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Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The obligator vs Inquisitor political maneuvering here is supposed to feel like only a sliver of a much larger political system. You can, hopefully, imagine the various Cantons struggling for dominance over the centuries. This right here is a nice little culmination of that, with Vin forming the apex of the Inquisitor argument.

I really like this scene because it shows that other things are going on besides Kelsier's plan and the crew's plot. It's very amusing to me that this entire other book happened at the same time–the Inquisitors researching, looking for weaknesses in the other obligator power structure, then hunting down Vin so that they can use her to prove their point. All of the things that have happened with Vin being hunted–their chasing of her and her brother for over a decade, their slaughter of Camon and Theron's thieving crews, the bait for Kelsier at the crossroads–all of this was done simply so that they could find Vin and use her to take control of the Ministry. It's ironic, really, that the two plots would intersect, and that Vin would find herself at the center of both of them.

Tevidian's death here was one of the reasons why I started the book with a discussion between a Lord and an obligator, explaining what happens to skaa women after noblemen rape them. There's a nice symmetry to the book in my mind–a cohesion bookended by an explanation in the first chapter, then a payoff near the end.

Manchester signing ()
#3 Copy


I wanted to ask, at the beginning you mentioned that you had twelve books written before your first book was published, can you tell us, or are you allowed to tell us how many have actually been published?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I can actually go down the list for you. It is somewhat interesting, I think, for people. My very first book was a book called White Sand, and it was basically kind of a Dune rip-off. Your first book is always  a rip-off, right, of somebody, as a new writer? And that doesn't count the one in high school, which was a SUPER rip-off, like a major rip-off, it was basically a Tad Williams meets Dragonlance. Full blown with elves and things-- Yeah it was totally--

White Sand is the first one I finished, and I actually then went and wrote a science fiction book called Star's End.  And then I wrote the second half of White Sand, because I just stopped and said "This is long enough to be a novel" and then I wrote the rest of it and called that book two, that's actually the only sequel in there I wrote. And then I wrote a comedy, where a lot of the thesis of that comedy came out in Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians ten years later, so that one's kind of half been published. White Sand and Star's End are not any good, they have not been published. And then I wrote something called The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora, which was really weird and sci-fi-y and stuff, and that one hasn't been published because it's really bad too. And then book number six was Elantris which was pretty good. Book number 7 was Dragonsteel, which became my honor's thesis as an undergraduate and half of that book ended up in the contemporary Way of Kings, the Bridge Four sequence was all from Dragonsteel and I ripped that out when I re-did Way of Kings.

After that was a re-write of White Sand, with better writing nowadays, and that one we're turning into a graphic novel, that one's good enough to read-- The biggest problem it has is its a little too bloated.  The story-- It's like 300,000 words with 150,000 words of story. And so we are going to condense it-- into a graphic novel, so you will eventually see that one. The next one was called Aether of Night, that one didn't get published, it's really two decent books that don't work well together, like one half is a Shakespearean farce about a guy who takes his brother's place on the throne, they're twins, it's mistaken identify, yadda yadda; the other half is this dark brutal war book with an invasion going on, and the two halves never really translate well. People read this and they're like, that chapter is hilarious and fun, and OH MY GOODNESS, and yeah, so-- Maybe someday I'll do something with that.

After that I wrote a book named Mythwalker which became Warbreaker. I ripped out the good parts of that and wrote Warbreaker later on. Then I wrote a book called Final Empire, which is not Mistborn: The Final Empire, because then I wrote a book called Mistborn, and neither of those books were working very well. And then I wrote a book called Way of Kings and then I sold Elantris and I said "I want to take these two books that weren't working very well, and I think if I combine them--" because Mistborn had a cool magic system and the Final Empire had this whole thing about the Hero who failed and the Dark Lord took over and mixing these too ideas turned into a great book and that became Mistborn: The Final Empire.

And basically everything from then I've published, Warbreaker came next which was a re-write of Mythwalker. The Way of Kings, the one you hold, is a complete rebuild, I started from scratch, and added the Bridge Four sequence from Dragonsteel and some of these things... The only good one in there, that wasn't published, is White Sand I think, and I think it is going to make a really nice graphic novel because the story is really solid, the characters are really solid. I just wasn't a good enough writer to know how to condense where I needed to.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighteen - Part Two

Shan was a later addition to the book. In the original draft of the novel, I did mention her in this chapter, but we didn't see her–and Lord Liese didn't mention her. As I wrote the first draft, however, I began to realize that I needed more tension and political wrangling in the Vin ball scenes. So, I expanded Shan and made her a larger character. Then, during the first rewrite, I added her in to this scene, along with some others.

The purpose of Shan, therefore, is to show that some of the nobility ARE the way Kelsier says. The thing is, most of what we get about the nobility come from him, and he has a very skewed perspective. Our only real opportunity to interact with them is at the balls, and so I knew I needed to cram a variety of personalities into this scene, so that people could have a chance to experience the range of the nobility.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

One final note for this chapter. Bilg. I prefer him dead. (This is the guy Demoux fought at the end of the chapter, with Kelsier's help.)

In the original draft of the book, I had Kelsier–through Demoux–kill Bilg in the duel. I thought this was appropriate, and would be the sort of thing that Kelsier would do. In addition, I really wanted to emphasize the ruthless edge that Kelsier has. He is willing to do whatever he has to in order to see that his goals are achieved. It's that conflict–the happy, joking Kelsier mixed with the hard, ruthless rebel leader–that makes him interesting to me.

Joshua was the big complainer on this one. He felt that my books are too optimistic for something THIS harsh to be done by one of the main characters. He felt that readers wouldn't go along with it–indeed, it was one of the main points that my alpha readers brought up. Some liked it, others hated it. The scene did it's job.

Eventually, I went with Joshua's suggestion, however, and left Bilg alive. To me, this kind of castrates the scene. However, I suppose the most important elements still get across, and Kelsier gets to remain less tarnished a hero.

Still, I would have liked the death to remain, if only for the future books. I'll eventually post this scene as a deleted scene from the book.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Camon was originally far less competent than he ended up in the final draft. Originally, Vin was constantly (in this chapter and the next) thinking about how he was making mistakes when talking to the obligator and the crew. I thought this would establish Vin as an intelligent, insightful character–one who is even better than the guy in charge of her crew.

However, I eventually realized that this didn't work. Camon was too incompetent–the version of him in the first draft would never have been able to keep control of his crew. In addition, by making him so weak, it weakened the threat to Vin. It's always better to have antagonists be strong, if only to make the heroes look stronger by comparison. Though Camon is only a minor villain in this book, strengthening him made the story seem much more logical, and I really don't think I lost anything.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nineteen - Part One

This book is not a story about the history of the Final Empire or Allomancy. Those things will come in later novels. This is the story of a girl learning to overcome her trust issues, while at the same time the story of a beaten people resisting despite the odds.

However, I did want to give some clues as to the nature of this world and its mythology. The biggest clue outside of the logbook comes in the way that the mists themselves react to someone using Allomancy. They swirl around him or her. This is meant to show that the mists are not something natural. They're more than a weather pattern; they're part of the magic of this world.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

An item of note is in this chapter bump. I mention "Terris" for the first time here, which I was glad that I was able to do. Remember that name, because you'll soon get a lot more about that country.

I do worry that the bumps will make the book feel a little too much like a standard fantasy. Mention of prophesies and the like has become such a cliché in fantasy that I avoid them whenever I can. The story in Mistborn doesn't really deal much with that aspect of the history, but the story that is happening in the bumps has quite a bit to do with it.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

This introductory scene, where Dox and Kell meet on the city wall, has just the right feel for me. I wanted this book–particularly at the beginning–to have the feel of a heist movie. Something like Ocean's Eleven, Sneakers, or Mission: Impossible. I thought a couple of senior thieves getting together on the wall and talking about the team they are gathering would fit in just perfectly.

That was, by the way, one of the major inspirations for this book. I've mentioned that I stole the concepts for Allomancy and Vin's character from other books I wrote. The plot came from a desire to write something that had the feel of a heist movie. I haven't ever seen that done in a fantasy novel–a plot where a team of specialists get together and then try to pull off a very difficult task.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The limelights were added at Moshe's suggestion. In the original drafts of the book, I had bonfires burning outside. That was problematic, however, since they not only required a lot of fuel, but getting them close enough to the windows to provide enough light meant getting them close enough to be dangerous to the glass because of the heat. In addition, Moshe pointed out that bonfires just wouldn't be intensely focused enough in their brightness to provide the right illumination for the stained glass windows. (And, of course, I HAD to illuminate the windows. Why go to all the trouble of putting the balls in gothic cathedrals if nobody could see the windows?)

So, anyway, Moshe came up with the limelights as a fix. They actually work quite well–they fit the general level of technology I place the Final Empire as having, and the provide focused and intense light. As I understand it, they were the way that stages were illuminated to show the actors during the nineteen hundreds. Hence, being in the limelight as a phrase for someone who is being paid attention to.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Eight - Part Four

So, my favorite secret in the novel is the fact that the Lord Ruler is actually Rashek. I'm still not sure if this revelation will mean as much to readers as I want it to–it depends on them reading, and caring, about the story that happened in the past. However, when it all comes together, I think it really pays off.

So, the concept that started me on this book was "What if the Dark Lord won?" I thought about that, then figured it would be more scary if the hero had become the Dark Lord–only something worse. Kind of a "What if Frodo kept the ring?" idea. Well, I eventually decided to twist that into a "What if Sam killed Frodo and took the ring, then became a Dark Lord?" Like Kelsier says, there's always another secret.

The story, of course, grew into much more from there. The interaction between Rashek and Alendi (the unnamed hero from the logbook) was interesting enough to me that I decided to give it its own story, told through the chapter bumps. I see this book as actually having three prime viewpoint characters: Vin, Kelsier, and Alendi.

My favorite kinds of revelations are after this nature–things that the reader has been familiar with, yet not quite understanding, the entire book. Things you could have figured out much earlier, if you'd really been paying attention to the right clues.

These clues, then, led to the source of the Lord Ruler's immortality. It has been foreshadowed that age is one of the things that Feruchemists can store up, and we've established that the Lord Ruler can change his age. So, I don't think it was too great a stretch to make Vin understand that his Feruchemical storages were somehow behind his immortality. You'll get more explanation of this in the epilogue.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Killing off the army like this was planned from the beginning. I knew I needed some kind of big wrench in the plans of the crew, and figured this would make a pretty good one. Plus, it felt natural, since it was a problem with Kelsier's own growing reputation. The very thing he's been working so hard to foster eventually turned against him.

When alpha readers read this chapter, they didn't see the loss of the army as much of a setback. That was one of the first things that made me realize the big flaw in the early drafts. I'd talked a lot in the crew about stealing the atium, but I'd spent all the time with them actually doing things on recruiting the army. So, the readers were still focused on the job being the atium heist, rather than the capture of the city. In that context, losing the army isn't all that bad.

So, I like how the rewrite focuses much more on the army. It makes the events of this chapter all the more poignant. Yeden, the one that was employing the crew, is dead. That should mean the end of everything.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

In the original draft of the book, Kelsier didn't show up at this meeting. He let Yeden do the recruiting. However, as the drafting proceeded, I decided that I wanted Kelsier to present himself more fully to the skaa population. With Yeden now acting as their employer–rather than just another member of the crew–I also needed to show what Kelsier could do that Yeden could not.

Of course, this is also the first hint we get of Kelsier's true plan. I decided that I wanted him to give this speech here to initiate the idea that he's building himself a reputation with the skaa.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#14 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Originally, the nobleman Kelsier met with was Lord Hasting. This was the only place he appeared in the book. I decided in a rewrite to introduce Elend's father here instead, since he's a character we’ll see much more from.

I also strengthened Straff in this scene. Before, he came off too weak as he bought the lies Kelsier told him. (Which, by the way, I've weakened. I realized that spreading too many falsehoods would be dangerous, and not really effective. Kelsier needs to whisper half-truths, rather than outright lies.)

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#15 Copy


If I were to start reading your books, which you would recommend I start with?

Brandon Sanderson

Normally, I recommend that people either start with a book called Mistborn or a book called Warbreaker.  Warbreaker is a standalone.  It has a little more romance to it and it's a little lighter. Mistborn is a little more action oriented and a little more plot focused.  So it just depends what you're interested in.  

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#16 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-One

This is another of my favorite chapters. (How many of those am I allowed to have, by the way?)

Anyway, it was about time for someone to say the things that Vin did in this chapter. Kelsier and his group really ARE a bit disconnected from regular skaa. In a way, they're like Elend and his little band of philosophers–they feel bad for those beneath them, and talk about helping, but it's really hard for them to really understand the skaa.

I love Vin's entrance. Perhaps I have a flare for melodrama, but I think it worked very well here to have her burst in, bloodied, carrying her dress. (Which, of course, she went back and fetched so that it wouldn't give her away.)

I did change the last line of this scene. Up until the copy edit, the last line from Kelsier's viewpoint (before we switch to Vin atop the roof) was him thinking "Well, she certainly has changed!"

This seemed like too much of a quip, and it undermined the tension and emotions of the last chapter. Sometimes, a good one-liner is good to release tension. However, in this case, I found that it really did feel out of place. This just wasn't the time for some half-snarky comment from Kelsier.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

One thought—you might want to go through the book after each section ending and read ONLY the italicized epigrams at the beginnings of chapters. They tell a story in and of themselves. I will, for those of you who are epigram-challenged, dump some of the more important sections into the narrative later. However, there are some subtle things you'll miss if you don't read through all of the introductions.

The concept of these epigrams—telling a story within a story—was another of the big things that made me want to write the book. There really is a third viewpoint happening in this book—a first person viewpoint that comes in each chapter, if only very briefly. Who is writing them? Where do they come from? You'll find out soon. (Like, in just a couple of chapters.)

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#18 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Title Page - Part Two

Okay, so here we see the words Final Empire for the first time. Continuing the discussion I had in the last annotation, one of the books that I wrote after Mistborn Prime was called The Final Empire. (I now call it The Final Empire Prime.) It was the story of a young boy (yes, boy) named Vin who lived in an oppressive imperial dictatorship that he was destined to overthrow. It was my attempt at writing a shorter book that still had epic scope.

This book turned out to be okay, but it had some fairly big problems problems. While people reacted rather well to the characters, the setting was a little weak for one of my books. Also, once again, I wasn't that enthusiastic about the way the plot turned out.

After that, I gave up on the short books. I proved no good at it. I decided to do The Way of Kings next, a massive war epic. It turned out to be 350,000+ words–I kind of see it as me reacting in frustration against the short books I'd forced myself to write. About this time, I sold Elantris, and Moshe (my editor) wanted to see what else I was working on. I sent him Kings. He liked it, and put it in the contract.

I, however, wasn't certain if Kings was the book I wanted to use as a follow up for Elantris. They were very different novels, and I was worried that those who liked Elantris would be confused by such a sharp turn in the direction of my career. So, I decided to write a different book to be my "second" novel.

I had always liked Allomancy as a magic system, and I liked several of the character concepts Final Empire. I also liked a lot of the ideas from both books, as well as some ideas I'd had for a great plot. I put three all of these things together, and conceived the book you are now reading.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#19 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Originally, I had Vin far less emotionally affected by the scene of slaughter. I wanted to imply that she's seen a lot of death and hardship in her life, and so something like this wasn't all that shocking to her. Alpha readers, however, found her too callous here. I did a rewrite, and realized that I liked it much better with Vin reacting emotionally to the scene of death. She still puts up a strong front, which is very like her. However, she no longer just walks through it without reacting.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-One - Part Two

Originally, you may be amused to hear, I was going to have Vin go on this trip with Yeden, with Kelsier staying behind. I even wrote about half of the "leave for the caves" scene with Kelsier telling Vin he's going to send her with Yeden.

I'm still not sure what I was thinking.

Fortunately, I came to my senses, and I quickly reworked the scene. Vin had to stay in Luthadel–she's go too much to do there. But, I did want to get a chance to look over the army, so I sent Kelsier instead. It worked out very well, as I was able to do some other things–such as have Kelsier show off for the troops.

However, I didn't want to spend TOO long out here. When Vin had been the one coming to the caves, I'd planned two or three chapters. When it became Kelsier, I knew I wanted to shrink it to one chapter. So, that's why we get the kind of weird "time passes" omniscient bit at the beginning of the second section.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#21 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-One - Part One

You can thank my editor Moshe for the canals in this book. He's a bit of a canal buff, and when he had read through Mistborn, he excitedly explained to me how canal technology was just perfect for the level of development I had in this book. So, at his suggestion, I changed caravans into convoys, and swapped horses for longboats.

I really like the change. It gets boring seeing, reading, or writing the same old things. So, by getting rid of one standard fantasy element–highways and horses–I think we add something very distinctive to the world.

Moshe, though. Man. He knows TOO much about this stuff.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#22 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Nine

This is probably my favorite section from the logbook. It really comes together here, weaving in elements from the various epigraphs, making a story out of what the reader has previously only seen in pieces.

I hope this story-within-a-story is interesting to you. It really does have a purpose in the novel, as you'll eventually see. At the very least, I should hope that the concept intrigues you. The past story is, after all, the standard fantasy novel story–the young peasant hero who follows the prophesies to rise up and defeat the dark lord. Except, as you can guess, something went wrong.

Though I try to avoid writing the standard fantasy story, it intrigues me. That's why I wanted to have these epigraphs make reference to the concept. They let me play with what has come before me, without actually forcing my readers to spend all their time reading "my" interpretation of the same old story. (It seems that every fantasy author has their own spin on this story–yet none of them realize that as a reader, I don't really want to read a new spin on an old story. I want to read a new story.)

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#23 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Four - Part Two

The other big part of this chapter is, of course, the plan. This is where the story has been pushing up to this point. I worry that even still (despite several cuts) this section feels a little too much like an info-dump. I couldn't really get around that, since Kelsier is–essentially–dumping some information on the crew.

This is also where I begin to diverge from the "heist story" framework. I started with that concept to write the book, but as I proceeded with the plotting and the writing of the actual novel, I realized that the heist structure was simply too small to fill the larger concepts for the trilogy I was working on.

So, in rewrites, I came back and reworked this section to take to focus off stealing the Lord Ruler's money. The truth is, Kelsier wants to overthrow the government and get back at the Lord Ruler. The money isn't half as important to him. And, as the story progresses, you'll see that the crew spends most of its time on the army.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#24 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The scene with the skaa getting killed in the courtyard was also added later in the drafting process. Moshe was worried that the Final Empire didn't seem brutal enough–especially in these middle chapters, where it was easy to forget (as Vin almost did) how dangerous the world was. The balls and the frills were supposed to be distracting. However, I realized that I needed to bring people back on-course by throwing in a scene like this, where abject brutality could be contrasted with the night's beauty.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#25 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I wasn't planning on Elend getting as big a part in this book as he ended up having. However, the more I wrote scenes with him, the more interested I became in him as a character. He doesn't exist just to provide a romantic interest for Vin–he exists to show the human side of the nobility. I knew that I needed at least one nobleman who was presented favorably, otherwise Kelsier's harshness wouldn't have the contrast it needed. So, I designed a young man that Vin could meet at the balls.

Yet, when I started writing the scenes with Elend, I found them flowing very easily. I really liked his voice and his relaxed affability. Mistborn, being about such a harsh world an society, threatened to become too dark. I needed another character like Elend to provide moments that were more lighthearted. He also gives us scenes that are interesting in a more thoughtful way, rather than a dark way. He turned out much better than I'd hoped, and is probably the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the novel.

Part of humanizing the nobility was to show Elend being interested in the skaa. I had to walk a line with him. I didn't want him to be TOO interested, or sympathetic, toward the skaa. He's a nobleman, not some crusader for the rights of the oppressed. Yet, I wanted to show through his simple interest that he wasn't cruel. I also wanted to show how little some of the noblemen know about skaa. The things Vin wonders–if the nobility even know about much of the suffering in their world–are valid. Someone like Elend, who spends most of his time at balls or being waited upon in his keep, wouldn't really understand the life of a skaa.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#26 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twelve - Part One

Why do I have the ball scenes in this book? Isn't this supposed to be an action story? Well, the absolute truth is I like party scenes like these.

It's kind of odd. I don't particularly like parties myself, but in books, they add quite a nice contrast to the dark skulking type of activities Vin has been about so far. It's nice to show the lavish side of life in Luthadel. The ball scenes in Elantris were some of my favorite, since they allowed for some relaxed–if important–verbal sparring and witty commentary. So, when I was planning Mistborn, I knew I had to have some parties at the noble keeps.

So, that meant I had to get Vin to said parties. That meant she had to pretend to be a noblewoman. That's where this whole plot cycle started–with me wanting an excuse to have ball scenes in this book.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#27 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Five - Part Two

I was forced to cut one of my favorite lines from the book, and it was in this chapter. I'll write it now. Near the beginning, the narrative says regarding Vin:

"She was, as if, nowhere."

Moshe convinced me that this sentence just didn't make enough sense. Yet, to me, it somehow expressed how Vin felt. She had been cut free by Kelsier's death. Yet, she was still there. She wished she could just meld with the mists–she felt as if her soul were already cast away. Yet, she couldn't vanish, as she wished.

Ah, cursed grammar, ruining a perfectly good sentence!

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#28 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I sincerely hope that you've figured out that the logbook Sazed is translating is the source of the epigraph/bums at the beginnings of the chapters. I found this a very interesting way to use the epigraphs–almost every one of my alpha readers spent a lot of time trying to guess who wrote them, and where they came from. That kind of anticipation makes for strong storytelling, and so I'm very pleased with the way the bumps start to come together and make more sense once the book gets found.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#29 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nineteen - Part Two

This is the only chapter where we get to see directly what Kelsier is going about doing at night. You may think that a thousand manuscript pages is a lot of room to do things in a book, but you'd be surprised. With the focus on Vin's progress, I really can't spent that much time showing Kelsier running about being sneaky. In truth, I think it would get old very quickly.

Yet, one chapter–such as this one–makes for a very interesting break from what we have been doing. It gives us an idea of Kelsier's part in the job without being laborious. Actually, I find this chapter quite fun, since it gives us quite a bit of information in a very short amount of time. Having Kelsier ask about House Renoux, and getting the response, lets the reader know that the crew is safe for the moment. Yet, having Straff ask about the Survivor lets us know that Kelsier's reputation is growing, and that the crew might soon be in danger.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#30 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Another big change was renaming the Lord Ruler's priests. Originally, they were called just that–priests. And, the Steel Ministry was the Steel Priesthood. I made the change to Steel Ministry and obligators because I didn't want the religion and government in the Final Empire to feel so stereotypical. This was a world where the priests were more spies and bureaucrats than they were true priests–and I wanted the names to reflect that. So, I took out "Priesthood" and "priests." I really like the change–it gives things a more appropriate feel, making the reader uncertain where the line between priests and government ministers is.

By the way, my friend Nate Hatfield is the one who actually came up with the word "obligator." Thanks, Nate!

Anyway, I when I changed the priests to obligators, I realized I wanted them to have a more controlling function in the Final Empire. So, I gave them the power of witnessing, and added in the aspect of the world where only they can make things legal or factual. This idea expanded in the culture until it became part of society that a statement wasn't considered absolutely true until an obligator was called in to witness it. That's why, in this chapter, we see someone paying an obligator to witness something rather trivial.

This was one of the main chapters where obligators were added in, to show them witnessing–and keeping an eye on the nobility. Moshe wanted me to emphasize this, and I think he made a good call. It also gave me the opportunity to point out Vin's father, something I didn't manage to do until chapter forty or so in the original draft.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#31 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Two - Part One


As I mentioned a couple annotations ago, this chapter is one of my favorites. That, however, doesn't mean it doesn't have flaws. It has a lot of them, the most important one being the fact that it's just a tad out of place. It's almost a chapter from book one pulled and stuck into book three, where it has no business being and is likely to get clubbed on the head and dragged into a dark alleyway.

Book one was far more lighthearted than this final book is, and while I love having this chapter in the book for the nostalgia it evokes and for the opportunity it gives for banter, I will acknowledge that some people may find it out of place.

There is a strong rationale for it being like it is. Elend hit on this while dancing with Vin. The familiar setting and situations brought out the person he used to be when he attended the balls. I think we all do this. When I came back home after my first year of college, I was shocked at how quickly I fell back into being the person I was before that year, which had forced me to stretch and grow a great deal. I was home, and the high-school me resurfaced.

Well, this chapter has the high-school Elend. He goes too far and makes too many wisecracks. He should have known better. In fact, he did know better, and he almost immediately regretted treating Yomen as he did. One other thing to remember, however, is that this is Elend's first real parlay with an enemy king. His previous two conquests were made by Vin and were negotiated via the use of a lot of Allomancy and a rather large koloss sword.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen - Part Three

This conversation between Kelsier and Vin on the balcony is one of the most foundational scenes in the book, at least in regard to how Vin's character is going to progress. As I've mentioned, I'm often accused of being overly optimistic in the way I view the world. I'm probably guilty as charged, but I figure that most optimists I know tend to be pretty darn happy. Seems like a good life.

Anyway, I really do think it would be better on a person's psyche to just go ahead and trust those that are close to you. However, you run the risk of having to deal with what happened to Kelsier. Do you stop loving someone because they betray you? No, that's what makes it hurt. That's why breakups are tough, because you can't really change your feelings. You can only try and overwhelm them with bitterness instead.

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Brandon Sanderson

Epilogue - Part One

This last epigraph is actually out of order. Most of them were chronological as Vin read from the logbook. This one, however, doesn't actually come after the one before it. I just put it here because it felt like it belonged at the end.

I did, actually, write most of these epigraphs (or bumps–or whatever you want to call the things at the beginnings of chapters) in one lump, then cut them apart, as I think I've mentioned. I did the same thing for book two, actually, where there's a different kind of puzzle going on in the narratives.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Someone asked Brandon why the general feel of Steelheart is so similar to Final Empire.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that was due to his love of heist stories. A group of thieves tasking themselves to do the impossible is just one of his favorite types of stories. Knowing this, Brandon did consciously try to make Steelheart a different flavor of heist from [The Final Empire].

Oathbringer London signing ()
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What was the thematic decision behind the number 16? Why did you choose that?

Brandon Sanderson

I really like how divisible it was. It looked really cool when I was playing with things like an Allomantic table and whatnot. It was mostly an aesthetic choice. Like, it just felt right.


So was it originally the Shards or the metals you decided on?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I started with the metals. And then expanded out to that, yeah. So what you've gotta remember is, like, I write Elantris without knowledge of the cosmere. I knew I was gonna do something, but I didn't know what I was gonna do. And then I wrote Dragonsteel, and in Dragonsteel I had all sorts of theories and plans, but I never canonized any of that. And when I sat down to write Mistborn, I said, "All right. We're building the cosmere for real now." And before then I had just kind of been winging it. So when I did Aether of Night, which I put Shards in, I was like "Okay, there'll be some of these things, and what-not." Mistborn was, like, the first real cosmere book, if that makes any sense.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Six

This chapter is where, in my opinion, the book starts to get good. These kinds of chapters are part of what I write for–good, solid character interaction with some intellectual problem-solving going on. I really like the way that the crew works through their challenges here. The items presented really do sound quite daunting as they're listed; yet, by the end, I hope that the reader feels as the crew does–that this plan could actually work, if they pull it off right.

I had to rewrite this scene several times, bringing the focus away from simply stealing the atium. By the last draft, I had something I was very pleased with. It outlines things simply enough, yet doesn't make everything sound TOO easy. At least, that is my hope.

Brandon's Blog 2008 ()
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Brandon Sanderson


I’ve been thinking that I should give a little bit of an explanation of my history as a writer for those of you who don’t know. I think it might give you some context for some of the posts I’ve made, and things people are saying in the forums about my unpublished novels. Read on if you want a little context.

This all started in earnest when I was 21, about eleven years ago, back in 1997. That was the year when I decided for certain that I wanted to write novels for a living.

My first goal was to learn to write on a professional level. I had heard that a person’s first few books are usually pretty bad, and so I decided to just spend a few years writing and practicing. I wanted time to work on my prose without having to worry about publishing.

You might call this my “apprentice era.” Between 97 and 99 I wrote five novels, none of them very good. But being good wasn’t the point. I experimented a lot, writing a variety of genres. (All sf/f of course—but I did some epic, some humor, some sf.) As you can probably guess by me writing five books in two and a half years, none were very well edited and while I had a lot of fun writing them, they were done very quickly, and had a lot less planning than my later books. Not many people read any of these novels, and I only ever sent one out to publishers (the second one, STARS’ END.)

Around 1999 (I can’t remember the exact date) I started attending the science fiction magazine THE LEADING EDGE at BYU; I also took an important writing class, less because of what I learned about writing (though I did learn a lot) and more because of people I met. Through TLE and the class, I ended up as part of a community of writers, editors, and science fiction/fantasy readers who were serious about what they were doing. During this time, I founded a writing group with Dan Wells and Peter Ahlstrom (Fellfrosh and Ookla over on the TWG forums.) Other members included our friend Nate, who doesn’t hang out here any more, and Ben/Tage, who used to be one of the board’s mods and who is still often one of my alpha readers. Eric (St. Ehlers) was another of our good friends, as was Kristy (Brenna), among numerous others, many of whom don’t hang out here very much any more.

You might call this the “Golden Era” of my unpublished career. I was getting to one of the most creative points in my life, and was very energized and excited about the writing I’d learned to do. After practicing for five novels, I felt that I was finally in a position to do justice to an epic fantasy story. In 1999, I started a book I called THE SPIRIT OF ELANTRIS, which eventually just became ELANTRIS.

As I said, this was the golden era of my unpublished career—though I think the ‘unpublished’ part of that statement is important. I hope that I’ll grow and progress, and think that the books I’m writing now are better than the ones I wrote then—just as I hope that the books I’ll do in ten years will be better than the ones I do now.

However, the three novels from this era—ELANTRIS, DRAGONSTEEL, and WHITE SAND—represent some of the best worldbuilding I’ve ever done. Of the three, ELANTRIS turned out the best by far. WHITE SAND was good, though it will feel dated now if you read it, since my writing skill has improved quite a bit since then and it never got the level of editing and revision that ELANTRIS did. DRAGONSTEEL has moments of brilliance surrounded by some really boring sections; it had trouble because of the scope of what I was attempting. I think any of the three could have become publishable if they’d gotten the right editing and revisions.

Anyway, I wrote these books in 1999–2000. By 2001, however, this era was lapsing. I finished at BYU, and since TLE was for students, a younger crowd was taking over and I no longer quite fit in there. I continued my writing groups in various forms, and we started the Timewaster’s Guide as a project and forum for those who had worked together during that era of the magazine.

I was collecting rejection letters for ELANTRIS, WHITE SAND, and DRAGONSTEEL. I felt these books were good—very good. But nobody was giving them much attention. At the conventions, editors kept saying that fantasy novel submissions were too long, and that new writers shouldn’t be trying such beastly first books. I sat down to write MYTHWALKER, by ninth book, and halfway through just couldn’t continue. (It remains the only book I’ve ever given up on.) I was trying another epic fantasy, but I was increasingly disappointed in how poorly the first three had been received. MYTHWALKER felt like an inferior knock-off of my own DRAGONSTEEL, and needed to be rethought. So I stopped working on it. (Though one side story in the book about two cousins named Siri and Vivenna really interested me; they would later get their own book as WARBREAKER.)

The next little time is kind of the “Dark Era” of my unpublished writing career. After giving up on MYTHWALKER, I decided that New York wasn’t looking for my brand of epic fantasy, and that I’d try to see if I could write something else. I wrote three books during this era. MISTBORN PRIME (I added the prime later to differentiate it), THE AETHER OF NIGHT, and FINAL EMPIRE PRIME.

In MISTBORN PRIME, I tried to write a dark anti-hero involved in a story that was NOT epic. I tried to write something much shorter than I’d done before, forcing myself to stay away from grand stories or epic style plotting. The result was a 100k work (which is half the length of my other fantasy novels) which just . . . well, wasn’t very good. The magic (a preliminary form of Allomancy) was awesome, and the setting had great points to it. But the plot was unexciting, the character uninteresting, the story uninvolving.

Depressed by this failure, I didn’t send the book to a single editor. (Though I did show it to Joshua, who is now my agent, as he was curious and following my career at that point. He agreed that this book wasn’t publishable. He never saw ELANTRIS, he’d given up halfway through DRAGONSTEEL—which means he never got past the boring part—and had really liked WHITE SAND, but had wanted to see more from me before picking me up. He felt I still had room to grow, and he was right.

After MISTBORN PRIME, I wrote a book called AETHER OF NIGHT, which was far more successful. I think it’s the best of the four “Brandon tries to write more toward the market” books. At 150k, it was only 50k shorter than what I’d been doing during the ELANTRIS era, and I let myself play with slightly more epic stories and scope. At this point, I was trying for something with a little more humor in it, something with lighthearted, fun characters in a situation that was at times ridiculous and at times adventuresome. (A more David Eddings like approach, if you will.) It’s not a bad book. I probably won’t ever rewrite it, but it’s not a bad book. Joshua liked it just fine, and thought it was a step forward from Mistborn Prime.

At this point, my epic fantasy books got another round of rejections, including ELANTRIS rejected by DAW and DRAGONSTEEL rejected by ACE. I’d just sent ELANTRIS to Tor, but figured I’d never hear back. (They’d had WHITE SAND for several years at that point and never gotten back to me.)

Feeling uncertain about my writing and my career again, particularly since I felt that AETHER hadn’t come together just as I’d wanted, I turned my attention to trying the most basic of fantasy stories. Prophesied hero, orphaned, goes on a travel-log across the world to fight a dark lord. This was THE FINAL EMPIRE PRIME. Of course I was putting my own spin on it. But my heart wasn’t in it—I just couldn’t convince myself that I was adding anything new to the genre, and I was again trying for a ‘half-length’ story. Though there were no dragons, elves, or mythical objects to rescue, I felt that I was just plain writing a bad book. (Note that I was probably too down on this book, as it had some very inventive concepts in it, including a precursor to Feruchemy.)

I got done with FINAL EMPIRE PRIME and was just plain disappointed. This was the worst book I’d ever written. (And it is, I think, the worst—though MISTBORN PRIME is close.) Here I was, having written twelve novels, and I seemed to be getting WORSE with each one. I wasn’t selling, I was out of school working a wage job graveyard shift, and my social life consisted pretty much of my friends taking pity on me and coming to hang out at the hotel once in a while.

I think this was one of the big focus points of my career. That year, 2002, I made three decisions. The first was that I was NOT going to give up on writing. I loved it too much, even when I was writing books that didn’t turn out right. (I think this is important for every author to decide.) The second was that I was NEVER AGAIN going to write toward the market. It was killing my books. If I never got published, so be it. At least I would stop writing terrible stories mangled by my attempts to write what I thought people wanted. The final decision was that I’d go to graduate school in creative writing to get myself into that groove of being around writers again, and to also ‘delay’ for a few more years having to get a real job.

Enter THE WAY OF KINGS era. The last book I wrote before I got published was actually pretty darn good. I tossed out everything I was being told about how to get published, and just wrote from the heart. Over 18 months between 2002 and 2003 I wrote a 300k word book with a 180k outline/backstory/worldbuilding document. (Yes, the setting guide itself was LONGER than the previous three books I’d written.) Beyond that, I plotted the book as the first of TEN in a series.

KINGS was good. It had problems, but they were fixable problems, and I was extremely proud of the novel. I felt I’d found my place in writing again. I honestly think it’s the best of my unpublished books; almost as some of the published ones.

In 2003, I got the call from an editor wanting to buy ELANTRIS.

I suppose the story of my unpublished career ends there, though there’s one more side note. Why did I not published THE WAY OF KINGS? Well, a couple of reasons. First, my agent (Joshua) felt it needed a lot of work. (It did.) Secondly, it was so long that I think it scared Tor to consider it. They have published books longer before, but the market has changed since then, and approaching a book that length as an author’s second book made my editor apprehensive. He’d have done it, but he was already talking about how we’d need to slice it into two novels. (And I really didn’t want to do that.)

But more than that, I felt that it wasn’t time for KINGS yet. I can’t explain why; just gut instinct, I guess. I wanted to follow ELANTRIS up with a fast-paced trilogy. Something that could prove to people that I could finish a series, and that I really could write. I felt that launching from ELANTRIS into KINGS would be asking too much of my readers. I wanted to give them time to grow accustomed to me and my writing, and I wanted to practice writing a series before getting myself into something enormous.

And so—perhaps brashly—I looked at the two greatest disappointments of my career and said “Let’s do these the way they SHOULD have been done in the first place.” I took the best ideas from both, I added in a greater majority of other new good ideas, and I planned out a 600 thousand word epic told in three parts. My goal: A kind of calling card to fantasy readers. A trilogy they could read through and get a feel for who I was and what my writing was like.

Of course, then the WHEEL OF TIME came along and changed everything. I’m even more glad I did what I did, as I didn’t have to stop a series in the middle to work on AMoL. Plus, working on the WHEEL OF TIME has given me an unparalleled insight into the mind of the greatest master of the long-form fantasy series of our time.

Anyway, that’s a bit of history for those who are curious. Thanks for reading.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Oh, and no. I don't know what Camon's throat-rope is tied to. You did have a foreshadowing of this kind of execution earlier in the book. (Though, to be honest, I added that in during a rewrite. I didn't come up with particular method of killing someone until I got to this point in the book. It seemed to me that the Inquisitors wouldn't just kill Camon. They'd do something more drastic.)

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Brandon Sanderson

This room in the palace is another reason why I had to make this book about much more than just stealing atium. Kelsier is half-convinced that the Lord Ruler keeps his atium stash in this room, rather than in the treasury. Either way, it wouldn't be TOO difficult for a Mistborn like Kelsier to break into a room like this–or even the treasury–and be off with the atium. (At least, that's what he thinks. Right up until he gets stopped in this chapter, anyway.)

Either way, Kelsier wouldn't feel that he needs a crew in order to break into a room and steal some metal. He does that just fine to Keep Venture earlier in the book. By making Mistborn so relatively powerful, I needed a task for Kelsier's group that went far beyond a simple heist. Only something like raising an army and overthrowing an empire would present them with a challenge.

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Brandon Sanderson

This initial section, with Tresting and the Obligator, was added during one of the last drafts of the book. I had some troubles starting this novel. I really liked the Kelsier section of the prologue (which was originally the first chapter.) However, before I got to Kelsier, I wanted to have a kind of scene-setting omniscient description of the skaa working.

The important part of this zoom out would have been to show them all with heads bowed, then show Kelsier look up and smile. I tried several drafts of this, and eventually settled on something that was okay. Later on, however, I decided that it was just too much of a viewpoint error to have an omniscient section in one of my books, especially since it was the first section of the novel. So, I decided to set the scene from Tresting's viewpoint.

Once I changed that, I like how this scene turned out. However, it does mean that the very first viewpoint that you see in the book is that of a passing villain who doesn't really matter very much. I guess that's all right, but it's part of the reason I moved this back to being the prologue–I think that gives more of an indication that the characters introduced aren't necessarily the main characters of the book.

Other than that, I liked how this scene let me introduce some of the world elements–obligators, Inquisitors, the ash, the nobility, and the Lord Ruler–in a quick, easy way. Plus, I got to have the scene with Kelsier looking up and smiling, which always gives me a bit of a chill when I read it.

TWG Posts ()
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Brandon Sanderson

This book is kind of a 're-envisioning' of Mistborn. The first Mistborn version I wrote had this absolutely amazing world and magic system, but the characters were very weak and the plot was so-so. Even as I finished it, I knew it would need a revision.

Then, later, I wrote Final Empire--the book I finished when our writing group finally dissolved. This book had much better characters, but the world/magic was very weak.

As I finished WAY OF KINGS (back in November of 2003) I began to fiddle with new potential projects. I began outlining WAY OF KINGS 2, but I knew that KINGS itself was likely to undergo some major revisions, and I wasn't quite sure where the characters would be for the beginning of the second book. So, I decided to delay writing that. I also fiddled with an ELANTRIS sequel, but I wasn't certain Tor wanted one of those or not.

As I worked, the idea of a MISTBORN rewrite tempted me more and more. I had another idea for a cool plot, and was intending to develop it into its own book, but it didn't have characters or a setting yet. It occurred to me that the MISTBORN setting would work very well, especially if I borrowed some characters and concepts from FINAL EMPIRE.

In the end, after a few months of planning, the three pieces--MISTBORN magic and Setting, FINAL EMPIRE characters and politics, and the new plot--clicked together very nicely. I was extremely pleased with the results, since MISTBORN and FINAL EMPIRE are the two books I've written that I was the most disappointed in. This project would give me the opportunity to redeem the original ideas from both stories, and improve on them.

I called the resulting book MISTBORN: FINAL EMPIRE out of Homage, though "Mistborn" is the title I expect to stick (instead of the subtitle, kind of ala Star Wars: A New Hope.) Time, and reads from my writing groups and friends, will tell me if my experiment was a success or not.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nine

One odd thing I've heard—and noticed—about new writers as opposed to more experienced writers is that the more experienced ones tend to make their books last longer. Many first books take place in a matter of days, or perhaps weeks. Yet, books by more accomplished writers tend to span months or years.

It might just be coincidence relating to books I've read. I mean, there doesn't seem to be any reason it would be true. Yet, it certainly holds for myself. My first books happened very quickly—even Elantris, which was my sixth, happened in only the space of two months. Yet, in Mistborn, I let more time pass between sections and chapters.

I think, perhaps, newer authors are intimidated by plotting over such a longer stretch of time. Or, perhaps, it's just something unconscious.

Either way, we've jumped in time—something necessary for this book, considering the amount that needs to be done in order for the job to get pulled off. This was one of my first clues that I couldn't do a straight-up heist novel with Mistborn. The book covers too much time, and too much has to happen before the ending can occur. I just didn't feel that most of what the crew would be doing would be interesting to a reader, and I wanted to focus too much on Vin's character growth to let me focus on the "heist" of stealing the atium.

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Brandon Sanderson

This was the first novel I wrote knowing for certain that it would be published. That was an odd experience for me, after having written some thirteen novels without ever knowing if I'd make it as a novelist or not.

So, in a way, this is my celebration novel. And, as part of that celebration, I wanted to include cameo nods to some of the people who helped me over the years. We get to see characters named after my friends and alpha readers, the people who encouraged me to keep trying to get published–my first fans, in a sense.

So, a lot of the names of side characters come from friends. Stace Blanches, mentioned in the last chapter, is Stacy Whitman, an editor at Wizards of the Coast. House Tekiel was named after Krista Olson, a friend and former writing group member. (Her brother Ben is my former roommate.) Ahlstrom square was named after my friend Peter Ahlstrom, who is an editor over at Tokyopop. There are over a dozen of these in the book–I can't mention them all.

I do, however, want to point out Charlie–or, as he's called in the book, Lord Entrone. I've never actually met Charlie, but he's hung out on the timewastersguide message board for the last three or four years. He was my first British reader. I figured I'd commemorate that by having his dead body get dumped over a wall by Kelsier.

Spook is actually based directly on someone I know, but I'll get to that later.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twelve Part Two

Several other things were added to this scene in later drafts. One was the moment when Vin looked up at the windows and contemplated the Deepness and what she knew of it. As I've mentioned, I wanted more chances to talk about the mythology of the world. Moshe mentioned this as well, and so for the sixth draft (this book took seven, including the copy edit) I added in this scene.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nine

A very short Sazed chapter. Mostly, this was just here because I had to remind the readers that Sazed was doing things. Getting to the Conventical is going to take enough time that, if I hadn't thrown in a small chapter like this, you would have gone a long time without seeing Sazed.

The things he mulls over here, then, are reinforcement of his character and his conflicts. It's also helping establish Marsh. Not because of what is said, but simply because you see them both again, and are therefore reminded of the things I talked about last time I was with him.

I wrote Mistborn One mostly chronologically, regardless of viewpoint. I did that with this book for the most part too, but I did write a lot of these Sazed chapters together, in bulk, so that I could keep the tone and voice right. I knew how many chapters from his viewpoint I needed, and I knew where they had to go, so I divided up what needed to happen and went from there.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

"Let's have a chase."

At the end here we have Vin think, "Let's have a chase now, you and I." This is a direct quote from book one near the beginning, where Kelsier thinks the same thing to himself. He's intending to lead an Inquisitor away to keep it from finding and killing Vin, even before Kelsier meets her. I put the same quote here as a throwback, but also because I liked the parallelism. Vin is leading Ruin on a false chase the same way that Kelsier led that Inquisitor back in book one.

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Brandon Sanderson

I kind of wish I'd had more time to show Yeden's transformation into trusting–even liking–Kelsier. Unfortunately, I've focused the book around Vin. By now, you should be seeing that she's taking more and more viewpoints, and Kelsier is getting fewer and fewer.

That's another reason why I shifted the book from being a true heist book into what it became. I wanted the story to be about Vin, not about the various clever members of the crew. Vin is a deep and interesting character to me, and she deserved the screen time to develop. That's more important to me for the overall series than the clever heist against the Lord Ruler.

The result is that I don't have a lot of screen time for characters like Yeden. So, their character arcs have to happen quickly and abruptly–such as the way he shows his changes in this chapter.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Six - Part Two

If I had a chance to rewrite the book again, one of the things I'd change is the scene where Vin gets caught here. If you want to imagine it this way instead, pretend that she dropped both Inquisitors completely, and therefore thought she was safe to inspect the room beyond. The Inquisitors can actually heal far more quickly than I've had them do in this book.

My problem with this scene is how easily Vin lets herself be cornered and captured. I think that breaking into the room is exactly the sort of thing she'd do. However, I just don't think the writing works here (around the section where she gets surprised and grabbed by the Inquisitor.) She's more careful than that. The way it's written makes it seem like she gets grabbed simply because that's what needed to happen. There isn't enough drama, or enough realization, to the scene.

I do like what happens afterword, however–Vin using the Eleventh Metal. In this book we get our first hints regarding just how much Allomancy has been hidden and obfuscated by the Lord Ruler. Vin realizes that the Eleventh Metal must be part of the structure of Allomantic theory, as is the metal that she's given that makes her lose all of her other metals. (It's aluminum, by the way.)

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Are there any specific choices that you've made in the story of the books that years later you go "Ah man, I wish I had done--"

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, what a great question. Are there any things that i've done in my books that I've regretted. Like I'm like "Oh I should have done this" or things, many years later. There's basically one for every book. Or two, or multiples. *laughter* One of the big ones is, at the end of Mistborn Vin draws on the mist... I'm trying to avoid spoilers on this... which is something I'd been planning to do in Book 2, and then I wrote Book 1 and did all my outlines and things and my editor got back to me on Book 1, "Could we add more pow, more punch to the end of this book?" and I'm like "Yeah we can do this thing I was going to do in Book 2". But then it didn't feel foreshadowed to me. After I put it in and released the book, I was looking through it again like "This doesn't have enough foreshadowing." And this is where I developed Sanderson's First Law. I was "I did something wrong in this book." It's lack of proper foreshadowing on how the magic works. So there's that. There's all sorts of things, like at the end of Words of Radiance I had a character kill another character in a situation where I don't think he should have. He should have just let the character die to the environment or something like that. And so I actually tweaked that between hardcover and paperback. I'm not sure if I should have done that. I wanted to try it out and see. But yeah, every book.

Most of the time you just have to let it go, right? Elsa. You have to Elsa it. Because otherwise-- Was it da Vinci? "Good art is never finished it is only abandoned" right? Or just art, "Art is never finished only it is only abandoned". You've got to learn to just to let things go and let them be canon. And it's actually very-- I've found that readers are more forgiving of these things than the author thinks they will be. They're like "We like seeing early books, and the fact that you hadn't learned to do some of these things quite right yet. It's an aspect, a fun part of the writing". But yeah, basically every book that I wish. I wish, for instance, in Mistborn, that I had made Ham a woman. I was so focused on Strong. Female. Protagonist. that I forgot half the population are women. *laughter* And like years later I look back, I'm like "Ennnnhhhh... The whole team--" I do have Vin, who turned out really well, and Tindwyl in the next book. But in the first book you're like "Are there any women in this world? It's basically all dudes". So this happens to a lot of new writers, and if you guys are new writers, don't stress it too much. You're going to make mistakes. When they become obvious to you, just realize you're in a process. That's how you learn. You come up with goofy things like Sanderson's Laws to explain stupid stuff you've done to help yourself not do it in the future.