General Reddit 2018

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Name General Reddit 2018
Date Jan. 1, 2018
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#1 Copy


What is the [Dark One] podcast piece going to be like? An old-style radio serial or something?

Brandon Sanderson

The original pitch was for something more contemporary, like a fake version of the podcast Serial--but in-world and dealing with a specific character. But a lot will depend on how the series develops.

#3 Copy


In OB, you explained that the Singers have four sexes. I was wondering... Can the Singers have genders other than those four, like humans? Even as simple as just not going with male, female, or malen/femalen. Could a transgender Singer use their ability to shift forms to change their biological reality? And, finally, could a Spren be non-binary, if it wasn't personified in a typical male/female way?

Brandon Sanderson

In the cosmere as a whole, a person's perception of themselves has a lot of power over both their Spiritual and Physical forms. It is possible, with Investiture, to change their biology to match Cognitive perceptions--and while this could be easier for some races (like the Singers) it's not outside plausibility for any race.

There are non-binary spren, actually--and you should be meeting one important one quite soon in the books.

#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

You guys might find this amusing. I read this threat [about Andrzej Sapkowski suing CD Projekt Red] last night at about 3:00, and came REALLY close to posting, "Dear CD Projekt. You can have the Mistborn rights, if you want them..." But this was looking like it would explode as a thread, and I REALLY didn't want to wake up to several hundred replies in my inbox. I have work to do today...

In all seriousness, I'd love to do something with CDPR. They've made by far the best book-to-video game adaptations ever. It's the sort of thing the rest of us salivate over--if for the simple reason that the entire genre (books, film, and games) benefit from something high-quality on the market like the Witcher games.

I would seriously consider giving CD Project Red the rights to my books for free, because the overall cultural impact that a great story adaptation can have is enormous. Though...I suspect they're done dealing with self-important fantasy authors, and are likely more interested in creating their own new IPs.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, this kind of exploded, didn't it!

I appreciate the outpouring of enthusiasm and kind words in this thread, but let's rephrase this title a little. Saying that I'm considering giving them the rights for free implies that I have the option. I haven't talked to CDPR (though I've considered several times sending them an email and seeing if they'd be willing to meet next time I'm in the area.) I'm not in a position to offer them anything. Part of the reason I didn't post in that other thread until I was summoned was because I didn't want to come off as presumptuous.

But...I did read the original article and think, "Man, is Sapkowski crazy? I'd practically kill to have such a high quality adaptation of my work." If you magically gave me the chance to have an adaptation on the level of the Witcher--but with no payment given to me--I'd take that in a heartbeat. I'd much rather know it will be good (or at least be in the hands of someone skillful and passionate) than gamble on big money up front with a risk of bad quality.

Please, though, don't put CDPR on the spot or bother them too much about this. I've had some discussions with those who run video game companies, and I know a little of the stresses put upon them. If something goes wrong with a book I write, and it flops, then I'm the only one who suffers. But video game companies work on tight margins for years, employing the passion and enthusiasm of hundreds, to create a game. They need to pick their projects VERY carefully, because a flop has huge ramifications for all of their employees.

I'll continue to explore getting a good video game adaptation of Mistborn and/or Stormlight--in part because I want to play them myself. But the proper way for me to do this is keep meeting with companies, talking to them, and learning more about their business. I didn't want to hijack a thread about another author to do this, and I feel a little bad that this exploded like it did.

(That said, you guys are awesome.)

#5 Copy


Eshonai is flashback character [for Stormlight Four], but she is dead in the present. So...who will be main protagonists in the main timeline? Hope for Dalinar, Shallan and Kaladin will be as important as they were in first three books)

Brandon Sanderson

Eshonai will still be the flashback character, and Venli will take a larger role to provide counterpart past/present. But, as always, you will find a focus on all five protagonists from this sequence. (I view them as Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan, Eshonai/Venli, Szeth.)


I heard it would be one year time gap (in world) between books 3 and 4, which make me think about structure of the book. Does it mean, something important could happen during this year, and then it will be explained in some form(maybe another set of flashbacks)? If so, it's hard for me to visualize the book structure: main timeline, Eshonai's flashbacks and another set of flashbacks for past year? Seems like a mess. Or it will be like Mistborn era 1 time gaps between each book? Main narrative just continues without getting stuck with one-year break, and nothing important happens off-screen. It will be nice to get some qualification from you, if possible. Cause now I'm a bit confused.

Brandon Sanderson

Right now, I've got it like Mistborn--we're checking back in a year, as I need to give some things time to progress in world. We'll see when I actually write it, though.


Thanks! But please, don't do things like Alien 3-movie, if you know what I mean. It's when they did a time gap between two movies and at the beginning of the new movie they told you that your favorite character died during the time gap, deal with it. This is the worst thing ever and a reason I'm always a bit skeptical about time gaps in fiction. Just hate when things like that happen off-screen. Just don't do it with your books, please. At least can you promise you wouldn't? And what do you think about this trope in general?

Brandon Sanderson

I actually want to write an essay about that very trope (I call it the Newt Principle.) You might see it on my website at some point.

Things will happen during the gap, I'm afraid. You might like it, you might not, but I do plan some of the flashbacks in the second half to help cover this time--so you'll see it eventually. If it helps, I'm pretty sure I understand the dangers of the Newt Principle, and how to not fall into that trap.

#6 Copy


I think it's probably the remnants of the first agreement between the singers and humans. They were allowed to terraform Shinovar, and rule that area, but anywhere else, they were forbidden from. Eventually, it morphed into the "soil lands are for humans, everywhere else is for singers." Then, over the millennia, it became a religious teaching, "don't walk on stones."

Peter Ahlstrom

Brandon wrote a ton of worldbuilding down before starting to write the first book, and this particular thing is definitely something he planned from the start. He does keep a lot of stuff in his head, but sometimes that shifts over time. Part of our job is to make sure what's in his head now doesn't conflict with what has previously been published.

If the outline doesn't work for something, Brandon will change it while writing. As long as it doesn't conflict with published canon, it's always more awesome than his earlier plans.

#7 Copy


Frustrated with the editing/beta readers for not noticing Brandon leaving out a character.

The character I'm talking about is Rlain. An entire part of the book was spent with every single member of Bridge Four talking about how Rlain wasn't really a part of things, and even more so Rlain himself in his POV chapter. And then nothing! We get a conclusion to the whole buildup of Bridge Four, but Rlain is nowhere mentioned in the last half of the book. Nevermind that we've all spent an entire book (and the three years since WoR) wondering if Rlain will become a squire, and nevermind that we get an answer to whether a Parshman can become Radiant in the first place. We just get nothing! No resolution.

Peter Ahlstrom

Everyone noticed this. I noticed it even before the beta read started. Brandon was well aware, and this was all intentional. I'll bet you can think of some reasons for it.

#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So, a couple of things here. First off, I'll take any knocks I get--and try to do better. I'm not an expert on mental health, and though I do my best, I'm going to get things wrong. I'm going to risk defending myself here--and hopefully not dig myself deeper--as I at least explain my thought process, and why I built Shallan the way I did.

However, one of the rules of thumb I go by is this: individual experience can defy the standard, if I understand that is what I'm doing. Like how Stephen Leeds is not trying to accurately portray schizophrenia, Shallan is not trying to accurately portray dissociative identity disorder (if a scholarly consensus on such a thing even exists. I haven't glanced through the DSM5 to see what it says.)

In Legion, I have an easy out. I say, point blank, "He doesn't fit the diagnosis--he's not a schizophrenic, or if he is, he's a very weird one." I don't have the benefit of a modern psychology voice in the Stormlight books to hang a lantern on this, but my intention is the same. What Shallan has is related to her individual interaction with the world, her past, and the magic.

Is this Hollywood MPD? I'm not convinced. Hollywood MPD (with DSM4 backing it up, I believe) tends to involve things like a person feeling like they're possessed, and completely out of control. The different identities don't remember what others did. It's a very werewolf type thing. You wake up, and learn that another version of you took over your body and went out and committed crimes or whatever.

Shallan is coping with her pain in (best I've been able to do) a very realistic way, by boxing off and retreating and putting on a mask of humor and false "everything is okay" attitudes. But she has magical abilities that nobody in this world has, including the ability to put on masks that change the way everyone perceives her. She's playing roles as she puts them on, but I make it very clear (with deliberate slip-ups of self-reference in the prose) that it's always Shallan in there, and she's specifically playing this role because it lets her ignore the things she doesn't want to face.

She's losing control of what is real and what isn't--partially because she can't decide who she wants to be, who she should be, and what the world wants her to be. But it's not like other personalities are creeping in from a fractured psyche. She's hiding behind masks, and creates each role for herself to act in an attempt to solve a perceived shortcoming in herself. She literally sketched out Veil and thought, "Yup, I'm going to become that person now." Because Veil would have never been tricked into caring about her father; she would have been too wise for that.

I feel it's as close as I can get to realism, while the same time acknowledging that as a fantasy author, one of my primary goals is to explore the human interaction with the supernatural. The "What ifs" of magic. What if a person who had suffered a great deal of abuse as a child COULD create a mask for themselves, changing themselves into someone stronger (or more street-smart who wouldn't have been betrayed that way. Would they do it, and hide behind that mask? What would that do to them and the world around them?

DID is indeed controversial, but I really like this portrayal. Not of a disease, but of who this character is. And I've had had enough positive responses from people who feel their own psychology is similar that I'm confident a non-insignificant number of people out there identify with what she's doing in the same way people with depression identify with Kaladin.

#9 Copy


Would [Kaladin using a Shardblade to pick his teeth] work, or would it burn out your eyes immediately?

Assuming Syl doesn't just became a Shard-toothpick, but remains a sword.

Brandon Sanderson

I suppose I'll go with the other responders--yes, you could make this work, in a perfect world.

#10 Copy


I will confess that over the course of my study I learned that we're nearing the 10th Anniversary edition, and that [Brandon] has asked [Peter] to go over the book, take Brandon's notes, and make sure there is a consistent system behind the scenes. Humbly, I do hope that perhaps by at least locating the times in the book when Breath-count is mentioned, I have saved Peter a bit of busy work, if nothing else.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, a more precise system of how many breaths it takes to do X (and the exchange rate, so to speak, with other magic systems) is something on the list to do for Warbreaker 10th anniversary. I have the resources now, with more assistants behind the scenes, to get more precise on this sort of thing than I've done before.

#12 Copy


I feel like society on Roshar would develop a bit differently because of emotion spren. You'd have to be very careful talking/ interacting with people since you can't hide things like fear, anger, awe, anticipation, joy, passion and shame. Imagine going through high school having to deal with them...


I have to imagine it alters things like, say, the concept of masculinity. Obviously the Alethi have very strong ideas about masculinity, but attracting fearspren/feeling fear doesn't seem to be a negative within that like it would be in our culture. Men attract fearspren all the time, and it's totally fine.

It also seems like it might be taboo to mention someone else's emotion spren. People are constantly noticing internally that other people are attracting them, but they NEVER EVER comment on it (until the part in OB where they're investigating it in Kholinar). There must be a really strong boundary around commenting on other people's spren.

It's one thing I did want to ask Brandon about if he does another AMA--how emotion spren affect Rosharan culture.

Brandon Sanderson

This is some good theorizing here. I'd agree with what /u/The_Bravinator says.

The effects are all over the place, but they are just how life is on Roshar, so I rarely point them out. For example, the classic Alethi sort of idolizing being "straightforward" with people. No assassinations. (Well, supposedly.) You're used to being able to see people's emotions, so you take it for granted that only hyper untrustworthy people do things in ways that don't expose emotions. Emotions aren't bad, they simply are, and everyone has them. Views of masculinity are certainly changed.


Is it taboo to mention emotion spren that other people are attracting, or do people just not generally think to do so?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the situation, really. Not exactly the same, but note how in Earth societies the different responses to something like passing gas, depending on context, culture, etc.

#13 Copy


Is the story of the girl who looked up a story that is only known to Roshar? I know it could have spread out, especially since we see paintings alluding to it in the cosmere seen by a non-Rosharan but could it be a story they talked about on... say... Yolen?

Also, was the "god" from "God's love" mentioned by Hoid a piece that either should have or did belong to/with Passion/Odium? Cause that would make all the sense in the world to me that somehow Odium was Passion but because Odium once he lost love from his being... I know it doesn't make a lot sense in the timeline. I just can't get the thought out of my head.

Thank you for the time you spend answering my inanity or was it insanity. Either/or.

Brandon Sanderson

These are actually both RAFOs, I'm afraid. I do appreciate you asking, but I'm going to remain silent for now.

#14 Copy


So as I was rereading Mistborn, I realized something that I hadn't deemed important before. Assuming that Rashek doled out the original Allomancy beads to create the first Mistborn, who did he give them to? Obviously, he couldn't give them to his fellow packmen because then they would have the same compounding abilities as him. Additionally, it stands to reason that he would not have given the beads to any of Alendi's entourage because of his deep-seated hatred for all things Khlenni. All in all, I'm just confused about the actual origins of the noble houses.

Brandon Sanderson

I actually intended to dig into this in the video game--which happened several hundred years after the event, but which would talk about the origins of the houses and things like that. It's possible we'll still do this some day.


Did you end up doing a lot of writing for the game before it got cancelled?

Depending on how much there is, it seems like handing it to Crafty for them to make a RPG module could make sense.

Brandon Sanderson

No, I didn't--but I had a lot of ideas.

My current goal is to hand it over to Ben (who does a lot of the artwork for Stormlight Archive) and see if we can turn it into a graphic novel. (Note that we wouldn't start on this until White Sand is done, though, as I don't want to have TOO many projects in the works at once.)

#15 Copy


I had asked you a little while ago if Commander Gaval would be retaining his rank that he received from Kaladin. You told me that he'd been allowed to keep it as he'd earned it. I was now curious, do you think we might see him again in the future of the series or find out anything more about him?

I know it's a silly little side character that was probably only there to facilitate that one interaction but I swear there is potential there to mine. It would be amazing, at least to me, to hear of him joining the recruitment drives, spending his days meeting the members and eventually soaring the winds with Bridge 4. He must have some form of affection for Kaladin after he aided in his major move up the ranks of Dalinar's army.

lol, these are the questions that keep me up at night... "I wonder if Taleb ever felt true respect for the man who'd killed his Brightlord, or if he was simply a man of honor and kept his word after Dalinar's agreement to not sack the city were he to join the Elites." He's another character that I am dying to know more about. The tragedy of Taleb is a short story that needs to be written.

Brandon Sanderson

I really should do more with Teleb, at least in some kind of flashback or the like. There was a lot going on inside of that mind of his--not the least of which a loyalty to a throne that his own line would have been ruling, had things turned out differently.

I'll see what I can do with Gaval. It would be nice to bring him back, as you mention.

#16 Copy


I was reading Elantris, with my passive work being Jorge Luis Borges "Book of Imaginary Beings". The chapters are encyclopedic and short, and are meant to have a kaleidoscope style of reading. With Cosmere on my mind, I can across a really interesting entry:

Sylphs For each of the four roots or elements into which the Greeks divided matter there was a corresponding spirit. In the words of Paracelsus, the sixteenth-century Swiss alchemist and physician, we find four elementary spirits: the Gnomes of the earth, the Nymphs of water, the Salamanders of fire, and the Sylphs or Sylphides of air. The words are Greek origin. Litre has sought the etymology of "sylph" in the Celtic tongues, but it is most unlikely that Paracelsus would have known, or even suspected the existence of, those languages. Today, no one believes in Sylphs, but the phrase "a syphlike figure" is still applied to slender women, as a somewhat cliched compliment. The Sylphs occupy a place between that of material beings and that of immaterial beings. Romantic poetry and the ballet find them useful.

I don't think it is a far stretch or much of projection when I say that reminds me of a certain Spren. Either way, it made my day to come across this while reading.

Brandon Sanderson

If you poke around a bit, you can probably find where the names of some other spren (like Notum) come from. In a lot of their names, I'm looking for something similar to what I did with Syl. My rationale is that if you heard her name in-world (which might not actually be the exact sounds Syl) you'd have the benefit of local traditions, word roots, and mythologies. You'd hear it and say, "Huh, that sounds like a word for wind." So, when the books are "translated" to English, the translator creates names in English that evoke the same feel in readers here.

#17 Copy


I do have a question, while listening to New Spring today, I realized that a channeler using the One Power sees and hears much more vividly, similar to people invested with breaths from Nalthis. Was the magic of Nalthis partially inspired by the One Power?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that was an inspiration from the WoT. I always wanted to take that concept RJ had used and see if I could make it a fundamental and quantifiable part of a magic system.

#18 Copy


Today I saw a paperback copy of Arcanum Unbounded and remembered this reddit comment, in which we're told we might get a Nalthis essay and map around the paperback release or around Oathbringer. Since both those times have passed, is there any hope we might still see it?

Brandon Sanderson

Dang. I'd totally forgotten. I'll have my assistant put it on my list of things to do, and make sure to write one out in the next few weeks. Maybe we'll stick it in the newsletter.

#19 Copy


If the Olympic Games existed in the Mistborn universe, what would some of the events be? This is assuming, of course, that magic is allowed and isn't seen as a form of cheating.


I'm fully expecting to find out in Era 3. Will be very disappointed if sports are never mentioned.

Brandon Sanderson

I already started laying the groundwork, if you look in the Era 2 books.

#20 Copy


Then, at the sixth chapter [of White Sand Volume 2] I was like "ugh... A new artist.." and then I was all like "Oh! A new artist!" I hope new Julius stays on for the rest of the series.

Peter Ahlstrom

Sadly, new Julius has other commitments, but the current proposed artist looks promising.


Oh yeah? Who's that going to be?

Peter Ahlstrom

That's not for me to announce.


Are you able to speak to what drove the change to a new artist?

Peter Ahlstrom

I believe not.

#21 Copy


In 2014, Brandon said First of the Sun - the planet in Sixth of the Dusk - is a minor Shardworld, in that it does not have a Shard present ( However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard ( Patji was a Shard, but isn't during SotD? Or did we finally get confirmation on that elusive "Survival Shard"? What do you guys think?

Brandon Sanderson

I stand by them. Though, as always, quotes and WoBs at signings aren't always as deliberately thought out as I'd like them to be. Answering questions on the fly can be challenging, and my phrasing can be bad in retrospect.

But no Shard was in residence on First of the Sun during the events of that story. The Investiture on that planet is residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium. Everything happening there could happen with or without a Shard present. Indeed, I would say that no Shard was ever "in residence" on First of the Sun.

The being called Patji still exists, and is a Shard of Adonalsium. Shards in the past have been interested in First of the Sun, and have meddled in small ways there. (Like they have on a lot of Shardworlds.)

Note that I might have been a little misleading in the first quote by bringing up Threnody, which is a real corner case in the cosmere because of uncommon events there.

That said, I'm sure that every story I write about a planet will bring up the quirks and unusual interactions of the magic there, because that's kind of what I do. (First of the Sun has its own oddities, as mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded.) Every planet is likely to end up as a corner case in some way, just like every person is distinctive in their own way, and never fully fits expectations.

I still consider one of the major dividing lines between "major" and "minor" Shardworlds (other than Shard residence) to be in strength of access to the magic, and control over it. I intend the minor Shardworlds to involve interactions with the magic as setting--coming back to spren, you could have a minor Shardworld with people who use, befriend, even bond spren. (Or the local equivalent--Seon, Aviar, etc.) But you'd never see power on the level of the city of Elantris, the actions of a Bondsmith, or even the broad power suite of a Mistborn.

But, as ever, the cosmere is a work in progress. The needs of telling a great story trump things I've said about what I'm planning. (I do try as much as I can to avoid having two texts contradict one another. And when they do, that's often a lapse on my part.)



I'm confused.

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?

Cause the question was a follow up (on this) where you revealed that all Investiture in Cosmere got assigned to a Shard even if it wasn't part of a Shard.

And then you said that the one on First of the Sun is directly associated with one of the Shards (and since later you revealed Patji to be an avatar of Autonomy (also, what are avatars and how do they work?)) we took it to mean that at one point Autonomy Invested in First of the Sun.

But now you're saying it didn't?

If there was no Shard ever on First of the Sun but Patji is a Shard/avatar of a Shard then where is Patji, actually?

Could you please clarify all that?

Brandon Sanderson

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?"

The reason I have so much trouble answering these questions (and you'll see me struggling to get an answer in the 10-15 seconds I have when someone asks me in a signing line) is because this isn't an either or. Is this computer I'm using matter associated with Earth, the Big Bang, or such-and-such star that went supernova long ago? Well, it's probably all three.

When people ask, "What Shard is this Investiture associated with" it gets very complicated. Shards influence and tweak certain Investiture, giving it a kind of spin or magnetism, but all Investiture ever predates the Shattering--and in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing.

I always imagine Investiture having certain states, certain magnetisms if you will, associated with certain aspects of Adonalsium. So it's all "assigned" to a Shard--because it's always been associated with that Shard. To Investiture, Adonalsium's Shattering meant everything and nothing at the same time.

We generally mean the term "Invested" to mean a Shard has taken permanent residence in a location, a kind of base of operations--but at the same time, this is meaningless, since distance has no meaning on the Spiritual Realm, where most Shards are. So imprisonment of a Shard like Ruin or Odium is a crude expression--but the best we have.

Autonomy never "Invested" on First of the Sun. But even answering (as someone else asked) if they created an avatar without visiting is a difficult thing to explain--because even explaining how a Shard travels (when motion is irrelevant) is difficult to manage. It's a subject that I intend to be up for debate, discussion, and argument by in-world philosophers and arcanists.

You can see why I have such troubles explaining these things at signings--and why I fail when I try to, considering the time limitations and (often) fatigue limitations placed upon me. These are concepts I intend to spend entire, lengthy epic volumes explaining and exploring.

Let's say you were Autonomy, and you have--through expanding and exploring your understanding--found a gathering of Investiture that has always been there, you always knew about, but still didn't actually recognize until the moment you considered and explored it. (Because even though your power is infinite, accessing and using that infinity is beyond your reach.) Were you "Invested" there? No, no more than you're Invested on Roshar, where parts of what were Adonalsium still exist that are associated with you (in the very fabric of matter and existence.) But suddenly, you have a chance to tweak, influence, and do things that were always possible, but which you never could do because you knew, but didn't know, at the same time.

And...I'm already into WAY more than I want to be typing this out right now. If it's confusing, it's because it's practically impossible for me to explain these things in a short span of time.

I'm going to leave it here, understanding that no, I haven't fully explained your question. (I didn't even get into what avatars are, what Patji was, and what happened to Patji the being--and how that relates to Patji the island.) But hopefully this kind of starts to point the right direction, though I probably should have just left this question alone because I bet this post is going to raise more questions than it answers...

Overlord Jebus

You've confused things so much now. We thought we had a pretty good grasp of this whole Patji situation (Autonomy visited the planet at some point, got themselves all Invested and created an avatar which is called Patji by the locals).

Now you're saying no Shard has ever visited there? And that the pool would have existed if no Shard had ever interfered? But that Patji still exists and is a Shard?

Does that mean Autonomy edited First of the Sun from afar without actually going there? And that the pool would have already existed without any intervention? Does this mean it was associated with Autonomy from the beginning? I'm really confused now.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't believe I said no Shard had visited. I said no Shard was there during the events of the story.

Investiture on First of the Sun predates any Shards fiddling with it.

Shards have fiddled with it by the time of the story.

I think fandom might be going down too far a rabbit hole on this one.


Are you saying here that Patji is an avatar of Autonomy, or is it a separate Shard and not an avatar of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

When I said Patji was a Shard, I was meaning Automony--but it is not quite that simple.

Take this post to mean "no, you should not be looking toward another Shard for Patji's origins. Autonomy is the one relevant." But Autonomy's relationships with entities like this (not sure entity is the right word, even) is complex. I'm not trying to confuse the issue, though.

#22 Copy


Was there a being/entity named Patji onworld - prior to the Shard 'interfering' - that lead a life that was more conducive to Autonomy, and was it a case of that entities (for lack of a better term) natural bent towards Autonomy naturally turning it into a portion of Autonomy (again, for lack of a better term)?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a good and valid theory that I don't think I should comment more on right now, as I feel like I would muddy the water more. I need to wait until I approach these concepts in-book.

I'll just say that I don't consider what you said to be excluded by the things I've said about the situation.

#24 Copy


I want to know if Shadesmar contains memespren or (since they're defined as idea viruses) memetic plague. If anyone can make literal meme magic, it'd be u/mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. Yeah, that could probably become a thing in the cosmere, though I doubt I'd go there. (At least, if I did, it would have to be done very carefully.)

#25 Copy


Here is an example of a Mongolian girl with red hair. Would she make a good example of a Vedan darkeyes, [Brandon]?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's a good example. Though do remember, Vedens aren't all redheads--that's going to depend on region, and even have a lot of variance within regions. (Alethi skin tone will be similar in its variety, depending. Vedens in general tend to be lighter.)

Here's another image I noticed a while back that feels very like what I'd imagined.

#26 Copy


Anyone really want Wayne and Lopen to have a conversation?

I have no idea what they would have to say to each other but it would sound magical. Michael Kramer is awesome.

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe I can find a way to do this as some kind of non-canon easter egg, like the Kelsier/Moiraine conversation.

#28 Copy


So once upon a time Brandon was going to write Szeth as the flashback character for book three, but then Brandon changed his mind, decided to write Dalinar's flashback chapters to see how that would go, and then after writing them made book 3 Dalinar's book instead. Here is a quote from the first Stormlight Book 3 Update post Brandon made in this subreddit

As someone else has posted, I have finished the rough draft of Dalinar's flashbacks for Stormlight Three. I consider the experiment of writing his flashbacks for this book, instead of waiting for book five, to be a success. Therefore, I'm proceeding with the Dalinar/Szeth flip.

The reasoning for this is something I can't discuss in detail until the book is released. I'd be happy to revisit this topic once you all have a chance to read the novel.

Now that the book has been out for 6 months or so, I'd love to hear Brandon discuss the reasoning behind this. Personally, I have a very tough time imagining how this book would have played out if Szeth had been the flashback character. Clearly we wouldn't have had to Dalinar/Odium confrontation if we didn't have Dalinar's flashbacks, as those were integral to the overall storyline. I'd love to hear what the plot of this book was originally supposed to be when Szeth was going to have the flashbacks. Does anyone know the answers to this, or am I going to have to hope Brandon sees this post and decides to answer more than a RAFO? :)

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. This is going to be difficult to answer without straying into spoilers for books four and five. It's also hard to say how the books would have played out if I'd swapped these back.

The Dalinar/Odium confrontation would still have happened, as that was something I'd been planning for a while. But how would things have played out? Hard to say, as an outline is only a rough guide--even for someone like me. It's when you get to the nitty gritty of the story that things come together.

Having finished the book, it's hard for me to imagine going another direction--as I made the decisions I did because I felt they were the ones that were right for the story. And a lot has changed over the years as I've worked on the details. (Kaladin's arc from book two, for example, was originally plotted for book three--parallel to Szeth and his flashbacks, which share some similarities.)

Dalinar's flashbacks would work very well for book five for reasons I can't explain yet--but it became clear to me that I needed them for this book, despite the outline looking at the Szeth/Kaladin dynamic. (Which was upended anyway when I moved Kaladin's second character arc to book two.)

So...that's a whole lot of not saying much, I'm afraid. I can answer a lot more once book five is out.


Does it mean that we shouldn't expect any explanations or clues about what happened with Dalinar at the end of Oathbringer before book 5?

Ask just to know if we'll know more in book 4 or we'll have to wait a bit longer.To avoid false expectations:)

Brandon Sanderson

There will be explanations and clues, but I would anticipate more Dalinar in book 5 than in book 4.

#29 Copy


A couple years ago Peter answered in this post that as of May 2015 (3 years ago now), Brandon had sold ~7 million copies (not including Wheel of Time). I am curious now if Peter would be so good as to give us an update, especially after I saw this from his source in that comment that in the first week alone of Oathbringer's release it sold over 300k copies. That number, especially when taken in context with this other comment of Peter's from that thread, means that OB did way better than the average #1 NYT bestseller.

When a movie hits #1, millions of people saw it that week. On a slow sales week for books, it's possible to hit #1 on the New York Times list and only sell 12,000 copies. (Though that is rare; it's also possible to sell that much and miss the top 15.) The #1 usually sells much less than 100k copies in release week. Publishers don't want people to know, without digging for the info, how small the industry really is.

I'm sure Oathbringer's sales were pretty frontloaded given it's place in a series and how anticipated it was, but I'd love to know how well the books are doing, and I'm just curious if he could give us an idea of how well Stormlight does compared to Mistborn or anything like that. I assume the SA books are Brandon's top sellers, but I obviously don't know that for sure, and I just wonder if each SA book sells like twice as much as an average Mistborn book, or is it closer to 1.5x, or 3x. I imagine they must sell very well to be worth the huge amount of time and the incredible toll it takes on him to write given they are 2-3x longer than his other books.

Anyway, I'm just a curious and nosy guy who loves learning about sales figures, I follow every Sunday to see how much each movie makes for no reason whatsoever aside from I'm interested in it. I also, like many of us I assume, wish for the best for Brandon and the rest of Team Dragonsteel and hope his books are kicking ass and flying off shelves.

Peter Ahlstrom

Total sales are now over 11 million worldwide (still not counting WoT). Mistborn, with more books, is a higher proportion of that than Stormlight is. Stormlight is catching up, but it still has quite a way to go. Oathbringer has sold more in hardcover than anything except WoT books.

Mistborn's mass market paperback box set is usually in the top ten box set sales for the year. Way of Kings mmpb has sold more each year than the year previous since 2014. So did Mistborn until 2017, which is also the first time that Way of Kings mmpb passed up the Mistborn mmpb and box set combined. But Well of Ascension is still outselling Words of Radiance by the same metric.

Those are just print numbers. I don't have the ebook breakdowns handy. Generally ebook has been selling twice as much as print, with audio a bit lower—but with Oathbringer, the print, audio, and ebook numbers are nearly identical. Readers seem to really like the hardcovers, probably due to all the art, and Oathbringer was the most preordered Audible audiobook of all time—which I believe means it had the highest-selling audiobook release week of all time. (It won't pass up books like Harry Potter in the long run.)


When you say "Those are just print numbers" do you mean the paragraph preceding that statement, or is the "over 11 million" just print? I am assuming over 11 million includes all print/ebook/audible etc, but just want to clarify. Again, thank you.

Peter Ahlstrom

The 11 million does include ebook and audio. Though also, that number was from June so it doesn’t include Oathbringer. But that fact doesn’t change anything I said here, yet.


I wonder - considering the three main Stormlight books are about as many words as all the Mistborn books combined, which series has "sold the most words"?

Peter Ahlstrom

Still Mistborn.


Interesting! I suppose it's somewhat expected considering Mistborn was released first. If you'll indulge me, is it still the same if we rescale for time? Sort of a "word sales rate" - is the average Sanderson reader more likely to currently be reading Stormlight or Mistborn?

Peter Ahlstrom

Hard to say right now because the good numbers reporting only happens every January and July. The sales period from July to December 2018 will be best to look at for comparison purposes, since neither series will have a super-recent book out in that period. We'll get those numbers in July 2019.


That's an insanely long delay for getting good data.

Peter Ahlstrom

It's because the publishing industry borrows from the future by paying authors royalties 6 to 11.97 months after book sales take place. And it's the royalty reports that include the actual sales numbers.

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Did "dun spheres" start as a typo of "dim"?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, as has been noted, it's an actual word in English. There was no typo, though I have adapted it to mean something slightly different in the books.

I still can't remember for certain where I got crem from, though.

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There is that scene where Kaladin takes a sharp turn at high speeds and he almost blacks out. That is normal for jet pilots, since they experience high G forces when their airplane tries to accelerate them by their backs and bottoms.

But Lashing doesn't work that way, it generates fake gravity. Accelerating your whole body shouldn't cause you anything, you can't even feel it.

Is this something that is an admitted physics hiccup or I misunderstood this kind of Investiture usage?

Brandon Sanderson

This one is actually in the process of flux, as I do more research on the effects of acceleration (including interviews with fighter pilots, which has been fun.) Basically, I realized I needed to beef up my understanding of all this, and then make some decisions on exactly how this all works, because I've been relying on instinct too much in some of these sequences.

So...that's a RAFO, I'm afraid. More because I'm still tweaking some of the little details of how I want this all to work. (In ways that become increasingly relevant as I look forward toward things like Windrunners in space.)

There are a ton of details to consider, even if I eventually hand-wave some of it with the magic. (For example, the heart pumping blood in a high-g environment. How does that interact, if at all, with stormlight? And the direct oxygenation of the brain implied by not needing to breathe while holding stormlight...)

We have several very large math-ish projects going on behind the scenes.


I think it depends on if lashing independently impacts each atom within your body simultaneously, or if it is only a subset.

Brandon Sanderson

There's one important fact you're not considering, but which is vital: reader expectation.

One of the questions I have to ask myself is this: What will the reader expect to happen? How will they expect to feel? Granted, none of us have ever flown like this before--but we generally imagine similar things, similar feelings.

As a writer, one thing I need to balance is when I go against reader expectations and when I don't. Going against the expectations can be interesting, but often takes a large burden of words and explanation to keep reminding them something is not how they'd imagine it to be.

For example, it took a relatively large amount of reader attention (and explanation) to keep reminding people in Mistborn that plants weren't green and the sky wasn't blue. In many ways, making something new (like a chull) is easier on readers than making something familiar into something strange (like the horses in Dragonsteel, which were smaller than Earth horses--and kept causing confusion problems in my alpha readers.)

As annoying as this example can me, this is why Lucas had sound, fire, gravity, etc in space. Starships banking in formation felt real to the viewers, even if it didn't make sense in context. I hope to not go that far, but these questions are something in my mind.

I try to be careful not to remove the sensations of magic, in order to keep the movements of characters grounded. Windrunning has left me having to decide how far I want to go with things like this, in order to preserve the visceral feelings for the reader.

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Brandon Sanderson

I've had to hide this news for a long time. It was almost one year ago that the Dark One outline finally snapped together for me at long last. We had interest almost immediately from Fremantle, and I've done multiple flights to LA to chat with them about it. I think this one might finally be the real deal when it comes to a Sanderson adaptation--which is amusing, considering we don't have any books for Dark One yet. But if this goes forward, I'll be sure to write some.


I'm a big fan of this multimedia approach, but I'm wondering what inspired it. Was it your idea or Fremantle's? Is this an experiment for other properties in the future at all? A lot of us on the 17th Shard discord have discussed the sheer size of Stormlight, for example, and worry about DMG either going the Hobbit route (hours upon hours of content for a single book, which'll really rack up even by the time we reach OB), or missing out on a ton of content. If Dark One pans out well, would you use this multimedia approach for Stormlight? (I'm a big fan of the idea of a Black Mirror style show for the interludes, but straight up separating them from the rest of the books would take a lot away, especially with characters such as Szeth and Venli)

Brandon Sanderson

With Dark One, I've pounded myself against the idea for years. Finally, I sat down with it and said, "What if I were going to design this for a television show or graphic novel first?" Using Stranger Things and the recent Westworld reboot as guides, I dug into a parallel narrative--half in our world, half in another world. A kind of dark "portal fantasy" story.

It came out as an eight episode outline that I really liked, with a solid outline for two prequel novels about the previous generation. (Characters still important in the episode outline.) With this in hand, I took it to Hollywood and said, "If you guys are interested in doing the episodes, I'm interested in writing these books--and we can intertwine them in a (hopefully) very cool way."

Fremantle was on board immediately. (They'd been intrigued by Dark One from a one-page outline they'd seen, back before I did this new treatment.)

Warning: I can't say how much of my original outline will end up in the show; I've never written for a television show before, and the showrunner will know better than I will what will or won't work. But (theoretically) the graphic novels will follow the outline pretty closely.

If this works, will I apply it to the Cosmere? That's the goal. I do like the idea of getting some experience with TV/Film through non-cosmere projects, particularly as we see how things shake out these next few years in regards to TV/film distribution.


Brandon, I'm curious how you see the same scenario playing out with Cosmere material considering the material already exists and the opportunity for the same intertwining wouldn't be quite the same. Unless of course you go back and interweave new stories with the already completed books?

Very excited to see what comes of this venture! I've loved the concept from the moment you first mentioned it and I can't think of a better way to see it come alive than how you're doing it here.

Brandon Sanderson

I can't really say at this point. There are just too many variables. There are a lot of ways these things could be approached, however.

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Congrats [Brandon]

Very happy for him that [Dark One] is getting off the ground but also worries me a bit.

I've been through the waiting game with George R. R. Martin, J.K. Rowling and Robert Jordan. I started reading wot when I was like 13 and finished when I was 34 or so. I'm worried that some of the stuff that sounds awesome will never see the light of day or be 40 years in the future. The second half of the storm light or Warbreaker 2 for example

I also wish that this was in the cosmere cause it could be a great tie-in.

I'm also worried that it fails and kills any chance of his other works being adapted.

Either way hoping that my fears are unfounded and it's awesome. Sounds cool

Brandon Sanderson

I think that we want this to not be cosmere--because that should both give me a chance to dabble in Hollywood, but also not risk the continuity of the cosmere until I have more of a reputation there.

Also, I don't think you need to worry. So far, this hasn't divided my attention too much from other projects. I've spent maybe a day ever few weeks or so on Dark One--and I don't anticipate letting it consume me too much.

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If you could write a story in any other world/authors work what would it be and why(discounting be obvious of you already did [The Wheel of Time])?

If you could let any other author write a story in one of your universes, what story, which author?

Now what if the answer to both those questions where pat rothfuss?

Brandon Sanderson

Good questions.

First one would be tough. I've turned down, for example, writing on a Marvel property--and could likely write a Star Wars book if I wanted, but am not particularly interested in either. Not because I don't enjoy those stories, but because I'm happy doing my own thing, and don't know that I can add in a meaningful way to what is already happening with properties like that.

I would enjoy working with specific authors. For example, I'd leap at doing something with Pat--but I doubt we'd want to do anything in either of our worlds. But something new.

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Awakeners are useless in space. Awakened objects can't propel themselves where there is no air and can't produce air or food from nothing. Elantrians have another problem. Their power is very flexible, but tied to a location; they can't take it with themselves when they travel. Or, at least, they can't do it in a way explained well enough to extrapolate.


Actually I wonder about this. There is one scene where Vivenna Awakens Tonk Fah's cloak to attack Denth, and it drags Tonk Fah across the room. How? I mean, in theory, sure, we can speculate that it might have moved in a series of sweeps and jerks like swimming to force his momentum, perhaps it grabbed his legs, maybe it pushed off against the wall, maybe it even made a big scoop and sailed there on wind resistance... but the paragraph makes it seem possible that the cloak was somehow able to simply will itself along, strongly enough to drag Tonk Fah behind.

It does seem out of keeping with what Awakening is and can do, so I tend to think that at most it's just a typo (should I page u/PeterAhlstrom? I think they're working on a re-release and looking for continuity errors) but, if this is how it works, then once you're in space, Commanding a handkerchief to "go to Scadrial" might be enough to generate propulsion.

Peter Ahlstrom

There's no error in that scene, and it also doesn't directly contradict Steenan's statement.

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So what you're telling me is that not only my first edition Words of Radiance, but also my first edition Way of Kings are Dragonsteel guaranteed to be worth at least a sapphire broam in ten years time.

Peter Ahlstrom

I wouldn't go so far as that! Looks like 2-carat cut sapphires are going for about $2000. They printed tens of thousands of copies of Way of Kings. They're not that rare.


Ah, so is that the canon size of the gem in a broam?

Peter Ahlstrom

Yes. 2 carats.


Oh, I've been curious about this for a long time. One of my hobbies is working with gemstones, so knowing the sizes (and cuts, because of how light is affected by the cut) of the gemstones in spheres and Soulcasters would be wonderful!


I'm not sure about the cuts, but broams are 2 carats and the other sizes are proportional to their value.


Thank you, that helps a lot!

would be happy to offer input on cuts, should that ever be wanted

Peter Ahlstrom

The canonization of the cuts is being worked on, just not by me.


This is great to know, thanks! One last clarification though: is this proportionality linear? In other words:

* Since there are 4 marks per broam, does that make marks 0.5 carats each?

* Since there are 5 chips per mark, does that make chips 0.1 carats each?

Or is there some wonky formula with diminishing returns?

Peter Ahlstrom

Yeah, that's it.


Just to clarify, as a jeweler I think those numbers might be a bit on the small side.

A 2 carat sapphire (assuming a standard well proportioned round cut) is going to be about 8 millimeters in diameter.

A 1 ct sapphire is going to be around 5 mm ish.

A 0.1 carat sapphire would be really tiny. Like, about 1 mm in diameter ish? Depends heavily on how shallow the cut is.

It just seems way too tiny (and imagine the poor high-precision lapidarists working on making pennies - diamonds require specialized cutting equipment because they're WAY harder than anything else)

Peter Ahlstrom

Those sizes are pretty much right.

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Hey u/Mistborn could you put more SA posters [in the store]?

Brandon Sanderson

I keep meaning to do so--but it's hard to find the time for my art team, who spends a LOT of effort on the leatherbounds. There's one I've been wanting to do for a while. Hopefully, we'll get to it before too long.

#39 Copy


Would you be willing to confirm if Skar is a proto-Radiant (on the same level as The Lopen?)

It is implied by his statement of "We protect those who cannot protect themselves", which is obviously an affirmation of the oath, if not an outright swearing of it. I could see it being either/or. He's a good man that did what he thought the order, and he himself, wanted or he just became a Radiant on the same level as Kaladin during the Battle of the Tower.

Thanks for your time. I understand if you can't/won't answer that at this time. It's simply a curiosity, so I get it if you're a bit too busy to answer. :p

Brandon Sanderson

By the end of Book Three, I'd put Skar very close to (though not quite at the level of) Lopen along the way toward full Radiant-hood.

#40 Copy


Bluefingers is left-handed

Saw the "what inconveniences do left handed people have?"

It seems left-handers get ink all over their hands when writing....or he could be a righty and they write right to left

Not much of a revelation, but wanted to share it.

Brandon Sanderson

I feel the pain of lefties, though I am not one myself. Every time I see them writing, I think of how inconvenient that must be.

I'd be happy to canonize this, but I'd be taking too much credit if I said this is what I'd thought of when writing. I had simply imagined that he wrote a lot, and was not always as careful about cleaning off his hands as he should have been.

#41 Copy


So something I've noticed in the fantasy genre that I love is that my 2 favorite authors (Sanderson and Rothfuss) don't use the traditional fantasy medieval setting (that I love) of castles, knights, feudalism etc. Now there are plenty of great authors that do (GRRMartin comes to mind as one that does it right), BUT the truth is, a good story eclipses all minor details like setting. An example I always give is that Patrick Rothfuss could write about brushing your teeth and it would make a fascinating read, and Sanderson would make an intriguing plot with amazing characterization throughout the dental hygiene experience. But I digress.

My question (If Brandon would be so kind as to show up, and if not, if anyone has any insight) is why; why doesn't the cosmere have any traditional medieval fantasy settings? Mistborn has keeps, but the society is not the traditional technology and setting of the medieval time period, nor do any of the other worlds given us.

Brandon Sanderson

There are both in-world reasons and writing reasons.

The writing reasons are obvious. I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy in a faux-medieval setting. I felt that some of these stories were really good, and enjoyed them--but at the same time, I felt the genre had been there and done that. In some ways, GRRM doing fantasy with the eye of a true medievalist provided a capstone to this era of fantasy.

When I sat down to write, didn't want to write what I was tired of reading. Dragonsteel (which never got published) was bronze age, White Sand was industrial, and Elantris was (kind of) Renaissance. (As you noticed, Mistborn is somewhere around 1820's. I modeled a lot of the society around the fascinating culture/industry of canals as shipping lanes that happened in England right before railroads took over.)

The other big reason, writing wise, is that I feel some of the magics that I enjoy dealing with in my settings need a certain near-industrial mindset to be interesting. The stories I want to tell are about people applying scientific principles to magic--and about the commodification and the economics of magic. Those are early-modern era stories.

The in-world reasoning I have is that on some of these planets, those eras existed--but the books are taking place when the stories of the worlds start smashing into one another. In addition, however, the Shards have an influence on this, because of things they saw happen on their own home planet.

#42 Copy


We know that if someone marries a Smedry, they get their spouse's Talent. But what if two Smedries marry? Do they get each own's Talents in addition to the ones they were born with?

And what about polygamy? For example, if there would be two Smedries and a non-Smedry in the marriage, would the non-Smedry get both? One of them? Some combination of them?

Brandon Sanderson

As for the Smedries, I've thought WAY too much about this. I went into it knowing I wanted a magic completely different from cosmere magics, and so I've tried to take it that direction--which includes keeping it simple. In a lot of corner cases like you mention, the answer is "nobody knows, because it hasn't been tried yet. But it probably wouldn't work." I'd say that two Smedries who married might BOTH lose their talent, because the entire clan would consider that incest, and kick them out. That would be the answer with most corner-cases.

#43 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

All right. So...things do get confusing whenever I'm trying to circumlocute spoilers. I could have smacked myself for forgetting to mention "no spoilers" before the Q&A. I keep forgetting that there are many readers who are not as sensitive to these things as I am. (Though one woman did gasp in the row behind that guy asking the question--as his original one mentioned Sadeas's death, I believe.)

I will say that there are multiple people I'd consider well on the path to being Radiants by the end of Book Three, and several of these would--shall we say--dispute KR traditions from the past, specifically on this subject matter. (What makes someone eligible to become a KR.) So this discussion is relevant for multiple reasons.

I wasn't trying to drop any bombs about Adolin, however, as I remain very solidly in RAFO territory about his future.


Thank you for taking the time to clarify this one Mr Sanderson.

This WoB created a massive shock-wave all across the fandom and many readers were taking you had officially confirmed Adolin was "well on his way towards Knighthood" which I was personally convinced was very deeply into the RAFO territory, as it should be.

Perhaps in order to also settle some additional debates, would you say Adolin would challenge what has traditionally made someone eligible to become a KR or is this within RAFO territory too? Readers can never seem to agree on how perfect Adolin actually is. We seem to find rationals for both.

Brandon Sanderson

I hate to use terms like "perfect" or the like. It's even difficult to (when not speaking in world) use some of the terminology the KR have used in the past--as we have to reconcile several things.

How do you decide what is a mental illness and what is simply a person's unique brain chemistry? Usually this comes down to two factors--the person's own feelings on it and the advice of medical professionals. Even language like "Well-adjusted," as I used before, is dangerous territory because it's so subjective. One need look only to the deaf community to find examples of people who challenge an outsider's perspective of what is a disease and what isn't.

So I generally prefer to talk about this through the character's viewpoint, the lens of historical commentary (which is in world, and may not therefore be accurate--but at least offers a perspective,) and the context of the book.

And in that context, I like Adolin being a RAFO. I believe that using the text, there are multiple directions one could go in discussing him.

#44 Copy


/u/mistborn is this [the Unfettered III sequence] the secret project?!

Brandon Sanderson

It is not, actually. I plan to sit down after Skyward Two is done and do a draft of this, but I haven't gotten to it yet.


Is the "this" in your sentence the secret project or the deleted scene in Unfettered III?

Brandon Sanderson

Deleted scene for Unfettered.

#45 Copy


[Brandon] how are you going to finish all this?

Brandon Sanderson

The only reasonable answer is the one that others have pointed out, unfortunately: I won't.

Most of the ideas I work on don't come to fruition. Others simmer for many years (like Skyward did.) My only real promise is that I'll make reasonable progress on the mainline cosmere books. Stormlight, Mistborn, Elantris, Dragonsteel. Even there, I can't say for certain if projects like the Threnody novel or the Mistborn cyberpunk will end up being written or not.


It must feel strange knowing that, right? Having your whole life’s work mapped out and feeling that you won’t finish all of it?

Brandon Sanderson

A little? But I realized long, long ago that I'd have more ideas than time to write them--and made peace with that.

There's also a kind of "natural selection" philosophy going on here. If an idea (like Skyward) manages to persist long enough, fight out the other ideas for a slot at the writing table, and actually turn into a book--well, those are the ideas that deserve to get written.


For what it's worth, I think you'll finish it all (and more) without a problem. And I fixed version 2 of the chart so the projected timeline isn't so exaggerated and it's much less depressing. And as long as you enjoy writing and keep cranking books out, I promise to buy every one - I'm planning to have an entire wall of just Sanderson books.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, thank you very much! I've been thinking a lot about this lately, though. I've been aware lately that I'm going to have to let more and more side projects slide away, an I'm finding ways to do it, so that I can keep my attention on making certain I finish my goals.


Well I think you've made a great compromise with the graphic novels for example - it's great to be able have that as canon without having to wait 30 years for everything else to be cleared out - but we still have hope that if you finish everything early there's a possibility of a prose version someday. And with your non-cosmere ideas like Adamant and Alcatraz it's great that you are collaborating with others to get things done. I don't know how much creative control you'd want to cede of the Cosmere, but you could always consider letting other authors play around in 1940-ish or cyberpunk Scadrial for example. Also, you could consider fan-sourcing some projects. Maybe it's a stretch, but if you held some contests for the more artistically talented fans, you might be able to collect enough submissions that match your vision to be able to build the worldbook. Or you could publicly release the script for Birthright or some other idea, and fans could try to build an open source video game.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I've been pushing myself to let some non-cosmere ideas (like the Apocalypse Guard rewrite) to do as collaborations, to get them out of my system.

You make some interesting suggestions with fans. We're reaching an era where that sort of thing is increasingly plausible.

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Is Eshonai really going to be the flashback character for book 4? Don't you mean Venli?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it is Eshonai. (And has always been planned to be Eshonai.) As the series progressed, I knew I wanted to do some unusual things with the flashbacks to keep them all from repeating the same themes and format. My hope is to craft something that is very interesting in the way that it both informs what Venli is doing in the future, and expands upon who Eshonai was in the past.

#47 Copy


Are you going to make more Wax and Wayne books in the Mistborn universe?

Brandon Sanderson

There is one more Wax and Wayne book, called The Lost Metal, that I'm working on. After that, we're going to jump a generation and do a 1980's era tech Mistborn.


C-cyberpunk Mistborn??

Brandon Sanderson

This one won't reach true cyberpunk levels, but I'm hoping to have the time to squeeze in a more cyberpunk-influenced sequence later.

#48 Copy


I just finished a reread of WOR (actually my first audiobook listen of the series, which was great), and when I reached your last three, I definitely noticed you really had a skill with shaping chapters to speed things up or slow things down. Initially it felt like you introduced more frequent shifts in main character POV instead of some of the lengthy sections with one POV that we'd seen in RJ's last few books. This made it feel like the story was coming together and things were starting to really happen at the same time. Then later it felt almost like a kind of dilation effect where a massive amount was happening at the same time - but with the added complication of the actual timeline manipulations, which was extremely well done in this regard... I was so caught up in the story I wasn't able to keep my attention on it at the time but later, after finishing AMOL, I was pondering that it felt like a Christopher Nolan movie, where the structure itself was part of the narration.

Brandon Sanderson

I've always preferred a frequent POV jump style to the large chunk style Mr. Jordan used later in his books--but there are merits to both. In the Stormlight Archive, I've been pleased with a kind of hybrid of the long chunk from the later WoT books with a quick jump method. (I pick a group of characters and quickly alternate POVs.) But I have the WoT to thank for helping me, as a younger writer, study and learn the different ways POV jumps can influence the storytelling.

#49 Copy


Wait, how long are Shardblades supposed to be?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardblades vary in size, most of them being locked in as a result of the Recreance. However, most of our concept art puts them in the 5'-7' range.

A typical knightly arming sword in our world would have been 3' long, which is where I believe the "double the size" comment came from in the books--though I don't immediately remember the context.


Do you have a size in mind for how long Syl would be manifested as a spear? I guess I'd imagine it would vary quite a bit depending on the situation.

Brandon Sanderson

[Ben McSweeney] did some concept art for us that I've used as a rule of thumb--but her size is going to vary a lot more, as you expect. In flight, she'll move to a more pike-like size of 15' or more. On the ground, she's going to be the size of a spear like Kaladin is used to using, so in the 6-7' range.

Ben McSweeney

In flight I imagine she is less a spear, and more a lance.

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Why refrigerate food when you can just stamp spoiled food so that it was stored properly before?


You'll have to ask Brandon how that'd interact with gastric acid breaking down the stamp. Or how porous/loose material interacts with stamps in the first place.

Come to think of it... There's a WoB saying the Nightwatcher could change your species, but have a hard time making a spren bond to you. So... could the Nightwatcher turn you Scadrian and make you eligible for Allomantic powers? Or does the Nightwatcher's boons operate on soulstamp principles?

Hell, let's say you bought a vial of the wrong metal on your field trip to Sel. Could you pay a Forger to stamp the vial into being a vial of the right metal (it's believable that you would check before such an important trip) and then drink the metal contained in the vial to fuel your Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

All right, all right. Let's see... /u/Aurora_Fatalis, changing metals around with other forms of Investiture is generally going to work, according to how I view the magic right now. The power is there, you just need to align the matter the right way. So forging new metals: not too difficult. This is because Allomancy isn't actually using Investiture in the metals, but using it as a key to get power from somewhere else.

Forging a sword to be a Shardblade, however, would be very, very difficult for multiple reasons. The most obvious one is that the Investiture required would be enormous. A Shardblade is a highly-Invested object, with its own self-aware soul.

If you could overcome the initial resistance invested objects have to being influenced by other magics (something that Forgery is particularly good at doing anyway) you'd theoretically be able to change Shardblade/spren's personality like you could a person's.

Fooling the magic via Connection and Identity is not so hard, under the right circumstances, so making a Forger into an Elantrian (or an Allomancer) for a short time is plausible. Making yourself into a Radiant, however, would be more difficult--because the limitations placed on that magic have to do with persuading a sapient being you are worth the bond.


How about regular food? If I stamp a pineapple pizza into a pepperoni pizza and eat it, what nutrients do I end up with?

Brandon Sanderson

The way I have it working now, I believe (though I'd have to do some double-checking, as it's been a while since I've been working on Sel) soulstamps are more fragile than things like Aons, and it would be very hard to eat something with one without breaking it. But assuming you could, you'd get nutrients from what it had become--but those would change back once the stamp broke or ran out.

It is possible to go so far down this rabbit hole, however, that the chemistry of Forging (like the physics of Allomancy) it just can't make sense any more. So be aware.


With things like Stamping metals for Allomancy, you have said that it'd be possible for short time, but then burning it would break the Seal and metal would revert back.

I guess it would be similar with food, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's the big problem with Forging. Getting the stamp to stay in place once you start to change the object that has been stamped.

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Not sure about my favorite scene in OB, but one I'd like to see drawn is Shallan when she's in the midst of her "experiment" to find out what Shamespren look like after occupied Kholinar.

P.S Brandon was that scene inspired by an "fan-service comedic" moments in anime?

Brandon Sanderson

Not specifically, but perhaps unconsciously. I was simply looking for a way to make the conversation more interesting, and to remind readers that Shallan's way of seeing the world is not always...healthy.

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Who would win in a fight, Kaladin with no Shards but with Surgebinding and his favorite spear (aluminum tip) or Kelsier with the first nine metals of Allomancy?


Kelsier, I think, if Kaladin doesn't have Syl with him. But it may depend on nearby metal sources.

Alternatively, they come to a shaky alliance where they both fight against the nobility but still get on each other's nerves. [Brandon] care to weigh in?

Brandon Sanderson

If they came to arms, Kelsier would try to kill Kaladin in his sleep, most likely. But it depends on a lot of factors, and I think your alternative is the most likely.

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In theory, could you create weird structures or even alloys [with Forgery]?

Two scenarios: using Forging how you might use Soulcasting, such as turning something into wood, bending and carving it to make a new shape, then breaking the seal so it turns back into the original material without changing shape.

Second: Forging one metal into another, and forming an alloy to reduce operation costs. For example, tungsten has a melting point of about 3.5k C, but it's useful as part of a steel alloy for certain applications. Could you Forge it into, say, zinc, which has a melting point of about 500 C, create the steel, then turn it back into tungsten? Presumably the investiture would adjust the molecular structure so it acts as if it has been alloyed with tungsten originally too, otherwise the same process happening with food could be deadly.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this is in theory similar to Soulcasting. The difference is that a Forged object, upon "Forgetting" the rewriting to its spiritual nature is going to try to snap back and match what it "thinks" it should be like--which isn't going to lead to as much stability as Soulcasting, where the actual soul is changed. The object is going to try to get back to the way it "should" be, with varying results.

The reason the Lord Ruler aged hyper-quickly is related to this as well.

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Marsh treats seeking and smoking as an either/or

And what would be the greater advantage? Being immune to — but ignorant of — some Soother's attentions? Or instead knowing — from your bronze — exactly which emotions he is trying to suppress?

If you could do both at the same time what he's saying doesn't really make sense.

In addition, Vin switches off her copper before burning bronze and vice versa


Curious, Vin extinguished her copper for a moment, burning bronze instead, trying to sense Breeze's use of Allomancy. No pulses came from him. Of course, she thought. I forgot about Clubs's apprentice— he'd keep me from sensing any Allomantic pulses. She turned her copper back on.


Let's try something, then, Vin thought, extinguishing her bronze. She lightly began burning copper to mask her Allomancy.


The Thugs charged, but Vin retreated, frowning. Why kill the Smoker? He wasn't a threat anymore.

Unless. . .

Vin extinguished her copper, then burned bronze, the metal that let her sense when other Allomancers were using powers nearby. She couldn't feel the Thugs burning pewter. They were still being Smoked, their Allomancy hidden.

Someone else was burning copper.


She still wanted to find those Allomancers, and there was only one way to be certain. She turned off her copper, then burned bronze.

It would be extremely odd for Vin to keep doing this if the powers didn't interfere with each other. Maybe /u/peterahlstrom can put the topic to rest?

Peter Ahlstrom

The seeker being at the soothing station is an interesting example. I want to say they might be able to sense from outside the coppercloud, but that contradicts that secondhand WoB. I also don't think the soother and smoker were on the lower floors. It says those are unused.

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Rand/Dark One confrontation through The Wheel of Time series...was it some kind of inspiration for Dalinar/Odium confrontation from your own series?

Brandon Sanderson

It's very heard to separate out what in my series is WoT influenced--since all of it is influenced deeply by reading the WoT when younger. So I'd say it most certainly was.

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A while ago someone mentioned it would be sweet to have a metal box for the Era 1 leather-bounds. As I recall, Peter seemed to think that was a cool idea, but I haven't heard anything about it since.

If it happens, I would guess it'd be announced alongside book 3's official reveal. /u/peterahlstrom would be the one to ask, though they might be waiting to make that reveal.

Peter Ahlstrom

There aren’t any current plans.

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Why does Ruin's voice constantly tell Vin not to trust Kel or Elend? Especially when she trusted their advice? Weren't the 'good guys' enablers of his plan?


It's also generally useful. Her having solid, stable relationships makes her harder to control. Even when he expects all of them to work towards his goals, if he needs to break them up, or get them to keep secrets from each other, it'll be easier if their alliance is tenuous.

Remember, Vin did a lot of trusting in that final book. She delayed the attack on Fadrex City by convincing Elend, just with a look, to play along with her as she tried to fool Ruin into thinking she had the atium.

Brandon Sanderson

This is on target.

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So in Words of Radiance, at the end of the book, the singers in their Stormform can summon red lightning and it's revealed Shardplate can neutralize it. I was wondering, can Shardplate neutralize ALL electric discharges or just the "special" kind from Voidlight/voidspren powered from.

And if Shardplate can defend against lightning in general is their a maximum voltage/amperage before it loses effectiveness?


In my mind - the plate likely acts like a Faraday cage - essentially allowing the lightning to never have a path through the user's body (electricity moving through your body is how you get injured). This would assume that Shardplate is conductive.

If they jumped, then likely the lightning would again travel through the outside Shardplate metal and then to ground - again avoiding the human altogether..... That said, small aluminum airplanes have been known to have damage to wings from strikes. In the case of Shardplate, I doubt that thermal shock or melting temperature is an issue for the material.

Brandon Sanderson

This is along the lines of what I was thinking, though I'm not sure I have a maximum volt/amp answer handy.


Was basically asking to find out if I can use Shardplate users against Electromaster characters on /r/whowouldwin

Brandon Sanderson

Then I give you an official, "Yes you can."

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I can’t wait for the sequel [to the Legion collection.]. I’m sure you’ll be joining me soon.

Peter Ahlstrom

This is the complete Legion collection and there won't be a sequel.

Brandon is feeling the need to tie up some of his projects to get them off his plate. The third Legion story was always intended to be the conclusion, and it is.

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I had a question about what it means to swear the Ideal of Law. Several fans have told me it means to define the law, in the Nixon, "when the president does it, that means it is not illegal," sort of way. I interpret it as becoming the embodiment of the law such that they can't willingly violate any law without breaking their oaths.

Do either of these interpretations hit the mark? Nale seems to follow the law more so than most and that doesn't just seem like a personal preference.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that both of these interpretations could work for a given Skybreaker, which is why there is disagreement among the order itself. Perception is a big part of the oaths.

I wouldn't want to squish this discussion by offering too much on one side or the other, as this is exactly where I want the conversation to be going right now.

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[Wheel of Time TV Show is] official! Is this the Secret Project?

Brandon Sanderson

While this is pretty big news (a series order is the real deal--it means this show is going to happen) I'm not very involved in this. I've had some conversations with the show runner, and am very impressed with him. I think the series is in good hands.

But I'm not involved in any official way, and this isn't Secret Project.

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If you were presented with the 3 options:

  1. Adapting the whole of the Cosmere to AAA videogames.

  2. Adapting the whole of the Cosmere to Blockbuster Movies.

  3. Adapting the whole of the Cosmere to HBO/Netflix production level tv shows

Assuming these would each do the series the justice they deserve, which would you take? I would think that going on a series by series basis would be best (i.e. like a movie for Elantris or Warbreaker, a videogame for Mistborn or a TV show for Stormlight), but let's say whoever is offering wants the rights to the whole of the Cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I've never been asked that question--and I've not given it huge amounts of thought. But I think it's a great question.

I think...perfect world...I'd go with the television series. I think that in a perfect world, 20-season of magically-somehow-all-awesome episodes would be the best way to approach doing the stories I tell.


You guys forgot anime! I have this feeling these stories could be told so much better through animation

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't say no if the right anime studio came to me.

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A small question, if you don't mind, how do you come up with fantasy names? I mean, is there an onomatology you draw from?

Brandon Sanderson

It varies from book to book--really from series to series. Generally, there are three general ideas. The first is the hard way--building the linguistics from the ground up. I'm not the best at this, but I can hold my own when I really want to. The second is easier--picking a linguistic trick (like names with repeated vowel sounds or names that are symmetrical, both ideas I've used) and using those as markers that a certain name is from a certain culture. The last is the easiest, which is picking an Earth culture and making names that feel like they could fit. I generally do this in books where language barriers aren't going to be relevant to the characters, and I want to shortcut the linguistics to use my worldbuilding time other places.

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I wonder if anything could be done [for videogames] with the other short stories like Elantris... Or somehow all of them...

Brandon Sanderson

One company pitched a really cool VR game to me about Emperor's Soul, where you played a Myst style puzzle game in a mansion where you could rewrite the history of objects to change them into different things. I wish we'd gotten that one off the ground.

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How much of a Mistborn prequel would the game have been? Are we talking; post pit Kelsier, or more of a Lord Ruler's first days taking over the other nations? Something in the middle?

Brandon Sanderson

It was set early in the Final Empire's existence--second or third century, I believe. So a pretty deep in the past prequel.

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On the tv show front the Wax and Wayne series would especially interest me. The mix of western and industrial age mixed with the feruchal and metal powers is just amazing.

Brandon Sanderson

Getting W&W to the screen is one of my main goals. That series is the one I believe in the least out of them all (when starting it.) I began it on a lark, and then, it ended up being one of the biggest surprises (even for me) in how it turned out.

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[The Oathgate map] can't be a very early Rosharan piece, because it lists the Shattered Plains, which weren't shattered when humans came. It also list all the current kingdom names, and the human kingdoms wouldn't have existed anywhere except Shinovar during the early days before humans ventured out elsewhere.

Peter Ahlstrom

Anything on the artwork that uses that font is an annotation by Nazh.

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Are you able to comment on when [Children of the Namesless] takes place on Innistrad?

Brandon Sanderson

It is about a year or so after Eldritch Moon, though I section off my own little part of Innistrad that is off in the woods, without a lot of influence from places like Thraben. Though the story does touch on the social ramifications of some of the events in recent sets, it's mostly concerned with its own lore and history.

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Without a commitment, how many books long are you guessing the Death (Without Pizza) series will be?

Brandon Sanderson

3+ if it turns out well. Depends. Once the first book is done and looks good, that's when I look at the series and make some calls on how it feels like it will go.

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I just finished my copy of Skyward (I got it at launch, but I've been finishing up your other books) - did the story of The Eyes (Fermi's Paradox space opera novella) end up being rolled into Skyward?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, it did. I actually still imagine The Eyes mostly being in continuity, with tweaks.


Is this to say we should expect a tweaked The Eyes novella to come out in the Skyward universe sometime in the future? Or were you just saying that The Eyes was basically the first draft of Skyward?

Brandon Sanderson

I imagine the characters from The Eyes are still around. (You'll see the alien race from the story in the second Skyward book.) It requires a few tweaks because of how humans are regarded, but otherwise, the story could have happened--so maybe I'll eventually finish it and release it.

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Seeing that Vin and Kelsier was able to absorb Preservation's power due to Connection, is it theoretically possible for a duralumin Compounder to compound Connection so much to the point where they could draw in the mists and 'absorb' some of Harmony's power?

Brandon Sanderson


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I'm currently reading New Spring after finishing, and going BACK to Jordan after /u/mistborn absolutely killed The Last's interesting. Sanderson really did breathe new life into the series. I'm particularly impressed by how he took the rules of one of the most intricate magic systems I've ever seen and turned them in their head and got insanely creative with them. Particularly Talmanes and Aludra using traveling while operating the dragons. Fantastic out of the box thinking.

Also, Talmanes is hands down the best side character who is so overshadowed by the main five heroes that it's easy to forget about him. But damn it he my favorite example of peak human bravery. Not ta'veren, not one of the great generals, not the world's most skilled swordsman. But time and time again he overcomes every obstacle, accomplishing the impossible. If it wasn't a recoming of the Age of Legends with heroes abound, he'd be the main hero.

Brandon Sanderson

Talmanes is one of those characters that I was very excited to write--though I anticipated my take on him being more controversial than it ended up being. I've always read him a certain way, and felt that I wanted to push him that direction in the last books--all the while knowing that some members of fandom didn't view him as I did. One of the dangers of bringing a fan like myself to write the books is that is had specific and distinct interpretations of some of the characters, particularly some of the side characters who were going to get expanded roles.


The way I read Talmanes was as a sort of "You've got to be kidding me" John McClane. A capable man who doesn't want to be there, but he's there and there's only one way out.

I'd be very interested to hear how your vision for him differed from the final character!

Brandon Sanderson

That is how I read him too--but also with a hint of self-awareness. Like when he'd say things to Mat, he wasn't always 100% serious, but sometimes kind of pushing Mat's buttons. That's the part I figured would be controversial, since I knew some other fans read him as straight serious.

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So men cannot write, it is a feminine art. Women do all the writing and reading while also covering their left hand with a sensible long sleeve (not godless whores). But what if a proper Vorin woman is born left-handed? Would she be forced to wear a glove in order to write? Or would she do her best to write with her right hand to avoid her sinful nature as a lefty? I wonder if these women write in secret, away from the lecherous eyes of others, and expose her safe hand to write freely.

These thoughts keep me up at night. I pity these left-handed Vorins for the rough life they must live.

Brandon Sanderson

This isn't as big a deal as you might think, because for a lot of the population, they just wear a glove and use their left hand.

It gets interesting when you are upper class, female, and left-handed. Part of the inspiration for the safehand was the way that the left hand is regarded as unclean in some of our cultures on Earth. You might be curious to read about what left-handed people did, historically, in some middle eastern cultures.

The short answer is "They learn to be ambidextrous" but the long answer is that it can be quite a pain, and very embarrassing. So yes, you are right to feel sorry for those left-handed Vorin women.

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[An image of all of Brandon's progress bars at 100%] well i guess that's it then, no more books ever

Brandon Sanderson

I've actually been doing a number of small things, as opposed to one big one, like /u/pm_me_your_ide guessed. Basically, I'm trying to clear my desk of small projects in preparation for launching into Stormlight 4 in January.

These little things involved a final draft of Secret Project (which I can't announce yet--but you'll know about it soon.) Working on an audio-original novella I've been writing with a friend. Signing large mountains of books for holiday orders. Tinkering with Apocalypse Guard, which I still hope to release some day. Filling out the Skyward 3 outline. None of these really deserved a progress bar, as none of them took more than a week or so.

I will post details in the State of the Sanderson in three weeks or so.

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Rock is the cook for Bridge 4, and not once does he say, "Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?" It is a missed opportunity

I have to wonder if /u/mistborn had that mind when creating the character. I will only see him that way now!


Unfortunately not.


I don't believe it. To clarify, I believe he didn't intentionally do it and I 100% believe Brandon is telling the subjective truth.

On the other hand, he invented a fictional culture loosely based on Polynesians and then made a big strong character from that culture and gave him the same name as a big strong descendant of Polynesians.

Have to stress, I'm in no way saying any of this as a negative thing...but the conscious part of the human brain isn't always aware of everything the rest of the brain is doing or where its thoughts come from.

Brandon Sanderson

I can see how you'd be skeptical...but you can find Rock in the 1998/99 version of Dragonsteel. He's largely the same character with the same name--though this was before he and Bridge Four were moved to the Stormlight Archive. Regardless, Dragonsteel was printed as my honors thesis several years before I even heard of the wrestler/actor. This really is just a coincidence. Sorry, /u/CarterLawler.

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Is Children of the Nameless accessible to readers who know absolutely nothing about the Magic: the Gathering world(s) and mythos? Are there any core concepts we should be familiar with before reading?

Brandon Sanderson

My goal was to treat this story so you could pick it up never having read anything about (or ever played) Magic. Judging by my writing group's reactions (few of them are familiar with it) this worked.

That said, I jump right into the story, rather than doing a big lore catch-up session, so there might be aspects that are a little confusing here and there.

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Some years ago I met you at a reading at Borderlands SF and asked if you'd ever write for MTG. If I may follow up -- why the change of heart? Was this a one off thing or will we see more things in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

I can't remember what point you asked me, but it might have been when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by my work load. This hit me right when I had enough space in my schedule, and they also were willing to let me do whatever I wanted with it. So it all came together!

This is intended to be a one-off. I'm not closing the door on doing more in the future, but the stars would have to align in the right way again.

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Any word on whether [Children of the Nameless will] be coming out in physical form? Just curious. I know for a while the M:TG books were eBook exclusive and the story has been website-exclusive but they're also gearing up to start publishing physical books again next year so...haha.

Brandon Sanderson

There's a pretty good chance of this, but it will be a while. Maybe late next year?

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Tineye. I have a condition i cant remember the name of, basically I started suffocating right before I was born and the lack of oxygen caused a very slight brain damage in all my senses. All of my sensory organs are fine, but my brain can’t interpret them quite right. Usually it's done in more of a dulling. I hope that tin would bring me to the same super human level because magic... Wait...if this works my whole week will be made.

[Brandon] would tin fix me? Or is my brain just broken?

Brandon Sanderson

I say yes, you'd be pleased with the results. (Sorry to hear about your affliction.)

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A (tangential) Dream Theater mention in a SotS? I can only take so much. I'm really looking forward to the new pizza-less Death set.

Brandon Sanderson

The book is looking good, though it still has a lot of work left to do. Peter has really brought the right musician's touch to the story, though, and a powerful sense of authenticity.


Question(s), if you will. What types of metal are you including (please don't say atium)? Is one of them djent? Are you only going to be doing big (older) bands (Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Megadeath, etc.)? Or are you going to be including newer bands? Niche bands? Metalheads love pretentious niche bands.

Are you aware of the role of post hardcore as a gateway into screaming music for many people? For example, look up the Spotify plays for bands like A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, Sleeping With Sirens, and Of Mice & Men. Another big player is nu metal like Linkin Park. Almost every metalhead in the 20-35 age bracket grew up listening to them.

Are you in tune with the fickleness of metal fans? How every time a band drops a new album, all the old fans line up around the block to hate on it. This is often because bands tend to soften their sound with each album (the word sellouts is not unheard in these contexts).

Are you going to include any references to popular metal YouTubers? I.e. Jared Dines (and his 18 string guitar), Kmac2021, Rob Scallon, etc.

Sorry for the barrage. Long time metal listener. Guess I'm just anxious so see it represented right!

Brandon Sanderson

I'm well aware that metal fans rather love their many distinct sub-genres. That's one of the main reasons I knew I needed to have someone working with me. I myself am very mainstream as a music fan. I love Metallica, but that's like telling people you love fantasy because you watched the LotR films. It's absolutely true, but doesn't exactly show off your breath of interest.

While I like a wide variety of musical styles, I wouldn't by any means call myself a metalhead--I just don't know the culture, as much as I like to read about it. But you can be assured that Peter knows his stuff. My job is worldbuilding and plot; his job is voice and authentic representation of the culture.

That said, I fully expect to get some pushback from fans because...well, you know. I'm sure we'll have plenty of metalheads in the beta reads, though.

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I know you can't comment [on Nakomi] that's what the wish was for :). Just hoping for some day in the future is all. I'm actually more concerned with this forsaken/aMoL secret we are apparently all missing.

Brandon Sanderson

I am sure someone has figured it out; I just don't watch the theory threads for WoT as well as I used to. Either way, I'll be able to reveal it on the 10th anniversary of the book being out.


I'm sure you're a busy man. That's good to know about the tenth anniversary, would you confirm it if it was directly asked to you? There's one theory I've seen but I don't want to push my luck :).

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't be able to confirm it or deny it.

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A lot of collaborations coming up: Alcatraz 6, Death (Without Pizza), Apocalypse Guard, The Original. How many of these are you expecting to be officially coauthored?

Brandon Sanderson

If I release a book that someone else worked on with me, it will be co-authored. So I'd say all them--but like a lot of projects I have cooking, it's possible that any or all of them might not come together.

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A few weeks ago, you mentioned you were writing The Original with a friend, but in the SotS it looks like you haven't found anybody yet? Are those different people or is the SotS outdated?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't have contracts or permission to mention anyone's name. It's early enough along that I feel it's best to stay quiet for now.

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How is [Rithmatist] not a VR game yet.

Brandon Sanderson

I have tried for years to get one made, and would love to do it. I also am fine with (not for profit) fan creations in most instances.

The problem has always been that people who are interested in making a Rithmatist game don't have enough experience in the industry to really make me think they could do a good job with it. (I have had a lot of offers from first-time game makers, for example.) However, the sales of the book--while good--are not enough to interest big game makers. (Where we've had trouble even getting something like a Mistborn game made, a series with several multiples more fans than the Rithmatist.)

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Elhokar's Shardblade has all ten orders.

Ben McSweeney

Just to stir the pot for giggles, I can confirm that Brandon specifically called for that particular detail. Hence the extra bit of the glyphs next to the Blade.

Could not tell you why though... he never told me! :)

Every Blade depicted in the Shallan art so far (except perhaps that cleaver-looking beast in the dueling drawing) went through multiple design passes. He definitely cares how they're depicted.


Are the two Shardbearers sparring at the bottom of the page holding Mayalaran and Oathbringer?

Ben McSweeney

Not Oathbringer for sure, because we have a particular Oathbringer design. That chopper is of no particular provenance at this time, at least that I know of.

Though it's not unheard of for Brandon to pick a design that I had thought of as being "throwaway" and elevate it to something significant. :)

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Ben McSweeney

Every level [of Urithiru] is about 18 floors, internally. I think we decided each level was about 15' tall, for about 270' in height per tier, but those are loose numbers and may not precisely reflect the final dimensions.


So overall it'd be roughly the same size as the Burj Khalifa right?

Ben McSweeney

Taller, but only by a bit (I say this because I've got a comparison shot somewhere in my internal docs and I remember it being juuuust a bit taller). And significantly wider, of course, the topmost tier is still wider than the Khalifa at its base. Even with the .7G allowance it's a wonder the whole thing doesn't collapse into itself.

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You were the illustrator for Shallan's sketches of Shardblades, right? If so, huge props for Sunraiser - it's so interesting that you chose such an iconic and historically accurate design, yet still managed to ornament it in a believable Shardblade style. I'd definitely buy one for HEMA if replicas existed, which is something I wouldn't say for most fantasy swords.

For those of us who know what that style was used for, it has some odd implications - like the fact that someone at some point was halfswording with a Shardblade, and seeing fantasy authors acknowledge halfswording always makes me geek out! Was this design a specific order from Brandon or were you just tasked with making a more knightly sword for the king and did your own research?

Ben McSweeney

So, there's a few different things going on here.

One is that, way early into the project, I did a bunch of silhouette studies for Brandon so that we could zero in on just how nutty he wanted Blades to be. From those studies he's picked out a few that we referred to when drawing the Blades in Oathbringer, and one of those in particular became Sunraiser.

He did specify that he wanted Sunraiser to be simple and traditional and purposefully in contrast with other Blades. The long ricasso wasn't a call for half-swording in particular, but that doesn't preclude the use of that technique, and it's likely that the original spren that became Sunraiser was probably used by a Radiant with some experience in wielding oversized two-handed blades.

From a Watsonian perspective, it's worth remembering that Shardblades are impractical interpretations of practical tools. Spren made themselves into what they thought swords were, but because of their nature the result became more about the spirit or the concept of a sword than about the requirements of forgery or physics or the practical needs of sticking pointy bits into other people.

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Let's say I had a really hard/special/magic metal file. I took it to Roshar and started shaving pieces off and catching them in a bowl. Would they dissipate and kinda puff into embers like the Shardplate does in places or would I actually have a bit of metal? If I did, would that metal shaving be able to be burned by a Mistborn? I won't ask what it would do, as I know that's a RAFO, just, would it be possible?


Yes, this is possible. Shardplate that grows replacement parts and/or heals itself (through using stormlight) is converting investiture into metal. So, in your theoretical world with a file that could file some off, you'd end up with a substance that you'd call a metal, though not one we have on earth.

I'll RAFO if a Mistborn could burn it, but what you want to do here could be done. This is assuming that you're using a suit of dead Shardplate, as is commonly seen in the books so far.

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