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The Way of Kings early brainstorms / outlines

Assistant Peter’s note: Following are some of Brandon’s notes when he was planning the 2010 version of The Way of Kings. At the beginning of these it looks a lot like Way of Kings Prime, but then it starts to look more like the version we know and love. These notes offer an insight to Brandon’s writing process.

Chapter One:

VP of the other guy.

  • Other team didn’t want him; Merin traded for him. Other teams think Weak members kill the team. Merin’s team believes in protecting the team—weak members aren’t a liability, because they’ll become strong later.
  • —Later, flashback, guy who protected Merin.
  • Merin has given GUY a dagger spear.
  • They see a nobleman; not a Shardbearer. Introduce concept. Other teams work away from him.
  • Merin has a buckler which is odd, since people don’t wear shields as spearmen. He bangs on it, though, with a distinctive sound to give his team orders. Something he thought of that otthers don’t use.
  • Merin’s team takes down the nobleman by working as a team. Merin protects GUY. Nobleman strikes for GUY, but merin blocks it with spear, catches the sword, distracts the guy while another of his team actually kills the nobleman.
  • “Nobleman always act like they’re working alone. They duel, not fight.” —Merin
  • Merin ties bandages on his men.
  • Sharbearer comes through their own line and kills GUY.
  • . . .
  • Merin fights NAMELESS. Lots of thoughts: 1) uses helm to block a blow. 2) Moves around horse; Sharbearer has more trouble with sides than Merin. 3) Drops to the ground; hard to hit with sword. But forgot how long Shardblades are and it almost takes him. But the guy has to lean down to get a good swing, so while he’s precarious, Merin daggers through the strap of the saddle and hits the horse, making it rear. By this point Merin has been hit and nearly trampled by the horse, which as done more damage to him than the Shardbearer. Shardbearer falls to the ground, as does Merin. Merin gets up, drives dagger into his face—sees the face, Merin is the only one to see the face direclty—then passes out. Others attack vigorously, pulping the face.
Chapter Two

At night on the stone fields. One of his team telling a story about a Stoneshade coming out of the rock. Merin is distracted, thoughtful. Worried that he can’t just go backk to being a farmer; he’s too hardened, too broken. Doesn’t think that life will suit him. Tells the other that it’s foolishness and there is no such thing as Stoneshades. The man talks about the other dead king. Merrin says it was the assassin. The other man talks about the six—SIX!—shardbearers who had been found dead around the king, along with over a hundred soldiers. Who could do such a thing? No man. Merrin goes to see the prisoner, but gets called in to meet with Dalinar instead.

  • They get back to the city, Merin knows about the assassins, they’re planning to just protect the king. He decides that they should search out the assassins, rather than just waiting for them.m
  • Got to keep some insecurities for him. Think about feeling loanly; he’s an outsider, made himself into one now. He’s also got to think about the fact that he’s young, and that he just puts on a front. “He figured that someday, someone would see through him, and that would be that. He’d be off mucking latrines. But until then, why
  • Once he makes a promise to do something, he does it. Period. This goes back to how he was even in flashbacks. His father taught him that. “Never leave a job half-done.”
  • He agrees to work for Dalinar (or perhaps decides this after agreeing) because he sees Renarin as a youth he can protect, even though Renarin’s the same age he is.
  • Can go back and forth between different classes: trained himself in the skill so he could talk to lords to get things for his men. “Did you just call me sir, Sal? Hell, do I look like I’m wearing a fancy coat? Do I sound like I bloody grew up in a palace? Don’t call me sir, you fool.” Renarin VP, watching, as he comes back and talks in a much more up-scale accent?
Shallan Chapter

Drawing Jasnah. She asks her to stop. Ehlokar waks in; Shallan pictures him, draws, good description of how he looks in the moment. Adds a line to indicate sweat.

Scene: Shallan has tried to sketch the face from Merin’s description, but can’t get it. She is now growing suspicious. Draws her brothers face; ads a helm from Shardplate. Merrin watches. “Hey, yeah. That’s him. Who is it?” My brother.

Shattered Plains Brainstorm

Set up:
  • Merin has killed a Shardbearer, but that has gotten him into even more trouble. Now he’s being turned into a bridge runner.
  • Ral Eram hasn’t yet been discovered. It’s a myth.
  • Prahl is an unexplored place.
  • Why isn’t Prahl explored?
    • Past isn’t well known. They’re in a dark age, after all, and have lost the learning of the past. Once the world was much more connected than it is now. Oathgates aren’t known or active.
    • Think of the far east. Most the world is an unfamiliar and dark place.
    • Maybe could have a map that shows known areas, with more vague descrpitions pointing other directions.
Part One: The War

They’re fighting the war, trying to defeat the Prahl, who are holed up in the middle of the

  • Merin fights his way up as a Bridgeman
  • Dalinar trys to get his nephew to give up on the war.
  • Shallan investigates Soulcasting
Part Two: Exploring Ral Eram
Part Three:


  • The shadowdays, the years before the histories.
  • Back before the Tyranicus,
  • Hamash, slavemaster. He’s Thelen, from Thaleth.
  • Bluth, one of his mercinaries.
  • Amaram—the lord’s army he joined.
  • Telim: Merin’s brother.
Merin’s Team
  • Dalwet

Bridge Four

Gaz: The overseer of Bridge Four.

Lord Tabath: Lord of Merin’s army.



Thalen people:

  • Stark white eyebrows and white beards.
  • The man said, voice lightly accented, putting the emphasis on the wrong syllables of his words and lengthening his ‘a’ sounds. “I will not lose an entire wagon for one man.”
  • “You see” as a tag.
  • Not the same religion.
  • Tosbek, Shallan’s captain.
  • The sailor nodded—she thought his name was Yalb, a name that was difficult for her Veden tongue to pronounce. Why were the Thaylen people so fond of mushing their words together, without proper vowels and to give them space?
  • Common men word: Blustering

Veden People

  • Sugar their food a lot. Shallan puts it in everything.


  • Wear wrapps.
  • Can’t grow beards.

Kharbrath—free city. City of Bells.



Legger—centipede thing.


  • The horse-sized crustacians were curling up, pulling into their shells for the night with clawfulls of grain for feeding. Soon they were nothing more than six lumps in the darkness, barely distinguishable from boulders.
First Moon
  • Marked by the rising of Salas, smallest and least illuminating of the moons.
  • Nomon, the middle moon, largest but medium bright, blue-white light.

Pure (Diamond) 30 sky

Blood (Ruby) 20 sky

Green (emerald) 10 sky

Sky (Sappire) 1 sky

1 full sphere = 5 mark

1 mark = 5 chips

1 full sphere = 25 chips


Two blood Spheres: Middle price for a slave.

One mark: Greenmark.

One sapphire chip: (a sky chip) Ride through the city in a cart.

Bridge Four


The Lopen. I am THE lopen. No other people named that. I asked, like, everyone in the villiage. And it’s a really really big villiage, like one hundred. . .or two hundred. . .lots of people, you know. And nobody had heard of that name so I picked it.

I don’t think you know me well enough to use that name, Aleth. Maybe you should buy me some drinks first or something.

For Poly:


Next Merin Chapters:
  • Wakes up. Doesn’t want to move. So sore.
  • Remembers quote from his first captain, but not in detail here. Just curses him, and we get the quote later. “A man isn’t measured by what he accomplishes on the day of resolution. But what he accomplishes on the day after.”
  • Gets up. The other men are watching him, want to see. He checks on the wounded, then runs bridges practice. Some of them gather outside. None help. He’s dissapointed.
  • Gaz tells him that the wounded don’t get food or pay. It’s the high lord’s decision—was going to punish, then thought that it would be better to show why. Starvation and slow death. That way, other bridgemen won’t raise the issue.
  • Hear that the other three teams lost a ton more men. Maybe Rock tells him. Bridge four lost the leats. Bridge four NEVER loses the least. Even if you count the three wounded, they lost the least.
  • Thinks in frustation that he needs money for the men. Asks for donations. Is ignored. This is where Rock talks to him.
  • I need food and anticeptic. Gets an idea. Convinces Gaz to let them gather rocks for the awakeners outside. Gaz thinks Merin’s doing him a favor, since one of the heavily wounded crews was supposed to do this.
  • Syl hunts out the stalks. Rock and he recruit Taft. Rock “Are you with us?” merin thought: since when has it been ‘us’? Taft and Rock shake hands, exchange names. Merin realizes that most of the bridgemen still don’t even know one another’s names.
  • The three gather reeds, hide them in the carts, squeeze out the jusce. Merin sells it to the apothocary. Trades for good money—apoth can sell to the army—and some supplies. Apoth “I’m not going to discover that bottles of this have gone missing from the army stores, am I?”
  • Buys a large cooking pot. Gets some wood scraps from the lumbermen by offering to do some work for them. Cooks food for the men. Something primally inviting about a camp fire. Gathers some more of the men. Teft a flute. Rock cooks.
  • Next day, some of them help him run the bridges.
  • Buy bandages and a flute.
  • Syl: Why were you watching me in the first place? I wasn’t. There was another man I was playing pranks on. Why do windspren play pranks, anyway? Other spren don’t.
  • He gets them to turn their bridge.
  • Foreshadows by claiming he wants to teach them to carry with different muscles, to keep them from cramping. Doesn’t work, but they’ve got it practiced.
  • Springs it when they’re out there.
  • They are protected.
  • Get to the chasm a little late.
  • He’s hung in the Highstorm.
  • Later: Discovers that bridgeleaders get double pay.
  • Has something over Gaz.
  • Gaz gets thrown into them for stealing spheres in storms.
  • He’s frightened because Merin saw him.
  • Practices with a spear beneath. They see him. “You really can use one.”
Next Shallan
  • Jasnah takes her out to see the lower parts of life. They get attacked, she Soulcasts a crook. Now the real life philosophy. Tell me, did I do something evil by promting his attack? Or am I innocent? Do you deserve evil to come upon you if you knowingly place yourself where it will be? Something needs to prompt this. Shallan saying something about tempting fate or the like.
  • Sees that Jasnah keeps the mo’chal in a locked box; need to get the key. That’s the first step.
  • Talk with brother.
  • Talk with ardent. She teaches you only one side. Book of Endless Pages. Look at how the world is shaped and even how our letters form.
  • Goes up, draws to relax.
  • Thinks needs a plan.
  • Draws Jasnah.
  • Add blinks.
  • Looks at her, uses it to build an argument.
  • You obviously appreciate persistance. Otherwise you wouldn’t have. . .
  • You obviously. . .
  • Guy appears.
  • He thinks that she’s part of it. During, mistaken.

|   Castellano