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FanX 2018 ()
#101 Copy

Questioner

So why does Rand bow to the Empress when the actual prophecy was that she was supposed to bend to him, it was changed by one of the...

Brandon Sanderson

So that was actually in Robert Jordan's notes, that this is what he was supposed to do. It was to fulfill that prophecy, and so I don't have an explanation to that other than he made sure to include "this needs to happen", so I did it.

Questioner

Even though the prophecy was not supposed to be that way?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. That one was very clear in the notes; needs to happen.

Sofia signing ()
#102 Copy

Questioner

You've mentioned before Adamant as maybe a universe where you can invite people to work with you.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah I've definitely considered that. Adamant is a science fiction novella I wrote, which I would love to do some continuing adventures of this starship and have some guest writers. It's difficult because, as a writer it's very hard to let go of anything, that's what I found. I did one story with a friend of mine, Ethan, who I did it with him because he's in the military and I've never been in the military, and I wanted to write a story that was kind of military science fiction-ish. And so we wrote a story together, and it's a great story, it's called HARRE, and you read it in English but-- It turned out really well but it was so hard to let go. Really hard to let go and let someone else do it, that's a flaw in me I think because the story turned out great, but I'm worried about doing that more in the future. Just if-- I'm worried whether or not I'll be able to let go of the story and let someone else put their stamp on it.

Questioner

So how about the other way around though. Would you be interested in working in somebody else's, like for example Dragonlance. You did something like this in The Wheel of Time, working with a pretty fine set of constraints--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah it was a little different in The Wheel of Time because I was given complete creative control. So I could do whatever I wanted as long as I could convince Robert Jordan's widow that it was the right thing for the story. If I convinced her then it worked. But I very much could create whatever-- craft whatever story I wanted. In a lot of shared universes the constraints are much more binding. I wouldn't be opposed to it. I've certainly done-- I worked with some friends who make video games and worked on some stories with them, so I've done it before. I wouldn't be opposed to it. It would have to be the right thing.

Questioner

Or a Magic: The Gathering story?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah a Magic: The Gathering story, I could totally see myself writing one of those one day.

Brandon Sanderson

Is there a particular Magic: The Gathering, I dunno, what are they called-- universe?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, they've got a Gothic core universe called Innistrad, with a-- It's just I love classic Gothic horror, and it would allow me to play with some of those tropes. You know, the zombies banging on the door and the werewolves howling in the night, and things like that, that I probably would never do in one of my stories.

Skyward release party ()
#103 Copy

Questioner

Are Mat and Perrin bound to the Wheel?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say yes, but I'm not the ultimate authority on that, so it's possible what Robert Jordan would say would be different. I would say yes because we have Odin myths and things like that that are obviously Mat myths.

Skyward release party ()
#104 Copy

Questioner

I read something that said you wish there'd been more between Mat and Padan Fain, in the end.

Brandon Sanderson

I wish I had done more. I feel like that's one of the things that I, a little bit, dropped the ball on. It was a little too brief. That's one of those things that, if I had a little more time and got more reader response in beta reads, I might have picked up on.

ICon 2019 ()
#105 Copy

Questioner

If you could meet any author from history, and you could meet with him and ask him a question. Who would it be, and what would be the question?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to guess God doesn't count?

Audience

*laughs*

Questioner

Moses!

Brandon Sanderson

Moses, I could go with Moses. *sighs* Would it be Moses? Would it be Abraham? It's gonna be one of the bible writers, right? It might just be Isaiah, or one of the ones like... It would probably be Daniel and I would be like, "Let's go over that dream. Right?" *laughter from audience*

"Let's go over that dream and you can tell me exactly what it actually means. You can trust me, I won't tell anyone." *audience laughs and claps*

Questioner

So, *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Secondary answer would be "Robert Jordan" and "How did I do?"

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#106 Copy

Questioner

Do you ever have crazy ideas that are too crazy?

Brandon Sanderson

This happens all the time.

Greatness is often born of brashness. Of a reckless, bull-headed intent to do something everyone tells you is stupid. Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones you can't articulate in brief, because distillation ruins the very performance. Reduce a symphony to three notes, and it will seem pedestrian. Some ideas take to summary with ease. For others, explaining them is like trying to help someone climb Mount Everest after they say, "I'd like to take the quick route, please."

As a writer, you grow accustomed to saying, "It will work when I write it." You get use to saying, "I can do this, even if everyone tells me I can't." Becoming a writer in the first place is often done in defiance of rational good sense.

And sometimes, you're wrong. You try to prove that the idea works, you OWN it…and it's just not working. You're convinced it's your skill, and not the idea. If you could just figure it out…

This happened several times on The Wheel of Time. River of Souls, the famous deleted sequence from Demandred's viewpoint, is one of these. Perrin's excursion into the Ways in book 14 (also cut) is another. Early on, I pitched Perrin deciding to follow the Way of the Leaf to the team–but I wasn't actually serious on that one. More, I was in a brainstorming session with Team Jordan, and throwing out things that could possibly fulfill Perrin's arc in an unexpected way.

The 10th anniversary of Elantris has some deleted scenes, and the annotations talk about how in that book, I originally decided to have Hrathen turn out to be of a different nationality (secretly) as a twist at the end. The man who was doing all these terrible things was from Arelon all along!

That was stupid. It undermined much of his arc. It was a twist to just have another twist–in a book that already had plenty. Early reactions from Alpha readers helped me see this.

Lately, I've been trying to do some things with backstory and "cosmology" for the Stephen Leeds (aka Legion) stories, and Peter's not sold. We'll see if this turns into a "it will work when I write it" or a "That's a twist you don't need, Brandon."

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
#108 Copy

MagisterSieran

How would you compare writing this novella to the Wheel of Time books you wrote? Both have treasure troves of existing lore and characters and both are fantasy media that you're a fan of.

Brandon Sanderson

It was a similar experience in some ways--I had a lot of creative freedom in both cases, for example, and I had a lot of lore to draw upon.

For the WoT, though, I was very, very steeped in the lore--and made sure I did another deep dive before writing the stories. Here, I have familiarity with a lot of MTG lore, but there's a lot I don't know. I haven't read most of the fiction, particularly the older fiction, for example.

So for WoT I felt confident taking main storylines and resolving them, while for this, I tried to create my own sort of sectioned-off part of the plane to play in. Then I created my own lore for that area that I could control more specifically--traditions and lore that were related to the well-known places on Innistrad, but not exactly the same. That way, I could play with them, and undermine them, and do what I wished with them.

ICon 2019 ()
#110 Copy

Questioner

How do you think you did? How did you do [on Wheel of Time]?

Brandon Sanderson

How did I do on Wheel of Time? I think I did as close to as good a job that I could have done. There's a few things I'd change if I could. I think I dropped the ball <on the one time thing>, in retrospect, and my Mat, particularly in Gathering Storm, was... I got there on Mat, I feel, as best as I could do Mat, which is not as good as Robert Jordan could, by the time I got to A Memory of Light, but it sticks out a little bit. But he just had a big event in his life, no spoilers, just a big event. Just pretend he's off kilter because of the big event.

Those are my two biggest regrets on that. I think I got pretty close to as good as I could have done. I don't think I did the job that Robert Jordan could have done. By definition, his would be better.