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Calamity Seattle signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

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.

Questioner

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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#2 Copy

yurisses

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.

BookCon 2018 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

*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.

Questioner

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.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

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 ()
#5 Copy

Phantine

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.

Phantine

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.

Herowannabe

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.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

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.