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FanX 2018 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I just found out today that you have a charity called the Lightweaver Foundation.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I do.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What are you trying to accomplish with it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm trying to find ways to give away my money.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Excellent! 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's less that I'm trying to funnel money into it from other sources. Sometimes, we sell things or do things that I want to do for charity, but mostly it's, so far we've put a library in the homeless shelter in Salt Lake and we've donated a bunch of books to schools and prisons and libraries. When someone comes and says, "Hey, can you donate to this thing," I just funnel it through the charity. It basically exists to give away my money.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

I was curious about what your favorite board game was, outside of Magic?

Brandon Sanderson

Ooh... I'm not a board game guy. I'm a Magic guy. A lot of people who play Magic and that's all they play. My brother's the board game guy. And I don't really have a favorite. I'll play with him, I'll play Catan, I'll play House at Haunted Hill, I'll play his stupid Battlestar Galactica one that takes like a billion years, but I'll do it for fun to hang out with my family, I don't have a favorite of them. If I do have one, it's Sorry, because that's what my family played when I was a kid, and that's not even a real one. Now they these board games, you have those intricate miniatures from Germany, and you set up all these things, and you draw a card, and that's your objective, and you're a zombie... All this weird stuff, and they look a lot more fun. Dominion, does Dominion count? It's not a board game, it's basically Magic again. Yeah, Dominion would be my favorite. I really like Dominion. Stratego's not bad.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The beginnings of the Cosmere I can trace back to being a teenager and I would read Anne McCaffrey books and I would always imagine a character that was my own that I had secretly inserted into her books and this character - I would insert into everyone else's books when I read them too. This was the start of Hoid, was this character who was appearing in everyone else's novels and I knew his secret agenda. It was very fun for me to imagine as a youth.

FanX 2018 ()
#5 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, my question for you is writing related. I just finished a new first draft in my novel.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I know you! Yeah, ok sorry. It took me a minute.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So yeah, I finished my draft; what was it that helped you when you... cause I recalled hearing on Writing Excuses, you talked about this, how editing was the bane of your existence earlier, you just didn't wanna do that, and I'm finding that too. I dont wanna jump in and fix all the terrible things. What was it that helped you kinda like...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It honestly is the thing that held me back the most. I think it was kinda partially just, getting rejected enough that I realized I just had to learn to do it. That was part of it. Giving myself space after finishing a book, writing something else and then coming back to it when I was feeling kind of fresh about it and exited about tackling it again, that helped a lot. It was also kinda like growing up as a writer, if that makes sense, and realizing I'm not ever gonna sell a book until I could learn to take a good one and make it great and then I just started buckling down and learning to revise.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

Would you ever want to write an episode for Doctor Who?

Brandon Sanderson

I would consider it. But I don’t have enough screenplay writing background right now, I'd have to work with someone else. Does that make sense? If they had a good screenwriter who could work with me, then yeah.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

I asked this of Pat. Money system wise, a standard, like, equivalent to U.S. dollars kind of thing. Is a clear mark? I usually think of a clear mark as a dollar.

Brandon Sanderson

If you email through my website, Peter keeps all of this. I actually, these days, just write "worth about this much" in dollars and he figures out a monetary for it, because this just takes, y'know, I have to reach into the wiki and be like "Alright, how much is this worth again? How much is this?" The commodities are of different values an so he just factors it all out. I remember giving him instructions once, that sounds about right.

Questioner

I figured as much, for slaves to...

Brandon Sanderson

We're like, what does a slave make... it's, yeah.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite time period is when superstition was transitioning into science. I am very fascinated by that idea, superstition and science. Isaac Newton believed in Alchemy and tried to make it work, and many scientists did. This is really cool to me because this is both the dawn of enlightenment and understanding, but also it has mythology and lore to it. In my books I am usually trying to recreate this idea, we're sifting through the lore and pulling out the science. Magic is transitioning into science, but it is a world with a new branch of physics. This allows me to mix what we call a sense of wonder with a sense of reason. It makes me very exited when I have a good idea to connect mythology and science together.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

How do you keep motivation for writing in general, because i always have a lot of trouble with that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, well that depends on what part of my career you are talking about. Early on I envisioned this cubicle chasing me and if it caught me i'd have to get a normal, boring desk job. That was actually a big motivation to me, because it was like I only had a certain amount of time to do this thing that I loved and if I didnt actually sit down and do it I was gonna have to be a real boy. After i got published and it got a bit hard I started using the carrot philosophy; i would let myself open up a new pack of magic cards if I hit a certain word limit every day.

Questioner

Oh, thats really cool!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, and that worked really well during the hard years when I was trying to get through the Wheel of Time. They were great books but they were so hard to write cause they were way harder than writing my own fiction. Now I don't really need that anymore, now its kinda become this thing where I have all these fans who are waiting for things and I have to make good on the promises I've made to them. Now its more like a "i need to do this", so yeah.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

Do you ever find yourself, when you're in the middle of writing a book, swearing like the characters do?

Brandon Sanderson

I do occasionally, yes. That does happen. Which cracks my family up. [...] I'm writing the sequel to Legion right now, and J.C. has decided that he's not a hallucination, he's an interdimensional space ranger who only exists partially in this world, so he starts using made-up future curses and so he's saying all these weird curses ... anyway. It's a lot of fun.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

If you had a pet animal that you could communicate with (just like dæmons in the trilogy His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman) which animal would you choose?

Brandon Sanderson

Can I cheat and make an animal that doesn't exist? Because if so, I'd pick a dragon. Because then I'd have a cool animal to talk to AND I'd be the only person around with a DRAGON.

If it has to be an animal that's real--a kind of spirit dragon--I would pick some kind of intelligent bird. A parrot or a raven. Something that can fly, do things I cannot, and look totally awesome sitting on my shoulder and glaring at people.

Yar.

Skyward release party ()
#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you were a Smedry, what would your talent be?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I base most of the talents of the people in the Alcatraz Books off dumb things that I do. So I am famously bad at dancing. Famously. So I would definitely have that one. I am always late; that came from me. (Though really, secretly, it came from my mom; 'cause she is even more late that I am.) Most everything thing in there is me. But I would say probably "bad at dancing", that would probably be my best, because I am just really bad at dancing. It's not even in a funny way, it's just in a boring way.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

What is your favorite Dresden Files book?

Brandon Sanderson

I am going to say that I prefer Codex Alera. I read those and [?]. The second one? yeah, I don't know. They are all very good. I'm reading The Aeronaut's Windlass right now and I'm liking that a lot, but i really like Codex Alera.

Footnote: part of the audio is obscured
Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

If you could ditch the entire Cosmere, *laughter* what would you write about?

Brandon Sanderson

Start fresh? 

Questioner

Twilight fanfiction.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there you go, Twilight fanfic. That's...

Questioner 2

Brandon Fifty Shades of Grey would be much tamer. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

The problem is, I don't think my Fifty Shades of Grey would hit quite the same demographic. 

Questioner 2

You'd have a great magic system, though. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it would. It would just be a magic system based on different colors of grey and what they do. *laughter*

Questioner 2

Sorta like Warbreaker.

Brandon Sanderson

I have no idea what I would do, I'm sure I could find something, but it would probably turn into another cosmere.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

I heard that in one of your books two people from the actual 17th Shard got married as members of the 17th Shard in your book.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, shes right there. That's Mi'chelle, she's a beta reader. She and her husband met at a signing at a Barnes & Noble of mine. So they met at one of my signings, and they eventually got engaged at my class in BYU so I put their wedding in a book.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

Are there times when you regret saying too much?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there are times when I regret saying too much. What I regret more is when I say something that I know came off wrong and is going to send the fan base down the wrong paths. I don't like to do things like that. Robert Jordan liked that, I don't like that. I want to give truthful answers, I want to leave mystery where there is mystery. Like the Lord Ruler's kids where everyone is searching like "where are they". Anyways, there was one at the latest release we did where I knew I was wiggling around it and was gonna send them in the wrong direction. Afterwards I felt bad.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

Welcome Brandon Sanderson here, and Angela, thank you all for coming. I will just turn the time over to him, he talks about himself way better than I am. It sounded like he's full of himself, but hes not.

Audience

*laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

A little! At Pheonix Comic Con last week me and Dan were on a panel together with a bunch of other panelists and at one point Dan said, pointing at me, "He was like this even before he got famous." So at least I'm the same person, I'm the same gregarious, somewhat... at times larger than life person.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
#35 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

My evil nemesis is John Scalzi, science fiction writer. We are very good friends, but he is also my evil nemesis. One time I was at a book store in an airport. i like to sign my books in airports and leave them for fans to find and i was doing this and someone came to the section in the airport. I was signing and they said "Oh, you're a writer?" and I said "yes!" here's my book, its great, you should read it." They said "I don't like fantasy, I like science fiction instead." I went 'alright' and so i sold them one of john Scalzi's books just because I wanted to match the right book to the right person.

 

I heard "Sanderson!" and I turned around and it was John Scalzi. He said, "I heard you siold one of my books, here's your royalties", and he threw two coins at me, all across the hall.

Footnote: there is a break in the audio between the first and last paragraph
Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#36 Copy

carmen22

Were books a natural part of your childhood?

Brandon Sanderson

Unlike a lot of writers, I wasn't a big reader when I was younger. I came to it late, when I was in eighth grade. Until then, none of the books (mostly ones about boys with pet dogs) that people had given me worked. And then I discovered fantasy. From then on, you never found me without a book. Often two or three.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#37 Copy

Questioner

My question for you is: if you had to live the life of one of your characters from life to death, knowing what they will go through, their powers, their struggles, how they die, and what their legacy is. If you had to chose one character, male or female, who would you live the life of.

Brandon Sanderson

That is a hard question. I don't know that I want to be any of them! I would pick that one random farmer guy they pass on the road who lives a normal, peaceful life and doesn't have to end up going through all of this stuff.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#41 Copy

Questioner

How do you schedule your time?

Brandon Sanderson

These days its based on deadlines, so for instance Rithmatist is a side project, I don't have a contract for that. I just write them, give them to the publisher, and say "its time to publish this". Steelheart i sign a three book deal that has dates in it: when i have to turn them in, if that makes sense. So when I have extra time I do something like this, when i don't, you know, when the contract comes through I've given my obligation to the publisher that i'll do certain things, so i write those. That's how it is these days. It used to be more along the lines of whatever i felt like at the time. You know, its now my job when then it wasn't my job, and as my job there are certain things I need to do.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#42 Copy

Melhay

Your stories are so in-depth and unique in the magical systems and religions. I was wondering if you have always, even through childhood, been creative with stories? Have some of the ideas in these books been something you created when young and then evolved into a story now? Have you always been interested in writing stories as you grew up? Did you have that notebook in class scribbling full of stories and ideas while sitting in class supposedly taking notes?

Brandon Sanderson

I've spoken before on the fact I didn't discover fantasy, and reading, until I was fourteen. (The book, if I haven't mentioned it on this forum yet, was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.)

Before then, I was a daydreamer. I was always daydreaming—I was never in the room where I was supposed to be listening or studying. I was off somewhere else. Oddly, though, I didn't make the connection between this and writing until I was given that first fantasy novel.

When I read that book (and moved on to McCaffrey, as it was next in the card catalogue) I discovered something that blew my mind. Here were people who were taking what I did, sitting around and imagining stories, and they were making a living out of it.

I hit the ground running, so to speak. Started my first novel the next fall, began gobbling up fantasy books wherever I could find them, began writing notes and ideas in my notebooks instead of (as you guessed) the notes I was supposed to be taking.

Even after all this, though, I was persuaded that people couldn't make a living as an author. So I went to school my freshman year as a bio-chemist, on track for becoming a doctor. That lasted about one year of frustrating homework and classes spent daydreaming before I made the decision to try becoming a writer.

FanX 2018 ()
#43 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I have a question, because I really like Magic: the Gathering. What set are you collecting right now?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm always kind of collecting some of everything. Right now I'm building a Theros cube, so kinda working on that. It's just, I have all my old ones so I'm just like, "Eh, I'll build a cube out of these", so I've just been putting that together, and then I've been building this really weird one that's a commander cube. So I'm grabbing specific cards from here and there and putting them together.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#44 Copy

Questioner

If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

Brandon Sanderson

A professor.

Questioner

Really?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, my second love is teach. i like teaching, I like speaking, I like being in front of a crowd. its enjoyable to me and so i'm pretty sure that's where i would have ended up. If i hadn't found myself in another art, which is entirely possible.