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Warsaw signing ()
#401 Copy

Questioner

How was it to do The Wheel of Time, how was it to finish the words of a giant?

Brandon Sanderson

It was scary. For those who don’t know the story, I did not apply to finish The Wheel of Time. I got a phone call out of the blue one day from Robert Jordan's widow, and what she said was exactly, I got her on the phone and she said, "I was wondering if you'd be willing to finish my husband's series." I was not expecting this at all, so I replied, "Arrrgggahhhhh." Seriously, I could barely speak. That night, I wrote her an email that said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot." I was just so surprised, but I was also extremely honored. She asked me because she knew I had read all the books since I was young man, and I had this moment where I realized, if I screw this up, it is a big deal! But if I turn it down, and someone else screws it up, it’s a bigger deal. So, I said yes, because I figured, if he couldn’t do it, I at last wanted it in the hands of someone I knew cared.

Warsaw signing ()
#402 Copy

Questioner

What are we going to do when you retire?

Brandon Sanderson

Retire? RETIRE?! I would never! I will stop writing when they find me dead in my office and my face is on the keyboard and I type the word "k" seven thousand times.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#404 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Hey, all! Back again to talk about the progress of your book. I promised you updates through the year, and I'll do my best to pop in here now and then and let you know how things are going.

Oathbringer, if you somehow missed the update last month, is done. But it's not DONE done. I turned in the rough draft, but immediately jumped into the third draft. (Because I did the second draft at the same time as the first--basically, after finishing each section of the book, I jumped back and revised it before sending to my editor. The goal being to get him a second draft to begin editing so he could work at the same time I did.)

I've finished Part One and Part Two of the third draft as of today. This included adding in two interludes, which I hadn't finished in the rough draft. Later today, Part Two should be going to the beta readers.

(To answer the inevitable question, the beta readers are chosen by Peter--my assistant and editorial director--from among those who have been very active on the fan websites, or who know us personally.)

I'll jump into the Part Three revision soon, then will do Parts Four and Five together. That will get us through the 3.0 draft.

4.0 and 5.0 drafts will be done together, hopefully in March/April. 4.0 will input beta reader comments and writing group comments, and 5.0 will be the polish where I try to trim words and perfect the language.

We're still in the early stages of the art, as Isaac was busy last fall with the Mistborn Leatherbound and doing maps for Tad William's new series. So we'll need to work hard getting artwork done. Plan is to have a new set of colored endpages for the hardcover of the US edition, as we've done in the past, though I can't announce what those are yet.

Book is looking great so far. Part One needed a heavy revision at the intro, but nothing more than that. Part Two (the slowest of the parts) remains a bit of a questionable area. The only way to speed it up is to cut some fun, but ultimately flabby, chapters. I think they are chapters people will love, as they have some unusual viewpoint characters, but the have a bit of an interlude feel to them. If Tor puts its foot down on length limits for the book, I'll have to cut these out.

Part Three has some larger revisions I've been planning with Peter these last few weeks, so the 3.0 draft on that might take a little longer than the other two did.

Anyway, it's exciting to see the book coming along! November release date is looking very good, and I doubt we'll miss it. Also, my Spanish publisher contacted us with the hopes of trying to do a translation and get their edition out at the same time as the US/UK editions, which would be a first for any of my books in translation. So a big thumbs up for them.

Thank you again for your patience. Hope to see some of you in Boston next month, where I'm guest of honor at a convention. Otherwise, I should be mostly nose-to-the-grindstone, as my travel schedule is very light until I head off to Germany (and maybe Poland and Bulgaria) in March.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#405 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The City Guard Attacks

Some of you may be wondering whose plot led to this attack by the city guard on the meeting.

Well, it's complicated. The city watch—worried about the upswing in crime and the political tension lately—has grown more aggressive. They know that someone snuck into the palace of Mercystar herself, threatening one of their goddesses. The watch captain is making a play for a promotion and favor, and is looking to score a major victory to look very good in front of the Returned. He got a tip that three of the most important slumlords—whom he's been afraid to attack up until now, fearing to commit his guards to action—will be meeting together. He doesn't even know about Vivenna.

But he did authorize his Lifeless (the city guard has a stock of about fifty that can be used at their discretion) to use deadly force. The Commands weren't quite specific enough, unfortunately.

Beyond that, Bluefingers has managed—by sneaking through the tunnels that Vasher discovered—to get his forces to Command Break some of the Lifeless in the compound, then insert hidden Commands into them alongside their existing ones. In this case, he wanted the Idrians to see the Lifeless and the city watch cause a slaughter among their people. So he seeded some of the Lifeless with Commands to attack and kill if they were shown aggression by Idrians.

He didn't know when the slaughter would happen; he doesn't have enough control over events in order to do that. His little Lifeless bombs just happened to go off here, when the Idrians started to resist. Since the regular soldiers—and even the Lifeless not under Bluefingers's Commands—overreacted once blood began to be shed, everything went crazy from there.

Denth wasn't in on this plan, and Bluefingers never told him that he was behind it. In the end, the whole battle turned into a major embarrassment for the city guard, though they did capture one of the slumlords. He was held until after the events of the book, then eventually released.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#407 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

*after reading a personalization request* What do you mean by specifically what Paalm was doing, which thing?

Questioner

Her ultimate goal, we think, was to Shatter Harmony.

Brandon Sanderson

You think her ultimate goal was to Shatter Harmony?

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Her ultimate goal was to free people from Harmony, so I wouldn't say her ultimate goal was to Shatter Harmony. So what you're asking me is "Is Taravangian trying to combine Harmony?

Questioner

We thought that Paalm was trying to divide people from Harmony in order to Shatter Him. *audio obscured* Taravangian was doing the opposite, trying to gather his people so that he could pick up-- so Honor could come back.

Brandon Sanderson

Not really. Good question, once I figured it out.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#408 Copy

libbykino

I'm only maybe 1/4 of the way through WOA (the second book of the first series) and something has kind of been nagging at me for a while. I figured out what it is, finally, and it's that there are no women in this story. I mean, obviously there's Vin as the main character, but she has a lot of overtly masculine qualities and quite frankly a suppressed fondness for dresses and perfume just isn't enough for me. All of the feminine characters are bad, jealous, stupid, flippant and/or unimportant. The only other positive female characters I've met so far are either dead (Mare) or "other"/foreign (Tindwyl).

And the series, so far, clearly fails the Bechdel test. The only conversations Vin has had with other women have been about men (particularly Elend).

Does it get any better than this? I mean, it's honestly really starting to bother me. This series is almost like a reverse-harem trope with all the males surrounding the main character.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the world and the story otherwise (except for Elend's chapters that drone on and on about his ideal political structure which don't have any place in a society like this one IMO), but the complete lack of any female interaction is starting to bother me, TBH.

Brandon Sanderson

I've always considered this a legitimate criticism of Mistborn. In my plotting and planning, I was so focused on doing a good job with a dynamic female lead that I fell into a trap that is common for newer writers--to be less intentional about other characters, and default to male.

I think I once counted, and was able to find interactions in each book between Vin and women that were not related to men, and so the series does strictly pass the test--but the test has always been intended as a bare minimum. You can pass the test and still lack any real and meaningful representations of people different from yourself, and you can actually fail the test while not having this be a problem at all.

In the case of Mistborn, I consider it a legitimate weakness of the stories. I'm sorry it is distracting to you.

libbykino

It is only a minor distraction, Brandon. And I think perhaps I am spoiled, because I read Stormlight 1 and 2 first and am only now just starting Mistborn, and your female characters in Stormlight are outstanding. The relationship between Shallan and Jasnah is amazing so I know that you are perfectly capable of writing complex and varied female characters. I think that's why I found it so striking that it seems to be missing in Mistborn.

Regardless... I am still enthralled with the books. I am enjoying the plot and I do love the characters. I can't wait to find out what the Deepness is or if Vin truly is the Hero of Ages (knowing the title of the third book probably spoils that one for me though, haha).

Thanks for taking the time to respond to me, Brandon! You are so good to your fans I really appreciate it! Can't wait to finish reading this series!

Brandon Sanderson

My pleasure.

It wasn't long after finishing the series that I started to think about this aspect. I really wish I'd made Ham a woman, for example. I think the character would have gone interesting places--and would have done good things for the lore of the world if women Thugs were heavily recruited to be soldiers.

Reflecting on Mistborn has been very useful to me as a writer, however, as it's part of what helped me personally understand that you can do something like have a strong, and interesting, female lead but still have a series that overall displays a weakness in regards to female characters. This has greater implications for writing, not just in regards to female characters, and is something I don't think I could have learned without this series. (Where I worked so very hard on Vin that I thought I had this aspect down.)

JordanCon 2018 ()
#409 Copy

Questioner

We started out in the earlier books knowing that there's this Hoid guy, he's a worldhopper. Hey, worldhoppers exist. And then we've kind of been given more and more. In Secret History it said you'd be surprised about the economy you've upended by destroying the perpedicularity. what amount of people are travelling between worlds? Hundreds? Thousands? Billions?

Brandon Sanderson

...Thousands.

Questioner

Is it like vacation? Or is it like...

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I wouldn't call it--

Questioner

Is it the frontier? Or is it from where you could go?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the roadway. Let's say you look at frontier era America. How hard was it to get to England? It was really far away, but it was actually relatively safe and common to do this. How difficult was it to get to Boise, Idaho? That's harder, but you know how to do it. How easy was it to get to, let's say, the Hawaiian Islands? You're starting to get into like, the question comes here, certain pathways are more traveled. There are going to be caravans, there are going to be guides. There are going to be safe travels between certain places that are done commonly enough that if you are in the know and are in the right place you can be like "I wanna buy passage here." And you go there, and you can have a reasonable expectation that you're going to make it to where you're going. 

Other places, you say, "I wanna go here", and they're like, "Yeah, I've known someone who tried that and they never came back. I'm not taking you." So, where you're going, where you're trafficking, Khriss gives you some indications of which ones are easy to get to and which ones are commonly visited. I would recommend that if you want to go on vacation in the cosmere, like, "I want to go somewhere different," go to Nalthis. Go to Nalthis. Nalthis is great to go to, right? They even have customs that you can go through. You can like, arrive, and things like this. Don't go to Sel. Sel is not good to go to. Sel is really dangerous to go to. There's a dead Shard--two of them--in the Cognitive Realm that will destroy you. Other places, Scadrial, used to be a lot easier to get to. Roshar, depends on which era you're talking about. Sometimes it's pretty easy to go to. Those nice Horneaters will treat you like a god and feed you food. However, right now, it might not be a good time to try to visit Roshar.

Kraków signing ()
#410 Copy

Questioner

Are you planning to resurrect Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, how far have you read in this book?

Questioner

I have read it all.

Translator

So he's not really dead.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, it depends on what you count as Cognitive Shadow. So resurrect… no… but…

Questioner

There was this quote about the kite that was without a string.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he’s looking for a string. He’s indeed looking for a string, so what’s actually going to happen is RAFO.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#411 Copy

HorseCannon

I didn't realize Horneaters had parshmen blood, didn't even realize that was possible. How closely are humans and parshmen related, do they have a common ancestor? Or is one an artificially created version of the other?

Brandon Sanderson

There was intermixing long ago. Horneaters and Herdazians are both a result. (Signs of this are the stone carapace on Herdazian fingernails and the Horneater extra jaw pieces--in the back of the mouth--for breaking shells.)

Humans and parshmen don't have a common ancestor. And as a side note, both of these strains of humanoids predate the ascension of Honor, Cultivation, and Odium.

ccstat

Are there Aimian-Human hybrids as well? (Either type of Aimian) If so, are the Thaylen people one of these?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Blightsong

*via private message*

Some of us believe that you are saying that humans and listeners existed pre-Shattering while some of us believe that you are saying that Horneaters and Herdazians existed pre-Shattering (you have mentioned that humans had been on Roshar since before the Shattering recently). What were you trying to say here?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans (other than those on Yolen) existed pre-Shattering, as did parshmen.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#412 Copy

Lord_Natimus08

So basically a Thunderclast is a rock giant. I thought it was a rock monster. Same difference I guess?

JorusC

I got the sense in the prologue of Way of Kings that the dead Thunderclast there was quadrupedal. So maybe it's more the class of monster, with different shapes?

Peter Ahlstrom

This.

General Reddit 2019 ()
#414 Copy

DammyJerry

Brandon, if you don't mind, I always wanted to ask this:

If Dalinar knew the story of Adonalsium (well, I hope he will, eventually) would he be like -- Yes, this is the true God I'm looking for, or more like -- if Adonalsium died then he was never a God (same what he thinks about Honor)?

I, like others, also root for Dalinar gaining knowledge about the greater cosmere. Our man deserves it.

Brandon Sanderson

To answer this, I'd probably have to give more Dragonsteel spoilers than I want to give.

DammyJerry

That's fair. Thank you, Brandon.

I have not read Dragonsteel (if we are talking about that old version of the book). Hope you will dig into these things in the future novels, especially with Dalinar :)

Brandon Sanderson

I promise that answers to questions like these are very much on my mind, and are things I do plan to eventually address in one way or another.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#415 Copy

TheJMan211

In the first book the group is focused on getting control of the palace and is not worried about the return of the army because they think that if they get the palace they'll have the atium and, thus, the ability to pay for the loyalty of the army, since they're mercenaries. Well they didn't find the atium, right? So no ability to pay the old army for their loyalty. I'm just saying that it seems to me that the absence of the Lord Ruler's army supporting the city should be a huge indication to all the other warlords that the atium isn't in Elend's possession.

People have been saying that he wouldn't have anyone to trade with so the atium would be worthless but he would have had a year to work out trade with someone if he wanted to monetize it (with as valuable as atium is made out to be in the first book he would have found someone wanting to buy some even if he couldn't get the price the Lord Ruler charged for it).

Brandon Sanderson

Ah! Well, that makes sense. I certainly think some people in world might have come to this conclusion. But they'd still think the atium must be somewhere in the city, even if Elend doesn't have/isn't spending it.

However, I think the issue is a little less cut and dry. For one thing, Elend DOES have the loyalty of much of the local army--the garrison serves him now, which would be an indication that he has access to some of the Lord Ruler's resources. I don't think the lack of a larger army would be an indication he doesn't have the atium, however.

Let's say you were a small band, and were able to seize and control Ft Knox, and get the guards stationed there to serve you. The president is dead, and the country is fragmenting into city-states.

A senator from a nearby state might easily round up the military in his area, promise them that he's the new civil authority--then push them to go seize the gold. When they arrived, they wouldn't think, "Why is their force so small? They must not actually have the gold." They'd think, "They're ripe for the picking. We got here first."

That's basically what is happening. The "Lord Ruler's Army" doesn't exist any more--it's fragmented, taken over by various groups who ruled their own local regions. And the bulk of the most frightening part, the koloss, are their own uncertain band.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#416 Copy

namer98

I just finished the audiobook this morning, and in the setting are rules about how to not provoke shades of the dead. The rules are in order of least to most severe:

  • Don't run
  • Don't kindle a flame
  • Don't draw blood

The post script talks about how these rules were based on shabbos as presented in the Torah. It was just interesting to see a non-Jewish author (In this case, Mormon) base something off of Judaism.

Brandon Sanderson

:) Thanks for the thread.

The Double Eye from the Stormlight books (inside front cover illustration of the magic in the hardcover of book one) has some roots in the Tree of Life also, and if you look at Alethi, you'll find some Hebrew poking through now and then.

namer98

I read all of your books as audio books because they are all so well narrated, especially the Wax and Wayne series.

I will have to keep a better ear out for the Alethi.

Brandon Sanderson

It can be easy to miss, as I play with it a little first, fitting it to Alethi. But Moash came from Moshe, for example.

MuslinBagger

Is that a hint of things to come? Is Moash like Moses or something? He is, isn't he?

Brandon Sanderson

Sorry. It doesn't mean anything other than "My editor is named Moshe, and I've always liked how the name sounds."

PM_ME_LEGAL_PAPERS

Speaking of which, there's a Lighteyes named Yonatan (a very Jewish name) that Wit insults in...I think it was Way of Kings. Is that based off of someone you know as well?

Brandon Sanderson

That is indeed. (Look again at what he's wearing.)

That's based off of my editor's nephew, who was included as a wedding gift.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#417 Copy

TurtletheFlsh

So we know both Cultivation and Honor have Shardpools on Roshar and we also know that Odium is around somewhere on Roshar, does this mean he also has a Shardpool somewhere on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardpools, as they are called, are a natural effect of a Shard spending a lot of time on a world.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#418 Copy

Smye07

My question for you is this - I got the heeby-jeebies when Shallan heard about Amaram's collection of flutes within just a few pages of Wit bringing up the flute Kaladin lost?

All I can think of is that either: A) Wit's flute will end up among Amaram's collection to resurface later or B) In his work with the Sons of Honor, Amaram or his fellows have stumbled across some flute-related magic or splinterization and his flutes are the brethren and sistren of Wit's flute.

Is either of these the case? Or is there some other significance to Amaram's collection of nigh forbidden flutes?

Brandon Sanderson

It is significant. It is not a huge deal, but it is significant.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#419 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Four

Allomantic Secrets

Some people have asked me why the Lord Ruler was so careful to keep secrets about Allomancy. What would it have mattered if he let out that there were atium Mistings?

Some of the secrets offered a sizable tactical advantage. Keeping back duralumin and aluminum gave him and his Inquisitors (the only ones told about those metals, other than a few select obligators) tools that nobody knew about. Very few Inquisitors could burn duralumin (and most who did it gained the ability through the use of spikes reused from previous, dead Inquisitors—and those spikes were therefore much weaker.). However, those who did have the power could appear inordinately skilled in Allomancy, enhancing the Lord Ruler's divine reputation.

Beyond that, knowledge is power. I believe that. And I think that if you're the Lord Ruler, you want to keep a few secrets about your magic system. Mistborn are very rare. Mistings among the nobility—particularly in the early centuries—were not rare. If they'd known about atium Mistings, it could have upset the balance by creating too many superwarriors.

Plus, if there are unknown superwarriors to be had, then you want to keep them for yourself.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#421 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Six

The North Pole

One of my big challenges in the geography of this world was figuring out how we could have a kingdom set at the pole of the world while at the same time maintaining a normal day/night cycle. My original plan was for the Well of Ascension to be located a distance to the north of Luthadel, up at the geographic north pole of the planet. When I was revising the second book, I realized that wouldn't work for various reasons. (More on this on the MISTBORN 2 Alternate Ending deleted scene page.) I changed things so that when the Lord Ruler held the power in the Well, he decoupled the geographic north pole and the magnetic north pole.

In our world, the magnetic north pole is located about eleven degrees of latitude south of the geographic north pole. On Scadrial, the two poles were originally in the same location. When the Lord Ruler moved the planet too close to its sun and realized he didn't have the control to place the planet in the proper orbit, he created the ashmounts to cool the atmosphere. He also wanted to keep access to the Well under his control, so he decided to build his capital city right above it. However, he realized that on a planet with a tilted axis, a city at the north pole would have seasonal daylight variation so extreme that at the height of summer the sun would never set and during the dead of winter the sun would never rise. He could remove the axis's tilt, but that would just make the sun perpetually skirt the horizon all year round.

What Rashek decided to do (and he had to make split-second decisions in the brief time he held the power) was to shift the crust of the whole planet so that the Well was at a latitude that would have more standard seasonal variation, and to re-create the Terris mountains in the new North (to maintain the rumors that the Well was located there). He worried that the new location of Luthadel would be too hot due to the latitude, but it turned out that moving the Well created an unexpected effect. The planet's magnetic pole followed the Well as he relocated it—and the ash from the ashmounts was slightly ferromagnetic. (Ferromagnetic volcanic ash has some precedent in our world.) So the interaction of the ash with the planet's magnetic field's new alignment meant that its protective cloak over the area of the Final Empire caused it to be cooler than the now unprotected geographic north pole.

One side effect of this is that all compasses point toward Luthadel. Since it's been that way for a thousand years, no one finds it odd–in fact, it's used as evidence of the Lord Ruler's divinity. It also makes it mathematically very easy to pinpoint one's exact location in the Final Empire using a combination of the compass reading and noon observations. Not that it's easy to get lost in the Final Empire in the first place—the geographical area of the planet's surface that the Final Empire covers is actually quite small.

Ultimately, when it comes down to sophisticated geography and astrophysics, I'm out of my element. If there are mistakes in my reasoning above, that is why I write fantasy and not hard sf.

And I still haven't said anything about what happened at the south pole.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#422 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty - Part One

Her Eyes Lingered Fondly

If you've been keeping track, this Terriswoman is, indeed, the romantic interest I promised Micah DeMoux by the end of the book. He said he didn't care if he ended up with an important character—that didn't matter to him. He just wanted Captain Demoux to find romance. It took some working, but I managed to work it in. The story behind this is, of course, Captain Demoux and his troops showing up to lend organization and authority to the Terris people, who had been flooded with refugees.

Demoux and his men created law and order, stopping the petty theft and the like that had been a problem with the refugee bands. He essentially took command of the entire place, though he was very respectful to the Terris leaders. This woman, daughter of one of the Terris elders, fell in love with Demoux for his honor and his respectability, and he began to reciprocate.

Even as the world neared its end, she and Demoux were able to find love.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#423 Copy

Phantine

Mare is actually no-ghost fully dead, right?

Just wondering, since she's the only allomancer to ever be sentenced to the pits, so she's presumably the only person with a powerful soul to die right next to Ruin's Well.

Or is Ruin Energy inherently the type of thing that won't (can't) extend the life of a ghost?

Brandon Sanderson

There is no cognitive shadow of Mare hanging around.

FanX 2018 ()
#424 Copy

Questioner

In Stormlight Archive, of all the Oaths that you know, which Orders would be the hardest to keep?

Brandon Sanderson

The thing about it is the spren self-select. So if you're going to give them to a random person then in that case, I'd say the Windrunners, but it could be the Skybreakers. One of those guys that are closer up on the dial to Honor and things like that are probably gonna be the harder to take for a random person but that whole self-selection thing ends up making it...

Figment chat ()
#425 Copy

Questioner

What’s the most dangerous non-Shard thing in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood’s up there, Hoid is up there, but not deadly dangerous, a different type of dangerous, yeah no, what we know of, right now, those, those are in the running. Chasmfiends, chasmfiends are pretty nasty. Whitespines are a little more nasty probably. The… the Unmade are pretty nasty. Yeah. There’s a couple of mercenary troops that you haven’t met yet that are really quite, quite dangerous, I would list them as well.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

How many Shards have been Splintered, besides the four we know?

Brandon Sanderson

You're gonna make me canonize this? I can't canonize this. There's a couple that I'm just kind of...

Questioner

Odium, Endowment, Devotion...

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, Odium has not been Splintered. Endowment and Devotion have been Splintered... Endowment hasn't been Splintered, sorry. Dominion and Devotion have been Splintered. I've confirmed that one other has been Splintered. And then Honor has been Splintered. Those are your four that I've canonized. The other one is, I don't know if I've mentioned who exactly it is, but it's not one that you've seen on one of the planets...

Yeah, I'm not gonna canonize it, exactly how many there are. Because there are things going on in the cosmere that I wanna settle down and decide on once I get to it, exactly what. And Splintering can be a vague term sometimes, too... So that's a RAFO.

ConQuest 46 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

It is my pleasure, it has been an honor. For those who couldn't hear it was a thank you for releasing books somewhat faster and a thank you for finishing The Wheel of Time.

You know, I've been there. I picked up The Wheel of Time in 1990, my 8th grade year was '89, [...] yeah it's funny, I talk about The Wheel of Time. Everything I picked up while I was coming to love fantasy was all completed series or series in the middle of being written, and so as a kid I'm like "These are all famous series, I want to find one that isn't, what's going to be mine?" You want to be discovering, so I'd go to the bookstore every week to look at the new books coming out and try to find them and I remember grabbing Eye of the World, the first Robert Jordan book, and being like "Oh, this is a big book". I was a kid with not much money, so if you bought a big book it wasn't that much more expensive than a little book but you got a lot more reading in it. It was a good bang for your buck so to speak. So I bought that book and I loved it, and I thought "Oh this is going to be it, this is--" And I remember when the second book came out and they had trade paperbacks and my little bookstore didn't get a lot of those and I went "Oh, OH, something's happening" and then the third book was there in hardcover and I said "Ah-HA! I was right!" So I had this sort of pseudo-paternal instinct for Wheel of Time even when I was 17.

But then I do know what it's like to wait, and you know George [R.R. Martin] is a guest here [at ConQuest 46], I want to speak toward the fact that he has had a long career and given people a lot of books, he may be slowing down a little bit as he's getting older, we all do. And he just wants to make sure his books are all right. I get tired hearing people-- Because I heard people do the same thing to Robert Jordan, y'know cut George some slack. He spent years and years toiling in obscurity until he finally made it big. I'm glad he's enjoying his life a little bit and not stressing about making sure-- You know getting a book that size out every year is really hard on writers. Robert Jordan couldn't keep it up, nobody can keep it up. Stormlight Archive's every two years. Even I, being one of the more fast writers out there, I'm not going to be able to do one of these things every year, there's just too much going on in one. So thank you, I will try to get them to you very consistently but it's going to be about every other year.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Another thing to know about George is George cannot write outside his particular environment-- All writers have their craft and I'll ask [Brandon] about it in a second, but George with HBO sending him out to promote, and cons, he's not writing. Whereas Brandon wrote in his hotel room I heard.

Brandon Sanderson

On both nights.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

And I often do that too. George can't do that, so that's a difficulty too. There are other factors involved. And people love to meet him but when you meet an author sometimes they're not even writing 'cause they can't keep focus. So let's talk about-- How fast do you write a novel...

Brandon Sanderson

My writing approach and how fast I write. I'm actually not a particularly fast writer, for those of you who are writers out there I'll go at about 500 words per hour. What I am is a consistent writer. I enjoy doing this and my average day at home will be I get up at noon, because I'm a writer not a-- I'm not working a desk job, I don't have a desk, I don't go to a desk, I go and sit in an easy chair with my laptop, and I work from about 1 until 5. And then 5 until 9 is family time, I'll go take a shower, play with my kids, eat dinner, spend time with my wife, maybe go see a movie, whatever we end up doing. By about 9 or 10 she goes to bed and I go back to work and then I work from about 10 until 2-4 depending on how busy I am. If I'm ahead on schedules and things at 2 I'll stop and play a videogame or something, that's goof off time, go to bed about 4. And it really just depends on what's going on. If I'm traveling a lot, that puts a lot of stress on the deadline, and I've been traveling a lot lately, so in those cases I try to get some work done while I'm on the road, and it usually is not nearly as effective. I'll get a thousand words out of 4 hours I can sneak out of the day to get writing done. When you're breaking that rhythm, artists are creatures of habit and that rhythm-- Sometimes shaking things up is really good for you, but if that shake up is also kind of tiring, tiring in a good way I like interacting with people and going to cons, but you get back up there I feel like I worked all day and now I have to work all day. It can be rough, and at the same time with the schedule I want to have which is my goal is to release one small book and one big book a year. That’s my goal. One adult book and one teen book, and sometimes those schedules get off so you get one one year and three the next year. Or sometimes I do things like write two books instead of one, I did that this year, or last year. I wrote two Alloy of Law era Mistborn books, the second era of Mistborn books, and together they are half the length of a Stormlight book. So sometimes you'll see three. But I want to be releasing consistently, I want to have a book for teens and a book for larger people who are teens at heart? I dunno. It's hard because you don't want to put a definition on them, I don't want people to go "Oh The Reckoners is for teenagers therefore I don't want to read that" and I don't want to discourage, I've had 7-year-olds come up with their copy of The Way of Kings--

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

They're strong.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah they're strong. My 7-year-old can barely read the Pokemon video game, so-- we played that-- and so I don't want to discourage anybody from picking up a book they think they are going to love, but I do want to be releasing one quote-unquote teen book and one quote-unquote adult book. By the way, since I've started writing teen, I started distinguishing them and it's really hard to say "I write teenage novels and adult fantasy." *laughter* That term does not always evoke the right image I want… I've been introduced sometimes at conventions that are outside my circuit, writing conferences, as the fantasy guy. They say "Here's our fantasy man" *Brandon makes a shocked/confused face prompting laughter* Okay I can take that.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Series Wrap-Up

First Trilogy

Well, that's my first trilogy. I think I improved quite a bit as I wrote these books, and hopefully this ending will satisfy my readers. The inevitable question is going to be "Will there be more Mistborn books?" The answer is "Probably." However, know a few things.

First off, the next series—if I do it—will not include Vin or Elend. They're dead. That's just the way it is. Sorry.

Sazed might make an appearance. He is God, after all. TenSoon is still around. (Sazed stuck the spikes back into him and the other kandra.) Marsh may or may not make an appearance. (I haven't decided if he will survive or not.)

Spook, Ham, and Breeze probably won't make an appearance, though, as I would plan to write the next series some five hundred years after the events in this trilogy. (Remember, TenSoon—as a kandra—is immortal. Marsh is also functionally immortal, as he's both a Feruchemist and an Allomancer, and can combine the powers to reverse his aging. Assuming he has enough atium left from that batch he stole to keep it up for a while, and assuming he managed to grab some cover before the world ended.)

However, this won't be for some time. I've got other projects I want to do, not the least of which is Warbreaker and (probably) its sequel. After that, I want to try a longer series, maybe a five- or six-book one. [Editor's note: Brandon was referring to the Dragonsteel series, which he's now put off in favor of the Stormlight Archive, book one of which, The Way of Kings, comes out on August 31, 2010.]

We shall see.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Windrunner

/u/Mistborn (Brandon) said that Eshonai will be the flashback character in Book 4. (source), which would indicate that she's probably still alive in some form.

But we'll see. He could've changed it or that could've been a diversion from Venli being the actual flashback character.

Brandon Sanderson

Eshonai is the flashback character--but she is dead in the present. I've warned people multiple times that we WILL have flashbacks to the viewpoints of characters who have died.

Elantris Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Two

So, this chapter gets the grand prize for most edited and revised chapter in the book. There are other chapters that have more new material–but only because they were added in completely after the original draft. This chapter, good old chapter two, was the one that underwent the most tweaks, face-lifts, additions, and edits during the ten drafts I did of Elantris.

And, I think poor little Sarene is the cause of it.

You could say that she played havoc with the book in much the same way she did with Hrathen, Iadon, and Raoden in the story.

As I worked on the novel, Sarene as a character took on a much more dominant role in the plot than I had intended. Perhaps it's because she's the intermediary between the other two characters, or maybe it's because I liked her best of the three characters. Either way, in my mind, this book is about Sarene. She's the catalyst, the force of change.

In the end, she's the one that provides the solutions to both Raoden and Hrathen's problems. She gives Raoden the hint he needs to fix Elantris, and she gives Hrathen the moment of courage he needs in order to turn against Dilaf.

However, I've found that Sarene is many people's least-favorite of the three characters. I had a lot of trouble in the original drafts of this book, since many alpha readers didn't like her in this chapter. They thought she came off as too brusque and manipulative. It was always my intention to show a more sensitive side to her later in the novel, but I didn't intend to lead with it quite as quickly as I ended up doing.

The first edit to the chapter came with the addition of the Sarene-and-Ashe-travel-to-the-palace scene. This is the section were Sarene sits in the carriage, thinking about her anger at Raoden and her insecurity. This counteracts a bit of the strength we see from her in the first scene at the docks, rounding her out as a character.

The second big addition came in the form of the funeral tent scene. This was added as a tangent to one of Moshe's suggestions–he wanted us to have an opportunity to see Sarene investigating Raoden's death. In the original drafts of the book, we felt the narrative made it too obvious to outsiders that Raoden must have been thrown into Elantris. Moshe and I felt that it seemed silly that people wouldn't consider the possibility that Raoden wasn't dead. This wasn't what I wanted–I wanted most people to accept the event. Only someone as overly-curious as Sarene would have been suspicious.

So, I revised the story to downplay the suspicion around Raoden's death. Instead of having Iadon rush through the funeral (an element of the original draft) I added the funeral tent and had Sarene (off-stage) attend the funeral itself. These changes made it more reasonable that very few people would have suspicions regarding the prince's death, and therefore made it more plausible that people wouldn't think that he had been thrown into Elantris.

Other small tweaks to this chapter included the removal of a line that almost everyone seemed to hate but me. After Sarene meets Iadon for the first time, she is pulled away by Eshen to leave the throne room. At this time, I had Sarene mutter "Oh dear. This will never do." Everyone thought that was too forceful, and made her sound to callous, so I changed it to "Merciful Domi! What have I gotten myself into?" A piece of me, however, still misses Sarene's little quip there.

Steelheart Seattle signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Was Odium able to Splinter Honor because the Heralds abandoned the Oathpact?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Good question. Um, their abandonment of the Oathpact is related... but mostly tangentially. If I was pinned down on that, I would say no.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Is there any of the Oathpact still functioning because of Taln's continued participation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, indeed.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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IneptProfessional

Since you mention languages on Roshar, are there any languages that are completely unrelated to any other on the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Our basic language families are:

Vorin: Alethi, Veden, Herdazian, and more distantly Thaylen. Nathan is close to dead, but shares a root, and Karbranthian is basically a dialect. Other minor languages like Bav are in here.

Makabaki: Azish is king here, and most the languages around split off this. There are around thirty of these.

Dawnate: A varied language family with distant roots in the dawnchant. Shin, parshendi, Horneater. They share grammar, but they diverged long enough ago that the vocabulary is very different.

Iri: Iriali, Reshi, Purelake dialects, Riran, and some surrounding languages.

Aimian: These two are lumped together, but are very different. Probably what you were looking for.

That isn't counting spren languages, of course. I might have missed something. Typing on my phone without my wiki handy.

Skype Q&A ()
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Blightsong

In Oathbringer it is revealed that the humans who originally came to Roshar were the first ones to be named Voidbringers and that they carried magical powers. The Stormfather also implies that modern Surgebinding didn't exist before the Heralds. Were the original powers that the humans possessed Voidbinding?

Brandon Sanderson

So, we're getting into lots of interesting definitional problems here. And also the ways that different entities perceive the definitions of different terms. I will answer this question specifically as we do the flashbacks from Ash and Taln's viewpoints. So you've got a long ways to wait. But understand that definitions are not always-- the way that people define things cannot always be trusted. That said, humans were not using powers from Honor originally.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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BipedSnowman

This is just a little thing I thought of that is kinda neat. Symmetry on Roshar is seen as holy, but the letter H can be used in place of another consonant without "spoiling" the symmetry.

Is this because of the spelling of the name Honor? If the H is a stand-in for the R, it makes the name symmetrical.

Dickferret

Where is the "h" thing mentioned?

BipedSnowman

I am copying this from somewhere else, but apparently WoR chapter 47. (I guess i tagged the post wrong, but it's just barely a spoiler anyway.)

""Bajerden? Nohadon? Must people have so many names?" "One is honorific," Shallan said. His original name wasn't considered symmetrical enough. Well, I guess it wasn't really symmetrical at all, so the ardents gave him a new one centuries ago." "But ... the new one isn't symmetrical either." "The 'h' sound can be for any letter," Shallan said absently. "We write it as the symmetrical letter, to make the word balance, but add a diacritical mark to indicate it sounds like an h so the word is easier to say." "That - One can't just pretend that a word is symmetrical when it isn't!" Shallan ignored his sputtering [...]"

pwnt1337

Is this similar to the many interpretations of the spelling and pronunciation of YHWH?

Brandon Sanderson

Hebrew, among a few other languages, is an inspiration for some languages in the cosmere. (One of them is Alethi.) That said, in this case it's more like how in some Asian countries, they would give honorific names to famous scholars or rulers after they pass away.

EuroCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

We have to wrap up, I think, so everyone here is going to kill me if I don't ask you about DMG which acquired the rights to your Cosmere. I wanted to ask how are you feeling about this, do you know at this stage how involved are you going to be? I heard you mentioned that the best adaptations are those that are done by people, just by leaving them do their thing, but I was also asking myself, in regards to this, if you're planning on any other cross-media stories? We have White Sand, we have whatever happened to Mistborn: Birthright. I wanted to ask about that too, because...

Brandon Sanderson

So, we'll start with Mistborn: Birthright. Unfortunately, it is dead, sorry. This was a video game we worked on for many years, and it just is not going to happen. As for other cross-media stories, I am very open to doing more. It will depend on how White Sand is received, and whether I can do other video game projects that look like they will work. As for the film, I spent a long time interviewing a lot of different people before we decided to go with DMG. I chose them primarily because I feel they understand the Cosmere, and are willing to approach it as a whole, as opposed to little pieces of something not connected. How much I'll be involved really remains to be seen. They've promised to let me be involved, they gave me a fancy title, we will see once the film's actually in production. I have every reason to believe that they will involve me, and so far they have done so, but I don't want to be the one directing or writing these films, because I am not a director or a screenwriter.

Prague Signing ()
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Questioner

My friends would like to know if you can Awaken liquids?

Brandon Sanderson

This is almost impossible.

Questioner

Almost impossible?

Brandon Sanderson

Almost impossible, but not fully impossible, but basically impossible. Particularly if you're talking about just a liquid, not in a container, anything like that. Technically, you can kind of Awaken a dead animal, which will have some liquid in it and stuff. But if you just want to Awaken like--

Questioner

A bowl of water?

Brandon Sanderson

A bowl of water, almost impossible.

Miscellaneous 2010 ()
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Peter Ahlstrom

OK guys, help me out on this.

Let's take a bubble where time is sped up inside, maybe to 10x, maybe to 100x. I'm thinking that if there is no light source inside the bubble, but all light comes from the area outside the bubble, to an observer outside the bubble all light that goes inside and gets redshifted will get blueshifted back the same amount when it exits the bubble. So the outside observer won't see a color change at all. (I'm ignoring refraction for the purposes of this post, but someone else may elucidate.)

The person inside the bubble will see a redshift of all light coming into the bubble--but will also see far fewer photons per second, so the world will go dim or even black.

At low time-speedups, the person in the bubble will see UV light shifted into the visible range, so will start effectively seeing in UV. At very fast speeds he can see X rays or even gamma rays. (I don't know from Brandon what the max speedup is.)

If the person inside the bubble turns on a flashlight, this will be shifted into the UV or X-ray range when it leaves the bubble. You can fry everyone around you with deadly radiation this way.

When you have a bubble that slows time, the opposite happens. People inside can see in infrared or radio waves. And if they go slow enough, visible light from the outside is shifted into the X-ray or gamma-ray range and the person inside gets fried by radiation. If they turn on a flashlight, people outside get cooked.

Can anyone point out flaws in this analysis? Does anyone have magical suggestions for why any of these things wouldn't happen?

For practical reasons it looks like there will need to be a lot of handwavium burned.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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Jerich

Is the Hoed from Elantris similar to the state of [dead] Shardblades? If so is it possible to awaken a Shardblade if the bearer speaks the oaths of the Knights Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

The status is... I would say not as similar as you're probably thinking, but it does have a similarity in that two bacteria causing a disease are both caused by a bacteria, so there is a similarity there.

I can imagine a sequence where a Shardblade would be reawakened, but I think it would be very difficult.

It's not the same that they're in the middle of a transition, like in Elantris.

Jerich

Oh, okay. So you have to actually... it'd be harder.

Brandon Sanderson

It'd be harder, yeah. It's not the same, they're not in the middle of a transition. They have had something ripped from them, and it's very painful and it's left them mostly mindless.

Jerich

So they have to have that something added back?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. So what you've got going on: the spren gain-- the bond lets them have sentience in the physical plane, like they can think and all these things, and when that was ripped away from them-- imagine... (this is a very bad metaphor, it's the first one coming to my head though): imagine you had wetware, you had a head-jack or something like that, and someone just ripped it out of your head. 

Jerich

*stunned/horrified*

Oh.

Brandon Sanderson

Instead of surgically operating it out. Like that's what's happened, a piece of their soul's been ripped off.

State of the Sanderson 2013 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

And finally, media properties.

  1. Mistborn: Birthright. (Video Game for consoles and maybe PC, cross platform.) We’re looking at 2015 for this right now. (Sorry.) The new console generation made us push it back. I’m still planning to write it, and development is still moving. It’s far from dead.
  2. Mistborn film. Option runs out in January. I’ve had a very good experience with the producers, but so far, we do not have funding for the film. We’ll have to see where we are in another six months.
  3. Legion television show. Lionsgate still has this under option!
  4. Steelheart Film. I had lunch with the producer at Comic-Con. It’s still early in the process, but they’re very engaged and very excited.
The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin admits her real reason for disliking OreSeur.

Obviously, the most important events in this chapter deal with Vin and OreSeur and their relationship. The real reason why she hates him is something that I hope you've been wondering about. I intended the "He ate Kelsier" argument to fall flat for readers. Vin's smarter than that, as OreSeur said. Eating Kelsier's dead body is a little, dumb thing. A person who grew up on the street wouldn't be bothered by such a simple, if brutal, event–particularly not for as long as Vin has kept her grudge against OreSeur.

So this is why. She did love Kelsier–not romantically, perhaps, though Vin's emotions at the time weren't as simple as she'd now like to think. Either way, Kelsier's death affected her greatly. Focusing on OreSeur–who knew about Kelsier's real plan, but didn't stop him from executing it–gave her someone to hate. She couldn't hate Kelsier, but she could resent the one who had let him die.

It's a complicated relationship. But, then, aren't most relationships complicated?

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin thinks about assassinating Cett and Straff

The other thing of real importance here is Vin's struggling with whether or not she should just go assassinate her enemies. It seems like such a brutal, effective way to get rid of these armies. I wonder how many more leaders we'd find dead in our world if magical warriors like Mistborn existed.

Explaining why Vin doesn't just go and take care of those two men was challenging for me. This is a harsher world than I've written in before, and it was really tempting to have Vin just go kill her enemies. I toyed with doing that very thing for a long time.

The problem is, I think it would be a bad idea for her to do that. I think it for the very reasons I outline here. I doubt that killing those two men would really have the effect she wanted. And, if she really were determined to drive those armies away, she'd have to kill quite a number of leaders. It seems equally likely to me that, after killing a number of them, the armies might just join forces and take the city.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

Do you ever feel like it can be bad if you have too many characters that have really politically or socially unhealthy perspectives?

Brandon Sanderson

That is dangerous, yeah. Particularly in the hands of an inexperienced writer. It's not a reason to not do it, but I'm reminded of Save the Pearls. So, this is a well-meaning young woman who is obviously writing from a position of privilege who wrote a book about reverse racism where the black people are racist against white people. And the black people are called Coals, and the white people are called Pearls. And it is really heavy-handed and poorly done, and really... is bad for the whole discussion. It is horribly, horribly racist in the way it treats black people in the book that's supposed to be about how bad racism is. And her intent was good, it's like, "Hey, let's let white people experience how it would be to be racist against people," but it just-- in her hands, it's just terrible. It is dangerous to not be part of the conversation and try to say something about the conversation. To not do your leg work, and things like that.

But at the same time, as an artist, I don't feel like you should not try to have things to say. But you should maybe research a little more, things like that. What if you want to write a book where main characters are racist? They hold unpopular and unhelpful opinions, they are dead-out wrong. How can you write this without contributing to the problem? And people have different answers to this. I would go research online and see what people have said about it. I mean, Stormlight is about a bunch of racist people who don't know they're racist. They just don't know. And this is me tackling that really dangerous problem, and it is a place you can get burned by doing.

But again, I think you should do it. I think we should be having these discussions, but make sure to read first. And there are ways to go about it where you indicate, "Hey, this is part of life. And it sucks." But it is part of life, so if we pretend it's not there, then it's also doing a disservice to the discussion. So, yeah, it is something to worry about. It's definitely something to think about. It's definitely something that should inform the way you approach your writing. But be careful.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Is there any way it's possible that somebody could have gotten to the Cognitive Realm on Scadrial without the Well of Ascension?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

And can we know how?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, how many Shardpools would Scadrial have?

Questioner

Two, so the Pits of Hathsin would be so? That's what I theorized.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So you've adopted the term "Shardpool". That was never really my term, but I've started using it. What happens with a perpendicularity is large concentrations of Investiture, particularly purely attuned to one of the Shards, will create an access point. You've seen another one in--

Questioner

Yeah, yeah I know these.

Brandon Sanderson

You know which one I'm referencing?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

That you didn't see a Pool from?

Questioner

Oh wait--

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, he knows, so… We'll move on. *general outcry* Okay, fine. Umm, at the end of Words of Radiance.

Argent

There has to be one there because Jasnah has to leave somehow, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but Honor's Perpendicularity moves.

Questioner

Woah...so...Highstorm?

Brandon Sanderson

*makes non-committal noises*

Questioner 2

Kind of related to that, I don't know if this is a RAFO kind of question, but you call them perpendicularities, are we going to see this sort of thing created? Could there be, like--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, perpendicularities can be created. You'd need a lot of Investiture, right? You'd need a ton of Investiture. But, basically what Jasnah does is create a little mini perpendicularity, right? And slips herself into the Cognitive Realm.

Questioner 2

So it's just a question of skill, not a question of--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It's hard to pull off, but some of the powers are built to do it.