Recent entries

    YouTube Weekly Updates 2021 ()
    #1 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the comments last week and weeks before, we had a lot of questions about the Dawnshard audiobook. Where is that? I can't tell you when, but it should be coming out sometime this summer. We're looking which publishers to put it with, and things like that. We actually already recorded the audio; we had Michael and Kate do that. (I think it's both of them; him doing Lopen and her doing Rysn.) Regardless, we have that audio; we are ready. It's gonna take us a little bit, because we want to find the right distribution place. But it's coming.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #2 Copy

    PrincipleFriendly205

    Mare's Flower.

    *a tattoo of the Ghostblood symbol*

    montezuma300

    Can you confirm either yea or nay?

    Ben McSweeney

    I had not thought this was the case before, but Brandon don’t tell me everything and some of what he tells me changes over the years (we used to have a hard rule with fur on Roshar, for instance). And I was not part of the design process for this symbol, it was handed to me ready-to-go when I put it on the Shallan page.

    I would not be surprised to learn what we have here is a symbol based on the picture of the flower, that whatever flower she had a picture of, it had three petals of a somewhat diamond shape.

    But I don’t actually know, and I’ll have to ask around. Might be a RAFO.

    montezuma300

    What's the fur rule?

    Ben McSweeney

    Waaaay back at the start, the rule was "no fur" in designs, full stop. The idea being that any fur-bearing creatures were too rare to be used for their hides. At some point he relaxed that rule... fur is still relatively rare and expensive (I think) but it's not unheard of.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #3 Copy

    montezuma300

    I don't know if it was intentional, but I realized that the Kholin colors match BYU (Brandon Sanderson's university) and the Singer colors match University of Utah (BYU's rival).

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Well, I hadn't noticed that.

    The problem is that I'm a Cornhusker, at least when it comes to football. No offense to BYU, but you don't grow up in Nebraska during the Osborn era without some side effects. :)

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
    #5 Copy

    C.K.

    Will you delve more into the Threnody system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do intend to do more in the Threnody system. If I can get to it, there is a novel I want to write set on Threnody. I have, I would say, 30% of an outline, right now, for that book. Whether I'll have time for it or not is, like most other side projects, up in the air. But I do think that something will happen there, eventually. Isaac has a book that he's outlined that he would like to set on Threnody, because Isaac's gonna take a stab at writing some Cosmere fiction. If you don't know, Isaac is my art director, and basically my first collaborator in the Cosmere, way back on Mistborn. He was one of my very first beta readers and did all the maps and things, and now works for me full time.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
    #6 Copy

    Gerardo Hop

    Have you watched the fan-made video games of Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have not. I look at fan art, but I don't generally read fan fiction, and I'm probably not gonna play a lot of fan games. Though I'm not against either of these things, as long as they're fan works, not-for-profit sort of stuff covered by our policy. The reason being: number one, I'm immersed in these worlds already, and what I don't need to do is read someone's fanfic, and in twenty years be like, "Hey didn't I write that thing about that thing? I'll put that in." And then it have come from a fanfic. Just, don't really want that to happen. And I don't know enough about video games legality and stuff, but if we made a game and the game people were like, "Hey, you lifted this element right from us," I just wouldn't want to be in that position.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Sophia

    Are you going to be doing another spoilery livestream?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that we will be doing another spoilery livestream. When do you want to do another spoilery livestream? We could do one next month, or we could do one the month after. We could say they're an every-six-months thing. So the next one in July. June or July.

    Let's start with that. We're gonna do spoilerific livestreams every six months. They are much harder on me, because I have to pay much better attention to what I'm saying. But they are a lot of fun. I could imagine a world where we get to them three times a year, or something like that, but let's just start with that.

    Adam Horne

    The spoiler stream was December 17th. So, June.

    Brandon Sanderson

    June. So it is. That actually works well, because the spoiler streams can be near my birthday every year. Koloss Head Munching Day. Maybe we don't do it on the first Thursday, and we move it back.

    Let's just do full spoilers. What do people want? Do you want full Cosmere spoiler, but no spoilers for non-Cosmere? At some point we should do a Cytoverse (as the fans call it), the Skyward spoiler stream. But only after Book Four is out would that make a ton of sense. Maybe we'll just do full Cosmere. Because the only non-Cosmere stuff people would care about spoilers are probably Skyward and Reckoners. Let's do, like, a Skyward and Reckoners one later. Because we do have some things in the Reckoners world coming our way, the novellas that Steven Bohls is writing. And then we have the Skyward stuff. We will do, maybe, a Mistborn exclusive one after Wax and Wayne Four, with only Mistborn.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
    #8 Copy

    Arcatezog

    How often do you go by your various subreddits?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on what I'm doing in the day, and things like that. I have not been by lately, so I have not responded to a lot of Reddit comments lately. I apologize for that. I try to, at least, glance at the front page and see what things are big. I would like this to be a daily thing, and sometimes it is, but it's not always. Again, it depends on what stuff I'm doing.

    It is still the best way to get a response from me, but my answer rate is probably under a third these days, I would say. Plus, there are some people who ask a lot of questions on Reddit, and it makes me less want to do it, I'll be honest, when I see the same person has asked a question every day for a month, because I don't feel that's a good use of my time. I think a good use of my time is to give everybody a little bit where I can, and a bad use of my time is to engage deeply. Just because I don't have a lot of time; not that I dislike any of you guys. And some of you ask really good questions, and I find myself answering anyways, because hey, this is a smart question that this person asked.

    I don't want my Reddit thing to be eighty questions from hardcore cosmere theorists who have been asking two a day for a month, and then five questions from a person who legitimately wants to reach out and have a brief but meaningful interaction with me. I much prefer the second, just for time reasons, even though I know the deep cosmere guys, like, you guys are part of why I'm successful. You guys talking about it, you guys caring about the fact that I was connecting the cosmere, I don't want to disparage that at all or make you feel bad for asking questions. Because I love that, I love that you are so into it, I love taking the time when I can to answer questions. I just have a whole lot of things to balance, and it gets rough sometimes.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
    #9 Copy

    Adam Horne

    What are you anticipating the length of the books for [Mistborn] Era Three and Era Four?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Era Three will go back to Era One lengths. The goal is, once I finish Stormlight Five, to write all three books in Era Three together, like I did for Era One. And this means that the releases in between might be kind of other sorts of things. Basically, I'm gonna have to take three years and write those books before we release any of them. And that'll be great for continuity, and for a lot of cool reasons, but it means that... 2023 is hopefully Stormlight Five. (I say "hopefully" because, again, Stormlight Five is the end of a series, so it is possible of all of them that one takes longer. We'll see.) And then, after Stormlight Five, then the releases will probably be some things for a couple of years until I get Mistborn ready.

    One of these things is likely to be a non-Cosmere collection; a collection of all my short fiction that is not Cosmere and not Legion. So all of your Defending Elysiums and things like that, collected in one collection, like we did with Arcanum Unbounded. There is a decent chance that I will be getting The Apocalypse Guard into shape, at long last, and releasing that with Dan Wells working with me on those. There is a decent chance that we'll have a prose version of Dark One, because Dan and I are working on that, but we'll see. Who knows. And then there's the perpetual project that I've really started to think that is probably going to happen, where White Sand of all my unpublished novels is the strongest, and I think that if I put it through my current revision process, I'd get a really strong revision, send it to beta readers, and put it through another really strong revision, it would be of publishable quality. I would generally update it to match the events of the graphic novels, and then we would release a prose version, probably, that is the same as the graphic novels. But we'll see. We'll see if that actually happens. For now, we do have the collection of the three graphic novels coming out soon-ish, I hope. And it's looking really nice; Isaac's been putting a ton of work into that.

    So, those are all things that you could see in the interim, between. What you're not gonna get is a Mistborn novel or a Stormlight novel for a number of years, as I work on the Mistborn books. In a perfect world, I'm writing Elantris Two and Three then, as well. So I get done with those five books, each of which I plan at 200,000 words (which is the length of Elantris and the original Mistborn trilogy). Which, when I work on a Stormlight book, I do 400,000 to 500,000 words in eighteen months. And so, we would see how these other ones would turn out. One a year, plus change, basically. And then I would jump to Stormlight six.

    So, that's a long-term plan. I still have to finish Wax and Wayne Four, and Stormlight Five, and Skyward Four. Which, I am finishing three series in a row. The one I am most worried about, obviously, is Stormlight. I don't know if that'd be obvious, but that's the highest stakes. And beyond that, it's the one that has some of the biggest implications for the cosmere at large, and things like that. Like, I am not terribly worried about Wax and Wayne Four, partially because I outlined the three that came after Alloy of Law really solidly, and the outline stuff I've been sending out for this last one, everyone is liking in the company, and it seems like it's a very... Like, the original trilogy idea I had for those three seems to be working. And Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning both worked really well, and this one is in that same vein, kind of bringing things together. And so, I'm not really worried about it. I think it's gonna be really strong, and people are really gonna like it. Skyward Four, again, the stakes are just lower. Skyward Three was a tough revision; there was a lot of work to do on that one. But, if I do write Skyward Four this year, then I have plenty of time to work on Skyward Four's revision, because it's probably not scheduled until, like, spring of 2023. Spring or summer, even, summer 2023, before Stormlight Five. And so basically, the revision time on both Wax and Wayne and that are gonna be much bigger than my revision time on Skyward Three.

    The time crunch is over for a little bit. It's just: can I squeeze these in before the looming battleship that is Stormlight Five comes sailing into port, and it's all hands on deck.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
    #10 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have a favorite of the Mistborn books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't really have a favorite, though I think Bands of Mourning is probably the strongest of those. Though, the first original Mistborn might be a contender, as well. It depends. See, my prose and storytelling ability has gotten better over the years, and Bands really had a bunch of things come together that I like to do and I think worked really well. The issue is that the story for Mistborn One is more epic and is, in a lot of ways, more novel. And because of that, it's the progenitor. So, I don't know. But I don't really pick favorites of my books, generally.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
    #11 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had a good day working on Wax and Wayne Four today, doing the outlining. Still doing that; probably through a chunk of next week, I will be working on the outline. And then we will take off and write. My biggest worry about this book is that I want to make sure... I know you guys all would love this, but I want to make sure it doesn't go too, too long. It is the last in the sequence, and it could easily go double the length of the other ones. And I want to try to prevent that, because I still have to write Skyward Four. If it goes too long, I will not be able to write Skyward Four before Stormlight Five. That is kind of my time crunch sort of thing. We'll see. You can watch along on the progress bars, but I will warn you, 100K is unlikely to be the length of this one, even though I might start the progress bar there. We probably out to start it more at 120, understanding that 150 is pretty likely.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
    #12 Copy

    Gamesound Finn

    Do you know that there is a champion in League of Legends that is basically Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I know that there are several League of Legends professional players who have based names off of characters of mine, and stuff. Some have actually contacted me first and said "hey, is it okay if I do this?" Which is really cool.

    I do know the League of Legends people are fans. They invited me, one time, to come in and tour, and I was too busy on that specific tour. But I always find homages and things like this in games to be very flattering. Like the fact that you can find Kelsier's bag of coins in World of Warcraft, and various places you can find mistcloaks. I was playing that game Enter the Gungeon, and they have the Windgunner gun you can get, which is actually a sword gun. I like stuff like that. If you ever are a game dev making a game... (This is not permission for you to use my IP in a way that would be anything other than an homage, or things like that; I have to be careful about things like that. Sometimes I say, "Yeah, go for it," and then we find out that there's a trilogy of games based on my books that we didn't know about.) I like homages like that. I find them fun.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #14 Copy

    alercah

    Did Navani swear more than one oath in the climax of RoW? Her words to the Sibling seem to follow the pattern of Dalinar's oaths very closely, and the Sibling implied they wouldn't bond someone who wasn't ready for at least the second.

    Is this the fastest ever three-oath speedrun?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #15 Copy

    LewsTherinTelescope

    You've said before that, while the Ten Surges arose due to perception of what things are fundamental forces, there were "seeds" that influenced what people perceived as fundamental. Is knowledge of the Rosharan Shards and Dawnshards the "seed" referenced here?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Shards yes, but I wouldn't say the Dawnshards were involved directly--but the Shards were influenced by the Dawnshards, so... It gets muddy.

    YouTube Weekly Updates 2021 ()
    #16 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward Three is still scheduled for November of this year; that'll be my next big launch. We should have novellas in the Skyward universe coming out just before that, so watch for those. The first one of those just got its first draft done; I'm coauthoring those with Janci, a good friend of mine and an excellent writer.

    YouTube Weekly Updates 2021 ()
    #17 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The book [Skyward Three] is not going to be called Nowhere, I'm pretty sure. I've tried to push my publisher, and they're just like, "We don't like that title." And it's okay. I let them in the YA space really talk about titles and choose titles. So, who knows what it'll be.

    Fourth book is probably gonna be called Defiant; that's where we're kind of moving for the fourth book. Third book, no idea  yet. I will keep you updated on that.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #18 Copy

    BigRed323

    [Urithiru] looks like Minis Tirith

    Ben McSweeney

    There's a few things we did to help make the two cities less similar when compared side by side, but the likeness was always on our minds. It's hard to avoid, WETA did such a distinctive job with it.

    Urithiru is way bigger though.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #19 Copy

    Oversleep

    Two characters who I believe Brandon absolutely butchered in terms of what their setup was and what happened to them.

    [...]

    Amaram. Suddenly, completely out of left field, Amaram has been talking to Odium, betrayed all he worked and believed in, sides with Odium... And becomes inhuman monster nobody will lose any sleep over getting rid of. Seriously, what the hell? 

    Rayse. Similar complaint of setting someone up for one thing then just conveniently cutting out: Rayse. He's been set up, multiple times, in multiple books, by multiple characters, as the Big Bad (or at least close to it).

    [...]

    And after all that build up of Rayse and what he turned out to be... How am I supposed to believe Taravangian, the newest of the Vessels, is going to be any threat at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    While I kind of agree on Amaram, I don't on Rayse--but it's useful for me to read this sort of thing.

    The goal with Amaram was to finally let him be the monster on the outside he was on the inside--and so the sequence felt thematically right to me in outlining and writing. Since the publication, though, I've walked back this opinion somewhat. While the sequence works as intended, it's not quite right, and if I were doing the book over I'd try something different.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #20 Copy

    LareaMartell

    Can you tell me what the Alethi word for "peace" is, so I can make a glyph out of it? I'd love to use it for a personal project.

    edit: is it Ororo? Since Adolin's name is made up of "adoda", meaning light, and the suffix "lin" meaning, son of. And Oroden means child of light, So that would make "den" the suffix here, and thus oro the first half of the word for peace, if i'm correct, leading to Ororo?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you are correct, though the Alethi would probably write it and use it in names as Oroho, pronounced "Or-oh-ho." But you could write it either way, or simply as Oro.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #21 Copy

    CompetitiveCell

    In Stormlight, we are presented with a society which is fundamentally unjust in its workings. Whether we see the darkeyes/ lighteyes divide as an analogy for race or class, it forms a caste system wherein the privileged caste is able to imprison, kill or enslave the oppressed caste without cause or trial (Kaladin and his first squad, Moash’s grandparents).

    ...

    The message is not improved by the subsequent arcs of Moash and Kaladin. By RoW, Kaladin has given up most of his class based outlook and integrated into the privileged caste, as a de jure lighteyes. Meanwhile, Moash’s anger at an unjust system is shown as playing a significant role in his eventual corruption by Odium, eventually reducing him to a child kicking caricature.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will say this: in my opinion, one of the important parts of creating a sympathetic protagonist is to make certain the things they're saying, the things they're worried about, or the things they're advocating for have a real foundation to them.

    The problems with Moash are not the things he finds unjust in the system. And you should be uncomfortable with the momentum a historically tyrannical system has, and the sway it has over characters we like among the Radiants. I believe Wit had something to say about this in the last book.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #23 Copy

    TXPX

    I just wanted to ask you if the Elantris sequels are still in the pipeline between SA 5 and 6 or is Mistborn era 3 the only thing in that timeframe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to have to see. My goal is to write Mistborn era three straight through, without publishing the first one until the last one is done. If so, I'll need a break between books, but I don't know if I can squeeze Elantris sequels in there or not. I plan to try, but we'll see.

    Cann0nFodd3r

    Any reason why you are going with that strategy for Era 3?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I feel that the method I used for the original trilogy lent it some interesting advantages. I want to try the process again, and see if it works for me the same way. Mostly, I like experimenting with different kinds of story-making processes, and this is a good opportunity to play with this one again.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #24 Copy

    ArgentSun

    Can you tell us who the [Skyward] novella characters are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I want to make certain Janci is comfortable with me talking about the novella characters before I announce it. I'll chat with her, and maybe put it in the next update document.

    YouTube Livestream 29 ()
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    Annabelle

    Would you consider writing a short story about Wayne's origins?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't generally do this. The reason being that I construct stories, generally, in such a way, particularly a story like Wayne's story that starts a little in media res, and he's already had quite a bit of life experience and foundational things... I construct a story knowing that I'm going to give you touchstone moments for that character's narrative in a way that indicate to you what happened in the past. And with Wayne, I feel like I've done a pretty good job of that. There's still a little bit more for the next book, but I feel like if I were to go back and tell this story, it would be like going back and telling Rashek's story or Alendi's story from the Mistborn series. Where the epigraphs are there to give you the story, and if I wrote it out, it would just be really repetitive to things I've already done.

    The characters that I'm more likely to write short stories or novellas about are ones where there just isn't room in the narrative to dig into something deep about their character. Rock is an excellent example of this, from the Stormlight books. There's just not room. Which is why I plan to write a Rock novella. Be like, "All right, let's really dig into who Rock is, his past, and stuff like that." Because you just don't get those answers. With Wayne, I feel like I have given the answers in such a way that if I did more, it would be boring.

    YouTube Livestream 29 ()
    #27 Copy

    Laura Burnham

    Which of your characters annoys you the most? Whether that's intentional annoyance, or otherwise.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right now, it's <Chet>, because getting him right has been really annoying in writing the third Skyward book. (You'll know about that much later on, theoretically.)

    Who annoys me the most? I always like writing Hoid, but he is annoying to write. So I'll go with Hoid.

    YouTube Livestream 29 ()
    #28 Copy

    Brendan

    In the beginning of Way of Kings, Szeth Lashes himself to the wall at the end of the corridor, turning it into something like a deep well, then he Lashes himself back to the floor. So is gravity not necessarily a thing in Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is. It is indeed a thing in Roshar. A Lashing overrides gravity. This is kind of a weird thing that I built that honestly drives, I think, my continuity people a little crazy. Because the way that I work Lashings, I didn't always want to have to say that "you're lashing them upward one gravitational force and then in a direction at the same time"; basically, to negate gravity and then send them a direction. So I just said, "You know what? This is working kind of on a Spiritual Realm level, where it's overriding gravity's pull and kind of convincing the body it's being pulled in a different direction." That is kind of what the mechanics are doing. So when you Lash toward the end of the hallway (you Lash in a direction, usually), then gravity is overriden, and you are pulled in a specific direction instead.

    What Szeth is doing there, when he's Lashing himself back downward, he could cancel the Lashing. But he just gets into this mindset... You'll see most of the characters do this. It's kind of functionally identical. But that they kind of, like... "Which direction is down" is not really important to the person while they are using their Lashings and where gravity would pull them. They just are gonna be precise and be like, "I'm gonna go that direction, there." And just kind of get in the mindset of working that way. So I would say that for someone using Lashings, gravity doesn't really matter; or it matters entirely too much.

    Where building it that way has led us is, when you want someone to just hover, what do you do? How do you indicate someone is becoming weightless? By those mechanics, you use a half Lashing upward. So that you're still pulled down half as much by gravity, but you're pulled upward half as much. There are other ways you could achieve it, but that's how I often have people talk about it. So if you remember that a Lashing is overriding gravity, it's replacing it, it's not additive; then that helps a little bit with understanding how Lashings work. I still like it this way because it's a lot more elegant to describe. But when you break down the mechanics of it, it is a little bit harder to wrap your mind around.

    YouTube Livestream 29 ()
    #29 Copy

    Kozmelt Isthai

    If someone made a video game based on your books, would you like them to cover the same plots? Or create new stories in the same world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It really depends on the book, honestly. I feel like Stormlight would be different from Mistborn in that regard. In Stormlight, I feel like I would want to have it be a story from the books; but maybe not one of the main stories, like delve into some of the Herald stories, or things like that. Where Mistborn, I feel like Mistborn is better off not doing the main story of the books. That's just because... Boy, I don't know. I'm not even sure if I can explain why; I think it's just a taste thing. In general, I think overall, I would err on something that isn't explicit in the books but has been mentioned for either of those, but I'd probably go a little further afield in Mistborn and stay a little closer to the characters in Stormlight that have already been mentioned, and things like that. And that might just have to do with the fact that Stormlight is pretty expansive, and I've touched all parts of the world. Whereas Mistborn, I haven't explored it as much, and it's narrowly focused on this one group of of people. (Two groups, depending on your era.) It's a good question.

    YouTube Livestream 29 ()
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    Jeremy

    Your work on the lore of the cosmere is immense. How much have you had to figure out ahead of time? How much do you develop on the fly while writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It really depends on the situation. I do some of both. Mostly, the on-the-fly stuff is where I realize that there is a hole in my understanding where I'm like, "I didn't account for this." And you'll see this when fans ask me questions; I'd say a good half the time or more, they ask a question, I'm like, "I didn't account for that. Let me think..." This is why I like having foundational principles of how the cosmere works, rather than focusing on little details. (Which, a lot of those, I'm deciding on as I'm writing.) I try to get these really solid foundations so that the little details answer themselves, if that makes sense.

    I've heard people talk about this with characters. Like, instead of deciding when you're building a character what their favorite color is, decide who they are, decide the personality, decide the foundational moments in their life. So when someone asks you a question that you haven't anticipated, it makes sense; there's only one way you could answer. "Well, of course their favorite color is blue, because that's the color of the uniforms of the soldiers that saved them when they were a young child, so they're gonna pick that color." That sort of thing for worldbuilding works really well, too. When someone asks an off-the-wall question, you can say, "Well, the mechanics are like this, this, and this. So that leads me to have an answer that is this." That you get into more trouble when you assume that's the case, but then when you think about it later, you're like, "No, that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be that way," and you can go a different way. But that's how I try to do it.

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
    #31 Copy

    Matthew

    Have you ever talked with another author and found a fun opportunity to drop a small easter egg in each others' universes? Something small that only big fans of both would notice?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't ever done this yet, I don't believe. I know of friends doing it. The closest I've gotten is just kind of dropping my friends into my books in little cameos. I would totally be on-board for doing this, but I just haven't had the chance, haven't had the right thing. I mean, I've done it in my own works; there's a line in Alcatraz where I'm proving how bad a person a character is using great rhetoric and exaggeration, and I believe one of them says "she killed Asmodean!" or something like that, which is a reference to the Wheel of Time (which I also worked on). But I don't think I've done it with another person's books. I haven't done a cool thing like where E.T.'s race shows up in Episode [I] of Star Wars, or something like that. It would be a lot of fun to do something like that. The reason it's so fun in Star Wars is because we know that those two are friends; Lucas and Spielberg have worked on many things together, so there's just something kind of wholesome about that. Where if I dropped a reference to E.T. in my book, it'd be fun; but it's not the same sort of "here's my friend's cool science fiction story showing up crossing over with mine."

    The trick is, I don't want to break immersion in the Cosmere, and I've been very careful to try to not do that. That doesn't mean I don't stick my friends in the books though, and things, so I'm sure we could find a place for something like this. I just wouldn't want it to draw too much attention, to break immersion.

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
    #32 Copy

    Questioner

    Which Cosmere character would make the best political candidate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the thing. Best candidate is not the same as best... Who would be best in the office? Because Taravangian could probably do a really good job of running a candidacy. Jasnah could probably do a really good job in the right circumstances.

    If I had to put one completely in charge? Sazed is a good choice. And he would be my default choice. Sazed would never run for the office. But he is a good choice.

    We joke the best politicians are those who don't want it; I don't know that that's actually true. I think that there are definitely people who could very much want it, and that wanting it is an advantage. I joke that I'm gonna vote for Emily's dad, who is just a good person, but he would never want to be President. And I don't know if he would actually make a good President because of that. And there is something to be said for political experience, experience being in the public eye, and being the type of person who seeks it out because you know you can deal with it, because it is not easy to be in the public eye (even as a novelist who writes stories about knights who live in space, or whatever). It can be difficult. Someone who's self-selected can be a bad thing, but it can also be a really good thing, I think. So somebody who wants it, who understands how politics works, and things like that. And in that case, Jasnah becomes a better choice, because Jasnah can navigate those political systems and can be in the public eye and make difficult decisions, but also has a moral grounding for the things that she's deciding.

    But Jasnah's also a little dangerous. The scene in Book One with Jasnah and the thieves is supposed to make you a little worried about the way that Jasnah views power.

    Sarene, she would be a good choice after she's had a little more experience. She's not as good as she thinks she is, is the problem with Sarene.

    Elend is a good choice. Elend is a political theorist, and particularly if you get him at the right point after some world experience has forced him to see some other perspectives, he might actually be the single best choice, now that I think about it, to just make into President.

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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    Bradley Culvert

    If you could be given one object from your books and brought into the real world, what would it be? And why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Bands of Mourning would be pretty handy. They might be the single most powerful object that is an actual object. Unless you count, like, the Well of Ascension. I don't know; the Well of Ascension's, like, less an object. The Bands of Mourning might be it, though I'd be hard-pressed not to pick a living Shardblade, assuming that they could turn back into the spren. If having a living Shardblade meant that the spren came through and could bond with me and I could have my own cool spren and Shardblade, that would be pretty awesome, even if I couldn't get a hold of Stormlight to power it, that would be pretty cool.

    Adam Horne

    You wouldn't bring Nightblood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think I would bring Nightblood here, no. I do not think that I would bring Nightblood here.

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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    LewsTherinTelescope

    Is Investiture with its deep, inherent connection to sounds/tones/rhythms inspired by a sort of magical version of string theory and its idea of vibrating strings making up everything?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I would say yes. A direct inspiration. (In my own goofy way, as I tend to do.)

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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    Wish Brown

    How often do you wish you could go back and change something in one of your published works? Even something as small as a piece of dialogue or the name of a character or place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I go back and forth on this. At the end of the day, I've kind of settled on "I'm fine not changing things." We do change things; every time we do an update for, like, a leatherbound or something, there are little continuity things we are going to tweak here and there, and I've talked about them kind of at length on stream. Way of Kings, we cut out a few of the references where I had made metaphors to things that characters in-world just wouldn't make metaphors to, because I had not written in Roshar long enough to really settle into how to use the language right for them. So that sort of stuff.

    Large-scale changes, though, I've kind of decided that the books have to remain a snapshot of who I was when I wrote them and not become a continual work in progress, constantly having fundamental style and narrative changes. The artist in me wants to. Totally wants to. Wishes that that were normal for books. But the fans need to be able to rely on... if they've got a first edition copy of Way of Kings, that things are not going to fundamentally change between editions. A line here or there might get tweaked to work better or to fix continuity errors, but it's still gonna be the same book. And I kind of just have to accept that as an artist. Creating this large-scale thing that is the Cosmere, there's gotta be both give and take here. The give from me is: acknowledging some of the earlier books will end up being the weakest as I get better as a writer and as I understand what to do with the Cosmere. But the take is that I can kind of continue to give context to those earlier books by developing the rest of the Cosmere in interesting ways.

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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    Ben

    Was there any trepidation before putting a graphic novel in the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and no. Basically, it was the trepidation of: "We want to do graphic novels, but we haven't done them before. So how's it gonna work? Can we do it?" These sorts of things. It was less worrying about the cosmere, and more just worrying if we were gonna do a great graphic novel.

    And I think it was a learning experience. I don't think White Sand turned out great. I think the revisions that Isaac's doing in putting the omnibus together hopefully will get there, but that's as much our fault as it is the fault of the people who made it. Like, Rik Hoskin (who wrote it) was fantastic; we really enjoyed working with him. And all the people at Dynamite were great. It just didn't convey Sanderson-style worldbuilding in the way that the novel does. But we're hoping that the omnibus (Isaac's put a lot of work into the omnibus) will do that.

    And I think that my opinion on it is kind of shared. If you go on Goodreads, the responses are: "Eh. It's okay." Which is not what we want to have. But I don't know that it was trepidation for the cosmere as much as us knowing "graphic novels are gonna take some work." Dark One is just a lot better; and hopefully the White Sand omnibus will be up to that level of quality.

    I do appreciate those who supported it, because it's basically you financing us figuring out how to do this, and hopefully then eventually learning how to get you more cosmere stories in different formats. It would have been much safer to pick one of my novels that was already out and finished and do an adaptation (which is what people normally do), but it just wasn't interesting to us. We want to be telling new stories, not telling the same stories over and over again.

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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    Rick

    Was Lasting Integrity inspired by Escher, or the movie Inception, or something else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm sure that both Escher and Inception had a role in that. Absolutely. Though, curiously, I was writing these weird walk-on-the-walls things long before I saw Inception, so it's probably both kind of reaching toward the same dream-like state. One of my earliest stories involved this surface-specific-gravity stuff, and I read a little bit from a later story that did the same thing. (The story I read at the launch party, The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora.) That dream-like quality. I wanted something about Lasting Integrity that said, when you got to it, "This is just not part of our world. This doesn't feel like it could be in the real world. The laws of physics are different here. And it's inhabited by beings that see the laws of physics in a different way." And that was what I was reaching for in creating that situation. Where my inspirations were? Probably all over the place. But Escher is definitely an inspiration there. And some of those descriptions in the Harry Potter books, of how the stairwells in Hogwarts work, I'm sure, were partially inspirations.

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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    Elebie23

    If you had creative input on a Stormlight Archive adaptation, how would you design the music of Alethkar? Which regions or instruments would inspire you or have inspired you while writing in the world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the core inspirations for Alethkar is medieval Mongolia. And I don't know if pulling from things like throat-singing is going to just be too immersion-breaking for people, but that's the first place I'd start looking. Really, I kind of imagine the Alethi... if you're really getting down to their core influences, it's kind of like when the Mongolians conquered China, and Kublai Khan and that era, where the Mongolians became empire-builders rather than just conquerors and raiders. And that's what I was looking at specifically, kind of, in the Dalinar/Gavilar era, where it's like, "We were these kind of ruffians. And we got some momentum and had a leader with vision, and suddenly we made a kingdom out of a bunch of different groups. Reforging a kingdom that used to exist. But now we have to deal with running a kingdom." Which Genghis Khan never had to do. Genghis Khan was all about "we ride in, we pillage, then we ride off with the goods. We're not interested in empire building." So that whole concept interests me a lot.

    And then, of course, there's also a lot of Middle Eastern influences on the linguistics for the Alethi, and kind of some of their scientific learning and things like this is leaning on those medieval-era Islamic scholars, and things like that, are a bit of an inspiration. Though I've said before, Shallan's more Pliny the Elder, so that's reaching back a little bit further.

    I would look around for those sorts of things. Really, I would want to hire someone who's just really good at this and let them research into it. I would probably give them an explanation like I just gave you, and then let them look at it, and let them dig into it. Because my music theory is very surface-level.

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    Benji

    Are the three realms of Realmatic Theory are based or inspired by Viktor Frankl's dimensional ontology?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I was reaching more toward Platonic theory when I came up with those, and the idea of a place where everything exists in a perfect version of itself, and that was where my mind was going when I was developing this.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    ABC

    In Rhythm of War, Navani mentions that perhaps Soulcasters, specifically Soulcaster metal, are another form of a Radiant spren. She uses the line ''Somehow the ancient spren had been coaxed into manifesting as Soulcasters instead of Blades?". Could this somehow be related to Testament and the brokenness of the Soulcaster Lin Davar and then Shallan had?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by related. But just in case, Testament was not the Soulcaster. But the fact that spren become Soulcasters is related to this in some ways.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    Evilsmiley

    Was Elantris built before the Shards were [Splintered] on Sel or not?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, in my outline right now Elantris existed before Odium did his dirty work on Elantris.

    It's unlikely to change, but I do have to point out this isn't strictly canon yet, and likely won't be until I write the Elantris sequels.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    I've had this question burning deep inside me since I finished RoW, is there a truest Surge of Odium? My headcanon for now is Transportation.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey! So, I'll deal with this eventually in the books, so it's a RAFO for now! But do keep in mind that the Surges on Roshar, as they're understood now, are mostly Honor/Cultivation.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    I'm super psyched about the Rlainarin reveal that we've had recently. It was one of those things that reading Rhythm of War I'm like "Oh wow! There's a lot of cool chemistry here. And I don't think it's ever gonna be canon, but I'm gonna just love it quietly in my heart and tell other people that I think it's cool." And then finding out...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It goes back to Oathbringer too if you go back to Oathbringer.

    FeatherWriter

    It has! The scene in Rock's point of view. I'm just so glad it's actually happening. It warms my little Renarin loving heart.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. I looked for a place to get it into this book, I actually wrote scenes that "should I put this in this book?"  and they're like "No, if it will feel clunky just do it in book five." 

    FeatherWriter

    I think it was there enough, that a lot of us readers, got that the chemistry was there, and it could work very well.

    Chaos

    I think you can really do it justice, doing a same-sex relationship and do it really well. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well having two viewpoint characters - that's kinda one of my go-tos, right? To avoid tokenism, try to make multiple characters who think differently. One of the worries was: with Renarin being autistic, I don't want to conflate these two aspects of his personality. But having Rlain there lets me have diversity among a given representation in a single book. Just way more comfortable for me to write, because it lets me make sure that I'm making people their personalities, and not their defining attributes. Kaladin has depression; Kaladin is not depression. And that's a really important thing.

    If its something that I'm less familiar with personally, it's more important that I have a variety of viewpoints. Even if its something like making sure that Jasnah is atheist and Kaladin is agnostic. And that I'm approaching their different worldviews from their personalities rather than as a cliché of some sort. 

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    Do you ever worry, like, when you actually need to write Hoid's backstory that it... That's a lot of pressure, in a way, Hoid's backstory..

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a lot of pressure, yeah. I am not worried about the book being great, because the story that I have for it is a great story. What I am worried about is: what random things have I said in books that I didn't write down in the wiki that I need to make good on? That he's mentioned doing at some point. Those are the things I worry about. The actual story is really solid for Dragonsteel, the new one. And I think people will really like it. I think it does cool things. But we will see. We'll see if I can.

    The longer it goes without me writing it, the more expectations there will be on it. And so I should be telling people, "Look, it is just a book like the other ones." It is hopefully a great book that you will really love, but it is just a book. Once I write it, it can no longer be all the things you're imagining it to be, and I apologize for that. I do want to do it, but it is just a book. It's going to read like a lot of my other books. It will be in first person, which is the only planned first-person cosmere series. That will set it off and be distinctive in ways I think will be cool.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll release [Dragonsteel Prime] for the Words of Radiance Kickstarter.

    Basically there's not a whole lot that's canon in that anymore. The Sho Del are, the dragons are, and the Tamu Keks are. But all the Hoid stuff is not really canon anymore. He'll get a completely new book backstory. I have really done some work lately on the aethers in ways that I really think is working. So I think I can start canonizing aethers, sneaking [them] into the mainline cosmere books. Whether I can ever write the book about the aethers is another question, but you should see more than just little cameo pieces now that I'm sure about some of the ways they work. I made some major breakthroughs in how I wanted that to all connect.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Weiry Writer

    Why are Seons stuck as floating balls of light in the Cognitive Realm, while true spren get to be people shaped? I feel that is unfair.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a little unfair isn't it. Boy, Sel has all sorts of unfair things going on. But they can leave Sel, so there's some sort of clue there. But lots of unfairness to everybody from Sel in various ways. But the thing that is not unfair is: they're able to get places.

    Chaos

    Just gotta escape the deadly plasma, you know. No big deal.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If they can escape the deadly Investiture plasma covering the Cognitive Realm... not even covering, like... suffusing the Cognitive Realm where they are, the Expanse of Densities. If they can escape that they can go places. 

    I'll be honest. I couldn't decided if I should use a seon there at the end or a Tamu Kek. In one draft it was a Tamu Kek, and then I thought, "Eh, seons are way more interesting because they have volition. Tamu Kek is just a bone." It was a Tamu Kek originally, and then it was a seon, then back to a Tamu Kek, and then I released it as a seon. 

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    Can I ask about Glys and Tumi, which are Rlain and Renarin's spren. Obviously they have some weirdness from Sja-anat, but they seem very, very different from the other mistspren we see, whose name is Dreaming-though-Awake. And sometimes they seem like they talk like inkspren, with that focus on the "be" verb at the end of sentences, and things like that. Is there a reason why they are so very different - I mean we've only seen one other mistspren, but... 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there are reasons indeed. I will give you more as the series progresses. Remember, Renarin has (right now) in the sequence book 7, and so you are going to have an entire Renarin book with its own flashback sequence that you can look forward too. It'll be Renarin in his thirties; he'll be older, he may be wiser. We'll see.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    We've had some discussion, people wondering whether Taln actually broke the Oathpact, or did something else happen? Like he just got too crazy to be able to hold the Oathpact back or something else, or is that all totally off track?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO! There are scenes in the stories talking about that, so it is a question I expect people to be asking.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    I have to ask about using the word "avatar" for Thaidakar sending avatars... does Kelsier actually have anything resembling a real avatar or is he just using the word and lying through his teeth?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah, he's mostly lying through his teeth. Basically — this is not canon, because I might come up with a better [idea] - but in my head, I have him with a large cloak with a Seon on top indicating his face [hosts laugh] It was something along those lines. He wants them to think that he is capable of getting to Roshar in a meaningful, physical way.

    Spoiler! he can't get off Scadrial, and it's really annoying to him. At least by this point in the continuity, in fact a little past it, because the Wax & Wayne books...

    *multiple people*

    [Tangent where he forgets where in the timeline Wax & Wayne actually falls, and Chaos corrects him. Answer ends up being that it takes place after Stormlight 5, as he has usually said.]

    Brandon Sanderson

    As of the Alloy era, he is still unable to get off of Scadrial.

    Chaos

    Guess we'll learn about that in Era 3, if it's all Kelsier stuff.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Era 3 will definitely involve some Kelsier stuff. Let's just say he's perturbed.