Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Signing Thursday & Convention in Minneapolis

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to have a busy weekend in Minneapolis. On Thursday night I'm signing at Dreamhaven Books, and then Friday to Sunday I'm Author Guest of Honor at Minicon. WARBREAKER cover artist Dan Dos Santos is the Artist Guest of Honor, and my Tor editor Moshe Feder is also a guest. Both of them will be at the signing as well, and so will the WARBREAKER cover painting.

Signing at Dreamhaven Books, Minneapolis

Date: 04.01.10 Time: 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Place: Dreamhaven Books
Address: 2301 East 38th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Phone: (612) 823-6161
Notes: Also in attendance will be Brandon's editor Moshe Feder and WARBREAKER cover artist Dan Dos Santos.

Minicon 45 Day One, Minneapolis

Date: 04.02.10–04.04.10 Time: 4:00 pm Friday–5:00 pm Sunday
Place: Minicon 45
Address: Sheraton Bloomington, Minneapolis South
7800 Normandale Boulevard
Bloomington, MN 55439
Phone: (952) 835-7800
Notes: Brandon is Author Guest of Honor. The Artist Guest of Honor is Dan Dos Santos, artist of the WARBREAKER cover and many others.

5:30 pm The Evil Librarian Panel
Brandon Sanderson has written a book called Alcatraz vs.the Evil Librarians, finally revealing the librarian plot to conquer and rule the world. Let's take a look at this young adult fantasy novel series and answer some of the obvious questions posed by the work. If librarians are so smart, why don't we rule the world yet? How is the role of the librarian transforming as libraries change into destinations and byways along the Information Superhighway? What opportunities will this new role provide for those among us with sights set squarely on global domination?
Eric M. Heideman (m), Laura Krentz, David Lenander, Brandon Sanderson

7:00 pm Opening Ceremony and Keynote Speech
Everything you always wanted to know about The Opening Ceremony but were afraid to ask. Thrills, Chills and a Keynote Speech by Brandon Sanderson, our author GoH!

Minicon 45 Day Two

11:30 am The Wheel of Time from the Younger Point of View
The Wheel of Time series certainly was not created as Young Adult fiction, but many young people do in fact love these books. What makes this series work so well as YA fiction?
Jennifer Liang (m), Jory Phillips, Brandon Sanderson, Dorf

1:00 pm The Rivendell Group Discusses Works of Brandon Sanderson
The fantasy-book discussion Rivendell Group has met regulary since 1973, including Minicon meetings most years since at least 1981. This year, Rivendell will discuss the writings of Brandon Sanderson.
David Lenander(host). Brandon Sanderson may attend.

4:00 pm Brandon Sanderson Talks to Authors About Writing
Brandon Sanderson is fascinated by the process of writing and he loves to talk about writing with other writers. Join him for an in-depth lecture, followed by questions, answers, and open discussion.

8:30 pm Guest of Honor Interview: Brandon Sanderson
An in-depth discussion with our Author GOH.
Brandon Sanderson, Moshe Feder

Minicon 45 Day Three

11:30 am Playing the God Card
How do you introduce gods into your work without pushing the human characters into insignificance? Does it matter if they are "real" (e.g. members of the Greco-Roman pantheon) or products of the author's imagination? Can deities play a role beyond gigantic projections of human characteristics? What makes divinities so attractive to fantasy authors? Why do readers find them so compelling?
Sharon Kahn (m), Eleanor Arnason, Ruth Berman, Ricky Foos, Brandon Sanderson

1:00 pm How Brandon Got the Gig: Finishing the Wheel of Time
Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney) died before completing the last part of his magnum opus, the Wheel of Time. How did Brandon Sanderson wind up being the guy to carry forward the work on the final book of the series? What were the hopes and fears of fans of the WoT when the announcement was made? What was the Minnesota fannish connection?
Elise Matthesen(m), Jennifer Liang, Brandon Sanderson

2:30 pm
Brandon Sanderson Reading and Signing

4:00 pm
Closing Ceremony

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The WARBREAKER paperback is officially out today, though some readers picked it up in places like Walmart starting last week. More on WARBREAKER below, but if you've read the book already there's an additional reason to be excited about this release: the prologue to my next epic fantasy that comes out August 17th, THE WAY OF KINGS, is printed in the back of the book. Here's how it starts:

Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, wore white on the day he was to kill a king.

If you went to one of my signings in the past year, chances are good that you heard me read the first half of this prologue (unless I read from THE GATHERING STORM). If you heard it, you probably wanted me to keep reading. Well, now's your chance to get the whole prologue. And this isn't a short one-pager like the Elantris prologue; for now, let me just say that if you like the fight scenes in MISTBORN, you'll most likely enjoy the prologue to THE WAY OF KINGS.

I will eventually be releasing this prologue on the website along with several other preview chapters (I plan to release more chapters than I've done with my books in the past), but for now it's available in the back of the WARBREAKER paperback.

Now, WARBREAKER. If you've followed the blog for a while, you probably know that I released the book for free on the website, chapter by chapter, as I wrote it, then posted revised drafts as I finished them—all in an attempt to give readers an insight to the writing process. Here's a link to the latest creative-commons electronic version of the book, free for download. This is the same as the hardcover print edition. The paperback has a few minor corrections in it; I'll try to get a PDF of it up soon (but you understand that things have been busy around here the last few weeks, with the WAY OF KINGS deadline looming). If you like the electronic edition, consider grabbing a copy of the hardcover or the paperback. Here is a link to the page where you can find old versions of the book. The most useful things on this page are probably the comparison documents, where I use MS word to compare the old versions with the new versions. There's a 1.0 to 6.1 comparison document up there. It's in Word 2007 form, and is well worth finding a copy of Word 2007 to look at it. The document opens three windows within the same frame and ties them together in a very nifty way to let you scroll down and look at the old document, the new document, and a larger version of the book with lines crossed out and and added. It gives you a very clear visual way of inspecting the changes I made to the book during the revision process.

If you're curious, here's a video of Dan Dos Santos painting the cover. I'll post again about this later in the week, but this weekend Dan, the book's editor Moshe Feder, and I will all be appearing at two events in Minneapolis: a signing at Dreamhaven Books on Thursday and Minicon 45 on Friday through Sunday. The cover painting will be there as well. See the Events page for details.

Here's a synopsis of the book by my editor: (See reviews at the very bottom of the page.)

The capital of Hallandren is T'telir, a beautiful city by the sea, a center of the dyeing trade where colorfully-dressed crowds mill through the bustling streets, and living gods rule in splendor, confined to the gilded cage known as the Court of Gods. Under the rule of the remote, all-powerful God King, they live in the lap of luxury, basking in the worship of the people, accepting in tribute the gifts of freely-given breath, the life-force that keeps them alive and eternally youthful.

But Hallendren did not reach this halcyon state without a struggle, a revolution that left those who rejected it living in austere exile in the mountain realm of Idris. To keep the peace, the exiled royal family agreed in this generation to the betrothal of a daughter of the royal line to the God King. Vivenna, the eldest daughter, was raised from birth to fulfill this commitment, but at the last minute, her wily father, King Dedelin, sends his youngest daughter, Siri, instead. Vivenna is furious about losing the role that terrified her and yet defined her life, and baffled that her father expects poor Siri to cope with the monstrous God King with no training and less warning. So Vivenna secretly flees their small mountain realm to follow her sister.

Siri, in whom the blood of the old kings runs strong, is no weakling herself, but she is shocked to find the city, the people, and even the royal marriage itself are not at all what she expected. Unaware of Vivenna's arrival in T'telir, she is forced to take matters into her own hands.

And while this royal drama plays out, another newcomer to the city, Vasher, arrives with a sentient sword named Nightblood, and ambitious plans of his own, plans dependent on the unique BioChromatic magic of Hallandren, which uses color to focus the power of breath, plans which will change the world.

In the tradition of his own acclaimed debut novel, Elantris, in Warbreaker Brandon Sanderson has written a supremely entertaining and endlessly surprising epic fantasy in one volume. It is an adventure, a romance, a witty tale of political intrigue, and even an examination of the ethics of divinity and the power of religion. Like all his novels, Warbreaker breaks the mold of conventional fantasy to create a reading experience you will never forget.

The book is beautiful, with an excellent cover and design. I'm biased, but I think it'd make a great addition to your collection! Here are some reviews.

REVIEWS (As collected by Tor Publicity)

"Epic fantasy heavyweight Sanderson pens a powerful stand-alone tale of unpredictable loyalties, dark intrigue and dangerous magic . . . Sanderson melds complex, believable characters, a marvelous world and thoughtful, ironic humor into an extraordinary and highly entertaining story." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sanderson again demonstrates his capacity for handling large and complex themes while creating believable characters  . . . This series opener is essential reading for fantasy fans." —Library Journal (starred review)

"This very superior stand-alone fantasy proves, among other things, that Sanderson was a good choice to complete the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga. Sanderson is clearly a master of large-scale stories, splendidly depicting worlds as well as strong female characters . . . May the author write long and prosper." Booklist

"A highly readable and compelling stand-alone volume from the acclaimed author of the Mistborn trilogy . . . Highly recommended to fans of epic fantasy." The Romantic Times BOOKreviews 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK!

"Not only has Sanderson drawn a freshly imagined world and its society, he has also given us a plot full of unexpected twists and turns . . . Anyone looking for a different and refreshing fantasy novel will be delighted by this exceptional tale of magic, mystery and the politics of divinity." —Michael Moorcock

Recent Awards & Honors: WARBREAKER is one of five nominees for the 2009 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Epic Fantasy. It has also been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award (though if you're going to vote on that, I recommend voting for THE GATHERING STORM instead as I feel that book is a better fit for the award).


Finally, and on a completely different topic, today also marks the U.S. release of my friend Dan Wells's book I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. Here's what I said about the book a year ago:

Some books are exciting. Some books are intriguing. Some are exhilarating, others moving, and still others deeply disturbing. I've rarely found a book that fit all of these descriptions at once, and never have I read one that mixes each emotion together as thoroughly as I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER.

While reading this novel, I felt like I did when I first discovered Lovecraft. The beauty of the prose, mixed with the depth of characterization, gave the haunting, first person narrative a human touch that I don't always discover in horror novels. Yet I savor it when I do, for the finest horror is the most human of all genres.

It's difficult to tie down I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. On one hand, it's a character study that inspects the mind of a teenage sociopath. On the other, it's an old fashioned murder mystery with a supernatural edge. Neither of those concepts convey the wit of the prose or the brilliance of the story's great dilemma. Which is more alien? The monster with the heart of a man or the man with the heart of a monster?

In short, I can only say this: Read the book. Regardless of your age or your genre preferences, you will find this story both profound and enthralling.

Sam Weller's in Salt Lake City is hosting a book launch & signing with Dan tonight at 6:00 PM. For more info, see their flyer.

Monday, March 29, 2010

KINGS final draft, THE GATHERING STORM in Audible's tournament + Updates

I mentioned on Twitter and Facebook that THE GATHERING STORM needed votes in Audible's 2010 tournament. Last I heard, it was beating THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by four tenths of a percent. Voting ends today sometime—actually it may be over by the time you see this message, but go vote anyway (if you think it should win). If it gets to the next round, it will be up against the winner of BEAT THE REAPER vs. ALWAYS LOOKING UP.

In the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotations, I talk about Sazed taking action and Marsh encountering Goradel. And in this week's Writing Excuses episode Dan, Howard, and I talk about writing an epic. You may imagine we have a bit of experience on this topic, so check it out.

I'm working on the final draft of THE WAY OF KINGS in order to meet its April 8th deadline, and over the past few days I've posted on Twitter and Facebook breakdowns of how many words I'm cutting from each chapter. This has confused some readers who have asked me not to cut anything out or to save them for an eventual "writer's cut" edition. Trust me on this one--the book you'll get on the shelf is the writer's cut, and you wouldn't like the writing as much if I didn't go through and do the trimming on this draft. Sort of like a director shoots a lot of film and then edits it into a coherent narrative later, I tend to overwrite on my first drafts—the language is more wordy than it needs to be, sometimes a character will come to the same realization multiple times as I'm working out where best to fit it in, that sort of thing. In my final draft I go in and trim out all the fat. We talked about this in an episode of Writing Excuses last year; if you're curious about the process, give it a listen.

So the words I'm cutting in this draft aren't anything you're going to miss as a reader. Now, sometimes I will cut an entire scene or heavily rework a section, but that usually happens in earlier drafts than this. I do save the cut scenes in case they contain something I want to use somewhere else or just for posterity. In the Library section of the website I've included some deleted scenes from ELANTRIS, MISTBORN 1, and MISTBORN 2—check those out if you want to understand why it's a good reason those scenes are gone. Long after WAY OF KINGS is out, some of its cut scenes or early draft sections may end up on that page. We'll see.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Signing Tonight in LA, ALCATRAZ Audiobook Sale + Updates

I'm signing tonight at the Woodland Hills Barnes & Noble on Topanga Canyon at 7:00. Details are on my events page. See you there!

A reader of mine, Chuck Doyle, mentioned on my Facebook page the other day that Audible is selling my middle-grade fantasy ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS in their Win-Win sale (which ends Tuesday morning) for only $4.95 (along with 99 other audiobooks at that price). If you like audiobooks, check it out. I'm not sure whether people who only have a trial membership can get that pricing or not.

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast, Dan, Howard, and I try something a bit different—a brainstorming exercise that you are free to use on your own for fun and profit. Producer Jordo reads quirky news headlines to us, and we brainstorm them into plot, setting, and/or character ideas. Ideas for writing can come from all sorts of places; give this one a try.

Finally, the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotations discuss Dinosaur Comics (yes, really) and Vin's plan to deceive Ruin. Check them out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Signing in Los Angeles on Monday

This is just a quick update to let you know I'll be signing in the Los Angeles area on Monday. If you're on the mailing list and told me you live near there, I've already sent an email. If you'd like reminders about signings in the future, contact me on this page and tell me your city/state.

Since I was already in the area back in November and haven't had a book release in a few months (although the WARBREAKER paperback comes out on the 30th, with a preview of THE WAY OF KINGS in the back, it probably won't be available at the signing), I'm hoping this signing will be low-key enough for me to talk to a lot of people individually. But who knows? It could end up a madhouse like many of the signings on the tour. I was often surprised at how the fans turned out in force. In any case, bring all your Brandon Sanderson books (if there is a huge crowd I may limit personalizations to three each time through the line, but I'll sign any books of mine). If there's time, I may read some from THE WAY OF KINGS.

Date: 03.22.10 Time: 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
Address: The Promenade
6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd Suite 1340
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone: (818) 704-3850

Also check out my upcoming events listings for other appearances.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thoughts on THE WAY OF KINGS

If you missed it, Tor posted the cover to THE WAY OF KINGS a little while ago.

This, along with some of the marketing copy that Tor has posted on Amazon and the like, has people talking about the book. So far, I’ve been rather quiet about KINGS, mostly because I didn’t want to distract attention from THE GATHERING STORM.

However, this seems like a good time to start posting more information. In case you don’t know, THE WAY OF KINGS is my next novel, set to come out August 17th of this year. I mentioned in a (probably too long) blog post last year that this is a book I’ve been working on for quite a long time. The history of the novel, and why I decided to do it now, is all in there. If you want a short summary of that post, here you go: KINGS is what you might call my baby, the grand epic I’ve been wanting to tell for many years. I now feel my writing skill is capable of doing the story justice.

I think this book is awesome. I think you’ll love it. However, I do want to issue a warning—considering my current status, the publisher’s expecations, and the other projects I’m working on, it would be very easy for this book to get overhyped. I don’t think that will serve anyone, so I’ve prepared some points about the book so I can discuss what it is and what it isn’t.

Advance warning, this is probably going to be one of my trademarked long, rambling posts. I won’t go into plot very much (though I’ll take a stab at explaining some of the book’s themes in a future post). Mostly, this post is to nudge everyone’s expecations in a realistic direction.

POINT ONE: This book is the start of a longer epic.
KINGS stands at 425,000 words right now. I’ll be trimming that down to (hopefully) 380–390k when I do the next draft. (Which will be the final draft.) That will put it at roughly double the length of MISTBORN or ELANTRIS. The series is called the Stormlight Archive, and Tor purchased four books from me. I’m not planning that to be the end, though I’m cautious at locking myself into a certain number of books. (Though I do have the entire series plotted, and am fairly certain I know exactly how many books it will be.) For now, let me just say that it won’t be as long as the Wheel of Time, but will be longer than anything I’ve attempted so far.

POINT TWO: It is not a replacement for the Wheel of Time.
I will be sorry to see the Wheel of Time end, just like many of you will be. It will be difficult for me on two levels, both as a fan and as a writer. I’ve been reading these books since I was fifteen. More than half of my life, now, has been spent with Rand and company. My career has been shaped by them, and several years of my life recently have been dominated by their stories.

However, I don’t intend to replace the series. I have to be my own person, approach storytelling in my own way, and write with my own voice. To intentionally set out to replace the Wheel of Time would be monumentous hubris. The Wheel of Time doesn’t need replacing. It’s still there, on our shelves, just like it’s always been. Once it’s complete, that will be (in many ways) even better. We’ll be able to read it straight through, beginning to end, without waiting.

POINT THREE: I think KINGS is one of the best books I’ve ever written.
I think the characters are incredible, the magic imaginative, the scope and history of the world impressive. I think the story is exciting, and has a depth beyond what I’ve been able to do before. I’m trying some new, exciting things for me—some nonlinear storytelling, some great internal artwork, and layers of depth to the storytelling.

POINT FOUR: However, the book is just a book.
My editor, bless his heart, compared THE WAY OF KINGS to DUNE and LORD OF THE RINGS in the catalogue copy that he wrote. He’s a wonderful man, but I cringe when any new book is compared to masterworks like those. DUNE and LotR have proven themselves over decades, passing the test of time. They had monumental influences on their respective genres.

No new novel has the right to claim such a comparison out of the gate. If you go into KINGS expecting the next LORD OF THE RINGS or DUNE, you will be disappointed. I am not Tolkien or Herbert. I am what I am—a largely unproven writer still in the early days of his career.

Early in my drafting process for this book, I fell into some traps by putting too much weight upon the future of this novel. I began to think that KINGS would be the book that would define my solo career, and I began to worry (with all of the recent eyes that have been watching me) that this book needed to be something incredibly jaw-dropping and earth-shattering, otherwise it would be a failure.

That’s a bad way to be thinking as you write a book, and probably an even worse way to be thinking as you start reading a book. The Wheel of Time didn’t start to really make its mark until book three or four; it was the same for Harry Potter. Series like this take time to build. Beyond that, you can’t go into a series with the mind-set that it needs to be a huge blockbuster to be successful.

I’m not sure what I want people to think about this book. I want them to read it, enjoy it, and say nice things about it. I want them to anticipate it and talk about it on blogs, waiting for the day it is released. But in the end, it’s just a book. Let’s not hype this thing to death.

POINT FIVE: Have I mentioned that it’s big?
I started working on THE WAY OF KINGS fifteen years ago. I wrote the first version of the book in full back in 2003. It was always planned to be big. You don’t grow up reading Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, and Melanie Rawn without wanting to do your own big epic. When I showed it to my editor back in ’03, he thought it was too ambitious to be published, at least as my second novel.

There are thirty magic systems in this world, depending on how you count them, and around six thousand years of history I’ve mapped out. There are dozens of cultures, a continent of enormous scope, and a deep, rich mythology. However, when I say things like that, you have to realize that very little of it will end up in the first book. The best fantasy epics I’ve read begin with a personal look at the characters in the early books, then have a steady expansion into epic scope.

I’ve spent many years thinking about the epic fantasy genre, what makes it work, what I love about it, and how to deal with its inherent weaknesses. And so I’m trying to make use of the form of the novel (meaning how I place chapters and which viewpoints I put where) in order to convey the scope without distracting from the main stories I wish to tell.

Anyway, I don’t jump between dozens of characters in this novel. There are three central viewpoints, with two or so primary supporting viewpoints. I intend the first book to be its own story, focused and personal. I don’t want this to be the “Wow! Thirty Magic Systems!” series. I want it to be a series about a group of characters you care about, with a lush and real world that has solid and expansive depth.

In other words, I promise you a variety of magics, mythology, history, and cultures . . . but not all in the first book.

Anyway, I’ve got more to say, but I think I’ll split it off and save it for another post. These next few years with the Stormlight Archive are going to be great. But I do suggest that you take all the marketing speak on/around the book with a grain of salt, and enjoy (or dislike) the book on its own merits.


Monday, March 15, 2010

New Writing Excuses Episode, Hero of Ages Annotations

I'll be posting another of my long, rambling blog entries later this week, but for today I've just got the standard Monday updates.

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and I are joined once again by Jessica Day George to discuss writing for young adults. Jessica does a lot of this, so check it out.

In the most recent Mistborn 3 annotations I talk about Spook sending a message via Goradel (and a hidden spoiler). I also discuss the Koloss attack and Vin drawing upon the mists.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Alcatraz let me know about the following library infiltration report.

We led a successful infiltration of our local library on Saturday, March 6, 2010 and wanted to share this good news with you. Our team consists of seven fifth-grade students, one seventh-grade assistant coach and two grownups—NO, strike that, two parent coaches. (You may call us parents but NEVER call us grownups.)

Our library must have suffered a severe electrical surge of some sort to their ordering system because they now own 43 copies of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. These along with 19 other works of “fiction” are currently being used for their 31st annual Battle of the Books competition. The librarians somehow even let our team name slip through their registration system as we are the “Chipmunks versus the Evil Librarians.”

We fought among 64 other teams of fourth- and fifth-grade Hushlanders all vying to be recognized for their love of reading and attention to detail. Our team was successful in preliminary rounds at local schools and finally along with 17 other teams were “invited” to participate in an Oral Battle round at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. (Like naming the library after a beautiful woman named Grace could hide who they really are. . . .) (And you’d think an Oral Battle would consist of those little wind-up teeth in a miniature boxing ring, but nope, that’s not it at all.)

So, we had a way in but we needed a plan. We planned and planned and planned all day. Okay, we planned for about 15 minutes during a lunch meeting. As coaches we even created our own version of an Alivened and trained the kids how to fight it. Lenses were collected, dinosaurs were purchased we were ready. Next we made a HUGE blundering, bungling, blathering, idiotic mistake. We sent an email to the librarians to let them know we were coming.

We thanked them for their invitation and said we would see them on Infiltration Day. Did I mention that we were idiots? We went on to say that we appreciated the fact that there would be no man-eating sharks that day and they had chosen excellent books for the competition this year. (Okay, we may not have been complete idiots since your book was one of those chosen.)

Infiltration day came. The kids did great and are one of the final two teams moving on to the championship round of the competition! Most wore warrior lenses (imagine 4 Bastilles!) and we were sure to include tracker, oculator, and a pair of torturer lenses too. (We forbade the use of Firebringer Lenses since again there were 43 copies of your book on site. . . .)

The only casualties suffered were some dinosaurs that were left behind near the C section of the science fiction area and were most likely captured after they successfully created a ‘disturbance’ and ate a few of the books.

Hopefully, you’re still reading this letter since this is where the time sensitive part from the subject line comes into play. We were wondering if you would be willing or able to send a note of encouragement to the kids as they again will infiltrate the library on Thursday, March 11 at 4:30 p.m. for the Championship Battle.

Thanks for you time,
Coaches of the Chipmunks versus the Evil Librarians

Good work, Chipmunks, and may you be victorious in your upcoming battle.

Due to the woeful lack of frozen burritos in the Free Kingdoms, I've been forced to keep hanging out here in the Hushlands, which has made me painfully aware of the Hushlanders' need for as much access as possible to information about truths such as those involving talking dinosaurs. You must continue to do what you can not to allow the Librarian Conspiracy to control the facts available. Remembering what you read in the books that Free Kingdomers have managed to sneak onto Librarian shelves is an important step toward throwing off the yoke of ignorance.

And one final word of encouragement: Rutabaga.

Brandon Sanderson
March 9, 2010

Monday, March 08, 2010

Michael Whelan Covers + Updates

I've posted my thoughts on getting a Michael Whelan cover.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve always wondered who “They” are, and if—by chance—they’ve never heard of Michael Whelan. Because my experience in life has been very different.

Head over to to read the rest.

This week's Writing Excuses podcast episode is on how to write men. You might think Dan, Howard, and I would be experts on this, but Jessica Day George joined us again and we learned a lot.

Finally, in the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotation I talk about Vin's political skill, the Lord Ruler's final quote, and what Ruin wants.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Final Plug for the Superstars of Writing Seminar

I thought I’d do one final plug for the Superstars of Writing seminar I’ve been invited to attend. The time is getting near—it’s about three weeks away—and if there are those of you who are thinking of attending, you’ll probably want to get flights pretty soon. Also, they’ve extended last month's special (the two people for $1200 deal) for another week or so. The current price of $750 for one person is good up until the day of, when the price jumps to something much higher at the door.

Anyway, that’s a lot of money. I know it’s a lot of money, and I cringe when I consider it. But I also know the costs on the back end, and I realize it has to be that much to make the conference worthwhile. I know a lot of you don't have that kind of cash. But I thought I would tell you some things about this conference.

Kevin, Eric, Dave, and Rebecca are doing a whole lot to make sure the conference is worth your money and time. If you’re considering a career as a writer, this is going to be a very good investment. Remember, this is a conference targeted at the business side of being a writer. Some of the talks that will be given include:

Eric Flint doing a breakdown of a royalty statement, step by step.
Dave Wolverton giving specifics about how he pitched the Runelords to Hollywood and got a seven-figure deal from it.
Eric, Kevin, and Dave talking about the specifics of how editors look at manuscripts. (Remember, Dave and Eric have worked professionally in the business as editors.)

This will cover self-promotion, agents, contracts, and real-world experience with breaking in and that sort of thing. We’re not going to talk about writing books (that would be a different conference). We’re going to talk about selling them and surviving as a writer. I’ll be giving a solo lecture on how I broke into the business, and all of the strategies I used.

If you live in the LA area and want to be a professional writer, this will be a very cost-effective conference for you. And even for anyone else. Essentially, I broke in because of things that Dave taught me about the business.

Finally, as an added bonus, everyone who signs up will get onto an email list-serve where they can contact the authors and ask follow-up questions. I will be giving to anyone who comes an electronic copy of the exact proposal I sent to Dreamworks Animation that got ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS a film deal. I’ll also be including an outline of one of my books, so you can see directly into the process of how I write novels. Last but not least, I’ll be hanging out the entire weekend and be available for chatting, questions, and other stuff.

The full schedule is here. Seats are filling up, so I’d register soon if you want to go.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

THE WAY OF KINGS cover by Michael Whelan, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER book trailer, Fan Sites + Updates has released Michael Whelan's cover art for THE WAY OF KINGS.

They also have sketches and design commentary from Whelan himself. Go check it out. I think the cover is awesome—for more from me on it than that, wait for the blog entry I wrote up for to post. I imagine it should go up in a few days.

I do plan to post here about THE WAY OF KINGS in the near future. In the meantime, there's a new fan page for The Stormlight Archive over on Facebook. There's also a Stormlight Archive fan site starting up over at And not to be outdone, the Mistborn fandom has spawned a new fan site at (I'm not involved in any of these sites, but I love seeing the fans set things up like this.)

In the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotations, I talk about spacing out character climaxes, betrayal and trust, and Ruin's methodology.

In this week's Writing Excuses, Howard, Dan, and I are joined by writer Jessica Day George to talk about working with editors. Go give it a listen.

And speaking of Dan Wells, his book I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER comes out in the US at the end of this month. Here's what I said about the book a year ago:

Some books are exciting. Some books are intriguing. Some are exhilarating, others moving, and still others deeply disturbing. I've rarely found a book that fit all of these descriptions at once, and never have I read one that mixes each emotion together as thoroughly as I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER.

While reading this novel, I felt like I did when I first discovered Lovecraft. The beauty of the prose, mixed with the depth of characterization, gave the haunting, first person narrative a human touch that I don't always discover in horror novels. Yet I savor it when I do, for the finest horror is the most human of all genres.

It's difficult to tie down I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. On one hand, it's a character study that inspects the mind of a teenage sociopath. On the other, it's an old fashioned murder mystery with a supernatural edge. Neither of those concepts convey the wit of the prose or the brilliance of the story's great dilemma. Which is more alien? The monster with the heart of a man or the man with the heart of a monster? In short, I can only say this: Read the book. Regardless of your age or your genre preferences, you will find this story both profound and enthralling.

This is as true today as it was back then, and the series only gets better. Check out this book trailer that Tor has released; I think it speaks for itself.