Style Guide


  • Notability
  • Formatting
  • Transcribing
  • Other Entry Information
  • Tags


Brandon says a lot of things, both in signings and on the internet. Here are some guidelines for what should be added to Arcanum, and what is not notable enough to include.

Audio Snippets

While transcribing, you will see snippets with [do not transcribe] at the end of their description. They are not notable enough to be transcribed, but are included for the sake of completeness, and in case something overlooked in them ends up being determined significant at a later time. These sorts of snippets commonly include:

Social Media

Anything Brandon says on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or his blog could potentially be worth adding. (Content from YouTube will be added as audio sources, described above.)

Things to include:

  • Questions regarding in-universe topics, both Cosmere and non-Cosmere.
  • Specific inspirations and influences on the content of the books.
  • New or substantial information about upcoming books and plans.

Things NOT to include:

  • Business updates. Writing Excuses, merchandising, and those sorts things.
  • Personal interactions.
  • Tour information.
  • Wheel of Time information.
  • Answers about future book plans which reiterate information already known and recorded.

There will be social media interactions that do not easily fall into one of the above categories. If you are in doubt (especially about recent WoBs), feel free to add them anyways, and staff members will delete them if they aren’t deemed to be relevant.

Sources other than Brandon

In addition to Brandon, Dragonsteel employees and collaborating authors will often volunteer information. Some examples of these individuals are:

  • Peter Ahlstrom (vice president of editing)
  • Karen Ahlstrom (continuity editor)
  • Dan Wells (vice president of narrative)
  • Isaac Stewart (art director)
  • Ben McSweeney (artist)
  • Mary Robinette Kowal (The Original)
  • Steven Bohls (Reckoners)
  • Janci Patterson (Cytoverse, Alcatraz)

Add these individuals when they speak as an authority. Do not include their guesses, theories, or times when they RAFO questions.


Whenever you are transcribing and editing WoBs, please follow these guidelines.

Style Conventions

General style conventions to follow:

  • Use American English
  • Follow book spellings and capitalization
  • Italicize the titles of all pieces of media (books/series, movies, games, paintings, etc.)
  • Use the Oxford comma, because there's no reason to not to.
  • Use a single space (not two) after periods.

Editing Text Sources

Obvious mechanical errors (spellings, capitalization, etc.) in the source material may be corrected, even if made by Brandon himself.

        For example, “allomancy” should be corrected to “Allomancy”.

When a questioner makes a clear terminology error, replace the incorrect word(s) with the proper term inside of brackets.

        For example, “the splintering of Adonalsium” should be entered as “the [Shattering] of Adonalsium”.

More questionable clarifications and technical corrections should follow the incorrect text. Extensive clarifications or notes should be placed in the footnotes.

        For example: "They summoned the Laststorm" becomes "They summoned the Laststorm [Everstorm]".

Paraphrased Entries

Heavily paraphrased entries should be stripped of any commentary and attributed to Brandon rather than the questioner/source. You can even avoid the questioner line should you want. Footnotes can be used if additional context is necessary.

For example, if the following was posted in the forums:

        Regarding the movie options: Sanderson has high hopes, and will try to get a PG-13 rating as much as he can (because we all know it's not going to be PG.) If the movies are bad, they'll pull more people into the Sanderson craziness and we'll have more people to complain with.

This should be entered in Arcanum as such:

        Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

        Sanderson has high hopes [for the movie options], and will try to get a PG-13 rating as much as he can.


When you are transcribing spoken information, please follow these guidelines.

Exact Wording

Do not summarize while transcribing. Write down the exact wording of what people say. There are some exceptions to this guideline:

  • Do not write down verbal ticks, such as "um" and "ah."
  • Trim out repeated words when they have no significance, or when Brandon is repeating a question.
  • When off-topic discussion (such as Brandon asking for clarification on a signing request) occurs in the middle of a question/answer, leave out the interruption, replacing the omitted words with an ellipsis.


Put commentary and actions that cannot be conveyed through the text inside of single asterisks.

        For example: *crowd laughs*, *pauses to sign book*, or *gives RAFO card*.

Use the word “inaudible” between single asterisks (*inaudible*) in the entry line to note where audio is impossible for you to transcribe.

        For example: Does Hoid always *inaudible* when he worldhops?

If uncertain about the accuracy of a particular portion of transcribed text, surround the text with angle brackets.

        For example: Use <Shardblade> if you hear “Sha----ds” and the question seems to concern Shardblades.

When adding clarifying words, use square brackets. There is more information in the Formatting section of this page.

        Example: "They summoned the Laststorm [Everstorm]"


Entries should always include at least one line by Brandon (or other members of his team) as the speaker. Use their full names, as shown in the Notability section of this page. If you are transcribing audio, and you can tell that someone is speaking authoritatively but do not recognize the voice, put “Dragonsteel Employee.”

For all other speakers, default to using “Questioner.” Other scenarios are:

  • You can log in and edit your name on any questions you have asked.
  • If someone has posted about a question (on the forums or on Reddit, for example), you may put their username in. Add their report as a URL source.
  • If there are multiple speakers for a WoB besides Brandon, put them as “Questioner 1,” “Questioner 2,” etc.

Other Entry Information

When you are filling out the fields at the bottom of the entry edit page, please follow these guidelines.


Use the “Footnote” section to include additional commentary or clarifications. This may include essential commentary from the initial report, clarifications added by yourself to aid comprehension, or links to other WoBs where the question may have already been answered.

Footnotes should only be added when they are essential to understanding an individual WoB. Connections to other WoBs and conclusions that can be drawn belong on the Coppermind wiki, not in footnotes of a WoB.


In general, tags should be used that describe what a question/answer are primarily about. Just because something, such as a character, is mentioned that does not mean it should be included in the tags. (Remember, text will also appear in search results--not just tags.) Not every Entry needs tags! You can find more information in the Tags section of this page.


The entry’s date will default to the event’s date. For social media compilations, you will need to make sure to manually update the date using Brandon’s first reply. For audio files from conventions and other events that take place over several days, you may need to update the date, as well.

The “Paraphrased” checkbox should be marked ANYTIME that the entry does not have a linked and 100% verifiable, verbatim source. Verbal promises that an entry is accurate are not verifiable and so the information should be marked as paraphrased.

The “Direct Report” checkbox should be marked when you add a WoB that you have not reported anywhere else (forums or social media) and, would thus have no URL link (see below). Put your username in the “Reported By” box. These WoBs will be automatically marked as Paraphrased.

The "Searchable" checkbox should be marked for all entries except those which should not appear in search results. Typically, only readings and other long entries are not marked as searchable. Only Arcanists can uncheck this box.

URL Sources

Entries using a snippet as the source do not need URL sources added, except when attributing an entry to a known questioner.

When you are linking to a source, link directly to the tweet, 17th Shard post, Reddit post, or other source in question. Posting a link to an entire topic (for 17th Shard) or an entire thread (on Reddit) is not specific enough. Provide a specific link to the answer. For a chain of questions and answers, use Brandon’s first reply as the source for the Entry.

For firsthand sources, where Brandon can be cited directly, name the source after the website it was taken from. For secondhand reports, (e.g. where a user is sharing about a signing, a private message, a signed book, etc.) give credit to the user using the format: “<username/name>’s report - <website>”.

Examples: 17th Shard; Twitter; Reddit; WeiryWriter’s report - 17th Shard 


When adding tags to an entry, please follow these guidelines.

Most tags are not specific; they deal with top-level categorization. In special circumstances, such as when a topic is subject to a great deal of discussion or is particularly esoteric, more specific tags may be created such as “gavilar’s black sphere” or “anti-adonalsium weapon.”

Only Arcanists can create new tags. If you feel a tag should exist and it doesn’t seem to be in use, check your spelling or look to see if the term may be tagged in some other way. Otherwise, reach out to an Arcanist to see about adding a new tag.

Specific Tag Guidelines

  • Use cosmere when referring to the universe. Use cosmere sequence to refer to the novels themselves.
  • Use inspirations for specific cases where a certain aspect of a book was directly based on something Brandon saw/read. Use influences for more nebulous instances, where they have had an impact but not in an easily quantifiable way.
  • Use rafo where Brandon RAFO’s the question and does not reveal any information. Use rafo-plus used when Brandon RAFO’s at least part of the question but does reveal some information. Use rafo-resolved is used when Brandon RAFO’s a question but the answer to that RAFO is known, in which case that information and a link should be included in the footnote. Use rafo explanation when Brandon explains to someone what “RAFO” means.
  • Magic systems: In general, when an Entry pertains to a magic system, or an aspect of a magic system, it is tagged with the name of the magic system even if there is a more specific name. For example, there are not tags for both iron Allomancy and cadmium Allomancy, just a generic allomancy tag. The only metal with its own tag is aluminum, which is for its characteristics outside of the Metallic Arts. An exception to this is the soulcasting and lightweaving tags, which are sub-systems of Surgebinding (although Lightweaving does exist separately as well).
  • Worlds: World tags are used when Brandon is discussing things such as the cultures, biology, or geography of a planet. These are the most nebulous of tags.
  • Books/Series: These are used when Brandon is specifically talking about a book or series, whether that he is discussing the writing of the book or revisions done to it. In some cases these tags have “book” or “series” added to end, when the book/series title is also used as a tag. For example the sword is tagged with “nightblood” whereas the sequel to Warbreaker is tagged with nightblood book.
  • Characters: So far only significant characters have been tagged for. Usually the tag is just their given name, unless they are better known by their surname/House name, in which case that is used as the tag.

These guidelines should cover most cases. If you have a question that is not addressed, stop by the forums or the Discord to ask.

Modified by jofwu on Oct. 18, 2022, 3:46 p.m..


Welcome to Arcanum, the Brandon Sanderson Archive. We're here to collect everything Brandon ever says about his books--the "Words of Brandon," as they are called--with a focus on collecting information related to the cosmere.


  • 15808 entries
  • 503 events
  • 524 audio sources