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Chapters from the original draft of The Way of Kings in the Altered Perceptions anthology

Earlier this year I told you about an IndieGoGo project to produce an anthology that would contain chapters from my original 2002 version of The Way of Kings (sometimes called Way of Kings Prime). Well, the anthology is finished, and IndieGoGo backers received their ebook copies a few weeks ago. The hardcovers have also been printed and right now I’m signing the ones that I was supposed to sign. The books will ship out this week and next.

For those of you who weren’t involved in the IndieGoGo campaign, an ebook of the finished Altered Perceptions anthology is now available. You can buy it at the usual ebook stores—links are to the upper right. The ebook sale is being run by Waygate Foundation, a public charity that was founded by prominent Wheel of Time fans, for which I sit on the Board of Directors. Waygate Foundation, in turn, will donate 90% of the net proceeds from the ebook sale to Robison Wells’s chosen charity, Bring Change 2 Mind.

Thirty-one different authors (including Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Shannon Hale, Larry Correia, Brandon Mull, and Seanan McGuire among many others) came together to make this anthology happen. It contains original stories, deleted scenes, and essays from the contributors about how mental illness has affected their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

I talked more about the concept for the anthology here, and you can read a snippet of my Way of Kings Prime excerpt here. Included in the book are six chapters totaling 31,000 words (or a little shorter than The Emperor’s Soul). In the first, the young spearman whose name I later changed to Kaladin made a choice that was opposite a pivotal choice Kaladin makes in the version of The Way of Kings that was eventually published. The next five chapters chronicle his adjustment to his new way of life, including his training under a certain grumpy swordmaster who you met in Words of Radiance and elsewhere.

I do want to make clear that these chapters are not even close to canon and can’t be considered to be very good. It’s obvious that I made the right choice to shelve this version of The Way of Kings and rewrite it from scratch years later, after I felt my writing skills had improved to the extent that I could do justice to the ambitious project that is the Stormlight Archive. These chapters are meant, like all my other deleted scenes, as a curiosity, a look at what might have been.

More important is the Altered Perceptions anthology’s glimpse at how the lives of so many people, including people I care about deeply, are affected by mental illness. There are some fantastic and heartbreaking essays here, and I hope you read every one.

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