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Brandon Sanderson
Lives in Utah Valley
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Writing Excuses episode on story structure + Updates

This month's Writing Excuses</a> syllabus topic is story structure. In Where is my Story Coming From?, we talk about where the story starts for the writer.

The deadline for the 2015 Writing Excuses Retreat Scholarships is fast approaching. You can see the application details for the Carl Brandon Society Scholarship as well as the Out of Excuses Scholarship here. The application period for both scholarships ends at midnight (EST) March 14, 2015. Here is what each scholarship includes: Full tuition, a bed in a double-occupancy room, and up to $500 of travel expense to and from our departure port in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Last week, in's continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Alice Arneson waded through one of the filthiest sewers of the wickedest minds of Roshar. This week in Chapter 30, Carl Engle-Laird reads about all the pretty eels!

I had my assistant Adam update the Twitter post archive for February and March.
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(whispered) "The story is coming from inside the house!"
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Shadows of Self cover reveal + Updates

Shadows of Self, my new Mistborn novel coming out in October, now has an awesome cover by the ever-talented Chris McGrath. has the full reveal.

I have more exciting news for the Reckoners series. Steelheart was nominated for the 2014-15 Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers.

In this week's Writing Excuses episode, Q&A  on Character, we answer topical questions from our attendees at the 2014 Out of Excuses Workshop:

– How do you have a character grow in power and/or expertise without needing to ridiculously overpower the villains?
– How do you give a flawed character a growth arc without changing what originally made that character likable?
– When you have a 1st person POV, how do you convey the emotional complexity of the non-POV characters
– How do you create an interesting an engaging story with a main character who is not the protagonist or hero of the story?
– Is there an easy way to tell when the plot is driving the character instead of the other way around?
– How do you write a character with egregiously offensive views without you, as the author, appearing to espouse or condone those views?
– How do you write a character who has a belief that is different from your own?
– What are some tips for writing a sympathetic antagonist? is continuing their reread posts</a> for Words of Radiance. Last week, Carl Engle-Laird went on a small rant regarding the International Phonetic Alphabet and danced with beautiful con-women. This week, in Chapter 29, Alice Arneson gets in the unwholesome mind of our of favorite sleazeball, Sadeas.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter posts archive for February.
Check out the cover for Brandon Sanderson's latest Mistborn novel, Shadows of Self!
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Not at some point.  As soon as possible.  Wax is on my top five favorite characters list, next to Bartimaeus and Martim Cauthon.  There's still two spots to be filled on that list; I'm open to suggestions on series to read to fill the last two spots.
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New Writing Excuses + Update

We at Writing Excuses are continuing February's focus on characters in this week's new episode, Who Are All These People?, where we explore some of the challenges involved in building a cast for your story. You need to know why you are putting your characters in your book and what the purpose each of them actually serves in your story.

The Rithmatist has been given the honor of placement on the 2016 Master List for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award in Illinois. is continuing their reread posts for Words of Radiance. Last week Alice Arneson had a large quantity of family feels at the Davar estate. This week, in Chapter 28, Carl Engle-Laird deals with boots, ships, beautiful conwomen, men on horseback and torn bodices! Wait, no, not that.  He also goes on a small rant involving the International Phonetic Alphabet.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter post archive for February.
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Greetings from Taiwan! I will be attending the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) this week. I'll have more information on my exhibition schedule later this week. Watch this space for details. For those who want to attend, here's address:

Taipei World Trade Center
10F., No.180, Section 1, Keelung Road
Taipei City, Taiwan 110

The Writing Excuses writing advice show has a new episode this week, The Worldbuilding Revolves Around Me (The Magical 1%). Dan, Mary, Howard, and I were lucky enough to have Max Gladstone sit in with us and talk to us about worldbuilding and how genre settings seem to revolve around whatever gifted, magical or otherwise special sort of people our heroes and villains happen to be. continues reread posts on <i>The Way of Kings</i>. Last week Carl commiserated with Adolin's discovery of the shallowness of his friends, balanced by the depth of his bond with his lovely Ryshadium, Sureblood. This week, in Chapter 27, Alice Arneson returns to Shallan's past in the pleasant, homey estate of the Davar family in Jah Keved.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter posts archive for Tweets February 2015.
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Here are some of the awesome things I saw on my Firefight tour!
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Looks fun! I have to admit, I'm drawing a blank for a few of the costumes
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Crafty Games' Mistborn dice Kickstarter campaign is ending in just 10 hours. They're about to reach the funding level where all backers get 12 dice in their set, and can vote on what symbol appears on two of those dice.
Crafty Games is raising funds for Mistborn Allomancy Dice on Kickstarter! Dice for fans of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and the Mistborn Adventure Game
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$35k just now...  
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Steelhunt contest winners!

For those who were not aware, I ran some contests through Facebook and Twitter a few weeks ago. Winners receive a set of Epic stand-up die-cut cards, and all are collected below!

One contest was for people to tweet their favorite of David's bad metaphors from Steelheart and Firefight. Here are the winners (selected randomly). You can find a bunch more at the #steelhunt hashtag on Twitter.

Kierstin Scharnitzke: "Megan's eyes could have drilled holes through butter."
Andrew Means: "Like a washing machine at a gun show."
Holden R Johnson</a>: "They looked so dangerous, like alligators. Really fast alligators wearing black. Ninja alligators."
Tim Bunker: "An off balance washing machine filed with a hundred epileptic monkeys."
Robert Fowler: "The bed as large as a really, really big piece of toast."
Chase Wheatley: "I feel like a brick made of porridge."
Midobal: "That's an answer in the same way that ketchup can be hair gel."
Lisa Roush: "Like a catapult that shoots enormous grapes."
Hanna Mae: "I'll be quiet as a buttered snail sneaking through a Frenchman's kitchen."
Roy: "The sensation felt like an unbalanced washing machine with a hundred epileptic chimpanzees."

The next contest we did via Facebook was the easiest; all people had to do was share a link the events page on my website and say what event they were going to or wished they could go to.

Caitlin Schanaker
Jean Verney-Carron
Ross Newberry
Benny Junker
Brian Bowersox
Jeremy Guebert
Becca Horn
Heather Kirby
Sarah Casey

This next group of winners found out about this contest through my newsletter. So if you don't want to miss out in the future, sign up here.

Greg Montoya
Becca Horn
Ross Newberry
Jeremy Guebert
Grant Wheeler
Jeff Wakefield
Gary Singer
Josh Mock
Karen Clarke
Mario Kadastik

The final contest was open to the readers of the Gollancz ediition (in the UK, Australia, or elsewhere)


Congratulations to all the winners! Check your Facebook messages or Twitter direct messages for info on how to get your prize.

There was also a separate Steelhunt fan art contest that was run by the Adonalsium Tumblr page. You can see the results of that here.
For those who were not aware, I ran some contests through Facebook and Twitter a few weeks ago. Winners receive a set of Epic stand-up die-cut cards, and all are collected below! One contest was for people to tweet their favorite of David's bad metaphors from Steelheart and Firefight.
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I found one of the cards! I was browsing at a local bookstore debating whether to pick up Firefight or The Rithmatist as the next addition to my collection when I realized one of the copies of Firefight was autographed and had one of the cards in it. Sorry Rithmatist, maybe next time.
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Chicago Signing Tonight. Huzzah!

When Firefight came out last month I didn't have a stop in the Chicago area, but I'll be there tonight at Anderson's in Naperville, before recording some Writing Excuses episodes in the next few days and doing a school visit early next week. If you're in the area, stop by the signing, but do note the ticketing policy below.

Signing details:

Date: Fri, Feb 20, 2015
Time: 7:30–9:30 p.m.
Place: Anderson's Bookshop
Address:123 West Jefferson Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
Phone:(630) 355-2665

Signing Policy for Anderson's:
Anderson's DOES have a ticketing policy. In order to get anything signed, they require you to buy a book (by any author) in the store while you're there, or bring in an Anderson's receipt for Firefight. I will sign any number of books that I wrote, but will probably only personalize 3 books per person per time through the line. At 7:30 I’ll start with a reading, followed by a general Q&A and then the signing itself. The reading most likely won’t be from Firefight but will be from some other future project. I probably won’t decide what to read until right before the event, so it will be a surprise!

Check out my calendar to see if there’s another signing that will be more convenient for you.

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Someone please record the reading. 
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My Schedule for the Taipei International Book Exhibition

Saturday, February 14

2015 TIBE Forum 12:30–1:30 pm
Book Signing TIBE Hall 1 2:10–3:30 pm
Panel Discussion & Signing in Eslite Bookstore 7:00–9:30 pm
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Brian McClellan's The Autumn Republic

Isaac here with the promised reminder that he Autumn Republic—the third volume of Brian McClellan's Powder Mage Trilogy—was released this week. Those of you who enjoy Brandon's fantasy novels will likely find a lot to sink your teeth into with Brian's. As we've mentioned before, Brian was a student of Brandon's back in the day and is writing some really good stuff.

Brandon gave the first book in the series, Promise of Blood, quite a nice cover quote. He said, "This book is just plain awesome. I found myself enjoying every moment of it. Innovative magic, quick-paced plot, interesting world. I had a blast." Adam and I reviewed the second book in the series—The Crimson Campaign—in a post a few weeks ago, lauding its readability, interesting characters, and fun twists.

Now here we are with the third in the trilogy. Brian's writing has grown more confident and more powerful. The trilogy concludes with punch (think fist, not Kool-Aid), an ending that finishes things without the contrivance of feeling like it's wrapped up too nicely with a nice little happy birthday card attached. History, countries, characters, and lives all feel like they continue on beyond the pages of the trilogy, and there's some good suspense here, as we've learned from previous volumes that not all of Brian's characters are safe from bullet or sword.

Now let's hear from our resident McClellanite, Adam, with his take on The Autumn Republic:

It's awesome!

Now, I don't need to say any more than that to sum up my feelings on The Autumn Republic or the Powder Mage Trilogy as a whole, but I will. Just as Isaac said, there is some great suspense and the pacing is awesome. I found myself saying, "I will put it down after this chapter," only to read for another two hours. If you like Brandon's books you will enjoy these. Do take notice, they are grittier than Brandon's usually are but they stay pretty clean in other regards. Needless to say, I have been converted and have become a McClellanite and look forward to Brian's books in the future.

Other sites have done a good job of summarizing the book with the intent to excite readers—see the Kirkus and Publishers Weekly reviews. If you've read the first two books, by all means check out the conclusion, and if you haven't read Brian's books before, and you enjoy fantasy novels—especially fantasy with a bit of a historic feel to it—then check out Brian's first book, Promise of Blood. The story is a lot of fun, and I have it on good authority that the maps aren't anything to scoff at either.
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/\ Agreed!
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In this week's Writing Excuses episode, What Do You Mean My Main Character Is Boring?, we lead off February's Master Class with the exploration of a common problem: the main character is often the least interesting person in the story. It's something that each of the hosts has struggled with, and we talk about the solutions we've arrived at (insomuch as we've managed to solve the problem) and what sorts of things you can do in order to solve them too. is continuing their reread posts on Words of Radiance. Last week, Alice got to play with all the pretty ponies. This week, Carl Engle-Laird discusses Chapter 26, and only gets to play with one of the pretty ponies. Luckily it's Sureblood who is prettiest of them all!

My assistant Adam updated the Twitter posts archive for January.
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i  like to join u ... 
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Philly signing CANCELED, new Writing Excuses episode + Updates

I have some bleak news for everyone in Philadelphia: The signing tomorrow is CANCELED due to snow and the airlines canceling flights. I was going to be signing at Children's Book World in Haverford. Instead, we will be trying to reschedule. But in the meantime, we'll send them a big box of signed bookplates you can stick in the front of your books, as well as ‪#‎Steelhunt‬ cards. Hopefully those will get there next week. I'll post again about it when they arrive. (Boston: Right now the signing on Wednesday is still scheduled to happen as planned, but this could change as the situation develops. Stay tuned to my Upcoming Events calendar.)

I will be signing at Joseph-Beth in Lexington, Kentucky tonight at 7:00 p.m. As far as I can tell it's not a ticketed event, so bring all your books and I'll sign them, though personalizations will be limited to 3 books per time through the line. It's also nice to show your support for the store by buying something while you're there. (Their café has some Reckoners-themed menu items just for the event!)

From the Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat comes another live Q&A episode where we premiered the Season 10 concept. Our attendees gave us the questions for this month: 

– Ideas are hard! Is it ever acceptable for inexperienced writers to write derivative works?
– How do you keep from being discouraged when something similar to your idea comes out?
– How do you know when your idea is a novel, vs. when it’s a short story?
– Should you only write for themed anthologies if you already have an idea ready in that theme?
– How can you practice description when your idea is set someplace completely unfamiliar to you?
– When should you abandon an idea you love?

In's continuing re-read posts for Words of Radiance, Alice Arneson discusses Chapter 25. Last week it was of cons and curry, this week we turn to Kaladin's Comedy Corral for your entertainment.

Today is the final day to find The Rithmatist audiobook on sale for just $6.95 (at least in the US) on Audible.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter post archive for January.
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D Logan
Better to stay safe than get caught in the "Nor'Beaster"!

It wasn't as bad as expected, but better to be prepared than to end up caught with issues. 

Will watch for you in the future!
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Author of various fantasy novels.
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