Words of Radiance Portland signing

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance Portland signing
Date
Date March 7, 2014
Location
Location Portland, OR
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Powell’s City of Books
Entries
Entries 43
Upload sources
#1 Copy

Swamp-Spirit

Shallan's Memory ability to capture an image doesn't seem to be working exactly like an eidetic memory...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Swamp-Spirit

...because she can erase it by drawing. Is that tied directly to the magic of Lightweaving? And if so would other creative Lightweavers have similar abilities.

Brandon Sanderson

If you look at the epigraphs there is a big hint on this, where it talks about it and yes... I have problems with eidetic memory, just because scientifically most scientists say this is not a real thing. So I would say that whenever-- Because of my knowledge of the science of it understand that you would need some sort of magical enhancement to be able to do what she does.

#4 Copy

Kogiopsis

How did koloss-blooded people happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Koloss-blooded people-- A koloss-blooded is the result of two koloss having a child. A full koloss is only made once you accept the spikes and are mutated into the final form. And so a koloss-blooded-- The koloss can breed true now but that's what you get. And so they actually have a ritual at coming-of-age where you can accept the spikes or you can leave. And so all koloss in the wastes-- in the Roughs that are in the koloss tribes are-- have chosen that and outsiders can choose it too.

#5 Copy

Kogiopsis

Since Returned come back as kind of an idealized form of themselves, if somebody was transgender in their original life would they Return as the sex they had been assigned the first time or the gender they identified as?

Brandon Sanderson

I would think that a transgendered person could definitely come back as how they identify. Perception is very important in these sorts of things. It would really depend on the person, but yes.

#9 Copy

Airred

You said that you liked video games. What would you say is one of your favorites?

Brandon Sanderson

One of my favorites, I like the Dark Souls games quite a bit. And I've been playing those since they were called King's Field, it's the same company. So I've played all of them since way back when. And I really like the Infamous games, and I really like Civilization, all of those, I've played every single one of those.

Airred

You said you played Infamous, have you played Prototype?

Brandon Sanderson

Y'know I've been tempted a lot, but what I've read from Prototype is that-- Like I played Infamous because I knew you had the choice to not be the bad guy, and I've heard that Prototype you basically don't really have that choice.

Airred

Yeah...

Swamp-Spirit

Dishonored gives that choice *talking over each other*

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, my brother's been suggesting Dishonored, but I'm not-- When I play video games I like to play people that I would admire, you know what I mean? Like I am-- If I have a moral choice system my character is a boy scout. I don't...

Komekoro

Paragon to the max.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, those little walking pixels, I'm not going to, y'know I'm going to mourn if I accidentally run over one of them.

#10 Copy

Swamp-Spirit

How do you-- Like both Shallan and Kaladin obviously haven't had good lives, but like-- How do you write these really tragic backstories without them feeling kind of gratuitous or forced?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question... This is really about the whole idea of making sure you are avoiding melodrama... And melodrama-- the defining aspect of a melodrama is a story in which each character only exhibits only one emotional state. A great example of this done poorly is--despite me liking a lot about it--there was a show called Lost... So there's a character whose son gets kidnapped, and from that moment on the only thing he cares about or talks about is the loss of his son. And it's a very tragic thing for him. Losing your son, I can imagine how tragic that would be, and yet this character became so defined by that one attribute that it turned into melodrama for him. The rest of the characters will be standing around saying "Alright we need to do this thing, these guys are over there with guns, they are going to take us down. What do we do?" And they're like "We should do this." "We should do this." and this guy is like "My son!" They're like "We know you want your son back but--" "My son!" "What do you want for dinner?" "My son is gone! How can I eat dinner?!?". And so having a character exhibit only one emotional state is always going to feel like you just set-- It's going to ruin the character, whatever that is.

So a tragic backstory-- People joke about Batman. When Batman is written poorly it's always about "My father's d-- My parents are dead" and when he's working well that's an aspect that influence things he does but it's not the only thing about him. And so that would be my warning to you. You can do all of these sorts of things but make the character's not about-- You know we are in part defined by things like this but as real people we are not about the bad things that have happened to us, we are about so much more. And make that the case, alright?

#11 Copy

Kogiopsis

What would Zane have been like without Ruin?

Brandon Sanderson

Zane without Ruin would have been-- It's so hard to say, is it Zane without Ruin but still having the terrible family life that he has?

Swamp-Spirit

Probably yeah.

Kogiopsis

Still has Straff.

Brandon Sanderson

Then still have Straff but he would probably be more of a Straff heir type thing. Like he would be less crazy, maybe more ruthless and... I mean he would still be his father's son.

#12 Copy

Swamp-Spirit

We have a lot of Renarin questions just because he is a character we both care a lot about, just another what could you-- give us a tidbit about Renarin's relationship with Bridge Four?

Brandon Sanderson

I can tell you this, here's a good tidbit. You know the books are about ten characters. Renarin's one of them. But Renarin, you know the first five, he's not one of. So Renarin is one of the main characters for the back five, which are focused more on the Heralds, and he is one of the characters with the flashbacks there. So Renarin, you are not going to get everything you want about him until the back five books. So just keep that in mind.

Swamp-Spirit

I can live with that.

#13 Copy

Swamp-Spirit

When you're writing YA do you ever feel-- Because I was feeling this while reading the Alcatraz novels-- Do you ever feel like you're limited in what you can explore by not wanting to go too dark or too complex for a certain audience? Or when you are writing that sort of story does that not really...

Brandon Sanderson

Complexity does not enter into it, for me, except for the fact that I generally focus on one character. And so there is a complexity issue there, in that, you know, it's like I'm doing one, maybe two, viewpoints. And I think it's basically coming because when I'm choosing a story I'm matching a story to an age, I'm not matching an age to a story, does that make sense? So when I say "this is a YA story" that's because it exhibits the sorts of things I want to tell-- exhibits the sort of things that work for that market. I don't tend to write down but I do tend to keep the number of viewpoints more limited, just to keep the books a little less thick. So yeah, yes but not really.

#17 Copy

Kogiopsis

Finally, what point, usually, is society at when a Desolation comes? Because Taln was prepared to introduce them to bronze...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kogiopsis

...and Alethi society is so far beyond that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Historically a lot of the-- What would happen with the Desolations would destroy all civilization and then the Heralds would leave, and leave people basically in the Stone Age again. And they came back numerous times and found humankind still in the Stone Age, after having left. And so they are prepared-- Sometimes they would come back and they would already be in the Bronze Age or-- and things like that and get them beyond that but frequently they had to be ready, the Heralds learned they had to be ready to try and bring humankind forward several thousand years worth of technology in a year.

#34 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Twelfth - is it challenging to write from the POV of a female character and why/why not.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Early on - yes it was, now less so. problem was: treated characters other than the main character as roles only, centered around main character. "writing characters without giving them their due". "You have to be able to write the other. Every character has to be a piece of you and a piece of not you." discusses Jasnah in particular. Point of literature is "to see what it’s like to be people who aren't us".

#36 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Fourteenth - Have you ever considered writing a horror novel or dark fantasy?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, played with it, wrote a short story for a Charlene Harris anthology coming out this year and a book called 'Death by Pizza’ about a necromancer running a pizza shop. Is glad dark fantasy exists, but 'fantasy is the language of imagination and the language of hope’ (quoting Robert Jordan) and will write about mostly people he would like to be/admires.

#37 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Fifteenth - Is there something that inspires the strength of his female characters?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

His mother graduated first in her class in accounting in a year when she was the only woman in the accounting department. First three fantasy writers he read were female (Melanie Rawn, Anne McCaffrey, and one other I missed) to the point where when someone tried to give him Eddings he said he didn’t think men could write the genre.

#38 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Sixteenth - there's a rumor about a second Elantris book.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, that's coming someday, but Stormlight is the priority. Current schedule: Firefight is done, Rithmatist 2 is next, Stormlight 3 after that (working title might still be Stones Unhallowed if he can get it out before Rothfuss finishes Doors of Stone)

#43 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Twenty-first - any future children's books?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, really enjoys it. Nothing until after Steelheart/Rithmatist/Alcatraz, but wants to write about a world where wireless energy happens naturally and everything is electrified. That'll be the next kids' book, but it'll take a bit to get the science right. Also discusses plot from POV of the "Dark One" who is fated to be killed by the Chosen Hero - this might be the plot for the electrified planet but maybe not, as it's definitely Cosmere.

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance Portland signing
Date
Date March 7, 2014
Location
Location Portland, OR
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Powell’s City of Books
Entries
Entries 43
Upload sources