Advanced Search

Search in date range:

Search results:

Found 91 entries in 0.120 seconds.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Writing Fight Scenes

A fight should be more than a blow-by-blow. I've talked about this before. In a book, you can't get away with action for the sake of action—at least not in the same way you can in a movie.

With a visual medium, viewers can simply enjoy the blow-by-blow. Character X hits Character Y can be exciting. In books, it's dreadfully boring. I think I went a little too far toward that in this chapter.

What makes a fight work? Well, emotional impact for one. If we're tied to a character and think that they might be in danger, that can make a fight work—but only insofar as we're seeing the danger's emotional effect on the character. (Which is something books can do far better than movies.) Also, interesting discoveries and ramifications can work to make a fight more exciting.

Why is Elend forcing these men to fight like this? Where are the armies he promised? How are they going to win? Hopefully these questions drive the action. Thus the final way to make something exciting in an action scene is to show the characters being clever through the way they manipulate the fight or the magic or the area around them.

That's just my take on it.

WorldCon 76 ()
#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This is where the writers can exploit this a little bit, and it's always a balance, right, as a novelist. The original question was: Alexander the Great survived, famously, a punctured lung. And so, the fact that it does happen means you can get away with it in your fiction, you can get away with a lot of things. But as it was brought up earlier on the panel, one of the things we try to do in fantasy, and I would say the hallmark of an epic fantasy is the sense of immersion. That's why we are writing epic fantasy, we want to draw people in, and while you are reading this book you want to feel like this is a real place and these are real events that happened.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

I want to know how you get into the zone while writing. How do you go from normal Brandon Sanderson life to... how do you make the transition.

Brandon Sanderson

Usually, if I'm having trouble, going for a walk, turning on music, thinking about what I'm going to be doing for the day. Sitting down, turning on music and starting. If I'm having any trouble, reading what I wrote the day before helps. Usually there is not a difficulty for me but those help me if there is.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

I also have problems with an English major with creative writing and fantasy. I'm just wondering, how do you get past that? Because I'm also trying to go into teaching, and it's the same with research.

Brandon Sanderson

...The first thing you should do as a writer, is you should listen to what those people are saying and teaching and try to learn from them. I think the strength of fantasy and science fiction as genres is that people think the wrong things about our genre. You can find literary writers in science fiction and fantasy. N.K. Jemisin is doing amazing things with literary fantasy right now. You should be reading her books, they're fantastic. Gene Wolf, Ursula Le Guin; they imagine that fantasy is way more strict than it is. So, if you take a class with someone, see what you can learn from them, that's the first thing. The second thing is, don't back down. Write what you want to write, and don't let them talk you out of loving what you love. Go ahead and try new things but apply it to what you think is going to help you, and if you're willing to take the grade hit for it.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

When you take stock of the idea that you have largely been responsible for the cultivation of millions of writers *Brandon laughs nervously* to me, that's what you really bring to the world.

Brandon Sanderson

How do I take stock of cultivating-- Millions? I don't know if there are millions, but there are tens of thousands that watch my lectures and listen to the podcast. I think it's great. When I was trying to break in, the way I learned to write was by going and asking questions of writers and they took time for me. Captain Kirk sat me down at a convention once and talked to me for like an hour about becoming a writer, L.E. Modesit did the same thing. They were a huge resource for me, and we live in an era of social media where I can be a resource in a different way. When I was doing it I just had to try to go to a con and find them, right, there wasn't an internet-- I'm old guys, there wasn't an internet when I was a kid learning how to write and so you had to find them, talk to them in person. I can post these things out there. So I hope that it's useful. I hope the main thing that people take away from my writing is there are multiple ways to do it and there is no one right way to write. There is not a Brandon Sanderson method other than, the Brandon Sanderson method is tools you should try, and you should try George's tools, and you should try Stephen King's tools, and JK Rowling's tools, and everybody who talks about it, try the different methods they have of writing and hopefully it'll end up working out and you'll find your own method.

EuroCon 2016 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

I would like to make two questions for you. The first one is, when were you really aware that that was the book, or that was the style that could find a public, an audience?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, let me answer this one first. My first five books were very experimental. I wrote two epic fantasies, one comedy, one cyberpunk, and one space opera. I did this so that I could be very sure that what I wanted to do was epic fantasy. I heard a metaphor when I was young for dating which said, "Don't always just date the same flavor of ice cream. Even if you're very sure you love strawberry, date some chocolate, some rocky road, some variety of different ice cream flavors so that you can be sure." I say the same thing about writing. One of my best friends, Dan, first tried only writing epic fantasy, and was having a very hard time being a writer, and then he wrote a horror novel that was super, super creepy, and now he is a famous horror writer because he found his love in that genre. After doing this for five novels, I was sure that epic fantasy was what I wanted to do, and it is no coincidence that book number six was Elantris, the first book of the Cosmere written, and the first book that eventually sold.

BookCon 2018 ()
#7 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm in <a MFA and> one of the things I'm interested in is writing multiple perspectives. So how do you go about that and make the characters sound distinctive?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I think really distinctive viewpoints is a big part of it, particularly in the third-limited. It's much easier in the first to distinguish them in some ways, though it's harder to keep track. But in third limited you want to make sure your viewpoints are really distinctive. I always ask myself the question, "How would they describe a cup of water?" Would they see that as if they are thirsty, or how would they describe that thing...

Third limited gets away with a sort of more general voice of the narrator a little bit, to kind of lean on that as long as the focus on descriptions and voice and thoughts of the characters.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

Any advice for finding a good, constructive writing group?

Brandon Sanderson

Writing groups, your best bet is to find somewhere, like, at a convention, that's doing writing critiques, and get in on one of the group critiques that happen there, usually led by, like, an author or somebody, and see who's giving good critiques. And then approach them and see if you can start something up. I would say that's the best. University classes, you can get into one of those, some sort of writing class where you can kind of get a preview for how people critique and things like that. That's your best bet, conventions, or writing classes.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering, how do you feel about people using, like, the word "Allomancer" in their own stories?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I would s-- Depends on how it's used. If you're saying, it's for-- if it's the same magic system, I would recommend against that. If you are referencing-- like there's an-- actually a word called alomancy, spelled slightly differently, that is using sand to foretell the future. It's not like I have the thing trademarked or anything like that. So--

Questioner

Right, like, I was unsure, so--

Brandon Sanderson

But I would suggest coming up with your own magic system in your own terms. It'd just be a stronger story. But it's not like-- yeah, I don't have it trademarked or anything.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

As a writer, I tend to be more character-driven. I love what you've done with the character development of the two of these guys throughout the series. How much of them growing throughout the series, as you work on everything else, it comes together?

You know, characters I don't plot out as much. It's very easy to write them being cardboard. So, I try to let it be an outgrowth of what they're passionate about. Just kind of letting the passions of the characters drive their reactions in the narrative, and I think you'll never go wrong with that.

Read For Pixels 2018 ()
#11 Copy

Anushia Kandasivam

Now, you have been so very incredibly supportive of our Read for Pixels campaign and of our anti-violence-against-women work as a whole. Could you tell us, why do you support the cause to end violence against women and what do you think authors can do to help with the cultural change needed to eradicate violence against women and girls?

Brandon Sanderson

I think that one of the main things we can do is something that I mentioned a little earlier. This is specifically to the other writers out there. Using violence against women, specifically because they are women, as a main plot point in your stories, is not just kind of creating bad stereotypes, it is often times lazy writing. We do it because it is the easiest answer, and because a lot of media takes it as the easy answer, because it elicits immediate visceral responses in an audience. Kind of in the same way that potato chips are bad for you, I think some of these things are bad for us as a society. They are unhealthy, but they are easy.

It is easy to beat up someone's mother, so that the male protagonist has a motivation to go about their life and their story. And this isn't to say we shouldn't ever have people in crisis and characters saving other characters. But what we need to do is we need to look at and say, "Am I taking the easy route? Am I doing this because I've been shown a lot of media, where the way to make a male character motivated is to kill his girlfriend and to give him a revenge plot? Am I doing this just because I've been told this is the way that media is? Or am I doing this because this is actually the story I want to tell?" I don't think any of us are saying that stories should not include women who are in violent situations.

We shouldn't stop writing female characters who get into violent conflicts who are not action stars and things like that. I think what we're all saying is, we should stop the lazy storytelling and we should stop using stories where violence against women because they are women is the way that we further our plots. And so I think as writers, we need to make better stories. We need to not reach for the easy answer, we-- your stories will have more depth, they will be more interesting and they will last longer if you will reach a little further and you will find motivations for your characters that are different. And, I do not uphold myself as the ultimate paragon in this regard. I have a lot of characters who part of their motivations is based off of loss that they have experienced in the past. And you're going to write characters like this too, and it's okay, but examine it, and ask yourself. And, you know, remember that even if you're not writing for your story to be a-- something that is upheld, as the way people should be, you are contributing to the climate of storytelling that people who read those stories will assume is the way that stories are to be told.

Why do I support this cause? Because I am-- I feel very passionately that this is something that we need to step up on, as a community, as entertainers. And that we should stop using sensationalized violence against people, not just women, but children and people who are in weakened social-economic situations as sensationalized ways to make our main characters look awesome. So that's my answer on that, and we can also, like I've said a lot in this particular broadcast, we can listen a little bit better. And I think it'll make us better writers. 

Firefight Houston signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

So you mentioned earlier that you couldn't write and code at the same time because it used the same part of your brain. Do you have any advice for coders who may also want to write?

Brandon Sanderson

I would just say "separate it". Give yourself a few hours in-between. I don't feel that I personally could code all day, write during my lunch break, code all day, or something like that. But I probably could get up in the morning, do a little bit of writing, then go to work, code all day, something like that or come home, take two hours to play with the family and things like that. You've got to have time for that reservoir, does that make sense, inside of you. I think trying to go right into it might be a mistake. But it's going to be very different based on your own writing styles. Some people it might work for. You might like-- still in the mood. Does that make sense?

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#13 Copy

Yamato

Any advice for an aspiring fantasy writer? Besides the obligatory "Read a lot and write a lot!!!" Characterization advice is especially appreciated.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I do have my lectures on this topic. Go to writeaboutdragons.com and listen to the characterization lecture. I think you'll find it helpful.

Do remember that your characters should have passions, goals, and flaws that are distinct from the plot of the story. They can sometimes align, but a character should have a life and passions outside of what happens TO them.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you write books this long? Like, mental dedication to do that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know, it's all about breaking it down into something smaller, building it up as an outline. I couldn't do something this big without an outline. It's about step-by-step, right. Start with scene, go to chapter, go to sequence, go to book. It does take practice. Oh, yes, milestones are really, really helpful.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. So Mistborn, [he?] is complimenting the way it all kinda comes together at the end. So the question is, did I have it all planned out, and for Mistborn I did. I had a big advantage, and this is what i'll usually do for a series: I'll come up with a plan that really details the first book and has just a little bit about the next book. So I'll write the first book, then create a really intricate outline for the next two, then use that to revise the first book to match the next two, so the first one I get to explore a little bit further and go a little farther afield from where the outline was without impacting things too much. Then i can lock it in and write the other two. There are plenty of things I didn't have locked down when I wrote the first one, but then i did the two outline, revised the first one, and then wrote the second two books.

Warsaw signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner/Translator

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What is the best advice you got from a beta reader or editor on your female characters?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Stop treating them like a role and start treating them like a person. Most of the times when guys write girls poorly, it is because they are saying  "Well, this is the X. This person's role in the story is X," and then they make the person not exist beyond that. Every character, regardless of gender, should have their own motives, passions, and you should be able to know what they were going to do with their life if the plot hadn't smashed into them, and that can go a long way toward helping with that.

That was the big thing for me, was not writing anyone to a role... making everyone the hero of their own story. That was the big thing, but it was a process over time, figuring out treating people like characters instead of roles. That's kind of nebulous, right? Tell them to read a bunch of books by women, because a lot of them haven't, and that's part of the reason they're doing it poorly.

Oh and here's another big thing. The first way of being sexist in your writing involves writing people into roles, right? Into stereotypes. The next thing that people generally do, you'll see this a lot in cinema right now, is take the underrepresented group, or the token female or something, and make them awesome, so that they don't actually have any sort of-- they're just good at everything. Right? That's the next level of doing something wrong, and the third is where you're like, "Wait a minute. Let's make everybody kind of quirky and interesting in their own way, rather than putting anyone on a pedestal," and things like that.

And it's a process for all of us. You'll notice that like in the Mistborn books... I was so focused on making sure I had a strong female lead, that there is like no other women in whole the book. And that's a really common mistake... But you just get better at it the more you write.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

How do you handle names, because it's like the hardest thing to do properly

Brandon Sanderson

So, easy mode is to pick a culture, a real world analog to your-- to one of your-- each culture in your book. Go get a list of baby names from that culture in our world. Play with those names. Don't steal them; play with them until you-- try to find something that works for you. That sounds right, and things like that. Hard mode is to come up with kind of some-- learn some linguistics, and build the names based on--

Questioner

From the ground up, kind of thing?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, don't build the whole language, but kind of build sounds, the morphemes, this sort of stuff. And then build names around that.

WorldCon 76 ()
#19 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have any general advice for an aspiring fantasy writer, things I should be doing to try to--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. So, coming to WorldCon's a good start. I don't know if you found them, but going to any panels that editors are sitting on. Often, there's a panel that will be like, "What's new from Tor.com" or "What's new--" That's just a good place to watch what the editors are excited about and learn from them. Maybe if you see them at a party or something later on, you can ask them about the things that they're releasing, and stuff like that.

The number one thing that makes a great writer is a mediocre writer who's willing to practice. Try not to put too much investment into any one piece. You wanna put your whole heart into it, but don't base your whole career whether on that piece turns out right. I'm not explaining this well, but idea is that the purpose of your writing time is to train yourself to be a better writer. And hopefully the product is this awesome book that you're passionate about, but if it goes haywire, that's gonna teach you, sometimes, a lot more than anything else. So just stick at it. Practice. Be willing to do it regularly and consistently. And if you can teach yourself to be consistent, that's your number one goal.

I was asking my agent the other night, just last night actually, I'm like, "So what breaks someone in these days?" 'Cause the market's so different. He said, "It's the same thing that always broke someone in: they write a great book." He says, "I've never picked up a book by an author as an agent that I have been passionate about and thought was great that didn't sell." So it says that a good book still sells, in his opinion. Breaking through that agent veil can be really tough, and self-publishing is a totally valid method of going these days.

I have a series of YouTube lectures, which are my university course that I just recorded. So go give those a watch. We talk a whole bunch about writing and the business and things like that.

Oathbringer release party ()
#20 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How could I be a better beta reader? Because I suck at giving feedback.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's just practice. And try not to fix things, try to just give your responses to them.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Like how I felt about certain things?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, you don't have to tell them how to fix it, you just have to say, "I was bored here." "I was not empathizing with this character." "This line was really great." That sort of stuff.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

Can you talk a little bit about writing your action sequences?

Brandon Sanderson

Writing action sequences, alright, alright... So writing sequences. The trick to writing an action sequence as a novelist is to not try to do what Hollywood does well, on the page. Instead do what a book does well. What I mean by that is, I can watch, like I assume most people can, Jackie Chan, he can fight for an hour and I'm loving it. He can introduce physical comedy into it and just the punches and stuff are just great, the blow by blow is fun. But if you tried to write a blow by blow in a book, you know "he punched him", then "he kicked him", then "he punched him really hard", and then "he jumped over and kicked him" it would just get boring. And so the way I think to write and engage the action sequences is, number one, make sure the reader knows very soon on what's at stake and have them care about what's at stake. Number two, get them inside the head of the character, so what the character's thinking, feeling and what connections they're making. In other words, make the fight sequence into a puzzle. Your main character's got to solve this puzzle in some way, and maybe the way to solve that puzzle is to just stab a bunch of people really hard, but you want to follow that thought process and have motion in the scene that involves the character's desires, goals, and thoughts, and things like that, and you'll have a stronger action sequence that way. It's the sort of thing that movies can't do. They can't show you the thoughts unless it's David Lynch doing Dune, and then-- have you seen that movie? You know how that turned out, it was really weird.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Strategies for the Sagging Middle.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Middles are tough. My experience has been that the writer thinks the middle sags more than it does, because you're not at the exciting beginning wherever everything's fresh and not at the end with the climax. Stagger the climaxes. For instance, Words of Radiance, I built it and plotted it like three books with multiple climaxes from major characters at the end of part 1, at the end of part 3, and at the end of the whole thing. It'll make your novel read like a trilogy.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#23 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How many character chapters is too many? ...My first book has three character chapters, my second has six. I'm wondering if that's too--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Nothing is too many. It's good practice. You might lose control of it. My advice would be if you can keep those characters in clusters, meaning if you split them off into their own plots if they are together in one or two batches, it's going to be a lot easier. Adding more viewpoints is not too much harder when you're doing that. It's when they're all off on their own. But there's nothing that's too much, right? Even if it doesn't end up working out you will have taught yourself something.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

When building out your magic in your books, what process do you go through, they're certainly intricate compared to a lot of others.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question! ...I could give you three lectures on this, and I have done it before. Fortunately, I wrote it all down. So, I've got a couple resources for you, this goes for anyone who's interested in writing. My website... there are three resources on there. The first are my essays on magic systems. I've done three essays so far, my speech last years was my fourth, you'll have to find that online somewhere. Sanderson's Zeroth Law. I named them after myself, because, I mean, Asimov did it. *laughter* I don't think he actually named them after himself, but-- So, those are gonna talk about magic systems, how I develop them in-depth.

The other resource I have for you is Writing Excuses, my podcast. Fifteen minutes of writing advice every week. Start with January of this year. I think they get better and better as we've gone along, so this year's are better, and we started kind of a new thing.

And the last thing is, if you're hardcore, and you're kind of masochistic, you can watch my university lectures, which are a little more boring and dry, they're an hour and a half long, there's thirteen of them, they're linked on my website. And I made the university let me record them and post them online as part of having me in there to teach...

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#25 Copy

MarlonRand

Finally, do you have any advice for people that would like to write for a living?

Brandon Sanderson

First and foremost, don't give up. It can take a while. It takes time to master anything—whether it be writing, playing the piano, or brain surgery. People are willing to dedicate eight years or more to becoming a doctor. If you really want to be a writer, you need to be willing to dedicate the same amount of time and effort. Practice. Practice some more. Write a book, then write another, then write another. (I didn't sell my first, or my second, or my fifth. Elantris was my sixth book.)

Secondly, write what you love. Don't try and guess the market. Read the type of books you want to write, pay attention to what they do, and decide what it is you want to say and how you will add to the discussion. What makes your additions to the conversation unique? Write it because you feel it inside of you, not because it's what seems to be hot right now.

Finally, if I may make a plug, hop over to writingexcuses.com and listen to me and the others on our writing podcast talk about this sort of thing. ;)

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you find it harder to write from a male or female's point of view?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is harder to write-- The more different someone is from me, the more difficult they are to write. Gender is only one part of that, however, and so some characters who are very like me, but maybe-- maybe a woman, would be easier to write than someone who is very different from me but is a guy. But that's all kind of part of it.

Early in my career, before I got published, I was actually really bad at this; but the main thing I learned from that era of my writing was that I was writing people to a role in the story. It wasn't that I was bad at writing women, it was that I was writing all women as the love interest. Which resulted in bad storytelling and flat characters. And if you start to be able to learn: treat each character they are the protagonist of their own story, treat each character like they see themselves, not as a bit part, but as the story themselves; and start to explore who they are rather than putting them in a role in the story, your characters will get better all around.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

How do you hint at something, like you hinted at some characters in Shadows of Self without making it feel forced?

Brandon Sanderson

This is all the sort of thing that you judge using early readers. You put in what you feel is right, you have them read it and give you responses to it, and then you back off if they're feeling like it's too heavy handed, and you add more if they're not noticing at all. And that is the best way to learn this, just by getting test readers. Because your own instincts are kind of hard to trust on things like foreshadowing and things like this. So yeah, just get some good early readers and see what they do.

Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

When you're writing a book, and you're writing a character that's better at something than you are, like Shallan is very good at drawing, or Wayne is very good at imitating voices, how do you write that?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a good question. You get this old adage in writing classes where people are like "write what you know". And you're like, buuuuuut...writing about English professors gets a little old, unless you're writing literary fiction and that's like half of it. What do you do when you want to write someone that's better at something than you are? Excellent question. A couple of things. You can construct the perfect situation to show off what you want to show off, which is not how life normally goes. So I'm not nearly as clever as some of my characters, but I can construct the situation and then take like two hours thinking "Alright, what's the perfect comeback" Go get a burger and it's like "Ahh the perfect comeback". Like you might do when you're like "Ahh if only I'd thought of that. You can make that happen.

The other thing you can do is good research, and for a lot of things where it's a skill I don't have, what I try and do is I try to do enough research to get myself like seventy percent of the way there as an expert. And you can do that pretty fast, you take a couple of months, read a couple of books, and you can get yourself to the point that you don't sound embarrassing. Then you write the scenes and you find someone that is an expert, because that last thirty percent is what takes like nine years extra. And you give it to them and you say "Where am I wrong?". And since you've kind of done enough work that you're not just like completely out of left field, they can fix it usually, and they're like "Oh yeah, this is not something that a doctor would say", "This is not something you do, you fix it right here, but you got these parts all right, the context is correct". And that's what you want to do, if you can. Forums are very useful, in the internet age you can go and hang out, learn around people talking about all kinds of things. You can be like "How do these people think? How do people who think this way think?", and you can go there and get from their own mouths and their own voices, a lot of how they're talking and thinking, what their passionate about and things like that. And then you try to represent that the way they would represent it if they were writing the book.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#29 Copy

Dreamer129

Are there any useful exercises you could give to a writer who's trying to improve their technique? I've heard the one about four different people describing the same place, but I was wondering if you had any other good ones.

Brandon Sanderson

Try to describe an extended scene, with various things happening, four different times, once with a focus on visuals, once on scents, once using touch, once using sounds. See if you can evoke a different feel each time, using the same scene but different senses.

Practice both discovery writing and outline writing. Meaning, practice writing stories where you just go off on whatever strikes you, and practice writing a story where you spend a lot of time on an outline. Try to figure out which method works best for you when trying a specific type of story, and perhaps try some hybrids. Anything that helps you write better stories more regularly is a tool to keep practicing.

Try a dialogue scene, where you try to evoke character and setting using ONLY dialogue. No descriptions allowed. (This is best when you're focused on making the characters each distinct simply through how they talk.)

Finally, listen to Writing Excuses. ;)

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#30 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So my method of plotting-- I've been asked about, "Do I use seven-point story structure? Do I use three act format?" I actually don't use any of these things. So they're tools that I think are good to study. For me I use just a very simple: Promise, Progress, Payoff. This is what I focus on for plot,and I subdivide my stories into subplots and things and say, "What's the promise? How do I early on promise what type of plot this is. What's the progress? What's the payoff?" And you're asking how do you make sure that the hype lives up to the promise, and that is dangerous. The longer you go between books, the more that hype almost like-- I feel part of the-- If you're looking at The Wheel of Time, there were books when we fans were waiting for them to come out, that we were super frustrated by when they came out, that when I reread them in the whole series I didn't-- were less bothered by. It felt like, when I waited three years for something, the hype of what that needed to deliver was way different than when it was book ten bridging between book nine and eleven. And so that is a consideration.

My job-- I think that if your progress is right, if you can kind of-- like if you say, "We're moving towards something here," this is the sort of emotional reaction you're going to get from it by showing-- for instance, an easy way to talk about this is a mystery, right? If you want the mystery to be really cool, then it's your progress toward the mystery that's going to indicate what kind of reveal and surprise that's going to be. If, you know, the characters discovering clues and getting more and more horrified, then the payoff at the end has to be something horrific, right? But if they're like, "Ooo! This connection and this connection together are making something really interesting. If I can just figure this out then it'll click together." Then the payoff is, instead of discovering horror, the payoff is then, "Oh, this comes together and I understand now." So you need the reader to understand that's their kind of payoff, is it clicks for them like it does for the character. And it's really-- that progress is the most important of those three in a lot of ways. If you can indicate to the reader, "This is just going to be satisfying. This character is finally going to let down this burden. That's the progress we're working toward. It's not going to be a surprise, it's just going to be satisfying. That's how you do that.

There are certain things that there's just no avoiding the hype on. In fact, the further the series gets the more I'm worried about that, because-- in part because I'm such a believer in this kind of progress and things like this-- there are very few things, like in the Stormlight for example, that you'll get to that you will be super surprised by if you've been reading the fan forums, because the clues are all there in previous books. And so you just, I think, as a writer have to be okay with, if you're going to lay the foreshadowing, people will figure it out. And I can talk more about like, the third book has some big reveals about the world that I think the casual reader's going to be like, "Woah, mind blown!" where the people who have been on forums are like, "That's it? We've know that for years Sanderson!" But, you know, if you don't-- the only way to really surprise people is to do something completely unexpected. Which is, sometimes can be really nice, but a lot of times it just makes for a twist just to twist for twist's sake, so. I don't know that I've figured this one out a hundred percent across a series, but within a given book, yeah.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#31 Copy

Questioner

I'm really confused about how you, as a male with three sons, how you create <believable?> female characters.

Brandon Sanderson

Practice. Number one, practice. Number two, talk to women. So, write... you're a teenager, it can be hard, but write a scene, give it to women, say "What am I doing wrong?" And then see, it's even better, back up a little bit, start thinking of characters as their passions, and their life experience, not just by their role in the story. That's a big a problem that a lot of people run into, it's that they go "oh, this is the romantic interest", and so you make them the romantic interests, and so you don't give them a full spectrum of emotions and characterization like you do to the protagonist. And so, try those things. Have you listened to my podcast?

Questioner

No.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay. Podcast. Start in January '15, but also look for podcast about "Writing the other", we have people come on and talk about this sort of thing. Alright? You can just push Play on a browser, you don't have to do a podcast thingy.

Footnote: Brandon likely refers to S7E40: Writing the Other (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/09/11/writing-excuses-6-15-writing-other-cultures/), of his podcast Writing Excuses.
Warbreaker Annotations ()
#32 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Two

Siri Lies in Bed and Decides to Take Charge

Reading through this scene again, I feel like it needs a bit of a trim. Ah well. There are always going to be sections like that that make it through.

I felt that there needed to be a scene where Siri finally stopped looking toward the past and berating herself for not being more like Vivenna. For her to step forward and become the woman she must be, she needed to do it of her own choice, with her own motivations. She needed this chance.

Sometimes in writing classes or in books on telling stories, they'll mention a moment somewhere in act two where the character decides to take charge. I always dislike explanations like that, since I think it's too easy for newer writers to look at such explanations as an item on a checklist that you have to do. I never use things like that. I don't think, "This is act two, so the characters need to do X." The tendency to follow a formula like that is part of what bothers me about the screenwriting profession. It seems like if you always follow the rules, there's never any spontaneity in a book.

Still, those guidelines and suggestions are used by a lot of people who tell good stories, so I guess you use what works for you.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#33 Copy

Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

Advice for worldbuilders that are trying to create a scientific-based fantasy?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Learn to differentiate between the three kinds of what we talk about with science-based magic. One is internal logic. One is logic with the world. And, oh, what is the third one? For instance, "logic with the world" meaning, "This is an explanation of how the magic actually could come to be." And a logic with "This is trying to break one rule, and then keeping the others as consistent with our universe as possible." With the difference being, like, for instance, Investiture keeping the laws of thermodynamics except for the fact that it exists is kind of a reference to the third. We're letting rules affect the laws-- the laws of our universe, we're trying to tie into that. You don't have to do that. Internal logic is the most important. Then the other one would be, kind of, the "How does this magic arise out of the nature of the universe? How could I take a few steps extra? Can I make it realistic?" That's a completely different rule. So look at those three things.

Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

Is that where you fit Investiture in the magic? Matter, energy, Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right, that's where I'm trying to do a little bit of all three of those things. But you don't have to. Understand that you can do one of the three.

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

Questioner

How do you come up with all the different worlds, the magic systems, the religions, the-- everything. How do you come up with it?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. It's a bigger question than I can really answer right now. But I can give you a few tips and I can point to places where I've answered it better. I've written three essays called Sanderson's First Law, Second Law, and Third Law... Those explain my theories on magic systems, that'll help you a lot. The real thing I'm searching for is conflict. I want to have interesting conflict to each world element that I'm spending my time on. Spend your time where there is going to be conflict. If you've got a story where the conflict is all religious and the character's religion is kind of an intersection between religion and something else, spend your time building your religions. Make them interesting, work things into them. But maybe you don't need to spend all your time building the linguistics for that world. Spend your time as the author on the things that are going to be full of depth and conflict and importance to the characters and don't worry about everything else. Unless you want to pull a Tolkien and spend twenty years preparing. Which-- I mean, you can do. I can't complain about the way Tolkien did it. But I prefer to be able to release a book every year as opposed to every twenty years.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

It's National Novel Writing Month. Do you have any advice for amateur writers jumping into this endeavor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, NaNoWriMo. I did this for many years before I got published. I was already writing, my friends were all doing it, so I'm like, "Yeah, I'll keep going and, then I won't tell you guys my word count because then you'll feel bad." *laughter* We always had, like, a race board posted on a website, that just posted what the daily count was supposed to be. I often doubled it. So, I was like this even back then. I would say, for you, to-- Number one, don't let the word count goal intimidate you. If you don't get 50,000-- the whole goal is just to get you out of your writing comfort zone. So, for you, 25,000 is where you're going, and you actually still do that, that's fine. 50,000 isn't a novel anyway, they just say it is. I mean it is technically a novel, but I mean, how many novels are 50,000 words? There's not very many. A lot of middle grade is around 50,000 words. I would just go for it. The other thing is, have a daily habit of when you're going to write, and try to make that sacrosanct and get into this habit of, I'm writing for these two hours. And kind of unplug during those two hours and write during those two hours. Worry less about what your word count is you're hitting. Do try to not self-edit. That's the biggest thing that's gonna to help you. If you're not going back and revising and revising and revising, and you're pushing forward-- the goal is to teach yourself to finish something and to push forward and turn off your internal editor.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#36 Copy

Questioner

I write as well, and I was wondering what books you use to improve your own writing?

Brandon Sanderson

I have found both of Orson Scott Card’s books to be very good. Stephen King's book is very good. I find that my writing improves more when I read people's writing that I admire and then ask myself what they did well. That helps me more than some of the textbooks. 

Questioner

That's kind of how I was feeling too, for myself, so excellent.

Brandon Sanderson

Breaking down someone who's really good at this, like Anne McCaffrey, or somebody like that, and saying "what is she actually doing?".

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#37 Copy

Yamato

I am currently trying to write a book in which the world is drastically different from earth. Do you think it is too ambitious to start out with such a complex setting?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not at all. Just don't try TOO hard to describe every aspect of it. It's good to be ambitious. However, be careful to keep you number of viewpoints down for your first few attempts--that will spiral out of control faster than worldbuilding will. Don't feel the need to explain too much, keep the focus on the characters, and you should be fine.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#38 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I wanna write books, too... One thing that really drags me down is that I'm afraid that my book is gonna be too short. Do you have any tips for beefing up your story?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, if you add paragraphs about the architecture, *laughter* and where the clothing comes from--

Number one way to add length to a book without making it feel irrelevant is to start adding viewpoints form other characters who have a different take on what's happening in the story, and by naturally adding in some of those viewpoints and giving them their own arcs, you will lengthen the story in a way that feels natural. It will start to edge it into a different genre. The more of those you add, the more it's going to feel like a different style of story, either a historical epic or an epic fantasy or things like that, so you do want to be careful with it. But if you get done and your story's 50,000 words, and you want it to be 80,000 words, that can be a really good way to do it.

But honestly, I wouldn't stress about this too much. There are fantastic books that are 50,000 or 60,000 words long that get published. I don't know how long the new Stephen King one is, but it's like 180 pages. So it's probably, like, 40,000 or 50,000 words. Like, A Christmas Carol is what, 30,000, or something like that? Write the book; practice at the length you are comfortable in. And if it's consistently a problem that things actually end up too short, then start asking about, "Can I add subplots? Can I add other characters to give a different perspective on this?" But I wouldn't stress it too much at the beginning.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#39 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you ever find that you are producing content so quickly that your mind comes up with a better idea after percolating for a while, and the book is already published? And if that does ever happen, how do you handle it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This is dangerous, right? I think every author wants to go back and tweak things. And there is a fine line between pulling a Tolkien, where you go back to The Hobbit and you revise the ring conversation so it matches The Lord of the Rings, which has now become a classic conversation, we're all glad he did that, right? It ties The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings together better, it was a good revision. There is a fine line between that and Lucas-ing your work, right? Where instead of taking something and tweaking something to make it better, you tweak it just to make it different. I think there is a fine line there. There is a quote often ascribed to da Vinci, that a lot of people say it isn't his, but it's the idea that, he (maybe) said "Art is never finished, it is only abandoned."

You really have to take that perspective as an artist, you have to eventually just let things go. Not to sing an Elsa song, but you just gotta be willing to say "I'm done." And you are always going to have better ideas later on or ways you could tweak it. And more, it's not that you have better ideas. What happens is you change as an artist, and your goals change over time and the way you would approach something changes over time. While I've played in this realm, I've settled on that I should just avoid this most of the time. You could always tweak it to be better, and you've got to release something sometime.

I do find it very useful to finish something, write something else, then come back to the thing I've finished, because that gives me the right amount of balance between giving it time to rest so that I can approach it with fresh eyes, and also being regular with the releases. I haven't ever felt like I'm going too fast. I have had things that don't turn out too well, but those I just don't release. That happened with Apocalypse Guard last year where I wrote the book, I gave it some time, I came back and looked at it and it just wan't-- it didn't work. It was broken, it was not good, and I'm just like, "I've got to set this aside and think about it."

It's weird. Writing has a little bit more performance art to it than as a non-writer you might think. Meaning who you are in the moment, when you are creating this thing, the connections you make while you're making it are deeply influential to how the piece of art turns out. It's like you're freezing a moment in time for that author. Rather than trying to create the perfect work you are creating a reflection of who they are when they made it, and you have to kind of be okay with that as a writer.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering what made you so interested in the super rules-based magic system. Because you're probably one of the best at that, and in every different universe you manage to create a complete unique set of rules-based magic and they're all completely unique.

Brandon Sanderson

So there's a panel on magic tomorrow, so I hope I don't repeat myself too much. But the whole rule-based magic thing came about mostly because I was looking for holes in the market, right? Like, things people weren't doing that I wish they were doing. I often say to new writers, "Find the books that nobody's writing, that you want to read, and try to write those." That sounds-- I mean, that's just very vague. I don't know how useful that is, but that's kind of what I was doing.

But at the same time I like-- there are lots of soft magic systems I like. Uprooted which came out a couple years ago. It's a really great book with a very soft magic system. So it's not like I feel like magic has to be done this way. But I found something I was good at, that I didn't think people were doing enough of, that I felt like people would want to read, and so that kind of became my thing even before I published. Like when I was writing my books only for my fri-- I wrote thirteen before I sold one, if you guys know about that-- And so when I was writing those books it was, "What weird setting is Brandon going to do?" Because fantasy through the 80s and 90s-- I mean, there's lots of great writers. I love them. But I felt like they were really safe with their settings, and they didn't-- they explored other directions really well. But it-- we had a lot of these kind of faux-Medieval, elemental-base magic systems, and cultures that were very "England, but not England." And I'm like, "Well, fantasy should be the most imaginative genre. Where can we push it? Where-- what different things can we do?" And so I tried that during those years. The magic systems kind of grew out of that. Like, "What are people not doing?"

I will say there are some people who have done it even in the past. Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books. I've really liked those. Those kind of have-- it's not scientific, but it's rule-based, which is kind of-- are two different things. Being consistent is one thing, and then trying-- like I try to play off of physics and make it feel like it's playing off of physics when it's really not, because I'm a fantasy writer, right? Like.--

Questioner

In Mistborn it's pretty physics.

Brandon Sanderson

Pretty physics-- But even in Mistborn, right like if you-- the time bubbles-- speed bubbles. Like I have to fudge some things. Like I spoke with my assistants, like, "Alright, what would happen if we build these?" And we're like, "Well first thing would happen is that it would change the wavelengths of light and irradiate people." You know, like this sort of thing. We're like-- we just have to make a rule that it doesn't irradiate people. You can't just take a flashlight and melt people. Yes, you just have to come up with some-- And so for me, a lot of the big difference, I say, between a fantasy writer and a science fiction writer is, the science fiction writer is forward-- each step trying to be plausible-- and the fantasy writer a lot of times drafts it backward. "Here's a cool effect. Can I explain this in a way that makes it feel like it's real and logical?" But I'm working backward from the fact, not forward from what's happening here.

WorldCon 76 ()
#41 Copy

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Say I'm excited about this, but I'm going to stake a claim on the panel's official cabbagehead position. Every time I'm on a panel or doing a podcast it is good to have a cabbagehead. Which is, I'm the writer, right? My job is, I've found, to know enough about these things to be dangerous, so if there are writers out there and you're feeling a little overwhelmed by this, here's how I approach it. I, when I was first writing epic fantasy I found out a few of these things, and I'm like, "Oh no, this kind of destroy the types of stories I want to tell."

But the more I learned the more I realized, no, it can shape the types of stories I want to tell it doesn't have to destroy them at all. What I did was I used this kind of rule, that is it takes actually a fairly brief amount of time to become dangerously knowledgeable in a subject. Like say, if you can get yourself 20 or 30 percent of the way there, you know enough to know what you don't know. My goal is to always get myself there with research, usually on pop-history books or pop-medicine books or things like this. Write my stories, and then to find an expert, which I've used extensively, particularly in the Stormlight books, where one of my characters is a field surgeon, that's his training, and go and say "What am I doing wrong?"

Usually, the response I get from the medical professionals is "Wow, this isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, you're still wrong about a ton of things. But you don't have to rip apart your story, the fundamentals are there, you know that a gut wounds is really dangerous and often takes a long time to kill. You know about these things and you are trying to deal with them and approach them. I can give you some tips to make it more authentic." That balance has just worked wonderfully well for me. 

Firefight release party ()
#42 Copy

Questioner

For new writers is there pitfalls in trying to use, like, a more famous story to tell their story?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I don’t think there are any major ones, just make sure the serial numbers are filed off enough. You know the best versions of these things are like when you realize-- well we talked about-- The Lion King, is Hamlet and when they sat down with Hamlet and said "We’re going to do Hamlet with talking lions" they made it different enough to claim it as their own. And that’s the real thing you have to do, is make sure you're claiming it as your own.

WorldCon 76 ()
#43 Copy

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

One of the things I relied on my surgeons for when I was working was, they would periodically say, "Cauterize this one, not this one." I'm not sure I ever really figured out why, but I just did what they said. But I think that could be really handy for the audience. Any suggestions?

Panelist 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, I had that on my list. So, cautery has been around for a very long time, and properly applied it can both stop bleeding, what we mostly use it for now, and limit infection by sealing the skin. So that's a perfectly valid therapy from way way back. 

Panelist 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

From a surgeons perspective cautery is a primary tool that I use in the operating room all the time. Mainly on small vessels. In the same, when you're doing abdominal surgery is that charcoal doesn't bleed, today. The problem with cauterizing a very large vessel is that it will stop the bleeding, and then the eschar, the charred part falls off and it starts bleeding again. So cauterizing your entire arm to stop bleeding is not as effective as cauterizing, say, an open bleeding wound that doesn't involve a major blood vessel.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#44 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What do you wish that you could have asked your favorite writers about writing when you first became a writer? And what do you think they would have said?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This one is easy. I would have said, "How do you finish your book, Mr. Jordan? Specifically: X, Y, and Z that you didn't put in the notes."

Otherwise-- You know, a lot of the things that you do as a writer aren't about what you ask other writers. And a lot of the advice you'll get as a writer won't work for you until you have written. So I wouldn't have known the right questions to ask them until I was struggling through that myself.

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

Questioner

I was just wondering how you come up with the names in your books?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the book.

Questioner

Is it usually like a cultural tie-in kind of thing or...?

Brandon Sanderson

It's one of two things. Either I go for a cultural tie-in, like you say-- that's if I want to do a shorthand. Something just a little bit easier because I'm not building the linguistics out. Like Mistborn is an example of this; I didn't build the linguistics of Mistborn. The linguistics-- I'm just like, "This is a French sounding area, this is uh--" You know, because I spent my worldbuilding time on other things. But in Roshar I spent a lot of time on the linguistics. I don't want the names to just sound like names from our world. Roshar is most different. It's not an Earth analog. And so I built the linguistics. Or I sometimes do kind of a hybrid, where I pick some weird linguistic trait and I build names around it. Like Warbreaker was this. I'm like, "I'm gonna use the repeated consonant sound as a theme, so you always know who's from what culture." And so you end up with Vivenna and T'Tellir and things like this, where it sounds like people are stuttering to those from other cultures.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#46 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm writing a fantasy book that's like D&D. Do you have any advice for me? I'm about 6000 words.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

A lot of great science fiction and fantasy have come from roleplaying campaigns. Not just Dragonlance, but also the Malazan Book of the Fallen started as a roleplaying campaign. And you will find this happens time and time again. Do understand that the things that you guys experience in your roleplaying session that are really funny are probably not going to be funny on the page, because they're funny in the situation, so you have to work on making the characters all work on the page, not as they work in your-- together. Make sure everyone's on board for you lifting and borrowing the stuff for your story. And make sure you don't use any of the Wizards of the Coast trademark things. For instance, you can't use Beholder. That's a trademark thing. But you can use zombies, because zombies are in everything. So learn the difference there.

But just have fun with it. Your job right now, as a newer writer, is just to write and practice. And that practice will teach you how you want to approach your stories as you move forward. And the more you you do it, the better you'll get at it. And the more you'll know what you need in order to make it better. And that can start from anywhere. That can start from a D&D campaign. That can start from a silly song lyric you hear. It can start from fanfic. It doesn't matter where it starts. The chore you have is to practice it and learn what works on the page, as opposed to what works in person.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#47 Copy

Questioner

At what point in your career were you able to write full-time, and what led to your decision to incorporate Dragonsteel?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question! ...When did I go full-time? I went full-time before it was comfortable to do so. And my recommendation to most writers is the same. What I did is, I quit my job at the hotel the moment I got my first check. It was $5,000. But, I was working for, like $7/hr, so it wasn't like I was giving up a ton. I did keep my university courses, teaching those, as supplementary income, which I didn't quit until the next year, I spent another year teaching my university courses, I only kept on hold of one university class, my creative writing class.

I incorporated, about two or three years later, at the advice of a tax professional who said "This is a smart idea," incorporating, putting everything under the corporation's name. That way, if someone claims you plagiarized, and you have to go through a big lawsuit, the lawsuit is with the corporation and not you, and it protects you.

I think those were both very smart decisions. Going full-time before I felt comfortable, and incorporating. Incorporating cost 500 bucks, you just get a lawyer that specializes in this. It is totally worth that, plus deductions are way easier with a corporation. Like, you know, when you're deducting something on your own, they might look askance at some of the deductions you do, whereas when you're a corporation, you're so small-time as a writer that, who cares if they're not getting $3,000 for whatever. But it is fun, I do get to deduct my movies, when I watch movies, all of my video game systems and video games. Deductions! I get money every year from video game companies, and I have to stay up on what they're doing! You can have some fun deductions related to things like that.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

How do you keep motivation for writing in general, because i always have a lot of trouble with that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, well that depends on what part of my career you are talking about. Early on I envisioned this cubicle chasing me and if it caught me i'd have to get a normal, boring desk job. That was actually a big motivation to me, because it was like I only had a certain amount of time to do this thing that I loved and if I didnt actually sit down and do it I was gonna have to be a real boy. After i got published and it got a bit hard I started using the carrot philosophy; i would let myself open up a new pack of magic cards if I hit a certain word limit every day.

Questioner

Oh, thats really cool!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, and that worked really well during the hard years when I was trying to get through the Wheel of Time. They were great books but they were so hard to write cause they were way harder than writing my own fiction. Now I don't really need that anymore, now its kinda become this thing where I have all these fans who are waiting for things and I have to make good on the promises I've made to them. Now its more like a "i need to do this", so yeah.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#49 Copy

Questioner

I'm working on being an author as well. How do you worldbuild?

Brandon Sanderson

You look for what is going to be relevant and importnat to your characters, and spend your time there. So don't, for instance, build a whole bunch of new languages for a world where all your characters are going to be from the same country, and the languages don't play a relevant part. That is what I would say, particularly in the beginning. If you feel you need more to help you make the world feel fleshed out to you, do that. But worldbuild in service of the story you want to tell.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#50 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the most important thing about writing a villain.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

In my opinion, relatability. You have to see the evil in them being the evil in you, and the things that are-- See that they have something that makes them human, makes them redeemable...