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Old 12-12-2011, 06:29 AM
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Default Alloy of Law Signing Report - Huntington Beach, CA

So my friend Robert Moreau went down to Huntington Beach on November 10 and took video, which I have just now finished transcribing.

Robert: We were a little late to the signing. Sorry for all the wonkyness while we found a good spot.

Q: Is there a relationship between the smoke that Shardblades emit and the smoke that Nightblood emits?

Brandon: Yes, there is. You've been...are you a 17th Sharder? That's a really smart question. If you're not aware of this and you're kind of baffled by this, people have figured out that all of my books are connected, and there is a continuing character who was in Elantris who shows up in Mistborn who also is in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings. This person, Zach, is trying to figure out some of the connections between the worlds.

Q: Will you do annotations for the Wheel of Time?

Brandon: Once the book is out, I would really like to do a collection of Robert Jordan's notes—it alternates with annotations, with me saying, "Here is what he left me, you can now read these notes, and here is why I decided to adapt it the way I did, and here is a hole in the notes, so you can see what I did."—essentially do an annotation that way, a book about the process. I don't know if Harriet will want to do that. It'd be up to her, and she has a really good reason for not wanting to do that, and that is that she doesn't want people's last memories of Robert Jordan to be the unfinished. He was very...he didn't like showing his material to people, when it was in an unfinished state. He liked showing them finished things, and so it made him uncomfortable when people would read early drafts, and it would have to release some early drafts in that. And so, it would really be her call, and I can't make that call for her. If she lets me do it, I'll do it.

I would like to release some annotated editions of my books, maybe for the tenth anniversary of Elantris, we'll do an annotated edition, and then a sequel the next year. That's kind of what I'm hoping to do, if I can.

Q: You mentioned in your newsletter that you were thinking of doing a Mistborn film, and I'm wondering because it's an internal magic system, how you would differentiate which metal was being burned.

Brandon: We've got a couple of tricks up our sleeve that we've been working on. One thing that we're changing in the screenplay is, when you burn iron and steel it makes metals glow blue rather than shooting out blue lines. Basically this will keep it less cluttered, and you can kind of dim the screen a little bit and show everything glowing blue. We're doing that, and when you start burning one of the, for instance, one of the metals that influences personality, we're gonna actually kind of like send a pulse out of the person, and have it kind of wash across people, and things like that, so we're coming up with visual clues to show them.

Q: How much time do you spend per day writing and doing other writing-related activities, because you put out more than any other author that I ever… [applause]

Brandon: Thank you for clapping at that, rather than thinking I'm a hack. [laughter] I do this very compulsively. I basically spend—how many hours do I spend?—I basically spend all of them, and when I'm not doing something else. So basically, I usually take two or three hours off with my family, um...so I get up at around noon [laugher], I work until five—yes, I get up at noon. Don't knock it; it's the author's way; I'm an artist—and then, I hang out with my family from about five to eight, and then I go back to work and I work generally to about four. Um...and, if there are other things going on in the evening—you know, going out to dinner or things like that—I'll do them, but my default is to working on my books. And that's been pretty steady for the last few years because the Wheel of Time has been so dominating. I'll probably ease up a little once it's done and, you know, maybe play a few more video games and read a few more Pratchett novels.

Q: Is there a difference between being an author that works for Tor, and an author that Tor works for?

Brandon: Yes. Most authors, you'll find, are actually independent businesspeople who license their books to a publisher for various languages, and so I don't actually work for Tor. Now, Tor and I get along really well, and they've done very well by me, but I've also done very well by them, and so we have a very good working relationship. But actually I, as a businessperson, license them the books, and that means that I control all the characters, they can't insert or change anything without my approval—they can't even change commas without my approval—and that's the way it goes for most people. Now, everything outside the cover I have is theirs, their packaging, so that's why authors don't get a lot of say in cover and things, because the marketing copy on the cover, the picture and stuff, that's the publisher's. They license the works. So, there is a difference. There are some authors who will do a work-for-hire sort of thing, like I did with the Wheel of Time. I work for Harriet on the Wheel of Time. I am employed by her. It's a very good contract—I mean, she was very awesome to me—but at the end of the day, I am an employee working for her, a contractor working for her, and in that case, it's a different sort of business relationship.

Q: I really appreciate all the work you've done on the Wheel of Time, and everything else. Now that you're starting your own really epic fantasy series, you know, I've noticed an issue that Robert Jordan had and that George R.R. Martin has is that the series kind of bloats on them over time. So, how would you approach that with your series, and how are you dealing with the possibility of that happening?

Brandon: That's a really good question, actually. A lot of the great series that we love did get a little bit...they feel like they may have gotten away from their authors a little bit, and I have a big advantage that Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin didn't have, which is that I got to read Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. [laughter] And I say that—we laugh at it—but if you really think about it, a lot of these big epic fantasy series, these people are treading new ground, and they didn't have - you know, the best they have is Tolkien, three books. What do you do with that? I mean, maybe you have Zelazny with Amber, and a lot of books, but they're really thin, and I mean nobody had really done what Robert Jordan did, before he did it. What I'm trying to do, is I kind of have a mantra for myself on these books, is that they must be...each one must be individual. Meaning, it's gotta have its own conflicts, its own feel, it's gotta have its own art. I can't let them just blend together, and I think that will help a lot. And so, for doing that, that's why I assign each book in the series a character, and I do the flashbacks in that book for that character in that book, and tell what I want to be a complete arc for that character in that book. Doesn't mean the other characters won't be in the books; Kaladin will be in all the books; Dalinar will be in all the books - assuming they survive. [laughter] But each book will have a character as being kind of the soul of that book, which I think will make them all feel self-contained, and be their own thing. The other thing that I'm doing is I'm trying to avoid secondary character bloat. One of the reasons secondary characters show up is you want to show off this little piece of the world, and so you write this thing about this character, and then you're like, "Wow, that's an awesome character; I wanna write more!" And then...BOOM. And so, in The Way of Kings, I actually gave myself these Interludes, which are in-between parts of the book; I let myself do basically two short stories set in the world, or maybe three, and the purpose of that is to show the scope of the world, but to use characters that you don't really need to come back to, for most of them. And so it kind of gets it out of my system, but I have kind of written down as my mantra: "These characters cannot become main viewpoint characters." That's the purpose of doing them in that, and so by doing that and giving myself a sort of pressure valve in one way, and a kind of constraint in the other, that each book must be about a specific character, I'm hoping it will keep this series more focused.

Q: Inaudible

Brandon: I see one shadow that bursts out that leaves a trail, so like a really faint blur, and then the one shadow at the front, for each...and yeah, if you've got like two [inaudible] then it's a whole bunch of those, but I see one shadow with a blur of all the [?] and things behind it.
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