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First off, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to vote for the Goodreads Choice Awards already. The final round ends tonight. Firefight is nominated in the Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction category, and Shadows of Self is nominated in the Fantasy category. Best of luck to all the nominees!

In this week's episode of Writing Excuses, Q & A on Revision, we continue to answer questions from from the WXR attendees, who were aboard the Independence of the Seas with us.

  • During revision, when do you think it’s acceptable to throw the whole thing out?

  • How do you fit the whole structure in your head?

  • What do you find you most often need to add?

  • What do you do when your revisions have made things worse?

  • How do you avoid over-writing during the revision process?

  • When revising, how many passes do you make, and what order are they in?

  • Do you take the sounds of words into account when writing and revising?

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Shallan practiced her scholarship and her Lightweaving, and perhaps took a small step toward confronting her memories. This week, in Chapter 61, we go back in time to watch sixteen-year-old Shallan struggle with the balance between helping her father and helping, well, everyone else.

My assistant Adam is working on updating the Twitter post archive for November.

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In this year's Goodreads Choice Awards, Shadows of Self is nominated in the Fantasy category and Firefight is in the YA Fantasy & SF category. The first round of voting wraps up this weekend. Congratulations to all of the nominees!

And for those of you who didn't see the post on my Twitter and Facebook the other day, I recently participated in a podcast while on tour for Shadows of Self at The Tattered Cover in Denver. Give it a listen here.

Some exciting news coming out of New York City today; Steelheart has been placed on the ninth-grade list for the NYC Department of Educations: NYC Reads 365, aimed at supporting independent reading all year long. As many of you know, I was fourteen years old when a teacher reached out to me and suggested Barbara Hambly's Dragonsbane, a book which changed my life and set me on the course I am still traversing today. So I am honored for one of my books to be part of such a great program.

In this week's episode of Writing Excuses, How Do I Fix What is Broken?, we start this months discussion on "Revision" as we continue the Writing Excuses Season 10 Master Class. While many of you may be tempted by NaNoWriMo, there’s a different kind of work to be done! Delia Sherman joins us again, this time for a frank talk about the tools and techniques we use during our revisions.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Szeth sat on top of Urithiru, feeling sorry for himself and working himself up to go find better answers. This week, in Interlude 11, Eshonai reveals more of the difference in her character after her transformation to Stormform; as expected, this is not a cheerful event.

My assistant Adam is working on updating the Twitter post archive for October.

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Hey, all. I’m back from tour at long last, and am hard at work on Stormlight 3. In fact, because it’s national novel writing month, you might see me posting daily wordcounts on social media. Back in 2002, I finished the original draft of The Way of Kings over NaNoWriMo. (Finished it the Friday after Thanksgiving, I believe.) Seems thematically appropriate to me to post about it again, now that it’s November.

This book won’t be ready until next year around this time, at the earliest. Fortunately, I can point you toward a few new releases that might keep you busy for a little while. The first is The Wheel of Time Companion. This is the official name and release for the encyclopedia that Harriet and Team Jordan have been working on for many years. (I believe they started compiling it way back even before the release of Knife of Dreams!)

They’ve put a ton of effort into this volume, and it shows. If you’ve ever wanted a comprehensive encyclopedia of the people, places, and terminology of the Wheel of Time, this is for you! And it will look very handsome on the shelf beside your other Wheel of Time books.

The second release is tangentially Wheel of Time-related as well. Jason Denzel, webmaster for the largest Wheel of Time fansite, has become a good friend of mine over the years. He was the first person in Wheel of Time fandom to really reach out to me when I was announced as the guy who would finish the series. (He actually found me on tour with a backpack full of Magic cards.) He was an awesome resource all through my working on the books, and we’ve remained buddies ever since.

It happens that Jason is also a storyteller. He’s done mostly independent films up to this point, but a few years back he wrote a novel called Mystic that he let me read. It’s very good—a kind of Celtic-inspired fantasy with some very intriguing worldbuilding. It’s one of those books that straddles the line between young adult and adult (much like the early volumes of the Wheel of Time, actually) and is a quick, well-paced read. Give it a look!

Meanwhile, I’ll get back to work.

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My tour for Shadows of Self wrapped up yesterday, and it was awesome to see so many of you! I will be posting some of the highlights from my tour over the next few weeks.

If you were unable to come to one of my tour stops, it's okay—the greatest compliment you can give me is to read my books. I still have YALLFest in Charleston coming up in November, and I'll be adding some Utah and Idaho signings around holidays in November and December. As always, if you'd like email reminders when I'm going to be near your city, tell me your metro area here.

In this week's episode of Writing Excuses, Q & A on Endings, Delia Sherman joined us aboard the Independence of the Seas to answer the following questions from the attendees at the Writing Excuses Workshop:

  • Why do more short stories than novels end on tragic notes?

  • How do you keep an ending from being predictable or boring?

  • How do you write a stand-alone ending with sequel potential?

  • What are the best ways to avoid infodump endings?

  • Are there differences between writing the first novel in a series and other novels in the series?

  • How do you know which questions to leave unanswered?

  • What sort of attention do you give to your last lines?

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Lift and Wyndle led us into discussions of Edgedancers, the Cognitive Realm, murder, and justice. This week, in Interlude 10, we join Szeth atop the highest tower in the world to contemplate the End of All Things—or the end of all his former assumptions, anyway.

My assistant Adam is working on updating the Twitter post archive for September and October.

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My tour for the release of Shadows of Self continues this week in the UK. As always, if you would like me to send you an email when I'll be appearing near you, tell me your metro area here.

  • Tuesday, Oct 20: Sheffield & Newcastle

  • Wednesday, Oct 21: Edinburgh

  • Thursday, Oct 22: Leeds & Nottingham

  • Friday–Sunday, Oct 23–25: FantasyCon in Nottingham

Details on my events page.

It's been a busy few weeks and we haven't kept you up to date on the new Writing Excuses episodes. Here are last few, in case you missed them:
  • What's the Difference Between Ending and Stopping? Nalo Hopkinson joins us for this episode, which we recorded before a live audience of Out of Excuses Workshop & Retreat attendees. October’s master class episodes focus on endings, and in this first installment we talk about what an ending really is. It’s obviously the last part of the book, but the gestalt of “ending” is so much more than just “The End,” and it’s important that we understand all that before committing ourselves to being done writing it.

  • Your Character's Moral Pendulum: Brad Beaulieu and Jaym Gates join us from the GenCon Indy Writing Symposium to talk about good versus evil, and how your character might swing between the two. And it’s all about that swing. Moral grey areas are more interesting if we move through them. We talk about how we swing the pendulum, what difficulties we encounter, and what sorts of things we want to have happen to our reader when it moves.

  • How In The World Do I Tie All This Together? We are joined again by Nalo Hopkinson, at sea, for our second Master Class installment on endings. We cover some of the reasons why an ending might not be working, and then talk about the sorts of diagnoses that will help you solve the problem. You’ll likely need to dig deep in your toolbox. Our episodes covering the MICE quotient, promises made to the readers, and the Hollywood formula may be worth reviewing in this process.
Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, everyone threw temper tantrums and Kaladin landed in prison. This week, in Interlude 9, we jaunt across the continent to Azir’s capital, where we’ll meet with an unexpected style of proto-Radiant.

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Shadows of Self is out today in hardcover in the UK, and I'm touring the UK this week and next. I talked in a previous post about the book release, and will point you toward that one if you’ve not read much of the Mistborn series. (Or if you’re not interested in the writing side of why I make the decisions I do.)

However, for those who want to dig deeper into what’s going on here, I wanted to talk about the Mistborn series as a whole. As I was developing the Cosmere, I knew I wanted a few threads to span the entire mega-sequence, which was going to cover thousands of years. For this reason, I built into the outline a couple of “core” series.

One of these is the Stormlight Archive, where we have the Heralds who span ages, and which I eventually decided to break into two distinct arcs. Other series touch on the idea of long-standing characters. Dragonsteel, for example, will be kind of a bookend series. We’ll get novels on Hoid’s origins, then jump all the way to the end and get novels from his viewpoint late in the entire Cosmere sequence.

With Mistborn, I wanted to do something different. For aesthetic reasons, I wanted a fantasy world that changed, that grew updated and modernized. One of my personal mandates as a lover of the epic fantasy genre is to try to take what has been done before and push the stories in directions I think the genre hasn’t looked at often enough.

I pitched Mistorn as a series of trilogies, which many of you probably already know. Each series was to cover a different era in the world (Scadrial), and each was to be about different characters—starting with an epic fantasy trilogy, expanding eventually into a space opera science fiction series. The magic would be the common thread here, rather than specific characters.

There was a greater purpose to this, more than just wanting a fantasy world that modernized. The point was to actually show the passage of time in the universe, and to make you, the reader, feel the weight of that passage.

Some of the Cosmere characters, like Hoid, are functionally immortal—in that, at least, they don’t age and are rather difficult to kill. I felt that when readers approached a grand epic where none of the characters changed, the experience would be lacking something. I could tell you things were changing, but if there were always the same characters, it wouldn’t feel like the universe was aging.

I think you get this problem already in some big epic series. (More on that below.) Here, I wanted the Cosmere to evoke a sense of moving through eras. There will be some continuing threads. (A few characters from Mistborn will be weaved through the entire thing.) However, to make this all work, I decided I needed to do something daring—I needed to reboot the Mistborn world periodically with new characters and new settings.

As a warning to writers out there, this is usually considered a publishing faux pas. Readers like continuing characters, and creating breaks as I have done (and will continue to do) often undermines sales. Readers naturally feel a momentum in finishing a series, and if you give them a break point—with everything wrapped up—the push to get out the door and read the next book isn’t there.

However, while that’s the rule of thumb in publishing, I worry it has led to poor artistic decisions in some series. When series get very long, a weird thing seems to happen in reader brains. While they want to read about their familiar characters, they’ve sometimes started to feel annoyed by them—and are really just reading to find out what happens to them in the end.

While we love continuing characters, we also seem to get fatigued with them. (Unless the author does some clever things, like how Jim Butcher has handled Dresden.)

The Mistborn reboots are one method I’m using to combat this. Reader reactions, through both reviews and sales of my first reboot, have so far been positive—but I know my publisher is very concerned about this strategy.

I’m confident nonetheless that it is best for the long-term health of Mistborn.

So how does Shadows of Self fit into this entire framework? Well, The Alloy of Law was (kind of) an accident. It wasn’t planned to be part of the original sequence of Mistborn sub-series, but it’s also an excellent example of why you shouldn’t feel too married to an outline.

As I was working on Stormlight, I realized that it was going to be a long time (perhaps ten years) between The Hero of Ages and my ability to get back to the Mistborn world to do the first of the “second” series. I sat down to write a short story as a means of offering a stop-gap, but was disappointed with it.

That’s when I took a step back and asked myself how I really wanted to approach all of this. What I decided upon was that I wanted a new Mistborn series that acted as a counterpoint to Stormlight. Something for Mistborn fans that pulled out some of the core concepts of the series (Allomantic action, heist stories) and mashed them with another genre—as opposed to epic fantasy—to produce something that would be faster-paced than Stormlight, and also tighter in focus.

That way, I could alternate big epics and tight, action character stories. I could keep Mistborn alive in people’s minds while I labored on Stormlight.

The Alloy of Law was the result, an experiment in a second-era Mistborn series between the first two planned trilogies. The first book wasn’t truly accidental, then, nor did it come from a short story. (I’ve seen both reported, and have tacitly perpetuated the idea, as it’s easier than explaining the entire process.) I chose early 20th century because it’s a time period I find fascinating, and was intrigued by the idea of the little-city lawman pulled into big-city politics.

Alloy wasn’t an accident, but it was an experiment. I wasn’t certain how readers would respond to not only a soft reboot like this, but also one that changed tone (from epic to focused). Was it too much?

The results have been fantastic, I’m happy to report. The Alloy of Law is consistently the bestselling book in my backlists, barring the original trilogy or Stormlight books. Fan reaction in person was enthusiastic.

So I sat down and plotted a proper trilogy with Wax and Wayne. That trilogy starts with Shadows of Self. It connects to The Alloy of Law directly, but is more intentional in where it is taking the characters, pointed toward a three-book arc. (The Bands of Mourning, the second of the arc, comes out in January. The final book of the arc hasn’t been written yet; I’ll dig into that after Stormlight 3 is done.)

You can see why this is sometimes hard to explain. What is Shadows of Self? It’s the start of a trilogy within a series that comes after a one-off with the same characters that was in turn a sequel to an original trilogy with different characters.

But I promise that it is awesome.

Hopefully this digging into my own writing psychology has been useful (or at least interesting) for you readers and writers out there. As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy Shadows of Self!

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[Note, I'm still on tour for Shadows of Self. If you've somehow missed the fact that I have a new book out, then read these blog posts, and come see me on tour! Events are listed here.]

Last year, we got a very intriguing offer. A production company in Minneapolis was filming a series on mythology for the History Channel, and they wanted to know if I’d be interested in appearing as a guest.

My initial inclination was to turn down the request, as my time these days is at a premium. Also, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be on a program reminiscent of the one done with the “aliens” guy.


However, talking to my agent, I decided to just roll with it. It was a fun opportunity, and most importantly, they were contacting us in relation to my professor’s hat—they wanted an expert on mythology, storytelling, and what makes human beings intrigued by certain types of stories.

Now, I’d been on the small screen before. Including that fateful moment where I appeared on a local news channel in front of a bunch of stormtroopers, beside the actress who plated the evil Kryptonian woman from Superman 2 back in the day. Ah, the places my life has taken me...

Well, I’m pleased to say that despite my reservations, the experience of filming for this series (titled True Monsters now, instead of True Myths as in the original pitch to me) was excellent. Though the series pitch was about whether or not these mythological monsters are real (hint: they’re not), the questions directed at me were exclusively within my particular wheelhouse. We talked about why people want to believe in myths, why they tell stories, and why we consider some myths real (like my own religious faith) while we disregard others.

It was actually a very fun shoot, with me getting to be very professorial and talk about things I love and am passionate about. Now, upon writing this, I can’t say how it turned out. I haven’t seen a cut, and who knows how they spliced me in—or if they even ended up using me at all! However, I did find out that a certain Patrick Rothfuss was also interviewed, so it should be a fun program to watch either way.

Perhaps this thing will come together in a way that makes it seem like I’m telling you all that bigfoot is real. (And, in so doing, help prove the complaint that sensationalism is infecting our educational programming.)

However, my experiences with the producers are making me lean the other direction. I’m anticipating a fun program, which might toy with the real-world explanations of why certain myths started, then dig into what makes human beings so fond of telling stories to one another.

And if not, well, let me just get this out of the way:


True Monsters will be airing on the History Channel on October 9 (that's today) at 10/9c.

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The newest Mistborn book, Shadows of Self, is out. (In hardcover, ebook, and audio in the US and Canada; in the UK the ebook and audiobook come out on Thursday the 8th, but the hardcover there comes out on the 15th to coincide with my UK visit starting the next day.)

My job here is to convince you to want to read it in a few hundred words or less, which is a weird job. I remember reading a Robert Jordan interview back in the day where someone asked him to summarize what his book was about, and he replied something along the lines of, “I wrote it at the length I did because that’s how long it took to tell that story properly. So read it, and you’ll find out what it’s about.”

Wise words from Mr. Jordan, though the realities of us all having too much to fill our time means that I should take a stab at helping you understand this book in a short few words. So here goes.

It is awesome.

Too short? All right, well, Shadows of Self is the continuing adventures of two Allomancers from the Roughs who get sucked into big-city politics and crimes. It’s like if Clint Eastwood had magical gunslinging powers, and starred in a 1910s New York City version of CSI—along with his sidekick, Simon Pegg playing a barely-reformed, lecherous pickpocket with the ability to freeze time. Including cameos from the original Mistborn trilogy sprinkled throughout.

I do suggest you start with The Alloy of Law, the first book of this new sequence—as it is intended as a new entry point to the Mistborn world. (If you read that already, there are preview chapters of the new book here.) But I feel you’ll love these books—there are a striking number of readers who prefer the new era Mistborn books, which is shocking to me but also very flattering.

Either way, they’re intended to be fun, fast-paced, and interesting to act as a balance to Stormlight, which is long, epic, and requires a lot of mental energy to keep track of the large cast. I plan to do shorter books like this with Mistborn until I get to a break point in Stormlight, then move to a new Mistborn era and do some longer books, before jumping back to Stormlight. That way, I’m never asking you to read two series with large casts and a lot to keep track of.

That doesn’t mean the books aren’t deep. But these are more tightly focused on a handful of characters, with plots more personal to them, rather than dealing with sweeping conflicts affecting entire continents.

So go check it out! I really hope you’ll enjoy it, and come see me on my tour in both the United States and the United Kingdom! Dates are found here, linked in my events section. Note that everyone coming to the Denver signing today at 6:00 will get a numbered copy of the book!

Come back later in the week when I dig a little further into why I created the Mistborn series the way I did, and how this new sequence fits into the larger puzzle.


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Huzzah! Shadows of Self (Mistborn five, the second in the Wax and Wayne era of books) is out tomorrow!

I’ll have a blog post about that, and my tour, tomorrow. Though if you’re curious, the dates are on the events page of my website. Also, if you live in Utah, please consider coming to the midnight release tonight! You’ll get a numbered edition if you come here—though first you might want to call the store and ask if they're already sold out. There will also be numbered books at the signing in Denver on release day.

Today, I want to take some time to talk to you not about a new book, but an old one. The oldest of mine that has been published, as a matter of fact. Elantris is getting a tenth anniversary edition. We’ve been working very hard on getting this ready for you, and it is launching in stores tomorrow alongside the new Mistborn novel. I’ll talk about this at the bottom of the post; and be warned, there’s a special announcement there as well.

Releasing this can’t help but make me reminisce. This past spring marked the tenth anniversary of Elantris’s release. That makes ten years of Sanderson novels.

It seems like such a short time, and such a vast time all at once. In ten years, Robert Jordan released nine books of the Wheel of Time. About ten years came between the release of Anne McCaffrey's initial Pern novel and the sixth. When I first picked up fantasy novels in ’89, David Eddings—who then seemed like the dominant writer of the genre—had only been publishing fantasy novels for about seven years.

I feel nowhere near as well established as these authors were when I started reading. Looking back at ten years, and making this kind of comparison, causes my head to spin and the universe to settle in strange ways around me—like I just stepped out of some strange portal in spacetime.

Those first few years feel so distant. Signings where nobody showed up to see me. This wasn’t unexpected; nobody knew who I was. I would make the bookstore move my signing table to the front of the store, near the doors, and I’d stand there like a free sample salesman at Costco, trying to get people to taste a sip of Sanderson novels.

Those were the days of driving my ancient car to signings, managing tours on a shoestring budget, often traveling with other authors to share expenses. I’m oddly fond of those days, even as I contemplate a tour starting next week that will be filled with first-class flights, handlers and publicists at every step, and sleek black cars with men in suits to drive me about. I was far less busy back in those early days, and could write without distractions or worries about deadlines.

I’m incredibly grateful for where I am now, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m able able to do awesome things, like the Cosmere or the Elantris special edition. At the same time, there was something unique about those early years, when the eyes weren’t on me as they are now. It’s a lot harder for the magician to pull tricks when the audience is watching him so keenly.

Either way, it is with pride that I get to officially introduce you to the Elantris Tenth Anniversary Edition. This book will be released in three print formats, including trade paperback and hardcover, starting tomorrow. The changes are pervasive, but minor, and I’ll list them below. First off, some questions I’m anticipating.
  1. This is now the canon version of the book, which doesn’t matter much for continuity—it just means that we’ll be (slowly) updating all formats across all countries to match this text. The mass market paperback will transform to this edition in a year or so.
  2. For now, this is only a North American release, though I believe the text should make its way to the UK edition fairly soon, starting with the ebook. (Not sure on the bonus material.) Some non-English-speaking countries are also planning to do tenth anniversary editions, and we’ll try to keep you up to date on them.
  3. The ebook will update to this text, and if you’ve purchased Elantris in ebook you will get the tenth anniversary edition for free. On some ebook platforms like iBooks the update should happen automatically, and on other platforms like Kindle you have to email customer support and ask them to update your file. If—for some reason—you want to preserve the old text, you might want to make a backup of the file. (Tor books are DRM-free, so you should be able to do this.)
  4. The audiobook is a tougher nut to crack, since the publisher has to re-record the new edition. It’s going to be harder to give it away for free to people who have bought the old one, because of expenses incurred. We’ll see what we can do, but as of right now, I think they’re planning to release it as a separate edition.

As for the changes, we went through the book with a fine-tooth comb, and gave it a copyedit more along the lines of what we do these days, fixing many small grammatical and continuity errors. There are no substantive changes, however, unless you count things like moving a building from one side of the city to the other in order to make distances and scale work for the visuals.

Arelon 10th Anniversary

Also included is a foreword by Dan Wells and a much expanded appendix, including the Mad Prince sequence of deleted scenes. The art has been reworked by Isaac Stewart, who updated the Aon symbols and the maps in the front, better matching my vision for how the landscape ties into the novel. And there is one brand-new scene somewhere you might not be expecting to find one.

That, however, isn’t the special announcement. I mentioned three print formats. Well, for a while people have been asking if I’m going to do leatherbound editions of my books, like has been done with the Wheel of Time. We decided to jump in with this book, and my team has created a beautiful leatherbound edition to publish with Tor's support.

This edition will have all the text, a leatherbound exterior, and a multi-page full art section including my favorite covers and art for the series from across the world. Additionally, all the interiors are printed in two colors, blue and black, with the Aons and accent text in blue. And the pages are smyth sewn instead of glued like most books on the market today. We’re anticipating this book selling for around $100–$125, as I personally felt that some leatherbound editions of books have been too pricey. It will be released this November, if the printing goes according to plan, and while it won’t be a limited release (we will reprint if needed) I will do a hand-signed and numbered sub-edition like I do with all newly released books.

You’ll be able to get copies of this book at my online store or at select bookstores I frequent on tour. It won't likely be available at your local Barnes & Noble or on Amazon, though the regular tenth anniversary edition should be at both—and I hope you check the edition when it comes out tomorrow at your local bookstore! (I just wanted to make you aware that a leatherbound is coming, in case you’re interested in that instead. There will be a full announcement for that in November.)

Either way, I leave you with my deepest thanks. My life is a whole lot more chaotic now than it was ten years ago, and that is because of your enthusiasm and support. I’m having a blast with this, loving every minute. Thank you for ten incredible, mind-blowing years. I can’t wait to show you what’s coming for both the Cosmere and other Sanderson realms in the next ten.

Brandon Sanderson

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Tor.com has put up chapter 6 of Shadows of Self. This newest Mistborn book, the sequel to The Alloy of Law, comes out in print, ebook, and audio next week. (Though in the UK, as we recently learned, the official print release date is October 15th, even though the UK ebook and audio release date is October 8th. It's confusing, I know.)

This week’s new Writing Excuses episode is a Q&A on Plot Twists where we are joined by Kevin J. Anderson at Sasquan/WorldCon 73 to take questions about plot twists. Here are the questions that came in from our live audience:

  • Genre Twists: good, bad, or ugly?

  • Can you compare and contrast a good plot twist with a bad one?

  • What is the biggest mistake professional authors make with regarding plot twists?

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, a date went in various unexpected directions. This week, in Chapter 56, Adolin goes forth to fight a duel that was supposed to be spectacular, but turns out to be a very different spectacle than he’d planned.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter post archive for September.

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