Recent entries

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #1 Copy

    Scott Beckman (paraphrased)

    Which is scarier... Which is more dangerous: a sword that wants to destroy evil, or a Bondsmith with no bounds?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    A Bondsmith with no bounds.

    Scott Beckman (paraphrased)

    Can an unbound Bondsmith take that sword's... ability for himself?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Not exactly, but something similar. Probably not what you're thinking, but he could essentially take what that sword is, yes.

    Stormlight Five Updates ()
    #3 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hello, all!  I know some of you may have been waiting for this.  It’s time for the first in a series of updates about your book!  I wanted to wait until I’d made good progress this month before I stopped to write one of these updates, and I do apologize for leaving you in the dark for so long.  I probably should have written one of these back in January, but it’s been an odd year for me, full of unpredictable timing issues. 

    So, let’s get the obvious questions out of the way.  Do I have a title yet?  No.  Still thinking.  I’d like it to fit the format of KOWT or KOW, but I don’t like most of the options that have presented themselves.  It requires more thought.

    When will the book come out?  I’m looking at fall 2024.  I have tried to be very forthcoming about this one—warning people for a while that 2023 might be too optimistic.  And, as I feared, I have been forced to let the date slide quite far into 2024 because of three issues.  The first is that I set myself up for a TON of revisions this year, and they’ve been taking more time than expected.  I still have two books to revise, though I’ve been spending all of August on Stormlight.  

    However, that isn’t the primary reason I’ve ended up pushing back the book.  I’d planned for these revisions, and could have done those while working on Stormlight.  The second reason I pushed the book back is that I knew this book, of all the ones in the sequence, deserved a little extra time and attention.  It will likely be the longest of the series to date, and I have to be careful to juggle all the storylines properly.  I didn’t want to be rushed on it, and—though it may shock you—an 18-month production cycle wasn’t going to cut it. 

    The third reason is one I haven’t been able to gauge as easily as the first two—something new to my life.  Lately, I’ve needed to dedicated more and more of my time to running a company.  I still reserve three days a week solely for writing, but that’s down from four days a week in previous years.  

    The meetings take two general forms.  The first category is meetings with my team.  Things like reviewing the production of the secret projects and leatherbounds to make sure things look and feel right.  Others involve deep dives into concept art for characters and settings, so that when we create products like the upcoming Stormlight miniatures, they can fit with a canon version of the characters.  This is something I resisted for a while, feeling like it was all right if different artists interpreted the singers (for example) differently.  More and more, though, Isaac and I feel that we should have specific canon examples for continuity.  

    Other meetings are editorial related, or publicity related.  Dragonsteel has kind of grown up the last few years, and I want to do it right.  That means being involved, as long as it doesn’t impact my time TOO much.  But all of that needs to be balanced with the numerous film and television meetings that have been happening lately.  Again, I want to do this right—which means being deeply involved in the projects that are moving forward.  (Announcements should be coming in the near future.)  That takes time.  So, the free time that I had during Covid to write secret projects is now being eaten up by a lot of these meetings.

    I’m still finding the right balance, but this last month has seen a lot of good progress on Stormlight.  I’m sitting at 65,000 words right now as of this writing.  Roughly 16% if we assume a 400,000-word final book.  (Though this one will, as I said, likely be longer than that—so that 16% might be more like 15%.)

    Unfortunately, progress is going to slow again as I have a couple of other deadlines due.  My goal right now is to do the last two revisions (Defiant and Secret Project Four) in rapid succession, in September and October, and be back to Stormlight in November.  

    For a teaser, though, here is what I’m working on: I’m going to write this book in phases, straight from beginning to end, through several character groupings.  For example, the first sequence I’m writing is Szeth and Kaladin in Shinovar, including the Szeth flashbacks.  I plan to write all of their plot, from start to finish, before moving on to the next sequence of characters.

    All of that 65k so far, except the prologue, has been on this plotline—and I’m loving how it’s shaping up.  I know the Szeth backstory has been a LONG time coming.  I hope it lives up to your expectations.  There are some interesting lore secrets here to reveal, and the climax is something I’ve been building to since book one—indeed, you’ll find death rattles from the first volume referencing the events here in this sequence.

    I plotted this sequence at 100k.  It’s looking a lot more like 150k now that I’m neck deep in it.  The picture is related!

    I know that four years is a long time to wait for a novel, and it’s been my goal in the past to keep that to 3 years.  My intention is that once this is done, we’ll have another longer-than-normal gap as I turn my attention to Mistborn Era Three (and hopefully the Elantris sequels) before diving back in to do the back five Stormlight books.  From there, I’m hoping to return to a 3-year gap between books until we push to the ending at book ten.  

    A long journey, I know!  But you’ll almost certainly have television and film projects in the interim to keep you occupied alongside the other things I do.  And I continue to feel that Stormlight works best in ultra-long-form novels, rather than the (far more profitable) option my publisher would prefer of one shorter 100k Stormlight book every year.  The experience of the thick book full of interconnected plotlines and smaller interlude flourishes is part of what makes the artistic vision work for these volumes.    

    As always, thank you for your patience.  My job is to make sure it’s all worth the wait, and I am striving each day to show respect for the trust you’ve put in me.  

    Next update should come around the end of the year, where I’ll let you know how my November/December went.  With luck, I’ll have managed another 70k or so across the two months, and land us at around 130k, which MIGHT be the end of the first sequence.  

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #4 Copy


    Hello Mr. Stewart. Isaac? Lord Ruler?! Well, anyway, I am very excited to hear that you are working on a Mistborn book! Can you give us any updates on your progress? Hope you are well!

    Isaac Stewart

    Very kind of you to ask! I just passed 100k words and am very excited by how it's all coming together.

    YouTube Livestream 49 ()
    #5 Copy

    Letters Words

    For a theoretical Stormlight live action adaptation, it seems like it would be difficult to accomplish filming outdoor scenes while eliminating any signs of plant life that would be completely out of place on Roshar. Would you be open to changing elements of Roshar's ecology to make adaptation easier?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would not have to do that, considering the budgets that we have been regularly offered. We can digitally remove plants. The real answer to that is, we digitally remove plants; and that's expensive, but that's what we do. There's some places in southern Utah that we can film that are gonna look real good for the Shattered Plains. And then the other places that we would have to film, we can do volume stages for, or things like that. I don't think it's as hard to do as you say

    The bigger issue we have discussed, when some people have been pitching on Stormlight live action, is the spren. How many spren do you put into a scene? Those are pretty expensive (as these things go) effects, and how much are we gonna use, and how do you adapt that? And how do you not make the spren look like Looney Tunes, with someone getting hit on the head and stars spinning around their head, right? We all imagine them not being that, but you gotta make sure that it works. A lot of what's happening with spren is pretty surreal. How do you adapt that and and what's our budget for that? Those are questions that have come up.

    YouTube Livestream 49 ()
    #6 Copy


    Just out of curiosity, what's your current plan on potentially writing other books while you write [Mistborn] Era Three? You've mentioned in the past potentially squeezing in other books between those three books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Still thinking I might do that. Tor wanted me to set out my schedule, 'cause we're getting ready to sign the contacts for Era Three with Tor. (Our contracts are weird, let's just say. Sometimes we just hand them books, sometimes we do it ahead of time. But this time we're doing it ahead of time.) And they wanted delivery dates, and I said, "I am writing the whole trilogy before I release the first book." It's what I've wanted to do ever since I wrote Era One, I wanted to do this again. So Era Three is going to be a trilogy, written, that won't get released. And I know I'm going to need a break between books to do other things. And so I'm still thinking that I'll do some of these books that I've been promising people in between, and then release them in some order. It's possible I could write these books, and they could be released while I'm finishing Era Three.

    But it's looking like Era Three... it's gonna be a little while. We are pretty sure Stormlight Five is 2024 now. I do apologize on that; though I have been writing on that. These weeks, I only get three and a half days to write, a lot of times. There's so many other things that I need to be doing. Stormlight Five is moving along, but there's too many things going on with it, and I had too many movie things happen this year, it slowed me down, and so we are sure it's 2024 at this point. And then that means, where do we put Era Three? I want to write all three books, I want to have a little time in between each one to write something else. I want the Era Three books to be around two hundred thousand words like Era One was, not a hundred thousand words like Era Two; just feels like the right length. They could get longer than that; they could end up at two fifty or even three hundred thousand. So that's gonna take me a couple of years of writing before I even get them done and ready to go out.

    So, you're gonna get an ending to Era Two. And then you're gonna get an ending to Skyward. And then you're gonna get an ending to Stormlight. Where, there are still things going on in those settings and worlds, but you're gonna get three pretty sizeable endings in a row. And then, we're probably going to be doing other interesting things for a while before you end up getting into Era Two of Stormlight and Era Three of Mistborn. Interesting things such as: a prose version of White Sand that is actually revised and looking good, a non-Cosmere collection of fiction. Dark One, the novelization, is another thing that you can look forward to; my original outline, I'm working on it with Dan Wells, with turning it into a novel, and I'm very pleased with how that's going. These things are gonna have to fill the void while Brandon works on Era Three. And potentially Nightblood and potentially Elantris sequels.

    Sapphire Bombay

    Do you have concerns about constraints on your time over the next twenty years? What books do you plan to write between Stormlight Six and Ten?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a good question. I have concerns; I absolutely have concerns. This is definitely the biggest challenge of my career, is fitting everything in. What do I plan to write then? That's a good time for Dragonsteel. Whether I can do Dragonsteel concurrent, because Dragonsteel is so involved (this is the Hoid origin series), whether I can do that concurrent or not is a big question. I might need something a little lighter, meaning fewer viewpoints, shorter novels in between. Which would lend itself toward another era of Mistborn, as I've told people.

    But there's also the possibility that I write other interesting things. For those following the Secret Projects, there is definitely... two of them are related in an interesting way. And another one of them implies lots more, and I won't promise that I'm going to, but these are all things that maybe I will end up doing more of. Consider them all finished, and you can't ask me "when are you gonna do this?" because there are no promises. But who knows what will pop out of the brain.

    YouTube Livestream 49 ()
    #7 Copy


    Would you ever consider using the medium of film or TV to tell a Cosmere story that's not based on a book already published, but you write the screenplay for instead?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I would consider that. As a fan of cinema and of the modern era of television (which is just very long movies, which I just love how that's become the thing that people do now), then I can absolutely see myself doing this. I want to get more experience with it before I would try that, but the original pitch for Dark One (that is a graphic novel, and which we are now writing as a novel) was written as... not scripts, but an outline for a television series. That's how I originally, just... I was starting to work on it, I'm like, "This works so much better this way, this way, this way." So I outlined it that way. So I've kind of done it before. It wasn't Cosmere, and it didn't ever get made, and it wasn't a script, but it was a step that direction. So, absolutely can see that.

    And, you know, there's other things. For instance, I would like to make an Emperor's Soul movie, if the Cosmere ever takes off to the point that people are wanting something other than Mistborn and Stormlight. (Which, I totally understand why people want Mistborn and Stormlight first.) When they have done that and are like, "All right; what else do we have here?" I would like to do an Emperor's Soul. But I'm probably not gonna do Emperor's Soul as the same piece (and I've told people this before) where it is one person in a room the entire time. I would turn it into something that preserves the spirit of that, but is in a lot of different sets, a lot of different locations, with a larger cast, and turn it into something that feels cinemated. That's the one that I would adapt the heaviest, if I were doing that. There's thing like that that I would also like to do that are based on something, but basically I'd say, "What did I love about the piece I wrote? How can I make this for a new medium?" And I would start over with a new script.

    YouTube Livestream 49 ()
    #8 Copy


    Back in 2014, you mentioned you'd already written the epilogue to Stormlight Five.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have.


    Do you still plan to use what you wrote back then? Or have you had to scrap that version because of changes to the plan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have come up with some better ideas for how I want that to play out. So I don't know if that actual epilogue will end up in there or not.

    Now, the epilogue is different from the [postlude]. We have the prelude; in Stormlight Five, you will have a [postlude], as well. That will be different from the epilogue, just like the prologue was different than the prelude.

    YouTube Livestream 49 ()
    #9 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's gonna be tricky to pick what I read from Stormlight Five [for the Lost Metal release party] because I don't want to read something that is a spoiler for those who haven't read Stormlight, 'cause they're there for a Mistborn thing. It's likely you will get Szeth's first flashback, or one of the early Szeth flashbacks that I think is working really well, because that doesn't spoil very much for people who haven't read it, because it takes place in the past.

    Isaac Stewart Interview ()
    #10 Copy

    I think that you will be the one who might write the story [for The Arcanist]. Will you be shaping it like a novel? Or more like thinking, because you have all of the experience with the graphic novel, into something that is going to be translated into a graphic novel, as well?

    Isaac Stewart

    I don't know yet what we will be doing with that. I have a lot of notes for what we're calling The Arcanist, but it might wind up having a title that has echoes of White Sand so that it feels like a duology. But also, we want people to be able to pick up The Arcanist and be able to say, "You can read this one without reading White Sand, if you want to."

    We've batted around several different ideas of: do we do it in a graphic novel? Do we do it as a novel and a graphic novel that comes out at the same time? And I don't know if we've really landed on anything that we're going to do at this point, for that. I would like to write it as a novel, and see what happens. There's also something fun about the idea of developing it as a novel and a graphic novel simultaneously; I know that there will be people who have read the graphic novel who would like to continue that story in graphic novel form. So, I wouldn't be surprised, if we get to this one, if it winds up being in both forms. But I don't know exactly at this point what we will do with that.

    Isaac Stewart Interview ()
    #11 Copy

    Isaac Stewart

    I should also mention that one other step in between there [Isaac's Mistborn stories] was working on the White Sand omnibus, which was a huge undertaking. I went back and I read all of Brandon's earlier works set on White Sand. His first novel was White Sand; we call that one White Sand Prime. His third novel was a continuation of that called Lord Mastrell. And then his seventh or eighth novel was also White Sand (which is out in the world as an unedited manuscript), which is what the graphic novel's based on. So I went back to all three of those, reread them, created a giant database of names, what happened, what the differences are, things like that. And then I reread the graphic novel with all of this information at my side, and then decided, "Okay, what do we need to do with the Cosmere graphic novel to really update it and bring it really cohesively into the Cosmere?"

    At that point, that's when I wrote about thirty-eight new pages of material. Some of that's based on what was in the manuscript. And some of that are new scenes that I added because I felt like we needed a friendlier introduction to certain characters. Like Kenton, I wanted him to be really sympathetic from the get-go, which is something Brandon would have done (as I talked with him) if he were to revise that manuscript. So I developed a scene that I added at the beginning to try to develop him a little bit more. Adapting another scene with Khriss and Baon to develop her as a character a little bit more, and then be able to carry these scenes in the prologue through to the ending.

    So, in addition, we have fourteen new Ars Arcanum pages from Khriss that I wrote and ran through beta groups, ran through the company. So I'm working on writing in the Cosmere already.

    Isaac Stewart Interview ()
    #12 Copy

    Isaac Stewart

    The process of me coming to write more in the Cosmere is very organic. I've been in writing groups with Brandon since probably 2005, off and on. I was there reading Mistborn from very early on to be able to make the maps, but also giving feedback on the manuscripts and giving Brandon ideas on how to expand the world visually. So I've been kind of part of the creation process. I don't want to take more credit than credit is due, but designing Luthadel (the map), designing symbols for that world, and working really closely with Brandon on that.

    When I started working at Dragonsteel, we hit a point with Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning where there wasn't enough time to finish the broadsheets for that. And I saw, with all of the projects, that was a very busy year for us with Shadows of Self coming out three months before Bands of Mourning. I saw that I needed to step up and do the broadsheet, possibly. So I started putting it together, talked to Brandon, he's like, "Yeah, why don't you try. Give it a shot." I sat down and I wrote an Allomancer Jak short, Gentleman Jak in the City of Fountains. And I thought it turned out really fun; I think I was able to capture the voice of Allomancer Jak. It was a little bit wacky, which I always infuse my stories with a little bit of wackiness. And it was a lot of fun, and so Brandon was like, "Yeah, this turned out great. Let's do the next broadsheet." So I started really kind of writing in the Mistborn world with the broadsheets, so it's just kind of grown organically over time.

    I've had a bunch of stories in my head that I'd wanted to tell for a really long time, and I realize that a lot of the underpinnings of magic and things that are in my stories are similar, or maybe have been influenced by Brandon. Because at this point in my life, my fantasy writing is just influenced by what Brandon has already done because I'm just exposed to it all the time. So we started talking about the idea of porting some of the ideas that I had into Cosmere worlds. And one of these was Boatload of Mummies, which was actually inspired by a Lego set. I had this big giant ship that my brother and sister-in-law had given me one year for Christmas, and that sort of spurred me on to starting to get more Lego sets again, because I loved them when I was a child. But somehow, we also had all of these Egyptian Lego sets, and I had tons of mummies. And I'm like, "What am I gonna do with these mummies?" So I put them all on the boat, fighting the British Empire on this boat. And I'm like, "Huh, this is really interesting. I kinda want to see what that story is. It's kind of like Snakes on a Plane, but it's Mummies on a Boat." So that inspired that, and I started writing that set in our world. And I didn't get very far before I had to do other things; I usually am always working on a fiction project, and that's probably about the time that I was working on Jacob's Journal of Doom, and some of these other things. So I put it on the back burner. But Brandon and I decided that that story was a lot of fun, and how could that work in the Cosmere? And so we started brainstorming some ideas. We already had this character, Nicelle Sauvage (which Allomancer Jack calls Nicki Savage.) I already had this character that I had sort of started developing in the Mistborn world, and we'd seen her through the broadsheets. And so we thought, "What if she was the main character of Boatload of Mummies?" And then, where would this book be set time-wise, and what are the events, the Cosmere underpinnings that are going on there?


    Atfer I finished that [the White Sand omnibus], I'm like, "Okay, Boatload of Mummies. Let's do that, now." So that's where we're at right now. How do we make a mummy in the cosmere? That's a question, right? What are they doing, why are they there? All these questions come together, and we're forming a story around that. I'm about 90,000 words into it. I massively overwrite, so it'll probably be a fairly long book that we'll then trim down to around 100,000 words. And then we'll see; we'll run it through betas, we'll run it through groups here at work. We'll see if it's something that's good enough to publish. I'm interested in seeing if I can whip it into shape.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #13 Copy


    In my country (Chile), rural folks use the word "gancho" in exactly the same way The Lopen uses it. Did you know about it and put it into Stormlight? Or was it a coincidence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's an absolute coincidence. This is like when I found out that Elend and Straff... I built them using morphemes out of Germanic, not knowing that they're actually words in German (or close to words). No, I just built it out of the morphemes that I was looking for in Spanish, 'cause Herdazians, I'm using Spanish (particularly South American hispanic culture) as kind of an origin, a little bit of Mexican in there, to build them. And I just built the words using the sound morphemes, not even the meaning morphemes. And I guess I did a good job.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #14 Copy

    Starman of Admora

    After reading Mistborn, Elantris, and Warbreaker, I couldn't help but notice some recurring themes. What is it that entices you so much about the concept of living gods?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The idea of the Cosmere, the fundamental idea of the Cosmere, was: power of deity put in the hands of ordinary people. That is the Shattering of Adonalsium; that is the origin of the Shards. So when I built the Cosmere, that became one of the key themes of the Cosmere. And so, to tie all of these different books together (that are happening on different planets with different themes and characters and plots), I wanted some few things to link together. And that big linking connective tissue is: what do people do when they have the power of a god? Or even just a little fraction of it. What do they do with it? What happens? How do we explore that? And that theme is a connective tissue binding the Cosmere together, which is why you see me coming back to it time and time again.

    YouTube Livestream 49 ()
    #16 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    These [film studio proposals] are not sure things; nothing is a sure thing in Hollywood. But I would be surprised if we aren't on set doing things [for an adaptation] in this time next year. I would be shocked if we aren't.

    Expect, in the next few months, some announcements that you might find exciting. I'm gonna let the people with whom I'm working handle that, because they like to do PR their way.

    General Reddit 2022 ()
    #18 Copy

    Someone in the last spoiler stream pointed out that there's an OB flashback where Evi is pregnant, and it reads like it's referring to Adolin. But the timing doesn't work out. They supposed she could have had a miscarriage, and it's just never mentioned in the books. The explanation technically fits... But I doubt it was the intent.

    The timeline of the group traveling in Shadesmar in Oathbringer is kind of wacky. The time from Kholinar to Celebrant is extremely asymmetrical with the travel time from there to Thaylen City. I'll be curious to see if they tweak a mention or two of time passing in the OB leatherbound down the road...

    In TWoK it reads like Kaladin spends MANY weeks in Bridge Four before he goes to the Honor Chasm. But when you do the math it's something like two weeks? (ten Rosharan days) One of those things where there's nothing technically wrong, but doesn't seem to have been the intent.

    Another goofy one is that Shallan spent 6 months chasing Jasnah around by ship to petition to be her ward. Which, when you look at travel times elsewhere in the books, is pretty ridiculous. Did they like, sail around the whole continent once or twice?

    The single biggest issue, in my opinion, is that the whole Veden civil war happens in about a month. Navani shares the news about the Assassin in White murdering King Hanavanar at the end of TWoK. That's what sparks the war. Then you have Taravangian showing up in Vedenar in Words of Radiance, prior to the Everstorm, at the end of the war. The Thrill was involved, and tensions were building for a long while... But I'm not sure how they fought a whole war (with their level of technology) in a single month in a country that large.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I asked Karen about these. She says:

    • Evi's pregnancy

    OB CH 36, where Evi is pregnant, is timestamped 24 years ago.OB CH 49, where Adolin is born, is timestamped 23 years ago.A pregnancy on Roshar takes seven of their months. We give the timestamps half a year of leeway.

    • Shadesmar travel time

    I don't have the calculations handy, but we certainly did them. The ship they got from Celebrant was faster than the one they took getting there, and it took them far enough that they could do a forced march to Thaylen City at a specific number of miles per day and arrive on time. We REALLY spent a lot of time getting this right.

    • Honor Chasm timing

    Kaladin is in Bridge Four 18 days before going to the Honor Chasm. He was already close to suicidal before joining.

    • Shallan chasing Jasnah

    It really depends on how directly they traveled and how long they stay in port. The Wind's Pleasure could have gone back and forth to smaller ports with shipments before they could find one going to the city she wanted to go to.

    • Veden Civil War

    I see it as having been a few small battles in each princedom, but then everyone saw a chance to be king and they converged on Vedenar. That left power vacuums in the princedoms and smaller landlords fought there. I don't think that most of the country was in as bad shape as Vedenar.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #19 Copy


    Why DIDN'T the Rithmatists in Nebrask create a moat of acid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A moat of acid around such a large perimeter proved too difficult to maintain. Acid loses its, well, acidity when it becomes adulterated with other materials--like rain. A moat of acid is just super hard; harder than water. They do, in places, have at least things like that. However, manpower and battle lines have proven the most efficient method to them so far.

    There are problems with this, and they're learning that they have underestimated their enemies. But the moat idea proved untenable, though it was discussed and tried in microcosm.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #21 Copy


    Will we ever see Marsh world hopping?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, but good question.


    I’d love to see a book with Marsh in Roshar. Any chance of it happening?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a chance, but I'll have to RAFO for now.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #22 Copy


    If you could invite another author in to contribute to the Cosmere, who would it be or who would be on your shortlist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    To write in the Cosmere, I would have to pick someone I know very well. Isaac is at the top of the list, he knows Cosmere almost as well as I do. After that I would probably look towards my friends, like Dan Wells would be high on the list. It would be nice to have all these amazing authors write in it but I feel I need more of a solid base than what I have right now. Meaning more expansion, more experience of people who are not me writing in the Cosmere and guidelines on how to make a good Cosmere story. It would be very hard to go to some of the great Sci-fi authors and ask them to write in the Cosmere, like “you only have to read 15 novels!”

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #23 Copy


    In regards to the perpendicularities in the cosmere, were you at all inspired by the pools in the Wood between the Worlds in C.S. Lewis’ “The Magicians Nephew”?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it's gotta be back there in the back of my brain, but I so vaguely remember the Magician's Nephew that I didn't even remember these exist, when you're saying that. So the answer is a solid “maybe.”It might be there in the back of my head.

    I wrote the pool into Elantris not even knowing what it did, because the cosmere had not been constructed at that point. And then when I was building the cosmere, I was writing Mistborn, I'm like, "All right, I know I want it to be some sort of portal." (I actually did know that, because I had put iconography in about it being a portal.) I'm like, "Where does it leave? All right, I'm going to build out the whole cosmere. I now know what these are." I had a pool like this in Aether of Night that I had as kind of a receptacle for a certain cosmereological things (or what became a certain cosmereological thing). I solidified that, but it's not like the pool that I wrote into Elantris when I put it there. Aether of Night was after Elantris; I just put it in there. "It's a portal to something" I had not built the cosmere yet. It is the first book where I started to think about that sort of stuff. Basically, you have a Hoid appearance, and that's it that was intentional; everything else was retrofitted onto Elantris.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #24 Copy


    Which of your worlds would you most and least want to live in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Whenever I get this question, I say, “Can I go write quickly a short story in a really nice world where nothing is wrong, they have the internet, and authors can make a professional living as a novelist? Can I do that? I'll go quickly write one up and go live there." Because I don't really want to live in any of the worlds. I like air conditioning. Air conditioning isn't a thing in basically any of the cosmere worlds. You can make it work with various magic systems, but in most cases, to make it work with those various magic systems, you're going to have to be pretty high up in the social structure. Because most of these worlds have not gotten equality and things down, even to the level that we have. These worlds are not necessarily great places to live. And then beyond that is, generally there is some world ending event and/or disaster coming that I wouldn't want to be around for.

    If I have to pick, I usually say Scadrial because they are closest to the tech level I want. But they are also the most commonly subject to world-ending things, because there's gonna be four series, at least, in the Mistborn world. Maybe Nalthis would be better, because the fewer books I write about a place, probably the less likely the world is to end anytime soon.

    It is definitely not Threnody. We'll just say that.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #25 Copy


    You've teased that we might get movie/television news before too long...

    With so much of the cosmere left to write, are you concerned about movies/shows catching up to you? Would you make them hold off on a Stormlight Archive show until you finish, or are you comfortable letting adaptations get ahead of you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on how comfortable I get with the television and movie format. When Stormlight happens as a television show, I want to be deeply involved. I want to write some of the episodes, I want to be co-creator--and I am just not ready for that yet.

    If that is the place where we are (me being that deeply involved) then getting ahead of me is not that big of a deal. If it is not, if I'm not so deeply involved, I think I would resist letting people get ahead of me. This is tied up with some intricacies of how I am creating the cosmere--which lets me play with this a little. For example, we aren’t calling the first 5 Stormlight books era 1, but there is a 10 year time jump between books 5 and 6. So if I were to sell Stormlight, I could conceivably sell the first five--which will be finished fairly soon. (Knock on wood.) Then we will see how things go with the back five, afterward. (If I'm done with them, for example, or if we need to wait between the two series.)

    Regardles, jofwu, I am worried about this; it is something on my radar.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #26 Copy


    How much of Roshar, its history and its magic system did you have developed before even writing the first book? I’ve seen so many inconsistencies from other authors when developing worlds over multiple books, but I can’t fault yours. How do you maintain that consistency when writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually did make some problems with timeline issues. That is a problem when you have multiple flashbacks, it’s like Tetris, a very complicated game of Tetris. Getting all these events in people’s pasts to line up with the time needed to get them where they are today is a big issue when telling this kind of story. For me, Stormlight is a different beast from my other books, my friends and I have an inside joke we call worldbuilder’s disease. It’s where an author spends so much time building their world that they don’t write the story. If you don’t sit down and write you won’t learn what the needs of the book are. Generally, your worldbuilding should be done in service of the story* (*: if that is fun to you). Generally you want to ask, what are the themes of my book and how is the worldbuilding going to help me. I tell you all this to say that I made an exception to Stormlight, I sat down for 6 months and wrote an extensive lore book which is now an internal wiki which we use. The only reason that this worked the way it did was that I brought on a great team quickly. Karen and Peter are the unsung heroes of this, they are able to spot these mistakes before they reach print. You’ll see in the next book that I have brought on people whom I am calling Arcanists. These are fans who I have asked to check over specifically world building. This is very important to me because epic fantasy is about making you believe that it is real while you are reading. I don’t want to be one of those people where this is an inconsistency and breaks like William Shatner on SNL.

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #27 Copy


    Do the Lenses at the start of each chapter [of the Alcatraz books] correlate to the contents of the chapter in any way? Or just whatever's fun? 

    Hayley Lazo

    I always tried to pick ones that loosely have something to do with things, whether it's a chapter where they are used or introduced, or something thematically that happens in the chapter. Sometimes there's no correlation, we just needed to pick one. 

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #28 Copy


    If you were to write Mistborn now, as an experienced author rather than as your first published series, what differences would you have made to the story/world/characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A couple things. There are 3 regrets, well maybe 4. I really wanted to write the first book about Vin and have a female protagonist and do a good job with that. It's something I'd done poorly in the past (during my unpublished years) and I really wanted to do a good job on this one. But then, I made her the only woman on the cast, really. So I would fill out the cast with more women.

    I got tunnel vision and because all the stories I was using as blueprints (Ocean’s 11, Sneakers, the Sting, etc) had overwhelming male casts, I defaulted to that. This is the problem with bias--you end up perpetuating problems, just kind of going along with them because that's what you've always seen done.

    That is not to say that having an all male cast is bad. In some cases, chosen deliberately, it makes sense. I would not change Bridge 4; as bridgemen, it makes sense to have an all male group. (At least at the start.) But with Mistborn, I was actively using Vin as a way to show that with the metallic arts evening out things, the difference between male and female strength was minuscule. By having no other women on the team, I undermined my own message.

    Another one is that I think that I broke Sanderson’s first law. I used un-foreshadowed power in the ending and it led to a less satisfying conclusion than I would have liked. This is actually what taught me I needed to better with this, and if you watch my lectures on Sanderson's Laws, I lay it out more clearly.

    Third, in the first half of Hero of Ages, I don't like quite how much traveling there is. I don’t think it gets across the feel that I want. I would have set more in Luthadel. It feels out of place in retrospect because that story (the story of Mistborn) is sort of the story of that city. I could had the same book, but set it in a fortress within Luthadel. That would make the city's "character" remain in the third book, and let you see the progress (or in this case, the opposite) of the world through the way the city looks.

    When I make a film of Mistborn 3, I think I would move much of the action to the city. 

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #29 Copy


    Some very successful authors have difficulty in delivering books to wrap up the series. Why do you think this happens, and what is the best attitude and healthy behaviours die hard fans should use to encourage authors to deliver the books they are hanging out for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Anytime you get into “should”, that is dangerous ground. I am a creator and I do not think I should be dictating fan behavior. That’s your world as a community to decide upon; I prefer to let the community do it's thing.

    I do not think there is one good answer to this. (IE, why other authors are sometimes slow.) One common answer is that it has been a hard decade for a lot of people. Man, there are often difficult things about this last decade that have been draining to people. Then add on to that personal issues, and it is very hard for some of my colleagues to be creative in the way they have to be to write a novel.

    Another big reason is that many authors tend to be “discovery writers.” Their biggest strength tends to lie in character interaction and believability in those characters. They give their characters so much volition. A discovery writer does not know their ending, they just start writing and let the characters interact. While those interactions often shine, the authors often have weaker endings. That is not to say that all discovery writers have bad endings, it just takes much more revision. It tends to be very daunting and slows them down towards the end. It is simply an outgrowth of their writing style.

    Add on top of that expectations, and maybe never having finished something on this level before, and suddenly your stress is through the roof. These authors, I should remind, just started out like the rest of us. Unknown and just trying to tell a good story. To suddenly have the world watching can be extremely daunting, and there's really no way to practice for this. It can honestly be debilitating.

    I think all the various fan reactions are understandable and in some ways they are necessary to the fandom’s psychology. I do not visit the places that exist to complain about me, to complain about my style and tropes. But those places existing is healthy. It is healthy to have a place to talk to people with similar opinions to you or to just post some memes and have some lols.

    It can be unhealthy when it becomes harassing behavior. One thing I do not like is how our society treats people who like things. If you speak about liking something online, people will try to rip that away from you. This rubs me absolutely the wrong way. This isn't to say all criticism and disagreement should be done away with. I like is interesting conversations between people who disagree. I disagree wildly with Peter (this is Peter Ahlstrom, my VP of editorial at my company) about Into the Spiderverse. He could not stand it, while it is one of my favorite movies. (He didn't like the framerate of the animation; it drove him crazy.)

    Fan criticism also becomes toxic when it becomes harassment to the creator. I do not know where these lines are, though. It's a tough one, because simply posting your opinion online shouldn't constitute harassment.

    If you want my opinion, if an author says they are working on a book, they are. I know these people; they want to be done as much as you want them to be done. But there are mental, emotional, and sometimes physical difficulties preventing it. At this point, there really isn't much you can do. And I bet that the harassment of these creators has slowed the release of these books.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #30 Copy


    This question concerns Mistborn Era 2. Aluminum at this time is supremely rare and quite expensive, and Wax is seen lamenting his profound lack of aluminum guns and bullets fairly often. However, couldn't he fashion a "Poor Man's Aluminum" of sorts by coating his guns (and potentially bullets) in a thin veneer of iron, then Feruchemically charging it? You've noted that metalminds can still be pushed, but much less than un-Invested metal. This could help him, in the absence of aluminum. So, is there a reason he has not done that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The layer you would get by just that little coat would be so small that it'd have very little effect. Now, there's a pretty good argument for putting it into bullets. The problem there is: are the alloys that make good bullets going to work very well? Now, granted, aluminum doesn’t make for great bullets either. But any aluminum alloy kind of gets the property of aluminum. Where any iron alloy does not necessarily get the property of being able to allomantically or feruchemically interact with it in the right way. Can you get there? It's an excellent question that I perhaps should explore. I like this idea. But it's harder than you make it out to be. It is a good idea, though; it's a pretty good idea.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #31 Copy


    With everything else you guys are doing next year, what is the plan for the Stormlight 4.5 novella?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Still on my list to do when I finish Stormlight 5. I think it needs to be written; I am excited by it. We will see what happens, because Stormlight 5 is almost assuredly 2024 now. And that's partially the Secret Projects, but not as much as you guys probably would assume.

    The main reason has been movie and television stuff. As jofwu anticipated in the first question, I still can't say anything. This is the year the Hollywood came calling, and came calling in a very big way, even before the Kickstarter. They saw that, basically - all of Hollywood was watching and seeing that fantasy can work that is not Game of Thrones. The Witcher, and Shadow and Bone, and plenty of other excellent properties. I mean, Arcane is fantastic; another fantastic example. They're like "Oh, people like these and it can be done if it's not George R.R. Martin". And every one of those studio execs has had someone say "Well, get us one of these," or "get us more of these."

    And every one of them went to BookScan, which is the ratings for how books sell. And every one of them sorted the BookScan and said, "Alright, what authors are there out there that have not had anything made?" And, far as I can tell, I am definitely the best selling science fiction and fantasy writer who's never had an adaptation. I might be the best selling author in the world who's never had an adaptation. That's hard for me to say, because it's harder to penetrate different subgenres and figure out where their sales factors are. And, you know, it depends what you count as adaptation.

    Basically, they all arrived at the same name, and then the Kickstarter happened. They were already calling, and then they started calling more. And so this is the year where I've had to take numerous meetings with all of the streaming services and a large number of the various studios and producers and things. And that takes time. Just takes a lot of time to be on all of those meetings.

    We will bear fruit from this eventually. But I'm being very careful. In fact, when I did my call with Netflix, I led off by saying to them, "I am both very fortunate and very unfortunate. Very unfortunate in that I've never actually had anything made. I've sold tons and tons of things, and nobody was able to get one off the ground. That's unfortunate because I'm an unproven quality in Hollywood, and I understand that. I am also very fortunate in that none of those things actually got made. So nothing bad got made." And all the rights have come back to me, basically. And here I'm sitting in a world where everyone wants fantasy and I have my rights and I can say yes or no. That puts me in a very good position also. Which lets... you know, then I don't need the money. Hollywood doesn't know what to do with people that don't need their money. It's very bizarre to them. So we get to be very discerning and picky with what we want to do.

    r/books AMA 2022 ()
    #32 Copy


    I have a question about Shadesmar, is the Cognitive Realm round? How are landmasses "projected" here? Could I walk in a straight line and end where I started or would I end up in another place entirely?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you walk in a straight line, you're going to MOSTLY follow the land mass on the other side. With some weird space-time deviations in places. You would not ever end up where you started, though, which is one of the things that is most disjointed about the experience. I realize that's very strange, and it's something I'll delve into in the stories eventually.

    YouTube Weekly Updates 2022 ()
    #34 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    My good friend Dan Wells and I are writing a book together. It's based on Dark One, my original outline that became a graphic novel. We wanted to do a novelization, because the graphic novel  (while I love it) has a lot of the graphic novel creator's vision to it, and we thought we would do a novel version going kind of back to my original outline.

    He has finished a draft, and so I am doing a draft on that. I'm only 10% of the way through that, but I hope to breeze through that because I'm very excited by this project, and I hope that you guys will all be able to experience it before too much longer.

    General Reddit 2022 ()
    #36 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The problem is not that the covers [for Mistborn Era 2] are bland. The problem is that book series take a long time to write.

    When we repackaged Mistborn in 2007, this was the hot style. (When we picked this same style but with a different artist for elantris in 2005, it was right at the revolutionary point where these photo-realistic covers were hugely striking on the shelf.) You might not have liked it even then, but trust me when I say it was a very trendy and original style.

    However, visual art tends change far faster than literary trends. So covers of a series grow outdated fast. In 2010, when we we're covering Alloy, this style was still hot enough. But then it became so hot it grew stale.

    This leaves us with a problem.

    Do we change mid series to newer covers, and leave fans with an unmatching set of hardcovers? Or do we continue with an outdated style, and then recover when the series is done? I'm perfectly happy to change our method if people want, but so far, we've erred on the side of staying consistent. (And yes, paperback recovers are already being designed.)

    None of this is to say the artist is anything other than excellent. He is wonderful, and could give us something else if we asked. But again, then the books wouldn't match.

    One of the issues here is that the U.S. market prefers visually eye popping styles that are more illustrative, but then get outdated faster. While more iconographic styles like the UK uses tend to last longer but never be as dynamic. I know a lot of you prefer those styles, but they can get very bland. (If safe and stable. See the UK wheel of time covers.)

    There's a middle ground of course and all kinds of shades in the middle.

    Let me know your thoughts! I'll glance back at this thread over the weekend. Would you rather we repackage mid series and give you more interesting covers but not have the series match?

    EDIT: I did check back, and found what I expected. (Though it's good to have confirmation.) Keeping the books consistent across a format is how I'll still proceed, though I AM going to try to get some of our newer covers to try different things to see what you all think. And a I mentioned, if this cover style isn't for you, there's a repackage coming for the whole series (original trilogy and W&W) likely in trade paperback (the oversized paperbacks) coming sometime in the near future.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #37 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    If the Muppets came to me and said "we actually want to make one of your things", I would not do Mistborn. What would I do? I would do a new story. I never got around to making Mulholland Homebrew's Sinister Shop of Secret Pets, which is a middle grade book about a young woman who apprentices to... In this world, everyone has to apprentice and learn a magic. And she goes to the job fair, for your apprenticeship when you're fourteen and you gotta pick a magic, and you basically have release time from school and go study your magic talent. There's like hundreds of them, and she finds one called Leekromancy that she thinks sounds cool, and she wants to rebel against the normal magic her parents want her to pick. And she picks it, but then she learns it's power over legumes. She is apprenticed to somebody whose job is taking care of magical pets and having a pet shop. And finding their favorite foods and basically being a fantasy exterminator, but a humane one, where you have some weird magical pest in your house. It's like what I thought Fantastic Beasts was going to be. You have weird magical pests, what do we do to get rid of the brownies? We can just exterminate them, or we can call this guy, it's like the beekeeper who removes the bees from your wall humanely and then sets them up. He'll take the brownies, and maybe the brownies don't make good pets, so he'll send them to a Tiffany Aching book or something like that, and has this nice little pet store. Anyway, that's a story I never got to write, and I would pick something like that of the big list of books that I will never be able to write, and come up with an outline and say, "Let's do this together, Muppets! I don't think Mistborn is a good match for you."

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #38 Copy


    Why didn't Odium take the Investiture away from the Fused that rebelled against him at the end of Rhythm of War? At the end of Oathbringer, Odium tells one Fused that questioned him that he could take "that which gave [the Fused] life." So why didn't he do that to Leshwi and the others?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is actually an excellent question. Odium, in his previous incarnation-- we'll see how he acts now-- part of the driving force of Odium is this kind of belief, mistaken or otherwise, that Odium represents all emotion, and strength of emotion, and basically the Passions in lore. Rebelling against him in the way that they did is actually in line with Odium's personal directives. The Vessel may not like it, in fact the power may not like it, but at the same time, there's a part of both of them that acknowledges, this is what they set in motion, and this is an appropriate use of the agency of the agents they chose. And so, unilaterally destroying those who turn against him is actually not an Odium thing. It's more an Honor thing than it would be an Odium thing. It's just not in line with how Odium acts or thinks, even though it's possible and there's threats and... That's not saying Odium wouldn't do it. But acting like Honor is not something Odium would necessarily want to do.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #39 Copy


    Frost seems particularly worried about Hoid getting the lerasium. Is this because he knows something about Allomancy that it would be dangerous for Hoid specifically to have, or because he's worried about lerasium Allomancy in general, or something else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's worried about– it's a combination of both. He's worried about what his old friend is capable of doing, because his old friend... kill God once, and y'know, people start to get worried. (Or be involved in the assassination of God.) One time, and that reputation sticks with you for a while. But also, he is worried about a bunch of different things, I'll just say that. You mentioned two of them that are pretty good worries. He has others as well.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #40 Copy


    It's stated that the Fused can hold Voidlight nearly indefinitely. Does this mean their gemhearts are perfect gems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, kind of. It does not necessarily mean that, how about that. But a similar mechanic is happening.


    Is this why they are so strict with how they handle their dead?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is part of why. You are picking up on the right foreshadowing that I have seeded into the books.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #43 Copy


    Who is Hoid's best friend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, back in the day it was Bat'Chor. It's been various people at various different times. Who is it right now? It depends on which "right now" you're talking about. He's in a bunch of different books in a bunch of different time periods. Bat'Chor probably was the closest to a best friend for a while in the books that were relevant.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #44 Copy


    In Oathbringer, before the Battle of Thaylen City, Venli is able to see some of the Cognitive Shadows of the Fused waiting in the Cognitive Realm and mentions some are as large as buildings. Are thunderclasts actually a type of the Fused?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She doesn't know. Thunderclasts are something different, and that is what she is seeing. She is not correctly identifying them. Good question.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #45 Copy


    How did Autonomy isolate Taldain from the rest of the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All of the Shards... "How"? "How" may be the wrong term.

    Adam Horne

    There's a followup question, maybe it's related. "Did Bavadin remove the perpendicularity on Taldain?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO on the second one. First one, natural processes.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #47 Copy


    You've mentioned in the past that Jasnah has some interesting brain psychology going on. I suspect if I ask you to elaborate too much, I'll get RAFO'd, but can you share if it is more due to nature or nurture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Little of both. I would go nurture on this one, but let's wait till I write her book to really dig into it.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #49 Copy


    How precise can iron and steel Allomancy be? For example, could a Mistborn unscrew a light bulb just by Pushing and Pulling on the edges?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. You see Kelsier do something like this when he spins metal poles and things like that. What you're asking for is an order of magnitude more difficult, but it is within the realm of possibility. I want to be careful not to get to Magneto-ish with it, but the more you... yeah. It is possible to do things like they just said.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
    #50 Copy


    How significant of an event or time period, on a cosmere scale, was the Reod actually? 10 years seems like a blip. Do most worldhoppers even know about it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was a big enough event that by now, yes they do. Most worldhoppers, actually no. Because most worldhoppers are going to be common tradespeople, things like this. Running caravans from Roshar to Nalthis or things like that. The majority of them are not paying attention to things that are happening, so I'm gonna say the majority wouldn't. But the arcanists, the people who are watching the various magic systems, who know about the Shards and are paying attention to this, what happened on Sel was a big deal.