Monday, September 28, 2009

Updates, THE GATHERING STORM chapter two audio

Following up on Tor's release of the ebook of THE GATHERING STORM's prologue and their free preview of chapter one, this past Thursday put up the audio version of the second chapter (registration required). As is standard for Egwene chapters in Wheel of Time audiobooks, it's performed by the talented Kate Reading. Give it a listen!

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast, John Brown rejoins Howard, Dan, and me for a discussion of how to avoid repeating yourself as a writer. And the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotation covers wide-ranging topics from nostalgia to Tolkien and Hoid.

And if you've been following me on Twitter or Facebook you know that copies of THE GATHERING STORM arrived here at Dragonsteel headquarters today. (My assistant posted pictures.) Wow, it's actually real.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Storm Leaders application deadline tonight

Just a quick reminder that midnight Pacific time tonight is the deadline to apply at Dragonmount to be a Storm Leader and get to hang out with me and possibly Harriet before your local event during the upcoming tour in exchange for helping at the event. Don't miss out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WARBREAKER Audio, Weekly Updates

The first two parts (of three) of the GraphicAudio dramatic presentation of WARBREAKER are now available. As with their other releases (such as ELANTRIS) it's a full cast recording of all the text of the book except for the removal of most dialogue tags (he said, she said) and the replacement of some description with sound effects. I think this is a great way to experience the story, and I recommend it to any fan of audiobooks and radio dramas. You can get it over at the GraphicAudio website in CD or mp3 form. (The first part CD set is also available on Amazon with the next two parts coming soon. And there is a standard unabridged reading coming from Recorded Books on October 4 that I believe will also be showing up on Audible eventually.)

In the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotations I discuss how well TenSoon's wolfhound body fits him, assassination and the inspiration for Fadrex, and Spook's belief in Kelsier and the mental effects of Allomancy.

Finally, the most recent Writing Excuses podcast episode is the last one we recorded at the World Science Fiction Convention with the illustrious Mary Robinette Kowal. In this episode we answer more audience questions about characters and worldbuilding. Give it a listen—and if you haven't had a chance to hear our episodes featuring Mary, I highly recommend checking them out, especially the first one, which Howard, Dan, and I agree is one of our best episodes of all time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Storm Leaders, Book 13 Title, THE GATHERING STORM Prologue

There are a few things I've been meaning to mention here. First off, Jason asked me to do another plug for the Storm Leaders program. The application is live, and time is running out for you to apply.

Secondly, you may have noticed that the WoT Book 13 progress bar has started inching forward again. Yes, I'm back to work on it, though I'm working on a section other than what I was planning. (Still waiting for some research from Charleston.) So I haven't started my re-read of KOD yet; instead, during my evenings, I did a revision of ALCATRAZ 4 so that I could send that off to my editor and have it out of the way completely. That is now done.

As for that book . . . well, it's time for it to have a title. We've been calling it Shifting Winds up until this point, but that was never intended to be the final title. After a long round of conversations with Tor and Harriet, we settled on TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT as the title. There are various reasons for this, which I'll go into more once the book is out next year. I'm pleased, however, as this was the title I suggested. It's actually appropriate in an interesting way. Harriet was the one who came up with the name for the first of the three, and the second one gets the title I proposed. And so, we will (as I've been saying for a while) use Mr. Jordan's title for the final of the three, A MEMORY OF LIGHT.

I thought for a while on that last choice. If you've been following along these last couple of years, you know that my original intention was for this to be one book. When it was split, I still wanted it to be one book in name, in an attempt to honor Mr. Jordan's wishes that it be one book. (I still plan to suggest an omnibus edition at a later point, but the three books together will probably be too long for that to be an option.) Anyway, I was going to have A MEMORY OF LIGHT be the title (along with a subtitle) for each of the three books. When that fell through, I was left thinking on my next step.

Mr. Jordan named the final book A MEMORY OF LIGHT. It's one of the things we have from him, and I wanted very badly to use it. But at the same time, he named the three books AMOL, and I wondered if it wouldn't be better to let fans think of them as AMOL together, never using the title itself in case we managed to get that omnibus done. In the end, however, I decided that the title was simply too good not to use. I can't count on that omnibus, and I feel that using the title on the last third of the book is the best way to honor Mr. Jordan's wishes. It wasn't an easy decision, and some will disagree with it. But it is what we're going to do. So, the three books are:


Also, if you haven't noticed, Tor released the prologue for sale this week. I've gotten complaints about DRM, or about it only being in one format. Realize that a lot of different stores are selling the book, and they each have different policies (none of which are set by Tor or Harriet.) Some of them are, I believe, DRM-free. But you'll have to look and see what the status is on each store. I know one is selling a PDF. Look on Dragonmount for more information.

I've been wanting for a while to talk about the prologue, the first chapter, and various items relating to them. This seems like as good a place as any, though this post is getting long. (Nothing new for me, I guess.)

I was a little surprised when I heard that Tor was going to release the first chapter before the prologue. Not surprised in a "don't do that" way—I'd just never considered that people might read the first chapter before the prologue. In the Wheel of Time novels, the prologue often focuses on a variety of different viewpoints aside from the main narrative, showing spots of what's happening around the world. The first chapter, then, focuses attention back on the main storyline. (It's not how Mr. Jordan always did it, but it was often the case.) And so the first chapter isn't intended to be filled with new revelations, but instead is a focus chapter, bringing attention away from all of those scattered viewpoints (often where revelations are made or plots are set up or resolved). I wouldn't say the first chapter is boring—I hope not to write boring chapters—but it's also not the most dynamic chapter, as it's fulfilling other purposes.

Therefore, if I were to read one of the two early, I'd much rather read the prologue, which involves a lot more variety and (in some places) some dynamic events. Of course, the prologue costs money, while the first chapter is free. (To be honest, I'm not sure what I think of selling the prologue ahead of time. I'm not a fan of charging people multiple times for the same content. But it's been established practice for the WoT for a while now, and the length of the prologue makes it worth the money. (Though in the editing process I moved about 7,000 words to the next book's prologue, leaving this one at about 13,000 words, which is shorter than some previous WoT prologues.) In the end, I didn't say anything about it, since I got enough email from readers saying they liked the practice and wanted a chance to read ahead of time—and were willing to pay for it. I figure, if you're one of those who doesn't like the idea of paying for the same thing twice, you can just wait for the full book. You don't really lose anything by the fact that the prologue is up for sale.)

People have asked me how much of the first chapter is me and how much is Mr. Jordan. I'm going to avoid saying anything specific until all three books are out, at which time I'll ask Harriet for permission to go into more depth on some of the sections and talk about why I did what I did. I can say this, however. The prologue is one of the sections with the most "Robert Jordan" in it. Large chunks of it were inserted with very little intrusion on my part. When I could preserve Mr. Jordan's writing while maintaining flow and continuity, I did so.

Monday, September 14, 2009

THE GATHERING STORM signed books by mail; Storm Leader application now available

I mentioned these first two points in my big update on Thursday, but because of a couple emails I've gotten since then I thought I should make them a bit more obvious.

One of the events planned in conjunction with THE GATHERING STORM's release on October 27 is a virtual signing. If you're not able to attend one of my other upcoming signings you can still order a signed copy of the book—even internationally. Please see item #4 in the update.

If you can make it to one of the signings and want to sit down in a small group and talk informally with me (and possibly Harriet, for the select cities where she'll also be attending) ahead of time, Dragonmount has put together a Storm Leader application for you to fill out. If you do get picked, Dragonmount also has some tasks for you to do during the signing. For details, check out the application. Note: We're expecting very high attendance at the signings in this tour, so the focus will be on getting everyone's books signed—if there are large crowds, there won't be time for readings or a Q&A. It's likely that only Storm Leaders will get the opportunity to talk to me at any length, so if you're a huge fan, this is for you.

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast, debut author John Brown (whose book SERVANT OF A DARK GOD comes out from Tor two weeks before THE GATHERING STORM—need an epic fantasy to tide you over?) joins us to discuss how to avoid making your characters sound just like you. We also put up an acceptance speech for the Parsec Award we won at Dragon*Con, but it's probably better to pretend I didn't just link it. . . .

Finally, in the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotation, I discuss Clubs' backstory. Give it a look.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

THE GATHERING STORM Tour, Release Events

Details about the release events for THE GATHERING STORM, including the BYU Bookstore midnight release party, have gone up on the site. I also talk more about the upcoming tour. This is a long one, though, and it will be updated as new information comes in, so I've put it on its own page instead of here in the blog. Go check it out!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tour, The Gathering Storm Chapter 1 + More, Parsec Award, Geekarati

I'll be discussing some of these things in more detail later, but since I'm a couple days behind on announcing recent developments, first I'm just posting a quick catch-up entry for today.

My excellent webmaster and brother, Jordan, has added an Events page to the site. I know, people have been asking for a page like that for a while--well, it's finally here! Right now it's got all the dates and locations for my THE GATHERING STORM tour, as well as an appearance at the Book Academy writing conference later this month and a couple more signings in December (effectively though not technically part of the tour). This page will automatically update itself to remove events that are already past, so it's a good way to keep yourself updated on where I'm going to be.

At Dragon*Con this past weekend there were a slew of THE GATHERING STORM-related announcemnts from Tor Books and, the first of which is that chapter one of the book is now available for free over at (free registration required). The prologue to the book (which is much longer than the first chapter, at somewhere around 25,000 words) will be released on September 17 as an ebook, as were the prologues of other recent volumes. Tor also announced the availability of all the books in the Wheel of Time as ebooks, starting with THE EYE OF THE WORLD on October 27, and a subsequent volume following each month after that--and each ebook will feature new cover art. And finally Tor announced the organization of fan volunteer Storm Leaders for each city of my upcoming tour. For more information on all of these topics, please check out Dragonmount's writeup on the announcements.

Also at Dragon*Con, my Writing Excuses podcast with Howard Tayler and Dan Wells was presented with a Parsec Award for excellence in Speculative Fiction Podcasting--Best Writing-related Podcast. We're quite honored and now I really wish I could have been there. (I am already confirmed for Dragon*Con 2010.) I guess people have really responded to our 15-minute format and our acknowledgement that we're not that smart! (But if you want to hear someone who really is that smart, this week's episode again features Mary Robinette Kowal as we answer writing proces questions from the audience at the recent World Science Fiction Convention. Go give it a listen! And it's also available on iTunes as usual.)

Finally, in the most recent MISTBORN 3 Annotations I discuss Demoux, Elend's white uniform, and happy obligators, Elend's leadership and the number sixteen (includes major spoilers, though they are hidden by default), and the disappearance of Feruchemists. If you find the annotations interesting, you can discuss them over in my forums.

Finally, this past weekend I appeared on the Geekarati podcast talking about all my books, including the Wheel of Time books and the online release of WARBREAKER. Give that a listen too! (Even though my voice sounds like it's pitched a lot higher than usual.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Summer Is Over

September first has come (well, and passed, by now) and I'm pleased to say that I met my goals.  If you were reading the blog a few months back, you might remember when I explained that I needed to divert a lot of attention this summer achieving a couple of goals.  The rewrite of THE WAY OF KINGS and the first draft of the fourth Alcatraz book.  I not only had contracts to fulfill, but I needed a break. 

Well, ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE SHATTERED LENS is finished as of August 31st.  There's some revising to do, but that can happen on the back-burner as focus shifts back to The Wheel of Time.  The break has been good for me; doing something different, as I've often said, refreshes me and helps me get work done.  Just like the first Alcatraz book was something I needed to do to distract me between Mistborn books, work on this one has helped me take a breath and step back from the Wheel of Time (which had been dominating my life for fifteen or sixteen months.) 

It's time to move onward, however.  I'm still waiting for a few bits of material from Charleston that I asked for, but that's all right since I think the thing I need to do now is re-read all of KNIFE OF DREAMS, and maybe spots of some previous books.  I don't have the three months to dedicate to re-reading the entire series again, though I'm going to take the audiobooks on tour for plane rides. 

Anyway, I like to be very up-front with readers about what is going on.  Waiting for novels can get frustrating because of how long the process takes, and because...well, it's an artistic endeavor that relies on the creative output of (usually) a single person.  We artists can be flakey.  \

Or, put more appropriately, the artistic and creative process can be erratic.  I don't think George R. R. Martin is flakey, for instance.  An artist has to know their process, and work within its bounds.  It takes him years to write a book; that's just how it goes.   That's pretty good, considering the genius of his prose. If he wants quality, he has to have the freedom to work as he needs to.  Writing books is not like building widgets.   Forcing it doesn't work.

Coaxing it, however, can be effective.  For me, taking a break to do something different--like the Alcatraz books--has proven essential.  I don't think it slows down my other books; in fact, it speeds them up, as it keeps my creative process working.  Other writers call me prolific.  That's only because my diversions (Like Warbreaker or Alcatraz) have so far been successful as publishable projects, where taking four months off to go golfing wouldn't be.  But, that's a tangent. 

Anyway, I don't think forcing the process can work.  However, I think being open about what is happening with readers--giving them transparency and a concrete view on what I'm doing--can be very helpful.  When I take a diversion, you'll know what I'm doing, and the progress bars (hopefully) will show you exactly what I'm doing an when. 

For now, AMOL 2 (we'll see what it ends up being named; I've chosen what I like for the title, but the final decision isn't mine) stands at having about two hundred thousand words written.  There is about 100k left to go.  (A little over that.)  My goal is to have that done by January 1st, to put us in the same place next year as we were this year for having a book ready by the fall. 

The caveat for all of this, however, is what I mentioned above.  It can't be forced, only coaxed.  I won't release a WoT book just to be releasing a WoT book.  This is the end of the greatest epic fantasy series of my generation.  It needs to be treated very carefully.  If I have to take more time on it, I will--regardless of the screaming from publisher or readers.  But I don't anticipate that happening.  It looks good so far.

A few points of news.  The Gathering Storm tour is up on Dragonmount; I'll have it up here on my website soon.  I didn't choose the cities, but I'm trying hard to get to places I haven't been before.  I do plan to do a Canadian tour next year sometime, though I'm not certain about Europe.  (I really want to get to Germany and the UK, at least, but my own books don't launch in the UK until this fall.)

Also, if you're waiting for news about THE WAY OF KINGS, you'll have to sit tight for a little while.  I'll start posting and talking about that more come January.  Right now, I think the focus needs to be on The Gathering Storm, and not on my own projects. 

And now, back to doing a little editing.