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Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#1 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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#2 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.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#4 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 ()
#5 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.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#7 Copy

AhoyMatey (paraphrased)

I picked up the Easter Eggs for Mraize being a Worldhopper. It was actually the sand that did it, having been fortunate enough to read White Sand.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Now there’s something odd about that sand. What color is the sand in WoR?

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

Questioner

Do we see Hoid in this [White Sand Volume 1]?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. *inaudible*

Questioner

Aw! Is he Hoid though or is he hidden?

Brandon Sanderson

He's hidden, but the further the book progresses the more obvious it will be that it's him.

Questioner

Cool.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know if he's done the obvious things yet. I can't remember where this one cut off. I'll have to go back and look because you won't be the only one who asks that.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#9 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.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#11 Copy

WeiryWriter

Current status of the White Sand graphic novel?

Brandon Sanderson

We have chosen a writer and the writing is quite good. We are very pleased with it, the person who's adapting the story. We have not chosen the artist yet, we have had several that have been sent to us. Each of them are doing an application with their art and we are now choosing among them. So if there's-- We are looking for professional comic book and graphic novel illustrators and so if there happened to be one of you out there who has done professional work in this field and has done--you have to be willing to commit to doing a lot of work and you have to work with Dynamite and things like this. Then you are more than welcome to contact us, but I think we are close to picking somebody.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#12 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.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#13 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.

Legion Release Party ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

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

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.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#15 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.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#16 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.

Kraków signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner/Translator

So this is the question about White Sand. Why did this text become the basis of a comic - this one particular text - and how was the work going on converting White Sand into a graphic novel?

Brandon Sanderson

So White Sand was the very first book that I ever wrote, or at least a bad version of White Sand was the first book I ever wrote. I started it in 1994 and it was terrible. But I liked some of the ideas so years later I gave it another try. And it became my 7th or 8th book; I can never remember which came first: White Sand or Dragonsteel. And it was much better but still not quite where I wanted it to be. So I never ended up publishing it.

When a comic book company in America came to me and asked if I was interested in doing a comic book, it <immediately> sprung to mind. Because they wanted to do an adaptation of one of my books except I didn’t want to do a book that was already published, I wanted something for readers that was new. And I’ve always felt that White Sand was close to being good enough, it was just too long, it needed an edit. So the primary process for adapting it with Rick, who is a UK graphic novel writer involved him taking my text and cutting it way down to just the dialogue and the actions. And he did a fantastic job, we’re very pleased with that, but he did most of the work on that.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

You said thirteen failures, right, with The Way of Kings being the thirteenth?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. My thirteenth.

Questioner

Are there any other [unpublished books] that you had-- that turned into published books?

Brandon Sanderson

Any others that ended up being published? Yes. White Sand, which was my first book, I rewrote as book number seven or eight and I eventually  turned it into a graphic novel. Big chunks of book nine turned into Warbreaker, and books eleven and twelve - one was called The Final Empire and one was called Mistborn. Remember how I told you about two ideas mashing together and what made the story finally work? The best parts of those books turned into a new book, the magic system of one merging with the lore of the other is how it worked out. So, um, I did not publish any of those books as they were written except for Elantris. The Way of Kings I started from scratch when I rewrote it, and Mistborn I started from scratch when I rewrote it. But certainly ideas that were part of that ended up in those books.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#20 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.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#21 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.)

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#22 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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

Mraize's Basement Emporium. Is that more like a trophy room or a "In case of emergencies" room?

Multiple people

Or a bank vault?

Or a weapon's vault?

Or both?

Brandon Sanderson

So, yes...

I mean, he can't use the Aether, right? ...He can't use the Aether, he doesn't have an Aether. But the sand, the sand does stuff. So a handful of sand is a really useful amount of sand to have if you're not a sandmaster. Because sand reacts to Investiture. So if you let it fade and you take it somewhere, as soon as Investiture goes kinetic, it'll turn white again. So you'll be able to use it to tell who's using Inve-- it works just like a Seeker, like bronze pulses...

So having white sand, having sand around is really good. If you can keep the little beasties that are growing on the sand around, they will react to basically the Investiture equivalent of radiation. So that's handy.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#25 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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#26 Copy

Only4DNDandCigars

Just wondering, I read the old version and it was great, but will I miss out on continuity if I skip the graphic novel release? Also was Hoid in this novel? I dont remember finding him.

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is referenced in the novel, but it's like Emperor's Soul or a few of the others, where he's only mentioned. We beefed up his presence for the graphic novel, though he'll equate to still just a cameo, because of certain cosmere timeline issues.

I don't plan to change continuity dramatically from the novel to graphic novel--just tell the same story, better. I hope that people will still read and enjoy it, but I also don't want you feeling left out if you don't get around to it.

Arched Doorway Interview ()
#27 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.

Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
#28 Copy

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.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

I'm a new teacher; my students are really quick to jump on me when I make mistakes. I was wondering if there's any inconsistencies or characters or any of the aspects of the magic systems you made that you could go back--

Brandon Sanderson

Absolutely. Every book. Every book, there are things that I would want to change. And it ranges-- there's a huge gamut of different things.

For instance, in the White Sand books, my first book that I wrote, that we eventually turned into graphic novels. I had a really cool magic system that was about manipulating sand with your mind, and things like this. And then I added in a weird thing where you could transform sand into water for no good reason whatsoever. It doesn't match the rest of the magic system. Because I wanted to write myself out of a hole. And as a newer writer, I did that a lot more. It ended up kind of getting canonized, and when we went back, I didn't fix it that fast, and so it ended up in the first graphic novel, and I'm like, "We need to fix this." So, the third graphic novel-- we've given ourselves enough wiggle room, fortunately, that I can be like, "And that's not what people thought it was." Because I want it to be more consistent. So you get that third graphic novel, and you're like, "Wow, they can't do this anymore?" No one ever did it onscreen, so they were just wrong. 'Cause that totally just does not belong in that magic system.

The Mistborn books, the original trilogy, I worked very hard to make sure I had an interesting, tough, but also compelling female protagonist. But then I defaulted to guys for the rest of the crew. And this is-- If you want to write a story about that, doing it intentionally, that's a different conversation entirely. But when you just kind of do it accidentally, like, I did, I look back and I'm like, "Mmm, I didn't really want to do that". But I did anyway, because of just the way that every story I'd seen I was defaulting to (like Ocean's Eleven, and things like this), where my models were, and I didn't take enough time to think about it, where I think it would have actually been a better story if I would have thought a little bit more about that. Like, there are things like that all across the board.

I did get into a little-- trouble's the wrong term. But in Words of Radiance, I reverted it-- from the paperback, when it came out, I reverted to a previous version that I had written for part of the ending. And that caused all kinds of confusion among the fans, what is canon? And so I'm like, "Oh, I can't do that anymore." But I had gone back and forth on how a part of the ending was to play out. A pretty small element, but a part of the ending. And I had settled on one. And then immediately, as soon as we pushed print, felt that it was the wrong one. But you just gotta go with it.

I don't know. I don't think there's a strict answer on how much you can change, and how much you can't. Grandpa Tolkien went back and changed The Hobbit so it would match Lord of the Rings. And I think I'm glad he did. Even if I would have been annoyed if I'd had the first version that doesn't have the connection. When I read it, it had the connection, and it was so much cooler. I don't know if I have answers on that. But every book, there is something I would want to change.

YouTube Livestream 21 ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

Is there an update to the combined volume of White Sand?

Isaac Stewart

This has been a hectic year. We've had a lot of things going on. I've had to prioritize things like the Kickstarter and the manufacturing of all of the goodies for that. In addition, I've had Rhythm of War and all of the art and art direction that comes along with that. It's just been a really big year. As things are tying up (as far as my involvement on the manufacturing side of things, we're getting close to having everything approved and in process there), I will be able to spend more time on the omnibus.

In the background, though, I have kept the letterers working and the artist working as much as I could, and I think all of the minor fixes... a lot of people know, there were electric lamps. And I hired my brother (who is also an artist), and he, in the latter half of those, erased a lot of those. There was a modern IV in one scene that we needed to erase. But I think that changes to the art, small things like that, are pretty much almost done.

There are a few other things that need some attention, and I'll be able to turn my brain to that here soon.

Brandon Sanderson

You're adding some pages and things, right?

Isaac Stewart

Yeah, there will be 38 more pages and a prologue to introduce characters a little bit more. Those are almost completely done. The writing on those is done.

There are some pages that are more world-building that are written by Khriss, and I have to find out where we have room for those so I know how many of those that we have, and then write out some of the worldbuilding. And that's what I'm in the process of doing right now. Getting really close to being done with that.

So that's where we're at on that. And as soon as that's done, we will discuss that with Brandon's agent and with the publisher and figure out where to go from there.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#31 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.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#32 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.
Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#36 Copy

Chaos2651

One other question, what is the name of the planet that Elantris is on?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantris: Sel

Warbreaker: Nalthis

Mistborn: Scadrial

Way of Kings: Roshar

White Sand: Taldain

Dragonsteel: Yolen

There are others, but I haven't talked much about those yet, so I'll leave them off for now.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#37 Copy

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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#38 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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#39 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.)

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

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.  

Questioner

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.  

JordanCon 2021 ()
#41 Copy

Karen Ahlstrom

And so we had a brainstorming meeting and said, okay, "Ais should be a woman rather than a man. We need more gender balance in the story."

And one thing that a couple of us thought about and talked about ahead of time was the very ending, because the conflict between Kenton and Drile was: are we gonna sell our services as mercenaries and betray our independence? Or are we gonna keep going the way we always did?

And over the course of the book, Kenton says, "Okay, we're going to sell you ourr services and we're going to sell you our services, and we're going to sell you our services." And so by the end, when he realizes that Drile is not the bad guy, having him die in that battle just seemed wrong. So that's why we had him survive and had Kenton say, "Okay, you had a good idea, and I didn't like the way you went about it, but having your input in that can be a very valuable thing."

That was that was one of the big changes that got made. And when we talked to Brandon about it in that meeting, he was like, "Oh yeah, you guys are totally right. Over time, you guys got better story instincts than I had when I wrote it in the first place."

Some of those big changes were kind of a group brainstorming thing. And that was a fun process to do.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#43 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>.

Mistborn: Secret History Explanation ()
#45 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.

A Memory of Light Dayton Signing ()
#46 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.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#47 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. 

YouTube Livestream 8 ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

Can you talk a little bit about why you changed Khriss's personality so much between the White Sand prose and the White Sand graphic novel?

Brandon Sanderson

I felt that the biggest weakness to a lot of my early writing (this encompasses White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Elantris) is that my worldbuilding was really working, my magic systems were really coming together, and my characters were flat and kind of boring. And this early work of mine, I look at and there's a lot of external conflict to characters.

And it works in Elantris. Raoden is a bit boring, compared to some of my other characters. But he has an enormous external conflict to deal with, and that actually kind of works. There are lots of movies, I mentioned Mission Impossible earlier. Like Tom Cruise's character in those: not the most interesting character. But he doesn't have to be, because in fact it would probably make the movies worse if you spent a lot of time on that. That's not what those movies are about. So if you have lots of tension and lots of external conflict, then you can have a character who doesn't change as much, who doesn't go through big character arcs and things. And it's not just fine; it's a selling point of the story. It's just a different type of story.

But the problem with mine is, they were all kind of the same person. They're all kind of the same level of boring in a lot of my early works. And so, when we approached the graphic novel version, one of the things I wanted to do was see if I can liven up the characters a little, if I can make them more like I would write them now. And that's what happened with basically all the changes in White Sand were attempts to do that: make the story more like I write right now. And I'm pleased with those changes.

The only thing I don't like about White Sand is, as we were new into doing this, we did not get the worldbuilding across in a visual medium the way we wanted to. I don't think that the worldbuilding made the leap. And we're trying to fix that with future things that we're doing. We're hoping that we can play to the strengths of graphic novels and not have them lose some of the coolness. Some of the things that were working in the White Sand prose didn't make the jump to the graphic novel as well as we wanted them to.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#49 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.