Skyward Pre-Release AMA

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Name Skyward Pre-Release AMA
Date
Date Oct. 4, 2018
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Entries 360
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#2 Copy

Use_the_Falchion

I'd also just like to say I that while I know you mentioned it basically once and haven't had any time to work on it since, I'm too excited for Soulburner (even if I shouldn't expect it for the next decade, if at all ever).

Brandon Sanderson

Soulburner...well, I'll just say not to hold your breath. :)

#5 Copy

Use_the_Falchion

I've been checking Dan Well's twitter pretty often, but there seems to be no update on Apocalypse Guard. Do you have any updates?

Brandon Sanderson

We got together before the cruise and did a big brainstorming session where we figured out once and for all how to fix the book--which is very exciting. However, it will take huge revisions (again) and this time, it's my turn to do that. So the ball is back in my court after he did a great job fixing characters. (The next fix involves plot and worldbuilding, which are my duties.)

#7 Copy

Use_the_Falchion

Have you ever thought of doing a magical school series a la Harry Potter, The Name of the Wind, or The Magisterium series? Or did Skyward kinda fill that spot for you?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll see. I've never had a really good idea for one. I need to feel like I'm bringing something new to a sub genre like that.

#9 Copy

R'Shara

Hey, is Brandon willing to tell us which universe Skyward is in yet? He said a while aback that it was in a universe (not cosmere) that he'd written before.

Brandon Sanderson

So, here's the thing--it's a pretty big spoiler. Meaning if you know the novella this is tied to (and it's one of the ones mentioned in this thread) you'll know a moderately large plot point in the book.

It's not the type of spoiler that will ruin a story--I do think some readers would enjoy watching how I lace them together. But do be warned that if you haven't read my science fiction novellas, and you hate spoilers, you might want to wait until Skyward is out to read them.

That said, if you know the terminology of the novellas in question, you'll find your answer in chapter seventeen.

#10 Copy

6th_account_so_far

How much of an impact did interviewing professional fighter pilots have on the story? Did anything learned from them actually change parts of the book in significant ways? Did you learn anything weird or unusual that you found fascinating?

Brandon Sanderson

The pilots were a HUGE help. The biggest issue I had, which was really hard to get through my skull, was the different ways that G-forces interacted with the human body.

I knew the basics, and had flight suits operating correctly and was watching for people pulling too many Gs. But the fighter pilots kept explaining things like "eyes out" and how it wasn't just number of Gs, it was the direction they were pulling. It wasn't until I called one of them and had a lengthy conversation that it started to click with me.

From there, some of the direct feelings of pulling Gs--feeling like your skin is sliding off your body, or that you've aged a hundred years--I got from them.

As always with a sf/f book, one of my goals is to walk the line between realism and fiction. I tried to make the battles feel real enough to not kick an actual pilot out of the story, but at the same time, I specifically gave the fighters technology that we don't have, in order to spice up how the combat would work.

#12 Copy

CoverYourSafeHand

My other question is about Wheel of Time. At the end, Rand just kinda walks away in Moridin's body. Does he stop being a ta'veren? I can't imagine the pattern would just let him live a quiet normal life if he still was.

Brandon Sanderson

The ending portion of WoT that you reference was written by [Robert Jordan] himself, and he didn't leave a lot of explanations. Subtext and things Mr. Jordan said lead me to believe that the character you indicate is free, now. But we don't have a 100% for sure answer.

#13 Copy

NotOJebus

What do you feel is the main difference between writing sci fi and fantasy is? Did you learn things in writing Skyward that you feel will help you write Mistborn Era 4?

Brandon Sanderson

For me, it's a fine line, because I'm not writing Hard SF--but instead, a kind of hard fantasy. So my books tend to ride the line between SF/Fantasy anyway. And Skyward is straight up space opera, I'd say--most of the technology that we use in the books is fantastical anyway.

In SF, I feel I can lean on shared vocabulary a little more. This has been particularly handy in the novellas I've done, where we can use Earth as a reference point. Modern (and beyond modern) communication, and expectations of character education, also play a big part in changing how I approach the stories.

In some ways, it comes down to different storytelling traditions, and what they each afford you. Again, though, it would be different if I were writing hard SF.

#14 Copy

thegatorgirl00

Do you have a name for the Skyward universe that we can use on the Coppermind and in discussion beyond just calling it the Skyward universe?

Brandon Sanderson

I kind of think Skyward Universe is probably the best, for now. I'll ponder this.

thegatorgirl00

If you haven't considered it already, I'd like to bring the term Skyworld or Skyworlds to your attention.

Brandon Sanderson

Ha! That's not bad, though it could get a little confusing if I ever write one of the books I've been planning that literally take place in a world with no ground...

#15 Copy

Jofwu

I'm really hooked by the "girl and her dragon" idea. Were there any fun or interesting things you were able to explore by virtue of replacing the dragon with a spaceship? That is, it's easy to imagine the fun similarities, but I'm curious if there were any notable differences introduced by that swap.

Brandon Sanderson

Hm... Well, normally in the dragon egg story, a trope is that the dragon needs to learn how to fly/fight and the trainer needs to learn with them.

Here, the ship knows how to fly--but is busted up. So there's a lot of fun in the story relating to how exactly to get parts for the ship--which leads to a completely different style of storytelling.

#17 Copy

Jofwu

Can you say what "small projects" you're thinking about working on for the rest of the year before picking up Stormlight in January?

Brandon Sanderson

I've just done a quick draft on some chapters on Alcatraz 6, which isn't ready yet, but is coming along. And I'll be looking over Secret Project again, as well as doing a draft of the Wheel of Time deleted scenes for the Unfettered 3 charity anthology.

#18 Copy

Oversleep

At first [Skyward] was supposed to be in the cosmere. Were there any reasons you pulled it out of it besides not wanting to deal with spacefaring era of Cosmere yet?

Where was the planet supposed to be in the cosmere? Would it have had a Shard or would it have been a minor Shardworld?

Brandon Sanderson

When Spensa started life in my brain, she was late cosmere pilot character, from around Era Four. When I started to work on this as my next YA project, I decided I wanted to use a certain technological aspect from a story I'd previously worked on--something I touched on in a novella, but which was still very interesting to me all these years later. But it was something that did not work with cosmere technology, so it was a natural fit to port Spensa over to this new story.

It wouldn't have been planetary-based if it had been in the cosmere. Mostly, it was Spensa as a character. Once the story started transforming into a girl and her spaceship, the cosmere ties got severed quickly.

#19 Copy

Oversleep

Any grander plans for this setting beside this trilogy of Skyward?

Any plans for that other work the Skyward is connected to?

Is there any connecting stuff we should be on look out for?

Brandon Sanderson

Let me get this trilogy (which will actually probably be four books) done, and then I'll worry about that.

No other plans for the work this is based on right now.

As for connecting stuff, it will become very obvious once I start using some technical terminology. I said elsewhere in the thread that chapter 17 will make it very clear for those watching. Other small connections exist through the series, but more in the second book.

Govir

As a follow-up, will the fourth just be adding onto the end (i.e. it's a quartet), or will it be tangential, similar to Mistborn: Secret History (i.e. a trilogy + another book)?

Brandon Sanderson

It will be a quartet. I did my normal thing, writing the first book as proof of concept to myself, then sitting down and really hammering out the series. When I was done, the story beats worked far better as four books than three, so I will probably write it that way instead.

#21 Copy

Oversleep

Okay, maybe also Alcatraz one since I just finished Dark Talent few hours ago (it's excellent, by the way): Why did they need Dif in the first place? I mean, Alcatraz still knows more about Hushlands than any person from Free Kingdoms would, even a person who went deep undercover for a long time. What did they need a specialist in Hushlands for? That part didn't make sense for me.

Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz knows what it is like to live in a small town in the US. Would you pick him as a guide to show you around DC or NYC, a place he'd never been? He's a thirteen year old kid. But I'll say, at the same time, Dif was working hard behind the scenes to get himself involved.

#22 Copy

TinyOxKing

So when I was reading Warbreaker, the more I listened to Vasher the more he reminded me of Mormon (loves kids, warrior who hated war, a scholar, & etc) was this a coincidence or done on purpose?

Brandon Sanderson

Coincidence. I find that an interesting connection, though.

#23 Copy

WeiryWriter

At one point in time you were planning for Skyward to be in the cosmere, which is no longer the case. If you were to pick a Shard, or Shards, that would fit Skyward what would they be? (Not necessarily the Shard that would have been featured in-cosmere, but a hypothetical Shard that fits the book/world in its current state.)

Brandon Sanderson

Skyward was more "The travels of Spensa, space pilot" than a true story back when it was in the cosmere. But as the story is right now, I'd say Autonomy would find it very interesting.

#24 Copy

WeiryWriter

One of the projects I'm most excited for from you Brandon is Adamant (the Silence of the Lambs in Space story--It's in second-place 'cause The Aztlanian). You once mentioned that you were considering trying to slide it in the cosmere, but were unsure because it would require removing a Shakespeare reference of which you were fond. Have you considered adding it to this fledgling Skywardverse? (Thereby cementing your claim to fame as the "crossover universes" guy)

Brandon Sanderson

I doubt I'll put Adamant into the Skyward universe if only because I'm so enamored with how it turned out when I did...what I did to it. (You'll see eventually.) It really is a lot of fun set up the way it is now.

#25 Copy

Will_Try_N_Sell_Junk

What's the biggest change you've made between drafts that would surprise readers?

Brandon Sanderson

Hm. Well, the biggest ones would probably all be Stormlight, since the first proper draft of that (in 2002) was far from the second version I did in 2009. Seven years of thinking about where the story went wrong led to some huge changes. (For example, in the 2002 version, Dalinar kills Elhokar.)

NightWillReign

in the 2002 version, Dalinar kills Elhokar

WTF WAT

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Adolin dies as well... And there are no spren. And Kaladin gets Shardplate/Blade in the prologue and trains to be a knight, though not a Knight Radiant, as that term is one I developed later...

#26 Copy

LoneWarmonger

If you take Bondsmith Honorblade, will you be able repeat Dalinar's Perpendicularity trick, or it is something special only Dalinar can do for a different reason?

When Dalinar repairs temple does he use Bondsmith power or...something else? If first, which Surge does he use?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

LoneWarmonger

I expected to get RAFO...But is Oathbringer a Bondsmith book or Skybreaker book? I know it was supposed to be Szeth/Skybreaker, but changed to Dalinar/Bondsmith. And still we learnt more about Skybreakers than Dalinar and his strange abilities. Will book 5 have more of Dalinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Books 5 will have a lot of Dalinar. Once it is out, you'll be able to see why it could have been a Bondsmith book--but I think it's better this way, with Book 3 being the Bondsmith book.

LoneWarmonger

Thank you, Mr Sanderson, I'm pleased with the choice, but I guess, I just wanted to learn more about Dalinar's powers in his book, he's my favorite character. Even after HIS book, his abilities are a mystery. But I'm exited to hear I'll get more in the future. Please, don't keep Dalinar on the background, he's the best.

Brandon Sanderson

Note that book four may see less of him, as he steps back a little (like each of the characters will for a book or two here and there) but book five has him as a focus again.

#27 Copy

vanahian

After finishing Skyward trilogy, do you have in mind to write more about this universe?

Brandon Sanderson

I have no current plans for more Skyward, but you know me. I always know where a story would go in the future--and sometimes I find places to put them. (This story, for example, is a continuation of something from years ago.)

#28 Copy

vanahian

Silverlight and Wandersail novellas...When?

Brandon Sanderson

Silverlight and Wandersail novellas. Silverlight...not soon. Wandersail, potentially while I'm working on Stormlight 4.

NotOJebus

A Wandersail novella! I guess that means there may be more truth to that story than first thought!

Brandon Sanderson

Well...it would be about current characters, not the story that may or may not have happened in the past.

#29 Copy

vanahian

And for a friend of mine and her sanity... The Shalladin thing will be something or is all in her head? Stop her pain please :D.

Brandon Sanderson

Shallan has made her choice. I wouldn't expect that to change.

vanahian

And thanks for the answer in 11. My friend is crying but now she can go ahead with her life :)

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah...I do feel bad about that. If it's any comfort, tell her I think she'll eventually be very pleased it went this way. It might take a few more books, though.

#30 Copy

SomeLameName7173

[Skyward] looks like it will be a very fun book. How much of the book will actually be released before publishing? and how long is the book

Brandon Sanderson

Book is 110k words long. And...right now I can't remember how much I talked them into releasing. Somewhere between a third and half, I believe.

#31 Copy

Portugal_Stronk

What is the status of that Arcanum Unbounded Nalthis essay you said you'd like to do one day? Is that still the plan? And, speaking of Nalthis, will we ever see a map of it? I think Warbreaker does a good job of showing the relative locations of places, but us map nerds would really like one, even if just a sketch.

Brandon Sanderson

I actually sat down to write it the other day, after someone reminded me on Reddit about it. But I quickly got distracted by something else. Soooo... Yeah, it WILL happen, I just have to squeeze it in.

#32 Copy

Argent

Skyward: With Apocalypse Guard sharing a universe with Reckoners, and Snapshot (originally) being in there too, it looks like you are playing around with the idea of developing a sci-fi shared universe similar to the cosmere, if smaller in scope. Are these non-cosmere shared universes random one-offs that just happen to work together, or do we have something bigger to look forward to in the (distant) future?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not actively trying to create anything else like the cosmere. More, there are ideas I really like that I've tested out in novellas that I want to expand upon.

#38 Copy

Stromeng

In Oathbringer Cultivation calls Dalinar Son of Honor and Son of Odium. Why? Does he Connected to both Shards and technically can be a Vessel for Odium.

Also, why Cultivation says it'd be good for her to have a part of Dalinar inside of her? Is it important?

Brandon Sanderson

This is partially RAFO territory, but let's just say that Cultivation takes the long view on someone--and to her, Dalinar represents both the the best and worst of both Honor and Odium.

#41 Copy

TupaczHologram

Who’s your favorite character? As in who would be your favorite if you were reading the novels like the rest of us?

Brandon Sanderson

The first is kind of hard to answer, because my favorite tends to be whoever I'm writing at this exact moment--and I'm not sure I could separate myself from being the writer enough to pick my favorites if I weren't writing.

#42 Copy

TupaczHologram

How emotional do you get when you write the sadder parts of your books? I sobbed like a baby at the end of Hero of Ages, and I wonder what it’s like to conceive something like that.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm generally more emotional about the books when planning the first ideas of them--when I'm listening to the right music and planning the way the story will play out. When I actually get there in the writing, I'm more focused on sticking the landing, so to speak, than being emotional myself.

#48 Copy

zorro_pickanalytics

Did you know from the start Skyward would be a good fit for an existing world or was it something you realized after starting to develop the story?

Brandon Sanderson

It was once I started developing the story. I often am working on the elements of stories separately before I combine them into one whole--and so it wasn't until I sat down to do the outline, officially taking several pieces of various story ideas and combining them--that I knew for certain that this was a good fit.

#51 Copy

KillerSlipper

What was your biggest challenge when writing Skyward? And possibly as a follow on - are there any new challenges or surprises that come to you as a writer even after all these years of doing it ?

Brandon Sanderson

The biggest challenge to Skyward was getting the actual fighter-pilot stuff right, followed closely by the fact that I didn't really have a safety net for this book. Having already pulled a book from the publisher, and having a very small time to get this one written, I felt I really needed to nail it on first try--and I did, fortunately.

#52 Copy

Phantine

Stormlight has a lot of parallelism with Mistborn, but with protagonists who are now on the other side of the slave revolt. In particular, there's a very strong through line going from Kelsier to Miles to Moash, with characters attempting to overthrown a corrupt system being treated differently by the narrative in each case.

How much of this inversion is intentional? I know Warbreaker had a lot of deliberate parallels to Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

This is pretty intentional. I like to approach things from different sides, and I knew Stormlight was about the establishment, while Mistborn about the revolutionary. I like to try to show both sides of things like this, when I can.

#53 Copy

IBNobody

The [Skyward] Audiobook narrator is Suzy Jackson. How did you end up finding her?

Brandon Sanderson

We asked the audio publisher for several samples of readers they thought would be good, and then we listened to them, asked for follow-up and finally chose. Sometimes, we don't like any of the options, and ask for more--but this time, we didn't need to go through that.

#54 Copy

Stormstoyou

So, Skyward is gonna be a trilogy. Each book will contain it's own stand alone story or it's a one big story splitted into three books?

Brandon Sanderson

Each of the books stand pretty well on their own, though the final one (this will probably be four books, not three) is a lot more reliant on the previous ones.

#55 Copy

Stormstoyou

I was wondering about origins and meaning of Dalinar's name. It's a shame we know name meanings of minor characters like Oroden, but don't know about our main character. How you came out with Dalinar's name and what does it means in-world?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar is actually a chicken-egg thing. I had his name way before I had the linguistics of Roshar, and it was always just the RIGHT name for me. I built a lot of the naming conventions around the fact that I liked the name.

#56 Copy

ASIC_SP

Was it intentional to introduce Musicspren as the first spren in TWoK?

Brandon Sanderson

It was intentional in that I knew I needed some spren very early in the book, to establish the world--and that was the scene I was working with to do that. It isn't supposed to be hugely meaningful that those spren are first, though they are more relevant to later parts of the story than some of the earlier ones.

#57 Copy

Tetau

As far as I aware, Skyward is your first attempt to write techno fantasy. Will this new experience be useful for Mistborn 3 and 4, which is supposed to be a sci fi?

Brandon Sanderson

I think it will help a little--but not a ton, as the real challenge to Mistborn Eras three and four is going to be making good on the promises of the earlier trilogies, and using them well. They will need to be more "hard" SF than Skyward, except with made-up science.

Skyward, I could create what I needed from the technology specifically to fit this story. (For the most part.)

#58 Copy

Yata

Spensa has this habit in citing "X is one of my ancestors". Is it possible that sometimes she has actually right ? Regardless if this lineage is relevant to the story.

Brandon Sanderson

She's right--but in the way that all of us have a (relatively recent) common ancestor, if you look at the actual genetics. I believe that by her point, centuries in the future, everyone on her colony could trace linage back to both European ancestors and Asian ones. So she's right--but everyone in her colony could say the same things she does.

#59 Copy

Yata

If a person with Breath (let's say 100 Breaths) dies. After a while (let's say a hour), are the Breaths still in the corpse ? If yes, are those destined for the same fate as an object with Breath inside ?

If a Returned dies for mundane ways (let's say a dagger in the back) and therefore he has still his Divine Breath.Would the Divine Breath keep the CS stampled to the corpse until he run out of fuel/Investiture ? (Like a Ghost in the CS anchored to his corpse until the Breath lasts)

Brandon Sanderson

Breaths in a dying person usually escape with the soul.

#60 Copy

DammyJerry

Have you ever thought (just for fun) which KR Order your characters for other books would fit the best? Like, Sazed is Bondsmith, Kelsier is probably Skybreaker.

Which Rosharian Shard, Honor, Cultivation or Odium, better fits with Dalinar's personality?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd agree with the other commenter that Kelsier isn't much of a Skybreaker. But picking orders would depend on what point in the person's life we're talking, and the situation. It's not a hard-fast rule.

For example, young Dalinar is very Odium. Modern Dalinar is very Honor.

Seifersythe

What about Magic: The Gathering color alignments?

Like, would Kelsier be Red/White or Red/Black?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is blue/black. Vin is Red/green. Sazed is white/green--with arguments for mono-white. Elend is red white. The LR is white/black.

mithrilnova

This actually surprises me a lot. I would have expected Sazed to be Bant-colored, and Elend seems much bluer than he does red.

Brandon Sanderson

Actually, I don't know why I said red/white for Elend. Must have been answering quickly. You're right, blue/white is a better match for him. Ham is red/white.

#62 Copy

Genabackan

Shalash will be having back-five flashback POVs. In Oathbringer, you seemed to portray her as pre-Shattering. For example, "Oh, Adonalsium!" and referring to Hoid as Midius. Will later Stormlight books focus on pre-Shattering stuff at all or will we have to wait for Dragonsteel for that?

Brandon Sanderson

There will be more of a pre-Shattering focus, but not as much as you're probably hoping.

#63 Copy

Genabackan

By the time of Sixth of the Dusk, are the Ones Above undisputably the most technologically advanced society in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they aren't. There has been some concurrent development, and a lot of sharing technology--to the point that you could make an argument for several societies being equal, though some better in specific areas.

#66 Copy

basham09

I am looking forward to picking up this new story and I had no idea it was coming out so soon! What made you decide to put aside all of your other stories to write Skyward?

Brandon Sanderson

I usually need a big break between Stormlight books to recharge, and I look for something different in style and genre. A space opera fight that really well, and gave me a much-needed breather.

#68 Copy

BusinessCress

In Stormlight Archive, all three main characters, Dalinar, Shallan and Kaladin, suffer from various mental health issues. Is that a normal psychological condition for all Radiants or the lead three is an extreme example of how people break?

Brandon Sanderson

I am very interested in mental health, and the way that we--as human beings--react to and interpret the world around us in different ways. This is a theme of the Stormlight books, but it's going to take a lot of work to do it justice--and I want to approach it from different directions. So yes, it's a theme, and these sorts of issues were common for Knights Radiant.

But I'd point out that they are also common themes for being human. And one of the correlations between orders of Knights Radiant is people who overcome, persist, and push through very difficult trials.

#70 Copy

matgopack

About your characters - they're always a lot of fun to read about, and varied. Do you have a method while coming up with them and their personalities/motivations that you use?

Brandon Sanderson

Character is the most difficult for me to pinpoint my process on because I do a lot of experimenting, trying different things, and searching for the right voice. The most important thing for me tends to be finding a way this person sees the world that I want to explore more in depth.

#71 Copy

Steeldancer

When can we expect to see anything new cosmere-wise?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll start working on Stormlight 4 in January, and hopefully can get a novella (a la Edgedancer) written during the process, so you don't have to wait all the way to 2020 for more Cosmere.

Seifersythe

So Stormlight 4 will come before Mistborn 2-4?

Brandon Sanderson

Potentially--it depends. A Stormlight book takes a LONG time to write, and often I sneak other books in the middle, because I need a break.

#75 Copy

ThatTimeI

How do you go about setting the age/reading level of your books? Alcatraz, Reckoners, and Mistborn feel completely different...

Also, where does Skyward fit in the spectrum of maturity?

Brandon Sanderson

It's mostly done by instinct as I look at similar books, at myself at a given age, and at what my readers think. (Particularly those of younger ages.)

Skyward is somewhere just underneath Reckoners in age.

#78 Copy

Questioner

Is there anything in particular that majorly influenced the path that Skyward took at any point?

Brandon Sanderson

There's a big reveal at the ending that, once I came up with it, made me really excited to write the book - but you'll have to read it to find out.

#87 Copy

Use_the_Falchion

Do you have a writing/reading soundtrack that feels like it shouldn’t work but it does for you? Or do you ever give books (be it yours or others) theme songs?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't often choose theme songs, but I find that Daft Punk works for me as writing music, even when it really probably shouldn't.

#88 Copy

beer_in_an_esky

1) Is Ashyn still operating on a sickness-based magic, as indicated in the readings you've done previously? Or are you not ready to canonise that?

2) Assuming it is, was the use of Investiture on Ashyn always sickness-based?

3) If someone who is sick on Ashyn leaves while still unwell, would they still have powers? How about any people they infect on the new world?

Brandon Sanderson

1) Ashyn still has that magic, though I've gone a lot of directions on how I want the culture to feel, so I wouldn't consider that canon yet.

2) No.

3) The powers come directly via the micro-organisms, similar to other symbiotic relationships in the cosmere.

#90 Copy

mraize7

Can [Kelsier] and [Hoid] be friends or companions or allies?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, anything CAN happen--but for now, I'll let their interaction on screen speak for itself.

But feel free to imagine anything you would like, for yourself. It will be a while before I can get back to this particular interaction.

#96 Copy

Questioner

Where did the idea for the light bands come from? I think they are pretty neat!

Brandon Sanderson

I started with my desire to have starfighters changing directions quickly by using energy ropes to spear asteroids - and worked backward to have something that could foreshadow this.

#99 Copy

RoboChrist

Would humanity be better or worse off by the end of Oathbringer if Honor ended his visions with:

"This has been a pre-recorded message from Honor. If you have any inquiries, please direct them to the Stormfather or to a local spren representative."

Brandon Sanderson

Dial 9 to refill with Stormlight. 

#102 Copy

Rusty Hodges

In book 2 of Stormlight, Mraize says Shallan is not to harm Amaram, his life belongs to another. Does he know about Kaladin at this point or is she referring to Jasnah. If he is referring to Jasnah this would insinuate he knew she was still alive, which would make sense he clearly knows a lot more then he's let on so far. This question is fulled by some conclusions I have come to about Amaram and Jasnah.

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO this, but you are very astute.

#104 Copy

Bryan Cross

Where do you get your inspiration for the more technology based things such as the starships here [in Skyward] and in Firstborn?

Brandon Sanderson

These ships came from sketches I did with the illustrator, looking for the designs that felt the right for me. I wanted most of them to feel like glass cannons--small, kind of frail seeming, but potentially deadly.

#107 Copy

Skyler Cecil

Is there an Investiture cycle on Roshar? Cycling through the crem rain and flora and fauna back into the storm, or something like that. Like the water cycle. If Investiture is finite, is it recycled back into the Cosmere when Investiture like Breath or Stormlight is expended? Otherwise, wouldn't Investiture run out?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is such a cycle. It is renewed and changed time and time again. It gets in and out of the Spiritual Realm, often with the birth of new individuals.

#110 Copy

Sullivan Wenger

Is Skyward connected to the Cosmere? If so, is it connected to anything in Arcanum Unbounded?

Brandon Sanderson

It is connected to a different story I've published. I'm keeping quiet about it, since it's kind of spoilers--but you will probably figure it out by middle of the book if you've read them all.

#111 Copy

Karthikeyan Eswaran

For a person to ascend as a [Vessel], is it enough to have a Connection with the Shard, or does their general intent/mindset have to align with the Intent of the Shard (like Rayse and Odium have both shown similar mindsets)? If the intent needs to be similar, how did Ati, who was described as a kind person, pick up a Shard like Ruin? And if the intent doesn't need to be similar, how did the people at the Shattering manage to ascend, as the Shards had just been created? Did they have to go through some process to create a Connection? Or did they all somehow already have a Connection with Adonalsium (and thus with all the Shards) which made it easier to Ascend?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there did need to be some Connection created--there was a lot going on with this. But it is possible for intents to not align and someone to take a Shard. It's way easier if intents do align, but humans don't tend to align 100% to any specific intent.

#112 Copy

Jesse Estabrook

When it said Spensa’s father was shot down by his own flight, was it supposed to be fleet? I suppose that since there are so many errors, that this is not an example of the actual final release. Will there be further changes so that we will need to re-read all of these preview chapters all over again, once the edited final product is released?

Brandon Sanderson

Any errors in here are only proofreading errors--I've turned the book over to these teams, and won't be making any more story changes. So don't worry. You won't miss anything, other than a little spelling here and there. Though I did mean "flight" instead of "fleet" as they tend to use small squad tactics as pilots, and call these groups "flights."

#113 Copy

Scarbrow

Approximately how many books/series do you have concrete ideas for, aside from the ones you currently have in the pipeline?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, wow. So, go look at the State of the Sanderson 2017 and you'll find a list of the ones I've mentioned. Beyond that, I'd say I have some twenty or thirty that are somewhat fleshed out. More than I can possibly ever hope to write.

#115 Copy

Ap_Sona_Bot

I know I'm a bit late to this thread but I recently learned about you being Mormon. I find this really interesting because I grew up and live in an area with very heavy Mormon influences, and have had generally very positive interactions with them. My question is how has your religion affected your writing, and vice versa. Your portrayal of religion is mistborn particularly is completely unique, and one of my favorite parts of the book.

It's okay if you don't want to share anything about this, I understand that religion can be a bit of a personal topic.

Brandon Sanderson

I actually get this question a lot! It's also one that's hard for me to answer, as I think people looking in from outside are likely better at spotting my own unconscious influences better than I am. I know that being religious myself has made me very interested in religion, and how various people interact with it. I find myself trying to approach it from as many different directions as possible--because it's fun for me to explore belief systems and the people who do, or don't, follow them.

#116 Copy

LordSkybreaker

Hey u/mistborn I have a couple questions about Magic: the gathering.

What colors/kind of deck do you play in magic?

What colors are the known shards?

What colors are the various orders of the knights Radiant?

And finally, have you ever thought of doing the story for Wizards Of The Coast on one of their mtg blocks?

Brandon Sanderson

Any combo-style deck I can draft--or esper if I'm constructed.

Ruin: Black. Odium: Red. Honor: White. Preservation: White. Cultivation: Green. Devotion: Green/red. Dominion: Black/White. Autonomy: It's complicated.

(Also, question 3 is way too large for me to commit to right now. And for 4, if the right opportunity came along and they were interested, I could see myself doing this.)

SoupOrMan692

What about Endowment and Ambition?

Brandon Sanderson

Ambition is mono-black, and endowment is probably mono-green. Some of the blue shards are ones we haven't seen as much from yet.

#118 Copy

V_Spaceman

I was wondering if you could elaborate on a past wob. You said that Hoid and Frost are two of the oldest beings in the Cosmere. Does that include the vessels? Are the original 16 vessels younger than Hoid and Frost?

Brandon Sanderson

In the current outline, Hoid predates the others by a bit--he'd already started aging oddly before the Shattering. But that's not strict canon yet. (You can find evidence of it in Dragonsteel.)

#128 Copy

valmeister

Though question on Skyward, you recently said it was going to be 4 books instead of 3, and also said you have sent the second novel to your editor. Also you said next you will be doing Stormlight Archive 4. Do you think you will hop back in to Skyward after, or will it be much later? I just normally hate starting series that are underway, and Skyward sounds like a refreshing change of pace, so curious roughly how long the wait to see the end would be.

Brandon Sanderson

My hope is to keep the Skyward books at one a year. Their shorter nature, and the extensive outlines I've done, should let me hop over to keep myself fresh while working on Stormlight.

If there's a break, it will be 2020 when Stormlight four (hopefully) will come out. But as I already have 2018 and 2019's books done, I'm confident that at the very least, we'll have Skyward 3 and 4 in 2020 and 2021.

#130 Copy

mbue

Do people on Threnody get really old or something? I can't work out the timeline of the events leading up to Shadows for Silence. She says her grandparents were among the first to reach the Forests of Hell, but also that the waystop has been safe for over a hundred years. Given Silence's age, her grandparents couldn't really have founded the waystop over a hundred years ago if life expectancy on Threnody is similar to other planets.

Brandon Sanderson

I'd have to look at the timeline myself. That might just be me not looking at continuity closely. I wasn't trying to imply people living very long.

#131 Copy

Kyrroti

What's your process for writing Rosharan Myths such as Fleet's race? They are always my favorite parts of the Stormlight novels.

Brandon Sanderson

I love folklore, and spend a lot of time looking into the folk myths and stories for various cultures. I try to make the various myths, particularly those shared by Wit, have a different "Voice" from my normal narrative voice, as I want them to feel like legitimate ephemera from the world.

#132 Copy

Kyrroti

If I were burning iron, where would the line point to on a steel hula-hoop?

Brandon Sanderson

For something like that, it would depend on the Steelpusher's power. For some, it would just be pointing generally toward the center of the hoop--but for skilled Steelpushers, they'd be able to see softer lines pointing in all directions around the hoop.

#133 Copy

kdt05b

Can Megan manifest a Cosmere reality? The Reckoners is not part of the Cosmere, but one of they main character's power is reaching into alternate dimensions. I want to see some epics on Roshar!

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted to avoid multi-verse theory type things in the Cosmere, in part because the Wheel of Time delved into these concepts, and even before working on the WoT was looking for ways to keep the Cosmere distinctive from it.

Beyond that, multiverses (along with time travel) really play havoc with continuity. I felt the cosmere was stronger if I kept to the three Realms--that's complex enough. Assume that in the cosmere, while different possible futures/pasts do branch (and can be seen) things like Allomantic gold are NOT looking at other realities--and there is only one reality, once events actually occur.

This does mean that time travel into the past is not going to be a factor in the cosmere.

This separation does let me divide these concepts off and play with them in other realms (like the Reckoners) where they're 'quarantined' so to speak.

#135 Copy

Turambar97

Will there ever be a point in your books where different or all types of investiture clash ?? What I mean will there be a fight between people with different kinds of investiture or will there be a team composed of such people ?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this will happen.

Look for the future of the cosmere to be about the interaction of ideologies, magics, and settings. It's less about an avengers style team up, and more about the clash between cultures.

#137 Copy

Stormstoyou

The Third Bondsmith Ideal that Dalinar swears in the end of Oathbringer. About taking responsibilities and becoming a better man. Is it the basic Ideal for ALL Bondsmith or this is Dalinar’s personal interpretation of the Ideal?

Brandon Sanderson

This is Dalinar's personal interpretation, but ideals for a given order do have similar themes person to person.

#142 Copy

MasterDex

I love every book of yours I've read. However, I'm a sucker for grim, dark and/or mature fantasy tales (Malazan, Black Company, The First Law, etc). Have you ever considered going right down that route? Have you any stories that you think would fall into more mature/darker territory? Or do you feel that you have no need to go there? (obviously, Stormlight Archive has some quite dark and mature moments but not quite to the level of the aforementioned series)

If you're answer is No, could you explain why?

Brandon Sanderson

The Threnody novel, if I find time with it, would probably be the closest you'll see from me. I've read and enjoyed each of the authors you listed above, though my own writing tends to not lean that direction. One reason is that I tried (when trying to break in) to make my style more gritty to see, since GRRM-like was what everyone was searching for. It just didn't feel true to my own voice.

#143 Copy

Snarlezz

What's the incentive of alloying lerasium and becoming a misting when you could just burn it normal and be a Mistborn?

AltF4WillHelp

My guess is that you'd presumably you'd use less of it? Also, arguably, not every way of using a magic is going to be the most optimal way.

It's probably just a way that lerasium can work. If you alloy it or somehow mix it with things from other systems, it's quite possible you'd end up getting those magics instead, because it'd Connect you more strongly to a different Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

The replies to this are correct.

#144 Copy

athos45678

Has anyone in the history of Roshar ever had Lift’s special physiology? Or is she like a whole new human

Brandon Sanderson

You could say anyone that has their DNA or spiritweb meddled with by the Nightwatcher is something new--that said, Lift is an experiment that hasn't been tried before.

#147 Copy

Blightsong

I've noticed that in the Listener songs there are two different, semi-conflicting stanzas between the song of histories and the song of secrets when it comes to Smokeform. The latter song also seems to be more consistently critical and fearful of Odium and the forms of power. Am I noticing something relevant here, and if so could you elaborate on why?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are noticing something real.

Note that Listener history is...fraught. And while the rhythms are standardized, the words are applied to them have a lot more cultural influence and interpretation.

#148 Copy

WritesGeekyStuff

I'd love to hear what some of your inspirations were for Skyward. I know you've listed How To Train Your Dragon and The Last Starfighter, but I'm curious if there are any books or movies that inspired you for the sci-fi worldbuilding and starfighter combat? As someone who loves pretty much anything starfighter, from Wing Commander to Stackpole's Rogue Squadron books, I'd love to hear how you approached it or if you have any reccos I'm not aware of!

Brandon Sanderson

I spent a lot of time on YouTube watching interviews and videos about what it's actually like to fly or take G-forces. Tom Scott did a nice one on centrifuges. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMKcO-T5Y4o

As for starfighter books, there really aren't a ton are there? Most everything in books focuses on the Lost Fleet/Honor Harrington/Vorkosigan style large ship combat. Stackpole is great, but you've already read him. A Fire Upon the Deep is great, but again, not a lot of starfighter battles. I'll have to think about it more--I don't have any that were specific inspirations for this series.

#149 Copy

AltF4WillHelp

Sorry if this has been asked before; I haven't been able to find a direct answer anywhere. It came up while playing the Mistborn Adventure Game (which has been very fun, btw!).

A Feruchemist can easily determine whether any metal is a metalmind, regardless of whether it's theirs, simply by touching it. And a Ferring can definitely determine the same, but for their own metal.

But, a question came up: can a Ferring also—perhaps with practice—tell whether any piece of metal has been stored in/is a metalmind? Would this be easier for certain kinds of Ferrings? (Ones that are more directly in tune with Investiture, perhaps?) And, if they can determine that a piece of metal is Invested, would they feel something similar to what Vin did when she was examining Sazed's metalmind? Would they be able to tell what the metal it is based on how that power feels? (That last bit might be infringing on what skilled/savant bronze Mistings might be able to do).

Brandon Sanderson

So, bronze Mistings are really good at reading investiture that is being used--it's harder to simply "detect investiture" as all things are made out of investiture in the cosmere. That said, I could see your game allowing this, as it's a natural extrapolation of the magic--and it could make for some good gameplay. Don't be afraid to extrapolate the magic for your own uses, even if it doesn't fall right in line with the way I do things.

#152 Copy

Zireks

Generally when do you think the next time you will write a book set on a new, never gotten a book, Cosmere shardworld?

Brandon Sanderson

Does Threnody count? It got a short story. It's most likely, and could happen in the space between Stormlight 5 and 6 (though that is a busy time period for me--I've put a lot of books in there potentially.

I think the chances of seeing a new world in a novella is much more likely.

#153 Copy

mikkomikk

SKYWARD QUESTION! I've just read the prologue, did you do anything special to get in to the mind of a 7 yr old girl? Any inspirations for Spensa?

Brandon Sanderson

This one took a few tries--you can probably find earlier readings of it where the age was different, and the speech style was different. As with most things, it's a matter of trying something out, then looking for feedback.

#157 Copy

MavenSoul

I'm wondering if Shai could create a stamp that would turn someone into an Allomancer. Or, alternatively, create a stamp that would break a bond between a Radiant and their Spren?

Brandon Sanderson

This is possible--but likely beyond Shai's ability. It would require large amounts of investiture. The second would be easier.

#158 Copy

tschan22

The one thing that impressed me the most [about Skyward] are the awesomely vivid and thrilling dogfight scenes. How did you come up with these dogfighting techniques? Any particular inspiration that you can share with us? Thank you!

Brandon Sanderson

So, one of the things I try to do in combat situations is define a few rules that are different from the way our world works, nudging the combat to be more fantastical. This (hopefully) allows even those who are familiar with the situation to better suspend disbelief--since the rules of combat are different, then battles can theoretically play out in (plausible) ways that I decide and present, rather than running into real-world situations.

For Skyward, I started with studying real-world dogfights, then added a couple big changes. One was some anti-gravity, the other was nudging the battles more toward the way they might work in a vacuum by removing some of the air resistance. The final piece was the light-lances, further pushing the combat into a direction where pilot maneuverability was enhanced. (And the battlefield could be different each time, allowing more variety.)

That all together gave me the way I went about these battles. But I will say this--watching what some fighter pilots can do with their jets was enormously impressive. I had no idea, honestly, the things they are capable of doing.

#162 Copy

Govir

During a reread of The Way of Kings, I noticed Kaladin mentions a light eyes by the name of Katarotam. Will we ever find out more about this light eyes? (For some context, Katarotam is listed along side Roshone and Amaram as a light eyes that Kaladin believes to be corrupt).

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. (This is possible, but not likely, in a Kaladin flashback.)

#163 Copy

LameLamas

I was surprised to find out Skyward trilogy is not a trilogy anymore, but four books. How did this happen? You have more stories in this world or book 3 is growing too big, so you decided to split it in two smaller books?

Brandon Sanderson

My normal mode for a series is to write the first book, make sure it works and that I have a good feel for the characters, then sit down and really hammer out the outline for the series.

When I did that for this book (sometime in early July) the outline that worked best was four books instead of three because of where the breaks and climactic moments were.

#165 Copy

Firm_Spell

How does Connection to a Shard actually work? 16 random people took 16 Shards in the past, I don't think all of them had special Connection to a certain Shard each of them picked. We even know that Ati, Ruin's Vessel, was a kind, generous man, direct opposition to Ruin's Intent.

However, in Mistborn we find out that you must gain certain amount of Connection to become a Shard Vessel. Kelsier wasn't Connected to Preservation well enough (he's more of Ruin), Sazed was somehow Connected to both Preservation and Ruin? So, should you be Connected to a Shard to Ascend? Why was it different in the past?

Also, what would happen if, theoretically Dalinar, a good, honorable man, kill Odium's Vessel and take a Shard for himself? Will he change Shard's Intent to something...let's say less destructive or Odium's intent will just devour his personality and he'll act just like Odium's current Vessel?

Brandon Sanderson

That's pretty big RAFO territory, I'm afraid. I'll just say that this is something I do intend to delve into in the books.

#166 Copy

sv15249

Venli is going to be a main character in Stormlight 4? With big focus like previous flashback characters had? I wanted to read more of Dalinar considering how Oathbringer ended with massive cliffhanger (sorta) for him.

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar will get more in 5 than in 4. Eshonai will have the flashbacks in 4, though Venli will be featured in them.

#168 Copy

Djoic

You previously confirmed Kaladin has a depression. What about other two characters? Does Shallan has split personality disorder? And Dalinar has PTSD?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know that I'd say Shallan has straight up DID--and that is a controversial topic even under the more current terminology. More, Shallan is certainly disassociating herself, but the result is something I consider very individual to her. (Unlike Kaladin's fairly textbook chemical depression.)

Dalinar has had some PTSD, though you'll see more of the traditional symptoms in Kaladin, and is a recovering alcoholic--and a few other things.

#179 Copy

vanahian

Is possible that I'm overthinking about it but in Oathbringer, in Puuli's Interlude he spoke about what seems a new kind of faction-to-be in Roshar. Given how Puuli talks about them one can think he is describing the Knight Radiants we know. But he also mentions that, "They will come from the Origin," and that them are, "The sailors lost on an infinite sea." My question then is... Are they direct descendants of the original humans that migrated from Ashyn eons ago? Yeah, I know that in some way all are descendants of those humans but my question, to be clear, is if they are more Odium inclined for example. An Odium-winning-card.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

#182 Copy

WritesGeekyStuff

How much of Defiant has been colonised by humans? Do the caverns cover the entire world, or are they restricted to only a small area around Alta?

Brandon Sanderson

You're seeing the most populated part of the world. There are some little enclaves all over the planet (which is smaller than earth) but most everything is congregated near where the original fleet landed. (Note that the Defiant was the name of the flagship they crashed on, not the planet's name.)

#183 Copy

WritesGeekyStuff

1) What is the name for a Tineye/Archivist Twinborn?

2) How would copper compounding work for a double copper Twinborn? Would you relive the memories stored in the burned copperminds extra vividly?

Brandon Sanderson

1) I'm not ready to open the floodgates for giving names to each twinborn combination yet. So RAFO.

2) Another RAFO here. I'll delve into these ideas when/if I do this combination in a book series.

#184 Copy

Govir

An actual Skyward question: Were you inspired by the anime Gurren Lagann at all for this? That anime starts out with humans living in caves and being attacked in order to keep their population down. The cave dwelling and constant attacks is the only connection so far that I see (the rest of the anime gets pretty crazy and I don't think you'd go that far).

Brandon Sanderson

I'm afraid I haven't seen Gurren Lagann, which is probably an oversight--a lot of people talk about it being great.

#185 Copy

Govir

In the Mistborn series, when you were writing the prophecies, did you start with the "non-corrupted" versions and then corrupt them, or vice versa (or something else)?

Brandon Sanderson

I started (as is my usual process) with the end in mind, and outlined backward. In this case, that meant constructing the final version of the prophesies first.

#187 Copy

DammyJerry

Does Dalinar know about Adonalsium? Stormfather dropped the term during one of their talks, so did he tell Dalinar the whole story of Shattering and Shards? Also, does he understand what exactly he did when summoned perpendicularity or not? Does he understand what’s going on with him now (that he’s connected with Honor’s remnants)? Does he even know what “Shard” means?

I guess, the question is “How cosmere-aware Dalinar is?”

Brandon Sanderson

As of Oathbringer, Dalinar isn't specifically aware of the larger cosmere story--though he would have numerous "Aha" moments if it were explained to him, as pieces of what he does know would fall into place. The Stormfather isn't particularly interested in the larger story, however, and that's one reason.

Jasnah is a different story...

#189 Copy

NotOJebus

Okay so Brandon, I've gotta ask, Rig's last name is McCaffrey. I thought, oh haha, nice McCaffrey reference.

Then I got thinking.

So Skyward is a story about a girl and her starship (dragon) who join a group to help defend their planet, which is made up of separate caverns (Holds) after humanity crashed (colonized) their world, and who has to defend said peoples from an enemy that periodically comes from the sky called the Krell (Thread).

Let's just assume the world takes place in the DE universe and that Spensa and Co will eventually work out how to psychically teleport and... Brandon... Is Skyward just a sci fi retelling of the Dragonriders of Pern...

Brandon Sanderson

The White Dragon (along with Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen) are direct inspirations for Skyward. And Rodge's last name is a nod to Anne McCaffrey.

I wouldn't say it's only a sci-fi retelling of these stories. But the plot archetype that inspired me is the "boy and his dragon" story. (Including Eragon and How to train your Dragon as well.) I've always wanted to do a story like this, but wanted to find a way to put my own spin (heh heh) on the story.

You'll see how they diverge as the story progresses. But much as Mistborn was inspired by heist stories, this one was inspired by dragon egg stories.

#192 Copy

kakarotoks

In Bands of Mourning, the Connection medallion is filled with "Blank Connection" and Marasi can't understand Allik when she puts it on, but how do you fill the medallion with Blank Connection in the first place? And could Allik fill the medallion with his own Connection so that when Marasi taps that non-blank Connection, she would understand him ? Or even better, if instead of tapping Connection, Marasi decided to fill the medallion with her own Connection, would she become 'blank' herself then get auto-connected to local land? If yes, then why would Allik need to tap Connection when using the medallion instead of just filling it, becoming blank and understanding her? Or would that make him not connected to anything and unable to understand anyone ?

Brandon Sanderson

All right, so I want to be very careful on this. I typed out my response, but I've sent it to Peter to double-check to get another set of eyes on it. Once we get into mechanisms like this, we're digging into the cosmere-equivalent of computers or complex circuits. I need to make sure another person is double-checking my work.

As a side note for the Sharders reading this, when I dodge these types of questions in physical Q&As, this is kind of the reason. It took me a good thirty minutes to dig into the mechanisms I've written out, re-read to reconfirm to myself I have the methods right, then write it out. And I still have to send it to Peter, just because there are a lot of complex nuances here.

Calderis

just looking to prod you about the "blank connection" answer you mentioned running by Peter last week

Brandon Sanderson

So, I sent my reply to Peter, and he said, "This works, but I don't think you should answer it yet, as it comes too close to revealing things for the next books." So that's a RAFO via Peter, one of the first that has come that way, at least through me.

kakarotoks

Hi, pinging you again as you requested to see if Peter ever replied to you.I've waited patiently for you to finish touring (and maybe this is the wrong time now with christmas right around the corner), but can /u/mistborn or /u/peterahlstrom answer that first question. Seeing as BS already spent 30 minutes writing the answer, it would be a shame if it was lost in the end.

Peter Ahlstrom

I responded to Brandon back in October, and we have an answer, but I'm not sure now is the best time to reveal it publicly. Sometimes Brandon decides to leave the mechanical reveals for the books.

#193 Copy

kakarotoks

As for Skyward, you said before that you got stuck because you weren't liking it, then you finally figured out how to fix it, will you write a blog post after release about how it was before and what needed to be changed to make it fit your standard?

Brandon Sanderson

Did I say that about Skyward? I got stuck on Apocalypse Guard, and pulled it for that reason. I don't believe I had any big issues with Skyward that weren't up to standards, just normal revision issues. The biggest hurdle came long before writing the book, as I was trying to figure out ways to approach this plot archetype in a way that wouldn't simply be a rehash of what people have done before.

#194 Copy

kakarotoks

How much do you usually work? Do you do about 40 hours/week, and never work on weekends or do you spend most of your time working (work = research, outlining, writing, doing conferences/book tours, etc.. but doesn't include thoughts that pop in your mind at random times during the day/night). Do you consider this as a 'regular job' (one that you are obviously passionate about) and you take the time to have hobbies/family time, and vacations, or is it your passion, your life, and you spend as much time as you can doing it

Brandon Sanderson

It's sometimes hard to measure, because the touring aspect of my job is very different from the day-to-day. And there are years when I spent 1/3 of my time touring. But the day to day is about 40 hours a week right now. It used to be more, but with kids and a family, I've pulled back somewhat to get a better balance, and to make sure I'm reading other people's work so that I keep an eye on what they're doing.

#196 Copy

XMikethetrikeX

Can we have a bit of new trivia on Szeth?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm sorry, but I prefer to avoid answering questions like this--because if I answer them, I get asked them more. And random trivia questions are really, REALLY hard to answer because I have to remember what I've said before, be careful not to spoil books, etc. My mind just doesn't work in a way that is good for giving answers like this.

#201 Copy

LerasiumMistborn

Dalinar is my absolute favorite character in any book now. During previous AMA someone asked you about character’s mental health and you wrote that Dalinar has had PTSD, alcoholism and “a few other things”. Can you explain what these “other things” are?

Brandon Sanderson

All right, so with Dalinar, I wouldn't suggest looking for some broad categorization--like, I think there would be an instinct by some people to diagnose him with Antisocial PD during his youth. He certainly has some hallmarks (the lack of empathy, the aggression, and the and willingness to put responsibility for his actions onto someone else.)

But I think more, with Dalinar, it wasn't some grand schema to diagnose--but a lot of little problems, like most of us have, that were unhealthy ways of seeing the world. Some of this relates to his mix of jealousy/devotion related to his brother, both of which emotions were unhealthy at times. But also his bloodlust in combat, which wasn't just the Thrill--but a real enjoyment of fighting, and a willingness to ignore consequences to others for that.

These are still all issues he has, though he's worked through many--but the knowledge that losing control was so bad for him in the past has led him to what I'd call his current biggest challenge, which is the need to be in control at all times. (To the point that he doesn't completely trust others to see something get done, despite what he claims.)

#202 Copy

RayW2

What is the most powerful Radiant Order? Bondsmith?

Brandon Sanderson

"Power" is related to situation, perception, and need. A Bondsmith can probably draw the most raw investiture, depending on the situation--but comparisons like this ignore the heart of the matter. I don't look at people in the cosmere as having a "power level," because I don't consider it to be a good measure of the way the stories will play out.

#206 Copy

JKOustin

I was rereading W&W books recently and noticed something interesting.

In Shadows of Self, when Sazed/Harmony is talking with Wax, he feels warmth.

Wax felt a warmth, a fire, as if the inside of the carriage were heating to incredible temperatures

The voice vanished. The temperature returned to normal. Wax leaned back, sweating, feeling drained.

That makes me think about our favorite Bondsmith who experiences something familiar. Is it a coincidence? No, I don't mean Sazed specifically, but perhaps this happens when Shard (any Shard) tries to communicate with people? In the case of Dalinar it could be Cultivation or another big splinter of Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

This parallelism is intentional, but that's all I will say for now.

#209 Copy

hajsenberg

When Spin heard Jerkface talking after she left DDF I thought he would be defending her. Something like "even though we hate each other, she's part of the flight and her place is with the rest".

Brandon Sanderson

Jorgen is pretty new to this situation too, remember. He's never had to deal with something quite like this before.

#216 Copy

Secondskrull

Way of Kings epigraph:

"Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns (Odium)"

Words of Radiance back cover:

"The Bondsmith (Dalinar), born in blood and death, striving to rebuild what was destroyed."

Am I onto something?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Phantine

Actually, I have a question for /u/mistborn about that bit. The epigraphs were dictated, and honor's shattered pieces are in the highstorm. Is it "the broken one reigns", or "the broken one rains"?

Brandon Sanderson

It is reigns. (Though that is a cool possible interpretation.)

#220 Copy

InsaneScotsman

On First of The Sun, does Silverlight have a permanent outpost on the Cognitive side or is it still too dangerous to hang around?

Lastly, any cool tidbits about First of The Sun or its people would be awesome, worldhoppers or the like?

Brandon Sanderson

This is actually a RAFO too--it would be relevant if I write a sequel to Sixth of the Dusk. The opening sequence would involve an expedition into Shadesmar...

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Argent

Now that we have canon art of Ishar, Shalash, Jezrien, and Vedel, what Rosharan nationalities would you say they resemble the most?

Brandon Sanderson

Jezrien and Vedel would be seen as Alethi, most likely. Shalash would be seen as Azish, while Ishar would be seen as Shin, probably.

NightWillReign

Wait, but if Ishar looks like he’s from Shinovar, how did the Tukkari accept him as the God-Priest?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO--but is a question you're supposed to be asking.

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meramipopper

What would be Spensa's favorite food?

Brandon Sanderson

Her diet doesn't have a ton of variety, but I'd say she would pick anything that isn't algae paste or rat meat.

meramipopper

Obviously Spensa would love anything that isn't what she normally eats. However, if Spensa could afford food, what would be her favorite?

Brandon Sanderson

I think she'd SAY she wanted "warrior's food." She'd imagine that as big hunks of meat. In reality, most of what we find delicious, she would find so overly-spiced that she'd never be able to stand it. I think you'd find her finding simple, but flavorful, foods as her favorite. Rice and beans. Mashed potatoes. Something that doesn't have a lot of spice, but still has flavor. Crepes might completely overwhelm her.

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Enasor

1) Will the truth of how Evi really died matter to Dalinar's sons? In other words, is it reasonable to expect Adolin, most notably, will react negatively given he believes his father would have never burned the Rift?

2) Dalinar claims he could forgive Adolin for not being the man he thought he was. Is it reasonable to expect this is easier said than done?

Brandon Sanderson

1) It would be reasonable to expect that many people (Adolin foremost among them) will react negatively to the truth--which is indeed contained in Dalinar's book.

2) Yes, I would say that's a reasonable expectation as well.

Enasor

Thank you for the answer, I much appreciate it. Can I ask if it is reasonable to expect some ramifications with respect to those elements within the next book or if this won't be on topic?

Brandon Sanderson

We're getting into RAFO territory, I'm afraid.

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Miss_Silver

Is there a maximum number of spikes a person can have? Would having more spikes eventually cause issues, be it mental or physical limitations?

Also do the benefits from spikes have some form of diminishing returns, or could some one have like, 200 bronze spikes and be able to sense a person burning metal through copper from 50 miles away?

Brandon Sanderson

1) Yes, it would cause big issues.

2) #1 interferes greatly with what you would like to do here, but there are other ways of magnifying the powers to the extent you postulate.

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Miss_Silver

Is there a market for decorative metalminds on Scadrial? (IE gemstone studded earrings or fancy engraved bracelets. A jeweler's gotta make a living somehow, y'know. d= )

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a market for this--even among those who don't have specific talents themeslves.

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Miss_Silver

First on Nahel bonds and a bit of a darker question. We know from Syl that if their bonded person is killed in some way, the spren does not die like they do when one breaks their Oaths. However, would Oaths count as being broken if the Radiant committed suicide? Were there any Radiants during the Recreance who did in an effort to spare their spren?

Brandon Sanderson

This would be an individual case basis, but I would say that the baseline is no--this alone wouldn't count as breaking the oaths, but getting around the issue of that specific event wouldn't work.

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SquishyMouth

How would you say Skyward compares to, say, Mistborn in terms of completion? By the end of The Final Empire you give us enough answers to leave us satisfied with just the first book, but the trilogy as a whole works without feeling like the story is stitched together - will the Skyward series have the same feel, or will the ending of book one immediately call for the next book?

Brandon Sanderson

The ending of Mistborn is one of the standards (in terms of how stand-alone the book feels, yet with promises of where we're going) that I try to achieve. I'd say that Skyward doesn't quite feel as stand-alone by the end as Mistborn or Steelheart, but more so than TWoK did.

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WeiryWriter

Hemalurgic spikes lose power unless they are in a person’s body (or immersed in blood), does that body need to be living, or would a corpse suffice? If so, at what point in the decomposition process would the spikes cease to be protected? When they are no longer encased in flesh, before, after?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't put a specific number or date on it, but I'd say as long as the blood itself would be viable if moved to a living body, it will work.

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Extesian

Simple, harmless, totally non-contro one. Can a spren unilaterally sever a Nahel bond (i.e. where the Radiant doesn't agree and hasn't technically, according to spren and Radiant, broken an oath)?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, no controversy here at all.

This is possible. But I'm not going to go into the mechanics.

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BoldFontOfYouth

On The Orville, the enemy space aliens are called the Krill - any connection there?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe? The word Krell is one of those ones that pops up in SF now and then, as an homage to The Forbidden Planet. (Which is why I chose it.)

I can see a network being more worried about using the actual name, and making the creators go with something similar but not the same. You'd have to ask them.

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NotOJebus

We've spoken before about how you don't usually read Cosmere fan fiction, and I was wondering, what about other things people create? Like artwork or podcasts and such.

Brandon Sanderson

I barely have time to get to the books written by my friends, or the ones in the industry I feel I should be reading to keep an eye on it. I look at fanart, certainly, and post a lot of it--but I don't listen to any of the podcasts.

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dvoraen

Excluding Midnight Essence from Re-Shephir, have we seen at least two examples of the Unmade creating spren that people dismiss as normal, uncorrupted spren? (One type in The Way of Kings, one in Oathbringer, specifically.)

Brandon Sanderson

Humans are not terribly good at determining whether a spren has been touched by Re-Shephir. (That's a yes.)

Blightsong

Did you mean Sja-Anat or can that Unmade also affect Spren in a similar, if not the same, manner?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that was just me typing too fast.

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dvoraen

When Dalinar teleports away from Vedenar back to Urithiru, the Thrill immediately comes to him even though he just went a very large distance away. Was this due to Odium talking to him directly at that point, or did Odium move Nergaoul there to maintain the effect of the Thrill, or was Dalinar already Connected to/consumed by Nergaoul and the distance effectively didn't matter because Spiritual Realm Things(tm)?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar's feelings are not always the Thrill. A part of him legitimately feels these emotions--and there are other things happening as well. (Either way, Odium did not move Negaoul in that scene.)

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dvoraen

In the Midnight Essence vision Dalinar has in The Way of Kings, the female Radiant was wondering "who released it". Shouldn't the Radiants have known then that it was Re-Shephir that was the general source of Midnight Essence?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but Midnight Essence can be extracted and used independently.

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MoriWillow

I've noticed a sort-of pattern in some of your work of human/non-human partnerships (spren, Aviar, Seons, etc, and now spaceships). Is this a concept you're consciously interested in? (It's actually probably one of my favorite parts of the relevant works.)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it's something I'm very interested in. It happens to be a theme of the cosmere, so you'll see it a lot. One reason for this is that I think a purpose of SF/F is to explore things that don't exist to our current knowledge (things that are intelligent, but not human) but which it's very plausible humanity will some day deal with. Another reason is that I like the idea of looking at the things we do from the outside--and the perspective of something like a spren or a machine is very interesting for me to try to wrap my head around.

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MoriWillow

When a Steelrunner taps speed, does it work by breaking the laws of motion, letting their speed be higher than it should be when considering their kinetic energy during movement or the force they impart upon impact with something (and inversely while storing)?

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of [Feruchemy] breaks the laws of thermodynamics, and this is indeed an example.

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NotOJebus

Hey Brandon!

Here's a quote from Oathbringer:

She willed steps to Soulcast beneath her feet. Individual axi of air lined up and packed next to each other, then Soulcast into stone—though in spite of the realms being linked, this was difficult.

Hey Brandon, what's an axi?

Brandon Sanderson

It is the word for an atom in the cosmere, coming from one of the original magics used on Yolen pre-shattering. To some, it's a theoretical smallest division of matter. But others use it scientifically to mean simply an atom.

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NightWillReign

So you said that you’ve moved Szeth and Kaladin’s fight from book 3 to Words of Radiance. Did you make any changes like this on your outline for Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson

There was a lot of general restructuring of Oathbringer after book two was written, but there's no one "big" sequence that was moved into the book.

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Phantine

Let's say some kid ended up with Szeth's Oathstone and tried to pull an Aladdin by destroying it and freeing him.

Szeth doesn't seem like he'd actually let himself be freed, but with the Oathstone destroyed, what does he do next (designate a new rock?)

Brandon Sanderson

Use the pieces and try to glue them back together, I'd say. If you actually completely destroyed it, it kind of depends. He might transfer the devotion to the object used to destroy it, or he might try to get another one assigned to him by his homeland--though he would have trouble convincing himself to go back.

 

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Jamester86

Is writing a full book with no magic system easier harder when compared to the freedom (and limitations) involved in traditional fantasy? (I haven't read the spoilers, so if there is a magic system, ignore this question :-)

Brandon Sanderson

Science in a book like Skyward tends to be its own type of magic--even the Legion books (taking place as the closest to our own world) really have a brand of magic, done my way. So I suspect I'd work this sort of thing into a story no matter what. I do tend to try to do a different tone or style in different genres.

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Jamester86

Couldn't resist a cosmere question: Since rivers can be quite shallow, could someone "swim" under their counterpart in Shadesmar? (Or to rephrase that...are the landmasses in Shadesmar equivalent in depth to the "water masses" in the physical realm?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not a 1/1 ratio, by necessity, and rivers tend to be reflected by rises in Shadesmar. So you couldn't, in most cases, swim through the beads under them.

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Pagerunner

Do you have a working title for Stormlight Four? Have you chosen the interlude character yet?

Brandon Sanderson

Interlude character is Eshonai. I've had several working titles over the years, but one that stuck around a while was The Song of Changes. I'm unlikely to keep this, as it was never meant to be a final title.

Pagerunner

Interludes are Eshonai again? Like in WoR?

Brandon Sanderson

Sorry, I was getting my lines crossed. Flashbacks are Eshonai--the interludes are not something I've announced right now.

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diffyqgirl

What is writing plot twists in a world with online theory forums like? It always seemed to me like it must be incredibly hard to be clever enough that the theory forums don't figure everything out, while still dropping enough hints to keep the casual readers from being confused. As an example, while there were plenty of surprising things in Oathbringer, I had kind of forgotten that the characters didn't know that humans aren't native to Roshar.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, there are a lot of ways to look at this. The one you highlight was a particularly tricky one, because the books have to work on multiple layers. First, they have to keep the hardcore fans interested. Secondly, they have to work for what the characters know. But thirdly, they can't be so obtuse that they edge out the readers who don't follow every detail on the forums.

With the specific element you mentioned, I tried to layer a reveal that would act as a twist for the readers with a separate one that would shock the characters (but which the majority of the fanbase had already figured out.) But on in the long run, I've realized that trying to one-up the fanbase is a bad path to go down--I have to accept that people are going to guess what I'm going to do, because there are only so many rational things that are in-character that the characters can do. And going outside that requires either bad characterization or bad foreshadowing.

Therefore, one of the best methods is to point the tension away from certain questions toward others that depend on character strength. For example, "Will modern Knights Radiant be able to get armor?" is a weak question, and one that is pretty obviously answered in the books already. But "Will this character be able to work out their issues enough to progress in the oaths" is a stronger question, as it is in doubt--and depends on how the choices the character makes.

Given the option, though, I'd rather live in this era where I can get away with stronger demands upon readers in terms of continuity than you used to be able to reasonably do. I think it makes it easier to do the types of stories I like to tell.

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Yata

During the Kholinar's sequence, Kaladin is covered with Shallan's illusions and suddenly the illusion runs off. How that happened ? At first I simply thought he breathed the Stormlight by accident, but that Stormlight had to be keyed to Shallan not him and therefore not elegible for a snack.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. (But don't read too much into this particular RAFO.)

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Yata

A little curiosity over the word "Shin", is it a deformation/twisting of their origin ? like "Ashyn person" --> "A Shyn person" ---> "A Shin person" ? (I assume this is a quite safe question to response without going into the rabbit hole)

Brandon Sanderson

Shin/Ashyn do have a relationship, but I didn't specifically intend "A Shin" to be Ashyn.

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MS-07B-3

Skyward question! The light line is mentioned as using two fingers to shoot it out. Are they the middle two fingers, and was this inspired by any jovial community arachnid folk?

Brandon Sanderson

First draft didn't have specific controls to shoot it out, and during revisions, I thought, "Oh, what the heck. It's not a big part of the story anyway." So yes. :)

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MS-07B-3

It's noted in Oathbringer that Taln was the only Herald who was not supposed to have been one, and that he was not a king, general, scholar, or anyone "special" as it were. So what occupation did he hold before becoming a Herald?

Brandon Sanderson

He was a soldier and bodyguard.

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MS-07B-3

We know Scadrial is speeding on its way to modern, Earth-like technology, including computers. So what is the internet like in the Cognitive Realm? Is it connected to Scadrial's Cognitive aspect? Does it form into its own standalone location? Do memes become spren?

Brandon Sanderson

This is going to be really fun to write some day. But RAFO until then.

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Argent

These recent AMAs have made me wonder about something. With the kind of public presence and interaction you have with your fans, you create a imbalanced sense of familiarity between yourself and us, your fans - we often feel like we know you well (or at least know much about you), while you, for the most part, don't know us beyond the few words we exchange at events. With this in mind, have you had to change the way you interact with people, online and off - and if so, how?

Brandon Sanderson

I recently watched a video essay on the idea of parasocial relationships, which is a topic getting some attention on things like Youtube right now. And, while I thought the essay was interesting, I have to say...I kind of disagreed with everything they were saying. (Not the data, but the conclusions--which generally centered around the idea that these relationships were somehow false or dangerous.)

Yes, the relationship is imbalanced like you say. But the video essay was making these relationships as some kind of scary or false thing--and I just don't see it. I do think you know me by reading my work and by interacting with me here. I don't think you see a false version of me, and I think you probably do know me pretty well, all things considered. And part of the reason I read book (and why I write them) is because it lets us get inside of the mind of someone different from ourselves.

If there were big things I wanted to change, I'd talk about them. Honestly, most of what I see from the fans seems pretty healthy to me. We in sf/f can take things pretty seriously, but we do it because it's fun and we like to obsess about things--but most everyone can step back when we need to and deal with real life too.

So...don't know if that answers your question or not, Argent. But I think you're used to that kind of thing from me by now... :)

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R'Shara

I was wondering if we can take the Death Rattles as written? So night is night, not knight. Reigns is reigns and not rains or reins, etc? Since they're written down by someone who is listening to someone else speaking, there could be confusion there. Then again, they're speaking Alethi, or the local tongue, and being translated to English, so their homonyms would be different. Also, are they always about the future, or can they be about the past?

Brandon Sanderson

So, this is a tricky one. I was tempted to go into it during the reigns/rains one--but since there is a follow up, let me see if I can explain it.

You note the mechanism I've said before that I rely upon, that of the idea that the books are done "in translation" from their original tongues. This is to give us another layer of plausibility in the linguistics--but it does introduce a kind of wildcard here in the interpreter. (Who is me.)

I am not against using word usages similar to homonyms as plot points, so long as the characters themselves are capable of making the misunderstanding. (The ending of the Mistborn trilogy involves some of these types of word and definition related issues.)

So you're not wrong to asking questions like this. I use them very sparingly, but I do use them. In that specific case, however, I was not intending there to be confusion.

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Phantine

Skyward question: What actually IS the proper procedure if you think a vat of algae might have been contaminated by a coworker?

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. That's one I didn't think I'd get. You'd get your superior, prevent any blending between the vats, and record in a form exactly what the contamination would be. They're not worried too much about sabotage. This is focused on sanitary food-preparation ideas.

#275 Copy

Phantine

If I stab someone with a steel spike to steal their physical Allomancy, what determines which power I steal? Where the spike is stabbed into, my Intent, or some other factor?

Brandon Sanderson

Intent is at play once you get to the finer points of Hemalurgy, but that can get wonky, as evidenced by some certain events with Spook and even Vin.

#276 Copy

Phantine

Irich had that degenerative disease. If the Set still had Miles available, could he have cured Irich's disease by giving him Compounded health with a primer cube?

Brandon Sanderson

This requires more steps than it would appear, but this is the sort of thing people will trying very hard to figure out in coming novels.

#278 Copy

Aurimus_

From a writing/world building perspective, - how much of the maths/science do you do in the background? US hardback copies of Oathbringer had a map with an inworld long/lat system, for example, and Shagomir and Jofwu worked out (with help from Peter) the amount of land on Roshar, and how much of the planet that the continent takes up. What inspired you to go to this depth? Is there anything you decided /not/ to do the maths for and just went with hand waving it away?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a thing I do more and more of as I gain access to the resources for it. (I have a few very large-scale mathematical issues I'm using people smarter than myself to solve.) I did a lot more hand-waving before I had these resources. I'm not horrible at math, but didn't go beyond college calculus, and just don't have the time to get everything right on my own.

It's something I do want to be right, however. It's more of a personal desire than anything else--but I think it's going to be important the further we move toward a science fiction cosmere.

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Aurimus_

And lastly, a cosmere point of contention. You've said before the Moon Scepter works as a Rosetta stone? Is this literal, as in translating one Aon to it's MaiPon counterpart, or more metaphorical, IE allowing use of a Selish magic outside of its country?

Brandon Sanderson

The Moon Scepter does not "unlock" regional use of Selish magic, but those who wanted it believed it was a vital step in figuring this out. It's more the first, but has implications for the second.

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thegatorgirl00

What made you decide to release chapters in advance for Skyward and Oathbringer? I personally don't like reading books in this format and haven't for either novel since it's harder for me to get sucked into and lose myself in the story when it's split up, so I'm wondering what gave you the idea for it.

Brandon Sanderson

I've always disliked doing summaries of my books--I feel that I'm not nearly as good at it as I am at just writing them. My instinct going back to when I began trying to break in was that if I could skip the summary and just get someone reading the story, it would be more efficient.

The releases done this way are, hopefully, to get people talking about the book. I realize that a lot of readers who like my work are just going to wait and read the book when it comes out, but (particularly with Oathbringer) releasing chapters like this was a good way to get some conversations about it started.

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thegatorgirl00

You've changed so many lives, including mine, with your stories, and so is there anything we as a community can do for you in return?

Brandon Sanderson

As for what you can do for me in return, I'm not sure. I mean...I already get to write books for a living, which is the thing I wanted most in life.

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Pagerunner

Four clues you've given over the years about unknown Shards: 1) One that wants to hide and survive. 2) One that's not on a planet, but not Ambition 3) One that Hoid would have taken 4) One that would have been used for Rithmatist

I'm not looking for a new clue. I'm wondering if there's any overlap between the clues. Are these four separate Shards? If not, which hints apply to the same Shard?

Also, since clue #3 was from before Ambition was revealed, was Hoid going to take Ambition? He certainly is an ambitious individual.

Brandon Sanderson

I'll tell you this--those aren't necessarily four different shards. But I do have to RAFO which one Hoid might have taken.

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PM_ME_WRITER_ADVICE

I love writing and it is what I feel I am the best at. When I finish this life, I want to leave behind a positive legacy through writing Fantasy and Science Fiction. Particularly, I would like to write in a way that will lead to greater depth of thought regarding paradigm shifting philosophical questions. I honestly believe that some of the worlds biggest problems are rooted in the rapidly increasing superficiality of thought among societies.

The problems that I encounter the most when I try to write are self-doubt and depression. I find it difficult to actually sit down and begin writing, as I have a bad habit of immediately beginning to over-analyze and over-criticize every word that ends up on the page. Have you ever dealt with similar issues, and if so, how were you able to overcome them?

Brandon Sanderson

I always love to get a writing question mixed into these, so thank you! This is actually an extremely common problem for new writers--perhaps the most common. (Though the second most common is the one I had, which is the reverse--that of never wanting to do revision.)

What's happening here is that your ability to recognize good writing has outstripped your actual skill at making it. This can be super frustrating, because you know stories--and you can physically do the act of writing. You've been learning that since grade school. Yet, the story you write doesn't quite live up to it.

Mixed with that is likely an over-critical eye, treating your work like it is worse than it actually is.

I often use this metaphor: I played trumpet in high school. I'd played since fourth grade. Senior year, I took jazz band, and fount it extremely frustrating. I knew how to play trumpet, and I could hear the improv jazz riffs in my head--so why couldn't I make them come out of the horn? Everything I actually managed to produce felt pedestrian at best.

The answer is both mental and procedural. The mental side this this: Recognize that what you're doing right now (by writing) is NOT producing your grand masterwork. It's the equivalent of sitting down in your garage with the trumpet and stumbling through riffs until you start to get that important connection between brain and instrument that lets the vision in your head actually flow unimpeded.

Don't think of this writing as something you're going to sell, any more than you'd tape and record your practice music sessions. Don't think of what you're writing as "wasting" an idea or "failing" at a story--you can and will re-use these story ideas in the future after you figure out your process. Remove the performance anxiety, the need to be great from the get-go, and the expectation that your first draft needs to look like your favorite authors' final, published draft.

As for procedure, try some strategies that work to limit self-revision while writing. Try writing stories longhand, both to separate yourself form computer distractions and to make it harder to revise. Try going to a specific place to write, like an office or library, and treating your hour or two there like work time--a destination for writing. Make good habits, be consistent, and note the things that work on some days to make you achieve your goals.

Good luck!

#286 Copy

meramipopper

What is a song that you really love that a lot of people who know you would never expect?

Brandon Sanderson

Hm. Most people don't expect me to be enjoy Metallica as much as I do--but that tended to be more in the past, when Metallica was considered somewhat edgy before it became classic rock.

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Flack17

Is there any new information on Dark One? As a lover of your books, graphic novels, and podcasts, I'm very excited for this!

Brandon Sanderson

Dark One is proceeding nicely behind the scenes, and we're about ready to go take it around the town for pitches. I'd be doing that this week, actually, if I didn't have a book release coming up that I have to prepare for.

#289 Copy

Portugal_Stronk

If Adonalsium was based and shattered on the cosmere galaxy, what of the rest of the universe? Does it also have Investiture or is Investiture something strictly bound to the cosmere galaxy? Are there even other galaxies on that universe? 

Brandon Sanderson

I've been RAFOing that particular question--though it only just started popping up, at least with people asking it to me. :)

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Himenss

How do you choose flashback character for each Stormlight book? Do you rather build present day narrative around someone's flashback sequence or just choose whose flashbacks better fit with already existing main narrative? As an example, when you moved Dalinar's flashbacks from book 5 to book 3, did you re-outlined book 3 narrative to make it a better match, or you already had both Dalinar's narratives for books 3 and 5 present day and merely decided where flashbacks play the best counterpoint to what Dalinar is doing in the main timeline?

Brandon Sanderson

Moving Dalinar's flashbacks was based on the instinct I had from where book three's narrative was going to go. (After finishing the first two.) Though I have outlines for all of the books, a lot of my outlining process involves starting with a big event, then working backward from it. Sometimes, the steps toward a big event are themselves pretty big events.

People imagine, I think, an outline that is like the traditional "Heading A" "Subheading a" format. But it's not that, it's a big list of things I am pointing toward--and the most interesting steps to get there. So the process of building a novel is more about looking at that timeline, figuring out what steps make their own powerful moments, and constructing a narrative around them that makes sense. I will often be doing this with a dozen or more different sub-plots at once.

So when I "move things" from one book to another, it's often a matter of me building a book (say book two) and realizing that the break point for Kaladin's story makes way more sense if it stretches all the way to include the falling into the chasms sequence. From there, I realize I might not move as far along on Dalinar's plot as i might have thought, and I turn book three to focus more on that plot. Etc.

The flashbacks are the most flexible of these, in some ways, as they are compliments to a story--but don't need to come at any specific chronological point in the series itself. So I look for the places where they will simply fit the best and match the tone of the story the best, either by contrast or compliment

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Himenss

Do you choose cover arts for your books yourself or you give your artist to choose. As for Oathbringer, why that particular moment with Jasnah was chosen? I like the cover, but I guess I wanted the see Dalinar , who would be more appropriate for this book.

Brandon Sanderson

With most books these days, I suggest scenes and take a more hands-on approach. Michael Whelan, however, is one of those that I generally step back from and let him do his thing and try not to meddle too much. I DID note to him, though, that we've so far not matched the book to the character. (Kaladin's book got Dalinar and Eshonai on the cover, while Shallan's book got Kaladin.) So it made sense, actually, to have Jasnah here.

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Blightsong

I noticed in Dragonsteel that the Sho Del use silver sheathes and that stuck out as an atypical material for an ancient technology scabbard, does the metal hold some kind of significance within Sho Del culture?

Brandon Sanderson

This was done intentionally, and will probably still be a thing when Dragonsteel enters canon--but that's a LONG ways away, so don't read too much into it for now.

#295 Copy

Blightsong

Nightform seems to be a form capable of powers but doesnt seem like it destroys the original [singer] and replaces it with a Fused like other forms of power, at least based on what they have said in the Listener songs and its surrounding historical context. Am I right here?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

#296 Copy

ZuperzubS

In Words of Radiance, when the sailors were being killed, Jasnah/Shallan sees the flames representing the minds of the sailors vanishing in Shadesmar, but the sailors don't appear in the cognitive realm. In contrast, in Secret History, we see that all sapient entities do transition to the Cognitive Realm before going to the Beyond. Is there something strange here? Or am I just overthinking this?

Brandon Sanderson

You're not overthinking it--but it's also not as strange as you might think. The one seeing the spirits on Scadrial was in a different state than Jasnah/Shallan.

#297 Copy

WritesGeekyStuff

Do you take a consciously different approach when writing YA versus writing an 'adult' fantasy? How do you vary your prose, or themes?

Brandon Sanderson

The biggest difference tends to be that in YA, I focus in on a single character and do their story in an intense and intimate way, where in the epic fantasies I'm trying to approach it as the story of the world as it moves forward.

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vanahian

Any news you can share with us about the rewriting of Aether of the Night novel? I suppose that if continues inside the cosmere that story will have its own Shardworld and its own magic system... If so, can you tell us the Shardworld's name and something about its Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Can't say anything right now. So RAFO.

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vanahian

We know that Bavadin has several 'avatars' allocated at some Shardworlds, major and minor, over the cosmere...is Austre from Nalthis one of them? Is the Wyrn of the Fjordell Empire or Jaddeth one of them?

Or if we recall what the followers of Shu Dereth believes that 'Jaddeth rewards devotion in his followers, as well as ambition' + something you said some time ago about the ramifications of Ambition demise... Is the Wyrn or Jaddeth Himself connected with Ambition?

Brandon Sanderson

You can expect things on Sel to be either Dominion or Devotion. People can be ambitious--even Shards--and reward ambition even if they're not specifically tied to the Shard of Ambition.

#302 Copy

LerasiumMistborn

There has been evidence that Dalinar was able to heal with Stormlight (unintentionally) even before he said his oaths. How is this possible, and if Dalinar was able to do it, why does he have all these crazy scars? We know that Stormlight healing doesn't leave scars.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

#303 Copy

LerasiumMistborn

What was Gavilar's opinion on Dalinar? I can't help myself, but I feel Gavilar saw Dalinar more like an effective tool rather than his brother.

Brandon Sanderson

He DID have affection for his brother, but Gavilar had a tendency to use everyone like tools to further his goals. Including people close to him.

#304 Copy

LerasiumMistborn

Why is Dalinar so hard on himself? He values his intellectual capacities very low (Well, he constantly thinks he's dumb) and so on. Considering how wise and humane he really is, I'll admit, it's sad that he sees himself in such a negative light.

Brandon Sanderson

This is a tough one to answer. Why are people hard on themselves? It's something a lot of us tend to do, and doesn't correlate with how much we deserve it. That doesn't stop it from happening, though, even when pointed out.

#309 Copy

Wifrin

I noticed on re-reading Well of Ascension is that duralumin is described as a mix between aluminum and copper. However one of the first things we are told about the metals is that each metal is paired: one base and one alloy. Copper already has brass as an alloy. Is this an error, a case of incorrect in-world understanding, or is this implying something further about aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson

The below reply thread covers it--when I was building these, I wan't using the alloyed-in metal(s) as being unique. Rather the purity of the original against a mixed form was my guide. I mean, steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, making it really odd compared to the others, which tend to be alloys with metallics instead of nonmetallics.

#310 Copy

NotOJebus

If I held Szeth's Oathstone, smashed it up into a fine powder then snorted it, would Szeth still follow my direction?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, probably, but be warned that you're not dealing with someone terrible stable. You could push Szeth over the edge with things like this, and then you could end up in a very bad situation.

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argau

I was delighted to read in the forward to Arcanum Unbounded that the Cosmere was inspired by Isaac Asimov’s Robots/Foundation universe. Elijah, Daneel, Hari, and Dors are some of my favorite characters ever, but I was horribly disappointed by Foundation and Earth, our de facto endpoint for the series. Since you were so kind as to step in and finish Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan’s death, have you ever considered writing anything in the Robots/Foundation universe to bring us to a more satisfying ending?

Brandon Sanderson

Though I too had mixed feelings about Foundation and Earth, I have come around on it over the years--and like a lot of things about it. The ultimate evolution and implementation of the three laws being one of them.

I think every fan of the series has to come to terms with the differences between the two eras of Asimov's writing life, and the different themes of the two different "halves" of the Foundation series. Though I do prefer the tight early narratives, I can appreciate the more philosophical approach of the late narratives.

I could see myself contributing to a themed anthology of Asimov-inspired or in universe stories, should one happen. But I don't ever see myself doing anything like you mention, in part because Asimov had collaborators he worked with that have already been doing things like continue his legacy--and who are much better suited to it.

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wiresegal

In post-medallion-tech Scadrial, (i.e. Era 3) is there any cultural awareness of transgender people? Since for some, their biological state would be affected by Feruchemical gold healing, and that would probably be a documented effect.

Brandon Sanderson

The different cultures and subcultures are going to look at this differently, but I'd say yes, there is awareness. And the more they experiment with the metallic arts being available outside of genetic lines, the more this will be understood for reasons you point out.

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wiresegal

Are most kandra comfortable in any body configuration, or is MeLaan being comfortable in any gendered body an outlier? (i.e. do female kandra usually prefer female bodies, etc). And if this is common among kandra, is it because their long lives lead to introspection and self-examination, or is it just part of the species psychology?

Also, it's mentioned that kandra can "smell" whether another kandra is male or female, biologically. Does a transgender kandra have a different "scent?" What about nonbinary? And if they don't smell different, can they change what they "smell" like? (without using any magic beyond their shapeshifting)

Brandon Sanderson

You find a lot more kandra like MeLaan in the later generations. Generations who were allowed to develop a stronger, independent kandra culture separate from always being integrated with human culture. However, I'd say that almost every kandra, by nature of their physiology, spends a good time exploring both genders. I wouldn't call MeLaan an outlier.

Kandra learn very extreme control over their bodies, and can choose which scent to express and which gender (even to other kandra) to present. This includes a neutral scent, or some mix or something new, if they so decide. Remember that a kandra who wants to hide who they are, even from other kandra, is fully capable of doing so. Under current in-world technology, even blood tests would not be able to distinguish a kandra from the form they have decided to take.

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simon_thekillerewok

What percent confident are you that Mistborn 2.4 will be named The Lost Metal? In that same vein, what percent confident are you that Stormlight 5 will be named Stones Unhallowed? (I think that's a fantastic title btw and you should definitely keep it.)

Brandon Sanderson

I'm probably around 95% on Lost Metal and 70% on Stones Unhallowed.

#320 Copy

FieryXJoe

Would empty perfect gemstones left in Shinovar and New Natanatan during a highstorm have different amounts of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question.

No, they would not. Strength of the storm is not tied directly to the amount of Stormlight invested. (Though there are in-world easterners who would insist otherwise.)

#321 Copy

Askhundel

Do you think once you're done with the Cosmere's main story (assumably Mistborn 4th era), if you're not tired of it by then, you might write more stories set in the cosmere (for added lore/backstory/immersion) ?

Brandon Sanderson

In this perfect world where I somehow manage to finish early, then yes, I'd certainly do more. But that's a LONG ways off still.

#325 Copy

-lurcher-

At the end of Oathbringer, it seems that many (including myself) felt that Szeth's return and sudden alignment with the protagonists went over a little too easily. Are they accepting of him now? Why the sudden change of heart? Are there going to be trust issues in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yeah. Obviously crazy men who shift allegiances quickly, after murdering the king and starting a war, aren't exactly the sort you leave home to babysit your kids.

#326 Copy

-lurcher-

"Ghostbloods" is an interesting name to me. Is that a name that originated on Roshar or somewhere else? Does the group have to do either with ghosts or blood? Or is it more a metaphorical name?

Brandon Sanderson

The name of the Ghostbloods has roots in specific cosmere events, and means something in world.

#327 Copy

LoneWarmonger

Can you write me something about Dalinar, who's my favorite character, that'll make me happy?:)

Seriously, I'm very sensitive and Dalinar has to deal with some rough stuff in this book. My heart aches for him constantly, and I need a few words for comfort.:)

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar has indeed dealt with some rough stuff, but most of that comes from the fact that he is willing to turn and face it down--which is sometimes, the only way to deal with it long-term. So while you can let your heart ache for him, also let it be the ache of someone who was willing to pull the thorn from their foot instead of continuing to walk upon it.

And if you want something that might make you happy, in the original version of the book I forced Dalinar to have to kill Elhokar. I backed off from this when I rewrote the book for publication, realizing (I think rightfully) that I didn't need to push him into that, and the story worked better if he could help Elhokar instead of destroy him.

#328 Copy

Rgkavodkar

Any chance you would venture into a non-fantasy genre in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there's a chance--but fantasy casts a wide shadow. I had a really interesting idea for a horror story the other week, but it's still a fantasy technically.

#329 Copy

Rgkavodkar

If you have two written books, Book-A and Book-B, and you are prouder of Book-B, does it feel weird if Book-A is more popular and better received?

Brandon Sanderson

I know this does happen to writers, but I've not really experienced it. Generally, if I write something a little more niche, I'm aware ahead of time. (And am doing it on purpose.) I also don't tend to be "more proud" of certain books--I write a wide variety of things because I'm interested in a wide variety of story types.

But I guess I'm also comfortable with the idea that a lot of work does not equal a successful piece. I, of course, would prefer to write things that everyone loves--but I learned early in my unpublished career not to chase the market, and that attitude has served me quite well.

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InsaneScotsman

During the perpendicularity scene in Oathbringer is it safe to say that what Dalinar did is akin to super powered versions of his surges? Tension to make the realms ductile and formable, adhesion to bring them together. I know the specific ability is unique to Dalinar but I'm fairly attached to this rationalization

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't immediately shoot down this particular theory. 

#333 Copy

Oversleep

I'm liking Skyward so far. I can't wait to read about using light-lances, they're rusting cool!

I gotta ask, though: what does "scud" mean? It seems it is an equivalent of "damn" but is there any etymology behind it? Cause, "scud" is also name of Soviet tactical ballistic missiles. Any relation?

Brandon Sanderson

Scud came from the Soviet missile, as a nod to some of my inspirations for the setting of the caverns.

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Oversleep

This is a follow-up on something I asked you in person last year. What is the bronzepulse of atium? They thought that it shares pattern with gold so I guess there would be some resemblance between those patterns? Also, did it Push or Pull, or something else even (like those uniform pulses Ruin's avatar set off)? Cause I can't help but wonder why did they not notice something very odd about it. And, well, what pulse would even atium alloys have?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

#335 Copy

Oversleep

What does count for Hemalurgic control? The total Hemalurgic charge or number of the spikes? If we let four spikes decay for a few years and then pierce a human with it, would that person be controllable? Does that work the same for all Hemalurgic constructs?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question to be asking, as there are spikes that come in sets that only count as a single one... I'd say you're getting close, but not quite there.

#336 Copy

Oversleep

Does it matter how fast are the metals burned in relation to Seeking? For example, would a flared metal be easier to Seek? Could duraluminum burned metal be Seeked through coppercloud by regular Seeker?

Brandon Sanderson

Flaring is noticeable to the right Seeker, and strength does correlate as you theorize.

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Calderis

The light lines/lances are a very fun concept. Is there anything in particular that inspired the idea of grappling combat in space?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably watching too many cartoons or B movies where someone turns a corner in a vehicle by throwing out an anchor or something. (Didn't the batmobile do this once in the old Adam West batman?)

#342 Copy

XavierRDE

I've seen you said you sent the same scene description to both the US and the UK publisher for Oathbringer's cover. Why choose precisely Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

It's partially based on the scene I think that will look best being illustrated. Also, since book two had Kaladin, I thought it would be a nice change to make sure someone else was on book three.

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XavierRDE

How much work, time, care and difficulty goes into constructing each book's ketek in the Stormlight Archive and sticking every phrase into the different parts of the book?

Brandon Sanderson

More than I expected, that's for sure. Not being a poet, it takes a lot of work for me to get something that I feel isn't embarrassing for the keteks.

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WeiryWriter

So in a recent conversation I brought up the relationship between the names of Urithiru and Ur (the ancient Mesopotamian city-state), in retrospect I realized that I was treating the similarity of names as a given but I don't think you have ever been asked about it. Was the reference intentional on your part from the outset (i.e. starting with the idea to reference Ur), or did it arise coincidentally as you played with the linguistics of Roshar (i.e. stumbling across the "ur-" syllable and going "I can work with that!")?

Brandon Sanderson

Ur was part of it, certainly. But it was more the second--I was playing with things, and liked the feeling of Ur in part because of the ancient our-world references.

#347 Copy

WeiryWriter

Is there an important reason why Lukel is the only character of Aonic descent in Elantris whose name is not based around an Aon? (Since "u" does not feature in any Aon.)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but it's more social than magical. Like when I ran across someone in Korea named Moses, and it was so interesting linguistically compared to other more traditional names.

#348 Copy

CoverYourSafeHand

Where do spheres come from in Stormlight? Is there a giant factory somewhere that turns gemhearts into spheres?

Brandon Sanderson

It's similar to mints in various kingdoms on Earth. They're made by different regional powers, and sometimes there are exchange issues because of it--but since Roshar had some unique forms of societal unification in the past, a lot of things like this got standardized.

#350 Copy

B1G_If_True_

Is there any updated news on a 10 year anniversary (Hero of Ages?) leather bound book for the holidays?

Do you plan on doing the leather bound books for works outside the Cosmere as well in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

Just that the printer is suffering (another) delay. (I think this might be our third printer, so I'm not sure if we are unlucky, or if this is just how the business works.) We sent it in back in August, but still haven't seen the books. Hopefully they'll come while I'm out on tour, for a December release.

We are thinking we might do Steelheart when it comes around. So there's a chance. We'll see where we sit once Warbreaker is out.

#353 Copy

Spoolofwhool

Aluminum in the cosmere cannot be Invested or generally affected by Investiture processes. The exception to this however is the Metallic Arts where aluminum can be burned, turned into a metalmind, or charged with Hemalurgy. Is this due to an exception in the normally Investiture-proof properties of aluminum specifically for the Metallic Arts? If so, what kind of Connection is there between the Metallic Arts and aluminum which allows this to occur?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO 

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Calderis

I recently got the opportunity to ask you a question about Feruchemical steel and if it was a temporal effect and you told me to define that better. When tapping steel, the mind of the Feruchemist is sped up and physics affects their actions normally. When storing, their mind is not slowed and the effect seems tortuously difficult to amass. Storing generally seems to be the more dangerous/difficult option in Feruchemy, so does [Feruchemical steel] alter a person's personal relationship to the flow of time, with the disconnect between the Physical and Cognitive as a drawback of storing?

Brandon Sanderson

I see what you're asking. The mind-altering effects of [Feruchemical steel] are similar to the slight strength you gain from [Feruchemical iron]--it is your Spiritual nature adapting to the new influx of an attribute that it's not really expecting, and siphoning some of that investiture to make you capable of actually using it. So there is a slight temporal effect here, but nothing as big as I think you're looking for.

#356 Copy

Extesian

I'm loathed to ask two questions but this is a clarification - it was reported way back that you confirmed that the ardent in the Palanaeum is Pailiah. Are you willing to confirm?

Brandon Sanderson

There is a Herald in close proximity to Taravangian, but she's not anyone in his immediate inner circle seen commonly on screen.

#357 Copy

XMikethetrikeX

A question regaurding Feruchemical iron:

So, while Sazed was guarding one of the gates to Luthadel, he tapped weight to compensate, he had to tap pewter as well. Also, when he was climbing a tree, his strength to weght ratio rised, making it easier for him to climb it. Wax doesn't have to do this- when fighting Miles on the train, he's fine without any sort of muscular enhancement, and when he is climbing in the sets base, he notes that he does not make himself lighter because it would simply decrease his weight and strength equally (in contrast to Sazed climbing the tree).

So, is this difference for the same reason people can push/ pull on atium, being the you hadn't fully developed your idea for the cosmere yet? Or is it some other reason?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. I think the mistake is more on me writing the Wax scene than in the original. (For him climbing, specifically.) I'll put Peter on this and see if it's a continuity error we want to fix.

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UppityDarkeyes

Would you be willing to confirm that the use of 'they' pronouns for the Sibling is because the Sibling is non-binary? Since apparently some people are confused on this point.

Brandon Sanderson

The sibling did not view themselves as male or female. (And considered it odd that so many spren would adopt human genders.)

Event details
Name
Name Skyward Pre-Release AMA
Date
Date Oct. 4, 2018
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Entries 360
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