writing process. He said that he originally thought the series would be three to four books. When he was negotiating a contract with Tom Doherty, he told Tom that he didn't know how long the series would be, but that he did know the ending. Jordan says that writers seldom get contracts under those circumstances, but Tom signed him one because he like Jordan's writing. The contract was for six books.

    After Jordan wrote the first book, he increased his estimate to four to five books for the series. After the second, he thought it would be 5-6, then 7 or more, etc. Now he does not give any estimate of the length of the series and is upset that the jacket of Lord of Chaos suggested that the series would end with eight books. (Update: In an open letter sent courtesy of Tor Books, dated 19 May 1996, Jordan said that the series will comprise at least ten books.)

    Jordan says that the idea for WoT came to him about ten years before he began writing. "What would it feel like to be tapped on the shoulder and told, 'Hey, you're the savior of the world?'" He began writing The Eye of the World four years before it was published (and I say that it shows).

    Jordan has lots of notes for the series. He began by writing approximately ten pages (of notes) of history about each of the countries in his story, more for the places he was going to use first. Right now his notes fill more pages than his manuscripts, he says.

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Are there sheer, just logistical problems of having such a large cast that you're really directing traffic for hundreds of characters? Do you have to keep a chart as you go along to keep track of who is where and what action is happening?

    Robert Jordan

    I keep incredible quantities of notes. It's all on hard disk and on floppies, hard disks on several of my computers. But if I printed it all out, I would imagine that the notes would be equal in volume to the manuscripts for the seven books—six books that I've finished so far, seventh that I'm working on. It's really an incredible amount of notes. I'm sometimes surprised at it myself. It's broken down for each of the major characters, and for each nation and the cities. Small things, like music or food. Also, sort of, there are general categories, such as . . . one of the things that I start off with in the beginning is where is every single major character? All the major characters, all the people I've touched on: where are they at the beginning of this book? Even if they weren't mentioned in the last book and aren't going to be mentioned in this book, I still want to know where they are. And what have they been doing since we last saw them?

    Dave Slusher

    With such a large cast, you gain certain things. Does it cost you a little intimacy? If it was one book, focused on one person, strictly in their head, you would be a little more intimate.

    Robert Jordan

    No, because when I'm with the character I do get into his head, quite intimately. Or her head. In an aside, the biggest compliment I've had in a way was paid to me when I was autographing for the second book. At two different signings, I had a woman approach me and say that she had lost a bet, or an argument in one case, because I was a man. They'd been sure that 'Robert Jordan' was a pseudonym for a woman because the women characters they thought were so well written that no man could do that.

    But I do get into their heads. It's one of the reasons the books are as large as they are. There are that many layers and I cover that much territory and still get intimate, if you will, with each of the characters. Or at least each of the characters who is being a main character, or a viewpoint character at least, in that particular book.

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  • 19

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (13 July 2011)

    A Memory of Light First Draft progress bar update. 22% -> 24% One quarter is around the corner.

    SPEARSISTER

    Are there any notes released to the public concerning A Memory of Light? Please, I hope you get time to write back.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    By notes, you mean Mr. Jordan's notes? We might release some of them after the book is out. Harriet's call.

    MARTIN GJESDAL (15 JULY)

    Is March 2012 still a realistic release date for A Memory of Light?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Very. It will happen almost certainly.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oops. I didn't see the "March" before that. 2012 is certain. March not certain yet.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    March is probably the earliest it could be out. Latest would be November. It will be Tor and Harriet's call.

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  • 20

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Josh Jersild (26 July 2011)

    I'm at the end of my WoT reread and was curious...did you add any plot elements in The Gathering Storm or Towers of Midnight, or is it all from RJ's notes?

    Brandon Sanderson (26 July 2011)

    There is some I had to add. In The Gathering Storm, Egwene is more RJ and Rand is more me. In Towers of Midnight, Perrin me, Mat RJ.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But in all cases, there's a lot of RJ in everything and some of me in everything too. It's not clear-cut.

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  • 21

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Tim Intyre (1 September 2011)

    When you received Robert Jordan's notes, did they include the notes he had written for earlier, already-published WoT books?

    Brandon Sanderson (1 September 2011)

    Yes, they did.

    Tags

  • 22

    Interview: Apr 5th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Background: I asked him how much of the setting, etc. was worked out before hand, and how much he does as he goes along. He said that he has a 10pp or so history of all the countries/regions, and societies. When the plot goes into a region, he fleshes out the outline.

    Tags

  • 23

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    RJ has a lot of notes about the series although he doesn't have an outline. He guesstimates he has about twice as many pages of notes as manuscript pages.

    Tags

  • 24

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Charles W. Otten

    Mr. Jordan, I think your series is the most detailed and still the most broad in scope series currently running. How do you keep everything straight? Also, how many books do you see in the future before this "series" of the Wheel is done turning?

    Robert Jordan

    I keep detailed files on every character, every nation, every culture, every facet of the world I can imagine. If I printed out all of the manuscripts of all the of the books, and all of the notes, there would be twice as many pages of notes...and of course that doesn't encompass the great quantity of things I have tucked away in my head, so solidly fitted there I feel no need to put them in the notes.

    Tags

  • 25

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Timmorn

    Do you ever plan to print/release any of the notes or character sketches, or anything like that?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, some of the information has gone into the illustrated guide, and I expect some would go into the dictionary/encyclopedia, whatever, when the series is done.

    Tags

  • 26

    Interview: Apr, 1997

    SFX Magazine Interview (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    Firstly, in the event of his death his will states that his notes on TWoT are to be destroyed and no-one is to complete the series for him.

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  • 27

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    Dianna from Toronto

    With all the characters and plotlines, how do you keep track?

    Robert Jordan

    I'm a genius? I just do it. I really couldn't say how. I keep it in my head, with the exception of notes on countries, cultures, that sort of thing, but the story is all in my head. It doesn't seem to be particularly difficult to hold it all.

    Tags

  • 28

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    Josh from Preston, CT

    Hello, Mr. Jordan. I find the magic system in the series so complex and fascinating. Could you tell us if it is something you worked out before you started writing the series, or did you just add things in as you went along?

    Robert Jordan

    I had the basis of it before I began writing, and a good part of how it fit together. Other parts were added in when I realized that there was a question to be answered—something that I had to decide here and now, how this worked. But I have now quite a large file describing the One Power and how it works, and the things that can be done with it and the things that can't be done, and the exceptions to the rules and all that. It would probably be 300 pages if I printed it out, maybe a little more, but I never have. It's just a computer file at the moment.

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  • 29

    Interview: Oct 24th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    I think the only other WoT-related comment I heard was that if RJ dies before this is done, we won't find out about this famous last scene since the hard drives of his computers will be reformatted six times and every scrap of paper in his house having anything to do with tWoT will be burned. He seems to feel quite strongly about this... On a related topic we may get an encyclopedia after the series ends, but no endless series publishing all of his notes, analogous to Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle Earth volumes.

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  • 30

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Tijamilism

    Mr. Jordan, in another chat I heard you mention working on a book titled Shipwreck. Is that book still in the works?

    Robert Jordan

    Uh, Shipwreck is in the works in the back of my head, where it's been for 5 or 6 years. It is in fact what I will be writing when I finish WOT....a different world, a different set of characters, a different universe, a different set of rules. But I don't expect to put anything on paper until I have finished WOT...it's much easier to plan these things out in my head than to write them out on paper. Someone asked me where all of my critical path charts were for the plots, and I had to tell him they were in my head because they were too complex to put on paper charts, and the time necessary to put them into a computer would be approximately equivalent to put them into books. it's much simpler to keep it in my head.

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  • 31

    Interview: Nov 15th, 1998

    Michael Martin

    He went on to repeat what he has said before—knowing the end, knowing all the major events, yadda yadda. However, what he did said that was new (at least for me) was that the order of events was not set, and that he allowed some fluidity for them. He made a remark about a cousin of his (who is an engineer) who came over and saw all the notes and work and asked why RJ hadn't created something called "critical flow charts" or some such. RJ replied that the nature of the story was too complex for such linear breakdown.

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  • 32

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    I see the books, in a way you separate the sexes quite distinctly. Have you had much feminist critique of the way you treat the male characters and the way you treat the female characters, and how, in a way the male characters seem to be... have the upper edge?

    Robert Jordan

    You think the male characters have the upper edge? I like this, no, no, I like this one. I've had women come up to me before anyone knew who Robert Jordan was. I've had women come up to me at signings and tell me that until they saw me they thought that Robert Jordan was a pen-name of a woman, because they assumed that no man could write women that well. I thought, okay, that's the best compliment I received on my writing that I was able to get inside the skin of women well enough to fool women. You know, it's pretty good. I have seen feminist critiques, I've seen other sorts of critiques. Some of them made my hair stand on end. I had a woman stand up and point something out to me just down in Melbourne a couple of days ago about how all my women are very eager and ready to take charge, take the adventure, do what has to be done and all of my guys are trying to slide out the back door. You know, I don't want any part of this, and I haven't realized quite that it was that heavy. I don't think that I've had any really bad critiques. There may have, that haven't come to my attention. Just as I say a few that had been supposedly writing things that god knows I didn't intend to write or have any meanings I didn't intend to have. Does that answer your question or come close?

    Question

    It does answer my question. I think, to me, you certainly stimulate and challenge our imagination in your work. However I don't necessarily think you challenge our concepts of sexuality in the same sense. I believe that in your writing you very much distinctly keep the females in the female roles and the males in the male roles. And I think in our society, in today's society we're starting to get very challenged in the separation between the sexes—

    Robert Jordan

    Would you like to tell an Aiel Maiden that she's in a traditional female role? Forget about Aes Sedai, I'd love to see you go up to Nynaeve before she met any of these people and tell her she's in a traditional female role. I don't think I've got anybody in a particular traditional role. And no, I'm not challenging gender stereotypes. I'm doing a lot of things here and there's only so much I can do. There are other threads, other questions, other things that would be great write about, to put into these books. The only trouble is, would you really stick around if it was twenty-two books and they were twice as thick as this? All right, if so... Not only that, I'm not sure you could stand the strain. I have notes on characters, on countries, cultures, customs, all sorts of things. Aes Sedai—I have two files of two megabytes or so on each. One's just lists of individual Aes Sedai and information about them. The other is the founding of the White Tower—the customs, the cultures, the sexual relationships among Aes Sedai in training, the whole nine yards. Everything I could think of that might be useful about them. The story isn't there. None of it is on a file anywhere, there are no charts. One of my cousins asked us, "What are your critical path charts? You gotta have critical path charts for something this complex." And I said, "Yes I do have to have critical path charts," but even putting them on a computer in 3D it looks like a mess of spaghetti. If I pull in close enough to be able to see what's happening, I am so tight on that one particular area that the rest of it becomes meaningless. The only way I can do it is keep it up here. So the charts are all up here, the stories all up here. And I'm not sure how much more complex I can make it and how many more threads I can add and still hang onto it. So if I'm going to go into gender stereotypes I'm going to have to drop some of the things from the prophecies.

    (Later) Robert Jordan

    Oh, I wanted to add something here because of gender stereotypes and so forth. Somebody asked me why didn't I have any, in another question and answer session, asked me why didn't I have any gay characters in the books. I do, but that's not my bag to bring out the question of gender stereotypes and the whole nine yards. And they're just running around doing the things that they do and you can figure out who some of them are. If you want to help them, I don't care. It's not the point if they're gay or not gay, okay?

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  • 33

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Paul Colquhoun

    Other observations/comments.

    Robert Jordan

    He does not plan to write any further books set in Randland after this series finishes, unless he has a flash of inspiration. RJ strongly implied that he didn't think this was likely, as it would need to be something very special/compelling. He has extensive notes on all the people/places on computer, but keeps all the plot lines in his head. He commented that he didn't think he could add any more plot threads without losing track! (Personally I find it hard enough to keep track while reading, let alone writing!). I asked him if he had considered publishing the notes after the series had finished. He said it would amount to something like an encyclopaedia, and that he didn't think there would be much interest... I tried to let him know that there were many fans who would lap it up. We may need to bring this up again later, if it hasn't already been done. Can we get his publishers to suggest it to him?

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  • 34

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2000

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    LadyJ

    Mr. Jordan, How do you keep track of all the sub-plots and names and lives? Do you have a room decorated with color-coded index cards?

    Robert Jordan

    I keep track of them in my head. I have some files if I need them. And I have many cultural files. But the story and the lives are all in my head.

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  • 35

    Interview: Dec, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit

    How do you keep track of all the storylines and characters that you have woven into the series? Do you have a system of reference or is it all stored in your head?

    Robert Jordan

    The storylines are all in my head, except that when I begin a book I do sit down at the computer and ramble about a bit to figure out exactly how I intend to fit various things together. For the characters—and the cultures, nations, organizations and a great deal else—I have files on my computer. For example, there are two files on Aes Sedai. One has things like the history of the White Tower, its laws and rules, the customs and group attitudes of Aes Sedai as a whole and among the different Ajahs, details of organization for the various Ajahs, how the Hall of the Tower works and how Sitters are chosen in the different Ajahs, how women come to enter the Tower, how they are trained.... In fact, just about everything I can think of that might be useful to know about the White Tower. The other Aes Sedai file lists every sister, Accepted and novice who has been mentioned in the books, along with 'civilian' personnel of the Tower, and gives both every piece of information about those people that has been in the books and information that has not yet been used. And might not. In part, I put it all together to round out the individuals, give them flesh. I am very glad to have an LS120 drive on my computer, because each of those files is now too large for the smaller 1.44 floppy.

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  • 36

    Interview: Jan, 2001

    SFBC

    How do you keep all the characters and plot lines that you have come up with straight?

    Robert Jordan

    The plot lines are in my head. I have lots of notes on the characters on my computer. Notes on the various countries, the cultures, the organizations, that sort of thing, the history of the world. On flora and fauna. All of that.

    SFBC

    That must be exhaustive.

    Robert Jordan

    They're fairly large files. The largest are the Aes Sedai files, there are two of those. One lists every Aes Sedai that I have mentioned in the books and some that I haven't, with everything I know about her. These are normally the things that have been mentioned in the books, but other things that may never be mentioned that give me a picture of this character. And there's another file that covers the history of the White Tower, the laws, the customs, political organization, how the Hall of the Tower works, organization of the Ajahs, recruiting, training, all of those things. Tower grounds.

    SFBC

    Are there any plans for The Wheel of Time encyclopedia?

    Robert Jordan

    Perhaps after I finish, but I have to tell you, just the file on the Aes Sedai is about, oh, it's now just getting to be too big to put on a 1.44 floppy... And the same with the one on the Tower, so I'm very glad I have an LS120 drive. The other files are not that big. I might do something, a concordance or encyclopedia when the series is done, so it can be complete, but I don't know.

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  • 37

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Question

    From your biography, I did a lot searching on the internet, there are lots of books about you...that you can't remember the timelines exactly.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, no, I can remember the time. The timelines? [sounding very surprised]

    Question

    Yes, or is it all in your head?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, it's in my head. Ah, I was about eh,... critical method flowpath charts. For the books...by some engineers, it seemed to be obviously necessary that ... but ... the flowpath charts were too complex to do on the computer. I finally figured out that doing the setup on the computer for the flowpath charts, which would have to be three-dimensional, at the very least, for the books, would take at least as long as writing one of the books, so it was easier to put it in my head, where I could at least have a better zoom facility than I could possibly have, ... a better resolution than on a computer screen.

    Question

    So you in your head you have a better capacity, you think, than on a computer?

    Robert Jordan

    Yeah, for my books that is, at least...

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  • 38

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    New Spring is shorter than the notes on which it was based.

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  • 39

    Interview: Apr 6th, 2001

    Pytr

    Do you keep many notes while you are writing? To me it seems that keeping track of all the characters and events is a lot of bookkeeping.

    Robert Jordan

    I keep a lot of notes on characters, cultures, and nations, but the events, the story, that is all in my head.

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  • 40

    Interview: 2003

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    With the Wheel of Time now reaching its tenth volume, is it becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of all the characters, plot-lines and back-story?

    Robert Jordan

    No, not really. Occasionally I have to look back to see exactly what I said in an earlier book, but the characters, plot-lines and back-story remain clear to me.

    Orbit Books

    Is there a Wheel of Time story-bible locked away somewhere?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. In my head.

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  • 41

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    Speaking of world building, the world, and the magic of The Wheel of Time universe is quite involved, quite complex...yet you keep a high degree of consistency. How do you keep things straight?

    Robert Jordan

    Every time I think of something new I jot it down in my notes. And I've built a sort of logic tree...if this is so and that is so, then this other thing cannot be so. Sometimes you reach a point where if you follow one line a thing cannot be so, but if you follow another it must be so.

    Ernest Lilley

    So, you write fantasy "with the net up"?

    Robert Jordan

    I look at the magic as though it were technology in a way...as though it were science. The One Power and channeling follow rules...it's not simply free-wheeling and 'anything goes'; it follows specific rules. Those rules are pretty well worked out now.

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  • 42

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Bradinator1

    My question for Brandon would be:
    What kind of mental "retooling" does it take for him to work on an already established world/storyline like Wheel of Time since this is someone else's work?

    Also, were there there a lot of notes or material left by Mr. Jordan to work from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I thought about this quite a lot during the months when I was reading the Wheel of Time again straight through, trying to figure out how I would approach writing the final book. Obviously, this project wasn't going to be like anything I'd done before. I couldn't just approach it as I did one of my solo novels. And yet, it felt like trying to match Robert Jordan's style exactly would have made me lapse into parody.

    A lot of the mental 'retooling' I did focused on getting inside the characters' heads. I decided that if I could make the characters sound right, the book would FEEL right, even if some of the writing itself was different. I also decided that I would adapt my style to fit the project. I became more descriptive, for one, and wrote viewpoint with the more intimate, in-head narrative style that Mr. Jordan used. Neither of these were attempts to match how he wrote exactly, but more me trying to match my style to The Wheel of Time, if that makes any sense.

    In answer to the second question, he left LOTS of notes behind. He wrote complete scenes in places, dictated other scenes, left piles of notes and materials. The prologue was almost all completed by him (that will be split half in this book, half in the next.) The ending scenes were written by him as well. In the middle, there are a lot of scene outlines as well.

    That's not to say there wasn't A LOT of work to do. The actual number of completed scenes was low, and in some places, there was no direction at all what to do. But his fingerprints are all over this novel. My goal was not to write a Brandon Sanderson book, but a Wheel of Time book. I want this novel (well, these three novels, now) to be his, not mine.

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  • 43

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    Question

    Asked how he managed to keep track of all the characters...

    Robert Jordan

    RJ replied, "I'm a genius."

    Then he talked about his database of characters which now exceeds 1.5 megabytes, apparently, and that he has them filed by which country they were last seen in. When he needs to use a character for a scene, he finds the ones that are in the geographic location that he needs, and then picks the one that will best suit his purposes from that list.

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  • 44

    Interview: Sep 28th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Justy_Hakubi, do I have notes? I have notes you wouldn't believe. For example, the file called Individual Aes Sedai and Initiates of the White Tower is well over 2 megabytes now, and the Aes Sedai General file, which contains details of Tower law, Tower life, training for novices and Accepted, customs, ceremonies etc, is nearly as big. The file Remember, which lists things about each character that I must remember when writing about him or her, would be well over a thousand pages if printed out. I have an individual file on each major character and on each nation and each group, such as the Children of the Light and the Kin. The nation and group files include, among other things, every person of that nation or group ever mentioned, everything that has been said about them, and information about them that has never been in the books but helped me see a three-dimensional character. And those are just the tip of the iceberg.

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  • 45

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For F Horn of Valere, I spend relatively little time with the notes compared to the time I spend actually writing. I do a refresher run-through before I begin writing, and I have what I call a "base notes" file for each storyline and each group. That contains the major things I believe might be necessary for each storyline along with reminders of where more detailed information is to be found.

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  • 46

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Gillmadin, I actually had comparatively few notes when I sold the books to Tor. They built up considerably over the writing of The Eye of the World, and still more later. To give an example, for Eye, I had considerable notes about the Aes Sedai, about Andor, the Two Rivers, Shienar, the Ways and the history of the world, but my notes on, say Cairhien, were much sketchier. When I needed to write about Cairhien, though, I fleshed those notes out. I didn't begin writing the Wheel of Time until after I was finished with writing the Conan novels, but some of the ideas that would become tWoT were kicking around in my head before I began The Fallon Blood.

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  • 47

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Sidious and various others, My comments about arrangements in case of my death (burning the notes, doing triple Guttman wipes on the hard drives, etc.) were mainly a defense against any fans who became so frantic to see the end that they thought knocking me off might result in somebody else finishing the books faster.

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  • 48

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2003

    Rick Kleffel

    The complexity of your world and your plot suggest that you must have some kind of self-created encyclopedia to which you can refer. Can you tell us about your Wheel of Time database?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, a little bit. There are copious notes on my computer about societies and cultures and groups. As an example, the Aes Sedai have two—the women who can wield the One Power, channel the One Power—there are two files on Aes Sedai, each of about 2MB. One is the history of Aes Sedai, the culture of Aes Sedai, the laws, the ways they run things, how they recruit, how their structure is...the internal structure of their organization. And the other is lists of individual characters—individual Aes Sedai—and all the information I might know or might need to know, or think I might need to know about these characters. I didn't sit down and simply put this together, now. A lot of people are interested in process; they want to know how you did it. The thinking seems to be, "If I know how he did it, then I can do the same thing." This all accreted. It built up very slowly. I made a few notes about this character, and a few notes about that character, and then eventually realized that I had far too many notes on too many different kinds of characters in this one file. It was getting unwieldy to find who I wanted when I wanted, so I split it up and took some characters out, and gave those characters individual files, and then the rest of it began to grow, and I thought, "Well, I have the files here, about these people, and I have these files over here about different nations, and that's getting unwieldy, so I'll split the nations up into individual nations, and I'll move the files about the people; if they're a citizen of that nation, I'll move them to that file on that nation," and it slowly accreted to where there is a huge database on this world, and a lot of different areas in this world.

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  • 49

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Question

    The next question was "How do you keep track of all the characters?"

    Robert Jordan

    He talked about his files, and said that he doesn't start out with huge files, just the basic outlines, but as the story grew so did the files and now he has a huge file database. He said that he is going to take these files and make an encyclopedia out of them. (He did not mention Harriet as being the author.) He talked a bit about the encyclopedia, saying it will include every invented term, character, place etc. It will also include a 1000 word Old Tongue dictionary. The same questioner then asked about the raw files and RJ said he wouldn't publish those, but he may give them to a university, "maybe my own".

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  • 50

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    One of the things I've noticed is that you're very good at characterization. You often have many different characters doing different things at one time which, as a reader, it's fun to keep track of all that sort of thing happening. How do you keep track of so many characters at once?

    Robert Jordan

    I'm a genius? [laughter] I mean, that's one possible answer. I just do it; I don't know. I keep a few notes, but mainly for minor characters, about who was where last, what last time we saw them. That's because I've got literally hundreds of minor characters in these books, and it's difficult for me to keep straight where some of them were, the last time we saw these fellas.

    Glas Durboraw

    That makes sense.

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  • 51

    Interview: Oct 20th, 2005

    Erik

    Anyway, I gave him the book, told him I was liking it so far, and asked him how he keeps track of all the random Aes Sedai? I was just kinda making polite chit-chat, and hadn't planned a question.

    Robert Jordan

    So he launched into what sounded like a stock response about keeping a computer file of all the "initiates of the White Tower" with detailed descriptions, etc, and he finished with saying that it's a really big file, 2.5 megs. Without really thinking about it, I said "Wow, so how am I supposed to keep track of all that without that file?"

    The store manager standing behind RJ gave a little nervous laugh, and Harriet, jumps in and said "you're just supposed to be dazzled."

    "OK," I respond, and gave a kinda questioning look to RJ.

    "Read, read" he answers.

    "Sure. Thanks for signing your book."

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  • 52

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    How do you keep track of all the story lines and characters? Do you have a fantastically-detailed and organised character/plot filing system, post-it notes all over your office or a 400GB brain? Has your mental capacity been used up by the Wheel of Time to the extent that everyday life becomes somewhat of a muddle? It would for me!

    Robert Jordan

    My wife would say that everyday life is somewhat of a muddle for any writer, and since she has been an editor for most of her life, she might have some insight. For the rest, I have copious files on characters, nations, history, just about anything that I might need to know. Some of these are quite large. The file listing every Aes Sedai living or dead along with every novice and Accepted along with physical descriptions of each woman, the dates of her birth and her coming to the White Tower, how long she spent as novice and Accepted, character traits and a lot more runs to about 2.5 megabytes. The general file on White Tower, containing such things as the layout of the Tower and the Tower grounds, Tower law, Tower history, Aes Sedai customs, Ajah customs etc., also runs about the same size. I'm not saying that the files are exhaustive—I frequently need to invent something new—but they list not only all of the information given in the books but also information that hasn't been used as yet. The story line itself has always been exclusively in my head until it was time to begin a new book. Then I sit down and figure out how much of the story from my head I can get into the book. Until recently, I had been proven wrong on that every time. I could never get into a book as much of the story as I thought I could. So what began as an imagined six-book series has expanded. Now I've reached the last book, and the rest of the story is sketched out on paper for the first time. Well, paper digitally speaking.

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  • 53

    Interview: Mar, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I had a rough outline of a little over 3,000 years of history before I started writing the Wheel of Time books, enough to make me feel like it was a real world where I could drop in casual mentions of historical events. Where I come from, if you want to say something was a long time ago you say it was 'Before Second Manassas'—it's a historical tag that everyone in Charleston understands. I wanted to be able to do that sort of thing with history in the world of The Wheel of Time.

    The history began as a rough sketch with major points inked in. As I went along, I would sometimes look at the chart and say, "If this happened here and this happened there, something like this would probably happen here." It begins to create a real pattern of history. The readers picked up on it, realizing that there's more to the world than just what's happening in the story. The first time I got a letter asking about something like that, I thought, "God, this guy must be a fruitloop! He's talking about this as if it were real." But then it hit me. "Wait a minute, idiot. This is what you want them to feel, isn't it?" So I answered his question. A few times I've had to be fast on my feet, because I hadn't figured out something in the history that was very minor.

    DragonCon has a track that follows my books, and one of the things they asked me to do was hand out the prizes at the trivia contest. In the final round these two women were up there answering questions I probably couldn't have answered without my notes. But they were just popping out the answers, ding ding ding. I never expected this incredible depth of study.

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  • 54

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2006

    Hannah Clark

    Jordan plans to live another 30 years—long enough, he says to finish all the books that are in his head right now. That will require a large dose of luck, and so far, his luck has been mixed. The new drug he's taking seems to be working well. Still, he can write for two hours a day at most, compared with eight or nine hours in healthier times. At this rate, he'll submit the final book in 2008 for publication in 2009, says Tom Doherty, president of Tor Books, Jordan's publisher.

    If he gets better, he'll write faster. No one wants to talk about the alternative. If he dies, could someone else finish the series? Authors like V.C. Andrews and Mario Puzo have posthumously passed along their series to other writers. Still, some fans worry that another author, even Harriet, wouldn't be true to Jordan's voice. Jordan, however, is open to the idea.

    Robert Jordan

    "I'm getting out notes, so if the worst actually happens, someone could finish A Memory of Light and have it end the way I want it to end," he says. "But I hope to be around to actually finish it myself."

    Hannah Clark

    The decision, Jordan says, will be left to Harriet and Doherty, who has been a close friend and colleague for years. But Doherty isn't ready to address that possibility.

    Tom Doherty

    "I'm not prepared to concede that that's going to happen," Doherty says. "I'm working on the belief that he's going to beat this thing. Who else can tell this story?"

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  • 55

    Interview: Dec 27th, 2007

    Question

    Is the book going to be as good as it would have been if Mr. Jordan had written it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have to be honest. I'm not Mr. Jordan. He's the master, and I'm just a journeyman. He's one of the greatest fantasy authors the genre has ever known. I can't hope to write with his skill and power at this stage in my career—and I think there are very, very few writers who could.

    Fortunately, I don't have to do this on my own. I have seen the notes, as I mentioned above, and I find them very reassuring. Let me put forth a metaphor for you.

    Pretend you have purchased an expensive violin from a master craftsman. It probably wouldn't surprise you to discover that one of the craftsman's apprentices helped create that violin. The master may have had the apprentice sand, or apply varnish, or perhaps shape some of the less important pieces of wood. In fact, if you looked at the violin before master craftsman handed it off to his apprentice, it might just look like a pile of wood to you, and not an instrument at all.

    However, the master craftsman did the most important parts. He shaped the heart of the violin, crafting the pieces which would produce the beautiful sound. He came up with the design for the violin, as well as the procedures and processes used in creating his violins. It's not surprising that some other hands were involved in the busywork of following those procedures and designs, once the most important work was done. And so, even though the apprentice helped, the violin can proudly bear the master's signature and stamp.

    It's the same with this book. What I've been given may not look like a novel to you, but it excites me because I can see the book Mr. Jordan was creating. All of the important chunks are there in such detail that I feel like I've read the completed novel, and not just an outline. Yes, there is still quite a bit of work to be done. Many of the less important scenes are there only as a framework of a few sentences. However, Mr. Jordan left behind the design of this book. I am convinced that between myself, his wife (who was his editor), and his assistants, we can complete this book to be very, very close to the way he would have done.

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  • 56

    Interview: Dec 27th, 2007

    Question

    What other secrets are you going to reveal? Which plot points are you going to tie up?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is one of the reasons that reading the material made me feel so relieved. While there are huge chunks that I need to write, there is always an explanation of what needs to be revealed, and what needs to be left for the reader to decide on their own. I will not be making any of these decisions on my own, but will instead be following Mr. Jordan's wishes regarding the plotting.

    He ties up some very important plot points. Others, he leaves without explicit explanation. That was his way, and is one of the things that makes these books so wonderful. You don't need to worry, then, that I will try to explain too much or that I will leave out too much. I will do as the master instructed.

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  • 57

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2008

    I'm going to start posting my impressions of the Wheel of Time books as I read through them again. This will just be me blogging my reactions as a reader and my thoughts as I approach the humbling task of finishing the Wheel of Time Book Twelve. As a reminder, I've read these books before, but it has now been some six or seven years since I've read through the entire series from the beginning. It used to be my habit to read through them all when a new one came out, but life got too busy and the series too long for me to do that with the later books.

    There won't be any spoilers of Book Twelve in these, though there will be spoilers to the book I'm currently reading. So, if you're not familiar with the Wheel of Time but are planning to read the books, you might want to skip these posts.

    Doing this makes me just a little wary. I like connecting with readers and offering posts like this to give you an insight into an author's mind and into the process. I feel that you, as the fans, have a great deal of ownership and stake in this project, as it is because of you that the Wheel of Time was so successful.

    However, I don't want my posts to serve as a catalyst to panic regarding my handling of Book Twelve. For instance, if I write that certain character is kind of bugging me in a scene, I worry that people will think that I'm making a criticism of Mr. Jordan's writing or that I'm criticizing that character in specific. I'm not doing either. I think Mr. Jordan's writing is fantastic—even as I read through again, I'm struck by how well he was able to weave so many different ideas together. I really do have a sincere affection for all of these characters—I've grown up with them, as many of you have, and they feel like siblings to me. Just as a sibling can be annoying, I feel that a character can be annoying. It doesn't mean I intend to cut them from Book Twelve or give them any less screen time.

    I thought, then, that I would make this post as an introduction. None of my posts over the next few months are intended to give any foreshadowing of book twelve. Please don't panic if I seem to be interpreting a character's motivations differently from how you view them. The materials Mr. Jordan left are quite extensive, and the final book's plot and characterizations were set by him. My goal with that book will be to as invisible as possible, and certainly don't intend to insert any of my own themes, agendas, or philosophies into it.

    I will collect these blog posts in a list, and you'll be able to find them on the A Memory of Light section of my website, once we add it.

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  • 58

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2008

    Jeff VanderMeer

    I know George R.R. Martin says that all of his plotting is in his head. With Jordan, do you have copious notes, prose fragments, outlines, or anything of that nature to act as a guide for the future books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes indeed, thankfully. As I mentioned, Mr. Jordan dictated quite a bit of material. Beyond that, he had notes, thoughts, outlines, and a large chunk of written material comprising many of the most important scenes. Beyond that, his wife was also his editor at Tor. She is one of the best in the business and has been with him from the beginning of this project. She is very close to it, and understands the characters and world nearly as well as Mr. Jordan did. With these resources at hand, I'm increasingly confident that we can complete this book in a way that will be very, very close to the way that Mr. Jordan would have done it himself.

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  • 59

    Interview: Mar 27th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    People ask me if working on this book is surreal. Before, I always said yes, but I don't think it really hit me HOW strange this is until these last few days.

    Yesterday evening, I pulled out the electronic versions of the novels that Mr. Jordan's assistant sent with me when I left Charleston. I combined them all into a single word document to use in searching. (It clocks in at 9,300 pages and about 3 million words, if you're curious.) Using Microsoft Word's search features, I can call up all sorts of useful information from the entire series at the touch of a few keys. (By the way, thanks for sending those electronic files, Alan! You thought of this a full three months before I ended up needing them. I guess that's the sign of an excellent assistant.)

    In compiling this document and setting a few bookmarks at important points (mostly the beginning of each book) I hesitated at the copyright statement of A Crown of Swords. He's a book I read over ten years ago, a book by an author I idolized. A distant and unapproachable figure, a hero himself, the one spearheading the epic fantasy movement of my era. And now I have a copy of the original file he typed and I'm working on finishing his last book.

    That, my friends, seems to DEFINE the word surreal to me.

    I was shocked the first time the people at Tor called this a collaboration. By publishing terms, I guess that's indeed what it is—a collaboration, where two authors work on a single novel. But to me, the term just felt strange. Collaborating with Robert Jordan seemed to set me too high in the process. I'm finishing the Master's work for him, since he is unable to. I kind of feel like Sam, carrying Frodo the last few paces up the mountain. Robert Jordan did all the work; for most of these twenty years, I've only been an observer. I'm just glad I could be here to help for the last stretch when I was needed.

    For those of you who wondered, I HAVE read Knife of Dreams and New Spring, but I haven't yet posted blog reactions to them. I read faster than I could keep up on the blog. (I've often noted that I'm really not that great a blogger.) I'll post reactions to these books as I go. For now, I need to get back to Book Twelve.

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  • 60

    Interview: May 12th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    I posted that other email I got that was somewhat negative, but the overwhelming majority are very encouraging and thoughtful. I got one piece recently from a reader named Matt which got me thinking. It relates to A Memory of Light, and so I figured I'd answer it here.

    Brandon—My name is Matt, and I have been following your blog posts and website since you were announced as the writer for A Memory of Light. A question to ask occurred to me today that I don't think I ever saw in any of your interviews/posts about being selected to write the book. As a fan, is a part of you disappointed to read the ending of the story the way you did, that is through RJ's notes and not after reading an entire book?

    Excellent question! My answer follows:

    It was indeed a different experience to read through the outline and materials, with the holes and occasional vague sections, rather than reading a complete novel. A little bit of me is regretful. Of all the readers and fans out there, I'm one of the few who won't be able to experience this book for the first time in its complete form. Mr. Jordan's assistants and wife have probably been in that boat for years!

    And yet, I am a writer, and I don't look at an outline the same way that a regular reader might. The closest approximation I can make is to origami masters. If you go and look at their websites, they will often release 'patterns' that go with a new piece of origami they've developed. The pattern is just a sheet of paper with lines on it. I look at that, and all I see are lines. But to another origami master, that pattern reveals the exact method used to create the piece. They can look at the pattern and see the finished product.

    This outline was kind of like that for me, particularly since the ending was the most complete section. I could look at it, and my mind filled in the gaps, adding the foreshadowings and character climaxes that had come before, taking the hints and the outline chunks that Mr. Jordan wrote and putting them all together. It didn't feel like reading a complete book, but I felt like I could SEE that complete book as he would have written it, and that has become my guide in writing it myself.

    (I might also note at the end here that one thing I forgot to include in my email to him is that while I didn't get to read the final book like you all will, I DID get to find out what happened at the end of the series a good two years ahead of anyone else!)

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  • 61

    Interview: Jul 24th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm sorry to be so sparse with the posting this week. If you've been following the progress bar, you might have noticed that A Memory of Light jumped up one percent each day for the first three days of the week. I've been hitting the drafting hard, as I want to get a large chunk done before Worldcon distracts me in two weeks.

    I've been working on mostly material that Mr. Jordan left behind, which is the larger reason why I've been able to move so quickly. There's still a lot to do on many of these sections he wrote, however. Some are in outline form, others were dictated in an almost 'screenplay' format without anything other than dialogue. Some others are complete as-is, and I can just drop them into the document without changes.

    Overall, however, what has been left behind has allowed let me move at about double speed. We'll see if I can keep it up for another few days or so, as it would be nice to be at the 1/3rd mark by the end of the week. (Though that would take another 12k in another three days. Whew!)

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  • 62

    Interview: Jul 28th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Recently, I've been reading interviews that Mr. Jordan did before he died. (Thank you to those who have sent these to me.) I had already read some of the questions and answers, but others were fresh to me. I'm very interested in his comments as I want to make extra certain I don't miss-step and contradict anything he said in an interview, even if that information didn't appear in the books or the notes for the final volume.

    I've found a lot of his answers very interesting. Among the more tragic are the ones that came when people asked him what would happen to his series if he died before it was finished. It kind of twists my heart a little bit each time I read a question like that, knowing what eventually happened.

    In response to most of these situations, Mr. Jordan was joking and whimsical. Common responses were along the lines of "You'd better hope that doesn't happen, otherwise you'll never get to see that last ending I've been planning all these years!" He often indicated that he'd leave instructions to have all of his notes burned and his disc drives wiped, then reformatted six or seven times so that nobody would ever know how the story came out.

    Humorous tone set aside, I see something in these responses. Inside, I think the concept of anyone else working on the Wheel of Time was very painful for Mr. Jordan. I really think that early on, he was against the idea of anyone else finishing the last book, should he die.

    However, Harriet has talked to me of the last days before his death, and I also have transcripts of the final dictations he made. Transcripts that talk about what should happen, how people should end up, and how the ending should be written. The tone of these writings and of what Harriet talked about is very different from his earlier comments. It's humbling to see how he changed, instead becoming determined—insistent, even—that the last book be finished after he passed away. Harriet mentioned to me that he didn't want to select someone himself. That thought was too hard for him. I can understand why.

    In the end, I see this as his last gift to all of us. As an artist, I can completely understand why he wouldn't want someone else to work on his world and his books. And if he had actually decided to leave instructions for the final book not to be completed, I am sure—very sure—that Harriet would have seen to it that his will was followed. But that wasn't what he decided. He demanded that this book be written. Even though I know that the idea brought him pain.

    This was his final sacrifice and gift for you all—the decision to give us the last scenes and instructions for the book, rather than taking that knowledge to the grave with him. From what I've heard of the last months of his life, I know that he spent a surprising amount of time giving dictations, telling about places that nobody else knew existed, and explaining how the characters were to end up.

    There are a fair number of people who are against this project happening in any form. They don't make up the bulk of the fan community; in fact, they seem like a very, very small percentage. There are others who aren't opposed to the book being finished in general, but who are opposed to me specifically working on it—though this group is even smaller than the first. Either way, I can sincerely understand both complaints. It seems to me that the Robert Jordan of five years ago would have been in the first group himself!

    I have repeatedly acknowledged that I can't replace him. But he wanted this book done, and I'm increasingly confident that I'm the best choice for this project. There are plenty of fantasy authors out there who are better writers than I am—George Martin, Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman, and Robin Hobb all come to mind, among others—but I don't know of another author publishing in fantasy right now who has been as close to these books and these characters as I have been over the last eighteen years.

    Knowing that Mr. Jordan was distressed about the concept of anyone finishing the books makes me even more determined to write a book that he would have been—that he will be—proud of. He loved you all very much. Those who complained about the time he took to finish books, or the length of the series, did not know the man at all. He did not write this series to the length he did because of money; he did not 'artificially inflate' the Wheel of Time because of any external pressures. He wrote this series the way he did because he loved it, and because he knew that we loved it.

    And I think that's why he chose to have this novel completed. In the end, your good was more important to him than his own good. What grander summary could be made of a man's life than that?

    This book is going to be beautiful. I promise you that.

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  • 63

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon says that when he arrived at the Rigney house in Charleston, the first two things he asked to see were how the book ended—and who killed Asmodean.

    Of the 200 manuscript pages that Jim wrote, the largest part is the prologue, the next largest is the ending, and the rest of the pages are chunks from elsewhere in the book. Brandon estimated that if Jim had completed the manuscript it would have ended up at 2,000 manuscript pages [that’s 500,000 words using standard manuscript format].

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  • 64

    Interview: Aug 25th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    The other question that popped up several times is this one: Am I including the pages that Mr. Jordan wrote in that wordcount? The answer is yes and no. What I'm doing is writing through the book by viewpoint grouping. That means I start at the beginning, then write through to near the end with a certain set of characters. Then I begin again with a new set of characters. This helps me focus in on those characters so that I don't have to keep track of QUITE so many things at once.

    When I reach a section that Mr. Jordan finished, I insert it, then keep going. So the 200k that I've "written" so far includes chunks that I didn't write. However, the unfinished portions also include large chunks of Mr. Jordan's writing that AREN'T yet included in the 200k. I'll include them when I write those characters and get to the parts he has finished. Does that make sense?

    And now, since I finished another chapter on Saturday, we have an update to our list below!

    A Memory of Light Relative Length Chart: 8/25/08

    Alcatraz/Evil Librarians 60,400
    New Spring 121,815
    Elantris 202,765
    —-A MEMORY OF LIGHT 204k So Far!—-
    The Final Empire 214,752
    The Path of Daggers 226,687
    Warbreaker 236,301
    Winter's Heart 238,789
    Hero of Ages 244,201
    The Dragon Reborn 251,392
    The Well of Ascension 252,739
    The Great Hunt 267,078
    Crossroads of Twilight 271,632
    A Crown of Swords 295,028
    The Eye of the World 305,902
    Knife of Dreams 315,163
    The Fires of Heaven 354,109
    Lord of Chaos 389,264
    The Shadow Rising 393,823

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  • 65

    Interview: Dec 17th, 2008

    Question

    We know that Robert Jordan left extensive notes, as well as some audio tapes and actual written parts for this novel. We know your intent is to tell his story. Having seen the outline, how much of the actual plot (the plot points, character arcs, intrigue, etc.) do you think you'll have to come up with on your own?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Another one I can answer now that I couldn't before, as I hadn't seen the notes.

    However, it's still a tough one to answer. How much do I have to make up? A lot in some places, very little in others. The interview mentioned an 'outline' above. That's a little bit of an understatement regarding what was left. The things mentioned in this question itself are more accurate.

    My goal is to retain as much of his own writing as possible, and then fill in the blanks myself. As I've promised Harriet not to talk about these things until the book is out, I feel I can't give specifics right now. Know that there are large swaths of writing to do on my own, and yet even then I feel his hand on my shoulder. Every hole has an entry point and an exit point. I know where the characters are, and I know where they have to go. Sometimes it's my choice on how to get them there. Sometimes there are notes, sometimes there are actual chunks of writing. Sometimes there isn't anything but a quick notation in that character's file explaining their final state at the end of the book.

    But this is Robert Jordan's book, not my own. I keep saying that, and I don't want the readers to think I'm approaching it any other way. It's his story, his writing, and his vision.

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  • 66

    Interview: Dec 3rd, 2008

    Brad Wilcox

    Fortunately for fans, the author wanted to give them the ending they deserved, one written by him. During his last days, the writer began dictating onto a recorder how the prologue for the final book would play out, and feverishly scribbling down the ending he had kept stored away in his mind for the past 17 years.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    "Jordan worked hard, 9 to 5, generally seven days a week," Rigney recalls through an e-mail. "He loved what he was doing, of course, but that W-word prevails."

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  • 67

    Interview: May 15th, 2009

    Dave Brendon

    Finally, Michael A. Stackpole once commented on whether or not the world of the Wheel of Time should be expanded by having other writers writing the stories of, let’s say, Artur Hawkwing’s rise to power or how the Seanchan tamed Seanchan, and so letting Robert Jordan’s world expand and grow—good idea or bad idea?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think the concept of anyone else working on the Wheel of Time was very painful for Robert Jordan. But in the last months before his death, he became determined—even insistent—that the series be completed after he passed away—and that means the part of the story that he had outlined to appear in the final book, now split into three due to length. He also previously had ideas for two more prequels and the outrigger novels set after the series’ end, but those were not a priority in his last few months. At this point we’re not sure Robert Jordan would have wanted those books to be written in his absence, and no one involved in finishing the series now feels the same urgency about them. I know that a lot of fans want to see those books eventually, but I ask that you please respect Harriet’s ability to decide their fate. If Harriet feels that he would not have wanted them done or that there aren’t enough notes or materials to complete the books in a way that would have made him proud, then the books should not be written. As for other books in the Wheel of Time universe that Robert Jordan did not have any plans to write or to arrange to be written, that’s not something I contemplate. When an author creates a world so rich that readers want an unending supply of books set in that world, that’s just a testament to the author’s skill as a storyteller—it doesn’t mean that having people write an unending supply of books in that world is a good idea. Stories have beginnings, middles, and endings for a reason, and ignoring that is detrimental to the integrity of the story. Robert Jordan had a vision for the Wheel of Time, and it’s important to be faithful to that vision. We’d rather leave his legacy as it stands than have bad books attached to his name.

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  • 68

    Interview: May 18th, 2009

    Clayton Neuman

    Did you struggle with any aspects of the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The biggest struggle was the sheer weight of characters. I was working on Perrin's viewpoint at one point, and Jordan's editorial assistant sent me this file filled with dozens and dozens of names of side characters for him that had not even appeared in the book yet. It's like juggling boulders, because there's so much weight to each of them.

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  • 69

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2009

    Damon Cap

    So from the standpoint of notes, because I know there were a lot of notes involved in this book, and it was funny because Ringo was talking today, you know, we were talking about e-books and things like that. If you had a say, would you have written more? I know there is some sort of, you know...We talk about the three books. And there is some sort of...From a publishing standpoint, could you have written a book that was seven books? Did he leave enough notes, and do you feel like that maybe sometimes in the standard of e-books, some would like to have seen your rough drafts of the Jordan work, would that be of interest because of that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    DAMON CAP

    I think it would be definitely an interesting idea.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    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—

    DAMON CAP

    Shared world.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    —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.

    DAMON CAP

    Since you've taken over, it's a little bit now your baby.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. But if we do those, there'll be years between. If that makes any sense.

    DAMON CAP

    I think there has to be, yeah.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    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.

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  • 70

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2009

    Damon Cap

    As you were doing the book, the Wheel of Time stuff, and you have all your notes and everything, was there any, like...funny stories? Was there anything when you go back and forth...like, obviously you have all these notes, you're dealing with a bunch of different people, and whenever you're doing any sort of artistic endeavor... Were there any sort of, like...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've got a good story for you. One time, I was trying to keep track of everyone who was with the character Perrin. You guys know Perrin. So Perrin's off doing this thing, and one of the biggest challenges of writing the Wheel of Time books was the sheer number of characters. Not the main characters—I know the main characters, they're my friends, I grew up with these people, I know them just like hanging out with my high school buddies—but keeping track of all the Aes Sedai, and the Wise Ones, and you know, the Asha'man, and all these various people that are all over the place and saying, "OK. Who is with Perrin and who is with Rand, and who is..."

    Anyway. I sent an email off to Team Jordan. You know, Harriet and Maria and Alan who are the... They were two editorial assistants that worked directly with Robert Jordan. Maria and Alan. I think it was Alan I sent an email to, and I said, "Do you have just like a list of everybody? I can go compile one of my own, I'm planning to do it, but if you have one already that says, 'These are the people who are with Perrin.' If you've got something like that." And he said, "I found this thing in the notes buried several files in." And things like this. "Here. I found this. Maybe this is what you want." And he sent me this, and it was called "with Perrin." I thought, "OK. Perfect." I open up this file and it's actually not what I wanted. Instead it is dozens of names of people who haven't appeared in the books yet. These are all the names of all the Two Rivers folk who are with Perrin. Like there are two hundred or so. Just names. Listed off. That have never appeared in the books. Sometimes with their profession, and a little about them, and things like that. And it just blew my mind that there was all of this detail that Robert Jordan had put into this world that nobody sees—and he wasn't planning for them to see. He's not going to have a big list of names in the final book; he wasn't planning that. He just needed to know their names so that he knew that he had them. And this is the level of detail and world-building that Robert Jordan did. I got a big chuckle out of that. Just, list of names. Then I started stealing them like a thief so I had good names that he had come up with, that I could use in the books.

    DAMON CAP

    Are you using them for other characters or using them for people...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm mostly using them where he intended them to be. Because he had other lists of names for... As the book has progressed and I've discovered these little notes files... Because the notes, there are huge, massive amounts of notes. We say there are about two hundred manuscript pages of stuff done for Gathering...for A Memory of Light. The three books. But beyond that, there are hundreds of thousands of words worth of just background notes, of world-building notes, of things like that. When we say the notes for the book, we're talking about actual specifics to A Memory of Light. But there are hundreds of thousands of other notes; there's just too much for one person to even deal with. So I let the two assistants dig through that. And so once I found out that there were lists of names, I started getting those files so I could use his names in places where we had them. So that I would have to name fewer and fewer people. Because his naming conventions are very distinctive. And, you know, I don't think... I think if you were to read, you could probably tell which names are mine and which are his, because we name things differently. And I'm trying to use his wherever I can, just to give that right feel to the book.

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  • 71

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Chubby_Monkey

    As The Gathering Storm draws near release, there are many WOT fans that have a large worry that you will not do RJ justice and ruin his series (especially after 4 years of waiting). How big of a worry is this for you, having to fill his shoes, and what are you doing to prepare yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are right to worry, and I don't blame them at all. They have no assurance whatsoever that I won't ruin their book—the past has proven, I think, that series get ruined more than they get saved when a new author steps in.

    I hope, very sincerely, to be in the second category, the one who saves a series rather than kills it. But only November will offer any proof other than my word, and I fully expect people to worry right up until they've read the novel.

    The only preparation a person could really have for something like this was to be a lifelong fan. I think this book is good. I think it is VERY good. I'm not worried any more myself, though I was quite worried when I began.

    What can I offer fans right now? Only the promise that the book has had Harriet and Mr. Jordan's assistants working from the beginning to make certain I didn't screw it up. Beyond that, I've made it my first priority to stay true to his wishes and notes, and not deviate unless there is a very, very good reason.

    (The only times I've 'deviated' was in to offer more explanation or depth to a scene. I haven't cut anything he wanted to be in the book, save for a few places where he contradicted himself. I.E. There were some scenes where he said "I'm thinking of doing this or this" or "I'm thinking of doing this, but I don't know." In those places, I've made the final call.)

    All I can ask is this. Give me a chance. Read the book. After that, we'll talk.

    (The most stressful part is probably the realization that no matter what I do, I won't be able to please everyone. Robert Jordan couldn't do that himself. So I will fail some of you. But I hope to please the vast majority of you.)

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  • 72

    Interview: Oct 16th, 2009

    Maria Simons

    In January of 1996 I went to work for Jim to answer fan mail. And the job just kept evolving and evolving, and I became what he called his right arm.

    Alan Romanczuk

    My name is Alan Romanczuk. I started working for Jim about eight years ago. I was brought on for continuity. By the time I came on, there were well over 1500 characters in the Wheel of Time world.

    Maria Simons

    I know what happened to whom and when. I can amaze people by remembering people's eye color and hair color. And if there's something we need to check happened, I can find it pretty quickly; pick up a book, flip to the page, and get it.

    Alan Romanczuk

    Developing timelines, coordinating action and characters. Measuring distances from one location in the world to another. All of that nitty gritty detail that has to be done, someone has to do it. This translated in his filing system to something I had never encountered before. He had what I could only describe as a maze-like hierarchical system of files.

    Maria Simons

    Brandon has been great. And he's got three of us that are emailing him, and we're doing this constantly, now for over a year.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Poor Brandon, who is an enormous gentleman as well as a very, very good writer. The material that Robert Jordan left begins with the outline for what will now be the final three books. Notes, some scenes, and more words in unpublished notes than have been published so far in the entire Wheel of Time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And he left behind tapes, recordings, which were then dictated and transcribed and given to me, of him just talking about the last book and what he wanted to be in it. And the important events, and the important scenes, and all these things. All these materials were. . . you know, you've got a file here that's only got a few paragraphs in it, and a file here that's thirty pages long, and a file here, and a file here. Dozens of different files, just scattered all over the place, some about all these characters, and some about 'oh this scene needs to happen'. And then lots and lots and lots and lots of notes of how everybody ends up. The thing we have I think the most information on is, the two things: the world itself, everything in the world, all the characters. And then, how everything has to be. We know very specifically lots about how the world is going to end up.

    Maria Simons

    It picks up where Knife of Dreams left off. As for the rest, read and find out. I've always wanted to say it.

    Alan Romanczuk

    I think there's one thing we can safely say, though. The Last Battle is coming.

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  • 73

    Interview: Oct 20th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Just to give you an idea of the depth of what's going on in these books, and the level of detail that Robert Jordan put into them: there was one point where I was working on a character, working on a scene. And I was just having trouble keeping track of all the characters that were involved in the scene, just all the different names and all the different personalities, and things like this.

    So I emailed one of Robert Jordan's assistants, and I said, "Is there a file or something that explains everybody who's here that's going to be in the scene so that I can keep them all straight?" And a few minutes later I got back an email from Alan who said, "Well I found this, buried in some notes somewhere." And it said 'with. . . ', and then it listed the name of the character. And I’m like, oh good, it's a file called 'who's with this character'. That's exactly what I needed.

    I opened it up, and what this file contained was a list of dozens and dozens, maybe hundreds, of names of people who hadn't yet appeared in the books, who were just members of this character's army, who were just there. Robert Jordan had named them all, and in many cases he'd listed their profession, a little bit about them, what they looked like. Now I had to keep track of all these other people who he hadn't even named yet. They hadn't even appeared in the book, fans didn't know about them, and I've got dozens of names of people to keep track of that he had spent the time to go through and say, all right, what are the names of all these people who might just walk by in the background.

    So much detail, so much depth to these books, that really when you read these books you don't even know how much there was behind them, filling this out. Robert Jordan knew this world, he knew these people. He knew them so well that they were real to him.

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  • 74

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Nadine

    Brandon, you are noted for your fairly concise epic novels. But I am curious about how the final volume of The Wheel of Time, which was envisioned by Robert Jordan as a final and single book, got to be so long? Not just a little longer but incredibly longer (possibly over 900,000 words).

    1. Did Robert Jordan totally miscalculate the size his final book? Or didn't he get too far writing it and had no idea of how long it would be?
    2. Is it including every note Jordan had on the subject because no one is sure what he really wanted to use?
    3. Is it being turned into a self-contained trilogy because a lot of people (like me) haven't read the entire 11 book series (or by now have forgotten the story), and it has to include some back-story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've wondered this myself, actually, in some form. As a long time reader of the series, when he began saying it would be one book, I was very curious how he'd pull it off. And then I saw the notes, and I was left scratching my head a little bit.

    It's not option three—I was doing a little bit more of this, but Harriet requested that I scale it back. Her opinion (and it was Robert Jordan's opinion) is that the series is much too long to spend time recapping in every book. She was right, and I trimmed a lot of it.

    #2 might have some influence here. Robert Jordan could have chosen to cut out characters and leave out scenes he had in the notes; it doesn't feel right for me to do that.

    But I think, overall, it's something that you didn't mention at all. Robert Jordan knew this was going to be a BIG book. He began promising it would be the last, but also that it would be so big that readers would need a cart to get it out of the store. I think he was planning a single, massive book at 800k words or so.

    But he DID want it to be one book—partially, I suspect, because he knew his time was short. He wanted to get it done. If he hadn't been sick, however, I don't think he would have started calling this the last book.

    Harriet has told me on several occasions that she didn't think he would have done it in one book, if he'd been given the freedom to approach the writing how he wanted. In the end, there is SO much to do that it was going to end up like this no matter what. Unless I crammed it all in and forgot about a lot of the characters.

    Would Robert Jordan have been able to do it in one book? Really? I don't know. I think that, if he'd lived, he might have worked some magic and gotten it done in one 400 or 500k volume. But I feel the need to be very careful and not ruin this series by strangulation. It's not going to go on forever, but it does need a little room to breathe.

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  • 75

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    How do you and Robert Jordan’s widow feel while working on Robert Jordan’s legacy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say there is a healthy amount of reverence going on. It’s a solemn experience working with these notes. In her case it’s her husband’s legacy. In my case it is my hero’s legacy. And so, we’ve been very careful and very solemn. It has been an amazing experience for me, indescribable really. It’s like walking being the first one to walk into Davinci’s workshop after he had walked out of it and left everything there. That’s what I am. I am walking into the master’s workshop and I get to see everything before even the dust is settled. As a writer and someone who has loved these books that’s surreal and awe inspiring and daunting at the same time. And there are so many weird emotions going on connected to this that it is actually hard to explain, but yeah reverence. It’s a reverent sort of thing to work on this book.

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  • 76

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Matt Hatch

    Did Robert Jordan leave a power to time comparison, as to how much time is burned back on a thread using balefire. Is there a calculation that says x amount of power will burn back x amount of time on a thread?

    Brandon Sanderson

    M.A.F.O—Maria and Find Out. What he did leave, he left a lot of stuff, there is discussion of these things in the notes. I need to look and see if there is an actual equation. He was very focused on strength of the Power and things like that. He has probably told you before, I think I’ve seen a copy of that on notes and things. He did leave scales on exactly how powerful each person is...

    MARIA SIMONS (VIA LUCKERS)

    RAFO. Sorry, but we are doing an encyclopedia, and I have to reserve some things in case we want to put them in there.

    Footnote

    This is answered in more detail below, at entry #5.

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  • 77

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon refuses to confirm or deny that the One Power was used to kill Asmodean. He also mentions a Slayer scene deleted from The Shadow Rising which would have shown more about Slayer's powers.

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  • 78

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    He also repeated things that he's said elsewhere, like that Robert Jordan left extensive notes, though he does have the power from Harriet to override them for the interests of the story. Robert Jordan especially left a lot of specific notes as to who lived and who died in Tarmon Gai'don, and he wasn't going to change any of that. So is there going to be a lot of deaths? The answer, of course, is RAFO.

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  • 79

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't remember if he said this during dinner or during the signings or both, but he was considering doing the outrigger and prequel novels, but that the decision was ultimately Harriet's. Jordan left notes for that as well, especially the other prequels. If Brandon writes the other books, it will be after a pause at the end of the series. He definitely doesn't want it to become 'the McWheel of Time.'

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  • 80

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    How extensive were RJ's notes about Lews Therin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    His notes about Lews Therin, I would say are about middle extensive, comparatively of different things that he has notes on. Less than some, more than others. They were extensive enough that I know enough things you don't know to make me excited, but not so extensive that you know, you are ever going to see a book about Lews Therin or anything like that.

    Question

    As a followup question, are the notes about Lews Therin the same notes about the voice of Lews Therin's?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know I think that's enough of a spoiler because there is still confusion or not confusion, wondering from people whether or not Lews Therin is the voice, I mean, of course Semirhage said that it is...Robert Jordan never really made that explicit himself. What I think and what you think may be different and so we'll just leave it. There are things about this in the book.

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  • 81

    Interview: Nov 5th, 2009

    Shannon Berndston

    A question was asked about Robert Jordan’s notes—particularly how they were left.

    Brandon Sanderson

    We were told that Harriet has said that Jordan has left more in notes than in the series itself! Brandon then related a story about how he needed to know who was traveling with Perrin. He asked RJ’s assistants to look to see if there was a file with that info. A few days later he received an email titled “traveling with Perrin.” Unfortunately it listed every single person from the Two Rivers and their occupation who was traveling with Perrin. Some hadn’t even appeared in the books!

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  • 82

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you didn't hear the news, we got a call on Wednesday informing us that The Gathering Storm had hit the number one spot on the New York Times hardcover Best Seller list. This was accompanied by hitting number one on the independent bookseller's list and being the bestselling hardcover fiction book at Barnes & Noble and at Borders. (And at the last one, I believe, we were the overall #1 book regardless of genre, which is impressive.) We did, in fact, knock Dan Brown out of the #1 spot—by a wide margin.

    How do I feel? Relieved. When I first began this project, my largest fear by far was that I would disappoint the fans. As I have stated before, I consider this your book and not mine. That doesn't mean I'm writing it to please the fans specifically—I'm writing these novels to be the best blasted books that they can be, narratively, structurally, and characterizationally. (Is that a word?) My goal is not to produce fan moments, per se, but to produce the best story possible, if that distinction makes any sense.

    Either way, the last four Wheel of Time books had all hit #1, and I worried a lot that it would be on my watch where we failed to do so. It is a testament to the beloved nature of the series, mixed with the ardor of the readers, that we have weathered a change in authors without a dip. We actually outsold Knife of Dreams' first week, which is amazing.

    The thing is, I don't feel I can take much—if any—credit for this. The reason this book turned out as well as it did (and thank you all for your kind emails, posts, and reviews) was because of the work Robert Jordan did before he passed away. He literally lay on his deathbead dictating scenes for you, too weak to write. He loved his readers dearly, and those of you lucky enough to meet him know that he was a truly kind and generous man.

    Beyond that, the strength of this book is directly tied to the excellent storytelling that came before it. It doesn't take much experience with construction to realize that the foundation of a building is far more important—structurally—than the roof. Robert Jordan's skill with worldbuilding, characterization, and plotting was amazing. Working on these books has only increased my respect for his abilities.

    None of you ran out to get the book because of me. My job was, and continues to be, to stay out of the way and let you enjoy the story that Robert Jordan wanted you to have. I am honored and humbled that so many of you have enjoyed the book. Thank you for what you have done in giving me a chance to prove myself to you.

    Somewhere, Robert Jordan is smiling.

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  • 83

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Question

    Which character's point of view is your favorite to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Whoever I'm writing at that moment", they're the most important. With some characters it was easier than others, as "Cadsuane already believes she's the most important." [I think I laughed the loudest at that remark.] He also said that the notes on Egwene were the most extensive and she was a pleasure to write. He also enjoys having more Aviendha viewpoints, as he missed her, and commented that writing Rand is both dramatic and draining.

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  • 84

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Question

    There's a lot of female influence in the Wheel of Time, was it hard to write from their perspective?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In my early years writing, it was hard. I finally got it right in Elantris. It was harder to write from other cultures, especially Aviendha and Tuon. It took three tries to get Aviendha right..."Aiel are weird."

    Brandon describes Mat dealing with Tuon leaving as Mat having his feet knocked out from under him and says that in Robert Jordan's notes it says specifically that "Mat refuses to become husbandly".

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  • 85

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Even Brandon had moments of "Aaaah! I knew it!" He also has had the "wait, really?" moments and often, while going through notes, has said, "Ah, that group is right!" [Referring to groups on the message boards.] He also confided that there is one thing that isn't being discussed on any of the forums yet that will blow our minds when we read it. Yay!

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  • 86

    Interview: Oct 28th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    "There are a surprising amount of deaths in the notes, so I get to play headsman."

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  • 87

    Interview: Oct 28th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    On going into Robert Jordan's study: "It felt like wandering into DaVinci's workshop, seeing his unfinished work and picking up RJ's notes."

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  • 88

    Interview: Oct 28th, 2009

    Question

    What's most difficult in the writing process?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Keeping track of everyone. I was confused about who was with Perrin, so I asked Charleston for a file with every one of the Two Rivers characters, who's with them. They sent over a file of a complete list of Two Rivers folk with Perrin, most of whom hadn't even been mentioned, and it had things like their names, relations, and for most of them, what they did in the army.

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  • 89

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon reiterated how satisfied he was with RJ's ending to the series but danced around the question of what he imagined the ending to be before he read it. RJ's ending "satisfied the promise of the books".

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  • 90

    Interview: Nov 2nd, 2009

    GeekDad

    Are you just lending flesh to a largely complete skeleton, or do you also have to close plot points that were still unresolved in Jordan's notes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's actually not as simple as either of those options. The notes range in how detailed they are. In some places, he finished complete scenes, which is great. He finished several complete scenes, which will be scattered through the three books, including the ending itself.

    In a number of places he gave dictations. Over his last few months, he spent a lot of time dictating to the family things that should happen. These are very interesting scenes in that they read kind of like a screenplay, because they transcribe the dictations. It's a lot of the dialogue, but it's him saying what should happen instead of actually writing it out. "And then, Egwene says this, and then he says this, and then this happens." And so the description isn't there, but the dialogue and the blocking all are. As I said, like a screenplay.

    In other places, there are fragments of scenes, where he wrote a couple of paragraphs, and then another couple of paragraphs. And just like a shattered plate, there are pieces missing. In other places, there are sentences he's written, "and then this happens"—where "this" is a sequence of four chapters' worth of events. In other places, he left a paragraph or two, and in some places there’s just a big hole. There're characters here and there, and then there are a lot of really detailed notes for the ending, saying where everyone ends up, who lives and who dies—it's very detailed, and is where I think the bulk of the material is. But sometimes, we'll know where someone is at the end of Knife of Dreams, and then at the ending he says that person is doing something else, but the intervening space is a big hole.

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  • 91

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    A question about Mat's behavior in The Gathering Storm prompted Brandon to reveal that Jordan's notes had clearly stated "Mat insists he will not be husbandly" and Mat is struggling with trying to return to his old self while dealing with the new stresses of love and marriage.

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  • 92

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Jordan's outline for WoT's conclusion was about 2500 pages.

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  • 93

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon spoke of his creative freedom in writing, and filling in blanks or making choices that Jim left for the story, but wanted to include everything that Jim wrote as completely as possible. Instead of giving a % of how much was Brandon's, he said it was 100% Brandon and 100% Jim since they both put their all into the book, and all that Brandon wrote was inspired by the previous books, and that Jim dictated, even from his deathbed, because of his passion for the story and the fans.

    Ted Herman

    That is just amazing to me, beyond what words can describe.

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  • 94

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon thought the ending of the series was right and satisfying to the promise of all the books.

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  • 95

    Interview: Nov 13th, 2009

    Question

    How's Towers of Midnight coming?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Towers of Midnight is 70% done.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet's answer: "If I can quote Robert Jordan, I can assure you without fear of contradiction, that Towers of Midnight will be on the shelves very shortly after Brandon finishes writing it."

    Brandon Sanderson

    "This is a very, very...there's a lot of work involved. People assume that when I was given the outline, I was given a point by point outline. RJ wasn't like that. He wouldn't show it to Harriet until he'd done twelve drafts. We got this in a state of incompleteness. The creative process isn't as neat and orderly. Things were in dozens of files."

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Brandon would say "what order do you want it in?" and I would say "Brandon, you're the writer. It's foolish for the editor to take over the part of the writer. And vice versa."

    Brandon Sanderson

    He dictated some and the assistants transferred it into notes, scoured their memory for anything he'd said and put that in the notes. And then all the files... "this was all handed to me and told 'ok, let's write a book.'"

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  • 96

    Interview: Nov 13th, 2009

    Question

    I am struck by how alike this is to Tolkien. Have you ever talked to Chris Tolkien (since he took over for his father using his notes)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, but I'd like to.

    We're in a little better shape. Jim actually finished scenes. We have a lot more to work with. He wrote the end himself! He left landmarks to follow from here to the end. Not specific details, just "strong stuff" to get us to the end.

    "There are no characters that we don't know how they end up."

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  • 97

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2009

    Question

    What is your favorite scene that you got to add?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I'm not saying which scenes I added and which parts are Jordan's until all three books are out." He has lots and lots of notes left by Robert Jordan, which aren't organized. No one really knew how Robert Jordan was organizing his work. Some files had only sentences, some whole paragraphs and whole scenes. His assistants, Maria and others, what Brandon calls "his own personal Brown Ajah" started asking Robert Jordan questions about all of the characters, where they would end up and how they got there. So Brandon has so much information all jumbled together without any order. And it's his job to take all that and make a book.

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  • 98

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2009

    Question

    Was the passage about Cadsuane spanking Semirhage already written, or was there just information in the notes? How did you feel about writing that section?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He was given creative freedom to do what was needed. No author can ever stick 100% to an outline, things change as they are being written, and he was given that kind of control in order to make the books work. Regarding that passage in particular, it made Brandon Sanderson cringe, but Robert Jordan wanted it in the books so it stayed.

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  • 99

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon told the story of his selection as the WoT-completing author.

    He read a few pages from the opening of the Prologue (which he also emphatically stated was all Jordan's material, much of it word-for-word).

    He described "The Materials", the variety of forms of notes, completed scenes, paragraphs, fragments, audio dictations, etc. that were collected by RJ's assistants after his passing and basically dumped in Brandon's lap. Daunting isn't in it.

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  • 100

    Interview: Nov 17th, 2009

    Question

    Does Mat's medallion work against all types of Power, or just against saidar? Because you know he said in the book, something to be free of Aes Sedai.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that is what he said specifically, but you know, Aes Sedai were both male and female once, and so we don't know yet, and I will have to RAFO that.

    Another person from audience

    But that was in book six.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Was it in book six?

    Audience

    Yeah, that's where Aran'gar gets him with a weave.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, that's right; it did happen. You see, I know a lot of stuff....but I get in trouble if I say too much, because at one of the early signings....no, it wasn't even one of the signings; it was JordanCon. I was talking about....someone asked me a question, and I started answering, talking about, 'Do you remember that scene, where this happened, and this happened, and this happened....' and everyone started staring at me blankly. And I'm like, 'What? No...' and I argued with them that this scene existed. I promised them. No one remembered it! And about a month later, I realized as I was looking through it, 'Oh, it was a deleted scene from book seven.' Which now, in my head, is in book seven! And so I'm very careful not saying things I know, but you're right; that was proven in the books.

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  • 101

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2009

    Matt Hatch

    You saw where we were going…

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...yes, I see where you are going...

    Matt Hatch

    ...I had to do the build up to it because it all comes down to that one question for a couple of things.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This one question you are going to ask next?

    Matt Hatch

    I’m not going to ask it...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...oh, the one you asked…

    Matt Hatch

    ...yeah, I guess I asked a piece of it last night...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...when it comes to this certain character that you are talking about, there is a whole thing where Maria and I exchanged a bunch of emails about this. She had managed to pull some things out of the notes that I had not seen, which is interesting, because I was going off of something else. I did not think that Cyndane should be nearly as powerful as she was put in the books as being, so I had been under the belief that the Dark One was pulling shenanigans...

    Matt Hatch

    ...like a little, in essence, let’s say what the Forsaken Lanfear did to Asmodean, you thought maybe the Dark One was doing some similar...shielding...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...or the other way around…here is a little extra power you can draw upon while I am pleased with you, I can take this away...

    Matt Hatch

    ...that is a question...let’s jump to that question, there have been some theories that talk about Lanfear...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...let’s back up and say I was wrong. I was interpreting the notes a certain way. Maria was able to pull something out that I had not seen that made it clear that I had misinterpreted and that that is not the case, Cyndane is not under any shenanigans. What you see is what you get.

    Matt Hatch

    Cyndane and her alter ego have never been under any shenanigans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not going to say never been under any shenanigans, but when you see her creating a gateway she is legitimately powerful enough to do it, which I did not believe that she was. Does that make sense? This is all digging into my read of the notes versus and Maria’s read of the notes and Maria was right. She was able to provide information to me that I had not seen which is nice because it was stuff that was very pertinent for what I am working on right now. It would have come out eventually when I would have sent her the scenes I’m working on, but it came out earlier, which is nice. Once I found out what was going on it all made perfect sense.

    Matt Hatch

    So, we will understand then in the next book or so why there is a decrease in power but not a significant decrease?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Matt Hatch

    Ok, so that being said there are some theories out there that in the Age of Legends, at one point, Lanfear might have...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...let’s just say I have not said that Lanfear and Cyndane are the same person...

    Matt Hatch

    ...Oh, absolutely, I’m jumping to this other Forsaken that we are talking about...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...this other completely different person...Uh huh...

    Matt Hatch

    ...so Lanfear, the theory goes, that maybe she was accentuated from a beauty and/or power perspective by going to the Finnland previously...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...ok...

    Matt Hatch

    ...would the Finns have the ability to accentuate someone’s beauty and/or quantity or access to the One Power through their own capabilities and talents?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but it might involve third party ter’angreal, angreal, this sort of thing...

    Matt Hatch

    ...so, they don’t have power to affect the soul’s capability of increasing its total channeling?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Certainly not permanently, as far I understand, that is outside the realm of their ability…

    Matt Hatch

    ...from a beauty perspective can they affect the outer body of some individual?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say that, yes they can, but they may have to be using some type of ter’angreal or...

    Matt Hatch

    ...some item of power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some item of power, something like that...of which they have great stores...[what???]

    Matt Hatch

    ...Really...heh, so the obvious question, where did the Finns get great stores of ter’angreal, angreal, and is that part of the Pact they made.?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO...but if you just think about it, we don’t even have to go to the notes for this if you think about it logically, we know of them providing certain items of power to certain individuals that they were able to match very nicely with certain requests very easily. If you run the statistics on that its either a huge coincidence or they have very many to choose from.

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  • 102

    Interview: Nov 19th, 2009

    SteelBlaidd

    Did RJ leave notes or records of how he used symbols in the WoT, for example, colors: white meaning life, black meaning death and the Dark One?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He left extensive notes that we would have to wait for the encyclopedia that Maria is going to put out after the books are finished.

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  • 103

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are over 4,000,000 words of notes.

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  • 104

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    RJ left detailed descriptions of people after the Last Battle (make of that what you will).

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  • 105

    Interview: Dec 5th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Verin. He said the notes on her are quite extensive. Lots of her backstory is there. He said he felt like what wasn't revealed in the books would be a good candidate for the encyclopedia.

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  • 106

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2009

    Question

    Is Tuon's new name, Fortuona, an intentional play on the Latin Fortuna? Many see this as a semantic trick for calling her Lady Luck, which fits being Mat's wife.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question, and I'm going to allow you to say yes, as I don't think anything of that nature was done without a purpose, but it was Jim's (Robert Jordan) choice, which Maria dug out for me when I realized I needed to create a new name for her upon ascending as Empress.

    Freelancer

    (Hah! All you naysayers who bagged on Brandon for this, saying Jordan would never have chosen such a goofy name.)

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  • 107

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2009

    Freelancer

    Ok, folks, that's about it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    One other tidbit, Brandon said that there are no scenes in The Gathering Storm that he invented. Some scenes were from very rough outlines, some in detailed outlines, and some completely finished, but he did not think up scenes at all. He said that there was much creative work for him to do, and there were scenes that he altered in order to blend in with those before/after. He said that Harriet told him that Jim often wrote a dozen or more drafts of a scene before letting anyone else read it, so he didn't have to presume that every word among the notes and outlines was exactly how Jordan would have ended up wanting it, which allowed Brandon the freedom to do what he believed best for the book as a whole. He did quite well indeed.

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  • 108

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    What did you do for Robert Jordan as a part of that job, and how much as that changed since his passing?

    Maria Simons

    My job has constantly evolved. First there was fanmail and filing. Then the audiobook project got underway, and someone had to go through and mark all of the changes in point of view so that Michael Kramer could read the male POVs and Kate Reading could read the female ones. Jim decided that I could do that, so, much to my delight, I was getting paid to read The Wheel of Time. I was in hog heaven, of course. At that time, Jim was finishing up A Crown of Swords, and when the proofs came in, Harriet suggested that I assist in going through them, but Jim said no, he didn't want to spoil me. I was crushed. Over the next year or so, though, my job broadened. He gave me the in-house glossary to tidy up, and some of his notes to consolidate. He also would give me lists of questions like "Has character A ever met Character B?" and "Give me three examples of character C's speech" and "Find me all of the information you can on what a baby feels as he's being born." By the time he had The Path of Daggers ready to give to Harriet for editing, I had convinced him that I could help with maintaining our house glossary going forward, and he decided that I would get the pages at the same time Harriet did. Harriet encouraged me to edit as well, and I would do that and pass the pages on to her. I don't know if any of my edits made it into the final book, but Harriet did begin recommending me for freelance editing.

    I did other things as well. Jim had a massive personal library, and mentioned that he would love for it to be cataloged; I cobbled together a classification system, using WordPerfect mail merge. I also cataloged his music collection, and kept the existing catalog of movies updated. I did shopping for him, arranged appointments, worked on the Wizards of the Coast RPG and the New Spring comics. When the new cat went missing, I made and put up posters in the neighborhood (we found her hiding under the house, eventually); when cranes and herons started stealing goldfish, I was given fox urine to spread around the pond to discourage them (Jim did encourage me to delegate; I managed to pass that one on to someone else. It smelled so bad that that idea was soon abandoned and we covered the fish pond with a net. I still sometimes find huge birds staring hungrily at the fish when I walk out there). Eventually I took over the bookkeeping as well. He took to calling me his right arm. Over time, I picked up assistants, two of whom are still with me: Marcia Warnock, who took over the book catalog, spread the fox urine, keeps me in office supplies, handles all the annoying phone calls, and keeps me on schedule; and Alan Romanczuk, who took over the questions and research, became our IT specialist, and assists with the bookkeeping, among many other things.

    Then, after the Knife of Dreams tour, Jim was diagnosed with amyloidosis. Our focus changed somewhat; we all worked to help him and Harriet as much as we could. After the night that Jim told the ending to Wilson and Harriet, I would sit and talk with him about the end of the series, with a tape recorder running. The last thing that we did together was select the winners of the calendar art contest. Note: I didn't select, I just gave him the art and took notes, and then emailed the winning names to Tor. That was two days before his death.

    The significant thing that has changed about my job since then is that Jim isn't here. It's quieter—there is no big, booming voice calling "Maria!" or singing as he comes in the office. There's no one explaining military stuff to me and making it really clear and interesting. There's no one sitting at his desk wearing a silly hat. What I do at my job hasn't changed that much. Now I work directly for Harriet, who is as wonderful a boss as Jim was. When Brandon has questions about the books, I work on finding answers, as does Alan. When Brandon sends us a book, I go through it looking for continuity errors, just as I did with Jim, and suggesting other changes, just as before. I still do the bookkeeping with Alan's help, and other banal stuff. I know a lot more fans now, of course; I went to JordanCon, DragonCon, and the Charleston and New York booksignings for The Gathering Storm. I can hardly wait until JordanCon 2, which as I type is 11 weeks and 1 day away.

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  • 109

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    You said Jim didn't like to spoil you. Did this include you having access to the notes on pre-existing issues—as in resolutions to current mysteries and plotlines? I guess the question is, how much insider information did you have along the way? And, as a fan, did it ever make you gasp (squeal, laugh, pull your braid...)?

    Maria Simons

    In the early days, Jim didn't want to spoil me. After not getting to work on A Crown of Swords, I went on a campaign to convince Jim that I didn't mind spoilers, doing things like pointing out that I frequently reread murder mysteries. I finally had some success. At some point, early on (I think 1997ish) he realized that he had multiple files with the same name in his gazillions of notes. He asked me if I would be willing to consolidate notes, given that it was quite possible that I would find spoilers. I gave him an emphatic yes, and he passed the notes to me. The first thing I did was look up Verin; it was amazingly cool to get the scoop on her. I may have squealed. And I knew who killed Asmodean pretty early on, too. Some things he did keep hidden, though. He really enjoyed pulling off surprises..

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  • 110

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2010

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Rigney had worked so hard and for so long to wind up his saga that his widow felt it was her mission to see the series finished. "My husband left a tremendous amount of material," McDougal says. "My duty is to that above all." The author had made outlines and copious notes, along with about 50,000 words for at least one more book. Some chapters were finished, merely requiring an edit by McDougal. Some scenes were fully defined. As his illness progressed, he'd told an oral version of the story, which was recorded on tape by his friends and family. This enabled McDougal to create a comprehensive outline of his planned final book. But these breakdowns and fragments still had to be inserted into a complete novel by a new writer, with Rigney's notes as a thorough guideline.

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  • 111

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sanderson felt honored and overwhelmed at the same time. Although he was a respected and prolific fantasy writer with a growing career, his name on a Wheel of Time book would introduce him to hordes of new readers and send him to the top of the best-seller lists for weeks. But he would have to take time off from his own ambitious epics, and he faced a huge challenge: To be true to Jordan's work while retaining his own distinctive style.

    Sanderson wrestled with the question for a long time before deciding that he would concentrate on keeping the character voices authentic and consistent. "We don't want these stories to become about Brandon," he says, "but in the same way, the original Wheel of Time books ... weren't about Jim. They were about the story and the characters. As long as I can make the characters feel right and do the story the right way, I think it will turn out all right."

    Sanderson made it his "prime directive" to make sure the characters sounded like their old selves. "My second rule was that if Jim said it, the default is to do it as he said, to put it in as he said. And then rule No. 3 is that I can contradict rule No. 2 if it's necessary for the storytelling."

    By considering these three rules, Sanderson ensured that Rigney's story was told consistently. "I'm continually going back and reading Jim's original notes and his previous books," says the author, "balancing that with looking at what I think he was trying to do, what he said he was trying to do, and what would make the best story. In some cases I trust my instincts as a writer, and in other cases I just say, 'This is what Jim said. We're doing it.' I can't really tell you where I draw the line, when I do one or the other. Oftentimes when the situation comes up, I'll write to Harriet and her assistants and say, 'What do you think?'"

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    McDougal's association had its own complications. As the book progressed, she would send her reactions to Sanderson. These didn't always equate with his own ideas or those of Simons and Romanczuk. "I've learned not to do that horrible thing to Brandon," she says. "Three different people were giving him different reactions. We weren't all on the same page."

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  • 112

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Richard Fife

    After this wonderful panel, we had an amazing treat. As many of us know, before Robert Jordan died, he spent one evening and the better part of the next day telling his close family/friends exactly how A Memory of Light goes, and they captured it on tape. Alan, being the computer whiz he is, cleaned up the first 17 minutes of audio, and we got to listen to it. Aside from Robert Jordan's preamble that he would be talking mostly out of order as things came to him, he said "but I will start with the prologue." We then were treated to the Great Bard himself telling us the first scene of The Gathering Storm.

    Now, I know exactly what people are hoping for here, and I am going to say: no. Aside from the fact that no recording devices were allowed in the room for legal reasons, I know that I myself could not do justice to what I heard. It would be a cruel parody and fall short. I trust Brandon will have translated the scene description we heard into wonderful prose, but what we heard was exactly that, a description of action and scene, not the text we will all see soon enough, and that should only ever be in Robert Jordan's voice. So, sorry guys and gals, you had to be there.

    But, I will tell you this: our reaction. When it was finished, the room gave a standing ovation. This, of course, was expected and not spectacular from us. What was, though, was that when the clapping stopped, we all sat down, and dead silence filled the room, even though we knew the reading/panel was done, and even still after Harriet and Alan said "that's it." We did not know what to do with ourselves, our brains were churning and wheeling and grinding over what we heard, and many people left with tears in their eyes. I still get goose-bumps just thinking and writing about it.

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  • 113

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    Then there was the Team Jordan Panel, which was again Tom, Harriet, Brandon, Alan, Maria, and Wilson, this time talking about the upcoming release of Book 12: what it was like to write it, how much of it was Robert Jordan and how much of it was Brandon Sanderson, and the reasoning behind the decision to split A Memory of Light into three books, and so on. Most of the latter topic was more than adequately covered in Brandon's blog post, so I won't revisit that, though I will mention that they reassured us that each of the three books contains a Big Ass Ending (my words, not theirs), and has sufficient closure to be satisfying while still carrying forward to the next volume.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was intrigued by Brandon and Harriet's description of the notes and outlines Jordan had left behind, and how they had often had to make decisions where Jordan himself had left multiple options for which way a scene was going to go, and many other interesting details of the writing process. I was generally impressed at how candid and thorough they were about the mechanics of the process without giving away a single detail (that I recall) of the plot itself.

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  • 114

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    Immediately after this was what was billed in the program as "A Reading from A Memory of Light", and the panelists listed were Harriet—and Robert Jordan. I may have been the last person to clue into what this meant. I had assumed that Harriet was going to read something from the book that Jordan had written.

    What I got was quite different.

    Wilson was there, too, and got up and told us how, a few weeks before Mr. Rigney died, Wilson was sitting with him when Mr. Rigney suddenly began to talk. He was describing a scene, and as soon as Wilson realized what he was hearing he jumped up and ran into the next room and got Harriet and Maria, so they could take notes, and dashed to Wal-Mart to buy audio recording equipment. Because Robert Jordan was telling them the end of the story.

    I don't mind telling you, when I realized they were going to play some of the audio recording for us, I got chills.

    Wilson told us that what we were about to hear was recorded twenty days before Mr. Rigney passed, and is a description of a scene in the Prologue of A Memory of Light. I'm not sure, but it may be the very first scene in the book. You could have heard a pin drop in the room when he sat down next to Harriet and started the recording.

    I can't claim that I specifically remember what Mr. Rigney's voice sounded like when I met him five years ago, but I would have remembered if it had sounded any different from what a big, self-assured man generally sounds like, so hearing what he had sounded like near the end was something of a shock. The voice on the tape was hoarse and cracked and exhausted and determined, and altogether... I hesitate to use the word "eerie", for fear it seems disrespectful, but, well, I can't think of another way to describe it. Combined with the scene he was actually describing, which was entirely for the purpose of creating a sense of ominous foreboding, the effect was... I don't know what it was.

    The scene was simple, with largely nameless characters who are unlikely to appear in the larger narrative, starting with a farmer sitting on his porch, watching a cloud bank in the distance, one which is behaving in a manner unlike any clouds the farmer had ever seen before. I won't go into more detail (though it may be that others will), because we were asked beforehand not to employ recording devices, and though a written summary is certainly not breaking that rule, I feel that I should adhere to the spirit of the request. And besides, a written summary wouldn't do it justice.

    The thing I remember most was the repeated phrase: "The storm is coming. The storm is coming." He said that over and over again.

    I had choked up the moment the recording started, and by the time it was over, I was unabashedly in tears. This may seem like a rather strong reaction, but perhaps it is a little explained when I tell you that by entirely random coincidence, Mr. Rigney had died barely a month before my own father did; my father was only a year older than Mr. Rigney, too.

    Meaningless coincidence this may be, but grief doesn't truck much with logic, and... and I don't have much more to say on that topic. Let's just say it struck a raw place, and leave it at that.

    All other considerations aside, whatever else I felt at that moment, I also feel privileged to have been there for it.

    Fortunately for this con-goer, there was a ball later that evening. With a bar.

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  • 115

    Interview: May 12th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    So you are the chronology manager, or "Time Lord" of the Wheel of Time. What has it been like keeping the "what happened when" straight?

    Alan Romanczuk

    It actually has not been that bad to date because Jim himself set up so many timelines as part of the series. It was fun going back in his files and finding literally dozens of timelines of what was going to happen. With his engineer's mind, it was important for him to grasp where every single character was at any given time in the series, know how they were meshing at any specific time in order to allow them to come together as part of the story later on and not be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    So, it was really just a matter of seeing where he was going with things and how he had structured them and tapping into that and then just extending it. You know, the harder part now is that Jim is gone, and so we have to make sure that all these threads fit. You have to know how far a horse can travel in a day, and how far a cart can travel in a day, how far an army can travel in a day, and how many days they can keep that pace. "Oh, Mat has to be at such-and-such a place to be able to meet with this person who is coming in from a totally different area." So there is a lot of taking out the ruler and looking at the map and seeing how many kilometers or miles are between point A and point B.

    Richard Fife

    On that note, do you have a more detailed map at your disposal?

    Alan Romanczuk

    No, we're really working what you see in the book.

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  • 116

    Interview: Jun 7th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    That leads me to my next question. Robert Jordan's notes are, I'm guessing, all over the place—I heard three million words worth of notes. He also did extensive writing for the last book that we get the impression was also all over the place. Has it been difficult writing that way, and is it very different from your own normal writing style?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In some ways, and in some ways it has also been very nice. I am a writer who works from an outline. What I generally do when I build an outline is I find focal, important scenes, and I build them in my head and I don't write them yet, but I build towards them. Well, in this case, a lot of those important focal scenes, Robert Jordan has outlined or written himself. So, I've actually been able to build an outline out of his notes that works very much the way that I work on outlines anyway.

    The notes themselves are very interesting to work with. They are so very varied, so to speak. There is just so much there. In some cases we have scenes that he wrote. In some cases we have scenes that he talks about and his assistants wrote down what he said about them. In some cases, we have interviews that he did with his assistants through the years when he was sick, where he was just talking about the last book and they were asking questions. He dictated some scenes on his death bed. In other cases, we have things that his assistants remember him saying that they just wrote down after he passed away, everything they could remember. Other cases we have outlines that he was working from for the book. And this is just all in a big jumble that was handed to me, not in really any order, and they just said, "put this in order, do what you need to do." They gave me the tools to write the book and left me to write it, working through all of these things.

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  • 117

    Interview: May 25th, 2010

    Patrick

    Are you pleased with the way The Gathering Storm has been received thus far?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I'm very pleased. The fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. The sales on the book have been extremely good, and it seems like people are happy I did not screw it up.

    Patrick

    Understandably, it's no surprise that reactions are not 100% positive. How closely have you been following the fan reactions that are less than positive? How do you anticipate these reactions will affect your writing of the final two volumes? Is there any specific reaction you would care to address directly?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it's not surprising that the fan response has not been 100% positive—in fact, if it were, that would be kind of suspicious. Sometime, look up Hamlet on Amazon and read the one-star reviews. If people can't agree on Hamlet, they're not going to agree on my books.

    As for the less-than-positive reactions, they range from completely useless to very helpful. But it's dangerous to look at reviews of any sort while I'm writing. As writers we tend to focus on the negative and ignore the positive. It's just human nature. Beyond that, a writer has to walk a very tight line between keeping an audience in mind and following their own artistic vision for a work.

    Now, these books are different in that—as I've mentioned before—I feel more beholden to the fan community than I otherwise might. These books belong to them more than they do to me. But I learned early on in my writing career that if I tried to do everything for everyone, the writing process would fail. So, it's more useful for me (on things like this book) to have people close to me watch the reviews/reactions and pass issues on to me when there seems to a consensus of opinions. Those are the types of things I find it important to keep in mind when writing.

    In the end, however, there is one opinion on these books that matters the most. That is Harriet's opinion. I look to her for guidance on characters, tone, and plotting. I will continue to do so. I think her hand on the book, mixed with Robert Jordan's notes, were the main reason the novel turned out so well.

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  • 118

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2010

    Question

    You may have been asked this before, I'm not sure, I'm just kind of curious. Dealing with the, when you were going through the process of when you decided to write this, and going through the notes and like learning the ending and everything... Working on somebody else's project, like, when you found things out as a fan who's followed it for so long, were there parts that were almost kind of hard for you to write? Like, maybe you didn't anticipate this happening? And it's like, you were like, "Holy crap!" I'm sure you wouldn't have... Were there parts that you were like, just wow, this is just really weird having to write this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can talk on that for a sec here. Yes, in two different ways. There are some scenes that are very Robert Jordan scenes that are the type of scenes that I would never put...that I would just never write, just never naturally. I can only think of two scenes that were...one scene that way, and one scene that was just, I was completely not anticipating it, and so my brain had to... It wasn't hard to write when I actually got to the scene. But when I first read the notes, I'm like, "How am I going to do that?" Does that make sense?

    Audience

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The first one you've already read. It occurs in The Gathering Storm, and it involves someone's backside. Which is not, you know, it's very appropriate to the Wheel of Time, but I don't generally write spankings into my books. And so, I actually said, "I have to write a spanking scene?!?" All right, make it the best spanking scene ever!

    The other scene has not come up yet so I can't tell you what it is. It was just a "wow." It was kind of that, "How did I miss that?" in part, and also a "I really need to make this really work really well." And anyway, I can tell you about that next year.

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  • 119

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    When you first started work on the Wheel of Time what was the first thing you looked up in the notes/material?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Asmodean's killer. After that, I read the ending.

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  • 120

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    Did the notes squash/support any of your theories/ideas of where the books were going? Are you able to tell us what or how?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It did both. Some things were supported, some things were squashed, and some things I just didn't have any personal theories on. I can't speak of many of them. I'm trying to remember which ones were in The Gathering Storm that I can talk about. I did think that there was a good chance—or at least I hoped and theorized—that Elaida would end up as a damane. And I was very happy to see that. I was taken completely by surprise by the Verin revelation. Most of the things that were squashed happen in the next two books, so I can't really talk about them. And it's very hard to look back and say, "What were my theories, and what did I think about things?" because it's been three years now since I first looked at the notes and I already have all of that in my head.

    Oh, I can tell you one thing that was squashed. To be perfectly honest, I'd always secretly suspected that Asmodean was still around, and that was totally squashed. So there you go. Part of me always thought, “Oh, Robert Jordan isn't telling us because Asmodean is around; he's doing something," but no, he's just dead. He's totally dead. But you know, I think Robert Jordan had even confirmed that and I hadn't seen the interviews until after I started working on the series. I'm pretty sure that somewhere out there is a Robert Jordan confirmation, a "He's toast" comment.

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  • 121

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    How difficult has weaving Towers of Midnight around The Gathering Storm been? Is there a large amount of inter-connectivity? Do we cross back on any events in The Gathering Storm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, we do cross back on events in The Gathering Storm. The trickiest part was timeline. Robert Jordan had this innate ability to juggle timelines. This is not something he relied on Maria, Alan, or Harriet for; it was something he did on his own, just part of the genius of his brain. All of us are pretty new at this. I mean, I wrote Mistborn chronologically. There wasn’t any time juggling. There was time juggling to do in Elantris, but it was across the course of a single novel. It didn’t get as extensive. For the Wheel of Time, timeline things that Robert Jordan kept in his head are quite incredible, and I have to admit that I’m not as good at it as he was. Perhaps someday I will be able to get to that level, but for now I’m simply not. So working with the timeline has taken a lot of effort. I think we’ve got it so it all worked out. It took a lot of help. Maria, Alan, and others all worked together with me to get things arranged—some of our beta readers were extremely helpful in this—but there is a lot of juggling back and forth. You will see some events from different perspectives. It is not a complete jump back like book ten was. I would say that the book is mostly new material with a few glances at other things that are happening, but we’re moving forward; I’d say 60% of the book is taking place past what happened in The Gathering Storm. And then there’s one timeline in particular where we jump back and catch up—that’s Perrin’s timeline. But it was really challenging.

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  • 122

    Interview: Oct 29th, 2010

    James Rundle

    So how much do you have to work off from what Robert Jordan left behind?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's a lot of notes. It really depends on the scene. In some scenes he actually dictated or wrote complete scenes. In other places he left very detailed instructions. And in other places, he brings one character into play and then doesn't mention them for hundreds and hundreds of pages and then they're in another place having done something that he hasn't mentioned. It's because he wasn't a linear writer, he was one of these very creative types that just seized upon moments and wrote those moments. I ended up getting this massive pile of notes where certain scenes were done, and they were all over the place time-wise, whatever he'd been passionate about what he'd been working on, and other things that he just hadn't gotten to yet. But there are these huge lists of questions and answers between him and his assistants, which is really what makes this possible, because they ask him a lot of questions—what happens to this character? Okay, what's this character doing? Those sort of things that I have a lot of one-line and two-line answers to that can help me draw these things together.

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  • 123

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2008

    Question

    Will there be prequels or books about the Age of Legends?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

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  • 124

    Interview: Nov 13th, 2010

    David Larsen

    Jordan had been the big fantasy sensation of the 90s. His mega-series The Wheel Of Time began as a five-book cycle, then was expanded to a projected 12 books on the back of massive sales and critical acclaim. Each individual book was vast. The gaps between books slowly got longer and longer as Jordan struggled with gargantuan plot machinery, a cast of thousands and failing health.

    He died in 2007, still working on the final volume, and McDougal, having been impressed by the Mistborn books, phoned Sanderson and asked whether he would be interested in finishing off the series from Jordan's notes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "She called me out of the blue and, dumbfounded, I said yes. I mean I was a huge fan of Robert Jordan, how could I not say yes? But I was terrified. And I rightly should have been."

    David Larsen

    Sanderson has spent much of the last three years on the Jordan project, which has involved splitting an unworkably huge manuscript—Jordan made extremely detailed notes, fortunately for worried fans of the series—into three parts, each of which will become a 300,000-word novel. The second of these is due out in New Zealand this month.

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  • 125

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon was asked what moment most shocked him in the notes. He said that Verin showing up in Egwene’s room was definitely what shocked him the most.

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  • 126

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2010

    Question

    Another question was, how much of the books was him and how much was RJ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He said that for The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light, he had about 200,000 words of written material including notes dedicated to that story . He also had dictations dedicated to the A Memory of Light material + dictations and the other general notes for the series. He made the parable of someone who has pieces of a Ming vase for which he had some pieces but others are missing and he had to put it all back together to make a whole. He did say that for this book, more of Mat was RJ and more of Perrin was him. I think that he has done a really great job.

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  • 127

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2010

    Question

    How is it writing from someone else's outline as opposed to your own?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's easier than I thought. I base my outlines off focal points and build backward to what would make that scene happen. RJ would work on scenes he found important and write them first. And so the notes that I was handed were list of important scenes without any connecting material. But in a lot of cases, the very important scenes were either indicated to me or written completely or left with a line or a paragraph or a dictation telling me what to do. And when I built this it fell very naturally into my type of outline. I have complete creative control, so long as I can convince the rest of Team Jordan.

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  • 128

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2010

    Question

    What was the most exciting/shocking thing you found out when you got to read the notes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Verin!

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  • 129

    Interview: Dec, 2010

    Dawn

    I thought of one more question I had. The revelation of who Mesaana was impersonating inside of the White Tower—was that something that RJ had dictated in his notes/outlines, or was that of your own creation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was directly from the notes. It was the person who most people had guessed it was, because of the foreshadowing that Robert Jordan put in.

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  • 130

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2011

    Jonathan Levy ()

    I know it's premature to discuss this, but I am entertaining fond hopes that after you finish A Memory of Light, you will publish a WoT companion, which will include things like:



    —All the notes and details and backstory which never got put into the novels.

    —Deleted chapters, or longer draft versions of scenes which had to be edited down.
    
—An account of the writing process as you experienced it, with perhaps an outline of the books showing how much of each part was yours and how much RJ's, and the difficult decisions you had to make at each point.

    —Alternative chapters or scenes which were discarded.

    —Answers to any issues which are still disputed by fandom after the last book.

    I know this is premature, but I was hoping you could at least tell us if
 1) Is this something you, personally, would be willing to do?
 2) Is there any chance of it actually happening?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Excellent question. I've spoken on this a little bit before. It is something I'd be willing to do; in fact, it's something I want to do.

    I don't want to say that the chances of it happening are poor, but one thing you have to understand is that Harriet is very careful and cautious with Robert Jordan's legacy, and rightly so. You may have heard, for instance, that at the first JordanCon she allowed us to play the tape of him dictating a scene from the prologue of The Gathering Storm, but she asked for it not to be recorded, and she doesn't really want it to be played again. It was just that one time for that special event. People asked her why, and her response was that she didn't want people to remember Robert Jordan in his weakest hours. I think that is a very valid point.

    So the decision will be Harriet's. I haven't even approached her about this yet, because I don't think it's the appropriate time. But once the series is done and we've had some time away from it, I will ask her if it's all right if I do something like this.

    It would include a lot of the things you mention. Specifically what I want to do is talk about the writing process and the difficult decisions that you mention, some of the scenes that didn't end up in the books, some of the things that Robert Jordan had written as potential scenes. I've mentioned before that in his notes he would often have comments where he says, "I will either do this, or this," and sometimes the options are very contradictory. He had not yet decided between them, and I ended up being the one who decided which one we were going to do. So I would include those and some of the actual notes.

    The reason Harriet may not want this to happen is that if his final publication is unfinished notes, that might make her uncomfortable. I certainly intend to make a plea for the importance of this from a scholarly standpoint, that people might be able to have access to this, and also so that the notes are there for people who don't like my interpretation of things, so they can see exactly what Robert Jordan had to say. I'm really hoping we can do it, but let's wait until the series is done and then I'll approach Harriet about it.


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  • 131

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2011

    Dr. T ()

    
In plotting an epic like The Way of Kings, to what extent do you outline the whole story? How does that compare with the outline and notes provided by Robert Jordan for the remaining volumes of WoT?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Robert Jordan and I plot differently. In the notes he tends to talk about scenes that he's working on at the time, whereas I tend to plot out everything, kind of in reverse order. His outlines do end up looking like my outlines in some ways, in that he talks about important moments and I tend to plot backwards, starting from those important moments and moving backward from them. He seemed to be much more of a "I work on this scene because I'm passionate about it" writer, where I am a "I build a framework for the entire book and then start writing" writer.

    Tags

  • 132

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Ted Herman

    Is the prologue going to be a real prologue that's kind of split off between the first two prologues?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Can you define split off from the first two prologues?

    Ted Herman

    Well, the second one was a true prologue, even though it was part of three books that were originally going to be one book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The prologue will be like the other two. In fact, we even still have several scenes that Robert Jordan worked on for the prologue, just like we've had in the previous ones. We've mentioned the bulk of the actual writing he did was on the ending and on the prologue, and I have been able to fit several scenes from what he did in each of the prologues, and there's still some of that for this one.

    Tags

  • 133

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Question

    There's a lot of plot lines. Well, the pace of the books have changed a lot, immensely, from The Eye of the World all the way to what's going to come out in A Memory of Light. What are we going to expect in A Memory of Light? I know there's a lot of loose ends to tie up before it all finishes up. Are we going to expect it to be something very hectic? Is it going to be action packed the entire time, or is it going to be something less paced (?)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm gonna RAFO that. Because that's talking too much about the core soul of what the book is. And honestly, you're going to have to decide that. I'm going to have to see what people think of it after I write it, if that makes sense. I don't think I can armchair decide if people are going to feel that this is . . . how people are going to feel this is. It's going to be a good book, and it will feel slightly different from Gathering Storm and slightly different from Towers of Midnight, just like each book in the series has felt slightly different than those before them.

    There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, though Robert Jordan has in his notes specifically several to not tie up. He says, 'this does not get resolved'. And so those will not be resolved. He wanted the world to keep on living and breathing even after the series was done. We are tying up pretty much everything that he did not tell us not to tie up, if my double negative worked there. And so the pace is going to be fairly quick-paced is basically what I can say, but I don't want to say anything more than that.

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  • 134

    Interview: May 30th, 2011

    Isabel

    Brandon Sanderson

    During the train ride I asked about the Black Ajah hunters. Because I felt like there was so much built up and not everything was dealt with. So I asked if for example there weren't that many notes on it. But it was, most of those Egewene parts were RJ's. So I guess it didn't go like I expected.

    Tags

  • 135

    Interview: May 30th, 2011

    Question

    Someone asked about the plotlines that will not be resolved in A Memory of Light, if Brandon could say something about how many that would be.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon explained that RJ left lots of information about the ending and exactly where everyone will end up. This included some direction about things not to resolved, which would annoy some fans (he mentioned Theoryland here). His estimate was that this is something like 5 to 10% of the plot lines, and all minor ones (we will find out what happens to Rand). However, he said that if you remembered what the outriggers would be about you should be able to fill in most of the blanks and unresolved plot lines.

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  • 136

    Interview: Jul 16th, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    He said that up until the last few weeks of his life RJ didn't want anybody to finish the books in case he died and even wanted all the notes, outlines etc destroyed. He only changed his mind a few weeks before his death. I suspect he mentioned this in prior interviews but this was the first I've heard about it myself.

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  • 137

    Interview: Jul 16th, 2011

    herid

    I asked about Galad and his parallels with Mordred that I discussed here.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He started nodding before I finished describing the parallels and said that yes, he was aware of those. But he of course didn't say anything specific about how exactly this might play out. He did say that he has much less freedom with Galad than with some other characters as Galad's plotline was mapped out in detail by RJ.

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  • 138

    Interview: Jul 16th, 2011

    herid

    I also asked him again (Terez asked him about it on my behalf before) about why Taim when he first shows up in Lord of Chaos says that he shaved because of the heat, yet it's mentioned twice in that very scene that he is not sweating and he later teaches Rand the antisweating trick and tells him that it works so well that Rand would soon be able to completely ignore even extreme heat and cold. I discuss this in detail in my blog as I believe it proves that Taim is an impostor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He said that this issue is not discussed in the notes and he missed it himself previously so the best he can say is that this is meant to show that Taim is a suspicious character who is not to be trusted.

    herid

    This doesn't exactly lend support to my theory but I don't think it contradicts it either. I didn't ask him if this proves that Taim is an impostor as he'd RAFO that.

    Tags

  • 139

    Interview: Aug 1st, 2011

    SciFi Bulgaria

    At the end of the The Wheel of Time series we expect an epic battle. We know that many will die and some will survive. Have you made the decision on who lives and who dies or has Mr. Jordan already made that choice for you. Was it hard to let go of characters that you have read about for the last two decades?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The ending itself was already written by Robert Jordan, and it is a fantastic ending. The notes that Robert Jordan left include a quite extensive list of what happens to each major character, and I'm writing their fates according to his wishes.

    It will definitely be hard to know that when the final book comes out, we won't be seeing any more of these characters who we have come to love since the first book came out. But it would have been much harder if we never got to see the end that Robert Jordan had planned. I'm honored to have had the chance to get inside the characters' heads for a couple of years, though it's still a bit sad for me that I don't get to read a new Wheel of Time book at the same time everyone else does.

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  • 140

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2011

    Terez (Wetlandernw)

    What did Cadsuane use to blackmail Flinn, Narishma, and Manfor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. ... That one’s mostly a MAFO. I’ll be honest. That’s a question I should have looked at.

    Terez

    Yeah, I figured it was; I was hoping actually to catch Maria on that one. That was from Wetlander from tor.com.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, was it? Hi Wetlander! That’s one I should know. I’m pretty sure it’s in there somewhere. That’s one I should have looked up, but I’ve just never looked it up. So...

    Maria Simons

    A quote from the notes: "For the men, it would have been at least partly a matter of blackmail. They are distrusting of Rand, and also of Taim to various degrees; none thinks it's safe to go back to the Black Tower; they are known in Cairhien as men who can channel, and also elsewhere, making them marked to an extent, at least on their own."

    So it wasn't anything really hidden, it was just "let us bond you and we'll help you; otherwise you’re all on your own." And it was Hopwil, not Manfor, who was in the first group bonded.

    Footnote—Terez

    I took the three names from Taim's list of "deserters" given to Rand by Logain in Crossroads of Twilight, Chapter 24; Cadsuane wasn't too specific: "Blackmail was a tool she disliked using, but she had already used it on the three Asha'man..." That was in Winter's Heart Chapter 13; she told Rand about the three bonded Asha'man in Chapter 25, and indeed Karldin Manfor was not among those three.

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  • 141

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2011

    Terez

    When did Lan first become a blademaster?

    Brandon Sanderson

    (reading) When did Lan (LAHN) first become...oh, Lan (rhymes with pan), sorry. I hear all these names at JordanCon, and half of them pronounce them one way, and half of them the other way, and I end up getting bad habits.

    Terez

    Yeah. I don’t care.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but Robert Jordan cared, so I try to care.

    Terez

    So is it Lahn or Lan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s Lan.

    Terez

    Okay, good, because that’s how I pronounce it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    As far as I know—someone could correct me—it’s Lan, but Lan was one of those ones that—I believe—some major source had wrong. I could be completely wrong on this. I know Tar Valon (Tar va-LAHN), one major source had wrong, meaning an audiobook reader, or an original typo in one of the glossaries, or something, which really itched at Jim as I understand because he really wanted it to be Tar va-LAHN and not Tar VA-lun. So...when did Lan first become a blademaster? Well...between New Spring and The Eye of the World.

    Terez

    (laughs) Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wait, didn't he...he wasn't a blademaster in New Spring, was he? No...

    Terez

    Not that I'm aware of. And Ryne was better than him then at that time, so...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. So, somewhere in between those two. I suspect that was one of the things that Jim wanted to do in the prequel.

    Terez

    Right. Because there was definitely not a big deal made of it when he killed Toram Riatin.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Maria Simons

    Okay, the notes say that Lan became a blademaster before he turned 20, which would have been before New Spring. My thoughts on this are that Lan got his sword at an early age, and worked really hard with it, and was judged a blademaster by five blademasters sometime pretty early on. It's not mentioned specifically that I can find in New Spring, but it makes sense to me.

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  • 142

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2011

    Terez (herid)

    If Taim already knew how to ignore heat, why did he shave his beard? (Because of the way he read it.) That's not my question.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have no idea.

    Terez

    (laughs) I didn't figure you would.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a pretty random question. I don't even think that's in the notes; I'll be honest with you....that's really not the sort of thing Jim put in his notes, so I'm guessing...I can MAFO that one, if you want to ask Maria, but I really don't know.

    Maria Simons

    I don't know either.

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  • 143

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    keebler980 ()

    I read somewhere that RJ said the final story wasn't set in stone, and was fluid depending of circumstances, feelings, etc. Are the notes that he left older notes from the beginning (original thoughts), or newer notes from right before he passed (changed from his feeling in the beginning of the series)?

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    RJ never actually said that; see the tags for 'the last scene' and 'how will it end?' to see what RJ did say about it (mostly that the outcome was entirely set in stone, but some of the details on how to get there were not).

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have both. There is a lot of flexibility, because often he implied things like: "I'll do this, or maybe this. The tone I'm looking for is this. Make it feel that way."

    Some are hardfast. He wrote the last scene of the series, for example.

    defiantburrito

    Did RJ leave notes intending that somebody else would finish the series? Or are they notes to himself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of the notes were to himself. A large chunk are things he dictated on his death bed in the last weeks, after changing his mind and asking Harriet to find someone. (Originally, he had not wanted anyone to finish it for him.) Some of those dictations are directed more at me.

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  • 144

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    keebler980 ()

    How much of the ending are you creating, not just filling in the blanks per se?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not just filling in holes. At the same time, I'm trying hard to keep anything RJ said in mind, and trying to make the book fit his vision.

    It's a tough balance. There is a lot of work to be done, depending on the character in question. For example, for The Gathering Storm, he left a lot on Egwene, but less on Rand. In Towers of Midnight, a lot on Mat, less on Perrin. He left a lot of notes on how everyone should end up after the Last Battle, but often didn't say how they'd get there.

    One of the things I've been impressed by is this: Harriet and Tor could have hired a ghost writer and pretended that RJ finished the book before he died. People would have believed them. However, while a ghost writer could have imitated RJ's voice, Harriet felt she wanted a fantasy novelist to do it. First, to be honest to the fans. Second, because there was enough work to be done that the person couldn't just connect dots, but would actually have to build parts of the story.

    She gave me complete creative freedom to do what needed to be done, with the understanding that she would edit. (If you don't know, Harriet is one of the 'greats' in sf/f editing. She edited Ender's Game, for example, and may of the big fantasy and sf authors during the 70s and 80s. She discovered RJ, edited him, then married him.)

    So, when I go wrong, she is there to push me the right direction. It's hard to answer a question of how much is me, and how much is RJ. His fingers are on every scene, as I'm trying to match the character voices (but not his writing style exactly) and get them right. Most scenes come from at least a comment in the notes here or there, and for some, he left a paragraph or two explanation. For others, he wrote the entire thing.

    For some, I'm building it from the ground up, taking where the character was at the end of Knife of Dreams and giving them a story that earns them the ending RJ mentioned for them.

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  • 145

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    pivotal ()

    You've mentioned before that RJ left pages and pages of notes, including character development for characters that we've never even seen "on screen". So my question is twofold—how great as a WoT fan was it to get to read those, and is there any chance at all that they will ever be publicly available?

    Brandon Sanderson

    1) It was awesome. It also helped me grow a lot as a writer. 2) I would like, once this is all done, to publish a nonfiction book that includes a lot of the notes, along with explanations of what I did where and how I adapted specific notes. It will be Harriet's call. She doesn't want people's last memory of RJ to be the unfinished things he wrote, as he was very careful not to show unpolished work even to her. I can respect this.

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  • 146

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    simenasak ()

    Will Gaidal Cain be spun out as a hero of the horn of Valere should the horn be sounded again? Can a hero show up there if alive? Will a hero become a "copy" that rests within the horn until called to arms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    As I understand, if you are 'spun out' you do not respond to the call of the Horn. So no Cain showing up if it is sounded again, as he's been spun out.

    Astrogat

    As you understand it? Isn't your understanding more or less canon at this point?

    ilikedirigibles

    No, it's not his world or book series. He can misunderstand something just as well as the next guy.

    Not saying he did here, but just 'cuz he's finishing the series doesn't mean, for example, he can retcon or change anything or do "whatever he wants or thinks".

    Astrogat

    No of course not. But if there are two ways to understand something (that RJ has written) wouldn't it be up to Sanderson to decide which of those he believes to be right?

    So if he thinks that when he's spun out he wont respond to the Horn, no one can ever prove him wrong (there are nothing in the books to contradict this), so wouldn't his understanding be the "right" one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the thing. There are three million+ words of notes, and RJ changed his mind about a lot of things as he wrote, explored, and made decisions. (He talked about this being his process. He saw the Wheel of Time as an organic thing.) So any time I speak on an issue like this, there's the chance that Maria (his assistant) will come to me and say "Actually, Brandon, he changed his mind on that. Look here for the revision." Half the time, it's something he mentioned in passing to her, Harriet, or Alan and isn't even written down.

    So...on things I think I know, but haven't confirmed with Team Jordan yet, I usually add some wiggle room. My knowledge is far from absolute. Fortunately, everything in the books I write gets fact-checked a half dozen times. (Even then, some of my mistakes slip through.)

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  • 147

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sanderson had to write a spanking scene in The Gathering Storm—the one where Cadsuane spanks Semirhage. RJ's instructions on this scene were specific.

    Linda Taglieri

    I think Brandon would have rather it were Semirhage punishing Cadsuane.

    Tags

  • 148

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    galenblade ()

    I know that Jordan left a lot of material behind, but have you ever run across something in that material that you've really wanted to change? Something you felt that thematically or otherwise didn't really fit?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because of the nature of RJ's notes and writing process, there are a lot of things I can (and was told I should) change. Harriet didn't say specifically "Change this." She told me "Jim (RJ) would not have done it exactly like this. You do what you think is best for the story first—that is your primary charge. Don't feel completely beholden to his notes, but respect his story."

    That's kind of how I've done it. If the notes say something that I feel needs to change, I change it, but try to be respectful. An example is Egwene's dinner with Elaida. RJ had this planned as a single event. I split it into two chapters, separated by further discovery by Egwene and growth to earn the second half of the dinner.

    There are many things like that. Places where RJ said "I'm going to do this, or maybe I'll do this, or maybe neither." I choose what fits for the story. It's usually one of the two, sometimes neither one works. I can be more specific once the last book is out.

    That said, I wasn't particularly hip on writing Cadsuane spanking Semirhage. There was no good reason to change it, though. Jim had outlined the scene, and it was in line with the characters.

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  • 149

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    Wlraider70 ()

    Have you ever considered writing a book (or something) about the writing of the WoT?

    I'd like to hear more about the process of compiling Jordan's notes and filling in the gaps. I'd also be really interested in seeing the manuscripts you started with from him and the final product.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd really like to do this. I have considered it, and am interested. I don't think it would work like without being able to publish the notes, however. I'd want at least part of them. So I'd only do this if Harriet agreed.

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  • 150

    Interview: Nov 30th, 2009

    David Lenberg

    Wow. Wow, it sounds great. Now, I know that there are 30 million copies of the Wheel of Time that have been sold worldwide, so the series itself is a massive phenomenon. What's it like to come on board? You're a well-known author in your own right. What's it like to come on board and write a sequel in a series like this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, it's really like becoming stepfather to 30 million people at the same time. The fans, number one, have been great. And they know that before Robert Jordan passed away, he asked his wife to find somebody because he wanted the series completed. And so, everyone knows that this is according to his wishes, which I think helps a whole lot. But at the same time, I feel a deep responsibility to not make these books about me, but to make them about Robert Jordan and about the Wheel of Time. I mean, I was handed a lot of very fascinating notes. In some cases, Robert Jordan had completed scenes for the books. In other cases, he had dictated on his deathbed some scenes that were to happen. He had millions of words of notes about the world and the characters and the setting, and I've been given access to all of that and asked to put together these last concluding volumes.

    He'd been promising people for years and years and years that he knew the last scene of the very last book. And he actually wrote that before he passed away, and I have that in my possession. And so my goal is really to get us there without screwing it up. To step out of the way, to let the characters be themselves, and to let the world continue and the story continue as people have loved for so many years. And make sure that. . . I don't want them to see Brandon, I want them to see the Wheel of Time. And so, that's been a real challenge, to get out of the way, so to speak.

    David Lenberg

    Right, so it can be a seamless experience for the reader.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's my hope. I mean, I haven't been trying to mimic Robert Jordan's voice. I worried that if I tried to do that, it would come across as parody. You imagine a stand-up comedian getting up and doing their Jimmy Carter or whatever, and I worried that would be me doing my Robert Jordan. And so instead I've tried to adapt my style to the Wheel of Time. Having read it for so many years, I know how the Wheel of Time should feel. And so I don't sit and ask myself every sentence, what would Robert Jordan write? Because I can't do that, I can't replace him. Instead, I sit down and say, okay, how would I approach making this feel like the Wheel of Time? And so far, the response I've generally gotten from readers is, you know, if they pick up and they really study and they watch the first few pages they read, they'll say, you know, I can tell the difference. But once they get a little bit into it and start to feel the characters and the setting, and the plot takes a hold of them, they're able to just let that go and they don't notice it any more, and the rest of the book just feels right. And that's the best compliment I think I can get on this book.

    Tags

  • 151

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    TaurusRW

    Will the material written for A Memory of Light by Jordan remain intact in the published novel or will you rewrite it to match your on style of writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am leaving it as intact as possible. In some places, a paragraph at the beginning or end of a section has to be changed to streamline it into the rest of the narrative. In others, line edits have to be done (mostly by Harriet) to fix the language. (Nothing we have from him is in more than a rough draft form.)

    But where I can, I'm not changing anything. Because of this, readers who look very closely might be able to tell where I wrote and where he wrote. But I don't think it is noticeable without detailed scrutiny.

    I suggest to readers that they read the book straight through the first time without trying to pick out which piece was written by which author. I'm hoping to get permission to speak more specifically about how it was all divided once the three books are all out. Then, you can know for certain. But for now, I would prefer (and I'm certain Mr. Jordan would prefer) that you see through the prose and enjoy the story.

    Tags

  • 152

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Nikleas

    WOT question: Did you go through ALL the notes from RJ on the Wheel of Time (if that is even humanly possible) or just those related to A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mr. Jordan left behind notes for the series which, word-length wise, is in EXCESS of the length of the written novels. That was just too much for me to handle. I've used Mr. Jordan's assistants for fetching information from these reserves, and have focused most of my efforts on the notes specifically left for A Memory of Light. The Guide has been very helpful. But mostly, if I need to know something from the notes, I send Maria and Alan searching while I work on the actual prose.

    Tags

  • 153

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    ErrantKnave

    WOT questions: Will all three A Memory of Light books feature Rand, Mat, and Perrin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: They will all three appear in all three books, but it will not be equally balanced. Some characters will be more of a focus in some of the books, and other will be more of a focus in others. This is particularly true of the first two volumes, where I had to juggle which characters would be a focus in one, and which will be a focus in the other.

    ErrantKnave

    I ask because you said the prologue Robert Jordan wrote would probably be split over two books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it will be. I don't know yet if the third volume will have a prologue or not. The material Mr. Jordan wrote for the prologue is split, half in the prologue of The Gathering Storm, half in the prologue of the second volume.

    ErrantKnave

    Does this mean story arcs are getting split as well?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I tried to keep story arcs contained in a single book. We'll get glimpses from some of the characters in the first book, with a more complete story arc in the second book. And we'll get story arcs in the first book from some characters, followed by glimpses in the second.

    The split actually turned out really well. I think I managed to get a balance working where characters don't vanish for entire volumes, but we still get to have complete character arcs.

    Tags

  • 154

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2011

    Wetlandernw

    Brandon didn't say it in so many words, but I got the distinct impression from what he did and didn't say, that the other prequels and outriggers will not be written. He did mention that RJ left some 3 million words worth of notes, equivalent to 10 The Gathering Storms stacked together. Much of it will be distilled down to furnish the Encyclopedia which Harriet will publish. He also mentioned that the Encyclopedia was always intended to be Harriet's project, not RJ's; they had been planning it for some time already prior to his illness.

    Tags

  • 155

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    For anyone who didn't know yet, he's doing another Great Hunt on this tour; the text to be revealed is a piece of RJ's notes, to give us an idea of the kind of information collected in those 3,000,000 words. (No, he didn't slip a clue into my book this year. It was too much to hope for... and with my list of questions, I completely forgot to ask about the Hunt!)

    Tags

  • 156

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I'm off on my tour. The Alloy of Law release party was a blast, even though the bookstore was a little light on copies. We managed to get everyone a book, I think. So huzzah, and forward.

    One of the things I announced yesterday on Twitter and Facebook was another Great Hunt to coincide with my tour. If you aren't familiar with it, this is a concept from the Wheel of Time books which I (very loosely) adapted into a scavenger hunt to hold while on tour. I leave codes hidden around the world for Wheel of Time fans to locate, and they collectively input them into a web page which slowly unlocks text for everyone to see. (You can read a recap of last year's Great Hunt here.)

    I have some thirty codes to reveal, hide, or otherwise give out while on tour this time. I may hide some inside books in certain bookstores. I might give them to individuals (like Tor employees) for safe keeping, and require you to figure out who they are. Or, perhaps, you might have to do something else. Whatever strikes me.

    Before we go farther, however, some ground rules:

    1. The codes are inside envelopes this year, with a label requesting that a bookstore employee NOT open the envelope and read the code over the phone. I'll probably prepare the bookstore employees for what is coming. You are required to fetch the codes yourself, or at least send someone you personally know to get the code. I don't want you bothering employees of any store—whether it be bookstores or someone from a store next door—to do the work for you. They aren't being paid to fetch codes. If you know someone in the area and can send them, go for it. Avoid bothering strangers.

    2. All but four of the codes need to be entered in order to reveal the secret, but each one inputted will reveal small bits. This is a collective endeavor. Share information, work together. Once you find a code, input it on this page. Everyone else, feel free to watch the page and try to figure out what the secret is going to be as more is revealed.

    3. It is okay to try to guess codes. They have something in common. In a way, they are some fun information themselves.

    4. If you want to get involved, both Theoryland and Dragonmount (among others) are likely to have threads where you can post, participate, and see what codes have been found and what others have been tried. You can follow the hunt's progress by searching for the hashtag #wotgh on Twitter.

    Now, as to the secret itself, I feel I should manage some expectations. Last year, we revealed a chapter from the upcoming Wheel of Time book. There are no chapters that are ready this time; they're all in first-draft stage. So the secret this time will not be something quite so earth-shattering. (Sorry.)

    I still think it is cool, though it is more in the 'cool curiosity' category rather than the 'sneak peek' category. This is something that was written by Robert Jordan himself, and is taken directly from his notes. People have frequently asked us to show some of the notes, and Harriet agreed to let us show you this chunk. It is illustrative of the kinds of things you'd find in the notes themselves.

    So, swear the hunter's oath and get to it! Let's have some fun. I plan to give away some of these in each city I visit, so UK Wheel of Time fans, you should have plenty of opportunities this year to help out.

    Best,

    Brandon

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  • 157

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm in the middle of my tour for The Alloy of Law right now; I'm in Houston today and will be in London by Saturday. If you want email reminders when I'll be near you, sign up and tell me your city. Meanwhile this year's Great Hunt continues, and readers have gone a long way toward deciphering the encoded file from Robert Jordan's notes.

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  • 158

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Matthías Páll G. (14 November 2011)

    Will you be able to fit the rest of Jordan's notes into A Memory of Light, or will they be released?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 November 2011)

    There are way too many notes to fit into one book. Many will be in the encyclopedia that Harriet is doing.

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  • 159

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    LordJuss

    The evening began with the amusing sight of Brandon Sanderson piling various items of furniture on top of one another to create a home-made lectern for his laptop. Following a brief aside on the difference between a lectern and a podium (and how this plays into the editorial process), Brandon read from a novella he’s recently written. [Legion] Apparently, he started it on the flight back to the US the last time he came to the UK. He couldn’t work on the Wheel of Time since he was awaiting the outcome of some research on the notes. He went on to explain that Robert Jordan left a pile of notes roughly half Brandon’s height that his two researchers dip into when Brandon needs an answer to one of his questions. This is normally quick, but it can take several months to come up with a fully researched answer. The reading lasted about eight minutes and seemed to be from the beginning of the novella. I won’t spoil the concept, but it’s clever and deeply silly.

    The evening then moved to a Q&A. Questions and answers are paraphrased from my notes and memory, so they won’t be absolutely word-for-word, but they shouldn’t be much different from the original conversation. I’ve included all the questions, not just the Wheel-related ones.

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  • 160

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Question

    Your writing style in the Wheel of Time is very close to Robert Jordan's but is much less so in your other books. Are you frustrated by having to write in Jordan's style?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not at all. But I have to change some things as I go to make it work my way. I have complete creative freedom, so I don’t find it constraining. I write what I need and then Harriet checks it. If I can get it past her then I know it’s right. Besides, constraint can be really useful for a writer as it fuels creativity. If you have a dry patch (as all writers do) then a really odd writing task, like having to write about sentient vegetables taking over the world, can push you in new directions. So, I have been creative in the Wheel of Time and I have put some audacious things in there. But Robert Jordan was already an audacious author. For example, cleansing the taint before the end of the series was an audacious piece of writing. So, I have freedom, but if something is in the notes, we always try to include it. The only time we don’t is if he wrote about something that happens to a character in one part of the notes, then contradicted it elsewhere. In that case, we have to make a decision. Also, sometimes the notes say a character will do something, but I can find no way to get them where they are supposed to be to do it. In that case, we sometimes have another character do it instead, but I can talk more about that when A Memory of Light is out.

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  • 161

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Question (How did the series originate?)

    Was the storyline for "New Spring" one that was created at the same time as the rest of the WoT plot, or did you come up with it specifically for the Legends anthology?

    Robert Jordan

    The basis was notes that I had made for myself on backstory, things that I had never intended to put into the books themselves, but that I needed to know to write the books: such as where did Moiraine and Lan meet, and where did they come from.

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  • 162

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Question (How did the series originate?)

    [At this point, people were managing to wedge their way in between me and the table (coming within three inches of RJ), so I didn’t really get the whole question. Something along the lines of:] Are you making this up as you go along, or do you have everything planned out?

    Robert Jordan

    Everything is planned out. RJ has humongous files on his computer dedicated to certain topics. Example: two files for the Aes Sedai. The first one has info on each Aes Sedai. Everything she wears, eats, where she was born, etc. The second is history of the Tower. Halls, Amyrlins, organization, etc. He then said he was lucky to get a LS120 drive, because these files were getting too large for 1.44’s.

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  • 163

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    What are you planning to do with all the notes you have made for The Wheel of Time when you are completely done with the series?

    Robert Jordan

    I might publish some of them. I have thought about publishing some sort of concordance, or single volume dictionary/encyclopedia, a very straightforward thing, not with any pretenses to be part of the Wheel of Time. From the beginning my editor has kept a list of words—created words—every plant that I mentioned, animal that I mentioned, every person’s name that was sitting in a town, or a village or an inn, every song. And it’s all there in that long, long list, and just the bare list right now I think is probably over a thousand pages. Which would present some difficulties, but the thing is I think I might take that list and give the basics, give definitions, put in definitions, put in references, who this person is, where this person’s seen.

    Kurafire

    Sort of like a massive glossary..?

    Robert Jordan

    In a way, yes. I don’t know, I think, perhaps, there might be some interest in that. I certainly wouldn’t do it until this is all over, because I, uhm, if and when I do it, I would like it to be complete, just nothing left out.

    Kurafire

    There is a large request from the fans that you do not let it to be edited, and that you publish them in their ‘raw diamond form’.

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, ah, okay.

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  • 164

    Interview: 2001

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    How do you keep track of everything? There are a lot of characters in your books, so what do you do? Do you keep a chart on the wall?

    Robert Jordan

    No. No. No. Mainly I do it in my head. I have voluminous notes on my computer. But I realize 95 percent of the time that when I go to the notes, it is actually to add in new things that I have decided to say or do about a character or a nation or a culture or an organization. These things can get huge.

    I do not usually go in to find out things. It's as if the act of having put the information into the file has helped me remember it. I don't say that it's 100 percent. I do have to sometimes go in and check to be sure about a particular character, somebody who's not a major character, exactly how did I spell her name? Or, did I say what color his eyes were?

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  • 165

    Interview: 2006

    Cadsuane Melaidhrin

    Robert Jordan

    Cadsuane Melaidhrin was born in 705 NE in the city-state of Far Madding. At the age of fifteen, she went to the White Tower. There she spent six years as a novice and five years as Accepted. She might have moved faster as novice and Accepted—in fact almost certainly should have—but she was noted for both her stubbornness and her pride (read arrogance). At age 26, she was raised Aes Sedai and chose the Green Ajah.

    Cadsuane was very strong in the One Power; for many years she served as the gauge by which every incoming novice was judged. In the last thousand years, no one had matched her and few had come close. Certainly no one in that time had exceeded her. Not even with her full strength yet, she was, on the very day she attained the shawl, at the pinnacle of the Aes Sedai social hierarchy.

    She stood about 5'5" tall and was neither slender nor stout. She was not pretty, but she was strikingly handsome with a fair complexion. She had dark eyes, which some people occasionally mistook for black, especially when she was focused on them in an unpleasant fashion. Her hair became iron-gray, and she wore it in a bun on top of her head; the bun was decorated with small dangling golden ornaments, stars and moons and birds and fish. These hair ornaments were considered something of a trademark because she had worn them for as long as anyone could remember. For many sisters, the fact that she had was just one more indication of how set in her ways she was; they thought Cadsuane would never change, could never change. Of course, that was far from true; Cadsuane was remarkably adaptable, as befits someone who survived as long as she.

    Cadsuane was considered by many to be a second Caraighan, although unlike Caraighin, she always refused offices. She preferred the field, so to speak; adventures were her bag. It was said that Cadsuane went through more Warders than most sisters have shoes; she didn't have all that many, since she was as vulnerable to the effects of a Warder's death as anyone else. Later in life, she refused to take another Warder because she felt that at her age, bonding a Warder would not be fair to the man.

    Cadsuane first refused to be raised a Sitter in 846 NE; she reportedly did so a second time as well, though even one refusal was unheard of. She refused to be raised head of the Green Ajah in 862 NE, another thing that was unheard of. She was said to have vanished from the Tower for ten years (from roughly 890 NE to 900 NE) when she learned that the Hall intended to raise her Amyrlin after Sereille Bagand. She retired to northern Ghealdan about twenty-five years before the Aiel War, but came out of retirement, with her two surviving Warders, for that conflict. Soon after the Aiel War ended, she returned to her rustication. She claimed to have been raising roses when Logain appeared. His appearance drew her out of retirement again, but she was not interested in escorting him to Tar Valon and decided to wander a bit. Then Mazrim Taim rose up, and she headed for Saldaea as fast as she could ride.

    When Siuan Sanche and Moiraine Damodred had reason to research Cadsuane because of their encounter with her shortly after reaching the shawl, they found many stories regarding Cadsuane. All of the ones that they were able to trace down turned out to be true, and in some cases the truth was more than the story. They were not able to follow or confirm all of the stories, of course.

    One of the most prevalent Cadsuane stories was that she had once physically assaulted an Amyrlin Seat. Since physically assaulting any sister is a serious offense—and an Amyrlin even more so—the fact that Cadsuane apparently escaped any punishment at all, and that the tale is vague about which Amyrlin it was supposed to be, made most everyone think this story was false. It wasn't; it was the method Cadsuane used to turn Myriam Copan from a weak Amyrlin to a strong one in 758 NE. Myriam was thought to have gone on a two-month retreat by herself, but she had, in fact, been all but kidnaped by Cadsuane. Turning Myriam around involved, among other things, turning her upside down at least once. Although Myriam certainly had reason to keep the events of those two months secret (and was able to make a statement which seemed to deny that Cadsuane had assaulted her), it is the basis of the tale that Cadsuane once physically assaulted an Amyrlin.

    Another story said that long ago she had removed a sitting king from his palace and taken him to Tar Valon to be gentled. In truth, Cadsuane had "a nose" for men who can channel. She faced more of them than any other sister living; she herself said more than any two Reds, maybe more than any ten. That seems to indicate at least twenty of them by that time, maybe more. She brought more of them to Tar Valon than any other sister. Of these, she never had to kill one, either because she could not capture him or because he was trying to escape. These men have ranged over the years from farmboys to nobles to the king of Tarabon, but one and all, they made much better adjustments to their fate than is considered normal. They eventually died short of a normal span, but they lived considerably longer than usual. And that King of Tarabon: he had to be winkled out of his palace, avoiding his army, which sought to rescue him. She carried him all the way to Tar Valon for gentling by herself, though pursued by his army that refused to believe that he was what he was.

    It was also said that she kidnaped a King of Arad Doman and a Queen of Saldaea. After she released them, a war that had seemed inevitable simply faded away. She did actually spank or switch three reigning kings and four queens, though the facts of these are hidden in rumor.

    Cadsuane is alleged to have once single-handedly stopped a coup in the White Tower. This did happen, though no one seems to know or agree on when. The true story: Cadsuane and Sereille Bagand did not get on with each other. In fact, they could not stand one another. Each was the sort of woman who dominated a room—or for that matter, a city!—by simply entering, and they struck sparks at every meeting. Despite her dislike for Sereille, though, Cadsuane uncovered a plot to overthrow Sereille and crushed it. The plotters thought she would be eager to join them, but she dragged the weeping ringleaders to Sereille and made them throw themselves on Sereille's rather small mercies. Sereille was not particularly pleased to have been saved—the plot was well laid out and ready to leap off—by one she so disliked.

    She had a reputation for standing White Tower custom on its head, twisting it as she chose, and even violating it outright, as in her frank speech about age, her direct questions and refusals to accept oblique answers, and her interference in the actions of other sisters. The same could be said of her regarding Tower law, for that matter. She had a reputation for taking direct action, even to the point of violence, slapping faces, boxing ears, and more (especially when faced with what she considered stupidity), with high as often as low, or rather, more often. She also had a reputation for not caring whether she dented somebody's pride, if she thought it necessary.

    There are the usual tales expected of a Green, only more of them. Riots suppressed and wars stopped single-handedly; rulers steadied on their thrones, or pulled from them, sometimes toppled openly and sometimes more subtly (toppling rulers was something Aes Sedai had not really done much of in the last thousand years, but Cadsuane seemed in many ways a throwback). Rescuing people carried into the Blight or kidnaped by dangerous bands of Darkfriends, breaking up murderous rings of Darkfriends plaguing villages and towns, and exposing powerful Darkfriends who tried to kill her to protect themselves. There are dozens, even hundreds, of improbable and sometimes seemingly impossible tales.

    Some of these are not so much tales about her as an impression, a belief: Cadsuane will do what she intends to do, and no one can stop her: not a king or a queen, not an Amyrlin—not even the Dark One himself, some claimed. And when Rand al'Thor arose to power as the Dragon Reborn, Cadsuane once again chose to take part in directing the events of the world.

    Footnote

    This passage was decoded by a dedicated group of fans well before Brandon expected. Because of that, Brandon and Harriet were nice enough to give us a few more tidbits.

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  • 166

    Interview: 2006

    Forsaken Events

    Robert Jordan

    None of the Forsaken know that Osan'gar (Corlan Dashiva) is dead, but they know he's vanished. They are pretty much sure that Sammael is dead, because he isn't the type to remain in hiding, but think Asmodean might well be hiding out until he can figure a way to return safely. They know that Rahvin and Be'lal are dead, though some at least suspect reincarnation as Aran'gar and Osan'gar. Most have worked out that Moridin is Ishamael.

    Footnote

    Aran'gar and Osan'gar are Balthamel and Aginor transmigrated, respectively. Most of the Forsaken we've had in POV seem to have figured that out.

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  • 167

    Interview: 2006

    FORCED-LINKING-STUDIES

    Robert Jordan

    When Careanne (Sareitha) is explaining about the impossibility of one woman forcing a link on another, this study should have survived from the Breaking, I think. Or, at least, it was begun during the Breaking. After this second study was begun and had gone on for a number of years, more of the original was discovered. With the destruction of the intervening years, relatively little is known, some of it only to the Black Ajah.

    Footnote

    This topic is explored a little more thoroughly here.

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  • 168

    Interview: 2006

    Thief Names

    Robert Jordan

    (Lprol) bullyboy—referring to those Valda had gathered around him.
    (L22) horsethief and poacher.
    (C38) shoulderthumper [with knife]—probably meaning something more like "tough" rather than thief.

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  • 169

    Interview: 2006

    INSECTS CATERPILLARS WORMS ETC BK10

    Robert Jordan

    ants—thrive in Ebou Dar; also in Two Rivers, Baerlon, Kandor, Seanchan; mentioned by Caemlyn woman
    bees—in Blight; found on Illian's sigil; mentioned by Two Rivers woman and Caemlyn woman
    beetles—see cockroach and roach; all over Andor, Tar Valon, Cairhien, Tanchico, Rhuidean, Ebou Dar, Salidar, and mentioned by Seanchan
    biteme—in Two Rivers and Salidar; mentioned by Arafellin woman, Ghealdanin woman, and Forsaken

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  • 170

    Interview: 2006

    1-NOBLE HOUSE BY NATION

    Robert Jordan

    SHIENAR:
    TOGITA—Easar (E48 G4 D11 F49 Pprol W28 WH9)
    JAGAD—Agelmar (E45 G2 F27 L1 Pprol W14)
    YOKATA—Kayen (WH27)
    SHINOWA—Ingtar (E48 G9)

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  • 171

    Interview: 2006

    LONG DAY BY DAY, BK9, IN CONVERSION

    Robert Jordan

    —157 (F35) Last possible day for rebel Aes Sedai in Salidar to have decided to start testing women "as old as Nynaeve."

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  • 172

    Interview: 2006

    COS-CHECK,01.BK7

    Robert Jordan

    Anselan F24. Historical. Dunsinin 532 F24. Historical. The pair are linked, if not quite as Birgitte remembers them.

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  • 173

    Interview: 2006

    001 SITUATIONS IN VARIOUS LANDS

    Robert Jordan

    Amadicia is pretty firmly under the control of the Seanchan. The king is reported dead, fighting the Seanchan, and since the Amadician court accompanied him to the battle, even if not necessarily into the fighting, and since that required the presence of all the nobility, for all practical purposes Amadicia has no nobility left. They are all, or nearly all, dead or made da'covale by the Seanchan.

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  • 174

    Interview: Nov 2nd, 2005

    Phoenix Hunter

    When did the first inklings of the Wheel of Time come to mind?

    Robert Jordan

    His answer (paraphrased): "Some time in the mid 70's, though I didn't start writing it till the mid 1980's."

    PHOENIX HUNTER

    I then quickly followed up with, "Did you make any notes in the beginning?"

    ROBERT JORDAN

    "No."

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  • 175

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    Also, this year's Great Hunt is still going, even though industrious readers have already pretty much decoded the entire excerpt. So we've added some new surprises that further codes will unlock.

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  • 176

    Interview: Jun, 2011

    Marie Curie

    And....here's the second snippet, posted a few days ago (12 December 2011). I hope that Brandon eventually agreed to have some of Harriet's bean soup...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I got to read the ending–what?–four years ago now. I don't know if you've heard that story, but I went to visit Charleston for the first time in December of 2007, so almost exactly four years ago now. I met Harriet at the airport, she picked me up. And it had been a long flight, I'd been without food for a while. And she drove me back to her house, this wonderful home in Charleston–it was built in the 1700s–just gorgeous town home. And she said, "Do you want dinner?" as we pulled up. And she said, "I have some bean soup that I made, it's quite good." I said, "Actually, I want the ending." And she laughed and she went and fetched that for me, and I got to read. Sit down and find out who killed Asmodean, find out the fates of all the characters. And read all of this, in mostly note form. So I did get that. But I don't get to read the ending.

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  • 177

    Interview: Jun, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    It feels very comforting at least that fans have liked these last ones as much as they had, and that the reception has been good. I can only hope that you all will enjoy the ending as much as you've enjoyed the last books. I will tell you this: I found the ending incredibly satisfying. When I got there, and I sat and I read that alone quietly, and actually in Robert Jordan's chair, in his room, just a few feet from the computer he'd written a lot of the books on. I felt immensely and deeply satisfied with this conclusion that he wrote himself. It feels right to me. And so, I hope that you will have a similar experience.

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  • 178

    Interview: Dec 15th, 2011

    Zas (Terez)

    When Lan tracked down Myrelle in Lord of Chaos, she used the bond to Compel him to come to her, in such a way that he wouldn't detect it. Did she have to use the bond to seduce Lan, or did he just go along because he didn't have anything better to do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    (laughter) I'd have to look that one up. I don't know. I'd have to look it up. I don't have the answer to that one. We'll call that one a MAFO though. I'm actually curious myself (laughter).

    Maria Simons

    The question poses a false dichotomous argument: was Lan "seduced" by the bond or did he have nothing better to do? [Terez: it was a joke.] Suffice to say that Lan was psychologically devastated at this point—not in his right mind, his will to live shattered. Myrelle took control of him to save his life; he really had no choice in the matter. And here’s a quote from the notes for you: “She had to use the bond to compel [notice lower case here] him, sometimes, which she found both odd and somewhat insulting.” But one has to put this in the context of her other Warders, who eagerly complied with her desires, carnal or otherwise.

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  • 179

    Interview: Nov, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I plot backward. I start with a goal, and then I build an outline that gets me to that goal. And then I write forward. With the Wheel of Time books, I'm in a unique position because often I have that goal already stated in the notes, or it's a scene that Robert Jordan has written that I need to get to. The outline for the first two was very detailed, because Robert Jordan had all of these materials which I needed to weave into an outline. We say there was an outline. Really there was a list of scenes in no particular order, and I had to turn them into an outline. And I wanted to go over that with Maria and Harriet and make sure I wasn't screwing anything up.

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  • 180

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    eliyannakaiser

    How goes loverboy's Min/[Elayne]/Aviendha thingee? And which girl would you go with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s interesting, as could be expected. I’d pick Min for me, but Aviendha for Rand. Know that RJ was very clear on how that whole thing was to end up. So no guesswork by me. (whew).

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  • 181

    Interview: May 24th, 2010

    Michael R. Mennenga

    So now, this thing is coming out in December? Or, when is this out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    November is what we're looking at. What happened is, the final notes that Robert Jordan left behind, at his widow's direction. . . His widow, Harriet, was actually his editor. She discovered him as a writer first, and then she married him. She's still very heavily involved, and she's my editor on the project. She decided to take the notes and split them into three novels. So the first one came out last November, and the next one comes out this November, and then there will be a final volume, either next year or the year after that.

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  • 182

    Interview: May 24th, 2010

    Michael R. Mennenga

    Right, right. That's awesome. That was actually going to be one of my next questions is: what do you think the fans are really wanting out of this trilogy, and have you been addressing some of that, or are you just going your own route?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, as a fan myself, I've been...how shall I say? It's important to listen fan response, but it's important not to be driven by it. And that's a very fine line to walk because, as we said, what the fan wants isn't necessarily what will make the best story. Sometimes you have to do things that, you know, they're going to be angry about, but in the long run will like more. And fortunately, I have very extensive notes from Robert Jordan, outlines and these sorts of things to use. I'm not just coming up with it all myself. There are big holes, things that I have a lot more freedom on, and there are other places where he wrote down what needs to happen, and I'm following that because it's what's appropriate to do. So, I am looking at fan expectations, but more it's to help guide how I present things and less about making me decide what to present, if that makes any sense.

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  • 183

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    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.

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  • 184

    Interview: Dec 5th, 2000

    Br00se

    The next question was by Daniel Rouk I believe, correct me if I'm wrong. I've posted this part before, but included it for completeness.

    QUESTION

    How do you keep track of all the information? Do you have, like, a database?

    Robert Jordan

    I have a database. Yes. I have a database, in a way a rather rudimentary one. It is simply a huge collection of files organized on characters, on cultures, um (pause) organizations, anything that I think I might need to know about the world. But to tell you the truth, I usually go into those files to add in new things that I've come up with. It's not that often that I go in there to check on things.

    QUESTION

    Do you keep a list of all your different threads so you don't have a whole bunch of hanging.....

    ROBERT JORDAN

    No, no, no, no, no, no that's all in my head. It doesn't exist anywhere except in my head.

    QUESTION

    Thanks.

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  • 185

    Interview: Nov 29th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    —Talked about some of his medals and how he got them.

    —Again talked about people writing in his world and this time made another reference to "breaking something".

    —Talked about some of his reference material he has made such as a listing of all of the Aes Sedai. Said that alone takes up an entire floppy disk.

    —And the funniest thing of the night was when a friend of mine asked him about the *sniffs* RJ said that "a women can put more in a single sniff than a guy can in a 'Yo Mutha!'"

    That was funny. RJ actually said 'Yo Mutha!'

    RJ cool

    ~B

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  • 186

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Sara Khan (19 January 2012)

    Is there a possibility of the publication of RJ's notes or some sort of comprehensive, detailed guide for WoT after A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson (19 January 2012)

    Harriet is doing an encyclopedia which should be awesome. Very comprehensive.

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  • 187

    Interview: Dec 8th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    What was your initial reaction when you read the outline Harriet put together for A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually haven't seen it yet. All I know is that there IS an outline, as well as some other material that Mr. Jordan gave via dictation. I'm flying out to sort through it and speak with Harriet, and will probably be there when this interview goes public on Monday the 10th.

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  • 188

    Interview: Dec 8th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    We know that Robert Jordan left extensive notes, as well as some audio tapes and actual written parts for this novel. We know your intent is to tell his story. Having seen the outline, how much of the actual plot (the plot points, character arcs, intrigue, etc) do you think you'll have to come up with on your own?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I honestly don't know yet. (As mentioned above.) I think we should probably do another interview about this in the coming months, as I will have a better idea.

    However, know that I intend to use EVERY BIT of actual written text from Mr. Jordan, and in intend to follow those outlines as exactly as possible. I've been told that there is a substantial amount that I will have to come up with, but I will always have a guide—if only a few lines or dictated explanations.

    And, as I understand it, the notes about the ending are very detailed—I think the last chapter may even have been written in full. If that's the case, then I'll be very happy. I would much rather be the guy who writes the middle fifty chapters of this book than have to be the one who writes the last five.

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  • 189

    Interview: Dec 8th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    Who killed Asmodean? Come on, just tell us. Please. I won't tell Harriet you told me.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, okay. You've got a right to know. I'll tell just you.

    It was Bela.

    JASON DENZEL

    Ok, if you won't tell us, will you tell us in A Memory of Light?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I certainly intend to! I hope he left notes on it.

    Tags

  • 190

    Interview: 2006

    DAYS SINCE—EXPANDED

    Robert Jordan

    D-24

    Karede catches up with Mat and the Band. Tuon completes the marriage ceremony.

    Mat fights a battle with Elbar's men to allow Karede to get Tuon away safely.

    Elayne is 66 days pregnant.

    Melaine is 167 days pregnant.

    Tags

  • 191

    Interview: Dec 17th, 2011

    Loialson

    On Elaida—Did RJ leave notes about the rapid downward spiral that is Elaida's personality? First she seems like a mean but competent Aes Sedai, then it all goes sideways with a taste of power happens and Elaida becomes an egomaniac. Did RJ and Brandon do this to give Seanchan knowledge of Traveling? Only a nutbar would do something with such huge ramifications to betray her sisters.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He left specific notes regarding Elaida and her downfall.

    Tags

  • 192

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    thesnowflake ()

    Sorry, another WOT question:

    How much brainstorming did you do to simplify the plot? What was the process like? Robert Jordan wrote himself into a hole...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Once I got the project, I spent about six months building an outline. Mr. Jordan didn't outline extensively. Like GRRM and Stephen King, Robert Jordan was much a 'discover it as I go' type writer. He did have the endings for many of the characters in the notes, however, so you'd be surprised. He wasn't in as much a hole as you might have thought; mostly, it was the side characters who needed direction and a few of the mains needed bridging sequences to where he wanted them to be at the end.

    Tags

  • 193

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    Luckers

    What happened to Moiraine’s original angreal? The one she had in the Two Rivers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, you mean the fat man with... no, wait that was Rand....

    LUCKERS

    Yeah, Moiraine’s one was an ivory woman.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, yeah. You know, that’s a good question, because it’s odd, the notes specifically said she got the angreal as one of her wishes...

    LUCKERS

    Ah, so it’s definitely not the angreal Lanfear had? People have asked, I think because both were bracelets.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    No, it’s definitely a different angreal. But yes, if she had another angreal, why would she ask for one?

    LUCKERS

    Maybe the Finns took her original one. I mean she was naked when they found her, so they took...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, maybe *looks dubious*.

    LUCKERS

    Or maybe it’s still in Cairhien with the rest of her stuff.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, but it would still be odd, that she’d ask, if she had another. Yeah, so, I don’t know, sorry.

    Footnote

    There are not two bracelets; the description in The Fires of Heaven is the exact same description of that given in Towers of Midnight. In other words, Moiraine's new angreal is the same one she clawed away from Lanfear; her old one disappeared.

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  • 194

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    Luckers

    Do the Seanchan know of angreal? Can a damane use one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They know of angreal. That’s in the notes. And yes, as far as I know a damane should be able to use one. I mean damane are essentially in links, and women in links can still use angreal, but this is a good question, because, it’s odd then that we haven’t seen them use them.

    LUCKERS

    Maybe they were thought too valuable to risk in an invasion—though that’s odd, because that would be sort of where they are needed most.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, I’m not sure... that is strange. But they definitely know of angreal.

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  • 195

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    Luckers

    Do the Forsaken know the weaves Elza used to break the warding Cadsuane placed on the Domination Band?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    LUCKERS

    So, why didn’t they use it on wardings Rand placed on Callandor, and the other things they’ve wanted that were warded earlier in the series?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    *stares at me for a long moment, thoughtfully* They may not have know them then. The thing is... we don’t see a lot of the Shadow innovating with the Power, unlike with the Light, but they have been. As much as the Light. But they know, now. The notes definitely say this.

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  • 196

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    Luckers

    Can someone who is leashed by an a'dam touch Tel'aran'rhiod?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *blinks at me* Umm. That's a really good question.

    Luckers

    I ask, because it's odd that Moghedien never tried to use the dream to escape, or to capture someone in Salidar and compel her to free Moghedien in the waking world, or anything like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's a good question. I'd guess no, but you can MAFO that.

    Maria Simons

    I believe that you cannot touch Tel'aran'rhiod while leashed, but I can't find anything in the notes that states so outright.

    Footnote

    When Brandon was first asked this question in 2010, he said "90% yes". In 2013 (after Luckers' 2012 interview), he said it was "not outside the realm of possibility". Maria answered the question later in 2013.

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  • 197

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    Luckers

    Okay, so the warding on the Great Holding in Tear... it’s just, Moiraine, Mat, Rand, the Wonder Girls, all come and go with ease, yet Mesaana speaks of there being a nasty warding that stopped her getting in, and there is no sign that Be’lal... I mean, why wouldn’t Be’lal have taken the fat man angreal?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *nodding before I finished* MAFO. That was something I was going to look into myself, because it stumped me during my last re-read. I never got round to it... you haven’t seen the size of the pile of notes, they are huge, and most of my time... I have to give over to things that are involved in what I’m working on. Sometimes though, I do just go into them purely for fan interest.

    Luckers

    I would love to have an afternoon alone with the notes. *another fan nods fervently*

    Maria Simons

    It is my understanding that Rand put that warding on when he was getting ready to leave Tear. As for Be’lal . . . well, he was one of the Chosen; what need had he of an angreal to go up against an untrained sheepherder? That’s my best guess, anyway.

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  • 198

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon was talking about the differences between his writing and Jim’s, and choosing not to try and match styles because it couldn’t be done. He describe it as 'I do serviceable prose, where Jim wrote beautiful prose', and that there have been scenes he’s come to where he’s simply had to say 'I just have to do this my way, there’s nothing for it'.

    He spoke then of Jim’s ability to layer subtle foreshadowing, which is something he’s never had to do outside of his story behind the story [he’s referring to the greater cosmos of his own works, the whole, Shards of Adonalsium and Hoid storylines that go on in the background]. He said it has been a real challenge to catch all the balls that Jordan left in the air, and that sometimes you can see that. ‘Some he caught smoothly, others he snatched from the air and slammed on the table. Some he even just said 'this happened'.

    Finally he spoke of plotting, and how sometimes Jordan’s notes have said two contradictory things ‘maybe I’ll do this, or maybe I’ll do this other completely opposite thing’. Brandon said he then often had to choose between them, or sometimes choose a third thing entirely.

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  • 199

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Bishop Mekay (15 April 2012)

    I know you see my tweets. Show some respect toward Mr. Jordan and release his notes on the completion of the series. #shady

    Brandon Sanderson (15 April 2012)

    I'm sorry. I often miss tweets. I haven't seen any of your others. I would be happy to release the notes if Harriet allows it.

    BISHOP MEKAY

    Thank you. It would bring joy to my heart to feel his words on the ending of the greatest story told. No disrespect intended.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I understand. I plan to push Harriet on this more once the last book is out.

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  • 200

    Interview: Aug 8th, 2009

    WorldCon 2009 - Dom (Paraphrased)

    Dom

    Brandon Sanderson

    He also got into his own approach to magic systems, which lead to questions about how much of a challenge he found the One Power and how he prepared himself to handle it (and yeah, he admits being a One Power fan). Brandon explained researching and analyzing the One Power was one of his main focuses during his pre-writing re-read of the series (the other was analyzing the characters' "voices". He also said RJ left a massive amount of notes about the One Power, some of it he's read (he couldn't read everything, he rather relied on Maria to find him the exact information he needed when he needed it). I think he's said that before—or RJ did—but RJ's notes for WOT are longer than the series itself and he always kept adding to them, from back story and history elements to world building tidbits to creating hundreds of characters he could use to sketches for possible scenes. It was Maria's job to index all of this so if he was writing a scene he wanted to use backstory elements or a new weave in, he could have her look first if this already existed in the notes and what of it had appeared in the series already—or if he didn't already have it and needed to create something from scratch.

    Sanderson said he resisted creating new weaves (beside introducing those Jordan planned to introduce) for the most part. His contribution will rather be to have the characters figure out they can use weaves they know in new ways—turn them into weapon etc., and for this he looked for details in the previous books. He mentioned one specific example: after Knife of Dreams, he thought characters figured out gateways and deathgates can also be used to slice non-Shadowspawn up in battle.

    We also discussed a bit the 21 levels list, which Brandon used a lot. Jordan did start it just the way he described it long ago, that is as a way to keep track of who defers to whom among minor players etc. However, as of now, this document's scope goes beyond this (and it's quite big). The document assigns a rank number to each Aes Sedai referring to the twenty-one levels system, and it lists their personal weaves if they have any, and who knows and have the skills to use which weave and to what extent, their strength in flows if details in the series have blocked this up etc. Brandon confirmed Jordan developed a similar ranking system for the Asha'man as well, but couldn't recall out of hand how many levels there were for them.

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  • 201

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Daniel Shepherd (13 July 2012)

    @Terez27 Trying to figure out who the gay character was that @BrandSanderson put in Towers of Midnight. Was it Androl?

    Terez

    That is my best guess. I wonder if we scared him away from going through with that...'twas very controversial.

    Brandon Sanderson (13 July 2012)

    The place wasn't right in Towers of Midnight. Gay character is in A Memory of Light. It's really not a big deal; just a small mention.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will say, at this point, that it is a character RJ mentioned was gay in the notes, so I noted it in the text.

    Terez

    [Links to following tweet from this conversation.]

    Brandon Sanderson (20 March 2011)

    I won't say if it's a new character or one I made a decision on, since there weren't notes either way.

    Terez (13 July 2012)

    I'm guessing that's a product of Twitter being a bad place for trying to say things clearly. The older tweet was confusing anyway.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow, that was indeed confusing. I don't even know what I was trying to say.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I remember typing was "I won't tell you if it's something RJ had in notes or not."

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  • 202

    Interview: 2012

    Ashan_Darei (June 2012)

    I debated writing this because you seem like a genuinely nice guy who cares about his fans, and I don't want to hurt your feelings. If you find it difficult to read criticism, please don't read any further.

    To be honest, I am hoping that you won't write the outriggers/prequels because it seems to me like your heart's just not in it anymore. In 2011 you announced that you needed time off to reread the entire series before starting work on A Memory of Light since you'd forgotten too much and this had led to continuity issues in Towers of Midnight. But according to your own website, you only reread a third of the series, then went on to work on Alloy of Law, Legion, The Emperor's Soul, The Rithmatist... As someone who enjoyed Way of Kings a great deal, I'm glad that you've continued to work on your own books, but the fact that you abandoned the reread does make me worry about the quality of A Memory of Light. If you cannot give WoT as much time and attention as it needs, it's better to let it go.

    Another big issue for me is the characterization. You're great at writing Perrin and also did a good job with Rand and the girls for the most part. Others felt off, and that unfortunately includes the main characters the outriggers and prequels would focus on. I'll leave out Mat since that's been discussed to death already, but Lan and Moiraine's scenes in Towers of Midnight were a huge disappointment for me. Lan has always been a favorite of mine, but here he came off as a whiny combination of Gawyn and Perrin. He's a grown man in his late 40s, not a sulky teenager.

    Then there's Moiraine, now ready to give up all her power if only Thom tells her to. Yes, her captivity undoubtedly changed her, but at her core, she is someone who was ready to sacrifice everyone and everything to win the Last Battle, including herself. So it didn't seem right for Moiraine to offer to give up an important tool like the angreal.

    ""Egwene, I know what you feel for Rand, but you must realize by now that nothing can come of it. He belongs to the Pattern, and to history."—Moiraine, The Shadow Rising

    For an instant she regretted sending Thom away. She did not like having to waste her time with these petty affairs. But he had too much influence with Rand; the boy had to depend on her counsel. Hers, and hers alone.—Moiraine, The Shadow Rising

    That had been one of Moiraine's more succinct bits of advice. Never let them see you weaken.—Rand, Lord of Chaos

    I happen to like Moiraine a lot, but there's no denying she was partly responsible for Rand thinking he needed to be hard. Yet in Towers of Midnight you have Rand speak of how caring she was; even Mat and Nynaeve sing her praises. You seem to be trying to retcon Moiraine into a saintly figure she never was. All WoT characters have major flaws; Moiraine's was that she treated people as chess pieces that sometimes needed to be sacrificed for the greater good. In The Shadow Rising she intentionally tried to separate Rand from his friends so she could be the only person influencing him. It wasn't until Rhuidean that she discovered firsthand what it felt like to be the person forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, and she finally became the advisor Rand needed. But even then she was still manipulating him and encouraging him to be hard, so obviously she hadn't changed completely. To ignore her flaws and mistakes is to do the character a disservice and hides her growth in The Fires of Heaven.

    This is getting long, so I'll wrap it up here. I hope this made sense and that I didn't hurt your feelings. I still think you're a very talented writer and look forward to reading both A Memory of Light and the next Stormlight book.

    Brandon Sanderson (June 2012)

    Well, thanks for the thoughts. I will take the comments for what they are worth, and appreciate your sincerity.

    By way of correction, I do want to point out that Alloy of Law, Legion, and The Rithmatist were all written BEFORE I started work on A Memory of Light. The only thing I've written during A Memory of Light was The Emperor's Soul, which is a short work I wrote on the flight home from Taiwan earlier in the year. I have always stopped my main projects for side ones. It is part of what keeps me fresh. Alcatraz was in the middle of Mistborn, Rithmatist in the middle of Liar of Partinel (which I decided not to publish; it was the last book I wrote before the WoT came my way.) Legion was during Towers of Midnight. Emperor's Soul during A Memory of Light.

    My heart is completely in it—that I can assure you. I stopped the re-read because I was just too eager to be working on the book, and I'd already re-read (the last year) books 9-11 in working to get Perrin and Mat down for Towers of Midnight. But your complaint is valid. I did not re-read 6-8, except for spot reading. I kept telling myself I needed to get to them, but I was too deeply into the writing by that point.

    As for where I misfired on characterization, I apologize. In some cases, I don't see them the same way as you do. In other cases, I am doing a worse job than RJ would have, and the failings are mine. I don't want to diminish your opinion, as it is valid. I certainly have struggled with some characters more than others.

    Though, for the scene with Moiraine and Thom you quote above...I, uh, didn't write that scene, my friend. That one was RJ in its entirety, and was one of the most complete scenes he left behind.

    ashan_darei

    Brandon, thank you for the thoughtful response. I understand that it's very difficult for most authors to read criticism (let alone reply to it), so I appreciate that you took the time to read and reply.

    I'd like to stress that I wholeheartedly agree with Neil Gaiman's "GRRM is not your bitch" post and hope it didn't come across like I thought you shouldn't be working on anything besides WoT. Side projects are very much a good thing (happy and creative authors→better books), and I am personally excited about your upcoming books. It was mainly the fact that you seemed to have given up on the reread that felt like a reason for concern since you had previously said you needed to refresh your memory to avoid a repeat of Towers of Midnight's continuity errors. It also made me worry that you had gotten weary of working on A Memory of Light, which would have been understandable given that it's a very time-consuming and demanding project that you've already spent 4-5 years on. I'm glad to hear this is not the case.

    "In some cases, I don't see them the same way as you do."

    That's not something I object to since we all have different perceptions of the characters. In most cases I understand where you are coming from even if your interpretation differs somewhat from mine. Unlike me, you also have access to all sorts of character notes and spoilers about their futures.

    However, in some cases it felt like your personal love or dislike of certain characters also played a strong role. To put it bluntly, it's easy to tell that Perrin, Egwene and Moiraine are your favorites since they've received a disproportionate amount of PoVs or praise from other characters, Egwene in particular (how many scenes do we need where people talk about how brilliant, clever and talented Egwene is?). I don't know how much you follow other WoT boards, but there's been a lot of debate in fandom as to whether Egwene has become too much of a Mary Sue-type character who easily defeats supposedly shrewd political opponents and is constantly praised by other characters, often at the expense of people like Siuan. It's impossible for a writer to remain completely objective, and your background as a fan is on the whole one of your biggest strengths, but sometimes things like that can feel jarring. I would not want to see the same happen to a complex, flawed and interesting character like Moiraine.

    "Though, for the scene with Moiraine and Thom you quote above...I, uh, didn't write that scene, my friend. That one was RJ in its entirety, and was one of the most complete scenes he left behind."

    I have to admit, this comes as a surprise to me, partly because of Moiraine's seemingly uncharacteristic offer to surrender almost all her power for Thom's sake and partly because she used contractions in this scene (in the New Spring graphic novel, there's a note from Jordan informing the comic writers that Moiraine never uses contractions). She and Thom seemed to have a mutual respect and attraction in the early books, but spent very little time together, so I would not have expected any full-blown love or a marriage proposal at this point. It just seemed very strange for Moiraine to be willing to sacrifice her only chance at regaining her strength when she's barely even thought about Thom in her PoVs before. But since Jordan wrote that scene, there's nothing to do but accept that it's where he wanted to take the characters.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Re: Contractions Interesting story here. Harriet and Team Jordan worried about my use of contractions in places that RJ did not. It seemed very striking to them. Their first instinct was to go through and change it, after the fact, in order to match RJ's style.

    Harriet didn't like how that looked. She felt that my style needed to be blended with RJ's, rather than taking my style and forcing it to fit into something else. So it was decided that one of her tasks, as editor, would be to blend the writing after it was put together. She'd go through and make scenes feel right together, and would blend the two styles like a painter blending paint.

    So, she takes away contractions from me where she feels they need to go and she actually adds them to RJ's writing where she thinks it needs to be blended. I was curious if that was the case here, so I went back to the original notes.

    And it turns out RJ wrote the scene with contractions. Most likely, he was planning to trim them out with editing. Remember, even the most complete scenes we have from him are first drafts. In fact, in some of them, the tense is wrong. (Much of this Moiraine/Thom/Mat scene is in present tense. )

    An example from the notes is:

    He puts the angreal on her wrist, and says 'I'll marry you now.'

    In revision, this line turned into:

    He put the bracelet back on her wrist. "I'll marry you now, if you wish it."

    Anyway, I don't want to spend too much time defending myself, because that's not the point of your post. Really, the most important thing for me to say is that I understand. I'll do my best, and criticism like this is important to me. (Particularly on the Wheel of Time books, where I feel that listening to fan direction is important for gauging how well I'm doing on the characters.) It was fan criticism that brought me around to finally seeing what I was doing wrong with Mat, and (hopefully) making some strides toward writing him more accurate to himself.

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  • 203

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2012

    emozilla

    Here's a video I took at LibertyCon of Brandon reading the A Memory of Light opening again. No new text (he actually stops a few paragraphs short) but he does talk about about why he structured the scene as he did. Sorry for the shakiness, it was taken on my iPhone (my arms were pretty sore near the end!).

    (Transcript)

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the last wind scene. I spent a long time thinking about this one, and what I would do with this, because Jim had intended one book, so from the notes you can guess that there was only one wind scene indicated, and I had three to do, because of three books, and it felt very appropriate for me, as I was going over it, to have the wind come out of the Two Rivers. It felt appropriate to me; it felt thematic with the first book—if you go back and look at the wind scene from the first book—and I actually had it blow across the course of book one, basically. We don't get all the way up where book one is, but we head out to Caemlyn, and then they kind of veer off. The point of this scene is kind of...again, it set everything that's been happening—where we are, and what's going on—but I also felt that this is a book of contrasts. This is a book of stark, stark whites and deep, deep blacks. It's named A Memory of Light for that reason, and so I wanted to end the scene at Rand laughing, with warm light spilling out of his tent, and that's kind of what we've got going on there—the contrast that's going on in this land—and there is this pool of light right there, represented in him, and that's our metaphor for this whole book: death, destruction, and the Dragon Reborn.

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  • 204

    Interview: Jul 20th, 2012

    Casey Phillips

    How definitive was Robert Jordan's outline for the final Wheel of Time novels? Was there any room left for you to find your own path?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There was a lot of room, and it's been a true collaboration. Wherever he left information, I tried to follow what he directed, but there were huge gaps that he didn't explain, and I got to do what I thought the story needed at those points.

    Casey Phillips

    So it was more a series of landmarks to hit than a point-by-point road map.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, certainly. That's a really good way to explain it. He wrote the last scene himself, for instance, and big chunks of the prologue and, interspersed through that, viewpoints from different characters. There were notes that his assistants gathered for me when during his last months they asked him a lot of questions.

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  • 205

    Interview: Jul 21st, 2012

    Question

    When you were at DragonCon a few years ago, and that's the first time I saw you, and you were just starting on the endeavor at the time; I think you had just been selected...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Right. I could barely say the names right back then, and half the time I didn't say them right...

    Jennifer Liang

    You were so cute. (laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I was very, very scared of the Wheel of Time fandom...

    Jennifer Liang

    We were very scared of you; we didn't know what was gonna happen.

    Question

    ...so, the interesting thing is at the time, I think you said the first thing you did was you wanted to find out who killed Asmodean, and that got the whole room laughing at the time, and you talked about how you briefed yourself on all the material that was left, and [?] and everything, and you said Jim wanted one final novel, but you didn't see any way. You made an estimate of the number of words, hundreds of thousands of words...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. 800,000 was my initial estimate.

    Question

    And what did it end up being? I'm just curious.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It ended up being around, let's see...around nine, maybe ten...so, a hundred—or a million words, right around.

    Question

    It grew!

    Brandon Sanderson

    It grew a bit, yeah. And part of that is the fact of cutting it gave me a little more space to do that, and part of it was, you know, little touches here and there. You never can guess really exactly. It didn't grow by enormous amounts—it grew by maybe ten or twenty percent, which is within a reasonable threshold when I guesstimate a book length—but yeah, it did grow a bit, and after the books are all out, I'll tell you some of the things that grew, some of the things that got added. There were things that weren't in the initial outline that I decided needed to be in the books as I was writing them, and that happens with every book that you're going to be doing.

    The process for writing this book, for those who haven't heard: When I walked in there and I was given this, I was given a stack of about two hundred pages. I don't know how much I've talked about this at this con so far; I talked about this recently somewhere. Oh, it was on the interview I did, first day. It's gonna go up on the air somewhere. So, about two hundred pages. I can release that number because Tom Doherty released it at DragonCon, I believe it was. [It was at WorldCon 2008.] He got up and said, "This is how much we had." And, Robert Jordan was what we call a 'discovery writer'; George R. R. Martin calls it a 'gardener'. He would not write chronologically; he would write on whatever occurred to him at the moment. He would 'discover' his way through a book. He usually had an ending in mind, and things like that, and important scenes he was gonna write, but he would very much just feel it out as he went. This is very common among writers; it’s one of the main archetypes of writers there are out there. Stephen King does it this way too. Neil Gaiman says he does it a lot this way too. You kind of feel your way through.

    But what it means is that what was handed to me, they had been arranged by Alan, one of the members of Team Jordan, into an order that he kind of thought they might go in, but there was really no indication from Jim [as to] the order of these scenes. They were just a list of scenes. And where those had come from are scenes that he had worked on, which a large number of them were half-complete, because he would just write on what he felt like at the time, get a few pages in, then set it aside and then think about it some more while he’d work on something else. So there were a lot of fragmentary scenes. There are a lot of scenes you’ll be reading in these three books where it’s like three pages of Robert Jordan and like three pages of me making up a scene, or a page or Robert Jordan, two pages of me and then another page of Robert Jordan, or things like that. A lot of those, there are places here and there where I’ve grabbed a paragraph of his, because the rest wasn’t finished, it was just a paragraph where he said, “It’s going to do this, and then here’s this paragraph of this great sequence.” And so a lot of it was like that.

    A lot of it was interviews. During the last months, his cousin Wilson and members of Team Jordan would be talking to him and Jim would start talking about scenes. There’s a famous one, “There’s a ______ in the Blight,” which is a quote from Wilson. That was a time when Jim told him—you’ll have to have him tell that story some time, it’s awesome—but Jim just started going off—Jim is Robert Jordan, for those who didn’t know—Jim would go off on...he just talked through this entire scene. And that’s one of the ones that we had the most understanding of, in a lot of ways, some of these scenes where he would talk about them.

    For instance, the first scene in The Gathering Storm, there’s a prologue with an old farmer sitting on his front porch. This scene was dictated by Jim, and we actually had the recording of that, it got played at JordanCon I. And the interesting thing, if you were to have listened to that or if I can just describe it to you. It’s all in present tense. It’s like, “There’s this farmer, and he’s sitting on the porch and he looks up and he sees the clouds. These are black and silver clouds, and he’s never seen black and silver clouds before; they’re very striking.” And Jim goes through this whole narrative like that. Well, that’s very complete as a scene, he does the whole thing. And yet it’s in present tense, without a lot of the language turned into written language; it’s talked through.

    Jennifer Liang

    Right, there’s one point where he describes a sound as sounding like a freight train. Well, you can’t say it sounds like a freight train in the Wheel of Time, that doesn’t make any sense.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Exactly. There’s that scene, so I had several of those scenes, where basically I can keep Jim’s voice intact and just tweak the words a little bit to make them fit and add in a few sentences of description here and there, and we had several of those scenes. Then there were the Q&A scenes, which were Maria saying “So what happens to this character?” “Well, let me tell you what happens to this character.” And then Jim would talk. And so because of those Q&As, we knew a lot about the ending—a whole ton—and he did write the last scene himself and he talked through where everyone ends up and things, and so the bulk, and I’ve said all along, the weight of what we had from him was about that ending, where he would go and say “Here’s what happens to this character,” and it’s really talking about here’s what happens to this character in the Last Battle and then after the Last Battle, assuming there is an after the Last Battle, this is where this character would go. And so we have that basically for everybody.

    Jennifer Liang

    You and Harriet had a great way of describing it at one of the book signings for The Gathering Storm. You said that you had a map of the United States and you knew that at the end of the book that Perrin ends up in Chicago, but he starts off in like Orlando, and you know that he has to go to Los Angeles before he can get to Chicago, but you don’t know all the other steps in between and why he’s going to Los Angeles, so they had to figure out all the in-between parts.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, there are great things where there’s just like a line from his notes. “And then Perrin is here doing this.” And you’re like “What? Perrin’s in Malden, how is he gonna get there? And he’s going to do what? And then he’s got to be up here to do what?” And then we know the ending, what he’s doing there. So, there was a lot of that. So, this all became the book, where I built an outline out of this, I took the scenes that he had said. The thing about the notes is that a lot of the notes were to him, and so he would say things like “I’m going to do this or this” and they’re polar opposites. And so there are sequences like that, where I decide what we’re going to do, and stuff like that. And this all is what became the trilogy that you’re now reading.

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  • 206

    Interview: Jul 21st, 2012

    Phillip

    For Brandon, you have a career on your own as an author....

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Phillip

    Since you've had this other career—which has helped, I'm sure, in a lot of ways—what impact has this been on your original writing career, I mean I know you had to have slowed down your progress and your series, but you've still been writing those. What are the biggest impacts you've seen on your writing career because of taking on the Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's definitely done some...it's made me have to put down projects. In fact, next year, I have coming out the projects I was working on in 2007 when this came my way; The Rithmatist and Steelheart are both books that I did way back then that I didn't feel that I was able to release in the middle of the Wheel of Time books, even though I had them done, because I wouldn't have been able to do the revisions on them, and because I wouldn't be able to support them; I wouldn't be able to do sequels and things like that. They're both YA books. And that's, you know...when I accepted this, I said "Okay, I'm shelving these things." I did get to do a couple of books, I got to do The Way of Kings, which, granted, I already had a draft of that done. So really, the only book in these last years, the last five years that I've been doing this, that I've written from scratch and released was Alloy of Law. And so it's going to...it did kind of slow me down. The only reason it didn't slow me down as much as it could have was because I had all of this stuff done already. I had a great big backlog of books, because I enjoy writing, and I've been writing for years, and back then I wasn't as popular as I am now, so Tor would put things in slots later on, like...while I've been working on these, Warbreaker and Mistborn 3 came out, both of which were done years before I was offered the Wheel of Time. And so...yeah, all of this stuff that I had been working on long ago got delayed, and that was just fine—I went into this eyes open—but it is going to be nice to be able to go back to these things and give them some of the support that I've wanted all along.

    You know, this project took more time than all of us expected it to. I had to say yes sight unseen to knowing how big it was. I knew what Jim had said, but I didn't know how much of it was done. I didn't know that we had two hundred pages out of two thousand. There was no way for me to know how much would need to be done. So yeah, it's been a big long deviation, but not a distraction, because I think my writing has grown by leaps and bounds. It's kind of like I had to go pump iron, because writing in the Wheel of Time has been much harder than writing on anything else I've done, and I have been forced to grow, and you can see my being forced to grow between the books in the Wheel of Time books. I think my writing is way better in Towers of Midnight than it was in The Gathering Storm, particularly in some of the ways that that Jim was strong. And so, I think that's helped me. It's certainly not an experience that I would trade for anything. I got to read the ending in 2007, so there's that. (laughter) But yeah, it's been a wonderful experience, but boy, it's been a big, big, big deviation. It's not where I thought my career would go at all.

    Joe O'Hara

    Was it daunting seeing just that small amount of work that was taken care of before you stepped on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it's daunting in two ways: First, I got that. It was really nice to have the ending. Like, having the prologue and the ending basically done—those were the two things that he did the most work on—meant that I had the bookends, which is how I build an outline anyway. I know where I start, I know my ending, and I build an outline out of that. But at the same time, there's three million words of notes about the series, which is daunting in another way. Yes, there's two hundred pages of work done on the book, and then there's this stack over here of all these other notes that include all of these things that are just mind-boggling, the stuff that's in there. We released a few of them last year for you guys. Was it last year that we released the notes?

    Jennifer Liang

    Yeah, we got the page on Cadsuane and...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the page on Cadsuane and stuff like that. You just see all of weird things that he had in his notes. I have all the same sort of weird stuff in my notes about like Stormlight and stuff, but it's just fun to see. You go pore through these notes...he has the most random stuff. Lists of trees, lists of people, lists of this, and just millions and millions and words of this stuff, more than I can keep track of at all. It requires Maria and Alan to keep track of all this stuff. So it was also daunting in that, yes there are two hundred pages written, which actually nice, because as I've said before, if the book had been 80% of the way done, they wouldn't have needed to hire me, they wouldn't have needed to bring me in. When a book is 80% of the way done, that's when you get a ghostwriter, or Harriet just does it herself. She really could have done it in-house herself and finished that and said "Look, here we're going to do a few patches and stuff, but the book is mostly done."

    And so, getting there and saying "Hey, I actually get to do something with this, I have an opportunity to add the scenes that I've been wanting as a fan for years and years, so I get a chance to actually write these characters, rather than coming in and just patching some holes," was very thrilling for me at the same time. You know, I worried that I would get there and it would just be patching holes—"Write these five scenes," or something like that—and that would have meant I wouldn't have really had a part in it. Granted, that would have been better, because it would have meant there was more Jim in it, and it would have made a better book, but at the same time, when I got to see those two hundred pages, I was saddened but excited at the same time.

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  • 207

    Interview: Feb, 2005

    Bob Kluttz

    Did you have direct access to any of Robert Jordan's files? Did you pick up any juicy tidbits? Any that you can share?

    Teresa Patterson

    He gave me access to a lot of notes and information. But there is nothing I can share that was not already in the book. I can tell you that I did clearly see the inspiration for the women in his book in RJ's wife, Harriet.

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  • 208

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012

    Question

    Any spoilers for A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's see here. Harriet killed a character in the book that I did not intend to kill. So I wrote the entire book with a character living and she killed this character.

    Question

    Did she tell you right before you finished, or what?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She sent back the draft and said "This person dies."

    Question

    So did you have to change a lot?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So they succumb to their wounds. I intended them to live, so there is a character who died unexpectedly. So that's a slight spoiler. There is like a chapter that's over a hundred pages. It's a Super Chapter.

    Question

    Did you have to invent any of it yourself, or did Jordan leave a lot of it for you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He left some of it for me, and then I had to make the rest. As you're reading through the books, probably about half and half. Half will be stuff that he wrote notes on, half will be stuff that I wrote.

    Question

    Do you feel like it comes pretty easy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some of it does. I mean I've been reading since I was a kid. So some of the characters like Perrin is very natural for me. And Rand's super natural for me. Others are a little less natural for me.

    Question

    Like Mat.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, like Mat. Mat's harder for me to write.

    Question

    Why is that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because Mat is very complex. Not to say that Perrin's not, but Perrin's straightforward. You know what I mean? Perrin says what he means, and does what he means. Mat says the opposite of what he means, and does the opposite of what he says. Making that tone correct for that is very hard. He's one part rapscallion, the other part Awesomeness. And balancing when he's playing the fool, and when he's just being awesome is very hard to get that balance down, because you don't want it to be silly, you know he can play the fool a bit but he shouldn't be silly. Otherwise it won't match from when he's being Awesome as well, if that makes sense.

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  • 209

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Julian Stevenson (20 September 2012)

    You may have already answered this. Are you going to write the WOT prequels? Is anyone going to write them?

    Brandon Sanderson (20 September 2012)

    It's not likely. We feel that RJ's legacy is better protected by doing fewer books.

    Nelson Ambrose

    Would Harriet publishing RJs notes regarding the prequels and outriggers in the encyclopedia she's going to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's possible. You could always ask her if she will. I'll have very little to do with the process.

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  • 210

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Terez (24 September 2012)

    Did Hessalam come from RJ's notes? We're asking for a very specific reason. :) (But it's not a gotcha question, promise.)

    Brandon Sanderson (24 September 2012)

    It was not me.

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  • 211

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2012

    Question

    I was wondering if it's possible for scholarship in future generations if we at some point could get a copy that's annotated so that we can tell which passages came directly from Robert Jordan—like color-coded or something—because as you've been intermingling them I think it would be interesting to be able to go back and say, "This is what he originally wrote."

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will be very hard to do simply because, you know, you would have a lot of sentences that would four colors in them (laughter), because, here are three words from Brandon; here are a couple of words from Robert Jordan; the rest are from Harriet, that she has edited, and then here's the insertion by Maria as she's doing the copy-edit, that something needed to be [put] in. It would be very difficult to get right.

    The other thing is, Harriet has several times expressed a reluctance to let people see the notes because she doesn't want people focusing when reading the books on what was me and what is Jim. I do still kinda tend to work on her and see if I can get her to let us do something with the notes. I'm not too expectant—if it doesn't happen I'm gonna be fine—but I tend to ask on behalf of the fans, people like yourself, and if I can do that I can then bring them out and I will talk a little bit more about that.

    One thing that I've said to people a number of times, that in each of the three books there is a prologue [scene] that Robert Jordan wrote almost completely, or completely, for the prologue of the book, then since we split it in three, I took one scene from each completely that is Robert Jordan's—and there are a few fragments in each prologue as well that were also his—but there's one complete scene in the prologue. In the first book, it was the farmer sitting on the doorsteps watching the storm; that was one of the scenes he dictated, and we actually at JordanConI got to listen to that dictation. In the second book it was the Borderlander tower with the soldier and his son; that was one of the more complete scenes we had from Robert Jordan which had some minimal revision and editing during the process but was basically a complete scene that he gave us. And there's one like that in the third book as well.

    In The Gathering Storm, I've said before that, as the notes went, Rand was a little more me; there were fewer notes on Rand. There were more notes on Egwene. We're both involved in all the viewpoints, but Rand from that is a little more me, and Egwene's a little more Robert Jordan, and then in Towers of Midnight, Perrin's a little bit more me, and Mat is a little more Robert Jordan. And maybe we'll be able to release more than that, but so far that's about all I've said. There are certain scenes that he did write, by the way—I'll give you everything; this is what I've told people; I haven't told people much—but there's a certain scene in The Gathering Storm where Egwene has an unexpected meeting with an old friend in the Tower. That one was done by Robert Jordan. And in Towers of Midnight, there is...most of the Mat stuff including the ending where a certain engagement happens was Robert Jordan.

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  • 212

    Interview: Apr, 1997

    SFX

    But despite Jordan's attempts to discourage casual readers, "The Wheel Of Time" has acquired a dedicated and enthusiastic following.

    Robert Jordan

    It's a fantasy War And Peace, a story not only of individuals but also of cultures clashing across a continent. It will take at least three more books to finish. I worry that someone will walk up to me and say, 'I want an end to it now or I'm going to bash your head in.' On the other hand, I've had people threaten to desecrate my grave if I die before I finish it!

    SFX

    But if the main thrust of the story's already mapped out, couldn't another author complete it from Jordan's notes?

    Robert Jordan

    If I die, my computer's hard drive will be reformatted four times. I defy anybody to pull anything off it after that, and I've made arrangements that anyone who tries to finish the series after my death will have their kneecaps removed.

    SFX

    That's an ironic attitude for an author who gained kudos for his additions to Robert E. Howard's Conan saga, surely?

    Robert Jordan

    If he could reach us, I'm sure Howard would strangle me, Andy Offutt and all the rest of us. But I don't want somebody messing around with my characters, putting their boots all over my world.

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  • 213

    Interview: Nov 3rd, 2012

    Question

    Somebody asked if he killed any characters against RJ's wishes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He said that there was one character who he was going to let live but Harriet insisted should die. And there was another character whose fate was not spelled out in the notes (I didn't quite hear what he said there) and that he killed that character himself. Other than that everybody who dies, dies by RJ's hand. I think he talked about this in other interviews so this is probably not new.

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  • 214

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2012

    Michael Cathcart

    So what did he leave for you? What guidance did you have?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had a lot of guidance. Robert Jordan and I actually wrote, at our core, in very different methods. I am an outliner; I work from an outline, I feel like I need to have a goal in mind when I'm writing, and he was more what we call a gardener or a writer—that's George R.R. Martin's term. He nurtured stories and he grew them, so he would hop around and write on different sections as he was feeling them, and I always generally start at the beginning and go to the end, and so what was given to me was a big pile of notes that had some completely finished scenes, polished and ready to go, some that were stopped in the middle, and some that were just lines that said, "I'm thinking of doing this." A big pile of interview questions that his assistants had asked him on his deathbed, two or three dictations he'd done in the last weeks of his life that I could listen to, and just everything that you could imagine was in there. All of his notes for himself during the course of twenty years working on this series, some three million words of notes, and two assistants, and one editor who helped me dig through all of these notes to find the answers to questions that I needed to know.

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  • 215

    Interview: Nov 24th, 2012

    PrncRny

    Do we ever find out how strong in the power Tuon would be if she ever snapped and started channeling? Did RJ leave any notes about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes he did. The problem is that that's not the sort of thing I can work into the books very easily. The issue is that her strength would be tied to, well, people's strength go up they practice and things. Yes he has the notes, but there's no way the characters can know for sure. That would be something for the outriggers, which maybe we can get into the encyclopedia. He left a big list for everyone and a number for their power level, their strength in the One Power, just for comparison's sake, which was cool because it would also say 'Here's the threshold for creating a gateway and here's the threshold for this' and its a really cool list and I hope they put it into the encyclopaedia but I don't know if they will.

    PrncRny

    Ok, so she's not going to snap in the next one and start channeling?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well. Even if she did, how powerful she would get would not be immediately evident. Does that make sense?

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  • 216

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2012

    Question

    I was just wondering how overwhelming it was when you first took on the job of taking up the reins of the Wheel of Time. How much was it overwhelming—the amount of detail and layering that Jordan had set up in order to continue on with finishing off the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are a couple of things that Robert Jordan did, like...there are many things he did better than I do, but there are two things that he did amazingly better than I do that have been really hard to try and approach. The first one is his mastery of description. I...prose is not....you know, I do serviceable prose. I don't do beautiful prose in most cases. I occasionally can turn a phrase, but he could do beautiful prose in every paragraph, and that's just not one of my strengths. Pat Rothfuss is another one who can do that, if you're read Name of the Wind; it's just beautiful, every line. Robert Jordan I felt was like that, just absolute beauty.

    The other thing that he was really good at was subtle foreshadowing across lots and lots of books. And it's not something I'd ever had to do before, unless you count my hidden epic, and I had never had to try and approach that level of subtlety, and it was a real challenge to try and catch all of those balls that he'd tossed in the air and he'd been keeping juggling. In fact, I would say, one of the most challenging parts, if not the most challenging part of this, was to keep track of all those subplots and make sure that I was not dropping too many of those balls. And you'll be able to see when you read the books which of those subplots were really important to me as a fan and which ones I was not as interested in, because some of those, I catch less deftly than others, and some of them I just snatch from the air and slam into this awesome sequence, and some of them I say, "Yeah, that's there."

    And that's the danger of having a fan that does this. There were so many of those things. Fortunately, he left some good notes on a lot of them, and in some of them I was able to just slide in his scenes, and in others I had to decide how to catch that, and what to best do with it. But there's just so much. So much undercurrent going on through the whole books, through all of them, and so many little details in the notes that it's easy to get overwhelmed by it. Fortunately I have Team Jordan, Maria and Alan, to catch a lot of those things that I miss, but even with them there are things he was doing, that we don't even know what he was planning to do, that we just have to leave as is, and let it lie rather than trying to wrap it up poorly, because we don't know how he was doing to do it.

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  • 217

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2012

    Question

    With regards to the end of the Wheel of Time, when you started to receive all of the notes and information around what actually happened, did you look at that information and see where the story and say, "Yes! Absolutely this is the best possible ending for the Wheel of Time"? Or, as a fan, did you see possible alternate endings or ways you would have liked things to proceed differently, and if so, did that influence how you've written?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question. I read the ending—Robert Jordan wrote it himself, the last chapter, and I have put that into the last book unchanged—I read it and I was deeply satisfied with it. That is the word I always use: satisfying. It was a satisfying ending. And I didn't read that and ever think, "No, we're going to change this." I don't think it ever needed it. What I did is I said, "That's my goal. That's my target. I have to get us there in a satisfying way to match this ending." And my goal all along is to live up to that ending. The nice thing is, being a creative person, there were certain holes. There were things that he, you know....I know where that last chapter is, but there are big gaps along the way, some places where I got to say...I get to do some things I've been looking forward to doing, looking forward to having happen in the Wheel of Time, and that was really a treat to be able to sit down with that outline and say, wow, there's a place here for the thing I've been waiting as a long time as a fan, he doesn't say either way. I can make it happen.

    And so I got to do a lot of those sequences, and then there are a lot of ones he left instructions on as well, and so my goal has been to...always my default is, if Robert Jordan said it, don't change it. However, that said, you can't do a book like this without being willing to be flexible in your outline. I never wanted...never changed that ending and I never have, but there are things along the way, particularly when he would say, I'm thinking of doing this, or maybe this other thing that's opposite, and sometimes I'll choose between one of those two, and sometimes it's neither one and it has to be a third thing. In a creative process, you really have to be willing to do that; you always have to be willing to toss aside what you were planning to do when something better works for what you're building, so and that has been that process. And after the books are out, I hope to be able to be much more forthcoming about what those things were and show some of the notes, if Harriet will let me, and show how they were adapted. I'm not sure if she will let me. It's really her call. Her argument has been that she doesn't want people's last memory of Robert Jordan to be his unfinished things, which is a really solid argument, and so hopefully she'll let us see some of it, but I can talk more freely about this after the last book's out.

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  • 218

    Interview: 2012

    sleepinghour (August 2012)

    For clarification, did you ever feel like a character should experience something that Mr Jordan hadn't mentioned or had clearly discouraged? Or feel that something should happen that Mr Jordan hadn't conceived or didn't want?

    Good question. I've been wondering the same since RJ mentioned in an interview once that he had no intention of showing the test for Aes Sedai outside of New Spring.

    Nynaeve's Aes Sedai test was one of my favorite parts of Towers of Midnight, so I'm glad that was included, but it would be interesting to know whether RJ changed his mind or it was Brandon/Team Jordan's idea to include that.

    Brandon Sanderson (August 2012)

    This one was me. I realize he hadn't intended to do it, but he always reserved the right to change his mind on things like this. (If you read what he had to say on the last word of the book, for example, he said he thought he knew what it was—but that he might change that at any time.)

    In working on the outlines, I felt it would feel strange not to show this. The challenge was to do it in a way that wasn't simply a repetition of what Mr. Jordan had shown in New Spring. I felt if I could make the experience unique, it would have a place in the novel—and if it did not, I would need to cut it. I felt good with the way it turned out, and it indeed found a place in the novel.

    sleepinghour

    So you're the one responsible for the braid being singed off! Murderer!

    I think it made a great addition to the book. Nynaeve's my favorite character, and I've always found it unfortunate that we haven't gotten too many POVs from her since she got married in A Crown of Swords. So it was great to see scenes that showed just how much she's grown since, while still remaining the same person at heart. The references to Nynaeve's greatest fears—spiders and heights—were very neat too. Thank you for giving the test a place in the novel.

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  • 219

    Interview: 2012

    kornork (August 2012)

    As far as you know, have you finished all the plot threads with the last book? How did you keep track? Were there certain threads that RJ forgot about in his final telling to his family that you had to figure out on your own?

    Brandon Sanderson (August 2012)

    I have not finished all of them. There are a few that got cut from the book during the revision process, for example. (I'll reveal what these were after the book is out.) In other cases, RJ asked for certain threads to not be tied up.

    My goal has been to tie up as many as I can, respecting Mr. Jordan and leaving alone the ones he said not to. He left many unexplained in his final telling—his last months were spent on the major plot cycles, and many smaller things were left to me.

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  • 220

    Interview: 2012

    kurin (August 2012)

    At the end of A Memory of Light, I assume you're going to leave some questions unanswered intentionally. Will any of these have canonical answers that simply aren't shared, or will you try to resolve all the open questions?

    Brandon Sanderson (August 2012)

    There are canonical answers that are not in the book. (Mr. Jordan sometimes said in the notes "Here is the answer to this, but it isn't resolved in the last book.") He didn't want everything answered because he wanted the world to live on in people's minds. All major plot elements are dealt with, but some smaller ones are left open.

    kurin

    So there's going to be a new acronym after RAFO? Like YNFO?

    Question

    (Probably left this too late to expect a response but...)

    Will you (or anyone) ever provide those answers? Whether it be by blog/new "world of RJ's WoT" or Q&A?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will try to answer some questions once the book is out. I'd like to do some blog posts talking in-depth about the process, and about the notes. But it will depend on a lot of factors.

    Kooreth

    Even Maria's large reference book won't contain those secrets?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The reference book will contain some of the things not resolved in the book, and I've given clues about some others. Other things...well, he wanted them to go unanswered. So they will be. (And some we don't even know the answers to.)

    Kooreth

    Thanks Brandon! I am excitedly and sadly awaiting the final book. After so many years, it's going to be rough finishing it, and closing a chapter of my own life.

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  • 221

    Interview: 2012

    DAVENP0RT (November 2012)

    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.

    Sabin10

    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.

    Brandon Sanderson (November 2012)

    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.

    Iconochasm

    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.

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

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  • 222

    Interview: 2012

    philosophyguru (December 2012)

    Brandon Sanderson (December 2012)

    It was very interesting to read this while trying to figure out what scenes she was referring to...

    philosophyguru

    I know you're incredibly busy on Stormlight 2, but if you have a few minutes, I would love to hear how you approached the notes that RJ left behind. I've heard the story about the ending and who killed Asmodean when you first visited Harriet's house, but where did you go from there? I assume you didn't just read all of the notes straight through...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, okay, this is going to be kind of long.

    To understand my next step, you have to understand what we mean by "Notes." There are really three groups of these.

    1) Robert Jordan's Worldbuilding Notes. These were in a series of dozens, maybe hundreds of files embedded chaotically inside of files inside of files, using his own system of notation. The notes reach all the way back to early books he was working on, as he was working on them. They aren't intended to be read by anyone other than him, and are sometimes very difficult to figure out. This is the group that Harriet has said, in her estimation, include a total wordcount equal to or greater to that of the published series.

    2) The notes for the last book, gathered by his assistants Maria and Alan, with Harriet's help. These are far more focused on the last book, notes that RJ wrote specifically focusing on the last book. This is a much more manageable amount, maybe fifty or a hundred pages. It includes interviews that Alan and Maria did with RJ before he died, asking him what was to happen to certain characters.

    3) Scenes for the last book, either in written form or dictated during his last months. This includes some completed scenes. (The last sequence in the book, for example. Also a lot of prologue material, including the scene with the farmer in The Gathering Storm, the Borderlander Tower scene in Towers of Midnight, and the Isam prologue scene from A Memory of Light.) A lot of these are fragments of scenes, a paragraph here and there, or a page of material that he expected to be expanded to a full chapter. This is different from #2 to me in that these are direct scene constructions, rather than "notes" explaining what was to happen.

    Together, #2 and #3 are about 200 pages. That is what I read the night I visited Harriet, and that is what I used to construct my outline.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I took all of the items, but particularly the things in 2&3, and then I re-read the series start to finish, taking notes on character motivations, plots that had not been resolved, and foreshadowing. I used this to create a skeleton, using character touchstones from the notes (like Egwene's climactic moments in The Gathering Storm) to construct plot cycles.

    Where there were big holes, I used my instincts as a writer and my re-read to develop what the story needed. From there, I started writing in viewpoint clusters. I would take character who were in the same area, and write their story for a chunk of time straight through. Then I would go back and do the same for another group of characters.

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  • 223

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2012

    Harriet McDougal

    I've edited every single one of his books except for his Cheyenne Raiders. An agent said to me once, "What if he gave you a real piece of [crap]?" And I said, "But he never would!" Tom Doherty called me; he had gotten the rights to do a Conan the Barbarian novel. And I said, "Well, Jim could do it." And he liked doing it so much, he ended up writing seven of them.

    Tom Doherty

    He was using a new name. As you know, Jim used pen names.

    Narrator

    Over the next decade, Rigney wrote under many pen names: Jackson O'Reilly, Reagan O'Neal, and of course, Robert Jordan.

    Harriet McDougal

    J.O.R.—That was his initials, and I guess the rest just grew because, the way his mind worked, he'd be working on current stuff, but on the back burner, things were cooking away.

    Tom Doherty

    Jim said that he had just dreamed to write a big fantasy.

    Harriet McDougal

    He said his first thought was just, how would it be to be told that you are going to be the savior of the world, but you're going to go mad and kill everyone you love in the process?

    Tom Doherty

    We bought the book in the mid-80s.

    Harriet McDougal

    It was four years of actual work, with words on paper, before he finished The Eye of the World.

    Tom Doherty

    God, I fell in love with it. I read it, you know, and I said, you know, boy, this is big. This is the first thing I thought could sell like Tolkien.

    Harriet McDougal

    The New York Times called Robert Jordan the American heir to Tolkien.

    Tom Doherty

    Pretty strong statement for the times.

    Jason Denzel

    In a matter of three books, Robert Jordan had developed an international following.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robert Jordan was a genius. He kept so much in his head. He had so much depth and wealth of worldbuilding for this series, it's mind-boggling. We've got somewhere around three million plus words of text. The notes are just as big.

    Tom Doherty

    There are very few things to which people had been willing to give this enormous commitment.

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  • 224

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2012

    Narrator

    But in 2005, Jordan was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare blood disease, interrupting work on what he'd hoped was the final book in the series.

    Harriet McDougal

    He was not well on our final book tour, which was Knife of Dreams. He failed to receive a diagnosis until after the end of the tour. This is true of the disease amyloidosis in general. By that time his heart had received so much battering from the disease that it was simply failing. And it took about a year for that to happen.

    Tom Doherty

    It was so sad. I mean, he was a friend; I took it personally, and he was a brilliant, epic storyteller. There was nobody like him, and it was a terrible loss.

    Harriet McDougal

    He had spoken publicly before that, that he would destroy anybody who tried to work in his universe, and he would sweep his hard disk three times to make sure that nobody could ever get anything out of it, but in his last weeks, he was telling us what needed to happen.

    Tom Doherty

    He wrote these very detailed notes. He dictated passages in the beginning and the end of this last book, and Harriet knew he wanted this series finished.

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  • 225

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2012

    Narrator

    In 2005, Wheel of Time author Robert Jordan was diagnosed with a fatal blood disease, disrupting his plans to finish the beloved series. With his fans in mind, Robert Jordan worked diligently through his final days, writing outlines, notes, and manuscripts so that his masterwork could one day see completion.

    Tom Doherty

    His fans—the people who had stuck with him all these years from 1991 on—deserved closure. And, he had created an outline which gave them closure, and he wasn't able to finish it himself. We wanted Jim's story to be told.

    Harriet McDougal

    A friend was staying with me in the week after Jim's funeral and put a print-out in front of me and said, "I think you need to read this." It was Brandon Sanderson's eulogy for Robert Jordan. And it was—it was beautiful. Such an expression of love for the books and for Robert Jordan's work. And it ended, "Mr. Jordan, you leave us silently, but you leave us trembling." And I thought, gosh, this is the attitude I would love to see. Brandon at this point was a published fantasy writer, so I called Tom and said, "I want one of his books to read." His world, his people, his conflicts were all clear in my mind. And I called Tom, and said, "Tom, I think this is the guy."

    Tom Doherty

    And she picked Brandon. And we're just delighted because we think nobody could have finished it as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had no idea how to react to this. I could barely talk when I replied to Harriet. In fact, I sent her an email the next day. It said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot." Because I couldn't get out words. Yes, I wanted to be involved in the Wheel of Time. No, I didn't think anybody else could write the Wheel of Time. What do you do when you're in that situation?

    Harriet McDougal

    We met in December, and I picked him up at the airport, brought him back, and said I've got some hot soup on the stove. He said, "I'd rather have the ending if I could, please." [Laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which I sat in his chair and read, well into the evening that night.

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  • 226

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2012

    Narrator

    Together, Brandon Sanderson and Team Jordan began building the strategy for finishing the last volume for the Wheel of Time.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, he was working with everything Robert Jordan had ever written, including all the notes and speculations, as well as the outline that Jordan dictated in those last weeks.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He intended this book to be enormous. Getting the notes, I said, yup, it's here. I can do this, but it's going to be over 2000 pages long. At some point Tor and Harriet discussed how long it was going. And so that's when they came to me and said, "We want to split it."

    Tom Doherty

    This outline was too complex. There was too much that needed to be told, too much story.

    Brandon Sanderson

    We didn't add to it. This is the length that it was always going to be. But in splitting it—what it allowed us to do is take three books and focus them. The Gathering Storm has a focus on Rand and Egwene. They were able to shine in a much more spectacular way because of that. And the things happening with Mat and Perrin could have very easily been overshadowed by Rand and Egwene, who have monumentous things going on.

    Tom Doherty

    These last two books—number one best sellers. Number one international best sellers, number one up here on the Globe and Mail, as well, the national paper. People read and realized that, yes, it wasn't Robert Jordan, but by god it was being finished properly. And it was being finished from Robert Jordan's notes and his ideas, and Brandon's talent was that he could capture the dream.

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  • 227

    Interview: Jan 3rd, 2013

    Goodreads

    Endings can often be the hardest part of a book to get right.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Since Robert Jordan wrote the last scene, that actually made this whole project mountains easier. I had a target to shoot at. While I didn't have a ton of written material from Robert Jordan that I could actually put in—there are about 200 pages worth of scenes and notes that needed to become somewhere around 2,500 pages [Books 12-14 by Sanderson total 2,556 pages]—a lot of those 200 pages were summaries of scenes he wanted. Robert Jordan wrote by instinct. He was what we called a discovery writer, so what was handed to me was a big pile of half-finished scenes or paragraphs where he wrote, "Well, I am either going to do this, this, or this. I was thinking of this, but it could be this." Yes, cracking an ending is hard, and the Wheel of Time had a lot of loose threads. My job was to take all those threads and weave them into an ending, which was a real challenge.

    When I was handed this project by Harriet [Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's wife and editor], she handed it to me as a collaborator, not as a ghost writer. It's not like building a shelf from Ikea, which is good, because otherwise my creativity wouldn't have been engaged. She handed me full creative control for the first draft, and then we went into the editing phase where we really worked on it to make sure that it fit her vision and Robert Jordan's vision for the series. But going into it, nothing was off-limits. So I wrote them like I write any novel. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing is sacrosanct.

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  • 228

    Interview: Jan 3rd, 2013

    Goodreads

    How much liberty did you have in deciding which characters would play the biggest roles in the last battle?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In a lot of ways the "why" or the "how" was not said, and in other places in the outline there were just empty holes where a character is in one place and 800 pages later, then another place.

    [In the final book] we've got a lot of questions that still need to be answered. Robert Jordan did leave me instructions on which ones, in some cases, not to answer. There are things he wants to leave unresolved, and there are other things he said do answer this, and there are some things that he said either way. He left a lot of instructions about who lives and who dies, but there are also plenty of cases where I got to make the judgment call. It's a big, cool, awesome, scary thing, and all of the gloves are off. Anything can happen in this book, because I don't need to worry about setting up any future books.

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  • 229

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Dave Golder

    Was it your decision to split the final installment into three books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Robert Jordan was always telling fans that this book was gong to be so big that they'd have to invent a new binding system to get it out the door. When I was offered the project, I got all his notes and then spent about five months constructing an outline until I'd built the ending that I felt he'd indicated. I felt that he wanted it to be this big epic story and when I have an outline, I can usually tell how long the story is going to be. I realised that it was going to be a pretty big book—I was estimating it to be about 800,000 words, which is just enormous. I told Harriet and the publisher that this is what Robert Jordan wanted and what the story deserves. They then asked me if there were any places where I could split it. I agreed to do that as long as they would let me decide where and how to do that. There are some natural break points but it has to be done the right way. I haven't expanded the outline or lengthened what I felt the story should be; I've just portioned it into three volumes instead of one massive volume."

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  • 230

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Dave Golder

    So what can we expect?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I can tell you a few things as Robert Jordan was once asked what the series was about and he said that 'It's about what it's like if you're a normal person who is told that the world is going to end unless you try and save it.' This end book is what everyone has been expecting. They call it the Last Battle, so it's the last showdown as there's this massive war going on. You can also expect the last chapter written by Robert Jordan himself. He always promised fans that he knew what the end of the series would be, so he sat down and wrote it before he passed away. It's gone into the book virtually unchanged by me. It's the goal I've been working towards all this time.”

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  • 231

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    Soon after I was tapped to help complete the series, I asked Harriet about the last scene of the book. (The one that Robert Jordan had, over the years working on the series, promised fans he knew in detail.) She told me that he had indeed written that scene—and though there were large swaths of unfinished portions of the ending that he hadn't had time to work on, he'd been determined to get that last scene on the page.

    You can imagine my excitement. I flew out to Charleston for the first time in late 2007—before this, I hadn't read any of the materials, as Harriet preferred that I come get them in person. After a long flight from Salt Lake City to Charleston, Harriet picked me up at the airport and drove me to her house in the city. We got in at nine or ten, I recall, and she had soup warming on the stove. She asked if I'd like some. My reply was, "If it isn't too much trouble, I'd like to read the ending please . . ." Holding my enthusiasm was somewhat difficult.

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  • 232

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I spent the next hours late into the night sitting in a chair beside Robert Jordan's computer (it had been moved, by coincidence, out of his office and into the sitting room) reading his ending to The Wheel of Time, then poring over the rest of the notes. I remember Harriet passing by once and asking—with a satisfied smile—"It's good, isn't it?"

    And it is. As a Wheel of Time fan for nearly 20 years at that point, I found myself supremely satisfied. The ending is the right one. Somewhat unexpected, somewhat daring, but also very well done. I knew that whatever else happened—whatever mistakes I made—at least this ending would be there, as Robert Jordan intended. We've put it in almost untouched, with just a few edits here and there at Harriet's direction.

    You're going to love it.

    Brandon

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  • 233

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of people are asking what it feels like to be done. That's an odd question to consider for a couple of reasons. In some ways, the Wheel of Time was "done" for me when I read Robert Jordan's last scene back in 2007. The work wasn't done, of course, and I had a very long road ahead of me. And yet, I'd read the ending. We managed to get it into the final book virtually unchanged, with only a few minor tweaks here and there. The sequence (it is more than one scene) that I am referring to most of the time when I talk about this encompasses the entire epilogue of A Memory of Light. Once you get there, you can know you're reading Robert Jordan's words, though of course there are other scenes scattered through the book that he worked on too.

    So that was one ending, for me. Another came in January of last year, when I finished the rough draft of this book. Still, there was a great deal of work to do, but I was "done" after a fashion. From there, I transitioned from writing a new Wheel of Time book to doing revisions—and for the last time ever.

    Another ending came for me when I handed the book over to Maria from Team Jordan to handle all of the final tweaks from the proofreads and copyedits. That happened late last summer, and with some regret, I stepped away from the Wheel of Time. Like a parent (though a step-parent in this case) waving farewell to a child as they leave the home, I no longer had responsibility for this book in the same way. I was done.

    And yet, I wasn't. This month and next I'll be touring for the Wheel of Time. That will probably be the final ending, seeing all of you and sharing in your mixed joy and regret at the finale of this series. Over twenty-three years ago now, I picked up The Eye of the World for the first time, and my life changed. A lot of you have similar stories.

    I know how you feel. I've been feeling it for five years now, ever since I read that last scene. There is no glossary in this last Wheel of Time book. We wanted to leave you with the memory of that scene, as Robert Jordan wrote it, for your final impression of the Wheel of Time.

    I'm happy I can finally share that scene with you. After five years of waiting, I can talk about it with others and reminisce without having to worry about what I'm spoiling. I hope to chat with as many of you as possible in the upcoming months. For those who can't make it, I'll post some responses to frequently asked questions below.

    May you always find water and shade.

    Brandon Sanderson
    January 8th, 2013

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  • 234

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    What about the outriggers? (The sequel trilogy to the Wheel of Time series that Robert Jordan had planned to write.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

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  • 235

    Interview: Jan 5th, 2013

    Michael Mason-D'Croz

    During the past five years he worked on the series, Sanderson said, the material and notes Jordan left have made him a better author in his own right.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "As an author myself, working to be a better author, there is nothing better than being able to see behind the scenes to see how a master did it," Sanderson said. "Having (Jordan's) notes felt like I had the master there to guide me along the way."

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  • 236

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Ed Huyck

    What were you thinking when you wrapped up the final chapter of the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I felt like a person who had just run a mental marathon. I was tired, I was satisfied, I was excited, and I was saddened. That was five years of my life writing, and twenty-something years of my life reading and working on it. It was really bittersweet. But you have to remember that that was tempered for me, because the ending that Robert Jordan had written—I had read that years ago. So in a lot of ways the series was already finished to me, and had been finished since 2007 when I read the ending.

    That last chapter was his chapter. There were only minor tweaks that I put in; there's one scene that I added from a certain character's viewpoint. But basically, that whole ending sequence, the last chapter, and the epilogue, are Robert Jordan's. So it was more a matter of finally putting it in with the rest of the book. Now, it's finally done. The capstone that was finished five, six years ago can finally be slipped into place and the book can be complete. So all of those emotions were mixed together.

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  • 237

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Ed Huyck

    How extensive were the notes that you had to work with? Were all of the plot lines tied off, or did you have to find conclusions on your own for some of them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Since Robert Jordan wrote the last scene, that actually made this whole project mountains easier. I had a target to shoot at. While I didn't have a ton of written material from Robert Jordan that I could actually put in—there were about 200 pages worth of scenes and notes that needed to become somewhere around 2,500 pages—a lot of those 200 pages were summaries of scenes he wanted. Robert Jordan wrote by instinct.

    He was what we call a discovery writer, so what was handed to me was a big pile of half-finished scenes or paragraphs where he wrote, 'Well, I am either going to do this, this, or this. I was thinking of this, but it could be this.' Yes, cracking an ending is hard, and Wheel of Time had a lot of loose threads. My job was to take all those threads and weave them into an ending, which was a real challenge.

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  • 238

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

    Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time, launched in 1990, quickly became one of the most popular series in the history of fantasy, though as the story continued year after year, swelling into many mammoth volumes, some fans wondered if the tale would ever be finished, especially after Jordan's death in 2007. But this month sees the release of A Memory of Light, the 14th and final volume, completed by author Brandon Sanderson, working off Jordan's notes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "The last thing that Robert Jordan wrote is the last chapter of this book," says Brandon Sanderson in this week's episode of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "I felt when I first read it that it was a satisfying ending. I felt it was the right ending. It's been my guidepost for all the work I've done on this."

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  • 239

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    Oh yeah, the characters. There are 2,000 of them. And that's the thing about the Wheel of Time—the writing is workmanlike. But the world sucks you in and doesn't let you go. Those 2,000 characters are at play across ages and continents, each with their own distinct languages, customs, food, ethnic groups, military tactics—oh my god, you could pretty much just blow a couple of months figuring it all out. Brandon Sanderson says he actually had to rely on the Wheel of Time fan community to keep it all straight in his head. He also had the notes that Jordan dictated on his deathbed and the very last chapter. Again, Harriet McDougal:

    Harriet McDougal

    I picked him up at the airport and brought him back to my house, and said, well, I have some soup for your supper, and he said, what I'd really like is the end of the series.

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  • 240

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Terez

    There was some discussion about Brandon's suggestion that RJ wrote the entire epilogue, since we knew from his tweets while he was working on it that he had to modify the epilogue material, and we knew from Peter that Brandon wrote the Cadsuane scene (and possibly others; this has never been clarified). In the comments on this post on Facebook, Isabel asked some questions and got some answers from Peter. The last quote is from Dragonmount, in response to some fan assumptions about how much had been written by RJ.

    Isabel (9 January 2013)

    One question: regarding the Cadsuane scene. It is said that this was added by you. Is that correct? Was Cadsuane's fate in RJ's notes?

    Peter Ahlstrom (9 January 2013)

    Team Jordan said I could say that Brandon himself wrote the words of that little scene. Brandon is still being closedmouthed about what specifically came from the notes, but in general, Robert Jordan left quite a few notes on where people ended up at the end of the book.

    Isabel

    Am I right to assume that her implied fate wouldn't have been put in, if the notes say something different? (assuming there were notes on it)

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The notes about fates at the end were not contradicted.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    What Brandon was given from RJ specifically on the last three books was 200 manuscript pages containing some finished scenes (including the final scene) and some summaries of other scenes, some lines of dialogue here and there, some "I might do this, or I might do this," etc. It's definitely not the last 120 pages of the book.

    Footnote

    Brandon gave more information in the torchat.

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  • 241

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Keith Pishnery (13 January 2013)

    Did RJ say that Nakomi should be included? You said she was "deep in RJ's notes" but wondering if it was up in the air?

    Brandon Sanderson (13 January 2013)

    I said something deep in the notes made me include her. I have not said if she herself was in the notes or not.

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  • 242

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Filch (13 January 2013)

    Dude.... You have GOT to explain the whole pipe thing at the end!!!! WTF? HOW? (that's all I'm asking)

    Brandon Sanderson (13 January 2013)

    I will do a blog post soon about this and similar questions. However, I can't answer much because I don't know much.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He did not explain much about the epilogue, even in the notes.

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  • 243

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Austin Moore

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon stated that, as we knew before, RJ had the fates of the major characters worked out in the notes but that some had to be done by Brandon based on the current emotional moment of the story and what worked best.

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  • 244

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    How do you keep track of all those characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lots of use of online resources. Also, Maria and Alan are invaluable assets for that. Brandon told a funny story about trying to figure out who was with Perrin, and Maria pulled out some notes from Robert Jordan that had a list of every single person from the Two Rivers that came with Perrin! Brandon also said he thinks there are more than 2800 named characters throughout the entire series.

    Footnote

    Brandon has told the story of the "with Perrin" file a numer of times before; in this example from 2009, the person he said that he queried was Alan. Other times, he has just cited "RJ's assistants".

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  • 245

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    [Side note: One person almost got himself lynched by asking a somewhat spoilery question, regardless of what people had been instructed...] Some characters die in A Memory of Light. How do you choose which characters to kill and which to keep alive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    [My note: Brandon tried to keep this out of spoilers and make it more general about writing and dealing with killing characters off in general.] In this book, Robert Jordan had left very specific instructions regarding the fates of some characters. He left a lot of notes, and some of those determined their fate. In general, characters have to be allowed to take risks in order to create a compelling story. There has to be a real danger for them, or the characters fall flat. Sometimes, that means characters are going to die. (Brandon added a nice bit that made the crowd laugh: "Which character can I kill off that will really piss everyone off and which no one expects?")

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  • 246

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    Who was the Aiel woman that Aviendha met on her trip to Rhuidean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nakomi. Also, RAFO, there's a hint in A Memory of Light.

    (Later in the evening, he said that hint can be found between the chapter "The Last Battle" and the end of the book. He also said she came from deep in Jordan's notes, and he did not feel like he could give more information than that. Also, she might be explained in the encyclopedia, but no promises regarding that.)

    Footnote

    This Q&A was later clarified by a Twitter conversation in which Brandon said that something he found deep in RJ's notes made him include Nakomi. He refused to confirm that Nakomi actually was in the notes.

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  • 247

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    How much was already completed when you took over the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon referred to what Tom Doherty had previously said on the issue. He said there were about 200 pages when he took over. Also, the Epilogue in A Memory of Light was almost entirely written by Jordan with Brandon trying to bring everything else to that point.

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  • 248

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2013

    Question

    Will the prequels be written?

    Harriet McDougal

    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.

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  • 249

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2013

    Question

    What was Brandon given to start his work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He received one scene from each prologue—the first scene from The Gathering Storm that was dictated, the Kandori tower scene from Towers of Midnight, and one scene from A Memory of Light that I will not state since it contains a spoiler. There were large chunks of the ending, including the entire epilogue. He received fragments of Egwene's visit from her "special visitor" inThe Gathering Storm, and a proposal at the end of Towers of Midnight. There were also discussions of scenes, and answers from Team Jordan.

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  • 250

    Interview: Jan 12th, 2013

    Christine

    Ta'veren Tees was on site, selling T-shirts, playing cards, posters, and giving away Wheel of Time and Dragon temporary tattoos. Across from them, the last three books of the series were for sale from Barnes & Noble. The entire event was hosted by the College of Charleston Addlestone Library. While most of the action was downstairs, Wheel of Timers flocked to all three levels to look down from the balcony at the Q&A and signing below. Special Collections for the College had a number of displays available, containing other works by Robert Jordan, the books in various languages, and even first draft copies of The Eye of the World, along with pencil markings.

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  • 251

    Interview: Jan 12th, 2013

    Question

    What happened to the fourth boy from the Two Rivers?

    Harriet McDougal

    Jim originally had good plans for him later on, but when convinced to eliminate him, he realized how easy it was to kill off that story line.

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  • 252

    Interview: Jan 12th, 2013

    Question

    Will the encyclopedia include only facts, or also speculations?

    Maria Simons

    Everything will be things already known, or else more notes on the characters. And a few other goodies, like the Aes Sedai power scale.

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  • 253

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    On my tour I've been stopping to sign books in airport bookstores as usual. Years ago some of my fans nicknamed this "Brandalizing." Grammar Girl did a quick blog post about the term this week.

    Here's a video of Harriet reading the wind scene from A Memory of Light at our signing this past weekend at the College of Charleston. Thanks, Jessica Crout! The Addlestone Library there is the home of Robert Jordan's papers. They had on display this very early draft of The Eye of the World with Jordan's handwritten edits on it. (Sorry my photo is so blurry.)

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  • 254

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Susan Cohen

    Sanderson, along with Rigney's widow, Harriet McDougal, will appear at an event at the College of Charleston's Addlestone Library on Sat. Jan. 12 at 3 p.m, where they will sign copies of A Memory of Light. The event will also debut the James Rigney Collection, made up of first editions, props, video interviews, and even an Apple computer with 4,000 pages worth of notes Rigney used to compose his masterpiece. McDougal donated the collection to the college last fall, but it is currently being processed by archivist Josh Minor, who's making his way through hundreds of boxes. The Wheel of Time series features thousands of characters, hundreds of villages, and meticulous research, so the library has a lot of work cut out for it.

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  • 255

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Harlan Greene

    "These papers document not just the context, contributions, and creativity of one very significant Charleston writer, but will be used by researchers exploring a popular global phenomenon," says Harlan Greene, the senior manuscript and reference archivist of special collections at the Addlestone Library. He thinks this collection could have as much popular appeal as the books themselves. "One of the most interesting parts of archival life is not knowing how the materials we preserve may be used by researchers," Greene adds. "Will fans want to touch the manuscripts? Will scholars want to see how plot and characters changed, or how Jim's editor Harriet influenced him? Will students of Arthurian legends want to check out Jim's sources? Or will others studying the effects of technology come to see if Jim's writing style changed as he moved from handwritten script to typing to computers?"

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  • 256

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Susan Cohen

    Greene says the entire collection of material is 50 linear feet long and includes tens of thousands of pieces of paper. The library is working on an organization system and will set up online exhibits that anyone can access, but it may still be a few months before the collection really ready for research purposes (and that's not very long, according to Greene). Right now, the public can visit the special collections section (on the third floor of the Addlestone Library) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through mid-February.

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  • 257

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Harlan Greene

    "We have on display right now the first pages of an early draft of the first novel in the series, which is sort of like ground zero for The Wheel of Time," Greene says. "There are lots of interesting PR-related materials and photos of Jim, ephemera that show his humor and generosity, documentation of all the variety of spin-off materials, and copies of the books in over a dozen different languages, as well as the first graphic novel version." And, of course, there are swords.

    Susan Cohen

    The library has also set up a blog dedicated to the processing process. Visit blogs.cofc.edu/thetruesource to see the state of the collection and some of its highlights.

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  • 258

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Michael Hudson

    The College of Charleston Friends of the Library will host author Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal, Rigney's widow, at 3 p.m. on January 12 for a public book signing as they conclude their cross-country launch for A Memory of Light, which was released on January 8. Guests will have the opportunity to look at never-before seen early and edited manuscripts, handwritten notes and photographs from the Rigney Collection. Costumes and weapons depicted in the series will be on display, and T–shirts with mottos from the books will be on sale.

    The James Rigney Collection also includes swords and scabbards, video interviews, an early Apple computer loaded with 4,000 pages of his notes, and first editions of his works in dozens of languages.

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  • 259

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Harlan Greene

    "We're having a really hard time containing our excitement," says Harlan Greene, Special Collections senior manuscript and reference archivist. "In this collection we have the literary manuscripts of one of the most popular writers of our time and a native of Charleston. Just as Jim blended fact and fantasy and the past and the future in his works, we now plan to employ both 'futuristic,' state-of-the-art technology and classic archival procedures to preserve the collection and make his papers as accessible to possible."

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  • 260

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Michael Hudson

    Recognized as one of the most prolific and influential fantasy writers of our time, James O. Rigney, Jr., created a richly detailed and vividly imagined series that has captivated readers around the globe. The series, which has often been compared to the work of J. R. R. Tolkien in terms of its magic and magnetic hold on readers, has been translated into more than 30 languages and sold more than 44 million copies worldwide since its beginning over twenty years ago.

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet McDougal, James Rigney's widow and editor, donated the collection to the College of Charleston last fall. "I wanted the papers to be in the college community," McDougal said. "Once the collection is processed, researchers, students and fans will have an insider's look into the one of the most legendary epic fantasy series."

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  • 261

    Interview: Jan 8th, 2013

    Question ()

    Will any of the notes be published?

    Harriet McDougal

    No, but an encyclopedia will come out in about a year.

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  • 262

    Interview: Jan 8th, 2013

    Question ()

    What about the main character that was removed from The Eye of the World?

    Harriet McDougal

    He didn't do anything until book 4. So he got cut.

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  • 263

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    How did you keep track of all the characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are, what? What are we up to, like 2800 named characters in the Wheel of Time? [laughter] It's more than two thousand; it was more than two thousand when I started, and it was like 2400 or something like that when I started, and I've added a few. So, how can we keep track of all of these characters? That actually is when people ask me, what the hardest part about this was, I often say that that was the hardest part. It's not just keeping track of them, because actually keeping track of them is somewhat easy; there's lots of fan resources, which I use. The Encyclopaedia-WoT is my favorite, though tarvalon.net runs a very nice Wiki which goes more in-depth and things. And keeping track—that's the easy part. The harder part is, Robert Jordan gave them all voices, right? Everybody talked in their own way, and was their own person, and when, you know, Perrin is traveling with like three random Wise Ones, they're all individual personalities, and so before I could write a scene, I had to go back and remind myself, how each of these three people...what their attitudes were, and how they spoke, that sort of thing. It was very difficult.

    I don't know if you—I mean, I tell this story; I don't know if you guys have heard this before—but the level of detail Robert Jordan went into in the worldbuilding...there was one point where I was working on Towers of Midnight, and I sent an email to Maria saying, "I can't keep track of who is with Perrin. Do you have just a list somewhere?" And I was really just meaning the Wise Ones, right? And, you know, named characters. Maria comes back and says, "Well I just dug this out of the notes; I hadn't seen it before. Maybe this will help. It's a file called 'With Perrin'". I went, "Oh, good." And I opened it up...no, that's not what it is; it is the names of all the Two Rivers folk who haven't been named in the books yet. [laughter] ...who are traveling with Perrin, and often a little bit about each of them, and a list of several dozen names of people who haven't been named yet. That's the level of detail we're talking about with this, and it was a challenge; it was a challenge on all of us.

    Fortunately, we did have Maria and Alan, who we should mention—Alan Romanczuk, who is also one of the assistants and very good at this sort of thing, and I would focus my writing, particularly in first draft, on just getting the emotional content of a scene down, right? Get the narrative flow down, make sure it's working, and I would try to get all the voices of the characters right, but I wouldn't worry as much about continuity. I would then send it to Maria, and she would send back this thing with all of these notes saying, "Oh Brandon. Oh Brandon, you can't do this." "Oh Brandon, you killed her." "Oh Brandon..." You know, stuff like that. You see her shaking her head over each of these things. And then we would try and fix all of the problems caused by that, and that's kind of how it went.

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  • 264

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    Was there a character that you took in a different direction than Robert Jordan had originally intended?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not specifically against his wishes. If it was in the notes, talking about a character...one of our first requirements, and I put it on myself on this, was to avoid going in different a direction from Robert Jordan with anything, specifically because I didn't want these books to become about me. I wanted them to remain the Wheel of Time. Now, I had to be nudged by Harriet at several points early on. She would tell me, you have to change some of these things. You do have to be willing to write the book as it needs to be written; Robert Jordan wouldn't have stuck to this outline exactly, and if you did stick to it exactly, it would feel like it doesn't have any life to it.

    And so, there are times, when I was working, and mostly these are plot things—I would say, "You know what, we need to change this." An example of this is in The Gathering Storm, there's a scene—it's not too bad; it's not a big spoiler [laughter]—but there are several scenes where Egwene is having dinner with the Amyrlin. Well, that was originally in Robert Jordan's notes as one scene, and I split it to two scenes, where there's a dinner, it breaks, and then we come back, and I put some things in between because with the narrative flow of that sequence, it felt more powerful for me to work with it that way. I didn't remove any of the things that Robert Jordan said to have happen, and used several of his scenes that he'd written to construct those, but in that case, I felt that moving it around like that made for a better book. And so that's the sort of thing I would change.

    I will say that, early on, when I first met with them, I did say, "I would like to have a character that I can just kind of do whatever I want with," so that I have, you know...it was kind of, maybe hubristic of me or whatever—I wanted to do that, I'm like, "Can I have one to play with? I want an Asha'man to play with." And it was actually Maria who suggested Androl, and said "Go look at him; there's not a lot written about him. The personality, Robert Jordan doesn't have much written down for who he is, and he seems like he's well-poised to do this. That would be a very good one." So Androl, almost everything that's happening with him, Robert Jordan didn't say "Do it with him." There are things I have him doing that Robert Jordan said, in this notes, "This has to happen." But I specifically took Androl as a character and went places with him.

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  • 265

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    Alright, I finished the book...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, no spoilers about the book itself, please.

    Question

    There are characters we've been with for twenty years or so who don't survive this book. How do you choose when characters meet perhaps an untimely end in a book? [laughter]

    Brandon Sanderson

    For this book in specific, there are characters that Robert Jordan left notes on requiring what would happen to certain characters; he was actually fairly detailed. There are a couple of cases where we made decisions on our own, and in any case, when a character dies in a book, I am trying to do what is best for that character and for the emotional beats of the storytelling. I don't look at it as killing off characters; I look at it as letting characters take risks, the risks that they would demand of me that they be allowed to take, and if those risks don't occasionally come with consequences, then there is no story to me, because there is no tension, and there is no possibility for things to go wrong, and without that possibility, I wouldn't be able to write the books. I would be unable to write novels if the characters were unable to have actual danger from the actions that they're taking.

    And so, I make these decisions based on what the character demands and what the story demands. It's never easy. I don't sit there gleefully, as I do imagine certain writers doing [laughter], who will remain unnamed [laughter], saying, "What two don't they expect me to kill, and how can I do it in a really, really brutal way?" [laughter] And that's a certain skill that certain authors have; that's not how I approach it. It's what the story demands of me, is how I approach it, and in some cases what Robert Jordan demanded of me. I agree with everyone that he killed, though. [laughter] I felt that it was right for the story.

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  • 266

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    How much of the last books were completed, or do you have an idea of the percent before you took over?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Fortunately I can fall back on Tom Doherty, who answered this question, so I don't get in trouble. And I don't usually—I get in trouble a little bit sometimes. [laughter] There are certain things that I have to be careful not to say, to get into spoilers and things like that, but Tom Doherty did answer this. There were about 200 pages of material that was done, and that did include lots of different things. It included completed scenes; it included dictations that he'd done while he was sick; and it included fragments of scenes, and in some places, some Q&As with Maria and Alan, where they would say "You said this about a character; can you go more in depth on that?" And then there's like a page of him talking about that character and that scene, and those 200 pages were given to me, and I have used that as a guide in writing the books.

    There were holes. There were some very big holes, which actually was exciting to me in some ways, because it allowed me to actually be part of this, rather than following a very strict "This happens, this happens, this happens." In fact, they weren't in order, which was also exciting to me, because I work from an outline, and Robert Jordan didn't. Robert Jordan knew where he was going, but he would often discover what was going on as he got the characters there. They call that a 'gardener'; it's George R.R. Martin's term for writing; it's how George R.R. Martin; it's how Robert Jordan wrote books; it's how Stephen King writes books. There are others of us that, we are more 'architects'; we build a structure, and then we work from that, and I was able to take all of these things and build a structure from it, and one of the gems in there was what is now the epilogue of the book you're holding, which was finished almost in its entirety—that whole sequence, with very minor tweaks by us—and that ending is the last scene that Robert Jordan talked about many times, that he knows how the book ends; he knows how the series ends. He did write that before he passed away, and that became like my goalpost; that was the thing I had to hit, was that scene, and everything leading up to that was to make that scene work. And so, when you get there, you can read...that epilogue is all Robert Jordan. Significant chunks of the rest of the books were too, but that one, you can just use as a marker, and say "Okay, this is his ending."

    Footnote

    There is some clarification on the issue of the epilogue here.

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  • 267

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    When you first read Robert Jordan's ending, did you have a clear-cut idea of what you wanted to do with the series, or did it develop over time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question, and the answer is it developed over time. Specifically, after I read that ending, I started to reread the whole series—the first time I'd read the series knowing I was going to be part of the series which...you have to approach it very differently, knowing you're going to be a part of it. And I took all of those notes, and I reread the series, and I built an outline using Robert Jordan's scenes as touchstones. A lot of times when you're building an outline—even Robert Jordan who was more of a discovery writer, I heard from Harriet did it this way—you kind of plan your book like you would plan a road trip, where you know you're starting in D.C. and you're going to end in San Diego, and outlining for me is putting in between them all the road markers of places you're going to go, and so I laid down this map where I said, "Okay, here's a scene he wrote; let's go there. Here's another scene he wrote; then we'll go there. Here is another scene..." and I used those as my touchstones to get me across this map toward the ending.

    And I then had places where there were gaps, where I didn't know what happened in between, and that's where I would fill it out. "This is what I'm going to do here..." And I actually did a lot of that with Harriet and Maria and Alan in Charleston where we sat down, and I actually got big sheets of butcher paper—because I can be a visual thinker at times—and I would start with a character and start writing down where I thought they should go, and pitch different things to them. And I usually had a couple of different ideas, and they'd say, "Oh, this feels right; this doesn't feel right," that sort of thing. And together, we hashed that all out for all three books, because they were one book in our head then. One very long book, but one book. [laughter] And I then took those sheets of butcher's paper and typed it all out into a big, massive outline, which then I used across the next five years, working on the books, as my data post, and I used that to point me toward that ending. And that's where it came from.

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  • 268

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Zach

    Hi. I'm Zach [?], and I'm from here in Orem, and I kind of feel like a child with all these people that have read it for so long. I'm pretty new to the series—just a couple of years—but I love it just as much. And I'm really grateful you guys brought your assistants with you as well, because I know, with the creative writing process and writing, it takes a lot more than just one person.

    And so I was wondering, probably more directed to Brandon, how did you keep everything together? How did you encompass everything... [laughter] Just a little idea; I just wanted to know a little bit about how you kept up with everything.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's interesting. I am somewhat absentminded in a lot of things in my life, but I don't forget stories. Stories stay in my head, and perhaps that's why I forget everything else. [laughter] I can remember stories that I was planning to tell twenty years ago, and I've still got the details in my head, and I'm ready to write it at some point; I just haven't gotten around to it.

    That said, a lot of the minutiae that isn't part of the soul of the story to me—it's very important, but it isn't part of the soul of the story—and that sort of thing, I do need to keep track of, and so recently we've been using the Wiki, and the Wiki has worked really well; that's for my own books. For the Wheel of Time, I just let other people make the Wikis, and I use theirs. [laughter] So the Encyclopaedia-WoT—Bob Kluttz, and Encyclopaedia-WoT—and if there's anyone here from Tar Valon who worked on their Wiki, the Tar Valon Wiki is fantastic, and I really liked the Tar Valon Wiki. And so, those were two things that I used for the simple questions, the questions they couldn't answer. Maria was like our version of the Brown Ajah that has been gathering all sorts of things and getting them ready for us whenever we have requests about them and whatnot, so it's been very useful.

    Harriet McDougal

    She doesn't have a live owl on her desk, but she does have a large plastic iguana that has a cigarette in its mouth. [laughter]

    Maria Simons

    And I have two beautiful brown shawls proving I am of the Brown Ajah. [cheers, applause]

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  • 269

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Niels Oleson

    My name is Niels Oleson. Tai'shadar [sic] Manetheren, and Tai'shadar [sic] Pleasant Grove. [laughter] That's where I'm from! Go Vikings!

    The one question I have is—this wouldn't be a panel without asking—who killed Asmodean? [laughter, cheers] And I know you can't answer it, but is it in the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For those who missed it, it's in the, um...the glossary of Towers of Midnight. [boooo] It's actually mentioned in there who killed Asmodean. [laughter] Towers of Midnight, last book; it came out last year. Two years ago. [laughter] So, you've got your answer; you just have to go find it in there.

    And let me give a little explanation on that, so you guys who haven't heard this story—I know many of you have—when I first went to Charleston—this was 2007, in December—I had signed the contracts, not knowing how much was written of the book or what was even available, because you know, that's how it had to go; I had to sign all the NDAs and things before I could see, so I flew out there, and picked up the material, so to speak—the material we call the notes and everything—and I got in very late because it's—you know, flying to Charleston from Salt Lake is uh, and you gotta connect at Atlanta, and things—you know, I get in late, and we walk in; Harriet picks me up from the airport, brings me in, and she—(to Harriet) it was bean soup you had made, or something like that—and you're like, "Would you like some food; I know you've been flying a long time..." I said, "No, I'd like the ending, please, thank you." [laughter]

    So she laughed and got me the materials, and handed them to me in a stack, and I went in to the room—the sitting room—and I sat down to read them, and on the very top was a post-it note, on top of a page of a fan...fan information, like it printed off from the internet—a fan theory—and all it said is, "This is right." And the fan theory was about who killed Asmodean, and that's all we had, was a "This is correct." Maybe they have more—maybe Maria has more—but all I knew was, "This is correct." I didn't know the how, the why, or anything that this person...why they did this.

    And so when it came time to put it in the books, I kind of almost jokingly said, "We should put it in the glossary, because we don't know, so we'll just put it in for fans in the same way we got it, which is just a post-it note." [laughter] "...We'll stick it in the book like a post-it note, in the glossary," and that's because we don't have the full story. And so we went ahead and did that, and then when I was writing the book, I actually worked it into the text, and Harriet wrote back and said, "No, no. I like this glossary thing; it's going in the glossary." [laughter] So, we cut it out of the text and left it in the glossary, and the idea is, you get to feel like we felt because I didn't know anything more than "This is it," so I gave it to you as transparently as possible so that you could have the same feeling of confusion that I had.

    Harriet McDougal

    And did you see where he got Moghedien from my basic character? [laughter]

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  • 270

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Michael Chantry

    Hi, I'm Michael Chantry from Podunk [?] Idaho—[claps] someone knows the area. Thank you for the books; they're amazing. Thanks Robert Jordan for the books. I like them so much I actually named my second child Perrin. [applause]

    My question is to both Brandon and Harriet. I know you love this new book, A Memory of Light, that you've created for us, and out of it, is there anything that we... What is your favorite part? What did you enjoy most about it? If you can give us a chapter, a section...anything. I know you're going to say "the whole thing." [laughter]

    Brandon Sanderson

    (flips through book) [laughter] There's a 200-page chapter in this book. [hoots, buzz of talking] I felt it very thematically important, and my favorite part is right at the end of that chapter and the beginning of the next chapter, and the next chapter is actually very short, and so really, it's probably Chapter 39, but with the lead-in at the end of chapter 38.

    Michael Chantry

    And Harriet, do you have a favorite part?

    Brandon Sanderson

    (talks to Peter) 37 and 38? Okay, 37 and 38. Peter knows these things better than I do. [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, I love the end of Chapter 23—the final sequence—and as you're aware from Brandon's other books, I mean a lot of the chapters will have a piece here, and then there's a two-line space and you jump five hundred miles away, and so on, but the last segment of 23 I think is just super. But there are an awful lot of things that I do love in this book; the scene I read for you is one of my favorites; there's more of it, but I thought, "Oh, I don't know; I think I'm getting on too long," because we hadn't quite timed it out. I think it's a wonderful book. [laughter, applause]

    Jason Denzel

    I know that the question wasn't directed up here to me, but I think I definitely need to say that—without being cliché—the ending, the epilogue, was far and away everything I could have hoped it was, and it was my favorite part of the book. It was just...I can't wait for all of you to eventually read it, and hopefully have the same kind of reaction that I did. It's pretty awesome.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can talk a little bit more about that, because...I told you the Asmodean story, but next under that sheet was this, was the...were the scenes that Robert Jordan had written for the book. And so, that included sections from the prologue, which got split into various pieces of the various prologues of the three novels; sections out of the book; and then this ending, the epilogue, and it's one of the most...one of the scenes where you're able to preserve, a sequence that's the most close to the way Robert Jordan left it. Because a lot of scenes he'd leave, he'd leave like a paragraph, and then it's like I have to expand that into, or I have to work a whole thing and then have that paragraph in.

    There's a famous scene, for instance, with Verin in Gathering Storm where he left, you know, the kinda...what you would imagine is the important parts, but it's only the important parts, and then it doesn't have a lead-in or an exit to the scene, and so I had to write up and then lead in to what he'd written, and then lead out of it, and that sort of stuff. And this, it's actually...we've got complete sequences that he wrote before he passed away. And so, when you get to that epilogue, you can know...there's some very non-touched-by-the-rest-of-us stuff that he had in a very good shape to be published before he passed away.

    Harriet McDougal

    And I should have thought of that, but as he read it in 2007—and so did I, and I had known some bits of it for years before that—but it really is splendid.

    Michael Chantry

    Thank you very much. [applause]

    Footnote

    More info on who wrote what in the epilogue.

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  • 271

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    This is a different person's writing for you. A lot of writers discover along the way, and for you, how different was it working on this book. Where there still discoveries?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There were still discoveries, but I am more what we call an architect. This is a type of writer who builds a frame and then builds a story around that frame. I certainly do discover certain things, like...I don't know what each chapter exactly is going to be—I know what will be accomplished in that chapter, and then I sit down and then I find interesting ways to do it—but on the macroscopic scale, I almost always know exactly where I'm going when I'm writing a book, and with this, that actually worked the same way, because Robert Jordan had written many scenes and had left many instructions on what was to happen, and those became the foundation of my framework that I used to write from, and so instead of me brainstorming those, which would happen in one of my own books, I used his framework that he had given me, and I built the story around that.

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  • 272

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    Has it gotten any easier to dig through RJ’s very personalized and, in some ways, maddeningly genius organizational system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You’d actually have to ask that of Maria and Alan since they are the ones who dig through it. I gave up on that after about two months into the first book because I couldn't make heads or tails of it; I just started asking questions of them. It still takes a long time sometimes to get responses, not because they're not working but because it's hard to find, so I don't know that it's gotten that much better.

    Tags

  • 273

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    Was there anything in the notes that surprised you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I got everything at once. There are two things that stand out that are moments when I was looking through the notes and I was like, "Oh!" And then there was one that I'm like, "Oh no." [laughter]

    The two that were "Oh!" were, in Gathering Storm where Egwene gets a special visitor, and colors of dresses are mentioned. [laughter] That one was kind of mind-boggling, and that's one of the things that Robert Jordan had complete. Not—I had to write into it and write out of it, but the important parts you're thinking about were done. The second scene was in another section that he had complete, and this is where, at the end of Towers of Midnight, someone you haven't seen for a long time and someone else have a romantic moment together, and that surprised me. I was not one that was expecting that—it's well-foreshadowed, but I just hadn't been expecting it. I actually went to Team Jordan, and I'm like, "This? I—What?" And they're like, "No, it's in there; here, look at this, look at this," and all the foreshadowing, and I had just completely missed it. And so, those two were the surprising moments for me.

    The kind of "Oh no" moment was when...he didn't actually write the scene, he just made a sentence that said—oh, someone's plugging their ears because they don't want spoilers; I'm trying to talk around the spoilers, so—in Gathering Storm, there is a scene where a certain member of the Forsaken gets spanked [laughter], and Robert Jordan wrote, "This happens, and she gets spanked." And I'm like, "I'm not going to write a spanking scene; I've never written a spanking scene before!" [laughter] And I was kinda like, "Come on, Jim, do you really have to do this?" But I was like, it was in the notes, and there was no good reason not to [?] that scene, so I went ahead and wrote that scene.

    Tags

  • 274

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    Can you tell us the two sentences about the outriggers?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well I can, but it's a spoiler. Later, I certainly will, but right now that is a spoiler, in the two sentences.

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Harriet McDougal

    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.

    Tags

  • 275

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Jay Fonseca (23 January 2013)

    So I always wondered... what ever happened to the Tinkers' song? Did I miss a resolution to that arc?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    By specific instruction from RJ, the Tinkers have not found their song as of the end of A Memory of Light.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The song of growing is not their "Song." The Song is a much more deep and philosophical concept, perhaps unattainable.

    TJ

    Do you imagine that Rand teaches "the song" to the Tu'athan after the events of A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rand does not know The Song. Anything he'd try to teach them, they would not accept as The Song.

    Aaron Oster

    Wait, are you saying Rand's song that Mat recognized wasn't the Tinkers' song?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Tinker "Song" is an ideal that goes far beyond any song that has actually ever existed.

    Tags

  • 276

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    John Martin (23 January 2013)

    Okay, the pipe lighting . . . Any real explanation, or are we just going to wonder forever?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    I put it in as RJ instructed, and I know nothing more about it than fandom does, I'm afraid.

    James Starke

    Popular theory is that from his time with the Dark One/Creator/Pattern, he's able to manipulate The Pattern a bit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a good theory.

    Jonathan B

    What's your opinion on how pipe lighting was or could have been done even if we don't have RJ's answer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. I agree with some of the fan discussions.

    Andrew Mudge

    Is Rand the missing link between the Pattern and the Creator himself, possibly even the balancer of light/dark?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's one possible theory.

    Mike Ball

    How did Rand light the pipe at the end of A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I know no more on this than fandom does, I'm afraid. RJ did not explain.

    Terry Benton

    I still can't figure it out...how did Rand light his pipe? Is he in Tel'aran'rhioid? Is everybody??

    Dan Zambito

    Can you explain how Rand lit his pipe in the last scene? Did he discover a new power? Is he a new power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm afraid I don't know anything more than fandom does about this. RJ did not leave notes on the matter.

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  • 277

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Aaron Oster (23 January 2013)

    If, hypothetically, there was a body switch in WoT, how would it happen? Would it be an actual switch or illusion?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    There are far more reasons, worldbuilding wise, to believe it was real than to believe it was illusion.

    TJ

    Is Rand's soul in Moridin's body?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Right to the point, are you? Let's just say that trickery is not likely in this case.

    TJ

    Can you confirm that Rand's body was burned at the end of A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, fine. Yes, I will confirm that Rand's body was indeed the one that was burned. :)

    Jonathan MacAlpine

    Why didn't anybody notice when a supposedly-dead Moridin got up and walked away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd say coincidence. But there aren't many of those in the WoT world.

    Siraaj

    Seems like a conversation between the Creator and Rand was missing where "switch" and Alivia's role in it are laid out—thoughts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I believe that RJ included everything he wanted in this sequence.

    Jason Cassidy

    Why did Rand switch bodies at the end and why is he going incognito now? Did not understand that part.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RJ wrote these scenes, and intended to leave them as is. I don't think me delving into explanations is what he'd want.

    El Brian

    Did the bonding between Rand, Nynaeve, Elayne, and Min transfer over to the new body?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, though I don't know how or why.

    Kamarile Sedai

    Why did the bond survive the body switch at the end of A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know. RJ did not explain this one to me.

    J Crosby

    How were Rand/Elan able to switch bodies?

    Sean Duffy

    How did Rand wind up with Moridin's body?

    James Starke

    Could you explain further about the body switch and how it was possible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is one that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.

    Tags

  • 278

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Frank McCormick (23 January 2013)

    Why no mention of Dobraine? What's his fate?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    Dobraine makes it. RJ's only note on him for the last book was that he was at Merrilor when Rand/Egwene clashed. Dobraine...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...was one I kept meaning to find a place to mention, but never quite got around to working it in.

    Tags

  • 279

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Austen Woods (23 January 2013)

    Two questions: Where was Shaidar Haran during The Last Battle? Were all the major deaths planned by RJ?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    The husk that Rand sees, which gave birth to the void. Second: Almost all, but a few were left open and decided by us.

    Andy Nogar

    What happened to Shaidar Haran? He seems to have dropped off the face of Randland.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rand sees him as a husk that gave birth to the void.

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  • 280

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Mali Medina (23 January 2013)

    You've said that you had to make choices from the notes at points. Can you disclose any of the paths not traveled?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    Let's see... Here's one. RJ was uncertain if he wanted Elayne to have Cairhien or not by Merrilor.

    Tags

  • 281

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Jason Wesbrooks (23 January 2013)

    Loved A Memory of Light—Did RJ specifically prohibit a three ta'veren reunion? One of my only minor disappointments.

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    No, he didn't, but I just couldn't fit it in logistically.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mat/Perrin Rand/Perrin and Rand/Mat from these two books was my nod toward that.

    Tags

  • 282

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    sleepinghour (23 January 2013)

    Any chance of Birgitte or Egwene being reborn as one of Melaine's twins?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    I can't remember what RJ has said about when a spirit is linked to a body in WoT terms.

    Terez

    RJ said viability.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I thought that's what he had said. So I'd say there is a chance. (But as you can guess, the notes don't say.)

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  • 283

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    Describe for me the process. Tell me about how Robert Jordan worked on the books in the last few months of his life.

    Harriet McDougal

    Mostly by dictation. He began by saying something about the last book one Saturday night. And two friends were visiting us at the time—one who very luckily had worked in her past as a court reporter—so she began taking copious notes. I tried, but I was just staring at my darling and listening to the story pour out of him—I was no go at taking the dictation. She was, although she thought the hero that he was talking about was the 'Dragoon Reborn'. (laughs) Dragoons are big in Charleston history. And she took very good notes, and the other friend went out at midnight to buy a tape recorder. So from there on we were just recording him and going back with questions, and that's how he worked in those last months.

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  • 284

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    And I understand that he—the last scene, which I think you're referring to—he wrote that completely himself?

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes, yes.

    Petra Mayer

    Did he have that in mind the whole time? Because I have to tell you, when I got the book in the mail last week, I turned to the end and read the last scene. I'm that kind of person.

    Harriet McDougal

    (laughs) Yeah, I think he had it in mind the whole time—from before he started The Eye of the World. He thought very far ahead. I remember once we went out to lunch just after he'd finished The Eye of the World, and over lunch he wanted to talk about what would happen to a Maiden of the Spear who had a child. And that doesn't turn up until where? Book four?

    Petra Mayer

    I don't think so, yeah.

    Harriet McDougal

    But he worked far ahead. And he did have the overall arc of the story in mind all the time—think of the prophecies.

    Petra Mayer

    That's true, yeah.

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  • 285

    Interview: Sep, 2012

    Petra Mayer

    One of the things that I like about the Wheel of Time series is the unbelievably detailed worldbuilding that...I mean, coming into that, it was already eleven books along when you picked it up? My God, what did that feel like? How did you step into those shoes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, boy. So, the story is, I was a fan of the series—I picked the first one up when I was fifteen, and that was in 1990—and I'd been reading them all along; they are part of what inspired me to become a writer. I eventually broke into publishing myself in 2005, and two years later, Robert Jordan passed away without having finished the end of this series that I'd been following all along. And, like a lot of fans, I was heartbroken. I mean, we'd [inaudible] almost twenty years of following these characters. And one day, I got a call on the phone. I had not applied for this; I didn't know I was being considered. It was his wife. I didn't know her, but she had read my book—she had read my book Mistborn—and she had heard that I was a fan of the series, and had looked into some of the things I'd written, and then she just said, "Would you like to finish it?"

    Now, this is a major best-selling series; I'm a newbie author with a couple of books out. It was like getting hit by a freight train. And there's all this continuity and all these characters....it was a massive undertaking. I was scared out of my wits, to be perfectly honest, but honestly, I almost said no because of that, but there was that piece of me—the fan—that said, "Look, if you say no to this, and someone else comes along, and they do a bad job, it's going to be your fault, Brandon." So my own conscience was like, "I gotta do this. If Robert Jordan can't do it, they're going to have somebody do it. I've gotta do it." So I threw myself into it, and you know, the most interesting thing is, how have I done it? Well, I've had great resources, and part of those are fan resources. What the internet allows us to do with Wikis and things like this is, the fans have gotten together and created these detailed outlines and chronologies and all of these things, which have just been wonderful. You don't expect that, you know, but the fans do a better job than we do, as writers, sometimes, of keeping track of all of these things, so I've relied on their resources.

    I do think I've been able to do some fun things with the series, as a fan, that I've been wanting to do, from reading it since I was a kid, but that's actually a weird things because, as a fan coming on, I had to be careful. You don't always want to do what the inner fan wants you to do; otherwise it just becomes like a sequence of cameos and inside jokes. So I had to be very careful, but there are some things that I've been wanting to have happen, and the notes left a lot of room for me to explore. I did get to have a lot of creative involvement in it; it wasn't just an outline, which has been awesome. You know, if it had been mostly done, they would have been able to hire like a ghostwriter to clean it up, and they didn't have that. They needed an actual writer, and so there are lots of plots I got to construct, and as a fan, that's awesome.

    But he did write the last chapter. He wrote it before he passed away. He was very dedicated to his fans—there's great stories—he was on his deathbed dictating, and I have those dictations where his cousin Wilson is sitting there with a tape recorder just listening to him, and I got all these things passed on to me. It was really an interesting process. I was actually handed about two hundred pages, what would become 2500. Yeah, 2500. It's multiple volumes; it got split into three books. But, got handed two hundred pages, and in these are scenes he wrote, dictations that he did, fragments of scenes he worked on, little comments he made, Q&As with his assistants where it says, "This is what's going to happen, this is going to happen..." I just describe it like, "Imagine there's this beautiful Ming vase, and someone puts it in a paper bag and smashes it up, dumps out half the pieces, hands it to you, and says, 'Alright. Build the vase exactly as it was going to be, as it was before.' " That's kind of been my job on this.

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  • 286

    Interview: Jun 3rd, 2011

    Helen O'Hara

    Speaking of adaptations, of course, you've taken over Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and sped up the pace of the story considerably, so as a long-time reader there, thank you for that!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Credit needs to be given to Robert Jordan; he started to speed up in Book 11 [Knife of Dreams]. In fact, I've read interviews where he admits that the focus was a little bit wrong in Book 10 [Crossroads of Twilight], which is the one that the fans complain about being the most slow, and he himself changed that for Book 11 and picked up the pacing. And I like spectacular endings. When I build my books, I start from the end and work forward with my outline. I write from beginning to end, but I outline end to beginning, because I always want to know that I have a powerful, explosive ending that I'm working toward. Endings are my deal: if a book or a film doesn't have a great ending, I find it wanting. It's like the last bite, the last morsel on the plate, so I get very annoyed with the standard Hollywood third act, because they seem to play it most safe in Act Three, and that's where I most want to be surprised and awed. That's where it's got to be spectacular. You've got to give the reader something they're not expecting, something they want but don't know it, in that last section.

    Helen O'Hara

    Does that go for something like your Mistborn Trilogy; did you start with the end of the trilogy or go book-by-book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I plotted all three backwards and then wrote them all forwards. I had a great advantage writing those books, because I sold my first book, Elantris, in 2003. The nature of how books are 'slotted' into release dates is that a new author doesn't get the best slot. They want to give each author a good launch, but they can't give them in the really prime slots. So we had a two-and-a-half year wait, and usually you have a year between books. That meant I had three-and-a-half years before Mistborn would be out, so I pitched the entire trilogy together and wrote all three before the first one came out.

    Helen O'Hara

    Is that something you have in common with Robert Jordan, because re-reading the prologue to the first book you think, 'This guy knows how it's going to end'.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He actually wrote the ending that I worked towards. The last pages were written by him before he passed away. He always spoke of knowing the ending, so I think we do share that. He was a bit more of an explorer in his writing than I am. He knew where he was going, but getting there he wove around a lot. You can see that in the notes I've been given; he jumps from scene to scene. So there's a difference there, but he really loved endings. And that ending is really great; I think fans are going to love it.

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  • 287

    Interview: Nov 5th, 2009

    Matthew Peterson

    Well, you've got so many things to tie up. And Robert Jordan, he knew that he was going to die. He knew that, and so he was writing as fast as he could. He got these notes. And you're working off of these notes, which is so great for the fan base, 'cause we get a feel for what Robert Jordan had in mind. I do have one question that everyone is asking me to ask you. [laughs] Are we going to find out who killed Asmodean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. He left notes about who killed Asmodean. To be included in the book. Harriet's decided where it goes. I can't tell you which of the three books it's going to appear in. But it is going to be in there and he did write the ending himself, of the entire thing.

    Matthew Peterson

    Oh, okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which is just wonderful. It makes this book possible because I know what the ending is. He left a lot of material through the middle too, as well. But he left that ending. He'd been promising us for years that he knew the ending of the series. And he did. And he wrote it down. And so I'm really working towards the goal of getting to that ending and working with it in mind and so, yeah, you don't need to worry that the ending won’t be Robert Jordan's ending, because he wrote that himself.

    Matthew Peterson

    That is great to know. I didn't know that. Well, that is awesome.

    Tags

  • 288

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2013

    Question

    Is there a confirmed killer for Asmodean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's listed in the Appendix of Towers of Midnight. It's in there. Go find it. I found it by way of a post it note listed on top of the notes. I don't know any more than who did it, as far as why or how. There's only a name.

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  • 289

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2013

    Question

    What happens with the Green Man?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have no answer for you. It is not spoken of by RJ, so you will have to extrapolate yourself. I could make something up, but I don't do that anymore. If it was for the books, I could say "this needs to happen" with my creative freedom I was given, but at this point, with it done, that's no longer my job. So my answer is, I don't know! We know that the Nym must come back as the Ages turn, but we don't know when they will be "reinvented".

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  • 290

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2013

    Question

    So what were some of the holes that you filled in with that creative freedom?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I tried to avoid talking about this much before because I don't want you to focus on what's Brandon and what's RJ, but now that it's all out, I do have a little more freedom. One thing is that early when I went to Charleston, I felt RJ was always adding characters, so I didn't want to add too many. I wanted to show something happening at the Black Tower, so Androl became my character that I took and expanded on from minor to main character. Androl himself and his relationship with Pevara was me. I felt the series needed it, and I’ve always wanted an Asha'man to play with, so to speak.

    More generally, for The Gathering Storm I have said RJ worked a lot on Egwene's viewpoints. Not as much on Rand. Rand was more me, Egwene was more RJ. In Towers of Midnight, RJ worked a lot on Mat and not much on Perrin. So if it's Mat, it's more likely to be RJ. If it's Perrin, it's more likely to be me. In A Memory of Light he worked mostly on beginning and end, not much on the middle. Merrilor and the last few chapters are a lot of RJ. In between, it's a lot more me.

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  • 291

    Interview: Feb 6th, 2013

    Question

    About Androl and Pevara, the dynamic and internal dialogues were right on, and his unique skills made for some of the most remarkable scenes since the cleansing. I know that RJ had some things lined out for many of the characters, but you sort of took Androl on as your guy, can you speak to that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    (Prefaced his answer by reminding everyone to avoid spoiler questions, and made it clear that this one did not cross that line) When I began to work on the books, I felt that with each book, it seemed that Robert Jordan usually took a side character and made them more of a main character. As I was outlining the series, I decided I wanted to take a side character and make them into more of a main character, but there wasn't a specific person in the notes designated to do that with. But I felt that we really needed somebody at the Black Tower, because of all the things going on at that time in the notes, and we needed another viewpoint there.

    During my second trip to Charleston, this would be April/May of 2008, we used big sheets of butcher paper, outlining what was going on with these as a visual aid. I wanted an Asha'man to have a sequence of major viewpoints. Maria and Alan, who were Robert Jordan's assistants, and are now Harriet's assistants, chatted about it a moment and said you should use Androl, because there's not a lot about him, he's pretty much a blank slate and you can go wherever you want with him, which was really exciting for me. I then pitched the Talent of gateways for him, and they liked that.

    Shortly after I got home, I got in the mail a printout or photocopies, of magazine or book pages from Harriet about leatherworking, and she had written on it, "I know that Jim had planned to use this in the book somewhere, is there anywhere that you can fit it in". Well I'm developing this character, let's make him a leatherworker. So I used that in building the personality of who this character was, and in that way, there was some of Robert Jordan in the character, even though I was taking a blank slate and going my own way with him. And that's where Androl came from for the last three books.

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  • 292

    Interview: Feb 6th, 2013

    Question

    Are Robert Jordan's notes going to be included in that encyclopedia/anthology you're working on?

    Harriet McDougal

    The notes? The notes are more words than have been published in the entire series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harriet, did you hear that I tried to make one file out of the notes? Did Maria tell you? Earlier this week, I actually said people ask this all the time, I'm going to have an exact word count for them. So I took every one of the notes, and I compiled them into one Word document. It got to 32,000 pages, and Microsoft Word said 'I can't count any further', and my computer crashed. Thirty-two thousand pages.

    Harriet McDougal

    So the answer is no!

    Brandon Sanderson

    The whole series is ten thousand, okay? And this was thirty two thousands pages. It crashed my computer, Harriet, it was hilarious. It was at four million words plus counting, it was continuing to go, and then it couldn't go any further.

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  • 293

    Interview: Feb 6th, 2013

    Question

    Regarding the cache of ter'angreal recovered from Ebou Dar, and identified by Aviendha, were no more of them employed than we'd seen due to space or continuity constraints, or were they never intended to be used?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We used what was given to be used in Robert Jordan's outline and notes. It may be that he would have found a use for more of them, but we stuck to what he had prepared.

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  • 294

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    I have a question in reference to Tolkien. Do you use cards, like the ones that turned up from his desk and were published in thirteen volumes, or do you sit at your computer—I think you use a computer—with a carefully-crafted idea and just type your book?

    Robert Jordan

    I don't use outlines at all because every detail is in my head. By the way, yes, I work on a computer, which is not even the most recent model [Editor's note: this is followed by a comprehensive description about a somewhat outdated configuration]. My first novel was handwritten; the next three novels were written on a typewriter, but my typewriter broke down after the third novel. I took it to a mechanic who said that he couldn't fix it because I had beaten the machine to death. After that I was forced to buy my first computer, and since then I write my novels on my computer.

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  • 295

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    crovax33

    I asked Sanderson if we'll ever find out how Rand lit the pipe in the epilogue.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He said that nowhere in Jordan's notes did it say how the pipe was lit, but that Harriet had a couple of theories, the main one being: with it being a new Age, there's a new way of doing things, and even some new magic.

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  • 296

    Interview: Feb 8th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Rand's pipe-lighting came up a few times, to which Brandon stated in no uncertain terms that it's just not explained in the notes, that it's something the readers get to answer themselves.

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  • 297

    Interview: Feb 8th, 2013

    Question

    Was the Last Battle chapter in A Memory of Light 190 pages long because that was how Jordan wanted it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, Brandon made this decision himself because he felt like none of the characters could put their weapons down during this stretch, so he wanted the reader to be in the same predicament and not be able to put the book down.

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  • 298

    Interview: Feb 8th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    When asked who Nakomi was, Brandon said that it wasn't answered by Robert Jordan so it was important that he left it that way.

    Tags

  • 299

    Interview: Feb 8th, 2013

    Brandon and Harriet (paraphrased)

    When asked about the ending he said he thought Robert Jordan left it open so the reader could fill in what happened for themselves. Then he said that he thought Rand probably did go talk to Tam before he left but maybe not Lan.

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  • 300

    Interview: Feb 9th, 2013

    talinthus

    We went out to the signing, and it was overwhelmingly crowded without being oppressive. The questions and answers were almost identical to those asked at other signings, as my fellow keepers have already reported on. No outriggers, WoT encyclopedia next year, and stories about the notes and the writing process.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The most interesting piece was on Androl, who was almost wholly Sanderson's creation. Jordan had many view points at the Tower, and Sanderson collapsed it into one, giving the soldier a power that Sanderson wished had been in WoT since his youth. Apparently, Jordan had a book of leather working he had intended to use somehow, and Sanderson gave that skill to his character in homage.

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  • 301

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually should probably do a few frequently asked questions as well. For those wondering, there is an encyclopedia in the works. (applause) This was something that Harriet's been working on for years, and (to Harriet) I'll just let you mention about it, if you would.

    Harriet McDougal

    I started keeping a list of proper nouns with The Eye of the World. I didn't know what I was up against. (laughter) Because I began, just keeping the list, without any chapter references, with The Great Hunt I began adding chapter references, and every book since then has been combed through. The last book, we had an intern, and we said, "Yeah!" (laughter) "You can code the names, and please put in when they die, what chapter, if anybody dies."

    So anyway, this thing has been in progress from the beginning, and it will take us a year to figure out exactly how to organize it, what to leave out, what to add in. As Brandon has said, there are 32? 38,000 pages of notes. The entire series is ten thousand pages, so there's a lot of stuff in the notes. Brandon tried to put it all into one document, and when it got to that far, his computer stopped counting, and then it crashed. (laughter) So there's a lot of material.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it wasn't even funny. My poor little laptop's like, "What have you done to me?" (laughter) I thought, you know, because Harriet's often said, "Oh there's more notes than there are words in the entire series combined," and so I thought, "Oh, I'll find out exactly how many there are." No, I didn't find out how many there are; I just crashed my computer. But yeah, she has said that some of the things from the notes will end up in the encyclopedia, some tidbits and things that you don't already know, so that means I can still RAFO questions when you ask me. (laughter)

    Tags

  • 302

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Kathy

    I don't know if you remember me, but I was a Stormleader for The Gathering Storm...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thank you.

    Kathy

    ...and I got that first RAFO part, which was then answered in this book. And I was wondering if that question that I gave to Robert Jordan so many years ago, and he gave that wonderful answer, was the reason [?] or was it...[?]

    Brandon Sanderson

    (laughs) You're dog girl. Yes, you are! I will say...there's an inside joke here. Once, this wonderful young woman asked Robert Jordan what would happen if you balefired yourself through a gateway, and what exactly did he say?

    Kathy

    He said, "Young woman, I need you to go have an affair—with man, woman, or German Shepherd; it doesn't matter. Either way, you need to get a life." (laughter, applause)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Now, I, uh...(laughter continues)

    Kathy

    I also happened to then, several years later, marry a man who also read, and this is our daughter Aviendha.

    Harriet McDougal

    Awwww! (applause)

    Kathy

    See...[?]. (laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't have one either, and I'm worried...my big question was always about gateways, and when I began reading the series, as soon as I discovered them, I started to think about what would happen, cause I'm a magic system guy, right? And I'm like, "Oooh, what could you do with this? What could you do with this?" In fact, I started taking notes on what I could do, and they sat there in my notes file for years and years because I eventually started moving away from things I had seen done by other authors, and that meant, specifically the few things I was most interested in in the Wheel of Time. I didn't end up ever writing a magic system using. gateways and the World of Dreams, the way Robert Jordan had it. I avoided these things intentionally. And yet I had all these notes of things that I would like to have done, if I ever did a magic system with them.

    Lo and behold, I got that opportunity, and so I found ways to....when I got the project, I didn't want to come in and make any sweeping changes—that wasn't my goal—but there are some places where I felt it appropriate to add some of my touch to the books, and one was with the gateways. I didn't want to be spending a lot of time doing anything with the magic system, you know—inventing a lot of new weaves, or anything like that—but I did want to expand some parts.

    And so I actually....I went to Charleston, and we needed a new viewpoint character, specifically someone in the Black Tower—we hadn't had...we didn't have the right viewpoint character for the Black Tower—so I said, is there an Asha'man you guys think that I could take over, so to speak, and really flesh out and make into a more...you know, elevate a side character to a medium level character, which is something Robert Jordan frequently did in the series, and they came to the decision that Androl was the person that I should take, and I gave him the gateway Talent because I wanted to explore what happens with gateways.

    And so, right there....we are all on the same wavelength; it wasn't necessarily me trying to answer your question. It was me answering questions to myself as a young man reading the series, wondering a lot about gateways. And so, Androl was a lot of fun.

    In fact, there's another story there. At one point, I'm working on the series, and I get in the mail this envelope—it's a manila envelope from Charleston, and in it are a bunch of photocopied pages, and Harriet has written on the front of them: "Jim planned to use this somewhere. Can you fit it in?" And what it was was a detailed explanation from the viewpoint of a leatherworker about how one goes about using leather, and leatherworking. And this is the sort of detail, craftsman-style sort of things that Robert Jordan really liked to find places for that sort of detail in the books, and meanwhile, I've been sitting here trying to build a character for Androl, and I'm like, "Okay! I've got a place for it." And that's how Androl became a leatherworker, is from that stack of pages from Robert Jordan; it was just a photocopy of a leatherworker talking about their work.

    So, there's some Androl stories. And so the answer is, it's half to you, but it's mostly to me (laughter). It's to both of us.

    Footnote

    Kathy met her husband at tarvalon.net

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  • 303

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Question

    So I had a very emotional reaction to this book, and I'm sure a lot of people did. I actually had to put it down for about two weeks... [inaudible] As you the writer, how did you manage to get through the ending of a lot of characters that are part of our lives?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The answer is a complicated one dealing with the creative process. One part of the answer is I had a lot longer to get ready for it than you did. In fact, I was building the outline from this out of Robert Jordan's notes.

    We talked about the notes. I was handed two things by way of notes. One was a stack of 200 pages. And this is the writing Robert Jordan did for the last book, and including the Q&As he did with his assistants, where they would say, "Okay what's going to happen with this character?" And he would talk about it for a page or so, and they would actually just record that, and then they transcribed it for me. And so that's what those 200 pages were. And then there was a CD with all of this five million words of other stuff, which I would spend my time reading, but which would have taken me years and years and years to read through all the way. And so fortunately I had Maria and Alan working on that. It was real interesting because a lot of this is stuff like 'Chronology of events for Book 5', which there had been a lot of things like that, and then there'll be hidden little tidbits in there.

    But anyway, I was building the outline by rereading the series, taking the 200 pages—because we knew those were the scenes that he wanted in the book—and out of those two things I build the outline for the 800,000 word novel that I was planning. (laughter) So I used that. And I got very—I got time to come to grips with what was going to happen in a lot of the books. I had years to come to grips with it. It doesn't mean it wasn't an emotional time when I wrote it. We don't talk a lot—intentionally—we don't talk a lot about what was Robert Jordan and what was me. We don't talk a lot about where he decided characters needed to go, and where I decided characters needed to go, and where Harriet decided on occasion. But there were some long phone calls, where I would call and say, "This needs to happen. This is going to be really painful, but this is what the book needs." And we would talk it over and decide how to work it in and where it would go and how it would come about. Some of those conversations were tear-jerkers, but the Last Battle doesn't happen without some tear-jerking moments.

    But beyond that, of course, the idea that it was all coming to an end, right? That this was years and years and years of effort, and years and years and years of reading, coming to an end. And that was emotional in and of itself. So, I've now had six or seven months. It finished for me July/August-ish when I handed off the document to Maria, and she took over the copy edit, and the continuity—you know, tweaking little continuity things. From there on, I couldn't change anything—I could write to her and have her change things. That's when the book was done, to me. And I've had all that time to get used that idea, also, of the book being done. And so, yes it was emotional, but I had so much more time to deal with it than you did.

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  • 304

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    Hunter

    Here's a tidbit from yesterday's signing:

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    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.

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  • 305

    Interview: Feb 12th, 2013

    Wetlander

    Vora's sa'angreal—was it always in the notes that it didn't have the buffer against over-drawing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that was always its setup according to the notes, though Brandon gets credit for naming the thing.

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  • 306

    Interview: Feb 16th, 2013

    Catfish N. Cod

    Ta'veren Telepathy in Technicolor (TM): what was the point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not totally sure; RJ's notes just said "This keeps happening up to the very end." Narratively, to keep attention focused on the Superboys, and to connect timelines.

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  • 307

    Interview: Feb 16th, 2013

    Catfish N. Cod

    Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Ages: Anything on them? Deliberately blank?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Deliberately blank. As far as BWS knows.

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  • 308

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    Question

    Do Robert Jordan's notes state who killed Asmodean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon states that at the top of a large stack of Robert Jordan's notes that he received, there was a print-out of a fan's theory about the killer of Asmodean. Stuck to it was a post-it note from Jordan that read, "this is right."

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet commented about the importance of glossaries.

    Tags

  • 309

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    Question

    Who was the most challenging WoT character to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mat was the most challenging, the second most was Aviendha. He explains that it is hard to write about someone so different than yourself and the Aiel culture seemed the most unique in the series. Of Rand's three women, Aviendha is Brandon's favorite. He recalls that after writing his first Aviendha scene, Harriet read it and then told him that it was a "picture perfect Elayne." Brandon went on to discuss how he has to write his way into his characters. Vin, in Mistborn, was originally a boy. Lots of his early work on The Gathering Storm was scrapped by Harriet because Brandon wasn't "there yet" with the characters.

    He then goes on to discuss the volume of notes left by Robert Jordan. There are about 200 pages for A Memory of Light and then there is roughly 32,000 pages of other notes for the series, three times as large as the entire series put together. Brandon tells of how he tried to open it once and it crashed his computer because the file was so large. He also wants to commend the enormous efforts of Alan and Maria for their help in managing all of the details of the series.

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  • 310

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Anna Hornbostel

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Brandon stated that it was evident to him from the notes that it was always planned that Olver would be the one to blow the Horn at the Last Battle. He also said that there is no direct proof but that he would like to think that Olver did indeed get his chance to train with the Aiel.

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  • 311

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Anna Hornbostel

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I asked him if Fain's ending was in the notes and he said that it was.

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  • 312

    Interview: Feb 15th, 2013

    Rebecca Lovatt

    Most of the questions during the Q&A centered on the writing process in one way or another, either of these last three Wheel of Time books or of his other works. I had never before had a grasp on the sheer size of what Mr. Jordan had thought about and committed to (digital) paper about this series, all the details that will probably never see the light of day, until Brandon commented that his attempt to put Jordan's massive document onto his own computer resulted in it crashing after 32,000 pages. If we ever need a metric to relate how real the world Jordan created was, that is as good as it gets.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon also shared the funny and idiosyncratic way Mr. Jordan would get his inspiration for names; it wasn't all just Norse and Hindu myth all the time, but apparently also everyday objects—streets in his home town (Ogier Street!), his washing machine, and random strolls through the phone book. If you've lived in Charleston in the past 23 years, who knows, you may have made an appearance as an Andoran Noble or the Old Tongue name for an Aiel warrior society!

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  • 313

    Interview: Feb 21st, 2013

    rossnewberry

    Is there a difference in the steps required to make an angreal or a sa'angreal?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's nothing in the notes that points to a difference.

    Tags

  • 314

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    BWS then went into the story of his response to RJ's passing, describing what he wrote about RJ on his blog and what RJ meant to BWS (despite not knowing the man personally).

    Harriet McDougal

    HM continued from her perspective. She informed the audience about how she came to read BWS' eulogy of RJ. It was the way he wrote and what he wrote that led her to initially believe that BWS would be the ideal type of person and writer to finish WoT. She also told the story about how she attempted to first contact BWS and wound up calling the other Brandon Sanderson in Provo, Utah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    BWS next told the audience about the time he first read RJ's notes. BWS informed us that there were about 200 pages of notes on the last book. Roughly 100 pages of these notes comprised dictations of scenes/paragraphs. The other 100 pages were from Q&As among RJ, Alan and Maria.

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  • 315

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    Question

    Which WoT character did BWS take the most liberties with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Androl. BWS told the story of how he asked HM if there was a character for which the notes did not have a role for and if BWS could make his. HM was receptive to the idea. One of them (I cannot remember who) mentioned that RJ had in his notes material on leatherworking. HM had asked BWS if he could incorporate this into the books. BWS felt it would be perfect for An