Monday, July 30, 2007

Mistborn Paperback Out Tomorrow! (+ Deleted Scene.)

If you've been waiting to get yourself a copy of Mistborn, then you'll be happy to know that the paperback comes out the 31st.  Spread the word, throw parties, call the president.

As of Tomorrow morning, I'll be driving down to St. George to hit the Utah Shakespeare festival, so we'll have a bit of an outage at  So, I'll leave you with another deleted scene.  My friend Ookla noted on my Livejournal that there's a chapter you all might be interested in reading. 

If you've been following the process, then you'll remember that the book we now call MISTBORN started out as two novels to me.  I wrote rough drafts of both, wasn't pleased with either one, and put them aside.  Years later, I decided to try again, and (without looking back at the old two) combined the books and wrote a novel that took the best elements from each of these novels.  (Which I now call MISTBORN PRIME and FINAL EMPIRE PRIME.)

I posted the first chapter of MISTBORN PRIME, but never did the same for FINAL EMPIRE.  Therefore (though I cringe a bit as I post this) here you can read the opening of the other book.  Of most note to this is that Vin, here, is a boy.  It's very strange for me to read.  I realized one of the things that had never worked in the book was Vin's character conflict.  When I began to think of him as a HER instead, it just all began to work better. 

Anyway, on with the excerpt.  This isn't the whole chapter one, just the Vin part.  There's another chunk (dealing with the Lord Ruler, though he had a different name here) that I'll post later.  (Oh, and please remember, this is old and rough.  It's far from up to my current writing skill level.  Back then, I still liked to make up strange adverbs and adjectives without realizing what I was doing.  The best one in this section: "Educatedly." )

---Begin Excerpt---

His fate depended on this one moment. Vin had labored for years in a monumental effort, he had prepared, trained, and practiced. All so he could have the opportunity to prove himself.

Could he determine the vintage of the wine?

Vin smiled, taking a sip. “A southern Izanah bluewine blend, spiced with fetherlace from the Cumeni kays. Probably the infamous Founding Day vintage of fifty years ago. An interesting, not to mention rare, vintage--one wonders where you acquired it.”

So easy--anti-climatically so, as a matter of fact. However, it was Vin’s opinion that true moments of stress should always be anti-climactic. One should have enough training, enough cunning, and enough foresight to make certain he never even came close to failure.

The merchant raised an eyebrow--he was impressed. He should have been. Even amongst wellborn, a boy Vin’s age--fourteen years--who could judge vintages so well was a rarity. Of course, the ability should have come as no surprise in Vin. If he were who he claimed to be--the only son of a wealthy, but bed-laden, wine connoisseur--he should have had no trouble guessing vintages.

Vin was, of course, neither a wellborn nor the son of a wine connoisseur, wealthy or otherwise. Hopefully, that was a fact the merchant wouldn’t discover until Vin was long departed. They sat in the merchant’s home, just having finished their mid-day meal, the largest and most important, by Cumeni customs.

Now was the time to discuss business as they sipped wine. The room was decorated tastefully, if not lavishly, with silk weavings on the walls, painted Cumeni pottery lining the fine wood furniture. Scented oils burned at the edges of the tables--the oils of a wellborn, but not ones so rich as to be extravagant. The woods were probably inherited--recent hardwood prices would be beyond this man’s means. He was wellborn, of course, but of a family that lacked influence. Such was common in Cumeni--few wellborn managed to draw imperial attention so far from important events.

The merchant himself was less impressive than his furnishings. He was a younger man--old enough to be respected for his own name, rather than his father’s, but still young enough to thirst for a quick road to influence and prestige. The man had worked hard to establish himself as a wine merchant, and if he could begin providing for the tastes of important people, there was a chance he could find his way into their company.

In short, he was exactly the kind of man Vin looked for--a man willing to take risks. Men who gambled in such a way often lost great deals of money--and if they were going to lose it anyway, why shouldn’t they lose it to Vin?

Vin set down his cup, eyeing the merchant. Taron was a thin man, dressed in average, if well-made, Cumeni clothing--knee-length pants and a lose shirt. He wore a blue silk vest over the top to mark his wellborn status--a popular trend in Cumeni, following after the powerful Nahl merchants to the north.

Vin both liked and disliked the trend--on one hand, he liked the feel and the beauty of silks. On the other hand, they were expensive--especially for him. He was pretending to be a wellborn of much affluence, so he couldn’t get by with a simple vest like Taron’s. Vin had to wear an entire silk outfit--a pant-shirt combination known as a hlen, a vest to cover the hlen’s open chest, and then a long robe-style overcoat on the top, its sleeves thick and wide, its neck deep enough to expose the vest beneath. Not only was the three-piece garment incredibly expensive, Vin was at the age where he outgrew them at a ridiculous pace. Things would be so much easier when he was done growing.

“I must say, young lord,” Taron said. “I am impressed with your knowledge. One does not expect to find one so young in possession of such faculties.”

The man spoke educatedly, with intelligent language. If Taron ever recovered from knowing Vin, he might well obtain the prestige he sought. The early failure would be good for him--it would strengthen his resolve.

“Acumen is not a matter of age, but a matter of breeding and endowment, lord Taron,” Vin replied smoothly. “Your wine is excellent to the taste. My father will be well-pleased with it, I am certain.”

“And, when can I expect to meet with the grand lord?” Taron asked.

Vin paused, studying the man. Was he suspicious? No, he was just being careful. He was a screwed man--of course, that only made the game more exciting.

“I am certain he would be most eager to meet with you, Lord Taron, if it were not for his ailment,” Vin explained. “The healers have requested that he keep both travel and visitor to an absolute minimum as to not stress his constitution. I assure you, I am most well-equipped to deal with his financial endeavors.”

“I don’t doubt that, young lord,” the merchant said quickly. “I must admit that I have never met a boy quite like yourself. However, I am not accustomed to dealing business with ones of your. . .stature.”

The comment drew a muffled snicker from behind Vin’s chair. His ‘servants’--a pair of men the local swindlebaron had granted him to use in his operation--stood there, supposedly to attend him. Vin gritted his teeth, noting the look in the merchant’s eyes. Amusement. Fortunately, Taron didn’t see through Pantoo’s inability to play a part--he simply saw a servant who didn’t respect his master.

Not good. If this job were going to succeed, the merchant would absolutely have to trust Vin’s ability to govern men. The only way to get the wine without suspicion to Vin would be to persuade the merchant to let Vin hire the caravan guards and arrange for the transport. That way the cargo could conveniently get ‘waylaid’ halfway to its destination. In addition, Vin would have to persuade the man to accept payment upon delivery as opposed to up front--an uncommon method of dealing. Trust was vital.

“Perhaps I could. . .send a messenger to visit your father,” Taron postulated. “That would be less stressful to him, since the messenger would bring no entourage to tax his hospitality. I do not distrust your ability, young lord. However, how can we be absolutely certain that your father will appreciate my wines? Perhaps they will not suit his tastes. Is it not better to be certain?”

“Indeed,” Vin said. “An excellent idea, Lord Taron. Though, to be honest, my father has little patience for meetings any more, even with a distinguished messenger. Why not let me be your voice--send me with several of your finest selections, and I shall travel to my father and convey your regards. Let him taste the wares, then we shall see if the deal will progress.”

Taron paused. “All right,” he finally admitted, regarding Vin closely. “But not just several selections; I shall send an entire crate, filled with my finest bottles. Let your father sample them all, so as to give him the fullest range of my offerings.”

Vin cocked his head slightly. It was an odd move--a crate of wines, perhaps twenty bottles, was worth a great deal. He’s tempting me, Vin realized. If I run with the crate, it will be better than if I had escaped with a far larger prize. The trip back and forth to his ‘father’s mansion--which lay a two week journey away--would also give Taron more time to check on Vin’s background. It was a clever move.

“Excellent,” Vin said, standing and ending the conversation, as was his right as the senior wellborn. “I am certain my father will appreciate the gesture.”


“I must admit, scat,” Pantoo said, inspecting the box of wines, “we got away with a lot more than I thought we would. These will sell for quite a handful of eternals.”

They stood outside on the market streets, far enough away from Taron’s home that they could drop their act a little bit. Pantoo and Chaunti, the two men assigned to Vin by Zahahn’s Swindlebaron, had insisted on opening the crate and inspecting its contents as soon as it was safe.

Vin folded his silk-wrapped arms in displeasure as the daytime crowds mulled around them. Perfumes from a dozen different cities wafted through the air, mixing with the briny scent of the ocean, whose bay was visible over the tops of the buildings. It was hot, of course--it was usually hot in Cumeni. Vin was accustomed to it, even with the thick silks.

“We are not going to sell the wine, Pantoo,” Vin informed sharply.

Pantoo snorted. He was an average Cumeni lout--not too tall, but broad of chest, with tan Antiol skin and straight dark hair. Chaunti was a few inches shorter, and a few years younger, than Pantoo, and was obviously content to let the other lead.

Neither, however, were very pleased with the idea of a fourteen-year old boy giving them orders. “We are too going to sell them,” Pantoo informed. “We’ll do it as soon as we get back to the den. You are going to stay quiet--if you’re lucky, we might let you keep some of the profits.”

Vin rolled his eyes. If only his body would hurry up and grow--the day when his age finally matched his ambitions would be a glorious day indeed. Unfortunately, for the moment, he was stuck at fourteen.

“Pantoo,” he said flatly, “do you have any concept inside that miniscule puss-sack of yours you call a brain how long I have been planning this operation? I spent a year in Kanata building a reputation for myself. I spent months writing fake correspondences and establishing the false trading identities for myself and an ailing father. I spent more money than you’ve ever seen establishing connections, buying myself clothing, and training myself in the wine business. I did not do all of that so that I could receive the paltry gratuity of a single crate filled with overpriced wine.”

Pantoo replaced the bottle he was holding, then turned toward Vin, his face menacing. “I don’t care what you did. A boy your age shouldn’t be running operations, he should be picking pockets. He should be fighting on the street for his bread, like I did. I’m not going to let you saunter in, silver-tongue the swindlebaron, and get away with all the coin.”

Pantoo leaned down in a threatening posture as he spoke. Vin sighed internally. Perhaps coming to Zahahn had been a mistake--he usually stayed to the southern cities, where his connections were more well-established. The Zahahn swindlebaron obviously hadn’t taken his operation seriously--otherwise he would have given Vin better people to work with. Unfortunately, the wine trade was strongest in Zahahn at the moment, and the opportunity was such that Vin hadn’t been able to resist.

Pantoo, probably realizing that Vin didn’t look very threatened, took another step forward, his face darkening slightly, as if trying to scare Vin into running. He couldn’t actually do Vin any harm--not with the crowds so close--but he could try to be intimidating.

It almost always happened--in times of stress, men raised on the street resorted to the first law of the street: the bigger man gets his way. Pantoo obviously hadn’t realized that the law was one rife with exceptions.

Vin stepped forward instead of backwards--an action that gave Pantoo a start of surprise. With a flick of his wrist, Vin snapped his coin purse--filled with a couple eternals and a handful of thirds--into his hand then deftly deposited it in Pantoo’s belt pouch. Then he let out a piercing yelp.

“Please!” Vin screamed. “Call the watchwardens! This man has taken my purse!”

The crowds hushed around them. Pantoo looked up, sudden realization showing in his eyes as he stood over Vin, his posture dangerous--threatening, by all appearances, a wellborn. People shied away from him, and two white-uniformed watchwardens appeared from a nearby shop.

Pantoo took in the situation, and eventually bowed to the second law of the street: when all else fails, run. He dashed to the side, making for a break in the crowd. Though he was well into his twenties, Pantoo was still a street-rat at heart, and he moved dexterously through the people, wiggling toward freedom.

A hand shot snapped out of the crowd, catching Pantoo by the neck and throwing him backward in one smooth motion. Vin jumped slightly in surprise as Pantoo slammed against the wooden streeboards. Who had grabbed him? A watchwarden?

No, a woman. She stepped from the marketgoers, nonchalantly tripping Pantoo as he tried to stumble back to his feet. Then she leaned down, placing her knee in the crook of his neck, neatly pinning him to the streetboards.

Vin frowned. She had the lighter skin of a foreigner, with brown hair pulled back into a simple tail. She wore the clothing of a man, dusty travel leathers and thick, monochrome cloth. She was obviously a foreigner--no Cumeni would wear such hot clothing. Unless, of course, that Cumeni were partial to wellborn silks.

The woman carefully searched through Pantoo’s waistsack, pulling out a silk money pouch that matched Vin’s clothing. She inspected it for a moment, then tossed it Vin’s direction. A few more moments of searching revealed three other pouches of similar makes.

Vin raised an eyebrow. Pantoo had been working the crowd the entire time--how had Vin missed that? He should have been paying better attention.

The watchwardens finally pushed their way through the crowd, trying to look official and menacing despite their late arrival. They didn’t have to try too hard on the second count--like most soldiers, they were from the District of Phane. It was said that the cold made men grow extra large on the highlands of Phane, and these two were typical of their stock--broad of chest, thick of face, and quick to impose discipline.

The Conqueror’s soldiers were the only ones allowed to possess weapons. These two carried waistswords at their belts and brandished large steel-capped warstaves. Smoketwigs smoldered quietly in their mouths as they inspected the scene.

“You,” the lead watchwarden said, pointing at the fallen Pantoo. “Stand.”

Pantoo reluctantly did as ordered. Running was no longer an option--a watchwarden could kill a man at a hundred paces, all he had to do was touch his smoketwig to the end of his warstaff and release the Conqueror’s Thunder. As soon as Pantoo stood, the second watchwarden grabbed him and roughly tied his hands with a length of cord.

“You,” the first watchwarden said, regarding the woman with a distrustful eye. “You aren’t Cumeni. Where is your seal?”

The woman stood, dusting herself off slightly. Vin frowned as he watched. She didn’t appear intimidated by the watchwardens--a rarity. The Conqueror trusted his Phane soldiers with a great deal of power; they could even implicate wellborn. Their warstaves could unleash a power that destroyed the strongest of armors, and they stood at least a half-head taller than any Cumeni man Vin knew. True, they weren’t priests--they didn’t inspire chills of terror when they passed--but they were intimidating nonetheless.

The crowd disappeared discreetly as the woman proffered her papers. No one wanted to be near, just in case one of those warstaves released its Conqueror’s Thunder. Besides, where the Khol government was concerned, a person could be implicated by simply standing too close to a crime. Vin wished he could join them in running--unfortunately, the second watchwarden was eyeing him suspiciously. Vin had learned long ago that the Phane respected honesty, but saw weakness as an implication of guilt. So, instead, Vin stood his ground, adopting the idle impatience of a Cumeni wellborn.

The lead watchwarden inspected the foreign woman’s seal, chewing on his smoketwig as he looked over its calligraphic lines. He obviously found nothing wrong with the paper, for he grudgingly returned it to the woman. Then he turned to Vin, his unyielding eyes demanding. It didn’t mater that Vin had been the apparent victim--the peace had been disturbed, and the watchwardens would punish anyone they could find even remotely culpable.

Vin stared back at the large man, disregarding the uniform, the warstaff, and the authority. To this man, Vin was wellborn. Only one thing mattered--attitude.

The watchwarden eventually bowed his head. “I hope you were not disturbed too much, my lord,” he said in a deep voice.

“I will survive,” Vin replied.

Pantoo shot Vin a dark look, standing with his hands bound. However, he wisely kept his mouth shut. Trying to expose Vin would do little good--they both knew Vin had the seal and the falsified reputation to hold up his persona. In order to betray Vin, Pantoo would also have to betray his swindlebaron--a very bad idea. If he kept his mouth shut, he would likely be out of the dungeons by the next morning. Then he would take his gripes up with his leaders.

However, by then Vin would have bribed the swindlebaron with half the case of wines--something he intended to do anyway. Hopefully, the Pantoo stunt would teach the other members of the Zahahn underground that he was not to be trifled with. Hopefully.

The watchwardens led Pantoo away, clomping off down the streetboards, and the marketplace slowly returned to normal. Vin would have to spread around word that he had hired Pantoo after arriving in Zahahn--if he was lucky, than his swift dealing with the man would make up for some of the damage Pantoo’s disrespect had done during the meeting with Taron.

A form moved up to stand beside him as the crowds returned to their shopping. Vin raised an eyebrow at Chaunti. The squat Cumeni had remained quiet during most of their dealings--he snickered when Pantoo make jokes, but he also did whatever Vin commanded.

“You’re staying?” Vin asked.

The man shrugged.

“You have no problem with my plans?”

“Seem to have worked so far,” Chaunti noted.

Vin nodded curtly. “Very well, then. We shall. . . .” He trailed off as he noticed something. The woman, the foreigner who had stopped Pantoo, was still standing a short distance away. She watched Vin with a strange look--one that made him uncomfortable. It wasn’t adoration, not quite, but there was far too much respect in here eyes to be genuine. What was going on? Did he know her from somewhere?

She approached slowly, and Vin tensed. She had reflexes like a watchwarden--it wasn’t easy to subdue a man like Pantoo, who had spent his life fighting for meals on the street. Yet, she had done it with ease.

The woman bent down, looking Vin in the eye, then bowed her head slightly. “You aren’t what I expected,” she said quietly, her voiced lightly accented. With that, she withdrew.

“What was that about?” Chaunti asked.

“I’m not sure,” Vin replied, watching the strange woman disappear into the crowd. “Come,” he finally said, shaking off his stupor. “We shall return to the inn. I have several documents I want to scribe up before the night’s evealms.”

Friday, July 27, 2007

MB3 Update 'N Things

Whew.  I've decided to rewrite two of the viewpoints for MB3 in this last rewrite.  There will be more about why when we do the annotations for this book--anything I say now could be spoilers for Book Two.  Which, by the way, I'd like to say thanks to all of you for pre-ordering.  My pre-orders are really great on this book.  Huzzah!

There was a minor bump at Tor when they heard we were doing a pre-release.  This was just fine last year, and everyone thought it was a great idea.  However, corporate policy often changes without anyone thinking to tell the authors or editors (or even publicists apparently) and so we had to do a little bit of begging to make it happen.  (Having someone flying in from DC for the event really helped push them over the edge--they couldn't very well yank the rug out from under us now.) 

So, it's going through, but it will probably be the last time we can sell the books ahead of schedule.  Next year, we'll have to do a 'release party' instead.  It's odd, being a writer and dealing third or fourth hand with corporate rigmarole like this.  All of my friends have to deal with it every day at their jobs.  I always smirk and think I'm immune, but I'm really not.  I'm just out of the loop, so to speak.  (Not that I have any real complaints.  I can see why Tor would want to make this policy; it was just a little surprising to find out about it less than a month from the event we'd scheduled.  Ah, well.)

Laugh at this comic. Laugh, I tell you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mistborn Deleted Scene #4

I'd almost forgotten about this one.  The first time I tried to write a chapter from Vin's viewpoint, she had a much, MUCH different personality.  My original goal was to have her be a very capable thief, leading the con against the priesthood. 

This chapter bothered me for a number of reasons.  Explanation below:

---begin excerpt--

Vin drummed her fingers against the table-top, trying to imitate the properly-bored air of a noblewoman. It was difficult not to let her nervousness show.

But, shouldn’t I be a little bit nervous? she wondered. I’m to meet a member of the Steel Priesthood. They make even aristocrats uncomfortable, right?

However, the room around her wasn’t some inquisition dungeon or dark imperial church. It was a lavish waiting chamber, filled with worked woods and plush comforts. All four walls bore full-sized paintings of exotic animals lounging in pastoral settings. There was nothing threatening about the table set with high-backed chairs, its top containing various refreshments both liquid and solid. Several aristocrats lounged in the room--their skaa servants were required to wait out in the more mundane entry chamber, whose only comfort was the wooden bench that ran along one side of the wall.

I’m going to meet a Prelan, Vin thought. A noblewoman, even one of my rank, wouldn’t fund a simple bureaucrat threatening, would she?

All of Vin’s training--old lessons taught by her brother and more recent ones learned by watching members of Camon’s crew--muddled within her mind. Was her posture wrong? Did her eyes betray her guilt? Would the other noblemen see through her ruse? Was she bored enough, or was she too relaxed?

You’re over-analyzing again, she warned herself. The others in the room probably haven’t even noticed you. You’re too--

“Have I seen you somewhere before?”

Vin started, her fingers snapping against the table-top with a sharp crack. The speaker was a middle-aged man in a sharp-looking gray suit. The current fashion called for noblemen to wear darkly-colored vests beneath their long jackets, and his was maroon--it bore rich embroidery.

“Lady Jantret’s party,” the man said, lounging slightly, hand resting on the top of his dueling cane.

An answer from Vin’s training fluttered to her lips. “I don’t think so,” she said. “I’m new in Luthadel. I just came up with one of my caravans to negotiate with the Priesthood.”

That was supposed to put him off. By mentioning that she ran a caravan, Vin immediately placed herself beneath most other aristocrats in Luthadel. Only the richest noblemen could afford to live in the city--if he were a resident of the city, it either meant he had massive plantations or hereditary money. She, on the other hand, had to work at a menial trading job. She wouldn’t be of any political or economic value to this man.

The nobleman smiled charmingly, ignoring the logic she had been taught. “I swear I’ve seen you somewhere before,” he said, leaning down a bit more.

Vin blinked. Lord Ruler! She realized. He’s not interested in political advantage, he’s trying to pick me up! But I have to be half his age!

The nobleman didn’t seem like he was going to acknowledge this other bit of logic either. He would have already known her station--how could he not have, considering the relatively simple black dress she was wearing? He had probably also noticed her nervousness, and to him that meant opportunity.

Suddenly, Vin’s apprehension vanished. Pretending to be a noblewoman, preparing to meet with a member of the Steel Priesthood--these were uncertain, dangerous things. Dealing with a self-important suitor, however. . .well, that was something she knew quite well.

Vin shot the man one of her best icy looks. “Let me save you a bit of trouble, my lord. You’re not going to convince me that we’ve met before, nor are you going to get me to come visit your manor during my stay in Luthadel. Kindly try your charms--such as they are--somewhere else.”

The man stiffened. “Excuse me,” he said, backing away with an embarrassed look and fleeing toward the other side of the room.

Vin smiled, feeling confident for the first time since she had entered the Priesthood Trading Ministry. Her apprehension returned a short time later, however, when a lesser Priesthood scribe called her false name.

“Lady Allette,” the man said as he stepped into the room, “Prelan Lairid will see you now.”

Vin’s heart began to thump quickly, but she controlled herself, rising and following the scribe into the back room. The Prelan sat at a wide desk stacked with ledgers. Bald and overweight, he bore the tattoos of a Senior Priest around his eyes.

“Why, you’re only a child!” he said with surprise.

“I’m sixteen, your grace,” Vin said. “Old enough to see to my father’s affairs.”

“Barely,” the priest said. “Have you no brothers or older siblings to attend this duty?”

“None, your grace,” she said. “My father wishes that he did, but the Balance. . . .”

The priest nodded. Just as skaa had been created so that they could breed with ease and fertility, the Lord Ruler had created the nobility to have difficulty producing offspring. There always had to be enough skaa to work the fields, but too many noblemen would make the Final Empire bulky and fat at the top. The Balance had to be maintained.

“Very well,” the priest said, gesturing for her to sit in the chair. “Your father’s illness makes this an unenviable situation in many ways. The Priesthood is very uncomfortable with your proposed contract, Lady Allette. There is an element of the board who feels that the Ministry would receive better service if we looked elsewhere.”

Very direct. Vin thought. Good.

“I doubt you will find that the case, your grace,” Vin said. “Let us be frank. We both know that this contract is my family’s last chance. Now that we’ve lost the Farwan Deal, we cannot afford to run our caravans to Luthadel any more. Without the Priesthood’s patronage, House Allette is financially doomed.”

“This is doing very little to persuade me, young lady,” the priest said.

“Isn’t it?” Vin asked. “Ask yourself this, your grace: who will serve you better? Will it be the house that has dozens of contracts to divide its attention, or the house that views your contract as its last hope? House Allette cannot afford to let you become disgruntled. The Financial Ministry will not find a more accommodating partner than a desperate one. Let my caravan be the one that escorts your acolytes up from the south, and you will not be disappointed.”

Lairid frowned, and Vin looked at him with a reserved pleading expression. This was why Camon had agreed to let her come to this appointment, despite her youth and her relatively low status in the Luthadel underworld. Vin had always been able to make people believe her. Her brother, Reen, had always claimed she had honest eyes. Unfortunately for those she met, the mind that came with those eyes was as devious as a mistwraith.

“My father authorized a new fee,” Vin said carefully.

“How much?”

“Fifty boxings per head, per trip.”

The priest raised an eyebrow. “That’s half the former fee.”

“I told you,” Vin said. “We’re desperate. We need this caravan to keep running. Fifty boxings per head will keep us running, though not at a profit. That doesn’t matter. Once we have the Priesthood contract bringing us stability, we can find other merchants or goods to fill our coffers. However, before any of that can happen, the caravan must continue running.”

He looked thoughtful. It was a fabulous deal--one he would have been suspicious to take if they had given it at first. However, the supposed sickness of her father, mixed with several other invented mishaps, created the image of a family on the brink of financial collapse. The Priesthood would be foolish not to monopolize upon such an opportunity.

Lairid was realizing just that. Now is the moment, Vin thought.

“Your grace,” she said softly, “there is nothing else we can do. Please, reconsider your position.”

The priest sighed. “Very well,” he said. “I will take this new proposal to the Ministry Board.”

Vin bowed her head thankfully, then rose. “We will await the council’s decision,” she said before retreating.

--End Excerpt---

It was amusing for me to read this, since I've been writing Vin's character for three years now--just finishing Mistborn 3--and this is NOT her.  This characterization never made it past this initial chapter (though there's a second half of it, which I'll post later.)  After I wrote it, it just felt too...bland.  She was capable, true, but there wasn't any meat to her personality. 

I needed something more.  One of the big complaints about Elantris was the lack of growth in two of the characters.  While I like that book, this novel didn't need another Sarene--it needed a character in the lead who was her own person.

I knew that, in this book, I'd want to have Vin infiltrate the nobility.  My reasoning for writing her in this chapter like I did was to imply she already had the skills necessary to pull off something like that.  However, after this chapter, I began to realize it would be more interesting if the reader got to see her take part.

If I hadn't changed this chapter, I think the novel would have become more of the traditional 'heist' novel I was planning.  Vin would have just been another member of the team, though one who was learning to be a Mistborn.  The shift away from this, however, made me focus more of the book on her growth of a person--and also more of the book on the ball scenes.  So, in a way, reading this I can imagine an entirely different book from the one I wrote. 

More later.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Yes, for those who were hoping these were gone, THOU FOOLS!  Bad puns are my life-blood.  Each time one makes Tage groan, I grow a little bit stronger.

Soon I will rule the world.

Need a clue?

I'm hard at work at the Mistborn 3 rewrite, and--alas--have not had any time to read Harry Potter yet.  My wife stole the book first, and I've really got to get this rewrite done. 

In other news, for some reason, this picture is just freaking cool to me.  It's a map of the world, drawn intentionally distorted.  Gets an Idea of the Day brewin in my head....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Come see me tonight! (+ Deleted Scene)

As if I hadn't hit it over the head enough times already, I'll be doing my final signing for the Mistborn Hardback tonight at the Borders at the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo.  The time will be from about 10:30 pm to whenever people are no longer chatting with me/buying books.  After that--like everyone else--I'll spend the next day reading the last Harry Potter book!

To round out this week's blog entries, I'm posting the third--and final--alternate version of the first scene of Mistborn.  This is the 3.0 version of the chapter, the last one before I switched over to the version that eventually saw print.  More commentary below.  If you haven't read the previous two incarnations of this chapter, find them Here and Here.

---Begin Excerpt---

Sometimes, I worry that I’m not the hero everyone thinks I am.

The philosophers assure me that this is the time, that the signs have been met. But I still wonder if they have the wrong man. So many people depend on me. What would they think if they knew that their champion--the Final Hero, their savior--doubted himself?

Perhaps they wouldn’t be shocked at all. In a way, this is what worries me most. Maybe, in their hearts, they wonder--just like I do.

When they see me, do they see a liar?


The sun was crimson. Bloody. Darkened by a sky perpetually clogged with smoke and ash, the sun beat down with a fierce heat that nearly rivaled the fiery Ashmounts themselves.

The workers labored with bowed heads. Though their faces were damp with sweat and dirtied by soot, they dared not be seen pausing to wipe their brows--for the taskmasters watched with care, whips held ready. The workers were skaa--less than peasants, virtually slaves. It didn’t matter how many of them one beat to death, killed for sport, or worked to exhaustion. There were always plenty more to take their place.

Yet, the workers continued to work, methodical and listless, forcing the uncooperative, blackened ground to spit forth crops. The skaa didn’t look up. They didn’t complain. They didn’t hope. They barely even dared to think.

There--beneath the bleeding sun, amidst the despair and the soot, upon a land dying and scarred--one skaa man among the hundreds dared looked up. He smiled at the back of a passing taskmaster.

The taskmaster turned a few moments later, and noticed an empty patch of ground not being worked. He paused, frowning. Had someone been standing there? The taskmaster turned toward the rows and rows of workers. None of them met his eyes--they simply continued to labor with their normal, uncaring rhythm.

The taskmaster reached up and wiped his brow--cursing the summer heat--then shook his head, convinced that he was mistaken. There couldn’t be a worker missing. Skaa didn’t have the courage to run. Besides, where would they go? This was the Final Empire--it was eternal, all-encompassing, and all-powerful. Ruled by God himself, it was the last government man would ever need, want, or know.

No, the empty spot had probably just been created by the shuffling of working bodies. That, however, didn’t stop the taskmaster from lashing out a little more harshly with his whip the rest of the afternoon.

After all, he didn’t really need a reason to beat them. They were only skaa.

---end excerpt---

Okay, there you have it.  This is where I tried one final polishing of the omniscient viewpoint, which I was so attached to.  I actually kind of like this version of the scene.  The overwriting is gone, as is the forced 'poetic' structure of the first few paragraphs.  It's more visceral, gives a good feeling of the Final Empire, and is--unfortunately--still just plain wrong.

After reading through this when doing the 4.0 draft, I finally broke down and set this scene inside a viewpoint--that of a nobleman watching over his workers.  That gave a context for Kelsier's smile, and laid a personality over the entire scene.  I lost the sweeping omniscience I'd tried to start with, but that just didn't work in this book, so I'm satisfied with how it got published.  At least in the published version, I found a way to lead with a visual of the ash, which seems like a good setting image for the entire series.

Do I like starting with the viewpoint of a nobody nobleman?  Not particularly.  That's the biggest drawback of what I did.  He's at least an important figure in the prologue--which, as you can see, this has now been renamed to be.  (The chapter headings also began to appear at about this time, as you can also see.)

I'll probably post the final version as it was published tomorrow, just for context, when I combine all three of these posts into a single 'goodie' page on the website.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mistborn Deleted Scene 2

Okay, keeping in line with the next month or so being "Mistborn 2 is coming out, everybody party!" month here on the blog, I've got more deleted goodness from the first Mistborn book.  (Note the linkage at the bottom if you're not aware of my two big signings coming up.)

Monday, I showed you the very first draft of the first chapter (or what eventually became the prologue) of Mistborn One.  As I mentioned, I wrote it, but wasn't particularly pleased with a lot of the elements.  After I'd written myself into the book a few chapters, I came back to this one and did it over again.  Here is the second draft of the chapter:

---Begin Excerpt---

The sun was crimson. Bloody. Darkened by a sky perpetually clogged with smoke and ash, the sun beat down with a fierce heat that nearly of rivaled that of the fiery Ashmounts themselves.

The workers continued their labors. Heads bowed. Though their faces were damp with sweat and dirtied by soot, they dared not be seen pausing to wipe their brows.

The taskmasters watched with care. Whips held ready. The workers were only skaa--the Lord Ruler’s word for peasant--and it didn’t matter how many of them you beat to death, killed for sport, or worked to exhaustion. There were plenty more to take their place.

The plants were limp and brown. Nearly lifeless. Yet, the workers continued their labors, methodical and listless, forcing the uncooperative, blackened ground to spit forth crops. The skaa didn’t look up. They didn’t complain. They didn’t hope. They barely even dared to think.

And there, beneath the bleeding sun, amidst the despair and the soot, upon a land dying and scarred, one skaa man among the hundreds dared to look up.

His eyes defiant.

When the next taskmaster passed by on his rounds, he noticed an empty patch of ground not being worked. He paused, frowning, wondering if some skaa was shirking his duty. He turned and looked around at the rows and rows of workers. None of them met his eyes--they simply continued to labor with their normal, uncaring rhythm.

The taskmaster reached up and wiped his brow--cursing the summer heat--then shook his head, convinced that he was mistaken. There couldn’t be a worker missing. Skaa didn’t have the courage to run--besides, where would they go? This was the Final Empire, so named because it was eternal, all-encompassing, and all-powerful. Ruled by God himself, it was the last government man would ever need, want, or know.

No, the empty spot had probably just been created by the shuffling of working bodies. That, however, didn’t stop the taskmaster from lashing out with his whip at the skaa working nearby.

He didn’t really need a reason to beat them--they were only skaa, after all.

--End Excerpt--

There are a few things you may notice here.  First off, I retained the third person omnicient viewpoint.  I eventually did decide to drop it (as you can see in the final version of the chapter, which was published.  I'll post it eventually, after I post the next evolution of this chapter.)  However, I hung on for a long time, trying to force this omnicient section to work.

Why did I want it so badly?  Because I really liked that scene where Kelsier looked up, smiling and defiant.  I wanted to introduce him like this, without being in his head, and I just couldn't bring myself to do a limited viewpoint from one of the taskmasters or skaa.  We'll talk more about why I finally changed later.

Other things of note are that the koloss are gone, as is a lot (but not all) of the info-dumping from the first version.  This one is a lot more readable, but I still made some mistakes that I'd eventually have to correct.  You'll notice that the first four paragraphs or so make a stab at a poetic parallelism (I use each one to describe an element of the scene in a similar way.) 

Problem is, this is overwritten (meaning it's trying too hard to be poetic.)  I knew that omnicient here was going to be weak, and so I tried to distract from that by giving the section a poetic feel that just didn't end up working, in my opinion. 

Recent Links of Note:
Mistborn Prime Chapter One! 
Book Tour!
Harry Potter Midnight Party Signing Extravaganzaaaa!
Mistborn 2 Prerelease!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mistborn Deleted Scene

Mistborn: The Final Empire Deleted Scenes

First Deleted Scene: The introduction.  (At the end of the week, I'll archive this to the 'Mistborn 1 bonus materials' section of the website.)

Okay, welcome to the Mistborn One deleted scenes.  Writing a book is quite the process, and ideas evolve and change.  Sometimes, things get cut because I myself don't like them.  Sometimes, the edits come by suggestions from my editor or my agent.  In these sections, I'm going to post some of the more interesting of the scenes that ended up getting cut from the book.

We're going to start at...well, the beginning.  Beginnings are often rough for me to get right.  It isn't that I have trouble writing them--it's that because they're the opening of the story, they tend to be when I'm still trying to work out how I want a book to feel.  And so, the tend to need the most editing and work.

This book is no exception.  While I knew the FEEL I wanted the opening scene to have, I struggled to get it right.  I knew I wanted to focus on the dreary landscape and give the impression that this was not a good place to live--I wanted that to be the reader's first introduction to this world.  And then, I wanted a chance for the reader to see one of the oppressed masses look up in defiance: our first introduction to Kelsier. 

Characters are about conflict, and my goal was to show Kelsier's conflict before you even see anything from his viewpoint.  He's the man in a field of slaves who will resist. 

I started, then, with something I probably shouldn't have done--a third-person omniscient view of the field, as seen below, without any specific character who's eyes we're seeing through.

---The First Draft of the first scene--

A blood-red sun shone above the field of workers. Long ago, the sun had been yellow--but those days, the days before the Ascension, were mostly forgotten. It had been long, so long, since the skies had been free of smoke and ash. Even the legends were growing vague about such times.

Certainly, the sun had been red for as long as the workers could remember. They were skaa. Less than servants, less than slaves, the skaa were the property of the Final Emperor--and they were poorly-valued property at that. No matter how many skaa were beaten to death, killed for sport, or worked to exhaustion, there were always seemed to be plenty more to take their place.

The skaa worked the fields with the lethargy of the hopeless, their motions methodical and listless. Though the sun’s light was darkened and ruddied by the ever-present smoke, the day was still oppressively hot. Yet, no skaa man paused to wipe his soot-stained brow--being seen resting by a koloss fieldmaster would invite a whipping.

So, the skaa worked. Eyes down, watching the dirt by their feet, they dug at the weeds--daring not to speak, barely even daring to think. Koloss stalked amidst them, blood-drop eyes alert for signs of skaa laziness.

There, beneath the red sun, amidst the heat and soot, a single skaa man dared look up. He smiled at the back of a passing Koloss.

When the creature turned, the man was gone. The koloss paused, staring at the empty spot of earth, a confused look on its unnatural face. It opened its mouth to make a demand of the nearby skaa, but the group worked with their normal uncaring rhythm. The koloss scanned the nearby area, but of course there was no sign of a fleeing worker. Skaa didn’t have the courage to run--besides, where would they go? The Final Emperor ruled all.

Finally, the koloss closed its blue lips and turned back to its rounds, convinced that it had been mistaken.

----End of Scene---

You should notice some things about this section.  First off, it's very 'telly.'  That's one of the problems with omniscient; it tends to lack a certain visceral quality you can get by seeing through a specific person's eyes.  With a limited viewpoint, you can get passion, emotion.  With a distant viewpoint like this, you tend to just get a lot of facts.

Of course, some people do it very well. J. K. Rowling, for instance, tends to use a lot of omniscient and make it work.  A greater problem with this scene is that I was 'writing myself in' to the story, which meant I was including a lot of 'telly' phrases to explain to myself how the world looked.  There's nothing wrong with starting like this; however, it needed to be cut and made more personal.

Finally, you'll notice that the koloss actually make an appearance here.  I intended them to be a part of book one, but as I wrote the next chapter, I realized that I hadn't really decided how I wanted them to act and feel.  The plotting of the book made them mostly irrelevant in this novel, so I eventually cut them from the book completely, leaving them to appear for the first time in book two.  In so doing, I made them quite a bit less stable and quite a bit more bloodthirsty.  That meant that this scene--where a koloss was trusted to watch over slaves--is now terribly out-dated, and could never exist in the world as it is. 

Tomorrow, we'll look at the second evolution of this scene. 

Friday, July 13, 2007

New EULOgy on its way

I'm working on a new EUOLogy, but I think I'll post it tomorrow or Monday.  I'm not quite pleased with it yet.  We'll see.

Pemberly visited the doctor today, and everything is fine with the baby--even though Em keeps complaining that she sleeps all the time.  (Still seems to get twice as much done as I do on a given day.)  But, that's good news.  It's funny how anxious we, as people, get about things like this.  It's almost like we believe that if we don't go to the doctor, we won't have to hear bad news, and won't ever get sick. 

Watch for a newsletter coming out next week.  If you haven't signed up to get them, then go put your email into the 'mailing list' form, or you'll miss out on important and exciting information!  (Or, well, probably not.  If you read the blog, you'll get it all here anyway.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Back + MB2 Pre-release info

Well, we managed to sneak away a little bit early from the camping.  I got back in the wee hours last night/this morning and was able to take a shower and sleep in my own bed.  Ah....

I actually don't mind camping as much as I complain that I do.  The company on this one, at least, was quite good.  I enjoy the evenings around the campfire.  I just don't like a lot of the other parts of the experience--such as being dirty, having to survive the heat of the day outside, and dealing with the insects.  As I've said lots of times before, I'm not one who really looks forward to 'vacations.'  I like my house.  That's why I live there.  I like my job.  That's why I do it every day.  'Getting away' doesn't appeal to me.

And yet, I've got two more camping trips planned this summer.  Ah, well.

If you're wanting a numbered copy of Mistborn 2, the only way to get them is to order them via the Waldenbooks in the Provo Towne Centre (sic).  I'll be doing a pre-release signing there on Saturday the 18th of August.  You'll be able to get the book a full three days before the release date, and--like last year--I'll be numbering all the books signed at this event.  We'll probably do the signing in the early afternoon.  I don't know if they're willing to mail copies out or not, but you can call and ask.

Waldenbooks Phone: (801) 852-0015

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Amphigory + Camping

I resisted posting this Amphigory for a long time, since I wanted to find a way that DIDN'T imply I wanted to cause violence or harm to anyone.  In the end, I couldn't resist.  Remember, it's just a pun, folks!  Nothing more than that.

And, I'm off to go camping again.  How is it that people convince me to do this so often?  Ah, well.  Maybe they'll have wifi, as Penny tells me happens once in a while.  Oh, and if you need a hint for the Amphigory, here you go: We've been searching for these for a long time now.... (And please, nobody blow up any churches.)

Recent Links of Note:
Mistborn Prime! 
Idea of the Day!
Book Tour!
Review of MB2!
Harry Potter Midnight Party Signing Extravaganzaaaa!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Review of MB2 + Anniversary + Harry Potter

The folks over at Wotmania have been kind enough to put up a review of Mistborn 2.  Have a look, though--as the reviewer himself points out--it contains spoilers for the first book, so if you haven't read that one, go read their review of Mistborn 1 instead.  In addition, several sources have let me know with enthusiasm that we've got another positive review in the Romantic Times coming out. 

This feels nice, since Mistborn 2 was the book I struggled with the most out of the trilogy.  I always knew where I wanted to go, but I worried about 'middle child' syndrome, and spent a lot of effort and revision to make this book stand on its own.  I'm excited to see that people like it.  Plus, the reviewer at wotmania seems to really 'get' who I am as a writer, and what I'm trying to do with these books.  He highlights the strengths, and the weaknesses, of the books as I myself see them--which is really more than I could hope for a reviewer to do.

Pemberly and I decided to celebrate our anniversary today, instead of on Saturday.  Hard to believe it's been one year already!  Whew!  Everyone says the first year is the toughest, but it went really well for us.  When does it get hard?  I can't imagine being married to such a beautiful, intelligent, wonderful woman ever being 'tough.'  It's kind of like having a terrible job like the one I do, where I am forced to do what I love, take time off whenever I want, and have complete creative control over my life. 

Also, I'm off tomorrow for--insert cringing face--another camping trip.  Doesn't anyone understand that my poor laptop cries itself to sleep when I'm not around to pound on its keyboard?  Sporadic updates will continue to be, well, sporadic because of this.  Remember, however, that we've got an important day coming up.  Harry Potter 7 is coming out midnight on Friday the 20th (or, I guess, Saturday the 21st) and I will be doing a signing/reading/whatever at the Borders in Provo Utah during their midnight release party.

So, if you're going to buy HP7 that night, come stop by the Borders.  It will be a far less frustrating wait, since I'll be there to entertain you!  And sell you books!  It's a win-win situation! 

Friday, July 06, 2007

Last Mistborn Annotation

Here's the final annotation for Mistborn: The Final Empire.  Next week, assuming I get proactive, we'll do some deleted scenes and see if we can track down some other fun bonus material.

Not much else to report.  Everything is good with the upcoming baby and all, though we are a little worried about timing.  I'll be on book tour until late October, and the baby is due November second....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Various Vacation Notes

Hope you USA folks had a nice forth, and the rest of you all had a nice average normal day.  (Oh, and happy belated Canada Day to all you up north.)

To celebrate the holiday, my editor finished his final edit of Mistborn 3 and sent it off to me.  Came on Tuesday, and Spriggan picked it up for me.  I'm actually in Idaho this week--which gives me an excuse to not start on the MB3 revision until Monday.  Things have been going well with Dragonsteel lately, and I'm loathing turning away from it yet again (the third time) to work on another project.  That's something I never had to do before I got published--I could always work on what I wanted to when I wanted to.  Now that I have two book deals, deadlines keep interfering with things. (Sigh.  Yes, I know, it's a problem a lot of you would just LOVE to have to deal with.)

Saw Ratatouille (or however you spell that) on Monday, and I thought it was fantastic.  Finally a movie I was really hoping for that lived up to the hype.  I still think my #1 for the year is Meet the Robinsons--I don't know why, but that movie just really connected with me.  Ratatouille is easily second, however. 

It's going to be an interesting month; I've got a lot of 'vacations' planned.  I put that in quotes because a GOOD vacation for me is one where I can get away and work on my writing uninterrupted.  These are more traditional vacations, where people will expect me to 'relax'--which they always interpret as doing things they find fun, but I do not.  Ah, well.  I'll bring a notebook. 

Monday, July 02, 2007

Annotation + Building On Idea

First off, new annotation:  Mistborn Appendixes

I had some good responses to the Idea of the Day I posted Saturday.  It's left me thinking more about the idea, expanding it in my mind.  I liked all of the suggestions that were made, but those are the way that those authors would take the idea.  I think I'd take it another direction.

It strikes me that if I'm doing a story about a deaf person in a world where being deaf is seen as a source of power and authority, the story I'd want to tell would be that of a deaf person slowly gaining back their hearing for some reason.  None of the world's physicians would be able to explain to her why it's happening, and it would be a great tragedy as she slowly lost touch with the magic and was forced into the world of hearing people.

For some reason, that's the story that appeals most to me.  I like the conflict, and I like the twist on the way things are in our world.  I'd probably also throw in a romance, perhaps a hearing man?  That would reinforce the theme of crossing between two worlds, and the differences between those worlds.

People often seem surprised that I'm willing to discuss so openly ideas I'm planning to write into books.  Aren't I worried about people stealing them?  The truth is, not really.  Writing is so much more than the ideas--someone taking that idea and running with it will take who they are, and their skill, and transform it into something completely new.  If I wrote this book, it would be very my own, and would sell (or not) based on the merits of my writing. 

Recent Links of Note:
Mistborn Prime!
This Week's Pun
Idea of the Day!
Book Tour!
As always, if you want to make comments, you can email me, post on my forum, or just visit my Livejournal (which is a mirror of this blog.)