/r/fantasy AMA 2017

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Name
Name /r/fantasy AMA 2017
Date
Date Feb. 10, 2017
Location
Location /r/fantasy
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Entries 46
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#1 Copy

AryaGray

Hi! I just finished Warbreaker, and I caught my mind that they have animals that exists on Earth (at least by the name, like monkeys, panther, and so). Is this a common thing in the all the planets of the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

It is common on many of the planets, though it is more likely to happen on a planet (or an ecosystem on a planet) created by Shards, as they're often basing the animal life on creatures they've seen before. That said, some planets with life predating the splintering had Earth-like ecosystems too.

The writing answer is that this was a way for me to control learning curve in my series, so that I could have some (like Roshar) that take a lot of effort to get into, and others that are a little more easy to get into. This lets me save the really crazy worldbuilding for a few specific series.

#2 Copy

Adontis

I've always wondered, how do you determine where the line between "Word of Brandon" and "Read and Find Out" is? Has it ever caused issues where you've said something, but later that thing changed when it went into a book making your first statement now false?

Thanks so much for writing as much as you do, I'm looking forward to all your upcoming books, keep up the great work!

Brandon Sanderson

Boy, this one is an art, not a science.

I've several times said something that I later decided to change in a book. I've always got this idea in the back of my head that the books are canon, and things I say at signing aren't 100% canon. This is part because of a habit I have of falling back on things I decided years ago, then revised in notes after I realized they didn't work. My off-the-cuff instinct is still to go with what I had in my head for years, even when it's no longer canon.

An example of this are Shardblades. In the first draft of TWoK in 2002, I had the mechanics of the weapons work in a specific way. (If you wanted to steal one from someone, you knock off the bonding gemstone, and it breaks the bond.) I later decided it was more dramatic if you couldn't steal a Shardblade that way--you had to kill the person or force them to relinquish the bond. It worked far better.

But in Oathbringer, Peter had to remind me of that change, as I just kind of nonchalantly wrote into a scene a comment about knocking off a gemstone to steal a Shardblade. These things leak back in, as you might expect for a series I've been working on for some twenty years now--with lore being revised all along.

So...short answer...yes, I've contradicted myself a number of times. I try very, very hard to let the books be the canon however. So you can default to them.

As for what I answer and what I RAFO...it depends on how much I want to reveal at the moment, if I'm trying to preserve specific surprises, or if I just want people to focus on other things at the moment. Like I said, art and not science.

damenleeturks

In WoR, Navani muses to Dalinar about how the gemstones in the blades could be the focus that allows the bond with the blade to exist. If this theory is correct, it would follow that someone could damage that gemstone and thus be able to steal the blade with it then having no intact bonding mechanism, right?

I guess I'm having trouble seeing how the example you describe isn't possible.

Peter Ahlstrom

The gemstone is needed to create the bond and operate the bond's functions. If you remove the gemstone, the person the sword is bonded to can't summon it or dismiss it to mist. But neither can anyone else. If they eventually pop another gemstone in and try to bond it themselves, they will fail, and the original person can then resummon their Blade. The bond is with the dead spren of the Blade, not with the gemstone. The stone facilitates the bond.

So, you can haul around a de-gemstoned Blade with you all the time and successfully steal it that way. But this makes it very easy to steal back. You'd have to kill the holder of the bond in order to rebond it. Which is no different from usual.

And in general, if you can get close enough to a Shardbearer to steal their Blade, you are also close enough to kill them anyway.

Phantine

So that scene where dalinar crushes the gemstone and hands the shardblade over, he's also doing some sort of mystical de-bonding?

Or is it just 'if you WANT to give it up, you gave it up'?

Peter Ahlstrom

Yes, if you want to give it up, you gave it up.

Phantine

If nobody is currently bonded to it, does the attuning still take a week?

Otherwise it seems weird people would figure out putting a gemstone in hilt lets you summon it, since nothing would happen without a week of bonding time.

ricree

Not that weird. One of the books (WoK, I think) mentions that many years passed before the gemstone bonding was discovered. Shardblades were still really valuable, though, and even more vulnerable to theft, so it makes sense that people would have kept them close at hand long enough for the bonding process.

Other than that, all you need is someone to accidentally decorate the blade correctly, which is something that took a long time to happen, but was probably bound to happen eventually considering how key infused gemstones are to the world.

Peter Ahlstrom

Well said.

#3 Copy

angwilwileth

Would you ever consider writing "The Spotters Guide to Spren"?

Whenever Stormlight archive is finished, a comprehensive guide to the little guys would be awesome.

Brandon Sanderson

This is a good idea. We'd probably mix it with a general Roshar worldboook, though I can imagine doing it on its own.

#4 Copy

sxeQ

Given the chance, what stories would you like to write in the Wheel of Time universe?

Brandon Sanderson

If I felt it appropriate, I'd choose to finish the prequels. I'd write one about Tam going to war, and one about Moiraine and Lan's adventures leading up to visiting the Two Rivers. Those were two things Robert Jordan had talked about writing.

He didn't leave much in the way of notes, though, so I don't think it would be right to do them.

#5 Copy

Bradtholomew

What is the origin of the name Kaladin?

My wife and I recently had our first child and that's what we named him. Just curious if there's any story behind the name.

Brandon Sanderson

I use Arabic in some of the creation of Alethi names, and Kaled (or Khaled) was the root I started playing with to come up with a new name for Kaladin, as I didn't like the one I'd used in 2002. I'd already designed Kalak after this, the Herald, and wanted a common name version of this.

When I arrived at Kaladin, it sounded right to me--likely because of the similarity to Paladin, as others noted below.

Dragonsandman

So if Kaladin's name is derived from Khaled, is it fair to assume that the Alethi language sounds similar to Arabic?

Brandon Sanderson

Alethi has some Hebrew to it too. I used Semitic language roots for the Dawnchant, which had a huge influence on Rosharan languages. While there are a few oddballs rules, and some linguistics that stand on their own, both major language groups on Roshar (the Azish family and the Vorin family) would probably sound very Arabic to you.

For example, the Alethi Kh is a voiceless velar fricative. The Azish kk or q sound is a voiceless uvular, sometimes stop, sometimes an affricate. Sometimes a uvular ejective.

No, I can't make those sounds on demand. Peter can, though. It's helpful to have a linguist on my team.

Shin is its own language, as is Iriali.

BeskarKomrk

What can't Peter do? He seems to be an expert on everything!

Brandon Sanderson

He is amazing. But, in this case, he was a linguistics major in college. So there's a little extra amazingness from him in these areas.

#6 Copy

ItsRainingBears

Hi Brandon.

Is there anything from one of your published books that you would go back and change/remove if you could?

Brandon Sanderson

Tons of stuff.

I'd better foreshadow Vin drawing on the mists at the end of Mistborn One.

I'd take another stab at Mat in Gathering Storm.

I'd see if I could come up with something better for Fain at the end of AMoL.

I'd change some things about Words of Radiance that would be spoilers to mention.

But yes, there's lots I would change. I think it's best, for right now, to just let them be. Constant revision leads to madness.

#7 Copy

mmSNAKE

There isn't anything story specific I'd want to ask, I wish to discover by reading. I was wondering if Stormlight Archive books are going to get a special edition limited prints from subterranean press, like some of your other work?

Anyway looking forward to Oathbringer later this year, thanks for the amazing effort you put in these books.

Brandon Sanderson

Our plan is to do tenth anniversary books of all of the cosmere novels, though right now I plan to put the four Wax and Wayne books into two volumes. (So, sell them as two-in-one.) Likewise, it's possible that the Stormlight books will be better as two volumes each, sold in a slip case together, so that you don't risk ruining bindings by reading them.

#8 Copy

Glorious_Infidel

Hey Brandon thanks for your novels, they've been amazing and I'm looking forward to Oathbringer!

The part of Mistborn Era 1 that I absolutely loved was how the flower drawing made its way among characters, eventually allowing the Hero to place them on Scadriel again. How early was that little plot piece put into the outline? Did the idea for it come from somewhere in particular that you remember? Little details like this are what make me love your work and I just want to get an idea of where they came from.

Thanks again for doing this AMA, looking forward to reading your responses!

Brandon Sanderson

The flower plot started as a way to characterize Kelsier. As I've talked about before, I generally start an outline, then write my way into characters with some actual chapters, then go back and finish the outline with these characters in mind.

I knew I needed a way, after writing a few chapters of the book, to indicate to readers who might have missed it that this world has some strange ecology. Providing the picture of a flower, and talking about how strange it was to them (and the legends of it) became a method of showing this, but also showing Kelsier's feelings about Mare. Once I had it written into the book, I planned for it to show up other places, as a kind of visual reminder of what the characters were fighting for. (Even if the reader didn't quite understand how far it would go.)

#9 Copy

WeiryWriter

My big question right now, mostly because of wiki reasons, is whether the Team Sanderson has a system for naming Core Possibilities in the Reckonerverse. The reason I ask is because we on the Coppermind would just refer to different versions of Earth as "Earth (series name)" but that kind of broke down in Calamity where two Earths are relevant, and I'm guessing Apocalypse Guard will also have that issue. Can you help us out?

Brandon Sanderson

I will once I write Apocalypse Guard, which will have these notations. I don't want to canonize it right now, though, because I'm still working on the right terms.

#10 Copy

TheBlueShifting

As a writer I love world building. However the detail and culture of your stories are so incredibly thought out. Do you storyboard and document all the family lines, kingdomes, traditions, languages, ect before hand or do these things evolve as you write them?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the book and the worldbuilding element in question. I do some of each, and do more for longer series. I've done a lot more work on the languages of Stormlight, for example, than did on something like The Rithmatist, where I outlined the magic in detail but discovery wrote other parts of the setting.

#11 Copy

TheBlueShifting

I assume that the Worldhoppers (characters who travel from planet to planet between books) can and sometimes enter into romantic relationships. Have there ever been any children born on one world with powers from another? (For example: A misting being born and raised on Roshar)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this has happened.

#12 Copy

TheBlueShifting

I have heard you say you consult with doctors, physicist, and other professionals in order to keep your books as grounded in reality as you can. How did you meet these individuals and how early in your career did you have their help?

Brandon Sanderson

This is something that grew far easier once I had access to resources such as my editor at Tor. Moshe knows EVERYONE, and he's been able to get my writing into the hands of various experts for review. I didn't do this as much in my unpublished days; it's something I've come to learn and appreciate in the last ten years.

#13 Copy

JHTheHurricane

Would the metal an Allomancer burns if he was charging Nightblood with investiture effect the relative power of Nightblood, say if you are buying Duralumin or Atium Nightblood would be more powerful than if you were burning Bronze or Zinc?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question, actually!

Nightblood, as I've written him now and as I intend to keep him, feeds of the investiture--but isn't really strengthened by it. Meaning, it doesn't matter to him what the food is, it's all just food to him.

#14 Copy

gauzemajig

Do you think you'll ever go outside of the established raunchiness of your books? I don't mean a murder sex party, but you know, straying a bit into the dark and gritty. It's just my opinion but I feel like you play it a little safe. Not necessarily a bad thing though!

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think I've crossed the line where I'm personally comfortable doing, but I think I'm close. Usually, I give a few characters (like Wayne) the ability to go further than others, as an acknowledgement that there are good people out there who don't happen to have my same prudish nature.

I think the thing you'll see that is the closest is when (and if) I write the Threnody novel.

For everything else, you'll have to settle for knowing that one of my quirks as a writer is that I do indeed play it a little safe--and probably will always do so. I'm very aware that my children, nieces, and nephews read my books. Beyond that, I feel that I'm an intentional and specific contrast to other writers in the genre--I consider it my duty to prove that (like many of the classic movies) you can write something that is for adults, and has depth, without delving into grittiness.

This is not a disparagement of people like Joe Abercrombie, who I think is an excellent writer, or others like him--and I'm glad we have them in the field. However, my own path goes a different direction, and I think it's important that I also publish, proving to those who perhaps wish to be more circumspect in these areas that there is a place for them in the genre too.

Xluxaeternax

Does that mean that you recognize that the stories that take place on Threnody, a world of your creation, are stories that you are uncomfortable exploring because they are too harsh or intense? If that's the case I find that absolutely fascinating and very impressive- it's almost as if the Cosmere is a real place with real people and you're just communicating their stories to us. I personally would rather you never told those stories instead of forcing them to be something that is untrue to what you created them to be.

Brandon Sanderson

A writer must be willing to do uncomfortable things; I fully believe that. Stories like Snapshot (my most recent novella) have done this before, and if I write the Threnody novel, I intend to do it well. (But also be very clear to audiences that it's darker than other cosmere books.)

It's not about intensity--I feel other books are intense. Or even about violence or darkness. It's about how far the narrative needs to delve into these things, or the relationship of light and hope to the darkness.

Dalinar's backstory in Stormlight is uncomfortably dark, and I won't pull punches from it. But it's balanced by the man he has become. In Threnody, some of the stories don't have that balance.

#15 Copy

Arthrine

I remember reading some time ago that a fan told you about a dream of hers to be a minor character in one of your books, and that you fulfilled this dream for her.

Any chance of you doing a raffle on /r/fantasy, and letting the winner get the same opportunity?

Brandon Sanderson

I should totally do this. In the past, I've done it for charity, so maybe during a drive for Worldbuilders?

The character, by the way, is Lyn the scout from Words of Radiance.

#16 Copy

CreeperVemon

Does Marsh know about Kelsier state and has he helped him in southern scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Marsh is aware. The rest is a RAFO.

#17 Copy

sherlockeb

Why did Rashek feel the need to create skaa and nobility, why not alter all humanity to be nobles if you have the power?

Brandon Sanderson

Rashek, particularly back then, was a petty man. This caused him to do many things that, strictly speaking, were not best for his empire.

#18 Copy

Raptori

Something I've always noticed is missing from your State of the Sanderson updates is any mention of a sequel to The Emperor's Soul. Is that something you might eventually get around to (after the Elantris sequel for example), or do you feel that story has been told?

TES is easily my favourite of your stories, with a depth of character and theme which really surprised me. Would love to read more - especially if it were more novella-length works!

Brandon Sanderson

I've been hesitant to do a sequel, as I don't want to "George Lucas" the story. Emperor's Soul is one of those stories that turned out very well on its own, and I worry that doing another story could take away from how well it works on its own now. I might have Shai do cameos in other stories, though.

#19 Copy

pipsdontsqueak

Will any of the Cosmere books delve into sci-fi?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the cosmere will go VERY science fiction in the future. We aren't too far off from some of these stories getting written, actually. Introductory ones, probably shorts, but we're getting close. 

#20 Copy

ZHatch

Is there a connection between the names of tonks (the dumb beasts on Taldain) and Tonk Fah, the dumb sidekick of a known world hopper?

Brandon Sanderson

Nope. (Sorry.)

#21 Copy

Caelum_au_Cylus

Why is Kelsier so awesome?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is different from other protagonists of my books in his harshness. It's what the world needed, but I believe in many other stories of mine, he'd have been the villain.

#22 Copy

HiuGregg

I came across something about your planned "Dark One" series, and was wondering if you could tell us anything about the planned world or magic system for that book? Me and my friends are electric/electronic engineers, and we've wasted far too much time debating how people could theoretically channel electricity from a planet (I've even dragged some professors into the discussion), so I'm very interested to see what you've came up with!

Brandon Sanderson

The honest truth is that I haven't gotten past the, "Okay, here's the concept" stage. For Roshar, that was the storm--and then it took research and work (which I haven't done yet) to get the science to work. I haven't had the time to do that for Dark One yet.

I'd love to hear what you have to say on the topic, maybe use you and your friends as consultants. I'd say DM me, but that will get lost in the replies to this thread. So maybe DM me in a month? Or, better yet, drop me an email through my website with your suggestions?

#23 Copy

quadquapters

I was surprised when I learned just how much more Mistborn you're planning on writing, and was even more surprised when I heard that the Wax and Wayne quadrilogy was only a spin-off and not part of your major plans for the series. But now I've found out you've decided to include those books as a major part of the larger series and instead do 4 different stories within it. Will this mean the next part (which I understood was going to take place in the more or less present) will be further into the future so as to space out each story? And what was the reasoning behind including Wax and Wayne in the main series?

Brandon Sanderson

I changed my opinions on Wax and Wayne after writing the first book, then outlining books 2-4 (which are a kind of "Trilogy" with these characters, when the first book was an experiment.)

I realized that the next era (which is still 1980's level technology) would work way better with some foundations in the W&W era. I'm very pleased what this did to Era Three, as it now is (1980s), because of the foundations in Era Two.

And yes, the next series will each go further into the future.

#24 Copy

CoffeeArchives

Starting with the Cosmere, and now with Apocalypse Guard, it's clear that you love shared universes. If all of your works were in the same universe, what would be the most fun crossover to write?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmmm... It's probably the cosmere all-world mashup I'm actually planning to do in the future.

#25 Copy

Glorious_Infidel

Are any of the characters in your books strongly influenced by people you know in real life? Would you be able to share a few if so?

Brandon Sanderson

Sure! Most are cameos. Many people in Bridge Four are based on friends/family members. Skar, Peet, Drehy, Bisig, Yake, and a few others are friends or family.

Sarene was loosely based on a friend of mine from college.

#26 Copy

unknown

How come they're still called EARTHquakes in Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

I know it's a joke, but I actually have an answer! One I stole from Tolkien, who mentioned all his books are "in translation" to English from an original language--so the translator takes liberties. They're called earthquakes for the same reason that Shallan's puns work in English--the one taking them from the original language to English came up with something that works for us, even if it isn't a one-to-one translation. :)

#27 Copy

unknown

As silly as this may sound, one of my favorite things about the Stormlight Archives thus far has been the flora you describe in the world.

What inspired you to spend time developing unique and world-appropriate plants? I feel like plants are so often an overlooked detail, even in books with heavy world-building.

Brandon Sanderson

I knew that I wanted some worlds in the cosmere to be truly strange. Fantasy tends to shy away from very odd ecosystems, but I think it shouldn't. (Even in Mistborn, we started with strange flora.)

For Roshar, I started with the storms, then worked toward what I think would have evolved there (erring on the side of the fantastical.) The primary inspirations were tidal pools and coral reefs.

#28 Copy

Job601

Your books are unusual for the fantasy genre in that they are interested in exploring traditional Christian values, usually coming down in their favor (especially faith in providence and the willingness to believe in a divine plan for the world and the individual, something which comes up again and again in your work.) At the same time, your characters have reason to be suspicious of the specific forms of religious practice in their worlds, and the cult of the survivor in particular can be read as a conflicted portrayal of religion: it's a kind of religious belief which works in some way for its faithful despite being based on a falsehood, and Kelsier is a kind of dark parody of Christ. The cosmere seems to have an implicit theology which separates the truly divine, which is fundamentally inaccessible even to the most knowledgeable characters, from the apparently divine shards and splinters. I guess my question is, how do you think about integrating religious themes into a fantasy universe, particularly given your systematic style?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a lot of things mixing here--more, probably, than I'm aware of myself. (This is the sort of area where I let reader analysis and criticism do the work, as they're probably going to be able to notice connections more explicitly than I will. Like most writers, I'm working by instinct much of the time.)

One element I can talk about is the need for the Cosmere to have questions that will go unanswered. This is most expressly manifest in the "big" questions. Is there a God? What is the actual afterlife like, if there really is one? Is there such a thing as a soul, and are cognitive shadows the actual person, or a manifestation of the magic imitating a person's thought processes?

The reason I don't answer these as myself (though characters certainly have ideas) is because I feel it important the text not undermine the characters who choose not to believe in these things. Though I think I've found answers in life, people rationally disagree with me--and to express only my worldview in the books would severely hamper my ability to have characters who disagree with me, and other characters.

In short, if I were to say, "Yes, there's an all-powerful God" then it would directly undermine characters like Jasnah, who argue otherwise. At the same time, I want characters like Kelsier to develop naturally, and do things that are in line with how sometimes, religions develop on our world, without having it be a statement. (Or, at least one other than, "Hey, this happens some time on our world. It happened here too.")

Fantasy offers some unique opportunities to explore the human condition with religion, and I want to take advantage of that, to see where it takes me and to see what I can learn from the process.

#29 Copy

Sir_Werebear

Hey, thanks for doing this! Are the Ones Above from Sixth of the Dusk the Scadrians at the time of the 3rd trilogy?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't answered this so far, except to say, "They are from a planet you know about." Scadrial is a good guess.

#30 Copy

zuriel45

What worlds within the cosmere are you excited to write about that you haven't yet touched on (or touched significantly enough on)?

Brandon Sanderson

I do want to do a Threnody novel. The world of Dark One, if I manage to get it into the Cosmere, is cool. Silence Divine. There are a lot of them.

#31 Copy

zuriel45

Will there ever be a story or book about a character as they move (fully) into a worldhopper. I'm thinking a story like how Khriss went from a protagainst in White Sand to a well known world hopper/scholar of the cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you'll see this eventually.

#32 Copy

Phyrkrakr

I just finished Arcanum Unbounded and I have to ask: Who's the "dangerous" guy in the corner of the waystop in Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell? That's not Hoid, is it?

Brandon Sanderson

This is not Hoid. I toyed with a cameo for him in the story, but decided that forcing him to be at every little point in all the smaller stories was just having him be there for the sake of having him be there. It's better for the cosmere if I don't force him into every story, but let him be involved in the ones where he has a legitimate reason.

Beyond that, getting on and off of Threnody is not particularly easy.

#33 Copy

LoreWard52

Are there a set number of palaces for the Returned in Hallendren? Are any ever vacant or are there a set number of Returned?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

#34 Copy

LoreWard52

Has an Idrian Returned ever realized he was going to die (again) and went to Hallendren to be revered instead?

Brandon Sanderson

This sort of thing happens.

#35 Copy

LoreWard52

If you awaken an object, then give your breath away, can you reclaim the breath of that object?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. (It allows for splitting up of breaths among those who have more experience.)

#36 Copy

UnicornGundam

Are we ever going to see a steel compounder in the mistborn series? Next to gold compounding I think that would be the most powerful compounding.

Brandon Sanderson

I'll space these things out, but you're likely to see everything, eventually.

#37 Copy

Oversleep

I know the Fourth Mistborn Era is to be sci-fi and FTL... but would we get some cyberpunk Scadrial at all? Because from what I gather it sounds like only space faring and travelling to other worlds.

Brandon Sanderson

I've toyed with a cyberpunk era Mistborn. It will depend on how quickly I move getting through the series.

#38 Copy

Oversleep

Would Mistborn with mixed Threnodian blood be able to burn silver? What would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

No, blood line would not change which metals are allomantically viable and which were not. (Sorry.)

#40 Copy

sv15249

1)Flashback characters for books 4 and 5 are Eshonai and Szeth.In previous books "main" character got a role in all five parts of the book.Will it be the same for these two?Szeth and Eshonai are important, but had very little "screen time" so far.So, in their books will they get a huge role in main narrative?Or will they have flashback sequence only, but main narrative will still focus on our three main heroes(Kaladin,Dalinar,Shallan)?

2)How you deal with multiple POV's?Their amount increase with each book, which means less "screen time" for each character.I know, in series with such big cast, it's very hard to keep balance.What is your possible solution for this problem?Just don't say, you will kill some characters to free space for new ones :D George Martin style.

3)You said, there will be a timeskip between two parts of Stormlight.But will we have more timeskips between five books of each part?For example, between book 3 and book 4, or 4 and 5.Or between 6 and 7?I ask this, because in first Mistborn trilogy we had year long timeskips between each book.Wonder, will we have it in SA?

4)Is it possible, that main characters from first five will show up in last five books?

Brandon Sanderson

1) Having not read those books, I can't say 100%--but the original plan was to do it this way, and Book Three continues the trend. Shallan/Dalinar/Kaladin will continue to be very important, but I might pull back on side characters. We'll see.

2) This is the biggest challenge in writing epic fantasy. For me, I divided the series into two halfs (books 1-5 and books 6-10) with a focus on some characters for the first half, some for the second. But also, I do plan for certain characters to step back a little in other books. It's a balance I'm still juggling.

3) Plan is for book four to take place a year after book three, so there will be some smaller timeskips too--but the biggest is between five and six.

4) Yes, many of them will--and will still be important.

sv15249

Interesting.So you consider Szeth and Eshonai as supporting characters now?And characters like Rysn, Zahel(I heard, he's a character from your other book, but I haven't read it yet), and Taravangian...can they be considered side characters too, with supposed bigger role in the future? Have you chosen a flashback character for Book 4 yet?(Eshonai or Szeth?)

I hope, you plan a distinct ending for first part of SA(books 1-5) with conclusions of the story arcs of all main heroes, instead of cliffhanger ending:)Did you have an ounline for all five books(major plot turn, destinies for all characters) when you started the series, or you deciding in the process?

"I do plan for certain characters to step back a little in other books." You mean situations like Shallan being absent from two parts in Way of Kings?And Dalinar in WoR.

Brandon Sanderson

These are all things that will be clear as I write further. If I say too much, it will give spoilers.

#41 Copy

unknown

Is it possible to make an artificial shard? And not in an easy manner but if one had the resources and time could they make one?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not sure what an artificial shard would be. You'd be using the power from Adonalsium to do it--so it wouldn't be 'artificial,' by cosmere terms. You'd just be collecting power. The question becomes if you gather enough of it, would it combine back together--which is a RAFO in the world. Nobody knows.

#42 Copy

Jamester86

Is Szeth immortal now since his...change in WoR? (From a "doesn't age physically" meaning of the word, not invincible)

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid.

#43 Copy

ConserveGuy

Hi Brandon I don't know if you will answer, but. Did "earth" ever exist in the cosmere? There seems to be humans on all the planets. so where did humans come from? or even the idea of humans?

Brandon Sanderson

Earth did not exist in the cosmere. Humans existed on Yolen (and other planets) before the shattering of Adonalsium, and it is assumed Adonalsium created them.

From a writing perspective, stepping back, I feel like other book series (like the Wheel of Time, Pern, Shannara) really covered the idea of, "This is Earth and/or earth people in another dimension/after an apocalypse/or far in the future." It's been a common enough theme in fantasy that I felt I wanted not to touch on it. So there are no plans to connect the cosmere to Earth in any way.

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CatGrylls

Have you written/will you write something equivalent to the Silmarillion for the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not impossible, but I'm not planning on it currently. There WILL be a prequel series, dealing with the events leading to the shattering of Adonalsium, but will focus mostly on Hoid and not really be equivalent.

baytepp92

Is that planned to be completed/released after the main overall Cosmere story is completed? Or will it lead up to the finale of the main Cosmere stories?

Peter Ahlstrom

It will lead up to the finale.

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zuriel45

Could firefight theoretically access the Cosmere using her dimensional powers? Do magic parallel realities exist in the greater reckoners multiverse?

Brandon Sanderson

I built the Reckoners so that certain possibilities were "stable" and others were not--limiting how weird things go. (And how far she can reach.) I'm trying to keep it within the bounds of the Reckoners universe that things don't go all Rick and Morty on us. So the chance of reaching a shadow of the Cosmere is very slim.

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Caderade24

I was wondering in which ways has the LDS religion/theology influenced your writing? I mean, aside from trying to keep your books relatively clean and accessible. For example, it seems like the oaths of the Knights Radiant have some similarity to LDS covenants.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think being LDS can help but influence my writing, though I personally follow Tolkien's philosophy: I stay away from specific allegory. I just try to write the best story I can, staying true to what the characters believe (or don't believe.)

So while I don't doubt that people can find parallels, I leave that for readers to theorize about. Most are not intentional, but that doesn't mean they aren't real.

jofwu

Are there any specific ways you feel like it has shaped your writing in a more general sense? An obvious example, I expect, is the general avoidance of explicit language and sexual content. (something I, for one, appreciate) Does anything else like that come to mind?

Of course I mean that in a roundabout way. It would be rather strong to say that Mormonism directly affects the writing you produce. I'm sure you don't write explicit sex scenes because you are not comfortable with it (or whatever) rather than because the church says not to. But certainly it has shaped who you are, and you shape the stories. So I assume it's possible to trace a few lines from one end to the other.

Brandon Sanderson

You're right; I think these things are possible to trace--and the example you give is a good one. I've described the lack of sex scenes in my books the same way you just did.

I'd say that certainly, the sense of hope in my books is shaped by my faith. I didn't do it intentionally, but if you look at Mistborn, you find lots of quotes about faith in the face of trials--which is a very religious way of looking at the world. Some of my more secular friends might point out a fallacy in this thinking; they'd say that while determination is an important human emotion, doubling down on something just because you want to believe is the opposite of being self-reflective.

My belief in what makes someone heroic, or a good leader, is probably also very directly influenced by my upbringing and belief.

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Name /r/fantasy AMA 2017
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Date Feb. 10, 2017
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