Reflections on Sanderson

Hey All,

I finished the Mistborn Trilogy the other day. Though I knew where the ending was headed, it still had a strong effect. I mourned the death of characters I’d spent nearly a month getting to know. I mourned the end a series that taught me so much.

The first time I read the series I’d only just started writing myself. So I read with different eyes. I only saw characters and plots as they related to the enjoyment of the story. But this time, I truly saw the magic and prowess Sanderson possesses.

With new eyes and an expanded mind I read Mistborn. And I saw a world expertly crafted. Believable and concrete. Dying. I met characters, each of them with their own complexities. Even characters who ultimately would die, or prove to not really affect the end of the story, were round and dynamic. And characters that seemed to be introduced as after thoughts unfolded over the course of three books to be heroes and favorites.

The plot, so much less a mystery to me this time around, was still incredibly captivating. I waited, anxious, for scenes I remembered, and ones that my untrained mind had forgotten. My mind now was working overtime to both enjoy the story for what it is, and to simultaneously tear it apart. I had to learn how to craft a world and convey information without seeming to “info dump” which Sanderson does beautifully.

And so the series ended.

With minimal pause, to absorb the ending and allow my mind to think, I moved on to a side novel set in the same world, The Alloy of Law. This novel is much different than the other Mistborn novels. Where the Trilogy was dense and almost hard to read, Alloy flows with a straightforward simplicity. Characters come to life immediately, and conversations are much more informal. Overall, a much more welcoming novel. The reader doesn’t have to work as hard to understand the world, or the magic, though both are more complex after 300 years.

It’s also only about 350 pages. Half the size of any of the Mistborn books.

And so I finished it in less than a day. I appreciate this novel because it’s much more like what I want to write. Reading the Mistborn books, or any of Sanderson’s larger works, is daunting. I can’t imagine writing such complex and long stories. But Alloy of Law is ideal. It sets a standard.

Now I’m reading Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. It’s a staggering 1,252 pages. Apparently the manuscript was over 400,000 words. It’s insane, mind-boggling, and completely terrifying.

I can’t wait!

 

Much love,

BZ

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