Words of Radiance San Francisco signing

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
Date
Date March 6, 2014
Location
Location San Francisco, CA
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Borderlands Books
Entries
Entries 35
Upload sources
#1 Copy

Questioner

I love the Hoid scavenger hunts that have been going on. What does he-- what powers does he have, what magic has used *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

If you watch in these books, he has used on screen so far three of the different magics.

Questioner

And have we seen those three-- do we know what those three are?

Brandon Sanderson

You know at least two of them. Very deep clues-- very more obvious clues are in this book [WoR].

Questioner

And I haven't gotten to yet-- you can see where I am.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah; watch where he and Kaladin have some interactions. If you watch carefully you will see something in what he mentions. You've already seen him and Shallan, that scene in one of her flashbacks.

Questioner

I was almost-- I was reading that scene like "that has to be..."

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in that scene he uses one if you watch.

Footnote: Hoid references having at least the Second Heightening (Awakening) to Kaladin in jail; he likely uses emotional Allomancy on Shallan. This transcriber can't think of a third, beyond Yolish Lightweaving in WoK
#3 Copy

Questioner

The question I was a little more interested in was not so much the interludes, but like Gaz *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

So Gaz was always planned to come back. Which is why there's kind of a mystery to him in the first book, like "where did he go?" It's something Robert Jordan did that I like. I don't know if you read-- oh you did, you read-- So like when Bayle Domon shows up again; and some of the characters getting woven in, I like that. And so you will see that sort of thing happening, it's just something I'm fond of that he did.

Questioner

I'm so surprised that Gaz showed up.

Brandon Sanderson

And the other thing about Gaz is: one of the things I like to do in my fiction is show that the light through which someone is seen and perceived changes a lot of who they are. We all do that, we go to different situations and we're different people. And Gaz you saw all through Kaladin's eyes as one person and I want to show you through someone else's eyes without the initial problem they had together would see him very differently.

#4 Copy

Questioner

Do you hear the-- when you write the Parshendi have such a musical language. Do you hear it when you're writing, like what the songs sound like?

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent, yes, but I am not as musically inclined as some, and so if we ever do it, I would probably have somebody else come up with something more... It's more of a cadence though, like the difference between iambic and things like that.

#5 Copy

Questioner

Are you ever going to expand on the cosmere in its own book or is it going to be a long *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the thing that started it all, Dragonsteel, is going to be about the cosmere a lot more, and the third Mistborn trilogy will be also.

Questioner

I like how you have that background going through all your different cosmere novels, tying them together

Brandon Sanderson

I want to make sure that it never becomes the forefront until I am warning people, "Now, you need to know this stuff."

#6 Copy

Questioner

How did you decide that you were going to tackle racism, classism, gender, all those things in The Way of Kings? What sort of things went into how you decided the various ways...?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the things I like about Fantasy is the ability to tackle things like this in a way that removes the baggage from our current society which is why you see me doing things like the gender relations based around whether the hand is sleeved or not; what are feminine and masculine arts... I want to do something that's one step removed—not too far removed, because I want it to be pertinent—but removed enough that we can remove some of the baggage and talk about things like this. That's where the lighteyes and darkeyes came from.

I just decided to do it because I felt it's an important part of who we are, and something important to discuss. Beyond the fact that the Parshendi-Human thing is going to be a big deal for this series so I wanted to introduce it early on in the book to let you know this is something that we're going to deal with. 

#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The next thing I'll probably write is: I've been developing the world for awhile now, where... are you familiar with Tesla, Nikola Tesla? He wanted this whole wireless electricity thing to work, he was trying to make it work. It was kind of like electrifying the air and having the current run into the ground.

I want to build a world where that happens naturally, where your ground is positive and your air is negative and electrons will move through it and you can like-- animals adapted to use this and you can use fantasy-T technology, like you set a lamp on the ground and it'll just glow because a current is running through it; and stuff like that.

#9 Copy

Questioner

The Ars Arcanum, is there an in-cosmere author of that?

Brandon Sanderson

Those are in-cosmere, yes.

Questioner

It sort of seems like they would be written by someone like Hoid or someone.

Brandon Sanderson

It is not. I don't know if I've released who it is. It's probably not who peole are thinking, but it is in-world.

#10 Copy

Questioner

What is your favorite original Shardholder?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite original Shardholder?

I don't knoooowwww...

Questioner

Are they all that bad of people?

Brandon Sanderson

No no, they're not bad-- they're not all bad people. Many of them are-- you know the trick is I'm gonna have to really write them, as their personalities. Because right now they're really just concepts, and I haven't written very many of them. And so... I'm very fond of Bavadin, but I can't say.

#12 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if a Hemalurgic spike would take surges, or if it could take a spren bond? Would it interact at all for that?

Brandon Sanderson

Hemalurgy can interact with every one of the magics. I designed it specifically in writing Mistborn for future use. Because some of the magics are so limited by their planet I wanted one that transcended all of them and Hemalurgy is very important to the entire cosmere. Its invention is a thing of great power and great danger to the entire cosmere.

#14 Copy

Questioner

In the [Purelake vision that Dalinar had in WoR] there was a pouch that the Shardbearer grabbed when the spren went into the ground. I was wondering what is this pouch? Is it a fabrial? Was it important? It was just sitting there, sitting there!

Brandon Sanderson

You need to get at least one RAFO. I'm not saying that's an important thing--

Questioner

Hey!?

Brandon Sanderson

...it might be, but you need to get at least one RAFO from me, so that's the one I'm gonna RAFO.

#15 Copy

Questioner

Spren bonds: there was some intimation somewhere that I read that there might not have been spren bonds before [Aharietiam, the day the Desolations ended]?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not going to answer that one either but we will delve much more into this. The spren were around back then but they were not nearly what they are now: they've changed over the course of the book obviously. I think the cosmere theorists have figured it out. They are much more prevalent following Honor and what happened to him, but there were some spren on the planet before even that happened.

Footnote: It seems that Brandon is referring to the Expulsion and/or the arrival of Honor on Roshar, not Aharietiam
#16 Copy

Questioner

If there is only one Shard on [Taldain], are there other Shards in the solar system?

Brandon Sanderson

Ahhh. Now that's a clever question. The answer is "no". One for that solar system. And there's also, um-- we'll stop there.

Questioner 2

There's also what?

Brandon Sanderson

There are other places with only one. It's not uncommon for there to be only one. I've gone to the planets with multiples intentionally because the conflict there is very long. And the ones on the planets without multiples: like for instance in Warbreaker the conflict is not about cosmere-centric things. And you'll see that very commonly on the planets you go to. There's the same sort of things on Elantris. And so when you see me going-- even though there are two there, they're dead. And so, when you see me--

Questioner

The reason I ask is that there have been intimations that in Stormlight Archive a Shard may be on the moon just from things that people have--

[...]

There have been *inaudible* that that may be the case, so I had to ask.

Brandon Sanderson

You guys are awesome, thank you so much.

#17 Copy

Questioner

On all the cosmere worlds, it seem as if-- do all the humans have what you call innate Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's see...

*thinks*

I believe that they all do. I don't think that you've seen anyone without innate Investiture yet.

Questioner

Because when they don't have Breath anymore, they would get Drabs, and those don't have innate Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

They don't have innate Investiture. And on Scadrial they have the pieces of Ruin and Preservation in them. And they do have it on Roshar.

Questioner

Which Shard is that?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to read and find out. *gives card*

So yes, I don't think you've seen any worlds where they don't.

#18 Copy

Questioner

In The Way of Kings you do this one thing when you went into the point of view of the character Gaz, just for like two pages that turned him from random bad guy to interesting character. Last I hear you said that if we read carefully we could figure out what happened to him but I never could.

Brandon Sanderson

So he had his debts. He was owing people debts and they came due and he deserted.

#20 Copy

Questioner

At the very end of Words of Radiance, Dalinar touches a Shardblade and it screams at him. Shouldn't that particular Blade have been safe?

Brandon Sanderson

No it should not have. It's a clue that something has happened.

[...]

[This is] a question that the subtle reader should be asking. And there are other clues that something is wrong with what the story you've been told is.

Questioner

Because Option 2 is that it's unsafe to touch an honorblade, but there's no evidence of that.

Brandon Sanderson

There is no evidence of that. In fact there's much stronger evidence that something else is going on.

Questioner 2

Did Hoid switch out the blades?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid did not switch out the blades, but good question.

#22 Copy

Questioner

For [Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell], did that take place in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

It does. It's on a planet called Threnody. There is no Shard on that planet, however. So you can see the magic is very different in that the magic is something you interact with, not something you perform. Because there isn't a Shard there. But yeah, it is in the cosmere.

#24 Copy

Questioner

If Kelsier's [Cognitive Shadow] or a Seon went to the Forests of Hell, would they be shades there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is the same thing. Now, you can see that there-- the people on that planet; their Investiture; the lack of Shard means that their cognitive shadows react differently.

[...]

In fact, the Cognitive Shadow is also the same thing as the ghost you saw in Mistborn, that was the spirit of Leras is the same thing too.

#26 Copy

Questioner

[Complements artwork in The Way of Kings, asks how working with illustrators has changed the way Brandon sees the world]

Brandon Sanderson

One of my initial visions for The Way of Kings was one of these cross-genre books. I wanted to bring illustrations and-- you know there's this sense for whatever reason in contemporary fiction that illustrations are for kids, not for adults. That's not the way it always was. If you go back to the 1800's every book was illustrated, to an extent. And you'd get these beautiful bookplates and things like this that would be in the novels. I wanted to go back to something like that. Though I did want to be aware of the idea that you as a reader are participating, and I wanted to be careful not to define too much what people look like, particularly characters, because I wanted that to be through you.

So I wanted to be doing artwork in the books, but I didn't want to do artwork that was too specific to the characters—other than the cover art. This meant I wanted to do in-world stories, which is how Shallan started to develop as a character. She was based off of Pliny the Elder, as a character and my research about him and some of the people like him; and a little bit about Darwin and his travels and things like this. So I wanted-- I started to build her. She replaced a character in the original Way of Kings, what I call Way of Kings Prime, that I wasn't pleased with.

So I really want to do a lot of artwork for the books, and it's been a lot of fun. One of the first things I did when I went to pitch Way of Kings to Tor was I commissioned artwork of all the characters. Because it was going to be such a visual book, I wanted to have in hand for me reference material on characters, races, things like this. I wanted to have this like world book that you sometimes get in a book afterward, I wanted that in the before. So that I had it all in hand. Because there's a lot of screwy stuff going on in this world.

It really helped me to envision, to visualize how this book was supposed to go. Beyond that it's just awesome. Who here has read Watchmen? Have you guys read Watchmen? If you haven't read Watchmen it's amazing, particularly if you're a comic book geek like me. When I first read Watchmen-- what Watchmen does, it adds all sorts of ephemera. Like one of the characters is creating action figures of all the other characters and trying to market and sell them, and they include his pitch for the action figures and things like that. And it was part of what brought that book to life for me: not just the excellent writing, but it was the idea that this is not just a comic book, this is a comic book plus a world. And I wanted to write books that were not just a book, they were a book plus a world.

It's been a blast. I am in a position where I can hire the artists myself, which allows me to have a lot of control, and so the artwork inside the book is all stuff that I've commissioned. I've gone to the artists and I've talked to them myself, and I've picked my favorite artists and we do this awesome work just as part of it.

Hopefully it's something that people enjoy, it's something that I intend to keep doing and it's been a blast.

#27 Copy

Questioner

Are you going to write any chapter from the point of view of a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Will I ever write any chapters from the viewpoint of a spren.

It's likely that I eventually will but it will probably be an interlude. The Stormlight Archive is about ten characters at its essence, and none of them are a spren. You've met all of them I believe and each of them will have a book with a flashback sequence in it, which is another thing I'm doing to make sure each book has an identity.

Epic fantasy I also feel part of the problem is when later books stop having an identity because the story kind of blurs together for the writer. My goal is if I have a good solid flashback sequence for each of these characters to give an arc it'll help me keep each book distinct, which I feel is very important.

If you ask me later I'll tell you who some of those are. In three of the first five I've been very upfront with who they are. I don't talk about the back five very often because I don't want the focus to be on those yet.

#29 Copy

Questioner

When are we going to get Hoid’s book?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has 6 books, they are the 3 books of Dragonsteel, which are prequels and the last Mistborn trilogy of the nine book arc will have him as a main character. I won't say they're "his" books, but he is one of the primary protagonists.

Questioner

You think about five books into [The Stormlight Archive], or after this series?

Brandon Sanderson

After this series, the middle Mistborn books will happen in-between.

#30 Copy

Questioner

Do you know how you're going to write how Hoid travels between worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes I do. Yes. Yes there's a big clue in [Words of Radiance]. There is a very big clue in the very first book I published.

Footnote: We know now that the trick is to jump into shardpools, or "perpendicularities". We see one in Elantris and Rock tells a story of Hoid coming out of one in WoR
#31 Copy

Questioner

When you were planning for Zahel being Vasher, how long did you [plan] that?

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher was in the 2002 version of The Way of Kings by name, as Vasher. I only changed him to the new name after I finished this entire draft. Because I'm like "oh, he'd probably go under a pseudonym". So he's in Roshar for 12 years our time—I mean I had written him 12 years ago, in Roshar.

Questioner

And what's he doing there? Why? Is that a RAFO?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to read the Way of Kings Prime but he is in there by name, it blew my assistant's mind when he went back and found it.

He was doing much of the same thing that he did in this one. But in that book-- in Way of Kings Prime the big defining difference was that Kaladin took the Blade and Plate, and Zahel—or Vasher as he was named there—was his teacher then, and that was a much bigger part of the book because the book was about become-- you know. And it was the first book and him and his teacher, so yeah.

#32 Copy

Questioner

Why did you gloss over *audio obscured* for Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

Again you'll want to read on, but Jasnah-- that was not going to happen in this book. In the initial plot it didn't happen, and Shallan was unable to, in the initial scenes I wrote, be able come into her own and so I had to make major revisions to the plot for this outline, the biggest thing I did was that. And once I did that the story started working.

#33 Copy

Questioner

What was Jasnah's last thought? Just pure curiosity, it's been on my brain for whatever *inaudible* been reading.

Brandon Sanderson

Have you read the book?

Questioner

Yeah, I'm on the last ten pages [of Words of Radiance].

Brandon Sanderson

Last ten pages.

Her *pause* last thoughts were of escaping.

Footnote: Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. Ha. Brandon must have been restraining himself here.
#35 Copy

Questioner

So that bit at the end [of Words of Radiance] with Szeth. Getting that black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

That's setting up for book 3, which is going to be crazy.

Questioner

There's another book with a black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

It's the same sword, yes. In fact I wrote the original version of the Way of Kings involving the character who has that sword. He's in the first draft from 2002, then I wrote Warbreaker about him, then I wrote this.

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
Date
Date March 6, 2014
Location
Location San Francisco, CA
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Borderlands Books
Entries
Entries 35
Upload sources