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Brandon's Blog 2004 ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Interestingly enough, I’ve never written a sequel. After seven years and fourteen novels, you would think that I’d have tried a sequel at least once–but I never have, not really. (Early on, the third book I wrote [Lord Mastrell] was a continuation of my first book [White Sand]. I don’t really count it as a sequel, however, since I simply stopped mid-plot on my first book because it was getting too long. I declared it to be ‘book one,’ took a breather and wrote something else for a while, then came back and finished the story.)

Manchester signing ()
#2 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.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#3 Copy

irishlyrucked

I see all these titles, and I have no idea what you're talking about. Can you elaborate, please?

Brandon Sanderson

White sand and the Aether of Night are two good, but flawed, books I wrote during my unpublished days that I still consider at least partially cosmere canon. (White Sand more than Aether, at this point.) They're good enough to read, but I don't feel they're good enough to charge money for, so I send them to anyone who who sends an email through my website and asks.

Chris King interview ()
#4 Copy

Chris King

What are some characteristics of and how many other wordhoppers are there that we have seen excluding Hoid, Demoux, and Galladon.

Brandon Sanderson

You gave me really good wiggle room on that one. Obviously the other person with Galladon and Demoux.

Chris King

Right, the one from a future book.

Brandon Sanderson

His characteristics are-- What is he like? Some people have read his book so they know what he's like--

Chris King

Which book is he from?

Brandon Sanderson

He's from White Sand.

Chris King

Okay, that's one I have but have not gotten to.

Brandon Sanderson

It's only mediocre so don't worry about it. Let's see what other worldhoppers I want to give you clues about-- *long pause* There's a Terriswoman running around, if you keep your eyes open.

Chris King

I have to re-read it, everything.

Brandon Sanderson

Who else do I want to talk about-- Words of Radiance has a couple good ones, that will be pretty obvious.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

And we changed Hoid's appearance, in the White Sand.

Questioner

I couldn't even find him.

Brandon Sanderson

He's just, as I remember it--it's been a long time--I think he's just one of the cases Ais mentions talking about.

Questioner

Oh yeah, he's in the letter, no that’s someone else.

Brandon Sanderson

No he's just one of the people Ais' been chasing. There's just this one case that is mysterious to him. Like remember a lot of the early Hoid things were really obscure mentions.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#6 Copy

rockeh

Was White Sands inspired by that one episode of Writing Excuses, where you guys brainstorm sea travel on a tidally locked planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question! White Sand was actually my first novel, written starting in 1994. It wasn't very good, but I took another stab at it in 1998, and that version was far better. (It's the version I'm adapting to the graphic novel.) It was tidally locked from the get-go, as I found the idea of a planet with a "Dayside" and a "Darkside" very interesting as a fantasy world.

Legion Release Party ()
#7 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.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#8 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>.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Movie deal? Let's preempt that one. Yes, we are doing Cosmere as a movie series. *audience cheers* What happened is-- The short version so I don't get in too much trouble. The short version. We started-- They came to me for The Emperor's Soul, like three or four years ago. And I was like, "Emperor's Soul? You realize this takes place all in one room?" *laughter* And it turns out they're a Chinese company and they had been looking for good fantasy properties, and action properties, or fantasy-- whatever, they just wanted properties where they could feature a Chinese actor because they feel there aren't enough Asian people given roles in Hollywood. And so the company's specific goal was to do this. They're one of the production companies for Iron Man 3, so they've done some things. And so they came to me "Emperor's Soul stars a Chinese woman and it's this awesome fantasy story. We might have to leave the room and go to different locations, and stuff like that, or field trips. But we want to try and adapt it." And so I said, "That sounds really cool, go for it." So they bought Emperor's Soul and then a few months later I got a phone call from them. And it was a guy in LA, one of their American correspondents they said "Start working on how we would adapt this. Pick a-- Work with a screenwriter and things like this." And he said "Alright let's get some backstory, it's related to Elantris I'll read that. Oh Elantris is related to Mistborn, I'll read that." *laughter* So he called me having just read all the works of the Cosmere across about a month and having spent about eight hours on the 17th Shard's Coppermind. *crowd cheers* So that's actually how the movie deal happened. He called and said "I need all the unpublished books."

There are two unpublished Cosmere books I'll send out to people. They're not very good but you can write us through my website and we'll send them. Theoretically... So if you want'em-- It takes about a month or two to get back to you on them, but will send them to you. Because I don't think they're worth charging for, but-- One of them is White Sand, which is now a graphic novel, it's the prose version of that. So hopefully you can get the graphic novel and compare it to the prose. and the other one is Aether of Night. Which is really fun but it's like two books that never matched. Like how I have those ideas, right? So you read this book and it's like this mistaken identity, Shakespearean comedy, fantasy thing plus one of the Shards of Adonalsium trying to destroy the world. And it just doesn't mesh. But it's got cool magic. So if you want those you can write to us.

So he got those, he read those, he's like "I need everything." and got all that and I'm like "What do you want?" and he's like "I'm trying to convince my boss to buy the whole Cosmere." And he did, he convinced his boss to buy the whole Cosmere. Except for Mistborn which was optioned to someone else. So when people read the thing and said "Why are they developing Way of Kings first?" Well technically they were developing The Emperor's Soul first. That came back as "This a really hard one to develop because it takes place in one room." And so they're like "We're going to fast-track Way of Kings." Way of Kings is also very hard to develop, but that's what they started on. And when Mistborn became a available this summer they bought that and that's when they did the big announcement. "We now have the whole Cosmere and they put Mistborn immediately into development for screenplay. So I bet the screenplays come in at about the same time, even though they had Way of Kings for about a year longer. Adapting that book-- We want feature film because there are so few places to do a tv show right. There's like two markets, maybe three. Amazon, Netflix, HBO. That's basically-- There's so few options, and there's way more movie studios and things like that. If it doesn't fit into a film we all agree that television is next. But if the screenwriters can get it into a film that we like we'd rather do-- we'd rather do that. Our chances of getting something good go up. There are lots of markets for television but most of them don't have a budget, right? So that's what we're looking at. Everything's looking well. They're great people. Multiples of them have read the entire Cosmere now. And when I get phone calls from them I get asked questions like this. *laughter* They're good people, they're doing a great job. I can't guarantee we'll make any films, right? It's Hollywood. It took twenty years to do a Spiderman film. It took like twenty-five to get an Ender's Game film, and that's practially written-- When you read the story it has "Oh this is a screenplay" all over it. So I can't promise that we'll get it done but we're going to give it the old college try.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#10 Copy

Phantine

Would Lord Mastrell be a good name to disambiguate it [the original draft of White Sand] from the Graphic Novel and the Prime version?

Peter Ahlstrom

No, Lord Mastrell (actually spelled Lord Mastrel at the time) was the third book Brandon wrote, but it's essentially the second half of White Sand Prime. That book didn't finish, he just got to where he had written 243k words and said "guess that's the end of the book." Then Lord Mastrel was another 204k.

Both together cover the same amount of story as the later version of White Sand. Glancing quickly at the end of Lord Mastrel, a big difference was that Kenton got 6 months to prove himself instead of two weeks. (Also, for some reason Lord Mastrell has all manual page breaks. The horror!) There are also some...interesting differences in how the final vote went.

Brandon's Blog 2008 ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

MY HISTORY AS A WRITER

I’ve been thinking that I should give a little bit of an explanation of my history as a writer for those of you who don’t know. I think it might give you some context for some of the posts I’ve made, and things people are saying in the forums about my unpublished novels. Read on if you want a little context.

This all started in earnest when I was 21, about eleven years ago, back in 1997. That was the year when I decided for certain that I wanted to write novels for a living.

My first goal was to learn to write on a professional level. I had heard that a person’s first few books are usually pretty bad, and so I decided to just spend a few years writing and practicing. I wanted time to work on my prose without having to worry about publishing.

You might call this my “apprentice era.” Between 97 and 99 I wrote five novels, none of them very good. But being good wasn’t the point. I experimented a lot, writing a variety of genres. (All sf/f of course—but I did some epic, some humor, some sf.) As you can probably guess by me writing five books in two and a half years, none were very well edited and while I had a lot of fun writing them, they were done very quickly, and had a lot less planning than my later books. Not many people read any of these novels, and I only ever sent one out to publishers (the second one, STARS’ END.)

Around 1999 (I can’t remember the exact date) I started attending the science fiction magazine THE LEADING EDGE at BYU; I also took an important writing class, less because of what I learned about writing (though I did learn a lot) and more because of people I met. Through TLE and the class, I ended up as part of a community of writers, editors, and science fiction/fantasy readers who were serious about what they were doing. During this time, I founded a writing group with Dan Wells and Peter Ahlstrom (Fellfrosh and Ookla over on the TWG forums.) Other members included our friend Nate, who doesn’t hang out here any more, and Ben/Tage, who used to be one of the board’s mods and who is still often one of my alpha readers. Eric (St. Ehlers) was another of our good friends, as was Kristy (Brenna), among numerous others, many of whom don’t hang out here very much any more.

You might call this the “Golden Era” of my unpublished career. I was getting to one of the most creative points in my life, and was very energized and excited about the writing I’d learned to do. After practicing for five novels, I felt that I was finally in a position to do justice to an epic fantasy story. In 1999, I started a book I called THE SPIRIT OF ELANTRIS, which eventually just became ELANTRIS.

As I said, this was the golden era of my unpublished career—though I think the ‘unpublished’ part of that statement is important. I hope that I’ll grow and progress, and think that the books I’m writing now are better than the ones I wrote then—just as I hope that the books I’ll do in ten years will be better than the ones I do now.

However, the three novels from this era—ELANTRIS, DRAGONSTEEL, and WHITE SAND—represent some of the best worldbuilding I’ve ever done. Of the three, ELANTRIS turned out the best by far. WHITE SAND was good, though it will feel dated now if you read it, since my writing skill has improved quite a bit since then and it never got the level of editing and revision that ELANTRIS did. DRAGONSTEEL has moments of brilliance surrounded by some really boring sections; it had trouble because of the scope of what I was attempting. I think any of the three could have become publishable if they’d gotten the right editing and revisions.

Anyway, I wrote these books in 1999–2000. By 2001, however, this era was lapsing. I finished at BYU, and since TLE was for students, a younger crowd was taking over and I no longer quite fit in there. I continued my writing groups in various forms, and we started the Timewaster’s Guide as a project and forum for those who had worked together during that era of the magazine.

I was collecting rejection letters for ELANTRIS, WHITE SAND, and DRAGONSTEEL. I felt these books were good—very good. But nobody was giving them much attention. At the conventions, editors kept saying that fantasy novel submissions were too long, and that new writers shouldn’t be trying such beastly first books. I sat down to write MYTHWALKER, by ninth book, and halfway through just couldn’t continue. (It remains the only book I’ve ever given up on.) I was trying another epic fantasy, but I was increasingly disappointed in how poorly the first three had been received. MYTHWALKER felt like an inferior knock-off of my own DRAGONSTEEL, and needed to be rethought. So I stopped working on it. (Though one side story in the book about two cousins named Siri and Vivenna really interested me; they would later get their own book as WARBREAKER.)

The next little time is kind of the “Dark Era” of my unpublished writing career. After giving up on MYTHWALKER, I decided that New York wasn’t looking for my brand of epic fantasy, and that I’d try to see if I could write something else. I wrote three books during this era. MISTBORN PRIME (I added the prime later to differentiate it), THE AETHER OF NIGHT, and FINAL EMPIRE PRIME.

In MISTBORN PRIME, I tried to write a dark anti-hero involved in a story that was NOT epic. I tried to write something much shorter than I’d done before, forcing myself to stay away from grand stories or epic style plotting. The result was a 100k work (which is half the length of my other fantasy novels) which just . . . well, wasn’t very good. The magic (a preliminary form of Allomancy) was awesome, and the setting had great points to it. But the plot was unexciting, the character uninteresting, the story uninvolving.

Depressed by this failure, I didn’t send the book to a single editor. (Though I did show it to Joshua, who is now my agent, as he was curious and following my career at that point. He agreed that this book wasn’t publishable. He never saw ELANTRIS, he’d given up halfway through DRAGONSTEEL—which means he never got past the boring part—and had really liked WHITE SAND, but had wanted to see more from me before picking me up. He felt I still had room to grow, and he was right.

After MISTBORN PRIME, I wrote a book called AETHER OF NIGHT, which was far more successful. I think it’s the best of the four “Brandon tries to write more toward the market” books. At 150k, it was only 50k shorter than what I’d been doing during the ELANTRIS era, and I let myself play with slightly more epic stories and scope. At this point, I was trying for something with a little more humor in it, something with lighthearted, fun characters in a situation that was at times ridiculous and at times adventuresome. (A more David Eddings like approach, if you will.) It’s not a bad book. I probably won’t ever rewrite it, but it’s not a bad book. Joshua liked it just fine, and thought it was a step forward from Mistborn Prime.

At this point, my epic fantasy books got another round of rejections, including ELANTRIS rejected by DAW and DRAGONSTEEL rejected by ACE. I’d just sent ELANTRIS to Tor, but figured I’d never hear back. (They’d had WHITE SAND for several years at that point and never gotten back to me.)

Feeling uncertain about my writing and my career again, particularly since I felt that AETHER hadn’t come together just as I’d wanted, I turned my attention to trying the most basic of fantasy stories. Prophesied hero, orphaned, goes on a travel-log across the world to fight a dark lord. This was THE FINAL EMPIRE PRIME. Of course I was putting my own spin on it. But my heart wasn’t in it—I just couldn’t convince myself that I was adding anything new to the genre, and I was again trying for a ‘half-length’ story. Though there were no dragons, elves, or mythical objects to rescue, I felt that I was just plain writing a bad book. (Note that I was probably too down on this book, as it had some very inventive concepts in it, including a precursor to Feruchemy.)

I got done with FINAL EMPIRE PRIME and was just plain disappointed. This was the worst book I’d ever written. (And it is, I think, the worst—though MISTBORN PRIME is close.) Here I was, having written twelve novels, and I seemed to be getting WORSE with each one. I wasn’t selling, I was out of school working a wage job graveyard shift, and my social life consisted pretty much of my friends taking pity on me and coming to hang out at the hotel once in a while.

I think this was one of the big focus points of my career. That year, 2002, I made three decisions. The first was that I was NOT going to give up on writing. I loved it too much, even when I was writing books that didn’t turn out right. (I think this is important for every author to decide.) The second was that I was NEVER AGAIN going to write toward the market. It was killing my books. If I never got published, so be it. At least I would stop writing terrible stories mangled by my attempts to write what I thought people wanted. The final decision was that I’d go to graduate school in creative writing to get myself into that groove of being around writers again, and to also ‘delay’ for a few more years having to get a real job.

Enter THE WAY OF KINGS era. The last book I wrote before I got published was actually pretty darn good. I tossed out everything I was being told about how to get published, and just wrote from the heart. Over 18 months between 2002 and 2003 I wrote a 300k word book with a 180k outline/backstory/worldbuilding document. (Yes, the setting guide itself was LONGER than the previous three books I’d written.) Beyond that, I plotted the book as the first of TEN in a series.

KINGS was good. It had problems, but they were fixable problems, and I was extremely proud of the novel. I felt I’d found my place in writing again. I honestly think it’s the best of my unpublished books; almost as some of the published ones.

In 2003, I got the call from an editor wanting to buy ELANTRIS.

I suppose the story of my unpublished career ends there, though there’s one more side note. Why did I not published THE WAY OF KINGS? Well, a couple of reasons. First, my agent (Joshua) felt it needed a lot of work. (It did.) Secondly, it was so long that I think it scared Tor to consider it. They have published books longer before, but the market has changed since then, and approaching a book that length as an author’s second book made my editor apprehensive. He’d have done it, but he was already talking about how we’d need to slice it into two novels. (And I really didn’t want to do that.)

But more than that, I felt that it wasn’t time for KINGS yet. I can’t explain why; just gut instinct, I guess. I wanted to follow ELANTRIS up with a fast-paced trilogy. Something that could prove to people that I could finish a series, and that I really could write. I felt that launching from ELANTRIS into KINGS would be asking too much of my readers. I wanted to give them time to grow accustomed to me and my writing, and I wanted to practice writing a series before getting myself into something enormous.

And so—perhaps brashly—I looked at the two greatest disappointments of my career and said “Let’s do these the way they SHOULD have been done in the first place.” I took the best ideas from both, I added in a greater majority of other new good ideas, and I planned out a 600 thousand word epic told in three parts. My goal: A kind of calling card to fantasy readers. A trilogy they could read through and get a feel for who I was and what my writing was like.

Of course, then the WHEEL OF TIME came along and changed everything. I’m even more glad I did what I did, as I didn’t have to stop a series in the middle to work on AMoL. Plus, working on the WHEEL OF TIME has given me an unparalleled insight into the mind of the greatest master of the long-form fantasy series of our time.

Anyway, that’s a bit of history for those who are curious. Thanks for reading.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#12 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.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

You said you had thirteen books that you wrote before you got published. Did you ever go back to any of them, or are they all just totally trunkable?

Brandon Sanderson

So, number thirteen was Way of Kings--that first version I talked about. Elantris was number six. So those two got published. I ripped apart number nine and built it into Warbreaker--some of the ideas. White Sand was one of them but became a graphic novel. Some of them, ideas are still waiting to get used. Because some of them got ripped up and turned into Mistborn. I have reused some of the ideas, but some of them just--

Questioner

Yeah, but like-- but you did reuse some of the full book?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't ever--I didn't take any of the actual words, but yeah.

Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
#14 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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#15 Copy

Aurimus

Are you saying that Elantris has other worldhoppers in? I just finished the prose version of White Sand as well (i've never been a fan of graphic novels but didnt want to miss anything from the Cosmere) and didnt even notice Hoid in it, let alone other worldhoppers there.

So you created Vasher and then made them a worldhopper, and the magic system and Nalthis stemmed from there? I actually have another question related to that. Have you ever thought about something you wanted to add to the Cosmere - say, an idea or an ability or something - and then built from there, or do you always write a cool story because its a cool story and the Cosmere stuff comes after?

For example, did you write Mistborn E1 to introduce the idea of shards or did you write the plot and then realise you can wiggle the shards in there?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid's part in White Sand was very minimal. I believe he's only referenced, and doesn't even appear on screen. Though Elantris has the famous mural depicting worldhopping.

You have it right. I was designing Vasher, decided he was a worldhopper, and then filed away "I'll tell his backstory some day" in the back of my brain. The magic for Nalthis grew more out of the idea for a sympathetic magic than it did for him, but the book was always intended to be his backstory world, so knowledge that Shardblades (or a version of them) being involved was part of my core creation of that setting.

Every story happens differently. Shadows for Silence happened from a writing prompt, for example. But at the same time, I'd been imagining for years a world to delve more into Cognitive Shadows. These things just kind of fit together as you work on them in your brain. But I've started with story first, and I've started with world first. Mostly, though, it's a mixture of both.

By Era One of Mistborn I was already very certain what I was doing with Shards, and so they were there from the get go. I'd say in the cosmere canon right now, White Sand is the most oddball, since it was the only world I designed and wrote a book in (the 1997 version, which is different from the 2000 version) before I had settled on the mechanics of the cosmere. I then placed it in the cosmere when writing the new version.

All of the published novels were written with the cosmere mechanics fully locked in, however, and the interactions of the shards set forth.

Aurimus

Where is that [Hoid's part in White Sand]? I totally missed it? Is it possible to read the 97 version too, and LORD MASTRELL as well?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't send out the 97 version. It's just too bad. (Sorry.) Maybe some day, but not right now. It's the first book I ever wrote.

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
#16 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.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there any way to get the novel version of White Sand, or is all just graphic?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

If you want a novel version of White Sand, if you sign up for my mailing list, we send you the ebook. And you are welcome to print your own copy (as long as you don't distribute it) that you make for yourself. That's the best way to get White Sand. I don't have any plans to print them right now. It's possible that someday I will. So if you wanna be patient, maybe we'll do some Dragonsteel Edition, or something like that.