Skyward Anchorage signing

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Skyward Anchorage signing
Date
Date Nov. 12, 2018
Location
Location Anchorage, AK
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 8
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
Upload sources
#1 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The way I'll phrase this then, will everything else written in the Skyward universe be chronological going forward?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. Everything in the Skyward books will be going forward, and they'll be delving more and more deeply into the ideas brought up in this short story.

#2 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do the Heralds know about Aons? I am asking specifically about Shalash. Shao, Ale, Ashe. Transformation, Beauty, Illumination.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Let's say that some of them do and some of them don't. The question is "do the Heralds know about Aons?" How Cosmere-aware are the Heralds? It depends on the Herald.

#3 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you go about jumping from something like Stormlight into a science fiction instead, of something like Skyward?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This is an interesting question for me because, as a writer, I don't look at genre trappings perhaps the same way that you might. I look at story structure and genre trappings as two very different things. Two very important things, but two very different things. And story structure is different.

For instance, the Bridge Four sequence from Way of Kings and the movie Hoosiers and the book Ender's Game are all what we call underdog sports stories. And those are three different stories in three different genre trappings. Modern-day, science fiction, and fantasy; and yet all three of them use the same plot archetype as the core of their story. And you'll find, for instance, that a buddy cop movie and a regency romance will sometimes use the exact same plot archetypes, despite being different subgenres. And so, as a writer, one of the things we do is we start to learn to divide plot archetype, character archetype, genre trappings, and all of these things to build the story that we want to with the feel we want to.

So that's kind of like, when people ask me, "Star Wars. Science fiction, or fantasy?" Well, it's a fantasy plot archetype. (Really, it's a western plot archetype, but they both use the same idea.) The plot archetype is fantasy, it's the hero's journey epic; and the genre trappings are science fiction. So I would place it in science fiction, but with fantasy underpinnings.

So when I'm moving from Way of Kings to Skyward, it's not so much about how the shift between fantasy versus science fiction is. Really, the things I'm looking for that are the big shift are: a narrow focus on one character, versus a wide focus on a large cast. That's the biggest difference for me. Also, the kind of setting-as-character in Stormlight Archive, where you're going to get to know this deep setting, versus setting-as-mystery, which is the setting archetype I'm using for Skyward. We don't know what the enemy is. We're trying to figure out what's going on. We don't know our past.

So those sorts of things, I look as very differently as a writer than I think maybe a reader might look at.

#4 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are there plans for another thing like Arcanum Unbounded?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. But it's gonna be a ways off.

Where Arcanum came from is the fact that, early in my career, I would have an idea, I would sit down, I would write a novel. That is how I trained myself to be a writer. That's where I came up with thirteen novels before I sold one. That turned into my greatest advantage, and one of my greatest liabilities as I have progressed as a writer. The reason it was an advantage is, having spent all those years learning to write and learning my process, I knew what to do when a book wasn't working. I knew what to do with a book when it worked, but I wanted to make it better. I knew how to build an outline that would really make me excited about a story. But I also was really, really good at telling a new story and opening things up, and I had not practiced closing things off. All thirteen of those novels were basically all standalones with series potential, where I was hinting at something larger. And so early in my career, I was very good at, "Let's write a book. And of course, because I know what came before and what'll come after, I will make those things open for me."

And then the Wheel of Time came along, and kind of slammed into me like a freight train, and left me with all these first books that I had started. The Rithmatist. I had started, at that point, working on Legion. I had been doing Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians. And I found that what I needed to learn how to do was write a self-contained novella to get some of these ideas out of my head, rather than writing a novel that promised sequels. Because I also had promised sequels to Elantris, and sequels to Warbreaker.

And so Arcanum Unbounded is my attempt to kind of do like the interludes in Stormlight in my own career. Little interludes where I take an idea and I dig into it and I explore some part, often of the cosmere, without promising sequels. And part of my goal right now as a writer is to make sure I'm closing off more things than I open, or at least at the same rate. So that's why I finished Legion this year, which is done, and why I'm trying to finish Alcatraz for next year. If you're waiting for Rithmatist, which is the one I get the most requests about... eventually. It's gonna take a little while. It's been a really hard one to figure out how to do the sequels to.

But, closing things off. What you'll see me doing are more novellas like that, as time progresses. Eventually, I will start collecting them, like I did with Arcanum. But it's gonna take me a few years to get enough of them written that then they'll be worth another collection.

#5 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

There's a Mistborn pen-and-paper RPG. Are you gonna add other magic systems, a la Rifts, where we're connecting the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I have floated the idea to Crafty, who made a really great roleplaying game. They have been a delight to work with. They came to me and said, "What are your favorite RPGs? How can we make one that you'll be happy with?" And they took that and ran with it, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. And I really think they did a good job with [Mistborn: House War]. So they have been an excellent partner.

When I mentioned it to them, they said something that I respect a lot. They said, "Let's make sure that Mistborn is really good before we add other things." And I think, in the years intervening, watching how different film properties have not taken that same philosophy of "Let's take the thing we're doing and do it really well before we ask where else it'll go." I think that Crafty was very wise in that. I think it is likely we will do more, but they wanna make sure they are supporting the game they released and the IP that they've released before they do anything more.

So, I can't promise, but I do think there will likely be more.

#6 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How about the Way of Kings board game?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Too early to say. There have been some hiccups, how about that? Reckoners board game, though, came out and is really a lot of fun. So if you're looking for Brandon Sanderson themed board games, we do have two of them for you. But the Stormlight one, we shall see. Right now, we are being very cautious with that one.

#7 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You mentioned Star Wars, and you mentioned Elantris. I know you went back and did some rework on Elantris. How do you resist the urge to go back and rework your earlier books?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's kind of a balancing act. There's a famous quote that people attribute to Da Vinci (though I don't know if it was really him) that says, "Art is never finished; it's only abandoned." Which is quite true. Every book could have taken another year, another two years, another five years, and become a different book as you're working on it. And I think there is a balance to be found between fixing continuity errors and improving the experience, versus changing the book into something else. With Elantris, when we did the tenth anniversary [edition], we tried to hold ourselves strictly to continuity errors. Things that were being fixed were language cleanups; kind of like the digital remaster of a DVD, where it's the same thing, but times where I misused commas or I used this word a little too much, we cleaned it up to make the experience better. Or, in one case, someone looks out and sees Elantris from a point in the city where they were facing the wrong way. Stuff like that.

The only time I have done more than that was experimenting with the end of Words of Radiance. And my big concern with that is, I made some tweaks for the paperback, and then it raised lots of questions of "Which one is the canonical answer?" Which was too confusing for fans. I don't care if fans get confused on "What's the canonical answer of which direction this character was facing in this scene?" It doesn't really matter. But which is the canonical answer of what big decision a character makes does raise enough concern that I probably won't do it.

But I don't know. Grandpa Tolkien went back and changed The Hobbit to match Lord of the Rings. And when I read The Hobbit, that improved the experience for me, because I was reading it years and years later. I can see how it'd be confusing if people loved The Hobbit beforehand. But it ended up making a better story overall. So, I don't know. It's more about just finding the balance that we think is the right balance as we release these tenth anniversary editions of my books where we're cleaning up the language and things like that. I don't anticipate doing large-scale changes, unless they're for continuity reasons, moving forward.

#8 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are any of your characters influenced or inspired by your immediate family, like your wife or kids? And if so, which ones?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

My wife has asked me not to put her in a book. And so I haven't.

My children have inspired a number of characters, but they change so quickly. Steelheart is dedicated to Dallin from when he was, like, a two year old. And now he's an eight year old, and he's a very different guy. So basing characters on my kids is less basing them on a person and more on the experience of being a father and having young kids. Like, hero of The Rithmatist is named Joel. My first son is named Joel. That's not a coincidence. But when The Rithmatist came out, he was really little, and it's not like the character could be based on his personality at all, because he was crawling and eating his fingers at that age.

My good friends, particularly during the years when I was trying to break in, they have inspired a lot of characters. Sarene from Elantris is based on a friend of mind named Annie. A lot of Bridge Four, particularly the second string Bridge Four members. (Because I don't want them to have to worry that I'm gonna use them in a major way. It's more like they're getting cameos.) Skar is based on a friend of mine, Leyten is based on a friend of mine, Peet is based on a friend of mine, a bunch of the people from Bridge Four that aren't the ones that the main story is about, those are all my friends from college who were supporting me when I was writing these books.

As a writer, using someone in a book is less about basing a character on them, usually for me, and more about finding some interesting tidbit about their personality that I find fascinating that I spiral off into a new character whose seed was a little tiny aspect of somebody I know. Just like every character... People ask me who my favorite character is. I don't have one. I don't have a favorite book either, they're all like my children. But every character is based a little bit on something I do and something that's very different from me. And I take those two seeds, and I intermix them, and build a character around it.

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Skyward Anchorage signing
Date
Date Nov. 12, 2018
Location
Location Anchorage, AK
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 8
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
Upload sources