Skyward Houston signing

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Skyward Houston signing
Date
Date Nov. 19, 2018
Location
Location Houston, TX
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Murder by the Book
Entries
Entries 94
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
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#7 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What does M-Bot have against Doomslug and Rig?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

M-Bot treats Rig kind of like you might treat a doctor. Even though he's good for you, you may not enjoy having someone poke around at you.

With Doomslug, it isn't that he has a lot against Doomslug. Doomslug just isn't a good conversationalist. She does a lot of repeating back at you what you say. So getting trapped only with Doomslug would be...

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Can the second book have Doomslug with a bow?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

In a bow? I will try to get Doomslug a bow.

#9 Copy

Paladin Brewer [PENDING REVIEW]

We know that Hoid was offered a Shard and turned it down. Was he offered a specific Shard?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He was. There is one of the Shards that he would've... yeah.

Paladin Brewer [PENDING REVIEW]

Would he have been the 17th person or did someone take his place?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. Someone took his place.

#11 Copy

Paladin Brewer [PENDING REVIEW]

Previously you were asked if Hoid could have been using the lerasium to alloy with other metals to change his spiritweb, and you answered it was technically possible. Does that mean you’re finally admitting that Hoid did not digest the bead?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I am not admitting that. It was possible for him to do that, but he did not.

#13 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you would spontaneously, prematurely die, any author you would consider ideal for finishing your work?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I usually pick Brian McClellan. Just because he's my student and I wanna be mean to him. I've warned him, I haven't asked him if he'd do it, I just warn him. I tell people that he'll do it. And he's like, "Oh. *grumble*" We're good friends. But Brian would actually be a really good match. Properly outlined, Brian is one of the better writers out there.

Second Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I love that caveat.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Brian is uh, Brian can go off. He knows this but, uh, yeah.

#14 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is the Cosmere, the thread connecting several of your series, something that came from the beginning, or something that kind of grew?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

What a great question! So the Cosmere, which is the thread connects a lot of my books together. All of my epic fantasies are connected in this world called the Cosmere. Was that from the beginning, or was it something that grew?

So I had, I often point to the fact that I had those years not getting published as a big advantage, because while I was working on those books, I didn't write the first ones as a connected shared universe. It was after I had done a number of them, that I'm like, "Hey, there's something here! There's a thread that I can weave together." But by the time I got published, I knew all of that right?

And so, like when I wrote Mistborn, which was my, the first book I wrote knowing it would get published. Elantris was my first published, it was number 6 in those years. I sat down specifically with Mistborn and built the Cosmere, using some of these unpublished books as the history of what had happened. So from the get-go of reading it, it was all interconnected. Elantris got retrofitted a little bit, to fit in with this. From Mistborn is where it all kind of starts working together and things like that.

I was inspired to do this by authors I had read who did this really well, that I liked. Stephen King did it. Michael Moorcock did it. It really kind of blew my mind when Asimov connected the robots and the Foundation books. Of course, you know, comics have been doing it forever. But when I saw authors doing it is what made me really excited. I would count those as inspiration.

 

#15 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How tall is Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Kaladin I think is 6' 4"? But I'm not 100% sure how the equivalent, like he is 6' 4" to Rosharans, which may actually put him several inches taller to the 6' 4", like the feet on Roshar are not exactly the same as feet here.

#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

[Did] Kelsier help in the search for Roamer [Hoid] that Galladon and Demoux were doing in the Purelakes?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Good question...

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

He's the only one that can call him something similar, like "Drifter" so -

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, I'm going to RAFO that... not quite where. I'll just RAFO it. I'll just RAFO it. Kelsier is not on Roshar, but obviously that's not what you're asking, which is what I thought you were.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

He has an aura that fits in with-

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mmhmm!

#19 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

To get into the mind of Bleeder, was that hard?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, to get into the mind of Bleeder, who is an antagonist in Shadows of Self, is probably the darkest I've gone in one of my books, and yeah. It was, but it was also somewhere I hadn't explored before, and so it was really interesting to me.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It's my favorite character so far.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You will like, if I ever write the Threnody novel, you will like that one. Which is the Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, that book. I do have a book in the cosmere sequence planned in that world, but it does[doesn't?] have that character.

#20 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's Kaladin's last name?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Kaladin doesn't have a last name because, in Alethkar, your last name is your House name. He is vacillating on what his House name would be, everyone just calls him Kaladin Stormblessed. There's a realistic expectation that if he wanted to be a Kholin, he could be Kholin, if he wanted to adopt that as his own House name instead of having a different one.

But right now he's just called Kaladin Stormblessed.

#21 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If I were to alloy atium and lerasium, would I get harmonium?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's different after the Shards combined.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If I was to take harmonium and separate it out through distillation, would I get lerasium and atium or something that functions similarly?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, you would..it actually has become a different--

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Can't be split?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. I mean, you could find a way, but you're not going to get it through normal, mechanical means.

#22 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are we ever going to see the Moon Scepter on screen and what it does?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, you should see the Moon Scepter on screen. What it does is it works as a kind of Rosetta Stone for interpreting some of the magics.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So that's why Hoid wanted it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's why Hoid wanted it, yes. He's  trying to figure out how to give himself--to be able to use the magics on Sel, and that's a key that he wanted

#24 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the relationship between spren and Seons?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They are the same thing from different magics.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay, exact same thing from different magics?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

"Exact," might be a little too strict, but yeah.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So a Seon can be transferred to another person, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Can a spren?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

#25 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Lopen's arm. In Stormlight, you cannot regrow if your soul has accepted the change?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Perception is very important to this, yes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So is he just crazy enough to believe that he still had an arm?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, it's more like, he never saw himself as being...he saw himself as the person *inaudible* and not being disabled by what happened to him. It's not craziness, it's just a matter of perception. What you're running into Kaladin with his brands in particular is that he thinks he deserves them.

#28 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You said thirteen failures, right, with the Way of Kings being the thirteenth? (referring to Brandon's unpublished books)

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. My thirteenth.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are there any other [unpublished books] that you had... that turned into published books?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Any others that ended up being published? Yes. White Sand, which was my first book, I rewrote as book number seven or eight and I eventually  turned it into a graphic novel. Big chunks of book nine turned into Warbreaker, and - umm - and books eleven and twelve - one was called The Final Empire and one was called Mistborn - remember how I told you about two ideas mashing together and what made the story finally work? The best parts of those books turned into a new book, the magic system of one merging with the lore of the other is how it worked out. So, um, I did not publish any of those books as they were written except for Elantris. The Way of Kings I started from scratch when I rewrote it, and Mistborn I started from scratch when I rewrote it. But certainly ideas that were part of that ended up in those books.

#29 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So... you've mentioned... you have an idea of how the Cosmere's going to go. The ending of the Cosmere... considering you have seven more Stormlight books to write and years to go, does the ending of the Cosmere hang over your head...?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Does the ending of the Cosmere hang over my head 'cause I've got a ways to go-- yeah, it's starting to loom a bit! You know, when I was in my twenties and thirties doing this, "Ah! I can write every story, I've got plenty of time!", but now that I'm in my forties I'm-- let's make sure we focus and keep going on this. So one of my goals has been to learn to write novellas so that the random ideas that pop in my head became novellas and not novels, because the way I work, I can't stay on one thing between books, um -- I find that it burns me out really fast if I don't have something new to work on, but if that new thing to work on can be a novella like one of the Legion books, or like Perfect State, or Snapshot or something like that and then I can jump back on the kind of mainline book and reset myself quickly. And that why you see me practise that and things like that.

My goal is kind of closing things off faster than I open them - this is why Legion got finished this year, why Alcatraz will probably get finished next year. Those of you waiting for a Rithmatist sequel -  *sighs* - eventually. Umm... for those of you waiting for Reckoners, I consider Reckoners to be done. If I eventually fix and release Apocalypse Guard, that might answer some of the questions you have about the end of that series. Elantris and Warbreaker are both part of the Cosmere arc, what I'll probably do is I'll write Stormlight 4 and 5 and the last Wax & Wayne book over the next few years -- five years, next five years probably. *laughter* And then I'll probably stop and do Mistborn Era 3, which is the 1980s Mistborn, and maybe some Elantris sequels. And then I'll come back and do Stormlight 6-10 which take place about 10 years in-world after Stormlight 5. Same characters, at least the ones that survive *eruption of laughter*. That might be all of them! No spoilers there. Um... but Stormlight is ten books. The way Stormlight will go is Book 4 is Eshonai, Book 5 is Szeth, 6 is Lift, 7 is Renarin, 8 is Ash, 9 is Taln and 10 is Jasnah. That doesn't mean that the person survives, it means that it's a flashback sequence. *nervous laughter* Just keep that in mind. So if your sequel wasn't on that list, um, then don't hold your breath.

#31 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Which of your characters are most like you and which would you most aspire to be like?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know, this is a really interesting question. All of my characters are part me and part-not me, so you can point at every character and say, "Oh, that's Brandon!" Alcatraz, my mother says is most like me. *laughter* I don't know what that's saying, but those are really goofy middle-grade books about a character who can't take anything seriously. I aspire to be a little more like Sazed I think, but every character is a bit like me, and every character is something different than me that I want to explore.

#32 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So in one of your State of the Sanderson posts you said that the "Wax and Wayne" series was going to come out in late 2019, but then you decided to write another trilogy that lasted two years, so...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So Wax & Wayne 4 - abandoning Apocalypse Guard has put me a little on the rocks for when I'm going to do that. Right now I'm planning Wax & Wayne 4 to be a book I use as a break from doing revisions on Stormlight 4. Stormlight 4 I have to start in January if I'm going to meet my stated goal of having them come out every three years, which I realize is a long time between books - but remember that they're four times longer than a normal book! *laughter*. You're laughing, but Oathbringer was 450,000 words, Skyward is 110,000 - so Oathbringer is longer than four Skywards. I do have Skyward 2 done, and am going through the editing process right now. So Wax & Wayne 4 is very much on my radar - I wrote the first one taking a break from Towers of Midnight, so the chances are good I'll need a break from Stormlight 4 and write it there. I don't know if it'll be out next year or the following summer. Stormlight 4 we're shooting for the fall of 2020, and I should be able to get it right around that time if I start in January, so that's the plan.

#33 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Sadeas' murder - do you consider that arc pretty much wrapped?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is not wrapped... but there are lots of... 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay. Because I was writing... I want more of that.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There is a - let's just say that there is a convergence of moral philosophies happening in the Kholin household and that it is not done by far.

#36 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I know FOX bought the rights to Steelheart. Do you know if there is anything coming out of that? An update?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Alright. Big update on media properties based on Sanderson things. We'll start with Reckoners since you started there.

FOX owns the rights to the Reckoners, they have been bought by Disney - we don't know what that's going to do to it, but FOX has always been very excited about Steelheart so we will see what happens. We do have the Reckoners board game that came out and is shipping to backers. It's not for sale yet to people who haven't been backing it but it will be eventually. Let's see... let's go down some of the smaller projects.

Legion is owned by a company out of Canada called Cineflix (Cineflix Media), and they are working very hard to make a television show out of that. They just bought the rights last summer, but last I heard they had a showrunner interested, so maybe some announcements about that.

The closest to being published-- the closest to being a movie is Snapshot. You probably don't know what that is - it's one of my novellas, it's like a mix between The Matrix and the movie SE7EN, so it's very different from a lot of my stuff. It's very close, they have a script and the screenplay's really good, they've got someone attached to direct but they haven't announced it yet so I can't announce it. That one is probably the most close, which is going to be weird when my first movie is a serial killer thriller, but y'know, whatever.

The Cosmere books are owned by DMG Entertainment. They are a Chinese company that funded some of the Marvel films. They've moved into making  their own films. They have been a wonderful partner. They are trying very hard to make Stormlight a television show and Mistborn as a movie. It's very hard to get these epic fantasy things off the ground but they're making good progress, but there's nothing to announce yet. So I think that is everything.

#37 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have a favorite Smedry Talent?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. I took a lot of these from things my mom does - which are things that maybe I do also, like being late to everything, and being bad at dancing. Probably mine is being bad at dancing. But probably my true talent is the ability to use a lot of words to say nothing. *laughter*

#38 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How close is the enslavement of the parshmen to the Recreance, timeline *inaudible*? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Um... fairly close, as timeline issues go, but still many decades.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Did it play any kind of factor in the decision?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Absolutely. But we're not talking about it happening next year. But it was a factor, how about that?

#39 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I wanted to ask have you ever considered making one of your books into an animated series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I would! If the right people approached me, I would certainly not turn that away. I think there are more people wanting to get series made than there are people making good ones, but I would jump on it if the right people came along.

#40 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Any news on Alcatraz 6?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's coming along really well! I finished about half of it and then I sent it to a friend of mine who's a big fan of the series, saying, "What do you think of the voice?" We're trying to get the voice so that it's Bastille this time, right? Tell him that it's going really well. 

#41 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In the reading that you did, the Nahel bond, has it changed?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. So, spren were added, and things like that. What he had would still be called a Nahel Bond. A Nahel Bond in the original definition means bond to divinity, but that's come to encompass a lot more in the cosmere, any time you're bonding with... the bond between a soul and Investiture. But in the original version, it was more only with a Shard of Adonalsium or something like that.

#42 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Can you explain how the Well of Ascension worked? How it actually held him and why releasing the power released Ruin?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is the sort of thing that I can't explain in a brief amount of time, but hit me with an email, all right? Say that I promised to answer this, keep pushing me and eventually we'll get an answer written out for that one.

#45 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is it possible for a Returned with sufficient knowledge, to sacrifice themselves to mend the Oathpact?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, not without work. It just wouldn't work naturally that way. So no, I mean technically any Investiture... with that amount of Investiture, there's like, a chance they could do something like you want to do. But I'm going to say, kind of, would be no.

#46 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What was the thought process behind Shinovar being so similar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

A couple of reasons. One is, by having some sort of Earth analog on world, I could give some contrast, and I could have a kind of an explanation for why they might use words like chickens until I can get to the big reveal. Like, if there weren't Shinovar there to act as a red herring, I think it would give away the twist very early.

Beyond that, I like the idea of the people that are like us being the alien ones to the society. Kind of helps separate it and say, this is a different world, this is a different culture. So, it gave me a lot of advantages. Plus it also gave an explanation for how they could -- humankind create a foothold on this planet after coming across. So, lots of different thought processes behind that.

#47 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you used Hemalurgy to steal Allomancy, Harmony gets some kind of insight into the person that was spiked? He can talk to them? And with enough spikes hear their thoughts?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mhm. Yes. With enough spikes, take them over.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So if you use a spike to say, steal Breath, would Endowment?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'll RAFO that for now. Good question though, I haven't been asked that yet. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you stole Breath, would Harmony still keep the same effect?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's why I'm going to give a RAFO.

#48 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When Jasnah says she should've opened a pit, does she mean a chasm or a kind of Androl, Wheel of Time, kind of thing? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Androl, Wheel of Time, what do you mean by that?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When he opens a gateway? What does she mean by pit?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Ha. *evil smirk* I'll RAFO that right now.

#50 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What would Rock's favorite vegetable be in a soup? Like the Earth equivalents?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Ooh! Well, see, Rock is gonna base it based on the soup, because he's a chef. But if it's his perfect favorite, he's gonna want something crunchy, so he's gonna want like—

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, I know he'll want the, the essentially the equivalent of crawdads.

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

She's trying to write a Cosmere food article.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, yeah. But there are... like, if you can get like a... radish, that's going to crunch, he's probably going to look for that in a soup, because that's going to be closer to what he likes. Something that's got some variance in the texture.

#51 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How did you come up with the magic system of the Mistborn books? You know, Allomancy, all that stuff.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It has a couple of origins. Feruchemy came from me being in high school, as an insomniac, wishing I could take all the time I was sleepy during the day and use it at night to go to sleep. Allomancy came from trying to find something that walked the line between alchemy and science, and it ended up there. I built the powers based around what I thought a thieving crew would need.

#52 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Did you always envision the way that Legion ended?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, I did not. That is one I worked out—I didn't have an ending in mind for Legion when I started. So when I sat down and said, "What ending am I going to write?" This is the one that evolved out of that, but that one was more... I outlined the story, but it was more of a discovery written ending.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It was fascinating. I loved it, but I was really surprised.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is perhaps one of the oddest things I've done.

#53 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I noticed you're acknowledged in the *inaudible title* once, what'd you do for that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Not a ton, they sent me an early copy and asked my thoughts. I got through maybe a quarter of it, sent back some suggestions, how to make it feel more like a narrative - that was what my main focus was, where they can break the stories, where to break them up, just to have them give it more narrative flow.

#54 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, any idea when we'll get the sequel to Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I have no exact promise. My goal right now is to get Stormlight 5 out, right, and then alternate Mistborn, Elantris, Mistborn, Elantris, Mistborn. Warbreaker will have to wait and see how that plays out. I do intend to get to it, but it's entirely possible that this won't be something I do until after Stormlight 6.

#55 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I know you have Dragonsteel planned and Hoid will play a role in the Cosmere, does it have like a behind-the-scenes Hoid story like Secret History?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is possible, but I don't have it on the list to do right now. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Just in your head maybe, someday.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mhm. Secret History was like that too, I wasn't sure I was going to get it out. We will see.

#56 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What inspired Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So Hemalurgy was probably - it's hard for me to say, because it's been fifteen years, but I think I started with the image of the Inquisitors with spikes in their eyes. At the same time I was trying to work up a third magic system to go in the trilogy so I could have one magic, two magic, three magic, and I wanted one that was super creepy and evil. And I built it around those two ideas.

#60 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Was there a person in real life that you based your character Kelsier on?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There is not. Kelsier grew out of the idea, primarily, of the thief who is really good at his job, like the gentleman thief, who then picked up a larger purpose. And I kind of built him out of that. I built him first as kind of the con artist that I wanted to have gone through something that changed him. And I explored that and that's just who he became. But there's not really a specific person.

#62 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You were saying you were a professor? So it sounds like your writing process, that's a full-time job. Is it your full-time job?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

How do I balance all of these things? I am the least amount a professor a person can be and still claim the title. I teach one class one semester a year that is an evening class for three hours. I gave up all the other classes that I taught, once the writing took off. And it's really quite helpful for me to have that one night a week where I just go out and work with new writers. Because I think if you don't do that, if you don't see what new writers are doing, then it's too easy to get crusted over in your little sanctuary and not pay attention to the outside world. But the professor part of Professor Sanderson has become less professorial over the years. Writing is my full-time job, and has been since I went full-time in, like, 2006 or so. So I really only had two years or so being a real professor before I became a fake one. But they still call me one, they claim me.

#63 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

A question in general with your writing process. Do you learn a lot from your students that have gone on to become authors in their own right? Do you come back looking at their works and maybe saying "I can incorporate this kind of style into my writing?"

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I would say I tend to learn more from the writers who were with me when I was breaking in who are around my age, 'cause we're all kind of going through the same things. So people like Dan Wells or Mary Robinette Kowal that are kind of my group that broke in around the same time, I try to talk to them a lot about writing. This is where my writing podcast came from, Writing Excuses. It was me just wanting to ask them how they fix thing, how they deal with this thing, how they deal with that. Certainly, some of my students have gone on to do really great stuff that is inspiring. Brian McLellan's Powder Mage books are great. Charlie Holmberg, who writes the Paper Magician, the Glass Magician books are great. Lot of really great writers. I don't know how much credit I can take from them. But I am inspired a lot by a lot of the books that I read. But I wouldn't say that group specifically. Though working with new writers is kind of inspiring in its own way. Less about the things they're writing, and more just remembering what it was like, and the passion you have when you're a brand new writer. That kind of fresh-faced innocence is handy for someone, the longer you go.

#64 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I read on your website that, to come to your class, you have to submit a manuscript or something, that you read. Has anybody in your classes published works that you would recommend?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The way my class works. (By the way, if you can't take the class, which is kind of hard to do since it's in Provo, Utah. I do record my lectures periodically. There's three years of them online. I don't record it every year, but every three years or so I record the lectures and just post them on YouTube.) A lot of my students have gone on to write books I would recommend.

Let's see if I can name a few. Jed and the Junkyard War. Which is a really cool middle grade about a kid who goes to a world that's completely a junkyard, and everyone scavenges out of that. It has some really good worldbuilding. That's a good book. Like I said, middle grade targeted, so if you know someone who's, like, eleven or twelve and they want a good one book, that one's great. Charlie [Holmberg] writes great books. I just read Chris Husberg's new book. If you like the epic fantasy stuff, he does a very good job with epic fantasy that deals with religion and politics and things like that. I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody. There are a lot of students who go on to publish things. Janci [Patterson] writes teen books with a lot of emotion and problems and messed up lives, trying to sort out messed up lives, short books, and they are fantastic.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I could be completely wrong, but I believe a skill is something that you pick up after years of being beaten in a school system, and talent is something that you're born with. If you've ever been out on a karaoke night, you know the difference between a skill and a talent. Is writing a skill or a talent?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

What a wonderful question! I think writing draws on both. And I think writers need both. And to explain the difference, the skill of writing is learning plot structures. Learning how different plots play out. Learning what types of words to use in what situations. But the art of writing, the talent of writing, comes in bringing it all together to something that is somehow bigger than the sum of its parts. And figuring out that balance, and how to take something that you've constructed out of pieces that you've learned and turn it into something that is a little more magical (no pun intended) is the art of writing, and that's the part that I can't explain. I can teach you the skill of writing, and I can teach you maybe to train yourself to express the art. But at the end, the talent is something that can't be defined.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When writing, do you ever encounter a problem where you're building a world or writing a book is very similar to other things going on in popular culture, something like that? How do you build your world to be different from those, so it doesn't feel similar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Artists and writers are more afraid, in my experience, of being thought derivative than they generally should be. A lot of times what you'll see is, people who have a similar sort of background and are reading the same sort of things will start to create things that are similar. There's a reason Brent Weeks and I both released color-based magic system books within a year of each other. And it's not because we were talking; we didn't even know each other then. But we both grew up reading the same sort of things and were exploring magic in the same ways.

I don't think you need to stress this nearly as much as you do. At least as much as you probably do. My experience has been that the only thing that's really gonna be original about your story is you. And you are going to add things to this story. Look at the number of people who have told Beauty and the Beast in different ways. Or Cinderella. We had a Cinderella book become one of the biggest books of the year just a few years back, in Cinder. You are going to be able to add things. If you have early readers say, "This feels derivative." You can always change that, or you can always write something else. Don't stress it. Write the book you want to write, and train yourself to be a writer, and it really isn't gonna be as big a problem as you might think it is. It wouldn't matter, for instance, if you released a book the same year as Mistborn that had a metal-based magic system. Like, X-Men has a character with a metal-based magic, and it was the biggest movie of the year a couple a years before Mistborn came out, and people don't read Mistborn and be like, "Wow, that's just Magneto, only lamer." Thankfully, they don't say that. So, don't worry about this as much as you might.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

A lot of filmmakers and authors that have ended up producing not-great work. A lot of times, they'll cite the publishing house, they'll cite the studios, things like that, and they pressure that they get to release earlier than they initially wanted to. How have you managed that relationship with your publishers to effectively make sure that all of your books have met at least your criteria for excellence? And certainly your fans seem to enjoy them. How do you work that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is a balancing, because there is a business side to this. Writers don't get as much push as filmmakers do, because no one has invested $200 million into me making a book, right? And recently, I have moved my contracts away from advances and more to kind of just being a cooperative publishing deal with the publisher, kind of with the understanding that they don't get to give me deadlines. I write the book and I turn it in, and I'm able to do this because they trust me to actually write the books and turn them in.

And so, it is a balancing act, though, in a different way. I've never really felt pressure from the publisher. But at the same time, there's that famous quote, "Art is never finished; it's only ever abandoned." You can always do another revision. And where to stop your revision is something that I think each author kind of has to come to terms with. Because if the book were released a year later, it would be a different book. It may not be better; it might be better. It may just be different. So learning to balance that, to know when you're done with revisions and things like this, I think is certainly a part of it. It isn't a big problem for me.

Words of Radiance is the closest it came to being a problem. Because we had the publication date set, and then the revisions just took longer than we expected. And my core assistant, who was doing copyedits, was spending way too long on those copyedits. We've tried to learn to balance that. But it's something that authors have to learn to balance, so good question. I'm not sure I have a straight answer for you on it, though.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The excerpt that you read today [from Way of Kings Prime], is that available online anywhere?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I will put it online with my State of the Sanderson, how about that? I'm sure there are versions of it on the 17th Shard, if you go look at the fan forum. I'm sure someone has posted it.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Why didn't Spensa just go home to get food, instead of just having to hunt?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, there's a couple of reasons. Number one, she's kind of independent and strong-headed, and doesn't want to admit that she can't do it. And number two, she needed that time to work on M-Bot. If she were going down and coming back up, she wouldn't have the time. But she would set snares for rats, which she checked in the off-time, which meant that it saved her a lot of time eating only rats.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Why did he set the kitchen on fire?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He didn't intend to. It just kind of happened. That sort of thing just kind of happens sometimes. It's based off of my cousin, who accidentally set the kitchen on fire making a burrito. He started his kitchen on fire because of a flaming burrito. Be careful when you're cooking your burritos.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

As a normal everyday human being, how cool is it that you have a secret lair and a symphony dedicated to one of your book series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is really cool. Very, very, surreal at times, the life that I live.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You mentioned that Sazed is the character you aspire to be. Why is that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He listens first, and then speaks, which is something that I sometimes have trouble with.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Did you know Hurl's fate before you started writing it all?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, I built that all out in the outline. I needed somebody who was the image of Spensa who went the wrong way, as kind of like a model for what she would see herself in. And part of the inspiration for Skyward is Top Gun, which has that as a major theme. So it was a very natural sort of thing to weave into the story as I was going.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So when you were in Houston about a month ago, was it for research for future issues of Skyward?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yep. And I needed some help on certain things. It was super helpful, particularly going in and talking to the pilots. Like, astronaut, very cool. But talking to them about in-atmosphere flying and things like that was really handy.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Where did Wayne come from? Who is he modeled after?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He is not modeled after anyone specific. He came from me wanting to write a character who changed his personality based on the hat he wore. Like, literal, a person who wears lots of hats. I started a short story with him as the main character, and I found he needed someone to play off of, and that's where Alloy of Law came from.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In this book [Skyward], you have a little bit of telepathy and teleportation. So, was that magic?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, absolutely.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So it's fantasy and sci-fi?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

What it is is, sci-fi trappings. But my science in this is pure magic.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you come up with your names? 'Cause there are some really cool ones, and there are average ones?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It depends on the book. Sometimes, I want a name that's gonna feel a little average, because I want to create a sense of relatability to the characters and the setting. And other places, I want to create kind of a sense of alienness. And it just kind of depends on the book that I'm working on.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Who do I blame for killing off some of my favorite characters in the last book of Wheel of Time? You, or Robert Jordan?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Actually, there are three people to blame. I chose about a third of them. Robert Jordan chose about a third of them. And Harriet, his wife, chose about a third of them. So you can blame all of us. She killed Bela, though. I tried to make Bela live. I know. I tried. I worked very hard.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Who killed Egwene?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Harriet has asked me not to reveal that one. Egwene, Gawyn, and some of the others.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What made you decide to take the Dark One out of the Cosmere series? You couldn't get the magic to work?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It work a lot better once I pulled him into our world, and had the people coming to our world to assassinate him. And since I pulled something into our world, I boot it out of the cosmere. That did free up the magic to work in a different way from cosmere magic, which it is doing. It's kind of based on this idea of the narrative, that stories that people tell become real in the other world. Which could have worked in the cosmere with some Cognitive Realm things, but its working much better outside.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have a giant timeline somewhere written out all of it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I do. Actually, it's in a wiki. I work digitally for most of my stuff. It's one that myself and my assistants use to try and keep everything straight. Actually, Karen, who this book is dedicated to, her main job is to do the timelines and keep me consistent for every book.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Will we see Aether of Night eventually?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I can't promise. You've seen the aethers; Mraize's room of trophies. But I can't absolutely promise I'll work it in. The question is, if I find the time. I just stay consistent on the mainline Cosmere books. If I find the time, I'll get Aether of Night.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

On Skyward, I love the Graphic Audio adaptations. Do you know if there's any plans to do a Graphic Audio recording on Skyward at this time?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There's not plans right now. I'm trying to talk Random House into it. I guess it would be Audible into it, 'cause they have the audio rights. They haven't let us do the Reckoners. It's tough because Audible bought the rights directly, and Graphic Audio is a direct competitor. Whereas with the Stormlight books, MacMillian audio is not the same. So, we'll try.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What inspired you write Way of Kings? Was that your first one?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That was not my first one. It's different... there are lots of different ideas that usually come together to make one book. And Way of Kings is lots of different ideas. One of them was wanting to tell a story about a world where the highstorm, where the magic storm hit periodically. Something you guys kind of know a little bit about here. The idea of how life would have to adapt to a storm. But there are lots of different ideas that come together.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you thought about leatherbound Stormlight Archives, how that's gonna work?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

We're gonna print them each in two volumes in a slip case. We probably won't be able to keep those at $100; they may be, like, $150. But they will come with two volumes.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What gave you the idea to write the Alcatraz books?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know, it was the first line. I was just doodline in a notebook one day, and I wrote down, "So there I was, tied to an altar made of outdated encyclopedias, about to be sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil librarians." And I had to write that book. So I just kind of took that line, and I ran with it.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You've mentioned before that your conclusions, you like to have people figure it out, like, a paragraph right before it happens. Which one do you think you executed best?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh, man. I am not sure. It's tricky, because it's getting harder and harder to fool the readers as they get wiser and wiser to my things, so at some point, I just have to be okay with that. So I think that the early books, I was able to pull off more. Like, the Mistborn One ending is probably the one that gets people the best. I think I'm getting better at my climaxes, but now that people are getting wise to me, I have to convolute them a little bit more. Like, the Oathbringer one, people were probably expecting from Book One. They have multiple books to...

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How did you get the idea for The Rithmatist?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The Rithmatist started with the drawings. I did the little doodles first, of all the fences and things. And I just started drawing and drawing and drawing. And I drew all those out, and I thought, "Okay, I'm gonna write a book around this idea." I wanted to do something where people played a sport with magic, rather than only using it for, like, war and things.

Event details
Name
Pending review
Name Skyward Houston signing
Date
Date Nov. 19, 2018
Location
Location Houston, TX
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Murder by the Book
Entries
Entries 94
This event is pending review from Dragonsteel Entertainment. There may be some errors in how questions were answered.
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