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Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

If you could write a story from another author's character and point of view, who would it be?

Brandon Sanderson

It would be Wheel of Time. And I say that a little bit cheekily, and a little bit not. We are not gonna write any more Wheel of Time books. This is because I don't feel Robert Jordan would want it to happen. But if I had my wish, I would summon him back from the dead, and he'd say "What the heck," but I'd say, "Can I really just write this one more?" And if he said yes then I'd love to write it. I would love to tell some more stores, but I'm not going to; knowing what I know and having read the interviews I read with him, he would not approve of it, so I'm not gonna do it. If I were able to make *inaudible* happen, that's the one I would pick.

If you want something more realistic, I don't know, because all my favorite writers, I'm like, "I want to read what they are working on, I don't want to do it myself." The whole idea of loving it is that they're do it. I have turned down writing for the Marvel universe. They came to me and said, "Hey! Pick a character, write a book on him. We don't care who. Please?" These are the sort of weird things that start happening to you when you're in my position, and you have to say no. 'Cause I'm just like, "I've read comic books. I like comic books. You guys are doing great stuff. I'm doing my own great stuff. You don't need me." Robert Jordan needed me. So, I don't know that I would do anything else unless there were a friend or a series that needed me.

Warsaw signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner/Translator

When you write short stories, do you write them separately, or do they just come along - when you are writing longer books that you come along them?

Brandon Sanderson

Usually I’m working on a book and I have a great idea for a short story and I force myself to put it off until book is done. I tried writing a short story on plane right here and it’s awful, it's so bad I don’t think I will let anyone ever see it.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

So, you spend a lot of time comparing lifespren and rotspren. They're complementary colors, *inaudible*. The rotspren can appear around animals, as well, whereas lifespren only appear around plants. Is that a misnomer? Is there something that we're missing?

Brandon Sanderson

No, there's nothing you're missing. It just takes a large number of organisms in the same place. So, in a herd of animals, you could find lifespren. They don't come to people as often. But, the thing you have to remember about spren is: spren are attracted by something. And they have to be nearby, and they have to make their way there. So, sometimes, you will have an emotion, and no spren will appear. Because there's not one nearby enough. Or they just didn't feel like this. I worked this in because I didn't want the spren popping up too much. They're a big symbol of Roshar, they're a way, in very early chapters, for you to realize this is a different place and a different world. But if every other sentence were, "And a spren appeared," it would go crazy way too fast.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So one of the things people have been asking about a lot the nature of Identity and its uses for accessing other people's metalminds, and things like this right. And I hedged a little bit when somebody asked me... *inaudible*...send people into spirals of confusion, so I'm gonna clarify it for now. So, someone comes in and says, we need a blank metalmind, anybody can use that. I'm like, yes but, the reason that it's a hedge is that you need to actually be a feruchemist to access it, right, you can't just hold the blank metalmind not being a feruchemist, even though it's somebody else's investiture that's been blanked, right. So people keep kind of missing this thing. I'm hedging in the sort of, you don't quite have it, I've kind of dodged it, but I worry that it's just going to be confusing.

So the issue is, you need two things from one of these. You need something that makes you a feruchemist, and then you need a metalmind that somebody else has filled with blank investiture, ok. Now if you can get pure investiture, that can be used by anybody, regardless, ok, you need it in pure form though. But, so there are some other tricks with this as well that don't make it...so anyway, you've got a couple of things that can go on. So you've got a blank metalmind, right, with nothing. You need either investiture, to be able...like you need to be the right type. There are ways to access that if you are completely blank also, if you were a blank slate, but that is still...kind of hard. It's even harder if you are blank, and the metalmind is not blank, but that's not what they're doing in Mistborn right now. You are tapping investiture, gaining the ability of feruchemy and then you are drawing out a blank metalmind, ok. That's the one you need to be...and everything else I'm hedging on intentionally, and I'm worried I hedged in a way that made it sound confusing, ok. So you know now what they're doing. You know that there are other things possible. But I don't want you to think that you have the explanations for how all those things happen, ok.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

You mentioned one time that there were guards hiding under the bed and in a secret room when Siri was first *inaudible* the God King?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I at least imagined it that way.

Questioner

Do you always add details like that in your imagination?

Brandon Sanderson

It's very frequently I do. Just cause I want to be a few steps ahead. And I want to be making sure that my motives for the characters—particularly the side characters, we're not seeing through their eyes, make sense. Motives are really important to me.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

Why is it that *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

You know, a couple of reasons. One reason is, I honestly don't *inaduible*. I think, as a writer, words, part of me is "It's a little silly that we associate two words that mean the exact same thing." Another reason is, I feel like there are certain places I have to let my characters refer to *inaudible*. Because otherwise, *inaudible*. I tried writing Mistborn books with made-up swear words, like I use in Stormlight. It just didn't fit the world. This is a really dark world where terrible things are happening, I'm like, "I can let them use a few good swear words." And it felt right to me when I did it. My fourteen-year-old sister, when she read them, she went through and crossed them all out and wrote her own curse worlds in. Mostly "poopyhead," and things like that. But, you know, it's kind of a balance, I think, every writer has to make a call on themselves. Where you kind of stand on that line. Certainly there are certain words I haven't used, even still.

I think, maybe, we're a little too focused on some things, like language, and a little less focused on... Like, I'm far more worried about the violence in the books. And I've been actively trying to decide how much I pull my punches on that, versus not. Because I think that in our society, there's too much of a tendency toward glorifying violence. But that's the cool stuff, right? I love a Jackie Chan film. So where's the line between a Jackie Chan film, which is kind of showing off what the human being can do, and a glorifying in the killing of others. And that line is one that worries me, and that I'm far more concerned on, then whether or not I let Wayne use a little bit of colorful language. But that's my personal... everyone can make their own decision.

Kraków signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

Which one of the ten abilities on Roshar <inaudible> it depends on spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Which of the Orders?

Questioner

Of the abilities on Roshar.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, the abilities of the Knights Radiant?

So, this depends on which spren indeed. Each spren can give two of the abilities, and they're slightly different for each Order.

Questioner

If you could have one, which one would it be?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably Windrunners, cause I would want to fly.

Translator

I would prefer Regrowth it's very much for growing plants.

Brandon Sanderson

That would be very convenient.

Boskone 54 ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

First, I have a message from my older brother

Brandon Sanderson

Okay

Questioner

He says, "just tell him that Szeth is the man, and he expects a bloody revenge story, where he whoops off all the heads of all the Shin guys who still have honorblades

Brandon Sanderson

Tell him that Szeth is anticipating that too.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

Why did they get a better copy of all the artwork?

Brandon Sanderson

We're going to talk about this with my publisher on Monday... The endpages... Let's just point out that the American print run is 300,000 copies--

Publicist?

The UK print run is originally 16,000 copies.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. And so print run drives price down. The US we sold, across all formats, we sold about 250,000 copies opening week. And in the UK, across all formats, I think they sold nine... thousand. And so it's just a difference in population and economy of scale. I'm going to try to convince the publisher to do some special editions of Stormlight that have the endpages. But I can't blame them if it's just not cost-effective...

The UK covers all matching is really a nice thing...

Warsaw signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

<Did the man Lift met is Hoid>?

Brandon Sanderson

It is Hoid.

In book three, right? In book three.

Oh *inaudible* Lift? *inaudible* No, that's not Hoid. So she references having talked to him but it's not someone she meets in this. In the beginning, she mentions him but he's not specifically in this. Right? Sorry, I thought you meant *inaudible*.

Questioner

*Inaudible*.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, of course, that makes sense. But yes, so, she met him - but she talks about him, she didn't - it's not him on the street.

(From my notes:

In Edgedancer, Lift references talking to Hoid but he doesn’t show up himself there. She met him, she talks about him but he doesn't appear in Edgedancer.)

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

Is Obrodai going to be the setting of Dark One?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question. That is also a RAFO. Sorry, sorry! This is partially because Dark One pops in and out of the cosmere a lot, depending on which version I'm doing. It's been the hardest book. For those who don't know anything about, this is a book I talk about in my blog once in a while... It's like the Harry Potter story, except you get told "By the way, you're the Dark One who's gonna destroy the world, so we're gonna assassinate you while you're a teenager, so that never happens." It's a really cool story that I have never been able to get to work.

Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, and Obrodai is one of the Shardworlds, but I keep popping Dark One in and out of the cosmere. Sometimes it feels too self-referential to the fantasy genre to actually be in the cosmere. Because I don't want the cosmere to be self-referential, right? Whenever something gets even a little too silly, I'm like, "Nah, this can't be in the cosmere anymore." So, we'll see what happens.

Warsaw signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

<>?

Brandon Sanderson

One of them is White Sand which is now a Graphic Novel. If you ever want to read - in English - you can get the <prime/previous> version. I'm not going to release it. <> think it's good enough.

Questioner

<>

Brandon Sanderson

<I have read that and it's possible I'll read that.>

<>

Yes, <> every couple of years <just to get updated>

Questioner

<><want to write this>

Brandon Sanderson

Once in a while it's happening. But I'm always able to change my idea to <get> something different <to get to do> what I want to do.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

When Jasnah takes Shallan on as a ward, she teaches her a strategy for research. Is that strategy you use when you are doing research?

Brandon Sanderson

No. It's a strategy like the one they tried to teach me in college, and I was never good at.

Questioner

So you used it as a-- You used it intentionally because of?

Brandon Sanderson

Not that I don't like it. My brain doesn't work the way that note-taking methodology worked. I know it worked for some people, and probably if I had spent more time on it, then I would have. But I work in a different way.

Warsaw signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

What are we going to do when you retire?

Brandon Sanderson

Retire? RETIRE?! I would never! I will stop writing when they find me dead in my office and my face is on the keyboard and I type the word "k" seven thousand times.

Warsaw signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

<How do you develop/create names?>

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the book. Usually I develop the language and sounds that are going to be used in the language and then I try to build names out of it, but sometimes there is trick like in Alethi with symmetrical names and I focus a little more on that.

So it just depends on the book.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#31 Copy

Questioner

Is Vasher Zahel or is Zahel Vasher?

Brandon Sanderson

So Vasher is the name he had in Way of Kings Prime, the one I just read from, before I wrote Warbreaker.

Questioner

That's my question. What's the real chronology?

Brandon Sanderson

...Yeah, Warbreaker's first.

Questioner

Because he named him, did he not?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the name, Vasher. Of course, he had a different name before that.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

You do a lot of insider *inaudible* and you have *inaudible. How does that inform your process going forward *inaudible* the new books, knowing that you might someday have to tell people-?

Brandon Sanderson

So, how does it inform my new books, knowing that I put so much stuff on my website? On there, I have annotations for a lot of my books, chapter-by-chapter. I have a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. I grew up in the internet era. Well, at least I became a writer in the internet era. So I'm used to having extra information. I remember waiting for Wheel of Time books, and like, "When is this gonna be done?" And nobody knew, it was all hearsay. So, when I developed my website, I'm like, "Let's put a progress bar on so that it's right there, and you can go to the source and find out when the next book is gonna be done." So I just started, from the get-go, doing this extra bonus material. I feel like in this genre... Science fiction and fantasy people are very tech savvy. I'm willing to bet that every one in this room could torrent the books for free if they wanted to. And instead they buy them and support me. It's a genre where I am directly supported by fans as a conscious choice on their part. So I feel that it's my part to give them everything I can as this sort of additional content with the book. Because it's not just the book, it's everything surrounding it that you're buying into. And that's just kind of a personal quest of mine. It does make me more aware of my process. Because I'm like, "Oh, they're gonna ask me where I came up with this character. Where did I come up with this character as I'm designing it?" And I'll write down some notes on, "This is what inspired me here." It gets much harder for me to talk about Elantris and Mistborn, 'cause I can't dig so deep into my my influences, even Way of Kings sometimes, because they go back so far. But books that are newer, I can be, "Hey, this is exactly where my influences came from." Because I am <so conscious> now. Good question.

Warsaw signing ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

*inaudible* sign this one right here?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, happy to do it.

Questioner

I will leave that there. Okay, Mistborn, and then this next *inaudible*. Is there moments you've set up throughout your books, are they like, how much effort *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

There is that, yeah.

Questioner

*inaudible*.

Brandon Sanderson

Third draft. Still two drafts to go.

Questioner

Oh, great. So *inaudible*. November still looking good?

Brandon Sanderson

November's still looking good, but *inaudible* there's a lot of revision, making books work.

Warsaw signing ()
#42 Copy

Questioner

*inaudible, but referring to the RAFO cards*

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah. You want a RAFO card? You gotta ask me a hard question. Come up with a question.

Questioner

So what's next for Szeth-son-son-Vallano?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, okay, yeah, take [inaudible due to laughter, presumably Brandon was indicating that he could take a card].

JordanCon 2016 ()
#45 Copy

Questioner

Is the Felt question the one that you got away with?

Brandon Sanderson

No, that really is-- Felt really is Felt. He's been around, let's just say.

Questioner

Are there more places I should look for him?

Brandon Sanderson

Eeehhhh, there are more places you could look for him, whether you find him or not is a matter of…

Questioner

I'm going to guess that he's going by a different name in other places.

Brandon Sanderson

Things that he s-- There are things that he said in Mistborn which are relevant in minor ways... These are not huge big things, when you read them you'll be like "Oh, interesting".

Footnote: The questioner is referring to these exchanges from the RAFOlypmics event the previous day.
DragonCon 2019 ()
#49 Copy

Questioner

The areas where you have [true spren] living, does it have a connection to <Stormwall?>

Brandon Sanderson

So where the highspren... specifically?

Questioner

Basically does it...for example, do honorspren have a--are strong in that area, because...?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh right, because they're living in like, Lasting Integrity? So... there are reasons why in Shadesmar the spren build the cities they do where they do. It doesn't always correlate one to one with the type of spren. Once in a while it does, but I would say as a rule of thumb, no. It's more about them finding a place that works for the geography of Shadesmar, and where they kind of just have political power and clout and things like that.

Good question.

Warsaw signing ()
#50 Copy

Questioner/Translator

In Secret History Kelsier was <> some kind of <>. Is it some<> to Forgery?

[Oversleep's notes: Question about Kelsier changing his backpack in M:SH and if that’s similar to Forgery/beginning of Forgery on Scadrial]

Brandon Sanderson

No, there is something else going on... that we'll see, come to understand <>