Tue
Aug 31 2010 9:33am
It’s Here!

I started writing my first novel when I was fifteen years old. I didn’t have a computer; I had an old, electric typewriter. It would remember your file on a disc, but it was really just a printer with an attached bare-bones word processor. (It had a tiny LCD screen at the top that could display three lines at a time. You could scroll through and edit bit by bit, then you hit print and it would type out the document.)

The book was terrible. It was essentially a hybrid of Tad Williams and Dragonlance, though at the time I felt it was totally new and original. It did have a wizard who threw fireballs with smiley faces on the front, though, so that’s kind of cool. At its core were two stories. One vital one was the tale of a wise king who was murdered by assassins, forcing his younger brother to take up the mantle and lead the kingdom while trying to find/protect the king’s son and rightful heir. The other was about a young man named Rick, originally blamed for the murder.

I still have some of these pages. (Not the entire book, unfortunately.) I used to hide them behind a picture on the wall of my room so that nobody would find them. I was so anxious about letting people read my writing, and was—for some reason—paranoid my family would find the pages and read them, then make fun of them.

Over the years, many ideas proliferated and matured in my mind. I began writing books in earnest (I never finished that one I started as a teenager.) I grew as a writer, and discovered how to make my works less derivative. Most of my ideas from my teenage self died out, and rightly so. Others evolved. My maturing sensibilities as both a reader and a writer changed how I saw the world, and some stories stood the test of both time and internal criticism, becoming stronger for the conflict.

Rick became Jerick, hero of the book now known as Dragonsteel (It was my honor’s thesis in college, and will someday be rewritten and
published. For now, the only copy available is through
inter-library-loan, though it appears to have vanished.) Jared, the man
who lost his brother and had to lead in his stead, protecting his nephew, slowly evolved into a man named Dalinar, one of the primary
protagonists of The Way of Kings. Some of you may be curious to know that the character many now call Hoid also appeared in that  ancient book of mine.

These two epics—Dragonsteel and The Way of Kings—have shaped a lot of my passions and writing goals over the last two decades. For example, in my last year of college I took an introductory illustration class to try my hand at drawing. My final project was a portfolio piece of sketches of plants and animals from Roshar, as even then I was hoping to someday be able to publish The Way of Kings with copious in-world illustrations of Roshar and its life. (At that time, I was planning to have an illustrated appendix, though I eventually decided to spread the pages through the book.) Fortunately, I was able to hire artists to do the work in this book instead of forcing you to look at what I came up with...

Well, finally—after two decades of writing—Tor has given me the chance to share The Way of Kings with you. They’ve taken a risk on this book. At every juncture, they agreed to do as I asked, often choosing the more expensive option as it was a better artistic decision. Michael Whelan on the cover. 400K words in length. Almost thirty full page interior illustrations. High-end printing processes in order to make the interior art look crisp and beautiful. A piece of in-world writing on the back cover, rather than a long list of marketing blurbs. Interludes inside the book that added to the length, and printing costs, but which fleshed out the world and the story in ways I’d always dreamed of doing.

This is a massive book. That seems fitting, as it has been two decades in the making for me. Writing this essay, I find myself feeling oddly relieved. Yes, part of me is nervous—more nervous for this book than I have been for any book save The Gathering Storm. But a greater part of me is satisfied.

I finally got it published. Whatever else happens, whatever else comes, I managed to tell this story. The Way of Kings isn’t hidden behind the painting in my room any longer.

 


Brandon Sanderson is the author of Elantris, The Mistborn Trilogy, and, with Robert Jordan, the New York Times Bestselling The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and the forthcoming A Memory of Light, the final volumes to the epic Wheel of Time.

Excerpts and detailed from The Way of Kings can be found on Tor.com’s The Way of Kings Master Index.

42 comments
Texas Hovda
1. Texas Hovda
Congratulations, Brandon! You deserve it. Humble, accommodating toward your fans, appreciative of the success you have attained, and enjoyable to read. Heading to B&N right after work to purchase and begin devouring. I love your work and am happy to support someone like you. Thank you for the many hours of enjoyment you have given me through Mistborn, WoT, Elantris, and now Way of Kings!
Paul Weimer
2. PrinceJvstin
Happy Release Day!

(I admit I am not a fanboy quite yet...I've only managed to read one of your novels to date--Warbreaker, although I did like it quite a bit). I do like the "Writing Excuses" podcast, though.
Texas Hovda
3. HearttLight
Great words. Makes the anticipation all the greater. I keep checking my mail, to see if the bookstore sent me my pre-ordered copy yet. Idle hope, though, for it won't make it's way to Holland for a couple more days.

However, even without reading it, I wish to congratulate you. It's out! It's already a huge hype. And, judging by the first preview chapters, it will stay an epically huge hype for many more years. As a fan, all I really can say, is that I'm so proud of you, and even more thankfull for all the awesome stories you bring to me!
Texas Hovda
4. June S.
Strange how we worry the ones we love will pan our writing when they are usually our biggest fans when we let them see. Thanks for sharing the story and I can't wait to get my hands on TWoK today.
john mullen
5. johntheirishmongol
Congrats. I am hoping to get the the bookstore to meet you in Orlando if I can get out of work a little early.
James Goetsch
6. Jedikalos
What a nice story--from the back of the picture frame to this beautiful book. Congratulations.
Tricia Irish
7. Tektonica
Congratulations, Brandon. Thank you for all your books. I'm a big fan of the Mistborn Trilogy, and thank you for picking up the mantel of the Wheel of Time. You're doing a great job with it.
I love this essay! You give me hope that perhaps my childhood dreams can still come true!
Texas Hovda
8. Rick C. 1313
Congratulations Brandon! I just downloaded TWoK to my iPad this morning, and have started reading it. Within a few pages, it has me hooked. It is unlike anything I have read to this point. Good Job!!!
I can't wait for ToM in November!
Federico Bianco
9. talen
I'm desperately waiting for the ARC from Tor's twitter contest :P it's a loooong way to Italy, it seems! :)

Thanks Brandon ... for being so "normal" but capable of writing what you write.
Lindsey Turnbow
10. Obi
I remember being excited back when I first heard of the Way of Kings long before I had any idea what it would actually be. I think that'll make me a six-year-old girl who just got a pony once my copy comes in the mail today (or, uh, in the next couple days anyway...).
Mike Conley
11. NomadUK
Congratulations! You give me hope that someday I might actually finish my novel, which has been in gestation for 30 years!
Gabriele Campbell
12. G-Campbell
Congratulations, and good luck to you and the book. :)

Two decades, wow. That makes me feel a bit better about tampering with my big epic for 8 years on and off now (the Romans keep clamouring for screen time as well). Maybe I'll get it finished in another 12 years. ;)
j p
13. sps49
Oh! it's today!

Off to Costco I go (I hope it's there, they're closest) to take up where the previews left off.
Rikka Cordin
14. Rikka
Yay! I feel like having an advanced copy (won mine on goodreads!) makes Release Days even more fun because now I get to watch everyone else tear through this book and know that they're in for a wild ride :D I can only imagine how exciting this is for you too. Can't wait for the next one :)
Rikka Cordin
15. Rikka
Yay! I feel like having an advanced copy (won mine on goodreads!) makes Release Days even more fun because now I get to watch everyone else tear through this book and know that they're in for a wild ride :D I can only imagine how exciting this is for you too. Can't wait for the next one :)
Texas Hovda
16. Justin T.
My book arrived at home earlier today and I am anxiously waiting for work to end so I can go home and begin another journey with your characters. Thank you for your involvement with us. Thank you for working to hard to conclude the WoT. Thank you for giving us so many hours of enjoyment. It makes it so easy to buy these books when you know the author genuinely appreciates it.
Congratulations.
Texas Hovda
17. jemron
The midnight release was a blast last night! Thanks for doing this. You are a brilliant artist and a perfect choice to start such a large series and finish another. I love how accommodating you are to your fans.
Eric Stapler
18. estapler
Just picked up my copy on an extended lunch break. I have to say that in flipping through the pages at red lights, I would have been willing to pay at least twice what I did based on the art work alone. I'm thinking I am not going to get much done at work today...
Texas Hovda
19. Brian_C_AU
Congrats.

I've sent you a couple of tweets about this but they probably got lost in the logjam. I also really dont want to be that guy, you know the guy, the life like representation of "The Comic Book Guy" 

But...

Could you let me know when/if "The Way of Kings" is to be released on kindle in Australia. Id appreciate it. Thanks
ezzkmo .
20. ezzkmo
Congrats Brandon! Have fun on tour!
Christine Evelyn Squires
21. ces
QUOTE: "A piece of in-world writing on the back cover, rather than a long list of marketing blurbs."

I hate to tell you but . . .

I just got my book. It has, in addition to the writing, 2 marketing blurbs prominently featured.
Texas Hovda
22. Goradel's Nephew
Choosing the more expensive route to produce a better work of art? Thank you Tor, for listening to my favorite author.
Texas Hovda
23. Amaranth
This story gives me hope for the epic sitting in a folder on my computer...that I started sometime in the ninth grade.

You are an inspiration, sir. Congrats!
Texas Hovda
24. SongofFire
Thank you for sharing the story behind Way of Kings, it adds a lot of real world value and texture to the book!
Abdel Masdoua
25. TheDarkOne
Yay Brandon, keep it coming, your stories are amazing!
And thanks for sharing this with us!
Kalyani Poluri
26. pvslkalyani
Just Finished the book.. Its AWESOME.. Thanks much for keeping this story in the back of your mind all these years, polishing it, making it shine and sharing it with us in the most spectacular way.. I bought the hard copy, but I also bought the kindle version 'coz I know that the book will be downloaded by 3:00 AM EST.. which made me feel that I was a part of the midnight release party from east coast.. I have been waiting for this book since your first blog post abt it, excited and nervous at the same time.. Excited 'coz anybook from you, for me, is the best.. Nervous 'coz I have been increasingly dissatisfied at the hype of some books I consider undeserving and If other readers would know how awesome this book is or not.. I am crossing my fingers and toes and pray that people would realize what a masterpiece this book really is and it gets all the acclaim that it deserves.. Please let us keep posted about the success of the book.. I look forward to meet you in the Washington DC signing.. :).. Once again, thanks much for all the hard work .. Have a wonderful day..

Kalyani
Texas Hovda
27. mickydinkins
This is just a comment for those trying to decide whether or not to buy this book.
I havent bought a book for a while, a long while, but when the way of kings came out, i bought it. Please realise, this book was expensive, fat, and hard to get, but i bought it. Im currently in a bit of a financial crisis, but i bought it. I had some major work due in two days but i bought it. Finally, after i bought it, i read it in one day. Its that good.

Only complaint would be that its two hundred words too long, otherwise, its a great book.
Chris Greenland
28. greenland
Posting prose from one's teen years? That takes some serious guts. You're a braver man than I, Mr. Sanderson.
Texas Hovda
29. Clifton Hill
I am fascinated to read what has percolated around in that Sanderson mind for so very long.
Texas Hovda
30. Longerwaves
Hey Brandon, I was in the book store on Tuesday and they had your book prominantly displayed, front and center of the store right when you walk in. I picked it up and the first thing I noticed was just how BIG it is, then wondered just how long the book was. It clocks in at EXACTLY 1000 pages. Mind you I am not counting all of the stuff after the end of the story, maps etc, just the story itself-1000 pgs.
Was this deliberate?
micheal julia
31. high fantasy
Hi Brandon, Unfortunately I have a huge back log of work,and reading to do. I don't know when I'll have the time to enjoy your book, TWoK, which I know I will. Maybe even after ToM, as WoT is what introduced me to your writing, but I love everything I've read of yours (and RJ's). I also just wanted to say, as per your suggestion, that I purchased my copy of TWoK at my local "Mister Paperback". keep up the good work
Peter Ahlstrom
32. PeterAhlstrom
Longerwaves, the page length wasn't deliberate. We were thinking they could fit it into maybe 832 pages. But it worked out this way (the text would have to be smaller to fit on 832 pages, but I think it looks good the way it is).
Linda Taglieri
33. Linda
How beautiful that was to read. Congratulations Brandon.
Texas Hovda
34. Sorpigal
I've finished The Way of Kings. I accomplished this feat, somehow, on Sunday night, after the Tuesday release, despite working 10+ hours each weekday and instilling in my family a sense that I was both alive and healthy.

When I was done I made like Anakin Skywalker at the end of Episode 3. Is this book great? No, it's not great. Fantastic? Not hardly. There just isn't enough of it for me to make any kind of value judgement like that. Yes, despite a thousand and one pages it's just *not long enough*. As a veteran reader of epic fantasy, however, I can say that this is one of the most promising beginnings to an epic, surpassing GRRM's first book in his series (in that this is *clearly* going to be epic in scope) as well as a myriad of lesser works.

Complaints? If I have a complaint it is only that I cannot go and buy another thousand pages immediately. Please, dear author Sir, could you find it in your heart to forsake all pretense of other work and get the rest of it to me within the next decade?
T C
35. Freelancer
Thank you, Brandon. As you said tonight, there's a small concern that too much hype could leave people disappointed if the work didn't live up to it. There's really no chance of that with The Way of Kings. It is what you have been promising, the beginning of a massive story. It was an easy read, and went faster than I had planned. I did not rush through it, but found myself unable to set it down.

Tom Doherty rolled the dice, and threw the King. Keep up the wonderful work.


Sorpigal @34

Brandon is commissioned to finish The Wheel of Time, and he is determined to do it on time. Once that has been turned in, he'll be full-time on books two and three of the Stormlight Archives. But you shouldn't expect an epic volume once a year, it's not going to happen.
Texas Hovda
37. Jack_1992
I went out and -finally- got myself a copy of the way of kings on the weekend, and although i haven't finished it yet due to a hectic workload, I am halfway through and LOVING it.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a copy with the Wheelan coverdesign in any of the shops I went to (in Australia). That said, the cover is still quite cool, just in a different style. It shows a man bearing armor and a sword (presumably shardplate and a shardblade) in pencil-ish style, in red, grey and white.
Texas Hovda
38. JosiahU
Every one of your books I have read has been excellent. I thought you were an excellent and exceptional writer until I read The Way of Kings - I was shocked that someone I considered to be so good at writing could improve and write even better!

What moved me most was the insights your writing revealed about human nature - about leadership, honor, things valued by people - although this book is a work of fiction, the concepts describe touch upon deep truths. These concepts elevated The Way of Kings from a mere work of fiction to a work that can teach many good things useful in everyday life.

Thank you for writing it. Please keep up the good work!
David Platt
39. The Not So Dark One
I live in the UK and have only just finished the book as I had to order it from the US (UK Amazon says its not out until January).
I originally only heard of Brandon through WOT and then I read the warbreaker he posted for free - I enjoyed it but it didnt blow me away. I originally didnt intend on buying this book but a little of the hype on tor.com got me interested and so I placed my order and got my book. Just spent a solid day and a half neglecting everything else and read right through it and felt I should come on here and, for whatever my opinion is worth, state that I thought it was amazing. Brandon now has one more fan to add to his growing list. I think the fact that I genuinly thought "not Dalinar" when the shin recieves his orders shows how much he draws you in with this book.
So congratulations on a fine book Mr. Sanderson and please dont take 20 years to write the next installment.

Edit: to change 10 years to 20
Texas Hovda
40. Stonespren
Congratulations Brandon. This is one fantastic story. TWoK kept me up late into the night reading by the light of storyspren as they flew out of the pages. I'm recommending this book to everyone who'll listen to me, knowing how well received it will be by all who read it.

The Way of Kings is head and shoulders above anything else I've read in a long while. This book is a new classic that will take it's rightful place with the masterpieces of the genre. I can't stress enough how wrapped up I now am in this story. I would even go so far as to postpone the very, very long awaited conclusion of WOT to get to the next installment in the Stormlight Archive... Well maybe not, but wow I really enjoyed this book.
Texas Hovda
41. Robinton
I've really loved all of Sanderson's books, but the Way of Kings takes the prize as one of the most engrossing and fulfilling fantasy novels I"ve read in a long time. Thanks Brian! Top notch job!
Karen Fox
42. thepupxpert
Hi Brandon - just finished the book a couple of weeks ago and I'm itching to go back and re-read it. I really really liked it. Tried to get down to see you in San Diego but came down with food poisoning! The nice folks at the bookstore mailed a signed copy to me and I'm so glad I have it. What a great book!
Sandi Kallas
43. Sandikal
I really enjoyed the Mistborn trilogy and Stormbreaker, so I didn't hesitate to get this book, even though I have a policy against ginormous series of 1000 page books. Having just read The Stand and being in the process of reading Anathem, I just knew I wouldn't be able to tackle another giant tome. So, I'm listening to the audiobook. It's really terrific in the audio format. Unfortunately, I hear that there are some wonderful illustrations that I'm missing.

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