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

Questioner

In Memory of Light, how Lan didn't die.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner

And you were surprised that fewer people were discussing how you could interpret Rand's actions as bending the Pattern to make it that he did not die.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner

And I'm trying to-- You mentioned that there were certain real world homages that you were trying to make because of this...

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner

I couldn't remember what those were.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, Lazarus.

Questioner

Well, okay. But like something like with K-- like King Arthur or something like that.

Brandon Sanderson

There's-- yes, there are... *interrupted*

Questioner

But I don't remember what that was.

Brandon Sanderson

There are... the Fisher King.

Questioner

Fisher King?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Google the Fisher King if you want to read about that. There's a lot of him... I mean, there's also Hindu and Muslim symbolism that I cribbed from, so to speak. The thing about Lan is I... if you press me, I would probably say he didn't die. But the parallelism of Rand in book 3 trying to raise from the dead and not being able to, and Rand in the last book with him there--

Questioner

This man *inaudible*.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Um, you can make the argument that, and you know, we'll never know if he did or didn't. I think it is... I made it intentionally ambiguous. Brandon the reader, you press me, I'll say, "Eh, he probably didn't." But there is parallelism there, and it is intentional.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#2 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.

DragonCon 2016 ()
#3 Copy

Jennifer Liang

Alright, so you guys all know who he is but I need to explain why I'm sitting next to him, for the majority of you who have never seen me before. I'm Jennifer Liang, and many years ago I was the Track Director for the Wheel of Time track here [at DragonCon]. *cheers* Awww... I've moved on to other things, I chair my own Wheel of Time convention [JordanCon] now, so if you are interested in that go look that up somewhere. But the reason that Brandon was first at DragonCon, eight years ago, was because I told him to be here.

Brandon Sanderson

I was really scared. *laughter* See I knew Wheel of Time fandom, as a fan, and I knew how crazy they were. And so when, basically, the queen of Wheel of Time fandom wrote to me and said "You're going to come to DragonCon and talk to us." I was super nervous. I still remember it, I was talking to Jenn about it. I walk in and it was a room, pretty big, not as big , but packed with people. And I walked in and I'm like "I've never been in a panel this size before." right? "I'm used to going--" It was only that same year, I think it was, that I went to WorldCon and did a reading and there was only one person at my reading. *laughter* And it was Eric James Stone, my good friend. *laughter* They did schedule it opposite Lois Bujold's main address, which was part of the problem. But still, I went from one person in my reading to walking into a room like this. Full of a whole bunch of people who are like "You're not my real dad." *laughter*

Jennifer Liang

It was very weird hearing somebody who was not Robert Jordan talk about writing The Wheel of Time. Like it was really flipping us out at the time. But he-- you were good.

Brandon Sanderson

You were all very nice. Except for the-- The did this thing called... Darkfriend games, right? Are you a Darkfriend. Which is basically like Assassin, one of those party games where you sit around-- Except it's Wheel of Time themed. And they always murdered me, like first. *laughter* Right? Like that's how I knew there was a little bit of subconcious agression going on. We'd look up and they'd say "Who did the Villagers want to kill? Brandon." Every time. I was never the Darkfriend, but they killed me every time.

Jennifer Liang

It was funny. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

There's a group of three of them in particular, that I remember, who kind of ganged up and got me. So I actually put them in, I think as Dreadlords, in the books and got them murdered. *laughter*

Jennifer Liang

They're extremely proud of themselves.

Brandon Sanderson

They're very proud. They got in and murdered. So if you look for a conspicuous group of Dreadlords that get killed in a very terrible way, that's them.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you would spontaneously, prematurely die, any author you would consider ideal for finishing your work?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I usually pick Brian McClellan. Just because he's my student and I wanna be mean to him. I've warned him, I haven't asked him if he'd do it, I just warn him. I tell people that he'll do it. And he's like, "Oh. *grumble*" We're good friends. But Brian would actually be a really good match. Properly outlined, Brian is one of the better writers out there.

Second Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I love that caveat.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Brian is uh, Brian can go off. He knows this but, uh, yeah.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

What was your hardest character to kill?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh. That's spoileriffic. I would say it's a character who dies at the end of The Wheel of Time, which is a series that I finished for another author. Because it was someone someone else created. And then, having to write some of those scenes.

Questioner

That would be really hard, because you're killing somebody else's character.

Brandon Sanderson

Right? And somebody I grew up with, right? So, I would say those are the hardest guys.

FanX 2018 ()
#7 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So why does Rand bow to the Empress when the actual prophecy was that she was supposed to bend to him, it was changed by one of the...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So that was actually in Robert Jordan's notes, that this is what he was supposed to do. It was to fulfill that prophecy, and so I don't have an explanation to that other than he made sure to include "this needs to happen", so I did it.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Even though the prophecy was not supposed to be that way?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. That one was very clear in the notes; needs to happen.

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

Questioner

And in Wheel of Time...

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner

Do we know what Moiraine's three questions or requests were to the Finn folk?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... You're going to have to ask Maria. They're in the notes. I'm not going to quote them right. I thought that I already gave people that answer.

Questioner

I may have not been *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

But you can go to Theoryland and see, but I thought that we answered that. 

Questioner

Okay. *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

And so I'm not going to say anything now, because I might-- I mean it's been forever. I might contradict myself.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

So what about the things you left out when you finished-- What was the one thing you wish you could have gotten in there most?

Brandon Sanderson

Most that I wish I could have gotten into The Wheel of Time? My favorite sequence that got cut, writing-wise, was the sequence where Perrin travels in the Ways and defeats Machin Shin with the Ogier. It's a beautiful sequence, it came out really well. The problem is reading the book you don't miss it because it was a big deviation. So I'm not sure if I wish that one would have made it into the book.

I tried to get Rand engaged, and that one I think-- I think as a whole a lot of people are confused when they come to me and wish that they could have known a little bit more about that relationship and I tried to have the three-- I tried to write a scene where the three women weave a bridal wreath together to give to him and Harriet did not like that scene because she thought it might contradict Rand later wondering if any of them would follow him, which is a scene that Robert Jordan wrote. I didn't think it contradicted but since we had that scene from Robert Jordan and since Harriet-- She's the boss, I was happy to cut it according to her wishes. I miss that one.

Questioner

Is there anything-- Is any of that going to be in the Encyclopedia coming up and are you doing anything with it?

Brandon Sanderson

I am not doing anything with it. It is all Harriet. In fact when Robert Jordan and she signed the contracts for it it was always going to be her project and not his.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

What’s the hardest power you've created to find a balance for?

Brandon Sanderson

Hardest power to create a balance for? I'd say first is Wheel of Time, but I didn't create that... Hardest to balance… They've all been fairly easy so far. My guess is that it will end up being Stormlight just because I am doing so many books in that world, and I'm not resetting characters as much as I am in Mistborn, that I'm going to have to be careful about power creep... That's an excellent question.

Daily Dragon interview ()
#11 Copy

Daily Dragon

Your new epic fantasy series, The Stormlight Archive, has been in the works forquite some time. In an interview earlier this year with Fantasy-Faction.com, you said that you set the project aside in 2003 because you needed to "get better as a writer." During the interim, as you worked on other projects such as the Mistborn trilogy, Warbreaker, and your middle-grade Alcatraz series, which skills did you improve the most?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that I learned to juggle multiple characters a lot better. That's one of the places where I needed to grow, and it's one of the aspects where the original Way of Kings that I wrote in 2002 flopped. I wasn't good at juggling all these viewpoints. Working on The Wheel of Time really forced me to learn that, and I think I've gotten much better at it. I've also learned to be more subtle with my writing; Robert Jordan was incredibly subtle in his foreshadowing. Going through his notes and rereading the books and seeing how he set up things for many books later, it impressed me quite a bit that he was able to do that. I think I've been able to learn from that.

Kraków signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

Any chance of any new Wheel of Time materials?

Brandon Sanderson

Not likely... not definitive, it's up to Harriet. I'm worried that he wouldn't want us to do anymore.

Questioner

<Yeah, that's the thing>

Brandon Sanderson

And so, I have told her that I don't think I would want to do anymore, but if Harriet came out and said "I really feel we should do the prequels", then they could happen, I think it's very unlikely, but...

Questioner

The prequels were <written> by Jordan?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he did, he has a little bit about them, not very much but a little bit. He did want them to come out sometime, so it’s possible.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#14 Copy

Wetlander

Human, spren, splinter sliver shard Adonalsium - which of these is most similar ontologically to Nakomi?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughter* I can't say anything about Nakomi! Robert Jordan did not want anything said about Nakomi! I can't say anything at all about Nakomi! Dig into the notes when they are released, and then you can find out things said about Nakomi. The little tiny hints we have, I told you he wrote that thing at the end, and I'm like well, okay. So.

Warsaw signing ()
#15 Copy

Questioner

How was it to do The Wheel of Time, how was it to finish the words of a giant?

Brandon Sanderson

It was scary. For those who don’t know the story, I did not apply to finish The Wheel of Time. I got a phone call out of the blue one day from Robert Jordan's widow, and what she said was exactly, I got her on the phone and she said, "I was wondering if you'd be willing to finish my husband's series." I was not expecting this at all, so I replied, "Arrrgggahhhhh." Seriously, I could barely speak. That night, I wrote her an email that said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot." I was just so surprised, but I was also extremely honored. She asked me because she knew I had read all the books since I was young man, and I had this moment where I realized, if I screw this up, it is a big deal! But if I turn it down, and someone else screws it up, it’s a bigger deal. So, I said yes, because I figured, if he couldn’t do it, I at last wanted it in the hands of someone I knew cared.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

So what are your thoughts on the Wheel of Time pilot?

Brandon Sanderson

The Wheel of Time pilot? I... think... See this is kind of on the record because of the recording. I think the actors and the director are to be praised for doing so much with so little time. I don't think it should have been made and I don't think it is a good direction for The Wheel of Time to be going. But that is in part because I know Harriet was not pleased with it.

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

Questioner

Do you know the part in Wheel of Time when Mat is-- seems to be trapped in his *inaudible* ways before he meets Verin?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

In the town? I always think, when I read-- Every time I feel like-- Is it a <tone> war?

Brandon Sanderson

It is, yeah.

Questioner

Writing the characters?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner

And is there any correlation between that and Legion and you?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, most definitely. Legion is... You know, I'm-- I don't actually hear voices or see things. But there is this sort of part of you that becomes a different person all the time. I can see if I were more unhinged I'd be like that or like Shallan.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

You know how usually you read a good book and it will change your perspective on some aspect of life, do you ever finish writing a book yourself and-- From your own writings do you ever "Ah I've never..."

Brandon Sanderson

It's usually the research I do. Like when I'm like "I need to get in the mindset of this type of person" and I go read about it. I see the world in a different way after I become immersed in that.

Questioner

So what character have you written that was the hardest to imagine or get into?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah was very hard originally, and that took a lot of research into the mindset of people who think differently from myself. In The Wheel of Time books Aviendha and Tuon are both very different cultures so getting into those.

Questioner

How was it writing Mat? Was it pretty easy or--

Brandon Sanderson

No, Mat blindsided me. Mat I thought would be easy because Perrin and Rand were and I grew up with Mat, Perrin, and Rand, right? But the thing is Mat is a really hard character to write, meaning actual-- you look at him, he says one thing, he does a second thing, but he thinks a third thing. And so there is a lot of contrast to him and I just started writing him naturally and I wasn't getting all of that contrast because I was like "Oh I know who Mat is. Mat's my--" But he was saying the things that he never said, if that makes sense? I got his actions right but I flipped what he said and what he thought. It was actually really hard to get him down.

Questioner

You mean how he would say that he was going to avoid trouble and then run straight into it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it's like "I'm going to avoid trouble", he runs into trouble, and he's thinking all the way about something completely separate, and then something else leaves his mouth.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

Have you ever done fan-fiction?

Brandon Sanderson

Have I ever done fan-fiction? ...I have done fan fiction a couple of times. One was this series called The Wheel of Time.

Crowd

*thunderous laughter and applause*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Technically, right? It was sanctioned fan-fiction by the publisher, but it was basically fan-fiction. I also did a couple of video game tie-ins for a friend of mine, which was essentially fan-fiction. They were friends building a video game, they talked to me about how cool it was, and how it was inspired by my books, and I'm like "Ah, I'd better write something for you." And that's where the Infinity Blade stories come from. I can see myself doing things like that in the future, but not very much. They're only, kind of, in most cases, going to be little forefront fun projects.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

At the end of A Memory of Light, it mentions that Rand is no longer ta'veren - does that apply to Mat and Perrin as well? And if it does, how does it apply to Mat's luck?

Brandon Sanderson

Everything I'm saying right now is not 100% canon, because I'm only working off of my guesstimates based on his notes. I believe that Mat's luck is a soul attribute that is independent of him being a ta'veren, but enhanced by his ta'veren nature. Part of the proof of this is the Heroes of the Horn knowing him as Gambler, which means in other Ages when he's been born and not been ta'veren, he's still had luck and attraction to things like that. Plus things in the notes, I'm basing on that. So it does not necessarily mean they aren't ta'veren right now, but even if they weren't, I think Mat would still have his luck.

Questioner

So you don't know whether they're ta'veren or not?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not know. My suspicion is that if he would have written the outriggers, Mat still would have been, and maybe Perrin, because Perrin was going to be in the outriggers, we know this. But I don't know for sure.

But I think it would have been fun, if in some parallel dimension if I were to have written them, which I'm never going to, I would have not made Mat ta'veren, or Perrin, I would have made Tuon ta'veren, and forced Mat to deal with someone else who was ta'veren, which I think would have been interesting.

Questioner

Can women be ta'veren? Because in the entire series there is not a single female ta'veren.

Brandon Sanderson

There is not, but I'm very sure that they can be, based on things that I read in the notes. So, that's what I would have done, but I don't know if that's what Robert Jordan would have done. Can you just imagine that, Mat having to think that he's in someone else's story now?

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
#22 Copy

Annie Lown

In the Wheel of Time books, did the Creator have a power, similar to the True Power that the Dark One had?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm afraid I don't have the answer for this, not for certain. I think that readers of the text could argue both ways. For example, a certain event in the epilogue of [A Memory of Light] could be interpreted this way--though everyone in Team Jordan seems to have a different opinion on what is going on, and [Robert Jordan] didn't leave an explanation.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

When you took over the whole Wheel of Time thing, that must have been-- there was so much going on there... they had their own characters and you had to immerse yourself in that role and to try to create-- writing in your own words. Do you think that helped you develop as a writer?

Brandon Sanderson

It totally did. The most I've grown as a writer was my first year writing, but after that, the number two time that changed me the most, was working on The Wheel of Time. It was incredible, and awesome, and terrifying, all at once. The hardest thing I've ever done professionally was write those books. For those who don't know, I didn't know Robert Jordan or his wife. I got a phone call one day, asking if I would finish his series. His wife, who was also his editor, she discovered him and then married him, which is a really good way to make sure your editorial advice is taken; *laughter* he asked her to find somebody-- before he passed away he said to her "If I don't make it, go find somebody". So she read Mistborn and she called me, and asked me "Would you be willing--" Now she knew I was a fan of the series, because I'd written a eulogy for Robert Jordan on my website, and that's how she found out about me. But then she just called and said 'here', and the things was, she then had to go grieve, right, she's like "Once you're done I can edit it, but I'm an editor, not a writer, I can't write this myself". So she gave me all the stuff, and then I basically did it all by myself for a year, and wrote that first one. I did send her some test chapters, is this right, is this wrong, but it was a very daunting task, he had not finished very much of the book. He had some notes, but he was a discovery writer so his notes were very vague. "I'm thinking about this happening", "oh, this character has a scene that's kind of like this", "I might do this, I might do this". A lot of stuff like that in the notes and so there was a lot of-- I describe it like someone takes a Ming vase and they smash it and they throw away half the pieces and they throw in pieces of another vase just to screw you up and they give it to you and they're like, "Alright, now make the vase, see if you can do that".

Questioner

He did a lot of foreshadowing in his books...

Brandon Sanderson

There were certain things he did, to have out, and some of the most important ones he did have, other ones, I just had to catch the ball that he had thrown using my experience as a writer.

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

Questioner

The Lord Ruler, sixteen-- all sixteen metals, full metalminds, and can compound versus Rand at the end of A Memory of Light *laughter/cheering*

Brandon Sanderson

...At that point probably Rand. Sorry. *cheering*

Questioner

But the Lord Ruler has luck, he can Compound luck.

Brandon Sanderson

He can do a whole lot of stuff. Now if it's the Lord Ruler during the moment of Ascension, it's the Lord Ruler, but post-Ascension? No.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

...I still haven't finished the last [Wheel of Time]. Because I'm like, I don't know what I'm going to do without them in my life.

Brandon Sanderson

I know that feeling. When I sat down and read the ending that Robert Jordan himself had written, it was a weird, surreal moment, that it was done.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#28 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You have written before on Reddit that you had to add some scenes for Perrin in the epilogue, even though the majority of the epilogue was Jordan's. Did you have to figure out endings for any other characters, or did he write them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I did have to come up with endings for other major characters. Other than Perrin, they were strongly suggested by the notes or by the books. And technically, he had in the notes, Perrin's absolute end. One of the few things that it said was, "Perrin ends up as king." So, his absolute end. But I did have to do lesser than Perrin, but still some major.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Perrin finding Faile. Was that Jordan's? Or was that you?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That was me. He did write the scene, I think this is the epilogue, where Mat comes back [to Tuon], and things like that. Like, that whole scene was finished. The whole scene where Rand comes out of [Shayol Ghul], all that stuff was finished. Some of the stuff with Cadsuane, we had to extrapolate. Not extrapolate, he had some of the things in the notes. Some of the other ones, we had to. Others you would consider main characters, we decided on. Harriet decided on a couple of things.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Galad and Gawyn?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm gonna have to RAFO that, because I think Harriet has not wanted me to go down that path. I would say that major chunks of the Egwene and Gawyn plot were finished and written, particularly a lot of the stuff in Towers of Midnight. But there's a few things she's asked me to stay away from. One is who decided what happened to Egwene. Harriet has asked me to ease up on that one.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#30 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Why did the Sharans have a prophecy about the Dragon slayer?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Partially, that's a RAFO. RAFO, meaning, "I am no longer the voice of canon for the Wheel of Time." And I've been very careful about this. While I was working on the books, while I was writing them... When I was first handed the Wheel of Time, Harriet said, in essence, to me: "You are the author on these now. You just have to convince me. You can do whatever you feel is necessary to tell the story the right way." And for that time, I stepped into the shoes of being in charge of all of that. Though, like I have Karen here, there's always Maria and Alan even back then, that are like, "Certain things contradict. You just can't do that." But for a while, I was the voice of canon. I have stepped out of those shoes. It's not an appropriate place for me to stand any longer. That was a mantle that I bore for a short time ,and then I gave the One Ring back to Frodo. Because that was something I had to carry, because no one else could, for a short time, but it wasn't mine. It wasn't my duty. I've left those shoes behind. So I do not give canon answers. I let that to Maria and Harriet on things like this.

Now, I can talk about, like, story and narrative reasons why I did certain thigns that I did. For instance, I, as a reader, waited for years and years to find out what's happening in Shara, and I wanted to do something big and cool with it when the books came along. When Harriet said, "You can do whatever you want. Here are the notes, you can do whatever you want." If you've looked at the notes, Robert Jordan's notes were really interesting in that he would often say, "I'm gonna do this, or maybe this, or I'm not sure, I could do none of the above." So there was a lot of creative freedom in there. One of the things I wanted to do was do Shara. And this is the thing that I did, that at the end, Harriet said, "You didn't convince me on this one." There were actually two things I didn't convince Harriet on. I got away with a lot. A lot of things I did, I convinced her on. Like Aviendha going through the pillars. That was something that I had to do some... like, when I first suggested to them, they're like, "Woah." But when I wrote it, they're like "Wow, this really works." But Perrin going back and cleansing the Ways with the Ogier, and the scenes in Shara, are the two things they didn't feel I pulled off in the original draft.

But my goal was, I really wanted to bring Shara into all of this. I wanted to narratively connect it. I wanted it to be a part of, and show how something that had been so isolated form Randland for all this time could have their own legends and mythologies spawned. I wanted to have a different perspective. I wanted you to go there and say "Wow, it's really different. But there are some core ideas that are really cool that have grown up." And if I would have had three more books, Shara probably would have worked. But we didn't have three books, and it was the right call to cut Shara, because it was a real big deviation in the final books. And maybe even if I'd been able to work it in earlier, it would have worked. But it didn't work where it was.

I can give you narrative reasons. I can't give you the canon in-world reason. You can ask Maria or Harriet about that, and see if they'll answer.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#31 Copy

ThePsion5

I always wondered what would happen if someone burning atium fought a ta'veren like Matrim Cauthon. Would it look like he was burning atium as well? Would his atium shadow be concealed by a haze of probability?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd say that Mat's aura would interfere with atium, but you could easily rule the other way--you could say atium works something like Min's visions of the future, letting one "read the Pattern" so to speak. And Min's visions do work on ta'veren.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
#32 Copy

Scott King

Out of all the books you've written which do you think is the best?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, Emperor's Soul is the one that won a Hugo, which gives it some objective credibility for being the best. [A Memory of Light] was the hardest by a long shot, and in some ways the most satisfying, but I'm perhaps most proud of The Way of Kings. So one of those three, likely.

Orem signing ()
#33 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you could go to any planet *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh, they're often just awful places, right? Maybe Wheel of Time after the end of the books. That would be a good one. Or I might pick early Age of Legends. That's it, do that. Early to mid Age of Legends, Wheel of Time.

A Memory of Light Raleigh Signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Do you see Robert Jordan’s characters coming out in your writing?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. That may happen unconsciously, but my goal is not to have that happen, because I want to tell different stories. It would be like if Kelsier started coming out in Dalinar. It's just not something we want to have happen as a writer. We want everyone to be their own individual.

Arched Doorway Interview ()
#35 Copy

Rebecca Lovatt

I've been trying to avoid Wheel of Time questions, but I've got one. We need to settle the score... who understood women better: Mat, Perrin, or Rand?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh wow, who understood women better? So I'll say this: Perrin understood his woman better than Mat or Rand understood the women that they were interacting with. Does that make sense?

Rebecca Lovatt

It does.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to go with Perrin. Although by the end of the book Rand has recalled his past...no, Lews Therin was terrible with women, so I don't know. I'm still going to vote Perrin.

Rebecca Lovatt

That's not just because he's your favorite?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I'm going to say it's because he understands human nature the best, despite having this whole wolf side. Or maybe it's because of this whole wolf side that he's able to look from an exterior perspective at the way humans are doing the things they are doing, and relating it.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#36 Copy

Questioner

Do you ever have crazy ideas that are too crazy?

Brandon Sanderson

This happens all the time.

Greatness is often born of brashness. Of a reckless, bull-headed intent to do something everyone tells you is stupid. Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones you can't articulate in brief, because distillation ruins the very performance. Reduce a symphony to three notes, and it will seem pedestrian. Some ideas take to summary with ease. For others, explaining them is like trying to help someone climb Mount Everest after they say, "I'd like to take the quick route, please."

As a writer, you grow accustomed to saying, "It will work when I write it." You get use to saying, "I can do this, even if everyone tells me I can't." Becoming a writer in the first place is often done in defiance of rational good sense.

And sometimes, you're wrong. You try to prove that the idea works, you OWN it…and it's just not working. You're convinced it's your skill, and not the idea. If you could just figure it out…

This happened several times on The Wheel of Time. River of Souls, the famous deleted sequence from Demandred's viewpoint, is one of these. Perrin's excursion into the Ways in book 14 (also cut) is another. Early on, I pitched Perrin deciding to follow the Way of the Leaf to the team–but I wasn't actually serious on that one. More, I was in a brainstorming session with Team Jordan, and throwing out things that could possibly fulfill Perrin's arc in an unexpected way.

The 10th anniversary of Elantris has some deleted scenes, and the annotations talk about how in that book, I originally decided to have Hrathen turn out to be of a different nationality (secretly) as a twist at the end. The man who was doing all these terrible things was from Arelon all along!

That was stupid. It undermined much of his arc. It was a twist to just have another twist–in a book that already had plenty. Early reactions from Alpha readers helped me see this.

Lately, I've been trying to do some things with backstory and "cosmology" for the Stephen Leeds (aka Legion) stories, and Peter's not sold. We'll see if this turns into a "it will work when I write it" or a "That's a twist you don't need, Brandon."

Oathbringer release party ()
#37 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, I'm about to read the last four books of Wheel of Time, and I know in your interview with Deseret News is that no one has asked you about something big, world-shattering. What should I be thinking of while I read these books?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I can't give you even a clue, because I've been sworn to secrecy by team Jordan. I made it up, but they said "We can't tell people this." So, this is something I added to the books, it's not something that was in the notes. So there, you learned something about it.

DragonCon 2016 ()
#38 Copy

Questioner

Going back to The Wheel of Time for a second... One of my favorite things about A Memory of Light is you had so much-- I guess free rein with parts of it... Can you give me an example, or a couple of examples, of something that you got [???] I could be totally wrong about this situation but say like, when [???] was first creating a weave to see a whole battlefield. Was that something you did, or was that actually Robert Jordan's.

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question, I'll go through a few of these things for you, that one was me. One of the things that was awesome, but also a little bit difficult is the wrong term-- Anyway, it was awesome to be able to come into The Wheel of Time as a fan, and have read the books for twenty years and be thinking about "Wow, I wish this would happen", and then say "Wow, I'm gonna make that happen" ...But as I was doing it, I was also realizing it was dangerous, because there was a real danger for putting in fanservice type stuff, not in the traditional meaning of fanservice, but like the fanservice of "Narg showed up in the Last Battle again" or things like this. Like little fan jokes. I found that I had a lot of temptation to put those in, and so I had to ride this really careful line where I was saying "What do I as a fan want, to make the book more fulfilling not just as a joke".

One of the things that as a writer I've always wanted to see was gateways used for more than they were used in the books leading up to that point, you know, teleportation, instant travel has a lot of ramifications. One of the things I kind of put on myself was that I didn't want to create a lot of new weaves, because I knew if I did, I'd really risk taking it to far away from Robert Jordan's vision. So I said "Let's stick mostly to the weaves he's used, and see if I can use them in more innovative ways". This whole idea of taking the magic and digging deeper into it rather than going wider with it. And so a lot of the stuff with gateways is me. A lot of--

So for instance, I also went in and said to Harriet coming in, "Every book that Robert Jordan's done, almost all of them, has added a new character who's become a main character who used to be a side character. If we don't do that for these last books it's gonna feel weird to people. So I would like to take one of the Asha'man and bring them to prominence, and make them a viewpoint character and do what Robert Jordan's done" and so that's where Androl came from. And they're like "Well there's nothing in Robert Jordan's notes other than this little bit about his profession, take him and play with him, and do whatever you want." And that was almost a little pressure valve for me, to put the more "Brandon-y" sort of things, goofy magic system stuff with that, and that pressure valve allowed me to not really-- knowing my writing style, I was able to make the rest of it be a little more Robert Jordan-esque, if that makes sense.

You see that pressure valve there, you see it with Perrin in the Wolf Dream, in the world of dreams, because-- I've said before, Robert Jordan didn't leave very much on Perrin. Perrin is a big, empty-- big blank slate for these books. We knew where he ended up at the end and that was it. So Perrin was the other sort of "Do whatever you want, Brandon" sort of thing. He left a lot more on the other characters. So if you're reading a Perrin scene or if you're seeing them play with gateways, you're seeing me kinda let Brandon leak out a bit more. And this was done intentionally, I'd say part was a pressure valve, but also when I was given this, Harriet sat me down and said "You are the author now. I didn't hire a ghostwriter on purpose. I didn't want somebody who was just going to be Robert Jordan, because that would make a bad book", in her opinion. "What Jim-- Robert Jordan can't finish this, so you need to do it and yes, we want to stay true to his vision, but you are the writer now." And she was very clear on that, and I've always remembered that and how much that meant to me, being-- You know, she was the ultimate authority, but I had creative control to do whatever I felt the books needed, and the she-- her job was to rein be back if she though I went too far, and make sure the voice was consistent and things like that. So I got to do a lot with these books that I don't think a ghostwriter would have been able to do.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

What was the hardest part of finishing The Wheel of Time?

Brandon Sanderson

The hardest part, I would say, was the battle logistics.

Questioner

So A Memory of Light took a while?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, A Memory of Light is all battle logistics, it was really hard. And the second half was really tough to get that all right. And just to work with the assistants and things like that.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#41 Copy

CoverYourSafeHand

My other question is about Wheel of Time. At the end, Rand just kinda walks away in Moridin's body. Does he stop being a Ta'veren? I can't imagine the pattern would just let him live a quiet normal life if he still was.

Brandon Sanderson

The ending portion of WoT that you reference was written by [Robert Jordan] himself, and he didn't leave a lot of explanations. Subtext and things Mr. Jordan said lead me to believe that the character you indicate is free, now. But we don't have a 100% for sure answer.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#42 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So there's a certain very long chapter in A Memory of Light. There's also a certain very long chapter in Oathbringer. I'm assuming you used similar techniques; both are very effective. Did you come up with that when writing Memory of Light or were you inspired by someone else for doing that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Nope, that was something I had wanted to do.

So the question is, there's a very long chapter in A Memory of Light that was done very deliberately. I've used this before and in other books. Oathbringer does one, not nearly to the extent, but there's a certain point in A Memory of Light—and this was me, this was just kind of my love of trying to make the form of a novel match what I'm trying to get across with the novel.

In A Memory of Light, there was a point where the characters could not set down their swords and take a break, and I wanted to make sure that part was not divided up, to encourage as meany readers as possible to have to push through it, even if it was kind of late at night *crowd laughs*, to get to the chapter break, so that they would feel some of the same feeling that the characters were feeling. And that's just my writerly way to get that across. In Oathbringer, it was more like, "This is where the breaks fit most naturally." I wasn't trying to do the same thing, but it's a simpler sort of thing, where I want the momentum to not have a break until a certain point in the story. I don't anticipate ever doing—the one in A Memory of Light was like 90,000 words, which, if you're unaware, an average novel is 80,000 words. So there is a novel-length chapter in A Memory of Light. And so, yeah... *playfully* eh.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#43 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What was it like finishing Robert Jordan's series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It was really hard, but extremely satisfying.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I felt like Mat and Perrin for your first book were slightly different than Robert Jordan's <version>.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mat in the first one in particular is one of my regrets, I feel like I didn't get him. But I had to have people tell me I wasn't getting him before I could get him.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The next two it just felt like it was Robert again, you know what I mean?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I always just blame, "Oh, he had the whole engagement and marriage thing happen, and it's throwing him off."

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

Questioner

So you've written a lot of books. Of all the books that you've written, which do you look back gives you as the writer the most personal satisfaction?

Brandon Sanderson

Oooh, wow. Satisfaction. See I like all of my books for different reasons so picking a favorite is impossible, but you were smart and asked for something more specific than favorite. I would say finishing The Wheel of Time brought me the most satisfaction. Starting reading those books when I was fourteen and then having it be such an enormous challenge and then having it be well received and not screwing it up-- because I was really worried I would screw it up. And for the majority of people I didn't screw it up, for some I did, there are a few that really didn't like it. That's fine. But for the majority of people I didn't screw it up and for myself I didn't screw it up. So at the end of the day I'm very satisfied those books turned out as well as they did.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#46 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.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#47 Copy

Questioner

So how tough a decision is taking on Wheel of Time?

Brandon Sanderson

It was very tough. It uhh-- Man, I was-- I was scared. But I realized, after being offered it, if I said no and somebody else screwed it up, it would be partially my fault for being too cowardly to take it, right? Or too frightened or whatever. I don't know if it would be cowardly, but too timid? So I had to-- I eventually said yes because I figured, if someone is going to write it I want it to be me. Because at least I knew then a fan was in control.

DragonCon 2016 ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

As an Asha'man Warder, I have to ask, would you consider going back to The Wheel of Time and writing a book about the Trolloc Wars?

Brandon Sanderson

So, remember that part about a piece of art being done? Sometimes that is painful. In fact it-- it hurts that there are certain characters I've said "Their story's done. I don't think I should touch this again." We put on top of that, I don't believe Robert Jordan would want me to do more. Now I have to say that very timidly because it's entirely possible that Harriet or one of her heirs and descendants will decide that there should be more Wheel of Time books. And I'm not going to be one who gets up and "No you shouldn't be doing that!" Right? That's not my choice. And I want more Wheel of Time like anyone else wants more Wheel of Time but my personal decision has been that I think Robert Jordan was uncomfortable with the idea of my writing in his world, even though he asked it do be done. And if I--particularly with the prominence I have--spent more time in The Wheel of Time I risk The Wheel of Time becoming more associated with me than Robert Jordan. And I think that would be a very bad thing. And so the current answer is "No, I--" Well, yes I would consider it. I'd consider it a lot, and the answer is no. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to do more Wheel of Time for a multitude of reasons.

Daily Dragon interview ()
#49 Copy

Daily Dragon

How did you find the time and energy to work on The Way of Kings while you were immersed in Jordan’s Wheel of Time? Are you a hidden Allomancer, a slider like Wayne in The Alloy of Law, with the ability to set up a mind-boggling speed bubble?

Brandon Sanderson

I wish I could magically create bubbles of time to give myself more space to do these things. After working on The Gathering Storm, I felt more and more that I needed to do The Way of Kings—I had done it and failed once, and I began to see all of the places where it went wrong and how I could fix it. When you get excited about a book that way, you kind of have to write it—strike while the iron is hot. It's something I never want to do again—working on that and Towers of Midnight at the same time just about killed my entire family. The hours were very long, and I'm still kind of recovering from that. How did I find the time? I didn't do much else during that year when I was getting those both ready. I think it was really good for me to do, and I don't think I'll ever do something like that again.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#50 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The scene where Verin dies. Did you write that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I didn't. Robert Jordan wrote that. It is one of the very few scenes that he actually had written in the notes, and I was able to reach out, grab that one and drop it in. In fact that was one of the big surprises when I was reading the notes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It's probably my favorite scene. 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, and he did that one. I feel very happy to be able to tell people that because there aren't a lot of scenes that I could just drop in that he wrote, and that is one of them.