Mistborn

From the Archives: The Path to Mistborn Three

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Written by Brandon Sanderson

On May 13, 2014, Tor Teen is proud to be reissuing the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. The book will be a trade paperback, with a brand new cover. To celebrate this new edition, we went back into our newsletter archives to October of 2008, when Brandon wrote about what it felt like to finish writing the story of Vin, Elend, and the rest of their crew. Enjoy this blast from the past, and we hope you like our new edition of Mistborn!

One of the things I wanted to do with the Mistborn trilogy was make it internally cohesive. I wanted each book to have its own story and climactic moments, but it was even more important to me that each book be part of a whole. When I’m reading a series, few things bother me as much as getting a sense that the author doesn’t know where he/she is going with the books. I really like a strong sense of building tension, of interconnection between volumes, and a hint of a master vision.

This presented a problem. You see, I’m an outliner. I like to plan and plot quite a bit before I start writing a book. However, even an outliner like myself can’t nail down every little point in a story. Beyond that, the experience of writing is a supremely creative one. One has to be ready to toss out entire sections of an outline if something better, more evocative, more interesting comes along. This has happened in every novel I’ve written so far, and I understood that if I didn’t have the same flexibility when writing the Mistborn series, the books (particularly the later ones) would feel stiff. However, if I didn’t make and stick with an outline, I wouldn’t be able to foreshadow events in the third book appropriately and give the series the cohesive feel that I wanted.

At that point, I began to realize something very daunting: if this series was to become what I wanted it to be, I was going to have to write all three books straight through in a short period of time. I would have to work furiously and intently enough to get the third book done before the first book went to press. If I could manage that, I knew that I would have flexibility to write all three books with the creativity they demanded, but also be able to revise the first book so that it would be a proper introduction to the following two.

So I sat down to write. It was a grueling eighteen months, but I did manage to get a rough draft of the third book done before the copyedit (the last chance for me to make substantive chances) of the first one was due in. That was late 2004.

Four years later, it’s finally time to release Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, the third and final Mistborn book. I’ve now been working on this series for five years, tweaking the text of the second two volumes, creating the cohesive—yet individually separate—trilogy of books that I originally imagined. It turned out better than I had even hoped that it would. There are hints and clues about the climactic events of the third book foreshadowed in the first few paragraphs of the first book. And they’re not just dropped in; they’re a substantive part of the original volume. All three books form one larger ‘super-book.’

It’s hard to explain how excited I am that people can finally read this last volume. Those of you who know my books may be familiar with the fact that I love endings. I want them to be explosive, imaginative, and shocking—yet at the same time expected, without unforeshadowed twists. I focus a lot of my energy on making my endings satisfying to those who have invested so much time in reading my books.

Mistborn: The Hero of Ages is an entire book that is, in a way, an ending. It’s the climactic sequence to half a million words of build-up. I feel that it’s the best book that I’ve written to date.

If you think you know what is going on in these books, just wait for this final volume. Remember what Kelsier always says:

There’s always another secret.
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From the Tor/Forge May 5th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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More from the May 5th Tor/Forge newsletter:

2 thoughts on “From the Archives: The Path to Mistborn Three

  1. Power to you man. Power to you. I will follow your books to then ends of the earth if I have too.

  2. Almost finished with “The Alloy of Law”–thanks so much for this extra gem!! The Mistborn series is awesome–this extra book leaves the trilogy intact, and then adds some juicy teases that leave you wanting to know more. Thank you!!

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