Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pre-Worldcon Housekeeping

All right, I've been sent several copies of a Warbreaker 6.1 PDF, so I'll be posting them here soon.  If you were planning to do one, don't worry!  It's been taken care of, and thank you again to those who sent one to me.

Secondly, here's a great Youtube video of Dan Dos Santos painting the cover for Warbreaker.  Very cool.  Some of you may know that I requested Dan specifically for this project, and I was happy to get him. 

Thirdly, WoT update.  I've managed to get 4k this week so far, which inches the progress bar up another point to 33%. One Third!  Huzzah!  That last point would have come faster, but I actually tossed a big chunk (2k) of what I'd written yesterday because it just didn't feel right.  I did that scene over from a new approach, and I like the result much better.  This happens occasionally; maybe I'll post the original on the blog someday after the book is out and if Harriet gives me the okay.

Fourthly, Denver people, please remember my signing this Saturday!  This will probably be my only Denver appearance this year; I doubt I'll be back for Mountains and Plains this time around.  Today, Pemberly and I are leaving to drop LimeBaby off at his grandmother's in Idaho before driving down to Denver on Friday.  Also, you guys owe Pemberly big time.  She's offered to drive most of the way so that I can bring the laptop and write in the car.  (You might think that would be a bad place, because of distractions, but it's actually the opposite.  The times I've written on trips before, when I had a deadline, the writing turned out really well.  It's that whole "No Internet to distract me" thing, I think.  It's not my favorite way to write, but it is effective, and doing things like this is the only way I'm going to have a shot of getting AMoL done by the deadline.)

Fifthly, I did a round of emails recently and had several bounce.  If you are Sarah R. Jackson, Josh Oakes, or an email writer who identified themselves as MJ and who's email address includes axonjaxon as part of it, then know that the reply I sent to you bounced!  So please email me again and give me a different email to which I can respond.  Thanks!

Sixthly, I've got a female friend who is looking to save money by sharing a room with some women at Worldcon.  If you're female and have space in your room, drop me an email or post on my LJ and I'll have her get in contact with you.  (She has a room reserved herself, but would rather cancel it and stay with others.)

Finally, here's an annotation: Well of Ascension Chapter Forty!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Gift

Recently, I've been reading interviews that Mr. Jordan did before he died.  (Thank you to those who have sent these to me.)  I had already read some of the questions and answers, but others were fresh to me.  I'm very interested in his comments as I want to make extra certain I don't miss-step and contradict anything he said in an interview, even if that information didn't appear in the books or the notes for the final volume.

I've found a lot of his answers very interesting.  Among the more tragic are the ones that came when people asked him what would happen to his series if he died before it was finished.  It kind of twists my heart a little bit each time I read a question like that, knowing what eventually happened.

In response to most of these situations, Mr. Jordan was joking and whimsical.  Common responses were  along the lines of "You'd better hope that doesn't happen, otherwise you'll never get to see that last ending I've been planning all these years!"  He often indicated that he'd leave instructions to have all of his notes burned and his disc drives wiped, then reformatted six or seven times so that nobody would ever know how the story came out.

Humorous tone set aside, I see something in these responses.  Inside, I think the concept of anyone else working on the Wheel of Time was very painful for Mr. Jordan.  I really think that early on, he was against the idea of anyone else finishing the last book, should he die. 

However, Harriet has talked to me of the last days before his death, and  I also have transcripts of the final dictations he made.  Transcripts that talk about what should happen, how people should end up, and how the ending should be written.  The tone of these writings and of what Harriet talked about is very different from his earlier comments.  It's humbling to see how he changed, instead becoming determined--insistent, even--that the last book be finished after he passed away.  Harriet mentioned to me that he didn't want to select someone himself.  That thought was too hard for him.  I can understand why.

In the end, I see this as his last gift to all of us.  As an artist, I can completely understand why he wouldn't want someone else to work on his world and his books.  And if he had actually decided to leave instructions for the final book not to be completed, I am sure--very sure--that Harriet would have seen to it that his will was followed.  But that wasn't what he decided.  He demanded that this book be written.  Even though I know that the idea brought him pain.

This was his final sacrifice and gift for you all--the decision to give us the last scenes and instructions for the book, rather than taking that knowledge to the grave with him.  From what I've heard of the last months of his life, I know that he spent a surprising amount of time giving dictations, telling about places that nobody else knew existed, and explaining how the characters were to end up. 

There are a fair number of people who are against this project happening in any form.  They don't make up the bulk of the fan community; in fact, they seem like a very, very small percentage.  There are others who aren't opposed to the book being finished in general, but who are opposed to me specifically working on it--though this group is even smaller than the first.  Either way, I can sincerely understand both complaints.  It seems to me that the Robert Jordan of five years ago would have been in the first group himself! 

I have repeatedly acknowledged that I can't replace him.  But he wanted this book done, and I'm increasingly confident that I'm was best choice for this project.  There are plenty of fantasy authors out there who are better writers than I am--George Martin, Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman , and Robin Hobb all come to mind, among others--but I don't know of another author publishing in fantasy right now who has been as close to these books and these characters as I have been over the last eighteen years. 

Knowing that Mr. Jordan was distressed about the concept of anyone finishing the books makes me even more determined to write a book that he would have been--that he will be--proud of.  He loved you all very much.  Those who complained about the time he took to finish books, or the length of the series, did not know the man at all.  He did not write this series to the length he did because of money; he did not 'artificially inflate' the Wheel of Time because of any external pressures.  He wrote this series the way he did because he loved it, and because he knew that we loved it. 

And I think that's why he chose to have this novel completed.  In the end, your good was more important to him than his own good.  What grander summary could be made of a man's life than that? 

This book is going to be beautiful.  I promise you that. 

Friday, July 25, 2008

Warbreaker 6.1!

At long last, I proudly present the final electronic draft of WARBREAKER.  This is Version 6.1, and includes the edits made by suggestion from my editor, along with other numerous tweaks to language, foreshadowing, and some small characterization changes.  The draft includes a brand new Lightsong scene as well.  You will find a short revision explanation at the end of the book, explaining in a tad more detail the changes I made.

From here, the book will go to copyedit.  I will still be tweaking the manuscript, but now it will all happen on paper, and my electronic copy won't get updated.  So if you want to read the final version, you'll have to grab a copy when it gets released next summer in hardcover!  As always, thank you for reading.  Enjoy!

(Note, my plan is to update the html version of the book I'm posting on my website to be 6.1 instead of 4.2.  Also, note that 6.1 is in Manuscript Format, which means that there are underlines instead of italics.  Feel free to change those for readability, if you wish.  Also, if anyone wants to port 6.1 to PDF form with bookmarks for the chapters--or to palm format or other mobile reader formats--I'll happily post those as well.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Various Updates

I'm sorry to be so sparse with the posting this week.  If you've been following the progress bar, you might have noticed that AMoL jumped up one percent each day for the first three days of the week.  I've been hitting the drafting hard, as I want to get a large chunk done before Worldcon distracts me in two weeks. 

I've been working on mostly material that Mr. Jordan left behind, which is the larger reason why I've been able to move so quickly.  There's still a lot to do on many of these sections he wrote, however.  Some are in outline form, others were dictated in an almost 'screenplay' format without anything other than dialogue.  Some others are complete as-is, and I can just drop them into the document without changes.

Overall, however, what has been left behind has allowed let me move at about double speed.  We'll see if I can keep it up for another few days or so, as it would be nice to be at the 1/3rd mark by the end of the week.  (Though that would take another 12k in another three days.  Whew!)

In other news, Warbreaker 6.0 is done, but I'm too tried to wrestle with FTP right now.  I promise to post it by the end of the week, though. 

I managed to drop by the Utah Shakespearean Festival last week and caught the production of Two Gentlemen Of Verona, which I'd never seen before.  I enjoyed it immensely; I'd assumed that since it was one of his first (some guess his very first) plays, it wouldn't be quite up to speed.  However, the dialogue was superb, and the puns very imaginative.  I think I enjoyed it more than many of his other, more mainstream plays.

As I watched, I got to thinking that there's only one writer I've ever experienced who manages to pull off what Shakespeare did.  (Wit, Drama, story, and humor on various different levels at once.)  That person is Terry Pratchett.  Somehow, he--like the Bard himself--manages to be funny in a lot of different ways at once.  Both give us witty puns and word plays in one sentence, character humor in the next, and then a fart joke for good measure.  Both manage to pack character into otherwise ridiculous situations and stories.  (Though Terry's first book is not where I'd have people start, as I think he didn't hit his true stride until the mid 90's.)

It annoys me, sometimes, to think that Terry doesn't get the literary recognition he deserves.  Not only is humor looked down on by a lot of the writing establishment, but so is genre fiction, so he gets sneered at from two directions.  Part of me longs for a day when a writer wasn't berated for trying to give a little something to everyone--a little base humor for one crowd, a little elevated character drama for another, a little witty banter for another, and a little action adventure for yet another.  Plus, I think that all of those different crowds are often the SAME crowd, and by engaging us on a variety of different levels, both Shakespeare and Pratchett make for a more compelling piece of art.  It seems to me that a lot of literary writing these days only wants to do a couple of things with their writing.  The same things.  Over and over.

I didn't mean this to be a rant against the literary establishment.  They've received condemnations from authors far more important, and eloquent, than myself.  (Stephen King's National Book Award acceptance speech comes to mine, as do some very choice remarks by Orson Scott Card.)  Genre fiction has its own issues, and I think that we also often forget that fiction can do more than we lock it into.

No, the point wasn't a condemnation, but a compliment.  Terry, you're a genius.  And we haven't had a writer like you in a good four hundred years. 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Free Mistborn Ebook! (Again!)

If you didn't catch the news earlier, Tor has decided to re-launch, its official website.  To promote the site, they started offering free ebooks from some of their authors.  You signed up for their newsletter, then got a link to a new ebook each week via email. 

Well, is going live next week.  For this one last week, they've put up access to all of the ebooks they gave out during the promotion.  MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE (first of my trilogy) was one of the books they chose to give away, and so--for a short time--you can get it again.  They've got both a pdf and an html version for download. 

As many of you know, I support giving away books for free.  My experience has been that readers love to own books, and they'll often purchase copies even if they've read the book.  (Or, at the very least, buy the sequel when it comes out.)  So go ahead and grab yourself a copy!

In other news, here's a tidbit for any of you who live in the area of Cedar City Utah.  I was passing through, and happened to stop at a local bookstore--Mountain West Books--and they had a paperback copy of ELANTRIS and one hardcover of MISTBORN: THE WELL OF ASCENSION.  I sighed each one!  If you live down that direction and have wanted a signed copy of either book, you can go pick up a copy and support your local independent bookseller!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Denver Followup and AMoL update

Thank you all for your responses.  I did mange to get a book signing set up for the weekend before Worldcon!  It will be at the Lone Tree Barnes and Noble in Lone Tree, CO.  (Which is part of the greater Denver metro area.)  Specifics are:

Saturday, August 2nd from 2:00-4:00 PM

Shoppes at the Meadows
8374 S. Willow Street
Lone Tree, CO 80124

I'll post a reminder on the blog when it gets closer to the date, and I may actually try to set something else up as well at an independent bookseller.

I've finished through my big revision of the first section of AMoL that I have done, but I'm leaving the percentage bar at 50%.  I plan to turn my attention to writing the next chunk of the book, but will leave this simmering, and probably read through it one more time at the end of the month.  I know that Mr. Jordan never let people read his material until he'd done several drafts, and I want to have at least read this over once more before sending it to Harriet. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Any Denver Bookstore People out there?

I just realized that I never set up a signing for my time in Denver next month.  I'd forgotten that my wife and I had decided to go out a few days early for the fun of it, and realized I really should stop and do a singing at a bookstore aside from the events I'll be doing officially at Worldcon. 

The problem is, I hate hitting bookstores up for signings with such little warning.  We're only three weeks away from the visit, and I don't want to call Tor/Scholastic and ask them to try something this late in the game  (I'm tempted to just call the Tattered Cover anyway, but they are so great with events, I feel awkward asking them this spur of the moment.  They tend to do a lot of publicity for their events, and I don't think they'd want something this late.)

So, are there any readers who work (or have friends who work) at a bookstore in Denver?  I feel much more comfortable arranging a last-minute signing when it's done through someone who is familiar with my books.  If you have such a contact (or are one) feel free to reply on my Livejournal or just drop me an email.  Hopefully, we'll be able to arrange an official signing with a Q&A for all of you who are curious to meet me or have questions for me about the Wheel of Time project. 

Monday, July 14, 2008

Update + Annotations

Revision on the Wheel of Time material goes well.  I'm clipping along, and should be able to get it done by the end of the week.  I've also been able to write a little new material, which is comforting, as that bar has been stuck at 25% for far too long.  (We've moved to 26 now.)

I was planning to post Warbreaker 6.0 today, but my editor is getting back to me with just a couple of line edits on some of the rewritten scenes, so I figured I'd wait until he got to me, then post 6.1 instead.  For those who are fans of Lightsong, there's an entire new scene with him in this version.  Only ten pages long in manuscript form, so by no means expansive, but it is completely new.  I think you'll enjoy it.

Anyway, because of the lack of a Warbreaker update, I posted two new Mistborn: The Well of Ascension Annotations.

Mistborn 2: Part Three Wrap Up
Mistborn 2: Chapter Thirty-Nine

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back to AMOL!

Warbreaker 6.0 is done!  I worked on it a good ten hours today, and managed to push through to the ending.  I'm too tired right now to post it, but I'll get it up early next week.  The revision took a little longer than I would have wanted--almost three weeks--but it feels very good to have it done and off the plate. 

That leaves only a couple of impending time-stealers from AMOL.  I'll need to do draft work on Alcatraz Three sometime in September, though that should be VERY quick.  (It's one fifth the size of Warbreaker, and there is a lot less to do on it.)  I'll also need to do the copyedit for Warbreaker; that should come sometime in November, and should take me about a week.  Other than that, there are two convention visits (Worldcon and Dragon*con) and the book tour in October that will be bumps in the road.  However, I'm confident that I can get a good chunk more written before Worldcon even arrives. 

Next on the plate is to do a couple solid drafts on the 25% of AMOL which I've finished.  I need to get it into a state that Harriet can look at and send it too her as soon as possible, as this chunk threatens to be the one that could need the most revisions.  How well she thinks I did on these pages will be a very good barometer of how much draft work I'll have to do on the entire book once it's complete. 

However, I do intend to divide my time between that revision and--occasionally--dipping into writing some new words.  So the percentage bar should start moving again next week, if slowly at first while I spend a lot of time drafting. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I've gotten a few emails about these, and since I didn't put a sample in the back of the Mistborn Two Paperback, I realized that I need to post them here sooner than I usually do.  So, even though the book won't be out until October, I went ahead and posted the prologue for you all.  I'll post other chapters in coming months.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Reader Mail

Stephen Writes:  "I'm sure you've answered this question before and/or have discussed it on your website (which is awesome by the way), but I couldn't find the answer so I thought Id ask. I was wondering who you would have liked to see complete the Wheel of Time in lieu of Robert Jordan had you not been given the opportunity?

That's a great question, one I'd actually never been asked.  So, here's my response:

Who would I have had write it?  Well, I'm torn.  There are a lot of great authors out there.

I think George R. R. Martin could have done it--he's probably the most skilled epic fantasy writer on the market right now.  But I don't know that his style matches Mr. Jordan's very well.  I'm sure he could adapt, but I think his fans would have been angry if he'd taken the project.  After all, there's a long gap of time between his recent novels.

David Farland is an excellent writer of fantasy.  I think he could have done it.  The same goes for L.E. Modesitt Jr. Other possibilities would be Robin Hobb or Patrick Rothfuss.  (Of course, those are just a list of some of my favorite fantasy authors, so maybe I'm answering the question in the wrong way.) 

In the end, I'd probably have chosen Tad Williams.  I think that he'd have been a great match for the series, and I'm a fan of his work.

I think I'll add this part for the blog post.  It's not the same question, but some have asked similar ones, so I figured I'd get to it here.

Some think that Harriet should have just finished it herself, or perhaps published the notes as-is.  I don't think either of these options would have been good ones.  Harriet is one of the most well-respected editors in the business, but editing is a very different skill from writing.  I think she'll have MORE of an influence on this book (making it feel like it should) by editing it, just as she edited the previous volumes. 

And publishing the notes...well, as an author, I don't know if I can explain exactly how uncomfortable this would make me.  It would be like displaying compromising pictures of a person against their will.  I show my unfinished books to people, but only in controlled circumstances.  To display Robert Jordan's unfinished work like that instead of the final book would, I think, have been very unfulfilling to fans and against the master's own will.

Perhaps once the finished product is out there, Harriet will decide to release the notes in some form.  (Actually, I'm hoping that she will.)   That will be different.  People will already have been able to experience the end of the series, and Mr. Jordan's vision, in a complete way.  Releasing them before--or instead of the book itself--would have been a very wrong move, I think.

Monday, July 07, 2008


New Mistborn Two Annotation: Chapter Thirty-Eight

The Warbreaker rewrite is taking just a tad longer than I'd anticipated.  I really want to get this book right, as it will be the newest book of mine on shelves when A Memory of Light comes out.  However, I'm about a third done now, and the most difficult revisions I wanted to do are over with.  I think it'll go a lot faster this week. 

Friday, July 04, 2008

More Art From Shawn!

Shawn, the guy who is doing my map work for Warbreaker, sent me this colored sketch he did for a cartoonish Inquisitor from the Mistborn series.  Man, I really need to turn some of these into T-Shirts, don't I?  Anyway, to those of you from the U.S., have a happy 4th!


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Warbreaker 5.0 Done, on to 6.0

The 5.0 version of Warbreaker is finished.  Now, I'm going to start working on the 6.0 draft. 

Why have two separate draft numbers if I'm just going to launch right into another revision?  Well, there are a couple of reasons.  First off, I like having a separate draft number for the edit where I inputted changes my editor specifically made, line by line, as he read through the previous version.  In the case of Warbreaker, this will allow me to post a version of the book up which holds only changes made via line edits by Moshe.  I think this might be of interest to those who are curious at the level of changes suggested by one's editor.

In addition, a draft number for me means "This is one time I've read through the book and made changes."  While this draft--where I pretty much only change small, line-by-line issues noted by my editor--doesn't involve me reading each and every word, it counts as a draft to me.  This is just the organizational method I use.

6.0 will be the last major revision of the book.  I'm going to read from page one all the way through, looking to change some final issues.  Most of these issues have to do with one of the following:

1)  My desire to foreshadow events in the last few chapters just a little bit better.  (Specifically the powers gained by those who have reached the upper heightenings.)
2)  My editor's request that I make certain that each instance of Lightsong's banter is in-world and not distracting.  Note: I'm not planning to change him or his method of humor.  I'm just going to make certain I'm not violating world logic in order to make a joke. 
3)  My agent's requests that some of the slower sections get trimmed a bit.  He also asks if I can make the threat of war seem a little more worrisome to the characters.
4)  My wish to fix a few continuity problems and the like.

None of this will require major changes to the story, as you can see.  Mostly, we're working on getting the tone right in this draft.  Note that in this draft, I haven't yet entered the proofreading changes that a number of kindly readers sent to me.  I'm planning that for 6.0.

Anyway, if you're interested, here is Warbreaker version 5.0