Today I got up, and I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on.
I finished the final revision on A Memory of Light early in the morning Saturday, then sent it off to Team Jordan. And I was done. Team Jordan will handle the copyedits and proofreads; I might have a chime-in now and then on how a passage should be tweaked or how a continuity issue should be addressed, but essentially, my involvement as a writer in the Wheel of Time has come to an end.
Now, that doesn’t mean my involvement with Wheel of Time fandom is over. I’ll have my appearance at Dragon*Con this year, as well as the tour in January for A Memory of Light. Beyond that, I intend to frequently attend JordanCon and be available to WoT fans for years, even decades, to come. I intend to talk a great deal about the experience of writing these books, perhaps even post some blog entries about the subject.
But the writing is done. I’m still a little in shock about that.
Just about five years ago, I got that fateful call from Harriet. Since that time, I have always had a Wheel of Time book that I needed to be working on. Occasionally I would take breaks, as I did to write The Alloy of Law a couple years ago. However, the knowledge that I soon needed to be back to work on the Wheel of Time was always there.
That work has been my constant companion. For reference, when I got that call, I had only released a couple of books: the second Mistborn novel had come out the month before. I had written others that were awaiting publication—including several Alcatraz books, the last Mistborn book, and Warbreaker. I also had a draft done of The Way of Kings, another done of The Rithmatist, and some preliminary work done on a book called Steelheart.
Yes, I’d written a lot. I still had only a handful of books out in stores. It had been two years since Elantris was released. I was brand new at this.
I still feel brand new. Yet, oddly, I also feel weathered. Finishing the Wheel of Time has been a wonderful experience, but it has also been grueling. I have always respected Robert Jordan, but now I respect him even more—and for a multitude of reasons. One of those is the fact that during most of his career, he was able to release a Wheel of Time book every year or two. That’s an awesome amount of work. Doing three books has worn me out.
For five years, whatever I’ve been doing—whether it be going out to dinner, sitting down to write, or checking my email—I’ve known that there was more to do on the Wheel of Time. I’ve known that I gave my word to Harriet and to the fans that I would work hard to get those books out quickly, and I carried a weight of responsibility for the book being split and people being forced to wait years beyond when they expected to get the ending. For five years, I have worked long hours because of those reasons. All the time I could find, I dedicated to the Wheel of Time in one way or another.
And then, today, I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on.
I’ve reached the end of the journey and set down my burdens. It’s wonderful, relaxing, and solemn all at once. I love the Wheel of Time. It’s also great to be done.
And so, today, I officially take a step toward a line. I step away from being pilot of this series, and toward once again being just a fan. I will never cross back over that line—whatever else happens, I will have written three books in this series. I will continue to support and engage with Wheel of Time fandom. However, an ending has arrived for me, and it is time for my attention to be turned elsewhere.
Now I stroll back into my workshop and find that a little bit of dust has gathered. Out of necessity, the Stormlight Archive has been neglected. I am pleased I made the choice to work on A Memory of Light instead of Stormlight 2. However, it is time to pick up that story again and make this series all of the awesome things I’ve dreamed of it being for some twenty years.
The stories of Mat, Rand, Egwene, and Perrin are now done. Returning to the stories of Kaladin, Shallan, Jasnah, and Dalinar will be my next major project. You’ll also see me doing revisions on both The Rithmatist and Steelheart this fall—as I’ve made arrangements for both to be published next year or the year after. You’ll probably hear more about them in the days to come. And yes, I WILL be doing a sequel to The Alloy of Law.
It has been an incredible experience finishing the Wheel of Time. I hope that some of you who were with me on that journey will join me for the Stormlight books, but I want to note that I don’t automatically assume that if someone reads the Wheel of Time they will read my other work. I occasionally have someone come through one of my signing lines who feels guilty for “only” having a Wheel of Time book. There is no need to feel guilty for this; I love the Wheel of Time as you do, and we share that. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed some of my writing, and I feel as close to those books as I do to any I’ve written. Yes, the Wheel of Time is not mine. But those three books are mine. I love them just as much as any I’ve worked on.
I look forward to continuing to meet many of you at conventions and signings as the years move forward. Thank you, Wheel of Time fandom, for accepting me in and putting up with my mistakes. (There have been many.) Thank you, Brandon Sanderson fandom, for putting up with my deviations in the Wheel of Time universe. I know it has slowed down you getting your books, but this was something very important for me to do.
Robert Jordan was a great man, and was the single greatest influence on my development as a writer. What I have done these last five years has been an attempt—a sometimes flawed but always earnest attempt—to show my appreciation. This entire genre owes him an enormous debt. My debt to him, and to Harriet, is greatest of all.
Mr. Jordan, may you rest in the Light. Everyone else, take a breath and get ready for the end. May you find his final words as satisfying to read as I did when I first picked them up five years ago. The very last scene is his, touched very little by me, as are significant chunks of the ending at large. I have achieved my goal in writing the books so that they pointed toward this ending he wrote, allowing us to include his words with as little alteration as possible.
Once again, thank you. May you always find water and shade.
Written July 30th, 2012
Posted August 1st, 2012