Could you write something about Dawnshards that we don't/won't know?
One Dawnshard is different from all the rest.
Could you write something about Dawnshards that we don't/won't know?
One Dawnshard is different from all the rest.
I asked Brandon to write in my book something about that opposing force.
There was a weapon created by the opposition of Adonalsium.
I asked Peter at the release what was the Shadows for Silence planet name.
It is Threnody.
So, I don't actually own a hardcover copy of The Way of Kings, but I did notice when looking at one that there's a map of Shadesmar... And that the map shows that Shadesmar geography is precisely aligned with Roshar's geography... So I'm just going to assume that other planets we've visited so far also have realms of Shadesmar that are aligned geographically.
That's very clever of you! *smiles* Very clever...
So I guess my follow-up question is: is Elantris a Dawncity?
Hmm. I could see where your reasoning could come to that conclusion, but no. No, that's not it. But your earlier extrapolations are in the right direction.
Can Shardblades kill spren?
If Hoid got beheaded, would his body grow a new head?
What if Hoid got cut by a Shardblade?
The Shardblade cuts the soul and what Hoid does heals the soul.
Does Dalinar have Surgebinding abilities?
Belief has had a lot to do with the cosmere. (for example in Warbreaker. The appearances of the Returned had a lot to do with belief) Will belief have a big part to play in The Stormlight Archive?
It already has. The two scholars measuring the spren.
I asked Brandon just how many secret societies were on Roshar.
There are nine currently working.
I want to know when we're gonna hear of Denth and his further adventures?
Further adventures. Denth? You probably mean Vasher. Oh, that's... you will get more. It's not in the immediate future, because I feel like spending four years to get the second Stormlight book out was too long. I will write more Warbreaker in the coming years. More is coming. There's very important stories to be told, but I have to... It's not in line until at least I finish Stormlight Three. Which will be my next adult book that I'm gonna write. I'm writing Rithmatist 2 next, during the summer, and then I'm doing Stormlight next. It will be a couple years. But when I do write the sequel, which is called Nightblood, I will post the chapters online as I write them, just like I did with the first book.
I've seen online, but I haven't been able to find an actual confirmation. In Way of Kings, it describes Shin Warriors as being bought and sold by means of small stones. Are those Oathstones?
Those are very similar to Oathstones indeed. You will find out a lot more. But yes, you're on the right track.
What are your plans for Alcatraz 5?
I am working on it. I really want to do it. The books are getting rereleased by Tor next year, so that's kind of my deadline. I'd like, once they get all the rereleases out, to have the next book. But I'm planning to do that one, too. That one's looming over me a bunch more than Warbreaker 2 is. I wanna do Warbreaker 2, but it's not like it's immediate. I kinda ended Alcatraz 4 with a cliffhanger. Which was this great idea, I'm like, "Surely the publisher will want a fifth one if I end on a cliffhanger." And then they didn't! And they wrote at the end, "And that ends the Alcatraz series." They added a line about that at the end, or something. I'm like, "What!" So, I bought the books back from the publisher, which is why Tor is now going to be publishing them. So, yeah, you will get the fifth book eventually. It involves all sorts of lunacy, I promise. And I'm telling you, the scene that Alcatraz mentions in the first book, in the first paragraph, actually happens in the fifth book. That's me telling you, not him. So you can actually believe it.
Where on the timeline is the next Mistborn book, and will it continue the story arc of Wax and Wayne, that started in The Alloy of Law?
I signed for two more books with Tor, direct sequels to Alloy of Law. So, Wax and Wayne books. I was planning to write that one in the fall. Tom Doherty, the president, called me and said, "We really would rather you do the next Stormlight first, just because people waited so long for the second one, we don't want to get in a pattern of waiting so long." So, it will probably be my next book for older people after the next Stormlight book. Shadows of Self is what it's called.
Does Syl hate Dalinar's Shardblade specifically, or is it Shardblades in general? Or only specific ones?
Uhh... yeah, okay. There's no way for me to answer that in full without RAFOing, so I'll just RAFO. There are lots of answers in [Words of Radiance].
If one mark is worth five chips, does it hold five times as much Stormlight?
Where's Peter? Peter! Five chips does not hold the exact same amount of light as a mark, correct? Correct. So, they do not hold... I just have to check with my continuity guy. They do not hold exactly five times as much.
So a mark holds more or less?
I believe a mark holds more. Peter, am I correct? Less. Mark holds less. He keeps the money. Actually, because it is such a deal to keep the money straight, it's so important. I just put in "Worth about this much." And then he actually puts in a value. I'll say, "Oh, about the same amount as three meals." And he's like, "Eh, that's this much." Which is something that I can go do, because I can go find that. It's in the wiki. But it would take five or six minutes of searching, which is five or six minutes of breaking my momentum and doing the plot and characters. So now one of the reasons why I hired Peter was so that I could do things like that, and he could keep track of it all. I don't work like... For instance, Robert Jordan was famous for keeping almost all of it in his head all the time. It was all up there. I put it all in wikis so I don't have to remember it. And this was really actually kind of awkward with the Wheel of Time fans, who would come ask me this questions, and I would say "I can look that in Robert Jordan's notes." And they'd be like, "But you don't know the answer?" And I'm like, "No. When I want the answer, I will go look it up in his notes, and then I'll use that and write the scene."
So, while there's a lot I know, I keep the plots and a lot of the characters and things like that going. When I want to find out how much something's worth, I just go to my own wiki. And I'm like, "Oh, this." By the way, this is a wiki you can't get to; it's an internal wiki. You're wondering. But there's a very nice wiki kept by the 17th Shard. Theirs is pretty good.
Tarah. She shows up late in The Way of Kings. Kaladin's fighting his inner wretch, as you call him. And he goes through the list a few times, and then near the end of the book a new name comes up. I'm wondering if she's important or is left out of the first book, or if we're gonna hear more about her in the second.
This is a person that is important to Kaladin. Definitely. From his past, and it is... Yes, a woman who is important to Kaladin. So, it's from his past. You will find out more eventually. Light RAFO.
If an Elantrian brought a seon with him to another planet, could he use that seon's Aons to change their Aons to use the magic better?
It would be very hard to do.
But not impossible?
Would you consider doing a Kickstarter for the Mistborn movie?
I would not consider that right now. The reason being that I think that Kickstartering movies can happen, but it would need to be done by somebody who knows how to make movies. Or at least who has produced movies. It doesn't have to be done by the director, but it needs to be somebody who knows you can guarantee put it together. If I did a Kickstarter... I don't know. I can't promise you that I know how to use all this correctly and make the film the right way. I think you will see this happening more in the future, and if it starts becoming a thing, maybe I can approach the right people who would be interested and we can make it happen. But currently, it is not something that I would consider doing.
I was wonder when all the continuity will come together?
You'll see it coming together all through the series. But the series that's really important for that is the third Mistborn trilogy.
So when I pitched Mistborn to my editor. This was years ago, almost ten years ago now. I sent him Elantris. It sat on his desk for eighteen months. He finally read it, called me the next day, and is like, "I need to buy this!" I'm like, "Great, finally." This was the early days, when I was trying to break in. He said, "What else do you have?" And I sent him The Way of Kings. And then he called me terrified. Because, if you don't know the story, The Way of Kings was the book that I wrote after I just assumed no one was ever going to publish me. I was sending out books and getting rejected. My thirteenth novel (I had written thirteen unpublished books), and I'm like, "No one's gonna publish me. They're telling me my books are too long. I'm gonna write one that's even longer. That has all this screwy stuff. And it's gonna be, like, my opus. And it's gonna be my 'Too bad for you guys you'll never publish this.'" And then someone wanted to buy my books. And I'm like, "Oh, great." And so I sent them Way of Kings, and he was just like, "What do we do with it? This is awesome, but I can't publish this by a new author." Because, if you look at The Way of Kings, the endpages, those cost a lot of money per copy to print. The nice paper we use so you can see the artwork costs a lot of money as well. Every copy costs a little bit extra. And that really cuts into the publisher's profit. And so they need to be printing a lot of copies for it to justify itself. That's basic economics, right? So, for a new author, either I had to decide to cut it and not include all this artwork, or I had to do something else.
So I said, "I've got this idea," and I pitched him Mistborn. And my idea on Mistborn was that it was going to be a set of three trilogies. An epic fantasy trilogy, a contemporary modern-day trilogy, and a science fiction trilogy set in the same world where the magic had become the means by which space travel happened. And so, I built into the magic systems space travel. Which is another discussion. I won't talk about that one. So, I pitched him this grand epic of nine books. Which the Wax and Wayne books are not part of, by the way. They are just me having fun with the world. So, you will eventually get to the official third Mistborn trilogy, which is a space opera. Science fiction. And then you will start to see a lot of things coming together that have been seeded for a long, long time.
We know Elantris and all the other worlds have their own calendars. What does Scadrial's calendar look like, especially relative to Earth?
For those who don't know, the Mistborn world was designed as my earth analogue. Meaning, if you go look at Scadrial and say, "Does this creature exist on Scadrial?" It probably doesn't exist on Roshar, and it's a toss-up if it exists on Sel, the Elantris world. But on Scadrial, if I haven't said otherwise, you can guess that it does exist. And that's why the cultures and the languages and the linguistics, I just built that one to kind of be the familiar place. And that's because... so, you would say, like, seven-day week. Basically seven-day week, like our calendar-ish.
Roshar's, by the way, is pretty bizarre. Roshar is five-day week, set into fifty-day months, which there are ten months in the year, with a double-year cycle of highstorms. So, it's a thousand-day cycle with two years in between those. It's this really bizarre thing we came up with, but Roshar's supposed to have bizarre stuff.
Obviously, you've written different styles of books, with Rithmatist and Alcatraz and the Librarians versus huge epic fantasies and how big the Stormlight Archive looks to be. I want to know, how did your approach differ between those two books?
I approach each book a little bit differently. There are a few things I'm trying to do with each book. With each book, I will pick something I generally want to work on to get better at as a writer, to practice. And, of course, I want to get better in all areas, but each book has a theme. If you read Warbreaker, I wanted to practice humor, and different styles of humor. That was a big part of Warbreaker. Specifically humor in a non-humorous book, character humor. Whereas, Way of Kings, it's obviously worldbuilding. I wanted to bring the worldbuilding up a notch. And so, each book, that's a big difference. When you see me writing things like Legion, which is contemporary, often it's saying, "Can I do this genre? What is this genre like? Can I practice this genre?" One big difference between the Alcatraz books and other book is that I freewrite, I discovery write the Alcatraz books. I don't plan a big outline. I have, like, a sentence for each book. And then I brainstorm all the goofiest things I can think of that make me laugh, and I write them all down and say "I've gotta use all them in the book somehow." So, if you've seen Whose Line Is It Anyway, where they're like, "You must take these things and use these props and design a story," that's what I do with Alcatraz, is I brainstorm all these props, and say, "I've gotta have talking dinosaurs, and I've gotta have this and this and this, and at some point people have to ride on a giant pig." I've just gotta make all these things work in a story, it's a creative exercise on my part, and I think discovery-write them. I don't outline, I just go. Which is why they feel so different in tone. It's my goal to make them feel different in tone. I stay productive as a writer by doing very different projects sequentially. What I'm doing, after I finish a book, is I've gotta usually do something very different from that book in order to refresh myself, stay creative, and be doing new things. Which is why you see stuff like Legion and Alcatraz and what-not. And I'm never gonna be one of these authors that's only in one world, because I would get burned out too quickly on that.
How did working on the Wheel of Time series change the way that you made Way of Kings?
The biggest thing it did was it helped me juggle a large cast. When I wrote Way of Kings the first time (this was in 2002, this was the version I sent to my editor), the story really got away from me. To the point that, when he was saying "I don't want to publish it," he said, "Do you mind if we break it," I said, "Why don't I pitch you my new thing, because I want to do a new draft of Way of Kings." And it was because the characters, there were too many of them for me to juggle at that time. And working on the Wheel of Time, I had to learn how to juggle a lot of different characters very quickly. And by the end of writing the first one... I actually, after writing Gathering Storm, called my editor and said, "I think I can do Way of Kings now." Which is why Way of Kings came in such a weird place. It probably would have been better to write all three Wheel of Time books and then done the Stormlight Archive. Then you wouldn't have had a four-year wait because I had to finish four Wheel of Time books in between. But I was really excited at that point, and I had learned so much, and I'm like, "I have to write this book right now. It's in there; it's gotta come out." And so I took six months. And that draft was six months to write it, which is the fastest I've written in... basically, ever, for something that long. But I had already written a draft of the book. I did start on page one again, and write all the way through, and I changed a fundamental decision made in the first chapter. If you have read the first book, when you come the line you can ask about that if you're curious. But it's a spoiler for Way of Kings for me to tell you what I changed between what I call now Way of Kings Prime, the 2002 version, and the 2010 version that you guys read.
I'm a writer, and I'm trying to further my writing. As I've been reading The Way of Kings, I've noticed that there's a bunch of different details, stuff that I would never even think of. How do you juggle everything and make sure everything fits together?
The number one thing you want to know is: just practice. Practice is gonna solve so many of these things. When I was your age, and I would read books... how old are you, by the way? Twelve? When I was twelve, I was not reading books like this. So, kudos to you. When I was older than you, and reading fantasy books; when I was fourteen and I was reading them, I had the same sort of thing. I wanted to do this. I loved this. I'd found myself in these books; and I had no idea how to. My first things that I tried, they were not coming together. It's just a matter of practicing. Do you play an instrument? You play the piano? When you first start, you aren't playing these beautiful music by the old masters. You're playing scales. And that's okay. And when you write right now, you get to skip the scales part, because you already know how to write the words. You learned all that in grade school. Now, you're moving onto the next step, which is creating these stories, but you've still gotta practice that. But don't stress it. Don't worry about it. The thing I would do is, I would keep open a notebook beside you as you type, as you write. Or another file on the screen. And every time you run across something that you're like, "Oh, maybe I should expand this," write that down in your thing. And then later on, when you're sitting somewhere that you don't have your laptop with you, you can open up that book and be like, "Oh, I need more about this." And you can just start writing down brainstorming ideas about that. Later on, when you revise your book, you can put that all in.
I'm interested in the background that takes place before the events of the first Mistborn book. Are you interested at all in looking at the histories of some of your past books?
Yes. But I probably won't be writing a lot of books back there. Just because every time I've read or seen a prequel, I find myself disappointed in it. With some famous examples. And I think that's partially because you, as the writer, feel like you've already finished the story. And the reader feels, "I've already finished the story." Now, there are some really great ones out there. Ender's Shadow is kind of a prequel, that is a fantastic book. So there are people capable of doing this. You just have to find the exact right thing. I think it's better to explore in something like a video game, where there's enough new going on with the style of the storytelling that I get excited about it.
How do you suggest dealing with worldbuilding disease?
So, worldbuilder's disease is what we call it when you spend all of your time worldbuilding, and none of it writing. And this is a big deal for those of us like myself who like to worldbuild. You have to learn. And my biggest piece of advice for worldbuilder's disease is to set goals. Say "I am going to be done worldbuilding on this day." Or "On this day, I at least have to write Chapter One." And just give yourself limits, and say, "I have to do this." You can always add more in later. If you write your book and find holes, you can fill those in later. You can write down, "I need to know more about this." So set a goal, and say, "I need to start writing on this date." And then keep that date. That's the number one thing I'd suggest, you've just got to practice writing.
The other big thing, you can also practice writing something that you're not worldbuilding, to practice your writing. You say, "I'm gonna write this other story that's in the history of this world that's just gonna be for me. That's part of my worldbuilding. It's not my main story. So I don't have to stress about it, if everything's right, because it's just gonna be the background for my story eventually."
I have a question about the Mistborn video game. I wanna know how much involvement, how much of the writing do you do?
I wrote the story and will be writing all the dialogue for the game. So, the first thing I did for them once we sold it, we had to write in the contract that I write the story. And I wrote the story and sent it to them. They are building a game frame around that story, for the setpieces and things, and then I will go in and write the dialogue. Now, I have this feeling when I play video games, my favorite games, the way that they do stories... For those who like video games, I like it when you don't stop the action for the story. For instance, I much prefer... Have you played the game Infamous? I really prefer the way Infamous did it, where you're going somewhere, and people are talking to you, and you're getting story as you're going; as opposed to action games, in particular, where you stop, and then you have a cutscene. I don't like that as much. So, what we're gonna try to do is integrate it like that. Where I have written side characters who will be saying things to you, hopefully amusingly, as you're charging through, trying to get to where you're going next, and stuff like that.
At one point, you said something about how the way that the humans on Roshar perceive spren, or how that's important in their <rough position> in the Physical Realm. So, going to the interlude where we have the two ardents, they do two tests. But it seems like there's a third test that they kinda, maybe should have done. And I want to know how that would have played out.
So, the two tests that they did were; he's measuring for real and telling her, and she's writing down what the actual measurements are, and it sticks. The second one is, write down something that's possible, and she knows this isn't right, so she writes it down and nothing happens. What would have happened in the case where she thinks she's writing down the right thing, but he's actually lying to her?
If she thinks she's writing down the right thing and he's lying to her, the first would happen. It would stick.
With the maps. How much influence do you get in the creative process of building those worlds?
So, Brandon's actually really good about being collaborative on the maps. There are definitely things that he wants in there. There are definitely things in the maps that he has said, "These need to be there," and there are places where he gives a lot of creative freedom. There are some places on the maps that are named, that I got to name. Which is kind of cool.
And it depends on the map, too. Like, he can tell you what he got for Mistborn. What did you get for Mistborn?
Brandon gave me a picture that was drawn in MSPaint in, like, three colors. And just, like, "Stuff is here." Couple of names, but the basic directions are right. There was no map for Luthadel. I came up with that one, and then he used that to make sure everything was right in the book. So, it kinda goes both ways.
But then, Way of Kings, I actually handed him a picture and said, "Here is the shape. And here are [where] all the kingdoms. Now you can work on actually making it look like a map." But I gave him the exact shape. So it does vary, but a lot of times it'll be, I'll say, "Hey Isaac, look at this cool map I found online. Let's do something like this." Or a few months ago, he was in Europe. You were in Rome, right? You'd seen some maps that hang in the Vatican. And he said, "I wanna do one like this." And that became your back endpage for this book. Was he wanting to do a map like he had seen hanging in the Vatican for our world. And it's actually a painting on a roof that he did. So if you open up and look at the back endpage [of Words of Radiance], it is a roof that he has painted as if it is a roof in something like the Vatican.