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    TWG Posts ()
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    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

    CLIMB THE SKY

    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.

    TWG Posts ()
    #8252 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.

    TWG Posts ()
    #8253 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.

    TWG Posts ()
    #8254 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.

    TWG Posts ()
    #8255 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.)

    TWG Posts ()
    #8256 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.

    TWG Posts ()
    #8258 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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8259 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wellen

    Wellen/Wells is a cameo on two levels. First off, you may remember him from book two as a random viewpoint we got during Vin and Zane's assault on Cett when he was staying in Keep Hasting. Wellen was the guy on the wall who distrusted the mists—and was the only survivor of his squad after Vin and Zane blasted through them to attack the keep itself.

    Well, Cett's army—and therefore Wellen—joined with Elend's army. He ended up remaining in Luthadel as part of Penrod's force. He also happens to be based on my pal and fellow writer Dan Wells, whose first novel I Am Not a Serial Killer comes out from Tor in March 2010.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8260 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    TenSoon Impersonates Kelsier

    I hope it's not too much of a stretch for you to buy TenSoon mimicking Kelsier here. The groundwork is all there: He is extremely good at crafting bodies, to the point that he was able to make a believable person out of bones he'd never used before back in the Homeland. He interrogated OreSeur and knew where the bones were, and what quirks of features he'd need to include to mimic Kelsier. And he'd seen the Survivor on one occasion himself.

    That's right—as he mentions, he did see the Survivor. This shouldn't be too surprising for you, as TenSoon makes an appearance in book one. Go back and look in the book at where Elend confronts his father after going to one of the balls and coming home late. (I think it's the first or second Elend viewpoint we get.) There he mentions TenSoon, the Venture kandra.

    TenSoon was there the day Kelsier fought in the Square of the Survivor, just like Elend and Straff were.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8261 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Two

    This Book's Epigraphs

    The epigraphs from this book are quite a bit different from the ones in the previous two volumes. These are a much more scientific, and—unlike the first two sets—are not from the past, but from the future. (Though, like the other two, they're from a written record that eventually does appear in the novel.)

    This is intentional. In the other two books, the epigraphs were intended to fill out the mythology of the world. By having them come from the past, I was able to add a weight of history to the story that would otherwise have been missing, as the characters weren't focusing much on those kinds of things. In this book, however, I felt that digging up yet another ancient record would be repetitious. I wanted to do something new, something that would add to the tone of this novel.

    And, since the book is about the end of the world, I figured that someone looking back on events and writing about them would give just the right mixture of mystery (Who is it?) tension (Does the world actually end? How can it, if someone survives to write?) and information. These epigraphs, then, are meant to answer questions and fill out the setting of the world in a different way from the other two.

    I do worry that they're too scientific for the feel of the book. I like my books to feel like fantasy, but I really walk the line with how technical my explanations of the magic can feel. Overall, in my books I generally shoot for more of a Renaissance or early industrial revolution feel than a classical medieval feel.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8262 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-One

    Elend Fights the Koloss in the Village

    This chapter gets my next award for favorite chapters in this book. (I think this is number four.)

    The next few Elend chapters run him through the ringer—and yet at the same time let him shine. He's alone, forced to work through his problems without Vin, Tindwyl, or the others to support him. It's time for him to decide who he really is and what he really wants.

    This chapter begins that. Elend's frustration at not being able to protect his people finally bursts from him, and his passion drives him to do as Vin did in book two. Yet there is far less beauty to his attack than there was to hers. Elend is powerful, but with Allomancy he also has to be blunt.

    I love the imagery of this scene in the village, Elend fighting by the firelight of burning buildings, ash and mist in the air, koloss dying by the dozens. It's his first real chance to be a Mistborn, in my opinion, and he is kind of surprised by what it does to him.

    He's not finished working through his need to protect the people of his empire. In a way, he's just beginning down the path of what he needs to work out. However, this is a pivotal moment, where he finally acknowledges what it is that has been bothering him so much. He doesn't just fear that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler—he fears that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler but doing a much poorer job than his predecessor ever did.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8263 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty

    Vin Tries to Defeat the Sedative

    That's our dear, impulsive Vin. Drinking the drugged wine before five minutes had passed. Elend would have stewed in the cavern for days before making that same decision.

    I went back and forth on how difficult it might be to open those cans. I figured it wouldn't be too difficult for an Allomancer with pewter. However, what about a regular person—which is what Vin would become once her pewter ran out? I wouldn't want to try opening a sealed can without some kind of tool. Maybe slamming one against the ground enough would crack it and let her suck the juices out.

    Either way, I think she made the right decision here. She knows that Yomen is, at least, a reasonable man. Besides, hanging out in that cave listening to Ruin laugh at her wasn't particularly good for her sanity.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Quellion's Hidden Attack

    Spook brings up that he feels they should have been attacked by now. This is an echo of what I said earlier, where I had planned to throw in an attack here in the middle and have them defeat some assassins. Like I said, I cut that out. Instead, I had the Citizen send his assassin to kill them all.

    So, in a way, Spook is prophetic. He speaks of assassins, then Beldre shows up with orders to kill them. She didn't sneak past the soldiers; she was allowed in on the Citizen's orders. (That part should have seemed fishy to you, by the way. How did Beldre sneak past a soldier encampment?) However, her inexperience and general good nature meant that she couldn't do what her brother had ordered.

    Not every Allomancer is an innate killer like Vin. Some are pampered girls who were trained to use their powers, but who never got very good at them—or even wanted to be good at them.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The Sliding Scale of Allomantic Potential

    Noblemen, despite what Spook says in this chapter, are not immune to the mistsickness. The rumor Spook is referencing does have merit, however. You see, since the mists are Snapping people and awakening the Allomantic potential within them, it will affect far fewer noblemen than skaa. Why? Because a lot of the noblemen have already Snapped. They were beaten as children to bring out the powers.

    However, that won't stop all of them from being affected by the mistsickness, because the mistsickness is also awakening Allomantic potential that would otherwise be too subtle to be brought out. Pretend there's a sliding scale of Allomantic potential. 100% means you're an Allomancer—in this series, only two people have hit 100%—Vin and Elend. Buried within a lot of people, however, is enough of a touch of Preservation's power to hit, say, 50% on the relative scale of Allomantic power. These people, when beaten and made to pass through something traumatic, awaken to their Allomantic abilities.

    There are a lot of people out there, however, with something more like 20% to 30%. These are the people the mists are Snapping—since the mists are, themselves, partially the power of Preservation, they can touch people and increase their Allomantic potential slightly and then bring it to the forefront.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8266 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Nine - Part Two

    The Canal Genius

    Lord Fedre, the infamous nobleman mentioned here for his research in canals, is none other than my editor, Moshe. He got several cameos in relation to canals, as he was the one who suggested the use of them way back in book one as a way to enhance the feel of the series and give it the right technological level.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8267 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Breeze the Nobleman

    Sazed mentions that Breeze does the best job of anyone he knows in imitating a nobleman. Well, if you remember Breeze's viewpoints from book two, you'll realize that there's a good reason for this. Breeze is a nobleman—full blooded, not a half-blood like the rest of them. He fled to the underground and pretended to be a half-breed (probably one of the only noblemen ever to do so) in order to gain the protection of the skaa rebellion.

    If we had time for Breeze viewpoints in this book, we'd see that he's changed quite a bit from book two. The pivotal moment for him was when he snapped mentally at the end of the Siege of Luthadel. After living through the battle, Breeze has decided to enjoy what he has and not take it for granted. Though he acts a lot like the old Breeze, you should be noticing a lot more optimism and even kindness from Breeze in this book. He's decided to go ahead and love Allrianne, and he tries to help the emotions of others even more than he did back in book two.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8268 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Nine - Part One

    Sazed's Memorization Skills

    Okay, long chapter here. I'll bet I have to split this annotation in two. But, let's launch into it. First off, you should know that Sazed tends to gloss over just how hard he had to work to memorize those copperminds of his in the first place. Keepers like him go through intense memorization training early in their lives, learning how to build near-photographic memories even before they use their metalminds. The goal of this, of course, is to train the mind to hold a perfect image of what it has read so that knowledge can be kept as pristine as possible before being shoved into the coppermind.

    Generally, a Keeper can keep the entire contents of several books memorized in their head even without use of Feruchemy. Like a Muslim who memorizes the Koran, Sazed could take a book and memorize it word for word, then repeat it all back to you. He's trained himself in this skill for so long, however, that it seems mundane to him. Beyond that, the application of Feruchemy changes his abilities—and how he uses them—somewhat.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8269 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Eight

    The Lord Ruler's Final Message

    This plaque from the Lord Ruler was very difficult to write. Originally it was much shorter, but I expanded it during the last draft because I felt it was just too useless. Even still, it doesn't say much. And that's the problem.

    I was always intending the Lord Ruler's final plate to contain no answers. It works into my themes for this series—this was the "quest" book playing off the epic fantasy ideal of the powerful object that must be discovered and used to fight the evil. Except that this time, I wanted them to get to the place they'd been questing toward and find it empty, with no answers from the Lord Ruler. I felt this would only heighten the sense of hopelessness the characters are feeling in trying to fight Ruin.

    The problem is, rereading this plate I realize that I've done exactly what I wanted—but that it's also a really, really big letdown. I hate letting down readers. It feels like breaking promises. After consideration I think this is still the best thing to do, but I wish I'd found another way to deal with this.

    Note that the circle with a dot here is completely lost on Vin. The size of the circle in relation to the text around it, and some numerical clues scribbled around the perimeter of the circle, are indications of the size of a scale map it should be placed upon. If placed the right way, the dot will point directly at the Pits of Hathsin.

    Vin's awesome, but she's barely got a basic education. A complex mathematical puzzle like that one is completely lost on her. If Elend had had the time to study the plate, he might have figured out where it was pointing. There wasn't time, however.

    The Lord Ruler did leave a very important clue on this plate. However, I feel that obscure clues like this are deciphered far too often in books like this one. I think realistically if you're going to leave a clue like that, chances are good that it will end up getting missed or misunderstood. Which is exactly what happened here.

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    Questioner

    You mentioned one time that there were guards hiding under the bed and in a secret room when Siri first goes to the God King?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I at least imagined it that way.

    Questioner

    Do you always add details like that in your imagination?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's very frequently I do. Just cause I want to be a few steps ahead. And I want to be making sure that my motives for the characters—particularly the side characters, we're not seeing through their eyes, make sense. Motives are really important to me.

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    #8271 Copy

    Questioner

    I was actually wondering, the epigraphs for The Way of Kings, that were talking about how the various Shardholders [Vessels] are influenced by their Shards over time—how does that impact someone like Harmony, with multiple shards?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The main effect it's having on Harmony right now is the inability to act sometimes, because his two sides are pushing, and so he is having trouble being proactive. It'd take a long time before it really becomes manifest, but he's had several hundred years, so it's starting to have an effect.

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    #8273 Copy

    Questioner

    Kaladin in the second book seemed to be a different Kaladin than at the end of the first book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    In what way?

    Questioner

    And he seemed angrier, and my question is, why did you write him that way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has always been angry. In the first book, he is focused on saving his men and now that his men are safe, all of those emotions—if you go look at him from the first nine chapters of Way of Kings, he's that way there, it's when he becomes focused on saving his men he has something to drive him and it kind of subsumes these things, but once they're safe all these things he hasn't dealt with came back out.

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    #8276 Copy

    Questioner

    Are the Wax and Wayne stories going to always be in stand-alone, or are they ever going to tie in to the main Mistborn and stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They will tie in, in fact I intended the first one to foreshadow stuff for the next trilogy, so you will find things tying in with what's going on, but I kind of wanted them to also just be more independent, so we'll see. It'll be a little of both.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8277 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    What to Do with the Mistfallen

    Everything I've read indicates that people during times like these—and soldiers in particular—were a fairly superstitious lot. I think it makes sense. If your job is to fight, and you face death regularly, then you might be very careful not to do anything that might upset your luck. Particularly if you live in an era without a ton of scientific light and reasoning.

    Hating the mistfallen makes a lot of sense by their rationale, and—if I were in the army—I might very well agree with this sentiment. Elend and Ham should have worked harder to smooth things over, but with tensions as high as they are, it's not an ideal situation. Remember, these are guys who have only been running an army for a few years. Everything they've learned, they've had to learn the hard way.

    Sending Demoux and the others away was the right decision at this point.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8278 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Seven

    The Death of Bilg

    You may not recognize a cameo appearance by Bilg in this chapter. He was the soldier who punched Demoux. Who is Bilg? Well, if you go read book one, you'll find a scene where Kelsier visits the caves where his army is training. He picks a soldier out of the crowd to champion him and has the man fight a duel with one of the army's dissident members. Kelsier helped his champion by using Allomancy to interfere with the fight.

    The champion? Captain Demoux. The dissident troublemaker he fought? A guy named Bilg. (Perhaps you can see why Bilg would bear a grudge against Demoux.) In the original draft of book one, Bilg died in that fight. However, readers reacted harshly against Kelsier killing a man to make a point. So, I backed off and had Bilg live and become a follower of Kelsier.

    I've always felt that he should have died, though. So, in this book, he makes trouble again, fights Demoux again, and this time finally gets what he deserves. The only problem is that Elend gets his name wrong here and calls him Brill instead. Oops. Since that makes it pretty much impossible to spot the cameo, I may get that changed in a reprint.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8279 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Spook Plans to Flood the Streetslots

    You may note a tiny bit of hypocrisy on Spook's part here. He blasts the Citizen for killing nobleman to improve his reputation while keeping the Allomancers for himself. (And, indeed, Spook is right to be so critical.) However, Spook's plan here—to return the water to the canals and build his own reputation—is, in many ways, just as much fakery as the Citizen's actions. Spook plans to "magically" restore the waters and make himself look like a hero, engineering his own deus ex machina end to this story.

    This is Ruin's taint upon him—Ruin, who doesn't believe in building things up or improving the lives of others, but who relies on shells of reputation and impressive acts for his followers. Much as Hemalurgy is a false way to become an Allomancer, Ruin is using false methods to bring Spook notoriety.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #8280 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Spook Visits Beldre in the Garden Again

    Spook's romance with Beldre is one of the things I'm not sure about in this book. I tried to give it as much time as I could, and you'll see some later scenes that fill it out some more. It isn't really love at this point, but just Spook being a teenage boy who is attracted to a pretty girl. However, a lot of romances start that way. Keep in mind that Beldre sees Spook very differently from the reader. She sees a mysterious figure, a handsome young man who comes in the mists and the darkness, bearing with him the weight of rumor and legend. She sees a man who rescued a child from a burning building, a man who stands up to her brother when nobody else does.

    She's definitely attracted to him, for many of the same reasons that Vin was attracted to Zane in book two.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Six

    Sazed Agrees to Put On the Metalminds

    Sazed was getting close to putting on those metalminds again even without Spook's interference and demands. You can tell by the way he fixated on them recently, and how—despite his determination not to wear them—he ended up getting them out and polishing them. He's been waiting for an excuse to use them.

    That said, I like the depth of Sazed's conflict presented in this chapter. He's come a long way from the first draft of the book, where he simply sat around as a depressed lump. (I'm probably exaggerating his weakness in that draft, but I'm pleased enough with this draft that it feels like it's leaps and bounds ahead of the old one.)

    Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
    #8282 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm working on a story slowly about a world where diseases grant powers while you have the disease. The pitch is you catch the common cold, you can fly until you get it over. This is the idea that bacterial and viruses have evolved to grant these powers in order to spread themselves, and so I need some help with my immunology stuff. Even if it's just...

    Questioner

    No one ever needs immunologists.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here. Give a list of good diseases that have a certain like how long it takes the average person to get over them, and I have to really work out the viruses that you don't ever really get over. Right?

    Questioner

    The chronic ones, like yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Like how does that work with the magic, and cuz I actually want one plot point of the story for someone to invent penicillin. And its basically like a weapon, right? To knock out people's powers, and so, I have to make sure I can only use those for bacteria and I have to know how that's going to work and stuff.

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    #8283 Copy

    Questioner

    What would happen if a copper-compounder would compound copper?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of people have been asking that one. I don't know why they've all suddenly latched onto it, but you are going to get RAFO-ed, but I will give you a card. *laughter* I have reserve something for later books.

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    Questioner

    Is there any real difference between Steelrunners and Sliders? It seems like that could be sort of similar class--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. But different.

    --Sliders have the bubble around them, but...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. They work similarly, the big difference is you're seeing the limitations of Allomancy versus Feruchemy. Where Feruchemy there upper limit is unbounded, but you have really much more distinct cost and that can be stored up. You see that these have a different kind of cost to them, but I would call them the same category of thing, it's just the Feruchemy can be way more powerful. Except its limited by how much you store up.

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    Questioner

    I was a little bit interested in Words of Radiance...how Taln's Shardblade screams for Dalinar when the other Honorblade doesn't scream for Kaladin...

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is true. So, if you look at the description Shardblade at the end of book one and they present it book 2, check the [clipped].

    Questioner 2

    You also give a hint at the end of the book of what happened.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I give a hint in the book of what happened as well, the hint is, those aren't the same swords.

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    Questioner

    I wanted to ask about Paalm’s spike. Is it that one specifically that allowed her to hide from Harmony or would it happen with any sort of...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was because she was not using one out of any metal that he knew, was a big part of it. She couldn't have done that with any spike. Taking one out helped a bit, but a non-Harmony spike it had to be… What you’re seeing there is a weird hack of the magic system intentionally that was built to do that.

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    Playing with Clichés

    Well, that turned into a strangely unexpected rant. I'll leave it because it might be interesting to you all, but I did want to continue with my original idea. I didn't bring Reen back (or Kelsier back) because I feel opposed to this kind of plotting unless it is well foreshadowed in advance and built into the magic system. I did, however, want to make the reader think that I'd brought them back, as for some reason it gives me pleasure to bait readers into thinking I'm following the clichés, then ducking away from those clichés. (In a way, that's what this entire series is about.)

    As a nod to the intelligence of my readers, however, I didn't let this one last for long. I figured that many would have figured out that the image of Reen was false, particularly after the epigraph strongly hints that Vin has been spiked. In addition, I wanted to use this scene to point out the difference between Vin and Spook. He's an idealist and is rather fresh and inexperienced, despite what the crew has been through. Vin's a realist and a skeptic, and is far more experienced. It makes simple sense to me that she would almost immediately see through Ruin's tricks.

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    Chapter Forty-Five

    "Reen" is Ruin

    Did you really think I'd bring Reen back?

    Well, maybe you did. It's all right if you did; we in the fiction world have kind of acclimatized people to strange resurrections of long-dead characters. I'd guess it's due to one of two things. Either 1) The author is so attached to the fallen character that he/she wants to have them return or 2) The author wants to do something completely unexpected, so he/she returns to life a character the reader isn't expecting.

    Unfortunately, both answers are based on emotions outside of what is commonly good for the actual plotting of the story. Do this enough, and readers are required to stretch their ability to suspend disbelief. This sort of practice is part of what earns genre fiction something of a bad reputation among the literary elite. (How can there be tension for a character if the reader knows that death doesn't mean anything?)

    The trick with saying this is, of course, that I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I've got two books in the works where I'm planning deaths and resurrections—though, of course, I'm building in these elements as plot points of the setting and worldbuilding.

    Beyond that, there are lots of instances where this sort of thing is appropriate in fiction, and where it works. After all, one of the reasons to write fantasy is so that you can deal with themes like this that wouldn't work in mainstream fiction. I just worry that we, as a genre, are too lazy with ideas like this. If we push this too far, we'll end up where the comic book world is—in a place where death is completely meaningless.

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    Ruin in the Cache

    So, you'll notice that Ruin appears to Vin here in the form of Reen. One might wonder why he even needed her to investigate if he could visit the cache himself.

    This reveals the main problem Ruin was dealing with in this instance. The Lord Ruler was very clever in how he placed and organized these caches. He planned them in locations where there was so much metal in the ground that it would prevent Ruin from discovering them. And, more importantly, he trained his obligators—Yomen included—not to speak of what was down below or reveal the locations of the caches.

    Ruin didn't know there was a cache here, not until Vin found the previous plate. Even once he knew where the cache was, he couldn't see much when he visited it. He couldn't know if there was atium there, for the entire area—particularly because of the metal cans Vin mentions—glowed so brightly that Ruin had no idea what he was seeing.

    He needed a pawn to visit, one through whose eyes he could see. One who could discover where the atium was. Ruin drew the same conclusion Vin did here—that if there had been atium, Yomen would have moved it. But where? Ruin still needed her to find it for him. Either that or bring in an Inquisitor, something he eventually decided to do.

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    Chapter Forty-Four - Part Two

    Slowswift's Young Men

    One may be left wondering about the two unfortunate men whom Vin used in her ploy. Aledin and Troalin were brothers, actually—cousins to Slowswift; men whose mother was executed by the Steel Ministry for her dalliance with a skaa serving man. (Her husband and their father had passed away some years before.)

    Yomen—who was in charge in the city by then—allowed her legitimate sons to keep their titles and not suffer disgrace in exchange for their silence about their mother's dalliance, which would have been an embarrassment to all. They remained in Fadrex, but never got over what had been done to their mother and were known by Slowswift as dissidents against the obligator's reign.

    Both were implicated in Vin's infiltration of the cache, as Yomen had other spies watching her that she never noticed—spies whose job was to stay out of the way and make sure the door shut behind her when she sneaked in. The brothers were tossed in a dungeon, only to be released after the beginning of the alliance between Elend and Yomen. They made it into the cache before the end, and later became distinguished leaders under Spook's reign.

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    Reen

    I hope I wasn't too obvious with my increased references to Reen in this chapter. A few of my alpha readers noticed it, but I think it's subtle enough that I decided to leave it. Obviously, I was trying to prepare the reader for the appearance of Reen later in the chapter by giving a few reminders of who he was and what he meant to Vin.

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    Chapter Forty-Four - Part One

    Subtlety with the Power

    The Lord Ruler created koloss, kandra, and Inquisitors during his time holding the power. This took some practice and experimentation, however. As has been explained, holding the power granted some intuitive understanding of how to use it. For instance, he knew how to make Hemalurgic creatures—but he wasn't practiced enough with the specifics at first to know exactly what he wanted to make or what the results of his experimentations would be.

    In a similar way, he knew that he could move a planet—and did. With practice, he could have figured out how to shove the planet the right way to place it correctly in orbit. Unfortunately, you can't really experiment with moving a planet around without causing a whole lot of damage.

    And so, he could do something as subtle as create three new races—and, with that practice in biology, redesign the world's plants and animals slightly—but could be so far off in the way he shoved the planet about the first time.

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    Yomen's History

    Yomen was a fun character to write. Named for Aaron Yeoman, who won a charity auction that I did for character naming rights, I wanted him to present a type of villain different from Zane in book two. Somewhat sympathetic, but a thinker rather than a fighter.

    He felt from a very young age that he was destined to be an obligator. The son of a minor nobleman back in Luthadel, he entered the priesthood early and distinguished himself through scholarship and theology. This isn't an aspect of the Steel Ministry that we often get to see in the books, as our focus lies elsewhere. However, there are a lot of philosophers and thinkers in the Ministry—and most of them ended up in the Canton of Resource, the best place for men with an analytical mind.

    When a position opened in Fadrex, Yomen jumped at it, as he knew it was a place where most obligators didn't like to serve. It was too out of the way, too removed from important events. Of all the obligators in Luthadel, he was the only one of any distinguished record who wanted to go. (He did beat out more qualified obligators from other cities, as he had connections with the Ministry elite in Luthadel.)

    Within five years at Fadrex, he'd risen to being the prelan (i.e. the high priest) of the local Ministry building, despite his youth. Many were saying they saw him heading back to Luthadel to enter the ministry's upper ranks, though it's debatable if this would have happened or not. By going to Fadrex, he put himself in a position to rise quickly as there was little local competition among the obligators. (Many of whom had been stationed there because they lacked the influence to get put elsewhere.) However, it also removed him from the political scene back in Luthadel—and from the minds of many of the more important people there.

    It's possible he would have been able to maintain connections and pull enough strings to get himself back into an influential position in the capital. However, it's also possible that by seizing the opportunity in Fadrex, he gave himself a quick path to prelan—but locked himself out of any higher ranks.

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    Chapter Forty-Three

    The Ball at the Canton of Resource

    I didn't want this chapter to be a repeat of the previous ball scene, so I kept the nostalgia to a minimum and focused on the plan. I hope I've established why Vin and Elend are willing to take this risk—a mixture of Elend's desire to avoid attacking the city and the general recklessness being a Mistborn can foster in a person.

    Either way, we avoid dancing and small talk in this chapter. I didn't want to write that, and I'm assuming that the reader doesn't care to read it. The tension of the infiltration is what matters now.