Monday, May 26, 2008

New Warbreaker Chapters + Hollywood

Conduit was a blast!  I big thanks to everyone who said hello, and to those who organized the deal.  I'm already looking forward to MountainCon next fall, at which I'm doing the official guest thing. 

And, speaking of fun things, I'm flying out on Wednesday to go to sunny Hollywood and meet with some producers, get a tour of one of the studios, and otherwise enjoy myself.  I'm afraid the ink isn't dry yet on the deal, so I can't make any official announcements, but you're free to speculate all you want.  No, this isn't a joke.  Yes, I have been offered a movie deal (I've got the contracts right here, actually.)  No, it probably isn't for the series you're thinking about.  No, this doesn't mean that the movie is sure to get made.  (I'll let you know more when I can, next week if possible.  But what I've been offered is what is called an option, which is the first step in a movie getting made.  It will still be a while before we know if the project has been green-lit or not.)

In celebration, here are two more Warbreaker chapters, as I've been neglecting to post them lately.

Warbreaker HTML: Chapter Twelve
Warbreaker HTML: Chapter Thirteen

Friday, May 23, 2008


I'll be at Conduit on Friday and Saturday.  (That's Salt Lake City's spring SF convention, for those who are curious.)  Here's my schedule:

Friday at 3:  Playing in other people's sandboxes.  Some book franchises have multiple authors writing stories set in the same world.  How do you create a great story that is true to you as a writer and the world created by someone else?  (Michael A. Stackpole, Dan Willis, Brandon Sanderson, Elisabeth Waters, Bev Hale, Lee Allred (M))

Saturday at Noon:  Worldbuilding 101.  Where you set your story is often as important as what happens in it.  What do you really need to know to create a world for your writing? (Dan Willis, Julie Wright (M), Brandon Sanderson, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Bev Hale, Greg Park)

Saturday at Four: Story in an Hour.  How can you plot a story in only one hour?  Come learn some tips and tricks to help you become a more productive plotter.
(Nathan Shumate, Brandon Sanderson (M), Brook West, Julia West, Paul Genesse)

I don't think I have a reading scheduled, I'll have to ask.  However, Dan, Howard and I are planning to do some Writing Excuses podcasts from the convention, so if you're interested, the goal is to record them at 6:00 on Friday.  You can stop by and fire questions at us.  Should be fun!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Speed Racer is a good movie

A mighty thanks to all of those who posted to let me know that I shouldn't be afraid to go see Speed Racer.  I did, and I agree--it was a good movie.  I enjoyed it more than Iron Man, actually--though I understand why I would be in the minority on that one. 

Seeing the movie, and knowing the reviews and the performance of the film (if you haven't been watching, it's in the process of a complete belly-flop at the box office) leaves me thoughtful.  There are plenty of times when I've either disagreed with the reviewers or with the movie going public--but it's rare that I disagree with both of them on the same film.  That leaves me curious as to what happened with this film, which is an interesting exercise for anyone--like myself--who relies on the whims of reviewers and consumers to make their living.

So, why did I like this film while very few others seemed to?  Well, I do have to admit that I'm a fan of the old cartoon.  This film stayed extremely faithful to the spirit of the original, I believe, which means it adopted some of the inherent cheesiness and over-the-top storytelling.  This was not a subtle movie.  Perhaps as a fan of the original, I didn't mind the exaggerated scenes, as I got hit with nostalgia factors. 

And perhaps that's one problem with the film and its marketing.  For someone to appreciate some of these nostalgia factors, you would have to be around my age--and getting people my age out to a PG rated flick can be a little difficult. 

However, Howard wrote that he liked the show, and he hadn't watched the original cartoon.  So my enjoyment might have come from other places as well.  One thing that Howard and I share is that both of us are religious.  Now, this wasn't a religious show, but anyone who IS religious and attends church regularly (particularly, from my experience, the LDS church) has to come up with a Cheesiness filter.  I'm not at all disparaging religion, but let's face it, the whole church experience tends to be a little over-emotional and involves a lot of 'smack you in the face' moral metaphors.

The film was pretty big on both of these concepts.  It had basic morals and some melodrama.  I can see that this would put some people off, but I deal with both regularly, and can not only filter them--but actually enjoy them to an extent.

So, since I subconsciously tolerated/loved the camp of this film, I was left with the amazing special effects driving a film with some good-natured humor, some fun (if basic) plotting, and some very good acting.  (Many reviews, while panning the film for its camp, praised the acting and special effects.) 

I don't know if that analysis is correct, but the fact is that I went to the movie and sincerely enjoyed it.  In fact, it's probably the best I've seen this year.  The visuals were astounding, and the overall experience quite enjoyable.  I think the Wachowski brothers are great filmmakers.  I just worry that they accidentally made a film which is too campy for the twenty/thirty somethings, too 'kid-looking' for the teens and tweens, and too busy and crazy for the parents to take their kids to. 

In a final note, I'd love to have taken my grandmother to this film.  She thinks that documentaries are too busy, loud, and fast-paced.  This would have made her head explode.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Iron Man Review

I finally saw Iron Man the other day.  I know, I'm a little slow to the party, but I did want to get to it eventually.  I love a good superhero story, which is odd, since comics never managed to grab hold of me as a kid.  My guess is that I like the archetypes they deal with, but don't necessarily like the comic book format.  They tend to be very large offenders in the "This will never end" department.  At least with a book series, the novels form pre-defined breaks.  And even a very long series like the Wheel of Time or the like has an ending out there somewhere.  All you have to do is convince me that there WILL be an ending, and I'm willing to read.  Most comics convince me of the opposite.

Regardless, the movie was great. Not fantastic great--I disagree that it's the best superhero movie ever, as I'm very partial to the first two Spider-man movies, the original Superman, and the Adam West Batman movie.  (Okay, maybe that last one is a bit of a joke--but honestly, both Batman Begins and the original Burton Batman movie rank very high on my list.  And I do have a silly fondness for the Adam West one, plastic sharks and all.)  Against those, Iron Man didn't quite hold up--but that doesn't mean it's not a great movie.  Thoroughly enjoyable, excellently acted, and not TOO badly offensive in the plot department.  (Though, the ending bugged me just a little.)

To be honest--and I feel a little guilty for this--I liked Forbidden Kingdom better.  Yes, it was campy. But man was it fun to watch Jacky Chan and Jet Lee act in the same movie.  Another one that isn't super amazingly fantastic, but was just a good movie.

I'm scared to go see Speed Racer.  I was really hoping that it would be good, and the reviews have me paranoid.  Maybe if I go with low expectations.  (That didn't help with Fantastic Four, though....)

As for the writing, thanks to everyone who showed up at the signing today.  Wheel of Time progressed well this week, and I'm right around the 70k mark, which earns us another point on the percentage bar. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Various Notes (Signing + Annotation)

First off, it looks like I lied to you.  I said that last week was going to be my last signing for a while, but I forgot that there would be a signing involved in the Children's Festival which is happening this weekend at the Provo City Library.  If you live locally, you should check out that link--there's going to be a whole TON of activities going on all day.  The date is this Saturday, the 17th, and I'll be doing a reading from my Alcatraz books along with a panel about fantasy in Children's Literature. 

The signing is from 2-4pm, and there will be copies of all of my books for sale (hopefully.)  I know for sure that they'll have Alcatraz on sale, and I'll have copies of the hardcovers of Mistborn and Elantris, just in case they don't.  (As always, you can bring your own books as well and get them signed.)  So, if you missed me last week, you can come visit this week!

In other news, this weeks' Writing Excuses is--in my opinion--one of our best to date.  We get into a gritty discussion of the adage I've (humbly) named Sanderson's First Law, which outlines some of my opinions on magic systems and how to design them.  If you're enjoying Writing Excuses, make sure to post links to it on writing blogs or forums that you frequent and help spread the word!  (Though please don't spam randomly; that's annoying.  A link in your sig or in a relevant topic, however, would be very much appreciated!)

Finally, an annotation for you Mistborn 2 readers.  (And for you WoT readers, I've added another percentage point to the bar.)

Annotation: Well of Ascension Chapter Thirty-Three

Monday, May 12, 2008

A great Reader Mail Question

I posted that other email I got that was somewhat negative, but the overwhelming majority are very encouraging and thoughtful.  I got one piece recently from a reader named Matt which got me thinking.  It relates to A MEMORY OF LIGHT, and so I figured I'd answer it here.

Brandon - My name is Matt, and I have been following your blog posts and website since you were announced as the writer for AMOL. A question to ask occurred to me today that I don't think I ever saw in any of your interviews/posts about being selected to write the book. As a fan, is a part of you disappointed to read the ending of the story the way you did, that is through RJ's notes and not after reading an entire book?

Excellent question!  My answer follows:

It was indeed a different experience to read through the outline and materials, with the holes and occasional vague sections, rather than reading a complete novel. A little bit of me is regretful. Of all the readers and fans out there, I'm one of the few who won't be able to experience this book for the first time in its complete form. Mr. Jordan's assistants and wife have probably been in that boat for years!

And yet, I am a writer, and I don't look at an outline the same way that a regular reader might. The closest approximation I can make is to origami masters. If you go and look at their websites, they will often release 'patterns' that go with a new piece of origami they've developed. The pattern is just a sheet of paper with lines on it. I look at that, and all I see are lines. But to another origami master, that pattern reveals the exact method used to create the piece. They can look at the pattern and see the finished product.

This outline was kind of like that for me, particularly since the ending was the most complete section. I could look at it, and my mind filled in the gaps, adding the foreshadowings and character climaxes that had come before, taking the hints and the outline chunks that Mr. Jordan wrote and putting them all together. It didn't feel like reading a complete book, but I felt like I could SEE that complete book as he would have written it, and that has become my guide in writing it myself.

(I might also note at the end here that one thing I forgot to include in my email to him is that while I didn't get to read the final book like you all will, I DID get to find out what happened at the end of the series a good two years ahead of anyone else!)

I really need to get some annotations posted this week.  Sorry for all of you waiting!  They're coming.  As a consolation, you can see that my primary goal of getting 10k of AMoL was accomplished last week, and I was able to add 3% to the counter.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Term Fan

An odd thing has happened since I got published; I've begun noticing the word 'fan' much more often.  The word bothers me just slightly, but for odd reasons.  I don't hesitate in calling myself a 'fan' of someone else's work.  In that context, the word--to me--simply means that I enjoy that author or filmmaker.  I'm a fan of Terry Pratchett, for instance.

Yet I always hesitate to refer to those who read my books as my "fans".  I'm not sure why, but when the word refers people who read MY work, it feels wrong.  Presumptuous.  While I think the word in general has outgrown its root of fanatic, meaning something far more broad and less crazy, when I talk about my own readers, I have trouble NOT remembering the original meaning.  And that taints the word.   I don't want to imply that my readers are fanatic about my stories, as...well...they're just stories.  Good ones, I hope, but there are a lot more important things in life.

I wonder why I make the distinction that way.  Is it because I am still unaccustomed to having gotten published, and therefore subconsciously don't think I deserve the presumed elevation that having "fans" would entitle?  Is it just my general peacemaker nature not wanting to risk offending someone?  I'm not sure, honestly. 

Anyway, those of you out there--fans, readers, or whatever you prefer to be called--who live in the Utah area might want to be reminded of my signing today.  2:00 at the Orem Barnes and Noble! 

(And for the rest of you, don't worry--my regular touring season is in the fall, and I generally hit both costs of the US with perhaps a stop or two in the middle.  These local signings come from events that I'm invited to or the like, but I WILL be getting to other areas out there eventually.  Look for me in Atlanta and Denver this August, for instance, in conjunction with Dragon*Con and Worldcon respectively.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Signing This Saturday!

Just a quick update.  I'll be doing a signing this Saturday, and it will probably be the last one for a couple of months.  The details are as follows:

Day: May 10th
Hour: 2:00pm
Place: Orem Barnes and Noble
University Crossings Plaza
330 East 1300 South Orem,
UT 84058 801-229-1611

This is an "Authorpalooza" event, meaning it was organized by a large group of authors.  There will be quite the crew there, including Mull, Dashner, and a whole ton of children's authors.  We should have both my Tor books and my Scholastic book there for sale and signing, and I'll try to remember to bring a copy of the Mistborn 3 ARC to show off. Note that it's unlikely that they'll have hardcovers of Mistborn or Elantris (though they should have hardcovers of MB2 and Alcatraz.)  If you want hardcovers of the first two, you'll probably just want to order them directly from me.  I won't be selling them at this event, however, since it's just too complicated to sell on consignment.  They should, however, have paperbacks of both Mistborn and Elantris. 

I've gotten some questions about Audiobooks.  As you may know, right now the only book of mine on audio is ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS.  However, we're in negotiations to release Elantris and the Mistborn books in this format, so I should have an announcement to that regard in a month or so.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Late Updates

Warbeaker HTML: Chapter Eleven

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension: Chapter Thirty-Two

I may need to speed up on those Mistborn Two annotations.  I usually plan to have them all out by the time my next book is released.  In this case, that gives me until October.  We're about halfway through the book at this point.  We'll see.  Some have asked if I'm going to do annotations for the Alcatraz Books.  Maybe some day, but right now, I'm busy enough with things that it would be hard to add another group of annotations to my workload.  I will be doing them for Mistborn 3, however, and probably Warbreaker. 

One other small note, for those of you who have been asking about Kindle editions of my books, we recently got Mistborn put up for sale in that format.  There isn't any news on my other books yet, and it strikes me as odd that we'd release a Kindle version of the book we gave away on Tor's website for free, but not release the second book for those who want to read it electronically too.  But, it's a start.  I guess we'll see how well it sells, and maybe that will make them decide to publish the others.  No news yet on Palm or Sony Ereader formats yet. 

I have to say, as an author, I find all of these different electronic formats for books to be frustrating.  DRM is lousy, in my opinion, and hurts my ability to sell books and reach readers.  I doubt there's any hope that Amazon, Sony, and Palm will just get together and decide to let their readers each read one another's books, at least in the near future, but I feel that such things will have to happen before the ebook format can make any real progress. 

Friday, May 02, 2008

Knife of Dreams

Well, after about a month of procrastination, I'm finally getting around to doing the final blog post in my series of "Wheel of Time read through" responses.  Thanks to all of those who emailed me reminding me I'd never gotten around to writing a post about Book Eleven.  Also, those of you at LJ, it looks like my blog-posting software skipped updating the post I did earlier in the week, so here's a link to it on my own website.  You didn't miss much, just a little update explaining that I was done with the grading last week and had moved on to continuing AMoL.  (Also, forgive any typos in the following.  I wrote it really fast, since I've still got a thousand words or so of AMoL I need to get done tonight.)

I find several things curious about Knife of Dreams.  First, the pacing.  This is the first book I remember feeling was moving directly toward an ending of the series.  We resolve Elayne's plot to a large measure, Mat and Tuon get married, and Perrin rescues his wife.  Those three things all complete major, multi-book arcs and set us up for Book Twelve.  I've gotten some emails from somewhat snide readers who claim that they don't believe Mr. Jordan was planning to end the series with Book Twelve, but even if I hadn't seen the notes (which DO prove this book was to be the last) I would have believed in good faith that the ending was coming.  Though I enjoy the more lethargic pacing of the previous couple books, Book Eleven's more breakneck resolution of concepts was also refreshing, if only as proof that an ending WAS coming. 

I'm not sure if Mr. Jordan is responding to comments on Book Ten by doing so much in Book Eleven.  My instinct says that he wasn't.  None of these plot resolutions felt rushed; they were simply all paced in such a way that book ten ended up being the 'middle' book in a lot of ways.  It wasn't introducing new plots and it wasn't resolving them.  It was, however, building for what happened in this book.

It was strange reading Knife of Dreams this time as I felt a little like it is directed specifically at me.  This book was, in a metaphorical sense, the 'pitch' toward me.  It's the lead-in, and it was pitched quit well, directly on line.  It's my job to hit that perfect pitch and send it flying. 

In the way of more specific responses to the book, I was very curious to discover that my favorite character for this volume was Egwene.  I found it very compelling to read about her now that her power base has been completely removed from her.  I remember the end of the previous volume, where she gets captured, thinking "Not again!"  (Not that she'd been captured before, but after all the times Rand has been through that, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it again.) 

However, reading Book Eleven, I reversed my opinion.  One sure-fire way to make a strong plot is to put a strong character into a position of weakness.  In essence, the only thing she has as an advantage IS her strength, and she uses it to great effectiveness in this book.  I believe this is the first place where she convinced me that she really is the Amyrlin.

Mat and Tuon were fun to read, as always.  Mat has been a real treat in these last books, and I enjoyed reading through again and looking to see what clues there are about Moiraine.  (Though it's less mysterious to me now that I have the materials for Book Twelve.)  It was good to finally get some resolution with Perrin, though I feel there is still a lot of emotional conflict there to work out.  Beyond that, I guess the only response I'll give is that I think this book has my favorite of the prologues. The fight between Galad and Valda was superb.

I'll try to post some annotations/Warbreaker chapters Saturday.