YouTube Livestream 32

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Name YouTube Livestream 32
Date
Date June 3, 2021
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Entries 78
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#1 Copy

Aria Burman

What would the Unkalaki think of the Aiel and vice versa?

Brandon Sanderson

I have this feeling that the Aiel... so the Aiel I have this feeling that they would really like Unkalaki, but I can't say for sure. I just get this feeling that the fact that the Unkalaki are going to share their water and shade with you really really easily and friendily, and they have some pretty cool water is probably going to appeal to the Aiel. What do the Unkalaki think? They think that all lowlanders think weirdly and behave weirdly, and I don't know that they'd think the Aiel are anymore weird than a lot of the lowlanders they meet.

#3 Copy

James Clifford

Science question!

Brandon Sanderson

Ohh science. Is it real science, or fake science?

Adam Horne

It is Brandon science.

Brandon Sanderson

Fake science!

James Clifford

With the discovery of anti-Investiture in Rhythm of War, would the correct form of anti-Investiture be usable to clear up the mess in the Sel Cognitive Realm. If so, would this completely destroy a splintered Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs, coughs, and is otherwise stunned* That would not be a good idea. So why would that not be a good idea? So no, this would not clear up the problem. The problem that's going on in the Cognitive Realm in Sel is that a bunch of Investiture that should be in the Spiritual Realm has been packed into the Cognitive Realm instead, through a very weird circumstance of events. If you were to introduce a bunch of anti-Investiture of the right type there, you would just generate an explosion that would be a very bad thing. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, Investiture can't be either, so it's actually changing forms. It's going from Investiture into energy! Which you know, does not leave the system. So the investiture would eventually make its way back around, you can't destroy anything in the Cosmere, just like you can't destroy anything in our universe. But you can make it change forms. And so, what's going on there is just this hope by a certain individual that what has happened there will prevent the power from becoming self-aware.

It's basically Odium being like "alright I just murdered you people, I don't wanna have to come back and do it again". So he's trying to figure out a way to make this happen. As it currently stands (again, these things can change when I write future books), it was partially happenstance that he took advantage of rather than something that he was able to set up very intentionally from the beginning, but he was definitely a part.

#4 Copy

Daniel Greene

If you could write a script for any superhero, who would you like to control a story for? 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh what a great question. I did actually see a comment on YouTube, by the way, Daniel, where apparently in one of your videos, you're like, "Brandon made a really shrewd marketing move by putting Kelsier in Fortnite," and then I released my thing where I'm like: "Yeah, Donald [Epic Games Worldwide Creative Director] and I were hanging out, being like, hey, why don't we put Kelsier in Fortnite, we like, yeah, it'd be fun!"

It was a super shrewd marketing move on my part to go to dinner with my friend. 

It can be both. Yeah, we were actually chatting about my son wanting to put something in Fortnite, but can't decide. And you know we ended up with Kelsier instead. Dalin can still do something if he wants, but getting him pinned down on what he wants to do...

So what superhero would I want to write for? I would most likely pick Superman because I feel like he is the most challenging to write for and make work, and I feel like my talents would match that pretty well, but it would probably be like a weird colored kryptonite story - like a red kryptonite thing where it's like "Superman's powers have been changed in a funky and interesting way," and also let's deal with why Superman stories can be so difficult; and write that.

Obviously that would be a bad like film sort of thing, but it would work well in a running comic where it's one installment because it's so different from the norm. 

#5 Copy

Avery Hinks

Is there a canonical reason why Vasher and Vivenna changed their names to Zahel and Azure on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it kind of comes into the fact that Vasher has gone through a bunch of name changes and there are a couple of answers to this. One is, in the Cosmere, like in a lot of like fantasy worlds, names and identity are just a pretty big deal, part of how the magic works is how you view yourself, and I like, in that instance, indicating that time has passed and the character has adopted a new name and things like this, it's just that's a thing.

You've also probably noticed that behind the scenes in the Cosmere there are lots of different groups vying for control and power and things like this, and so going under a pseudonym's actually a pretty good idea. I guess an alias, they're not writing books, it's not pseudonyms, you know what I mean, going under an alias's generally a pretty good idea for just if you don't want attention from the wrong people.

That said, I do have to balance this because, for instance, in Azure's case, you know, I picked something that Vivenna had, you know, blue had been associated with her in the previous book, so it's not a completely, that's partially for the reader's benefit, so it's easier for you to track who is who, just a little bit, and just a little bit easier to figure out who is who.

But if run into someone like Felt, right? Felt doesn't care. He's not hiding from anybody. Felt is, you know, he's more like "I moved from Nebraska to Texas," right? "And now I'm living in Texas." That's more how he views it a little bit. He's not a secret agent (ooh, big spoilers). Felt just, you know, he moved, so he goes by the same name. And that's, you'll see some of that as well. If someone's going by an alias, I'm doing it to indicate one of those two things, usually.

#6 Copy

Kathy

Will you base a character on Adam [Horne] and how horrifically will he die?

Brandon Sanderson

Adam does need a character, I haven't put you in yet. Have I? So when I wrote The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, all of my brothers-in-law got cameos in the books and Adam has not yet had a cameo, and so we need to find a good cameo for Adam somewhere in the books. 

Yeah, so how horrifically will he die? Well, Kathy, Adam is my assistant. I do not want him dead in any way. 

Adam Horne

I mean, I think it be funny.

Brandon Sanderson

He fetches me water, and things like that. Jane, his wife did end up in the Alcatraz books as the royal fashion consultant, and Kathy has ended up in books so we'll see. We'll see. Everybody eventually makes their way in. I'll have to leave a note to do something horrific to Adam. 

#7 Copy

AAgopal

Is Kelsier in Fortnite is canon?

Brandon Sanderson

It is canon to Fortnite.

Adam Horne

*jokes* But you're saying those dances are not cosmere canon?

Brandon Sanderson

There's one of the emotes that's evasive maneuvers. It looks really cool with the mist cloaked tassels, but no, not canon. I know you asked that tongue-in-cheek.

Probably canon to Fortnite, right? One of Fortnite's canon is all these people come to Fortnite and and hang around, and you know, shoot each other. So I would say that Kelsier is amazingly proficient at firearms for it being Era 1 book 1 Kelsier. Raises some questions how he knows how to floss and shoot a shotgun so well. 

#8 Copy

R'Shara

The Aviar that we see in Sixth of the Dusk were all fruit eaters, they all have to eat the fruit that the grubs live in. However, Mraize's Aviar seems a lot more like a predator than a herbivore.

Brandon Sanderson

It is!

R'Shara

Did his species become extinct or is it a unique Aviar like Sak?

Brandon Sanderson

Neither. But yes, it is a carnivoristic Aviar. I will confirm that, which it's not confirming much, you guys already knew that. But that is indeed what is going on there.

#10 Copy

Jack Milson

How many Awakening Commands are there? Is there a finite number, a finite but large number or infinite? Can you Awaken with sign language?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you can Awaken with sign language. I would say that there are an infinite number, would be my guess. It's either finite but very, very large or infinite. But they're gonna fall into groups as things tend to do in the Cosmere, I would say.

#12 Copy

Brett Roberts

If Taravangian had another intellectually "brightest" day before his main event in Rhythm of War, could he have seen the existence of other forms of Investiture on Roshar? For example, would he have been able to recognize areas where there is use of Sand, Allomancy or Breath, or would those have been too small for him to notice?

Brandon Sanderson

That would have been too small for him to notice, good question, but yes. Too small, most likely. Like he could intuit the existence of these things and perhaps the means of making use of them, but specifics of where they are, that's gonna get dicey for what could happen there. But when he had his weird day, weirder things happened on that day than him noticing something like that. I would say, in general, no, he would not have gotten that granular.

#14 Copy

Ezio della Torre

Was Teft's death part of your plan from the book's inception or series's inception, or did you decide his fate while writing Rhythm of War?

Brandon Sanderson

Teft's fate was decided pretty early on, but these sorts of things I do leave wiggle room on. When you read Teft's first appearance—it's in Mythwalker, my ninth book that never got finished—his appearance in that book was built around this kind of character arc that eventually happened. This was baked into the original idea for Stormlight once I brought over Bridge Four and once I stuck Teft inBridge Four, from Mythwalker. But I do remain pretty flexible on these things. That is one that turned out working really well, and happening the way I'd intended for it to happen from the beginning.

But... I mean, if you've read Way of Kings Prime, you'll know that there was a point in the outlining process, and even in writing that book, where Dalinar killed Elhokar, rather than him being killed by Moash. So, you can see that these things do change, these things bounce around, but yes, the Moash betrayal and the him killing Teft was an original <incarnation> of Way of Kings. So the original 2010 version of Way of Kings, it was part of that outline.

There are things that have changed though, over the years. A big one's, of course, a lot of Adolin's arc is not in that. I go back to that one because Adolin was involved, but he was a much smaller character than he ended up being. And Adolin changing has caused all kinds of ripples through everything in large measure. For instance, all of the stuff with Maya was not in the original outline. This is stuff that I developed over time because I was not planning Adolin to have as big a role in the series as he ended up having. That's a good example of things I've changed over time. A lot of the Cosmere-aware stuff, I didn't know how much I would push on that, and it turns out I've pushed further than in the outlines I originally thought I would. Because when I was starting this, I still didn't know if people would jump onboard with this as much as they have.

[...]

Reading Way of Kings Prime is a great way to see how things have changed since. The big changes you will see there between 2002 and 2010... I guess I wrote the book in 2009, so... in those seven years, you can see a lot of the transformations that the book and the world and the series went through. It's kind of nice. Those of you who've read it recently can probably remember more about what's changed than I do. I come back to the big ones, like that book had Unmade spiked with crystalline spikes, in the basement of the version of Urithiru before I changed it to what it is now, and that is just no longer in the books, right. Unmade getting spiked and being freed by spikes to the wall is not a thing. I'm sticking them in gemstones now, right, instead of spiking them to walls. I felt like the whole Hemalurgy thing we've covered well enough. But that was in the 2002 version.

*Adam goes on a diatribe about how he'd like to see fanart of this*

It was ten spikes too.

#17 Copy

Adam Horne

I see people in the chat wanting you to elaborate a little bit more on Dalinar killing Elhokar.

Brandon Sanderson

If you haven't read Way of Kings Prime, one of the things that was interesting to me.. So if you go way back to Dragonsteel... this is Dragonsteel Pre-Prime, the version of Dragonsteel that I started when I was in high school.

The central premise for Dalinar's character, who... he was in that book, was the person who was caught between his duty to his family and his duty to his country. So his brother dies and the new king... in the original, the one I did when I was a teen, I wasn't as good with these things back then. The new king was a baby, and so Dalinar's in that book kind of thing was how much do I take control as regent of this country and how much am I disenfranchising my nephew.

That was less interesting than what I ended up doing in Way of Kings Prime, which is where I realized this is a way better conflict, if the nephew of Dalinar takes the throne and is a really bad king, just dreadful, and bad for everybody and then Dalinar's trapped between deciding how much he loves his family and is going to follow them and deciding how much he loves his country. And I put those two in conflict quite a bit through the course of the story until finally Dalinar duels and kills Elhokar.

In that book they all have different names. Dalinar's is close, it's the same name but spelled differently, I believe. I don't even know what Elhokar's name is in that book. It might it might be Elhokar. The chat can tell us, but it's Elhokar. It's the same character.

That was like heart wrenching and traumatic for Dalinar to have to go through that. And why did I not go that direction when I wrote the actual version of the book? It's a... it's a better book—I feel—if Dalinar has to continue to live with this thing, and if he legitimately, like, loves his nephew, and his nephew is trying. That makes the conflict just so much more heart wrenching, because in Way of Kings Prime—it's been a long time, guys. It has been 20 years since I have even really looked at that version of the book, but in that [version] I made it justifiable. I had to.

Because if you're going to have a main character do something like that, readers have to dislike the person, right? And they've gotta be—I feel—on Dalinar side, unless we wanted a different arc, you could totally write a different arc for that, but in that version you get to the sense where  Elhokar has brought this upon himself, and I tweaked that by making him try harder, but just kind of be bad at it, which just led to a better arc, and it let me do things in future books where kind of Dalinar is... against his desires... he is seizing control of the throne, right. He i becoming the monarch and has become the monarch despite him claiming that he's not going to. It's just a better character treatment. You can point to a lot of flaws in Dalinar, but a big one is he is bad at delegation and he is bad at letting other people do things poorly when he thinks he could do them well. And even though he says he's not doing this, he slowly grabs power through the first three books until he's completely in control and Elhokar's been sidelined. And that's a flaw in Dalinar. 

But it's also... if you were living in that kingdom, you are glad it happened, right? So you don't want Elhokar necessarily being in control, and it's supposed to... I feel like it just leads to better long term storytelling, the way that I did it in the finished version. But we still get the "Dalinar beats the tar out of Elhokar" scene in the in the first book so that you can get some of that still in the published version.

#18 Copy

Crspu

Is there going to be a magic system for every Shard? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes, whether there'll be books? We get into a problem here... is... what is a magic system, right? 

So for instance like, would you count all of Surgebinding as one magic system, or is it ten magic systems, right? Is Windrunning a separate magic system from Skybreaking. Right, and is it the Surges? Is it that? What do you call a magic system? Is the system of fabrials a magic system, or is it a subset of what's happening on Roshar? And in that case, it's like I delineated it pretty strongly in Mistborn, but in Stormlight, it's like... kind of Surgebinding is kind of Honor and Cultivation, right? And so is there a magic system for each of them or not?

So the answer is yes and no, in that every one of the Shards will inspire really interesting magic systems. But is there a one to one? What do you call a magic system? And beyond that, will I have time to write books about all of these, I don't know. You could even look at Sel. Sel has how many magic systems, is it one? Is it lots? Is Forging a different magic system from AonDor, or is it two aspects of the same magic system and so... It's tricky. 

#19 Copy

Amber Burningham

Do you have a prediction or an estimation on when Horneater's release will be?

Brandon Sanderson

Horneater, if I do it right, is going to be the summer or fall before the fifth book, I think. I am, I believe, personally on the hook for that one more than I've been on the hook for other novellas and things like that, because I deliberately left these things out of Rhythm of War and it leaves a pretty obvious hole, I just didn't have the space for it and it would have been distracting if I put it in and so it is better as a novella. But if I don't do it soon, I feel like I will be breaking a small promise to the readers, which sometimes we do. Sometimes things miss deadlines and we break small promises, but it is a... it is a promise. The way that I wrote that and left out what happened, it's a promise that you will get this information, and you know three years may be a long time still to get that. But my goal right now is you know, again, the team cringes when I talk about this. But we're only two years away from doing the Words of Radiance Kickstarter and so we will. I will probably want to provide a novella for that.

Plan is right now, if I do that, I kind of... This is a much smaller promise, not even really a promise, but then we will have a novella between books two and three, three and four, and four and five. But we will not have one between books one and two and just for sake of completionism. It feels like there should be a mini Stormlight novella that takes place between books one and two and I would want to finish that, probably for a future Kickstarter. We probably also want to do the art book though for one of those kind of things, and we do those on separate years, so. Eventually I think there will be basically big Stormlight novel, mini Stormlight novel for all of Stormlight era one, if I'm... if I'm on the ball enough to make it all happen, so stay tuned. We shall see how much how much Brandon is able to do and how much he is not able to do. A lot of these things depend on how long does book five take to write? I will be starting that in January. January 1st is the goal and we'll see how long it takes. I would say it's going to be 400,000 words, but none of them have actually been 400,000 words since the first one, so. They've all been longer. 

#20 Copy

Camposteria7

Do Rosharans believe that their planet is flat?

Brandon Sanderson

Rosharans do not believe their planet is flat. 

You could find Rosharans who believe that, but most of them that you had talked to would just be like, "What's a planet?"

Because if you go to rural parts of most of Roshar and you're like "What do you think of your planet?" They'd be like "What do you mean by planet?" You'd be like "Well, the thing you live on", they're like "I live in Bavland". They're not viewing a planet. They don't understand that, but like sailors all know that Roshar is a sphere, and you know the educated would definitely know. This is not a question. But even talking in terminology of a planet I feel is hard for the Rosharans because when you say "The world," that they can grasp, right like, oh just everything. When you say "Your planet," or "This planet," it makes you have to be like "Wait. There are others? I suppose there are but ramifications." And so, yeah.

#22 Copy

Yosef Joe

If Brandon got a Shard, what Shard would it be and what would he do with it?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know, I've been asked something along these lines before. I do fit Autonomy pretty well, but I also feel like I fit Invention pretty well, so probably one of those two. There's definitely some that are not very Brandon. Whimsy: not a very Brandon Shard, let's just point that one out, but I could see myself with bunches of them.

What would I do? Pocket universes and... I guess you can't really create those in the... well you can and in the Spiritual Realm, but... Y'know, building funky planets and weird magic systems, that's what I do anyway. You would probably just float through the cosmere and find just planet after planet of screwball magic systems that people are trying to figure out how to use and being like wow, the person who did this, why did they make us use magic based on bagel flavors, can't we have the one where we just fly?

#23 Copy

Questioner

Why does Szeth's spren not help him as a [Shardblade] even though he has said the Third Ideal?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, RAFO.

Let's just say that the highspren are perhaps a little bit different from other spren.

#25 Copy

Cory Michaels

Were the riders in the storm on Roshar prior to the Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson

No... Oh, the riders. *hemming and hawing* RAFO. I'll RAFO that. Good question! I'd better leave alone pre-Shattering Roshar questions for the most part.

#27 Copy

Nick Mancuso

Do worldhoppers take time to adjust to the different gravity of a new world? How about in the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how fast they get between things. Most of the time, no. Because most of the time what you're doing is you're leaving a planet and going into the Cognitive Realm, where for the most part you're going to have the same sort of feelings of gravity and then you are walking slowly through Shadesmar to another place and you're not even noticing the minute changes. If there were FTL travel or something then yeah, you would pretty instantaneously notice a difference, but that currently does not exist in the Cosmere. People who are getting between planets either are individuals with no physical form as it's currently... basically just the Shards, right, or are getting there through Shadesmar, basically by walking or riding or something like that. There are *hesitantly* no current faster ways, but I mean, there are depending on how fast you can get through Shadesmar and yeah. I mean, even when Hoid is getting between planets it's taking him weeks or months, he's not jumping. They aren't actually hopping between worlds, they are trudging between worlds in the Cosmere.

#28 Copy

Vodid

If you have caffeine, can you store that as wakefulness in a bronzemind?

Brandon Sanderson

I think that you can, but I think when you tap it out, you will have kind of the same effects, right. Like, you will feel like you are not quite as awake. Like that feeling you get, I think you guys know what I'm talking about. I think that you can, I think that you can hack the system with some things like that. That's my guess... That's my answer right now, but that's one pretty mutable, as we go forward.

Adam Horne

I'd be curious to see what you could do with that in Era 3, because pharmaceuticals will exist.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes well, you're already getting into the fact that you could replicate a lot of things, with... once they figure how to change types of Investiture and whatnot, then suddenly you've got some wacky things going on. Which is why a Mistborn cyberpunk would be so much fun, because metallurgic wetware would be fun. But no promises on that—I already have too many things to write. It's just that if I do write it, and I make it a trilogy, then we have sixteen books in the Mistborn series.

#29 Copy

Yoonseo Chang

Looking at Allomancy, you've mentioned that over time the power dilutes and each ability becomes less powerful. (for example a Tineye in Era 2 will generally be less powerful than one in Era 1) Does the same effect happen in Feruchemy as well? How would Feruchemy become less pure or diluted (other than Ferrings appearing)?

Brandon Sanderson

I have not gone as far with Feruchemy in that regard. I would say that if you're going to get a weakening of Feruchemy, which you're asking about, is the amount of stored attribute you get for lost attribute. There is decay there, you don't get a 1:1. Feruchemy generally I would say is not much weaker than it was before, a little bit but not much. This was done partially for narrative reasons. I wanted Allomancy... I wanted to back off a little on Allomancy and tell stories with it a little bit weaker. Again, mostly narrative reasons at this point. At this point on Scadrial, it's weakened about as much as it's going to because by this point people are having children that are more powerful because of the certain mixing. I'm not saying it's going up, I'm saying they have hit an equilibrium on Scadrial for the most part, at least in the Basin.

#31 Copy

Michael Rap

We know that Soulcasters who Soulcast long enough become savants, and that manifests physically. Is what happens to people during the Shaod physically related to savantism?

Brandon Sanderson

"Related?" You gotta watch out for terms like that in detailed Cosmere questions because of course they're "related." Are they "related" in a significant way that you should draw parallels between? Probably not. They're related in that being highly Invested does things to you, so yes. But savanthood is a different style of your Spiritual DNA being rewritten. I mean, that is what's happening, when you're becoming Elantrian, so... how about I give a "halfway in between significant and insignificant?" Moderately significant relationship between these two things, but not a direct relationship.

Sorry, that terminology is kind of weird for me to parse with "Is it related".

#32 Copy

Alex M

What's the difference between avatar and Splinter?

Brandon Sanderson

These are all very weird terms that I'm just using.

*mistakenly answering for Sliver* A Sliver is a person who has held the power of a Shard, and then let go of it. A briefly held time, holding the infinite power of a Shard, but no longer does. So what does that do? That changes your soul, and leaves markers on it. It's a real physiological thing.

An avatar is... a Shard manifesting a semi-autonomous piece of themselves that is still connected to who they are. An avatar, for instance, of Autonomy - depending on how Autonomy creates that avatar - might know, might not know, but they are still an aspect, they are still part of Autonomy. And when you get down to it a part of them knows that, and it's almost a god roleplaying, but in a way that only a Shard, or a lowercase-g god in the Cosmere, can do.

Brandon Sanderson

*realizes that he answered for Sliver earlier, and clarifies*

A Splinter is a piece of a Shard that is fully autonomous, where an avatar is not. So something that is Splintered does not consider itself - and would not be considered by the definitions  - an actual piece of it [the Shard], and has free will. So once it has free will, and/or could develop free will (because some of the Splinters haven't gotten there yet), but is fully cut off from the direct control and self-identity of the Shard, then it is called a Splinter.

#33 Copy

Luke Beartline

Along the lines of BioChromatic Breath being akin to a person's soul, how would a Shardblade react to someone who does not have any Breath, would it cut them like an inanimate object?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Remember, one of the things with Breath is I consider Breath to be a part of someone's soul, but it is the extra part that the Cosmere has that non-Cosmere doesn't have. I don't know how far I want to lean into this, but there is definitely a part of me that thinks that Drabs, people who have given up their breath on Nalthis, are just like people from our world. That's what they are, that if we went to the Cosmere we would all be Drabs. Even on planets that aren't Nalthis, where you can't take part of that and give it away and things like that, people are invested. They are invested generally more than here.

Why do I do this? There's a couple reasons. One, it's really convenient for some narrative reasons. A lot of books I'm writing are these kind of action-adventure stories, and can human beings actually take the punishment that is delivered, let's say to Adolin in the end of Oathbringer? *noncommital negative sounds* He doesn't come off well from that, but could a human being really take that? I go back and forth. Humans are capable of some pretty incredible feats, particularly with adrenaline driving them, but my kind of blanket answer is everyone in the Cosmere has got a bit more Investiture; everyone's got something like Breath. Nalthians have something kind of extra special because they can use it in different ways, but everybody's got something like that.

It's leading to the fact that for instance, I highlighted this in the books, this part is canon: There are things about Rosharans that make it so that a lot of diseases have trouble getting a foothold. You do not have the bubonic plague on Roshar. You could maybe say this is because they are not living in close enough proximity to mammals for diseases to hop species as happens on our planet, which is a pretty valid point. Things that affect a horse or a cow (a lot of different diseases from cows come to us), things that affect a cow are much more likely to be able to affect a human than something that affects a chull being able to affect a human. Totally valid, but I also think that there is something more going on here.

This allows me to do fantasy stories where... In Warbreaker we don't have to be worrying about the next outbreak of smallpox, which legitimately they probably would have to be worrying about. It means that, while this is kind of a trope that people, trope is the wrong term, but that people in the past did not have as bad as teeth as we assume that we do because they did not eat the levels of sugars and starches that we do. Investiture also in the Cosmere means that you're not going to... Dalinar probably would not have a full set of teeth, even without being punched in the face and stuff, if he were a human from Earth. But on Roshar he's got just a little bit extra vitality, a little bit extra something, just like everyone on the planet, that is making him a little tougher and making him a little more disease resistant and some of these things. It makes the stories more fun for me to tell and also gives us some suspension of disbelief on some of these things. You do not have to worry about smallpox outbreaks on most planets. You do have to worry about catching the curse of the Elantrian disease and being thrown into a prison city, but smallpox, not as big of a deal.

Adam

Yeah, but you don’t have to worry about that too much anymore.

Brandon Sanderson

No, but I'm saying you could have to worry about things like that. Magical diseases, totally on the board, but the big plague they're dealing with in Roshar is the common cold that got brought across by some of the members of Seventeenth Shard, and that's going to die out pretty quickly. They will get over it and their immune system is... The common cold has come over multiple times before for reasons like that, colds just from another planet. Roshar, they've got three Shards. Basically if you want something like this to happen you go to a planet that's not quite as highly Invested where they might have a few more diseases, you pick one up, you bring it, and it spreads a little bit but then it dies off. That sort of thing happens a lot in the Cosmere. You do not have to worry about during the space age that people are going to be bringing lots of diseases across planets.

#34 Copy

Zelriel

Is Nightblood considered a Sliver after what happened in Rhythm of War?

Brandon Sanderson

By some definitions... *indecisive sputtering* Tenuous. I would say for the most part no. Some people might in-world disagree because Slivers are pretty... it's a moving target, but Nightblood shuts off pretty quick in terms of the amount of Investiture that would come through something like that. And so while he did get a piece of that, technically anything he eats is getting a piece of a Shard. I'm going to say no, with room for debate.

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Argent

Are the Rhythm of War Seon communication devices called Selphones?

Brandon Sanderson

Gaah! *general exclamations of mirth mixed with booing from Brandon's team*

I love it, Evgeni, gold star! You're making everyone groan in a beautiful way. Nice work, you have brightened my day.

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Grif

Are there any names you wish you could use for Shards that just don't fit narratively?

Brandon Sanderson

I've thrown away so many of them, so it's going to be hard for me to give you any examples. Like you know, I've been working on this for 20+ years where I'm like "Is this a good word? Is this a good word? What's a good word for the idea I want to use?" Right? And so if I'm throwing one away, it's either because I don't think it works or because there's some example in other media where that word is too prevalent and too used, so. I have to pass on this question just from I can't remember any.

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snowdayplease

Eshonai's one experience as a mate was a "disaster" and Rlain's time in mateform "didn't turn out the way he expected". Is that implying what I think it's implying?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they're implying different things. With Rlain it's just that it turned out he was solely attracted to other men. Not a disaster, just not what he had anticipated. And Eshonai, I'm not implying the same thing there. I'm implying that she... when she did a mate she just did not like being in that form. It did not mesh well with her, she embarrassed herself in ways that... Eshonai outside of mateform considers that entire time an enormous disaster and a huge embarrassment. Does that make sense? I wasn't trying to draw a correlation between those two. It's a good question to ask because the structure of how I wrote those is very similar.

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Robert W

Does Jasnah still consider herself to be atheist and what would she have to see in order to change her view?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah would stop being atheist if she got definitive proof of an omniscient and caring and omnipotent God. She does not, and I kind of agree with her, consider the Shards to be Gods (capital G). In her realm these are beings that, you know, everything is Invested, they're Invested more. Atheist means she does not believe that there is, in these terms, an omnipotent God. It doesn't necessarily have to mean loving, I might have said that. She means that there is no omnipotent, capital G God. She doesn't think one exists. She would need to have irrefutable proof that they do or that they did and then she would believe. It doesn't mean she would worship, but it does mean she would believe.

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snowdayplease

Does the fact that singers have red bones mean that they have red teeth?

Brandon Sanderson

I have not indicated that to the artists, so I'm going to say no. It would cause a revolution in fanart. Though Isaac can overrule me on that as he's art directing and things. It probably would make sense for them to have red teeth, but we haven't done much color art and I don't know if they've ever been smiling. They probably would but I have not described them that way. I don't think I've described it the other way either, so we could move forward that direction. They probably should have red teeth. It looks pretty cool, red teeth looks kinda nifty, I do like that. Sinister to our preconceived notion of what is sinister is how I'm kind of designing the singers.

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m4ge

If a Splintered Shard is somehow reformed, is it possible to change the word that expresses its Intent?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but that's a very implausible thing depending on how... so, you're getting into some weird Cosmere stuff here. Most of the ways that these different Shards could manifest could be described differently. Odium is trying very hard to describe his Shard as something different, and there's an argument there. But it depends on if you're like actually changing it or if you just want to call it something different. You could just call Odium hatred and it's not going to change anything, but if you wanted to change Odium to mean Passion like Odium thinks that it means, then that's more difficult.

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Lotus

If one was worldhopping to Nalthis, what type of customs would they have to go through?

Brandon Sanderson

*Laughs* Nalthis customs? There'll be some tariffs to pay depending on what's going on. It is kind of not that different from what you would imagine. What I have read about in sort of Renaissance times, like pay your fees and things like that. But there's not really something you have to worry about... quarantines because of the disease factor, it's just not on their radar for the reasons I've explained. They don't have to worry about that. Like, dangerous items, what sort of dangerous items are you talking about, right? I do think they try to prevent people with Breaths from leaving the planet, particularly lots of them. Getting off I would say is a little more tricky because they do not want the Breath bleed of Investiture leaving their planet, but I think you will find some notable examples of it happening, so. They are not impossible to dodge, those customs.

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Lass Adventurous Arith

How did you decide to turn Taravangian into Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

How did I decide to do that? There are a couple reasons I decided to do that. This was one of the things didn't have to go this way. It is actually a good one I can talk about because I had multiple options here. Even until I was turning in this outline to my team and saying "Alright, it's time to sink or swim, do we like this or not?", I was going back and forth on it. Really until I had written the scenes and given them to my alpha readers and said, "alright, are you guys ready for me to pull the trigger on this?" because there are costs. The major cost is that Odium is a better ancient unknowable evil. Odium was filling the role in the books of Sauron. Ancient thing, very dangerous, very strange, very powerful and whatnot.

The thing is, my books aren't really about that. I will write books dealing with some of that sort of stuff, but that's not the sort of thing that is as exciting. It's not really as much a theme of my stories, the ancient unknowable evil. The whole purpose of Mistborn—one of them, it's not the purpose—is that even the Lord Ruler you've got to know. Even Ruin became a character that you understood. It is a cost, I will admit. It wasn't as strong for me as it might have been somewhere else. I do know that some people would prefer that, and I can understand why. Sauron makes a pretty great bad guy. Ancient, powerful, unknowable, evil forces—but I feel like I get that in the shard itself. One of the things that I plan to play up more as the Cosmere goes forward is that these powers have some sort of primal sense to them. That's always in my mind been the bigger danger than than Rayse is that.

That is, the negatives were not that big of negatives. And what are the positives? In Oathbringer, Dalinar did not fall to Odium. That is a huge blow to Odium, Rayse-Odium. The fact that at the end of book three he was defeated in a major way, and in book 4 he gets defeated again, this time by Kaladin. We have proven that two of our primary viewpoint protagonists of the Stormlight Archive are able to resist and defeat him. My opinion was that by that point in the Stormlight Archive, Odium would no longer, Odium-Rayse would no longer be a threat. You run into this in lots of long running epic fantasy series. I've talked a lot about how when I was designing Stormlight Archive, the things I had read in other long running fantasy series were a big part of why I designed it the way I did. For instance, in the Wheel of Time it was very difficult—even in the ones I was writing—to maintain a sense of threat for the Forsaken when they had just been defeated right and left every book. They do get their licks in now and then, but it's real hard to keep considering Ba'alzamon from the first one to be a threat when boy, Rand just defeats him and defeats him again and defeats him again and then defeats him again. This is a problem for a lot of media. How threatening is Magneto really when he never wins?

At this point in the series, what I wanted to do was hit you with a left hook from somebody that I considered more frightening, more dangerous, more capable, and who had been growing as an antagonist for a while. And while some of his ploys had not turned out, he is still very threatening. My hope was that this reveal to a portion of the audience—I knew that some would prefer Odium, but to I hoped a larger portion—would be like, "Oh, this just got real."

I've mentioned before that my favorite antagonist is Magneto, I've brought him up before. I like characters who have clashes, antagonists who have clashes of ideology, not just clashes of forces. A reason I'm not excited to write about somebody like Sauron is that, while there are clashes of ideology behind the scenes, on screen for the movies and books it's basically: Sauron wants to rule the world and we don't want him to. That works really well in Lord of the Rings because you have, as I've talked about, part of the brilliance of the Lord of the Rings is both having Sauron, Saruman, and Gollum to represent three different kinds of evil and three different antagonists that work in tandem really well together. It's part of the brilliance of the Lord of the Rings. But I like having a villain like Taravangian. Taravangian, who has a world view that is a certain world view and that is terrifying because of how that world view is. Elevating him to Odium so that you mixed that with the kind of ancient spren of hatred that is still a very big, dominant part of what he's now become—I just thought made for a more compelling and interesting villain for the fact that we have many more books left in the Stormlight Archive and in the Cosmere, and I had done what I wanted to with Rayse-Odium.

There's my answer. It is totally viable to have, viable is the wrong term, totally understandable that some would have preferred me to go a different direction, but my instinct says—and I haven't done any polls or things on this—that the majority of fans are going to like this direction better, and I certainly think the story will turn out better. That's what led me to make that decision, but these were all things I was heavily considering. Adam was there watching those emails go around with me and the team when I was asking if I should pull the trigger on this or not. There are a couple of things that I've made decisions on that have been some of the most difficult or most far-reaching in that regard, but that I think I made the right decision on.

The other one was bringing Kelsier back. Kelsier, so I seeded all the stuff in the original books to bring Kelsier back, but then I backed off on it, and for a while I'm like eh, I don't think I'm going to bring Kelsier back. During that whole thing, oh this is a fun spoiler thing that I don't think I've talked about before: during that time in the outlining—some of you may again have much preferred this—TenSoon was actually going to be Thaidakar, wearing Kelsier's bones. There was a time where I was going to play with a kandra believing they were Kelsier, in this case TenSoon. I was going to go this direction where it's like, I'm the survivor, I'm picking up the survivor's heritage and I'm doing all of this sort of stuff—I did warn you all about spoilers—and there was a time in there where I decided no, I'm going to leave Kelsier dead—that I'm going to go this direction. Why did I back off on that one? A couple reasons, number one I feel like I really did a solid job with Lessie in the second of the Wax and Wayne books, which was a similar conflict. I felt like I got that out of my system. I did it well, I think that story has some really heart-wrenching things, but as I wrote that story I felt that it was a one-book story.

One of the things I've come to be aware of as I've written, this stretches back to the days of Elantris where my original ending had too many twists. It's been changed, like I had some weird twist where Hrathen had secretly come to Elantris at some point and had a heritage that made him Aleth—not Alethi—made him Aonic and things like that and it was dumb and it didn't work. It was twisting for twists sake. And part of me worries, and part of me actually doesn't just worry, I think that if I had done that whole thing with TenSoon it would have been less cool than what I just actually wanted to have happen, which was to give a full finished character arc to Kelsier. At that point I went back to what my original plan had been and I picked up those threads, and that's when I wrote Secret History, after I had finally made that decision. And it comes with costs too. Everything comes with costs. Having main character die in such a spectacular way and then not being quite dead yet has certain costs in your narrative. The more you do that less that death is meaningful in the stories, the more it feels like a gotcha and things like that. Yet at the same time on the other side, I don't think the Lord of the Rings is weaker for having brought back Gandalf. I think the Lord of the Rings is stronger, and why is that? Gandalf comes back changed as a different person and makes the story more interesting for having returned. My original plan with Kelsier was just more interesting in the long run. Forcing Kelsier to do these things and fi—he did not complete his character arc, and that's part of why it was so heart-wrenching to lose him, which I understand. Bringing him back in that regard lets me finish his story, and I just think that's going to be more satisfying. I gain more than I lose.

Plus there's the fact that someone comes back from the dead in the first chapter of the very first Cosmere book. Second chances at life is a major theme of the Cosmere. Both Warbreaker and Elantris that's kind of—Warbreaker it's the primary theme: second chance at life. You're doing a different thing with your life than you thought you would do, and let's take a second stab at it. I think that being able to play with that with Kelsier is a stronger narrative thing to do. This was also influenced by my, as I've talked about before, sort of shrinking the timescale a little bit of the Cosmere so that more of the characters from the different books can interact. It just makes better storytelling. I would say that those are the two things that in outline I could have gone different directions when I actually got to the story. When it was time to write Secret History I had to make the call. He had been dead, he had been alive, he had been dead, he had been alive, at least in my head, and I made that call. The same thing actually happened with Taravangian. It had been am I going to pull the trigger, was he going to become Odium or not? I actually vacillated on that and eventually have made the decision I made. 

Adam

Are you ever going to reveal what the alternate was going to be, kind of like what you just did?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe eventually I will, but for now I will not. It's easier to reveal in Mistborn because it's basically all in the past. It isn't to say that I won't do something else like that, with a kandra. I might, but Lessie's story covered that real well. Who knows what I'll do, but I've backed off on, for those who have read Way of Kings Prime, Taln's original story was the story of am I an angel or am I not? Am I a herald or am I not? Am I this divine being or am I a normal person? And that actually plays real well in Way of Kings Prime. It is just not a thing I could make work in the actual published version of Way of Kings. It's one of the things that's cool about Way of Kings Prime, is being able to see some of these ideas that I can't express in the actual series. Part of the reason I can't is also, number one I wanted to bring the voidbringers in and all of these things, and you just can't... The more fantastical your book is, the less the reader will be able to suspend disbelief about your character who claims that they're not some mythological legend from lore actually not being that mythological—they walk onstage and are like, "I think that I'm this mythological legend from lore but my powers are gone." Ninety-nine readers out of a hundred are going to be like, "yep, I believe you", even though all the rest of the people in the books are going to be like, "No of course you're not." The reader—because it's just cooler that way. It's very hard to fulfill on good promises by not having that turn out that way. Beyond that, the story I wanted to tell involved Taln and so big surprise, Taln is a herald!

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m4ge

If Kaladin wasn't in the arena in Words of Radiance, would Zahel have intervened to help Adolin?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that, but a different kind of RAFO—in that I don't think Zahel himself knows what he would do in that situation. The better part of him would want to have, but he is not living his best life right now, shall we say. He is not living up to his potential, and he knows it. And so would he have? He should have. But would be have? Good question. Even he doesn't... I don't think that he could answer.

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Sofia

Are any of the Lord Ruler's descendants alive during Era 1?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. A lot of people have asked that. The descendants of the Lord Ruler only are things I've confirmed in Words of Brandon, they are not confirmed in book. RAFO. They did exist, he has had progeny.

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Questioner

Which Cosmere character would dominate the world fastest, and why is it Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah's a good choice. Why would it be Jasnah? If Jasnah decided it needed to be done… Jasnah is most self aware of her own moral philosophy and why she makes the choices she does, and because of that she is able to act decisively, because she has already considered the conundrum and the moral dilemma of the item ahead of time. Which gives her just ex... She doesn't need to second guess herself at the level that, for instance, Dalinar spends a lot of time second guessing himself, Jasnah does not. She does spend a lot of time upfront making her decision about what will happen in certain circumstances if she has to decide.

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Amber Burningham

Would someone with a strong moral compass such as Kaladin and Dalinar consider Wit's alignment moral?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar is more likely to understand than Kaladin, because Dalinar's been in positions. Kaladin is less likely to, but it depends on what aspects of what Hoid's doing you're taking about.

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Ben Puffer

For the Steelheart series, do you feel like the main protagonist is on the spectrum? Because when I read it I identify the most with him, and only realizing now that I am on the spectrum, I realize that he could be too.

Brandon Sanderson

He could be. Definitely has some aspects. I didn't intentionally write him that way, but I wrote him to a personality. He's definitely got some things going on there that there's a good argument. That's David Charleston of the Reckoners.

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Tony Patrick

Where did you get the idea to have multiple moons on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

I have no idea, it's gone back so far. I mean... Yeah, no idea. I like doing weird things with the cosmology and with planets and things like that. For the 2010 version, looking at the moons, I wanted to subtly indicate the presence of three gods and kind of subtly give some color scheme indications of them and things like that, but they aren't one to one. Just that idea, because everything was based around ten, I wanted some threes hanging around in the world building as well.

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CephandriusTW

Since Teft is dead, may he rest in peace, could you tell us what his fourth Ideal would have been if he had spoken it before Vyre killed him?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmmm... Fourth Ideal for Teft. I would like to give that more thought, rather than be on the spot for it here, so it's a RAFO, but not a promise that I'll answer you. There are things I would want to consider before I answer that. It's a great question. That's the one I'm saddest not to be able to answer, but I don't think I can answer that on the spot, while I'm doing other things right now. It deserves more consideration than an off the cuff answer. 

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Brad

Will every death rattle have a canonized point of reference at some point in a coming novel?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't intend them all to. I intend most of them to, but I don't intend them all to. Some of them happened, but were not relevant to the story on screen, is what I've decided.

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Blackflame Omega

Does “Light” in a vacuum become unkeyed until exposed to a vibration upon leaving, and what happens if that vibration isn't actually a pure tone?

Brandon Sanderson

It can be overridden and things like that. You can unkey that vibration and then kind of separate it. Whether it's even fully unkeyed, to be perfectly honest, I can't even say. Like, you are dampening it, and then overriding it with something else.

This is kind of outside the world, they wouldn't be able to measure it—but I don't even think it's completely unkeyed, like Navani thinks it is, before she rekeys it. The mental component on her part is pretty important to what's happening.

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Questioner

Do the Terris prophecies only refer to the Hero of Ages on Scadrial, or could they also apply to a person or people in other systems? Are there “Heroes” for other systems?

Brandon Sanderson

That theology was only talking about Scadrial. Doesn't mean that there aren't people in the Cosmere who would interpret that and take it and run with it, but they were talking about Scadrial.

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Team Teama

Vin “sucked in the mists” with a deep breath, also the mist was “leaking” from her arms. Is that similar to Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it is. One hundred percent. In fact, you should notice that when Shardblades form they take a certain shape... substance.

Adam Horne

Oh jeez, yeah...

Brandon Sanderson

Did you never notice that?

Adam Horne

No, I did, but you know… you don't think about it.

Brandon Sanderson

Before they solidify, yeah.

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Michael Kernan

How would a dinner party between Kelsier, Hoid, and Harmony go down, and who else would be invited?

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, Kelsier, Hoid, and Harmony? Hoid and Kelsier squabble the entire time, and Harmony tries to get them to stop.

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Questioner

Who's cleverer, Kelsier or Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the situation and what you even mean by clever. Hoid thinks he's cleverer, so…

Adam Horne

He has a lot of practice, too.

Brandon Sanderson

He has a lot of practice, yeah. Kelsier would lose patience with Hoid before Hoid loses patience with Kelsier.

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Kaladin Stormblessed

Did Ironsides mean to refer Spensa's pin as the pin of a traitor so early in the book?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes? I feel like she did. I'm not sure why she wouldn't have, because by that point everyone knows that Spensa's… Unless they're asking maybe if Ironsides didn't... shouldn't have known that that pin was Spensa's father's pin, she could've thought it was given to her by somebody else, but yeah.

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Alexa Smith

Has a Shard's Vessel had a child after Ascension? If so, have we seen them? Will one become important to the Stormlight Archive plot?

Brandon Sanderson

Do you consider all of the people on Scadrial to be children of Preservation? I would count them all as children of Preservation and Ruin, I mean they created them together. I don't know what other way you can interpret that, because the first ones of them would've had no other parents. 

So, yes to that, but it's not what you're asking. Otherwise, RAFO.

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Timothy Ketting

If Adolin originally didn't have a significant role, was there another character that you planned to have a larger role, but changed your mind?

Brandon Sanderson

No. There's nobody whose role has been diminished. I mean, part of the reason the books are longer than I thought they would be is… Everyone likes to throw ( justifiably so) the quote of me where I'm l like “I think book one is going to be the longest,” right? I'm like “I don't think the others are going to be this long.” Well, turns out that adding another main character is one of the things that makes books go longer. When I'm like, “well I need to give a nice arc to Adolin in every book now,” and suddenly giving a nice arc to Adolin in every book means that we got tens of thousands of more words that we gotta write in every book. That's not the only reason, but that is one of the reasons why the entire series is longer, is because I did that.

Nobody's been diminished. I've only found room to expand, which I knew would happen. That's why I built the interludes the way I did, and why I moved things like Horneater to novellas—I do not want the side stories to overcome the main story. It's part of the reason we've got two bricks of five books, rather than one ten book arc—I worried that at that length, it would involve spinning of heels, rather than coming to actual conclusions and climaxes.

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Doomstick

What is brollin? Slowswift mentioned them in the same breath as spren and shades.

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, RAFO!

Footnote: In the original release, Slowswift mentioned “mistwraiths, sprites, and brollins”, in the 10th anniversary edition, he said "mistwraiths, shades, spren, and brollins."
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Doomslug

If Roshar progressed and industrialized, would caffeinespren come to existence with the advent of soda?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I bet they would, absolutely. I mean if you're getting alcoholspren, you're gonna get caffeinespren. They probably wouldn't be called that, you would probably call them like alertnessspren or something like that when you are alert beyond, you know… maybe not even alert. It'd be like a term for when you should be sleeping, but you can't because of stimulants. Stimulantspren? Wiredspren? Hyperspren?

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Alex Herrera

Have any decisions you've made been controversial within your team?

Brandon Sanderson

...Yes. Famously, Peter Ahlstrom doesn't like Dreamer, which is my goofy little short story, that's his least favourite Brandon Sanderson story. I don't know that that counts though, deciding to write that story… What's been controversial among us?

Adam Horne

I have one, but I think it's hard to say without spoiling a future property.

Brandon Sanderson

You can tell me what that one is after… You probably want to talk about Cytonic, right? Is that the one? There are some things we did with Cytonic, and I don't want to talk about that either, because it's spoilery, but when Cytonic's out we can talk about some decisions I made which were controversial. But they were more controversial with my editor and my agent, the actual Dragonsteel team was onboard with changes. The vibe, like… Peter, and the team, the editorial side here, we vibe really well together—decisions I make are rarely unpopular because the team…

Adam Horne

Well, this might even be more of a question for me, where sometimes when you've given us outlines of what you think you're going to do I might have some reservations, but every time you do it, you do it so well that you've built up a huge amount of trust, and I'm sure I'm speaking for a lot of the people watching right now so, it's hard to have reservations when you deliver every time.

Background

We get controversial feedback among the beta readers.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, beta readers all the time.

Adam Horne

*Jokingly*  Yeah, but we don't care about them.

Brandon Sanderson

No we do care about them, and I like that they disagree. I make a lot of decisions that the beta readers… I would say there are very few that I make that the overwhelming majority of beta readers don't like, but the beta readers get split fifty-fifty quite a bit on things. It's one of the interesting things, you know, the beta readers hating of loving something is interesting to read.

Within the team though? Hmm… I mean, probably… this is going to be funny to people, but probably… So, the way that I describe the front of the Fourth Bridge airship coming down and the art for it—Peter pointed out “this art does not match the description as well as I would like it to”, and Isaac and I were like “eh, it's close enough. We're close to the deadline, we're just gonna go with it”, that was a pretty controversial choice because Peter was like “but it doesn't actually match”, and Peter's job is to be detail oriented on letting us know “this is a continuity error, you are introducing a continuity error, and you know it”, but at the same time, getting another draft drawn on that piece was not something we just had the time to do. And so I just said to Peter, “eh, it was an early draft of the plans that Navani drew, and it actually ended up being a little different”. 

You know stuff like that, that can be controversial, because we have some very detail oriented people in the team who's job is to be very detail oriented, and anticipate what the fans are going to complain about, and sometimes we don't have the bandwidth to actually make those changes. It's like when Moshe wanted me to change “podium” and “lectern”, and we went the rounds on that. Those are more controversial than other things like this, which is kinda funny.

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