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Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#1 Copy

Phantine

Actually, another AA question - will the white sand graphic novel have an illustrated AA? IIRC the draft I read didn't have one. Would be neat to see how Khriss categorized things at the beginning of her career.

Brandon Sanderson

This is an excellent suggestion. There isn't plans for one now, but I could see including one in the third volume.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not planning a 'regular' novel edition of White Sand, though I do still send the old (unedited and not-quite-canon-version) to people who write through my website form and ask for it.

I fully intend to do some stories set in this world, in prose form, eventually. However, I won't retell the story of the graphic novel. I'll make them their own thing. However, there's so much on my plate that I can't promise when (or even if) I will actually do that.

Manchester signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

I wanted to ask, at the beginning you mentioned that you had twelve books written before your first book was published, can you tell us, or are you allowed to tell us how many have actually been published?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I can actually go down the list for you. It is somewhat interesting, I think, for people. My very first book was a book called White Sand, and it was basically kind of a Dune rip-off. Your first book is always  a rip-off, right, of somebody, as a new writer? And that doesn't count the one in high school, which was a SUPER rip-off, like a major rip-off, it was basically a Tad Williams meets Dragonlance. Full blown with elves and things-- Yeah it was totally--

White Sand is the first one I finished, and I actually then went and wrote a science fiction book called Star's End.  And then I wrote the second half of White Sand, because I just stopped and said "This is long enough to be a novel" and then I wrote the rest of it and called that book two, that's actually the only sequel in there I wrote. And then I wrote a comedy, where a lot of the thesis of that comedy came out in Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians ten years later, so that one's kind of half been published. White Sand and Star's End are not any good, they have not been published. And then I wrote something called The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora, which was really weird and sci-fi-y and stuff, and that one hasn't been published because it's really bad too. And then book number six was Elantris which was pretty good. Book number 7 was Dragonsteel, which became my honor's thesis as an undergraduate and half of that book ended up in the contemporary Way of Kings, the Bridge Four sequence was all from Dragonsteel and I ripped that out when I re-did Way of Kings.

After that was a re-write of White Sand, with better writing nowadays, and that one we're turning into a graphic novel, that one's good enough to read-- The biggest problem it has is its a little too bloated.  The story-- It's like 300,000 words with 150,000 words of story. And so we are going to condense it-- into a graphic novel, so you will eventually see that one. The next one was called Aether of Night, that one didn't get published, it's really two decent books that don't work well together, like one half is a Shakespearean farce about a guy who takes his brother's place on the throne, they're twins, it's mistaken identify, yadda yadda; the other half is this dark brutal war book with an invasion going on, and the two halves never really translate well. People read this and they're like, that chapter is hilarious and fun, and OH MY GOODNESS, and yeah, so-- Maybe someday I'll do something with that.

After that I wrote a book named Mythwalker which became Warbreaker. I ripped out the good parts of that and wrote Warbreaker later on. Then I wrote a book called Final Empire, which is not Mistborn: The Final Empire, because then I wrote a book called Mistborn, and neither of those books were working very well. And then I wrote a book called Way of Kings and then I sold Elantris and I said "I want to take these two books that weren't working very well, and I think if I combine them--" because Mistborn had a cool magic system and the Final Empire had this whole thing about the Hero who failed and the Dark Lord took over and mixing these too ideas turned into a great book and that became Mistborn: The Final Empire.

And basically everything from then I've published, Warbreaker came next which was a re-write of Mythwalker. The Way of Kings, the one you hold, is a complete rebuild, I started from scratch, and added the Bridge Four sequence from Dragonsteel and some of these things... The only good one in there, that wasn't published, is White Sand I think, and I think it is going to make a really nice graphic novel because the story is really solid, the characters are really solid. I just wasn't a good enough writer to know how to condense where I needed to.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#6 Copy

Rah179

How significant will the White Sand be to the cosmere? Any hints on the Shard that resides there?

Brandon Sanderson

Moderately. (Its magic has some cool ramifications for off world use, and several characters factor prominently into the Cosmere.)

Phantine

Is there more than one magic system in white sand?

Brandon Sanderson

Only one in the current outline.

WeiryWriter

Does the one magic have more than one variation? Because I got the impression that there was something going on on the Darkside? Though I guess the Sky Colors (I think that's what they're called, I read the draft you send out early 2014 so my recollection is a little fuzzy) don't have to be related to magic. Or you could have written them out if they were...

Brandon Sanderson

In intended the colors on Darkside to be more a matter of the ecology than the magic--though, on that planet, magic and ecology are very closely tied together. (Well, I guess most of the magics are.)

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

You are releasing a graphic novel version of White Sand, which one is going to be canon to the Cosmere, the graphic novel or the novel you originally wrote?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh definitely the graphic novel. The book I originally wrote has its problems, and I never released it. The books don't become canon until I release them. This will be the canon release of White Sand. I don't think-- If the graphic novel does well we are not going to write novels, I'm going to do the second one as a graphic novel original. That's just how we are going to do it-- is my plan right now. There are things when we went back to it that we tweaked, for instance Hoid's appearance in the original novel was only a reference. He was mentioned by, what did I end up calling him, Eis? Ais, I had both names for a while, it was only a reference to one of his old cases, that's his only appearance. And we're like "Ehh people are going to expect more now". So we are writing in a better appearance for him. Stuff like that, I feel Khriss' character needs better development than the novel had, so we are working on that. Stuff, you know. Things you would do in a major revision.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#8 Copy

Argent

In the White Sand graphic novel, quite a few of the elements of the environment (e.g. rocks, clouds) look like faces (link). I find it hard to believe this is just a quirk of the artist, so can you tell us anything about why Taldain seems positively riddled with faces?

Brandon Sanderson

The faces are intentional. (Though they turned out more blatant in places than I'd have liked.)

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#9 Copy

Yata

If I may ask another thing, did you decide what come earlier in the Cosmere's Timeline between Elantris and White Sand ?

Brandon Sanderson

White Sand is earlier. I was pretty sure on this, but I wanted to be able to glance at the timeline and make sure I hadn't made any changes. (And I haven't.) It's pretty solidly locked into that place because of certain events around the cosmere, so you can assume it won't change.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#10 Copy

Macen

I have read White Sand and Aether of Night, and I don't know why they're not published because I loved both of them.

Brandon Sanderson

White Sand is not published because I don't feel that for one, Kenton has the depth of character that I like to have nowadays.  He's more an old school character of mine where he just isn't, personality wise, doesn't have quite enough.  Beyond that I feel that White Sand as a narrative meanders a little too much.  I feel if I cut back about a thousand words and fix him, we would have a good book.  Aether is not published because I feel that I wrote two different books and didn't blend them together very well.  There is the kind of farcical, Shakespearean, switched places, silliness, and it's fun, but it's like a mistaken identity almost sort of stuff and romance and things like that mixed with these dark things are coming out of the shard pool and destroying the world.  And those two stories never meshed together well enough for me to want to publish them.  

Macen

So would you say it would take one more revision?

Brandon Sanderson

White Sand one more revision. I'm not sure what I could do with Aether of Night because those two just don't work together.  White Sand we are trying to do as a graphic novel.  

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

How did you like doing the graphic novel compared to normal stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

It was fun. The thing about it is, my main part in it was to write the book, 'cause its a prose novel that I wrote years ago, and then to look over things as my team was putting it together. They had a writer take my book and condense it down to the dialogue bubbles and things like this, and built it out and I would see a page and say "good". So I didn't really make a graphic novel I wrote a book that people who know what they are doing adapted into a graphic novel.

Questioner

Makes sense. Would you do more of it?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how people react to this. If the fans like it and say "yes, this is a book we enjoy. Keep doing things like this." I will do more.

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

...the Diem had been investigating, does that make sense? One of his former faces. So you're not supposed to be able to spot him. Like early on I was really planning Hoid to be-- When I write the parallel novel you'll be able to see "Oh" these things that he had his fingers on. But that's why in Elantris he's barely even in the book. Same thing with Mistborn. But then people really liked it and I was having a lot of fun with it and so in Warbreaker I expanded his part. And I'd always planned for him to be a big part of Way of Kings when that came along. *audio obscured* But in the graphic novel I think we're going to give him an expanded role, just because people are expecting it so much.

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

Questioner

I was just wondering--I'm a big Hoid fan--and I was just wondering if he's in this [White Sand Volume 1] and if I will recognize him as Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson

He is, yes. So...

Questioner

And is that how he actually looks, or is that just like...

Brandon Sanderson

Nah, that-- it-- he disguises himself a little bit, but in this book he doesn't have to go to magical extremes. So if you is wearing a wig or something it's still kind of how he looks. I don't think we even disguised him at all. We did change it from how he was originally, because he had such a small part. I'm like, people like him more. So we beefed up his part.

Footnote: Brandon is likely referring to Hoid's role in the full series of the graphic novel rather than Volume 1 in particular.
Mistborn: Secret History Explanation ()
#16 Copy

yahasgaruna

So assuming that the other novels in the White Sand trilogy were meant to be the same length, that means White Sand will take about nine years to finish?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, there's a big "IF" in there. We don't know how the book will be received in the first place. If it IS well received, and people want more, I will sit down with the person who adapted my book and see if we can take my notes and do them justice in an adaptation for another graphic novel.

We'll see how things go. I'm hoping they come out faster than one a year, but I can't promise anything, as I really don't have much experience with this. My only mandate to the publisher was that we do them as graphic novel collections, instead of individual comics, as I didn't want to risk a repeat of the Wheel of Time comic situation (where one issue came out, and then a LONG delay came before the second appeared.)

yahasgaruna

Hah! As one of the people who've had the fortune to read a copy of the White Sand manuscript you sent, I have to say I find the likelihood of it not being a hit close to zero.

So we're getting at least 3 graphic novels, with a possibility of more depending on reception right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's correct.

Aurimus

Hold on, so there are 3 GN books being made from the 1 manuscript? nice!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The book is long enough, that the script turned out to be quite long. I don't know if they're planning an omnibus eventually or not.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

What's your release schedule for volumes two and three?

Brandon Sanderson

I think they are one a year.

Questioner

One a year?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I'm sorry... They take so much time. It's possible they can go a little bit faster cause they did the whole script up front.

Questioner

Are they still drawing 'em and coloring 'em?

Brandon Sanderson

They are still drawing them and coloring 'em, yeah. We basically released this one as soon as we had it done. I told them they couldn't release it by little issues, cause I wanted people to have more of a promise they would get the whole thing so I said "You have to wait until you have at least a third of it done", but yeah. I think they are counting on this one paying for them to keep doing what they are already doing, so.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#18 Copy

bmshklkh

I have a question about White Sand Vol 1, although this comment thread is probably not the best place to ask it.

Just wondering how you view the final product, in the range of "learning experience, next one will be different" to "amazing book, won't change a thing"? I've never published a graphic novel, and I'd love to know how you feel about it now that you're past the first volume and have the second one upcoming.

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm...

I'd say halfway between those two. I am very pleased with a lot of things about it. The thing that I don't think came out right is the worldbuilding, particularly the cultural worldbuilding.

psychomanexe

That is one difference I noticed. When you describe clothing and buildings and whatnot, it sort of brings them into focus in a different way than a graphic novel (or movie) does. With the graphic novel, my brain just went "ah, they're all wearing this kind of clothing, sure. Oh, she has a Victorian style dress, that's neat." and that was kind of the end of it.

I think it might have something to do with lingering on it? Like spending a lot of time describing something can show how important a thing is to a character (or the plot), but I kind of skipped over the descriptions by glancing at the picture then returning to dialogue.

On the plus side, it helps me reinforce the fact that I need to spend more time describing things in my book.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's part of it. Though I don't think we got in the graphic novel some of the important worldbuilding elements, such as the armor that melts when sprayed with water, the unique forms of fighting, and the fact that the people you assume are the advanced ones (because they live in buildings instead of tents) are actually far less technologically developed than the ones who live out in the desert. (Because on this planet, that's the "good" land while the low sands are the less fertile parts.)

That was a dynamic that was very hard to get across in the book, though, and I don't know that my skill at the time was up to it. I was disappointed in the graphic novel once the colors and final art came back to discover a number of pages that looked like brave Europeans fighting savage desert people--which was the reverse of what I'd been trying to accomplish. (But is part of our cultural biases, so I'm not surprised it was how the artists ended up interpreting it. And I'm to blame for not reinforcing the idea stronger back when it could have been changed.)

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

Have you ever considered doing graphic novels?

Brandon Sanderson

I have! Good question... So, yes I have. We're working on one of my unpublished novels, that is one of those thirteen. I think it is a good book, but not good enough to publish. But I think if we can rewrite it as a graphic novel I can cut out stuff that was bad. Because what was bad about it was like 100 thousand words of plot smashed across 200 thousand words of story. I think condensing is going to work really well. So we are going to do that. We actually got pages from that and things, and it's looking very nice. So we should have a graphic novel, and it is cosmere. It is part of the main continuity. So hopefully people will enjoy that.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

What is the status of the White Sand graphic novel?

Brandon Sanderson

White Sand graphic novel. Let me run down the big list of things people are waiting for. So, White Sand graphic novel is on the good list, that's going really well. The author we had adapt it was fantastic and the artist is doing a great job. We're doing it in eighteen issues. However, because the people with The Wheel of Time (I don't know if any of you guys bought those graphic novels) but they released those individually, people bought subscriptions up front and then it took them forever to deliver on those. Because I have been burnt by that I said "You can't release any of the issues until you have a certain amount done". So because of that, they just decided they would release them only as graphic novels. So they're doing six-issue chunks. So it's kind of weird, there's eighteen issues, but really it's three books of six issues, and they are working on issue number six right now to release the first chunk next year. And we're very pleased with it.

So, the big list. I am working on Stormlight 3 right now, so you can follow on the progress bars. Once I'm done touring, which I've been doing for way too long, you'll start to see those inch up again, and if I finish it by May or June then it can come out next year. If I don't finish it by then it would be the following Spring. So that's what I'm working on right now.

In the queue we have the sequel to Shadows of Self coming out in January and we have the last of The Reckoners, and that is coming out in February. That's a little too close, I wish they hadn't scheduled them like that, but I'm not in charge when they put the books. 

After I write Stormlight 3 my goal is to write a new book that's kind of in the teen-ish-- it's kind of hard because Steelheart here is not published by a teen publisher, the only one published by a teen publisher here is Rithmatist. But something for the Steelheart-- like older teen/young adult-ish, crazy, wacky things like that; I've signed a contract on that. So that'll be my next project. 

Then I'm going to do Rithmatist 2, then I'm going to do Wax and Wayne 4, which is the last of that sequence. Then I'm going to do Stormlight 4.

If the book you're waiting for is not in that list then it's going to come after Stormlight 4 so don't hold your breath.

Mistborn videogame is basically vaporware at this point I'm afraid. I love the guys that are making it. They're still working on it, they still plan to release it. I haven't seen even a demo or early footage or anything like that, so I'm not certain they'll be able to do anything and you guys should not hold your breath on that.

So, movies, I've sold Mistborn, The Emperor's Soul and Steelheart, all are in production, but that doesn't mean anything in Hollywood, in production can mean anything. None of them have started filming yet. Until something starts filming you should assume that it's a hopeful dream. Those are the hopeful dreams that people are paying me a lot of money for. So, there you are.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#23 Copy

Iceblade44

The original White Sand was the first of a trilogy so i was wondering what is your plan for the other two books? Writing them as books, graphic novels, or are you just to busy to actually do anything about it right now?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll decide when the graphic novel is done and out. Basically, we have to gauge fan response. If sales are good, and fans want more, we'll likely do them as graphic novels.

When I write more in Taldain, I intend to construct a new story, taking place after the events of the trilogy. (Whether or not we actually do graphic novels of the other two originals.)

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#24 Copy

Ravi

I'm curious how you were <feeling about whole process of> the graphic novel. <Specifically how you felt about the whole thing translating,> because I have the draft. 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

Ravi

<You were kind enough to send me that.> You know, you were very descriptive.

Brandon Sanderson

<And it didn't translate well?>

Ravi

Not so much-- although I did see <glimpses of you popping through>.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, so, I focus on the positives. <But there might be some things I might not agree with.>

Ravi

I think that's fair. Of course.

Brandon Sanderson

And I-- what we came up with was the < a list of a few things>... *inaudible* Like the only one that really bothered <me> was... where is the big battle?

*searches through the graphic novel*

<The big splash page> right there. I'm like... <when did this turn into> white people verse brown people? You've read the book. This isn't about white versus brown. This is, again, how did we end up with white versus brown? Why aren't these people wearing armor? These guys are the ones that are outcasts and these are the high society.

And so when I got this stuff, I was like, "Uhh..." These panels where they'd done earlier where they have the skin tones and the <the clothes for the Darksiders>, I'm like, "Really good!". But then when that one came together I was like, "Oh great, oh great, here we go." And when you put the whole thing together, some things came out really cool. Like I think the Darksiders turned out cool. The Darksiders were awesome. The magic turned out really great. But again, I'm like, "Where's the armor? Where's the cultural markings? Where's that stuff?".

But yeah, yeah. The thing is, the guy who's drawing them is Asian, right? So <he should, you know?>... alright, so that's my thing. But again, you've read the book. Like, where's <that detail?>... But that's-- when you give the story to someone else you have to let them <do what they will>.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#25 Copy

Botanica

Hey Brandon, may I ask if the red-haired woman on the Dayside map is a kind of depiction of one of Bavadin's personas?

Brandon Sanderson

She is not. Isaac designed that border without any explicit instructions from me, so while he might have an idea of who it is, it isn't someone specifically relevant to large-scale cosmere workings.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

So a lot of your books are very cinematic in nature and lend themselves very well to other forms of media and I was wondering if you had to choose what would you do-- video games...

Brandon Sanderson

I would want to do all of those.

Questioner

All of the things?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I would love to do a big cross-media sort of deal. Whatever I can get away with, right? So we're doing a White Sand comic book right now, you probably know about that. White Sand, my unpublished novel, we're doing a graphic novel of that. I'm working hard to get the movies made, I will do anything I can get made. Just because I love storytelling in all its different weird varieties.

Questioner

There's the Mistborn dice game, do you know of anything for The Stormlight Archive? If they're ever going to do something with that?

Brandon Sanderson

I think the thing we are going to do with Stormlight Archive-- We're going to try a chasm assault board game. Where you put together chasms and bridges and things like that. That's what we think would work really well. We have a developer-- well game designer who wants to do one of those so we're going to work with them and try to get it made.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

I was in the hospital and someone read White Sand [Volume 1] while I was there, and I didn't know-- Is the comic series going to continue on after the end of the book, that kind of seems like a very unfinished story, or if that's just a story that will probably remain unfinished?

Brandon Sanderson

If people really like the comic we will continue.

Questioner

Oh cool!

Brandon Sanderson

If they don't, I am probably going to do a book in the world eventually. It will be after the last-- like-- a different group of characters, but it will reference what happened, so you can kind of figure it out.

Arched Doorway Interview ()
#28 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The graphic novel we are working on right now is White Sand, which is one of my early unpublished novels. We felt we could adapt that to take the poorly written stuff out and leave the awesome stuff.

Rebecca Lovatt

Do you have any updates for the progress of that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's going really well. We just got a sample of the cover art for the first volume. I think they are collecting 6 chapters in a book, and there will be 18 chapters total. So three volumes, and I think we are almost done with the first six. One of the things that I told them is that I really want to be far along in this project before we release anything. Because The Wheel of Time fans got burned on their comic.

Rebecca Lovatt

I think that there have been enough instances of things like that, so I want to be able to produce something complete and say, "Look, we've got this much of it done and this much more to do. We've at least got the first 6 chapters, a complete book you can read."

Brandon Sanderson

Or it's like, we've got all this and it's only six months to the last one, it's not 2, 3, maybe 4 years.

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I was just wondering, in terms of the White Sand graphic novels, are you gonna keep those as graphic novels throughout? Or are you gonna jump into some more novellas and short stories that coincide with those?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right now, we're just trying to finish the... graphic novels. Next one's out in February, I think is the date they finally picked...

...So, right now, I'm gonna finish the graphic novels. I'm not gonna do other graphic novels until that one's done. I have a few cool things that I would like to do with graphic novels. I wanna make sure that we get the one done that we're doing, which will be three parts, White Sand. And then, when that's done, then we'll look at doing other stuff. I don't know, I probably will do some novellas set on Taldain eventually. But for right now, it is just the graphic novel.

But if you want to read the original novel of mine that I'm adapting with Rik Hoskin to become the graphic novel, we send that out to people. We used to just send it when you asked us, but that got to the point that my assistant was getting a hundred emails a day. So now, you just sign up for the mailing list, and it will all get sent to you. And if you don't want to be in the mailing list, you can just unsubscribe then, right? But that way, you can just get the novel. It's okay. If you're curious about early Sanderson, it was book number... eight... But if you want to read early Sanderson, it's good, but it needed editing. It needs to be, like, 50-75,000 words shorter than it is. Which is what we're doing to make it a graphic novel, we're just kind of slimming it down.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#32 Copy

Seonid

Would you tell me the intent of Bavadin's Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm…  Are we ready to release that?

Isaac Stewart

I don't know-- well we haven't-- We haven't written it into the scripts yet, but we've only done so many of the scripts so-- I don't know if that would be better place for us to reveal it or not...

Brandon Sanderson

If you're confident that you like what we're doing with it then we can release it now.

Isaac Stewart

Great. Well we had that big discussion and it sounded like that’s what we wanted to do.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, we're going to have Isaac write it. He's in charge of White Sand now. And you can choose whether to share this with people or not because it's not on the recording.

Seonid

Oh it isn't?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I talked around it on purpose.

Isaac Stewart

*writes* Autonomy.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#33 Copy

Questioner

White Sand, I know you're working to convert it into a graphic novel, how close is that graphic novel going to be to your initial--

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, so the question is about a book called White Sand, which is one of my unpublished novels. I wrote thirteen during the days when I was trying to break in. Several of them were good but not great. One of them was great, and that was Elantris, the one I published. There were a lot of practice novels in there and some that, with some revision, could be very good. One of those, the best of them, is called White Sand, and some of the fandom have read that. I mean, if you really want to read it, it's not up to the par of my current books--so read all of those first--but if you've run out of stuff to read you can email me and I email to people, just in my web form. But the book is actually pretty decent, it's got one major flaw, which is that it's really about 100,000 words of story stuffed into about 200,000 words of book, right. I hadn't quite learned how to do pacing quite as well, and the characters aren't quite as complex as the ones that I write now. So we are doing a graphic novel adaptation of that, because I felt that we can trim and add a little depth to characters and it'll be a great book, and it felt like it would be a lot easier for me to do that, working through scripts in a graphic novel format, because you naturally just trim, than it would be to rewrite the entire book. 

So we're doing a graphic novel, I'm doing it with Dynamite, who has put out a lot of really solid adaptations, it's one of the things that they do very well. They've been a blast to work with. Their illustrator is excellent, their schedule, they've been very regular on their schedule. I told them that I really would like to have the entire book done before we release anything, because, I don't know if there's any Wheel of Time fans here, but the Wheel of Time comic book had issues, with release times. So I'm a skeptic, because I know about that whole thing and so we're going to try and get the whole book done. So it's going to be a little while before we actually release it, but theoretically once it's done we should have the whole thing, or at least a sizable chunk of it finished already. So the big difference is going to be trimming that down. We'll also probably do a little bit more stuff with the cosmere than I originally did in it. 

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

 For the White Sand graphic novel, is it going to be a book for each novel?

Brandon Sanderson

It’s actually three books for the first one.  Because graphic novel--turns out my longwindedness, even trimmed down, takes a lot of pages. So once we finish those three, if people like them, we’ll do the second.

A Memory of Light Raleigh Signing ()
#36 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

I’ve been fortunate enough to read White Sand and Aether of Night and I enjoyed them very much. Will they ever be published? I also managed to read Dragonsteel and I enjoyed that too.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

White Sand will definitely eventually be published. Aether of Night, not so sure on, because Aether is two halves of two books that didn't fit together. The two pieces didn't mesh. White Sand is part of the sequence and will be done. Dragonsteel is part of the sequence and will be done, but it will be very different now that the Shattered Plains have been used in Way of Kings.

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

Questioner

I had a question about White Sand, we both read the draft of it, it's going to graphic novel. What's your involvement with that? Are you kind of passing over the draft?

Brandon Sanderson

We passed the book to the writer, the writer is sending us scripts, and we are commenting on them and things like that. There are a few big changes I've made to the story, that it needed, and things like that. But we are letting the script writer write the scripts and then we are reading them over.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Jamester86

So something I've noticed in the fantasy genre that I love is that my 2 favorite authors (Sanderson and Rothfuss) don't use the traditional fantasy medieval setting (that I love) of castles, knights, feudalism etc. Now there are plenty of great authors that do (GRRMartin comes to mind as one that does it right), BUT the truth is, a good story eclipses all minor details like setting. An example I always give is that Patrick Rothfuss could write about brushing your teeth and it would make a fascinating read, and Sanderson would make an intriguing plot with amazing characterization throughout the dental hygiene experience. But I digress.

My question (If Brandon would be so kind as to show up, and if not, if anyone has any insight) is why; why doesn't the cosmere have any traditional medieval fantasy settings? Mistborn has keeps, but the society is not the traditional technology and setting of the medieval time period, nor do any of the other worlds given us.

Brandon Sanderson

There are both in-world reasons and writing reasons.

The writing reasons are obvious. I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy in a faux-medieval setting. I felt that some of these stories were really good, and enjoyed them--but at the same time, I felt the genre had been there and done that. In some ways, GRRM doing fantasy with the eye of a true medievalist provided a capstone to this era of fantasy.

When I sat down to write, didn't want to write what I was tired of reading. Dragonsteel (which never got published) was bronze age, White Sand was industrial, and Elantris was (kind of) Renaissance. (As you noticed, Mistborn is somewhere around 1820's. I modeled a lot of the society around the fascinating culture/industry of canals as shipping lanes that happened in England right before railroads took over.)

The other big reason, writing wise, is that I feel some of the magics that I enjoy dealing with in my settings need a certain near-industrial mindset to be interesting. The stories I want to tell are about people applying scientific principles to magic--and about the commodification and the economics of magic. Those are early-modern era stories.

The in-world reasoning I have is that on some of these planets, those eras existed--but the books are taking place when the stories of the worlds start smashing into one another. In addition, however, the Shards have an influence on this, because of things they saw happen on their own home planet.

Legion Release Party ()
#39 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So the difference between the White Sand novel and the White Sand graphic novels, what was the thought behind changing Ais's gender?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There were a couple thoughts. The main one was, I just thought the character was more interesting. A lot of my early books, you'll notice I did a thing where I'm like "I want to make sure that I'm doing the female character really well." And you can see the problem in that sentence, and that is really how I approached it, I'd say "Well I want to make sure I do the female character really well." And I think I did do the female character pretty well in some of those early books. But you'll see a consistency to them, and this is just coming aware of your biases.

Now, there is nothing wrong with writing a book intentionally and saying, "You know what? Because of the way I want to write this book in this world, I'm going to make the cast almost all one gender or the other. It's when you're doing it consistently on accident, that there's a problem. And I had to kind of sit down and say, "Did I do this because I thought it was best for the character, or did I do this because I love Inspector Javert and I just wanna have to have Inspector Javert in my book?" And that's where the character came from, quite obviously.

And I sat down and said, "If I were going to build this character from the ground up to be my own character and I were trying to throw away all biases, what would be the best for the character?" And Ais being female was not a "I need more women in the book," it was more of, "If I'm throwing away these biases and building the characters, what works the best?" and I just really liked how that character came out when I was rebuilding. Yeah, anyway, we'll go with that.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#40 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I'll be very interested to see what people think of the adaptation.

Questioner

What do you think of the adaptation?

Brandon Sanderson

I like it, it's so-- The big change of making Ais a women is great. That's the big change we made. It trims out a bunch of the fat. What we lose is some of the world building and behind the scenes mechanics of how the magic works, that trade off it's like-- It's faster paced and some of the characterization is much better. Worldbuilding and magic mechanics, we lose a bunch of because that's something you do in prose. There's pros and cons, but i think it looks great and I'm very pleased with it.

Questioner

Is it something that you'd consider doing with any other of your work?

Brandon Sanderson

See, here's the thing, I've never wanted to do it for a published novel because I figure people have already read that. I want to be giving them at least something new.

Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
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Isaac Stewart

White Sand has an interesting background. Many of you know that it was the sixth novel Brandon wrote–Elantris–that was picked up by Tor and published as his first novel, but by the time Tor released Elantris in 2005, Brandon had written more than thirteen novels. Mistborn, which came out a year later in 2006, was Brandon’s fourteenth.

But White Sand was Brandon’s first novel. His third novel–Lord Mastrell–was a sequel to it. When Brandon wrote his eighth novel, right after the infamous Dragonsteel, he went back to White Sand Prime and Lord Mastrell and rewrote them both from the beginning, combining them into the White Sand we now give away for those who sign up for the mailing list. I believe this was also the novel that got his agent Joshua’s attention, and while Joshua didn’t offer representation just yet, he did offer some suggestions for a revision. Brandon also had a list of things he wanted to accomplish were he ever to have the chance to return to White Sand and revise it. But when Elantris came out, turning around and revising an old novel was just not in the cards.

When Dynamite proposed a three-part graphic novel several years ago, Brandon met with Team Dragonsteel and laid out his vision for White Sand. We pulled out his revision notes along with Joshua’s commentary from so long ago. We re-read White Sand and made our own notes, and together as a team we fleshed out what Brandon would have liked to have done were he to revise White Sand today without the luxury of rewriting the book from the beginning. We clarified character motivations, we strengthened character arcs, we changed the gender of one of the main characters, and we brought in stronger elements from the Cosmere at large. Together, under Brandon’s direction, and with Dynamite’s help, we crafted this into the canonical version of White Sand.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#42 Copy

Questioner

So, you know the White Sand graphic novel you made? Did you only sign, like, 250 of those? How many did you sign of those?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not sure how many. I sign them when people bring them by, but I'm don't know how many numbers there were.

Questioner

No, when you first printed it.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the numbered edition. I'm not sure. There aren't that many.

Questioner

I'm like, 199.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there's 200 or something like that.

Oathbringer release party ()
#44 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are you planning on doing more graphic novels, outside of the White Sand series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, there's a couple of things here. Like, we don't want to do another one 'til White Sand is done. They come to us and said, "We wanna do more!" because White Sand sold so well. We're like "No, you finish what you have, then we'll look at doing it." So, we're exploring other options, but we won't start any until what we've started is finished. I really wanna do the story I had for Mistborn, the video game, as a graphic novel with Ben McSweeney.

A Memory of Light Dayton Signing ()
#45 Copy

Questioner

All of the females in your books seem to be very independent, strong women; do you believe that you write them that way from your perspective, or is that your experience, or...?

Brandon Sanderson

There's a couple of things behind that. The first is that my mother graduated first in her class in Accounting in a year where she was the only woman in the entire Accounting department. That was in an era where that wasn't something that a lot of women did, and so I've had quite the role model in my life. But beyond that, it's kind of an interesting story. I discovered fantasy with a book I mentioned earlier, Dragonsbane. Wheel of Time was my *inaudible*, but I discovered Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, and my teacher got me to read this, and I came back to my teacher, and said, "People write books about dragons?" She's like, "Yeah, there's a lot of books about dragons; go read them."

And so I went to the card catalog, which we had back then in the Stone Age [laughter], and I flipped to the next title in the card catalog, and it was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery. And so I'm like, "Well, this has dragons; maybe this is good." And it was fantastic! If you've ever read Dragonflight, it's amazing! So I read through all of those in the school library, and I'm like, "Well, what else is there?" The next title in line was Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn, and so I read through all of those, which are also fantastic books, and one of the best magic systems in fantasy, in Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books.

And so I got done with those, and at that point, a friend came to me, who'd heard I discovered fantasy, and said, "Here, you'll like this book." It was by David Eddings. And I told him, "I don't think guys can write fantasy." [laughter] That was—honest to goodness—that's what I told him. I'm like, "I don't know if I want to read a guy writer; I don't think they can get it down." And so, I did end up reading Eddings, and enjoying Eddings, but my introduction to fantasy was through three women who have at times been called feminist writers—all three of them have worn that mantle—and that's still with me as part of what makes a good fantasy book, and I think that's just an influence.

My very first novel that I tried, which was not ElantrisWhite Sand—the female character turned out really bland, and I was really disappointed in myself, and I thought, "the book is terrible." And it took me a long time to figure out—like, several books of work—what I was doing wrong. And what I was doing wrong, and I find this in a lot of new writers across the spectrum, is I was writing people specifically "the Other"; people who are different from myself, I was putting them in their role, rather than making them a character, right? And this is an easy thing to do—like, you get into the head of your main character. They're often pretty much like you, you can write them, they're full of life, they've got lots of passions, and then, the woman is like the love interest, and the minority is the sidekick, right? Because that's...you know, how you do that. And you stick these people in these roles, and then they only kind of march through their roles, and so while it's not insulting, the characters don't feel alive. It's like one person in a room full of cardboard cut-outs, like "Stereotypes Monthly" magazine. [laughter] And then your main character.

And women are just as bad at doing this as men, just doing the men in that way. And so it's just something, as a writer, you need to practice, is saying, "What would this character be doing if the plot hadn't gotten in their way?" Remember, they think they're the most important character in the story. They're the hero of their own story. What are their passions and desires aside from the plot? And how is this going to make them a real person? And you start asking yourselves questions like that, and suddenly the characters start to come alive, and start to not fill the role. And you ask yourself, "Why can't they be in the role they're in?" And that makes a better character, always, than "Why should they be?"

Flop roles, too, if you find yourself falling into this, you say, "Okay, I've stuck—" You know, Robert Jordan kind of did this. The natural thing to do is to put the wise old man into the mentor—you know, the Obi Wan Kenobi, the Gandalf—role, and instead, Robert Jordan put a woman in that role, with Moiraine, and took the wise old man and made him a juggler. [laughter] And these two...you know, and suddenly by forcing these both into different roles, you've got... they're much more interesting characters. And you know, Thom is named after Merlin; he could have very easily been in that role, and instead he wasn't. And so, it made even the first Wheel of Time book so much better by making characters not be the standard stereotypical roles that you would expect for them to be in. So, there you go.

Also, stay away from tokenism. If you force yourself to put two people in from the same culture in your book, that will force you to make them more realistic as characters, because if you only put one in, you can be like, "All right, their whole race and culture is defined by this person." And putting in multiples can help you to say, "Look, now they can't both just be defined by that." Anyway, I went off on a long diatribe about that; I'm sorry.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#46 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Secondary Book Projects

White Sand

For those who don't know, this is a book I wrote around the same time as Elantris—but which I didn't ever sell. Once I was published, I considered releasing it, but felt it needed a solid revision before I could do so.

Well, that revision was delayed time and time again, until the point where I decided I probably would need to just rewrite the book from scratch if I ever did release it. An interesting opportunity came along a few years later, however, and that changed my perspective. You see, the comic book company Dynamite Entertainment had come asking if I had anything, perhaps an unpublished novel, that would make a good graphic novel.

This seemed the perfect opportunity to make use of White Sand. I didn't have time to do revisions, but another writer could take my words and adapt them (really, what the book needed was a trim anyway) into a graphic edition. We said yes, and started into the process.

I've said before, Dynamite has been excellent to work with. Rik Hoskin, the person hired to do the adaptation, is a fantastic writer—and he really managed to preserve the core of my story, using my own dialogue and descriptions, while cutting out all the chaff. The artist Julius Gopez, the colorist Ross Campbell, the letterer Marshall Dillon, and the editor Rich Young have all done a fabulous great job.

The novel is big (no surprise), so it's going to be released as three graphic novels. The first of these is almost ready, and we're expecting a release sometime next year.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#49 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any plans <for, like, having any of your novels made into graphic novels>?

Brandon Sanderson

"Would I like to have any of my novels made into graphic novels?" We're actually doing one right now. I've hit-- I've kept away from doing this for a while because I didn't want to just give people the same story. So <I kept thinking>, "Oh, I'll write a side story for something." But then that requires so much time for me, that if I were going to do that I'd just release it as a novel. So we <caught> this kind of weird place where I wasn't sure what to do. But then my agent pitched taking one of my books that was unpublished during my days that I was trying to break in, that was pretty good, and had a good magic system, but needed a lot of editing. And said, "Why don't we do that? Because we can edit it during the same time that we're preparing the graphic novel, and then do a graphic novel version." And that turned out really well. We got another writer to help me and do the writing-- someone who knew comic books. And the script turned out fantastic, so we sent it in as being turned in. They've done 5 out of 6 issues. And it will be 18 issues, but they'll issue them in 6-issue clumps. They actually will only be graphic novels, there won't be-- And there will be three of those. So the first of those should come out next year. The first six. It's called White Sand. If you want to read the book, I do send that book out to people who just write to me. Because I don't think the book as it stands is good enough to charge you for. So be aware that if-- But it was written about the same time as Elantris, and it's just a little worse than Elantris.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#50 Copy

Questioner

White Sand?

Brandon Sanderson

White Sand. So White Sand, if you're unfamiliar with it, it's one of the books I wrote before I got published and it's kind of good, but not great… We are doing a graphic novel adaptation of it, which is awesome. The person that we gave it to to do the adaptation, the writer, took my words and cut out all of the crap that it didn't need--which is why White Sand is kind of mediocre, it's half good and half just doesn't need to be there--and cut all that out, streamlined it and the art is going very well, but it's a slow process… Isaac or Peter do you guys have any idea?

Isaac Stewart

Umm... We've started on Chapter 5. So the book-- it's going to be three volumes.

Brandon Sanderson

It's going to be three volumes--

Isaac Stewart

And each one of those covers, basically, the ground of six six comic books.

Brandon Sanderson

..Just give us a release date, that's all I'm asking for. *laughter*

Isaac Stewart

We're somewhere in 5.

Brandon Sanderson

So they're working on the fifth part of the first chunk, which will be six parts. So, the first one will probably be soon. If you're going to wait until all three volumes are out, it's probably going to be a year or two.

Isaac Stewart

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

A year or two, right. So there you go.