Skyward Atlanta signing

Event details
Name
Name Skyward Atlanta signing
Date
Date Nov. 17, 2018
Location
Location Cumming, GA
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 57
Upload sources
#1 Copy

Questioner

Is there anything more significant to Tien's obsession with rocks? Or is that just an example of him being a unique kid?

Brandon Sanderson

There is a little bit to the way he's seeing color in mundane things. It's less the rock, and more the things about the world he finds interesting. So I'm going to say it's the second. It's an aspect of who he is; the rock itself is not the important thing.

#2 Copy

Questioner

Do you find it harder to write from a male or female's point of view?

Brandon Sanderson

It is harder to write-- The more different someone is from me, the more difficult they are to write. Gender is only one part of that, however, and so some characters who are very like me, but maybe-- maybe a woman, would be easier to write than someone who is very different from me but is a guy. But that's all kind of part of it.

Early in my career, before I got published, I was actually really bad at this; but the main thing I learned from that era of my writing was that I was writing people to a role in the story. It wasn't that I was bad at writing women, it was that I was writing all women as the love interest. Which resulted in bad storytelling and flat characters. And if you start to be able to learn: treat each character they are the protagonist of their own story, treat each character like they see themselves, not as a bit part, but as the story themselves; and start to explore who they are rather than putting them in a role in the story, your characters will get better all around.

#3 Copy

Questioner

Which character arc has been your favorite to write?

Brandon Sanderson

I usually don't pick favorites. Because all characters in all the books are like my children. But I will say it was extraordinarily satisfying to write Rand's arc, that I did in Gathering Storm. That was a true delight as a long-time fan of the series. So probably that one.

#4 Copy

Questioner

In Alcatraz, he mentions a souvenir about a bullet that can pierce steel. Was that nod to Reckoners?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's a nod to Reckoners. There's lots of them. If you read the Alcatraz books, there's an Asomedean joke, there's a Spook's street slang joke. The Alcatraz books, if you haven't read them, are kind of me practicing my improv skills as a writer. Every writer, I think, needs to have some measure of ability to outline, and some measure of ability to just "pants it," as we say. And the Alcatraz books, I write completely pantsed. I give myself a list of things that need to be in the book, and I try to work those in as I go. And that ends up with a lot of me making jokes about myself and my process.

#5 Copy

Sciencetor2

The gems on Roshar, are they the same as the gems you and me know, or are they a byproduct of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

For the most part they are the same as the gems we know, which will ask the question, "Since most of them are chemically identical, other than color, what differentiates them?" and in the cosmere, color is very important, so I'll just leave you at that, but most of them are going to be gems like we have. If you took a ruby from our world to Roshar, it could be Invested by the highstorm.

Sciencetor2

And spren?

Brandon Sanderson

We will RAFO that for now.

#6 Copy

Questioner

In Skyward, what is your callsign? And what was the process for creating so many callsigns?

Brandon Sanderson

My callsign is Mr. Prolific. That probably wouldn't work as a good callsign, but it was my callsign way back when I was in my writing group, my first writing group with my friends.

The process was, actually, I wanted to pick a callsign that used the same sound as their real name, to help people keep them straight. Because you basically have a double number of names in the book. So same letter or same sound, creating it. And I just started with that letter or sound. And then I wanted them each to feel distinctive. If they're all, like, initials. Or they're all one-syllable names, it can be really easy to mix them up. So I wanted some that were two or three syllables. Some that, they wanted to reinforce who the character was sometimes, things like that. That's where I went on that.

#7 Copy

Questioner

Previously, you told me that Hoid loves bacon. Is there any other thing that you can tell me about Hoid that we won't be able to RAFO?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh man, I'm running out of stuff to tell you about Hoid that I can't RAFO because I get asked this enough that I forget what I've told people and what I haven't. I'm particularly fond of his monologue for the fourth book. So, be looking forward to that. It's a little different than the others.

#9 Copy

Questioner

What do you wish that you could have asked your favorite writers about writing when you first became a writer? And what do you think they would have said?

Brandon Sanderson

This one is easy. I would have said, "How do you finish your book, Mr. Jordan? Specifically: X, Y, and Z that you didn't put in the notes."

Otherwise-- You know, a lot of the things that you do as a writer aren't about what you ask other writers. And a lot of the advice you'll get as a writer won't work for you until you have written. So I wouldn't have known the right questions to ask them until I was struggling through that myself.

#10 Copy

Questioner

Back to the callsigns. Did you come up with Jorgen's name first, or did you come up with his callsign first?

Brandon Sanderson

The callsign was first. And then the name followed out of some of the linguistics I was using... Yeah, the callsign was first.

#11 Copy

Questioner

Is there any connection or coincidence to the Krell in Skyward, versus the Krell from Forbidden Planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... Forbidden Planet is one of my favorite movies. Perhaps my favorite classic science fiction movie. I really dig any sort of Shakespearean interpretation in another medium. So I named the Krell after the Krell from Forbidden Planet.

#12 Copy

Questioner

When you started writing for Wheel of Time, did you find that any of your opinions changed when you wrote the characters, versus--

Brandon Sanderson

So, Mat was way harder than I expected him to be to write. I thought Mat would just zip out and be super easy, and I was taken by surprise by how difficult Mat was to write.

Cadsuane had always been my least favorite character, and I was surprised by how much I understood her when I had to stand in her shoes.

#13 Copy

Questioner

I'm writing a fantasy book that's like D&D. Do you have any advice for me? I'm about 6000 words.

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of great science fiction and fantasy have come from roleplaying campaigns. Not just Dragonlance, but also the Malazan Book of the Fallen started as a roleplaying campaign. And you will find this happens time and time again. Do understand that the things that you guys experience in your roleplaying session that are really funny are probably not going to be funny on the page, because they're funny in the situation, so you have to work on making the characters all work on the page, not as they work in your-- together. Make sure everyone's on board for you lifting and borrowing the stuff for your story. And make sure you don't use any of the Wizards of the Coast trademark things. For instance, you can't use Beholder. That's a trademark thing. But you can use zombies, because zombies are in everything. So learn the difference there.

But just have fun with it. Your job right now, as a newer writer, is just to write and practice. And that practice will teach you how you want to approach your stories as you move forward. And the more you you do it, the better you'll get at it. And the more you'll know what you need in order to make it better. And that can start from anywhere. That can start from a D&D campaign. That can start from a silly song lyric you hear. It can start from fanfic. It doesn't matter where it starts. The chore you have is to practice it and learn what works on the page, as opposed to what works in person.

#14 Copy

Questioner

So you said earlier that color has a lot to do with things and in Warbreaker obviously color is like a big thing *inaudible*. Will that have a relation to anything else?

Brandon Sanderson

It will have relations to a lot of things, including the way The Way of King's magic plays out and works. 

#22 Copy

Questioner

In the Stormlight Archive, are there any on-screen appearances of dragons in any form?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. Sorry.

Questioner

Dragons can be shapeshifters, correct..

Brandon Sanderson

They can, yes.

Questioner

Do they only have a humanoid form they can appear as, or can they appear as many humans?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends.

#24 Copy

KalynaAnne

Lift has lots of pancakes and you only describe six of them. I was wondering if you could tell me of any of the other three?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, sure... One is a terrible, awful, seafood one that Rosharans would eat and I would hate, and people that I know would love. Not sure what the other two would be. Probably a very spicy one, a savory spicy one. Probably a vegetable greenish one, something that over here would look like it has spinach in it.

KalynaAnne

Is that different form the one-- she mentions one that has chopped vegetables in it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that would be different. It would be a pure green one as opposed to one more like--

KalynaAnne

Like a fritter?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Yeah.

#25 Copy

Questioner

If someone had a Hemalurgic spike and they burned aluminum, would the negation of-- am I going to get RAFO'd?

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking if it would destroy the Hemalurgic power? Burning aluminum at that point would not destroy the Hemalurgic power. It would pull the Investiture through whatever you're doing. It would blank your power, but it wouldn't destroy you being an Allomancer with the spike...

I actually considered this in building it and that would be too easy a way to remove Inquisitors, particularly if there were dissension between them.

#26 Copy

Questioner

Reen and Ruin, how much of the personalty that we saw in the books was Ruin, her actual memories, and how much of it was actually Reen?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of what you saw was this kind of weird amalgamation, because it's getting filtered through her memories and things like this. You can see mostly Ruin at that point, but there is some actual Reen in there mixed in. Maybe twenty-eighty. Eh, twenty five-seventy five.

#28 Copy

Questioner

What does Doomslug eat?

Brandon Sanderson

Doomslug eats mushrooms, among other things... I don't want to say anything more.

Questioner

I know, I was trying to find something that wouldn't be RAFO'd

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that's actually shockingly relevant of a question, so-- Hmm!

#31 Copy

Questioner

Where do the lines point, exactly, when burning steel or iron?

Brandon Sanderson

Generally, right toward your center.

Questioner

On the objects?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, the objects. Center of mass, unless you are starting to get really good at it, whereupon you'll be able to kind of see a sort of spectrum that you can pull on and yank on.

#37 Copy

Questioner

Is there anything about the Stonewards that you can share that's not a RAFO? I know they're coming later.

Brandon Sanderson

They are coming later, so not really. They were more of the Knights Radiant front line troops, as opposed to the Windrunners who were scouts. But you probably already knew that.

#39 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering what the Alethi, what kind of music they listen to?

Brandon Sanderson

They're gonna like stuff that sounds stuffy and snooty to you. So, the kind of equivalent would be a soft string quartet in our world. Granted, it's a little different there, but that'll-- Not much percussion. There is a time where they like a nice battle hymn, or something like that, you could get some equivalent of brass.

#41 Copy

Questioner

Have your ever thought about how your magic systems would affect a pregnant woman?

Brandon Sanderson

I have given thought to it.

Questioner

...Which system would you say would be safest as a pregnant woman?

Brandon Sanderson

I think Stormlight-- being Invested with Stormlight would be very safe. You would probably be better off than not. Hemalurgy would be very bad.

#42 Copy

Questioner

Would you be able to cure addiction with Forgery?

Brandon Sanderson

You could temporarily mask the symptoms of it, but I wouldn't call it being cured. You would also-- If you did something like the Emperor where you're constantly getting it renewed, the big danger is, since you haven't solved the problem at its core, falling back into it. But it's theoretically possible you could cover up the symptoms and have someone pull out of it that way.

#43 Copy

Questioner

For Jerkface... Was he supposed to stay a jerk, or did you want him to...

Brandon Sanderson

I planned out his arc. I tried very hard to evoke Malfoy, Crabbe, and... Goyle. I tried very hard to evoke that, and then try to pull the rug out from underneath that. Whether I was successful or not, depends on your interpretation, but he was always supposed to be.

And the real fun and twist to this book is, Spensa's kind of the bully, but she presents him as the bully. And hopefully, as you read, you're like, "Wait a minute..."

#46 Copy

Questioner

Is it cold enough on Roshar for snow?

Brandon Sanderson

Only in the mountains.

Questioner

Do you get a highsnowstorm?

Brandon Sanderson

In the mountains, yes, it's very weird. And it's only in the tops of the mountains. There is. But you will see this when and if we visit the Horneater Peaks, which are covered in snow, except for the hot springs.

Questioner

Are there snowspren?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

#50 Copy

Questioner

Could a skilled Awakener Awaken a gemheart?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but you got to remember, some of these things like metal and gemstones and things do not Awaken well, how about that... Technically yes, it may not do the thing that you want it to do.

Questioner

But it'll do a thing?

Brandon Sanderson

It'll do a thing.

#51 Copy

Questioner

Skyward, is M-Bot actually sentient or just really well programmed?

Brandon Sanderson

I would call him sentient.

Questioner

You think so? You do imply a little bit but--

Brandon Sanderson

I do... But I have built into the world an explanation for why that might be.

#52 Copy

Personification

With the ten Silver Kingdoms, what were actually their roles and what kingdoms did they correspond to *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, what do you mean by correspond?

Personification

Did the ten Silver Kingdoms each have a job like Alethela was the kingdom of War?

Brandon Sanderson

They would all consider themselves specialized but it wasn't official like that. It was more like their own philosophy and how they view themselves. And I wouldn't align them straight up with orders of Knights Radiant or anything like that.

Personification

I wasn't saying that, I was saying, maybe different job or it was like--

Brandon Sanderson

They all did kind of have different roles but its not like they had any-- you know, Thaylenah is your navy, right? Its not necessarily that it's-- if that makes sense, but Alethela has like the view of itself, it had a very distinctive view of itself.

Personification

Okay, so it wasn't like each one actually had a different role?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they were not quite, quite, organized enough for that.

#53 Copy

Personification

Was there a similar things like the ten Highprinces were like-- What were the different roles that each Highprince could hold?

Brandon Sanderson

The Highprinces were more like warlords fighting for and squabbling for land, they were not good at anything like that. So they were more like warlords.

Personification

But the Highprince roles though?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, the Highprince of? Yeah. They did have the official things like that and when it was working, way back in the day, you could probably align them-- I don't even know if you could align those to Radiants--

Personification

I wasn't saying the order of the Knights Radiant, I was saying just like, what role did they have?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, they would be pretty official, but if you're going back in the day, to where it actually worked, then they would have distinct roles that they would fulfill, and they would kind of be like-- Imagine the cabinet of a country.

Personification

I was wondering if I could have some specifics on the names.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I can't do that right now. I might be able to dig that out of the notes, but I've remained flexible on some of those things because I don't want to name them all, specifically.

#55 Copy

Jofwu

Who or what is Vorinism named after?

Brandon Sanderson

I can't remember. I named it twenty years ago, now. In-world, it is named for somebody. The early influential writer who put the whole thing together. But that's the new continuity, because the old continuity, it was kind of put together by the Heralds.

Event details
Name
Name Skyward Atlanta signing
Date
Date Nov. 17, 2018
Location
Location Cumming, GA
Tour
Tour Skyward
Bookstore
Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 57
Upload sources