First some updates. There’s a new MYTHWALKER chapter up, and this week’s Writing Excuses episode features Pyr editorial director Lou Anders talking about the Hollywood Formula. In addition, Ta’veren Tees has a new shirt up for preorder, Tai’shar Manetheren, and they also have a coupon code.
SHORT VERSION OF TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT
We have an exciting announcement today. A novella I wrote—INFINITY BLADE: AWAKENING—has just been released as of this posting, and you can find it on all of the major ebook retailers. I hope you guys enjoy reading it! It’s intended as a bridge story between the iPhone/iPad game INFINITY BLADE and the sequel to that game, though I did my best to write it in a way that one does not have to have played the game to understand the story. (Though you should totally play the game. It’s heaps of fun.)
BRANDON SANDERSON (a.k.a. LONG) VERSION OF TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT
As many of you might know, I haven’t (in the past) written a lot of short fiction. I do have a couple of pieces you can read, but on the whole, I’ve not spent my time on shorter works. In the last few years, I’ve started to change this. There are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which being the fact that I like to try new things and practice types of writing I don’t do as often as others. Big epics are always going to be my first love and my driving passion in publishing. However, some ideas don’t fit a large epic—indeed, practicing short fiction seems like a way that I can explore new worlds and characters without committing myself to too many large series.
You’ll see me releasing a handful of short fiction pieces over the next year. I’ve got some in anthologies, others I’m preparing to do directly as electronic downloads, and then a few other very special pieces. One of these was announced today on stage at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event. It’s called INFINITY BLADE: AWAKENING, and is a bridge story between the two video games in the INFINITY BLADE series. (An iPhone/iPad game series.)
You might be asking, “Brandon, you are a big bestselling author. Why are you writing a video game adaptation?” My answer is simple: I can do it because I’m a big bestselling author.
Let me explain. I’ve reached a point, due in no small part to luck of the draw, that I’m capable of passing on any project I want and writing only the things that interest me. I have somewhat eclectic tastes. I’ve said over and over again that one of the ways I stay fresh when working on large projects is by doing things I haven’t done before. Last year, this itch was scratched by THE ALLOY OF LAW and DEATH BY PIZZA.
I initially downplayed the INFINITY BLADE offer. However, after a little back-and-forth, I realized that this project had the potential to be a whole lot of fun. They gave me complete creative freedom, yet I also had some pretty strong constraints. They had built a video game (a very fun one, by the way) that was very popular. My challenge was to take things placed into the game because of mechanics, and actually build magic systems, a world, characters, and a story to match them. The game developers had some ideas, but they told me I could do anything at all that I wanted.
I’ve often said that interesting limitations make for interesting magic systems in books. Well, I’ve also found that interesting limitations in writing can force me to grow and stretch in different ways as a writer. I took on the project partially because the guys I was working with were so much fun, but also because—as a gamer—I’ve always had a bit of an itch to be involved in video games in one way or another. (I’ve always envied Orson Scott Card, for example, who worked on the original MONKEY ISLAND, one of the great games of all time.)
This story was just plain FUN to write. I had a blast with it, and it turned out quite well. I got to play with the idea of blending entertainment media—the story is for sale in-game, and together with the game, blends storytelling with gameplay. I think our world is going to change in interesting ways as books, video games, and cinema meld together.
So, this story hit a sweet spot for me. I got creative freedom, the ability to work with fun people, a chance to work with some interesting limitations, a chance to dip my toes into video games (they also let me do a draft on the script for the second game), and a chance to play with transmedia.
As I said in the short version, this story is intended to be accessible to all—but that said, it does rely a lot on things that happened in the first game while throwing balls up into the air for the second game to catch. (That was part of the challenge.) Much like THE ALLOY OF LAW, it is not intended to be the end-all of my career, but rather is me exploring new types of writing and trying to have fun along the way.
That said, I am quite pleased with the book and what it accomplishes. I present it to you proudly, and hope that both Brandon Sanderson fans and INFINITY BLADE fans will find something awesome in it to love.