Salt Lake City signing 2012

Event details
Name
Name Salt Lake City signing 2012
Date
Date Nov. 6, 2012
Location
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Bookstore
Bookstore Weller's Book Works
Entries
Entries 27
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#1 Copy

Questioner

I was just wondering, how Stormlight 2 is coming?

Brandon Sanderson

How is Stormlight 2 going? It's going pretty well. This whole being trapped in a hotel during the storm thing was not actually as conducive as you might think. Cause I sat down and I worked on it for a bit but being away from home, being, you know, annoyed that I'm trapped in a hotel and things like that I actually ended up writing a short story I owed somebody instead, just to kind of further clear the plate.

I owe Charlaine Harris a story. Charlaine's a friend and she's been a dear to me and she keeps trying to get me into one of her anthologies. And I'm like "Charlaine, this isn't really my thing," but she keeps asking so I finally said yes to one of them because the concept sounds fun, it was called Games Dead People Play. So I wrote her a story for her Games Dead People Play anthology. So we'll see about that.

It was actually four thousand words; you can be impressed now. I don't write things very short very often, if you can't tell. My short stories are as long as the book you're holding in your hand usually. So that's how that tends to go. So four thousand words is really short for me; it's only like 20 pages or something, it's tiny. Anyway, Stormlight 2 is coming along well. Hopefully next Christmas-time is when it should be coming out. I'm supposed to be turning in a new title this week and a cover concept by the end of the month, so that Michael Whelan can paint one. So we will see if I'm able to keep these deadlines.

#2 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any future plans for the character of Stephen Leeds?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, Stephen Leeds. So this is the main character from Legion. Legion is- actually kind of got some cool stories behind it. Legion, you know, is one of these quirky ideas I came up with. And actually since it was mainstream and things I said, "Hey Dan," talking to Dan Wells, my friend, "You should write this story, let me tell you about it." And he was not nearly as excited about it as I was. I'm like, "Dan, you need to write this story, you need to write this story." And finally I realized, "Oh, I should write this story cause I came up with the idea, rather than telling Dan to. It's okay, Brandon. You can write something mainstream."

So, I kicked it around for a while. For me, I viewed it as being a television show, a pitch for a television show particularly. So I wrote a pitch on it, and I wrote that story to be kind of a pilot pitch. Which then sold the television rights on it, which was always kind of the goal for me was to get that because I view it as being a really awesome television show. So we sold the rights to Lionsgate and I went ahead and released the story that I wrote

I would like to do more things like that. I have so much on my plate, who knows? My little notebook that I carry around places where I expect to be bored, it has scribblings, you know, of maybe a quarter of another Stephen Leeds story. I ran into a hangup with some of the science and so I fired off a furious email to Peter, my assistant, and he was like, "I don't know". And usually that doesn't happen with Peter on the science, so maybe it is a real quandry. So, answer is, yes there should be more. Hopefully we can get the television show off the ground and that would be a lot of fun.

#4 Copy

Questioner

Who was the first Feruchemist?

Brandon Sanderson

Who was the first Feruchemist? I don't have their name written down. It's fairly ancient of date.

Questioner

Were they born or were they created?

Brandon Sanderson

The first Feruchemist, were they born or created? Both. I don't see those two as mutually exclusive. See how good I am at dodging questions, now? I've been dealing with the Wheel of Time fans long enough. They've really whipped me into shape for dodging questions.

#6 Copy

Questioner

Okay Hoid, you mentioned he's in all your books, is he in also in all your shorter stories?

Brandon Sanderson

He is not in all of my shorter stories. In fact, he is not in any book that references Earth. So if there's a reference to Earth- most of my science fiction has referential stuff to Earth, Alcatraz is like this. He's not in anything like that. He's not in the Wheel of Time. It would not have been appropriate for me to seed something like that into a Wheel of Time book. So he's not in Steelheart or the other children works that I've done. But he is in all my epic fantasies.

Questioner

Now my main question actually, which magic systems, if any, does he have access to?

Brandon Sanderson

That's an excellent question. He is familiar with very many of them, and lots that you haven't seen yet.

#7 Copy

Questioner

Where did you get your inspiration for having kind of a kind of consistent universe; it's kind of similar to Stephen King and things like that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, where did I get the inspiration for that? There's a couple of places, and I don't want to go off on this too long, if you go look on the Q&A database that these guys have on the 17th Shard you can find more.

But there were really two things that made me do it. First off is reading how Asimov did it and really being impressed with what he did and also noticing that he had to like do some patches in order to make everything work. Asimov connected his Robot series and his Foundations series after the fact many years later. It turned out really well; the two series, as it turns out, blend together in a really cool way but it felt to me it felt after the fact . And I wanted to do something from the get-go and say, "Well, if I've got something like this as a model." Stephen King did it also, but he did it after the fact. But I've got writers like this as a model to show how cool this can be, so my question to myself is, "How much cooler can it be if I do it from book one?" And you know, it's the sort of advantages you get as a writer by standing on the shoulders of authors like that, who have done these awesome things in the past. It allows us to kind of see what they did and say, "Okay, how can I expand on this? How can I do something new, rather than just doing what Asimov did?" And one of the approaches was to try it from book one.

And the other reasoning was that I like big epics but I also want to be writing a lot of stand-alones. And early in my career in particular, it was important for me to be writing stand-alones. And so the hidden epic behind the scenes allowed me to embed some of this depth of foreshadowing and connection in a way that would not be intimidating to readers because they could just read the story and enjoy the stand-alone. And then if it's something- if they're the type that really gets into this and really wants to dig deep, they can find the other level and be like, "Wow, there's an epic on here and Mistborn is a sequel to Elantris. I didn't know that," and things like that. Or they can be read completely independently and you never have to worry about that. So I like that versatility.

I will eventually write some stories connecting all of these things in a more obvious way, but I don't want it to come to the forefront of any series that that's not already the focus. For instance, I don't want Way of Kings to be about that, because I've already promised you what Way of Kings is about. And I don't want then to trick you into, "Oh, now it's this other thing." I have books planned that will be that, but they're a little ways off.

#9 Copy

Questioner

Mistborn, the broadsheet hints that there's a continent or whatever on the other side of the Mistborn planet. Would that also be connected to Allomancy and Feruchemy and all that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it will be. The Southern Continent does have interactions with the three Metallic Arts, but they use them in very different ways.

#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The magic systems for Elantris- the pitch to myself designing the world and magic systems was this kind of procedural-based, almost programing-based magic. Where in Elantris, you use these characters to program out a sequence of events that tells the power that's flowing through what to do.

What Shai is doing in this book is she carves a little seal. And the seal is very much like a little program, and she stamps it on something and uses that stamp to rewrite the history of the object. As long as the seal is there, the object thinks it has this other history. The example you see in the book is you know... an old dirty table that's not been cared for, she can write a seal for its history, she has to figure out what its history was first. And she can write out a seal that basically reprograms that past, so when she stamps it, it thinks it's been cared for all along and suddenly it gains this lacquer, it's beautiful, it's been well-cared for, because in that fake Forgery of the history, that's what happened to it. And that's what her magic does, which is why she's been hired to Forge a copy of the emperor's soul.

But, yes, the magic systems have the same root. And it's not just the Dor. I like the magics on a given planet to all have a consistent theme. And for Elantris they are these almost programming-like, very based on symbols and what-not. In Mistborn, it's based on the metals and the interactions of the metals.

#11 Copy

Questioner

You sold the rights for Mistborn for a movie, right? How is that coming along?

Brandon Sanderson

I have had no major updates, I'm afraid. You know, I really like the script. They're pitching it in Hollywood. They're good guys, the producers are. The script is really awesome and is pretty faithful. It's adapted in the ways that adaptations need to happen. Like it's really cool, like the beginning they did this thing where they said, "You know, we really need to focus the movie on Vin, so the opening needs to be on Vin instead of Kelsier." Which is a really good move for a movie like that that's got such a shorter length of time. So, you know, they start with Vin and Reen, actually. And you know, Vin being part of a heist that goes wrong, with her brother, and things like this. And you know, there's changes like that that thematically, you know, are the same concept as the book but then work really much better in the only two hour block that you have. Then Kelsier is a mysterious figure who invites her in and recruits her into the team, which works much better in that format. So there's changes like that.

There's this really cool prologue where they start the prologue with the march up the mountain toward the Well of Ascension, a thousand years ago and an interaction there that changes into a stained glass window and then you see stained glass windows of the interim periods until you hit the Final Empire. So there's some really awesome stuff.

So, we'll see if this actually ends up working or not. Again, if your father is the owner of Warner Brothers, go and put in a good word for me. We're kind of long shots because all we are is an author and several producers who have no major credits to their name. And I sold it to them specifically because- you know, I sold Alcatraz to Dreamworks for a lot of money and then I just had to like say goodbye to the project and I like what they did with it but it was basically they took the project. And I, for Mistborn, wanted to have more control which also means my chances of actually getting it made go down quite dramatically. Ask Orson Scott Card how long it took to get made Ender's Game made and you will see the same sort of thing, but then he's getting it made his way, eventually. So that's what I'd like to do with Mistborn if I have that option.

#12 Copy

Questioner

When does Emperor's Soul take place in relation to the events of Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson

After them.

Questioner

Like how long after?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't answered that yet. A lot of people keep asking. But after them, but not so far after them that the technology level has shifted, which I allow, in my worlds, to happen. And also not so far after that the Emperor's Soul- if you keep your eyes open you will see a Derethi priest in full armor. And so, not so far after that the kingdoms we are familiar with no longer exist. They do exist and the tech level has not shifted dramatically so you can use that to kind of ballpark for yourself, a range. It's certainly not thousands of years later, in other words.

#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

How did I come up with the magic system for Emperor's Soul? A couple of things. One was the procedural magics in Elantris based on coding, and things. But also, when I was at the Royal Museum there in Taiwan, one of my guides was showing me this piece of beautiful jade. And it had a stamp in it. You know, the stamps, are you familiar with these? They call them chops, we call them dojangs in Korea, you use them as a stamp for your name. They're round, sometimes they're square. I saw this, I'm like, "Why is there a stamp on this piece of jade artwork? That's been carved and sculpted?" They're like, "Well, there was this emperor, who was hot stuff, and thought he was very important. And so he ordered his stamp carved into the piece of artwork, because he thought it was a good piece of art."

And lo and behold, I go through and I start seeing these. There's this great poem, and it's covered with, like, forty stamps. And I asked, they're like, "These are all the scholars who are like, 'Yeah, I like this.' *stamp*" It's like carving your signature into Michelangelo's David, like the forehead. It's like, "Yeah, I think this is pretty good. 'Brandon approves.'" And that's what these people were all doing. And those stamps, the ubiquity of the stamps... I don't know how I got from that to "rewrite something's history by stamping it." But that was the inception of it.

I have several of these stamps that I brought home with me from Korea. Mine actually says Sainja, which-- "Sa" in Korean is "Sand," and "In" is "Person," and "Ja" is "Son." So, it's the Son of the Sand Person. It's really, it's a pun. They see that, and they're like, "That doesn't make any... Oh. That's really dumb." It's exactly what I was shooting for. Either that or they look at it and "Salinja" with an "l" is "Murderer," and read it and they're like, "Oh, wait."

Anyway, it came from that trip.

Footnote: Sa, In, and Ja are the Sino-Korean pronunciation of the Chinese characters 砂, 人, and 子, respectively.
#15 Copy

Questioner

We’ve been arguing about how to pronounce the character, either it’s “Say-zed” or “Sayzd”?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, that’s one of the most contentious name decisions that I’ve chosen. Before I tell you the answer, I will preface it by saying I don’t say the names right, in a lot of times. For instance I say “E-lawn-tris” like everyone else, but in world they say “Elayn-tris” because of the system of language that’s been built. I say “Kel-seer” and they say “Kel-see-ay,” in-world. And so I’m American and I use my pronunciations I say “Say-zed”.

However, that may not be the way they actually say it. And beyond that, every reader of a book has the ability to rewrite the book as they wish. A book doesn’t exist until you’ve read it. I write a script, I write- I get you hopefully seventy five percent of the way there but the last twenty-five percent is you, it’s participatory. And as you write, you create the images of them in your own imagination and that becomes the right interpretation for you. And you have line [inaudible] veto.

When I read Anne McCaffrey’s books the dragons are these unpronounceable things in my head that I could never actually because it’s just something a dragon can say. And it has very little relationship to the letters that are there on the page. I have a friend, who when he reads the Wheel of Time- the first time when Thom Merrilin shows up in the books, on screen, it says he has these big drooping moustaches. My friend said, “No he doesn’t.” And he cannot imagine Thom Merrilin with a moustache. To me, the moustache is an integral part of who Thom Merrilin is. It’s like him, he’s the moustached guy! Well, theres a couple other moustached guys but Thom’s the first moustached guy in the Wheel of Time! And so, you have the right to say it however you want.

#16 Copy

Questioner

Do the Parshendi need a highstorm to change forms?

Brandon Sanderson

They do, good guess! Excellent question.

Questioner

Do they eat?

Brandon Sanderson

Do they eat? Yes.

Questioner

So, they eat like grains and stuff like that?

Brandon Sanderson

You will find out, but they do eat.

#17 Copy

Questioner

When you were talking about the Rithmatist, you said that he wasn’t genetically capable of doing magic and I was wondering if you actually had like a genetic system for how...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, this one actually isn’t genetic. I said genetic, but it’s not. But I don’t want to give away what it is that makes someone use the magic in that world. I did actually develop a genetic magic system that was very interesting that is in a book that didn’t get published.

Questioner

Is it going to get published?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably not, but I might recycle the magic eventually. The magic is spread around everyone of a certain family lineage. So if there's lots of family members, they each have a little bit of magic. And if there's only one, they're very powerful. But there's only one.

Questioner

Which one is this?

Brandon Sanderson

Mythwalker. You have these weird family dynamics, where it's like, "If I assassinate my family members, I get stronger." But as a whole, it's weaker. It's not like if there's two of you, you each are one and one; if there's one of you, it's two. If there's one of you, it's like 1.5. So you get stronger, but you overall are stronger as a house if you have lots more people. It was really cool magic, but the book was awful. Half of it was Warbreaker. But the genetics one didn't end up in it.

#18 Copy

Questioner

The name of the metal escapes me, but it’s the one that allows you to speed up your own bubble while everything else is outside of you, in Mistborn. What happens if you have that and you burn the duralumin?

Brandon Sanderson

That is an excellent question. The trick about that is you would have to be Mistborn to do that. Or you would have to have one other specific set of circumstances because- yeah I’m not gonna get into it. But you basically have to be Mistborn and there aren’t Mistborn anymore.

#21 Copy

Questioner

The question is, can you read [women's script]?

Brandon Sanderson

I can’t read it, Isaac can.

Rubix

Isaac can’t read it.

Brandon Sanderson

He came up with it!

I told you where it came from, the writing system, right? That I told Isaac, “I want it to look like waveforms,” and he developed it to look like waveforms on the little thing when you speak voice- and things like that, and that was my goal for the system was something that was a line with waveforms across it. And he developed it then.

#25 Copy

Questioner

Shardplate, does it have to be fitted by a smith or does it just kind of magically...?

Brandon Sanderson

It magically fits to you.

Rubix

I’d like to see it fit to someone three foot tall.

Brandon Sanderson

If it’s within reason, it can fit.

Questioner

But they do weld stuff to it to it?

Brandon Sanderson

They weld stuff to it to ornament it.

Questioner

But that doesn’t really stick?

Brandon Sanderson

It won’t stay, it can get cut off and things like that. Yeah, and they paint them and things.

Questioner

So the actual color is gray, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar’s color is the actual color.

Questioner

He doesn’t have it painted, yeah. It’s kind of stone, right?

Brandon Sanderson

It’s not really stone, it’s more like a deep metallic, like an unbuffed steel sort of metallic. A dark charcoal metallic.

#26 Copy

Questioner

I've heard you say before that Mistborn was gonna be three trilogies?

Brandon Sanderson

It'll be three trilogies, yes.

Questioner

So the technology advances to faster-than-light?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The FTL is built into the magic systems, so there will be something where they figure out how to do that with the magic, and spaceships will be propelled using that.

Questioner

Expanding bubbles around the engines and around the ships?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll see. You will see.

Questioner

Someone on the site has a very convincing theory.

Brandon Sanderson

They're missing a very big important piece of the puzzle that you won't get for a few more books.

Event details
Name
Name Salt Lake City signing 2012
Date
Date Nov. 6, 2012
Location
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Bookstore
Bookstore Weller's Book Works
Entries
Entries 27
Upload sources