/r/fantasy AMA 2011

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Name
Name /r/fantasy AMA 2011
Date
Date Aug. 31, 2011
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Location Reddit
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Entries 41
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#1 Copy

RankWeis

The characters in Mistborn all have very French names. My girlfriend insists Vin's name is pronounced almost "Veh", as it would be in France, and I'm almost convinced. How do you pronounce it?

Brandon Sanderson

The Central Dominance is intentionally French sounding. I say Vin's name like an American would, but everyone in world would say it with a French accent. Same goes for Kelsier, (which they would say Kel-syay.) Again, I say it as an American would, but then I'm not from the Central Dominance.

unknown

One further question on pronunciation- Sazed. Is it sayzd, sayzed, or sah-zahd? I always pictured the Terris people as somewhat Arabic so Sah-zahd came more naturally to me, but I'm curious as to what the intended pronunciation is.

Brandon Sanderson

I say Sayzed, as does Kelsier. The Terris a is not as harsh as that, but it's not quite a soft "a" either.

#2 Copy

RankWeis

You've also mentioned that in Elantris, there was more to Seon's than what came out in the book (as far as a magic system, I believe). When you have to omit something like this, do you still consider it canon to the story? For example, if you were to write a sequel, would you feel obligated to stick with the original magic system you put into place (but never published), or would you be fine with drawing up a whole new one?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I consider the ideas around Seons to be canon, though I don't always canonize something that is not in the books. If it isn't on paper, I'm usually willing to change it as it needs to in order to fit. One issue, however, is that things like the Seons are part of the greater magic system of the Cosmere (which connects many of my works.) I can't change things too much, or I'll start contradicting myself. (Which I don't want to do.)

#3 Copy

staircasewit

You’ve mentioned some of the characters who we are going to see throughout the Stormlight Archive series (Shallan, Dalinar, Szeth, Jasnah, etc.). However, I don’t remember seeing you comment on Wit. Are we going to see Wit (or plain ol’ Hoid) more throughout the series? Or less? (Hopefully more! :D)

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has a large part of the story in the Stormlight Archive. You will be seeing much more of him. However, he will not get a 'book' of his own, most likely. He will get his own novels, just not among the Stormlight sequence.

#4 Copy

unknown

Hey Brandon! Thanks for doing this! My question has to do with Warbreaker 2 should you ever choose to write it. Will you be releasing it piece by piece and then in it's entirety for free online like you did with WB1?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I will be.

mgowen

Wait... what!? We already have Warbreaker 1 to recommend to friends as a free trial of your work.

Not that I'm complaining, but why make W2 free too?

Brandon Sanderson

Because it was a part of the experience of writing the book for me. It is something I'd like to try again. (Releasing the book chapter by chapter as I write it.)

#5 Copy

unknown

Is Allriane really Cett's daughter? Skaa have to have Allomancy in the past six generations to get Allomancy and Cett says that she is the first person in their family to get Allomancy for centuries.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she is. Good thinking, though.

#7 Copy

Remagoen

When plotting a series of books, how do you account for plot changes you didn't foresee you had to do? For instance, I read that Elend was originally going to be a minor character, but the end of Mistborn wouldn't have been the same without him. How did you work him into the plot later on without breaking the story?

Brandon Sanderson

After I wrote the first book, and Elend grew more important in my mind, I reworked the three-book-outline. Usually, when I build a series, I spend a lot of time on the first book and then have a few paragraphs on the rest. Then, after finishing the first book and seeing how it worked (and how the tone was) I go and do much more in-depth outlines for the rest of the series.

When the first book is happening, things are much more 'anything goes' as I don't have any established canon yet. I allow myself to toss the rest of the outlines out the window, and just try to make the first book the best it can be. From there, I have continuity, and I feel it is important to maintain that for the integrity of the series.

#8 Copy

insertcleverphrase

I know from reading your blog and various other comments that many of your books are in the same cosmos/universe, specifically Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, and Way of Kings. I also am pretty sure that one day you'd like to do a series that ties all the different series/books together into one super-series. So my question is, would the various magic systems work on different worlds? For example, would a Mistborn be able to use his/her abilities in the world Way of Kings is located on?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the magic system. They are all related to a kind of "Spiritual DNA" that one gets from their heritage on a specific planet. However, there are ways around that. (Hemalurgy, for example, 'staples' a piece of someone else's soul to your own, and creates a work around to give you access to magic you shouldn't have.) Some of the magics are more regionally tied than others. (In Elantris, you have to access the Dor, which is very regionally influenced.)

The end answer is this: With in-depth knowledge of how the magics work, and their connection, one could probably get them all to work on other planets. It may take effort for some of them.

#10 Copy

Dovienya

Regarding the ending of the Mistborn Trilogy: What was up with Ruin having red hair? Is that significant? Does it mean that Ruin was originally a human who gained his powers somehow? My friend thought that Ruin was actually another red-haired character in the series, though I don't remember his name. I think he was a minor captain or something.

Brandon Sanderson

I try to make all of the cosmere stuff "bonus material" so to speak. I don't think it's essential to understanding Mistborn to know Ruin's origin. Those who want expanded information can find it, and theorize upon it. However, I intend to warn people up-front before writing any book where you have to know this to understand it.

Within the realm of Mistborn only, all you really need to know is that someone was holding this power--and that the 'individuals' of Ruin and Preservation were people, changed by the power they held. It holds to the theme of the story, with what happens regarding Sazed and other characters.

#11 Copy

ISw3arItWasntM3

Do you plan to write the stormlight archive books with the same POV characters throughout the series (like WoT) or do you think that you give other characters POV (aSoIaF) as the series continues?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the main POV characters have been introduced. Each book will take one major character (Kaladin, Dalinar, Adolin, Jasnah, Shallan, Navani, Szeth, Taln) and give them 'flashback' sequences in the same way Kaladin got flashbacks in the first book. There are some open spots for which I'm toying with other characters being used.

#13 Copy

MindCanaries

Why did you settle on a Nicrosil Misting for your second Mistborn trilogy? Did you consider any other types?

Brandon Sanderson

I considered others, but in the end this was one aspect of the magic system I hadn't explored yet but which is very important for the future of the series. I wanted to start establishing it.

#18 Copy

Yserbius

What made you decide on a 10 book length for The Stormlight Archive? Do you have the entire thing planned out, including how it will be paced and plotted?

Brandon Sanderson

I had eight characters I wanted to tell a story about, and wanted to give each one a book to include flashbacks and specific character development. Once I got to outlining, I realized that I had material for about ten books, and ten was a very special number in the world. So I settled on that.

It will be paced and plotted much as the first, though I plan the future books to be a little shorter than the first establishing one. There will be two primary five-book arcs, so you could consider it two series of five, if you'd prefer.

#19 Copy

sandersonfan

Why are the people of Roshar so much more aware of the Cosmere? They seem to know more than any other world you've written to date.

Brandon Sanderson

I believe the people of whom you are speaking are mostly not native to Roshar. On another side, however, it is the first planet we've seen with three Shards, and it is the furthest along in the timeline. One final thing is that they had some very unique experiences early in the planet's history. It involves the Heralds, and various items I think would be spoilers right now.

#20 Copy

sandersonfan

I've read that you were thinking of 32-36 books total for the Cosmere, but it seems like the series are going to go beyond that if numbers you've given before are published (e.g. Mistborn being a trilogy of trilogies so 9, Stormlight Archive 10, Warbreaker 2, Dragonsteel 6 or 7, and still White Sand and others to come) so has the estimate of 32 been thrown out the window?

Brandon Sanderson

Eh...I don't know. My original breakdown:

Mistborn 9 Wabreaker 2 Elantris 3 White Sand 3 Stormlight 10 Silence Divine 1 Dragonsteel 7 (A two book and a five book.)

That's the 32, with allowances for a few side stories to get us to 36. There are planets not included in that, however, that I may write stories about. So maybe. But the core cycle is this (in order)

Dragonsteel Mistborn first trilogy Stormlight - Mistborn second trilogy (around the same time.) Mistborn third trilogy.

Everything else is important in their own stories, but as we're talking about the connections between the worlds are considered, this is the prime cosmere cycle.

#22 Copy

sandersonfan

You've mentioned that other books in the Stormlight Archive will have different characters as their focus, is this linked to the 10 orders of the Knights Radiant? Or is this just coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

It is linked. I may not be able to completely link it, but I'm going to try. The first book's symbol (on the front) is the symbol of the Windrunners.

#23 Copy

unknown

How often is a "weeping" in Way of Kings?

Brandon Sanderson

Once a year. Opposite it in the year is an extremely powerful highstorm.

eri_pl

When, relatively to the events in Way of Kings is/will be the nearest Weeping? (I ask, because I started wondering, if this powerful storm was, coincidentally, the one, during which... you know... the face in the clouds and all that.)

Brandon Sanderson

Well, there are ten months in year. If I haven't mentioned dates in the last book (I may or may not have) I am planning to in the next. So a timeline should be possible for fans to figure out...

#24 Copy

Chaos

Can Hoid jump through time? If so, can Shards jump through time?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid, so far, has only moved forward in time. He has not 'lived' all of those years, but has used some time dilation techniques. That said, he is far older (both in relative and real time) than a normal person can live.

#25 Copy

Chaos

Allomancy provides many very dramatic effects, which some have noted is not very much like Preservation. Could you walk me through how Allomancy is of Preservation, though it does dramatic, dynamic things?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the 'basics' of the magic in all of the worlds is that the energy of Shards can fuel all kinds of interactions, not just interactions based on their personality/role. I did this because otherwise, the Magics would all be extremely limited.

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do. So, in Preservation's case, the magic is a gift--allowing a person to preserve their own strength, and rely upon the strength granted by the magic. While Hemalurgy has a huge cost, ending in net entropy.

#27 Copy

Chaos

It's a little odd that Preservation would inherently give up its power to fuel Allomancy, because you'd think he would preserve himself, you know? Does that make sense?

Brandon Sanderson

Preservation, as a Shard, is about preserving life, people, and the like. Not about self. No more than Ruin is about destroying self, or Cultivation is about growing herself.

#28 Copy

FirstRyder

This series will apparently be 10 books long, and for in-world reasons having it end up 9 or 11 books long would be inauspicious. Do you think you'll regret setting a pretty firm length on it, fifteen years down the road?

Brandon Sanderson

Honestly, I'll let myself drop by a few books if the story demands. I won't inflate it to ten if, in the long run, the story just can't hold it up. Right now, though, I've got a really solid outline.

It's ten books, though in my mind, there are really two five book arcs.

#29 Copy

blorcit

I've seen in your answers to previous questions that you are always open to changing aspects of your story so long as it's not already written in another book, or more importantly so that it doesn't contradict what the reader already knows.

That being said, how much of the Cosmere and its story would you say you already have a plan for? For example, do you more or less already know how each world and story ties into one another, or is that something that changes as you write? Given that there seem to be some constants in this universe (the number of shards, etc.), is there an end to these stories as a whole, or is it an ever-expanding universe?

Brandon Sanderson

Things do change as I evolve as a writer.

There is an end to this story. Dragonsteel-Kings-Mistborn are all fairly well planned out, but I must allow myself flexibility.

#31 Copy

Renian

When will we see a book that basically revolves around the concept of the Cosmere and the shard-travelers? Basically, a book revolving around people like Hoid who can jump from shard to shard.

Brandon Sanderson

Third Mistborn Trilogy involves a lot of this. I MIGHT do some parallel stories showing more of what Hoid has been up to. He is a primary viewpoint protagonist of Dragonsteel, but that happens before all of the other books.

#32 Copy

unknown

Was Vallano, Szeth's grandfather, also a Truthless? And if not, what did he do to disgrace the Shin?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Vallano was not Truthless.

Szeth was a very respected member of his society, once. There are clues to what happened in his story, but you won't hear it in full until he gets his book. (Which will include his flashbacks.)

#33 Copy

luxgladius

Do you already have a fully fleshed-out idea of all 10 orders of the Knights Radiant, or are you still coming up with them and their Ideals?

Brandon Sanderson

All ten orders are finished and worldbuilt. (I feel pretty good about them.) However, I could decide to move some things around as I write.

#34 Copy

shdwfeather

One of the things I really like about your books is the creative and immersive backdrop that the stories take place in. I know you spend a lot of time (and words!) on the background material for these worlds. Will you ever publish your world-building notes?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd like to someday. The reason I haven't yet is because many of them contain cosmere-related notes that give huge spoilers for other books. I could just expunge those, but I feel it better to let things grow a little more and then do some worldbooks. The Mistborn RPG coming out this year is half worldbook, though, and has a lot of setting information from my notes.

#35 Copy

phrakture

You seem to be adept at creating interesting magic systems for your worlds - what is your creative process for creating something of this sort? Any hints as to what the next one might involve?

Brandon Sanderson

Next two magic systems you might see:

1) Disease magic. Bacteria have evolved to the point that they try to keep their hosts alive by granting them magical powers while you have the disease. So, you catch a cold, and can fly until you get over it.

2) I've got a a very cool 'throwing spheres of light' magic that I'm working on...which, when you break it down, was inspired by seeing how accurate baseball pitchers were and thinking about how that could be weaponized in a fantasy world.

3) That guy with his ice soap has me thinking about "freezing stuff in water" magic. Like, potions that do things only after they thaw...

#36 Copy

WinespringBrother

Do soothing and rioting work on a telepathic or physiological level (or both)?

Brandon Sanderson

Primarily telepathic, though the body does respond physiologically. After the Soother is gone, the emotion remains for a time, so long as it was a natural emotion. Strong soothing/riotings against a person's nature can wear off quickly, and the body react (sometimes) with a strong opposite emotion in response. A very good Soother/Rioter can inspire emotions that begin telepathic only, but then have a response in the body, so the emotion gets more cemented.

#37 Copy

Quafe

You have, undoubtedly, mastered the fantasy genre. Do you ever see yourself writing science fiction?

I ask because I remember reading two or three years ago on TWG that your plan is to make the second Mistborn trilogy set in a steampunk/industrialized world and the third and final trilogy in a more sci-fi setting. So I'm just wondering if that plan still holds.

Brandon Sanderson

I do plan to do SF in the future. The final Mistborn trilogy will indeed be sf, with a deep understanding of Allomancy and Feruchemy having allowed them to figure out a method of FTL travel. I also have a space opera I've been wanting to write. So far, no time.

#38 Copy

kmolleja

I've noticed some similarities between the father-son pairs of Dalinar/Adolin and Mormon/Moroni, was that intentional or did it creep in subconsciously? The M/M relationship is an incredibly powerful one for me and I'm glad to see it pop-up in unexpected places.

Brandon Sanderson

That's not intentional, but it could certainly be unconscious influence.

cfornia25

I've heard Brandon talk about these characters and he said that originally there was no Adolin. Dalinar was the only character speaking to both the belief and doubt of what he was experiencing. Brandon's Writing Group gave feedback that having one character flip-flop like that wasn't working, so Brandon developed Adolin to help express those doubts. What a great way to solve a problem, and the result is a wonderful relationship that immitates many powerful Father/Son stories.

Brandon Sanderson

You're ALMOST right. Adolin wasn't a viewpoint character initially, but he was in the book during the draft you're talking about. (The one where I had to fix things.) But if I go back to Dalinar, the character, back in his origin (before I wrote the way of kings the first time, back in 2002) he did not have a son. It was his relationship with his brother and nephew (needing to take over the kingdom for a beloved brother who died, and rule it for a nephew--then have concerns about giving up power, and how much he should take) that was the origin of Dalinar.

#39 Copy

Qurtys_Lyn

With all these complex magic systems in your books, do you have all the rules for them written down somewhere? Also, as the worlds are all in the same universe, are the magic systems related in any way to each other, or completely independent from each other?

Brandon Sanderson

I have them all written down. Currently, I use a wiki--find it here--to keep track of all of it.

The magic systems in cosmere books all conform to a few underlying rules. This came from my interest in physics, and its search for a 'unifying' theory. (Fascinating reading, if you haven't studied this.)

In my books, there is a unifying theory of magic, so to speak.

#40 Copy

alanthiana

Allomancy is such a unique form of magic, in the fantasy realm of books. What was your inspiration in forming it?

Brandon Sanderson

A mix of many things inspired Allomancy. The 'feel' of a magic that was really just a new branch of physics, as I spoke about in another post. Alchemy, which is fascinating to me from the standpoint of its place on the border, is another. Real scientists believed in Alchemy, but had to sort out that it was not scientific. It was a time of great thought, and a time when science and 'magic' were mixed in what now seems like strange ways.

Dune was an inspiration (having a limited resource, though I didn't limit it nearly as much, to give an economic side to the magic.) Vector physics was a big influence, as was the fact that I wanted to write a heist story. I therefore designed powers that worked for thieves. The 'burning' of metals was chosen because it resonated with science--the basic way we gain energy is by ingesting things and breaking them down for chemical energy. I wanted something that felt like it had one foot in science, but was also very magical.

#41 Copy

alanthiana

Allomancy can be such an internal form of magic... how would you see it being dealt with visually, if Mistborn were ever to have a TV/movie version?

Brandon Sanderson

Pushes and Pulls are going to be done (if this version of the film gets made) by having metals glow blue when an Allomancer is using their powers. There will be visual or auditory cues for the other powers as well.

Event details
Name
Name /r/fantasy AMA 2011
Date
Date Aug. 31, 2011
Location
Location Reddit
Entries
Entries 41
Upload sources