Elend stays true to character in this scene, coming in with his idealism and his talk of theory and politics. He really did turn out to be a good character, which is why you're going to see plenty of him later.
Elend stays true to character in this scene, coming in with his idealism and his talk of theory and politics. He really did turn out to be a good character, which is why you're going to see plenty of him later.
We start this chapter off with our only Dockson viewpoint. You'll notice that it's a hallmark of my style to start multiplying viewpoint characters as books draw to their climaxes. I like the feeling of chaos it creates, and I like the way it lets me show a lot of sides of what is happening. In addition, it just makes the endings feel more special, since you get to see from eyes you haven't before.
Chapter Thirty-Seven - Part One
Whew! Getting tense now. I love endings–they're my favorite parts of books to write. Once, I wrote 16,000 words in one day to finish up a book. (That was my record until I finished Scribbler a few weeks back. I think I did 23k on that book in one day to finish it off.)
I figured it would make sense that the Lord Ruler would be so old, so experienced, and so powerful that he wouldn't be able to be lied to. He's been around people for centuries and centuries. It's very hard to fool him.
His extreme power in Allomancy takes a little bit more explaining. It'll take me three books to get to the real reasons for that one. So, you'll need to be patient.
The obligator vs Inquisitor political maneuvering here is supposed to feel like only a sliver of a much larger political system. You can, hopefully, imagine the various Cantons struggling for dominance over the centuries. This right here is a nice little culmination of that, with Vin forming the apex of the Inquisitor argument.
I really like this scene because it shows that other things are going on besides Kelsier's plan and the crew's plot. It's very amusing to me that this entire other book happened at the same time–the Inquisitors researching, looking for weaknesses in the other obligator power structure, then hunting down Vin so that they can use her to prove their point. All of the things that have happened with Vin being hunted–their chasing of her and her brother for over a decade, their slaughter of Camon and Theron's thieving crews, the bait for Kelsier at the crossroads–all of this was done simply so that they could find Vin and use her to take control of the Ministry. It's ironic, really, that the two plots would intersect, and that Vin would find herself at the center of both of them.
Tevidian's death here was one of the reasons why I started the book with a discussion between a Lord and an obligator, explaining what happens to skaa women after noblemen rape them. There's a nice symmetry to the book in my mind–a cohesion bookended by an explanation in the first chapter, then a payoff near the end.
Chapter Thirty-Six - Part Three
The Lord Ruler's throne room is one final look at the gothic cathedral motif that has been a part of this book. I took the stained-glass concept to the extreme, expanding it to make a room that was really nothing more than one giant stained glass window. So, to me, it’s a fusion of the gothic motifs and a kind of new-wave artistic rendering. I found that appropriate for the final of the "ball rooms" that I get to show in this book.
We get a quick Elend Scene here. This is the best I could do for a climax for him, since he really doesn't have much of a part in the book. (I think he only gets three viewpoints or so.) Considering the limited time, I think this is a fairly good character climax for him. He gets to stand up to his father and try to put some of his beliefs into action. One of my favorite lines is when he's sitting and thinking about the realities of a skaa rebellion, only to realize that he's on the wrong side.
Chapter Thirty-Six - Part Two
If I had a chance to rewrite the book again, one of the things I'd change is the scene where Vin gets caught here. If you want to imagine it this way instead, pretend that she dropped both Inquisitors completely, and therefore thought she was safe to inspect the room beyond. The Inquisitors can actually heal far more quickly than I've had them do in this book.
My problem with this scene is how easily Vin lets herself be cornered and captured. I think that breaking into the room is exactly the sort of thing she'd do. However, I just don't think the writing works here (around the section where she gets surprised and grabbed by the Inquisitor.) She's more careful than that. The way it's written makes it seem like she gets grabbed simply because that's what needed to happen. There isn't enough drama, or enough realization, to the scene.
I do like what happens afterword, however–Vin using the Eleventh Metal. In this book we get our first hints regarding just how much Allomancy has been hidden and obfuscated by the Lord Ruler. Vin realizes that the Eleventh Metal must be part of the structure of Allomantic theory, as is the metal that she's given that makes her lose all of her other metals. (It's aluminum, by the way.)
I hope you noticed the difference between the way Kelsier got into the room and the way Vin did it. She walked up to the guards at the front and talked them away, rather than killing them. She just strolled through the guard chamber–the place where she killed her first time–instead of attacking. Why attack? She's powerful enough that she can just slip through and escape.
For Kelsier, the killing was always part of the victory. Vin's more goal-oriented, perhaps. In addition, she doesn't like to kill. So, her way is to just slip by the men. Then, in the room, she doesn't get close to the Inquisitors–she takes them down with tricks. On the streets, she would have had to use very little to gain much. She needed to be extremely clever with the small advantages she had. She used Allomancy in small ways to great advantage. Now that she's more powerful, I think her cleverness and resourcefulness will lead her to be far more amazing an Allomancer than Kelsier was.
Hum, let's see. Anything I'm forgetting? I do mention boxings in this chapter. You might be interested to know (now that you've read pretty much the whole book) where I got the word. In my mind, boxings (the coins) are actually called "Imperials" on the official coffers. However, that was too boring a word.
So, the people call them boxings because they have a picture of Kredik Shaw on the back. The Lord Ruler's home–or, his box. Boxings.
Kelsier gets to have some last words in this chapter. He earned them, I think. I'm sorry to keep the truth of kandra from you so long, as I've said before. However, I needed to leave the explanation off so that the reader could experience the revelation with Vin here. Even if you'd already figured out what Renoux was, then I think this scene is more powerful by having the revelations happen like they did.
Anyway, Kelsier is among my personal favorite characters, if only for his depth. He is a complicated, multi-faceted man who managed to scam not only the entire empire, but his own crew at the same time. I felt I had to give him some last words, if only through a letter, so that the reader could bid him a proper farewell. In addition, I wanted him to pass that flower on to Vin–symbolically charging her with Mare's dream, now that Kelsier himself is dead.
Sazed gets a little preachy about belief in this chapter. He is actually expressing my own thoughts on the matter. A belief that is never tested isn't really that strong. Yet, I have other reasons to put this conversation in. Sazed himself is going to be tested a bit in future books–and I needed him to say these things here so that he could, later on, have to "put his money where his mouth is."
Chapter Thirty-Five - Part Two
I was forced to cut one of my favorite lines from the book, and it was in this chapter. I'll write it now. Near the beginning, the narrative says regarding Vin:
"She was, as if, nowhere."
Moshe convinced me that this sentence just didn't make enough sense. Yet, to me, it somehow expressed how Vin felt. She had been cut free by Kelsier's death. Yet, she was still there. She wished she could just meld with the mists–she felt as if her soul were already cast away. Yet, she couldn't vanish, as she wished.
Ah, cursed grammar, ruining a perfectly good sentence!
Backing up a bit, Vin's remembered conversation here is a real one. She had it with Kelsier during the scenes when she was first training with him. He promised that he'd catch her if she fell off the wall, not using Allomancy correctly. It might seem like a little scene to you, but to Vin, it was very important. It was one of the first candid conversations she had just between her and Kelsier, and it was one of the foundational turning-points in her life. (She decided that night to stay with Kelsier's crew instead of running away with the three thousand boxings he gave her.)
That's why it's important enough for her to remember here. Her entire foundation for the last year's time–Kelsier–has just been pulled away from her. Her abandonment issues are growing more and more powerful. Fortunately, something distracts her before she can sink more deeply.
Chapter Thirty-Five - Part One
If you couldn't tell, this is one of the climactic scenes I was writing toward.
I'll admit, I didn't have this exact twist down when I started the book. As I worked through the novel, I quickly began to realize that Kelsier had to have some master plan–something greater than he was letting on. That's just the way his personality is. Plus, I needed something that lent more weight to the book. Made it more than just the simple heist story that I'd originally conceived. (After all, a heist story could be told in far less than 200,000 words.)
Kelsier's real plan wasn’t firm for me until I wrote the scenes with him in the caves, influencing the soldiers. By then, of course, over half the book was written. So, I had to begin building Kelsier's true plan from there–and then do a rewrite to put it in from the beginning.
I had known from the beginning that Kelsier was going to die, and that he was going to gain such renown with the skaa (before his death) that the crew began to worry that he would turn into another Lord Ruler. Putting these two things together so that his growing reputation was part of his plan all along was the realization I needed to connect. Then, I could have the bang I wanted in the ending chapters, when the crew realized what Kelsier had been planning all along.
As surprises go, I think this is one of my better–but definitely not one of my best. It required keeping too much back from the reader when in Kelsier's viewpoint, and it required to much explanation after-the-fact to make it work. There's a much better surprise later on. Still, I'm pleased with the bang on this one–especially since I got to have such a beautiful scene with the crew standing atop the building, the mists coming alight around them, as if representing their own growing understanding of the job they'd always been part of.
Kind of an interesting question I guess, and it's mostly, like, Emperor's Soul.
It's funny because I was reading that book and I almost, almost thought that you put a twist where, like, her soul was stamped, and actually she was, like, not exactly who she thought she was. Did that ever cross your mind?
I did, but at some point, um--
Maybe it's a bit cheesy, I dunno.
--sometimes you twist so much. I felt that the more impact thing was the fact that she was planning this whole exit strategy to wipe herself away. I thought that was more telling about her than having her soul stamped. I did consider it, but it just felt like it was one of those over-twists, does that make-- make sense?
It might have--yeah, cause that's supposed to be a classic, like, "oh, *inaudible*" But anyway...
But you know, I mean there's some books where I've done--where I've like--this is the classic twist, and I like it, so I do it anyway.
What's your Magic color preference?
I draft, almost exclusively. So my color preference is whatever is open.
Umm, I lean more toward control than I do aggro, but what's--whatever is open--whatever I open I will go for.
You like dragons very much, right?
I do like dragons very much.
Well then you don't have dragons in any of your books.
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.
So, any questions?
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.
I was wondering, is that something you developed or decided on? Or--
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.
How come Vin doesn't get stomach aches when she takes-- When she ingests iron?
So it actually, legitimately gets burned away. It's gone.
So it's gone too fast to have a--
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.
I have a question about Roshar. Um, how big is this exactly?
Um, I can get you that if you write to me, because I--I just have to go to the maps.
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?
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.
Yeah. And the continent--I mean, but it's one supercontinent, and so it's fairly big, but--
I mean, you can travel across it on a storm.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh-huh.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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?
Uh, like, you're talking like Honorblades?
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--
Oh, oh, oh, I get what you say. So do they have a similar affect? No, they do not. Good question.
Oh, and I'm sorry to keep the secret of kandra from you. You'll get it eventually. I realize that by being in Kelsier's viewpoint, you should know what he does about Renoux's true nature. Chalk it up to him not really having the time to think about such things now. Either way, most of you have probably figured it out by now.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Chapter Thirty-Three - Part One
So, last chapter probably started the official "Brandon Avalanche ™." However, I think I did a better job in this one than I have in previous books. The pacing here isn't QUITE as much of an "all at once" as it was in Elantris. Yet, let me warn you. Stuff has started to happen.
It will keep happening.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, we discuss Vin's ability to pierce copperclouds. There's actually something very strange going on here, but I can't tell you what it is until book three. Suffice it to say that there is an in-world, magic-related explanation for why Vin can do this while Kelsier cannot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Oh, and TenSoon makes a cameo in this chapter. This will only mean something to you if you've read the third book.
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.)
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.