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    Questioner

    You like dragons very much, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do like dragons very much.

    Questioner

    Well then you don't have dragons in any of your books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of my books has dragons. It's the one I wrote but didn't get published and will eventually re-publish, called Dragonsteel. So one of the very first I wrote had dragons, but I don't want to do dragons in every book. So I'm waiting for the book that it is right for.

    Questioner

    Hmm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, any questions?

    Questioner

    Well, I was kind of wondering, you've got this whole culture of, exactly that: people asking you questions about your stories outside of the stories.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Questioner

    I was wondering, is that something you developed or decided on? Or--

    Brandon Sanderson

    That I inherited from Robert Jordan. It had started happening a little bit, but it was really a thing that Robert Jordan fostered in his fans, that I got very used to doing. And so, I just kept doing it. I do warn my fans: I change my mind. And so, um, the things I say--they call them the Word of Brandon--Word of Brandon is level below what's in the text in hierarchy, because I will change my mind, and I will get things wrong when I don't have my notes and stuff. And so-- But yeah, but you can find collections of things I've said. And most of them are still true. Once in a while I'm writing a book, I'm like, "No, this just doesn't work out." But you know that--that just happens with everything.

    Like I'm writing Oathbringer, right? And I've mentioned things in Dalinar's past before that are from my outline of Dalinar's past. I sit down, I write the flashback sequences, I'm like, "Oh no. Continuity error," right? And so we just have to go with fixing it in this book and then say, "First book's got a continuity error, guys." Because once you actually sit down and write out somebody's life across thirty years, you can't get them sometimes into places where you had noted stuff. So, it's--I wish I could be like 100% accurate on all things. It just doesn't work out. Even the books like Mistborn, that I wrote all three in a row, and then we edited them, and then sent them out--still had continuity errors, so. Ehh.

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    Questioner

    How come Vin doesn't get stomach aches when she takes-- When she ingests iron?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it actually, legitimately gets burned away. It's gone.

    Questioner

    So it's gone too fast to have a--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It, yeah. I mean if you sit around and just-- I mean, Allomancers are warned-- and Kelsier I think warns her, "Burn away your metals," right? Not good to have these in your system! But yeah, you would end up feeling adverse effects like that if-- yeah.

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    Questioner

    I have a question about Roshar. Um, how big is this exactly?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, I can get you that if you write to me, because I--I just have to go to the maps.

    Questioner

    There's a lot of like--physical description *audio skips* And the different races and cool descriptions for like the cultures and stuff. I was wonder if there's like a reason for that in the world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah, well there's a couple reasons, for instance-- You know, ask me after you've read the third book, and then I can give you some spoilerific sort of stuff, that's-- that comes out in the third book-- I can stand upon it. Um, but yeah I can also-- we can also give you the distance. I think they have it on the 17th Shard. Isaac-- we didn't put the map of actual scale in it, just because we-- I dunno why, I just decided not. But we have it. I let Isaac and Peter kind of nail that down. I say, "This distance is about this far." So they figure out what the rest of it is. But the planet Roshar is smaller than Earth.

    Questioner

    That--that's interesting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. And the continent--I mean, but it's one supercontinent, and so it's fairly big, but--

    Questioner

    I mean, you can travel across it on a storm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh-huh.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Part Four Wrap-up

    Oo. I can't wait to see what happens next!

    Actually, the section breaks mean a lot to me in this book. They divide the novel in my mind, as opposed to Elantris, which was divided by viewpoint and not by section of the book.

    Often, when I write novels, I plan sections around climactic scenes which leave the characters changed. That's why this story broke in such places as when Vin nearly got killed, or when Kelsier really did get killed. In this book, they sometimes mark the passage of time as well—that happened with the first couple.

    It's kind of an odd thing that I do, but often in my books I will have a "section" that is simply the climax. That's the way it is with this book; part four was the lead up to the climax. Part five is, essentially, one big long climax. The Brandon Avalanche, so to speak.

    So, why is it like this? Why have a short "section" at the end that is the climax, rather than just having part four continue on to the end? It has to do with how I write books.

    A novel has to be divided into chunks for me to work on it. I divide it in my brain by section, then plot those section separately. Often times, the climax—on my plot outline—is it's own section. That's because the division in my head requires the section before it to be set up. Then, the set up is finished, and I can move on to the pay off.

    And so, that’s what you get now. The pay off. Hope you enjoy it.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, I always talk about how I like happy endings. And yet, everyone always complains that I'm too brutal in places. Here is a good example.

    Kelsier dies. Yes, he's really dead. Yet, his death isn't truly that sad to me. He accomplished a lot, and died facing down the Lord Ruler himself. It's not a sad death.

    Honestly, you should have seen it coming. I worried about doing this, actually, since it seemed a little too expected. The mentor figure always ends up getting killed. I nearly didn't do it simply for that reason. However, I eventually decided that a good story is more important, sometimes, than avoiding the expected. Once in a while, you just have to do what feels right, even if that feeling leads you into areas that others have tread. Hopefully, I take it in my own direction. (See the next chapter.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I put the Lord Ruler in black and white—rather than just black, as I'd originally planned—to give metaphoric reference to his belief that he is God. He's both black and white—he encompasses all, and controls all. Of course, he's faking. In the mythology of this world, there are two forces—Ruin and Preservation—and he really only touched one of the two powers. But, then, we'll have more on that in later books.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Four - Part Two

    Kelsier saving Elend in this chapter was indeed something of a homage to Les Miserables. It is one of my favorite classics, and Elend's own character—with his group of idealistic noble friends—was partially inspired by Marius and his cohorts. I wasn't originally going to have Elend in this scene, but I decided to throw him in and give Kelsier the opportunity to save him, partially as an inside reference to the story that inspired him, and partially to let Kelsier do something truly selfless as a final send-off before he died.

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    Questioner

    The soulcasters. They have, like, the effect on people-- like she's turning into smoke, those guys who turn into stone...  So do-- since-- do Shardblades, that are not from Radiants, have an affect on the people?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, like, you're talking like Honorblades?

    Questioner

    Uh, oh, no no, sorry, sorry. Not held by--okay, because I know the guys who are Radiants--Not, I mean no, sorry. But just I said not from Radiants when I mean not held by Radiants--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, oh, oh, I get what you say. So do they have a similar affect? No, they do not. Good question.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Four - Part One

    I realize that some people don't like fight scenes. My hope is that these scenes in the Mistborn books aren't simply fights. They're expressions of the magic system. If you have invested the effort into learning how Pushing and Pulling metals works, you should be able to get some pretty vibrant visuals out of this fight between Kelsier and the Inquisitor.

    Either way, this chapter has my favorite beginning lines (not counting the bumps) of any of them. It's a good, old-fashioned showdown between good and evil! Or, at least, between Kelsier and evil!

    Honestly, though, this fight played a good hundred times in my head when I was preparing, then writing, the book. I hope it worked for you. I know it isn't all that long, but coming up with interesting fights that don't feel repetitive, and instead incorporate the setting elements and the majesty of Allomancy is something of a challenge. I really liked how this one turned out.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    We're gearing up for some pretty spectacular fight scenes, if I do say so myself. The short one in this chapter is a good one. However, there's much more to come.

    I'd been waiting to pit Kelsier against an Inquisitor since the early chapters, where he led that one on a chase. Part of the reason I didn't show that chase is because I wanted the reader to anticipate this moment themselves. I also didn't show Kelsier fighting the Inquisitors in the palace the night that Vin was wounded. In short, I wanted to save the scene of a fight between them until Kelsier could really give it his all, actually fighting.

    It took a lot to get him into a direct fight. However, push Kelsier far enough, and he'll snap. When he does. . .well, you'll have to read on.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    By the way, the reason the Lord Ruler's army attacked Renoux was not because they broke Marsh. It's because the Inquisitors–still tracking Vin–finally managed to trail her to House Renoux, and therefore to Valette Renoux. They hit the convoy, fully expecting her to be on it. When she wasn't, they devised their trap, knowing that Kelsier would come for his friends. They never even suspected that the team had managed to get a mole into the Ministry ranks.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Three - Part Two

    To be honest, I'm not sure if Vin's right–if Kelsier should have stayed back from the trying to save the people–or not. It's certainly the more heroic thing to try and save them. This scene is to show that Vin still has a little bit of her Reen-crafted selfishness (or, maybe self-preservation-ness) left in her. Kelsier is ready to risk everything for his friends. You can debate whether this impulse is foolish, but I think it's noble.

    Vin's sin here isn't deciding that going after them would be too dangerous. It's how quickly she jumps to this decision, and how powerless she decides that she is. She's not a coward, nor is she ungrateful. She's just lived on the street too long. In a situation like this, her first instinct is not to fight, but to flee. (Just like it was when the army got attacked by the garrison a few chapters back.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Simply destroying the pits probably wouldn't destabilize the economy to the point that some of those here assume. The thing is, atium isn't the foundation of monetary value in the Final Empire–not like gold was in America for a time. It's simply a prime source of income and power for the Lord Ruler. Losing it will be a blow, but not enough to completely overthrow the empire. After all, the Lord Ruler still has his atium cache–and so, as the metal becomes more rare and valuable, he'd become more wealthy through atium inflation.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    In this scene, the crew pretty much thinks it's over. I thought this was an important scene to have because it represents a different sort of feeling. Before, after the army was gone and the men were ready to give up, they were truly "giving up." Now, they can see what they've accomplished, and feel good about it. It's less a giving up, and more a realization that they've done what they could. (At least, so they think.)

    There's a distinction there, and I think it was important to have both in the book. This scene is kind of metaphorically showing that the crew wasn't convinced all along that they could destroy the Lord Ruler and the Final Empire. It was too much. Instead, they always planned to do what they could, then pull out. I wouldn't blame them, if I were you. They've been through a lot, and done a lot. They're just more realistic than Kelsier.

    Plus, they don't know that an eighth of the book is still to come.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This is also the chapter where we get the climax of the Pits/atium plot. We finally get to see them first-hand, and see Kelsier go to them and exact his revenge upon them. I worry that I should have foreshadowed this more, pointing out that Kelsier knew of a way to destroy the atium crystals. The problem is, I've left the Pits intentionally mysterious.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the most overt and obvious of my savior-imagery scenes for Kelsier. I hope you didn't feel like I was hitting you over the head with it. (I didn't actually realize the similarity between Survivor and Savior until I was part of the way through the book.) Either way, yes, the Christian imagery is intentional. I didn't put it in simply because I'm religious (after all, if you look at it, Kelsier isn't really all that Christian in the way he deals with people.) I put it in because I think that the images and metaphors of Christianity are deeply-seated in our culture, and drawing upon them provides for a more powerful story.

    Part of this is to intentionally make people uncomfortable–for discomfort (when used right) leads to tension. The Christians who read this might be made uncomfortable by how strikingly un-divine Kelsier is. He's acting in some of the same roles as Christ did, but he's not the man that Christ was. He's kind of a pale imitation. The non-Christians, in turn, might be made uncomfortable by the fact that Kelsier is manipulating the people in the way that religions often do, giving hope in something that could very well prove to be false.

    Either way, he is what he is. The truest Kelsier is the one we see near the end, where he's standing in the kitchen, smoldering in his black clothing. He is a dangerous man with powerful beliefs.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Two

    You know you're getting to the end of the book when I start to tie up the small plot arcs, leaving room for the big ones to climax. In this chapter, we have two nice little resolutions. First, the Spook/Vin relationship arc. This one wasn't extremely important, but I think it added a nice human touch to Spook, which is useful since he will get more screen time in later books.

    Secondly, we get the final "train with a Misting" scene for Vin. Again, this is a small arc, but it was nice to get it finished, for the sake of cohesion. She's now gotten tips on all of the basic metals except copper, which is the simple on/off metal.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Another big step for Vin is admitting that she loved Reen. She's finally letting herself feel, and admit, the things that she's been repressing all this time. It's good for her to get them out, even if they hurt.

    Of course, we also get to see Vin's abandonment complex. It's something that I haven't enforced too much in the book, but it was always there. Often, I think a sense of forced independence and solitude–like the one attitude Vin displayed in the early parts of the book–comes from believing that everyone will leave you eventually.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-One

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

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

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

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty - Part Two

    Here's my original journal entry for this chapter, written right after I finished the chapter itself:

    Chapter Thirty: Vin saves Elend at the party.Finished 5-19-04

    It's wonderful when a chapter turns out just the way you envisioned it.

    I worked on this chapter for a long time–from the beginning of the planning process, I imagined this as one of the major action sequences in the book. I began with the image of Vin shooting up through the air as the rose window twisted and fell beneath her in the mists, then I expanded that to her protecting Elend, giving Vin a real scene of heroism. Originally, I wasn't intending her to fight the Allomancers, just to lead them away, but I decided that I needed a pure Mistborn-on-Mistborn fight in the book. Every other Allomantic battle involves Inquisitors.

    The scenes in this chapter are some of my favorite so far. Though, oddly, it took me a long time to get into them–I hedged over what the first part of the chapter should entail. Eventually, I decided that this would be a perfect place to give Vin some abandonment issues. This is a hold-over from the original Vin from the first Final Empire [Prime] write–the fear of abandonment was a large part of that Vin’s personality. It worked well in this setting, and I think I'll emphasize it just a bit more in the rewrite. The next chapter really plays off of this idea.

    It feels a little bit weird to be writing about a young girl running around killing people in her skivvies, but I don't really see any reasonable way for her to fight in one of those bulky ball gowns I'm using in this book. So, underwear it is!

    Kliss and Shan have both come to have much larger parts in the book than I'd intended. Kliss was intended to be a throw-away character used in one chapter, but now she's become an informant and a conspirator. In a rewrite, I think I'll have to introduce her sooner and try and give her a more distinctive personality. As for Shan. . .well, I only added her a couple of chapters ago. Obviously, she'll need more time in the rewrite as well. Vin's battle will be much better if I can have her fight a named character that's been an antagonist in a few chapters. The Vin ball scenes have become a larger part of the book than I had thought, and adding Kliss and Shan as recurring characters will help flesh out that plot-line, I think.

    Like how I ditch Sazed in this chapter so that I can have Vin's "grand" entrance in the next chapter? Pretty smooth, eh? I was worried about how I was going to deal with him. . . . As for the actual fight and the scenes, I think everything flowed quite well. We'll see what readers think!

    (Note, when I wrote this, Elantris wasn’t even out yet–it was still over a year away from publication–so I really had no idea if people would be responding well to my writing or not.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Now, if Sazed's leaving her alone didn't hint at you that something was coming. . .well, you need to go back to foreshadowing school.

    The image of Vin bursting out of the building as the rose window churned the mists, falling beneath her, was one of the first fight scene images I got for this book. When I came up with it, I knew that I absolutely had to find a way to have a fight at Keep Venture.

    Originally, I was going to have Vin use her Allomancy more obviously in front of the crowds. Having her do it the way it ended up happening in the book was simply a matter of convenience–the plotting of the chapter had her end up in the back corridors rather than in front of any crowds.

    Either way, this turned out to be a very powerful chapter, one in which I'm extremely pleased.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    It was extremely important that Elend reject Vin in this chapter. I worry that I got a little bit into convenient motivations in this chapter–I always hate it when men and women have relationship problems in book simply because it's the place in the story for things to go wrong. Weak conflict–something a friend of mine calls "Deus Ex Wrench" is a problem with most romantic comedies.

    Better to have realistic, rather than feigned, tension. I hope that I was able to manage that in this chapter. Elend is being almost completely honest with his emotions here–he has just discovered that Vin was lying to him all along. Rather than feeling bitter, however, he feels like a fool. He's realized that the game was playing him all along, and he's disappointed to find that Vin is part of it. That, in turn, persuades him that he should just give in and do his duty to his house.

    And so, he turns her away. The vital part of this all, of course, is that it gives Vin the chance to love him–and protect him–even though he's rejected her. This is perhaps the most important step for Vin in the entire book. She's learning the things that Kelsier talked about, the truth that she needed. With this in hand, she can trust people, even knowing that they might betray her.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty - Part One

    Keep Venture is actually based on real cathedrals. Actually, visiting a few cathedrals was what that sparked the entire structural theme for the buildings in this book. The main inspiration for Keep Venture was the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. I loved the way it incorporated the huge windows at the sides, inset with pillars, with interesting balconies above for viewing. I took that concept and changed it around a bit, turning the worship hall into a ballroom.

    After that, the other keeps were easy. Keep Lekal came from the Luxor in Vegas. Hasting and Elariel I came up with on my own–one because I wanted a tower keep, and the other because I imagined a room with stained glass windows in the ceiling.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    There are two major foreshadowing elements in this chapter as well. The first is what Vin does with Sazed's bit of metal. She can't reach the power because she didn't store it. The implication is that if she WERE able to store attributes as a Feruchemist, then burn those metals, she could tap this extra power. Also, Kelsier's discussion about the Valla religion is supposed to just make him look apprehensive. What he's really doing, however, is reconfirming that the death of a leader will make a people stronger, not weaker, in resolve.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin's "Everything is going to change" discussion strikes me as one of the most sincere, and honest things discussed in the book. I like this chapter for the way that it exposes the main characters. I know I've felt like Vin sometimes, and I know lots of people who fear change because of that phantom feeling that the future can't possibly be as good as the present.

    It's no coincidence that I spend a lot of time on Sazed's religions in this chapter. I liked the interplay of the religions of the past with the pensiveness for the future both Vin and Kelsier are feeling.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Nine

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

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, as I said, I felt that I needed to wait to make Elend a viewpoint character. There are several reasons for this. The primary one is that this book is really about Vin. Kelsier has some time, but really everything in this book is focused around its effect on Vin.

    Elend couldn't come in as a viewpoint character earlier because I think he would have been distracting. I like him a lot as a character. However, by leaving his viewpoints out, I allow readers to wonder whether or not he's playing Vin. My writing groups responded quite well to Elend, having constant discussions about whether or not his motivations were pure. They could do this because they didn't know his mind, and I think that by letting them do this, they could grow more attached to Vin. After all, whether or not Elend's viewpoints were pure only mattered in relation to her.

    But, finally, I decided to ease that tension and let the readers know that he really was the person they thought. This should come as a relief, which relief will quickly be destroyed by the worry I create in this chapter. (In short, I couldn't bring Elend in as a viewpoint until doing so twisted the plot more, rather than simply untwisting it.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The Venture-atium connection is something I wish I could have foreshadowed a little bit better. However, without Elend being a viewpoint until this chapter (the reasons for which I'll explain in a bit) there really wasn't much I could do to connect Venture and the Pits.

    By the way, the "something a few years ago" that Elend mentions happening to disturb the atium production was Kelsier, the Survivor of Hathsin, Snapping and coming to an awakening of his powers–then bursting out of his hut and slaughtering every soldier or nobleman within ten miles of the Pits.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I think Vin makes a very important realization in this chapter–that the nobility are a lot like the thieving crews. The more connections like this she makes, the more natural it is going to be for her to go among the nobility. You might have noticed that she doesn't really focus on her act any more. That doesn't mean that it's gone–however, it does mean that she's getting better.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Eight - Part One

    I added the white dress–and the paragraphs here–because several women I know complained that they never got to see what Vin was wearing in this chapter. Honestly, women are so strange. A fight for life and death could be occurring, and all they would want to know is whether or not the blood spurting out of the dying men complimented their clothing or not. 

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The ninth metal. It was difficult to decide what this one would do. I wanted something opposite, yet complimentary, to the power of atium. So, I decided that it would give a kind of skewed perspective of the past, kind of like atium gives a limited view of the future. Obviously, this will come back into the plot later.

    I do worry that it took too long to get to this scene. You've probably been wondering for quite a long time what the ninth metal did–and that concerns me, because if you wonder it, you'll also wonder why Vin herself didn't get around to figuring out what it was.

    The problem is, this really is the first place I could work it in. Allomancy is a very complicated magic system, and I wanted plenty of time for you to get used to it before I delved into its more odd aspects.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Seven

    I like this scene for its return to task. The team is refocused, and re-energized, working toward their goal with renewed devotion. And lots of other "re" words.

    Anyway, there's a good feel to this scene, and I think a lot is accomplished quickly. I also like how Vin finally confronts Kelsier about the Eleventh Metal. Right here, I guess the reader has to decide whether or not Kelsier is lying. Either he really did find legends about the Eleventh Metal, and he believes in it, or he didn’t.

    The answer is, by the way, yes. He did find those legends–legends that Sazed hasn't heard of. Legends nobody else has heard of. That is suspicious, true, but Kelsier himself believed them. More on where he got them comes later in the series.
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    Brandon Sanderson

    In this chapter, Breeze finally gets to confront Kelsier with the emotions that–I hope–a lot of the book's readers have been feeling. It needed to be said.

    I planned these two scenes together for a reason. I realize that the executions get a little bit graphic, and but the power of having Kelsier confront his crew in front of such a terrible scene of death and destruction was important to me.

    Breeze's outburst isn't the only thing in this chapter that needed to be said. It was finally time for Kelsier to admit some truths to his crew–of course, they had grown to the point that they could accept them. Here is where the book takes course toward being more focused and more intentional. It isn't about a heist, it's about overthrowing an empire.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Another focal chapter. I like how this one turned out. The fountains were a last-minute addition. Originally, I'd planned executions, but I wasn't sure how to do it. I knew I needed something dramatic and memorable, but I didn't want to be so cheesy as to do something like a guillotine. Since I'd already established that there were fountains in the city, I think this way created a distinctive image.

    One worry in this chapter is the population. There are a lot of people in Luthadel, and packing them all into one square is kind of a stretch. I hope that it would be believable that they would gather this many people together, and I changed the executions from single-people to four-at-once in order to make it seem like the Priesthood was taking the large population into account.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Since I have a little room here, let me mention something I've been wanting to talk about for a while. Vin's name. I realize that a lot of people read this name and think of a man—it is, after all, the name of a current action hero.

    I didn't even make the connection. When I was developing this character, I wanted something that was quick and simple. I'm not sure why, but I felt a single syllable name was important for this hero. It indicated her somewhat base, street-wise nature, I think. Simple, straightforward, but not weak.

    Vin was, however, originally a boy. The hero of Final Empire Prime was a young boy named Vin. When I pulled some of those character concepts over to this novel, I realized that making the hero female worked so much better. Some of the original Vin's conflicts hadn't ever felt right—the abandonment issues, the blunt attitude. They just all worked better with Vin being female. I knew I'd written an entire book with the hero being the wrong gender the moment I tried writing my first sample chapter of Mistborn with Vin as a girl.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Part Three Wrap-up

    As I promised, things pick up a lot in the next section. Still, despite its slowness, I like Part Three, as it's the section of the book that feels the most free for natural character growth. There's a free-spiritedness to this section of the book, where Vin is working with the crew and learning her place in things. She is forced to not use Allomancy for a while, which in turn forces her to spend more time with people. This lets us begin to establish Elend as a character.

    Now, with the army's death and the things that will happen in the next few chapters, the book can't really be the same. Things are coming to a head, and the city is growing very tense.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    From my journal, written the day I finished this chapter (I sometimes keep a chapter journal for purposes of doing annotations later on.)

    MBFE Twenty-Six: pewter draggingFinished 5-11-04

    The first half of this chapter came quickly, especially after I switched it to Vin's viewpoint. She's come to dominate the story far more than Kelsier, which is good–that's what I'd hoped would happen. Now, it's much easier to write in her viewpoint than Kelsier's, since she has more internal struggles and, I think, more depth.

    Things got tough once I got back to the caves. I knew I wanted Kelsier to have a kind of soul-searching period of thought, followed by the return of Mennis. The problem is, I wasn't exactly sure how much I wanted him to self-doubt. He isn't really the type to second-guess himself, so I didn't want him to brood for too long. Also, I didn't want his discussion of Mennis to go into the things I need to discuss in the next chapter–namely, the reasons the plan hasn't failed just because the army is dead.

    The second half didn't start to work until I made Mennis more of a conversation-antagonist, having him advise that Kelsier just give up. This was kind of his function in chapter one as well, so I'm not certain why I didn't figure out his place in this chapter more quickly. In a rewrite, I think I'll strengthen this idea little more. It's good to pile on the "you can't succeed" sections of the book, so that when the rebellion finally does happen, it's all the more sweet because of the overwhelming sense of the odds.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Vin is more powerful than Kelsier. That's what I'm trying to imply by the scene of her and Kelsier in the hole. And, for one little more quip, I like the fact that Kelsier walks straight forward and says "I need no password." Which, if you think about it, is the opposite of what he told the soldiers last time he visited the caves–he told them they couldn’t even let him out, if he didn't have proper authorization. Ah, Kelsier. . ..

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Five - Part Two

    I hope the timeframe of the various armies, with Vin and Kelsier running the distances, work all right. This is one of the toughest parts about writing fantasy for me, as I mentioned last time. I don't have a really good concept of distance, and getting things moving at the right speeds on a national level, so they intersect at the right places. . . yeah. Tough.

    I had to, for instance, decide how quickly a person pewter dragging could run, and how that compared to someone marching in an army, and how that compared to someone taking a canal boat. If you can do that math and get back to me, well, it's too late. I already put it in the book. So, I hope I did it right.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    As Vin herself points out, this is the second time she has forced Kelsier to take her with him when he was planning on going alone. This time, however, is different–or, at least, I wanted to be metaphorically different.

    If Vin hadn't been along, Kelsier would have charged the army. He'd probably have died, and that really WOULD have been the end. He's got an impulsive streak. Vin, however, learned from her near-death at the palace. Mistborn are not invincible–something that's harder for Kelsier, even still, to grasp.

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    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Five - Part One

    I hope that pewter dragging doesn't seem like something I just pulled out of my hat. I hate it when authors just suddenly come up with new elements of their magic systems. (See my recent article on how to write magic systems for more.) Instead, I find it better when the characters find new ways to apply what they can already do.

    This seems to be a natural outgrowth of pewter to me. Plus, I did need a way to get Kelsier and Vin to the battlefield with some manner of speed. In these books, I've found getting people where they need to be at the right time to be one of the most challenging aspects of the series. In book three, I have one character crossing half the continent, then having to run back the other way, just so he can get where he needs to be for the end of the book.