There is a scene in Rhythm of War between Wit and Jasnah. This scene has Wit doing a weird linguistic trick with his sentences that I'm not sure if people have figured out, but it is not just alliteration, it is deeper than that. And it is not something that you're supposed to pick up on. You're just supposed to be able to feel like, "Oh yeah, Wit is doing somethin' weird. He does weird stuff." But if you follow it, it follows a very interesting... it's like he's made his own poetic form and is trying to follow it. And the fun of this scene for me, part of the fun of writing it is, Jasnah picking up on that, Jasnah doing it as well, him trying to constrain the conversation so they can make these little quips, her saying "please don't do this anymore, we gotta really be serious," and him saying "okay" but then doing it anyway more carefully and subtly with the last sentence that he gives. Which, I don't think this is something that people are going to get. I didn't expect you. But it says something to me about Wit. He gave his word and he immediately broke it, because it was too fun for him to not break it. He just had to see if he could break it in a way that Jasnah couldn't see. And Wit is bored by normal human interactions, to the point that he must put constraints upon himself to keep himself engaged in normal conversations, even ones that are full of import and emotion where he maybe shouldn't be acting like this. And that is one of his failings. And these sorts of things are basically, like that one there is mostly there for me. I don't think anyone will pick up on it other than "something weird is happening."
Maybe I'm wrong, and the cosmerenauts out there are like "oh, we got this exactly, Brandon." I won't say what it is, in case people want to actually figure out what the literary form he has created for himself to follow, what it is. But that sort of thing, I do not cut, as long as it's not too distracting. Once in a while, it is too distracting, and so I do cut it. I made up a word in Wax and Wayne that I really liked; not a fantasy word, just a derivation of another word. And the whole writing group hated it. And when I got back to it in revision, I'm like, "All right, I'll just cut this. The whole writing group hated it." Sometimes I will, if it's just too distracting. Sometimes I will leave it in and be like, "I'm creating a word here. You guys just deal with it."
Would you ever consider creating a sport in one of your series similar to a quidditch thing? Selling jersey and such? Mistborn Dodgeball?
Yes! In fact, the previous Wax and Wayne book has little hints about this, and the new one has another step forward. Obviously, Rithmatist is this; but they mean in the Cosmere and more of a formalized sport.
For those who don't know, part of the reason I wrote the Rithmatist is I'm like, "I wanna do a book where they use the magic for some sort of game or sport." But you can anticipate in Era 3 fully Metallurgic Arts-enhanced sports teams.
Does anyone other than Lift use "starving" as a swear word or did she make it up?
Heh, she made it up. That is just Lift being Lift. There are a lot of things in these books that are just Lift things and that's one of them.
What noble houses were Kel and Marsh born into? What's their surname?
I can't canonize that, yet. I've got it somewhere. Let's RAFO that, for now. That's the sort of thing that I need to run past continuity, make sure that I haven't contradicted it in later books. We should release that, though. It does make sense that people would want to know.
What does Dalinar's name mean? Like how Kaladin means "born unto eternity."
That's gonna have to be something that I would need top open on my laptop and double-check, because I need to make sure it fits with continuity; I'm opening up the wiki that Karen has stamped. People ask me this a lot, and I keep forgetting to canonize it for people. We will get you an answer on that one.
We know that "nar" means "like unto," but not much more.
Oh, so I have not canonized that yet, for her. Well, I will do that (because I know what it means), and we'll get it in the wiki and make sure it's not replacing another word that is already canonized as another sound, and then we'll get that out to people.
Any teasing for The Lost Metal?
Did we record me reading the prologue of that? It's on the YouTube channel. There will be another reading of this happening at the Cytonic release, in some form or another, another reading from Wax and Wayne. The trick is finding ones that aren't spoilery to read.
Wax and Wayne Four will be of particular interest to people who enjoy the variety of magics and cultures in the cosmere, not just Scadrial.
Any update on the White Sand omnibus?
I don't know if we have an update. The publisher came through with their plan, and I know that Isaac is making the final, last tweaks he can before it goes to press. So, we are very close, and it is coming. I think you guys are really gonna like it. Isaac has slaved over this to try to bring it more in-line with cosmere continuity and the way that we wanted the visuals to work. And White Sand was a learning experience; the White Sand omnibus is much more of a canon experience. It's almost like, the original White Sands, you supported us in an alpha version of it.
I have no specific update, but I know it's really close.
Are there any other actors that you currently have in your mind-canon?
People have really converted me to Lance Reddick for Sazed. That was not in my head, but the fans have been persistent, and now it's hard to imagine anyone else.
I really don't have a lot of other people, though. I have never been one who does a lot of fan-casting, even for my own books or for other things, because I believe in the power of... like, there are casting directors. Really good casting directors are amazing. I would not have imagine anyone who ended up doing the new Star Trek movies, but that cast was just so good and so perfect. I like seeing that; people are experts in this. Like, the Lord of the Rings films. People are really good; it's their entire job to figure out how to match actors to roles. And actors, turns out, are really good at being different types of people.
Other than The Rock as Rock, which obviously is too perfect.
One of the few criticisms of Rhythm of War is that more and more Stormlight Cosmere lore is getting pretty complicated, and it's harder and harder to follow along without understanding the whole Cosmere. Will this trend continue? Will we need a degree in cosmere-ism to read Stormlight Ten?
I try to write these scenes such that, if you want to let your eyes glaze over and read kind of to the end of them, generally people summarize "this is what we need to do." This sort of stuff, honestly, goes back to Elantris. This sort of stuff is going to show up in a lot of the Cosmere books. It is a fundamental tenet of how I'm creating the Cosmere. Rhythm of War was definitely the pendulum further along toward that aspect, with Navani being a main character, than a lot of them will be. But if we do write Khriss stories, you're gonna get a lot in the Khriss stories. All I will say is: don't interpret it as increasing in complexity the more the books are written. Interpret it as: as we get to characters that that is relevant to, their sections are going to involve more of that than others.
I see it increasing in all, a little bit, as we move along, but it really depends on who the characters are, what they're talking about, and things like this. My hope is that no, you do not need to. My hope is that you can (if it really is not your thing) skim those scenes, get an explanation at the end, and still know "okay, we need to do this thing." What I don't want it to be is just technobabble, also, that does not fit into the structure and worldbuilding. It is a fine line to walk, and I would accept... I think that criticism is valid of Rhythm of War, but it's one of those sort of things, like the first book having a steep learning curve, that is an aspect of the story that I'm trying to tell.
I hope not. I hope you will not need one. This is something I am aware of, and we will see. If it gets to be way too much, I think fans will let me know, and beta readers will then pick up on that and start warning me "maybe this is too much, Brandon." We'll see.
At one point, I remember it being said that Roshar, Scadrial, and Sel are the three most important worlds in the cosmere, but I can't remember if that was ever canonized, much less if it's still the case.
I would say that they are the most important, yes. Depends on how you'd count Yolen, where it all started. But I would say those narratives, those book series, are the pillars of how I envisioned the Cosmere. But there's lots of worlds that are important, and there are plenty of them that we haven't gone to, yet. I often talk about the aethers, which are really relevant to the future of the cosmere, but I have not managed to get them in, a book about them, yet. It will happen.
Is Jasnah left-handed? If so, did that play a role in her perceptions of how women are treated on Roshar?
Left-handed women become very ambidextrous, kind of are forced to use their non-dominant hand, on Roshar. I will have to give it some thought whether Jasnah was originally left-handed. It seems like it would totally fit her.
And I don't think I've mentioned any lefties; I actually get emails, now and then, from people being like, "Hey, can we know who's a lefty in the Cosmere?" I think that it is something on my radar, to canonize some lefties, but I'm not going to do that now.
In your most recent Stormlight book, there was a character that came out as ace. Could you talk though that?
This is not a spoiler. I feel like this is there in the text, even though I wasn't 100% sure where I was going or how to pull it off. I think I was laying the groundwork for this character, and I was not completely sold, let's be perfectly honest. The members of the ace community who are fans were suggesting that this was how I was writing the character, and I did not want to canonize it until I had the right scene from this character's eyes to make it work. When I really sat down to do this, I tried the character several ways, and this is the way that felt right to me. I've often said that, until I write from a character's viewpoint, that I don't really know. And I had done viewpoints from this character before; at least one, maybe a couple. But I hadn't talked about their sexuality at all. And I explore the world through the eyes of my characters. And this was an exploration that really worked and kind of helped me understand the world and people in the way that I really like characters to do for me. That's part of why I did it. And I was holding off on talking about this character's sexuality until the right moment, and then I tried multiple different things, and this is the one that just really sang to me. People encouraged me to try it, and I'm glad that they did, because once I did, they were right, and it worked real well. So, thank you to members of the ace community who are fans of the books. I feel like the character locked into place better for me once I understood enough to try writing this way.
What was your inspiration for Dabbid? Is Dabbid based off someone in your life?
Dabbid came from a couple of sources. One is just reading some first-hand accounts of people who have lived life such as him. This is the sort of thing that I look for and love to read, is first-hand accounts of life experience that can help me understand the world and other people better.
All three of my children would not be alive if we did not have modern medicine. All three of them had complications of birth that were not trivial to deal with, even for modern... nothing really bad, but all three of them would have died either during birth or shortly thereafter. So it is something that I think about. And for one of them, the cord was wrapped around his neck. And they only noticed this because, when Emily would push, the baby had a big heart rate change that they're like, "Woah woah woah; stop. Something is really wrong." And without modern medicine, that's Joel, my eldest, would not be alive. And I think about these sorts of things quite a bit. So it's kind of a mix of those two things.
If Shallan had married into Veden royalty, would she have taken on the family surname?
If she had moved into royalty? I don't think the Vedens take last names. I think that is in the wiki. I don't think that you change your name when you're Veden and you're marrying, regardless. It might be different for the royal family. But my gut says "no." This is not stuff that's in the books, so I'm out on a limb here. If I've just said something that is contradicted by the books, I'm sorry; I don't have Karen looking over my shoulder. But I don't believe Vedens take each other's last names.
The Sunny One
I've been rereading the earlier Cosmere titles recently, and I was wondering: are we ever likely to see full world maps for these locations?
Yes, probably during next age, or next era. Once we get to modern era, and their mapping technology is to a modern equivalent, you'll start seeing full world maps. I'd love to do globes; I don't know how much interest there is in a Roshar globe, but I've wanted to do that for years.
Did Adonalisum leave a Cognitive Shadow? And if so, has Hoid spoken to it?
RAFO; good question. There's an enormous RAFO.
Use the Falchion
Wondering about a Mainframe release schedule.
Right now, we are focused on the Skyward novellas, which are going to come out with the ebooks. We're doing ebook and audiobook together on this one, just because it's an ongoing series, and I felt locking those behind audiobook is not as appropriate as it was with something like Lux, where it was being created specifically (like, I wasn't planning to write the book) for the audio.
The things that we're mainly working on how is: Dark One, the novelization with Dan Wells. Once we get the Skyward ones done, then our attention turns to that. Dan actually just sent in a first draft of something he's been working on related to that that I told him I would read before October, once Wax and Wayne revision is done. I'm excited by that.
But first, I want to keep eyes on these Skyward releases, because they're really gonna determine what we're able to do in the future in this realm, because the publisher is putting a lot into them, and is worried (like I said earlier) about the release schedule that I have asked them to use.
Those are the main things, and I think that and then Legion: Death and Faxes is the last of our first group of Mainframe projects. And that one, we have a draft of, also.
Very Nice Name 16
Do you ever plan to update the Knights Radiant quiz, when we've seen all the Orders in the books?
Yeah, I could imagine us doing that once you've seen all the Orders. But we used a lot of information from me and my wiki and my knowledge of those Orders to make those, but the Orders could tweak as I write them, so it's totally possible that we will change things.
That would take quite a while, because it's basically saying, by Book Ten we maybe will have changed some of these.