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Another Long-Winded Explanation of Various Things


A few quick items. Hero of Ages has won the Romantic Times editor’s choice award. Huzzah! I wasn’t certain if I could announce this, but it looks like the magazine has shipped, so I think I can say it now. I’m deeply honored. The Romantic Times has done a very good job reaching across genre lines and honoring books they think deserve praise, regardless of their genre.

In similar news, I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but HERO has also been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award. This is an honor for two reasons—first, because Mr. Gemmell himself was such a fantastic author. But also because this is a reader-voted award, which means that you all took the time to stop by and give me a nominating vote. That means a lot to me. Thank you so much! I believe that the final winner is also chosen by a vote from readers, so if you feel so inclined, you can vote for HERO to win. You don’t even have to register to do so.

Finally, I have a small stock of copies of the ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS hardcover on hand, and that is getting hard to find in stores, so I thought I’d offer them for sale and personalization. I’ll probably do another post on this later, going more in-depth, but if you haven’t tried ALCATRAZ, this would be the perfect chance.

All right. I’ve had a few weeks to rest after the marathon working of Feb, March, and early April. So, it’s time to start thinking about the future. THE GATHERING STORM is turned in. (Quick answers on two questions: First, I don’t know if there will be an electronic copy released. Tor doesn’t own electronic rights, these belong to Harriet, and I don’t know what she and her agent have decided yet. Second, there should be an audiobook released, very close to the initial release of the hardcover.) With TGS done, it’s time to look at the projects on my plate.

PROJECT ONE: AMOL PART TWO (The working title is SHIFTING WINDS, which WILL change.)

I’ve gone ahead and added a progress bar for this one. As I’ve said before, I’ve got a large chunk of it written—but that writing needs quite a bit of work. I pulled a lot of the cleanest, finished sections to use in THE GATHERING STORM. The progress bar says 49% completed, but I’d actually put that closer to 25%, if we look at work to be done and not just raw pagecount.

Obviously, SHIFTING WINDS is the most important project for me to finish. It will be getting the largest share of my attention during the next year, and I’m going to do everything in my power to turn it in a little earlier than the previous book, perhaps even allowing for a release earlier next year than November. (I don’t know if getting it in early will help that or not, but I’ll try.) My self-imposed goal for finishing WINDS is November 3rd, so I’ll have the rough draft done and turned in before I leave on tour.

PROJECT TWO: ALCATRAZ FOUR

I committed to Scholastic for four books, and I will need to (sometime) think about writing the final volume. Book Three is turned in and coming out this fall. Usually, I write these two years ahead. So I turned in Book Three in fall of 2007, then didn’t turn one in Fall of 2008, since I was working so hard on AMOL. But I hate not doing what I say I’ll do, and I will need to write this book sometime. Scholastic probably won’t start bugging me about it until July or August. But it will have to be turned in by the end of the year or I’ll be in breach of contract.

So just a warning to all of you WoT fans out there—I’m sorry, I’ve put ALCATRAZ off for much longer than I should. You’ll see me take a break this fall for a month or so and work on the final Alcatraz book. My goal is to be writing this in September/October when(hopefully) I will have a rough draft done of SHIFTING WINDS. That way, I can work on new Alcatraz material while using the other half of my brain for editing on WoT. This shouldn’t be a problem at all. Normally, I’m working on two books at once—I’ll be writing new material on one, then will be editing another. Writing and editing take different types of attention, and I can usually only write new material for four to six hours a day. I can use the other hours for revisions on another book.

PROJECT THREE: SCRIBBLER

Many of you have asked about this book. It is a very nifty gearpunk young adult book I wrote in spring of 2007, before the WoT came my way. Unfortunately, I can’t justify spending time on it while I’ve got A MEMORY OF LIGHT to finish. People have been waiting too long for AMOL, and now that it’s three volumes, I need to make sure I don’t delay those volumes. To those of you who were looking forward to SCRIBBLER, I’m sorry!

PROJECT FOUR: DARK ONE

Another Young Adult book I was working on. It’s about half finished, and hasn’t been looked at since I was asked to finish the WOT. See the above explanation. This one’s not coming anytime soon.

PROJECT FIVE: THE LIAR OF PARTINEL (A.K.A Dragonsteel)

This was the book I was working on for a 2010 release. Epic fantasy. I wrote it in 2007, then put it aside when the WoT was offered to me.

Frankly, I was never pleased with how this book turned out. It was a rough, rough draft—and though I finished it, it wasn’t really ever ‘finished.’ I’ve tossed it back into the wood chipper of my brain. I can do better, and I just can’t ask you to buy this book, as I don’t feel satisfied with it. I could revise it, but that would take about six months of work—delaying the second WoT book for six months. That’s unacceptable, particularly for a book I feel so unsatisfied with. You’ll get a revision of this someday, perhaps.

PROJECT SIX: WARBREAKER, ELANTRIS, MISTBORN sequels

Maybe someday. Time isn’t right for any of them, I’m afraid. You’ll see some of them in the future, though, and will probably get some MISTBORN short stories sometime this year.

So, that’s it, right? I think I’ve talked about everything. Now, some of you may be wondering what this means. Is there going to be no solo Brandon Sanderson book released in 2010?

Well, maybe.

As early as last summer, Tom Doherty began asking me if there was any way I could get Tor a novel for a 2010 release. He doesn’t like going years without releases, and he worried that my readers would feel dropped in favor of the Wheel of Time readers. Plus, he really wants to see something more from me.

When he first mentioned it, I laughed. He was asking me, essentially, to finish the entire Wheel of Time book by spring of 2009, then write him a solo book by fall 2009. Even then, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. AMOL was too big a project.

However, now that AMOL has been split, Tom has asked more and more often about getting a Brandon Sanderson solo book to release between the WoT books. He’s very worried about there being a period of three years during which I don’t release anything of my own. And so, with his questions, he got me thinking. Was there anything I would feel comfortable releasing? LIAR turned out poorly, SCRIBBLER isn’t epic enough, WARBREAKER 2 isn’t written. What else is there?

The answer was simple. THE WAY OF KINGS.

The Way of Kings was the book I had just finished when I first got offered a book deal for ELANTRIS. I originally signed a deal for ELANTRIS and for KINGS. (And because of that, you can still find an Amazon entry for KINGS—which has some amusing reviews posted by readers with too much time on their hands. Note that the book was never released, so these are all just made-up amusing reviews.)

Yes, the original contract was for KINGS—but I decided that KINGS needed to be put off. KINGS is a great book, perhaps the best I’ve ever written. But it just didn’t FEEL right to release after ELANTRIS. THE WAY OF KINGS is a massive war epic of legends, mythology, and magical revolution. It’s intricate, complex, and was a bit daunting for me when I thought about readying it for publication. Just to give you an idea, MISTBORN has three magic systems, KINGS has well over twenty. MISTBORN has six main viewpoint characters across the trilogy; KINGS has dozens. I wrote about 30k of background material for MISTBORN. Background material for KINGS is over 300k.

Difference in scope is only one of the reasons KINGS wasn’t the right follow-up to ELANTRIS. After a stand-alone novel, I felt that I wanted to publish a trilogy, perhaps two, before I offered my readers the first of a big, multi-volume epic. I also worried that the initial draft of KINGS just wasn’t good enough—because my skill wasn’t up to making it good enough.

Working on the WHEEL OF TIME has forced me to grow immensely as a writer, however. Over the last year, the more I thought about it, the more I itched to dive in and do a revision of THE WAY OF KINGS. If I could effectively use all I’ve learned, I might be able to make the book become what I want it to be. And so, I told Tom about KINGS, and he eagerly offered me a new contract for it. I’ve warned him that it might not be ready in time to come out next year, but I’m going to give it a try.

KINGS needs a solid rewrite. I’ve been tweaking it over the years, worldbuilding the setting and so forth. I’ve been planning, working on, and revising this book for eight years . I think that if I do a rewrite now with my current writing abilities, it would turn out very, very well.

Maybe.

The thing is, I can’t be certain. Maybe it won’t work as I want. Maybe I will just have too many things on my mind. Maybe I’m not up to doing this book yet. But, because of the pleading of Tom, my readers, and (most importantly) my own heart, I’m going to give it a try.

As I said above, writing and revising take different parts of the brain. I can only write new material for a certain number of hours a day, usually around four or six. But I can revise all day long. Perhaps it’s the difference between mental heavy lifting and mental long-distance running. Either way, in order to give this a try, I’ve hired a full-time assistant, Peter Ahlstrom, to do all the things in a day that normally take my time away from writing/revising. Usually, when I’m not revising, the ‘non-writing’ hours of the day are spent doing all kinds of tasks associated with being self-employed. Peter is going to be handling all of this, theoretically freeing up a few hours each day during which I can revise THE WAY OF KINGS.

This will not take my time away from writing SHIFTING WINDS. If it starts to look like it will delay that book, I will stop working on KINGS—not because of any criticism I may get from readers, but because I feel a debt to Mr. Jordan and this project I have agreed to do. I like to keep my promises.

I explain all this because I want you WoT readers to understand that I do have a life beyond the Wheel of Time. I have obligations, both to publishers and to myself. I feel very strongly that the time has come for me to show readers what I’ve been working on behind the scenes for many years. And so, on my blog I will spend time talking about projects other than the WHEEL OF TIME.

I like to be open. I like you to be able to see what I’m doing, and so I feel I should be up-front with you about what I plan. I’ve shelved a lot of books for THE WHEEL OF TIME, and rightly so. But there are two projects I WILL be spending time on this year—Alcatraz 4 and THE WAY OF KINGS. I plan to add progress bars for each of them, and link the titles here so those who come to my site later can read this explanation.

Sorry to be long winded . . . again. Occupational hazard.