Thursday, August 30, 2007

Warbreaker News!

We have a cover artist!  While this could still change, it's certain enough that I feel I can announce it.  The artist, then, is one Dan Dos Santos.  I asked for him by name because of his work on the Christopher Pike covers, which I like quite a bit.  I enjoy Mr. Santos' work with color and his skill with figures, and I think he's a very good match for WARBREAKER as a novel.  Check out his work, and let me know what you think either via lj or my forums!

Speaking of Warbreaker, I have a request for those of you who've read the book--and for those who haven't.  I'm wondering what your opinions are of the title.  If you have time, take a moment to let me know what your expectations are/were for the book without reading it.  Those who have read it, do you love/hate/not care about the title?  My editor actually made this request.

As before, I'm still looking for stories from those of you who tried to find Mistborn 2 in bookstores and failed.  With the success of the book, we want lots of ammunition to try and convince Barnes and Noble to order another round of copies.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Well, folks, I can safely say that I know ONE reason why the book has been so tough to find for some people. We got numbers for last week today, and they look pretty darn good. Bookscan (the Nielsen ratings for books) lists MISTBORN: WELL OF ASCENSION as the #3 hardback fantasy of the week, right behind Tolkien at #1 and Laurel K. Hamilton at #2. I'll take #3 behind that short list. If you include SF books in the list, we drop down to #6, since that adds heavyweights like the new DUNE book and the new Stephenson novel.

All things considered, that's very good for a little book like mine. We were up 75% in sales from book one of the series a great number, and there was much jubilation from my editor and agent.

This is, of course, tempered by worry. Since Barnes and Noble has the book on NO REPLENISH in their system for some reason, that means the book is pretty much sold out at a large number of their stores, with no re-order planned. Sounds crazy, I know, but sometimes the bureaucracy in this business is downright frustrating.

So, if you're looking to read and find out what all the hoopla is about on this book, you'll need to go to Borders (who decided to order plenty of copies, then just reordered more and stuck them in floor displays in most of the stores) or to Waldenbooks--or, to your local independent. Amazon or Booksense are other good options.

And, if you're a fan of Barnes and Noble, it would help if when you visit them you'd complain about the lack of copies of Mistborn 2. If you order from them and make them bring it in, then they'll probably order more copies of Mistborn 3, realizing their mistake with the second book.

Anyway, by way of celebration, here's a completely unrelated but still quite stupid pun. Think you know it? Post on my lj or my facebook with your guesses. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Request

I have a request for all of you lovely folks.  We're trying to convince Barnes and Noble as a chain to order more copies of Mistborn 2.  Barnes and Noble, which is the largest single force in book sales in my demographic, has something of a strict policy on hardbacks.  They're VERY lenient on paperbacks, and will often have tons of them in stock.  For hardbacks, however, they tend to order fewer copies than the other chains and tend to not restock them once they sell.

Anyway, that's not your problem.  However, it IS something of a problem for you if you drive all the way to the bookstore and they don't have any copies in stock!  I would like to know if that happened to any of you last week.  Did anyone who reads the blog here try to find Mistborn 2 and find it either sold out or not being carried by a bookstore you called or visited?  If so, let me know! 

You can post on my LJ (anonymous comments are enabled). 
You can post on my Facebook Wall
You can say something on my forums (where several people have already made this complaint, which is why I thought to ask.)
You can email me.

Let me know your story, and if you were annoyed hat it was tough to find the book.  I will then forward the comments on to my editor who can show them to the Barnes and Noble sales rep.  Don't make anything up, and please be respectful!  We are happy that Barnes and Noble ordered the copies they did, and I have a number of fans in the organization.  However, we do want some ammunition to show them they're going to need to order more copies.

In the meantime, if you're having trouble finding the book, why not try Booksense to find an independent bookseller near you who has copies in stock?  It's always fun to visit independent bookstores--I think you'll enjoy the experience.  Also, if you haven't decided whether to buy the book or not, check out Pixelfish's review of it!

I'll do an Amphigory tomorrow, since this book stole all of the space today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Various Links and Goodness

I was quite happy with the reception I got to my rant last Saturday.  You guys are awesome.  Thanks for all your support.

Note that I DON'T have it out for literary fiction or scholarly non-fiction.  I like them both!  Literary fiction is like a rich chocolate that I enjoy on occasion, and non-fiction is a good bowl of rice--something that fuels a lot of the work I do.  However, my gripe is that both groups tend to call popular fiction fast food, when I think it's more akin to a nice steak.  Thick, juicy, enjoyable, and maybe not always the MOST healthy thing to eat, but pleasurable and worthwhile. 

Enough food metaphors.  That's making me hungry!  I have a couple of fun things to link today.  First off, if you want to see what I look like when I'm signing, you can check out this thread on my forums where someone posted a video clip of me at the Mistborn 2 prerelease a week back. 

Perhaps even more cool, we've got a very nice piece of fan art on my forums as well.  Check it out! 

I'll be starting up the MISTBORN 2 annotations here fairly soon.  First off, however, I do want to make sure I link the first sample chapter of Alcatraz for those who haven't seen it.  I'll probably post chapter two at the end of the week!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

New EUOLogy!

So, the signing on Thursday actually went well, all things considered.  I like signing at the BYU Bookstore, if only because the staff is so nice.  Education week is a crazy time.  It's a big conference that the school holds between the end of summer semester and the beginning of fall semester, so there are tons of people there taking seminars and the like, very few of whom are actual students of the school.  Anyway, the bookstore gets a lot of traffic, and so it's generally a good time to sign. 

Even with all of that, though, I felt a little bit like the odd man out.  Most of everyone else who was there signing had been published by small local presses--and in Utah, the big small presses (can I say that?) are generally religious themed.  I sat between someone who was selling historical LDS fiction from the World War One era and someone who was selling a scholarly book about the lost ten tribes of Israel.  Then, there was me--Mr. Fantasy. 

The woman with the historical fiction books was quite nice, and was very professional.  Made me want to read her books simply because she had such a great attitude.  However, my story relates to the man on my right.  He was an older man, something of a 'dazed professor' type.  I don't know if he was actually a professor, but he had quite the inflated opinion of himself.  At one point, he actually told someone pausing by the table that his book--about Israel--was the ONLY one at the table worth reading.

How does someone even justify to themselves saying something like that?  One of my friends talked to him, and got into a slight argument about the worth of fiction.  (Mr. Israel had the opinion that fiction, particularly fantasy, was worthless.)  We always complain about people who think like that, but it's still very odd to me to have someone be so blatant about it.  Usually, at least, they have the decorum to put on a cordial face when they're sitting NEXT to a fantasy writer at a signing. 

This brings up an old hobby horse of mine--that of arguing for fantasy, and popular fiction itself, as an art form.  If you're tired of me harping on this topic, then I'm sorry.  It's just something that interests, and bothers me, at the same time.  It seems to me that those of us in genre fiction use the wrong tools when we try to argue for the literary or scholarly value of our works.  A common argument we make is to point toward works that ARE more scholarly, such as books by Ursula LeGuin or even Grandpa Tolkien, and say "Look, fantasy can be of literary value too!" 

The problem with that is that most of us AREN'T LeGuin or Tolkien, nor are we trying to be.  What does that say about us?  If literary works like those written by Gene Wolfe are the highest form of our art, are the rest of us simply hacks?  That argument may prove that there is literary value to SOME fantasy and sf, but it doesn't really do anything for the genre as a whole.  I have the same problem with the argument that points toward literary fiction, published by important authors outside genre fiction, which have fantastical elements.  This argument says "Look, BELOVED has ghosts!  It's really fantasy!  What do you think of THAT?"  This argument simply says that fantastical elements to not trash make, but does little to prove that we--as fantasy writers--are doing anything of value. 

One final argument tries to take literary or scholarly conventions and apply them to our own works, striving to gain scholarly credibility by talking about genre fiction in a literary way.  People who make this argument generally subscribe to the "90% of EVERYTHING is crap" fallacy, but their own favorite books always end up in the 10% that isn't.  (All talk about this problem in another rant.)  Even those who don't pass judgment upon most of what's out there are, in my opinion, participating in a method of argument that simply doesn't do us any good as a genre. 

You CAN'T use their rules to define what makes good literature, folks.  They--the literary scholars--created those rules to describe a certain kind of writing, and WE AIN"T IT!  Trying to prove that popular fantasy books have literary value by using the establishment's arguments is like trying to prove that the Jews are a wonderful and charitable people by using Mien Kamph!

Genre fiction does something DIFFERENT from literary fiction.  Scholarly writing--whether it be a thick book about the lost tribes of Israel, or whether it be the new densely-prosed, New Yorker style work of fiction--seeks primarily to engage the mind.  In my opinion, that's not what I'm doing as a writer.  Yes, I like clever plots and interesting magic systems.  Popular fiction, however, at its core is about emotion. 

Fiction like I write is NOT about teaching you something, or about making a 'distiguished contribution to American Letters.'  (See also: National Book Awards.)  It's about writing something that makes my readers FEEL what it's like to be someone else.  It's about dreaming, about imagination, and about making you--for a short time--be someone else and experience their world.

Why is this important?  Not for the scholarly reasons--not because of the prose, or because of the importance of the themes.  Let's look at my story--not one of the ones I've written, but one of the ones I experienced.  When I was 14 I got into fantasy for the first time by reading Barbara Hambly's DRAGONSBANE.  This is a story about a woman trying to decide between her career--magic--and her family. It also has dragons, adventure, and romance.  When I got done with that book I was surprised to feel that I UNDERSTOOD what it was like to be a middle-aged woman having to choose between her career and her family, something that I know my mother struggled with a lot during those years.  I thought that maybe I could see things from her eyes a little better. 

Barbara Hambly did this for me, all the while entertaining me and making me dream at the same time.  THIS is what popular fiction does.  It doesn't 'teach', not really.  It lets us feel life through someone else's eyes, and lets us have an absolute BLAST while we're doing it.  We aren't scared of letting something be fun, nor do we feel the need to weight our books down with ponderous themes or bulky, overly-rich prose.  Instead, we let people FEEL what it is to be someone else. 

Maybe those who read our books will be a little more kind and understanding to those they meet who are from different segments of the population.  Fantasy preaches against racism, prejudice, hatred, and selfishness.  Not overtly, by trying to pound in a message.  We do this through the simple method of making our readers live lives as people far different from themselves.  In my opinion, what we do is MORE important than a deep and scholarly book about something boring.

You sir, my have the only book at the table worth reading.  But I've got a story that is worth FEELING.

Brandon Sanderson
August, 2007
Note--I haven't proofread this yet!  I will do that in subsequent edits.  Sorry for the roughness of the writing!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sudden Mistborn 2 Signing!

Folks!  Looks like I'm signing at BYU today, in the bookstore, from 11 until 1.  We didn't figure this out until early in the week, and I forgot to post it yesterday.  So, I'll be there!  Stop by and say hi if you're in the Provo/Orem area and are planning to be at BYU for education week! 

Signing details:
Thursday, August 23rd
11am - 1pm
By the west entrance of the BYU bookstore (probably) near the science fiction section.

Also, people have been asking.  I will be signing in Denver in late September.  Probably, I'll have a signing the 27th, 28th, and the 29th.  Right now, I'm confirmed at the Tattered Cover on the 29th for the early afternoon.  More later.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's Out! + Amphigory

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension is out!  We're really keeping our fingers crossed for first week sales on this one, so if you've been waiting for it to come out, you should be happy to know that it's on shelves pretty much everywhere!  Some people have even been noting on my forums that it came out a few days early in some parts of the nation.

In celebration, here's a rejected cover idea:

Okay, so that's a really obvious pun.  Sorry.  I figured it would just be a quick Photoshop, then spent forever searching for a shot of Matt Damon looking the right direction.  (Never did find one.)  Man, that's an odd angle we've got of Vin on the cover. 

My agent tells me that I just don't spend enough time on the blog talking about the upcoming release of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians.  His opinion is that you all are well aware of the Mistborn books, otherwise you wouldn't be here.  However, he doesn't know that you even realize I've got a children's book coming out in October.  (Actually, I believe his complaint yesterday was "ANOTHER Mistborn deleted scene?  How many of those do you have?  What about Alcatraz bonus material?")

We shall see.  He and I have different opinions about what my blog should be.  He sees it as an advertising tool--which, I guess it is, in a way.  However, to me, it's less commercial than that.  More a look into the writing process, with occasional glimpses of Brandon the person, rather than Brandon the writer. 

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thanks! + Deleted Scene

First off, let me give a warm thank you to everyone who showed up at the booksigning on Saturday to buy copies of Mistborn 2.  It's easy to get down-in-the dumps about one's writing--worrying that people don't like Mistborn as much as Elantris, or that the publisher isn't giving my books the right push, or that the Mistborn 1 paperback doesn't have as good a cover as I wanted.

However, when the readers show up in force and keep me signing straight for three + hours, it really means a lot.  None of you had to wait in line that long--I do plenty of signings, and it's not hard to find signed copies in the area.  What it says to me, however, is that people care and support my writing career.  Thank you all so much!  We sold some 200 books, which will do a lot for helping launch the novel.  As I've said before, sales in the first few weeks on a book are very important, because a book sold now will be reordered and restocked by bookstores.  That same book sold in December won't be reordered, since the computers will see that it sat on the shelf for four months before anyone bought it. 

Anyway, this has me feeling better about the book--even though I'm still worried about the paperback of book one.  Regardless, I wanted to do a deleted scene today to say thanks.  We'll start on Mistborn 2 annotations next week, once it's officially been out for a while.  (Tuesday is the street date for it.)

This scene comes from the one where Breeze and Vin visit the skaa soup kitchen to help with the recruitment efforts.  As I've mentioned in the annotations, a major shift in drafting was to make Kelsier more interested in the army and less focused on the 'heist' of stealing from the Lord Ruler.  The heist is still there, of course, but I wanted this idea of forming a revolution and doing something to help--rather than just stealing money--to come to consume the entire crew.

Regardless, in the original draft of the book, Kelsier used Yeden to gather troops, since Kelsier himself was focused on other things.  I quickly realized this wasn't good.  Kelsier WANTED to build his reputation with the skaa; that was vital to his plan.  It was much better to have him show up in this scene and recruit the people himself.  It placed him more in control.  Plus, as you can see below, Yeden wasn't particularly good at this aspect of his part in the crew. 

Read on to see the original draft of the scene, with Yeden instead of Kelsier.  By revising this, I lost a few clever quips from Breeze (who couldn't really make fun of Kelsier the way he did Yeden) but it was for the good of the book. 

---Begin Excerpt---

A group of dirtied skaa men sat around tables, wearing brown work-coats or ragged cloaks. They were a dark group, with ash-stained skin and slumped postures. However, their presence at the meeting meant they were willing to listen. Yeden stood at the front of the room, wearing his usual patched worker’s coat, his curly hair cut short during Vin’s absence. His podium was an overturned crate.

Yeden cleared his throat, then began to speak. “You all know what I stand for. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t at least a little bit sympathetic to my cause.” Though he obviously had experience talking before crowds, he didn’t seem like the most confident of public speakers.

Breeze sipped his drink. “Soothing and Rioting aren’t like other kinds of Allomancy,” he said quietly. “With most metals, Pushing and Pulling have opposite effects. With emotions, however, you can often produce the same result regardless of whether you Push or Pull.

“This doesn’t hold for extreme emotional states--complete emotionlessness or utter passion--however, in most cases, it doesn’t matter which power you use. People are not like sold bricks of metal--at any given time, they will have a dozen different emotions churning within them. An experienced Soother can dampen everything but the emotion he wants to remain dominant.”

Breeze turned slightly. “Rudd, send in the blue server, please.”

One of the guards nodded, cracking the door and whispering something to the man outside. A moment later, Vin saw a serving girl wearing a faded blue dress move through the crowd, filling drinks.

“My men are mixed with the crowd,” Breeze said, his voice growing distracted. “They’re doing as I do, Soothing away unimportant emotions. Fatigue. . .not necessary. Hunger. . .distracting. Suspicion. . .definitely not helpful. My Rioters Push at the same time. Curiosity. . .that’s what they need now. Yes, listen to Yeden. He may be a fool--but he is a determined, passionate fool.”

The crowd responded. The clatter of spoons and slurps of soup stilled, the men perking up slightly.

“I know why you came today,” Yeden said. “Twelve-hour days in a mill, mine, or forge. Beatings, lack of pay, poor food. And, for what? So that you can return to your hovels at the day’s end to find another tragedy. A friend, slain by an uncaring taskmaster. A daughter, taken to be some nobleman’s plaything. A brother, dead at the hand of a passing lord who was having an unpleasant day.”

“Yes,” Breeze said. “Good. Red, Rudd. Send the girl in light-red.”

Another serving girl entered the room.

“Passion and anger,” Breeze said, his voice almost a mumble. “But just a bit. Just a nudge--a reminder.”

Curious, Vin extinguished her copper for a moment, burning bronze instead, trying to sense Breeze’s use of Allomancy. No pulses came from him.

Of course, she thought. Forgot about the Smoker. Curious, she burned zinc, seeing if she could sense the boy’s emotions. She could feel Breeze and the others in the room, but the Smoker was invisible to her.

Just as Kelsier said, she thought. His copper keeps me from sensing Allomancy anywhere in the room, but it only protects his own emotions.

Yeden continued to speak. “You’re not alone in knowing tragedy. My purpose here this day is to tell you that the rumors you’ve heard are true--Kelsier, the Survivor of Hathsin, has joined the skaa rebellion! I personally persuaded him to our cause.”

“Not exactly accurate,” Breeze said, “but workable. Rudd, bring back the red and send out the brown.”

A serving woman in brown walked into the crowd.

“Amazement,” Breeze said. “And, yes, pride. Sooth the anger, for now. Yes. And. . .what about you, Yeden? You’re a bit too nervous. Let’s Sooth that, take away your worries. Leave only that passion of yours--hopefully, it will be enough to cover up that stupid tone in your voice.”

Vin watched with interest. The crowd reacted just as Breeze said. As Yeden continued to speak, he grew more comfortable, his charisma increasing, his ardor showing through.

Curious, Vin let her copper drop. She concentrated, seeing if she could sense Breeze’s touch on her emotions--she would be included in his general Allomantic projections. He didn’t have time to pick and choose individuals, except maybe Yeden.

It was very, very difficult to sense. Yet, as Breeze sat mumbling to himself, she began to feel the exact emotions he described.

Vin couldn’t help but be impressed. The few times that Kelsier had used Allomancy on her emotions, his touch has been like a sudden, blunt punch to the face. He had strength, but very little subtlety.

Breeze’s touch was incredibly delicate. He Pushed against certain emotions, dampening them while leaving others unaffected. Vin thought she could sense his men Pulling on her emotions, too, but these touches weren’t nearly as subtle as Breeze’s. She left her copper off, watching for touches on her emotions as Yeden continued his speech. He explained about the army, leaving out mention of secrets such as the caves or the specific fight they were planning.

Vin felt her respect for Breeze continue to rise. Suddenly, she didn’t feel so annoyed with Kelsier for handing her off. Breeze could only do one thing, but he obviously had a great deal of practice at it. Kelsier, as a Mistborn, had to learn all of the skills--it made a kind of sense that he wouldn’t be as focused in any one power.

I need to make certain he sends me to learn from the others, Vin thought. They’ll be masters at their own powers.

Vin turned her attention back to the dining room as Yeden wrapped up. “We need skaa warriors!” he said. “Soldiers for this, our last struggle against the Final Empire. I know what you are thinking. What about the Priesthood? What about the koloss? What about the Lord Ruler?” Yeden paused for effect. “Well, on this final matter, let’s just say that the rumors about that are true as well.”

The dining room fell silent.

“Bright red,” Breeze ordered. “I want those men to leave feeling angry and passionate.”

“The emotions will fade, won’t they?” Vin said as a red-clothed serving girl entered the crowd.

“Yes,” Breeze said, sitting back and sliding the panel closed. “But memories stay. If people associate strong emotion with an event, they’ll remember it better.”

A few moments later, Ham entered through the back door. “That went well. The men are leaving invigorated, and a number are staying behind. We’ll have a good set of volunteers to send off to the caves.”

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mistborn 2 Sample Chapter Three

Well, the final camping trip of the year is done.  I'm smelly, smoky, and tired--but I survived.  Without Internet this time, even!

Tonight is the big night for MISTBORN 2.  If you're in the area, come by and get a signed copy!  If not, give the store a call tonight around seven or eight mountain time (the initial rush of signing will be from six to seven, I'd guess, and we wouldn't have time to deal with phone calls before that)  and we'll see what we can do to hook you up with a signed copy.  Also, the book should be in your local stores starting on Tuesday.  Annotations start the week after next!

In celebration, here is the final of our three Mistborn 2 sample chapters

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mistborn 2 Sample Chapter #2 + HP7

Mistborn 2 is less than one week away!  In anticipation, here is chapter two of the book!  Chapter one is here, if you missed it.  Chapter three will be on Friday, then the pre-release is on Saturday!  (And, if you are coming, I highly recommend that you call and reserve a copy, just in case.  I don't think we'll run out, but I can't be sure.)

In other news, I've managed to--finally--read Harry Potter 7.  (Whew.)  Had a lot of things on my plate; some books to read and review, some revisions to do, some novels to work on.  Once I managed to get a large portion of them cleared off, I sat down and just started reading.

Initial thoughts: I liked it, as I've liked all of the other HP books.  However, it lacked the charm of the books that occurred inside of Hogwarts.  There was a lot to like, but a lot to quibble with, as one might expect from any book with such a legacy to live up to.  I'd say that Rowling did a great job of it, all things considered.  Talk to me about it, if you meet me, but avoid posting spoilers in the comments! 

I should do a review of the thing here in a bit, if I can scramble up some time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Done + Mistborn 2 Sample Chapter!

Early this morning, around 4 am, I got the Mistborn 3 rewrite done and emailed it off.  Whew!  Two days under deadline.  That means I can finally relax and get around to reading Harry Potter. 

Of course, we can't rest too long, since we're getting ready for the release of Mistborn 2.  Official street date is a week from tomorrow.  In order to prime you, I'll be releasing the first three chapters here on my website in html form.  Chapter One is up and ready to be read!

In completely unrelated news, I have a funny story I just HAVE to tell.  Went to see Stardust with some friends on Saturday.  (Movie was good, by the way.  Go see it.)  After the movie, we went to grab some rice pudding at a local rice pudding store.  (Did you know they had such things?  I didn't.)

Well, one of the guys I was with is someone of modest fame, particularly here in Utah.  As we sat down to start eating, I asked how often he had people walk up to him and say, "Hey, are you...."  I was curious, since that's not something that happens terribly often with authors.  (I've only had it three times, myself, and each time they had at least my first name as a clue.)

We got into a discussion of such things, and Ken mentioned how it can be kind of annoying.  Apparently, there's a famous character in the Simposon's Movie who--during the end credits--says something like "Folks, if you see me in public, please don't rush up to me.  Just leave me alone."

At the VERY MOMENT when Ken said the words "Just leave me alone" a person approached from behind him, put his hands on Ken's shoulders, and said "Is this really the famous Ken Jennings in my store!"

Right at that moment.  Honestly, I had trouble containing my laughter.  Ken was pleasant, as always, but considering the context--Ken talking about wanting to be left alone, then having some stranger walk up and begin rubbing him on the shoulders....  Wow.

I'd guess it's more rough for him, since his face is recognizable.  Me, I'm still tickled when someone actually recognizes me or knows my name.  (Hey, isn't there an author with that name...?) I'm hardly anywhere near Ken's fame, and even he's still somewhat obscure.  Can't imagine what it would be like to be a rock star or the like.

Anyway, if you happen to see me in public (even if it's not at a signing) feel perfectly free to say hello and chat.  (Also, read Ken's book!  It's excellent.)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

One Week to Pre-Release!

The pre-release bash for Mistborn 2 is only one week away!  If you're in the area, come get your copy there!  The signing will be from 6-8 pm on Saturday the 18th of August. 

1)  I'll be doing numbered, signed editions.  (This is the only time to get numbered copies of the book.)
2)  You can get the book three days early.
3)  I'll be giving away an advance manuscript of Mistborn 3 to one lucky person.  Waldenbooks might also be giving away gift cards as prizes.

If you can't show up, you can get a numbered edition mailed to you by Waldenbooks.  Just call and pre-order, and for $4 extra they'll send you a signed, numbered copy from the pre-release in the mail.  (801) 852-0015.

The earlier you show up and get in line, the lower the number you'll get! 

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Deleted Scene

Since we had such a long outage last week, I figured I'd throw up another of these to make up for it.  See how much I love you! 

One of the pivotal places I changed the book during drafting, as has been discussed in the annotations, was during the scene where Kelsier first outlines the plan to his crew.  The first draft of the book had much more of a 'heist' feel, with Kelsier funding and organizing the plan himself. 

This didn't end up working.  By midway through the book, I'd pretty much dropped this plot line, and I felt the original 'give the plan' chapter was offering false promises.  The book turned into a 'Let's raise an army and also rip of the Lord Ruler' not 'Let's scam the Lord Ruler.'  So, I revised heavily. 

Originally, Yeden had been brought in by Kelsier because Kelsier wanted to use the man's connections to help with his rip-off.  This was always a weak reason to have the rebel leader involved, so I decided that it would all work better if Yeden were the one who hired the crew.  That would give them more direction and allow me a better way to explain things.

Anyway, the section below is the first draft of the 'Here's the plan' scene.  Enjoy.

(p.s.  Have I mentioned the two books I have out for Pre-order right now?  Mistborn 2 and Alcatraz?  I have?  Oh, well then, carry on.)

---Begin excerpt---

“All right,” said the dissatisfied, plain-looking Yeden. “I’ve come to your meeting, Kelsier, though against my better judgement. I’ve waited upon your pleasure of arriving. Now I want to know why I’m here.”

“I would have thought that would be obvious, Yeden,” Kelsier said lightly. “You’re here because of your connection to the Skaa Rebellion.”

“You know what I mean, Kelsier,” Yeden snapped. “I don’t like mingling with thieves and cut-throats, especially smart-mouthed ones. If you think I’m going to participate in one of your jobs. . . .”

Kelsier smiled. “Oh, you’re going to participate, Yeden. But, this isn’t going to just be a regular job. In fact, it’s going to be different from any job any crew has ever tried to pull.”

Kelsier paused, smiling dramatically.

Breeze rolled his eyes. “Kell, you’ve kept this ‘job’ secret from us for eight months now. We know it’s big, we know you’re excited, and we’re all properly annoyed at you for being so secretive. So, why don’t you just go ahead and tell us what it is?”

“All right, gentlemen,” Kelsier said. “It’s really rather simple. We’re going to overthrow the Final Empire.”

Silence. Vin frowned, and the others seemed equally confused.

“Excuse me?” Ham asked.

“You heard me right, Ham,” Kelsier said. “That’s the job I’ve been planning--the destruction of the Final Empire and the death of the Lord Ruler.”

Ham sat back, then shared a glance with Breeze. Both men turned toward Dockson, who nodded solemnly. The room remained quiet for a moment longer, then the silence was broken by the sound of Yeden’s scornful laughter.

“You are a fool and an idiot,” Yeden said. “Overthrow the Final Empire? What do you think my companions and I have been trying to do all our lives? What do you think the Skaa Rebellion as been struggling to achieve for the last thousand years. Now you stroll into the room and say you’re going to do it, just like that? Do you have any idea how foolish you sound?”

Kelsier didn’t flush at the rebuke--he just stood with his arms folded, smiling slightly. “Are you finished?”

Yeden shook his head. “I’ll admit that part of me is impressed that you’ve finally gotten over your selfishness and decided to help your fellow skaa. But this isn’t the way, Kelsier. Come with me, and I’ll show you how to get involved with the rebellion--we could use a man of your resourcefulness. You’ll soon see that resisting the Final Empire is no simple ‘job’ to be accomplished by a bunch of pickpocketing miscreants, but a lifelong struggle.”

Kelsier raised a finger. “You see. This is why the Skaa Rebellion has never succeeded. No vision.”

“No vision?” Yeden sputtered.

“No vision,” Kelsier replied with a nod. “You spurn the thieving crews because of their greed, but for all your high morals--which, by the way, I respect--you never get anything done. You never plan to defeat the Lord Ruler, you simply ‘resist’ him. You hide in woods and in hills, plotting how you’ll someday rise up and lead a glorious war against the Final Empire. . .you just never get there. You have no idea how to develop and execute a proper plan.”

Yeden’s expression grew dark. “And you have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Oh?” Kelsier said lightly. “Tell me, what has your rebellion accomplished lately? You’ve been working on this problem for a thousand years, as you mentioned. Where are your successes and your victories? The Massacre of Tougier three centuries ago, where seven hundred Skaa rebels were slaughtered? The occasional raid of a travelling caravan or kidnapping of a minor noble official? What has the Rebellion accomplished?”

Yeden flushed. “We’re skaa, man! What do you expect of us?”

Kelsier obviously didn’t find this comment very impressive. Vin sat in her corner, watching with a frown. What is your game, Kelsier? His words about overthrowing the Final Empire were obviously a front, but what was he really trying to do? Perhaps he intended to scam the Skaa Rebellion. Vin had heard of the organization--such that it was. Reen had spoken of it with scorn, describing its members as a group of ‘idealistic fools.’ They didn’t sound like the type to have enough money to bother scamming.

Kelsier turned from Yeden, instead regarding the table with Breeze and Ham. “You have objections?”

The two men shared a look. Finally Breeze spoke. “Lord Ruler knows I don’t often find reason to agree with Yeden or his ilk, Kell, but I do question your reasoning. Why us? Why now?”

“Who better than us?” Kelsier said. “Previous attempts to overthrow the Lord Ruler have failed because they lacked proper organization and planning. We’re thieves, gentlemen--and we’re extraordinarily good ones. We know how to do the impossible; we can rob the unrobbable and fool the unfoolable. We know how to take an incredibly large task and break it down to manageable pieces, then deal with each of those pieces. We know how to get what we want, and these things make us perfect for this particular task.”

Breeze frowned.

Kelsier stood up, stepping away from the bar and walking toward the group. “Think about it,” he said. “The Skaa Rebellion can’t hope to overthrow the government. The Lord Ruler is just too powerful; he has too many agents. He can keep a careful watch on even the extremities of his empire. The rebellion fails because it’s too big. Any time one of its many pieces begins to gain any momentum, the Steel Priesthood inevitably crushes it.

“That’s not the way to defeat the Final Empire, gentlemen. It’s too unwieldy, too easily countered. But, a small team--specialized and highly skilled--has a hope. We can work without great risk of exposure. We know how to avoid the Steel Priesthood’s tendrils. We understand how the High Nobility thinks, and how to exploit its members. We can do this!”

He paused beside Breeze and Ham’s table.

“I don’t know, Kell,” Ham said. “I’m not that I’m disagreeing with your motives. It’s just that. . .well, this seems a bit foolhardy.”

Kelsier smiled. “I know it does. But you’re going to go along with it anyway, aren’t you?”

Ham paused, then nodded. “You know I’ll join your crew no matter what the job. This sounds crazy, but so do most of your plans. Just. . .just tell me. Are you serious?”

Kelsier nodded. For some reason, Vin was almost tempted to believe him.

Ham sighed. “All right, then. I’m in.”

“Breeze?” Kelsier asked.

The well-dressed man shook his head. “I’m not sure, Kell. This is a bit extreme, even for you.”

“We need you, Breeze,” Kell said. “No one can Push a crowd like you can.”

“Well, that much is true,” Breeze said. “But, even still. . . . Overthrowing the Final Empire, Kell?”

Kelsier smiled, then he set something on the table. Vin had to move a little to the side to see the object--it was the cup of wine she had poured for Breeze. She hadn’t even noticed that Kelsier had grabbed it off of the bar.

“Think of the challenge, Breeze,” Kelsier said.

Breeze glanced at the cup, then looked up at Kelsier. Finally, he laughed, reaching for the wine. “Fine. I’m in.”

“It’s impossible,” a gruff voice said from the back of the room. Clubs sat with folded arms, regarding Kelsier with a scowl. “What are you really planning, Kelsier?”

“I’m being honest,” Kelsier replied. “I plan to overthrow the Final Empire.”

“Where’s the money in that?” Clubs demanded.

“This isn’t about money, Clubs,” Kelsier said. “But, I’m not simply depending on your altruism. Dockson and I will be funding this project--we’ll pay you a fair reward for your services.”

Clubs snorted loudly. Then he stood, his chair toppling backward onto the floor behind him. “No reward would be enough. The Lord Ruler tried to have you killed once--I see that you won’t be satisfied until he gets it right.” With that, the older man turned and stalked in a limping gait from the room, slamming the door behind him.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mistborn Deleted Scenes

As requested, today I'll post some more deleted scenes from MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE.  We're getting into areas that include mild spoilers from the first quarter of the book, so if you haven't read the novel, I suggest doing that first.  Conveniently, it came out in paperback last week!  (Note that Amazon still has hardbacks for rather cheap, if you're a fan of those instead.)

I thought for a while about what to post, and eventually decided that I'd like to show another section of the book that got changed drastically so that you can get a glimpse of what the original draft looked like.  This is in conjunction with the annotations, in which I discuss some of these changes more in-depth, as well as with the first attempt at a Vin chapter which I posted before.

I eventually tossed out that attempt at writing her story, and instead decided to write her in a position of far less power.  It made for a more interesting character, but I felt I needed to hit hard that she wasn't weak, she was just dominated by her situation.  I think I went too far.  The following is a clip from the second version of that early Vin chapter where she and Camon face the obligator.  Following it is the same clip from the final version of the book (sorry for the use of underline for italics):

---Begin First Excerpt--- 

Camon growled slightly, then raised his hand and backhanded her across the face. The force of the blow threw her back against the wall, and her cheek blazed with pain. She slumped against the wood, but bore the punishment silently. Just another bruise. She was strong enough to deal with it. She’d done so before.

But not forever, she thought with quiet determination. Someday I’ll run this crew. I’m poor and I’m weak now. But not forever.

“Listen,” Camon hissed. “This is an important job. It’s worth thousands of boxings--worth more than you a hundred times over. I won’t have you fouling it up. Understand?”

Vin nodded. Do you ever stop to wonder, Camon? You you remark on the fact that I, the girl you call worthless, could possibly ‘foul up’ your plan? Why is that?

It’s because you need me. You’re worried you can’t pull off this job on your own. You need me, and that gives me power.

Camon studied her for a moment, his pudgy face red with anger. However, she gave him not clue as to her thoughts, feigning despondency. Finally, he looked away, muttering to himself.

---End First Excerpt, begin Second Excerpt (the same scene from the last draft)---

Camon growled slightly, then raised his hand and backhanded her across the face. The force of the blow threw Vin back against the wall, and her cheek blazed with pain. She slumped against the wood, but bore the punishment silently. Just another bruise. She was strong enough to deal with it. She’d done so before.

“Listen,” Camon hissed. “This is an important job. It’s worth thousands of boxings--worth more than you a hundred times over. I won’t have you fouling it up. Understand?”

Vin nodded.

Camon studied her for a moment, his pudgy face red with anger. Finally, he looked away, muttering to himself.

--End Second Excerpt--

As you can see, I cut this significantly.  First off, I felt that having Vin be so determined in her mind actually made her a weaker character.  It gave her less room to grow, plus it made her seem just too...powerful to start off.  That's the wrong word, I know, but what I was trying for in this novel were characters who weren't as crisp and neat as the ones in ELANTRIS.  Raoden's power wasn't in ability or magic, but in his force of determination.  I felt that by giving Vin that same trait, I was undermining what could have been a much more powerful character arc.

I still wanted her to be strong--but I wanted her strength to be an instinctive thing.  She could survive.  She could get beaten on, and she'd keep going.  She was more a creature of the streets than a careful planner, waiting for the day to seize power.  So, I cut this down.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

We've hit a new low...

Here's a bad pun for y'all:

Ha ha...ahem.  Guesses and reveals go in the comments section of my Livejournal.

Anyway, still working away at Mistborn 3.  My thanks to all of you who have pre-ordered Mistborn 2 on Amazon.  Our sales rank has been looking pretty darn keen lately, and that gives me a boost.  First week sales of a book are very important, as I've mentioned, and all the Amazon pre-orders go on the records at the publisher as being bought in the first week of release.

  In other news, my wife started--and finished--HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON last night and loved it.  I chastised her for fraternizing with the enemy, but to no avail.  (Didn't help that I suggested the book to her in the first place....)  I STILL haven't read Harry 7, though I'm about a third of the way through book six.  It's good motivation to keep me working on this rewrite.

For those of you paying attention to the Idea of the Day posts I do, you might be interested to know that I'm still very keen on the deaf magic idea I posted about.  In fact, I've begun to mash it in my head with another idea, and it's shaping up quite nicely.  I might decide to do a stand-alone between the two Warbreaker books and starting the Dragonsteel series.  Who knows.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back! + Question

That's two out of three camping trips done for the summer.  (Whew!  Almost there.)  This one wasn't actually too bad.  Only a total wimp like me would consider it camping in the first place.  There were cabins, hot showers, and--drum roll--the host's cabin depended on a satellite skype account in order to run their emergency telephone.  That meant a wireless Internet connection, baby!  It was rather unreliable, but I availed myself of it on several occasions.  (Of course I brought my laptop into the mountains.  Who wouldn't?)

Now it's time to bunker down and get on with the rewrites.  I need, need, NEED to get through the final MISTBORN 3 draft this week.  Then, after that, SCRIBBLER has been ignored since I finished it back in May, and it needs another draft so we can begin searching for a home for it. 

Then, of course, there are the three other books I want to write, not to mention WARBREAKER 2 and ALCATRAZ 3, the rough drafts of which will both be due during the next little while.  (Sigh.)  I really need more time in the day.

You guys interested in seeing more chapters from MISTBORN PRIME / FINAL EMPIRE PRIME?  (So, you know, you can laugh at how bad at writing I used to be?)  Or, would you rather that I post more MISTBORN deleted scenes?  Sound off on my Forums or in the comments section of my LivejournalFacebook works too.

For now, here's a collection of all of the deleted scenes I've posted so far.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Update from the Desert + Chapter

I'm still down here in Southern Utah, but the hotel has interment access, so I figured it was time to get off my duff and post something.  (Well, actually, I'm still sitting on my duff as I post, but you get the idea.)  I don't know if I mentioned, but some friends of mine flew in from the east coast, and we came down here to do some hiking and hit the Shakespeare festival.  We just got back from Twelfth Night, and it was awesome.  A wonderfully done production of the play, which is one of my favorites.

I've got a real soft spot for the Shakespearean farce, which may be why you see elements of such 'mistaken identity' plots in both of my published books.  (Raoden's guise as Kaloo; Vin's guise as Valette.)  Warbreaker is more of an intentional nod to this genre, with the characters, dialogue, and situation more amusing in places.  However, one thing I like best about what Shakespeare did was how he often managed to mix real emotion, drama, and some depth of theme into each of his farces. 

Anyway, I'm off for family reunion number three this weekend, which also constitutes camping trip number two of the three that I'm forced to endure this year.  ;)  Hopefully, I survive.  Until then, here's the full first section of FINAL EMPIRE PRIME for those of you who are keeping up on my posts of pre-Mistborn foundational material.  Once again, this is old stuff, and never made it past the rough draft stage.  I scrapped the project and combined it with MISTBORN PRIME, started over from the beginning, and ended up with MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE.


In this chapter, we see the first appearance of 'The Conqueror' who eventually became 'The Lord Ruler.'  In FINALE EMPIRE PRIME, he was a viewpoint character.  I eventually decided to distance myself from him so that I could keep more secrets about his past.  In addition, in Mistborn, I wanted to focus on Kelsier's crew, and didn't really have the space for a series of contemplative chapters from the Lord Ruler's viewpoint.

In here, we can also see some talk of the magic system for the book--which was, unfortunately, one of the chunks of this book that just didn't work.  Though I salvaged a little piece of the worldbuilding and turned it into Feruchemy, most of the magic in this novel as it stood needed to be tossed aside, with Allomancy deservingly taking its place. 

Please remember that MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE is out in paperback as of this week!  First month sales on a book are very important, so if you've been thinking of buying a copy, now'd be a great time!