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.”

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