There are a few things I've been meaning to mention here. First off, Jason asked me to do another plug for the Storm Leaders program. The application is live, and time is running out for you to apply.
Secondly, you may have noticed that the WoT Book 13 progress bar has started inching forward again. Yes, I'm back to work on it, though I'm working on a section other than what I was planning. (Still waiting for some research from Charleston.) So I haven't started my re-read of KOD yet; instead, during my evenings, I did a revision of ALCATRAZ 4 so that I could send that off to my editor and have it out of the way completely. That is now done.
As for that book . . . well, it's time for it to have a title. We've been calling it Shifting Winds up until this point, but that was never intended to be the final title. After a long round of conversations with Tor and Harriet, we settled on TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT as the title. There are various reasons for this, which I'll go into more once the book is out next year. I'm pleased, however, as this was the title I suggested. It's actually appropriate in an interesting way. Harriet was the one who came up with the name for the first of the three, and the second one gets the title I proposed. And so, we will (as I've been saying for a while) use Mr. Jordan's title for the final of the three, A MEMORY OF LIGHT.
I thought for a while on that last choice. If you've been following along these last couple of years, you know that my original intention was for this to be one book. When it was split, I still wanted it to be one book in name, in an attempt to honor Mr. Jordan's wishes that it be one book. (I still plan to suggest an omnibus edition at a later point, but the three books together will probably be too long for that to be an option.) Anyway, I was going to have A MEMORY OF LIGHT be the title (along with a subtitle) for each of the three books. When that fell through, I was left thinking on my next step.
Mr. Jordan named the final book A MEMORY OF LIGHT. It's one of the things we have from him, and I wanted very badly to use it. But at the same time, he named the three books AMOL, and I wondered if it wouldn't be better to let fans think of them as AMOL together, never using the title itself in case we managed to get that omnibus done. In the end, however, I decided that the title was simply too good not to use. I can't count on that omnibus, and I feel that using the title on the last third of the book is the best way to honor Mr. Jordan's wishes. It wasn't an easy decision, and some will disagree with it. But it is what we're going to do. So, the three books are:
THE GATHERING STORM
TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT
A MEMORY OF LIGHT
Also, if you haven't noticed, Tor released the prologue for sale this week. I've gotten complaints about DRM, or about it only being in one format. Realize that a lot of different stores are selling the book, and they each have different policies (none of which are set by Tor or Harriet.) Some of them are, I believe, DRM-free. But you'll have to look and see what the status is on each store. I know one is selling a PDF. Look on Dragonmount for more information.
I've been wanting for a while to talk about the prologue, the first chapter, and various items relating to them. This seems like as good a place as any, though this post is getting long. (Nothing new for me, I guess.)
I was a little surprised when I heard that Tor was going to release the first chapter before the prologue. Not surprised in a "don't do that" way—I'd just never considered that people might read the first chapter before the prologue. In the Wheel of Time novels, the prologue often focuses on a variety of different viewpoints aside from the main narrative, showing spots of what's happening around the world. The first chapter, then, focuses attention back on the main storyline. (It's not how Mr. Jordan always did it, but it was often the case.) And so the first chapter isn't intended to be filled with new revelations, but instead is a focus chapter, bringing attention away from all of those scattered viewpoints (often where revelations are made or plots are set up or resolved). I wouldn't say the first chapter is boring—I hope not to write boring chapters—but it's also not the most dynamic chapter, as it's fulfilling other purposes.
Therefore, if I were to read one of the two early, I'd much rather read the prologue, which involves a lot more variety and (in some places) some dynamic events. Of course, the prologue costs money, while the first chapter is free. (To be honest, I'm not sure what I think of selling the prologue ahead of time. I'm not a fan of charging people multiple times for the same content. But it's been established practice for the WoT for a while now, and the length of the prologue makes it worth the money. (Though in the editing process I moved about 7,000 words to the next book's prologue, leaving this one at about 13,000 words, which is shorter than some previous WoT prologues.) In the end, I didn't say anything about it, since I got enough email from readers saying they liked the practice and wanted a chance to read ahead of time—and were willing to pay for it. I figure, if you're one of those who doesn't like the idea of paying for the same thing twice, you can just wait for the full book. You don't really lose anything by the fact that the prologue is up for sale.)
People have asked me how much of the first chapter is me and how much is Mr. Jordan. I'm going to avoid saying anything specific until all three books are out, at which time I'll ask Harriet for permission to go into more depth on some of the sections and talk about why I did what I did. I can say this, however. The prologue is one of the sections with the most "Robert Jordan" in it. Large chunks of it were inserted with very little intrusion on my part. When I could preserve Mr. Jordan's writing while maintaining flow and continuity, I did so.
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