Brandon Sanderson's Blog, page 3
April 10, 2014
Tonight I’m flying to Atlanta (along with my assistants Isaac and Peter) for JordanCon. This year’s author guest of honor is Patrick Rothfuss, and there are many other great guests as well. I hope to see a lot of you there! My schedule is below, including the live writing session that will be streamed Friday night, and the Magic draft on Saturday night. JordanCon also has an iOS app and Android app with the full schedule, or you can see it on their website here.
Friday April 11
4:00 p.m., Great Oaks C
Brandon Answers All Your WoT Questions!
But only if you ask them properly. Intrigued?
Brandon Sanderson, Jason Denzel
5:30 p.m., Boardroom
Signing, Brandon Sanderson
Saturday April 12
11:30 a.m., Boardroom
Signing, Brandon Sanderson
1:00 p.m., Great Oaks A
Brandon Sanderson Lecture: Rules of Magic
We’ve heard “Sanderson’s Rules of Magic” mentioned here and there, but what exactly are they, and what do they mean for writers?
2:30 p.m., Great Oaks B
Urban Fantasy Hour
What happens when you take the fantasy we love and drop it in the middle of an urban environment?
Delilah S. Dawson, James R. Tuck, John Hartness, Jana Oliver, Brandon Sanderson
5:30 p.m., Great Oaks
Show off your tailoring skills or just come to watch the parade of Seanchan, Aes Sedai, Asha’man, and more! See the rules.
Brandon Sanderson, Harriet McDougal, Aubree Pham
8:30 p.m., Goulding A&B
Play Magic in a draft format with Brandon Sanderson. For signup details, ask at Registration.
Sunday April 13
11:30 a.m., Goulding C
Reading, Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson reads from some of his works and probably answers a few questions as well.
1:00 p.m., Great Oaks A
JordanCon Annual Pitch Critique
Give industry professionals your best 30-second pitch, and they will give you feedback on what they thought. No pressure!
Paul Stevens, Idaliz Seymour, Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson
2:30 p.m., Boardroom
Kaffeeklatsch, Brandon Sanderson
We limit our kaffeeklatsches to 10 people, with signups in the Registration area. You can sign up on the day of the kaffeeklatsch, once Registration is open.
April 8, 2014
I have two online events to talk about: the Booktalk Nation Video Chat on Wednesday, and the second writing/brainstorming livestream on Friday.
The Wednesday event is hosted by Booktalk Nation, and it will run for half an hour starting at 5:00 p.m. Mountain time (7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 23:00 GMT). In the first part of the event I’ll be talking about Words of Radiance, and then I’ll take audience questions. I’ll tell everyone to avoid spoilers, so don’t worry about that. The event is free, but you do have to reserve a spot here. You can also order a signed copy of Words of Radiance at that link.
On Friday I’m doing part 2 of the live writing event that I did back in January. You can see the recorded video of that event here, and you can read the text of the story so far here. Part 2 will also be livestreamed, but I’ll also be doing it in front of a live audience at JordanCon. (I’ll post more about JordanCon on Thursday, but if you’re in the Atlanta area, consider coming on down. Registration is required.) The livestream will be hosted on the Waygate Foundation’s Justin.tv channel, and like last time I’ll be taking your brainstorming suggestions for how the story should proceed. It starts at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday (0:30 GMT Saturday) and will run for a few hours. There may be some surprises during the stream; we’ll have to see! And as last time, Waygate will be accepting charity donations during the livestream.
The Shardhunt is almost over; the most recent unlock is the deleted prologue from The Emperor’s Soul. There’s one more unlockable left, and you should be able to guess what it will be.
Here are a few Shardhunt stores that I haven’t mentioned yet. Give them a call and see if there are still any Szeth cards and signed bookplates (or signatures) left.
San Francisco SFO airport, Compass Books (650) 821-9299
Concord NH, Gibson’s Bookstore (603) 224-0562
Boise ID, Rediscovered Books (208) 376-4229
Salt Lake City UT, Weller Book Works (801) 328-2586
Salt Lake City UT, Barnes & Noble – Sugarhouse, (801) 463-2610
April 7, 2014
BrandSanderson Wed Apr 02
Did anyone record my speech when I was at University Books in Seattle on Saturday, March 8th?
BrandSanderson Thu Apr 03
I need a new @audible_com book to listen to. You guys ready to vote between the two books I present? (Options in the next post.)
PatrickRothfuss Thu Apr 03
@BrandSanderson I really enjoyed Acacia. I read the text though. Didn’t listen to the audio.
BrandSanderson Thu Apr 03
@PatrickRothfuss You know, I’m made curious how your audio books sound.They’re so lyrical, picking a reader must have been difficult.
BrandSanderson Thu Apr 03
All right, all. Acacia it is! Thanks for your votes. I’ll let you know what I think as I listen to it.
RicOsborne Thu Apr 03
@BrandSanderson Will you listen to Lamentation at some point and tell us which you liked better?
BrandSanderson Thu Apr 03
@RicOsborne I will try. I keep meaning to get to that one, and want to find a spot for it.
Songmaker41 Thu Apr 03
@BrandSanderson I am working on my first novel. Do you listen to music as you write? If so what kind?
BrandSanderson Thu Apr 03
@Songmaker41 I do. Pandora station themed with the mood of the chapter.
BrandSanderson Fri Apr 04
I’m happy to announce the 1st draft completion of Legion: Skin Deep, my second story featuring Stephen Leeds. Likely will be a fall release.
April 3, 2014
I have a new short story out this week in the horror anthology Games Creatures Play, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. When Charlaine invited me to be part of this anthology and explained what it was going to be about, I knew I had to write a story for it. My contribution is called “Dreamer” and is rather unlike anything I’ve ever written—and it’s even a true short story rather than a novella. You can read a preview of it here.
If you like what you see in the preview, I hope you’ll check the anthology out. I know that horror isn’t something my usual readers necessarily read very much of on a regular basis, but you may be surprised and enjoy it more than you expected.
The anthology came out on Tuesday in the US/Canada and today in the UK/Australia/New Zealand. You can find region-specific store links above.
Here’s the full list of highly talented contributors and stories for the anthology:
Charlaine Harris: “In the Blue Hereafter”
William Kent Krueger: “Hide and Seek”
Jan Burke: “Stepping into the Dead Zone”
Joe R. Lansdale: “Dead on the Bones”
Caitlin Kittredge: “The Devil Went down to Boston”
Brendan DuBois: “On the Playing Fields of Blood”
Dana Cameron: “The God’s Games”
Scott Sigler: “The Case of the Haunted Safeway”
Ellen Kushner: “Prise de Fer”
Brandon Sanderson: “Dreamer”
Mercedes Lackey: “False Knight on the Road”
Seanan McGuire: “Jammed”
Adam-Troy Castro: “Hide and Shriek”
Laura Lippman: “Ice”
Toni L.P. Kelner: “Bell, Book, and Candlepin”
April 1, 2014
For your reading pleasure, here is an interlude that I decided to cut from Words of Radiance. It offers new insight into a minor character who is very important to the book, and I believe that readers will want to experience it.
It is called Interlude: Stick.
March 31, 2014
I am a stick.
I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick.
I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick.
I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick.
I am a stick? I am a stick.
I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick. I am a stick.
I am a stick.
I am a stick.
I am a stick.
Note: It’s best if you have read The Emperor’s Soul before you read this deleted prologue.
Shai pressed her fingernail into one of the stone blocks of her prison cell. The stone gave way slightly. She rubbed the dust between her fingers, frowning. “Limestone?” she asked softly. “Who makes a cell out of limestone?”
Of course, the whole cell wasn’t of limestone, merely that single block. Shai had counted twenty-seven different kinds of stone so far, including several she didn’t know the names of. That would make escape tough. Very tough.
This was a cell that had been designed to hold a Forger. She knelt down beside her bunk, using a fork—she’d bent back all of the tines but one—to carve notes into the wood of one leg. She’d engraved a crosswork pattern on another side, with numbers representing the stones of the back wall of her cell. Without her spectacles, she had to squint to see what she’d carved there.
She wrote out, with some difficulty, the word limestone in the key representing the stone block she’d just identified. “Honestly,” she growled as she worked. “They sentence a girl to death. They could at least give her a sheet of paper.”
“A sheet of paper?” The amused voice came from outside the cell. “You actually asked for one?”
Shai jumped at the voice, standing and tucking her hand behind her back to hide the fork. Stealing that had been unpleasant. If she lost it . . .
But it was only the court fool. The man’s hawkish face was capped by a three-pointed jester’s crown, though his was of simple white and black, not the traditional brazen colors. He wore a black coat, long and flowing, almost like one of the Grands. He shouldn’t have been able to get away with such deviations; the Grands liked their fools on the silly side of ridiculous.
“Come to mock me?” Shai snapped, turning back to her carving.
“I don’t mock the condemned,” the Fool said from beyond the cell bars. “Did you really ask them for paper, Shai?”
“I’ve been sentenced to death. They’re supposed to meet my requests during my last week of life. It’s traditional.”
“You’re a master Forger,” he replied. “Giving you paper would be like handing a sword to a captive soldier who asked for one politely.”
She snorted, counting up blocks on the wall, then carving out a few more notes. “I can’t do much with only paper.”
If she had soulstone, now . . .
“It’s the principle of the thing, I suspect,” the Fool said, still sounding amused. How wonderful that her life, and its impending end, could bring pleasure to the Imperial Fool.
“There are forty-four kinds of stone in the wall, you know,” he said.
She spun. “You know them?”
He’d taken to leaning back against the wall, arms folded, cleaning out one fingernail with another. “Top left, the one you’ve been trying so long to figure out, that’s grindstone from a quarry in Laio.”
“Tell me the others,” Shai said, dropping the fork and pressing up against the bars. “Fool, tell me what they are.”
“I could,” he said. “But would that really help? Assuming you knew all forty-four, assuming you knew their histories and the quarries they came from, what would you do? Create a seal for the wall in just two days? Carve yourself a soulstamp out of . . .what? Wood? Even if you had the proper stone, you’d use a fork to etch it?”
Shai looked down at the fork, dropped behind on the ground.
“The wall is a challenge, Shai,” the Fool said.
She closed her eyes. She’d known it, deep down. A wall of patchwork stones? It was a puzzle meant to occupy a Forger. Something to make them spend their time, and make them forget, for a little while, about the noose . . .
But what else was she to do? Give up? Try to Forge the bars instead? They’d been made with ralkalest, the unForgeable element. She’d get nowhere trying that.
“I am sorry about this,” the Fool said.
“You? You’re just the court fool. Why should I care if you . . .” She trailed off. “You!” she said, pointing. “You’re the one who turned me in!”
“I couldn’t let you steal the scepter.”
“What? Suddenly you’re a loyal subject? Nights, Fool! You should have come to me. I’d have offered you gold to keep my secret.”
“I couldn’t let you steal it,” the Fool continued, “because I had to steal it myself.”
“Your duplicate, I might add,” the Fool said, hands clasped behind his back, “was quite useful. Thank you.”
Shai was a Forger. She had spent her life studying the way people thought and the best ways to fool them. She knew to spot another fake when she saw one. Usually.
All this time . . . The pieces twisted, fitting into place with one another. He had duped her. He had duped them all, the Grands, the empire itself.
Shai’s anger melted away like cold spring runoff, and she found herself raising two curled fingers to her forehead: a salute. If he had pulled this off . . . Nights, she was in the presence of a master.
The Fool smiled. “A chance is coming your way, Shai,” he said.
“A sign of respect, from one liar to another. It is not much—I must leave this place, and my time to arrange an opportunity for you was narrow. But you are clever; it might be enough.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Keep your wits sharpened,” the Fool said, turning to go. “Be careful, be keen. It has been an interesting dance, sparring with you.”
“Fool? I have money.” A lie. “I can offer—”
He turned toward her, meeting her eyes. In that moment, the Imperial Fool changed. His face grew somber, became steel, and his eyes . . .
In his eyes lay an eternity, an age.
She knew people. She had studied people. This man cared nothing for bribes. This man was not just a master. He was something far beyond that.
A shiver ran through her. “Nights, what are you?”
“Why must people always ask it that way?” A faint smile rose on his lips. “You will not see me again. Farewell.”
He slipped up the steps on near-silent feet. Shai watched him go, feeling thoroughly trounced. How long had it been since someone had gotten the better of her so soundly?
She sank down, looking at her bent fork, the notes on the bed, the wooden handle of the fork that she’d removed and begun carving—crudely—as a soulstamp. It was far too imprecise to be effective.
A chance. What did he mean?
The door to the dungeons opened above. She half thought it would be the Fool returning. How like him that would be, to claim that she would not see him again, then reappear seconds later laughing.
Heavy boots sounded on the steps leading out of the dungeon, and she squinted at the newcomers. Guards, guiding a man with long features and fingers. A Grand, the race who led the empire, but he was not high ranked. That robe of blue and green indicated a minor functionary who had passed the tests for government service, but not risen high in its ranks.
A chance . . . An opportunity . . .
Shai composed herself. She had been bested, but her Uncle Won had taught her that being bested was a rule of life. No matter how good you were, someone was better. Live according to that knowledge, and you would never grow so confident that you became sloppy.
And she had not been sloppy. She’d almost had the prize. She had run across someone better. That happened.
This time, she would win. Whatever the opportunity, she would seize it and thrive. For now, she played not for riches, but for her life.
The Grand stepped up to the bars. He paused for just a moment, then waved for the guards to unlock the door. “The arbiters wish to interrogate you, Forger.”
Editor’s note: When Brandon first wrote this novella and sent it around for alpha reads, it included the scene above. Brandon replaced it with the current prologue featuring Gaotona due to feedback from Mary Robinette Kowal.
So this segues into one of the major structural changes that you made. Which is that when I first read this, you started in Shai’s POV . . .
Yep. In prison. And she meets with the Imperial Fool, who is Hoid, the character who passes between all of my books. It was a great insider, “nudge-nudge wink-wink” scene with a sparring duel between Hoid and Shai. I wrote it that way not necessarily for the “nudge-nudge wink-wink,” but because I felt that for my readers, having him nod to her in respect immediately builds her up as a strong character. So by taking the great master of this sort of thing from my worlds and having her interact with him was going to be a great way to start her off.
It was cool, it got me into the story, and then once I was finished writing the story, this scene no longer had a place in it. The Fool was a character who’s dynamic and different and Shai has this whole conversation with him, and then he vanishes and never reappears. The story is actually about her relationship with Gaotona. The Fool appearing in the prologue was just the wrong thing.
It was a darling that needed to be killed.
Yes. It was a darling that meets the exact definition. Because it’s my favorite character.
Mary read the story, and she came to me almost sorry and regretful because she knew this was going to be painful. She said, “I really think you need to cut the prologue.” And I said, “But the prologue is—b-b-b-but—!”
And she said, “Yeah, but you could replace it with this.” She pitched the opening Gaotona scene and said, “Look, your story is poetic. It has symmetry. You should begin and end with Gaotona. Also, his ending kind of feels like it comes out of nowhere because we haven’t had many viewpoints from him, if any. So it lacks power. If we’d started with him, that would foreshadow his ending.” She was right.
She was right.
In terms of canonicity, you will notice that various details in the above scene contradict with details of Shai’s imprisonment in the final version of the novella. However, Brandon considers a conversation between Shai and the Fool very much like the one presented above to be a part of official continuity.
Back in January I put up a long post about award nominations, with a particular mention of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time.
Well, if you’re a member of the 2013, 2014, or 2015 World Science Fiction conventions, it’s time to submit your nomination form for the Hugo Awards. The deadline is tomorrow morning at 7:59 a.m. BST—since this year’s Worldcon is in London, the deadline would be in GMT, except for that pesky Daylight Saving Time thing being in effect, which means it’s not actually GMT. Anyway, in the US, the deadline is 11:59 p.m. Pacific time tonight.
If you’re not a member of any of those Worldcons, it’s too late to register to be eligible to nominate. But anyone who registers before the Hugo Awards voting deadline will be able to vote on the final ballot once the nominees are announced and voting opens. There will likely be a Hugo Voters Packet for registered Loncon 3 members that includes most if not all nominated works. A Supporting Membership that lets you vote for the Hugo Awards is currently £25 or $40.
March 26, 2014
Today is the final day to get the Epic Fantasy Bundle (which includes The Emperor’s Soul if you’re outside the UK and associated territories) from StoryBundle. After 11:00 p.m. Mountain time today, the bundle will no longer be available. By the way, the winners of yesterday’s contest are Ashley Wilson-Rew, Matthew Holmes, Matt Jarchow, Prem, and Tess. Check for an email from my assistant Peter Ahlstrom and make sure to download your books tonight before the bundle offer expires!
The official Words of Radiance book tour is over (see yesterday’s post for a list of bookstores with signed books), but I’m doing an extra signing this Saturday in Salt Lake City at the Barnes & Noble in Sugarhouse starting at 3:00 p.m. This signing will go pretty much like the signings on the tour, but I hope it won’t last five hours. Anyway, I’ll sign any book I wrote that you bring, but it’s nice to support the store hosting me by buying something while you’re there. I will also do a reading and public Q&A (don’t worry, no spoilers for Words of Radiance will be allowed!). See the event listing for full details.
I also signed a bunch of books during the Literacy Promise conference, and those signed books are now at the Funfinity store in Springville, UT. Give them a call to see what’s left: (801) 491-8940
The Shardhunt is still ongoing. The most recent unlockable was a discussion of the back-and-forth development process for the Whitespine page from Shallan’s Sketchbook in Words of Radiance. (You can see the final versions of all of the art pages here.)
Here are some more stores that are participating in the Shardhunt. Give them a call to see if they have any books left that include signed bookplates and Szeth die-cut standup cards.
Asheville, NC: Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe (828) 254-6734 (Thanks, Erin!)
Hamilton, MT: Chapter One Book Store (406) 363-5220 (Say hi to Mara!)
Homewood, AL: Books-A-Million (205) 870-0213 (Thanks, Lyndsie!)
New Orleans, LA: Octavia Books (504) 899-READ (Say hi to Tom!)
Coral Gables, FL: Books & Books (305) 442-4408 (Thanks, Noah!)
Hanover, MD: Books-A-Million (443) 755-0210 (Say hi to Kaye!)
San Francisco, CA: Books Inc. (415) 864-6777 (Thanks, Larry!)
And here are a few more airport stores where I signed books and inserted Szeth cards (or Syl and koloss stickers, if I ran out of the Szeth cards). Sometimes these get snapped up very quickly, but sometimes they stick around for weeks, so if you’re traveling through these airports be sure to check.
SLC: Simply Books by gate C6
MSP: Store by gate F5, and the “mall” store
MKE: Newsstand by gate D30
ORD: Barbara’s Books in E gates
PHL: Heritage Books between B & C gates
Philadelphia 30th St. train station: Faber Books
DAY: Heritage Booksellers
Lastly, here’s something very much out of the normal swing of things. Rick Martin on Facebook posted these photos of two The Way of Kings-related Lego builds: the Battle of the Tower and the Chasmfiend hunt. The detail on these is amazing. Check out the full gallery here (but note that it contains spoilers if you haven’t read The Way of Kings yet!).
March 25, 2014
Wednesday night is the last chance to name your price for StoryBundle‘s Epic Fantasy Bundle. They’ve given me fifteen download codes to give away. Five of them are being given away on Twitter and five on Facebook. I’ll also give away five here on the blog. My assistant says I have to put in some kind of requirement for these types of things, and he suggests signing up for the newsletter. So that’s what we’ll say: use the contact form here to say you’re entering this contest, check the box that says “Notify me when Brandon is signing near my city & add me to the mailing list” (or remind me if you’re already on my list), and tell me the city where you live. Valid entries received before noon Mountain Time on Wednesday will be accepted, and five winners will be chosen randomly. All codes must be redeemed before the Epic Fantasy Bundle is removed from sale Wednesday night.
Anyone can enter the contest unless you live in the UK, Commonwealth (although Canada is not excluded from the contest), or a former Commonwealth country. I’m putting in this restriction since anyone in those countries who gets the Epic Fantasy Bundle won’t be able to include The Emperor’s Soul in your download because my UK publisher has the distribution rights in those territories. I don’t want to encourage you to enter the contest if you can’t win any of my books. (Though actually, if you’re in one of those countries and already have The Emperor’s Soul or for some other reason want to enter the contest anyway, knowing you can’t get that book, you can go ahead and say that when you enter and I’ll accept the entry. Up to you!) If you’re not sure whether your country is on the exclusion list, go to StoryBundle.com, click on the The Emperor’s Soul cover image, and check to see if the description that pops up includes a warning saying the book won’t be included in the bundle.
Speaking of the newsletter, I only send out three or four each year (though to date I’ve never managed to send more than three), usually around the time when a book is released. All of the newsletters are archived here. The March newsletter is now online.
My book tour for Words of Radiance is now over, though I still have some conventions throughout the year and I’ll be signing in the UK in the London area right at the beginning of August (details forthcoming). I’ve also left a lot of signed books in my wake. Many of the stores where I signed at would be happy to ship you a signed book. Give one of these stores a call!
San Diego: Mysterious Galaxy (858) 268-4747
Huntington Beach CA: Barnes & Noble (714) 897-8781
San Rafael CA: Copperfield’s Books (415) 524-2800
San Francisco: Borderlands Books (415) 824-8203
Beaverton OR: Powell’s Books (503) 228-4651
Seattle: University Book Store (206) 634-3400
Houston: Murder by the Book (713) 524-2595
Omaha: Barnes & Noble (402) 691-4557
Scottsdale AZ: The Poisoned Pen (480) 947-2974
Tucson: Mostly Books (520) 571-0110
Lexington KY: Joseph-Beth (859) 273-2911 (they also have signed Michael Whelan art prints)
Beavercreek OH: Books & Co (937) 429-2169
McLean VA: Barnes & Noble (703) 506-2937
Collegeville PA: Towne Book Center (610) 454-0640
Skokie IL: Barnes & Noble (847) 676-2230
Milwaukee: Boswell Book Company (414) 332-1181
My assistant Peter has added more tweets to the March Twitter posts archive.
On this week’s Writing Excuses episode we touch on more rapid-fire questions, joined by Eric James Stone.
What writing rule do you break the most?
When you review your novel do you print it out and mark it up, or do you edit on the computer?
How long do you wait between finishing a novel and starting the editing process?
What is the number-one issue that you have to overcome each day in order to put words to paper?
How do you feel with the fear of screwing up when you’re writing the other?
When giving a book as a gift, how do you decide on a book to give?
Any advice for people wanting to write a grand, universal story for their fantasy novel?
Is there a place you go to be inspired to write?
Do you ever have trouble writing characters out of the story (you know, by killing them)?
How do you strike the balance between too little description and too much?