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Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#2 Copy

matgopack

About Skyward - what in the story/setting excites/excited you the most while writing it?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd say it's writing Spensa's character. When I can get a voice, particularly in a first person narrative, that I really enjoy, the book gets very exciting.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a favorite Smedry Talent?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I took a lot of these from things my mom does. Which are things that maybe I do also, like being late to everything, and being bad at dancing. Probably mine is being bad at dancing. But probably my true talent is the ability to use a lot of words to say nothing. *laughter*

Ben McSweeney AMA ()
#4 Copy

tritlo

What is your favourite drawing so far? What is your next project?

Ben McSweeney

I think Shardplate is my favorite page. My favorite drawing... I think I'll have to think on that.

My next Brandon project is, unless something breaks, Stormlight III. Of course, Shadows of Self just came out, and Bands of Mourning will hit the shelves early next year, so those are the next things to see print.

tritlo

Nice! Are there any other artists that inspire you in particular?

Ben McSweeney

Oh gosh, lots and far too many to list!

If I was hoping to emulate anyone in my Stormlight work, it'd be artists like Alan Lee and John Howe for Peter Jackson, or Ralph McQuarrie and Johnston for George Lucas, or Ron Cobb and Chris Foss or Syd Meade for Ridley Scott.

I think Brandon's got the legs. But we've got a long way to go. :)

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Viewpoint; she and OreSeur listen in on Breeze and Clubs.

Vin gives away a valuable secret here. OreSeur, previously to this, hadn't know that she could pierce copperclouds. However, the way that she first tells him that Allrianne is a Rioter, while Clubs is there burning his metal, is too big a clue. He just figured out Vin's secret.

And, by way of reminders, Kliss was the woman that gossiped a lot at the balls, and whom Vin tried to manipulate. Turns out that she was an informant playing Vin the whole time. Shan is Elend's former fiancée, a woman he didn't know was Mistborn, but who tried to assassinate him. Vin managed to kill her in a rather dramatic scene involving arrows, half naked girls, and a big, stained glass rose window crashing to the ground. One of my favorite sequences in the first book.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

Out of all of the covers for any of your books, anywhere in the world, what was your favorite cover?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite cover of all of my covers is the first cover of The Way of Kings by Michael Whelan. Because I have this, kind of, emotional connection to Michael's work. The first fantasy book I ever read was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, with its gorgeous Michael Whelan cover, and I didn't even know the genre really existed, I just went to the bookstore and found the next book in the card catalogue, and it was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, also with its gorgeous Whelan cover. And I read all of those. And so, it went hand-in-hand. The next one I started was Melanie Rawn, which was another Whelan cover. So, the first three series I ever read were all done by him, and were all done by these feminist fantasy writers. And those two things have kind of shaped how I see the fantasy genre. But I would recommend all three of those series, by the way, to you guys, they are fantastic. Dragonsbane, in particular, is still very close to my heart. The first one, in particular. Barbara was kind of depressed when she wrote the rest of them.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Two - Part One

Backsliding

As I mentioned a couple annotations ago, this chapter is one of my favorites. That, however, doesn't mean it doesn't have flaws. It has a lot of them, the most important one being the fact that it's just a tad out of place. It's almost a chapter from book one pulled and stuck into book three, where it has no business being and is likely to get clubbed on the head and dragged into a dark alleyway.

Book one was far more lighthearted than this final book is, and while I love having this chapter in the book for the nostalgia it evokes and for the opportunity it gives for banter, I will acknowledge that some people may find it out of place.

There is a strong rationale for it being like it is. Elend hit on this while dancing with Vin. The familiar setting and situations brought out the person he used to be when he attended the balls. I think we all do this. When I came back home after my first year of college, I was shocked at how quickly I fell back into being the person I was before that year, which had forced me to stretch and grow a great deal. I was home, and the high-school me resurfaced.

Well, this chapter has the high-school Elend. He goes too far and makes too many wisecracks. He should have known better. In fact, he did know better, and he almost immediately regretted treating Yomen as he did. One other thing to remember, however, is that this is Elend's first real parlay with an enemy king. His previous two conquests were made by Vin and were negotiated via the use of a lot of Allomancy and a rather large koloss sword.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

If you were to choose a magic system between personalized magic, where each person has their own custom ability, versus one which is an overall thing with branches, which one would you think better? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, depends on the story you're trying to tell. They can both be really advantageous. They have their advantages and disadvantages. 

Questioner

But you personally, which one do you like better.

Brandon Sanderson

The branching. 

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

Was there any one character that-- I know you said all of your characters are your favorite, but was there ever one you were really excited to kill?

Brandon Sanderson

Any character that I was really excited to kill. Masema, from The Wheel of Time. Spoiler. I was so happy to kill that dude. He was hanging on forever, annoying me.

Questioner

Anyone from the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Anyone from the cosmere? I'm never eager to kill anyone specifically. I don't even really regard it as killing characters off. I build the outline, I let the character grow into who they are and let them kind of guide-- take the chances that I feel that character would take, and then deal with consequences of it. Does that make sense? So in a lot of ways, it's interesting to me-- Like I already generally know what's going to happen in my books before I write them. I'm an outliner. And so I'm very comfortable, if not happy, with the idea that certain characters aren't going to make it. Meaning, I'm usually sad that they aren't, but I know that they aren't from the beginning so I'm very well prepared for it. Unlike you guys.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#14 Copy

DrogaKrolow

As we know you're a human typewriter. You can release books faster than we can read it.

Brandon Sanderson

Now you say that but I release like a Stormlight book and I start getting fanmail for it the next day. This took me 18 months to write and then you read it in one day so I don't know if I’d agree with that. But go on.

DrogaKrolow

You certainly have some free time for, let's say, reading books. And what books do you like to read? You have some favorite authors? Maybe fantasy genre?

Brandon Sanderson

Terry Pratchett is my favorite writer. But I like to read widely. I like to read a little bit of everything. Usually-- Like people talk about how fast I write; I'm not that fast a writer. I'm just very consistent. I write a little bit every day. And that adds up to a certain amount that I can do every year. But I write for 8 to 10 hours a day and spend four hours or so with my family and then spend two hours goofing off. So, goofing off can include listening to an audiobook while I do other things or reading a book or playing a video game. So I do find time.

WorldCon 76 ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

Is there a TV show or a movie that you really like in the fantasy genre?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite fantasy movie? Uh... probably Willow. No, it's gotta be The Lord of the Rings... Probably the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings. They're just better. But I really liked Willow.

Questioner

I'll check that out.

Brandon Sanderson

It's from the '80s, so... It's still fun.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#18 Copy

DrogaKrolow

Speaking about other movies, do you have your favorites?

Brandon Sanderson

Favorite films? Picking favorites is always so hard. In recent years I really liked-- I don't know if it's my favorite-- but I really liked Live.Die.Repeat./Edge of Tomorrow.

DrogaKrolow

The book is better.

Brandon Sanderson

The book is better? I really liked that. I really liked Lincoln. I mean, it’s not science-fiction/fantasy but I really liked that-- Classics, Fifth Element, it's like my go-to guilty pleasure space opera, I really like that. I really like the movie Gattaca… You guys ever seen Gattaca? Gattaca is good movie. It's an oldie now but it's great. It's a science-fiction. What else have I really liked? I like Chris Nolan's movies, I like them all.

DrogaKrolow

Inception.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Inception would be my favorite, I think. Though I really like The Prestige also. But on that one the book is legitimately better, also. But Prestige turned out very well.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

In terms of books that you wish you could have written yourself?

Brandon Sanderson

I read a lot of things for pleasure. I think I need to stay up on what everyone else is doing. As a teen, my favorite writers were Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn, Barbara Hambly, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, it would probably be. David Eddings too. I grew out of David Eddings, happens when you get into your twenties, but during my teens he was the bomb. Do kids still say that, the bomb? I'll have to figure out what they're saying now. Nowadays I read Pat Rothfuss, I really like Pat, I really really like Naomi Novik's Uprooted, if you guys didn't read that this summer it's a fantastic novel. I like Brent Weeks' work a lot, Brian McClellan's, Nora Jemisin, you guys read NK Jemisin? She writes very literary fantasy; if you're an English major and you like that kind of stuff, which I do, it's amazing. Her most recent one has a character who writes in the second person, and it works. It's the first time I ever read a book where the second person, which is you do this, you do that, it actually works, it works really well. The second person past tense, so you did this, you did-- it's a person telling themselves a story so it actually, it really works. The Fifth Season. So, yeah, I read a lot of stuff.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

What is your favorite Aspect to write in /Legion/?

Brandon Sanderson

What is my favorite Aspect to write in Legion.  It's J.C. by a mile. *laughter* Can you guess who J.C. is based off of? ...J.C. is based off of the actor Adam Baldwin, from his various roles. He's almost always played someone with the initials "J.C."  Go look it up. That's Jayne from Firefly or from Chuck and things. I just think he is hilarious. In my head that is who would play J.C.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

What was your favorite book you wrote?

Brandon Sanderson

...That I've made? Um, it's hard for me to pick my favorite book or my favorite character from my books, because it's kind of like trying to pick my favorite child. And I can't do that. I like them all as I'm working on them.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

Do you ever listen to your own audiobooks?

Brandon Sanderson

I do on occasion. I don't listen to them for long because I will find myself wanting to change things. And that's dangerous...

Questioner

Do you have a favorite narrator that you--

Brandon Sanderson

I do--

Questioner

Of your books and of other books.

Brandon Sanderson

It is Michael Kramer, who did the Wheel of Time books. Which is why I asked for him on my books.

Argent

If I may, how do you feel about Graphic Audio?

Brandon Sanderson

I, personally, love that they are available but I find them kind of distracting when I'm listening to them.

Argent

Too much--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. I'm glad-- I mean I want to sell as many of them as we can because there are some people who just love them. But I actually love straight reads, like I like Wil Wheaton's reading, where there's very minimal voices.

Argent

Well that's because it's Wil Wheaton.

Brandon Sanderson

It is Wil Wheaton but I-- I do like Graphic Audio because they use women for women's parts, men for men's parts, which is really helpful. Men doing women's voices in books, and women doing men's voices as readers, a lot of them are like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

I would want to know what is your favorite character you've ever written.

Brandon Sanderson

What is the favorite character I've ever written. I actually can't pick one, because they are like my children and picking a favorite child is basically impossible. I don't have one. Robert Jordan, I quote him a lot because I studied his life a lot, he always answered this question by saying "My favorite character is the one I'm working on right now" and I like that answer.

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

Joshua_Patrao

About your characters, Brandon: Which ones are the most like yourself?

Brandon Sanderson

There's a piece of me in every one of them, but I'm not really like any of them. People who know me well say that Alcatraz's humor reminds them of my humor (which is different from Lightsong's humor or Kelsier's humor, which are different from mine.) Elend in the original Mistborn book represents some of how I've been known to act (bringing books to social events). Shuden in Elantris has a lot of me in him, actually. Raoden has my optimism, Hrathen my logical and thoughtful (and dangerously devious) mind, Vin my pragmatic determination, and Sarene my utter lack of skill with painting or drawing. In the end, I don't know if I can pick one who is most like me. Perhaps you should ask my wife. She'd probably be better at seeing this than I am.

Joshua_Patrao

Your favorite male and female characters you've written?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by favorite. A lot of people ask me this question, and my response is often different. Who am I writing at the time, what I am feeling at the time? Lightsong makes me laugh, but Kelsier is conflicted in a more personal, dangerous way—and that appeals to me. Vin is best rounded, but Sazed is (perhaps) closest to my heart.

Joshua_Patrao

Your favorite male/female characters of all time?

Brandon Sanderson

Man, I'm bad at answering questions like this. Okay, male is probably Jean Valjean. Female...urg... Moiraine, maybe? Sioned from Dragon Prince is pretty awesome too. Double urg. I don't know. Jenny from Dragonsbane has long been one of my favorites, so maybe I'd pick her.

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

Joshua_Patrao

The Eternal Question: Mac or PC?

Brandon Sanderson

PC. Not out of any avid devotion, but because it's what I've grown up on. My wife is a Mac person, though.

Joshua_Patrao

Your word processor of choice?

Brandon Sanderson

Word. Same reason as above.

Joshua_Patrao

Do you have music on real loud when you write (I've heard Steve King writes like that) or is it soft in the background?

Brandon Sanderson

Soft in the background.

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

Joshua_Patrao

Your favorite movies?

Brandon Sanderson

GatticaThe Fifth Element, actually, is up there too. The Prisoner of Azkaban movie. Empire Strikes BackSneakers. Jackie Chan's Operation Condor. (I know, I know.) The Emperor's New GrooveStar Trek: First Contact.

To be honest, that's probably not a great list. Those are the movies I watch over and over, but there are a lot of movies I love, but have only seen a few times. I'm not generally a 'watch it over again' type of guy, so it's hard to pick favorites. I come back to the genre films or things like Jackie Chan because they're quirky and rewatchable, but that doesn't actually mean they're my favorite—or that they've influenced me as much as other films. For instance, Lawrence of Arabia blew my mind, and The Stinginfluenced how I write quite a bit. But I've only ever seen those films once. But I do keep coming back to Gattica as one of the movies I think does what storytelling should do, when done perfectly right.

Joshua_Patrao

Your favorite music?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the month. Right now? Daft Punk. Before that? Anything by Harry Gregson Williams. (Often, his music is better than the film it is in.) Metallica has been a long-standing favorite of mine, though I've been listening to a lot of Desprez lately.

Joshua_Patrao

I'd also like to thank Brandon here for being so wonderfully accessible. It's an excellent gesture Brandon, great of you. Your fans will always love you for it.

Brandon Sanderson

No problem! Though that list above made me work. (Wipes brow.) I'm terrible at the "What's your favorite..." type questions.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#32 Copy

Questioner

Who's your favorite character to write?

Brandon Sanderson

Usually the characters I look more-- forward to the most are the ones that are goofy.

Questioner

Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

So like Wayne and Lift. Like, but not up to like-- Wit I-- is hard to write, right? It's the kind of wacky but don't have to be too clever characters that are most fun to write.

Firefight release party ()
#33 Copy

Questioner

Who is your favorite character, character development-wise?

Brandon Sanderson

Oooh, favorite character for character development. Who develops the best? That is really hard for me to say... From any book? Who has the most development-- I would say Shallan has undergone the biggest transformation in the major books. No, Vin. Vin goes through the biggest change, so we'll go with Vin. Vin's the best character development across the course of the books.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

Which character arc has been your favorite to write?

Brandon Sanderson

I usually don't pick favorites. Because all characters in all the books are like my children. But I will say it was extraordinarily satisfying to write Rand's arc, that I did in Gathering Storm. That was a true delight as a long-time fan of the series. So probably that one.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

What was your favorite character to write?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite character to write is whoever I'm writing at the moment. I don't usually pick a favorite... I don't have a favorite character... and I don't usually have a favorite book. People ask that a lot. It's like choosing your favorite child.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#37 Copy

Questioner

Is there any connection or coincidence to the Krell in Skyward, versus the Krell from Forbidden Planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... Forbidden Planet is one of my favorite movies. Perhaps my favorite classic science fiction movie. I really dig any sort of Shakespearean interpretation in another medium. So I named the Krell after the Krell from Forbidden Planet.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#39 Copy

Questioner

What is the favorite character you have written?

Brandon Sanderson

What is the favorite character that I have written? I would say Perrin, from The Wheel of Time. Because I can't pick my own characters, because they don't feel like I'm-- They are my favorite while I'm writing them, whoever they are. But Perrin was my favorite Wheel of Time character and when I got to finish The Wheel of Time he was the character that Robert Jordan left the least amount of notes on. In fact there was one sentence, for three books-worth, about him. And so I got to take him and-- Really Perrin was the one I had the most influence on through the course of those three books and it was very special to me him being my favorite character and being able to do that.

MisCon 2018 ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

Who's your favorite planeswalker?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably Elspeth. When Elspeth is dressed in armor appropriate for her personality. I have a thing about that. But I really like-- I mean, it's me. I like the questing knight searching for answers who thought she found them and then they turned-- the moral axis was upended. That was a really cool story, to me.

Questioner

Would you ever write any planeswalker stories?

Brandon Sanderson

If I were asked by Wizards of the Coast to write a story, I would probably say yes... I've told them this, as well, that if they asked me to write a story, I would probably say yes.

Questioner

So that's not Secret Project, either.

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say that.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#41 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Five

Vin and Elend's Plans and Progress

This is my personal favorite of the opening chapters. I love how it establishes what Vin and Elend are trying to accomplish, but at the same time shows how stretched thin they are. Both bounce around from one emotion to another, and the argument near the end of the chapter is a good example of just how exhausted they both are.

Elend is more forceful now. He's become a wartime leader, a much different man than he was in book one, when he went to parties and read books. He's fighting to find a balance between being the man he thinks he should be and the man he knows he has to be. It all works very soundly for me.

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

TaurusRW

Which is your favorite Pratchett novel and why?

Brandon Sanderson

The Truth is my favorite. As a writer, and one who likes to explore the nature of the truth in his works, a novel that deals with someone trying to publish a newspaper in a fantasy world mixed philosophy and laughs in the way only Pratchett can. However, Guards Guards is the book where I suggest people new to Pratchett start. (I suggest avoiding the Colour of Magic as your first experience, even though it's technically the first book in the series. They are all stand alone novels, really, and Guards Guards can be seen as the beginning of the best sub-series within the series.)

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

carmen22

Which of your books is your favorite?

Brandon Sanderson

Tough call. Right now, Warbreaker is the best written—though The Gathering Storm is better, I think. I think that The Way of Kings will be awesome too. But you didn't ask for the best, you asked for my favorite. In that case, I'd probably have to say Elantris, as it was my first.

BookCon 2018 ()
#46 Copy

Questioner

I feel like you're the kind of person who sneaks little details all over the place. Do you have a favorite that you've ever snuck in somewhere?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah. Most definitely, the first line of The Final Empire. I have never been able to, so far, pull off as long a con as the first line of the first book being the climax of the third book. I do have some other long cons going, but they haven't paid off yet.

Shadows of Self Boston signing ()
#49 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Who is your favorite living author?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Favorites right now, writing. Probably my favorite right now is Guy Gavriel Kay. It was Terry Pratchet until he passed away. And it was Robert Jordan until he passed away. So I hope Guy stays safe. Because getting picked as my favorite author is apparently a death sentence.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#50 Copy

Questioner

What was your favorite aspect from the Legion books to write? Who was your favorite character?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say JC was my favorite to write. I like humor. I like how unaware yet sometimes self-aware he can be. It allows me to play with character in an interesting way, so I would say him.