As I stated in a blog post in the early fall, I took the months of September–December inclusive off from major projects. I do this to give myself some breathing room creatively and work on projects I don't have a contract for. I also like to do writing exercises, try new things, and generally relax and let myself be creative without deadlines or expectations.
Sometimes the projects I work on during times like this turn out really well. Sometimes they flop hardcore. Often it's something in between. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians came from a session like this, and it has been very successful. Some other stories written during times like these have never seen the light of day. Others (most notably Scribbler, which has been renamed The Rithmatist) need to sit for a while and let me stew on them before I decide to revise them and get them into publishable shape.
The first thing that developed from this session was an urban fantasy about a necromancer who runs a pizza joint. It was listed on my sidebar as "Untitled Urban Fantasy Project" or something like that. This book was fun to write, and it was interesting to explore something in an our-world setting. The beginning was great, but it ran out of steam halfway through, and I never ended up finishing it. I might do something with it someday, but for now I've set it aside. The title for this one ended up being Death by Pizza. Maybe I'll post some chapters for you.
The second thing I tried writing was a short story set in the Mistborn world a few hundred years after The Hero of Ages. This one just didn't work; the characters weren't gripping for me. More importantly, it just didn't FEEL like a Mistborn book. I got about one scene into it.
As I was working on it, however, I did some worldbuilding on this time period in Scadrial's history. I got to thinking about what was wrong with the short story, and why it didn't feel right. This grew into an outline regarding a completely different story—with no overlap of characters—set in the same time period. I nurtured this and started writing, and it felt right from the get-go. I had the right tone, so I kept writing, expanding my outline, letting the story grow as big as it wanted to be.
In the end, I had an 85,000-word novel that I named Mistborn: The Alloy of Law. I'm very excited about the story, and I offered it to Tor for publication with one condition: They had to put it out in 2011. I've mentioned before that I worried I wasn't going to have a book release for you in 2011, what with the extra time A Memory of Light is going to take. Alloy of Law turned out so well that I wanted to share it with everyone, and use it to fill in the gap between Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light.
You may have seen the Tor announcement on this book. It should come out this fall; I'd guess September or October. I want to reassure people that I didn't do this instead of writing the next Stormlight book. This time period between big books had to be used to write something shorter, something more self-contained. I just couldn't have done a Stormlight book. It was this novel or nothing. I'm pleased that Alloy of Law turned out so well.
I spent the next little while tweaking Alloy of Law. I did a writing exercise to practice dialogue, which I posted. I've actually got more of that than I posted. (Maybe five chapters' worth.) I'll try to post more of that in the weeks ahead. I also did some work on Steelheart, which is coming togethe—but slowly.
I'm through with all of that now, however, and as of Monday I'm working full-time on the Wheel of Time. I'll do another blog post on that here soon.
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