Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Warbreaker, Annotations, and notes. Oh my!

Let me formally, informally introduce you to a new section of the Library.  Here is where, from now on, I'll be posting all sample chapters, short stories, and selections from books for readers to find.  I decided I wanted a central location where readers could go to find all fiction that I'd posted for free, whether it be sample chapters or complete novels.  This is a 'soft' launch of the Library since it doesn't have much content yet, and the introduction isn't done either.  We'll put a gem on the front page when it's actually done.

Anyway, speaking of complete novels, I've begun to post WARBREAKER 4.2 in html for readers to enjoy.  So, if you've been avoiding reading the book because you don't want to deal with a download, you can follow along reading here.  I'll post one chapter a week for the next year.

I've also posted a new MISTBORN 2 annotation.  Following a request on my forums, I've given bolded headings to each little chunk of the annotation.  Does this help?  I've avoided doing this in the past as I worried about headings like this acting as spoilers for people who hadn't read the book accidentally clicking on the link.  But, well, if you haven't read the book and you click on the annotation link, there's probably no real way for you to avoid spoilers anyway. 

Also, I have a request.  Those of you who read my LJ, what do you think of the format?  I ask because when I started mirroring over to LiveJournal, I was still very new to all of this.  I wasn't sure if anyone would even look at the LJ version of the blog.  Happily, it's become a very large community with a good number of  readers.  I assume that many of you just get the posts on your friends page, so my format doesn't matter, but I do wonder if the text is too small.  I just kind of picked the first or second LJ theme that appealed to me and haven't given much thought to it since.Inquisitor

Finally, I want to send a link in the direction of a friend of mine.  Drew Olds married one of my writing buddies, Ms. Fish, and happens to be a fantastic painter of miniatures.  He's starting up a web store to show them off, and I thought I'd post one of his images here the pictures are so nice and I feel that my blog needs more images.  I might post more in the future; go have a look at his stuff!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

WoT Read Through: THE GREAT HUNT

I'm very interested in the way that Mr. Jordan expanded the viewpoints in this book.  Here is where we first begin to see the scope of this story, in my opinion, as we start to get viewpoints from Moiraine, Fain, and numerous others.  This is one of the things I've always liked about Mr. Jordan's writing--in fact, it may have been one of his greatest talents.  His ability to craft a very intense, well-written, and engaging third-person-limited viewpoint.  If there's one thing I could pick to learn from his writing, it would be how to do such a good third limited.

I'm about halfway through the read right now, and like how quickly-paced this book is moving.  Sometimes, readers get down on Jordan for his pacing, but I've found that these first books move at a real clip.  I think the shifting viewpoints in this book is how I prefer it; I remember that later, he starts to divide the books in chunks, having a large section from one viewpoint, then moving to another viewpoint for a long time.  We'll have to see how I feel about that when I get to it, but for now, I like having short chapters moving from viewpoint to viewpoint so I never lose track of anyone for too long.

I mentioned before that I see things differently as I read these books through for the sixth or seventh time.  I'm a writer myself now, and I look at the books from that standpoint.  I can still enjoy them as a reader, but I think I enjoy different things as well.  For instance, I love the sheer weight of conflict Mr. Jordan gave to his characters.  I often say that stories are about conflict--characters are made interesting by conflict and a setting comes alive via the pressure points where different aspects of culture grind against each other.  If you're an aspiring author, take note of the excellent variety of conflicts Rand has shown during the first book and a half:

1)  Servants of the Dark One chasing him.
2)  The Dark One himself (kind of) appearing in Rand's dreams.
3)  Rand's worry about his identity and whether or not Tam is really his father.
4) Rand's worry about his relationship and love for Egwene
5) His tension between Mat and Perrin in Book Two.
6) His worry about everyone calling him a lord.
7) His frustration that the White Tower is trying to control him.
8) The danger of channeling and his place as the Dragon Reborn

And that's just a few of them.  There's a reason why this story has been so successful and has been able to carry so many books.  Conflict.  There's no shortage of it here.  Anyway, I'm still enjoying Nynaeve's character, though I wish she'd get over her anger at Moiraine.  In most things, Nynaeve is clever, but she's got a hole in her vision when it comes to Moiraine. 

I'll post some new Mistborn 2 annotations tomorrow, as well as the first chapter of WARBREAKER in html.  

Saturday, January 26, 2008

WoT Read-Through: EYE OF THE WORLD

I'm hoping to be able to do more than one post per book, but I'd already started EYE OF THE WORLD when I finally got time to write this.  I'll probably only do one post for the first book, then, which is a tragedy, since it has long been one of my favorites of the series.  I also feel that it will be VERY important to writing Book Twelve.  The Wheel turns; ages become new again and ideas return.  I feel that the last book of the series should have numerous hearkenings back to this first book; that will give  a sense of closure to this section of the Pattern and fit with the motif of the Wheel's turning. 

That's just my gut instinct, and I'm not promising anything specific or even referencing material from the Twelfth Book.  I'm only speaking of my general feelings as a writer, but  Mr. Jordan's notes are far more important than any of my instincts. 

As I read through this first book again, I was shocked by how well he had foreshadowed the later books in the series.  This is the first time I'm reading WHEEL OF TIME all the way through as a professional novelist.  I see things differently than I once did.  I know how difficult it is to foreshadow across an entire series, and am frankly astounded by how well Mr. Jordan laid the groundwork for his future books.  Min's prophesies are one great example, but equally potent is Mr. Jordan's use of mythology and story as a means of preparing the reader for events such as the Great Hunt, future interactions with the Aiel (and the People's relationship with them), and the coming of the Seanchan. 

As I read, I also found myself having a very odd reaction.  You see, when I first read these books, I was a teenage boy.  It's not odd, then, that I would empathize with Rand, Mat, and Perrin.  Each previous time I read through the series, my major sympathies focused on them.  I remember being frustrated by how much Nynaeve and Moiraine kept them out of the loop, ordering them around and not telling them anything. 

Now I'm older.  It has been years since I've read through these early books.  Strangely--almost traitorously--I find myself looking on Rand, Mat, and Perrin as...well, reckless teenagers.  I'm still very affectionate toward them and interested in their stories.  Yet, every time they do something dumb (like run off in Shadar Logoth without telling anyone) I find myself wanting to scream at them "You wool-headed fools!" 

Instead I find that...brace yourselves...Nynaeve is my favorite character in this book.  I always found her annoying in a bossy-older-sister kind of way before.  Now, she's the character closest to me in age, and I can see her motivations and feel for her plight.  In my opinion, she's one of the most heroic people in this book, as she left the Two Rivers on her own (despite the recent attack) and tracked the others out further than she'd ever been before.  Rand and the other boys have no choice but to do as told, buy Nynaeve could have gone home at any time.  Instead, she stayed--all because of her determination to help protect those from the Two Rivers.  She's trapped between the boys thinking she's bossy, but Moiraine treating her practically like a child.  (Well, not really, but you know what I mean.)  She's got it rough, but she keeps on going. 

I have to say, I'm impressed again with Mr. Jordan.  It's hard to write these posts without sounding like a base sycophant.  Yet, if you're an aspiring author, might I suggest that what he did here is something to study?  He's managed to craft a book which not only appeals to the teenage readers who see themselves in Egwene or one of the boys, he's inserted characters who think and feel in a way that appeals to other audiences as well.  I suspect this is part of why the books work so well.  Perhaps after aging a little more and raising children of my own, I will find myself thinking more like Moiraine.  (Though, to be honest, she's always been one of my favorite characters.  Still is.)

So, there you have it.  Brandon's favorite character of this book: Nynaeve.  And I still think that's really strange.  Next week, I'll give my reactions to THE GREAT HUNT.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

WoT Read Through Notes: Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Warbreaker Download

As promised, here is the newest draft of WARBREAKER; this is version 4.0.  (Or, well, 4.2 since I tweaked a few things yesterday.)

If you've been waiting to read WARBREAKER, I would like to note that I will--indeed--begin posting html pages of the chapters, making for easier reading.  This will happen at a rate of one a week for about a year.  Also, I soon intend to have a PDF of the entire 4.0 up for download.  (Right now, all I have is the word document.)  If anyone feels like making a PDF and sending it to me--or feels like sticking it into any of the various ebook formats--I'd happily include those here for download as well.  As always, you can find the current and previous WARBREAKER drafts in the book's portal on my website

In this draft, I read through doing mostly medium-level fixes.  Some character tweaks, some better world explanations, some pacing work.  I've now sent this to my editor, who will print it off and make line-by-line notations on it as he reads through it.  5.0, then, will be the draft where I incorporate these changes.  Somewhere around 6.0, I'll go through looking for smaller changes mentioned on my forums by readers.  Right now, I've been making larger changes that have been suggested and that I agree with, but I haven't done many smaller, paragraph-by-paragraph edits.

This marks the turning of my full attention to AMoL, and I will be doing updates relating to my read-through of the series in the coming days. 

EDIT: Man, you people are fast. Here's a PDF of 4.2 provided by Speakerwiggin over on LJ. Thanks!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Warbreaker 4.0: DONE!

The latest WARBREAKER revision is finished.  I'm glad to have this one off my plate; I hadn't realized how anxious I was getting about this book until I sat down and worked on it.  It's now been a year and a half since I finished it, and I worried that I was letting it dangle, pushing it off time and time again and not giving it the attention it deserves.  This is partly due to the fact that I'm not sure if it will get a sequel anytime soon.

In the past, I've said that I was planning to write the sequel.  (Tentatively titled NIGHTBLOOD, though I worry that's too horror-sounding.)  The problem is, I now have A MEMORY OF LIGHT on my plate, and it is going to need a LOT of attention.  The question is, do I want to have WARBREAKER come out in the spring of 2009, AMoL come out in the fall of 2009, then have a sequel to a two-book series be my follow-up to that? 

It seems to me that I'm in a unique position.  A lot of fantasy authors dream of being able to launch something BIG.  An epic series which will get a powerful marketing push and a lot of attention.  It seems to make far more sense to me to launch a brand new series the year after AMoL, rather than putting out an ambiguous sequel which ends a two-book series. 

That doesn't mean I won't write book two.  It just means that I'm thinking of starting a much larger story, then slipping in the WARBREAKER sequel sometime later. 

Anyway, WARBREAKER 4.0 will go up early next week.  It is my goal to post the downloadable version, then actually do an html chapter-by-chapter version for ease of reading.  Would anyone (who hasn't read Warbreaker yet) be interested in this?  Sound off on my LJ, my Facebook, or my forums. 

You can also let me know what you think I should do next.  You probably won't change my mind (it's not a vote) but I'd be curious to see what readers are wanting.

Warbreaker sequel
Elantris sequel (Different characters, same world.)
Big Epic (five or six books on a new project)
Random Stand Alone
Dragonsteel (Which is written, but now I don't know when to release it.)
More books in the Mistborn world
(Note: Again, I wouldn't do any more with the same characters.  Their story is done after book three, as I promised it would be.)

Also, for your amusement, two links:

Funny Comic!
And Another!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Annotations + Facebook

New Annotations!
WELL OF ASCENSION: Chapter Twenty-One

So, I'm not sure I GET social networking websites.  I have a Myspace, and I started updating it and keeping my blog, but eventually the number of spam add requests I got--mixed with how frustrating it was to log in all the time and deal with all of those in-your-face-ads--was too annoying for me.  The page has languished without being touched in months and months. 

LiveJournal I get, and I rather like.  It's a place for people to host blogs, and all of their friend tools make it really easy to read what is happening in people's lives.  I think they have a great product, and they make it very easy to post remotely--which I do. 

Facebook...I don't know what to make of Facebook.  I like that I'm not blasted with advertisements, and the friend requests have all been legitimate.  They allow me to remotely post my blog there by giving me tools that mirror my LJ.  All in all, it seems a good product.  The problem, then, is that I'm not sure I GET Facebook. (Like I said above.)

Do people go there to read blogs?  Does anyone actually see my blog posts there?  They come as imported notes.  Facebook fans, help me out.  How can I make certain that when a blog post of mine is imported, a message appears on the home page of those who have friended me.  Also, how can I indicate on my profile that the main way I update my Facebook is through those imported notes?  I've had a lot of friend request lately, and I'd like people to know what's up with stuff.

Finally, what's up with stuff?  Well, I'm a little over a quarter of the way through the WARBREAKER 4.0 rewrite.  It's going smoothly, and I'm feeling much less stressed now that I know it will be off the plate completely and done.  I will have everything in order when I start A MEMORY OF LIGHT.  That's good, because as a writer, I tend to get very focused.  I like to work on one project at a time and put my all into it.  I really don't like worrying about other projects while focused like that, and this way, I won't have any other obligations to publishers until next fall.  Doing WARBREAKER now may push my work on AMoL back a few weeks, but it will mean that I can devote myself better to that book when the time comes, and that will make working on it go much more smoothly. 

Monday, January 14, 2008


I've long been an insomniac.  I think.

Insomnia is a hard one to pin down for me.  I'm sure that there is an official definition somewhere in the psychologist's handbook.  I just define it as "Those times when I want to sleep but I can't."  However, it seems to me that a lot of those times happen when I'm trying to go to bed at what other people call a 'normal' time.  I'll lie in bed for hours, just thinking or daydreaming.  (Er, nightdreaming.) 

Most of my life, this hasn't been much of a problem. In fact, I think it's led to a lot of the habits that turned me into a writer.  Plus, if I'm having A LOT of trouble sleeping, I get up and do something else until I'm tired.  That can take hours, but since I don't have a day job, I can sleep in if I want.  No big deal. 

The longer I've done this, the more I've realized that I rarely get insomnia if I'm consistently going to bed later at night, like around three or for am.  Perhaps it's the regularity of the schedule..  Or, maybe the hour is important, and my body just likes to sleep from four to noon instead of normal hours. 

The problem with this all is that it can be very difficult to get things done if get onto a schedule where you're sleeping seven to three, particularly if you have a family (which I now do.)  My sickness last week (which I'm over with; thanks for all your good wishes) immediately sent me into a sleep during the day, be up at night schedule.  Didn't get back on a slightly normal one again until today, when I managed to get up at 12:30.  I spent most of last week either feeling really sick or feeling like I hadn't gotten anything done in FOREVER.  So it was that somehow I managed to do a full-blown rewrite of ALCATRAZ 3, which was on my plate still (note the percentage bars on the website.)  I'm happy to have managed to clear that away, though I do have to admit that I haven't gotten as deep into the Wheel of Time yet as I'd like to. 

My worry is that, when I start AMoL in the next month or two, I want to be DEEPLY entrenched in Mr. Jordan's world again.  More and more lately, that's meant getting everything else taken care of completely.  I want to be able to read WoT in a way that will bend my style toward Mr. Jordan's--but, with that as my goal, I don't want to be thinking about other books of mine during that time, lest I let them be influenced too much by Mr. Jordan's way of writing.  (Not that it would be bad for me to learn a few things from Mr. Jordan.  I just don't want to do it unintentionally.  Writers have the danger of letting their styles imitate directly what they're reading at the time, and while I intend to do this on purpose with AMoL, it would be wrong to do this to my other works.)

So, the second point of this whole rant?  I'm about fifteen percent through a 4.0 rewrite of WARBREAKER, which is the very last thing on my 'to do' list alongside writing A MEMORY OF LIGHT.  I'm really digging the changes to the text so far, though I don't know if they're big enough for most readers to notice.  Anyway, I should have 4.0 ready for download by the end of the week.  Then, I'll start doing updates on my thoughts of WoT as I read it through some of the books for what I believe is the eighth or ninth time.

New Annotations tomorrow, I promise.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Sorry for the lack of updates lately.  Been down with the flu since yesterday, and am still feeling rather sick.  Nothing serious, but not too much fun either.  I keep meaning to do some essays and updates.  However, for now, let's just post an amusing comic.  It's been a while since a PvP comic has cracked me up that much.  Mostly, I've been focused on Dr. McNinja and XKCD lately.  It's nice to know that my old standby comics can still throw out a great zinger every once in a while.

For those who ordered books, most of them (the non-international ones) went out on Tuesday.  You may have gotten emails telling you they were shipped.  (But maybe not--my assistant is still figuring these things out.)  People have already started getting their books, which is great.  I thought it would take way longer.  Media Mail can be somewhat unpredictable. 

Don't worry if you haven't gotten yours--it can take as long as ten business days for media mail to get where it's going.  If yours hasn't appeared in a couple of weeks, though, make sure you do email us.  We're new to this whole shipping thing, and I worry that we'll screw something up.  Also, I've been thinking that I don't want to punish all you who have already bought my books, or imply that you should buy them from me if you want signed copies.  So, within the next month or so, I'll be offering signed bookplates on my website at a minimal cost to cover shipping and supply.  (Probably $.50 for up to three or four in one envelope.)  I won't be able to personalize these for time reasons, but if you want a signed bookplate for the book you've already bought, I want to find a way to get one to you.  Keep an eye on the website.

More annotations coming, as well as an update on my reading of the Wheel of Time.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Thanks to everyone who emailed me after ordering copies of Mistborn 1 through the store--it looks like everything is working fine, and I got everybody's orders.  The only glitch is that there is no 'comments' section where we expected there to be one.  Instead, we added a 'Signing Instructions' section.  Most of you found it; for those who didn't, I'm just going to assume you want the books signed to you.  If this isn't the case, email me.  (Don't worry about it if you found the signing instructions section, however--I got several requests for Signatures Only, and am aware of them.) 

We should be shipping the books early next week, as we're still working out exactly the best way to do this.  Thanks to everyone who has ordered so far.  It looks like these signed editions are really something that you all want, so I'll try to do it with other books in the future, assuming I can get copies of them in bulk.  (Fortunately, for Mistborn One, I was able to get a good stock of copies, and I'm guessing that we'll have them up for sale on my website for a while yet.)

I don't like competing with booksellers, upon whom I depend for most of my sales, so I probably won't be offering signed hardcovers on my website until after you can no longer reliably find the hardcovers in stores.  Please consider purchasing your copies of Mistborn 2 and 3 from your local bookseller, rather than waiting to see if I can get hardcovers here for sale.

Two new annotations for you readers of Mistborn 2:
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Signed Mistborn One Hardcovers!

As I've noted before, we're slowly working on getting the store up and running.  Well, today I got a large shipment filled with copies of MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE.  Those things are taking up far too much room in my garage, and so I called up Spriggan (my webmaster) and we got to work on finally getting some functionality out of the store.I'll warn you, though.  My handwriting is really bad.

The result?  At long last, we have hardcover books for sale.  This marks the official launch of the store.  (Even though some things were there for purchase earlier, we haven't gotten the text written about them or anything like that.)  To celebrate, we're going to offer the copies of Mistborn One up for sale this month at $20, eight bucks off cover price.  Hopefully, I can clear some of these things out of my garage.  Shipping will be $3.50.  The sale will last until the end of the month, after which the book will go up to $25.

Assuming this all works properly, you should be able to input your name (or, instead, the name of the person for whom you want me to sign the book) along with any notes or special instructions for the inscription. Put those in the comments section of your order--or, if you don't want an inscription, write SIGNATURE ONLY.  I'm willing to write pretty much whatever you want in the books, within reason, though I assume that most people will just want me to write whatever I choose.  We CAN ship internationally, though it's kind of expensive.  Still, with the weakness of the US dollar lately, maybe it won't turn out to be all that steep.  Payments are through paypal, though you don't need to have a paypal account to make an order.  (Just click on the link that says "Use your credit card" once you're on paypal's site.)

It's getting hard to find the Mistborn hardcover anywhere but Amazon, and even it makes finding the hardcover (instead of the paperback) kind of tough.  So, I'm happy to have this up and running.  Email me if there are any problems.  Actually, email me after you make an  order so that I can make sure everything is working smoothly.  Eventually, we'll be adding other things to the store, such as the ELANTRIS hardcover (though I don't have many of those, so I probably won't be able to discount them) and some other wacky things. 

Also, yes, I know.  Starting this up right AFTER the holidays is kind of strange.  But, well, this isn't really expected to be a large source of income for me.  Mostly, it's a feature for the site I wanted to have for those who want it.  Other things in the site rebuild were far more important.  At least this way it will be up for the holidays NEXT year, assuming the books last that long.