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

MarlonRand

Just a sudden question that popped into my head: Do you like Joss Whedon's work, specifically Firefly and Dr. Horrible?

Brandon Sanderson

I enjoyed Firefly quite a bit; I was actually among the (apparently small) group of people who watched it during its original broadcast run. I'm impressed with Joss's writing, though I'm not an enormous fan of his on the level of many of my friends.

I missed Dr. Horrible. Been meaning to watch that, actually...

There. Just added it to my Netflix queue.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Versus the Inquisitors

Vin fights the Inquisitors, hoping to put herself in a situation where she can draw upon the mists. It's a reckless plan, but I hope it feels exactly like something Vin would do. She's tired of being manipulated; she knows the end is very near (less than a day away) and knows that she needs to do something. This is all she could come up with, and I think it's a good plan. (At least if you're Vin.) It's a final attempt to save the world or go out in a blaze, fighting down thirteen Inquisitors at once.

This is my favorite fight in the book. The previous ones are all too warlike. I prefer the beauty of a couple of Mistborn fighting in the rain and the mist, as opposed to the characters taking out hundreds of koloss. This fight between Vin and the Inquisitors is the kind of thing I developed Allomancy to do in the first place.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#3 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.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

If you could have any power that's in your worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

Questioner

What would you be taking?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, probably Allomancy because it's the only one that I could use in this world, right? Because most of them require the magic from the world, this one you can make it happen. So, eh, Allomancy.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#9 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.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#10 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.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vivenna Finds an Alley to Sleep In

One of the big stories I'm worried about channeling here is Les Misérables. It's one of my favorite stories of all time, so sometimes it's difficult not to find myself drawing upon Hugo's story and characters. That constant fight to keep myself from leaning too much on what has come before went into overdrive in these chapters.

In the end, however, I think that Vivenna's scenes belong here and accent the story. So yes, if you noticed them, there are some echoes of Fantine in these sections—Vivenna selling her hair and noticing the prostitutes most prominent among them. These two items, most of all, I considered cutting. But in the end, I decided that if there was anyone I was proud to have influencing my writing, it was Hugo, and I left the references. Partially as an homage, I guess—though that's always the excuse of someone who ends up echoing a great story of the past.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

I know the whole, like, "all those characters are your children" type of thing, but is there a favorite one of yours, from your writing and/or how the character is played out.

Brandon Sanderson

Um, I-- You know-- Robert Jordan always said, "It's whoever I'm writing at the moment", which I've stolen wholesale and said that a lot of times. If I'm pressed, I'll usually pick Dalinar, just 'cause he was one of the first, but that doesn't do it justice, because you really do need to-- when whoever you're writing needs to be your favorite at the time.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a favorite character that you've created or one that you've tended to favor over another?

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have a favorite character? No, that's again, you know, the thing. I will say Dalinar is my oldest character, followed by Hoid. Those two have been around since I was 15 and so, there is some favoritism for them, perhaps, just in longevity sense.

Firefight San Diego signing ()
#15 Copy

Leinton (paraphrased)

Of all the published shardworlds, which one is your favorite to write and which would you want to live on.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

One he wants to live on would definitely be Scadrial, because they have running water and electricity. Favorite to write is Roshar. He would not want to live on any of them though because they don't have internet or delivery pizza. (He later stated that delivery pizza would likely be a thing Scadrial would get, but that it would not be delivered via Coinshots because they were too expensive)

BookCon 2018 ()
#16 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What is your favorite magic system you've read?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That I've read? I really like Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books. Probably the best magic system is either Brian McClellan's, I really love Patrick Rothfuss'. Probably the best three are those, as far as magic systems.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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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.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#19 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.

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

Questioner

Who's your favorite character that you've ever created?

Brandon Sanderson

Who's my favorite character that I've ever created? They're all like my children, and so I can't say who my favorite is. It's usually-- I use Robert Jordan's answer to this, which was, "The one I'm writing right now." And today I was writing... uhp, that's a spoiler. *crowd laughs*

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

Books were published in sort of different territories and different countries, obviously there's always different covers for different regions. So America has like a certain style of cover which is very different from what we have over here. How much input do you have into, sort of, the artist, who is chosen and do you have a favorite sort of style of cover for your books?

Brandon Sanderson

Very good question. So, I don't necessarily have a--how should I say--I get to have a lot to say these days over cover artists. I could ask for a cover artist, if they're available, they'll get them for me, and things like that. Not in my early career, but now. The trick is, in the UK, we use the same cover artist for everything and this is the big difference between the UK market and the US market. The US publisher likes to change with each series to a new cover artist, to say "look, it's a new series". For the UK, they distinguish a new series by the color scheme, so you'll notice all the Mistborn books have a blue swirl, whereas all of the Way of Kings have a red, or orange-ish tinge to them and, you know, Elantris has the green and things like that. That's how they do that. They like that all of your books look the same on the shelf.

UK also likes--how can I put it--classier covers *laughter* and that leads to, in some ways, some covers that I think are fantastic and some that are just a little generic, because they try to go kind of classy, if that makes sense, and so you just end up with not much on the cover. The US covers vary a lot more. I've had my worst covers of, you know, among US covers, and I've had my best covers because the US likes to do this painting of some sort of scene represented, almost more of a movie poster for the book, so some of those get really cringe-worthy. They just get--Like my middle-grade series, the Alcatraz books, oh those covers in the US were dreadful. In the UK they were very stylish and with like some iconic picture on them, but in the US they were, oh, so bad. But The Way of Kings, the painting, the US painting's one of my favorite covers I've ever had and I actually went and bought that painting itself, but I have a soft spot for Michael Whelan, he's the artist of that. 

The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
#25 Copy

The Book Smugglers

Do you read YA speculative fiction? Which books or authors are your favorites in the young readers category?

Brandon Sanderson

I've already mentioned a bunch of my favorites, but I could go on! I'm quite fond of Westerfeld's work. I think it's quite marvelous. I've read Terry Pratchett's teen books. If you've only read his adult work, you're really missing out. He is quite good. I've also enjoyed James Dashner's and Eva Ibbotson's books.

I got into a lot of the YA classics in the late 90s, well after everyone else had been into them. Things like The Giver by Lois Lowry and Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen. Jane Yolen has long been one of my favorite writers. There's just a lot of exciting things happening in YA, and I feel inspired by a lot of the works by those authors I've mentioned

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

What is your favorite book that you've written?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite book that I've written? I can't pick a favorite. It's like trying to pick a favorite child. 

Questioner

You always have a favorite child though...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah *laughter*, no favorite children, I just skyped with my children and they showed me their Halloween costumes, it's the cutest thing ever, but the littlest one, he's two, he's a Minion and he's so cute as a Minion, because he can barely talk as it is... and then the middle one is a skeleton and he just said "it's so scary dad, it's so scary, you're going to be so scared" and then he puts it on and I have to pretend to be scared. He scares himself looking at the mirror. And the seven year old's in karate now so he bought a ninja outfit and he thinks he's a real ninja because he's learning karate.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#27 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.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

You mentioned RPGs, what's your favorite RPG?

Brandon Sanderson

Final Fantasy X *audience cheers* I love that one. Like a lot of the Final Fantasies didn't make any sense, and it's okay that they don't make any sense, but that one actually really made sense to me and it really worked. I like that they have-- Like it has a character who's not dark and broody? *laughter* For the first time ever? It's kind of a jock. He's just-- He's just a happy-go-lucky jock who gets caught up in saving the world and it was such a fresh-- Fresh of breath air? It was such a fresh of breath air. *laughter* But yeah. Pen and paper, I grew up playing the Palladium. A lot of Palladium, so TMNT was my introduction to pen and paper RPGs.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#30 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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 the character in an interesting way, so I would say him.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#33 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

But you personally, which one do you like better.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The branching. 

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

When you finished writing A Memory of Light you posted on Facebook a beautiful piece of music *inaudible* and I was wondering, do you listen to music often when you write, and how does music influence--

Brandon Sanderson

I do listen to music. I almost always am listening to music when I write, and I really like things like Pandora or the discover weekly playlist on Spotify, or things like this. Any time I can get something seeded with some unusual different disparate elements and discover some new music, that'll be good for me. A lot of soundtracks, Pink Floyd, a lot of Pink Floyd, <Tangerine Dream?>, stuff like electronica, like that works really well for me. What else, Daft Punk would be in that group as well. So, it's a mix between piano music, electronica and soundtracks, what you're going to see me writing to most of the time.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#35 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fourteen - Part One

Lightsong and Blushweaver

This is another of the scenes I revised heavily to make the conversation between Lightsong and Blushweaver more snappy. I work very hard in the beginning of the book to establish their personalities and their dialogue, and so the first few chapters were revised more heavily than the later ones. Also, my editor thought that the later ones were already amusing enough; it was the beginning ones that he wanted to have a little more zip.

Their conversation about the weather (playing off the one between Lightsong and Scoot) is one of my favorites from the book. I like how it's able to show some worldbuilding through the theology of the religion, give a strong dose of character through the different ways that Lightsong and Blushweaver talk about the weather and their desires for how it should go, and all the while be snappy and amusing. The line about serving followers as food is a little cheap, though. Sorry.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#38 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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#39 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.

BookCon 2018 ()
#41 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Who is your favorite character in Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Hmmm, probably Sazed. The truth is, my favorite character changes depending on who I'm writing, and things like that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay, I feel better about it now.

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

Breeze is my favorite character

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Breeze is a lot of fun.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#43 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.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#44 Copy

Questioner

What's your favorite word?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite word? Rutabaga.

Questioner

Mega? Mega?

Brandon Sanderson

Rutabaga.

Questioner

Rutabaga?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. It's in the Alcatraz books, so...

Questioner

Okay, yeah. I haven't gotten to those yet, but I will.

Brandon Sanderson

I just like the way rutabaga sounds.

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

Questioner

Who is your favorite character you've written, if you had to pick one?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a hard question, I can't pick a favorite character. Dalinar is what I normally say, just because I've been working on him the longest. Honestly, I don't know. It's whoever I'm working on at the time.

Questioner

Dalinar is a good character, I like Kaladin a lot too.

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin has really worked out well. It's interesting because Kaladin-- the first time I wrote The Way of Kings, in 2002-- did not work and I had to rip him out and try a completely different personality and things for him. So it's cool to see it finally working.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#46 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.

Oathbringer release party ()
#47 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Which is your favorite of the Ten Fools, and why?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Uh-- I don't know. I honestly don't know.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Can you give me a name of one of them, then?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That I haven't named yet? Those are in the notes, I have to look those things up. I don't know. We're gonna do a Ten Fools painting for the next one, maybe. We were gonna do it for this one. I'm not sure who my favorite is. I'd have to sit and think about it, perhaps more time than we have right now. It's going to depend on Isaac's sketches of them and things like that. Maybe, uh, Jezrien's fool. Probably Jezrien's fool.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the name of that one?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I can't remember. Like I said, I have 'em in a list. I have to go look at the notes and look them up every time. I don't use them, like, I just write--

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Not like the Heralds, that you're using all the time. They're just the Ten Fools.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right, I just use, even when I'm writing, I'm like "Jezrien's Fool," and then I go look up the name of it.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#48 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.

Ben McSweeney AMA ()
#50 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. :)