Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016

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Name
Name Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016
Date
Date June 11, 2016
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Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 75
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#1 Copy

Questioner

Welcome Brandon Sanderson here, and Angela, thank you all for coming. I will just turn the time over to him, he talks about himself way better than I am. It sounded like he's full of himself, but hes not.

Audience

*laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

A little! At Pheonix Comic Con last week me and Dan were on a panel together with a bunch of other panelists and at one point Dan said, pointing at me, "He was like this even before he got famous." So at least I'm the same person, I'm the same gregarious, somewhat... at times larger than life person.

#2 Copy

Questioner

If a mistwraith eats a Koloss will it [?].

Brandon Sanderson

If a Mistwraith eats a Koloss, you're asking "will it become it", um, "will it gain sapience because it now has Feruchemical* spikes?" Any Feruchemical* spike is not necessarily enough to make the creature we call 'Kandra', but there may be very weird side effects to what you just described.

#4 Copy

Questioner

On your website, you have a Movies & Games section? It just says "Coming Soon"?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Hey, Isaac! The Movies & Games section! The one in charge of that is Isaac, who also is the art director for our company, and he's a writer/illustrator in his own right, so Isaac's a little busy. There's, like, 50 billion things on that to-do list.

 

#5 Copy

Questioner

What's the update on the next Rithmatist?

Brandon Sanderson

Next Rithmatist. So, there's no big update on that. If you didn't hear, when I wrote Alcatraz 5, the reason I wrote it was I wanted to do another teen book. I had planned Rithmatist 2, my outline was not good enough. I started writing it, and didn't feel confident in the book. I scrapped the outline, and I read five books on Aztec culture. And then, by the time I had done my research and rebuilt the outline, I did not have time to write the Rithmatist 2 before my other deadlines were due, so I wrote Alcatraz 5, 'cause it's shorter and faster and doesn't require five books worth of Aztec culture research. That's why Alcatraz 5 is coming out this year instead of Rithmatist. It would have been Rithmatist 2 if the outline had been better.

What that means now is my schedule is: Stormlight 3, Apocalypse Guard 1, Wax & Wayne final, Apocalypse Guard 2, Stormlight 4. If I'm ahead on any of those things at any point, I can slide in Rithmatist. But the reason it's so slow, by the way, what happened with Rithmatist, for those who don't know the story, I wrote Rithmatist in 2007. It was the last book I wrote before the Wheel of Time came along and just completely destroyed and changed my career, like, you know, a freight train. A freight train full of gold, so don't get me wrong; it was a very nice freight train. But it still slammed into me. And it upended everything. I had planned to do Rithmatist 1, 2, 3 as my next books. But then Wheel of Time came in, and Tor was like, "No, you need to work on this." I'm like, all right. We'll shelve Rithmatist," but that meant it got shelved for, like, four years, right?. And then when I came back to it, it was after the Wheel of Time, so it was the orphan child of the previous career path I was on. And my pet career path turned towards, "I need to do Way of Kings now," which I had been planning to wait to do after RIthmaist, because I wanted to have Way of Kings out for Wheel of Time fans, because I knew Wheel of Time fans would like Way of Kings a lot. So, that's why Rithmatist seems to be getting such little love. I do want to do it, but I was on a long career path, and then I got shifted quite dramatically. Alcatraz was a different thing, that was the publisher dropping the series, which was why it took so long to get 5 out.

So, I apologize for that. I will try to slip it in at some point,. but I can't promise when, because of... I can't delay Stormlight, and some of these other things.

#6 Copy

JoyBlu

Do you have a pronunciation guide anywhere?

Brandon Sanderson

So, we need to put one of these up. I put one up for Elantris. The trick with pronunciation guides is that, personally, I am kind of a believer in that I write a script where you are the director. You get the script I've provided, and then as you read the story, you are creating the actual final detail of how everything looks and osunds and stuff. And so, in your head, your version of the character names are canon to you, and there is no right pronunciation, really. I can give you the one that I thin is closest to how they would say it in-world, but I don't even always say them right. For instance, I just said Tashikk for the country in the Makabaki region when I was reading the Lift thing. But that's actually the Arab ق (IPA: /q/) sound, I can't even do it, it's the double-q. I can't say that. *Brandon tries to say taʃiq* Peter can do it, my editorial assistant, he's not here, but he can do it. I can't. I say them like an American. I say "KELsier" (ˈkɛlsiər). They say "kelsiEY" (ˈkɛlsiˌei). So, is my version right? My version is wrong, but it's right to me? So, yeah. But if there's a character name you want to know how I say it, I can tell you. Is there one specifically?

Questioner

Shallan?

Brandon Sanderson

I say shuLAWN (ʃəˈlɔn). But, again, none of us are actually Veden like her, so who knows how they say it? They would have some accent that would be something that I can't even do.

Questioner

What's Sazed? How do you say that?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Saze? So, I say say-zed (seizɜd). But I say that, and that's how Kelsier says it. Sazed himself is from the Terris region, he's gonna have a slightly different pronunciation. I would say that say-zed is not how he says it. It's gonna be either sawzd (sɔzd) or, it's gonna be something softer like that. I just say it like Kelsier does. But he says it wrong, depending on your definition of wrong.

#7 Copy

Questioner

How would you pronounce Rock's full name?

Brandon Sanderson

I usually get this wrong. *apprehensively chants the name* I think, but there might be something in there. It actually means... in Horneater you don't have to use a pronoun at the beginning, which is one of the weird things, you usually start with a verb. It means something along the lines of "I saw a beautiful wet stone that no one is paying attention to, but it was really cool because of the water pattern on it." Right, like, that's what his name means, and it kinda just means "Hey, appreciate the beauty of nature." Its kind of a little Horneater, their version of the haiku. The meaning is "Nature is beautiful, don't walk past the beauty of nature and ignore it." But his name actually kinda means "lonely, or forgotten rock". But "I saw a beautiful rock washed by rainwater that everyone is ignoring." Anyway, it doesn't translate all that well, I'm using a bunch of weird Asian and Indo-European language structures for this so its not real easy to translate to English.

#9 Copy

Questioner

So, you mentioned, at the beginning of Words of Radiance, that you were originally planning on making it shorter than The Way of Kings. How long is Oathbringer going to be?

Brandon Sanderson

Oathbringer is plotted at the same length as Words of Radiance. Isaac has seen my outline, and Peter has seen my outline, and they're like... *beat* "Okay. Um, all right." So, we'll see. Like the other ones, it can't really be cut. That's the big problem with these Stormlight books, because the way I plot them, the ending is so important to justifying the fact that you've spent a lot of this time building with some of these books. A lot of my books, they're zippy, but these, you invest a lot of time knowing there's gonna be payoff, and so, it's like, if I cut the last third and make it into a book, you've got a book with no payoff, and a book with only payoff, and that just doesn't work.

#15 Copy

Questioner

Is there any specific relation between Kelsier and Kaladin, and the fact that Kelsier was killed with a spear and Kaladin used a spear. They seem like almost exact opposites.

Brandon Sanderson

Not really an intentional one, though I do intend their personalities to be opposed. I like how they are opposing philosophies as protagonists, but the spear thing is completely coincidental. They are very opposite styles of hero, the big pitch for myself was "Kelsier would the villain if he were in the wrong story." This is a guy where you could easily imagine that this guy could be the antagonist. He gets channeled towards good things and becomes the protagonist. There is no way Kaladin would ever be the antagonist, or if he did it would rip him apart, right. It's not in his nature.

#16 Copy

Questioner

This cosmere that you have is gigantic, enormous, and wonderful, by the way. But, it's one of those things... how long has that been kicking around in your head before you started putting it down on paper?

Brandon Sanderson

For those who aren't aware, and might just be here having read the Reckoners, all of my epic fantasy books are connected. But they're all connected through little cameos. And I did this before Marvel movies, let's just point that out! They're copying me, I'm sure. I'm sticking to that. But there's little cameos for the various things because there's a story behind the story. I started doing this because I knew, in my career, I was going to have to... just the way I am, I need to jump between worlds to keep myself really interested. But I also like big epics. So it's me trying to have my cake and eat it, too, right? Lots of little things, but a hidden big epic. Right now it's all cameos, you don't have to worry about it, it's never really relevant to the story. Each story is self-contained. And then, if you want more, you can dig into it, and... it goes pretty deep. The guy who bought the Emperor's Soul movie rights was like, "Oh, I hear that this is connected," so he went and started reading. And, like, a few months later, he called us and said, "Uhhh, I just read the whole Cosmere. Uhhh, my brain is breaking." So, you can jump down a rabbit hole with the Cosmere if you want.

So, how long has this been kicking around? I can trace it back to a couple of events in my youth, as a budding writer. First one was, I've talked about this idea that you're the director of the book when you read it. When I was a kid, what I would always do is, I would want to have some sort of... it's hard to explain. I wanted some control over the story, even though it was a book I was reading, I wanted to participate, and so I would always insert a character behind the scenes. Like, in the Anne McCaffrey books, when there's somebody who's a nobody, I'm like, "Actually, this is some secret agent type character," and things like this. And I would always insert these characters into the books. But I would even be like, "Oh, this is the character from this other book, that I'm now reading." I would have my own headcanon, is what you call it, that would be parallel to the book canon, with this story behind the story happening. I also remember really being blown away when Isaac Asimov tied the Robot books and the Foundation books together, and thinking that was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. Where I'd loved these two book series, and the conclusion to them is interwoven, and at the end of the Foundation books you kind of get a conclusion for the Robot sequence as well. That kind of blew my brain, and I'm like, "I need to do this."

So that's the origin, and that's kind of really the origin of Hoid. He's in the first book that I started writing, in very proto-form. He's kind of the same character who had been hanging out in Anne McCaffrey's books and other people's books as I'd read them. And that was it for a while, until I became a better writer, and then started actually building an epic. So, it's been around for a while. I would say the actual origin of the Cosmere was when I wrote Elantris, and then jumped back and wrote the book called Dragonsteel, which was this next book that I wrote after that, which was the origin of the Cosmere, kind of the prequel to all of it. And then I went and wrote White Sand. And those three together were my beginning. Only Elantris, of them, got published so far, although White Sand does have the graphic novel.

#17 Copy

Questioner

How does time work in the Cosmere? Or a better question to ask: are any of the books happening at the same time in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna have to look at the timeline. Most of them do not happen concurrently. Mostly they have been at distinct points. But the closer we get to modern and future era Mistborn world, the more overlap there is between them, just kind of by necessity 'cause they eventually start ramming together. So, the further we get in the Cosmere, the more likely things are overlapping.

So, I don't know that we've had anything actually overlap yet, in fact I'm pretty sure that we haven't, unless you count some of the short fiction might overlap. But even then, I don't think anything big overlaps, but it will start happening soon.

#19 Copy

Questioner

How do you keep everything straight in your head?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it's kinda weird. I forget my keys. I forget what day it is, I'm one of these types, right. But stories, I don't forget. Stories are in there. Part of the help for this, though is I do use a wiki, called wikidpad, it's, like, a personal wiki thing. And I stuffed a whole bunch of it in there, not all of it, but a whole bunch of it. I actually have someone whose job it is to go through each book, add in all the new details and things like this to keep kind of a personal encyclopedia of the Cosmere, for myself, for reference that I can be working with as I'm building things.

So, yeah, it's a mixture of tools, my own personal weird brain psychology, and good help and forum assistance. Like, if you read one of my early drafts, there's, like, so many continuity errors. So many, right? Because there's just stuff I... like, when you're writing, you're not thinking about. And your fingers, they just type it. Or, like, I forget, like... one of the things I have to do for a Stormlight is I have to go through and add in way more spren. Because it's just so unnatural to us to have emotionspren, that first draft, I don't even worry about them. Like, get down what's happening, and then I will highlight where the spren appear. It's almost like I do post-production on my books. But, even still, to this day, I write silver when I mean tin in Mistborn, because for years it was silver was that power. Like, it's been ten years since it was silver, that I changed it to tin, but even still my fingers type silver. And the alpha readers and beta readers are like, "Oh, there's a silver in here! We found one!" Like for years, Clubs, I think it was Clubs, and... I had two of the powers swapped for the... anyway, so there's all that. And then there's all the stuff that I forget I changed in revision in previous books.

So, it's not like I'm photographic memory who keeps all this. I have a good team, a good process, and enough up here that we can make a good book come together. But those early books... don't become an alpha or beta reader for me unless you're willing to be like, "Okay. Canon is not here." Like, in the Lift chapter, there was even a place where I'm like, "I think this is connected. I wanna connect this to something in the Cosmere, but I can't remember what it is. Karen, can you look up some of this and see, so I can make sure that I can..." I think it's in there. And then in the beta read document, everyone's like, "Oh, you can do this! You can do this! You can do this!"

Questioner

No that wasn't in Lift!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it is! I just went and looked at it. Maybe Karen posted that quote that I gave her, maybe Peter pulled it out, and she posted it in the document later on.

#20 Copy

Questioner

How do you become a beta reader?

Brandon Sanderson

People always want to know this! We have beta and gamma readers. Alpha reads are only my agent and my writing group. Beta readers are people from fandom who have proven that they know their stuff and are a part of the community. Peter picks these from people who are on my Facebook, who are interacting with him there, or who are on the 17th Shard. There's no promises you can get in on this. We do change it every book and get some new people, because sometimes we just want people to give fresh eyes on something.

Gamma reads, if you want to read things early, are bug hunters. They can spot a type form a hundred paces. If you are really good at finding typos, you can go to the thread on the 17th Shard, for every book there is a thread, a forum thread that talks about typos. And if you are consistently finding typos no one else has found, chances are good Peter will be like, "Hey, do you want to proofread for us?"

But don't feel like you have to do this because it actually diminishes the book a little bit, even though you get to do something cool, because it's not in its final form yet. I don't like beta reading when I don't have to, I'd prefer reading something with polish.

#21 Copy

Questioner

*cant be heard*

Brandon Sanderson

The way it works in my head canon right now, which I haven't written it so if it changes, no. The other thing is getting complex systems is going to be harder for a lot of Spren. There are legends that reference that they were able to do bows in the past, which includes a string. Everyone is like "but they're not metal, how does that work." Complex structures, even the mechanics of a pen is not something that we have proof that they could even do. If they did do it, they wouldn't *brandon stumbling over his words*.

#22 Copy

Questioner

I was gonna ask you for advice on writer's block.

Brandon Sanderson

Advice on writer's block, all right. My experience is that with writer's block, write anyway. Even though you don't feel like it ,you will write yourself through the writer's block nine out of ten times. And if you don't know what to write, that's not a problem. The way to get out of writer's block is to start your subconscious thinking about it. So, if you like to say, "Ninjas are attacking." Just do something. Write it the wrong way first. A lot of newer writers have a lot of trouble with writing something that's not gonna end up in a book, when they know it's broken. But if you write it anyway, your subconscious will be like, "Oh, what was wrong was, I had the wrong viewpoint for this." Or "Oh, I really need to be pushing from this character's motivations" or something. And if you just write this chapter poorly, you'll get that. And, one out of ten times, you'll do that, and you'll be like, "What was I worried about? This chapter turned out great! I should have had ninjas attack. This is how my book is now." Best thing is to do that, and kind of turn off your internal editor and just learn to go.

How do you get past writer's block, Isaac?

Isaac Stewart

How do I get past writer's block? Caffeine. What I have found is I just have to bully through it. Reread what I wrote before, think about things, maybe do some bullet points of what you've seen that came before that, where I wanna get. Sometimes I skip ahead and write a scene that I really want to write.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that helps, too. Or saying, "Okay, the scene that I'm trying just isn't working, let's just put it in a completely new location that's exciting and interesting to me."

Isaac Stewart

If you have several different points of view, try a different point of view for that scene if that person's there.

Brandon Sanderson

And if it's the "I don't know what to write at all" writer's block, then just do something silly and goofy, 'cause you're practicing your skills, right. If a pianist doesn't know what to compose, they'll just sit down and play something to get themselves going.

#23 Copy

Questioner

What led you to want to write a fourth Wax & Wayne book?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, when I wrote Alloy of Law as an experiment, then I said, "Oh, I really like this series, this turned out really well. I will now plot a trilogy with these characters." So, Alloy is the outlier, where I view Shadows, Bands, and Lost Metal as a trilogy. And this is, like, the prelude to the trilogy. And I do think that because... this was an experiment, I really think it was a good experiment. I'm better when I have more of a framework, so I think these two [Shadows and Bands] turned out stronger than this one [Alloy], because when I have a framework, but... at the same time, you need to always be trying, experimenting, new things as a writer.

#25 Copy

Questioner

So is there an opposing force to Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, which has been asked before and i haven't answered it so I'm going to RAFO you as well.

I think that I have occasionally said 'yes' with the caveat that, obviously somebody opposed him because he was Shattered. I haven't confirmed if there is like a 'Devil' or something like that if that's what you're looking for.

#26 Copy

Questioner

So you said that different Investitures from different worlds can fuel different Investitures, right? Would that mean that you could potentially use Stormlight for Allomancy and/or Feruchemy.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, a little harder with the metallic arts than, for instance, Nightblood is the easiest example. He can just feed on whatever investiture is around.

Questioner

Could he feed on the Dor from...

Brandon Sanderson

He could totally feed on the Dor.

Questioner

Would you need to have a special sheathe to do that or?

Brandon Sanderson

No, what you would have to do for him on Elantris is you would have to open some conduit to the Dor that's persistent, like a light or something, and he will suck through that, he would probably end up sucking the whole aon.

Questioner

Sucking Elantris itself?

Brandon Sanderson

Sucking Elantris itself would work, yeah, but you're gonna be in trouble if he sucks up the whole thing, which is totally possible.

#27 Copy

Questioner

Why, in your books, are your characters so often, per say - before they get the powers they become broken first.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a narrative reason and an in-world reason. The narrative reason is characters in pain are more interesting to write about. This is just a rule of thumb for writing. Find the person whose in the most trouble, things are going the worst for and that's generally your easiest character. In the stories, the actual Cosmere, the mechanics of the magic finds, this is only one way to describe it - its not the only way - might not be one hundred per cent accurate but it's an easy metaphor, cracks in the soul allow the magic to seep in and that's how you end up with a lot of the different magic systems.

#28 Copy

Questioner

So, when I was reading this, Prof's power manifested, and I'm just curious, Limelight, that became his name. Were his powers green before he met David?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, they picked the term "limelight" in part because his powers were green.

Questioner

But didn't David already plan to call him Limelight before? When David initially came up with the plan for getting over Steelheart, he already had the name Limelight picked out?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think he did. But if he did, we'll just say happy coincidence. Prof did not use the name Limelight before that point. They started using it as the way that they were going to... yeah.

#29 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about Nightblood. What are all the powers the sword has and how much is he going to be involved in the next few books.

Brandon Sanderson

Those are total RAFOes. I mean, I could tell you the powers you have seen him have on screen so far, I'm not going to tell you he has others. What you have seen on-screen that he can do is he absorbs Investiture completely and he will rip it out of any object he touches, and everything has investiture, leaving behind basically... how you see it is he turns everything he touches into black mist, it just disintegrates everything. He also has the power that people who see him, he has an emotional effect on them, one of several emotional effects depending on how they would want to use him. If you watch for when he is seeing people you will see how it is.

Questioner

All fighting over him.

Brandon Sanderson

That's not the only effect he has though, he has other effects.

Questioner

Does he bestow any effects on his wielder? Like Szeth's original Shardblade gave him the same powers as Kaladin.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood... that's a RAFO but Nightblood was created on a different planet, so.

#30 Copy

Questioner

I want to know if Taravangian, the Ghostbloods, Amaram, is there any kind of like connecting... are they working together or anything like that?

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian, so the Diagram, the Ghostbloods, is that the two you mentioned? Amaram is Sons of Honor; Amaram and Gavilar are Sons of Honor. These are three different groups who are aware of what is happening and have different philosophies on how to deal with what is coming. They have opposed views, for example, the Sons of Honor are trying to bring back Voidbringers because they believe it will return the heralds as well. Where as the diagram has his plan... y'know, I wont give them away. Some of the are hinted at, you can read. He talks about it, but you can see what he's doing. The Ghostbloods, they have not talked about their motives very much. They have different motives. The Sons of Honor are the easiest to figure out and they are also the most wrong, right. If you read what Taravangian says you can probably see what the Diagram is trying to do.

#31 Copy

Questioner

Can we expect a Cosmere Avengers?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and no. You can expect crossovers between the planets. My goal is not an Avengers-style, one character that you... like, if it were a true Cosmere Avengers it would be like, "Oh, we're going to have this character from this series, this character from this series," that's not what I'm going for. I'm going for more of a clash between the cultures and worlds. There will definitely be characters that you know that end up involved in that. But it's not, I'm not shooting for an Avengers-style thing, I'm shooting for more... It's more like imagine Star Trek, and retrograde back to all of the stories you're telling on the separate planets before they meet each other. Less Avengers, more "We're going to have an intergalactic... thing, going on." These are all of the origins of the cultures and peoples that are going to be involved in that. And since there are some immortals around, you will see people.

#32 Copy

Questioner

How do the characters come to be? I think one of the most interesting, my favorite character is probably Kaladin. How does Kaladin...

Brandon Sanderson

So, Kaladin had an interesting story behind him. I had originally wrote Way of Kings in 2002, and one of the things that didn't work with that draft was that Kaladin's character didn't work. He was called Merin back then. And it's just, personality didn't work. I'd written him too much like a classic apprentice kid on the battlefield who distinguishes himself, it was just too standard of a kind of fantasy storyline. And so I'm like, "Who is this person?" I needed more depth for him, so I added the whole "His father's a surgeon, he's trained as a surgeon" thing. That was one of the first big pillar I added to add more depth to Kaladin, was "All right, he's a surgeon, but he's been forced to go to war." The kind of field medic who also learns he's really good at killing people. That was, like, the first big thing that I got for Kaladin.

The other thing was the big tragedy that happened in his past, followed by the big tragedy involving the Shardblade led me down that path. And the last thing I added was the depression. This was, like, seven years of evolving this character before he actually came together. Characters are hard for me to put a finger on, because I usually write them by instinct. I'll write a chapter from their viewpoint, see how they see the world, step back. And I'll usually throw that chapter away and try it several times until I get the right... soul, cast in the role, if that makes sense. I can talk a lot more about other things, but character is trial and error until someone feels right.

The more distinctive you can make a character's viewpoint, the stronger, I feel, it will come across. When I feel like it's really working for me is when I can write a few paragraphs and say, "No other character that I've ever written could have written those paragraphs, just in how they describe the world."

#34 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if the Tranquiline halls, if that's in the spiritual, the physical, or the Cognitive?

Brandon Sanderson

So... that's a big fat RAFO, because that's actually a false dilemma, there are other options than those three. One of which just being that it is a mythological piece from their theology and not an actual location.

Questioner

So it's not an actual place?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a fourth option for the three, does that makes sense? So its a bigger RAFO even than that, it's a RAFO in that I'm not going to confirm that its one of those three. Good question.

#35 Copy

Questioner

Is there any plans to do anything further with the Elantris universe in the near future?

Brandon Sanderson

There is. The idea is, when the Wax & Wayne books are done, to do Elantris sequels in that slot, where I've been doing them. There's only one more Wax & Wayne book, so it shouldn't be too long, but when we talk about my writing schedule, we have to talk in the scope of years.

Questioner

I really enjoyed The Emperor's Soul when I read it. It's, I think, one of my favorite things that you've written so far.

Brandon Sanderson

Thank you. I've been... I think, "You know, I should write another story about Shai," but then I'm like, "That one turned out so well." It's one of those things where it's like, "Don't ruin it by having a sequel," right? This is so perfect as its own little glimpse of something.

#36 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about the cosmere, and Hoid specifically. The way that he is worldhopping, is he using Cognitive and *inaudible* Realms?

Brandon Sanderson

The times you have seen him worldhop, it has involved shardpools, or perpendicularities, as we call them. He is using primarily the Cognitive Realm.

Questioner

Because, from what I understood from Secret History, that he's going through the shardpool, from the Cognitive to the normal Realm.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he's traveling through the Cognitive Realm, and then jumping back to the Physical one, once he's where he wants to go.

Questioner

So, I'm guessing what's going on, though, is that he's travelling between planets using the Cognitive and coming out from the shardpool to the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is exactly right.

#37 Copy

Questioner

Can Kandra blessings be any spikes or just the four.

Brandon Sanderson

They were created specifically to do what they do.

Questioner

So you couldn't have a Kandra with, for instance, Allomantic powers?

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't go that far, I will say the Kandra spikes are specifically created to do what they do and the Kandra don't know how to make ones that do other things.

#40 Copy

Questioner

How long did your editors want Words of Radiance to be?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, my editor just wants it to be the right length. My publisher is the one who wants things shorter. So, my editor, he's just interested in story. But the publisher, he's interested in money. And the shorter the book is, the more money it makes him. It's really weird, it's kind of interesting. For instance, supermarket pockets, like, the little racks that hold paperbacks, they can hold a certain number of books. My books, they can often only hold one of. And that means if it sells, that pocket is empty, which the supermarket hates. They don't want empty pockets, they want the shelf space used. They'd rather stack four books in there. So, the publisher in turn says, "Brandon, can't you cut these books down shorter?" I'm like. "Well, Tom... no. Other books are short, you have lots of short books of mine to sell," but... yeah. It's not one of them. We just have to give up on the pocket thing, and then the booksellers are like... here, let me [visually illustrate it]. If you've got a book like this [small book], and you sell it for eight dollars, and Way of Kings is this [big] and you sell it for nine dollars, which one does the bookstore want on their shelf more? Well, the truth is, they want the one that sells the most copies, so they're okay with it. But the smaller book will generally... well, it's a matter of them having sixteen dollars worth of stuff to sell or nine dollars worth of stuff to sell.

So, the publisher really does like things shorter. But it's kind of a pushback between him and me, where I'm like, "My fans also like good value-to-money." I'm just saying, good value-to-money, that's something they're, like, "Look, we'll go buy the hardcover, even though it's thirty-five dollars, because instead of buying a twenty-five dollar hardcover by somebody else that's one-fourth as long, we buy a thirty-five dollar hardcover of Brandon's and we get our money's worth. The audiobook people love that. Like, Audible and things, they're like... you know. Because it's one credit, it's the same price for their listeners, but it's three times as long.

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Questioner

I heard that in one of your books two people from the actual 17th Shard got married as members of the 17th Shard in your book.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, shes right there. That's Mi'chelle, she's a beta reader. She and her husband met at a signing at a Barnes & Noble of mine. So they met at one of my signings, and they eventually got engaged at my class in BYU so I put their wedding in a book.

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Questioner

I've been recently introduced to you as an author, and I heard "lighteyed" and "darkeyed." What is that?

Brandon Sanderson

So, in The Stormlight Archive, their ethnic divisions in one of the cultures is by eye color. It traces back to when there was an ancient magic that eye color was related to, and in the modern culture, if you have lighteyes (like you), that's nobility. If you have Darkeyes (like you), you are not noble, you are... you know. So, instead of dividing by skin color or by nationality, they are much more interested in eye color. But that's only one of the cultures, that's a big important one.

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Questioner

So, why does Warkeeper get putting further back on the back burner, it's, like, my favorite.

Brandon Sanderson

So, the main reason for that is, I consider it a side project. I considered the first one a side project. And I have to be careful. The big thing is having both a YA career and an adult career. Which, both sell about the same, Reckoners and Stormlight, which are kinda my two big things, about equivalent, which means I have to make sure I'm balanced, an adult book and a YA book. And if I stop to do Warbreaker, I have to... it's much more likely to happen once I have the Wax & Wayne books done. 'Cause when that sequence is done, I'm like, "All right. I fulfilled that promise." Anyway, it's weird how I view which things I promise. Warbreaker, I've never promised people anytime soon. But starting something like Wax & Wayne, I'm like, "I am gonna do these for a while, I have to be regular with those." I don't know. I wanna write it. It will happen someday.

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Questioner

Which has been your favorite project?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't really have a favorite. It's whatever I'm working on at the moment. Every project, there are times where I am just so done with it. Every project, there are times where I'm super excited about it. And when I'm timing it right, the time I'm so done with it is the time where I can be done with it. And the time where I'm super excited about it is when I'm starting it and writing new material for it. I don't think that there is a single book that I haven't been, like, "I am so tired of this, I am so done," by the time I am at revision number five.

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Questioner

Which one have you been the most excited to write? Which brought the most joy to write?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's really... I love them all. I wouldn't write them if I didn't. I'm at a position in my career where I can say "I'm just not writing this book right now," and not do it. I would say that I'm most proud of the Wheel of time because it was so hard. Particularly the last one, I would say I'm most proud of.

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Brandon Sanderson

[Aether of Night] is two halves of good books, kind of shuffled together. Half of this good book and half of this good book shuffled together. The Shakespearean farce, which is fun and, kind of silly, and this guy who's in not in a position to lead... and the deep worldbuilding war novel with the cosmere magic. And it's like, "We're going to shuffle these together and see how it turns out."

Questioner

I loved it. I thought it was good.

Brandon Sanderson

And my brother's cameo is in this book. Darro is named after my brother, Jordo.

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Questioner

Could Nightblood theoretically be turned into a Hemalurgic spike?

Brandon Sanderson

The problem with that is that Nightblood is already invested, so it depends on your version of ' Hemalurgic spikes'. Piercing someone's body with Invested metal can have weird effects all through the Cosmere, but ripping off a piece of a person's soul using an un-Invested spike to Invest it and create one is different... we're talking about two different things, right. So there's the.... so what is a Hemalurgic spike? For instance if you've got a spike that's Invested and you stick it into a Kandra on Scadrial it will still work as an Invested Hemalurgic spike. Making a new Invested spike by ripping off a person's soul, that's a different process and a little more difficult to accomplish and requires some specialized knowledge.

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Questioner

With the hemalurgy, I was a bit confused on how it worked on people and how it worked for kandra, there was the blessings, and one brought them more stability of mind or something. So what is different for kandra than it is for other people?

Brandon Sanderson

The things that are building kandra have ripped off different pieces of souls. Rather than stealing someone else's Allomancy, most of those were just created with regular people. The same way that a koloss... you don't need an Allomancer to make a koloss. You just take a regular person, you rip off a piece of their soul, and you staple it to someone else's, and basically screw up their Spiritual DNA, and you have a koloss. But stapling on someone's Allomancy requires an Allomancer.

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Questioner

Do you have a set plotting strategy, or do you kind of adapt it to the way you formulate your idea?

Brandon Sanderson

My plotting, I have a set one, but it's a really flexible one. It's based off of my goals for a given subplot and what I think needs to happen to achieve those goals. So my outline is a list of goals and bullet points, which makes it a very flexible outline.

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Questioner

Does the name [Wax & Wayne] foreshadow anything that's gonna happen?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I named them that because the pun made me crack up. It's not meant to be foreshadowing. The fun thing about that pun is, Scadrial not having a moon, means that those words exist in their language, it's not part of the common parlance like it is here, so they don't get the pun.

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Questioner

So, I heard you talk about cameos, are there any other cameos besides Hoid and Nightblood in the books?

Brandon Sanderson

So, Galladon from Elantris, Baon from White Sand, and Captain Demoux all show up in Way of Kings. They're the Purelake scene. Let's see... the character of Felt is a worldhopper, you see him in a couple of books. Watch out for him. Khriss is in a couple of the books, she's the one who writes the Ars Arcanums. Nazh is in a couple of the books, Khriss's assistant. Vasher is in the book. They're all over the place.

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Questioner

Whats up with Hoid? He's not a Shard. Is he good? Evil? Indifferent? I'm starting to question whats going on with him.

Brandon Sanderson

He has his own unique motivations. There are definitely people who would call him good and definitely people who would call him evil. He was around at the Shattering of Adonalsium but is not a Shardholder or a Vessel for a Shard of Adonalsium. 

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Questioner

Secret history gave a lot of answers but a lot more questions. Will we get more answers in the next Mistborn book?

Brandon Sanderson

The next Mistborn book will have some answers but not Secret History level answers. It is still mostly focused on Wax and Wayne, Steris and Marasi, and finishing up their stories. By the time we get to third era Mistborn we are gonna start seeing a lot more creep in of some of this stuff. Its really fourth era were gonna see the most. The further we go in the Cosmere the more things will creep in. Mistborn; there be a lot more creeping in than in Way of Kings.

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Questioner

What gave you the idea to use chalk in Rithmatist?

Brandon Sanderson

I cant even remember. I was just wanting to play magical Starcraft on the ground and chalk made the most sense.

Questioner

With the chalk *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

They do not believe right now, but the study of actual chalk composition is a relatively new science that they have not paid enough attention to.

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Questioner

I notice how in the different worlds you have different sets of powers. Elantris has two gods in it, two shards, and there is four powers that we've seen, and we've seen three powers on Scadrial. Do you have kind of a formula or general rule for how many magic systems there are in a place.

Brandon Sanderson

No. I was looking at this and decided that what people call a magic system is more a human construct of etymology and categorization than it is an actual true magic systems. You could claim that all the magics on Roshar are just one magic system: applying the powers of nature through the Knights Radiant and stuff like that. You could say that is just one magic. You could say that the magics on Sel, Elantris' world, are all the same magic. People divide them into systems saying "these are Aons and these are with the Skaze" but those are kind of the same thing, it's just different powers. So that's a human construct just like saying animal, vegetable, mineral, mammal, non-mammal. That's a human construct. Yes there are Laws in nature that we are using as our guidelines but those are our constructs.

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Questioner

I'm working on being an author as well. How do you worldbuild?

Brandon Sanderson

You look for what is going to be relevant and importnat to your characters, and spend your time there. So don't, for instance, build a whole bunch of new languages for a world where all your characters are going to be from the same country, and the languages don't play a relevant part. That is what I would say, particularly in the beginning. If you feel you need more to help you make the world feel fleshed out to you, do that. But worldbuild in service of the story you want to tell.

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Questioner

I want to know how you get into the zone while writing. How do you go from normal Brandon Sanderson life to... how do you make the transition.

Brandon Sanderson

Usually, if I'm having trouble, going for a walk, turning on music, thinking about what I'm going to be doing for the day. Sitting down, turning on music and starting. If I'm having any trouble, reading what I wrote the day before helps. Usually there is not a difficulty for me but those help me if there is.

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Questioner

Kelsier vs. Kaladin, who wins?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is meaner. Kelsier is sneakier. Raw power - I'm not sure, but I'm gonna go with Kelsier. If its on a battlefield, Kelsier doesn't win. If its off the battlefield, Kelsier wins. Kaladin is a soldier. He can fight a war and fight with a team and he can win a battle. Kelsier can sneak into someones house and stab them.

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Questioner

What's the difference between a spike prepared for a Koloss and a spike prepared for a Mistwraith or Kandra? What side effects might occur from... [?]... Koloss spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

It's the pieces of the soul that are being ripped off and the amount of the soul that's being ripped off. That's a big part of it. What side effects would there be? You would probably not get something as intelligent.

Questioner

What's the difference in how you prepare those spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

The Koloss spikes, you've seen how their done. The Kandra spikes were prepared by the Lord Ruler. He gave them to them, and so we don't know what he did, at least in canon.

Questioner 2

That means that we kind of screwed up the role playing.

Brandon Sanderson

You can totally do- I imagine all the role playing happening in a slightly different alternate universe, where there are slight variations and differences.

But yeah, there are no- Kandra spikes are prepared and given by the Lord Ruler, they didn't even know how to make them themselves. I mean they had an inkling of what went on, but they didn't know.

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Questioner

Can you tell me how many souls Hoid has?

Brandon Sanderson

How many Breaths? No, but I can tell you you could look up the minimum he has based on the heightenings and things that he says.

Questioner

Right, and all that i know is that he has perfect pitch.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. There is room to rise from that, so I'm not going to confirm anything else, just keep an eye on him.

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Questioner

Are there times when you regret saying too much?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there are times when I regret saying too much. What I regret more is when I say something that I know came off wrong and is going to send the fan base down the wrong paths. I don't like to do things like that. Robert Jordan liked that, I don't like that. I want to give truthful answers, I want to leave mystery where there is mystery. Like the Lord Ruler's kids where everyone is searching like "where are they". Anyways, there was one at the latest release we did where I knew I was wiggling around it and was gonna send them in the wrong direction. Afterwards I felt bad.

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Questioner

On Roshar, the Alethi, their hair breeds... I was wondering, what happens if, say, Adolin and Shalan have a child. Does that child have red and black and golden hair? Does this mean that at some point in the future you could have a rainbow haired child?

Brandon Sanderson

You can have a rainbow haired child on Roshar. Do know that the hair breeds true. It's easy for it to be bred out.

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Questioner

I notice Adolin has a talent for picking out when people are lying. At least he caught Sadeas, he caught Amaram, he knew Kaladin was having something, but he missed Danlan.

Brandon Sanderson

How reliable is Adolin with his read on people? Better with guys.

Everyone

*laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

Look at the list you just gave me.

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Questioner

If an Elantrian were aroused when he was taken by the Shaod, what would happen, and what would happen if a pregnant woman was taken by the Shaod.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that the baby would enter the same suspended transformation. As for the first question, why don't we RANFO.

Event details
Name
Name Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016
Date
Date June 11, 2016
Bookstore
Bookstore Barnes & Noble
Entries
Entries 75
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