Skyward San Diego signing

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Skyward San Diego signing
Date
Date Nov. 7, 2018
Location
Location San Diego, CA
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Mysterious Galaxy
Entries
Entries 53
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
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#1 Copy

Tiek00n [PENDING REVIEW]

What would happen if Lift ate aluminum or other Allomantic metals? 

Brandon [PENDING REVIEW]

Lift would not be able to do anything with Allomantic metals. Good question.

Tiek00n [PENDING REVIEW]

Does that include turn them into Stormlight?

Brandon [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, that includes turn them into Stormlight.

#3 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, the sixteen Shards. Is it possible that there are more than sixteen, yet they do not know of them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This would be possible but I'll just go ahead and tell you no there aren't. That'll stop a lot of theorizing, though it is possible that Shards have been divided and things like this. And so you can call two subsets... But it's kind of like there are twelve tribes of Israel. They became twelve other tribes of Israel. There were still twelve because two were the sons of one. Yeah, stuff like that.

Footnote: Brandon was referring to Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph. The land of Israel was divided among twelve tribes that were slightly different from the original twelve, as Joseph's was replaced by those of his sons and Levi's was not a landed tribe.
#4 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I know about Harmony but is it possible for like two Shards to procreate and make a brand new Shard?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is a Read And Find Out. Assume I'm not hiding too much from you in that realm, but there will be some fiddly bits as we go further in the cosmere about stuff like that.

#5 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You mentioned White Sands Volume 3. Do we have a release date for that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

We do not have a release date but the script is done. We like the script. We've fixed slatrification, we hope. The ending is much improved over the novel in our humble opinions.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You published that as part of Arcanum Unbounded...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Just the sample. If you want to read the whole prose edition, just sign up for the newsletter. It sends you a link to download it. Or you can just ask from the 17th Shard. I let them distribute that. The ending of that has one really good element and one really bad element, and we took out the bad element and focused on the good element. I think it really kinda came together.

#6 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With the Shards and them kind of splitting pre-Adonalsium, was it really Shattered on Yolen or is there a different place?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, it gets a little sticky for various reasons, but you can assume that that's a yes, that what it appears to be is correct. The story would take place on Yolen but it gets messy, because there's some weirdness about the planet.

#7 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Regarding Dysian Aimians. The cremlings that make them up are spread about in a large area...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They can lose touch if the distance is too far. They can lose contact with the mind of the whole thing.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Would their Cognitive aspect be affected by that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes it would be. I'll just leave it there, but yes.

#8 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How many diamond chips does <Zahel> require to <survive>?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO. We will actually be releasing this pretty soon. But I actually have used my prerogative as a famous author to force some others to actually do the number crunching and the math of it. And so we will have a straight up unit measurement for you of various things coming up pretty soon. Once the number crunchers are done, you will know.

#9 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When magic Invested in an object... does the Investiture act like electrons when it reacts with the matter?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Not quite, but I could see that metaphor working to explain it. But it's not quite there. If you had a piece of Invested material from the cosmere here, you would not be able to measure the Investiture in any way. It occupies a space that doesn't exist in our universe, if that makes sense. But in the cosmere you could measure it scientifically with an instrument that would *inaudible* like trying to measure a dimension that we can't perceive, something like that. The electron argument is a decent one, but it's not exactly how I'm imagining it.

#11 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If someone were to create a human shape, with full articulations, made out of the four Feruchemical Spiritual metals and copper and do like a full dump into them, would it be able to... I mean, Investiture attains sapience on its own. If those were mixed with the memories in the copper would it be able to effectively become [an] android of the person who created it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So we got a couple of issues you have to overcome in creating this. Number one, the memories are not going to attune to the Investiture itself, they're going to be attuned to you. The Investiture as it attains sapience is gonna create its own Identity, which is then going to be a mismatch for those memories. So you would have to find a way to get those memories to work for that creation.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It wouldn't tie with the Identity that was *inaudible* aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, it would not. The other thing you were getting at there though, is that just Investing it alone, you would have to leave it alone for a long time, naturally, for it to start developing anything. And so we're looking at thousands of years, probably. There are ways to speed that process along, but just doing that and leaving it, it's gonna take a while.

#12 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are we going to see any other viewpoints from the Heralds?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. I mean, Taln and Ash are both main characters, right? But you should see other viewpoints of other Heralds as we progress... The ones that survive long enough to get viewpoints.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are they gonna be viewpoints in this current timeline?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You will see more in this current timeline. I know specifically several that are going to be interludish sort of things coming up.

#13 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You mentioned that the Heralds could sense each other's location...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

In that version of the story, he actually gets his sword and it lets him sense and it leads him, not to the other Heralds, but the other Honorblades. He was mistaken even about that power because they have never separated from them before. And so, he thinks that he's going to find the other Heralds and he just finds their abandoned Blades.

It was very cool in the context of that book. But of course, where the other Honorblades are now is not necessarily a mystery anymore. It doesn't kinda work in the current continuity.

#14 Copy

Daz925 [PENDING REVIEW]

Where were you in your writing process for Elantris. I know it was your sixth book and you were on your nineteenth when you got it published or...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, good question. So, where was I in my process when I wrote Elantris and when I got published, which was my sixth novel. So what happened with my career, it's kind of a very weird thing. You find that everybody has a different path to success as a writer. I heard early on that your first five books are generally terrible and this was really relieving to me, because I... a part of my brain... this would not... someone else, this might've been the worst thing to tell them. But for me it was the best thing because my brain said, "Okay, good, you don't have to be any good at this for your first five books".

And so my first five books I experimented quite a bit in story and tone. I did a gritty cyberpunkish thing. I did a comedy. I did an epic fantasy. I tried a lot of... I did a space opera. I did a lot of different things. And once I had done all that, I came back and said, "You know, my first love is epic fantasy, and it's what I really want to do." So I sat down to write book number 6, which was Elantris.

And at that point, I had gotten a few books underneath me. I kind of knew what I was doing, though I was not—I hadn't figured out my process quite as well as I would have liked. Elantris and a lot of the books during that era I did a lot more discovery writing, and I naturally am better when I have a stronger outline. But that's where I was.

My biggest weakness as a writer at that point was revision. I had spent those five early books just trying different things, and that permission for me to not be good yet also kind of gave me the psychological ability to be like, "Well, I don't have to revise this one, because I don't have to be good yet." But what that meant is I didn't practice revision. So once I finished Elantris, I was not good enough yet to know how to take a good book and make it great. So it went the rounds in New York and got rejected; rightly so, because it was very flabby and had not been focused. And I know, from a guy who writes thousand-page books, focus is a weird thing to say. *laughter*

And so, when I actually sold Elantris to Tor, it was after it had gone through four or five drafts and I had finally sat down and kind of buckled down and said I need to learn revision and learn how to make my books better. So I sold it right after... right while I was working on Way of Kings in 2002, 2003, somewhere around there.

#16 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What has been the craziest, most off-the-wall, unexpected kind of feedback you've ever gotten—

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Ooh. *crowd laughs*

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

—you know kind of how it <sent you in the right> direction.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Wow, craziest off-the-wall feedback I've ever gotten and what direction did it send me. I have so much trouble with these things. Some people ask me the line "what's the weirdest thing a fan has had you write in a book". And I know, if I took the time, I could think of it, but off the top of my head it's kind of hard. I'm not sure what the craziest, most off-the-wall sort of feedback I've gotten. I've given a lot of crazy, off-the-wall feedback. Legion, which we have here, came about because I was trying to convince my friend Dan Wells to write this book. *crowd laughs* "Oh, you could do this thing, and it could be like schizophrenia but not really, it could be a superpower," and he's like, "Brandon, that's not a Dan Wells book. <That right there> is a Sanderson book". And so I ended up writing the book, but that has happened. I've given weird feedback. I'd have to think about that one a little more.

#18 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

From what I understand, Ruin and Preservation create *inaudible* together, and they created humanity as copies of the original humankind. So how did they give Allomancy *inaudible*.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. So the magic systems are kind of built into the setting and the world. And there are certain natural pathways that exist, in the same way there are certain natural pathways for them to create life. Which is my explanation for why life is so similar on all the different planets, is that they're following natural pathways, and these magics are the same way. For instance, Lightweaving predates the Shattering of Adonalsium. A lot of these other things are suggestive of magics that existed before that were built around Adonalsium. They weren't 100% created by the Shards, but they do have the Shards' influence on them.

#19 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is the reason that the Fused have access to unlimited voidlight is because Odium's alive, and the Radiants have that access *inaudible*.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Not exactly... They do not have access to unlimited voidlight, how about that.

#20 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is the crem--is it natural--are the highstorms magically created?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah the crem is there to keep the continent from washing away. So I had to add a magical element that, if it were not in the cosmere with magic, this would not work.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is that why the Weepings don't have crem, is that's a natural storm?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is because I didn't want there to be too much crem at that point. These are all story structure things, instead. World wise, I would say a little more natural, sort of blow off steam, there.

#23 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the most important thing to do when writing to ensure that the story has the tone you want it to have?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Boy, I'm not sure if there's a one catch-all most important thing. The answer, unfortunately, to most writing questions is: practice a lot, and then show your work to people and get feedback, and then learn how to target it better. With tone, one thing I've noticed that is really tough to pull off is switching very frequently between something that's supposed to be humorous and something that's supposed to be serious. And this is not a bad instinct, because some of the great filmmakers and writers we know are able to do this. This is a Joss Whedon hallmark, right? We're gonna go from witty combat to sudden gravitas in the matter of, like, whiplash. So we're like, "Wow, I like movies like that, I like books like that. Terry Prachett can make me laugh and then make me cry in the space of page. I want to learn to do that." But it is really easy to have your tone go completely off the wall when you're trying to do something like that. And whenever I fail on that thing, on tone, it's almost always because I'm trying to inject something funny into the middle of something with a lot of gravitas.

This actually happened... "Funny" is maybe the wrong term for it, but in the last Wheel of Time book, a scene we cut. The beginning of the Wheel of Time book, to not give spoilers, start with a really dramatic fight scene where some people are struggling to survive under terrible situations, and they are getting picked off and dying, and things are burning. And I alternated that with a different scene I had written separately of several characters getting engaged. Which were both scenes I wanted in the book; but when I finally came to fold the stories together, these different threads, this one went opposite this one, and... Wow, it did not work. It was so bad. You would be reading these scenes about people dying, you'd be like, "I'm not interested in the people getting engaged." Even though it's something that you've waited for the entire series to read. Because of the tone mismatch of where you're jumping back and forth. So that was one where we actually cut out the scene of the engagement, and just let the scene that was the more powerful scene stand on its own.

#24 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Where did the idea of spren come from?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Comes from two primary inspirations. One is my perhaps too-much fondness for things classical philosophy. Specifically some of the ideas that Plato talked about with certain Ideals, and the ideal picture of something, the theory of the Forms, and all this stuff. Mixed with the idea of, in the Eastern religions and mythology, you have the idea of the <kame>, in which everything has a soul to it. And these two ideas kind of mashing together is where the spren were birthed out of.

I can also point a little bit at the Wheel of Time. One of the things I always liked about the Wheel of Time is, there's a character named Perrin who can smell people's emotions. And as a writer, when I was working on the Wheel of Time, I'm like, "This is so convenient!" Super convenient as a writer. Because it gets really cliched to use the same sort of phrases to indicate emotion. If you're always having somebody smirk as they talk, it starts to really stand out. But since, when I get to Perrin scenes, he can describe emotion in a completely different way, because he was using different senses, almost a synesthesia sort of thing where he would catch scents and know someone's emotion, it was a really cool writing tool. And I think the spren popped a little bit out of that, the ability to show emotion in a different way in my narrative, and that would change society in some (I thought) very interesting ways, made for a really interesting narrative tool for me as a writer.

#25 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You obviously treat your writing career pretty much like a business. On your blog, you talked about staff, and stuff like that. So I'm wondering if you have advice for emerging writers to build their careers with an eye towards business? Business stuff?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

A couple thoughts here. One is, nobody warns you that becoming a novelist is starting a small business, and it hits almost all of us like a ton of bricks when we realize, "Wait a minute. I have to get insurance. I am an independent contractor; I'm not working for the publisher, so I have to pay taxes in installments during the year." (What do you call those... estimated taxes. You have to do estimates, and things like this.) And you have to do all of this weird stuff that can be really hard. The writing problems don't generally talk about this. And they don't talk about getting an LLC, or things like this. I had to stumble through all this. And so, I would say to you, do know that becoming a writer, you are starting a small business. So any kind of classes you can take, or things you can read online on starting a small business, are gonna be a huge help to you in that.

The other thing is, I often... and this, I figured out pretty early on. I figured out that trying to write toward the market was an exercise in futility. I had a speech about that a couple years ago. Trying to always look at writing from a business perspective is going to drive you insane, for multiple reasons, like I just talked about. I just failed at writing a book last year, and I still don't know why. That's not something that really flies in the world of "everything adds up," because it doesn't. That should have added up to a book that works, and it didn't. Because writing is an art. There's an artistic side to it, there's a thing we can't explain. I can't explain very well how I get characters. Like, I outline my plots and my world; my characters come more organically, and it's really hard for me to talk about character for that reason, because putting it into words is difficult.

But one thing you can learn to do is that you can, when you're writing, try to throw all of that aside. Try to focus only on, "What are you passionate about? What does this story need?" And try not to think about the business side. When you finish that story, lock the artist in the closet, take the manuscript, run away cackling, and try to find a way to exploit it in any way you possibly can. That is my suggestion on balancing the businessperson and the artist. Let the artist write whatever they're passionate about. And then the businessperson's job should be separate, but same person different hat, and learn how to turn that into food on your table. Try to learn how to make that balance work. And I think that will take you pretty far.

#26 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Lopen, from the end of the Wheel of Time; and Lopen, from Stormlight Archive. Do they have anything in common?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Lopen... Is there a character in Wheel of Time called Lopen? Must just be a coincidence, then. I didn't write any intentional Wheel of Time references to my books, or anything like that. The only cameo sort of thing there is in there for me is, the sword that Robert Jordan's cousin gave to me out of Robert Jordan's collection, I wrote into the book. Kind of in the same way Robert Jordan wrote himself into the books as a ter'angreal that had lots of stories in it, that they discovered was his cameo for himself. I wrote in my sword. So my sword, which has painted dragons on the scabbard that look a lot (in my mind) like the ones on Rand's arms. And I don't know if he got that from that katana that he was given, but it was the one they gave my out of the collection, so I wrote it in. But any other connections you think you run into are going to be just coincidences. I do have a fondness for certain types of names.

#27 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I've been following the head writer of the Wheel of Time series for Amazon Prime. He was doing a Q&A on Twitter last month, and in it, he did not confirm Perrin in the series. How do you feel about that? And how do you think it'll affect the series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I think, knowing Rafe a little bit (I've had a couple calls with him), he's not confirming things because they haven't settled on approving any of his outlines and things yet for the series. So he's not going to confirm a lot of things until he gets this outline together, and things like that. And the Wheel of Time is a really tough beast, because of how many characters there are, and how many introductions you have to give, and things like this. I would not imagine that they would leave Perrin out, but it's possible, I can see a world where you'd leave Perrin out of the first season, or at least have him as a background character, and then delve into him later on. Because you kind of need Mat and the dagger in the first season. And you definitely need Rand in the first season. But the Perrin stuff could easily be moved to another season, because it doesn't have payoffs until, like, Book Four, or something like this. That would be my guess, but I haven't talked to him specifically about this.

I do know earlier, different people working it, they had tried to take Mat out of the first season, because he kind of comes to his own in Book Three. And that turned out to be kind of a disaster. It's just them trying a difficult thing, and not taking anything off the table, I think, is a smart way to approach it. I would be very surprised if Perrin got pulled out completely. But I don't know, I haven't seen any outlines or things yet. And they're definitely not required to show them to me, or anything like that.

#28 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm actually a big YA reader, and I became a fan of yours through your YA books; I read the Reckoners first. And I actually found... to put it in a nice way, some resistance from some of your fans because I like your YA stuff better. But I guess my question would be, what would you say to your readers that area really stuck on Stormlight or your older books that are reluctant to read either yours or other teen books?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's really weird to say "adult fantasy" in this context. I once had a panel where they introduced me as the "adult fantasy guy," and I'm like, "Well... yes?"

I would say, number one kind of most important thing in this is, "Don't feel bad for liking something and not liking something else." This is a big thing to me. It is okay that I hate fish sticks, and some people in this room love fish sticks. And if we acknowledge that writing is an art, and stories are an art, then I think we have to acknowledge that like or dislike of them must kind of have an inherent subjectiveness to it. Because if we all liked the same sort of art, that would not really be a world I want to live in. So it is okay to try things out and say, "This isn't for me." Whether it's written by me or anyone else, that is perfectly all right.

Though I would also say, if you haven't given a try to a genre just because of... there's a lot of snobbishness to art, at the same time. Like, I was reading an essay recently about how fiction has existed in this state of feeling snubbed by nonfiction, which was the "true" writing, ever since the novel was invented. But of course, once the novel was invented, we started subsetting into different genres where you could be snobbish against other people in that. And then in the subgenres, you're like, "Science fiction is better than furry fanfic," or whatever. So all we do is, we spend time being snobbish about somebody else's art that they love. And you see this a lot in science fiction with... Someone enters reading Eragon, and they love Eragon, and they go somewhere and say, "Eragon's my favorite book ever." And they're like, "Oh, that's just a bad ripoff of Star Wars and Anne McCaffrey." Instead of being like, "Wow, I'm glad you loved something. Welcome to our community." They're like, "Oh, you don't like the right thing." So, if you kind of let this get to you, and you haven't tried any genre, whether it be one of the YA, or a lot of people in Sci Fi/Fantasy (I won't state the specific genres) like to point and say, "Well, at least we're not as tropey as them." I think you will find, in a lot of variety of places, things that you love and you can learn from. And YA in particular, particularly when I was trying to break in, YA had started doing all the really exciting things in Sci Fi/Fantasy. So if you haven't read some Garth Nix from that era, or if you haven't been reading some of the really cool YA. (I just read the Star Touched Queen, which is amazing.) If you haven't been reading some of this stuff, YA has been doing a lot of really cool explorations of setting and genre and stuff like that, then you are doing yourself a disservice not trying it out. You don't have to like it, but I would suggest that you try it out. So that's what I would say.

#29 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I want to write books. Do you have any trouble with trying to figure out what you want your main character's name to be?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I will tell you this. You're probably stressing too hard about the name, because usually if you just pick one and start writing, you will grow to see that character by that name, and they'll be come entwined, and you won't stress about it anymore. That happens most of the time, if you just settle on one.

If you're writing Sci Fi/Fantasy, there are a couple of things you can do. If you want a really easy sort of Sci Fi/Fantasy hack, assign sort of a linguistic structure to a bunch of different countries in your world, and be like, "All of these are going to have Ancient Babylonian sounding names." And then you can go kind of look at that language and build some names out of that. That's an easy way to do it.

But really, I would not stress this. Just name the characters, start writing. If it feels wrong to you after you've written for a while, swap something else in, see if that works, and write for a while. Usually the person will grow to match the name, and then name will become synonymous with them in your head, to the point that it can be really hard to change their names later on when you decide, as I've sometimes decided, "Wow, this name doesn't fit the naming paradigm for this culture; I'll change their name." And then I just keep calling them the wrong name when I talk about them.

#30 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there any character that you think you have learned something from while writing?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Each character that I write is a mix of two things. It is a mix of some part of me, and something very different from myself. In order to write those characters, I usually do a lot of exploring and trying to find out about people who are like the character that I'm writing, and that teaches me a ton. You could say that the character has taught me a lot on that case. Doing, for instance, Kaladin, and trying to write a hero with depression whose story is not about having depression, and going to people I know and people I love and people I don't know, and asking them what it feels like, has taught me a whole ton. I don't know if that answers your question, but often the exploration of where a character goes is me exploring my own thoughts and feelings on an idea. And I would say that every character, to an extent, takes me on a journey as I write them, and kind of combine myself with something else. So yes, they all have, but they all are partially me.

#31 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you find it more difficult to write a story that includes or excludes magic?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Every story I've tried to write that didn't have magic, ended up having it. And so, I'm gonna say, so far it's proven virtually impossible for me to write something without magic. Even my science fiction basically has magic systems, right? Legion, which is supposedly set in this world, has a magic system. And so I would say, much harder to write something without magic.

#32 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Will we ever see that thousand page Way of Kings Prime?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Way of Kings Prime is the book that I wrote that... (I will actually read to you a little bit from it today. That's my reading, is from this book.) Eventually, I will just release the whole thing. Warning! It falls apart, and I actually did a little trim of the scene I'm gonna read to you today, because I was really into describing worldbuilding elements back then. You can watch the video from yesterday, where I read it before editing it, and there's like two paragraphs about the architecture. And then there's another two paragraphs about where they got the cloth for the clothing, and things like this.

I will eventually release it. Right now, it still has spoilers for things that happen in the series, and so I don't want to release it quite yet. But we're getting close to the place where I can release it, where all the spoilery things have happened in the main series, that are going to happen.

#33 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I wanna write books, too. One thing that really drags me down is that I'm afraid that my book is gonna be too short. Do you have any tips for keeping up your story?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, if you add paragraphs about the architecture, and where the clothing comes from...

Number one way to add length to a book without making it feel irrelevant is to start adding viewpoints form other characters who have a different take on what's happening in the story, and by naturally adding in some of those viewpoints and giving them their own arcs, you will lengthen the story in a way that feels natural. It will start to edge it into a different genre. The more of those you add, the more it's going to feel like a different style of story, either a historical epic or an epic fantasy or things like that, so you do want to be careful with it. But if you get done and your story's 50,000 words, and you want it to be 80,000 words, that can be a really good way to do it.

But honestly, I wouldn't stress about this too much. There are fantastic books that are 50,000 or 60,000 words long that get published. I don't know how long the new Stephen King one is, but it's like 180 pages. So it's probably, like, 40,000 or 50,000 words. Like, A Christmas Carol is what, 30,000, or something like that? Write the book; practice at the length you are comfortable in. And if it's consistently a problem that things actually end up too short, then start asking about, "Can I add subplots? Can I add other characters to give a different perspective on this?" But I wouldn't stress it too much at the beginning.

#34 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm a new teacher; my teachers are really quick to jump on me when I make mistakes. I was wondering if there's any inconsistencies or characters or any of the aspects of the magic systems you made that you could go back...?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Absolutely. Every book. Every book, there are things that I would want to change. And it ranges... there's a huge gamut of different things.

For instance, in the White Sand books, my first book that I wrote, that we eventually turned into graphic novels. I had a really cool magic system that was about manipulating sand with your mind, and things like this. And then I added in a weird thing where you could transform sand into water for no good reason whatsoever. It doesn't match the rest the magic system. Because I wanted to write myself out of a hole. And as a newer writer, I did that a lot more. It ended up kind of getting canonized, and when we went back, I didn't fix it that fast, and so it ended up in the first graphic novel, and I'm like, "We need to fix this." So, the third graphic novel... we've given ourselves enough wiggle room, fortunately, that I can be like, "And that's not what people thought it was." Because I want it to be more consistent. So you get that third graphic novel, and you're like, "Wow, they can't do this anymore?" No one ever did it onscreen, so they were just wrong. 'Cause that totally just does not belong in that magic system.

The Mistborn books, the original trilogy, I worked very hard to make sure I had an interesting, tough, but also compelling female protagonist. But then I defaulted to guys for the rest of the crew. And if you want to write a story about that, doing it intentionally, that's a different conversation entirely. But when you just kind of do it accidentally, like, I did, I look back and I'm like, "Mmm, I didn't really want to do that. But I did anyway, because of just the way that every story I'd seen I was defaulting to (like Ocean's Eleven, and things like this), where my models were, and I didn't take enough time to think about it, where I think it would have actually been a better story if I had thought a little bit more about that. Like, there are things like that all across the board.

I did get into a little... trouble's the wrong term. But in Words of Radiance, I reverted it... from the paperback, when it came out, I reverted to a previous version that I had written for part of the ending. And that caused all kinds of confusion among the fans, what is canon? And so I'm like, "Oh, I can't do that anymore." But I had gone back and forth on how a part of the ending was to play out. A pretty small element, but a part of the ending. And I had settled on one. And then immediately, as soon as we pushed print, felt that it was the wrong one. But you just gotta go with it.

I don't know. I don't think there's a strict answer on how much you can change, and how much you can't. Grandpa Tolkien went back and changed The Hobbit so it would match Lord of the Rings. And I think I'm glad he did. Even if I would have been annoyed if I'd had the first version that doesn't have the connection. When I read it, it had the connection, and it was so much cooler. I don't know if I have answers on that. But every book, there is something I would want to change.

#36 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You will know that eventually. It involves things slipping out of another dimension into our dimension, finding a shape. Rithmatist, yeah.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

That was never explained. *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They weren't drawn. They took that shape on their own.

#39 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In terms of redemption arcs. In terms of Moash. *inaudible* redeem himself?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I won't say no, because I think you have to go really, really far in order to not be redeemed. But at the same time... let's just say if Dalinar got redeemed, Moash has gotta go further than Dalinar. At the same time, he is certainly not looking for that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

But neither did Dalinar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

But neither did Dalinar.

#40 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When Jasnah takes Shallan on as a ward, she teaches her a strategy for *inaudible*. Is that strategy *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. It's a strategy like the one they tried to teach me in college, and I was never good at.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So you used it intentionally because of?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Not that I don't like it. My brain <doesn't work the way> that note-taking methodology worked. I know it worked for some people, and probably if I had spent more time on it, then I would have. But I work in a different way.

#41 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If a thing that is Invested under one Shard, you transfer it to another. Does the method of continuing empowerment of Investiture change to the source of that other Shard?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Naturally, no. It <may do so>.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The only reason I ask is because Nightblood does the same thing with Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Nightblood does not require a specific type, but will instead accept gleefully anything you give it. But for instance, if you took a Soulstamp to another planet and somehow made it work, it wouldn't necessarily draw on the power of that Shard to work. Granted, it's really hard to make a Soulstamp work. Here's another example. You go on another planet. Hoid is using Allomancy on Roshar. That is not using the power of Honor or Cultivation. It is still drawing on the power of, in that case, Harmony.

#42 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

*inaudible* Zahel/Vasher?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Vasher is the name he had in Way of Kings Prime, the one I just read from, before I wrote Warbreaker.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

That's my question. What's the real chronology?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, Warbreaker's first.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Because <he named him, did he not>?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, the name, Vasher. Of course, he had a different name before that.

#44 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you ever feel like, as the author of these stories, you are basically the God of these books?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. It feels... honestly, I would look at it more... The better way I feel is more like the historian. I've constructed the story in the outline, and now as the historian I'm writing it out and recording it. Because it's already kind of happened to me as the outline doing it. So I feel more like that. Like, I'm gonna do what the story demands. I'm not sitting there playing God, like, "I'm doing this to you!" I'm like, "This is what the right story is, and I'm going to write it."

#45 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When you have to make changes, do you ever feel like you're betraying something in your story, when you have to make a change that maybe you weren't planning on?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, it's the other way around. I never have made a change I haven't been comfortable with. It's only if I feel a story's gonna be stronger and it's better for the characters. A revision is more like an exploration of "Something was wrong in this, I did it wrong the first way. I'm gonna try to nudge it toward the way it should be." And when I can't do that, that's when I have to pull the book, because I can't figure out what it should be, if that makes any sense. It's kind of nebulous. But I'm trying to get it closer and closer to the perfect version of the story I'm trying to tell.

#46 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I've been thinking about Idealism as a philosophy and how the concept of the Cognitive Realm is sort of like a very realistic version of Idealism. Is there any influence there at all?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh, definitely. I was a closet philosophy major in college. I didn't actually do that, but I attended a lot of philosophy classes. And I'll tell you this, philosophers don't know to write. That's the most annoying part. You read their essays, and they're full of brilliant ideas, with these enormous run-on sentences that make no sense. So I got really frustrated by that. But I really loved the classes and reading and things like that, and the touch of it is all over my books. If you look for it, you'll find a lot of the different philosophies, you'll find all those guys in different places on different philosophers and different religions and stuff like that.

#47 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

There are so many different races, like the Listeners in Stormlight. *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. Slowly over time, you will get more and more as the series go on.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. In fact, like the Horneaters and the Herdazians are human and Parshendi cross-breeds. They've got Parshendi blood <in the back.> I've talked about that. You'll find out other things about the others.

#50 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

A question about Jasnah and your relation to Jasnah. She's a Veristitalian. Is that a part of Jasnah that is you, or is that a part of Jasnah that's somebody else?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The fascination with history and trying to use it to change the present is me. And that is the part of Jasnah that I... Also, by nature, I'm kind of a Slytherin. And so would Jasnah. That part of me is there. The "do-gooder Slytherin," if that's not an oxymoron.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

And does the word Veristitalian come from "veritas"?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. So, in their language, it would not actually be Veristitalian. What I do is, my books, I pretend they're in translation. So when Wit makes a pun, or when you see something that echoes Latin or Greek, the idea is that they are echoing in-world ancient languages that we have chosen, instead of transliterating, to actually translate so it gives the right feeling in English.

#52 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What is your philosophy on prologues? You do a lot of them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I do a lot of them. I don't think they're necessary. I'm fond of them. Usually, if you can find a way to not do one, your story will probably be stronger. But they do let you do something like, for instance, if you know that the later tone of your story is not going to match the early tone of your story, you can hint what the tone is actually going to be in the prologue, which is really handy. And there are other things you can do. You can start with a bang with a prologue in a way that maybe sometimes you wouldn't be able to do if you were going into the main story. There's things that I like about them. But I do think that they become a crutch to some writers, and that might include me.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have a recommended length in terms of how long it should be? Or maybe how long it should not be? What would be the max for a prologue?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, Robert Jordan's kind of became books unto themselves, and that worked for him. But when you're getting that long, you might be... Short and sweet is probably your best. One of the best prologues ever written is the prologue to Eye of the World, Robert Jordan. But there's no real... Just try to avoid the classic '80s one where it's like, "Prologue is all the worldbuilding dump that I couldn't fit in to the first chapters."

#53 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If Sazed got bored one day, could he split the two Shards he has?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Read And Find Out.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So for right now, there are fifteen Shards?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right now, there are sixteen Shards, but fifteen Vessels. Well, not even that, 'cause, you know.

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Skyward San Diego signing
Date
Date Nov. 7, 2018
Location
Location San Diego, CA
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Mysterious Galaxy
Entries
Entries 53
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
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