Monday, June 30, 2008

Wheel of Time Blog Posts Collected

I finally got around to collecting links to all of the blog posts I did about the various books in the Wheel of Time.  I've fixed up the page, and will soon be making the gemstone on the Wheel of Time Portal point to this.  I thought I'd post the list below for all of you who are interested.


In early 2008, Brandon re-read the entire series again in preparation to beginning work on A Memory of Light.  Each time he finished one of the books, he made a blog post relating some of his thoughts and impressions of the book.  As you read through these, there are a few important things to remember.

1)  This was not Brandon's first time through the series.  He'd read many of the earlier books many times.  He had been a fan of the series since its early days.

2)  These blog posts are not meant to be exhaustive.  They're not reviews, nor does he touch on every topic important to a given book.  Really, this was done just as a way to keep readers updated on his progress. 

3)  He was giving reader response in these posts, not usually talking as the author of the final book of the series.  That means (as he says in the introduction) if he finds a character annoying in one place, you don't have to worry that he hates that character or won't give them their due space in Book Twelve.  Sometimes, writers want the reader to be annoyed with characters!  Brandon loves each and every one of the characters in these books, and intends to treat them all with respect.  (Also, he was very careful not to give clues about what is going on in Book Twelve in these posts.)

4)  Remember, Brandon is very fond of the Wheel of Time series.  He approached these blog posts as one who loves the books and who is working on the final one.  In other words, don't come looking for complaints about the series, because you won't find them here. 

5)  Finally, remember that these were quickly-written blog entries.  (And, again not official reviews or essays.)  That distinction means that Brandon didn't spend a lot of time editing the content.  They will have typos and errors, and the language isn't quite as smooth as it could be.

That said, enjoy!

Introduction to the Blog Posts
Book One: Eye of the World
Book Two: The Great Hunt (Blog Post One) (Blog Post Two)
Book Three: The Dragon Reborn
Book Four: The Shadow Rising
Book Five: The Fires of Heaven
Book Six: Lord of Chaos
Book Seven: Crown of Swords
Book Eight: Path of Daggers
Book Nine: Winter's Heart
Book Ten: Crossroads of Twilight
Book Eleven: Knife of Dreams
Prequel: New Spring

Note, you can also search for all blog posts with the Wheel of Time as a tag.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


At the request of Tor, I did a quick trip down to LA on Saturday to make an appearance at ALA.  (The American Library Association's annual conference.)  I didn't get to stay long, though the highlight of the experience was being on a panel with Vernor Vinge, Eric Flint, and Cory Doctorow.  We each spoke for a short time on information, science fiction and fantasy, and the future of information technology.  I felt totally out-classed to be speaking with such great authors.  If you haven't tried Eric or Cory's books, you can find them for free on the websites I linked above.  Vernor doesn't have any free downloads that I know of, but I consistently list his book A FIRE UPON THE DEEP as one of my favorite all-time novels.  I highly recommend it, or anything he's written.

Despite the speed of the trip, I did manage to get a little bit of work done on the Warbreaker rewrite while sitting in my hotel room.  I should be able to finish the 5.0 off this week, then post it.  That's the draft where I make line/paragraph level edits at my editor's request.  After that, I'll do another read through of it and draft 6.0, where I'll make more over-arching changes.  After that, back to Wheel of Time.

I'm going to TRY to find time to type out my ALA speech and post it on my website.  We'll see.... 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tip Jar

People have been asking about this, so I figured I should post about it.  Yes, we did add a "Tip Jar" paypal link to the store.  There were a couple of reasons for this.

One of the main ones was to facilitate shipping issues.  Sometimes, we have people who have to paypal me a few extra bucks for some faster or special shipping on a book they bought in the store.  I figured it would be good to have a paypal link people could just follow and enter in any amount; that way, we could have different people send us different amounts depending on the situation.

The second reason I put up a tip jar was...well, I've had people ask me for one.  I hesitated at first, but enough people inquired that--mixed with the shipping issues it could help fix--I relented. 

(If you're wondering, people have asked for a tips link for cases where they read one of my books through a download, or read one of my essays or stories on the website, and wanted to send me a few bucks as a thank you.)

Now, I maintain that the best thing you can do for me--as an author--is to simply read my books.  If you want to donate to my writing, then purchasing copies of my novels from your local bookseller is an excellent way to make sure I keep writing.  Extra tips for the books are not needed.  (Even if you borrowed the book from a friend or the library, you are helping me out by increasing demand for my works!) 

This is especially true in the case of Warbreaker, where I would rather you not tip me for the book, but instead buy it (or check it out) when it is released.  Tor has invested in paying editors to help me perfect the novel, and I wouldn't want the company to suffer because it let me put the novel on-line for free.

However, if you feel like throwing a few bucks my direction as a thanks for other content--like annotations, short stories, or essays I've posted--then I won't complain about that. I'll take my wife out for pizza or something.  ;) 

Again, though, let me stress that you don't need to feel guilty for not clicking that particular link.  It's there for those who want it, but I don't want to imply that the content I put up here on the site is anything other than free.  The content I post is my thank you to all of you who read my books and allow me to write full time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reader Mail + Annotation

New Mistborn 2 Annotation: Chapter Thirty-seven

I got an email from a reader that I thought I'd share.  (The email itself has been trimmed quite a bit.)

I personally don't care if it takes you 10 years to finish AMoL, time is not really important. Finishing the book as close to RJ's vision as possible is. You seem to be spreading yourself very thin while writing one of the most important pieces of literature in modern history (that might be an exaggeration, but not to me, or many others).

I understand that this book isn't your life's work, and that you have many of your own creations that need attention, but please don't lose track of the importance of this project.


I was glad to get this email, as it gave me a chance to explain myself.  I worried about June all the way back in January when I started this project--I knew that I was going to have to take several weeks off for the Writers for Young Readers and eventually do edits on Warbreaker and the Alcatraz books.  (Though I was hoping to put them off a little longer.)

My response (again, cut down) was:

I just want to reassure you not to worry.  I'm spread a whole lot less thin than it may seem.  Actually, it's been refreshing how much time I've been able to spend writing these last few months.

One of the things you learn quickly about being an author is the more successful you become, the less time you actually have to write.  You just have to take all of these things--book tours, signings, publicity--in stride.  Fortunately, since I am an author full time, I can do almost all of that and still put in fifty or sixty hour weeks working.  If you'll notice the percentage bar on my website, I've completed 100k of writing since I started in March. That's over 30k a month, which is an incredible clip.  Most books out there are under 100k long.  Now, that's only a small dent in this particular book, true, but what that should tell you is that I've had a LOT of writing time these last few months.

I've done WoT virtually exclusively for a good six months now, and it's not unexpected that I would have to take a few weeks to get some editing done on other projects.  Don't worry, though, I'm treating this particular work with quite a bit of respect.

Expanding on that idea, I think it's interesting to point out just how much of a compulsive writer I am.  It's what I love to do, and I spend quite a bit of my time doing it.  Pretty much my whole life revolves around what I'm writing--any spare moments focus on planning, and when I take time off to relax, I generally just spend it writing.  This actually worries some people who know me, who think I might need more balance in my life.  I know they might have a point.  (Hence my insistence to myself that I have a hobby, such as the Magic card game.)

All of the other things--signings, conferences, writing groups--are also things I do to take time off from writing.  Even if you love it as much as I do, breaks are important.  Without them, you tend to rush plots and stories.  Taking a week or two off after the completion of important plot sections like I just got done with in AMoL actually helps the writing of the next section.  Like the cracker between two tastes of cheese. 

Anyway, I just wanted to assure everyone.  All of the 'other' things I do aren't taking much time away from this book that we all want to see done as soon as possible.  (While still maintaining the writing quality, of course.)  It's good that I have these things in life.  Trust me on this one.  ;)

I do promise, however, that I've set aside REAL distractions. Namely, other books I want to write.  (My readers know that I 'accidentally' write books that my editors aren't expecting.  None of those for me this year.)  Also, I haven't let myself play Halo 3 yet, since I know that will pretty much wipe out a week or two on its own....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Koloss Art!

Artist and all around awesome guy Shawn Boyles just sent me this awesome image of a koloss.  Maybe someday we'll get around to making T-shirts out of these pieces.  (He's also the guy who did the Mistborn Llama shirt, which we sell for some reason I haven't been able to figure out yet.)  I'm hard at work on getting another Detailed Aon description up, but I can only do things like that when there's time to squeeze in.  I hope to get one up by the end of the week, along with the regular Annotation and Warbreaker chapter.  For now, enjoy the art!  (Also, sometime check out Shawn and Isaac's webcomic.  They keep telling me that it's not ready to be linked yet, since they're experimenting a lot with style, but I quite enjoy it already.  Know that they still haven't officially 'released' it, however.)


Monday, June 23, 2008

A Memory of Light and Warbreaker General Update

Folks!  I'm hard at work this week on a Warbreaker revision.  It's a fact of the business that you often have to stop what you're working on to do something else, and in this case, we need to have Warbreaker ready to go by the end of July.  That means that I'll be getting only a little bit done on AMoL, but I will probably have yet another draft of Warbreaker ready for download in a short while.  This will probably be the last one for download, as all changes after this will be done on hard copy and not the computer. 

And, as for AMoL, I've been looking through what we have done and I'm very pleased with it.  There will need to be edits done, of course, but I'm very excited at how this project is going.  I'm still on target to get it done by the end of the year, I hope, but as I've warned before...this book is going to be LONG.  I'm hoping to keep it to between 400k and 500k words in length, but I worry that it might stretch longer.  We shall see.  As everyone knows, there is a lot to tie up, and the more I work on it the more I realize that I can't place a hardfast limit on its length.  It could end up at 350k,it could end up at 600k.  Whatever it takes to write this story the way Mr. Jordan would have wanted it.

Mr. Jordan promised that this would be one book, even if Tor had to invent a new binding method to print it!  Well, I intend to write it as one book.  However, I do want people to be aware that I have no power over whether or not this thing gets cut into two volumes after I've finished it.  That will be up to the publisher and Harriet.  It's really too early to tell if a cut will be considered or not.  (And to be honest, I think it's unlikely that the book will need to be cut.)  But I do think readers should be aware of the possibility.  (Part of the reason Tor could end up having to cut it would have to do with bookstore pressures.  They're already very upset with Tor at the length of its books, as they take up a lot of shelf space at the store and earn less money per inch for the booksellers than books in other genres.)

Anyway, my job is to write the book at the length it needs to be to make the best book possible, whatever that length may be.  We'll let Harriet and Tor decide how to present the final product!  Keep an eye on the blog for future updates, as I'll know more about length once I've finished a few of the other sections.

(Also, know that if Tor does decide to cut the book, I will lobby heavily for a couple of things.  First, a special collector's edition with both books in one that can be ordered by the hardcore readers who want one volume.  Second, to have both volumes released in stores around the same time, rather than waiting years between.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book Signings + Other Stuff

Well, as anticipated, this week has been crazy.  I've been a lecturer/presenter at the BYU Writers for Young Readers workshop, which has been a very positive experience.  I give the conference a thumbs up, if you're thinking of attending in the future.  You get a lot of bang for your buck. 

However, as a presenter, it's been really exhausting.  I have to get up at a strange, unnatural hour (7:30am).  Then, I have to do things that are not writing all day.  Now, I enjoy helping out aspiring writers, and I am getting paid for this, but a large part of me will be very happy to get back to the writing next week.  (I mentioned to my wife that this conference must be a little like having a 'real' job.  I'm not meant for such things.)

Anyway, none of that is really all that important to all of you.  What is important is that I'm going to be doing a short signing in conjunction with the conference.  There have been a couple of people who've been asking if they could get books signed.  Well, you can come to the BYU Conference center tomorrow from 4:15-5:50 tomorrow.  There will be signings in the main hallway.  The conference center is the big building that is by the Mariott center, just to the northeast of it. 

I will also be in Idaho Falls this weekend at the Barnes and Noble signing from 2:00-4:00. 

Also, for fun, here's a spy photo snapped from a reader who found Mistborn 2 at a Wal*Mart.  This is the first time I know of that one of my books has been sold there!

The Well of Ascension

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Done! (With something that...well, I can't tell you much about.)

Last night I finished a major plot arc of A MEMORY OF LIGHT.  This is important, since it's one of the big pieces that Mr. Jordan didn't write himself.  (I figured that I would write this chunk early, rather than one of the ones that had a lot of work done on it already.  That way, if I did a terrible job, there would be plenty of time for Harriet to set me straight regarding it.)  I can't tell you who or what it details, but it turned out really well.  I wish I could say more, but...well...I'm also happy that I can't.  I'm very open with the projects I work on; that is my style.  However, one of the things about the Wheel of Time has always been that Mr. Jordan releases very little information about upcoming books.  That adds to the mystery and the tension, and is part of the Wheel of Time process.  I will promise you, though, that just like Mr. Jordan said...there are dead mules in the prologue.

So why even mention this?  Well, just to let you know that the book IS continuing.  It's going to be awesome.  (Also, you should note that I'm at a conference this next week, and will be focusing on revising this chunk of AMOL and doing a new draft of Warbreaker.  So, the progress ticker may stall for a week or two.  It doesn't factor in editing or revising, only rough drafting.)

Also, I want to leave a note for all of you who wrote me about Lightsong and Warbreaker over the last couple of days.  It has been extremely helpful, and while I can't write an individual response to every one of you, I can leave a very large--and humbled--thank you here.  So far, this project has been very fulfilling and successful.  I don't know if that will help or hurt sales, but it has been useful in ways that sales can never indicate. 

One last note.  Alan Capps, you wrote me an email a few days ago and I just wrote a very long response--which bounced from your email box and came back undeliverable!  So, if you'd email me again, I'd appreciate it.  ;)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lightsong Lovers/Haters Speak Out!

I have a request for those of you who have read Warbreaker in one of its draft forms on line.  My editor and I are having an exchange, and we need some audience feedback.

What do you all think of Lightsong, the character?  I need to know honestly if he's someone that people enjoy reading, or if they think his attempts at humor fall flat.  When you read him, do you chuckle, do you find him annoying, or do you roll your eyes and sigh?  I need to know how to take his character in the next draft.  More humor?  Same level?  Different humor?  Less humor?  (And, in his case, 'humor' is defined by his banter with other characters.)

Speak out on my livejournal (you can post anonymously without a livejournal account, though I'll put more stock in what you say if you sign your name.) Also, there will be a place to post on my forums, though you'll need to register if you want to comment.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Warbreaker + Reader Mail

I've posted a new html Warbreaker Chapter.  Chapter Fourteen.

Also, here's a reader mail item that some of you may find interesting. John asks:

I recently joined a fiction writers group.  I personally have not done much writing, but have always wanted to give it a shot, and this seems like a good place for me to learn.  Our group is in its infancy.  It turns out that roughly 2/3s of the members are writing fantasy.  I was curious if you have any general advice for a group such as this.  Or any writing advice you would be willing to share at all.  Any sort of insight you could share would be fantastic.

I get this one on occasion, so I wrote up an official answer:

I'd love to give give you a few pointers for the writing group.  I've been in a number of them myself, and there are a few things that seem to work really well.

First off, when you are being critiqued, resist the urge to respond to comments people make.  It's tough, but stay silent!  Don't defend what you did, don't even clarify.

Why do this?  Well, the LAST thing you want to do is start an argument between yourself and your readers over the story.  The readers are responding with their reactions, and you can't change how they felt when they read the story.  Arguing, explaining, and all of that is meaningless because their reaction to the art has already happened.  All you will do is make things more contentious and encourage people to stop giving you honest feedback.

Again, it's tough, but try not to say ANYTHING.  Just write down what people are saying, and try to interpret it.  Why did they misunderstand that character?  Why were they confused?  What were the problems?

Secondly, if you are GIVING criticism, try to be as descriptive as possible.  Talk about how you felt, what confused you, and things like that.  RESIST trying to fix the problems or give suggestions.

This is hard too.  We want to fix the books we read.  But that will only turn them into our own books, and make them turn out how we would write them.  What you want to do is act as a 'test audience' and describe your emotions, thoughts, and feelings about the chapter or short story as accurately as you can.

You can give suggestions, sometimes, but try to keep them to a minimum and only in very rare circumstances.

Third, have a discussion (except the person being critiqued) about the chapter.  It's okay for the people who haven't written the piece to argue about it--that gives the author more information.  It tells him/her that various people had different reactions.  When someone says something about the chapter you disagree with, let the author know. Then, see how many others felt like you.

Finally, remember that NOBODY can write your story better than you can.  Others might write a different story, and might write a really good one, but only you can write YOUR story.  So, if you disagree with what the group says, it's okay to not change the piece.  (Of course, if they all say the same thing, you should really think about it.)

I suggest workshopping pieces and NOT rewriting them until after a few months have passed.  Write down the feedback, then set it aside.  Come back to the piece in several months fresh, read through the piece again, and then look at the feedback and see which things sound like good ideas to you.

If you aren't careful, you can rewrite your story over and over to everything a writing group says, and that can ruin it.  Nothing is more sad to me than seeing someone who is too easily influenced by what others think of their story.  They often will take a book and try to make it something else, just because the group might like that better.

  Also, a new Elantris Aon explanation is coming.  I haven't forgotten about those! 

Monday, June 09, 2008

Robert Jordan Citadel Dedication Pictures

I'm not sure if you've all seen these or not, but I thought I'd post them.  I've been hanging onto them for a while, waiting for a good time for it on the blog, and finally realized I just needed to get them up.

Back in May, the Citadel (where Mr. Jordan attended college) put up a permanent display about him and his writing in their library.  It was a wonderful gesture, and the display is very nice.  I flew out for the event, as did David Drake, and joined a very knowledgeable professor in a short panel on what Robert Jordan's writing had meant to the world and to us personally.  Alan, Mr. Jordan's assistant, sent me these photos of the event.


Harriet and myself right before the event.  Note the styling Asha'man dragon pins we're both wearing, sold by our friends at Badali.

case1       case3

Shots of the display case itself.  There's a copy of a Heron marked sword in there, I believe. ;)


The panel, moderated by Harriet, with Dave Drake on the end, then me, then Michael, the local literature professor who knew a TON about the fantasy genre and Mr. Jordan's work. 

Saturday, June 07, 2008

One More Annotation for the Week

I still feel bad for being behind on doing these, so I prepared another Annotation for this week--and it's a huge one.  There's a lot of reading here.  Enjoy!

And, if you're not into the annotations, you can always read about this fellow declaring that there are no more great writers left in the world.  Sir, I respectfully beg to differ.  You're just looking in the wrong places.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Annotations + CCG

Two new Annotations for you!
Mistborn 2 Chapter Thirty-Four
Mistborn 2 Chapter Thirty-Five

Sorry I've been lax on these lately.  Things have been crazy here lately with my the visit to LA and other craziness. 

I have confirmation that the Mistborn 2 paperback is on shelves!  However, I have yet to hear from anyone who has either seen the promotional Mistborn One copy or the mythical floor display. 

In other news, I've decided to move some of my Magic: The Gathering thoughts and blogging away from other places (like the TWG) and put them on my website.  It's actually been a while since I've written about Magic, but I'd like to get back into it, since it's my favorite hobby.  However, I realize that most of the readers here at aren't interested in this sort of thing, so while I'll link commentary in the blog here, I'm not going to post the text of that commentary.  If you enjoy CCGs, you might like reading my reviews for a casual player.  Really, they're just random thoughts.  Nothing extremely ground-breaking or of interest to the hard-core tournament player.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Two Super Huge Announcements

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension is now out in paperback!  (Yes, Amazon has the wrong cover.  The real cover art is below.) Also out is the new $4.99 version of Mistborn: The Final Empire, which also has the brand new, beautiful cover art on it.

well of ascension

As I've said before on the blog, the initial week sales on a book are the single most important factor in determining its shelf life and the push it (and future books) gets from several important forces in publishing.  So, if you've been waiting to pick up a copy of book two until the paperback was out (or waiting for book one to get the promotional edition) then your wait is over!  This promotional copy of Mistborn One includes a coupon for $5 off of Mistborn Three in hardcover, so it's a great investment, if you're planning to buy the third book.  In fact, might I offer the humble suggestion that if you've been thinking of sharing the book with a friend, you could grab this and claim the coupon for yourself, then get your money back with Mistborn Three!  (Not that I advocate ripping pages out of books you intend to give as gifts, but hey, this is a special case.)

Anyway, I'd love to post some images of the floor display Tor has said they're sending out to Borders stores.  I'm not certain exactly when they'll go up, or even IF they'll go up, but I sure would appreciate a snapshot via camera phone if anyone spots one of them.  As a note, it's going to be much easier to find the $4.99 Mistborn at Borders stores, as they're pushing the book a lot more.  B&N still has had troubles getting on the Brandon Sanderson bandwagon, as we found out last year when Mistborn 2 sold out of their stores in about a week because of under-ordering.  Ah, well.  I can't complain too much.  The stores I've visited treat me very well, and glitches like this are just part of the computer era. 

And...I guess that you're wanting the other super huge announcement.  The folks at the studio told me I could mention the deal on my blog once I had signed the contracts, so I've got the okay.  We'll do a true press release and all that business in the coming weeks, but for those of you reading here, I can give you an early heads up.  The book I mentioned last week is ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS.  It has been optioned by Dreamworks Animation, though I can't go into details about who is working on the project at the moment, I've been very impressed with the work of the director and producer involved.

As you may know, an option is still a far cry from a movie actually being released in theaters.  Still, the team working on this is very good, and we're hopeful.  A lot fewer properties get optioned in animation than do in live action, as it requires a lot more of an investment of time and energy to produce your average animated feature.  Therefore, once something does get optioned, the chances of it seeing the screen are much better than they are in live action.

I'll post updates as I can.  We HAVE had offers and interest on both ELANTRIS and MISTBORN, but so far, nothing has come together on those projects.  Along with that news, I think it's interesting that a blog asked me for an interview a few weeks back asking what my vision for my books turned into film would be.  It was fun to speculate some 'best of' circumstances

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Whew!  That was quite the trip.  Quick run-down of events.

WED: Get into LA, visit the studio (I'll be able to mention who it is this week sometime).  I got a very nice tour, met with the producers and director on the project, and was able to see some very nifty concept art and hear an expanded story pitch that lasted about an hour.  Also, I got a screening of large chunks from several upcoming movies. 

THURS: Went with Ookla to visit Tokyopop, which was fun, then went back to the hotel and crashed.  (It was a very swanky hotel, by the way, the Westin Bonaventure.  Nice view of the city.)

FRI: Visited BEA and did a signing.  Went fanboy over Berkeley Breathed and did my signing next to R. L. Stine.  Famous people who were there at the convention: Slash (from G&R), Lewis Black, Magic Johnson, and several very nifty writer types.  (Picked up a signed copy of the new Neal Stephenson book.)

SAT: Hit the convention floor and picked up swag.  Including, but not limited to, Little Brother, a couple of books by my evil nemesis, and a copy of Watchmen.

SUN: Home.