Thursday, July 30, 2009

More on Montreal Signing

I got this from my publicist today: They're going to run it in a Montreal newspaper on the 8th.  This came through Indigo, so it looks like everything is confirmed.

Warbreaker Ad
Once again, this is a signing for anyone and everyone.  You don't have to be attending Worldcon to come.  These last few months before THE GATHERING STORM comes out are probably going to be some of your last chances for a while to come chat with me and ask questions. (The WoT tour dates will be very busy, and I'm worried that I won't have time to Q&A, as I'll be working furiously just to get everyone's books signed.) 

I plan to do a reading, and will take questions from the audience.  If you want to bring bookplates to get them signed to put in your copy of THE GATHERING STORM, feel free.  I'll try to dig up some myself.  I don't know when I'll be back to the Montreal area, so (assuming there's time) I'll probably be willing to sign three bookplates per person, so that you can have one for each of the three final WoT books.

Please spread the word.  If this signing is really big, then the chances of Tor sending me back to Canada on tour one year go way up. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Annotations, Conventions, and Unboxing

In the most recent annotations for MISTBORN 3, I discuss Sazed's religious struggle and a bit more about OreSeur and TenSoon.

This week's Writing Excuses podcast is part one of our discussion of conventions. With Worldcon coming up in a couple weeks, this topic is particularly timely.

Finally, a package arrived here at Dragonsteel Entertainment headquarters. Here's what was inside:

That's the Spanish edition of MISTBORN 2 and the German and Japanese editions of MISTBORN. (Well, actually, for the Japanese edition that's only the first third of the book . . . each volume of the trilogy is being split into at least three in Japan.) I love seeing my books as a worldwide audience sees them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Have I been Up To?

Well, now that the WAY OF KINGS rewrite is finished, I've moved on to the next thing on my plate: Alcatraz Book Four.  (And if you're wondering why the heck I'm working on this instead of on WoT 13, I did a blog post warning about all this earlier in the summer.) 

I was planning on putting off Alcatraz until September/October, but over the summer I realized that I needed to do it in July.  It's time for a break.  I've been working on the WoT straight since January 2008.  Eighteen months is the longest I've ever spent on the same project, and I'm feeling that I need to step back from it for a short time and let my mind recharge.  So I won't be doing any new WoT material for the next month or so.  (Though I will be working on outlines and plans for the next sections.) 

You can track the progress on Alcatraz via the progress bars.  My goal right now is to be done with Alcatraz by the time I'm back from Worldcon, and be through with the new outlines for WoT 13 by September 1st.  The book is almost 2/3 done, so things still look good for getting it in by January.

It's kind of interesting, sometimes, to step back and look at the process of how this writing thing all works for me.  I think that my early years of writing have had a lot to do with how I now write.  People talk about my productivity sometimes.  I think a lot of it has to do with how I jump from project to project to stay fresh.  The first Alcatraz book came from me needing to do something new between books two and three of Mistborn, and over the last few years, they've been wonderful opportunities to renew myself. 

Perhaps I've got writing ADD.  (Of course, I don't know if you can call it that, since I generally stick to a project for six or eight months before hopping to a new one.)  But I think this all goes back to the fact that I wrote thirteen different books (most of them in different worlds) during my unpublished days.  I always hopped to something new every few months, and that kept me excited about writing. 

Though, oddly, I'm thinking I'm going to have to do another re-read of the entire WoT here pretty soon.  It's been over a year since I finished the last read-through.  (Whew.  Hard to believe I've been at this a year and a half already.) 

In a small bit of WoT news (and in answer to a lot of emails I've been getting) I've been lobbying to Harriet for the chance to keep A MEMORY OF LIGHT for the final volume of the WoT.  If you don't remember the backstory, we were planning all three of these final books to collectively be known as A MEMORY OF LIGHT.  Each would have the title A MEMORY OF LIGHT with a subtitle.  (Gathering clouds for the first one, which became The Gathering Storm.)  Well, now that we can't use this idea (for various reasons) and the first third is coming out as simply "THE GATHERING STORM" I want to use A MEMORY OF LIGHT for the final of the three.  I think it's a beautiful title, and it is something that Mr. Jordan left for us. 

Harriet seems agreeable, though nothing official has been set yet.  Really, we need to get on the ball and choose a title for the second book.  I'm working on that.  (Though if you're passionate about the topic, you can feel free to email me.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kandra relationships and Star Trek

With a new week comes a new batch of annotations and a new podcast. In the most recent annotation, I reveal a bit of background on TenSoon and MeLaan. There's been a lot of speculation out there among the fans, so this should help clear some things up.

And in this week's Writing Excuses, Dan and Howard and I talk about what the writers of the recent STAR TREK movie did well, and what you can learn from it even if you didn't like the movie. (When the episode first went up there was an audio issue, but that's resolved now, so download away.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fake Kings

I thought I'd finally get around to posting these.  If you missed what happened, I solicited a round of 140 character fake reviews for The Way of Kings via Twitter and my LJ.  You guys proved quite clever, giving us around 200 responses to chuckle at.  In fact, there were so many good ones that we had real trouble over here picking our favorites.  So, I just decided to post a few here as a taste, then post the majority of them up on a page on my website.  I probably missed a few, and if I missed yours, I'm sorry.  (Note that there are a couple that are in bad taste, but still funny.  I pulled the worst ones, mostly those that referenced the recently deceased, no offense intended to those who posted them.  And notice that the Wheel of Time itself sent me a tweet.  Nice of it, eh?)

Anyway, here are a couple of my and Peter's favorites--but these certainly aren't all of them---with my snarky comments added in parenthesis.

jeremy208: #FakeKings Wow, the world's first fantasy novel written in 3-D!. The words literally jump off the page. The fight scenes gave me bruises. Ow!  (Clever!  We'll have to patent this idea.)

rocketroadtrip: #FakeKings A great read and more. It anchors ships, ballasts balloons, & is the principle building block of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

chrisoubre: Completely unexpectedly @BrandonSandrson's The Way of Kings portrays an evil Ruler who turns out to be not so evil after all. #FakeKings  (Hey!  I've only done that twice.  In my defense, Wyrn really is a total jerk.)

dragonmount: #FakeKings The Way of Kings cured my cancer. And then it killed Asmodean. --Jennifer (I thought Scalzi did that.)

RajivMote: Way of Kings boldly revitalizes the moribund "Scarecrow & Mrs. King" franchise, but at the cost of established continuity. #FakeKings (Ah, but any continuity is worth that.)

brady32: Way of the Kings felt familiar but couldn't place why. The final duel between Perry Hatter and Arch-Duke Holdemort rocked though. #FakeKIngs (Don't forget Snipe, the evil professor of elixir-making and boy scout hunting..)

GuySrinivasan: Anyone else notice that *exactly* every third chapter of WoK passes the Bechdel Test? There's such a thing as trying too hard. #FakeKings  (Actually, by coincidence, chapter three DOES pass the test.  So do chapters five and seven.  Wow.  Pretty good there, Guy.)

dragonmount: The sexy teenage vampires in WAY OF KINGS are sooo hot. -JD #fakekings  (Thanks Jason.  Now I'm writing Vampire romances.  Let me go shoot myself now.)

protonone: Sanderson has crafted a tale so engrossing that you cannot help but to devour it! *Tor does not endorse eating this product #fakekings (Yes they do.  You're welcome to eat my books, so long as you buy more to replace them.)

Daergar: #fakekings I really appreciated the free airline tickets to England included with Way of Kings. Brandon Sanderson was a great butler, too  (Er.  I signed that promotion contract before reading it.  Really need to have a word with my agent.)

zemaille: #fakekings Upon hearing the final draft reached 381k, Brandon's editor Moshe threatened to split HIM in three volumes. (This might be my favorite of all.)

C_Satterfield: Interestingly enough, if you read Way of Kings backward, you'll find that it contains its own sequel! #FakeKings (Nah, that's just how you discover the manga version.)

hanky_gobbler: WOK was not as long as some other books, but longer than others. One thing's for sure: it's a book you can read. #FakeKings (Lol.  It also has lots of letters in it, arranged into words, some of which make sense.  There are characters who struggled to achieve things, and sometimes fail to do so.)

BeachyWan: WoK was so explosive I couldn't get my copy past security at the airport. #fakekings (So big and thick, if you put it in your backpack, it counts as a concealed weapon in six states.)

RobertAvi: I loved Way of Kings so much I cried, and then my tears cried. I collected those in a bottle and got 3 wishes from a genie #fakekings (One of which was for the sequel, right?)

Daraxyl: After finishing WoK, I finally understand why Brandon wrote "Sorry." when he autographed my book. #fakekings (Yeah, sorry about putting you into the book as the flatulent anthropomorphic hippo.  It just...well, it was too good a plot device to pass up.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Annotations + Writing Excuses

It's hard to believe that I haven't mentioned the writing advice podcast I do with Howard Tayler and Dan Wells, Writing Excuses, in almost three months. Regardless, we're still putting out an episode every week—this week's episode focuses on blending genres and how to do it successfully. As always, it's only 15 minutes long because you're in a hurry and we're not that smart.

I also told you a few weeks ago that the HERO OF AGES annotations would be going up on the website every Tuesday and Thursday on an automatic basis but that I'd still link them in the blog. Well, twelve of them have gone up like clockwork since then and I haven't mentioned it once. Oops! The newest annotation is on chapter eight.

I'll try to mention updates like this every week from now on. Sure, most of you know about the podcast and the annotations already, but the site is attracting new visitors all the time who may not know what all is available.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Well, now that it's official that we're going to Worldcon, I'm thinking it might be nice to set up a quick signing for those who live locally but won't be going to the convention.  I'll get my publicist on it, but I thought I'd ask here as well.  Does anyone reading the blog work at a bookstore (or know someone who works at a bookstore) in Montreal? 

Note that I'm more than happy to hear about your favorite stores and that sort of thing.  But I'm really looking for actual bookstore employees.  I always prefer to sign at a store where they've heard of me, and where there might be a reader or two on staff.  If you have a connection, send me an email!  Otherwise, we'll just have to take the luck of the draw.

Montreal is actually a special place for me.  You see, my first (and only) previous visit to the city came back when the World Fantasy convention was there in the early 2000's.  Myself and two friends--Peter Ahlstrom and Dan Wells--were bright-eyed, aspiring writers (or, in Peter's case, an aspiring editor) who were looking to make contacts and learn more about the publishing biz. 

It was at this convention that I met Moshe Feder, who eventually bought ELANTRIS.  Essentially, I was 'discovered' because of that convention.  So, Dan, Peter, Moshe, and I are all planning a reunion.  Should be fun times. Maybe we'll eat some Chinese Spaghetti.  (Ask me sometime about this one.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Signing Now

Heading off to my signing.  If you live in Utah Valley, stop by!  I'll be reading from Way of Kings.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Signing Tomorrow!

I should probably have blogged this before now.  But I've got a signing tomorrow at the Orem Barnes and Noble from 2-4pm.  If you're in the area, come drop by!

Next, it looks like I'm not going to make it to Dragon*Con this year.  I had been planning on going to both Dragoncon and Worldcon, but looking at the amount of work I need to do, I was having trouble justifying going to both.  I was all set to drop out of Worldcon, then Dragoncon contacted us and regretfully informed us that the WoT Track's request to have me out had been denied.  (Partially my fault for getting my application in late enough that the money had all be spent.)  That left me with a choice.  Pay my own way to Dragoncon, or go to Worldcon? 

In the end, the fact that Pemberly wants to see Montreal, mixed with the fact that I'm on programming at Worldcon, made me choose that one.  I already had a Worldcon ticket, and so it seemed foolish to drop out of that and go to DragonCon.

The Dragoncon folks promised us that they'd bring me in next year, and I promise to get my application in earlier next time.  For now, you Atlanta people will have to wait a little longer to see me.  I'll be back for JordanCon next year though. 

Also, there have been questions about the WARBREAKER audio.  Well, Graphic Audio is doing the dramatic presentation of it (and you can read an excellent review of their Elantris Audio adaptation right here) and it looks like October is when it will be out.  The unabridged, non-dramatic reading will be out from Recorded Books about the same time. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

More Twitter Fun

Okay, let's get this rolling.  First off, remember that I'll be doing #tweettheauthor here in about 40 min.  (Starting at 12:00 Mountain.)  It's going to be interesting.  Can Brandon answer questions in 140 characters?  We shall see.  Feel free to start shooting me questions right about that time.  Just post them and include #tweettheauthor at the end.  I'll start sending out replies on my Twitter account, and they'll be targeted @ the person who asked the question.  So if my answer is confusing, you can click on their name to find the original question.

And, in conjunction with this, let me ask you this:  How clever are you?  My readers have a long history of posting fake reviews of THE WAY OF KINGS on Amazon.  (Since they have an entry for the book, and have had one for a good five years now, even though the book wasn't scheduled to come out until recently.)  To commemorate finishing the novel--and because I think it would be fun--I'm putting out a call for fake Twitter-length reviews of the book.  Post them today on Twitter, any time, and use the tag #FakeKings.  I will collect the best of them and post them on my blog, like I did with the Scaliz thing last week.  If you use Twitter and want a little more attention for your account, this would be a great way. 

If you don't have a Twitter account, and have no real interest in getting one, you can still follow along by doing a search on Twitter's site for one of the tags above.  You can watch my Twitter feed here.  If you want to post a fake Kings review Tweet, you can drop it onto my LJ, which allows anonymous posting.  I'll look there when I'm collecting my favorites.  (Just keep the posts short.)

So...why all of this Twitter stuff?  Is it just a fad?  I don't know.  It's fun for the moment, and if it all dies down eventually, I'll feel I've gotten what I want out of it.  I like how micr-blogging allows me to give a few updates each day for my readers.  I don't feel as much pressure to create blog posts, so when I do blog, the content is usually is a little more substantial.  Twitter works for me, as I have a feed going on my desktop and can watch what other authors and my friends are up to.  (Though, to be honest, I like the micro-blogging via facebook better, as people tend to post replies there and it feels more interactive.  With Twitter, you just send a tweet out there, and never know what people are thinking when they see it.)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Housekeeping first.  Remember that I'll be doing on-line appearances tomorrow, where I'll be answering questions.  The one on Twitter will probably be way busy, so that should be interesting.  I'm getting to the odd state in my career where there will probably be far more questions than I have time to  answer, but I'll do my best.    Also, have you not seen Howard and Tracy Hickman's Extreme DM book?  If not, you're missing out.  It's awesome.  Some sample pages are here.

Now, the big news.  At about 6:00 am this morning, I finished THE WAY OF KINGS rewrite.  It ended up at 380k words, which is almost double the length of Mistborn.  (It's almost as long as THE SHADOW RISING, by Robert Jordan.)  Now, before you get TOO excited about that size, know that I tend to write too much on a first draft intentionally, and now plan to trim it down by at least 10%.  The final book should  be between 300k and 350k.  Either way, though, it's going to be a meaty book.  (Not long for long's sake, mind you.  That's just what it took to tell the story the right way.)

How did it turn out?  Well, to be honest, it's FANTASTIC.  This is a monstrous, beastly, awesome epic of a book.  And so I'm going to give Tor the official thumbs up so they can put it on the schedule for release next year.  The series title, if you haven't heard, is going to be called THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE. 

The book does everything I wanted it to, and then some.  It was a lot more work to revise it than I'd anticipated.  I essentially ended up writing the thing all over again, not keeping any of what had been written before.  But knowing the characters already helped a great deal.  (And if you guys ever see my wife at a convention, make sure to give her a thanks and a hug for deal with a husband who has been essentially working two full time jobs for much of this year--one on KINGS, one on THE WHEEL OF TIME.) 

Like any time I finish a book, there's still that itching, authorial paranoia that nobody is going to like what I've done.  I have chosen a career path where, instead of releasing all of my books in one series, I jump around.  I've done this partially because I want the freedom to reinvent myself.  Some of my favorite authors growing up seemed unable to give new life to a series when they started it, and ended up repeating the very same story and tone over and over.  I wanted to train myself to be doing new things, and wanted the freedom to write different books in different ways. 

I know I'm not as wildly different in my variation as some other authors, but at the same time, there's a different feel to each book/series I've done.  Hopefully, all will have great characters, a fun setting, and a compelling plot.  But there will always be those who prefer Elantris's thoughtful contemplativeness to Mistborn's action or Warbreaker's reversals and humor.  Each time I've released a new book, I've worried.  Will my audience follow me in this (slightly) new direction?  What will they think of what I've done?

KINGS is no different.  In fact, it's got me even more worried.  My goal for this book was to give it SCOPE.  The setting is the most distinctive I've written, with the largest world and the largest number of cultures and peoples.  The book (though mostly linear) involves flashbacks to character pasts, and sometimes firsthand looks at the deep past of the world.  At the same time, because of the enormity of what I'm trying, I found that the book couldn't telegraph as easily what it was about.

What does this mean?  Well, Mistborn and Elantris both did excellent jobs of telegraphing to the reader--right off--what the story was going to be about.  After the first few chapters of Mistborn, you pretty much knew that it would be a book about Kelsier's attempt to overthrow the Lord Ruler, mixed with Vin's training as a Mistborn.  Elantris was about Raoden trying to restore Elantris, Sarene investigating his disappearance, and Hrathen's attempts to convert the people.  Because of the scope of these books, I was able to get across very easily what they would be about  and what the central conflict would be.

KINGS...well, I have trouble describing what the heck KINGS is about.  While there are a number of plots bouncing around in those 380k words--and many of them do get resolved--the larger storylines are only just beginning.  The book isn't about one or two things, like Mistborn was.  It's about dozens.  And yet, the main character's plotline is simple: survival.  He's in a terrible, brutal situation, and he just wants to live.  

Anyway, the book needs a lot more revision, but it's in a state where I think we'll make it.  So send a little good will my way as I dig into it over the next eight months.  Maybe I'll be able to come up with a way to describe this beast. 

(Also, WoT readers, I haven't forgotten you and am not ignoring you.  WoT13 is going very well, and I'm excited about the progress.  We're on target for a November next year release, at the latest.  I wish I could give you details about the books, but I'm under some pretty tight restrictions about what I can say.  Once TGS is out in November, I think I'll be more free to talk about what's in the next book.)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Online Tour (And Twitter Tomfoolery)

We've been feeling bad about the fact that I can't get many places on tour.  Even this fall, with the WoT tour, I'll only be hitting a fraction of the places where people want me to visit.

So my wonderful publicist Dot has set up two events for me.  First off, the Barnes and Noble book clubs website (run by Paul Goat Allen, the author of several interesting recent blog posts) has kindly invited me in to do a three day Q&A session on their forums.  I'll be focusing on two threads in specific. 

1)  Questions for Brandon Sanderson
2)  Talking about Warbreaker

(Most of my time will be on the first thread.)  So, feel free to ask me anything you want.  I can't promise that I'll get to everyone's questions, but I'm going to give it a try.  I'll be there the 8th-10th of July, so next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. (Also, I DO plan to do something like this on my own forum here soon, but we'll do the B&N one first, as to not compete.)

The second event we'll be doing is a "Tweet the Author" session for those on Twitter.  Essentially, we'll be working this like a gigantic chat room session, where for an hour people are firing tweets at me, and I'm answering them on my twitter account.  Details are right here.  If you don't use Twitter, and have no intention of using it, you can follow the session without an account.  Just watch my twitter page or do a search for #tweettheauthor.  We'll be doing this 1-2pm CST on the 8th.  (Next Wednesday.)

And, speaking of Twitter, I don't know if you noticed me being silly last week and sending everyone out to tweet about Scalzi (Link goes to my original post), but I thought I'd mention some of my favorites here on the blog.  My additions are in parenthesis.  (And these are by no means all of my favorites.  You people are quite clever.)

@Ryshon Scalzi uses a piece of his own hair as a quill, dipped in blood to write, when he runs out of hair or blood, game over

@nethspace Scalzi reveals Ayn Rand tattoo on inner thigh - world wish's it didn't have to see that

@Qurtyslyn Feeding Strawberry Lemonade to six aardvarks and letting them run free in a crowded mall was not Scalzi's best Idea.

@zediir Scarlzi is the real mastermind behind the great kitten conspiracy of 2008. (Bonus points for referencing an Alcatraz book, Zediir.)

@jdack Scalzi secretly hates bacon. (I knew it!  If you're confused, google Scalzi and Bacon for an explanation...)

@MCaron1234 Scalzi is, once again, minding his mash potatoes with a lemon zester. AS EXPECTED.

@dressagegrrrl When I ran into Scalzi at the Natl Clog Dancing Faire (der Klompen), he insulted my lederhosen! THEY WERE MY MOTHER'S, JERK. (I cannot explain why this one makes me crack up every time I read it.  Props, Dressagegrrrl)

jddennis Dinosaurs were originally around 10k yeras ago, but that was too close to Scalzi. They travelled back in time to escape him.

@Ockhamdesign scalzi writes under the pen name Stephanie Meyer. That woman in Utah is just a prop. He needs to finish Midnight Sun.  (Brilliant!)

@Sorsha76 Scalzi's shoes TOTALLY don't go with his pants!!!! ...and he commits genocide on Tuesdays.

@dragonmount Scalzi killed Asmodean. (My personal favorite.  Jason, you rock.)

@Fiirvoen @scalzi 's mother was a hampster and his father smelt...of ELDERBERRIES! (Someone had to do it.)  (Yes, yes they did.  That last parenthetical was part of the original post, by the way.)

@jbrodman @Scalzi lives off the tears of @wilw.

@ru3 You know, BaconCat was actually Scalzi's THIRD attempt. A moment of silence for ShishCatbab and Baked Angora.

@cjent77 Scalzi fixed the Iran election!  (Wow!  Was this before or after he committed genocide and killed Asmodean?)

@RobertAvi Scalzi reads the last page of a book first

@Tryndakai John Scalzi likes the taste of Soylent Green.

@miss_emmeline If Scalzi was ever cast as the Doctor, they'd have to change the name of the show to Doctor Who Cares?

@Tryndakai @Scalzi came up with midichlorians!

And, one final sin to top the others:

@Tryndakai @Scalzi had Firefly canceled!

There are dozens more, and I didn't even get to post all my favorites.  Go read everyone's clever words here.  Thank you all for being so cool about this.  It's got me thinking that I need to do something like this to make fun of myself, maybe alongside the #tweettheauthor thing.  Perhaps a game of "140 character faux reviews of Way of Kings...?" 

Actually, that sounds kind of fun.  We'll start it off next week under the tag #kingsway.  I'll post to kick it off.

Then hide under a rock.