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Oathbringer London signing ()
#1 Copy


Can you tell us a little bit about what Hoid was up to in Terris in The Well of Ascension?

Brandon Sanderson

He was hunting for the Well of Ascension.


In the new continuity, he already knew where the Well was, because he used it to come back to--

Brandon Sanderson

Right, we changed the continuity, didn't we. Yeah. Oh boy. We came up with an explanation of this, because when we wrote the book-- Yeah, why don't you send me an email on that one. Now that I have the conversation with Peter, he brought that one up when I finally got around to Secret History. That was one of our big casualties. What did I come up with? I think he was just really, really-- I will have to-- because I canonzied it to Peter. We're gonna have to go to Peter and say "What's in the wiki now?" Yeah, that was one of the big casualties, and the fact that I couldn't get Kelsier to one of the places where I had left foreshadowing for him to speak in someone's head, and I can't remember what that one was, either.


Oh, that one was Sazed, you said it was his imagination.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I had to make that his imagination. Because I just couldn't get people where they needed to go. This is the problem with writing an outline, then writing a book, and then writing another book so many years later. Certain things, we just can't work into the continuity. Write us an email, we'll get you the official continuity for that one. Because Peter did nail me down when we were working on the book.

Peter Ahlstrom

After Hoid got the bead during the scene in Secret History, he went north to Terris to do research on possibly acquiring Feruchemy. While he’s there, all hell breaks loose, and he ends up embroiled in helping the Terris people.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#2 Copy


So, in Secret History, when Kelsier is in the pool and looks at Ruin. Are you intentionally making a Lovecraftian reference with the looking into the abyss and the abyss looks back?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sometimes I have to specifically phrase things. I write it and I'm like "Oh yeah, that's Nietzshe!" And I'm like "Ohhh, I should probably not quote Nietzsche" ...So I have do have to reword these things sometimes.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#3 Copy


You suggested Secret History gave the definitive explanation why Vin didn't meet Hoid but many years ago you hinted at something different (that something he does spooked her and she is too observant for her own good). Can you reveal what the original reason you had intended was? (My favorite theories were eerily skillful humming and her picking up very faint pulses from his Investiture usage.)

Brandon Sanderson

I went back and forth on this one, honestly. I knew Kelsier would be involved, but one thing I was really worried about with Secret History was undermining Vin's story or her agency. While I liked Ender's Shadow, the closest parallel I knew of to a story like this, I didn't like how it weakened a lot of what Ender accomplished and gave it to Bean instead. (I think I've mentioned this in conjunction with Secret History before.)

So I wanted something to have stopped Vin, regardless of whether or not I ever wrote Kelsier's behind-the-scenes story or not. The official answer in my head is not that it was anything specific, but that the whole package that Hoid was presenting was WRONG to her. Her instincts picked up a dozen subtle cues that he was more dangerous than he seemed, and that made her freeze and assess. And that gave Kelsier the chance to nudge her away.

I wasn't trying to lead people to figure out a specific answer, with those comments. I was trying to hint that something was wrong, and Vin didn't quite know what set her off--because it wasn't one thing, but many. So I don't have a smoking gun, so to speak, of things Hoid was doing to drive her off.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#4 Copy


So there's a line in Secret History that references, like, a mythical string that shows the way home in the maze of Ishathon. Is that an intentional reference to--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, so here's one thing I do in the cosmere, because my senior course was in folklore, I had a really good folklore teacher-- So you should all thank Dr. Thursby for this. One of the things I learned in folklore-- I don't know if you guys have studied this, but it's really interesting-- Societies come up with the same myths. Right? They do! You'll find-- The biggest one is the Cinderella myth. There's a version of Cinderella in almost every culture, and it's shocking how they hit the same beats. And so my folkloristic inclinations lead me to say that certain stories that I know are common, whether it's the string that leads you out, or breadcrumbs-- different people use different things-- But these stories exist. Mythical mazes, you will find stories about. And so that's not meant to be anything more than for the folklorists to say "Ah! I recognize this, Roshar has some of the same myths, and the same versions, that we have."

General Reddit 2016 ()
#6 Copy


Did you pre-write the Kelsier stuff for Secret History, or did you just outline the events ahead of time?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier was notes, though detailed ones. They might mostly worked out. I believe there was one "thought" a character has in HERO that I had written to be influenced by Kelsier, but turned out to be logistically impossible. I worked on Secret History itself on and off for years before finishing it last fall.


Was that thought the one Sazed has in his fight with Marsh?

Those weren't coins, a voice seemed to whisper.

The bag Marsh shot at you. Those weren't coins.

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, that's it.

Moving the well, playing with where Kelsier was, and the physics of moving through perpendicularities between Realms all kind of combined to make what I had planned originally there not work. I tried fudging things so Kelsier could be there, and felt it was dishonest to the rules. So I didn't let him stray far enough from the Well to talk to Sazed there. Peter had thought for years that was Kelsier, I recall, and was sad we couldn't connect them.


I don't suppose you'd be willing to share with us who the new, canonical voice in Sazed's head is?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm afraid I probably won't ever go into this. At some point, you risk twisting and turning too much. I have a canon answer in my head, but for readers, it will probably need to remain ambiguous--with "it was simply him coming up with it on his own" being a valid option.

BookCon 2018 ()
#7 Copy


*Inaudible*<how long it had been like that...or just a weird thing>

Brandon Sanderson

I was so excited to be able to do that.


How long were you sitting on that secret?

Brandon Sanderson

I've sat on that secret since the first book. I don't know if you've read Arcanum Unbounded and the scene in there, but I was building in all these little things, it was a lot fun. But it took me forever to get that book written.

Mistborn: Secret History Continuity Notes ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Hey, all. Brandon here. With the release of this book, there have been some minor updates to continuity that I think some of you will find relevant.The big one has to do with Hoid's visit to Terris in The Well of Ascension. For those unfamiliar with the backstory, this little behind-the-scenes action has been a source of some consistent problems. The outline, and original draft, of Well had Vin and Elend traveling up to Terris, then into the mountains, to find the Well itself.

This was a huge momentum killer in the story. Having your cityscape-focused book suddenly turn into a traveling quest fantasy for a few chapters felt very out of place, and required too much strange time-jumping to make it work. In revisions, I set about finding a way to repair this, and to overlap the Well of Ascension discovery with Vin's return to Luthadel.

The end result worked much better, but I was forced to cut Hoid's cameo. (In the form of footsteps in the snow and frost leading to the Well, hinting that someone had been there just before her.) I knew where Hoid was, and added in the cameo of him with the Terris people—with the plan still being that he visited the Well sometime during the days after Vin's return to the city.

Well, in working on Secret History, I found that this had a problem with it. Hoid had to already know where the Well is, because after the destruction of the Pits, he'd need to use the Well to return to Scadrial after leaving in the middle of book one to attend to certain other events.If you've read the story, you know this is how I proceeded. Official continuity is that Hoid went up to Terris after visiting the Well, as he had things to do there. He did not go looking for the Well. This doesn't change continuity for any of the books, though it does render one of the annotations for Well obsolete.

Otherwise, I'm quite pleased about this novella. I wasn't certain how it would go, writing something using threads I'd left dangling ten years ago. (You should thank the beta readers, who are all Sharders I believe, for their continuity help. They made me aware pf several things I needed to make much more clear from the original draft, so that canon would be more crisp.)

I know there has been a lot of discussion regarding which times when someone appears to hear Kelsier's voice were actually Kelsier. The story offers the official canon for this as well.

It's nice to finally be able to give the answers to some longtime fan questions, such as what spooked Vin during her inspection of Hoid and what was up with Preservation and the Mist Spirit. It's entirely possible that, despite our efforts, we slipped up and made some continuity error here or there. If so, I'm terribly sorry! This one has been particularly challenging to do.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#10 Copy


Did you worry with Secret History that it was a bit too meta for people who had no idea…

Brandon Sanderson

No, that’s why all the warnings are there.  It’s kind of intended for the people who want something, does that make sense?  Like it isn’t really-- it is a story, but it's not a real story, it’s got weird narrative and things to it.  It is there for those who really want to know.


And I’m one of those people, I just have to wonder if you had no idea you’d be really confused through at least the first half.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes you would.  But that’s why all the warnings are there.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

My Year

2015 was a bit slower than last year was, as I spent a lot of time editing.

January–May: Calamity

The bulk of my writing time this year was spent on Calamity, which I'd been putting off last year in order to write the two new Mistborn novels. Looking back at my records, I finished the last chapters in early May.

This was interrupted, on occasion, for revisions of various books—and for the Firefight tour, along with a trip to Sharjah in the UAE. Busy times. So busy, in fact, that it's taken me all the rest of the year to give full feedback to the writers who took my class. I managed to grade their papers in May, somehow, but promised them each a personalized look at their final story submissions, which I'm only now finishing up.

June–August: Stormlight Three

I did squeeze in some writing time for Stormlight in here, though not a whole ton of it got done. I had to stop for revisions, touring, and travel through most of September and October.

September–October: Revisions and a Secret Project

Traveling so much made it difficult to do Stormlight 3 writing, which requires a lot of time investment. So between revisions, I managed to finish a project I've been working on for about a decade now. (Yes, a decade.) You'll see this soon. It's a novella.

November–December: Stormlight Three Again

I plan to keep on this one until I finish it, as I'll talk about below. However, if you want to read a little about my writing time in November, you can read this other blog post.