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Shadows of Self release party ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

If you die, how do we find everything out?

Brandon Sanderson

If I die... *laughter* This is totally legit, considering my history. So, that's why we have Peter and that's why we have Karen, my continuity editor. She goes through and enters everything into our personal wiki. I talk a lot of things through with Peter and Isaac and if I've gotten far enough into a series that we feel it's right to have someone finish it we will have someone finish it. If I haven't, or if I die tomorrow, we aren't going to have them finish 8 books, we'll just release my notes. And that will be their instructions.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#3 Copy

gurgelblaster

"Your" wiki.

Oh dear, I can only imagine the contents, not to mention the chaos it would inspire over on the 17th Shard if it ever leaked. Once the Cosmere is complete in 30 years or so, do you have any plans for letting the fans peek at it?

Brandon Sanderson

When the Cosmere is complete, I will share it--or have instructions to share it when, hopefully in many years, I pass away.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

Since you have such extensive worldbuilding in your books, and you have that whole connected thing, I was just wondering, do you have a book that you just have all your stuff planned out in, or do you add things as they come up in your stories and build a universe that way?

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have a "world book" to keep everything, or do I add things to my stories and keep track that way? I do a little of both. We have a wiki. I say "we" 'cause I have several assistants now who help me maintain this. It is a personal wiki, you can't go get into it anywhere, and it used to be just a big file, and the file was about a thousand pages long. It used to be a big file, now it's in the wiki. And we spend time-- Every time I-- It doesn't have everything, even the thousand pages don't have everything for the cosmere, it can only barely touch on it, but any time I add something to the books, they add it to the wiki, and periodically I go to the wiki and be Wikipedia Article Guy on the pages, and add what's in my brain onto there.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

You've developed so many worlds and so many magic systems, how do you keep them all straight?

Brandon Sanderson

How do I keep everything straight, all the worlds and all the magic systems? I use a wiki--

Questioner

You do your worlds all at once--

Brandon Sanderson

Nah I jump around-- I use a wiki. I use a personal wiki called WikidPad, you can't use it, it's only mine, and it's like 400,000 words at last count, which is about the length of Way of Kings. And I have now a continuity editor who goes in after I write a book and they put everything in. That's my method. But I am kind of scatterbrained, I will forget my keys, I'll go to the airport without my wallet and have to talk my way through security. But I don't forget stories. They stick up there.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

My question is, your stories are so intricate and huge and I-- maybe it's because I'm not as genius as you are *Brandon makes a funny face* but where do you come up with these ideas in the first place. Like are you given a vision by the Stormfather, or-- *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

So here's what I say to this, if you think I'm naturally a genius go read the story I wrote in high school. I posted it on my website and it is terrible... It's a matter of practice and a lot of spending time working on these sorts of things. This is kind of what I wanted to do my whole life now, so I practiced to be able to do it. And it's a good thing I took off because I would be worthless otherwise. I mean I did go to college, I did get a Master's degree, but all the other people in the Master's degree were running right and left to get into PhD programs and being on Student Council/Government or things like that. And meanwhile I was just writing stories. I didn't do any of that stuff. And so I'm very lucky that it took off.

I do have my own wiki, which you can't find, it's only on my computer and my assistants' computers to keep track of all this, because it has grown to the size that we need tools like that. In fact Peter Ahlstrom's wife, Karen Ahlstrom is the keeper of the wiki and her job is to go through my books and keep the wiki updated and make sure that I'm not contradicting myself.