Thursday, March 27, 2008

Defining Surreal

People ask me if working on this book is surreal.  Before, I always said yes, but I don't think it really hit me HOW strange this is until these last few days. 

Yesterday evening, I pulled out the electronic versions of the novels that Mr. Jordan's assistant sent with me when I left Charleston.  I combined them all into a single word document to use in searching.  (It clocks in at 9,300 pages and about 3 million words, if you're curious.)  Using Microsoft Word's search features, I can call up all sorts of useful information from the entire series at the touch of a few keys.  (By the way, thanks for sending those electronic files, Alan!  You thought of this a full three months before I ended up needing them.  I guess that's the sign of an excellent assistant.)

In compiling this document and setting a few bookmarks at important points (mostly the beginning of each book) I hesitated at the copyright statement of CROWN OF SWORDS.  He's a book I read over ten years ago, a book by an author I idolized.  A distant and unapproachable figure, a hero himself, the one spearheading the epic fantasy movement of my era.  And now I have a copy of the original file he typed and I'm working on finishing his last book. 

That, my friends, seems to DEFINE the world surreal to me. 

I was shocked the first time the people at Tor called this a collaboration.  By publishing terms, I guess that's indeed what it is--a collaboration, where two authors work on a single novel.  But to me, the term just felt strange.  Collaborating with Robert Jordan seemed to set me too high in the process.  I'm finishing the Master's work for him, since he is unable to.  I kind of feel like Sam, carrying Frodo the last few paces up the mountain.  Robert Jordan did all the work; for most of these twenty years, I've only been an observer.  I'm just glad I could be here to help for the last stretch when I was needed.

For those of you who wondered, I HAVE read Knife of Dreams and New Spring, but I haven't yet posted blog reactions to them.  I read faster than I could keep up on the blog.  (I've often noted that I'm really not that great a blogger.)  I'll post reactions to these books as I go.  For now, I need to get back to Book Twelve.

3 Comments:

Blogger MeganEilise said...

That must have been an absolutely mind-blowing moment, to see the entirety of his work laid out before you like that, so completely accessible yet still revered.

Your comparison to Sam is dead on; heroes are allowed to shine due to the efforts of a support crew equal to the task.

Don't worry about not posting so much, I just stumbled upon this blog after Tor's e-book promotion of Mistborn (currently working on Elantris) and you seem especially generous with letting your readers in on what you're up to, it's greatly appreciated.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Seriously, that is a ridiculous Word doc. A couple years ago, I bet that Word can't even do something that big. I wonder how many words and pages the Bible would be if you threw that into a Word document. Heh!

You are a much better blogger than you think. Especially when compared to other celebrities.

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