Idaho Falls signing

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Idaho Falls signing
Date
Date July 21, 2018
Location
Location Iona, ID
Entries
Entries 133
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
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#1 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Would a Mistborn be able to push and pull on a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's an excellent question. The answer is, it would be very hard. In Mistborn, anything that's pushing on certain metals, particularly infused metals, gets progressively harder the more Investiture they've got in them. And Shardblades tend to be very highly Invested; they'd be very difficult to push on. If you got the right Allomancer, they could push on it. But I would say, in most cases, no.

#2 Copy

kurvyyn [PENDING REVIEW]

Sja-anat tries to convince Shallan she is not her enemy and tells her, "Ask my son." Is the son that she's referring to, is that Pattern?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. Sja-anat is referring to--I'll try not to give too many spoilers on this--if you look through the books for a spren that does not seem to belong to Honor or Cultivation, but is bonding a Radiant, that is where you want to look for Sja-anat's influence.

kurvyyn [PENDING REVIEW]

Is it Glys?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO!

#3 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Would a Windrunner's Investiture be able to be used in space?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Would a Windrunner's Investiture be able to be used in space? In fact, yes. Windrunners would be particularly handy in space because they can control pressure as well as move around and things. So if you were going to pick an order of Knight Radiant, and you wanted to go be an astronaut, Windrunner would be the best choice.

#4 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Adolin and his sword that wants to kind of wake up a little bit. Most of the Knights Radiant have some sort of break in their mind, mental <a little> problem. Where Adolin appears to be the person in Stormlight that's most comfortable with himself. Is that going to cause a problem, or is maybe the fact that he, at least in his mind, murdered Sadeas, going to help bring that to fruition or give us a way towards something like that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Let's, first off, say I'm not going to repeat this one because it's super spoilery. So let's try to talk around the spoilers.

In the Stormlight Archive, there is a tradition among the Knights Radiant that certain traumas and/or psychological handicaps are effective in drawing the attention of a spren. I haven't actually said if that is true or if that's [just] a tradition of theirs. But there is a tradition among the Knights Radiant. that they have noticed something consistent.

Does it mean that you have to in order to be a Knight Radiant? Well, there is somebody that I would call extremely psychologically well-adjusted, that by the end of the third book is well on the way to Knighthood.

There is something going on there, they are noticing something true. But it might not be as exclusionary as they think it is.

#5 Copy

Dearius [PENDING REVIEW]

I was just wondering if the metal used to make a fabrial matters like if it's *inaudible* or something?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*Repeating* Does the metal used to make a fabrial matter?

A little bit. Not as much as things like this do on Scadrial, but there is some influence there. We'll get into those rules eventually.

#6 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

*Inaudible question*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*Repeating* Why do the Shin look different to the Rosharan significant <face>?

Because the Shin have spent a long time being very xenophobic. They haven't intermixed very much. When the original event happened, that I'm not going to say because of spoilers, different people settled in different places, and the Shin in particular just have been very xenophobic.

#7 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Why does Lift need stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Lift went to see the Nightwatcher, and got a Blessing and a Curse in that she can metabolize food to turn into stormlight, but she can't use regular stormlight. And there is something else, as well.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So they have the same surges or different surges for Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

She uses the same surges, but they are powered differently.

#8 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What would happen if Lopen and Wayne ever met.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I think they would get along fantastically.

#9 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How would a Cryptic deal with computers?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Cryptics would love computers. Loooovvvveee computers. They would have a blast. They might be offended that the computer isn't talking back to them, because they would think the computer's a pattern and should just be talking to them. But otherwise they would find them really cool.

I'm sad, there was a really good sequence in Oathbringer that had to get cut out for timing reasons where Pattern talked about how famous he was, that hopefully I will be able to release as a deleted scene or something.

#10 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Will Shallan and Wit have a good mentor relationship.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, they will. It will continue as you have seen it in the books so far.

#11 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

My question is not really a question, it's more of a theory. How Odium keeps the Fused around is more if he has them tied to his essence, so it's like he's essentially fishing them out of the Spiritual Realm and since their minds are left behind in the Cognitive Realm and their minds are *inaudible* damaged, because their spirits are separated and it just pulls them back.

I'm 100% convinced Nightblood did kill the thunderclast, because Nightblood consumes all investiture, that's something I asked you back at Barnes and Noble a couple years ago, during Christmas and you said your soul is investiture. So my thought is, that thunderclast isn't coming back any time soon.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You are correct on that one.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When I saw that, my thought was, "Yep, It's dead." Other people were like, "I don't know, will it come back?" Nope.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'll tell you this. They have not run into something like this before, and there will be ramifications of what happened there.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

That is fun to know.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

If you are used to death having no consequence, and suddenly your friend vanishes forever...

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah I, know I already thought of that. They're going to fight over Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mmm.

#12 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Out of the named Shards, which of them, like of the [Vessels?], if one of them were hunting you down, which one would scare you the most? You [don't] have to say the name of the character, just the name of the Shard.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So we're talking about considering the Vessels as well?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I.. *hesitantly* would probably go with Odium, looking at his track record. He has the track record to back it up.

#13 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are half-shards made with Radiant spren?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO! Good question!

#14 Copy

kurvyyn [PENDING REVIEW]

If Dalinar actually brought Honor back together to summon the perpendicularity, and Odium said he Ascended. Dalinar did he actually hold the Shard Honor and is he now considered a Sliver?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO! They are really waiting on this one. Let's just say, he is not Honor currently. But of course, you knew that.

#15 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With the gemstones, we know that the hue seems to matter more than the rarity. Is that somehow tying in to the colors for Warbreaker, and how that stuff works?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, that is tying in. Color will be a recurring theme, much as metal will be a recurring theme, as you see different magic systems work. In this case, the color has an affect on the spren and getting a spren trapped in it.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So just the color itself?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah the color is the important part. When I was researching Stormlight, I determined that color had to be the point. Because a lot of the gemstones I'm using are molecularly identical.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So that was the best way to differentiate?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So this was the best way to differentiate. But I had already had this as part of the cosmere, that color and the way people perceive color and things like, that were part of it. But getting ten different gemstones that were molecularly different proved to be very difficult and not worth it. If you look, so many of them are just basically the same gemstone with a few impurities. Their crystalline structure is the same.

#16 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Using Hemalurgy, could you steal the boon from the Old Magic?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh, from the Nightwatcher? This is theoretically possible.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Would that take the defect with it as well?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*Hesitantly* Yes. Though it's also theoretically possible to split them apart, that would be a lot harder. Getting the boon, if you knew what you were doing, would not be that difficult.

Now, what Cultivation would do to you when she found out that had happened is another thing entirely. Because those are willful grants of investiture.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Similar to Endowment's with the Returned?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, things like that. When you get a Shard involved and the Shard has..  power to... Same thing like...it's on a much grander scale what's happening with the spren bond, right?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When Hemalurgy does spread, most Shards will not be happy about this, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, that is correct.

#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If I remember correctly, [Calamity] was sent to destroy the world?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Kind of, yes. He was sent to make it destroy itself. Apocalypse Guard ties into that, with further explanations, if I can ever get the thing to work.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So it's part of the same...?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Continuity, yes. She is from the same dimension Megan sees into, the main character is.

#18 Copy

Valhalla [PENDING REVIEW]

So, you talked about a weapon made by the enemies of Adonalsium, and you said it doesn't exist in it's original form. Do any remnants of it still exist in the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Valhalla [PENDING REVIEW]

Have we seen any of those remnants on-screen?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*pause* RAFO.

In current continuity (and people would know this), Hoid's immortality comes from this. People who have read Dragonsteel know that.

#19 Copy

Valhalla [PENDING REVIEW]

Ruin and Odium, they both talked about their passion, and it was italicized both times. Would any other Shards talk about passion in that same italicized way?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes they would.

Valhalla [PENDING REVIEW]

Would any of them not talk about it that way?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes they would. Excellent, good questions.

#20 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I've read the Mistborn. What's the best way to get the full effect? My brother, I'm introduced him to the Cosmere. We both got into it through, when you finished Robert Jordan's series.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Full effect of the Cosmere. Do you guys have a non-spoilerific, "Things to watch for"?

coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

There probably is.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Maybe go on the 17thShard, which is the forum, and say, do you guys have a non-spoiler "Things to watch for" to see the Cosmere connections in action.

Watch for Hoid, obviously. Watch for... people use the wrong words. Like if you ever see anyone in a Stormlight book who accidentally uses soil or coin or things that are just not Stormlight stuff. That is usually a translation error because they're using magical means to translate into the language and they are saying a word and the magic is translating it.

Like, if you just learned the language, you wouldn't make that mistake. That's a pretty big hint that the person is non-native. Watch for the myths and legends that people tell about various places and peoples. It's all just behind the scenes stuff right now. There's nothing that you're going to miss, you're going to be like "Oh no, I don't understand!" The things that are overt connections are meant to be woven into the stories well enough that you wouldn't have to have the intros, ahd the ones that are not are just Easter eggs for now.

Except for things like Arcanum Unbounded, which is presuming you are Cosmere aware.

 

#21 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How many of the Stormlight Archive, how many are you planning?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There are two sets of five. The first five will come to a climax, and the second five are going to take place ten years later. Some of the cast will be the same. It's the same series but some of the cast will change. For instance, Lift is being seeded as a main character for that series. She'll be grown up, so she won't be quite-- She'll still be Lift, but she may not be quite as teenagery. She's a very special individual.

Renarin will be one of the main character in that series. Jasnah will be. And Taln and Ash, who are both Heralds that we barely see on screen in the current ones, they'll be main characters.

#22 Copy

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

In Hero of Ages, I have a room that is both looking at the sunset, and looking north, in different scenes. In one scene, someone walks in, they can see the sunset, and in another scene, they see the army, that's to the north, through the window? And they were like, "Ahhhh!"

So I said, "Oh! Let's make it a corner room, and put two windows." So there's a solution, but it was not...

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

But it wasn't intended that way.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah.

#23 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is it possible for people to be Mistborn in another world other than the one that...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is not possible for them to be born Mistborn, but a Mistborn can travel to one of those worlds. And you could theoretically create one out of Hemalurgy on another world. You would need to bring people, right? But you could actually do it. Nothing would prevent you, other than the horrific, gruesome nature of it.

#24 Copy

coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

*Written down* Cracks in the Spiritweb can be filled with investiture, granting powers. Are the Drab on Nalthis considered damaged enough for this process?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They are something else entirely. So that, in world, they would say no, something else has happened.

#25 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Could you tell us the name of one of the Shards we have not yet seen?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I cannot. I'm sorry. I get asked that enough that they'd all be done. If I gave you one, I get asked at the next con, and all of them would be gone. Plus, I sometimes tweak them before I canonize them. The actual word I'm going to use. The intent usually stays the same but I tweak which word I'm going to use.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I meant the actual name. Like, how Honor was Tanavast.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No...I won't do that either. But I will give you a RAFO card!

#26 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are there any other Investiture-sucking creatures?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There are creatures that feed on Investiture other than the larkin, yes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are they on the other worlds?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There are some on other planets, not every planet has one.

#27 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are the Aimians, am I saying that right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are they native to Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO. They are enigmatic, even on Roshar.

#28 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With Way of Kings...with Azure, where did she appear at the end of Warbreaker? Because I know it's Vivenna, but did the name appear, because when I first read it, it sounded familiar.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No... She is commonly associated with that color, but it's not like she was known by that name.

#29 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In Oathbringer we have an example of a different form of magic on Roshar, like when Hoid uses Breaths to perform...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, Hoid has used both Breaths and Allomancy on screen in the Stormlight books.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is this made possible through the Connection of Shadesmar and the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, you can bring almost all the magic to any other planet, no problem. The only one that there's a problem with is AonDor but that has specifically to do with the way the AonDor works.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So hypothetically, could you see someone from Roshar become a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That would require Hemalurgy. Could happen. A lot of times, where you were born, with a lot of these magics, is having a big influence on your spiritual make up. But it would require Hemalurgy, or there are ways to get around it. You could become mechanically a Mistborn. That's probably not a phrase we want to canonize. You could use, for instance, some of the tools in Era 2.

#30 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is Kelsier going to be a part of Era 2—the rest of it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You will see a little bit, but he is not a main a part of those stories.

#31 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are you going to do a Mistborn: Secret History part 2 to talk about what Kelsier's doing during...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Likely, but not 100% promise. It's kinda my time frame. A lot of the stuff that's happening right now is foreshadowing for Era 3 where Kelsier will have a much bigger role. Era 3, the 1980's one. So we'll see when I'm writing those if I need a Secret History to catch us up.

#32 Copy

coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

Can the Nightwatcher turn you into a different species, or like a spren or a seon?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is possible for the Nightwatcher to change your species, yes.

#33 Copy

coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

If the Nightwatcher was asked to bond a person with a spren, would you just kidnap a spren and force a bond, would she create a spren...?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The Nightwatcher is unlikely to force a spren to bond.

#34 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When will you do the next Stormlight book?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So I divide my time between half Stormlight and half other things. So, I'm about a year into my 18 month break. I'll start Stormlight 4 on January 1st.

#35 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You know how the Cosmere all ends, right? Does anyone else know?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No one else knows right now. But I am slowly filling out that outline in my notes so that they'll have it in case something unfortunate happens to me.

#36 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So in Oathbringer we start seeing cases of Shadesmar and worldhoppers. As the series progresses, are you going to kind of like gear it into more of like, world meeting world, like almost leading up to like Dragonsteel type events?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right, that is kind of the goal. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Like long story goal.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's not really... People imagine it being Avengers-ish. It's not really that. It's more like the way these worlds interact is the story that I want to tell. So they will slowly come mashing together.

#37 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is Warbreaker 2, is that near-future?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Distant future.

Footnote: The Questioner appears to be asking about when the Warbreaker 2 novel will be released, not where it will fall in the timeline.
#38 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Question about Elantris real quick. In your [Arcanum] Unbound[ed], they show up. Is this post or pre Elantris. Because they're so well organized in that one.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, that is post Elantris. But, the Ire weathered the [Reod].

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh they come back. And they remember everything.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They were not on Sel when the [Reod] happened.

#39 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

One question I've been thinking about a lot, and that is the black bladed sword. Is there just one sword, or is there one for each world, that [works with?] different...like Shard powers, or is it just one sword that can work with all?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

[Nightblood] is something special. A long time ago, some people from the Warbreaker world came to Roshar, saw Shardblades, thought, "We can do this," went home and tried to make one. And that is Nightblood. And it went horribly horribly wrong. And so they didn't make any more, except now, Azure's sword is somewhat related. But that is the origin of Nightblood. Trying to make a Shardblade out of a different magic system.

#40 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With the King's Wit, when Hoid left, was there ever a new Wit?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. Hoid has been erratic enough that they knew he would be back. If he had been gone long enough they probably would have gotten around to getting a new Wit, but they just never did.

#41 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is the Shaod actually random, or is it more of a chosen thing?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO.

#42 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have we met the people that Hoid is working for?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I am not going to confirm or deny that Hoid is working for anyone. Nice try! And people who think Hoid is working for them might not be right.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Even though--with the end of Elantris bit?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Sometimes people pay Hoid to do things. And he doesn't do them. Or he does them his own way. The thing that happens in Oathbringer with him and the innkeeper, that is a really common occurrence with Hoid. There are times where he has actually worked for someone. There are times where they thought he has. And there are times where something entirely different has occurred. So, I'm not going to confirm or deny.

Footnote: The Questioner is referring to the bonus scene at the end of the Elantris 10th Anniversary Edition.
#43 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are we going to find out in the next few Stormlight books about axial interconnection?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. Modern Mistborn (Not Wax&Wayne 4 I'm afraid) will delve into this.

#44 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If a person who could use stormlight went to the world of Mistborn, would they still have the same strength? Would the distance from the god depend on it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The only one that the distance matters is Elantris because of the power being trapped in the cognitive realm makes distance important. The thing is, you would need to get stormlight.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Or like Mistborn, they would have the same type of strength?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's a lot easier for Allomancers to move between planets than the others just because it's harder to get stormlight because it runs out. It's harder to get the sand unless you can find some kinetic investiture to recharge it. I would say the easiest to travel is Mistborn. Sandmaster is probably second easiest, then it gets a little hard from there. I guess, it depends, you can just carry the Breath with you. That works just fine. Getting new Breath, though... There's a lot of different variables going on there.

#45 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Talenal's Honorblade, is it still on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is still on Roshar, yes.

#46 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The only question I have is how soon are we going to be expecting to interact with Urithiru?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is a big question on the minds of the characters and it will be a major theme of the next book. Whether or not it'll actually happen or not

#47 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What would win in a fight between a sandling and a chasmfiend?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Where are they?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I don't know.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That matters a whole lot.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

That really does.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yep. That's the answer. Where are they? They would both probably win in their native environments.

#48 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If Megan were ugly, would David have cared? Would he have still figured out the problem?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm not sure. David's a little shallow at times. That's a question you'd have to ask him. And he might require a little soul searching on his part. David is probably one of the more earnest but more shallow people that I've ever written about. There aren't a lot of us that aren't terribly shallow early in our lives and we kind of learn that lesson as we grow.

#49 Copy

coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

If you use chromium with Feruchemy, would that mean misfortune to your opponents? If you were playing Monopoly and you needed them to roll like a four to...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*Hands RAFO card*

#50 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I designed a shirt with the Windrunner symbol online, and they wouldn't let me because they said a game had the rights to that.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Any of our symbols, the copyright is to the company. You are free to print off shirts for yourself and friends, we have no problem with that. Anything that contains artwork from our series, we don't let you sell. You can do it for your friends.

Or you can design something that doesn't use any of the artwork, and then we don't care. If you want to do something with the artwork and you think it's really cool, if you can convince Isaac, my assistant, that it's cool enough, there's a chance we'll just license it, and at that point, you get, I think, 15% off the top, and we'll sell it on the website.

That's the line we came down on. We want people to make stuff for themselves, but we don't want people selling stuff that has the artwork. If you're just making for yourself, I don't care.

We actually have a fanart policy that officially says you can do that. So if you can point the company and say, Hey this is for personal use only, I'm not going to sell it, here is the fanart policy from Brandon's website that says it's okay, then maybe they'll let you do it.

If that doesn't work, try a different place. Know that you aren't running afoul of anything on us. We even drew it up with a lawyer saying this is legal, you can do this for yourself.

 

#51 Copy

coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

Does Vivenna's Blade have a name and if so what?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO. It's intentionally not mentioned. Not an accident.

#52 Copy

coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you ever thought about doing like a Cosmere cookbook? Different recipes from different planets.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I would totally do this if I knew someone who was a good chef. If fans can come up with recipes, I could totally see us doing something like that.

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's true. We could make a cookbook.

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

He wrote the foreword for Oathbringer, didn't he?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, he did.

#53 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, you mentioned in your Q&A about how you're usually writing one [book] and revising another. Where are you at in the process right now?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I am writing the sequel to Skyward, I am outlining Stormlight 4, and I am revising Secret Project that I can't talk about that's a secret project. The one that was on my website. We had a progress bar for it, but I haven't said what it is. There are many, many theories online about that one.

#54 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

My question is can you spike to or from spren?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's a RAFO, right now.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Footnote: This was answered here.
#55 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Those short stories on Threnody and First of the Sun, will we have full books for those?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Unlikely. Threnody yes. It's likely that you'll see a Threnody book. That's not a one hundred percent promise though. A Threnody book would not be about Silence or anything. Threnody's been a place I've wanted to do a book about for many years. And there's a group that's important later in the Cosmere that it'd be nice to have had a book about. But this comes down to where does my time end up getting spent? Sixth of the Dusk it's unlikely.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Will we at least get more short fiction about it then?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is possible, but no promises.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are there Awakened objects on Scadrial because it talks like, "Hello, do any of your metal objects talk to you?" Or is that just you having fun with the broadsheets cause the broadsheets may not be a hundred percent true?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The broadsheets are definitely not one hundred percent true, but we didn't put anything in there that didn't have a reason. So that is a RAFO.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I know I don't have a lot of di-Shardic worlds to deal with, but I notice a pattern on Scadrial of metals*inaudible*, kind of a focus *inaudible* of magic. And with Roshar, it's gemstones, it tends to be. Is that determined by the Shardworld or the Shards?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's kind of one and the same.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have there been Mistborn, and other people from other books, with powers in Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. Captain Demoux. You've seen Captain Demoux. You've seen, of course, Wit. He used Allomancy in one of the books. There are others. There is a Terriswoman running around. Those are the big ones. There are others, but they're much smaller...

There's Felt, but he doesn't count.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I would like to know more about Wit. What is he?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Wit was born on the planet where all of this started. Long ago, in the early history of the Cosmere. Certain things that happened there made him immortal. A bunch of the people who were involved in this became what we call Shards of Adonalsium. They took up deific power. He did not, but he is one of the only other people who was around during that time who's still around.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So does he get a flashback book?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He gets an entire series which is where all of this happens, in the beginning. That should be a trilogy right now. We'll see. I'm going to write it after Stormlight is done.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Did Harmony change the laws of Feruchemy and Allomancy just so that people wouldn't want to do Hemalurgy by making it possible to get those powers otherwise, or was that already...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, that wasn't the purpose. It was already built in.

I made the call. I didn't built that Sazed did it, but it's a little bit of a retcon, breaking Feruchemy into its separate powers. I felt that would just be a more interesting narrative.

So, the behind-the-scenes answer is, I just broke those apart. My rationale for myself in-world was that now that the bloodlines were spreading out more, this was a natural effect of the bloodlines mixing.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Makes sense. Just Sazed didn't want people looking at Hemalurgy so I figured maybe he retconned it a little bit just so [you?] wouldn't.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That isn't the answer I came up with. But it sounds rational. I want to be careful not to have too much Sazed retconning going on. But at the same time, it is kind of a retcon, so maybe I should have.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm really curious about Ryshadium. Is there something bigger about them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's not super-huge. They are non-native species who have started to form spren bonds like native species do. So, a symbiotic bond with a spren has started happening. Ryshadium are horses that have done that, basically. You could say that humans have done the same thing. Non-native species that have started to form spren bonds. The Ryshadium are the only other non-native species that that has started happening. Like the chasmfiends have a symbiotic relationship with the spren that they have, the Ryshadium have a spren.

It's not as visible, but it is there.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the timeline looking on the next Mistborn book?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Uhhhh, indeterminate. It's going to depend on how Skyward 2 goes and whether I use [The Lost Metal] as a break in the middle of Stormlight or if I do it right before Stormlight 4. It shouldn't be too long.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You said the The Rithmatist is a little ways out, the sequel.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I do mean to keep meaning to get to it sooner than I have. It's one of the-- It's the one that's been the most difficult to figure out how to do the sequel. I'm confident-- Let me get Alcatraz [6: The Worldspire], which-- it should be done pretty soon here, cleared off my plate. The last book of that one is-- had significant progress on it lately. Once that's done I'll look at Rithmatist, which is the other thing that's been dangling over my head.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What book would come first in this timeline?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I've written them roughly chronologically so far, though Dragonsteel will take place first, which I haven't released yet. White Sand is chronologically (the graphic novel) before the other Cosmere books.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So Rock and the Horneaters—what culture did you... Did you find any real-life inspiration?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. So they're a little bit of a mashup between Hawaiians, Scotsmen, and Russians.

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Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The other thing that was working for this character, that really made me interested in writing her story, was that she had a really failed Instagram. Not very good at it, thought she was better than she was. And I started putting little... she'll write out (you'll see one of them, when I get to it), she writes out what she calls Emma's Instructions. And these are just lists of things on how to live your life, that she writes out. The theory is, she's gonna post them on her blog.

So this character was really, really interesting to me. Particularly when I matched her up with the story I was working on, which is: the secretary to the Justice League has to save the world. So what it is is, Emma (I'm gonna read from the middle of the book, so I'll catch you up), she is an intern to a group called The Apocalypse Guard, which is basically a super hero team. They are not in the book. She is in the book, because they end up getting called away to do something, and through a kind of weird set of circumstances, she ends up on a planet that is doomed to be destroyed in a couple of weeks that they were planning to save. But they all have been called away to something else, and she's the only person from the Apocalypse Guard on the planet. She's the intern. And she's not very prepared for this, she does not speak the local language, it's kind of an apocalyptic wasteland that she's landed in. She's found a couple of people to be her guide, at this point, you'll see. But she has no idea what she's doing. And all she knows is that the planet's going to be destroyed in three weeks.

I actually did the worldbuilding on this based on some of the old-school concepts of the Flood. Where some of the old writer's believed, before Noah's Flood, all the water was in the sky, and you could see it up there, in the firmaments they called it, and then it came crashing down. And before that, some of the medieval theologians thought that there were no oceans until the water came crashing down. So I've always found that a really interesting image, so that's what's happening on this planet. She'll look up, and there's water in the sky. Big ocean in the sky... that is going to come crashing down in three weeks.

#67 Copy

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The two woman loaded up their single pack animal. A short creature that looked kind of like a camel, but was more the size of a llama. It eyed me lazily, chewing quietly on its cud. After their packs and bed rolls were tied in place, Echo placed a curious item on top. A long tube, wrapped in cloth. It was almost five feet long. A map tube? If so, those maps would be the size of walls. Once that was done, the camp cleaned, Echo looked me over with a critical eye. I looked down at my ripped slacks. Though my flats were sensible business shoes, they weren't intended for extended hikes. She dug in her pack and came out with an extra pair of boots and a pair of trousers. "Uh," I said, taking the trousers and looking them over. Echo was lean and athletic, and I was... not. She noted my hesitance and said something that sounded like agreement, but I did try on the boots. It took several pair of socks to make them fit, but the end result was better than the flats. I didn't much look the part of a heroic Apocalypse Guard member - my jacket was too big, my business slacks ripped, and poorly matched by a pair of hiking boots. But it wasn't like I needed to appear in any company photos. "I'm good," I told them. "Let's go." Echo looked towards the last thing on the ground, near the center of camp. The shadow rig. Right. I considered putting it on, but was instantly reminded of that melting world where everything became paint. Let's pass on that for now, I thought, packing away the rig beside where Echo had put the trousers. After that, we started walking.

Emma's Instructions for hiking. One, wear comfortable shoes, so when your feet hurt anyway, you can at least feel like you tried. Two, remember tons of bug spray, so you smell like a vat of cleaning liquid. Bonus points if it makes the dirt stick to your skin while walking. If you can, wear a backpack filled with things that you won't end up using, but which will somehow always manage to arrange inside so they can poke you in the gizzard. Four, return to your sweet air conditioned, bug free, shower containing home, renewed and reminded how nice it is not to be a caveman.

People always assume that I'm inexperienced at outdoorsy stuff, just because I tend to throw things at them when they suggest camping. Truth is, I'm very experienced with camping. I spent countless nights with my family, huddled up in the cold by a barely working fire, listening to Father tell stories of when he was a kid in Iona. Shockingly, it had been even more rural back then! Nowadays, we have a stoplight. It's practically cosmopolitan! So yes, I've done lots of camping, and hiking, and canoeing, and backpacking, and skiing. I kind of like that one, but don't tell anyone. Truth is, there's not a lot to do in Iona that doesn't involve pretending to be a caveman. Back when I was little, and apparently brain dead, we kids would spend two entire weeks every summer up at Scoresby's Ranch without even running water, let alone wifi. In my later years, my family and I had even kind of come to a truce on the matter. I pretended to look forward to our yearly camping trip, and they pretended not to notice the phone I always brought along. Or the sets of instructions I may or may not have posted relating to the experience. None of this meant I was prepared for the extended hike through the wilderness with Echo and <Whisprien>, but at least I knew how unprepared I was. I could spot the warning signs of a blister forming, and do something about it. I knew how to pace myself, and how to let others know when I needed a break. These two were obviously experienced survivalists, so even <Whisprien>'s endurance put mine to shame. I tried not to focus on my embarrassment at that, instead studying the landscape. Strangely, it didn't look that much different from Idaho. Mostly filled with scrub grasses and weeds. More of those were brown then back home for some reason, but they seemed healthy anyway. It was a lot more humid than home was, and less dusty. There was real dirt here, not just powdery dried clay and Iona topsoil, also known as rocks. And then there was the sky. Any time I was feeling a sense of familiarity with the hike, I caught a shimmer on the ground, or a shadow passing overhead. Then I'd look up, and my brain would break anew. There was a freaking ocean in the sky. Despite the distance, I could see ripples and waves from passing wind. The things that moved within it were mostly just shadows, but I got a sense of darting schools - not just noble leviathans. Were there sharks? Sky-sharks? The idea made me smile. My adopted brother would have found that incredible; I'd have to tell him. If I survived. Don't be like that, I thought, you'll get out of this. Look, nobody has even tried to kill you all morning.

We stopped for lunch, and they gave me more guard rations while they ate something that looked like beef jerky. Nearby, a strange herd of animals passed through the brush. How to explain them? They were big, almost as tall as a person. And covered in armor that almost looked like a football helmet. Seriously, they had this ball of a body, and a little flat head stuck out the front, with a stumpy tail and flat beak. I'd have called them dinosaurs, except for the face. I was pretty sure they were mammals, like, prehistoric armadillo turtles. Echo didn't seem concerned about them, so I just perched nervously on top of my fallen log and watched them wander by, then felt stupid. I'd faced the <Hex>! I could face an armadillo or two, even if they did seem to be on the wrong side of a radioactive spill.

Echo was obviously a practical woman. She didn't smile often, but it wasn't that she was stern. Maybe just straightforward? Compass in hand, she calmly picked our heading after each break. She would occasionally try to draw her daughter into conversation. <Whisprien> resisted these. The thin girl trudged along in her rugged backpack, eyes down. I never heard her speak in anythingbut  a whisper, and her attitude seemed to be more then your average "sullen tween resents life" sort of thing. But who knows? Maybe she just really hated camping. 

Echo would periodically seek a tree or something to climb so she could check to make sure we weren't being followed. Her voice was always upbeat when she came down, and I could sense a lingering concern from her. She was very worried about those soldiers. One of them had a rig, I thought again. It didn't take a math degree to notice that a lot of things weren't adding up. Part of the secret perhaps lay stowed away in that camel-llama's pack. I walked up beside the animal, who walked placidly beside <Whisprien>, and placed my fingers on the partition that held the shadow rig. I had the distinct sensation of blending realities, of the grass around me melting into colors, like a wet watercolor painting left in the rain. I snatched my hand back. <Whisprien> looked away, and grumbled something, falling back in the line. A short time later, I caught her glaring at my back, eyes narrowed. 

When the sun finally settled beyond the envelope of water, I was exhausted. But it was more a wholesome exhaustion kind of exhaustion than I felt yesterday. It was the exhaustion of having been forced to weed an entire potato field. 

Echo chose a camp that looked like it had been used by other weary travelers. A forested nook beside a weathered section of rock. I heard water gurgling somewhere nearby, which seemed like a good sign that I might actually get to take a bath. Echo unpacked the camel-llama, then grabbed her large water jug and moved off towards the sound of the stream. When she returned with a filled jug, I held out my canteen eagerly, but she shook her head and gestured towards the fire pit. "You have to boil the water first?" I asked, "Probably a good idea."

Fortunately I'd been immunized from all the local viruses, both from here, and from a host of other planets that the Guard was working with. That was standard procedure. I wasn't certain how the Guard prevented themselves from carrying diseases to the worlds they worked on. I hoped I wasn't the latent carrier of, like, smallpox or something. Accidentally harboring the advent of an all-consuming pestilence would be super embarrassing.

<Whisprien> started working on the fire, and she gave me a glance that distinctly seemed to say "Isn't there anything useful you can do?" So I powered up my phone for today's ration of power and snapped a picture of her for my blog. I snuggled back against a comfortable looking log (it wasn't) and ate up a little of my batteries working on some instructions, hoping the whole time my distress beacon would bring a response from those looking for me. No such luck.

About halfway through my allotted half hour, I brought up the map and had Echo point out out current location. She noted a very small distance traveled. Crap on a stick. (I got that one from one of my Iona friends.) Was that really the only progress we'd made? How were we going to reach the Guard outpost in three days? It didn't seem possible. Particularly because we were going the wrong direction. "Echo, isn't that the wrong way?" I tapped the map, then tried to make myself understood by pointing. The outpost was north of where we started, but we'd been walking west. I suppose I could've told that from the sun, if I'd thought about it. Echo said something in her language, then pointed at something on my map. Not a town or an outpost, but a little spot of brown. It was hard to tell what it was on the two dimensional map, only barely touched on topographical features. "Okay...." I said, "I guess I'll trust you know what you're doing." She nodded and went back to working on the fire, which was crackling nicely and boiling our water. She could be leading me into a trap, of course. Perhaps she hadn't saved me out of goodwill, but to gain a potential hostage against the Guard. But it wasn't like I could do anything about that. I'd be laughably ineffective at trying to sneak off. Echo would track me down with little effort, assuming I wasn't immediately devoured by some prehistoric carnivorous elk or something.

I moved to sit on a rock that looked somewhat comfortable (it wasn't) and continued working on my blog, trying not to think too hard about how sore I was going to be from. A harsh whisper hissed from behind me. I jumped, and turned to see <Whisprien> standing behind my seat. She pointed at my screen and hissed something angry. I glanced at what I had been working on. The picture of <Whisprien> I had taken with some handy instructions about living in the wilderness. I switched off the phone, but <Whisprien> reached for it. I barely kept it out of her reach, worried she'd shatter the screen. "Okay, okay," I said, "Sorry, no pictures. I'll delete it, chill!" I tried to do so, but <Whisprien> kept hissing at me and reaching for the phone. The scuffle drew Echo, who barked a question. Finally <Whisprien> backed off, and I reluctantly showed her mother the screen. Echo just nodded. Again, it didn't seem like she was unfamiliar with technology. She didn't demand I delete the photo or anything, but she did pull her daughter over and have her help make what appeared to be an evening soup. Great job Emma, I thought, I apparently needed a set of instructions on not being a giant idiot.

"Hey," I said, walking over to Echo, "is it alright if I go take a bath?" I pantomimed swimming, and washing my hair, then pointed to the water. "Is it safe?" Echo said something, then dug from her pack an old-timey bar of soap and a hairbrush, which she handed to me. I nodded in thanks, then made my way over to the small river. It was more muddy then I'd hoped, but I supposed I couldn't expect something out in the middle of these plains to look like a Grand Teton Mountain spring. I made sure I had line of sight to the other two, just in case, then I stood there, holding the bar of soap, uncertain. Was this a good idea? Taking a bath in the middle of the wilderness on a foreign world, while potentially being chased by mercenaries? I was basically guaranteed to be attacked by, like, a dinosaur or something the moment I stripped down. But what was I gonna do? Go the entire way without ever washing off? I was still bloodied and smudged with ash from the explosion, not to mention caked with sweat. Perhaps taking a bath was tempting fate, but this way if a dinosaur did eat me, at least I'd taste like soap. Truth was, it actually felt empowering to take that bath, like this was my choice. Getting clean was something I wanted, and I wasn't going to let myself be too scared to accomplish it.

That said, I did still watch my surroundings with keen attention as I quickly bathed in the cold water. Unfortunately, once finished, I was left with the same dirty clothing I had taken off. Lance's jacket, my incredibly wrinkled blouse, and the torn slacks. Quite the inspiring uniform. Still, I felt a ton better as I put it all back on. Echo offered me some thread as I rejoined them, and I thankfully started working on sewing up the rips along my leg.

The stew was kinda good. And I turned in feeling kinda clean, kinda full, and kinda not in extreme danger. I woke up the following morning to shouting. Echo called me in her native tongue, and I shook awake, then scrambled to my feet. "What?" I said, "Dinosaurs? It's dinosaurs, isn't it?" I paused. "Do you have dinosaurs here?"

Echo gestured toward the sky. Morning at dawn, and through the branches above, I could see an enormous disturbance in the waters, like ripples of a dropped boulder, only moving inward in a ring. The center of that shrinking ring of waves looked like it was just above our position. Great. I had been starting to feel ignored.

Chapter 13

"The flood can't be happening already!" I shouted as I scrambled back into camp, "We're supposed to have weeks before the apocalypse!"

Echo shouted something back as she grabbed the llama-camel's harness and towed it after her through the trees. <Whisprien> had climbed on its back. "Wait," I called after them. I waved toward the bedrolls and boiling water, "Our stuff! What about..." I trailed off as <Whisprien> looked toward me from the camel's back. The girl's face was still blank of emotion, but her eyes were glowing. They had a ghostly cast to them, pupils melded into the white, shining forth like something bright was behind them. It reminded my of the floodlight eyes of the <Hex>. I stumbled to a stop, gaping, until Echo sent the animal and the girl on ahead, then looked back to me, waving urgently. Above, the sky darkened. The sun faded behind the ocean, as if growing suddenly distant, or as if the water were somehow growing deeper up there, thicker. Echo shouted something at me that sounded a little like "Run", so I ran. I grabbed the shadow rig from inside my bedroll, and left everything else, dashing after the two of them. Once I was past the tree, Echo fell into place beside me. The llama-camel ran on ahead with a loping gait. <Whisprien> clung to it's back.

I wasn't in nearly as good shape as Echo, nor was I, shockingly, a camel. But I made a pretty good showing for myself, and didn't lag behind too much. At least, not until I glanced over my shoulder. The sky rippled, and then broke. Water crashed downwards, the front edge fuzzing, like mist. The enormous column of water seemed to drop in slow motion because of the distance. It wasn't as nearby as I first assumed. Man, it was big. A ring of water the size of a small village just dumping billions of gallons of water down from the sky. I stopped in place, jaw dropping, staring until Echo grabbed my arm and towed me away. What good would it do to flee? We were three little specks before an ocean of destruction. We couldn't outrun the end of the world.

Still, Echo seemed determined. I started running again, but I was built to deliver coffee and the occasional sarcastic quip, not run across the freaking wilderness. Pain seared up my side. I slowed, gasping. A violent crash suddenly washed over us, an engulfing sound that made the very air vibrate. Holy heck. How much water had to fall before it hit the ground with the sound of a bomb going off. Echo looked back at the sound and hesitated in front of me, as if torn between protecting me and running after her daughter. She lingered, urging me on, and I did my best. "What," I said, panting for breath, "What's the use?" Sweat streamed down my face. Echo gestured in front of her, then made a raising motion with her hands. High ground, I thought, She's saying we need to get to high ground. And considering it, the direction we were running did seem to have a gentle slope to it. It wasn't like we were running for the mountains or anything, but maybe this would be enough? If this really is the end though, the high ground won't matter. Most of the planet will end up submerged.

Still, I broke into a weak jog. Ahead, I saw our goal: a rise in the grasslands, a kind of ridge, like a long low hill. <Whisprien> had stopped there with the camel-llama. A cracking sound behind along with the low roar of rushing water made me glance over my shoulder. Water flooded between the trees of our camp, first slow, then in a rush that ripped away branches. Another surge of muddy water engulfed the entire stand, shattering the trees.

I forced myself forward, practically crawling the rest of the way up the hilltop. Water flooded the plain we crossed. It looked deceptively lethargic, like seeping tar, until you focused on something like an individual sapling. On the smaller scale, your mind could comprehend that this was an enormous river, rushing with might and power, pushing debris before it.

I reached the top and collapsed beside <Whisprien>. The waters came, and I realized, I'd just let them swallow me, if it came to that. I couldn't move another step. Blessedly, the rise was high enough. The front of the wave turned aside and fled the other direction. In the distance, the spout of water from the heavens slowed to a mist, then to rain, and finally stopped altogether. This wasn't the end of the world, not yet. More like a warning shot. I lay on the rough grass, listening to the sound of the water growing below. I already felt sweaty and dirty again - so much for my bath. Of course, if I wanted another one, it didn't look like I'd lack for water.

#68 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do I decide whether to do first person, or third person?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Good question! If you're a writer, one thing I'll mention to you if you haven't watched them, I recorded my BYU university lectures, which are on writing science fiction fantasy, and put them on Youtube. So if you just Google "Sanderson lectures," you'll find my whole class there, and I do a whole section on first and third person.

It breaks down to a couple of decisions. Third person tends to be really good with a large cast. Because you can take this large cast and you are constantly mentioning their name. It's actually a pretty big deal. First person... How often do you guys finish a first person book and you can't remember what the character's name was? You've read a whole book about them. And if you have three or four characters, jumping between, it gets real easy to lose perspective. And first person also, depending on how you do it, can sometimes lack a little bit of immediacy. Because the person themselves is telling the story, there's a part of your brain that says, "Well, they obviously survived long enough to tell me their story." Even if they're telling it in present tense, or even if you know that occasionally you'll read a first person book where it turns out they were a ghost all along or something like that. Like, that happens. But there's just this sort of thing in our brain that says, first person tends to work really well for a single narrator, maybe two, in a story that they are telling yourself that they can infuse with their voice. Third person tends to work very well for longer epics, and tends to work with multiple viewpoints a little bit better. It's just easier for readers to track and things like that. Partially it's just kind of a gut instinct, what feels right for the book.

#69 Copy

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, that's called The Apocalypse Guard. I'm not exactly sure when it's gonna get published, because I had some real troubles with the plot near the end of the book that kind of broke down. And I'm still trying to figure out what to do with them. I gave it to a friend of mine who's a really good writer, Dan Wells. And he's been working on the book and coming up with suggestions and things like that. Sometimes that happens with books. The Way of Kings, if you've read that one, I originally wrote the first draft of that in 2002. It wasn't until 2010 that the book finally came out. Sometimes you just need to let a book sit for a little while. So this one will sit for a little while. It might be a year or two before I figure out what I want to do with it. But eventually that will come out. My father is planning already for me to have the launch party up here. He is very, very proud of having influenced the Iona part of this book.

#70 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What book are you currently working on?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The sequel to Skyward. Skyward is my Fall release this year. It is a YA fighter pilot book. Space opera. It's a lot of fun.

#71 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you could do that, [write Kaladin's fourth Oath], I would very much appreciate it.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah I know, the whole internet would very much appreciate it. You're gonna get a RAFO. Or do you want me to write one of the other ideals instead? I gotta keep a few things close to my heart. Now, that can also be a RAFO that, when the appropriate book is out, and you know what it is, you could come and have me revise the book to put it in.

#72 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you use Scrivener?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I do not use Scrivener. I know some people who swear by it. I just have never tried. I probably would like it if I try it.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It's good.

#73 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What was your... like, with The Rithmatist, cause that's my favorite story, I love the plot. What inspired it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Muggle at Hogwarts. Kid who goes to magic school who does not have any powers.

#74 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are you familiar with TVTropes?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm familiar with TVTropes, yes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What is your favorite tropes to use?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Wow. Favorite tropes to use? The trick is... As everyone knows, TVTropes is really dangerous because you can spend a lot of time on there. And for writers, it can also be very dangerous because, while everything is a trope, you don't want to be told too often that the thing that you thought was really original has been done five hundred times. At least, not until you've already done it, and put your own spin on it. Like, obviously I would say my favorite trope is probably Thief with a Heart of Gold. I don't know what they actually call it on TVTropes. You end up seeing that sort of thing all the time in my books.

My actually favorite one to read about on TVTropes is Worf-ing people. Where [Star Trek] Next Generation would do this thing, in order to show how cool the new villain was, in the opening scenes they would beat up Worf. And then they listed all the times that Worf would come on in the beginning, and something would beat up Worf. And that was to tell you, "Oh wait, this alien's serious business." It beats up Riker, not a big deal, but if it beats up Worf, we're in trouble. But the fact that they did that so often, if you actually watch the shows, means Worf actually is kind of a wuss, because Worf basically exists to get beat up by aliens to show how tough they are. It's one of those things where, when you overuse a concept that is really effective a couple of times, particularly in a serialized story, it ends up proving the opposite point to you.

#75 Copy

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

What do I like to do besides write? Excellent question.

My nerd hobby is Magic: The Gathering. So, I go to extreme lengths to foil out my cube, and things like that. I used to have a lot more time for things like this than I do now. And that's mostly having a family, right? As you grow up and put on your big-boy pants, you're like: I have three children, I'm gonna spend discretionary time on things that they enjoy. Which means I end up playing Roblox way more than I end up playing Dark Souls these days. But as they get older, I'm hoping they will enjoy some of the things I like, as I spend time doing the things that they like, as well. I actually have a pretty healthy work/life balance. I'm fortunate in that my job, I can do anywhere, at any time of the day. What I usually do is, I get up at noon. (Because I'm a writer. I'm not an insurance salesman, I'm a writer. This is just one perk to the job.) I get up at noon. I work from about noon until five. Then I shower, get ready for the day, hang out with my family from about 5:30 until 8:30, 9:00. And then I'll usually go back to work at about 10:00, somewhere around there, and I'll work from about 10:00 until 2:00.

I found that, for my writing... Writers are all very different, right? I like two four-hour blocks. By the end of about four hours of work, I'm brain dead. The words are just not flowing as well anymore. And if I take a break and go to a second block later on, I'm way more effective as a writer. I have the benefit of having no commute. So I can do things like this. All through college, what I would do is, I actually worked a graveyard shift at a hotel in Provo. And I would go to work at 11:00. And it's Provo, so nobody's there after 11:00. You're a really sketchy person in Provo if you're staying up 'til 10:30. So from about midnight until 5:00 or 6:00, I could write every night. And that's how I put myself through school, was working there. But these days, you know, I try to make time. I used to work Saturdays, and I don't anymore unless there's something like [a convention]. I take Saturdays off. I have a pretty decent balance. The only time where it gets a little unbalanced is if I have a big tour. And those can be pretty grueling. I would much rather have this problem than not, right? My first signings, you can find pictures of me with my grandma here at the Iona Falls Barnes & Noble, where I was sitting in the front, and there were five people there who were all related to me, and that was our book signing! And now I will go to... often, book signings start at 6:00 PM, and get done at 2:00 AM if I'm in Portland, or Seattle, or one of the big cities like that. So, you do that six days a week, in a different city every day, and it can get a little exhausted. So I don't love that part of it. I like the signings. I just don't like the twentieth signing, if that makes sense.

Let me give a little bit of advice here. If there are those of you who are writers out here, there are two things that maybe to keep your life in balance I would recommend. The number one cause of breakups and divorce among my writer friends is that their spouse feels like the writer's ignoring them. It's very easy to do. As a writer, it's very easy to... it's one of these jobs, there are a lot of them like this. Being a schoolteacher is like this. You don't leave your job behind. Your job is always there with you; there's always a little bit more you can do. And because of that, it tends to consume everything if you let it. And you can be out to dinner with your spouse, but you're thinking about your book. You can be driving somewhere and giving only noncommittal responses, because you're thinking about the book. On the other side, if you happen to be the spouse of a writer, the number one thing you can do is jealously guard their writing time. For a lot of writers, a small interruption can mean... To you, it's like, "Oh, I need to ask this question for thirty seconds." But if that breaks the writer's concentration for twenty minutes, because they're spun in to the work, they're really into it, they get interrupted at just the wrong time, it can be a big interruption. So, the balance I suggest is to make a deal. Writer, when you're there with your spouse and your family, be there with your spouse and family. And then make the deal that, when the writing happens, they're gonna try to guard that door and protect you from being interrupted.

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Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

What's my biggest challenge in writing books?

There's a couple. One of the big ones I have nowadays is not repeating myself. It's a much bigger danger if you write in a lot of different series, like I do. Like, if you just write in one series, the tone and themes of that series are very similar, it's okay book-to-book, because that's what you want for a book. But if you're jumping a lot, and then every series starts to feel like it has the same tone and theme, then you start to repeat yourself. And so, the longer I go as a writer, that's one of the big challenges.

The other kind of big challenge is making sure that I'm juggling my main projects, like Stormlight and Mistborn, and the side projects that I want to do. The way my writing psychology works is, if I spend too long on one thing, I get burned out. But because of that, it's very easy for me to, instead of working on one good series that's gonna make my name, it'd be easy for me to write fifteen smaller books that all just go completely wacky directions. So I want a balance between that. I want things like The Stormlight Archive, and I want things like the novellas that I do.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I know you write multiple books at a time. Do have advice for, like, balancing those?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Balancing multiple books at a time. So, one of the things that I do is, I generally will work on an outline for one, while I'm writing another, and then doing revision on a third. And it feels like those three things take different parts of my brain. And so it actually can be, like, nice exercises, like when you're at the gym, you don't work the same muscle group all the time. You move between them. But what I don't generally do is write new fiction on multiple things at a time. I find that I need to keep focused on that story. So, while I work on multiple things at a time, I'm not necessarily writing on more than one thing at a time.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you get over writing block?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, writing block is one of those things that is really individual. Having writing block, it's like going to a doctor and saying "I have a headache." The doctor's gonna be like, "Great, that eliminates nothing. It could still be anything." And writing block is the same way, it's all very individual. Why you're having writing block can be related to all kinds of hosts of issues. The most common ones have to relate with kind of a performance anxiety, that's very common. In that, when it's in your head, it doesn't have to be perfect yet, or you can imagine that it is perfect. And when you put it on the page, it's not. So, the worry that you're going to do it wrong or that you're already doing it wrong is a very big deal that stops writers. And usually the answer to that, to solving it, is just to write anyway. To be able to say, "It's okay if I write this chapte,r and it's not perfect. Because once I get something down, then I can start to fix it." Most writing blocks can be solved by just writing anyway. Oftentimes, for me, I have to write something bad before I start writing the right way. Like, Apocalypse Guard, I knew something was going wrong as I was approaching the ending. But if I never just not finished that ending, I wouldn't have anything to fix. So I wrote it anyway; I wrote what I had done in the outline, and it ended up... it didn't work. But now, I have something to work on that I can end up fixing. And a lot of people get stuck in that "I can't write it 'til it's perfect' sort of mode.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are you working on a sequel to the Rithmatist?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, but slowly. Rithmatist has some specific issues with the setting, and things like that, that are a challenge to overcome. Part of that is also psychological on my part. I wrote the Rithmatist, it was the last book I finished before The Wheel of Time happened. And The Wheel of Time really diverted my career a large amount. And so, finding the place where I was when I wrote Rithmatist again in my brain, has been a little bit hard. I took a stab at it once, and didn't like where it was going. But, I will eventually be doing another one.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Who's your most frustrating character to write?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mmm... gonna be some of the Wheel of Time characters. I was never a huge Cadsuane fan. But I ended up enjoying writing her viewpoint more than I thought I would. I would say Mat from The Wheel of Time was the hardest for me to get right, so probably him. Otherwise, most frustrating... I don't know. Like, when I'm writing a character, they have to be my favorite while I'm writing them. Otherwise, something's wrong, if that makes sense.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What about the funnest?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The funnest would probably be Wayne, probably, from the Mistborn books. He is a blast to write.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have any tips for anyone writing a narrative?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, I do. So, remember that you become a great writer by practicing, the same way you become a great pianist or anything else. And those early stories, your focus should just be on getting them done. Experimenting, learning how you work as a writer. Don't stress them too much. Just practice. Set goals and accomplish them. Say "I want to write this much a week." Usually set an hour goal, be like, "I'm gonna write two hours a week." And then try to dedicate yourself to that. And you will get better. Nothing will teach you more about writing than just doing it.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you write and teach? Don't you teach at BYU?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, but I teach one class, once a year, an evening class. It's just for fun.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Writing's full-time?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Writing's full-time, yeah. I've been full-time writing since... I taught for, like, two years at BYU, and then went full-time writing.

The class I teach, I just have a blast with. I just have one class, and it is a lot of fun.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What would you say to someone who's considering writing, but just isn't sure.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Go for it. It's good for you. You don't have to become a professional writer for writing to be good for you, any more than you have to go for the NBA to have basketball, playing one night a week, be good for you. It will be good for your brain, you will enjoy it. I say, just set aside a little time every week and write. And maybe it'll turn out that you have a real passion for it, and that you're really talented at it, and it will end up becoming a career. But even if it doesn't, writing a book just for you and for your friends... like, my first books, nobody but my friends read. And that's okay. Jane Austen's first books, she wrote them for her sisters. So, it's totally all right, just go for it. If you need any help on how to start, watch my university lectures. Or go to Writing Excuses, my podcast, Season 10. We kind of step you through writing a book. Go for it.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I just earlier finished Bands of Mourning, and I didn't know about Mistborn: Secret History until I finished it. Are you planning on releasing more like Mistborn: Secret History in the future?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

If I can, I would like to. It was really hard to find time for Secret History. I started working on it right when I finished Hero of Ages. And it took me all this time to finally get it done. So, because they're little side projects, I have to find the right place to squeeze them in.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Obviously, there's more to the story, with the ending of Bands of Mourning...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. Yeah. I mean, Mistborn was originally conceived as three trilogies. It's actually four series now, four Eras, but who knows if I'll add another one. But we will be going to a modern-day Mistborn series next. And, really, the stuff that I have in Bands of Mourning is more to deal with the modern-day series than it is the Wax and Wayne series.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm sure you have an outline over Stormlight Archive. How do you go about making an outline for each book? Is that just something you go at when you write the book?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

When I write the next book, I dig into that in detail. Stormlight books are particularly hard, because I kind of outline them each as a trilogy each that I write as one book. It's the only way that I can conceive these enormous novels. And usually, what I'm looking for, that I don't always have until I work on the outline, is some sort of through-line story to make sure that the book feels like a cohesive whole, even though there's lots of different viewpoints and things.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How long do we have to wait until the next [Stormlight Archive]?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, I divide my time about half-and-half, Stormlight and non-Stormlight. I finished Stormlight [Three] last year in June. And so, I'm taking eighteen months and writing the Skyward trilogy, and then I'm gonna write the next Stormlight. They usually take about eighteen months.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Who's the next one gonna be about?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Next one, flashbacks should be Eshonai. The last flashback sequence should be Szeth. Of this group. Then, there'll be five more books, but those will take place about ten years later.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you were to write a Magic [The Gathering] story, which member of the Gatewatch would you be most excited to write for?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*long pause* I don't know. Mmm... I think my favorite of the Gatewatch is Teferi. (He counts now, right? He has an oath?) So, probably Teferi, I would say. I've always liked Teferi.

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Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

When I'm writing, I noticed that all my characters, they start out different, but they just become the same.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They blend together? That's okay, that happens. That's one of the easier things to fix in revisions, is to do a revision just focused on making sure their voices... The big thing you don't want to have happen, particularly in the first draft, is that you lose their motivations. If their voices start to blend together, you can fix that. But if their motivations start to become muddled, it's a lot harder to fix in post. So, make sure you're laying down their motivations and getting their plots right, make sure that what they do is motivated by who they are. You can tweak voice. Voice is really easy to rewrite a sentence, so it feels like it's in voice. But you do wanna do that in revision. You do wanna practice and learn how to do that. I wouldn't stress it too much. I have the same sort of problem.

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you get good motivation for a character? Because I feel like that ends up, really, kind of terrible in...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Motivation is the easiest place to go wrong with a character. And if it's strong, readers will forgive a whole host of other ills. And it's not as hard as it sounds. Make sure what the characters are doing comes from who they are, not from what the plot wants them to do.  Make sure it comes from a place, like... And sometimes, that may mean revising the plot. Or sometimes it means you just have to establish it more clearly. And I can't tell you which problem is without reading the book. But that is my suggestion. Make sure the choices they're making come from who they are, rather than what the plot wants them to do.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Where did you get your ideas for most of these books from? What inspired you?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know, it's different for every book. Could you pick maybe one of them, and I can tell you where that one came from?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Let's go Way of Kings.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Way of Kings, the original concept, the very first, was probably Dalinar. Where I wanted to tell a story about someone who was the brother of the king, and the king dies, and the son takes over, and the son's a bad king. And what do you do if you're put in that position? The conflict of duty to versus your family versus duty to the kingdom. That was probably my very first idea for Stormlight. From there, the storms were another big early idea. A world wracked by these storms, how would it develop?

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do we have a date when the Lost Metal will come out?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

We do not have a date. I have to write the book first. Lost Metal shouldn't be too far off. Dropping Apocalypse Guard and doing something else instead put me behind a little bit.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there any news on the movie for Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There is no news, I'm afraid.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What do you do? Any other hobbies you do outside of writing?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I play... Magic: The Gathering is my nerd hobby. I like traveling quite a bit, which is good, because my job has me traveling.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there any way I can get a physical copy of the Infinity Blades?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

We are planning to do (we have for a long time) a nice little kind of Collector's Edition that has the stories and the scripts and the concept art for the video games. So, eventually, yes. Right now, we don't have any more copies, I don't think. You can email Kara, or the Brandon Sanderson store, and see if she has one lying around. If she does, then we can get you that one. I mean, there were only, like, a hundred of each of those printed.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there any way to get the novel version of White Sand, or is all just graphic?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

If you want a novel version of White Sand, if you sign up for my mailing list, we send you the ebook. And you are welcome to print your own copy (as long as you don't distribute it) that you make for yourself. That's the best way to get White Sand. I don't have any plans to print them right now. It's possible that someday I will. So if you wanna be patient, maybe we'll do some Dragonsteel Edition, or something like that.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the Secret Project you've got going?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm contractually obligated not to say.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

My wife is really excited and hoping for Alcatraz <super fast>.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Alcatraz is in in the process. I've made some really decent progress. It shouldn't be too much longer on Alcatraz.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Something I've noticed, 'cause I've been watching your videos, which I'm super grateful for. What I was wondering is, something I've noticed is that you're very good at asking the right questions. Like, when you're teaching your class, then you ask questions that garner great ideas. So, this is probably a really hard question, but how do you get your questions?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Instinct, I think. Looking for the questions that are not yes-or-no questions, that's certainly part of it. Practicing deconstructing stories, so that you start to learn, like the whole chef versus cook thing. It's very cook question to say "Why does this tastes good?" It's a chef question to ask "What does putting this spice in do."

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Like, "Why does this work?"

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

"Why does this work?" I think that really leads you on the route to the right questions. A lot of instinct, a lot of practice. Practice makes instincts. The hardest thing about teaching my class is acknowledging that a lot of what I do, I do by instinct, and breaking it down may not be that helpful, even though it sounds really smart, if that makes sense?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

And something that you said is that a lot of it is just sinking into your unconscious, because you do it so many times?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Putting things into your unconscious so that you can consciously think about new things until you're familiar enough with those that they sink into your unconscious, and you can focus on something else.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Who's your favorite, and who do you think has the most of your own personality?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know, every character I write is part me, and part not-me. So I'm not sure if there's really a Brandon stand-in. Alcatraz is *inaudible*, my mom says. So, perhaps that. I feel a real kinship with Sazed. But every character is a mix between me and not-me.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Y'all are makin' movies, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I don't really have control over that. I can nudge it along, but Hollywood is a weird place. And it is very hard to get movies made. I like the people who have the rights, I think they're doing right by us, but I don't know when and if they'll ever be able to make it happen.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Was there a character where you just had a really hard time doing a bad thing to?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, that doesn't really happen to me. I've got it all planned out ahead of time, so I'm well prepared for it.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are we gonna get leatherbounds of everything?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The theory is yes. Some of them will be combined. Like, I'll probably do the Wax and Wayne Mistborn books as two in one book and two in one book, so there's two volumes. But I think the plan is eventually to do them all.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Just all the Cosmere? Or, like, every single one?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

We should do everything. It depends on what interest is, for people. We will definitely do every Cosmere book. That, you don't have to worry about.

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Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I was taking (and this is honestly true) a linguistics class when I wrote [Elantris]. And I was like, "So far, all the worlds I've come up with have had really normal pronunciation. What if I actually used my linguistics knowledge?" And then, of course, that's the first book that gets published, and one of the big reviews was like, "Sanderson's terrible at names. You can't pronounce these." I'm like, "Uhhh..."

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

My take is, apparently nobody read the pronunciation guide.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, no one really did. But I pronounced it all wrong, too. I pronounced everybody's names wrong. I'm American, I can pronounce these like Americans.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you Hemalurgically steal a Shardblade, what <entropy takes place>?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Like, if you were going to steal someone's Connection to that Shardblade?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The bond with the Shardblade.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The bond with the Shardblade?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Would it take longer to summon?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, no, you just wouldn't summon it anymore, the person who got it Hemalurgically would summon it. That would be kind of a wasted use, to get a dead Shardblade. Lot easier ways to do that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I was just wondering if it would take longer to summon if somebody used Hemalurgy to steal it.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh, yeah, there's a little bit of leak to it, so probably.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It wouldn't make sense for it to be less sharp.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, question about the Reckoners. In the beginning of Steelheart, Deathpoint kind of lazily points his finger at Steelheart. So, it didn't seem like he feared him very much at all. So, my question is, if he didn't fear him, then how come Steelheart wasn't affected by it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, he didn't. He was trying to act cool. But that fear was there. At least, that's my explanation to myself. And it's part of why Steelheart makes the entrance in the way he does.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What would you say is one of the books you're most proud of writing?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Probably the final Wheel of Time book. That was the hardest book for me to write. Someone else's world, someone else's characters, keeping it all straight. Doing a good job of releasing something for so many people that they'd been waiting for for so long, the pressure was just really high.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Why is it that *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know, a couple of reasons. One reason is, I honestly don't *inaduible*. I think, as a writer, words, part of me is "It's a little silly that we associate two words that mean the exact same thing." Another reason is, I feel like there are certain places I have to let my characters refer to *inaudible*. Because otherwise, *inaudible*. I tried writing Mistborn books with made-up swear words, like I use in Stormlight. It just didn't fit the world. This is a really dark world where terrible things are happening, I'm like, "I can let them use a few good swear words." And it felt right to me when I did it. My fourteen-year-old sister, when she read them, she went through and crossed them all out and wrote her own curse worlds in. Mostly "poopyhead," and things like that. But, you know, it's kind of a balance, I think, every writer has to make a call on themselves. Where you kind of stand on that line. Certainly there are certain words I haven't used, even still.

I think, maybe, we're a little too focused on some things, like language, and a little less focused on... Like, I'm far more worried about the violence in the books. And I've been actively trying to decide how much I pull my punches on that, versus not. Because I think that in our society, there's too much of a tendency toward glorifying violence. But that's the cool stuff, right? I love a Jackie Chan film. So where's the line between a Jackie Chan film, which is kind of showing off what the human being can do, and a glorifying in the killing of others. And that line is one that worries me, and that I'm far more concerned on, then whether or not I let Wayne use a little bit of colorful language. But that's my personal... everyone can make their own decision.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Who's been your favorite illustrator?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Probably Michael Whelan. When I grew up, I just loved Michael Whelan's art. So, getting him to do a cover for me was a lifelong dream.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the book that you've enjoyed writing the most?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Probably Bands of Mourning. I basically, for Bands of Mourning, just kind of took the "I am just gonna have fun with this" route, and it turns out it worked really well for those characters.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you ever regretted killing off a character, or not killing off a character, in your book series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. In the middle of Words of Radiance, there is a character who dies, but comes back. And in my original draft, it was very clear. (Wink wink, reader; this character's coming back.) And I think that was actually the version I wanted. Because I felt like, when I did the original draft, and I sent it to beta readers, they're like, "Oh, well this character's obviously gonna come back." And I'm like, "They figured me out!" And I made it hardcore, so they had real worry the character wasn't coming back. But that was not a major moment in the series, it was removing a character so another character could shine. So, I should have just been okay with them knowing that character was coming back, because there are... I feel like I faked out the readers for no big gain. There wasn't really reason to try so hard to fake out readers on that thing. Where there are some legitimate characters where, you know, either, really they're dead and I want people to mourn their deaths. Or there are other characters where their return, I want to be very dramatic. And I feel like you've only got a certain amount of that energy from readers that you can play with them that way. And I shouldn't use it for things where I just want a character out of the way for a while.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you ever wanted to write an alternate ending to a book or a series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I actually did that with Words of Radiance. There's some small tweaks that I made. The end result was too much confusion among fans, which one's the canon, even though they were just minor things, that I feel like that was an experiment that I just don't ever wanna go back on.

Like Mistborn One, there are things I don't like about the ending of that. It's a little too deus ex machina. A little too unforeshadowed, some of the things that happen. But that's just my lack of skill as a writer during that era. And you just learn and grow. You learn how to do things right by doing them poorly on occasion.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Where would you suggest a beginning writer start writing? Like, novellas? With short stories?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'd recommend you start with the format you read the most. Once upon a time, short stories was the way to begin. But that's because a lot of the readership read short stories, got used to reading them, and magazine subscriptions were a big deal. Once the novel became the dominant form... I don't feel like you should write something you don't read. We use, in writing, a phrase: "Write what you know." This doesn't necessarily mean you can't write about someone very different from yourself. But your experience is part of what's gonna make your story unique. And so, putting part of yourself into every book is important. And also, writing in genres that you are familiar with, that you know the tropes of so you can use them in new ways. So, start on novels if you read novels.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are you planning on doing a sixth Alcatraz?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, from Bastille's viewpoint. She is currently writing it. We are just waiting for her to finish. That shouldn't be too long.

And things aren't as bad as Alcatraz made them seem. He's a little melodramatic, if you can't tell.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When you kill characters, how do you make them dramatic?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There are lots of different philosophies on this. Certain authors do it certain ways. It depends on the emotion you're going for. Usually, it depends on if it's a tragedy or not. A tragedy is, they don't fulfill the character arc that they're promised. They make wrong decisions at the wrong moment. And you, the reader, are left disappointed in them. And the opposite, like a heroic story, they make the decision. It might have consequences, so you're left sad, but also thrilled. And it depends on which emotion you want. And some writers prefer a method where they want you to never know who's safe and who isn't. And those writers will often kill a character in the middle of a plot arc, out of nowhere. And those are three different ways. I am way more likely to use the first two. A character who makes the wrong decision, and then dies because of it, as a tragedy. Or a character who makes a hard decision, fulfills their character arc, and may not make it anyway, still can feel very uplifting despite the loss.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I have to say, I find more gospel conversations after going through The Stormlight Archive with people than any other fictional book I've ever read. Does that intentionally bleed in, or is that just part of who you are?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's a little of both. I don't preach in my books. What I am determines part of what I find heroic. But I'm very fascinated by religion. So I like to have lots of different people in the books who have lots of different viewpoints on religion that talk about it, like we kind of do in real life. So, you know, you have someone like Dalinar, who is kind of very... almost revolutionarily faithful. And you have Kaladin who's just straight-up agnostic, "Don't know, don't care." You have Jasnah, who's an atheist. You have someone more like Navani, who's a classic conservative faithful. I just like having all of these different people interacting.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I wanna know how many series you're working on right now.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

If you really wanna know, go Google "State of the Sanderson.' Every December, I go through all the series that I'm working on. I say where they are, and what I'm planning to do with them, and which ones are done and which ones aren't. So just Google that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Another question on that is, how do you keep your characters straight in the different books that you write?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Keeping characters straight isn't tough. Keeping events, which things I've said and which things I haven't... and in that case, it's a matter of having a good continuity editor. Or rereading the books before you write the next one. Once in a while, I will have changed my mind in the middle of writing a book, and I forget. So, I go trying to write the sequel, and my continuity editor's like, "You explained this already. You have this whole thing." And I still, like... Mistborn, I changed silver to tin, and I still have just never been able to remember that. My fingers want to type "silver."

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you think you would ever teach a class at the Storymakers conference?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I do, every once in a while, teach at Storymakers, yeah. I really like that conference. I think it is probably the best writing conference in the region. I can't make it every year, though. But every three or four years, I go in and I teach one.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm curious, how did you get the inspiration for putting lights in spheres that give people powers?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, I bet, if you track back where the origin of this is, a lot of the ideas like this goes back to Dune, where magic as part of the economy was really fascinating to me when I read it as a teenager. And so, I've always looked for economic components to my magic. And I loved the idea of coinage being useful for something. So, the idea that you have these spheres that act as light was really fun for my worldbuilding and things like that. It means people just don't use fire as often, and you have an economy that can go late at night without burning candle wax to go late at night. You're just using a side effect of your money that you already have. And this led some really cool worldbuilding directions. I would say the origin probably goes back to Dune.

Where did it come from as Stormlight? Partially, it's just, the way I built the Cosmere, I wanted commodifiable magic that you could use in an economy and trade, because of the way the Cosmere worked and the greater, larger where I was going for the future books, that just made it a lot more interesting to me.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you build all your characters?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Characters are the hardest for me to explain. The answer I can give you is, I usually try writing and just experiment with the viewpoint and voice, and see if that works. And if it does, then I start working them into the book. But often, I'll do freewrites. I'm looking for conflict, looking for an interesting perspective of seeing the world. I'm just looking for something different about them.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, like, in Mistborn, do you create your characters individually, and then you add them to the story?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

A lot of times. Like, Kelsier was created before I started writing Mistborn. Vin was also, but Vin changed a whole bunch, to the point that, really, I started writing the book, experimented with different voices, and found the one I wanted for her.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How were you able to diversify the amount of characters you have? Like, Shallan, she had such a dark past. How do you get that so accurately?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I've had some help on Shallan. I've got some friends who have dealt with similar issues that I interview, I get notes from, and I have read the books and tell me where am I going wrong, where am I going right. That's really handy. Listening to people, interviewing people, using primary sources. Invaluable when doing characters. Even the newest book I'm working on, Skyward... Like, in that one, it's nothing about a deep, dark past, but the main character's a fighter pilot. And I got a ton of stuff wrong. But fortunately, I found some fighter pilots to read the book and tell me where I was going wrong. So it got right.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I've started a lot of little things of literature, but I've never been able to finish, 'cause I start on one thing with all these ideas, and then I get all these ideas about something else, and I don't see the two worlds fitting. So I start on something else. So, how do I...?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, this is Professor Sanderson saying, "You need to make yourself do it." You won't learn how to finish stories until you start doing it. And doing that, learning to keep on a story, even when it starts to get hard, and you're more excited about something else, and this one's not turning out the way you like, or things like that. Learning to finish it anyway is the only way you'll learn how to do that, and make it good. So, you have to finish stories. Don't stress too much about them turning out right. Books that you write are all practice. Even for me, right now. Practice at getting better. You want to be a better writer. Rather than a person who wrote a book, you want to be a writer who can write great books. So, practice like you're practicing piano, or whatever it is. Just tell yourself, you've just gotta finish.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you agree with, "You should know the ending?"

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It depends on... everybody's different. Some writers are better if they don't. Some writers are better if they write toward an ending, get there, and then revise so that ending matches. You'll have to do that. Some writers are better if they have a strong outline. Go watch my university lectures, on YouTube. In the early lectures, I talk a lot about discovery writing versus outline writing, the advantages and disadvantages.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I was curious about how you see your writing and your job in context of your discipleship.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I think that making good on talents you're given is a very important thing. I think art is good for art's sake, and it is an innate and inherent good. Expressing who you are in fiction and exploring who other people are brings us together, makes us closer, makes us understand people when you read fiction written about people very different from yourself. I think pure religion will try to understand other people's viewpoints and listen. So I think that that is all very important, and I think that fiction is comfort in a lot of people's lives

I don't sit down to write a book and say, "My job is to convert anybody, or to preach." I try to present the world as it is through lots of different people's eyes, and I think that is an innate good. This is the big argument that C.S. Lewis and Tolkien had, though. They were on different sides of that argument. What is the nature of allegory in fiction. I err a little more on Tolkien's side.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you make good characters, good heroes, and good villains. How?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's a big question. Best thing I can tell you is, try to look for the nobility in every person, even if you may not agree with them yourself. Listen to the character. Every person is a hero in their own story.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you do go about worldbuilding for religion?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's a little bit of a mix between the way I see religions work in our world, and trying to find a fantastical version. Something that couldn't really actually exist in our world, 'cause that's part of why I write fantasy. So what could people worship, what methods of worship could they have, that kind of echo things in our world, but aren't actually anything that could ever exist here. We did a Writing Excuses podcast on worldbuilding religion that you might find handy. If you Google "Writing Excuses Religion," we've got a podcast for you.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm a bit of an aspiring author myself. How would you deal with ADHD writer's block?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Some things I know that work for some writers... Do you like hiking? Do you like walking? Because I have known professional writers who have trained themselves to write by talking into a microphone, in order so that they can be walking somewhere, and kind of being visually stimulated while they're writing. I wish I knew better how to write, like, ADHD.... How do you motivate yourself to do other things? Is it a reward mechanism? Is it a short burst sort of thing?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The issue that I have is that whenever I sit down to write, I sit down, and I'm either just sitting down and writing for five minutes, and then I get bored and move on, switch over to playing video games or surfing the web. I do a lot of thinking about what I want my world to do, stuff like that, but I don't actually have an outline.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you tried writing longhand, when you're away from the internet, getting a notebook, going out somewhere, writing in a notebook. That helps a lot of people who are getting distracted by the internet frequently, if there's just no internet to get on. And sometimes it works really good because you also are writing it, and can be, like, "You know, it doesn't have to be perfect while I'm writing in the notebook. I'll make it perfect when I transfer it to the computer." That gives you permission to be free. I don't know that you need to have an outline. Like, Stephen King never uses one. It's a tool that works for some authors and doesn't for others.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How would you handle dragons?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Dragons, I feel, are inherently cool. And they're one of those things that, personally, I think you can just get away with without having to, like, make your own. I'm tired of orcs, but I'm not tired of dragons. So if I were gonna handle dragons, they'd feel like pretty classic dragons.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you ever met Michael Kramer and Kate Reading?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I have met Michael Kramer. I haven't met Kate. I've met Michael, he came to one of my signings. They live in the D.C. area, so he came and did the reading for one of my signings.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm curious, how much interaction do you get with the people who narrate the books out loud?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So usually I record pronunciation guides and send them to them on a tape recorder. And usually I pick them beforehand. My tape recording doesn't always get there in time. So if their pronunciation's wrong, it's usually my fault, and not theirs. Because it just means that we haven't gotten that recording done by the time they need it to record. But I like to pick my own audiobook narrators. And when I can, I like to meet them.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So if you were ever to make one of these into a film, would you ever meet the people who would actually be in the film?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, but I would not be in charge of the film. I have clauses that require them to let me come to the set and meet people and be involved that way, but I don't have final say.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So you don't have in a say in who's cast?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I don't. I can always offer my opinion, and hopefully they would listen to it. But usually, as a writer, you just don't get say in that. When someone's spending $200 million making your book into a movie, they're writing the check, so they get the final say.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What kind of books do you like to recommend to people who ask? What's your favorite book to read?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I have a Goodreads account that I tend to post books I've liked up there. Basically, the ones that I like, do I write about. So that's a good place to go.

Growing up, my favorite authors were Anne McCaffrey, Barbara Hambly, and Robert Jordan. And David Eddings. Nowadays, I tend to like stuff that's a little more... fantasy that's a little more avant-garde, doing different things. Because I've read a lot of great stories that have the more traditional hero's journey stuff. So the stuff you'll see me liking now tend to be things like N.K. Jemisin, doing weird things. But I like a wide variety of things.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you keep everybody straight? Do you use a program like Scrivener?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I use something called Wikidpad, a personal wiki. Just like Wikipedia, but only on my computer. And then I have a continuity editor, and her job is to go, after I've written a book, and put everything from the new book into it, into the wiki. And then to also warn me of continuity errors that I've made.

I wish I could say I did it all perfectly, but I don't. I still make a ton of mistakes. We catch most of them. But you can see, like, the Mistborn books have way more continuity errors than Stormlight, because I didn't have her back then. And so, we're doing the leatherbounds, they have to come to me and say, "Uhhh... this person walks, like, five times as far as a human being can travel in this amount of time. Maybe we need to move this building across the city," and stuff like that.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I have. I played a whole lot of 3.0 and 3.5. A little bit of Second Edition when I was younger. And a little bit of Fourth. But mostly 3.5 was my game.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, I created a magic system that's pretty easy to grasp at first. But I realized I have aspects of it that are very complex I'm having trouble tying to my novel. I was just wondering if you've ever run into these kind of problems with your magic systems.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, though I kind of like it. A magic system that looks simple, but you can dig into deeply, is a good magic system to me. If you can write it so that some characters just use it surface-level, and other characters start to ask these deep questions, you'll be able to do something for everyone. People who just want to read it and enjoy the adventure and the mystique of a fantasy story can. Those who really want to dig in can dig in. I would say don't worry, don't stress it, that's actually a really good thing.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In the last [Alcatraz book], why did you make everyone die?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So Alcatraz is making things out to be a little worse than they really are. Because he wanted to end the book on a sad note, because he always promised everyone he would. That's why Bastille feels she needs to write the real ending. The next book should not be nearly as grim as Alcatraz wants you to believe everything is. That's why she wrote that little secret ending. So keep your hope up: it's not nearly as bad as Alcatraz wants you to think it is.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm curious about Kaladin. Did you write Kaladin as having depression? It never distinctly says it.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, he has depression. I purposefully didn't distinctly say it, because it's not like they can diagnose in their culture. But yes, Kaladin has depression. Straight-up depression. And it's not even... Like, there's PTSD stuff in the third book, but that's not the cause of it. He just has chemical depression. Even going back to when he was a teenager. And it's not like the story is... In some ways, it's about him overcoming it, but it's not about it going away. It's about a hero who lives with depression.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

And I personally, I have depression, so I relate with Kaladin so much when I read it. So I just think it's really cool ,that... Most people don't write about heroes that have depression.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I wanted to do it, in part, because I have some dear loved ones that... You know, this is just part of their everyday life. It was something I just didn't see being touched upon. And I remember my wife talking about it and saying, "It's kind of frustrating to read a book about someone with depression because that's the only thing about them. Books, they're like, problem novels. Can't I just read a book about somebody who has depression?" So, she was a big help.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With the Stormlight Archive, when you created this, do you know everything? Do you know the end of the book at the beginning?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I do, but... You have to be willing to change as you go, as the characters mature and you mature. For instance, Adolin wasn't gonna be a main character in the original outline. And as I developed the first book, I realized I needed another perspective of somebody who could offer perspective on the things that were happening. That was Adolin's perspective. So I brought him in as a main character. So that wasn't in the original outline.

And for instance, the ending of Book 2, with Kaladin, was actually originally the ending of Book 3. So I ended up switching those around. So things like this happen.

Books 4 and 5, my dividing line, where those two divide, is not really strict right now, and so one of the things I'm doing in outlining is saying, "Let's make sure Book 4 feels like a book, rather than half of a book that Book 5 ends."

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Idaho Falls signing
Date
Date July 21, 2018
Location
Location Iona, ID
Entries
Entries 133
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
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