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    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13101 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The fight in this chapter is what I consider the first true Allomantic battle of the series. This is what it's supposed to feel like—there's a reason I started with the concept of Vin feeling free. Allomantic battle is graceful, yet sharp. It is leaps through the mist and clever uses of Pushes and Pulls. This is what attracted me most to the magic system—not the logic of metals and the like, though I enjoy that. I loved the idea of mist, plus flying forms in fluttering mistcloaks.

    I realize that it's obvious, by the way, that Kelsier is her opponent. I didn't write the chapter calling him "her opponent" to be surprising. I just thought that by de-emphasizing Kelsier, I could better create an illusion of tension. The idea is that Vin herself isn't thinking of him as Kelsier. Just as an opponent.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13102 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nine

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

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

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13103 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    All of that considered, I know the beginning is kind of slow. That's how my books are—while I can often start with a bang in the first few chapters, I then need to go into building mode so that I can earn my climaxes in the later third. We need to have some scenes explaining Allomancy in detail, for instance, before we can have scenes like happen in the next chapter.

    Still, I like a lot about the introduction to this book. Vin's character comes off very strongly, and the plot is established quickly—something I sometimes have trouble doing. It sets us up for the next section, where things really start to get good.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13104 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Part One Wrap-up

    Once I was to this point in the book, I knew that I had something. I needed a book to follow Elantris—one that did all the things that Elantris did well, but then expanded and showed off my strengths. In other words, I needed a "You haven't seen ANYTHING yet" book.

    Mistborn is, hopefully, that book. I took the best magic system I've ever developed, and put it together with two killer ideas and some of my best characters. I cannibalized two of my books for their best elements, then combined those with things I'd been working on for years in my head. This is the result.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13106 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In this chapter, we get to meet Sazed–who ranks as one of my favorite characters in the entire series. (Alongside Vin and someone we haven't met yet.) I like Sazed because he's inherently conflicted, yet acts so peaceful. He's a member of a servant race, bred to be humble and submissive. Yet, he knows the one who directed all of that breeding is the Lord Ruler. Add in that he seeks to work with the rebellion, yet feels out of place unless he's acting as a servant, and you get a really good character, in my opinion.

    Needless to say, you'll be seeing a lot of him.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13107 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eight - Part Two

    In this chapter, for the first time, I straight out mention that plants aren't green. I hoped that this concept would come across in the first few chapters. However, this sort of thing is difficult to enforce in people's minds. The fact that there are NO green plants in the world is something that most people will probably just skip over in their heads. So, I had to make Kelsier aware of the way that things should be, so that he can explain it to Vin, and therefore point out to the reader–in no uncertain terms–how the landscape works.

    The other thing to notice is, of course, that there are no flowers in this world. But, we'll get to that later.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13108 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are a few points in this chapter that really and truly sum up Vin's character for me. The first point comes in her asking Kelsier if Marsh beat him often. The fact that Vin wouldn't even consider the fact that two siblings could get along without some form of beating or dominerance speaks a lot about the life she's led.

    She's not a bad person, however. Kelsier gets it right–she isn't herself bad, she just assumes that everyone else is. In my opinion, the amount of good left in her despite what she's gone through is a powerful testament to her character. And, finally, some of that starts to come out in this chapter. It might be a little early for her to begin changing–it's only been a few days–but I wanted to leave a few hints in this chapter, since we're going to have a big time jump here pretty soon.

    The first hint is that she really is starting to want to become part of the team. She feels sad when she thinks she won't get to act the part of Renoux's heir. In addition–and, for Vin, I meant this to be something very telling–she left food behind. That's a great moment in the chapter for me.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13109 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    As I re-read this chapter, I'm realizing just how obvious I made it here that Renoux is a kind of Mistwraith. Maybe I overdid it a bit. One problem with this novel in alpha reads was that many of my readers had also read Mistborn Prime, and so they understood the nature of kandra, and immediately knew what Renoux really was. It's not an extremely important surprise, however, so it probably doesn't matter that people can figure it out.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13110 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mistwraiths are a hold-over from Mistborn Prime. They did more in that book than they do in this novel, but I thought they were an interesting world element. In fact, in Mistborn Prime, the hero fights one. It was a kind of fun scene, as the Mistwraith tried to ingest him. However, I couldn't really see the things being dangerous enough to threaten a Mistborn, so I turned them into more scavengers in this novel.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13112 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, and by the way. People often ask me how far ahead I plan my novels. Well, I've noted already in this annotation that some things–such as the Kelsier-Marsh-Mare relationship–come to me as I write. They appear when I need something to fill a particular hole in the story. Other things, however, are quite well planned. Want an example?

    Kelsier's warning about not flaring metals too much is a foreshadowing for book three of the trilogy. You'll see what I mean in a couple of years. Also, there's something very important about Vin's brother that will be hard to pick out, but has been foreshadowed since the first book. . . .

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13113 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seven - Part Two

    Actions and reactions. Kelsier's little explanation here is probably the most fundamental and important thing to realize about Allomancy–indeed, about a lot of my magic systems. I like to follow physics as best I can. I think it's more interesting that way. Kelsier's mention that you can't just fling things around randomly with the mind is a kind of dig against Star Wars and other magic systems with telepathy. Certainly, you could come up with systems that work they way they do. However, I personally find it more fascinating–and more logical–if a person is only able to apply force directly.

    It really is the way the world works. You apply a pressure, and something moves in that direction. For strong forces, people can only push away from themselves or pull toward themselves. It makes perfect logical sense to me that a magic system would work that way.

    Of course, I might just be a loon for trying to apply so much physics logic to magic in the first place.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13114 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The scene with Vin standing in the darkness and looking in at the people having fun inside was one of the first and fundamental scenes I got for her character. Those who have read other annotations and essays by me know that I build my books by important focal scenes. This image of Vin keeping herself aloof from the fun and good humor, yet desiring to be part of it so badly, seemed to me to be the perfect character for Kelsier's apprentice.

    Of course, this scene was actually only half of the image I conjured in my mind. The other half comes, of course, the scene later in the book where Vin has become fully a part of the crew, enjoying their friendship, and looks out of the kitchen at the dark hallway beyond, where she once stood. Nice little brackets of a character arc, and the main focus in my mind of Vin's growth in this book.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13115 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seven - Part One

    The Kelsier-Marsh-Mare relationship was something that just kind of grew naturally as I was writing. When I started designing the characters for this book, I knew that I wanted Kelsier to have gone through something very traumatic. I settled on a time spent in the Lord Ruler's slave camps, then built his having a wife out of that.

    Marsh's unspoken love for Mare wasn't something I originally intended. It actually worked into the story as I was writing this very chapter. I needed tension between Marsh and Kelsier for their relationship to work the way I wanted it to. However, Marsh's disapproval of Kelsier just wasn't enough–especially since Marsh himself had given up leadership of the skaa rebellion, proving that he himself wasn't as much of a hero as he wishes he was.

    Mare provided the perfect explanation for their tension. It was something I could imply in just a few sentences, then gain a lot of weight of back-story.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13116 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    We mention the Lord Ruler's flawless memory here. This is actually the only time in the entire series that it's mentioned. However, this is an important clue for later. However, as I'm writing this, without being able to hide this text, I don't want to explain too much and inadvertently ruin something. However, if you've finished the book, you might be able to figure out why the Lord Ruler might have a reputation for being able to remember things.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13117 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This chapter also has some of my favorite early-book characterizations of Vin. The Vin we get in the first few chapters is a beaten down, sorrowful thing. The Vin in this chapter, however, is more true to who she really is. Careful and discerning, quick to scout out her surroundings and wary of anything new. Yet, at the same time, not hateful or even really brutal. She kind of lives in the moment, taking things as they come.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13118 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Six

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

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

    Ad Astra 2017 ()
    #13121 Copy

    Questioner

    I really love this book so much. Kaladin is my favorite of like any book character ever, so that's why that. Like he needs to be hurt, but not too much. Don't hurt him too much, please.

    Bystander

    Now he's going to kill him off, just for you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kaladin has some rough--has some rough things to deal with in his life. But he survived Bridge Four, so I don't think anything will ever be as bad as that. That's the thing.

    Ad Astra 2017 ()
    #13122 Copy

    Questioner

    You said you had thirteen books that you wrote before you got published. Did you ever go back to any of them, or are they all just totally trunkable?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, number thirteen was Way of Kings--that first version I talked about. Elantris was number six. So those two got published. I ripped apart number nine and built it into Warbreaker--some of the ideas. White Sand was one of them but became a graphic novel. Some of them, ideas are still waiting to get used. Because some of them got ripped up and turned into Mistborn. I have reused some of the ideas, but some of them just--

    Questioner

    Yeah, but like-- but you did reuse some of the full book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I didn't ever--I didn't take any of the actual words, but yeah.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13124 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so I lied. I thought the fight scene came in chapter six, but it came in five. I'm better at pacing than I thought!

    The truth is, this is one of my least favorite fights in the book. I put it in primarily because it gave a good, quick showing of the basic concepts in Allomancy. You got to see Kelsier enhance his strength with pewter, his senses with tin (including using it to help him focus), and then use both steel and iron in a variety of different Pushes and Pulls.

    The thing is, it wasn't that exciting because it wasn't really a fair fight. As soon as Kelsier got ahold of that ingot, those soldiers were toast. I did spice up the fight a bit by giving them shields–something that was missing from the original draft of the fight. Even still, this seems like a kind of brutal combat, not the more poetic and flowing battles I generally envision for Allomancy.

    (This is, by the way, the only fight I ported over from Mistborn Prime. There was a similar scene in that book where the protagonist took down a group of men with only an ingot. Again, I decided to grab it because of how well it introduced the concepts of Allomancy. It was quick and dirty.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13125 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Five

    "There's always another secret." That's the unwritten law of this series, by the way. Keep that in mind as you read not only this book, but books two and three. Also, keep in mind that I take no end of delight from doing what people don't expect. (But only in cases, however, where such unexpected events make perfect sense, once they happen.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13128 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In this chapter we also have the first mention of the Eleventh Metal. I kind of wish that I'd found another place for this, since the chapter is already filled with a long discussion scene. Yet, it proved to be the best place for it in the drafting process.

    If you think that what Kelsier is saying here is a little fishy, then you're not alone. Most of the crew doesn't believe him either. I'll certainly admit that there is more going on here–far more–than anyone suspects.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13129 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Originally, by the way, Yeden wasn't the one who hired the team. There was no employer–Kelsier just wanted to try and overthrow the Lord Ruler. The main way I took the focus off of stealing the atium (making this less of a heist book and more of a Mission: Impossible style book) was to put the focus on raising and training the army. Having Yeden be paying them to get him an army worked much better for this format.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13130 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Four - Part Two

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

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13131 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Four - Part One

    Ah, the introductions. I worry that this scene is a little too long, and perhaps a little too obvious, as we bring in the separate members of the crew. However, it seemed like the best way, and it adheres a little bit to the heist genre framework I'm using.

    My favorites of the group are, of course, Ham and Breeze. I knew I wanted to use a smaller crew than you see in some heist stories–I wanted to get to know them better, and deal with them more, than one has opportunity for in a movie like Ocean's Eleven. Ham and Breeze, then, formed the basis for my group. Simply put, they're both guys who are fun to talk to. I can put them in a room with each other, or with Vin, and an interesting conversation will blossom.

    I was a little worried about Ham when I first started writing him. The warrior philosopher is, perhaps, a character that you've seen before. In this case, I knew I wanted a character who could be a foil for Breeze. Since Breeze tends to be arrogant, long-winded, and manipulative, I came up with someone humble, long-winded, and kindly. Mix in a desire to understand the world, and a mind that thinks about things a little differently from others, and I had Ham. I think he turned out all right.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13132 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Mistborn Prime, there were no such thing as Mistings. Allomancy's practitioners were called Mistborn, and they could use all of the various abilities, depending on which metal they ingested.

    When I started work on this incarnation of the book, however, I felt that I wanted to involve a specialized team of Allomancers. That meant including people who were really good at one specific thing, but who couldn't do other things. It's a staple of the heist genre–you want specialists. So, I split up Allomancy, allowing lesser Allomancers to exist. These people, who only could do one of the many Allomantic powers, would be very good at the one thing they do. And, since Mistborn were so rare, you couldn't really make an entire team of them. You'd be lucky to even get one. (Though Kelsier's team just got a second one.)

    Soon, you'll get to meet the rest of the crew, and will be able to see how I split up Allomancy. One thing of interest, however, is that there was no emotional Allomancy in Mistborn Prime. I added Soothing and Rioting–the ability to make people less or more emotional–into this book because I felt I needed something that would be more. . .sneaky. These are skills that don't relate to fighting, and I think they'd be very helpful for the sort of political intrigue I want to do in this book.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13133 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13134 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Three

    So, Kelsier is very interesting to me as a character. Mostly because of what we see in this chapter. He is a man of dichotomy, which is one of the themes of this novel. On one hand, he's the joking, lighthearted man you see in the second half of the chapter. On the other hand, however, he's a very dangerous, even ruthless, man. He laughs at himself in this chapter, but he wasn't faking when he acted the way he did. There is an edge to Kelsier I've never built into a hero before. Sometimes, he makes me uncomfortable.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13135 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Joshua, by the way, also pushed for an action scene here–where Kelsier grabs the Inquisitor's attention and runs. I do take most of Joshua's suggestions. In fact, his desire to have an action scene earlier in this book is the biggest bit of advice by him I can think of that I haven't taken. I just really felt that I needed more time to ease into Allomancy before I could do justice to an action scene. Actually, I think a fast scene like that would actually slow the book down, since I'd have to spend so much time explaining. Better to let the next few scenes play out, where we get some good explanations in dialogue.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13136 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13137 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dockson, by the way, got his nickname before his real name. I wanted to call a character Dox, for some odd reason. The name just came into my head and stuck. And, I figured that this book would be one where everyone would have nicknames, so I started playing around with Dox until I got Dockson to be the main name.

    Of course, because of that, I established that "son" could end names. Therefore, we get other names in this linguistic paradigm–such Ferson in the second book, or Franson in book three. (Both of those names came from friends of mine.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13138 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Two

    Moshe mentioned to me that we're going to have to do a book after the Mistborn series that doesn't have such a gloomy setting. First, I had Elantris, with the city full of dark sludge. Now I've got Mistborn, with the entire world full of black ash.

    The coincidence wasn't intentional. Remember, for me, there were seven books in-between Elantris and Mistborn . Most of those had far more cheerful settings. However, this story–which is based around a world where the Dark Lord won–kind of required a depressing atmosphere.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13139 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13140 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter One - Part Two

    This second scene with Camon is important for several reasons. The first thing I'll note is that Vin doesn't say anything out-loud in the book until she tells Camon that his servants are too fine. I thought it would be interesting to introduce Vin as a character who doesn't say a whole lot–who thinks her responses. This establishes, I think, that she's something of an introvert, and that she's smarter than she lets people know. When she does speak, she's blunt and straightforward.

    The other thing established in this scene is Vin's use of Luck. Hopefully, you connect her abilities with Kelsier's line in the prologue about the Lord Ruler fearing skaa who have "powers they shouldn't even know exist." Vin fits quite well into this category. She can obviously do something extraordinary, yet she doesn't know why–or really even how. It was difficult, narratively, to work out how Vin was able to use Allomancy without knowing it, but it works, and you'll get the explanation later.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13141 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the advantages of moving the first chapter back and making it a prologue is that I now get to start the book, chapter one, with Vin. That's important, in my mind, because she's the main character of the book. Establishing her with a very strong viewpoint as the first chapter of the book adds a lot to it, I think.

    We get a lot of important information in this first little section with Vin. I like starting early with Reen's advice and thoughts. As you'll see as you read the book, Reen's teachings have quite a strong influence on Vin. He's a little stronger in this chapter than in others, I think, but it's good to start off strong. You'll find out more about him, and about what these thoughts in Vin's head mean.

    I will admit that one of my weaknesses in writing is that I like to spend too long in contemplative, in-head scenes with my characters. This introduction with Vin is a good example of that. I like the scene quiet a bit, but I can understand that too much of this sort of thing gets boring. That's why I move it quickly into a scene where something is happening. Given my way, however, I'd probably spend about twice as long with characters just standing around thinking.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13142 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter One - Part One

    The "bumps" or "trailers" or whatever you want to call them–those things at the beginnings of the chapters–are a very interesting part of the book for me. If you're reading the novel for the first time as you go through these Annotations, I'd recommend paying good attention to what happens in the bumps. This isn't like Dune, or even Ender's Game, where the bumps give interesting–but tangential–information. These little paragraphs are vital if you want to figure out the climax of the story before it happens.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13143 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Part One

    Unlike Elantris, where I decided to divide the book into "parts" after the fact, I always planned this book to be told in several sections. Naming the parts actually came quiet easily to me. Part One is the section where Kelsier gets most of his viewpoint time, and I decided that naming it after him would be appropriate.

    In addition, I just like the way that "The Survivor of Hathsin" sounds. A piece of me was sad that I never came up with a good full name for Kelsier. Something like Kelsier Mistshadow or something like that. I tried several, but none of them ended up sounding quite right, and I had to rely on calling him "Kelsier, the Survivor" in those places. That ended up working just fine.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13144 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, some spoiler stuff here. Mennis does make a return later in the book, as you probably know. I actually wasn't intending to ever use him again, and was surprised when people read this chapter and expected him to be a main character. I guess I characterized him a little too well in the scene where he gets up.

    So, when the time came for Kelsier to have a quiet conversation with one of the rebels, I dusted off Mennis and used him again. I'm very pleased with how that scene turned out, though it's another one I had to rewrite a couple times to get correct. We'll talk more about that later.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13145 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    By the way, Joshua–my agent–pushed until the end to get me to put the Kelsier action sequence in-scene, rather than having it happen off-screen. I resisted. Allomancy is a very complicated magic system, and my writing relies on the reader understanding how Allomancy works in order to provide action. I didn't want to slow the story down right here by giving an extended explanation of the magic. Instead, I just wanted to show the effects of what Kelsier can do. Later (chapter six, I think) we'll actually see how he does them.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13146 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I really like the scene where Kelsier first displays his scars in this chapter. In fact, I really like how this chapter sets up Kelsier in general. It gives him a chance to be a light-hearted (perhaps even a little flippant) while also showing that he's had a hard pas. He has some scars–both visible and hidden. At the end, his attack on the manor house should be something of an indication of what he's capable of doing.

    In addition, we establish very quickly why Kelsier smiles so much. I've been accused of being a chronic optimist. I guess that's probably true. And, because of it, I tend to write optimistic characters. Kelsier, however, is a little different. He's not like Raoden, who was a true, undefeatable optimist. Kelsier is simply stubborn. He's decided that he's not going to let the Lord Ruler take his laughter from him. And so, he forces himself to smile even when he doesn't feel like it.

    This is a more brutal world than I presented in Elantris–which is somewhat amusing, since Elantris was essentially about a bunch of zombies. Either way, my goal in this chapter was to show the Final Empire as a place of contrast. Despair contrasted with Kelsier's attitude. The wealth of the nobility contrasted with the terrible conditions of the skaa.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13147 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Prologue - Part Two

    I intentionally hit the setting very hard in this chapter. People bring a lot of preconceived notions to fantasy, and sometimes it's difficult to shake them free. With this book, I don't want people to assume an immediate time period or culture for this world. In realty, I've stolen from all over the place. My hope is that I'll be able to destroy people's conceptions quickly, then instead build my own world in their mind.

    So, here we have a land where the sun is red, ash falls from the sky, mists come upon the land at night, and plants are brown rather than green. In addition, we have a slave population who live like very rural peasants–but, at the same time, Lord Tresting checks his pocket watch in the first scene. Later on, you'll see gothic cathedrals mixing with people in near-modern clothing. It's all just part of the image I'm trying to create–a place that isn't set in any particular time. In fact, it's a little bit frozen in time, as you'll find in later books.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13148 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13150 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maps

    I haven't actually seen the map yet. I'm curious to see how it turns out. . . .

    The person doing it is Isaac Stewart, a guy in one of my writing groups. He's a man of many talents, and works as an animator. He was very excited about Mistborn, and when I mentioned he could do the map, he was enthusiastic. I've heard a lot of what he's talked about with the book–doing a map that is based on old Victorian-era maps of London and Paris. We'll see what he comes up with!

    EDIT: Now I've seen the maps!

    Wow, Isaac did a wonderful job with these. One of the things I asked for was a round world map, and he really stepped up. I love the embellishments around the border and the illuminated manuscript type feel for it.

    The city map is probably more important to the story. Oddly, I didn't actually do one of these when I was writing the novel. In fact, I only had a very basic sketch for the world map. That meant, of course, that when I sat down with one of the later drafts, some things were inconsistent. It also meant that a lot of things on the map weren't named, such as the gates.

    I owe a lot to Isaac on this one. His intricate map is very detailed–each of those slums was hand-drawn with the insane twisting of all the little streets. He was the one who named the gates, building eight of them and naming them after the basic Allomantic metals. All and all, he did a fantastic job.