TWG Posts

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Name TWG Posts
Date Jan. 1, 2002
Entries 43
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#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Now, I would like to point out that I have been miss-represented. While I have a penchant for characters who avoid marriage, I have some (not as many, I admit) who look forward to it. Let's look at viewpoint characters in my current novel:

Jasnah: Female. Doesn't want to get married.

Taln: Male. Doesn't want to get married.

Shinri: Female. Eager to get married, and engaged.

Merin: Male. Never really thought about it (only 17) but not really opposed to it.

Jek: Male. Neutral.

Dalenar: Male. Has been married twice, and is currently married. Wanted to the first time, was forced into it the second time.

So, while I wouldn't argue that I tend to have a lot of characters who (perhaps) share my philosophy, I try to represent the other side as well.

#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So, I'm entering a portion of my current book [Mistborn] where I have to devise a lot of names. Anyone want a Cameo? I could throw in something close to your name, or perhaps a version of one of your usernames, if you wish. Firstcomers get speaking parts.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, Lord Rian Strobe just got added to the book. He's even got a line! (He asks a young lady to dance.)

Brandon Sanderson

OutKast: Elariel is a good fantasy name--won't have any problems with that.

Tekiel: Can probably use that one straight-up, if you want.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, 'House Erikeller' just got mentioned as one of the major noble houses in the book. They probably won't have a big part, but they are weapons merchants, which I thought you might appreciate.

Gemm, I didn't so much as give you a character as base an entire cultural dialect off of your language patterns. They're a bunch of underground street punks who like to speak in a slang that (intentionally) confuses everyone else. There is a character in the book from that culture, though he's a few years younger than you.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, House Elariel and the Lady Stace Whiten just got cameos. House Elariel throws a party that some characters attend; Lady Whiten is a young woman that is supposedly one of characters' dates, but he ditches her. (Sorry. He's kind of like that.)

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, busy night.

First off, House Tekiel showed up in the book. In connection with that, I managed to work in House Geffenry and House Izenry.

My favorite for the night, however, is the appearance of Lord Charleir Entrone. He shows up only as a corpse, having been stabbed in the back while in a drunken stupor, but he has a reputation of being a twisted connoisseur of underground bloodfight gambling.

#3 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

How much [Writing Preparation] do you do? What files do you create?

I've done it various ways. Usually I have an 'outline' document for plots, a 'character' document for characters, and a 'world' document for magic systems and things.

Sometimes, the preparatory documents are only a couple dozen pages. (Elantris.) Sometimes they're hundreds of pages long. (Dragonsteel, Way of Kings.)

#4 Copy

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.

#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

ELANTRIS and WHITE SAND have what I would call 'flawless' heroes. DRAGONSTEEL and AETHER OF NIGHT have mostly flawless heroes, with their internal issues being only minor parts of the plot. These four have, from what people have told me, are generally their favorite books of mine.

WAY OF KINGS, MISTBORN (version 1), and FINAL EMPIRE all have heroes with serious emotional or psychological issues that they're dealing with. KINGS is the most daunting of these, with each of the major characters having their own personal 'thing' that they are working through in the book. MISTBORN (version 2) is similar to this (though none of you have read it yet.)

These three books have received mixed reactions. While many people claim to like them, I'm not sure that they enjoyed them as much as the previous set.

#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so here's the thing. I want to write a sequel to ELANTRIS someday--or, at least, I want to leave myself open to the possibility.

The first book is named after the city of Elantris, where most of the action takes place. The sequel, set ten years after the first book, will take place in the capitol city of the prime antagonists in the series. For cohesion, this book should probably be named after that city.

So, here's the problem. Usually I have months and months to settle on a book title, and I'm usually pretty happy with what I get. However, I don't have an opportunity to write the book this time before I name it. I mention the city that will be the title of the next book several times in ELANTRIS. I have to make certain I really like this city name now, since I'll probably name a book after it sometime in the future.

So, I've been digging for ideas. The country the book will take place in is called 'Fjorden.' As you might guess from that name, the dialectical genre of the culture is a Scandinavian spin-off. (It's kind of a guttural Norse--Scandinavian with some harsh Germanic sounds thrown in.)

Other words in the language:

Hrathen, Dilaf, Arteth, Dakhor, Grondkest, Svorden

I need a name for the new city that would work well as a book title (i.e., it needs to be fairly easy to pronounce, and needs to sound cool) but that still fits with the linguistic style of the region.

Here are some I've come up with so far. What do you think of these? Which is your favorite? Which don't you like?

Zinareth, Widor, Velding, Klynair, Valinrath, Skaln, Vallensha, Vallinor

Brandon Sanderson

The original (in-text) name of the city was 'Widor.' Back then, however, I wasn't thinking of a sequel.

#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Lately, I've been thinking about the different 'models' that writers seem to use when planning their series.

The Jordan Model: One continuous story that's done when (if) you get to the end.

The Eddings Model: One continuous story divided into a pre-determined number of books.

The Bujold/Card Model: More episodic story centered around the life of a single, interesting character.

The McCaffery Model: Episodic series with a general over-arching storyline, different books focusing on different viewpoint characters in the same world.

Now, so far I've always followed the Eddings or the Jordan model in my planned sequels. However, I've been thinking that I'd really like to launch a McCaffery style series. It would let me do what I like--develop new cultures and magics in every novel--yet at the same time give me the market benefit of a cohesive 'series.'

Thoughts? (I'm thinking of using the AETHER OF NIGHT world as a launching point for this series, in case you were wondering.)

Brandon Sanderson

Here's the thing: I've got this world idea (already have one book written in the setting) which involves a lot of different magical powers based on the same theme.

I think it would be nice to write a lot of books in the same world, but to have sub-series of them focusing on a given society (i.e., a given magic.)

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, folks. If you've been paying attention to the other thread I started here today, I've been working on a new series schema. I need a title for the overarching series, however.

I've been thinking of calling the series "The Aethers of Lore," with 'Lore' being the world name.

I'm not sure if I like this, though. I like 'Lore' because of the way it sounds, not necessarily because of its dictionary meaning. I've tried other iterations of the same sound, but none of them quite work. Lorr doesn't look right on the page, I think, and Lorre makes me think it should be pronounced 'Lory,' like the actor.

Brandon Sanderson

I wish I could get away with a sub-series name. ... Perhaps something like


The Aethers of Lore:

Aether of Wind Trilogy, Book One.

Brandon Sanderson

Hum. I think I'll just go with 'Lor.' Sounds right, and I didn't Google any major fantasy series' that use the word. Can anyone think of a conflict?

As for CLIMB THE SKY--well, we'll see. I'm growing more and more attached to it. The story is, however, about flying magic, so I don't think that--in context--it will be as cheesy as one might originally assume without a cover or jacket blurb.

#8 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

The round map [in Mistborn: The Final Empire] makes it look like it takes place over a that intentional?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, actually. Though, when we put a map in the book, we'd probably fuzz the edges so we don't have to deal with that. However, after what the Lord Ruler did to the world to try and stop the Deepness, the only habitable parts on the planet are the poles.

#10 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

How long did it take to write Mistborn from reconception to the end of the first draft? Was that all on off time or did you start when school was still going?

Shelving Climb the Sky for now?

Brandon Sanderson

MISTBORN: Began preliminary work in December 2003. Began writing beginning of February. Finished mid-June.

CLIMB THE SKY: I'm probably going to have to shelve it for a year or so. I might slip it in between MISTBORN 2 and MISTBORN 3, but Tage keeps telling me that I just need to write a sequel.

I agree, and so I'm going for MISTBORN 2. I actually wrote ten pages or so prose for the first chapter, though writing will be slower until I get all of my preliminary work done.

#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

This is for both those of you who've read MISTBORN and those who haven't.

In the first book, you'll notice that I named two of the three magic systems present in the world. The primary name, which I'm quite satisfied with, is Allomancy.

Sazed's power is the one I'm considering changing. It is called Hemalurgy. Now, I like the way this sounds. However, it doesn't quite fit in meaning with Sazed's powers. (The Hema, which should evoke thoughts of 'blood' has rightly drawn complaints from readers.)

However, Hemalurgy DOES fit quite well with the third (mostly unmentioned magic system) used by the Steel Inquisitors.

So, I'd like to rename Sazed's magic system. Here are my thoughts.

Ferrachemy. I like the sound and construction of this one--it fits with the other two, and seems to relate well to Sazed's powers. The only problem is that I think it's too easy to read as "Ferr-Alchemy," which just doesn't feel right to me.

Ferruchemy. The word I'm drawing the 'Ferr' from anyway is Latin for iron, which is Ferrum. So, this is truer to my source, but it just doesn't sound as good to me.

Ferrichemy. I'm not sure if I like the way this one looks or not.

Ferrochemy. Perhaps where I'm leaning right now.

Anyone else have any suggestions? I like the traditional-science feel endings of things like 'mancy, 'lurgy, 'chemy. I also like beginnings that relate somehow to metals, as those are used so prevalently in the magic.

Brandon Sanderson

I just want to say thanks to everyone who has helped me with this one.

Ones I particularly liked:

Auronomy was VERY cool sounding. However, I'm worried about having two 'A' words for the magic. (Still debating this one.)

Ferramy also had me for a time. The only problem is that I really want something that has the same 'feel' as the other two magic systems.  This doesn't quite resonate right.

Sangrimancy is also very cool sounding.  The only problem is that I don't really need another 'blood' related magic system. Skar--I stored this one away for potential use in another world. 

However, I think Jade has really had the best suggestion on the thread. Dropping the second 'R' from the Ferr prefix makes it work a lot better with things. And, to avoid the 'feral' reference Stacer noticed, I think using the original Latin 'u' with the 'Fer' gets us a better word.

So, the current winner:

Feruchemy. It isn't actually the coolest sounding word on the thread--I think that's a tie between Auronomy and Sangrimancy. However, Feruchemy 'Fits' better with Allomancy and Hemalurgy. The three have a kind of internal resonance, and give the right feel.

Thanks all!

Now, another task. These three are all active arts--something done, rather than simply a study. I'd like, however, a good name for the blanket term for the study of all three magic systems. A name for the system of the world, rather than the specific magical applications of this system.

All three systems use metal in different ways, and all three draw power for the user from different places. Any clever ideas? (Initial thoughts for me include using 'ology.' However, I'm not opposed to something longer, like I used in DRAGONSTEEL. (Realmatic Theory, for those of you who haven't read it.))

#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I intentionally left seons--their origin, their connection to AonDor--a little vague in ELANTRIS. The reason for this is that I intend the secrets of the Seons to be a major plot element in a sequel to the book.

I didn't want to put very much about them in because I knew that it would be years before I got to do an ELANTRIS sequel, and I wanted to give myself enough 'wiggle room' to not confine the second book, which isn't fully formed in my head yet. Anything I say now could ruin the plot for people before I even write the book--or, it could end up being untrue, as I develop my ideas further.

Eagle Prince

Can they go through walls? Are they incorporeal like a ghost? I'm guessing they can't move stuff around, because Ashe says something about the Elantrians wanting him to bring them food but he couldn't. And then when Serene was on the wall, he just shouted at her, like he couldn't just knock her back or anything. But then several times it talked about them going through windows, and some of the Elantrian seons bouncing around like drunks.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, EP.

I answer this in the text just briefly, but it doesn't come up a whole lot. At one point, Raoden's mad Seon tries to float through a wall, and he bounces off of it. I wished to imply that they did have substance, but they were very light, and therefore unable to exert any great amounts of force.

#13 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

These pronunciations are pretty hard to say and don't make much sense internally! How do you pronounce "en" at the end of "Raoden" and "is" it the end of Elantris and "Sa-" at the beginning of "Sarene"? Is it Ray-oh-deen and Ee-lain-trice and Say-ray-nay? Or is it "-en" (as in "end" with no "d") and "-triss" (rhymes with "kiss") and "Suh-" (front rhymes with "Samantha")? Or Because if it's "-en" and "-triss" and "Suh-" then these pronunciations are not allowed by your AEIO rules, and if it's "-deen" and "-trice" and "Say-" then your listed pronunciations are not helpful.

Spelling some "a" sound with "e" instead also throws a wrench into the whole thing. Basically, the fact that you felt the need to do that should have been an indication to you that there were issues with the system to start out with, and that regular English speakers and especially Fantasy readers would just not automatically pronounce your names close to the way you meant them to be pronounced.

I will hopefully comment later, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to base a language around the just 4 long vowels A E I O (which are pronounced, phonetically, "ei ii ai ou"). It looks like there are some problems in implementation though.

Eagle Prince

I thought that only applied to the Aons. The different names and words, ie Raoden, is only part Aon... the other half is like a totally different language. Sort of like a pidgen language combines two different languages into is own sort of language, and can eventually turn into a whole new language (creole). I think that is what happened here....

I would need to reread the article, but I think it also mentioned something about only the first so many vowels being long and the rest normal. That or just the vowels that dealt with the Aon part of the word.

I also think the 'ae' thing is pretty common in fantasy.

Brandon Sanderson


You're missing the long/short combination. (EP has it exactly right.)

The Aon has long vowels, the rest of the word has short. Maybe I need to make that more explicit. However, reading it, it makes sense to me.

So, RAY-Oh-den would be pronounced, I think, exactly as I wrote it there. Two long--for the Aon--one short, for the non-Aon.

As for the 'A' exception, it was done out of necessity. You see, the truth is that I was creating a language to accent my novel, not the other way around. So, when it came down to writing a name like 'Sarene,' I just couldn't force myself to write it the way that looked worse, just to make the language feel a little more consistent. (There was no physical way to make the name on the page sound like the one in my head without writing something very silly, like Saraynay or Saraenae.)

I think that people in the world would pronounce her name, therefore, as "Sa-REE-Nee," as I pointed out in the article. However, I'm still going to pronounce it how I want, because I'm an English speaker, not an Aonic speaker. Just like I call Korea 'Korea,' instead of 'Kor-ryo' (or even Hanguk) as would be correct.

#14 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

Dark One. What is it?

Brandon Sanderson

YA novel I'm working on. I have a few sample chapters, if you want them. I may have to change the title, though, since a very dissimilar book just came out with a close title.

I'd rather not talk about the book too much, since I won't be able to get to it for a while, and I'd like to keep the ideas off the internet for a bit.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, anyone here can have the sample chapters if they want. In fact, anyone can have sample chapters of any of my books. I send those out pretty freely. I'm just not sure I want to go posting the ideas for this one about yet.

Also, if anyone wants any of my old books--anything pre-WAY OF KINGS--you need but ask. Most of them won't ever get published in their current form. So, if you're ever board, you can read an old, unpublished Brandon novel.

The complete Brandon Library is:

1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)

2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)

3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)

4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)

5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)

6) Elantris (You have to buy this one!)

7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic fantasy)

8) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt)

9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)

10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)

11) Mistborn Prime (Eventually stole this world.)

12) Final Empire Prime (Cannibalized for book 14 as well.)

13) The Way of Kings (Fantasy War epic. Coming in 2008 or 2009)

14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Coming June 2006)

15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Early 2007)

16) Alcatraz Initiated (YA Fantasy. Being shopped to publishers)

17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Unfinished. Â Coming late 2007)

18) Dark One (Unfinished. YA fantasy)

19) Untitled Aether Project (Two sample chapters only.)

#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

A note for those who read Ookla's post above, and might be curious. The characters of Vivenna and Siri are ones that have been bouncing around in my head for quite a while. I made one attempt at a book using them, back about five years ago or so.

Unfortunately for the two of them, the rest of the elements of that book (particularly the person I chose as a hero, the magic system, and...well, a lot of things) just kind of fell apart. It's my only true failure of a book, made more tragic by the fact that Siri's story was working so well.

So, I decided that I'd give it another shot, reworking the two characters into a plot where they could be more of the focus, and where the setting and story were better thought out. (I've learned a few things in the intervening years.)

I never did finish the original book, which was titled MYTHWALKER. So, the people who knew me at the time were left hanging as to what happened to the characters.

I intend to finish it this time! Ookla, you've got the right of it still. Susebron will be virtually the same character I imagined in MYTHWALKER> I don't want to give spoilers to the others, but if you watch closely, you'll see how I'm going to work things out.

#16 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The longest lasting of the Allomantic metals is actually copper, which is used by Smokers to hide Allomancy. Tin is second, however. Steel and Iron are actually rather quick, but since they're generally used in bursts, it's hard to notice. Both brass and zinc are medium, as is bronze. Pewter burns the fastest of the basic eight, though atium and gold both burn faster than it does.

In my mind, it's related to how much 'work' the metal has to do. That's why pewter, steel, and iron burn so quickly. A lot of weight and power is getting thrown around, while copper only has to do something simple. However, I never really set any of these things hard-fast.

And, only atium is really all that rare. Because of the value of the metals, the noble houses expended a lot of resources finding and exploiting mines to produce the metals. This resulted in a slightly higher value for most of them as opposed to our world, but not really noticeably so, because Allomancers really don't need that much metal. Even fast burning metals, like pewter, are generally only swallowed in very small amounts. (i.e. A small bit goes a long way.)

#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Lots of Female Keepers (one of the main characters in book two is one), no female Inquisitors or obligators (since the Lord Ruler was pretty much in charge of who got to do both.) However, there weren't actually hard fast rules, so I could see a determined woman ending up in the Steel Ministry if she put her mind to it.

#18 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

First off, no, I didn't base any of the religions in Elantris on any real religions. Shu-Dereth STARTED as the Norse religion when I was worldbuilding. I wanted to take a Norse-style religious feel, then transform it into monotheism over time. However, there wasn't a strict parallel with modern religion. The basis for how all three religions ended up was more Eastern in concept, but again, I didn't use a single religion to focus any of them.

I did take a few things from other religions. For instance, I liked how a lot of modern religions sprang from the same root. Buddhism came from Hinduism, and Christianity was a growth from Judaism. The aggressive Derethi religion was a little bit more like religions that have a convert or die philosophy--but, from my research, that concept has been used in pretty much every major religion at one point and time.

I do worry that people will see Derethi and think of a specific religion. Indeed, since I based Hrathen on what I saw as 'Evil missionary tactics' one could easily relate him to churches that do send out missionaries. This wasn't my intention, however.

#19 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Each of the characters is a little autobiographical, mostly noticeable in retrospect. Raoden represents my belief in the power of optimism. I'm an optimist. I can't help it; it's just the way I am. And so, a hero like Raoden often grows to represent my beliefs. His conflict--that of being cast into the most horrific place in the kingdom--is an outgrowth of me trying to devise the most hopeless situation I could, and then make the conflict for my character the attempt to retain hopeful in the face of that.

Sarene represents an amalgamation of several people I knew in my life, most notably Annie Gorringe, a friend of mine in college. Not that Sarene acts just like her, of course--but that some of the conflicts in Annie's life, mixed with some of her personality quirks, inspired me to develop a character that ended up in my book.

Hrathen is as much a piece of me as Raoden. I served a mission for the LDS church, and while I did so, I thought often about the 'right' way to share one's beliefs mixed with the 'wrong' way. It seemed to me that focusing on the beauty of your message, mixed with the needs of the individuals you met, was the way to go. When you start to preach just to be preaching--or to convert not because of your concern for those around you, but because you want to seem more powerful--you risk beating the life out of your own message.

So, in a way, Hrathen represents my fears of what I could have become--a warning to myself, if you will.

#20 Copy


I'm overjoyed to hear that you're probably doing a sequel to Elantris. I was wondering, though, if you plan to discuss anything further about the religions you mention less in the book. I think both Jesker and the Jeskeri Mysteries receive too little attention for how interesting they could be. It would be interesting if we got to learn more about the origins/tenets of both. It's rankled ever since the first time I read the book that something which seems so significant as Jesker is left so undeveloped.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, actually. I want to focus more on Jesker, and the Mysteries, as well as the original religion that spawned both Shu-Dereth and Shu-Korath.

Jesker is very important, as you have noticed, since it's the religion tied to understanding the Dor. It's actually much older than the other religions, relating back to things that happened long ago. Because of this, it retains hints of things such as the origin of the Seons and the like.

#21 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it's looking like my next series--after Warbreaker, which is looking like it will be a two-book cycle--will be set in the Dragonsteel world. I'm revamping the setting significantly, mashing it together with Aether of Night, which always had a cool magic system but a weaker plot.

I have some sample chapters done, actually. Dragonsteel is now the series name, and the first book will be titled "The Liar of Partinel." (Probably.) The book you all read (now tentatively titled "The Eternal War") will be the third or fourth book in the series, and we will wait that long to introduce Jerick, Ryalla, and Bat'Chor. "Liar" will take place some five hundred years before "The Eternal War."

Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn was my fourteenth book, Elantris my sixth.  One, named Dragonsteel, was my seventh and a number of the people on my forums knew me when I started writing it.  It was, in a way, the book that 'made me famous' among my group of friends.  So, many of them are excited to hear that I'm reworking the setting and planning to do the book for the big leagues. Dragonsteel Prime, the original, just isn't publishable as is.  There were some great ideas, but I didn't have the skill at the time to make them work.  So, I'm stealing some of the best ideas--and characters--and planning a new series around them.  Hence Ookla calling me a cannibal, since I'm 'Cannibalizing' my old ideas to make new books. 

The following is a complete Brandon Sanderson Bibliography, published and unpublished.  Prime indicates an early attempt at a book which was later redone.  (Note that when I redo a book like this, it isn't a 'rewrite.'  Generally, it's me taking some elements from the setting and writing a whole new book in that setting, using old ideas and mixing them with fresh ones.)  Published books are in bold.

1) White Sand Prime (My first book, took two + years to write.  1998)

2) Star's End (Science fiction.  1998)

3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime.  1999)

4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.  1999)

5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Science fiction.  1999)

6) Elantris (2000.  Published by Tor: 2005)

7) Dragonsteel (2000)

8 ) White Sand (2001)

9) Mythwalker (Never finished. 2001)

10) Mistborn Prime (Stole the magic system and title for a later book.  2002)

11) Final Empire Prime (Stole a character, some setting elements, and title for a later book.  2002)

12) The Aether of Night (2002)

13) The Way of Kings (350,000 words.  Took a long time.  2003)

14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (2004, Published by Tor 2006)

15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (2005.  Contracted to Tor for 2006)

16) Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians (2005.  Contracted to Scholastic for 2006)

17) Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (2006.  Contracted to Tor for 2007)

18) Warbreaker (2006.  Tentatively to be released by Tor for 2007)

19) Alcatraz vs. The Scrivener's Bones (2006.  Contracted by Scholastic for 2008)

20) Dragonsteel: The Liar of Partinel (Unfinished.  2007?)

21) Alcatraz vs. The Knights of Crystallia (Planned.  2007  Contracted by Scholastic for 2009)

22) Nightblood (Planned.  2008)

23) Dragonsteel: The Lightweaver of Rens (Planned. 2008)

24) Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent (Planned.  2008.  Contracted for Scholastic for 2010)

I'm not sure if I got all of those dates right, but the order is correct.  I'm finished with all the books up to Dragonsteel, though Mistborn 3, Warbreaker, and Alcatraz 2 are all only in the third draft stage.

Brandon Sanderson

You DON'T have to have read the other Dragonsteel to understand this. The other Dragonsteel will never be published. Some of the plots and characters in it, however, will eventually become book three of this series. Not because I'm doing a 'Dragonlance' type thing, but because when I sat down to work on this project, I realized that I'd rather start back in time a few hundred years. In other words, I'm writing the prequels first, if that's possible.

Brandon Sanderson

In worldbuilding this, I realized that I missed a big opportunity in Dragonsteel Prime by not dealing with fainlife all that much. It was a powerful world element that got mostly ignored. By writing a book here, where I can slam a city in to the middle of the fain assault--before people learned really how to keep the alien landscape back--I think I'll be able to focus more on the setting.

One thing that always bothered me about Dragonsteel Prime is that it felt rather generic for me. I like more distinctive settings, with more distinctive magics. Yet, Dragonsteel Prime had a fairly standard fantasy world (though one set in the bronze age) with magic that didn't really get used all that much in the first book. The idea here is to add the Aether magic in, which is a 'day-to-day' magic, and to enhance the originality of the setting by using fainlife more. Microkenisis, Realmatic Theory, Cognitive Ripples and Tzai Blows, and all of that will STILL be part of this world. I've simply folded the Aethers in as well, and hopefully I can make it all feel cohesive.

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Also, it seems to me like it would be more internally consistent if Awakened objects consumed Breath, to make all of these Breath-consuming powers in the last few chapters fit in better. So for example, if Vasher Awakened a shirt and left it Awakened and doing stuff for a day, then he might be down one-seventh of a breath when he took it back at the end of the day. (Of course, that mechanic requires it to be possible to transfer or Awaken with portions of a Breath, and if you could do that, then using the "putting the Breaths you don't want to transfer into a cloth until after the transfer" thing, you could feed the Returned by taking a tiny fraction of all the Halladren's breaths, instead of taking some people's entire Breaths and turning them into Drabs.)

Brandon Sanderson

Hum. I like that suggestion, actually. I think I'll use it. Though, what I'll do is say that if you leave the breath in for too long, one of them vanishes. If you can get them back quickly enough, however, there is no loss. That gives a bit of a better explanation of why there aren't a lot of awakened objects doing things all over the place. True, using the breath to make them would be initially expensive--but if you got a magic object that never winds down, then that might be worth the expense.

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Brandon Sanderson

This one got introduced late in the editing process as I was shuffling around several plots. In the original, way back planning stages of the series, Clubs was going to be a Seeker and Marsh a Smoker. I swapped that, but I've NEVER been able to shake it from my subconscious. Kind of like the way that Tin used to be Silver. (I worry about getting that one mixed up in places too.)

Arterial Spray

Huh. Was Clubs going to be the one who became a Steel Inquisitor?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it was always going to be Marsh who did that job. I actually made the swap because I realized I couldn't send the Smoker away from the team to infiltrate. I actually added that plot line a little bit later in the development process. These were all things I changed before I even started the first page of actual writing.

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Brandon Sanderson

I can't say too much without spoilers for Mistborn 3, but suffice it to say that if I were to write more books in this world, I would want to do some new things with the magic. Some events at the end of Mistborn 3 have large ramifications on the way the magic works and the way the setting would proceed.

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Brandon Sanderson

Also note that while Mare was an Allomancer, she wasn't what one would call a "dangerous" Allomancer. She was a Tineye, which isn't one of the top tier martial powers. She couldn't have used atium, and even if she HAD somehow found [tin], she'd simply have been able to hear and see better. Which would have made her better at finding the atium.

The Allomancers to keep out of the Pits would have been Lurchers or Coinshots (who could have destroyed the crystals), and to a lesser extent Thugs (who could be difficult to control.) Mistborn, of course, needed to be kept far, far away, lest they get their hands on atium.

There's more going on here, of course. If I ever write the Kelsier short story that talks about him discovering the Eleventh Metal, I will get into why the Inquisitors weren't given Mare as they wanted. The Lord Ruler specifically chose to send her to the Pits rather than handing her over to the Inquisitors. (Note: She wouldn't have ended up on a hook. Inquisitors had other...uses for skaa Mistings they captured. See book three.)

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Brandon Sanderson

Vin has a nickname, in a way. Valette. Part of my vision for this series was to get across the 'heist' feel to the book by giving everyone in the crew or related to the crew two names--their real name and their nickname.

Kelsier: Kel

Dockson: Dox

Sazed: Saze (I say his name SAY-zed, by the way. A lot of people say SAH-zed, which is just fine--only the nickname doesn't work as well.)

Elend: El (I say EHL-end, not EEL-end. So, his nickname is pronounced simply like the letter L.)

Ladrian: Breeze

Hammond: Ham

Cladent: Clubs

Lestibournes: Spook

Marsh: Ironeyes

Vin: Valette (Doesn't work as well, I know, but I liked her having another name to keep on theme.)

OreSeur: Lord Renoux

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Miyabi (paraphrased)

While talking with EUOL today I had asked about Hoid being Midius from Partinel. 

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said he had many names, but avoided a yes or no answer.

Miyabi (paraphrased)

I then asked if Hoid was a shard.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said no and then said something about how no one has read the end of Partinel due to its not being written well and the plethora of spoilers it contains. . . .

He then told me that Hoid was there when Adonalsium was shattered.

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I have a questions. I read in the book that under the Lord Ruler, the Steel Inquisitors had 9 spikes. So they had 8 spikes for the normal Allomantic abilities, and only one left. But they needed one more. One would be a Feruchemical spike which granted the user healing abilities. And the other one would be an atium spike. In the book they burned it often, but how? But then, how could they burn atium? They would have needed an atium spike (extremely expensive) and an Mistborn (because atium Mistings weren't discovered).

Somehow, the number of the spike just don't make sense. There should be 10. Do you have some ideas, or is it just an mistake by Brandon Sanderson? 

Peter Ahlstrom

The official answer is that the number varies depending on how many Mistings they can find and sacrifice. Not all Inquisitors will have all the same powers.

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Questioner (paraphrased)

What will an Atium-Lerasium Alloy do ?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Ah, I've been asked this before. There are a number of theories, but nobody's really sure, since there haven't really been any opportunities to alloy lerasium with atium. You can choose which one to believe. Most require an understanding of realmatic theory to comprehend, which you need to be a Shard or Splinter to even begin to understand.What Lerasium is, is essentially a hack for something like your spiritual DNA. It rewrites what your spiritual self is capable of. So, combined with atium, which allows you a glimpse into the vision of everything - past, present, future - the theories say it could do one of two things. It could either create a substance so volatile that it would have world-ending repercussions, or rewrite your "spiritual DNA" (his phrase, not mine) with atium's power. Is that a vague enough answer?

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Peter Ahlstrom

Okay, just for my amusement, here's an analysis of your books so far (the ones I have):

White Sand I 1.0 - 0.49 pptt (pause per ten thousand words)

Star's End 1.0 - 0.34 pptt

Lord Mastrel 1.0 - 0.83 pptt

Knight Life 3.0 - 0.40 pptt

The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora 1.0 - 1.48 pptt

Elantris 6.0 - 3.51 ppttElantris 8.6 - 4.16 pptt

Dragonsteel 7.0 - 5.70 pptt

White Sand II 2.7 - 6.11 pptt

Mythwalker 0.6 - 10.2 pptt

Mistborn Prime 4.0 - 9.63 pptt

Aether of Night 3.0 - 11.99 pptt

Final Empire Prime 1.0 - 9.65 pptt

Way of Kings 2.1 - 8.1 pptt

Mistborn Final Empire 2.0 - 10.97 pptt

Mistborn Final Empire 3.1 - 11.56 pptt

Mistborn Well of Ascension 3.0 - 13.25 pptt

Alcatraz Initiated 4.0 - 8.71 pptt

Mistborn Hero of Ages 3.0 - 9.68 pptt

Warbreaker Parts 1-2 1.2/1.0 - 11.5 pptt

Star's End and Knight Life only have 3 pauses each! Anyway, there's an upward trend, and then it more or less levels off. :) It took reading the book out loud for me to notice it. I have no idea how this compares with other writers. Well, the book I just rewrote has 2.47 pptt.Make of that what you will.

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I am glad Dragonsteel will not be on the front of the book, because Tage tells me there aren't really any dragons. If I picked up a book called Dragonsteel and then realized there weren't really any dragons (in the classical sense) I would feel extremely cheated and never read it just because of my anger.

Peter Ahlstrom

There was one dragon in the original book, of whom Brandon added more appearances in the later drafts. He was almost completely exciseable from the plot of that book (at least, in a simple, non-spoiler explanation), though he was clearly important to the universe as a whole and the series' overall arc.

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The question is about the Lord Ruler's death.  He is basically killed because Vin was able to remove his Feruchemy storage bracelets thus depriving him of his stored youth and strength correct?  Once he didn't have access to these she could simply kill him like a normal man.Now on page 627 about the 3rd paragraph down the Lord Ruler states " I've survived burning and beheadings.  I've been stabbed and sliced, crushed and dismembered." (I also think this is also reference somewhere else in the book that I could not locate)If all it took to drain the Lord Ruler of his power was to remove access to his Feruchemy items wouldn't he have died if he was dismembered?  Remove the storage devices from the trunk of the body and he would die?

Peter Ahlstrom

I asked Brandon about this once, and I'm pretty sure he said the beheading survival part was a lie/exaggeration. I'd have to go back and check my notes.

The Lord Ruler would have reason to want people to believe he had survived beheadings and being burned to ash.

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Brandon Sanderson

One thing to note now--I wasn't very satisfied with Glimmer's dialect myself, and DavidB's comments tipped me over the edge.  I'm now thinking of going with something more like this:

Aether. a voice said in her mind.  It was light and airy, like a voice carried on the breeze, and felt lethargic.  King.

Yunmi glanced down at the rose-colored crystal embedded into her forearm just above her wrist.  King Theus? She thought.

Aether. the voice responded, dull, slow.  As always, Glimmer's voice was accompanied by images in her head, filling out the single word.  This time, the image was of a dark black crystal set into a man's hand.  Theus's hand, which had been covered by a glove when Yunmi had met him.

So Theus does have an Aether, Yunmi thought.  Did you speak to it?

Unresponsive, her Aether replied. Old.  In her mind, Yunmi saw the Theus's Aether as Glimmer did--as a thing ancient, barely capable of putting out Aetherpulp.  A thing tired, yet forced to continue living on, attached to the king's flesh.

Also, I don't like Glimmer's name, so consider that a placeholder right now.

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Brandon Sanderson


I've turned my full attention back to this book, and have done a heavy rewrite of Chapter One, which helped me pound out who Midius is (in my mind at least.)  You can see the effect your comments had.  Here's the new version.  As always, comments are welcome!

Brandon Sanderson

All, here's an experimental change I'm considering for the Theus chapters (and note the new Midius chapter at the bottom of the previous page.) I think this may soften the brutality somewhat, even though it's all still there. It will make for a drastic change in feel for the king as a character, but I'm very tempted to do this instead. Reactions?


It’s a bad day to kill, Theusa thought. Too cloudy. A man should be able to see the sun when he dies, feel the warmth on his skin one last time.

She marched down the dusty path, crops to her right and left, guards behind her. The men of her personal guard wore woolen cloaks over bronze breastplates. Bronze. So expensive. What farming supplies could she have traded for instead of the valuable metal armor?

And yet, she really had no choice. The armor meant something. Strength. Power. She needed to show both.

Several of the soldiers pulled their cloaks tight against the morning’s spring chill. Theusa herself wore a woolen dress and shawl, the copper crown on her head the only real indication of her station. King. It had been twenty-some years since anyone had dared question her right to that title. In the open, at least.

Her breath puffed in front of her, and she pulled her shawl close. I’m getting old, she thought with annoyance.

Behind her towered the grand city state of Partinel, circled entirely--lake and all--by a rough stone wall reaching some fifteen feet high. The wall had been commissioned, then finished, by Yornes the grand, her father-in-law. She’d married his son, Didarion, in her twenty-third year of life.

Didarion been a short time later. That had been almost thirty years ago, now.

Old indeed, Theusa thought, passing out of the ring of crops. Partinel’s trune ring was one of the largest in the Cluster, but it still provided a relatively small area in which to grow food. They grew right up to the edge of the city wall in a full circle around the city. Running in a loop around them was a narrow, earthen road. Beyond that, a wide patch of carefully-watched and cultivated walnut trees ran around the city. Her people cut down one group of trees every year and planted a new patch. It was a good system, giving them both hardwood for trade and nuts for food. In the Cluster, no land could be wasted.

Because beyond the trees, the land became white. The walnuts stands marked the border, the edge of Partinel’s trune ring and the beginning of fainlands.

Theusa could see the fain forest through a patch of walnut saplings. She paused, looking out at the hostile, bleached landscape. Bone white trees, with colorless undergrowth twisting and creeping around the trunks. White leaves fluttered in the breeze, sometimes passing into the trune ring, dusted with a prickly white fungus.

Skullmoss, the herald of all fain life. Her soldiers and workers gathered the leaves anyway and burned them, though it wasn’t really nessissary. Though eating something fain--animal or plant--was deadly to a human, simple interaction with it was not. Besides, fain life, even the skullmoss, could not live inside of a trune ring.

That’s how it had always been. White trees beyond the border, trune life within. People could go out into the fainlands--there was no real danger, for skullmoss couldn’t corrupt a living creature. Some brave cities even used fain trees for lumber, though Theusa had never dared.

She shivered, turning away from the fain forest and turning to where a group of soldiers--with leather vests and skirts--stood guarding a few huddled people. The prisoners included one man, his wife, and two children. All knelt in the dirt, wearing linen smocks tied with sashes.

The father looked up as Theusa approached, and his eyes widened. Her reputation preceded her. The Bear of Partinel, some called her: a stocky, square-faced woman with graying hair. Theusa walked up to the kneeling father, then bent down on one knee, regarding the man.

The peasant had a face covered in dirt, but his sandaled feet were a dusty white. Skullmoss. Theusa avoided touching the dust, though it should be unable to infect anything within a trune ring. She studied the man for a time, reading the pain and fear in his face. He lowered his eyes beneath the scruitiny.

“Everyone has a place, young man,” she finally said.

The outsider glanced back up.

“The people of this city,” Theusa continued, “they belong here. They work these crops, hauling water from the stormsea to the troughs. Their fathers bled to build and defend that wall. They were born here. They will die here. They are mine.”

“I can work, lady,” the man whispered. “I can grow food, build walls, and fight.”

Theusa shook her head. “That’s not your place, I’m afraid. Our men wait upon drawn lots for the right to work the fields and gain a little extra for their families. There is no room for you. You know this.”

“Please,” the man said. He tried to move forward, but one of the soldiers had his hand on the man’s shoulder, holding him down.

Theusa stood. Jend, faithful as always, waited at the head of her soldiers. He handed Theusa a small sack. She judged the weight, feeling the kernels of grain through the canvas, then tossed it to the ground before the outsider. The man looked confused.

“Take it,” Theusa said. “Go find a spot of ground that the fainlands have relinquished, try to live there as a chance cropper.”

“The moss is everywhere lately,” the man said. “If clearings open up, they are gone before the next season begins.”

“Then boil the grain and use it to sustain you as you find your way to Rens,” Theusa said. “They take in outsiders. I don’t care. Just take the sack and go.”

The man reached out a careful hand, accepting the grain. His family watched, silent, yet obviously confused. This was the Bear of Partinel? A woman who would give free grain to those who tried to sneak into her city? What of the rumors?

“Thank you, lady,” the man whispered.

Theusa nodded, then looked to Jend. “Kill the woman.”

“Wha--” the outsider got halfway through the word before Jend unsheathed his bronze gladius and rammed it into the stomach of the kneeling outsider woman. She gasped in shock, and her husband screamed, trying to get to her. The guards held him firmly as Jend pulled the sword free, then he cut at the woman’s neck. The weapon got lodged in the vertebrae, and it took him three hacks to get the head free. Even so, the execution was over in just a few heartbeats.

The outsider continued to scream. Theusa stooped down again--just out of the man’s reach--blood trickling across the packed earth in front of her. One of the guards slapped the outsider, interrupting his yells.

“I am sorry to do this,” Theusa said. “Though I doubt you care how I feel. You must understand, however. Everyone has a place. The people of this city, they are mine--and my place is to look after them.”

The outsider hissed curses at her. His children--the boy a young teen, the girl perhaps a few years younger--were sobbing at the sight of their mother’s death.

“You knew the penalty for trying to sneak into my city,” Theusa said softly. “Everyone does. Try it again, and my men will find the rest of your family--wherever you’ve left them--and kill them.”

Then, she stood, leaving the screaming peasant behind to yell himself ragged. Theusa’s personal guards moved behind her as she returned to the corridor through the wheat, Jend cleaning his gladius and sheathing it. Over the tops of the green spring plants, Theusa could see a man waiting for her before the city.

(Edit, cleaned up language.)

Brandon Sanderson

Thanks for the comments, folks.  A new version has been uploaded, mostly making minor tweaks as suggested by db.  Some good points, and the prose needed streamlining.


For some reason, this just feels less brutal to me.  Theusa's language is softer than Theus's had been, and I think more reasonable.  Still brutal, yet somehow it works better for me.  That might just be because I've seen (and written) too many characters that feel like Theus, and changing the character to a female (who's a bit older, and who is arguably the legitimate ruler of the city) makes them feel a lot more exciting to write. 

Gruff, Gritty, Male solder king: Feels overdone.

Gruff, gritty, grandmother king: Not so much.

I know it's more about how well the character is done, and less about whether it's been done before or not.  However, excitement on my part seems to make for a better story over-all.  So, I'm wondering if this character will be more exciting for me this way, or just much more trouble.  (I'll have to think of what to do for the next Theus chapter, for instance.  I really liked the fight there, and I can't really put Theusa in the same role.)

Brandon Sanderson


There are, unfortunately, reasons why I have to start the book where I did.  I can't get into it without major spoilers.  You are perfectly right about this chapter lacking a hook, which is why I decided from the get-go that I'd need to start with a scene from the middle of the book, then jump back. 

So, this chapter should be considered the SECOND, and not the one that introduces Midius's character. 

My goal is to try some new things with this book.  Who knows if it will work, but they will present narrative challenges for me, because even when we flash back, we're starting in the middle of a story, with Hoid already dead.

Brandon Sanderson

I'll admit, I'm really torn on this one.  I can't quite decide which way to go.  The thing is, I've been thinking about the characters so much that they're both--Theus and Theusa--now formed in my head.  I know their motivations and their feelings, but I can only use one of them.  

With Theus I gain the ability to have he, himself fight.  I can show him with his family, which could really round out his character.  Yet, I worry that he's too similar to other characters I've written.  (Cett and Straff both come to mind from the Mistborn trilogy, though neither of them are as rounded, as well as Iadon from Elantris.  I've done a lot of brutal rulers.)   

With Thesua, I lose the two things I mentioned above.  I couldn't soften her by showing a spouse and children, and while she'd still have a daughter, I don't see the child being as much of an influence on reader opinion.  And, there would be less action in the book by a slight amount as Theusa will not be a warrior, and will have to rely on Jend to do her combat.   

However, I gain a tad of originality.  (How many tyrant grandmother city-state rulers are there in fiction?  Have to be fewer than men like Theus.)  I also gain some subtlety--Theusa's rule would be much more tenuous, because of her gender, and there would be a lot of politics working against her.   

Both would play off of Yunmi very well, if for different reasons.  Midius's interactions lean slightly toward me liking Theus, but not a huge amount.   

I keep going back and forth on this one.  So, I'll put off the decision until tomorrow and write a Yunmi chapter instead.  Huzzah!

Brandon Sanderson

After much playing with the plot and wrangling, I've decided to go with the male version of the character.  The new Midius chapter is here to stay, however.

I'll just have to do the old grandma tyrant king in some other book. 

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Natalie Perkins

Will we ever find out what EXACTLY gold is? That's been bugging me as well... it doesn't seem complete.

Brandon Sanderson

I leave gold intentionally vague, I'm afraid, even by the end of book three.  I do this in novels, particularly when I feel that I might do more books in a world later on.  The events of books two and three don't lend me to spending much time on gold or malatium, so I figure I'll save really digging into them when I can have a character more focused on them.  (I'd someday, for instance, like to do a Malatium or gold Misting and see if I can do anything interesting with them.) 

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Brandon Sanderson

AETHER was the best of the patch of three you read.  During that period, I was trying to force myself to write shorter books (ala 500 pages) because I thought the beastly lengths of some of my novels (DRAGONSTEEEL 1100, ELANTRIS 1200, WHITE SAND 1000) was keeping me from getting published.

What I learned was I just wasn't good at the shorter format.  What happened was that instead of just writing a shorter book, I ended up short-changing something vital (Characters for MISTBORN, world elements and plotting for FINAL EMPIRE) in my attempt to slim-down.   AETHER came in the middle of the patch there, and it actually turned out longer than the other two, and worked all right.  (The female character was weak, ending needs a lot of work, but it's not a lost cause like the other two.)

New writers be aware (my agent tried to warn me of this): don't try and write in a way that you're just not good at.  You can try to adapt to the market a bit, choosing one idea instead of another because you know the first is more marketable.  However, if you force your writing too much, it will suffer.

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little wilson (paraphrased)

I saw Brandon at a book signing back in mid-December, and I asked him about the 16 percent deal. He said that Preservation replaced the real External Temporal Metals with atium and malatium (at least I'm assuming malatium, but he didn't mention that specifically. He only said atium). So not-cerrobend and cadmium weren't counted in the 16%. nicrosil and chromium, on the other hand, were. So there are chromium andnicrosil Mistings running around, not knowing that they're Mistings.

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Name TWG Posts
Date Jan. 1, 2002
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