Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Penguicon Schedule

This weekend I'm a guest of honor at Penguicon, which is a hybrid convention for science fiction/fantasy and open source software. Howard Tayler is the toastmaster, so it should be a lot of fun. If you're in the Detroit area, consider registering at the door if you haven't preregistered.

Troy Marriott
200 W Big Beaver Rd
Troy, MI 48084


6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Dennison 1
Attack of the Plot!
Ferrett Steinmetz, Brandon Sanderson, Christian Klaver, Charles Zaglanis
How authors attack the idea of plot.

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Big Top
Opening Ceremonies

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Dennison 1
To Series or Not to Series. That Is the Question.
Stephanie Osborn, Steven Lake, Merrie Haskell, Brandon Sanderson, Jim C. Hines
The pros and cons of writing a series.


1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Board Room
A Reading with Brandon Sanderson

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Ballroom A
And Let It Be Said!
Stephanie Osborn, Steven Lake, Merrie Haskell, Brandon Sanderson, Christine Purcell
A look at dialog and scene/action description in writing, and how to effectively pull off quality dialog and scene descriptions your readers will remember.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Ballroom A
It's OKAY, the First Draft Is SUPPOSED to Suck!
Stephanie Osborn, Brandon Sanderson, Jim C. Hines, Lydia Nyx, Michael Cieslak
Turning off the inner editor.

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Ballroom G
The Art of the Critique
Ferrett Steinmetz, Merrie Haskell, Brandon Sanderson, Christine Purcell, Charles Zaglanis
When you're writing stories, one of the quicker ways to get better is to have talented people critique you. But where do you find good people? What does a good critique consist of? And how can you use that feedback to improve your story?

10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m., Dennison 2/3/4
Magic: The Gathering Non-Sanctioned Booster Draft Tournament
Brandon Sanderson, Timothy Geisler
We are having a non-sanctioned booster draft tournament. Space is limited.


10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Ballroom A
Writers Groups
Brandon Sanderson, Jim C. Hines, Michael Cieslak, Stewart Sternberg, Charles Zaglanis
The pros and cons.

11:00 a.m – noon, Ballroom A
Let There Be Life!
Ferrett Steinmetz, Stephanie Osborn, Brandon Sanderson, Lydia Nyx
How writers form characters and make them seem real.

12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m., Niles
Writing Excuses Podcast
Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Big Top
Closing Ceremonies

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Writing Excuses Nominated for a Hugo Award

First off, there's a new Warbreaker annotation that covers Vasher sneaking into the God King's palace. It also talks about why one character doesn't just kill another character.

This week's Writing Excuses episode, season 5 episode 34, covers story bibles. Dan, Howard, and I talk about different ways to collect the background information on your story that you need in order to keep things straight as you're writing it (or the sequel). Give it a listen.

The big news is that the previous season of Writing Excuses, season 4 (starting with this episode), has been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Related Work, which is given out annually to (usually) nonfiction works relating to the field of science fiction and fantasy. Traditionally the winner has been a book (for example, John Scalzi won it in 2009 for a printed collection of his best Whatever posts). Writing Excuses Season Four joins four other nominees this year:

Who can vote? Anyone who registers for the 69th World Science Fiction Convention (this August in Reno) before the voting deadline July 31st. (Rates go up July 17th, so registering before then is best.) The ballot is available now, but most people will wait to vote until they've had a chance to read, listen to, or watch enough material from the nominated people and works to make an informed decision. I have more details on how voting works in a previous post.

That's not the only Hugo category, of course. Here's the full list. Many of my good friends are also nominated—my cohosts Howard Tayler and Dan Wells are respectively nominated for Best Graphic Story and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (not a Hugo); my and Dan's editor Moshe Feder is up for Best Editor, Long Form; Mary Robinette Kowal has a short story nomination; Eric James Stone has a novelette nomination; Larry Correia is also up for the Campbell; and two of my books' cover artists, Dan Dos Santos and Stephan Martiniere, both garnered Best Professional Artist nominations.

All the nominees in each category are luminaries in the field and deserve your attention. It's an honor to be included among them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stormlight Archive Name Auction Winner, T-Shirts + Updates

Last week I talked about the charity auction to get your name in the next Stormlight Archive book. Well, the auction is now over. The winner is Jason Lynn Pittman, and his winning bid was $1,825, which will go to support Utah's science fiction and fantasy symposium Life, the Universe, and Everything. Once I sit down to plan out the book (after I've written the first draft of A MEMORY OF LIGHT), I'll figure out where Jason's character will fit in and how to adapt his name to Roshar.

If you're interested in donating directly to LTUE, I said how at the bottom of the previous post. Plus there's also another auction going on right now for a pretty cool king-sized dragon quilt that also benefits LTUE.

InkWing has yet another contest—they're giving away two Kaladin T-shirts and two button packs. And Ta'veren Tees has a new band of the red hand/it's time to toss the dice shirt up for preorder. I got one of these at JordanCon and it's pretty cool. Check out their announcement here.

In the most recent WARBREAKER annotation I talk about the vote to go to war against Idris. And this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode covers what a writer wants and does not want in an alpha reader. There's also a new Twitter posts collection on the site.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My JordanCon Schedule + Updates

Tomorrow my assistant Peter and I are off to JordanCon in Atlanta. Their full schedule is listed here. My panels are below. Please pay special attention to the details of the Magic draft on Friday night, if you want to participate.

There are also a couple of other updates. TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT has made it to the semifinals of Audible's Tournament of Audiobooks, but it is currently behind in votes to MATTERHORN by Karl Marlantes. If you liked the TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT audiobook, consider giving it your vote. (Of course you can vote for MATTERHORN instead, if you think that was a better audiobook.)

The Stormlight Archive character name auction is still going on. The local newspaper did an article on it.

I haven't linked this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode yet. Recent episodes were recorded at LTUE when I was at ConDFW, so I don't appear, but this episode marks my return. Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and I talk about urban fantasy.

JordanCon III, Atlanta

Date: 04.15.11–04.17.11
Place: JordanCon III: ConSaken
Address: Crowne Plaza Hotel Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia
4355 Ashford Dunwoody
Atlanta, GA 30346


1:00 p.m., Oakwood AB
Opening Ceremonies

4:00 p.m., Camellia
Signing, Brandon Sanderson & Harriet McDougal

9:00 p.m., Azalea
Magic the Gathering Draft with Brandon Sanderson
Preregistration is required. Email Brandon if you want to get on the list. There will be a small buy-in of around $10 or $15. Also, if someone wants to come judge the match, you would be welcome.


12:00 noon, Azalea
Fantasy Writing (Brandon Sanderson)
A 90-minute crash course in writing fantasy novels.

2:30 p.m., Dogwood
Kaffeeklatsch: An hour with Team Jordan (Brandon Sanderson, Alan Romanczuk, Maria Simons)
Limited to 10 pre-selected participants. Slots are already full; sorry about that.

4:00 p.m., Oakwood AB
A Memory of Light: Status Report (Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, Maria Simons, Alan Romanczuk, Richard Fife)

5:30 p.m., Oakwood AB
Costume Contest (Brandon Sanderson, Harriet McDougal, Linda Taglieri, Richard Fife)
Show off your tailoring skills or just come to watch the parade of Seanchan, Aes Sedai, Asha'man, and more!

10:00 p.m., Azalea
Magic with Brandon
Can you muster a successful Magic the Gathering deck and defeat the Brandon Sanderson? Bring your deck and find out.


11:30 a.m., Camellia
Signing, Brandon Sanderson

1:00 p.m., Azalea
JordanCon's Got Talent (Brandon Sanderson)
Come give your 30-second book pitch to our experts!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Appear in the Sequel to THE WAY OF KINGS

Ever since I started announcing on Twitter the names of fans that I was adapting to go into THE GATHERING STORM and TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, readers have been asking me how to get their names put into the next book. Well, there will be another oppoturnity to participate in a charity drive and have a chance to get your name put into A MEMORY OF LIGHT, but that's not what I'm talking about today. Instead, I'm talking about how one person can get his or her name (or most likely a variation thereof; see below for examples) used for a significant second-tier character in the next Stormlight Archive book.

There's a charity auction for naming rights going on right now at eBay, with a final bell Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m. Mountain time. Proceeds will benefit the local science fiction and fantasy symposium, called Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE). (Yes, that is a Douglas Adams reference.)

As it was held at my university, LTUE was one of the science fiction and fantasy conventions that I attended regularly while trying to break in, and it was always an invaluable experience. Now that my books are published and available worldwide, I like to take opportunities to give back to the community that fostered my development as a fan and as a writer.

I was Guest of Honor myself at LTUE in 2010 (my first stint as a GoH), and for a science fiction convention the crowd at my Guest of Honor speech was amazingly young—full of people in their twenties. (If you want to know why this is significant, do a Google search for the "greying of fandom.") In my opinion, local conventions of this sort, which promote the sharing of our excitement for the genre among the up-and-coming generation of readers and writers, deserve all the support they can get.

LTUE has been running for nearly 30 years, but it is and always has been organized by unpaid volunteers. For one reason or another there are always funding issues, especially they try to keep registration free for students—a practice I support, as I can easily recall how little money I tried to spend while working my way through college and writing thirteen novels at the same time. So I'm more than pleased for the proceeds from this name auction to go toward keeping LTUE going next year.

The auction listing follows. And see the bottom of the post for information on donating directly.

LTUE Benefit Name Auction Brandon Sanderson

Here’s your chance to become immortal! Bid now on naming a character in a forthcoming novel from New York Times Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.

Up for auction: Brandon will begin work on the second Stormlight Archive book, a sequel to THE WAY OF KINGS, due for release in late 2012 or early 2013. As the winner of this auction, you can submit a name (or variation thereof) that will appear for a second-tier character who plays a significant role in a few scenes in the book.

All proceeds from this auction will benefit Life, the Universe, and Everything: The Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy held in Provo, Utah. LTUE is an annual event dedicated to helping students, up-and-coming authors, and professionals hone their craft and network with their peers. Now in its 30th year, LTUE is the premier genre publishing event in the Intermountain West.

Naming Examples

Some examples from winners from past auctions for names illustrate the variations that Brandon may use when the novel actually appears. For example, charity auction winner Brian Neff’s name appeared as Naeff in THE GATHERING STORM and TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT. Winner Scott Franson’s name appeared as Llarimar ("Scoot") in WARBREAKER. Aaron Yeoman’s name appeared as Yomen in THE HERO OF AGES.

Rules and Conditions

If you participate in this name auction, you acknowledge that you understand and agree to the terms and conditions below. You must have an active PayPal account to bid. As the host of this auction, UtahSF reserves the right to reject any bid at its sole discretion and to screen any and all bidders regardless of their eBay feedback history.

Brandon will adapt the winning bidder’s submitted name to fit the world of the Stormlight Archive (as seen in the examples above). Usually this means altering the spelling/pronunciation to fit the culture of the fictional world. However, Brandon reserves the right to reject any name he may find to be inappropriate.

If the winning bidder chooses to submit the name of someone else (such as a friend or family member), the winning bidder must submit a written release from this other person giving permission to use his/her name.

Finally, we hope it doesn’t have to be mentioned but the submitted name will be rejected if Brandon feels that it is in any way offensive, mischievous, or ill-intentioned, or if it is disruptive to the story.

This auction is for the name only. The winning bidder may not dictate the character's personality, description, or role in the story. If the winner supplies any of these things as part of the name submission, Brandon may or may not draw from that when implementing the character in the novel as the story demands. Any such ideas become the sole property of Brandon Sanderson with no further compensation or acknowledgement.

Your bid is a legally binding contract and it requires that you make full payment of your bid amount if your eBay ID is the highest bidder. You must make full payment through PayPal within 2 days of the auction close. Do not bid if you are not 100% sure that you can follow through with payment at the winning bid price promptly. You will also be bound to make full payment even if a higher bid has been removed for whatever reason, resulting in you becoming the high bidder.

Be aware that if a family member, another person in your household, or any other person who has access to your account uses your eBay or PayPal account, you are still fully liable and cannot avoid payment if you win the auction. All sales are final.

UtahSF is a 501(c)3 organization, so your winning bid amount (or portion thereof) may be tax-deductible. Contact a tax accountant or advisor for specific information.

If you are the winning bidder, you must provide contact information (email address, physical address, telephone number) with the payment email for ongoing correspondence as the submitted name is processed.

Novel Release Date

As mentioned, the release date for the novel is in late 2012 or early 2013. However, publication dates are naturally subject to change. The winning bidder may receive email with updates on the actual release date.

Donating Directly

As you can see, the auction itself is already up above a thousand dollars, which means many readers won't have a chance at winning. But if you would like to donate a few bucks toward the convention without bidding, that's something you can do. Make a check or money order out to UtahSF, print on the info line that this is a donation for LTUE, and mail it to:

LTUE Donation
c/o Joe Monson
PO Box 360
Orem, UT 84059-0360

Note though that this isn't like the Wheel of Time charity drives; it doesn't mean you have a chance of your name showing up in the book just by donating. That's mostly due to the way I create names for my books as opposed to Wheel of Time books. Roshar is a world very different from our own, so its names bear little resemblance to names in our world but rather are in line with principles I have worked out for the planet's languages and cultures. The Wheel of Time, however, takes place in a world that is ours in both the distant future and distant past, so names adapted from those in our current culture blend in well there, and Robert Jordan adapted many names from mythology and the world around him.

Still, if you do donate directly to LTUE, feel free to drop me a line and tell me. You never know what might happen.

Anyway, happy bidding!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


If you're in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand and have been wondering how the cover art of Gollancz's version of the next Mistborn book will appear, look no further.

If you missed the US Tor cover and the cover flap synopsis, head over to to see both.

The book comes out in November. Amazon is currently saying November 8th in the US/Canada and November 17th in the UK (and I assume Australia and New Zealand). This could shift around by a week or so by the time November rolls around.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Name Auction Coming, Music + Updates

Want your name to appear as a character in the Stormlight Archive? There's going to be an auction for just that starting on Wednesday to benefit the Life, the Universe, & Everything (LTUE) symposium. I'll post more details when the auction begins.

This year's LTUE hosted the recording of a number of episodes of the Writing Excuses podcast, one of which aired this week. In it, Dan and Howard are joined by Robison Wells and Sarah Eden to talk about writing romance.

The most recent WARBREAKER annotation is a long one covering chapter forty-nine. It talks about Vasher's temper and using the priests as scapegoats, among other things.

In Suvudu's cage matches, Vin managed to hold off Jon Snow and Perrin was defeated by Quick Ben. Which sets up two matches, as Suvudu announced here. Starting on Wednesday, Vin will face Quick Ben and Perrin will have a consolation match against Jon Snow. Suvudu is accepting writeups for consolation match; see the announcement for details. They also have a forum where you can make suggestions about future cage matches. And superfan Terez is holding her own contest for best Vin vs. Quick Ben writeup.

Some people have sent me links to their music recently. Joey Maker has a passing reference to Rand Al'Thor in a rap song of his here. And Darin Porter wrote a whole song about Kaladin called "You Can't Go Back."