Your work on the lore of the cosmere is immense. How much have you had to figure out ahead of time? How much do you develop on the fly while writing?
It really depends on the situation. I do some of both. Mostly, the on-the-fly stuff is where I realize that there is a hole in my understanding where I'm like, "I didn't account for this." And you'll see this when fans ask me questions; I'd say a good half the time or more, they ask a question, I'm like, "I didn't account for that. Let me think..." This is why I like having foundational principles of how the cosmere works, rather than focusing on little details. (Which, a lot of those, I'm deciding on as I'm writing.) I try to get these really solid foundations so that the little details answer themselves, if that makes sense.
I've heard people talk about this with characters. Like, instead of deciding when you're building a character what their favorite color is, decide who they are, decide the personality, decide the foundational moments in their life. So when someone asks you a question that you haven't anticipated, it makes sense; there's only one way you could answer. "Well, of course their favorite color is blue, because that's the color of the uniforms of the soldiers that saved them when they were a young child, so they're gonna pick that color." That sort of thing for worldbuilding works really well, too. When someone asks an off-the-wall question, you can say, "Well, the mechanics are like this, this, and this. So that leads me to have an answer that is this." That you get into more trouble when you assume that's the case, but then when you think about it later, you're like, "No, that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be that way," and you can go a different way. But that's how I try to do it.
If someone made a video game based on your books, would you like them to cover the same plots? Or create new stories in the same world?
It really depends on the book, honestly. I feel like Stormlight would be different from Mistborn in that regard. In Stormlight, I feel like I would want to have it be a story from the books; but maybe not one of the main stories, like delve into some of the Herald stories, or things like that. Where Mistborn, I feel like Mistborn is better off not doing the main story of the books. That's just because... Boy, I don't know. I'm not even sure if I can explain why; I think it's just a taste thing. In general, I think overall, I would err on something that isn't explicit in the books but has been mentioned for either of those, but I'd probably go a little further afield in Mistborn and stay a little closer to the characters in Stormlight that have already been mentioned, and things like that. And that might just have to do with the fact that Stormlight is pretty expansive, and I've touched all parts of the world. Whereas Mistborn, I haven't explored it as much, and it's narrowly focused on this one group of of people. (Two groups, depending on your era.) It's a good question.
In the beginning of Way of Kings, Szeth Lashes himself to the wall at the end of the corridor, turning it into something like a deep well, then he Lashes himself back to the floor. So is gravity not necessarily a thing in Roshar?
It is. It is indeed a thing in Roshar. A Lashing overrides gravity. This is kind of a weird thing that I built that honestly drives, I think, my continuity people a little crazy. Because the way that I work Lashings, I didn't always want to have to say that "you're lashing them upward one gravitational force and then in a direction at the same time"; basically, to negate gravity and then send them a direction. So I just said, "You know what? This is working kind of on a Spiritual Realm level, where it's overriding gravity's pull and kind of convincing the body it's being pulled in a different direction." That is kind of what the mechanics are doing. So when you Lash toward the end of the hallway (you Lash in a direction, usually), then gravity is overriden, and you are pulled in a specific direction instead.
What Szeth is doing there, when he's Lashing himself back downward, he could cancel the Lashing. But he just gets into this mindset... You'll see most of the characters do this. It's kind of functionally identical. But that they kind of, like... "Which direction is down" is not really important to the person while they are using their Lashings and where gravity would pull them. They just are gonna be precise and be like, "I'm gonna go that direction, there." And just kind of get in the mindset of working that way. So I would say that for someone using Lashings, gravity doesn't really matter; or it matters entirely too much.
Where building it that way has led us is, when you want someone to just hover, what do you do? How do you indicate someone is becoming weightless? By those mechanics, you use a half Lashing upward. So that you're still pulled down half as much by gravity, but you're pulled upward half as much. There are other ways you could achieve it, but that's how I often have people talk about it. So if you remember that a Lashing is overriding gravity, it's replacing it, it's not additive; then that helps a little bit with understanding how Lashings work. I still like it this way because it's a lot more elegant to describe. But when you break down the mechanics of it, it is a little bit harder to wrap your mind around.
Which of your characters annoys you the most? Whether that's intentional annoyance, or otherwise.
Right now, it's Chet, because getting him right has been really annoying in writing the third Skyward book. (You'll know about that much later on, theoretically.)
Who annoys me the most? I always like writing Hoid, but he is annoying to write. So I'll go with Hoid.
Would you consider writing a short story about Wayne's origins?
I don't generally do this. The reason being that I construct stories, generally, in such a way, particularly a story like Wayne's story that starts a little in media res, and he's already had quite a bit of life experience and foundational things... I construct a story knowing that I'm going to give you touchstone moments for that character's narrative in a way that indicate to you what happened in the past. And with Wayne, I feel like I've done a pretty good job of that. There's still a little bit more for the next book, but I feel like if I were to go back and tell this story, it would be like going back and telling Rashek's story or Alendi's story from the Mistborn series. Where the epigraphs are there to give you the story, and if I wrote it out, it would just be really repetitive to things I've already done.
The characters that I'm more likely to write short stories or novellas about are ones where there just isn't room in the narrative to dig into something deep about their character. Rock is an excellent example of this, from the Stormlight books. There's just not room. Which is why I plan to write a Rock novella. Be like, "All right, let's really dig into who Rock is, his past, and stuff like that." Because you just don't get those answers. With Wayne, I feel like I have given the answers in such a way that if I did more, it would be boring.
Epilogue of Stormlight Five still be written in Wit's viewpoint?
I'm going to RAFO you on that one. You'll have to wait and see. I will be writing it very soon.