Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing
Date
Date March 5, 2014
Location
Location Huntington Beach, CA
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 8
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#5

Dawnshard

So I asked Brandon at the LA signing if he could tell us about a shard that we don't know anything about (including the survival shard) and he said that there was a shard that isn't on a planet. Now I think this means that the shard is either on an asteroid, or a star. It could also be floating in space or on a moon and influencing from a distance. I will repeat it is not any shard we already know about.

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#6

Questioner

Will Lift become a recurring character in future novels?

Brandon Sanderson

Lift is one of the characters which I have seeded to be a main character in future novels. For those who don't know, the Stormlight Archive is two arcs of five. The first five book arc is basically about the characters we're dealing [with] now, and it's almost like its own series. But I really like the idea of the form of the novel. (Sorry if this gets boring to you... I'm a professor.) But I love the form of the novel, and I llike ove doing things with it, which is why I've got that big essay on tor.com, if your read that one, the idea that I plotted Words of Radiance as a series of three books, that I put together in one volume, to force you to read a trilogy bound together. I plotted exactly the same way as I would plot a trilogy. So when you read this book, you're getting a trilogy. But it goes beyond that, 'cause as you're a writer, what you're doing is, you take this... first, you start with a sentence. And you want the sentence to have some sort of contrast in the sentence. You want it to be doing multiple things and have a contrast with itself. And then you build a paragraph. And a really good paragraph has a bit of a rise and fall to itself. You begin with something, and then you go, you dig into an idea, and then you come out of that idea. And you combine those paragraphs into scenes, and the scenes have a beginning, middle, and end of their own arc. And then you combine those scenes into chapters. And each chapter, when it works really well, has its own sculpted feel. And then the chapters come together for character arcs. And the character arcs come together for books. And then those books came together to be bound into what we call Words of Radiance, which is really three books bound as one. And then these become part of a five-book arc, and then those two five-book arcs become a mega arc for what I'm trying to do. This is just me playing with this idea of, "How many brackets can I put in here? How can I make this scope work the way I want it to?"

And so, what you end up with is, hopefully, something that feels very cool, even though you have to wait a long time between them because of this. It takes a long time to write a trilogy. I really mean that... I don't know if you know how long this book is. But each of those pieces in there is longer than most novels, each of the three. And then there's a short story collection stapled in there, as well. In the interludes.

The back five will have different characters, though some of the characters from the first five will still show up. And I'm seeding characters who will be important in the back five, in the front five. And Lift is important. Lift is... In my outline, she's one of those things, I had her in my wiki. (I have an internal wiki. You can't find it. It's on my computers only.) There's entries for characters that my assistants get to, and they're like "Who is this? You have this character being a main character, and they haven't even shown up yet." And I'm like, "Oh, let me tell you about them!"

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#7

Questioner

Does it mean anything different for you now that this is your own stuff, rather than the Wheel of Time?

Brandon Sanderson

Here's the weird thing. The Wheel of Time feels as much my own, even though probably, it shouldn't. The Wheel of Time is Robert Jordan's, let's be very frank on that. But the characters feel as much my own as Dalinar does. And the truth is, I knew Rand and Mat before I knew Dalinar, because I picked up the Wheel of Time in 1990, and I started writing Dragonsteel in '91. And so, I've known those characters longer than I've known any of my own characters. Even Hoid, who was there in that first one. He came after the Wheel of Time. And so, when I said yes to Harriet on the Wheel of Time, I did it... I mean, it was a fantastic opportunity. But I did it because this is something I would legitimately want to be part of. And I've talked before about some of the exciting things. Like, for years I'd been playing with a teleportation-based magic system, like gateways, because I had been reading Wheel of Time books and I'm like, "This is where that magic could go!" And I had it all sketched out in my notes. And then I had written, "I can't ever do this. It is too similar to the Wheel of Time."

And then the Wheel of Time... I was writing it. And I'd be like, "Well, here are my notes on how to manipulate this magic system," because I'd spent years wanting to do this. And Perrin is, like, my high school friend. I was one of these nerdy, bookish people, who my friends were my characters in the books. (And, yes, I wasn't that lonely. I did have real friends.)

So, does it feel different to me? No, it really doesn't. I mean, I'm really proud of this. I've been planning forever for this. So, this is my baby. But... When I was offered the Wheel of Time, one thing about it was, when Harriet gave it to me... Finding somebody to finish the Wheel of Time had been a dying request from Robert Jordan for her. She didn't grieve until she found someone to do it, and then she went and grieved for a year, and left me basically on my own. Now, when it came to editing, she then came in as an editor and had a very strong hand and was very important that she do that. But in the process of outlining the three books, writing the first one, and deciding on the plot archetypes and all these things, I did that basically just me and Robert Jordan's notes. And there was a large amount of ownership that Harriet allowed me to take, even though it's made very clear, "The Wheel of Time is not mine." But the characters kind of are mine, in the same way they're all of yours, if that makes any sense.

So, no. It's a long answer, isn't it? One question I get a lot, people ask me, "Does it hurt to kill off characters? Does it hurt to have characters that you don't get to write about anymore?" And usually, my answer is "No." Because I have built a plot arc for years when I'm writing a book, where I know what risks that character's going to take, and I build into it then the consequences of those actions. And it's like, they demand to be allowed to do this, and then there is a ramification. And when I actually write it, yes, there's a sorrow to it, but at the same time, it's fulfilling what that character wanted to do for years and who they are, if that makes any sense. So, they are then done, and I don't feel a need to write any more about them. I'm not gonna mention any names, not give spoilers, but for a lot of these characters, I'm like, "No, I don't feel a need to write any more stories, because I told the story that they needed to have told, and that feels awesome."

The exception is the Wheel of Time. Because, in some ways, the Wheel of Time is the only one... Now, I made the decision that no more Wheel of Time books should be written. It really belongs to Harriet, but when Harriet... She actually asked me what I thought we should do, and I was very up front with "No more Wheel of Time should be done." Because Robert Jordan didn't want it to be done. But the only ones that hurt are not being able to write more stories about some of those characters, because I don't feel their stories are completely told, and I don't feel that I can. So, that is painful. I feel it's good. It's the pain of having lost Robert Jordan. So, it's not a good pain, but it's a necessary pain. And it's a pain that I shouldn't relinquish by simply going and writing all these books, but that is a pain. Not being able to tell the stories of these characters that I really feel didn't quite get told. So you'll have to tell them all in your own head.

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#8

Brandon Sanderson

I did start writing on a new novella, just right after I finished Firefight. (Which is the sequel to Steelheart, which is done.) After I finished that, I started writing a little novella. I didn't finish it, but I got a few pages in. Just to try out something I've been thinking about doing for a while.

So, this is based off of one of the very cool ideas I've had for a magic system for a long time, in which magic is granted by bacteria and viruses. You catch a disease, and the disease has evolved to give you a magical talent for a short time while you have the disease. In order to keep you alive and encourage you to spread the disease. And then when you get over the cold or whatever you've gotten, you lose that power. Which is a really cool idea to me, and the idea of what you would do with that and what culture and society would do with that.

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing
Date
Date March 5, 2014
Location
Location Huntington Beach, CA
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 8
Upload sources