Monday, November 29, 2010

Updates + Writing Seminar

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode, Howard Tayler and I are joined by Scott Westerfeld to discuss visual components of novels. And in the most recent WARBREAKER annotations I talk about Vivenna's plottings with Denth and Susebron's spelling, among other things.

In January I'll be teaching at the Superstars Writing Seminar in Salt Lake City. Here's how Kevin J. Anderson describes it:

If you are ready for a full-blown “boot camp” of the things you need to know to be a career professional writer, consider attending the second Superstars Writing Seminar, which will be held this January 13–15 in Salt Lake City (Thursday–Saturday, the weekend before the national holiday of Martin Luther King Day).

Three days of intensive instruction taught by six international bestselling authors, Brandon Sanderson, Dave Wolverton, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, and special guest instructor Sherrilyn Kenyon. Topics include:

  • Economics of Commercial Publishing
  • How Editors Look at Manuscripts, Novels, and Short Fiction
  • Dissecting a Book Contract
  • How to Read and Understand a Royalty Statement
  • Dirty Secrets: What You Need to Know About Being a Professional Author
  • How to Leverage Your Intellectual Property
  • Balancing Acts: Writing World and Real World
  • Agents
  • Networking and Self-Promotion for Authors
  • Understanding E-Books
  • Pitching the Big Proposal
  • Two Heads Are Better than One: Collaborations
  • How to Get an Edge with New Media
  • Movies, TV, and Authors

—and more, including open Q&A sessions, a special limited-seating VIP banquet to get to know the instructors, and plenty of networking opportunities among the teachers, other writers, and fellow students.

The Superstars Writing Seminar is a practical, no-nonsense course on business topics for the professional writer. We don’t teach you how to write; we teach you how to be a writer.

Prices increase by $50 on December 1. For more information and to sign up, go to


Kevin J. Anderson—award-winning, international bestselling author of the new Dune series (with Brian Herbert), the Terra Incognita and Saga of Seven Suns series, X-Files, Star Wars, and numerous comics; he has published 100 books, with more than 21 million copies in print in 30 languages.

Eric Flint—A master of military science fiction and alternate history, Eric is best known for his 1632 and Belisarius series (with David Drake). An expert in electronic publishing, he was also the founder and editor of Jim Baen’s Universe online magazine.

Rebecca Moesta—Award-winning and New York Times bestselling Young Adult author of Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights, Star Challengers, the Crystal Doors series, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Little Things. She also holds a Masters of Science in Business Administration from Boston University and is the CEO and business manager for WordFire, Inc.

Brandon Sanderson—A New York Times bestselling author in his own right for his Mistborn series, Brandon was selected to complete Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time. The first volume, The Gathering Storm, immediately reached #1 on the bestseller lists. He also writes successful Young Adult fiction and lectures on creative writing for BYU.

Dave Wolverton—Author of 50 novels, Guinness World Record holder for the largest single-author signing, multiple New York Times bestselling author (under the names Dave Wolverton and David Farland). Dave worked for nearly a decade as coordinating judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests.

Sherrilyn Kenyon—Bestselling author of the Dark Hunter series, The League, and the Chronicles of Nick. In the past two years, Sherri’s books have hit the #1 New York Times bestseller spot an amazing 14 times.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

France & Conventions

As you may know I spent little over a week in France this month as a guest of the Utopiales convention in Nantes and of my publisher, Orbit France. This was, unequivocally, an awesome experience. Pemberly and I thoroughly enjoyed our time meeting with French fans, and my publisher certainly took good care of us.

It’s difficult to boil the experience down into a few short paragraphs. Fun times involved lots of cheese, some excellent interviews, and the pleasure of winning the award. (Pictured below—is it not awesome? Each one is a hand-made leather book jacket built to fit the book that won the award.)

At one point, Scott Westerfeld bought me a ticket to see a giant steampunk squid. At another (on a panel) I got into a healthy argument with one of France’s most respected editors and genre experts regarding accounts of Alexander the Great’s showdown with Darius III, king of Persia.

I got to meet Peter Watts, who was one of the most engaging conversationalists I’ve ever known, and a French friend actually told me (when I was boarding a train) “Don’t worry having to talk to the stranger next to you. We’re all French, and therefore all obnoxious, so nobody bothers!” (A note of correction on my part; I’ve been to France now twice in my life, the trips separated by almost twenty years, and I’ve never found the French people to be anything other than charming, friendly, and encouraging.)

I was pleased to eat my fill of croissants, baguettes, cheese, and French desserts. I did have to search a little bit to find a glass of ice water, though.

Anyway, the experience reminded me that I really needed to a special post regarding the other wonderful conventions that have had me visit this year. It was an honor to be among the first to ever attend ConStellation in Nebraska, as Nebraska fandom had a hand in strongly encouraging me as a new writer during my youth. This is a new convention, but very vibrant, and I hope it has many years ahead of it.

On the other side, we had Minicon—a long-running and venerable convention that was beyond awesome. I’ve attended a lot of conventions in a lot of places, and it makes me wonder if those who go to Minicon realize just how special that place is. Well-organized, well-managed, and a pleasure to visit. (Even if a young man named Rand did beat me at Magic while I was there.) That con treated me like a king—you should have seen my suite in the hotel. I could have packed an entire circus’s worth of elephants in there and still had room left over.

This was all in addition to the cons I frequently visit. (LTUE in Provo, CONduit in Salt Lake, Dragon*Con in Atlanta, and—of course—JordanCon.) It was a busy con-going year for me, particularly since I hit two Comic-Cons as well. (San Diego and New York.)

A big thank you to all who hosted me. I came to fandom relatively late—I didn’t attend a real local sf convention until my senior year of high school, and didn’t manage to make a national convention until World Fantasy in 2000, when I was 25. (Just realized that was ten years ago. Wow.) And even though these last ten years have been full of con-going, I feel I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

As such, I’ll be attending a swath of conventions next year. Some as a guest, others as a participant. The confirmed list includes:

I’ll probably also be doing another France trip in May. Watch my events page (there's a link gem on the front page) for the most up-to-date information about where I’ll be and when.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Interviews, Superstars Writing Seminar & Updates

This past week's WARBREAKER annotations cover the writing rule that characters who do things are more interesting than those who don't, who followed Vasher into the palace, naked athletic competitions, and Lightsong's indolence.

In the most recent Writing Excuses episode, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and I are again joined by John Brown to discuss writing the second book. We cover both writing your second book ever and writing the second book in a series.

There's a new interview with me in the New Zealand Herald here. I did this interview when THE WAY OF KINGS was coming out, and it talks about that book as well as how I got into writing, plus other questions such as how I became involved in the Wheel of Time.

During my TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT tour, I sat down for a video interview with fellow Tor writer Peter Orullian, whose debut novel THE UNREMEMBERED comes out in April. We discuss a bunch of topics including the following:

  • My work ethic
  • How my writing has evolved and how the field has changed
  • The future of the Stormlight Archive anmd the ELANTRIS world
  • Defining epic fantasy
  • Fantasy as one of the last great genres to explore the dichotomy of good and evil
  • The familiar vs. the new
  • Self-censorship and whether there are certain topics that I won't write about
  • Whose books I rush out to buy and books I've read that I wished I had written
  • The degree to which fiction writing is autobiographical
  • Music I listen to while writing or driving
  • Simple advice to aspiring writers
  • What color I play in Magic: The Gathering

Finally, a note on the upcoming Superstars Writing Seminar that I'm helping teach in January. Last year, I'll admit I didn't know how I felt about this. Were we really offering something worthwhile? Particularly at the somewhat high cost?

I have to say that after doing it once, I was blown away by how awesome an experience it was. It was an all-around incredible mixing of creativity, information, and fun. I think it was not only worthwhile, but a bargain. Dave, Kevin, Rebecca, and Eric know a ton about this business. And having only broken in a few years ago, I was able to add a bit of unique information. I think this will be an extremely helpful event for anyone aspiring to break into publishing.

At last year's conference some of the attendees recorded these testimonials about their experiences there.

Marc Scott Zicree

Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl

Clancy Metzger, Claudia Kimmerer, and Blair Christensen

Ann Cooney

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tweets November 12–19

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 12
France has been awesome so far. Onward to day two of the Utopiales convention. Thanks to all who have come to see me.

BrandonSandrson Sat Nov 13
Day three of Utopiales is done. I have decided that French people are extremely nice. And extremely bescarved.

BrandonSandrson Mon Nov 15
Mistborn Short Novel first draft is finished. 85k long. Out next fall. Blog post coming. Huzzah!

BrandonSandrson Wed Nov 17
Guys, I don't know if you've heard, but France is REALLY far away. That flight was looooooooooong. (One 'o' for each hour.)

scalzi Wed Nov 17
OH HELL NO: The Web page for the MFA program at UC Irvine has the phrase "centers around" on it. #GrammarHeadSmack

BrandonSandrson Wed Nov 17
@scalzi I got rejected by Irvine MFA. & Columbia. & NYU. Iowa too. Was sending Elantris, which eventually sold to Tor

scalzi Wed Nov 17
@BrandonSandrson Ever get the urge to mail your No. 1 NYT best seller ranking to them and go "Love, NOT your donation-providing alumnus"?

tobiasbuckell Wed Nov 17
@scalzi @BrandonSandrson lol, I was bumped from BGSU of all places. I should totally do that

BrandonSandrson Thu Nov 18
New Mistborn novel has a title. Mistborn: The Alloy of Law. Doing a quick revision here before sending it to my agent/editor.

skatter Thu Nov 18
@BrandonSandrson Brandon, just curious. A twitterless friend just asked where the new book fits in the Mistborn timeline?

BrandonSandrson Thu Nov 18
@skatter 300 years after Hero of Ages. Technology is Edwardian, mostly. Guns, the advent of electricity, skyscrapers being built.

HolyJaw Thu Nov 18

BrandonSandrson Thu Nov 18
@HolyJaw Lol. Well, it won't be out for a year or so...

theprawn Thu Nov 18
@BrandonSandrson Wait, I thought Mistborn was a trilogy?

BrandonSandrson Thu Nov 18
@theprawn Mistborn is both. The new book is set many years later, deals with new characters, etc.

BrandonSandrson Thu Nov 18
@theprawn All of my worlds have other stories planned. If I say something is a trilogy/stand alone, I'm talking about those characters.

rayners Fri Nov 19
Finished @BrandonSandrson's The Way of Kings last night. Wow! That book was profoundly awesome in ways I cannot even begin to articulate.

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@rayners Thank you very much. :)

wolven74 Fri Nov 19
@BrandonSandrson Just finished ToM. Well done sir. Well done indeed.

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@wolven74 It has been an honor to work on them. Thank you.

caseyfreeland Fri Nov 19
@BrandonSandrson Have TGS signed hardcover and Audiobook. Downloading Towers now. Bliss! Thanks for your work.

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@caseyfreeland Thank you for the kind words.

Machiknight Fri Nov 19
@BrandonSandrson how long does the editorial process take?

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@Machiknight Depends on the book. As long as a year for some novels, much faster for other novels.

Andrewcyr Fri Nov 19
@brandonsandrson What kind of release schedule are you shooting for with WoK? Bi-yearly releases? Every few years?

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@Andrewcyr Two every three years.

kushieda_minori Fri Nov 19
@BrandonSandrson When will Alcatraz Versus The Knights Of Crystallia be available in softcover?

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@kushieda_minori I'm not sure, honestly. We keep asking, and get no firm answer from Scholastic. I was hoping this month.

egonegative Fri Nov 19
@BrandonSandrson How do you write so much? Do you not sleep? Or have these epic stories been bouncing about your brain for decades?

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@egonegative Kings has indeed been bouncing around for decades. For the new Mistborn novel, it's more of a free-write experiment.

jamesbigler Thu Nov 18
@BrandonSandrson Were you able to take the direct flight from Paris to SLC? That can take quite a lot time off the whole flight time.

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@jamesbigler Yes, we did take the direct flight, which is nice. Still 11 hours, though.

GrahamChops Thu Nov 18
@BrandonSandrson @PeterAhlstrom Maybe it's too early to know, but the new MB book will be hardcover right?

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@GrahamChops Should be hardcover.

FitzChivalry_ Thu Nov 18
I miss Robert Jordan. As appreciative as I am of @BrandonSandrson it's just not the same. #WoT #Books #WritingTilTheyNailYourCoffinShut

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
@FitzChivalry_ I agree.

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
NaNo isn't looking good for me this year, I'm afraid. Wasn't in a place to start a new book Nov 1st. Continued M:AofL instead.

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
In Canada, the Kindle version of MISTBORN: THE HERO OF AGES has been unavailable due to an error. Now you can buy it.

BrandonSandrson Fri Nov 19
The Mistborn trilogy holiday bundle with the Steel Alphabet Medallion thrown in is back! Only 30 in stock.