Firefight Seattle UBooks signing

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Name
Name Firefight Seattle UBooks signing
Date
Date Jan. 6, 2015
Location
Location Seattle, WA
Tour
Tour Firefight
Bookstore
Bookstore UBooks
Entries
Entries 74
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#2 Copy

Questioner

Which of the worlds is your favorite? Like if you could find yourself living in that world?

Brandon Sanderson

Woah, that's two different things. *laughter* Which is my favorite. Roshar is my favorite. I've been working on that one the longest. I think it is the most unique. I've put a lot into it, but I don't know if I would want to live there because on Scadrial, where the Mistborn books take place they have flush toilets, right? *laughter* They have some of them on Roshar too but on Scadrial they have cars. I like modern conveniences. I like mac & cheese. I like the internet. And so the answer to you if someone were to say "You have to live in one of the worlds you're going to make" I would go hurriedly and write one that is far-future and awesome where nothing exciting ever happens. *laughter* Because that would be the best place for a writer to live.

#3 Copy

Questioner

I heard a rumor that the universes of all your books are interconnected?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Most of my books, not all of them. If a book mentions Earth, it is not connected to what I call the cosmere, I kind of made this decision early on. So for those of you who don't know, my epic fantasies are indeed all connected. There are characters who cross over between them. I've been planning this for twenty years so I've got this intricate thing going on. There will eventually be big crossover books but for right now I don't want people to feel like they have to read everything in order to understand what's going on, and so for right now each of the books are only cameos. But you will be able to notice characters crossing between and there will be big crossover books eventually.

#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

As an aside, it's really funny, like I've had on and off sort of things go well with Hollywood and things not go well with Hollywood and things get optioned. Someone in Hollywood read one of my books and then went online and googled about it and found about this whole thing and then called me and wanted to buy the rights to the entire thing 'cause they're like "It's like the Avengers, everything's crossing over!" Apparently that's hot in Hollywood right now, which is very cool that someone in Hollywood was excited by it but it was kind of funny to me that now that's the big deal and this goofy thing I've been doing for twenty years is suddenly hot. So who knows it might turn into something, it might not. For those who are curious about movie things I have optioned most of the rights to a lot of my different books. I think the closest-- *sighs* What's the closest? I'm not sure what the closest is. The closest is probably The Emperor's Soul, though Mistborn is close behind it. I don't think either one is particularly close right now. That's just how Hollywood works. So don't hold your breath but I hope to have exciting things I can say eventually, because I really do like the people, both Emperor's Soul and Mistborn. They're some of the best people in Hollywood I've ever worked with, those two groups. They feel very genuine and I have a great feeling about it.

#5 Copy

Questioner

How do you come up with the languages? Just because it sounds cool, or...

Brandon Sanderson

Languages. So languages in my books, I have a couple of tools that I use and it depends on the book. For some books I just use kind of shortcuts. Mistborn is an example of this, there's only one language that everyone is speaking and there is a little bit of Terris, so for that I just made every region-- I based off of an Earth language and used that. Like for instance the Central Dominance is French, so Vin and Demoux--and they would say Kelsi-ay--and things like this is where the names came from. For something more intricate like Stormlight Archive, I did take linguistics classes, I only snuck into a few of those. And so I'm able to drill down and do some real linguistics. And so I know what I want things to sound like, I know how I want them to feel. And I have all sorts of goofy things that you would even need to know, like for instance they would say "Kholin" instead of Kholin and stuff like this because there's a little bit of Semitic, the language family I'm using as a basis. And then there's stuff like the symmetrical names and stuff like that. Anyway, I can talk about that forever but the answer is yes I find what's cool but sometimes it's really academically cool and sometimes it really puts people of. Like one of the first reviews I got from Elantris was like "These names are really hard to pronounce and kind of dumb" and this was like one of the major review magazines "I can't get into these names" because I had used lots of linguistic things from my time living in Korea to create the languages, and they were kind of hard to say. It's part of why in Mistborn everyone has a nickname that's easy to remember.

#6 Copy

Questioner

I don't know what you can or cannot tell me but I read a comment that Hoid is your favorite character, I don't know what you can say about that.

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is definitely a favorite of mine. Picking a favorite character is like trying to pick a favorite child, It's just not productive. Robert Jordan always answered this question by saying "My favorite is the one that I am writing right now" and so-- But yes, Hoid is the character-- one of the very first characters I came up with, and he travels through almost all of my books. So you can watch for him.

#7 Copy

Questioner

Where does Sixth of the Dusk sit in the timeline?

Brandon Sanderson

Where does Sixth of the Dusk sit in the timeline. It is probably the furthest future of any of the cosmere stories I've done.

Questioner

So around the third trilogy of Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Potentially, probably not quite to that. But yeah, it is very... But yeah that's the latest.

#8 Copy

Questioner

Are we going to see anything in the Elantris universe anytime soon?

Brandon Sanderson

You should see-- I mean "anytime soon" is a very sub-- difficult to answer. Like the next thing I'm doing are the Mistborn books, I actually wrote two of those instead of one because two for the price of one, right? Did you guys know this? I sent them to my publisher because the book was due and I sent the book off and I attached a sequel to it *laughter* in the email and said nothing about it except "Here's your book" and then went to bed 'cause I was sending this at like 4AM because I stay up really late. And so I got up the next morning to mass panic from my publisher and agent and they're like "You put two books in here!?!" and I'm like "Yeah I wrote two on accident" *laughter* And so I did that, and yeah. And then they threw a party because an extra Sanderson book, unsurprisingly, is a pretty big deal at the publisher and then they decided to publish them very quickly. So what I'm doing is I'm writing Calamity, third of The Reckoners, and final of The Reckoners, right now. So our next sequence of books will be two Mistborn, then Calamity, and then the third Stormlight book.

#9 Copy

Questioner

What are some of your favorite books to read to your kids?

Brandon Sanderson

Favorite books to read to the kids, hands down my favorite book to read to the kids is Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus *laughter* Just, that story is just so much fun-- When they get it, right? I read it to the two- or three-year-old and they don't quite get it, but by four they're like "I get to say no to the pigeon?" and they love it. They absolutely love it. Lately we've been reading one they love called Supertato? We bought it when we were in the UK so they use all of these trolleys instead of-- And it's just about a potato that saves people-- that saves vegetables in the supermarket. And it came with stickers to stick on your own potatoes to turn them into supertatoes. And so-- I have three little boys and so they love, absolutely love Supertato. If you want to see a picture of my little boys, I did a blog thing--which was really just a big advertisement for my books, but don't tell anyone--talking about the superhero genre and my children who dress up as superheroes, and it's so funny. They are endless sources of inspiration. They go into the room and come out with things and they're like "I'm Batman" I'm like "You've got a bucket, and you've got an iPad that you've affixed to your arm somehow, and you've got an oven mitt and you're Batman?" "I'm Batman" "You look just like him."

#11 Copy

Questioner

I was curious what the-- or if you had an inspiration for the scene with Vin and Elend going to his father's camp and the talk about acceptance?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah a lot of these con-- these stories-- If you didn't hear it, there's a scene where Vin and Elend in Words of Radiance go to visit-- *crowd murmurs* not Words of Radiance *laughter* Well of Ascension! They both start with a "W" I'm running out of letters to start books with. Yeah it's a good problem. So they go to talk to Straff and there's a lot of discussion about acceptance and just kind of things I was thinking about at the time and think about a lot. One of the things is "I hope people enjoy this, if not you're just going to have to deal with it." I work out what I'm thinking about life through the voices of my characters. And it's something I really look for in books as well, I do want a little philosophy with my fantasy. And, y'know, it's not that I'm trying to answer those questions, but I'm working on them. And the characters, because they have a different perspective from myself--because the characters don't voice what I think, they voice what they think about something I'm thinking about--and that really kind of helps me think about it and talk through it. And it's one of the reasons I write books, besides doing awesome stuff.

#15 Copy

Wetlander

Prior to becoming pregnant, did [Queen Aesudan] spend most of her time at the Shattered Plains, or in the capital?

Brandon Sanderson

She has spent most of her time in the capital. She obviously has been back and forth. I would say she has spent more time off the Shattered Plains than at it.

Wetlander

But she was at the Shattered Plains, rather than Elhokar going back to the capital?

Brandon Sanderson

He has been back at least once, but it is a long trip.

#16 Copy

Questioner

Are we going to see Book 5 of Alcatraz?

Brandon Sanderson

Are you going to see Book 5 of Alcatraz, that counts as awesome. So I have written Book 5 of Alcatraz... I have written it, Tor is re-releasing them, because we bought them back from Scholastic and are then, I bought the rights back, I didn't think they were treating the books very well, and we sold them again to Tor, and Tor just got the cover art for the first four and it looks really cool. It's the best cover art I've had on an Alcatraz book, which is good because Alcatraz, in the books, makes fun of the cover art on the books because it is so bad. I don't think our publisher liked that. *laughter* So I'm going to have to change the line or something. Anyway the plan is to re-release those starting in January next year and release them every one to two months until we get to the fifth book in the summer and release it then. So it's still a little ways off, I've been saying that for a long time but there is at least cover art now and the book is actually written.

#17 Copy

Wetlander

In addition to the two abilities given by each surge, does a Knight Radiant order have a third blended ability, the interaction of its two given surges?

Brandon Sanderson

Not specifically as phrased there, but each order has quirks that are unique to it. They are magical quirks, but it's not necessarily a blend of the powers.

Wetlander

So Shallan's Memories is kind of a...

Brandon Sanderson

Is associated with her Order, yes.

Wetlander

It's not just because she had that wonderful ability, and Pattern came along and went, "Oh, I like this one!"

Brandon Sanderson

No that is not necessarily what attracted Pattern.

#18 Copy

Wetlander

When Shallan does Lightweaving, is that a combination of Illumination and Transformation, or is Lightweaving just of Illumination?

Brandon Sanderson

Lightweaving is just of Illumination. Lightweaving is a long-established power in the cosmere. Very early books, in fact one of the very first stories I ever wrote, Lightweaving was the magic. (That story is unpublished, written long ago - long before Liar of Partinel) And so, this stems from my own personal affection for illusion and my feeling that it had not been used as well as I wanted it to be used in fantasy fiction. So I consider it only Illumination truly in The Stormlight Archive.

#19 Copy

Wetlander

The bit with the bandits out there, and the deserters, and she [Shallan] convinces them to all go... Was she doing Lightweaving? Was she doing Transformation? Was she doing some combination?

Brandon Sanderson

She was... You have seen what she was doing before, done by another character.

#20 Copy

Wetlander

Have you actually written out the Diagram, and Words of Radiance, and so on?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, heavens, no. That's the sort of thing that falls into the worldbuilder's disease thing; there's no way that writing those out is worth the effort, so no, I have not. Definitely not the Diagram. If I were going to write any of them, I would write The Way of Kings, but even that, it's probably 30 or 40 thousand words in-world.

#21 Copy

Wetlander

How much time elapses between the beginning of the main part of the story [where they start out at the Shattered Plains] and the end of the series?

Brandon Sanderson

And the end of the series? Because the end of the series, um, we have a 15-year gap between [books number] 5 and 6. So, the first five will probably be Wheel of Time-ish, sort of, each one picks up where the last one left off; we have a little more time, maybe, than Wheel of Time, but not terribly much, so it will probably be just a couple of years for the first ones, but then we will jump.

#22 Copy

Wetlander

Human, spren, Splinter Sliver, Shard Adonalsium - which of these is most similar ontologically to Nakomi?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughter* I can't say anything about Nakomi! Robert Jordan did not want anything said about Nakomi! I can't say anything at all about Nakomi! Dig into the notes when they are released, and then you can find out things said about Nakomi. The little tiny hints we have, I told you he wrote that thing at the end, and I'm like well, okay. So.

#23 Copy

Questioner

I loved the ending of Words of Radiance. When you come up with an idea for a new cosmere book, do you have to go "Oh, now I have to figure out how this fits in with everything else", or do you have it pre-made?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a few little holes that I can slot things into, and I try to get them to fit the roles, like I know there are certain things that need to happen, and if it doesn't fit the role, I just go ahead and make it a minor planet, like Shadows for Silence, where I can write a story, but I can't put as much magic into those books. So I've got a few restrictions on me, but I think that's important for maintaining the continuity.

#24 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any, or will you ever write a gay character into any of your books?

Brandon Sanderson

There are several. Drehy, in The Stormlight Archive, the bridgeman is gay, because he's based off a good friend of mine who's gay. Ranette in the Wax & Wayne books, the woman that Wayne's in love with, she's gay, and it's hinted at in the first book. By the second book, they're like "Dude, she's gay, just leave her alone." So yes, I have written gay characters. I've never written a gay main viewpoint character, maybe someday I will, it's not something I've done yet.

Footnote: (from Wetlander) At this point I asked about Jasnah, and I'll summarize our conversation; Brandon specifically asked me not to transcribe it directly. He'd momentarily forgotten that he had actually written Jasnah viewpoints, so his "I've never written a gay main viewpoint character" comment wasn't intended to quell the speculation about her either way. He clearly didn't intend to say that she's not gay, but he didn't want to rephrase in such a way as to say that she is, either; at this point, he really doesn't want to give a WoB about her either way. He'll deal with that if/as it becomes relevant to the story - and he refused to give any indication whether that was if or as. We are to continue our speculation if we're interested in the question.
#26 Copy

Questioner

First of all, how confident are you in your race with [Patrick] Rothfuss for use of the word "Stone" in your title?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, it's looking more and more like this might not even be Szeth's book. And if it's not Szeth's book, I may not even name it Stones Unhallowed; I might name it something else relating to another character, but then again, Kaladin's book was named after the book Dalinar was reading, so anyway. We'll see. I'm pretty sure I will... He has said his "isn't coming out next year," as in coming out this year, and so... I'll have mine done by the end of this year, and it will be coming out next year, so it'll just depend

#27 Copy

Questioner

Second question, if completely hypothetically, and forbid! - somebody had to do for you what you did for Robert Jordan, who would your choice be?

Brandon Sanderson

I would probably either pick Brent Weeks, who has a very similar style to me, or Brian McClellan, who is one of my students who is now publishing books, and writing very good books. Those guys, either one, I think would do a fine job.

Questioner

I read McClellan's book on your recommendation. Can you let him know that he needs to put women in his books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's what I actually told him. My number one criticism when he called me and said, "What do you think of my book?" I said, "You only put one woman in your book, and she's a cliche." She's the friendly cliche, *audio obscured*. The first thing that happens is you get the cliched damsel in distress, then when people realize "Oh, that's being sexist," they then make the girl awesome, but have no personality. That's like step two. Then step three is real characters, and so I did let him know, and he promised he would do better with future books. I think it is the most legitimate criticism of that book, is that he's just bad with women. But you know, my first book I was terrible; I just didn't publish that one. He's unfortunate that he published it. But even in Mistborn, I only had Vin, so we all fall into this trap, and I've read many women who only put one guy in the book, and he's perfect. It's just something that new authors have a problem with very naturally, so hopefully he'll catch on the same way I caught on.

#28 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if you were thinking along the lines of a movie of Alcatraz?

Brandon Sanderson

We tried really hard. We actually even got storyboards and things with Dreamworks Animation, which was going to be awesome, but then they eventually let it die. So if you buy the big art Dreamworks Animation book, there's actually Alcatraz concept art on one of the pages, which is kind of excruciating that it never happened.

#29 Copy

Questioner

Why couldn't Joel be a Rithmatist? He wanted it so bad.

Brandon Sanderson

I will explain as the series progresses. That is a plot point. Every book like that, they get the power in the end, and I thought it was a much more interesting story if he has half - the knowledge - and Melody has half - the talent - and together they create a whole. It just worked, and it was much better for me as a story. I knew going into it that he wasn't going to be able to by the end of the book, but the reasons for it you'll find out as the series progresses.

#30 Copy

Questioner (Paraphrased)

Why do you have so many series going on at once instead of finishing one of them?

Brandon Sanderson

A couple of reasons. The main one is that it's the way I stay fresh as a writer, I find that I get burned out on things. Another main one is that I feel if I'm not practicing different styles, I'll get into a rut, and my writing will repeat itself. It's kind of like a philosophical reason and an instinctual one. I tell people who are annoyed that I'm not writing Stormlight that you wouldn't get Stormlight any faster if I weren't writing these other books in between - you might get it more slowly, because it's working on other things that really rejuvenates me as a writer. So I would be writing at a [Patrick] Rothfuss speed if I weren't jumping between things.

#31 Copy

Questioner

So do you ever put a page length limit on yourself?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't, but I know by gut generally after I start writing how long a book feels.

Questioner

Does the publisher ever put any limits on you?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they actually haven't. They do ask me if I'll write them shorter, but it's always an ask, and I usually ignore them. In fact, Words of Radiance is the largest book they can physically print with their printer, but the font is not the smallest font they could do yet. So I could actually get about another 100,000 words longer before it gets unreadable.

Questioner

So by the time we get to Stormlight 6 or 7, they'll have to go buy a new printer?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I've warned them. I will write it at the length that feels right.

#33 Copy

Questioners (Paraphrased)

*Exact transcription impossible as everyone is talking over each other* Basically a couple of fans were talking with Brandon about making Legion into a TV series; one person thought that in the pilot, the aspects need to be actors, while the other thought that (for the pilot only) they should not be seen, so Stephen looks like a wacky eccentric talking to himself about solving mysteries, and then the episodes would reveal the individuality of the aspects.

Brandon Sanderson

*paraphrase* Brandon agreed that the second approach would be very clever, but that it would be very hard to convince (someone - not sure if it was himself, or the aspects, or who!) to do that, because he has them all cast in his head.

*verbatim* Normally I don't cast actors in the roles in my books, they're just who they are, but each of the aspects is an actor to me. If you look really closely, you might be able to guess who they are, because they're all famous actors.

We sold it to Lionsgate, and they never made it, and the option lapsed. We've sold it to somebody else now, but we’ll see if it ever gets made.

 

#34 Copy

Questioner

One thing when I was reading The Alloy of Law, in Mistborn, all the [Feruchemists] were the Mistborn version of [Feruchemy], and then it changed to the Misting version of [Feruchemy]. Is there...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there's a reason for that, and I'll delve into it a bunch more later, but basically, there's two things going on. Number one, the bloodlines have thinned, and that's the reason they're talking about [here]. Also, full-blooded Feruchemists mixing, like the populations mixed, is really dangerous, and Sazed knew this. So, I'll just leave it at that.

#35 Copy

Questioner

In the Mistborn trilogy, was it hard to write the final twist, or had it been planned that way?

Brandon Sanderson

This is always the way it was planned. There are some smaller things that I'll allow spontaneity to change the book, but the general structure of the book is always planned out. And if something changes while I'm writing I go and throw away the plan and rebuild the plan, so I'm always writing with a plan.

#36 Copy

Questioner

Infinity Blade - are there other plans to continue with that, and are they going to release a print edition?

Brandon Sanderson

What the plan is right now, if I can convince them to do it, is to do a nice print edition that will include the script of the first one, annotated by the guys who wrote it, my story in between, then the script for the second, then my story, then the script of the third, so it's a complete story, with the cut scenes illustrated, and things like that. So even a graphic novel, then prose, then a graphic novel - something like that.

#38 Copy

Questioner

What was the book that was the hardest to write for you?

Brandon Sanderson

It would definitely be A Memory of Light, the last Wheel of Time book.

Questioner

Why?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, number one, I had been following that series for 20 years, and I was finishing off the writing of an author I respected a lot, and trying to fill his shoes, and not being able to do it because no one could, and the end of a journey. Every other book I've finished, I know if I wanted to I could go back and write more about those characters. Wheel of Time, I can't. It's done. It's not mine; I can't go write another book about Mat or Perrin or anything like that. So there's a finality to finishing that book that I haven't had with any of my other books. And then in addition, logistically it was a very difficult book to write.

#39 Copy

Questioner

I've gotten both Legion books from Subterranean Press, and I was wondering if you've planned on doing any more through them.

Brandon Sanderson

I would like to. The thing is, it is kind of a hassle, just because working out release dates and things like that, part of the reason to do - I think they do gorgeous editions - but part of the reason to do the e-book things is so that I can be a little bit more spontaneous in releasing them and things like that, and so I'm likely to continue, but it is a bit hard. This time, we were like, "Why don't you guys just release a limited edition, and we'll do a print edition," but then they were like, "No, please don't do one." So I think I'd go back to letting them do a cheap edition and a limited edition if I did another one with them, I don't know.

#40 Copy

Questioner

*Something incomprehensible about emotion* Do you like to connect with your reader on an emotional level?

Brandon Sanderson

I do. So here's the thing: I am not an emotional person by my nature, and one of the only things that makes me feel very strong emotions is fiction. A really good piece of fiction makes me feel like the characters do, and the rest of the time, I'm just kind of - I won't say emotionless, but not emotional. It's not that. It's like some people have wild mood swings; one day they're a 20 and one day they're an 80, on a scale of 1 to 100, right? I'm always a 70, right? Like almost consistently always pleasantly happy. I don't know what depression feels like. I don't know what it really feels like to be sad. I've never really felt that - except when I'm reading a book. Does that make sense? So that's one of the reasons I write, because I want to be able to [go through] those emotions with people.

#41 Copy

Questioner

I read online, something about one of your original drafts, [I think it was about] Gavilar, and it was where he was blind?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that was actually Taravangian, in the oldest version. One of the very first things I wrote was that, though Taravangian had a different name then, and was very different. Szeth has stayed the same through all the revisions. Kaladin has changed wildly, and almost everybody has changed dramatically, except Szeth is the same person. Him and Dalinar are the same.

#42 Copy

Questioner

Do you ever have trouble keeping your characters straight? How long does it take to get back into them?

Brandon Sanderson

If I stop writing and go back, it is hard. It takes about a month to get back into a story after I stop. I don't get the characters mixed up.

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

I try to, but I don't always manage it, because of deadlines and things. It's always going to cost me, and I know it will, sometimes you can't avoid that. In the old days, I never did it, when I didn't have a publisher, but now it's my job. When they say, "We need this revision done," I stop and do the revision, but it costs me.

#43 Copy

Questioner

What was your inspiration for Sixth of the Dusk? It feels so, Polynesian or Hawaiian...

Brandon Sanderson

I love Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, and it was basically me reading some stories about Kamehameha, and his unification of the islands, and all this stuff, and I'm like, "Ah, I've got to use this someday." It was years later before I got to use it, but I did find a time to use it. And then we got Kekai [Kotaki] to do the illustration, and he's Polynesian, so...

#46 Copy

Questioner

How do you keep it all organized when you're doing so much at once?

Brandon Sanderson

A wiki. An internal wiki is where I keep all the cosmere and all the notes on that. The other things, I don't have to worry about as much. For instance, Reckoners, I've got one viewpoint character and one major plot; that I can keep in my head. I've got note files and things like that, but the Cosmere? Big old wiki full of stuff.

#47 Copy

Questioner

At the end of A Memory of Light, it mentions that Rand is no longer ta'veren - does that apply to Mat and Perrin as well? And if it does, how does it apply to Mat's luck?

Brandon Sanderson

Everything I'm saying right now is not 100% canon, because I'm only working off of my guesstimates based on his notes. I believe that Mat's luck is a soul attribute that is independent of him being a ta'veren, but enhanced by his ta'veren nature. Part of the proof of this is the Heroes of the Horn knowing him as Gambler, which means in other Ages when he's been born and not been ta'veren, he's still had luck and attraction to things like that. Plus things in the notes, I'm basing on that. So it does not necessarily mean they aren't ta'veren right now, but even if they weren't, I think Mat would still have his luck.

Questioner

So you don't know whether they're ta'veren or not?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not know. My suspicion is that if he would have written the outriggers, Mat still would have been, and maybe Perrin, because Perrin was going to be in the outriggers, we know this. But I don't know for sure.

But I think it would have been fun, if in some parallel dimension if I were to have written them, which I'm never going to, I would have not made Mat ta'veren, or Perrin, I would have made Tuon ta'veren, and forced Mat to deal with someone else who was ta'veren, which I think would have been interesting.

Questioner

Can women be ta'veren? Because in the entire series there is not a single female ta'veren.

Brandon Sanderson

There is not, but I'm very sure that they can be, based on things that I read in the notes. So, that's what I would have done, but I don't know if that's what Robert Jordan would have done. Can you just imagine that, Mat having to think that he's in someone else's story now?

#48 Copy

Questioner

In The Emperor's Soul - when did you decide to change the beginning?

Brandon Sanderson

It was Mary, from the podcast with me, is very good at short fiction. She read it, and she said, "This intro is just holding the story back." And I read it again, and I'm like, I really feel that she's right. I felt at the end of it that the intro was interesting for people who liked Hoid already, but for people who didn't, it was just distracting and confusing. So at the end of the day, I cut it out, and I think it was a good move, even though it was sad. If you google the phrase "killing your darlings". it's a phrase we talk about in writing and storytelling. That scene was what made me want to write the book, it's what started me off in writing the book, and then I cut it out. But sometimes you have to end up doing that.

#49 Copy

Questioner

When are you going to write the other Warbreaker book? Last time I came to hear you talk, you said you were going to, and now you have 3000 other projects!

Brandon Sanderson

I know, and the Warbreaker fans really get on my case about that. Well, I wrote Words of Radiance, and I got Vasher into it, so that would kindle interest, and make sure that you at least got to see your characters again.

But did you hear the story about that? So, I wrote The Way of Kings in 2002, the first version, and in that version Kaladin trained with a swordmaster, and that swordmaster, a guy named Vasher, had a mysterious past. After I finished that book, later on I wrote Warbreaker as a prequel to Way of Kings, to show Vasher's backstory. But then Warbreaker came out before Way of Kings, which was a really kind of interesting thing. So in my head, Warbreaker is the prequel, but to everyone else... Yes, it is a totally different world, different planets, people get around...

Wetlander

So how much of Vasher's backstory do we actually have?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, a huge chunk of it…! If you were reading Way of Kings, you would know nothing, and then you’d read Warbreaker and you’d be like, “Oh, here’s a whole past that he had!” That doesn’t mean it’s all of his past.

Wetlander

(He’s not giving any hints as to whether Vasher had any connection with Roshar prior to Warbreaker – or at least not without someone asking a much more direct question.)

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Questioner

There was the poem at the end of Way of Kings. How long did that take?

Brandon Sanderson

It took an embarrassingly long amount of time. I am not a poet, so mixing poetry with a really rigid form... Yes, the keteks take a long time. Both of them.

Wetlander

Are you going to do that in every book?

Brandon Sanderson

A ketek? Yes, I probably will do that.

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Questioner (Paraphrased)

So have you decided who is going to be the focus character for Stormlight 3?

Brandon Sanderson

I have not. What I've decided is that I need to actually write out, rather than just having the outlines, write out the three backstories that are left of the first five, and then compare them to the story as I'm writing it, and see which one works. Because any one of them could work, but as I'm writing the book... yeah. It's one of those things that I know I need the flexibility on, as I write, to make it work.

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Questioner

Elantris, though, how you came out with The Emperor's Soul, it didn't involve any of the magic or anything, I have a feeling they're going to collide?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there will be - you will see much more of that. Definitely.

Questioner

So we'll be able to see the actual Elantris again? Shining and beautiful again?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you will.

Questioner

It was very sad, to see them all in pain, the continual pain and...

Brandon Sanderson

One of the reasons I wrote Warbreaker was that I didn't think I could get back to Elantris yet, but I realized I'd written this entire book about the city of the gods, and you never got to see the city of the gods. So Warbreaker was another take on that idea.

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Questioner

Do you have any word on the Mistborn video games that are coming out?

Brandon Sanderson

I have no official word, other than to say that we did option the rights to the film to the people who are making the video game, and told them, "You have to make the video game or you can't make the film." I actually really like them, and their script treatments on the film are great. And it's not their fault, really, that the game hasn't taken off. It's just that they've had - these things happen in video games. The studio they were working with went under, and another one split, and this sort of stuff happens.

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Questioner (Paraphrased)

What was your involvement with the Infinity Blade franchise?

Brandon Sanderson

What happened there was, I came in when the first game was already made. They said we'd really like to do something, and I really like the guys, they're friends of mine, and I'm like, "You don't have a story here. You've got to have a protagonist and things like this." So then I said, "Okay, let's take what you have, tell me what you have for the world, and let's brainstorm together, and let's construct a narrative. And so we did it together. We spent a lot of time in their offices constructing the next two games, then I was able to write the novellas between the two.

Questioner

So did you have any input on the game stories, then?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I did. I had a lot of influence, though I did not write the dialogue, so sometimes it's a little bit cringe-worthy. They sent me the script, but I just didn't have time to go over the scripts for them. Sometime I'd like to actually do a game with them, because they make great games.

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Questioner

When you started writing Cosmere novels, how much of it had you outlined? How far ahead had you thought?

Brandon Sanderson

When I started writing Cosmere novels? When I started started, I was a teenager. Totally hadn't thought very far ahead. When I was an adult and I was writing them, I wrote one when I was like 20, and I had an inkling, and I played around with things. The first one that I wrote with a real, conscious eye toward the cosmere was Elantris. So the ones that have been published, yes. But when I first started, I had a little bit of an inkling.

Questioner

Have you ever backed yourself into a corner with it?

Brandon Sanderson

Not yet! I have backed myself into corners by saying things to fans that I've already changed in my notes and hadn't realized I had, and stuff like that - I do that all the time. But usually when I do that, I just tell them. "Ah, I'm sorry, I just changed this, guys." I'm still convinced that Stayer and Stepper - that [Robert Jordan] didn't know those were two different horses. I'm utterly convinced that he made the mistake, and then just covered it. Because that's the sort of things we writers do.

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Questioner

In Sixth of the Dusk, it feels like it's a crossover...

Brandon Sanderson

That is true.

Questioner

So is it a planet that we've seen before, or...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Well, you have seen the people they are calling the "Ones Above".

Questioner

And you're not going to tell any more?

Brandon Sanderson

Nope.

Questioner

When will we know?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, fifteen years maybe? Hopefully it won't take me that long, but I only just finished the outlines for Era 3 Mistborn, which is now what we're calling the 1980s, so I haven't even at the moment got the sketches of the sci-fi one, I don't have the outlines and things. So in other words, we aren't to the science fiction era; we're a ways off from that.

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Questioner

What do you think is the difference between SciFi and Fantasy?

Brandon Sanderson

SciFi works with the improbable becoming reality; Fantasy works with the impossible pretending to be reality. I think the line is between what could be and what can't be. By my definition, that kind of takes Star Wars into Fantasy. I don't necessarily like Asimov's definitions, just because he was very down on fantasy. A lot of the fantasy of his era was very Conan-ish. He was a great writer, I respect his fiction a lot, but I don't think he gave fantasy its fair due.

I would count Star Trek definitely science fiction, they're trying to talk about - even though they're using fantastical teleporters and stuff - they're trying to say this is what's possible. It's social science fiction, a lot of it.

Questioner

But wouldn't you say Star Wars is really both?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say it’s a mash-up hybrid. It’s a fantasy magic system in a space opera science fiction setting.

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Questioner (Paraphrased)

In the acknowledgements of Firefight you promised that if you ever became an Epic you would go after your alpha, beta, and gamma readers last. What would their best defense be, i.e what would your weakness be?

Brandon Sanderson

Mac'n'cheese? Well, No 'cause I like mac'n'cheese too much. Fish sticks. It would be fish sticks.

Questioner

I thought you disliked fish sticks.

Brandon Sanderson

Exactly. That's why they'd be my weakness.

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Questioner

When is the second book of The Rithmatist coming out?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't written it yet. I started doing the research, and it was so much work I realized I needed more time to do it, because I'm going to South America in it, and I just needed to know South American cultures better, so I decided I need to take another year to do research. So I'm doing research for it right now, I'm going to write it hopefully after I finish the next Stormlight book, and then we'll release it soon after. So it's a little ways away.

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Questioner

I was wondering if you could talk a little about expletives and blasphemy?

Brandon Sanderson

*amusedly* Expletives and blasphemy... So, It's really interesting, one of the first things that I think about when I'm coming up with a fantasy world is "How would they-- How do they curse?". And I don't know why this happens to me, but it feels like you can build out and extrapolate a lot about a culture from what they curse by, and how they curse. And it's become a thing. Like in one of my short stories I did I used *stumbles over words* saying "hell take you" to someone was a compliment because they didn't want to go to heaven because there was a god-king they hated. They were like "We don't want to go where he is so hell must be the better place". Which was a lot of fun to me in coming up with that. Or other ones I have them curse by in-world and sometimes I just use the biblical curses, the damns and hells and things like that. Why do I use those? I use those in Mistborn because I was writing about a bunch of thieves living on the streets and when I tried to use kind-of more fantasy-ish curse words it just felt fake for them. And yet it didn't feel fake when I started using "Merciful Domi" in Elantris because the religion of that world was so important to all the people that they would use the name of their own deity.So this is just something I kind of dance around and it's very interesting to me being a religious person myself. I will sometimes never-- like I don't use the curses that my characters will, but I'm not my characters and things like this. So it's something I think about, perhaps way too much, is how are the people going to curse in these books. That's a very good question.

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Questioner

Would you rather be a Misting or a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Would I rather be a Misting or a Mistborn? Would I rather have one power or ALL THE POWERS?!? *laughter* I'm going to pick all the powers...

Questioner

What if you have to be a Misting?

Brandon Sanderson

What if I had to be a Misting? Coinshot, so I can jump around and fly. I should pick like Thug so I can be tough and people can punch me and I'd be "haha" or whatever but really I just want to be jumping around, flying off of cars and things.

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Questioner

Is there a word that you made up that's a favorite word of yours?

Brandon Sanderson

I still find occasionally find myself, curse-wise, saying "Merciful Domi", which is from my first one. Otherwise there are lots of interesting words, lately I've put the word "Catacendre" into the Alloy of Law era to mean the end of the ash. And I like how that flows with kind of almost a psuedo-Latin on it and things like that. And so, Catacendre, that's my favorite lately, but I've been working on those books a lot.

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Questioner

All the people with powers fit into one category.

Brandon Sanderson

All the people with powers fit into one category? Yes.

Questioner

Was there a reason you chose to do that?

Brandon Sanderson

Was there a reason I chose to do that? Well, I'm not sure if I can answer that... So I assume you're asking-- The original premise for Steelheart was that everyone who has superpowers is evil.

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

And that is just the original premise so that is not a spoiler. In my-- The reason I came up with the series is I wanted to tell a story about a world where Superman was not there to save you, or what not. Where it was "what if people started gaining these powers and did terrible things with them". When I was touring for the first book I told people the story of how I came up with that, I imagined-- when someone cut me off in traffic I imagined blowing their car up and feeling very satisfied and like "Yeah" and then feeling really guilty because I'm like "Is that really what I'd do with superpowers? Oh... Well I better write a book about it." *laughter* It's what authors do, anything that makes us think, or makes us have strong emotion, we're like "Well that's going in a book". And so it was an intentional choice, it was the whole premise and concept for me. And then the question became did the powers corrupt, or did only evil people get them, or what's going on. And that is one of the primary questions going on in the first book. They've mostly kind of drilled down to an answer by the second book.

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Questioner

How do you choose ages for your characters and how often does that change throughout the writing process?

Brandon Sanderson

How do I choose ages for my characters and how often does that change the writing process. I choose my characters... It's really hard to talk about. Because I can really drill down into how I come up with settings, so magic systems and things, and I can talk a lot about how I plot and why I plot. Character is the one that I discovery write. Writers tend to fall somewhere on this spectrum generally between what we call discovery writers and we call outliners, and I'm mostly an outliner. I like a nice tight outline, I like to know where I'm going and what's going on in my world before I start writing. But I found that I have to free write my characters, I have to figure out who they are as I write. Otherwise this outline is going to be too restrictive and I'm going to end up with characters who feel wooden. And I think that's the real risk of outlining too much, is writing the life out of your characters. And so the ages do change, and the personalities change. The famous one is Mistborn, which stars a sixteen year old girl named Vin, she was a boy in the first chapter I tried to write of that. And then that didn't work so I tried a girl with a different personality and that didn't work either. So it was the third try where it's like I'm having people walk in and and try casting calls and seeing who works. And that's generally how I go about it.

With Steelheart the character didn't click for me, and I was really worried about that. Like the prologue worked wonderfully and I wrote the prologue separately, I wrote it years before I went back to the book. Because I just had that prologue pop into my head and I wrote it out. So if you read Steelheart the prologue is like 5,000 words, it's huge, it's like twenty pages or something like that. It may not be that long, but it's a big chunk. It was the first thing that I did, and then I put the book aside. And I was really worried when I started writing that I didn't have a voice for the character, because the prologue takes place ten years before when the main character is a child. So I started writing and it didn't work, and I started writing again and it didn't work, and the thing that ended up working, this is the silliest thing, but it was when I wrote a metaphor that was really bad, a simile, right? And I'm like "Oh that's stupid" because that's what normally happens. That's what you do when you are writing, you come up with something and go "Why did I write that, it's dumb?" and you delete it. And this time I started to delete it and thought "What if I ran with that?" So I started running with it and this character grew out of the fact that he makes bad metaphors. And that's just a simple trope, a simple thing, but it grew into an entire personality. This is a person who is really earnest, trying really, really hard. They are smart, they are putting things together, but they just don't think the same way that everyone else does and they are a little bit befuddled by things. It's like they are trying a little too hard. Ironically-- Or I guess coincidentally, not ironically, the metaphor of writing bad metaphors became what grew into the personality for David. His entire personality grew out of this idea of someone who is trying so hard, and you just love him because he is trying so hard but sometimes he just faceplants. And my children do this. Like I remember my child when he was five years old and he was running toward me so excited, telling me about something and this thing that he had in his hand and there was a pole in front of him but the thing was so important. And he smacked right into and fell right back over just stunned. Like "Who put this pole in front of me?" *laughter* It was at our house, it's not like he didn't know there was a pole there, right? He was just so excited by this thing Dad, this thing! And that was where David came from.

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Questioner

During the Steelheart tour you mentioned you were trying to work with Tor to get free ebook copies for every hardcover, did anything--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes something is coming, I'll tell you about it... So, I think the first chance we're going to have to do this is for my next Tor book which is going to be Shadows of Self, a Mistborn novel. And if you watch we're going to-- we're coming up with something-- it's still-- I think in about five years, maybe sooner than that, this will happen with every book you buy, but I'm going to try and jump the gun because I'm tired of waiting and I'm going to be impatient. So when I come to UBooks for that book there should be an option to get the book with the ebook. I can't promise 100% but I have a half-go-ahead from Tor on coming up with something to do with this. I can't give you details because we're being recorded. *laughter* I could trust you, all of you. And the all the people you have on Twitter that you are tweeting to but I'm not sure I can trust him. *gestures to camera* But no, it should be coming. And so watch, if I can get this together we should be able to announce what we're doing and how we're doing it before too long. It's something that is very important to me, I want to be able to do bundling like this. What I really would like to do is be able to sell you a copy that has, for a slightly higher price but not super high, the ebook, the audiobook, and the hardcover. That's what I'm trying to make work.

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Questioner

Was there an Allomantic power that didn't make it into the book?

Brandon Sanderson

Was there an Allomantic power that didn't make it into the book. Oh... Yes, but I'm trying to remember. I had like two dozen of them? Oh boy I can't even remember the ones that I discarded. I was going to do a lot more stuff externally, stuff that like wasn't inside of you and it didn't end up working out. The big thing that I talk about with Allomancy that changed is originally I was using...silver as one of the metals, this is-- this is because... Dumb story time, so when I was a kid I painted these little miniatures that you do in D&D so your little guys can actually fight each other, right? And my brother still does this, they're awesome, I was terrible at it, but I painted these little guys. And at one point I went-- and they used to be lead, and then they realized that lead kills you *laughter* and so--or maybe it just makes you strange, I can't remember--I went and all of the prices had gone up, like by a double, because they had made them out of pewter instead. And I said to the guy "What is up with this, you are totally ripping us off. My figures now cost us 50 cents instead of--" I don't remember what it was and he went "Uh yeah it's because pewter has silver in it man. You're buying little silver figures now" and I went "Oh. That's cool." And I bought them. And so for years I thought pewter was an alloy of silver and I wrote an entire book. An Entire Book. The whole first Mistborn book with silvereyes and pewterarms until it went to my beta readers and like "There's almost no silver in pewter Brandon, you don't even really need it. Everything in this magic system works except that." and I went "Well maybe we can just pretend in this world pewter--" "No that's stupid" *laughter* So I had to change it to tin which is actually what you find in pewter. To this day my assistant Peter, who is my continuity editor, came to me and said "You realize you wrote silvereye instead of tineye in the newest Mistborn book that you just finished? It's been ten years Brandon get over it." *laughter* Still happens.

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Questioner

Do you have any advice for a married couple who both hope to be professional novelists?

Brandon Sanderson

If you hope to be professional wri-- novelists and married couple, you're very lucky because you'll be able to understand each other. You are also "you poor souls" because you're going to ignore each other a lot. *laughter* I would say, the number one piece of advice I give to writers is this: Treat becoming a writer, doing your writing, like someone would treat being a pianist. Meaning your job is not to write a great book, your job is to train yourself to be a person who can write great books. And that is a very big distinction. You don't find pianists who only play one song. Maybe you do, they're at parties and they're trying to pick up girls. But otherwise a pianist is someone who enjoys the process of playing these different songs and learning this music. Same with writing. The job is you are the end result, not the book. A person who can write great books. And you do that by practicing a lot. At your own scale, whatever you can manage, but you do it by practicing. And you do it by thinking in your head "This is all practice" even the books that might get published is practice. It's about the process of creating something.

Otherwise I would say listen to my podcast Writing Excuses we started a brand new thing on Writing Excuses, if you've never listened before, this year we're doing a master's class, is how we call it, where every month we are going to drill down into a topic and guide you through writing a story. Pre-writing the first month, and then plotting the second month and things like this. So writingexcuses.com. The other resource I have is my class. Now I teach that in Provo so you probably can't get to it, but I do post the lectures online and the ones from last year just went up. So if you want those I have little cards that show you the url, they're just free. My writing lectures, okay? But as a couple, set goals with each other, this is your big advantage. And, you know, don't set goals of "I wrote more than you" set goals of, like "this is what I want to accomplish. This is my writing time. This is your writing time" and help each other out. Plus you've got a great start to a writing group.

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Questioner

How do you like to do internal monologues or thinking between different characters who are very similar to each other.

Brandon Sanderson

How do I like to do internal monologues and thinking between different characters who are distinct from each other. I just try to make it be in their voice. I am a person who likes to put thoughts directly in someone's head, so you'll see them in italics. And I try to keep to their voice as much as possible, so if they have linguistic quirks I put them into the thoughts.

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Name Firefight Seattle UBooks signing
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Date Jan. 6, 2015
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