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Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
#1 Copy


That's interesting that you had this DID direction planned for Shallan since the beginning (pre-Way of Kings I presume). I had just assumed it was something that you developed in between WoR and Oathbringer. I know you've commented on subjects related to this before - but in light of what you're saying about leaning away from the fantastical, I'm curious to know if you think that if Shallan had become, say, an Edgedancer instead (or just never continued in her truths), that she would have developed DID and those aspects regardless? Or would she just have had her trauma manifest in other ways (such as other dissociative disorders like depersonalization/derealization/amnesia)?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that she would have gone the same way she has, but the manifestations of her disassociation would have been different. But this is something I could perhaps waver on.


I've seen quotes from you before that you didn't intend her to actually have DID, is that just about it originally being more fantastical, and now you're trying to make it actually be realistic more?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's what is happening here. I originally shied away from it, as I didn't want to open that can of worms--but then, I realized I was opening it anyway, and the only way to be honest was to admit what I was doing and get some people who have DID themselves to advise me.

I think, in hindsight, I was trying to take too much of an easy path--and the path that didn't require me to do the work like I needed to


Aha! So that's what you did. I immediately noted in the first chapters that Shallan's illness seemed to have gotten worse. I thought that it was you alludIng to a downward spiral of the characters in conjunction with the world of Roshar - which made sense because, if you place a mentally ill person in a world with no access to mental healthcare and then make their situation worse, what would happen? Their mental illness would get worse.

I'm surprised that it was just a change in the way you write her.

If you had the option to go back and revise all of her chapters that way, would you?

Because as it is, the real-ness and definition of her other egos reads like a downward spiral.

Brandon Sanderson

What you're noticing is not just me changing the way I'm writing her. More, I realized that her downward spiral was going to require me to actively deal with her mental illness in a responsible way, if that makes sense.

I wouldn't change much about the past books. It was more that I realized that the place she was going in this one required a more delicate touch than I could manage without some expert help.

General Twitter 2018 ()
#2 Copy

John Aspler

Just finished Oathbringer (ahhhhhhsogood) and decided to do a Warbreaker reread. Was super happy to discover that the e-book edition had your annotations. Any chance others will get an update based on existing annotations (e.g., Elantris, Mistborn)?

Peter Ahlstrom

That’s not planned for the other books.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#3 Copy


Are you considering doing and more digital versions with the annotations kind of baked in, similar to Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd have to write more annotations for it to really be relevant and the time do that has just vanished on me. So maybe we'll get the original Mistborn trilogy done that way. But I'm less certain I will ever get any more annotations written.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#4 Copy


So I just finished rereading Mistborn, and I really liked reading the annotations with it.

Brandon Sanderson



Are you planning on doing those anymore with like The Way of Kings and stuff *interrupted*?

Brandon Sanderson

*sighs* So here's the problem. I used to do those when I did the copyedit, which was really boring. Peter does the copyedits now. So I don't have to do them anymore.

Chris King interview ()
#5 Copy

Chris King

When do you plan on releasing the Way of Kings annotations?

Brandon Sanderson

I've only written about a quarter of them. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will take me a few years just because it's taken me three and a half years to get the second book out. So I feel a burden to get the books going before I do side things like this. My life got a whole lot more busy with The Wheel of Time than it used to be. Which has cut out some of my side-projects like this but I would like to do them eventually.

Rhythm of War Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Six

So, this little sequence with Kaladin, the lurgs, and tricking Leshwi was one I was VERY close to cutting from the book. Thing is, this battle between them has been going on pretty long at this point, and my gut says I've done a little too much of "Kaladin chases and fights someone through the air" in these chapters.

I looked long and hard, therefore, at trimming this sequence for pacing reasons. In the end, I left it, and I don't know 100% if it was the right choice or not. I like how it gives a different kind of interaction for Kaladin on the battlefield here, and how it hearkens back to the flashback from book one with Tien.

I opted, instead, to trim more extensively through the whole combat--taking out words and sentences, rather than this entire scene. But it was a tough call. And even in the very last revision, I went back and forth on it. If I'd been forced to trim something here to make a film come in at the right time, this part would have gone--but one of the luxuries of writing epic fantasy in novel form is that I can be a little more self-indulgent. (So long as I don't let myself go too far.)

Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
#7 Copy


Do you plan to annotate Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

I've written annotations for WARBREAKER already. There is supposed to be a special edition WARBREAKER e-book from coming that will include all the annotations right there with the text, but I'm not sure when it will appear. The annotations will still go up chapter-by-chapter on my website, but if you get the special edition e-book you can have them all at once. We'll see when that happens

Footnote: The annotations for Warbreaker, and many of Brandon's other works, are available on his website.
Rhythm of War Annotations ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twelve

This is the last we'll see of Rock in the book, I'm afraid. I really hope to be able to do the Rock novella sometime in the next few years to trace his course, but one of the things I forced myself to do in this series is keep the focus on the main storylines and characters.

Epic fantasy tends to involve ballooning casts, and this tends to derail books as the author lets their focus move away from the primary storyline toward side characters. I put some rigid requirements on myself when I started Stormlight that require me to move side stories out of the main narrative. It's odd to be talking about trying to keep books this length "lean" but I believe one of the strengths of the series is that it has (so far) kept its eye on the proverbial goal. This is more important than ever, with book five being the end of the first sequence.

That said, what we're witnessing here is kind of the end of Bridge Four as a cohesive entity, at least as it existed in the series up until now. I was sad, for all the fun of this chapter, to be moving into this sequence of the stories. There was a temptation, of course, to just let Bridge Four continue to be Bridge Four--but it wouldn't feel right. Lives change and evolve. My tight-knit friend group from college can never be the same again, not now that we all have families and jobs. Bridge Four couldn't remain the same either.

One of my problems with some forms of media like extended network television shows is the format's inability to let the status of the characters evolve, change, and grow. For a series like this, we need progression, and we need to let Bridge Four become something else. If we're sad about the changes, the early books will always be there to experience again.

As for the Kaladn/Adolin/Shallan interactions, I actively look for moments like these to put into the novels. It's important to let the characters live, and one of the reasons I enjoy epic fantasy is that it (with the space afforded me) allows for more time like this.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#10 Copy


The Annotations is actually what got me started.  And I was wondering do we have any Stormlight ones in the pipeline?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes I have finished Part I of The Way of Kings.  That's not a ton, but I eventually intend to do the entire book.  The problem I've run into is that I reference Way of Kings Prime a whole ton while writing them, because it's what is in my head. 


And it's a lot a mixed content.  

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, and so it might be better when I can release Way of Kings Prime to accompany them, but I will be doing that.  

The Way of Kings Annotations ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


Welcome to the annotations, being written at long last.

Normally, I do annotations for a book while going over the copyedit. That all started to change in 2009 when my time got very short due to finishing the Wheel of Time novels. I also started handing the duty of "Go over the copyedit and see if they are changing anything I don't like" to Peter.

That left no chance for the TWOK annotations. I told myself I'd need to re-read the book before starting the sequel (Wheel of Time work was going to keep me from getting to it for a few years) so I'd do the annotations then.

Well, here I am, in late summer 2012. The Wheel of Time is done and I feel an urgent need to get the sequel to TWOK written. I'm sitting down to read it in depth as I tweak my outline, so I thought I'd try writing out some annotations for you all. We'll see if I manage to get through the entire thing.

As always, if you're reading the novel for the first time, I will try not to spoil anything coming up in the book. If I do have comments that spoil later surprises, I'll hide them using the spoiler function. If you're reading an annotation for a given chapter, I will assume you've read that chapter and everything leading up to it.

I'm not going to edit these annotations (no time) or do any revisions whatsoever. (Peter might do a proofread, but that's it.) So I'm going to make some mistakes, and the writing is going to be rough at places. Take this for what it is: me sitting down and having a conversation about the book, giving a behind-the-scenes look. Extra facts I throw out in the annotations can be considered canon, but understand that I'm writing quickly and might make mistakes.

Brandon Sanderson

August–November 2012