Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016

Event details
Name
Name Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016
Date
Date March 26, 2016
Entries
Entries 12
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#1 Copy

Questioner

At FantasyCon they had a panel on why there was so many Mormon sci-fi/fantasy authors and lots of opinions were put out there. Since you tend to think about trends and things like that I wondered what your take was.

Brandon Sanderson

What is my take on why there are so many Mormon science fiction/fantasy writers-- successful ones-- Why are there so many. We all have our own theories. It's funny, this is-- Like my first visit to my publisher in New York. One of the editors there asked me that very question, they're like "what's going on out there?" and I've had a lot of time to think about it. I've got a couple of answers, and these are just my arm chair answers.

Looking at myself, I grew up in Nebraska... so it wasn't like I was really immersed in Utah culture and things but I did notice when Tracy Hickman, and when the fantasy books I was reading, one was written by Tracy Hickman and he had on the back that he was LDS, and Orson Scott Card's books. I thought, "Wow, these are people like me and they are doing this." I think the early success of Scott Card and Tracy Hickman and some of these people was a big deal for those of us who were like "Oh, this is something that I can legitimately do."

I also think that science fiction/fantasy was a safe counter-culture, meaning, y'know for me in the eighties, yeah, y'know. Counter Cultures were big, sixties, seventies, eighties. They still are of course but you've got this punk and all of this stuff and, y'know, all my friends were smoking pot and all of this stuff and you want to rebel against your parents, right? At the same time you're a good kid, like "I don't want to rebel-rebel", and so when i got into sci fi/fantasy and they didn't get it at all I'm like "I found it!" I can rebel against my parents by playing Dungeons and Dragons, right. This is my grand rebellion! My mother heard all this stuff about Dungeons and Dragons and to her credit she came and just watched us and since there was actually a girl in our group, afterwards I asked her and she was like "You were hanging out with members of the opposite gender, talking to people instead of just playing video games like you always do? I thought it was awesome!" but she didn't tell us that. If I'd known she thought it was awesome it might have been bad, cause she was always like "uhhhh, roleplaying." So I think that that is part of it.

Early successes, safe counter culture, and then there's kind of the focus on literacy and reading in the community without, kind of-- like, for some reason, I think you can blame Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, the community is not as scared of fantasy as some other religious communities are. You find a lot of Jews in publishing and science fiction and fantasy too, and I think for some of the same reasons that the community, the religion is not quite as frightened of these sorts of things for some reason, so with the focus on literacy you end up, I think, with writers of a lot of different stock. So that's my little sort of three part take on it. Maybe its true, maybe its not.

#2 Copy

Questioner

Is it only greatshells that have gemhearts, or do all crustaceans on Roshar have some sort of gem inside? And if it is only greatshells then are their unique decayspren related to this fact?

Brandon:

They're not only greatshells, but not ever crustacean has a gemheart, at least not of the style that would be of any relevance to you. Some have the same sort of chemistry going on in their body, they're just too small to have it coalesce into a gemheart. And the gemheart is related to how-- particularly the greatshells, can grow to get so big.

#3 Copy

Questioner

I am hugely arachnophobia and I was wondering if you have any phobias or really big fears that might get in the way of writings sometimes.

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have any phobias that get in the way of my writing? I don't really have any of that strength. I do think spiders are creepy. They are more creepy in a 'find something and smash them' sort of way. I think the only time I've felt a deep, phobic fear is the first time I went snorkeling and was going along and everything was great, then I turned and looked to where the shelf ended, and I got close to them and I looked down and out into the nothing and there was that moment of just "that thing is so much vaster and bigger than me." that I think I felt that same "I am going nowhere near that, I am coming back", right? It creeped me out for the rest of that snorkeling trip.

#4 Copy

Questioner

When is Rithmatist 2 coming out?

Brandon Sanderson

Rithmatist 2 is the number one requested book that people ask of me. I know more people are waiting for Stormlight 3, but they can see the progress bars and things like that, so they know it's coming. Rithmatist 2, I might write between Stormlight 3 and 4. I tried to write it, and since they were going to South America, and I had not done my research, I was not able to accurately represent an alternate Earth version of the cultures, like the Nahuatl, the Mexica people, so I stopped to stop and read, like, ten books on that, which prevented me from writing the book at that point. Now that I've done the research, I can, I feel, write the book, and do justice to it, but I have to now find a timeslot in my schedule, because the slot that was in my schedule I spent doing research. You wouldn't have wanted the book that would have come out if I hadn't done that research. You know all this buzz about Harry Potter and Native Americans? Mine would have been ten times worse, just because you write from a position of ignorance, so I was starting, and I was like, "No, I can't do this." So now, I think I can do it, and I think it will be good, but now I have to find the time. I'm sorry.

#5 Copy

Questioner

*inaudible* my friend gave me Way of Kings. *inaudible* I tried. I tried really, really, really hard to read it. *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

So here is the thing, don't feel embarrassed by this, because The Way of Kings is never the book I give people first. The Way of Kings is a book for people who already trust me. Because it takes to about Chapter 11 before the book works. And, you get payoff for that, but I never give it to people first. I either pick Mistborn: The Final Empire *cheers* and that is what I would recommend to you, because it is a self-contained story, it is going a little bit faster, it has a lot of things I do very well, but it also doesn't demand as much of you up front. Once you've read the Mistborn trilogy and you trust me, I think if you come back to Way of Kings later, it will work for you, but you've gotta trust me first. So try Mistborn. The other options would be The Rithmatist, which is also going to have a little more of a streamlined plot than Way of Kings.

#6 Copy

Questioner

On about Wayne from The Alloy of Law, so reading the first book everyone's smiling because he's a rascal. But he's not really a rascal in the first book. You slowly turned him into a rascal in book 2, filling in what he's done in his past. Book three just a downright rascal... I wanted to know your progression of that character mirrors your progression of that world because the Alloy of Law isn't particularly gritty, but in book three you've got a bit more grittiness.

Brandon Sanderson

See, I would argue that two is the grittiest of the three, personally. It's hard for me to talk about this one just because I wrote Alloy of Law as an experiment to see if I liked it, and then I sat down and built a trilogy about those characters, so you could almost imagine that Alloy of Law is a standalone, and the next three are a trilogy about those characters. I don't know that I made any specific decisions in any way, I just said "what is the story I want to tell about these characters with these three books", and then I took them and I dug into them and I felt like I hadn't dug into them deeply enough in Alloy of Law, to really who they were. It was done, again, kind of more as a free writing experiment than an intentional novel, even though I did have an outline and things for it.

The books two, three, and four--which form a trilogy--have a distinct outline. Any changes are changes kind of focused on that idea. That I took something that was kind of like a seed for a trilogy and then built a trilogy around it. I didn't make any specific determination that I would be more gritty; I think the second book is grittier because of the difference between hunting a group of bank robbers vs. a serial killer. That's gonna have some natural move towards that, but it's not any specific event. That said, reader response is kind of how you decide on these things. I just kind of write the books as I feel they need to be and what you get out of them is certainly valid.

#7 Copy

Questioner

So, as a writer of so many books of epic fantasy, what is your crazy sleep schedule like? And how do you manage your life?

Brandon Sanderson

So, my crazy schedule is not as "crazy" as you think, just a little crazy. I go to bed at 4:00, and I get up at noon. I did not become a writer so that I could keep the job that a working stiff would have. My writing schedule is generally, I do one big block from about noon until 5:00. I hang out with my kids and my wife from about 5:00 until 10:00. And then from about 10:00 until 2:00 or 3:00, I do another writing block, and then I take an hour or two off and play video games or something like that. *laughter and cheers* The secret to my productivity is not much of a secret. It is that I work every day, I just get get up and I write. And I don't always publish what I write. Some of what I write doesn't work. But I like writing, I like telling stories. The creative process is really, really engaging to me, it's what I like doing, so I do it every day. And I'm not a really fast writer, I'm just really consistent at my writing.

#9 Copy

Questioner

This is about certain people from Nalthis... living on Roshar and how they are living on Roshar. Could they also do that on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial would be a lot harder because getting the Investiture out of things on Scadrial is tough, there are ways you could do it but it would be much more difficult.

Questioner

Does that have to do with the Investiture being more directed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's more the genetic component is a big part of it. The directed component-- In Roshar its just flowing around all over the place. For instance, if he could get to a Shardpool he could feed off that, but then he's at the Shardpool and that's kind of dangerous and things. Roshar is really the easiest place in the cosmere for him to consistently get this sort of stuff. Taldain would not be bad either, that's the White Sand world but it is inaccessible currently in the cosmere

#10 Copy

Questioner

You continue a proud tradition of fantasy writers being very concerned about food. How do you approach that? How do you create that sense of realism and a multisensual experience.

Brandon Sanderson

So, I had a professor in college at BYU who was a folklorist, specializing in food-lore. She was very helpful in this. One of the reasons I think that a lot of the professionals, though I certain do not do George R.R. Martin levels of it, is kinda, food-lore is actually really important in our societies. But it's one of the ones we forget very easily, when developing a fantasy world. It's part of what makes fantasy worlds, when you don't use some of these things. Not saying every book has to. But it's one of them that's kind of on the small list of "these things make it feel actually real," rather than "imitation-real." Because we have so much of this food-lore. And food is so much involved, I mean, everyone has to eat every day multiple times. So we're gonna have all this lore and things. And if you skip all that, it starts to feel like the cardboard cutout, a fake city built for a movie set or something like that, instead of a real lived-in world. And, I happen to like food. Probably something that George and I share. So, you end up with food stuff in the books.

#12 Copy

Questioner

When I read Alloy of Law, in my head, Wayne was Simon Pegg... Was that intentional?

Brandon Sanderson

No, but when I was working on the newer books, I'm like. "Oh, Simon Pegg would be a great actor for this." The first times I wrote him, I didn't imagine Simon Pegg. But it was an after-the-fact-- kind of like Michael Fassbender [for Kelsier], I'm like, "This is the kind of actor I would like in this role."

Event details
Name
Name Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016
Date
Date March 26, 2016
Entries
Entries 12
Upload sources