This was the hardest chapter in the entire book to write.
That’s often the case for me. I will write a first chapter, continue on through the rest of the book, and then be forced to write the first chatper a few more times to get it right. For this book, I wrote the chapter some five times. If I’m feeling proactive, I’ll post some of these chapters in the deleted scenes section about the time Mistborn 3 comes out.
Anyway, I just couldn’t get the right feel for the first chapter. I wanted to start with a draumatic fight scene involving Vin (you now get that in chapter two) but every time I did, the book actually felt too slow. That’s because, in order to have a fight, I need to explain Allomancy.
I started to get this one right when I backed off of the fight a bit and just had Vin creeping through the city. This let me get out a little bit about Allomancy before I threw her into the fight.
However, I didn’t actually get it right until I added the Elend and Ham scene at the beginning. This scene had been in the book, but much later. The first chapter wasn’t the only one I rewrote, actually—this entire first section of ten chapters underwent some significant revisions to fix the pacing. Originally, I didn’t say much about the army until the later chapters, after Vin’s fight.
However, I realized that I needed to give the sense of large-scale danger to the book before I got into the smaller danger of Vin’s fight. Elend and Ham here talking sets the book off right—it introduces the conflict right off, shows what we’re going to have to worry about in this book, then gives context to Vin’s fight.
The “chandler’s rejected wares” line is one of my favorites in the chapter. I’m glad I was able to keep it, since it was in a section of the chapter originally that I decided to cut.