YouTube Livestream 7

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Name
Name YouTube Livestream 7
Date
Date May 7, 2020
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Entries 12
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#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

You wanna know a cool story, guys? When I was just, like, fourteen, maybe twelve, we went to Jackson Hole and you [Brandon's dad] bought me my first ring. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but you bought me a ring that had a big topaz in it. (Big for my age.) And when I started writing my very first book, I named a character Topaz. Which is still one of Hoid's aliases, that's where his first name came from, was the topaz that my father bought for me.

If any of you have read Dragonsteel (someday, I'll let everyone read it), that's why he's named Topaz in that. Well, he had a topaz, that's where he got it in-world. But name came from my father buying me a ring that was a really cool looking ring that I always kind of thought about and then named a character after.

Adam Horne

People want to know if you still have the ring.

Brandon Sanderson

I do not still have the ring. I wish that I did. We had a rough time where we moved from Nebraska to Idaho, and a lot of things got lost. A lot of my items (I was not there, I was in Korea at the time) got carefully and delicately packed up my brother, who was very, very kind. But somewhere in that, the ring didn't make that transfer.

#2 Copy

Jane Sagan

Is diabetes prominent in Vorin women? Or is there physiology and that of the sweeteners different enough that the diet affects their bodies differently?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I would say no. For a couple of reasons. One is, it's not like they're eating candy. They do eat candy, but I would say, glycemically and things like this, their average meal is not going to be as high as our average meal, even, modern-day, because their grains are not refined. Yes, they're adding sweeteners to things, but a lot of them are fruit sweeteners. And they're getting probably less of a load than a person eating a bowl of white rice in our culture. So, no.

#3 Copy

Questioner

When planning multiple eras in Mistborn, did you know, for example, all the metals and magic when you published The Final Empire? Or did you leave open areas that you hinted at so that you could later explore and fill in the magic?

Brandon Sanderson

Final Empire is an excellent example, because it established what my model became. I wrote Final Empire, having an idea, but not have the entire nin-book sequence plotted. Not even the three-book sequence. I wrote that one and said, "Let's just write the book and see if it works." This is generally what I like to, rather than planning out the whole series. The exception to this was Stormlight, which needed the entire series planned out first. But with Mistborn, I was able to write the first book having ideas of what I wanted to do, but just make that book right. And then I sat down and said, "All right. The first book worked. I have the characters where they work. Now let's build the series." And when I did that, I went into a lot more depth on the metals.

But I did still leave... I knew, basically, what the other metals were gonna do, but I didn't have the mechanics down. Because I wasn't sure if it was gonna work. Playing with time, and all the stuff in Feruchemy where I'm playing with Connection and things like that, these were all kind of fundamentals of the cosmere that I wasn't 100% sure how I wanted to play out. So I basically kinda did the "best of both worlds." I left those holes knowing what they were probably going to be. But I was very careful not to give too much about them in the original trilogy, just in case what I wanted to do didn't end up working.

And that's worked out pretty well. I did manage to finish writing books two and three of Mistborn before I released the first one, so I could make sure that the continuity on the narrative really worked. Still, there are some things that I would change. I was much younger as a writer back then. I think some of the stuff in the third book, though it clicks together, it doesn't click together quite as well as I wanted to. Ending of the first book, I've talked about before. But I'm pleased with that process. Though every author has to use a different method, I do suggest trying that one. It's worked very well both for Mistborn and for Skyward. Worked a little worse in Reckoners, to be honest. Because the first book, I did not deal with any multi-dimension stuff, but I built it in after. Wrote the first book, went back, made sure the first book worked, then I wrote book two and three. And I was never quite satisfied with how the interdimensionality worked in that series. I think the magic system ended up cutting a few too many corners. So, in that case, doing it from the get-go from book one, instead of writing book one and then building it, might have worked better. Book one remains the strongest of the Steelheart series, I feel, because of that reason.

Regardless, it's been an effective method. It worked very worked Mistborn. It worked very well for Mistborn Era 2. And it has worked really well in Skyward so far.

#4 Copy

Kandra Cosplay

If you were a kandra in a true body, what would you make your skeleton out of?

Brandon Sanderson

I would want some stone skeleton, of like, marble or obsidian or something like that. You can see from the things I do, I love the colors of stone. It's where Stormlight Archive kind of came from. I just love the grain and the feel of rock. So that's what I would go with.

#5 Copy

Christopher Gearheart

I was wondering what your approach was for building magic systems? Do you start with broad strokes and themes and develop powers from there? Or do you start with the powers themselves? Also, how much do you change the system through your revisions process?

Brandon Sanderson

Generally, magic system is one of those things that I lock in pretty solidly and then stick to, except for that one big revision point. (Which, for a series, is generally after the first book.) Why that works so well for me is, a lot of times a magic system, I'm not gonna know how much flexibility it has for storytelling, how visually it works, and all of these sorts of things until I've written with it.

Whether I start with the powers or the themes, it's basically been even, 50/50. Mistborn, I started with the powers, and then built the themes out of it. Basically, I started with some cool visuals on manipulating the metals. I then built the heist story. (Those who know the history of Mistborn know that I wrote an entire book that was not a heist story before I wrote Mistborn that used the magic. We'll release that someday. I call it Mistborn Prime. So I had those powers in hand.) Then I built the rest of them kind of out of what would I want for a thieving crew.

And with Stormlight, I started with themes. The theme being: I want something that evokes the idea of the fundamental forces. (Though, of course, changed to Rosharan.) I kind of built the religion and the world, and then developed powers naturally out of that to see what would work.

So I've gone both directions for the two of my major fantasy series. And I found both very effective.

#6 Copy

Jarett Braden

With a huge interconnected work like the Cosmere, do you ever worry when introducing a new concept in a book? How it may affect past and future novels?

Brandon Sanderson

I do. This is the biggest challenge of having a large, interconnected universe like this. And the farther you write, the more difficult and dangerous this becomes. And this is why I need to have a large team, and some really solid beta readers. Because every writer, when writing a book, can get a little myopically focused on that book only. Which can be a good thing; most writers, it doesn't matter, because that book is going to be that book. But because the interconnectedness and the continuity of the Cosmere is so important to me, it's really handy to have a lot of people looking over my shoulder saying, "Are you sure you want to do that? Because it has this ramification here." We're not gonna catch all of them. But I do like that protection, and it is something that I think about quite a bit.

It is one of the reasons why I tried to build the underpinnings of the cosmere to be adaptable to a lot of different of the types of magic systems I type to write. This is why these fundamentals of Fortune and Identity and Connection are really what kind of drive creating the magic systems. You're often going to see me wanting to create magic systems that do similar things. And having these sort of magic system underpinnings that both drive me to ask "what new could I do with this?" but also have an intended connectivity between them is really helpful in a lot of different ways.

But it is dangerous, yes. And if I were going to give advice on that, it would be that make sure your fundamentals 1) naturally fit the type of systems that you would want to build, and 2) have enough versatility that they can be adapted to a variety of different styles of system. And stay away from some of the big problems, like time travel. Very early on, I'm like, "Cosmere can time travel into the future. You can speed things up for yourself, you can slow things down, your movement through space. But you cannot go backward." And having a few rules like that... there are not alternate dimensions in the cosmere. There are different planes of existence. But there are not alternate realities. We are not going to have the sort of things. (That I played with in Steelheart, because I knew I didn't have it in the cosmere. The Wheel of Time loves to play with alternate continuities as one of its themes of magic, and I love it. But it was built in and baked in from the beginning and used very well well. I didn't want to go down that rabbit hole.)

Make a few rules like that, and I think that's helpful from writing yourself out of problems with solutions that break everything. And let's just say that it is very hard to not do that, as evidenced by many film series which have a lot of different people working on them who can make their films work, but often will break the rest of the continuity in order to do so. And we can't afford to do that in the Cosmere. That's not something that I want to do.

#7 Copy

Rafael DePaulo

What Knights Radiant orders would Rand, Mat, and Perrin belong to?

Brandon Sanderson

I built the Knights Radiant orders so that people could naturally fit into multiples. And so, for instance, you could very easily see Mat as a Lightweaver. I just totally think that that is a natural and nice fit for Mat. But it's not the only thing that will work for Mat. But it is definitely where I would place him most naturally.

Where would I put Rand? Rand, if you look at kind of his powerset and his theme in the stories, is probably Bondsmith. That's probably a very good match for Rand's narrative theme. He is probably very Windrunner in his characterization through a lot of it. There are lots of arguments.

And Perrin's kind of naturally going to either be another Lightweaver, because of the art aspect to Perrin, making and creating. But probably is gonna be a Stoneward or Willshaper instead. In fact, Willshaper fits him really well for various thematic reasons. So I'd probably stick Perrin in Willshaper. Working with the stone, plus moving and traveling to Shadesmar, or being able to see into Shadesmar, just kind of fits him really well.

#8 Copy

Spencer Walther

Lopen clearly states he doesn't consider himself a broken character, like all the other Knights. Do you consider him a broken character?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not. And, again, "broken" is a term with a lot of baggage, let's point that out. I would rather use the terminology that a given person is comfortable with, and let them put definitions on that themselves. Because the way I view it, I don't really view most people as "broken," even if they may use that terminology. What they might have is, they might have certain mental health issues that they haven't yet figured out how to work with that are integral to who they are. But not broken, just still practicing. And that's how I would define a lot of people, but I don't get to define it for those people, if that makes sense.

And one of the things I like to do is to have a variety of viewpoints in my stories, to make sure I'm kind of running the gamut on this, and I think some of the characters in my stories would say, "Yeah. Something in me's broken. You can talk about all the funny business you want, Brandon, about just needing to practice. Something in me's broken, and I need to learn to deal with that. Either fix it, or learn to not let it ruin me." And there are people that I've talked to, that that's how they've described it.

I've talked to other people who say, "No, I'm not broken. 'Broken' implies I'm a less valuable person, because of that phrasing." That is something that I never want to imply. And so it is a dangerous word to use. I let people in fiction use it, because people in real life use it. But just wanted you to be aware of that.

So, the idea that a person needs to be "broken" to be a Knight Radiant is a part of the world that a lot of people talk about. I actually intend Lopen to be a counterargument to that. But people in-world would disagree with me. They'd say, "No no no, he's got some of these things." But if Lopen has them, we all have them. So there are no not-broken people, which also makes the world "broken" just completely wrong phrase to use, if that makes sense.

So, that is how I view it. But I admit that some of my characters would disagree with me.

#10 Copy

Questioner

What would happen if Sadeas, Dilaf, The Lord Ruler, Ruin, and Rayse got together for a drink? Would they talk civilly, or fight?

Brandon Sanderson

The standout there is Dilaf. Dilaf just does not get along with people. Ever, really. I feel like the others could have a really good conversation. And The Lord Ruler would eventually storm out, insisting he doesn't belong in this conversation. The rest of them... depends on when you get Ruin. Rayse and Sadeas get along really well. That's a team-up you don't want.

#11 Copy

BelugaCavity

Have you had a favorite theory a fan presented to you that was wrong?

Brandon Sanderson

Man, I read a lot of these. I don't remember a lot of them. They happen on Reddit, where I'm like, "That's really cool. It does not fit with the worldbuilding I am building at all." Most of the ones that are really cool are ones that just couldn't work because of the fundamental underpinnings of the cosmere.

People who theorize about my books... I like to feel that I put enough foreshadowing in my books that it makes, for those who are really paying attention... it does mean you can guess it. So the surprises are not as dramatic. But I like that. And so a lot of theories I read are right. Because I've signposted them. And you guys have three years between books in the Stormlight Archive to guess on these things.

I read a lot more right theories than you might expect. But I do read a lot of wrong ones, as well.

#12 Copy

Questioner

Where did the inspiration for the delvers in Starsight come from?

Brandon Sanderson

Came from me wanting to do interdimensional eldritch horror, basically. It was a mashup I was looking to do. I'd always like space Cthulhu, space cosmic horror. Cosmic horror is a fun sort of storytelling attribute that I like. And it felt right to have these kind of interdimensional beings. I wanted something that did not see our reality and understand it. And something that was, in many ways, unknowable or couldn't be understood because of that. I wanted a true clash between something alien, and the way that we see the world. Because I knew I was going to have aliens in the books. But the aliens in the books were going to be weird, but relatable. I wanted to try to build something that was much harder to relate to.

So, cosmic horror. Interdimensional cosmic horror.

Event details
Name
Name YouTube Livestream 7
Date
Date May 7, 2020
Entries
Entries 12
Upload sources