Recent entries

    Orem signing ()
    #4951 Copy

    Questioner

    In the cosmere, sixteen is obviously a very important number, or very significant, but on Roshar everything comes in groups of ten. Is that a cultural construction or is that really how things are being grouped on that planet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is both. It is a cultural construction that came from slight cosmere events that are not super, super, super important. Like, there's a reason we think in base ten, right? Is it important to the universe? Meh? Right... And it's maybe a little more on Roshar, but at the same time it's like**

    Questioner

    There are ten orders of Surgebinders. Did they order them that way? Or are there actually sixteen different--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it kind of goes back to there were ten [Heralds] with ten sets of power given by Honor, and Honor is an individual, right, so does that make sense? You cannot separate, in a lot of places in the cosmere, the perspectives of the sapient beings who are interfering with what's going on. Even going back to the number sixteen.

    Orem signing ()
    #4952 Copy

    Questioner

    Why did you choose the political system in Elantris, just based on an economic system, I thought that was fascinating.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wanted to explore, this was just an idea for a story I had: what if an MLM were in charge of a monarchy? And it obviously didn't go straight that direction, but that was my pitch to myself. I feel like sometimes fantasy books just take everything as assumed. And you end up with these-- And sometimes it's okay, right? But in every book I write, I'm like, let's look and see if there's something different, not taking all of our assumptions for granted. And with Elantris it was that--MLM runs a monarchy, go. And that's where my worldbuilding went. You can probably blame Dune a bit for this, because Dune's worldbuilding and economy are so wrapped up together that ever since I read that,almost everything I've built has had an economic component to the worldbuilding.

    Orem signing ()
    #4953 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any book recommendations that are about the same level of "prudishness" as your own? For reference, Dresden and Lightbringer were a bit too much... You and McClellan are perfect.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Prudishness like me. Robin Hobb tends to be right in that same realm. I haven't read all of Robin's work, but everything of I've read fits within that level of prudishness. Have you tried Robin?

    ...You probably want more epic fantasy or sci-fi. *thinks* Not Guy [Gavriel Kay], and not Nora [Jemisin]. I really like Jane Yolen's short story collection from last year. Well, it didn't cross any lines for me but it might for you. It's possible. I would put it further than I go. Hmmm. Peter Orullian... I'll be honest with you, the first book was weak, I thought the second book was good. I thought his short fiction was really strong...

    I mean there's a ton in YA, like Charlie Holmberg but that's very different (she's one of my students, she's very good). I should come up with a list. I mean, Terry Brooks is always safe, but everyone knows Terry. Have you read Pratchett?

    Questioner

    I read the Color of Magic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, Color of Magic is terrible... Go read The Truth. It's not terrible, but Color of Magic is his weakest book by far. The Truth is great, Going Postal is great, those are my two favorites. If you don't like either of those then Pratchett is not for you. And they're both standalones.

    Orem signing ()
    #4954 Copy

    Questioner

    In [Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell], when silver turns to dust, is that a Spiritual transformation or a chemical reaction?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Both, as I have it right now. That one's not canon, but I say not canon because I haven't written it into the books yet and I still have another book to write, there. But I would say both right now.

    Orem signing ()
    #4955 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you tell me about the mechanics of Nightblood's revulsion vs. compulsion magic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What do you want to know?

    Questioner

    Is it like Rioting? Like in--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Rioting is a good parallel to that. 

    Questioner

    Is agency being taken away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wouldn't say agency is taken away but it depends on how you view Rioting, right? If you are enhancing someone's emotions-- Here is the question for you. If someone is feeling depressed, is their agency being taken away? And this is a question that our society has a really bad answer to, right? So if you are being Rioted, strict-line I would say no, your agency isn't being taken away, but you are certainly under the influence of another force which is taking certain emotions you might have and emphasizing them a great deal.

    Questioner

    So is it the same kind of push that makes a virtuous person want to vomit?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Virtuous might be the wrong way to put it. But yes, that sort of thing is related. It's related to Nightblood and it's related to how he was created and all of those sorts of things.

    Orem signing ()
    #4956 Copy

    Questioner

    How does an object in the Cognitive Realm view itself if there are competing viewpoints of it? Like if two kids view a toy as their toy, how does the toy view itself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is going to be often, things are going to be in a position of change. And usually it will have one thing. You will say, "What am I?" "I'm Brandon's toy." Then a little later it might be you say "What are you?" "Well, I'm Brandon and Joel's toy." And then at some point it might just become "Joel's toy." There's-- It's kind of the "When does a pile become a heap?" and that sort of philosophical question. At what point do you transition between one and the other? It happens, but it's fuzzy and it's vague. And it also influences what you can do to it and how to change it and things like that. Like a rock viewing itself as a rock changing into sand, there's some fluidity there.

    Orem signing ()
    #4957 Copy

    Questioner

    So far there hasn't been a lot of the Stonewards in the books. Are they going to come forward in the next few?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Yes. One of the reasons I built the structure of The Stormlight Archive the way that I did is because I knew it would be easy to overwhelm with the number of magical abilities, and to let myself get distracted by some of them and not do them justice. So I've been very careful, perhaps more careful than I need to be, and when I show like a Fused using a power, I focus more on the ones you know about and things like this, intentionally to keep the reader's attention on what they know as I expand. 

    Questioner

    Can they shape stone? In one of the flashbacks they kind of melt it and it becomes sand.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Basically, my original pitch to myself on Stonewards, one of their main powers--I mean, everybody has two--but this power you're talking about was the ability to grab matter and just kind of-- like what if the whole world were clay to you. Not just stone, not just rock, but if you could just pick something up and stretch it, whatever it was, that was my original pitch for that order.

    Questioner

    So architects or combat engineers fill that order?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, stuff like that, but also, just kind of like you need to get out of a room? Well, let's mash ourselves a doorway here and step through, or just all kinds of stuff. 

    Questioner 2

    Can they do that to living flesh?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. That's the general, the more Invested something is the more it resists, and Stoneward powers are highly resisted by things... Even a small amount of extra Investiture is gonna prevent them. Like if you stuck Stormlight in [an object], say a Windrunner did, a Stoneward wouldn't be able to change that.

    Orem signing ()
    #4959 Copy

    Questioner

    If all the Elantrians combined their efforts and made a massive Aon, an Aon Daa, would it be like a Death Star?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *laughs* To do Death Star? This would be a lot of Investiture and a lot of work. This is theoretically possible.

    Orem signing ()
    #4961 Copy

    Questioner

    Shardplate, I know that you need to put Stormlight into it to regenerate it from a piece. Why can enemies not do that? Is it a thing that only the owner can do? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    We haven't dug into this in the books, but if you've got a piece... If you've got pieces you can regenerate it, and if multiple people are trying to regenerate different pieces there is kind of a sort of tug-of-war that goes on there. And certain things are involved in whoever ends up regenerating it. One thing is how much of it you have, but another is how much Stormlight, and things like this. It is possible to steal a piece of someone's Shardplate and start a little war over it that way. 

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
    #4964 Copy

    Overlord Jebus

    When you say Ire, what do you mean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean the word for "ancient" in Aonic.

    Overlord Jebus

    Okay, because we've only ever heard it referred to in the one little thing in Secret History so hearing you refer to the lighthouse as the Ire was...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know if he actually be-- Yeah.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
    #4965 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Who here was in the beta for [Oathbringer]? ...They had a lot of affect on part four in particular

    Part four, so I had this weird thing... So I had this thing in Oathbringer where the plot archetype was Kaladin feeling like he needed to get to Dalinar, followed by him failing to do so. Which was a really important thing for Kaladin, but the original time where he discovered he needed to get to Dalinar was when he met the Ire and it was in the city--Celebrant. And in the beta that's where it was.

    And so what it felt like is, everybody on the ship is like, "Oh we need to get to the perpendicularity in the Horneater Peaks." And then, I just took them down south instead. So I'm like, "Oh I need to get them there." And all the readers were like, "This feels like a digression, it feels boring. Why are we not going-- why are we going the wrong direction?"

    It was just one of these promises thing where I had promised--set the expectation. So moving the Ire to the lighthouse meant that Kaladin was a contrast to the other people. And you were like, "Oh yes, Kaladin" When a character in the fantasy novel has a strange vision of the future, that means something! So we will be okay with following Kaladin down south.

    Orem signing ()
    #4966 Copy

    Questioner

    The Fused that wield, like--their Lashings can be a lot faster than Kaladin's are. Is it because it's based on a different planet than the Radiants?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kaladin can go faster, but they are more-- they are faster over a large span. What's going on with the Fused is they have-- The way their Investiture works, it doesn't leak and they are able to use it for much longer periods of time. But they don't have access to the number of times that Kaladin can Lash himself directions and things like this, and the speed with which he can pick up speed. So in the short Kaladin is favored, in the long they're favored.

    Orem signing ()
    #4967 Copy

    Questioner

    In the first book, Kenton, after all his friends and family and everybody is wiped out and he becomes the new ruler... suddenly he becomes more powerful. Something happens, and I missed what the change was. Somehow, something changed in him and he suddenly is more proficient?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has more skill. His whole character arc is "do more with less," right? He is about taking what he has and doing the best he possibly can with it. I would not say that he--

    Questioner

    Suddenly gains more skill?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I wouldn't say that. I would say that he is progressing, he is learning, and by being forced to do heavy lifting-- Like, I would say the biggest two places I grew in writing skill was writing my first book, and then when I had to take over the Wheel of Time, because suddenly everything was beyond my skill and I had to rise to the occasion.

    Orem signing ()
    #4969 Copy

    Questioner

    I wondered how involved you are with the board games.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The board games I usually leave more to my assistants because I don't play board games. The RPG I was, like, all over, right? Reading all the drafts and things like that. But I play Magic, I don't play board games. But my agent loves them and Kara loves them, and so basically when board game stuff happens I say to them, "You guys need to determine if this are any good, because I have no idea."

    Orem signing ()
    #4973 Copy

    Questioner

    I think there's a flaw in my understanding of Cognitive Shadows. I assume that... they would have more visibility into the Cognitive Realm, like a Herald would be able to see spren more easily, that kind of thing. Is that incorrect?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is incorrect. A Cognitive Shadow simply means a copy of the Cognitive side made by a deep amount of Investiture. And everybody has a Cognitive side. Basically it's a fake soul. Or, fake is the wrong term. Fake is the wrong term. Even in-world they don't know if it's really them or not. It is Investiture has replaced the Investiture that is fleeing from them as they die, or enhancing it in some way to keep it around. So some Cognitive Shadows trapped on the Cognitive Realm are going to be-- have a lot of Cognitive-- I mean, they're there, right? But some Cognitive Shadows inhabiting a body in the same way that your mind inhabits your body, the way the cosmere works... So a Herald is going to feel like they are alive just like-- but their soul has been somehow transformed. It's not really transformed, it's been reproduced or copied by an injection of Investiture...

    And I'll say for the purpose of the recordings, I haven't canonized any of that terminology that I just used about Cognitive Shadows. I'm just talking about it, I'm not necessarily saying that this is how you are supposed to refer to it. You can refer to it however you want. I've often used the metaphor of how fossils get made. When a fossil is made there is a pattern and it is slowly replaced with another substance that is stronger and more endurant, and has the shape of it, but is it still the bone? When you have a fossil bone is it the dinosaur bone? In most cases no, but yes. It's the ship of Theseus sort of thing again. Is this the bone or is it not? Is this the soul? Is this the person or is it not? That's the same sort of thing is happening with Cognitive Shadows. And it's happening on all three Realms to an extent, though of course the body is not. The body stays. It's happening on two Realms. It's happening Spiritually, mostly Cognitively.

    Orem signing ()
    #4974 Copy

    Questioner

    All of these steel plates in the caverns, before chromium was well known, how did they not get rusted?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually thought about this. I kind of imagine some of them rusted, but at the same time I've read about-- What was my answer to this? I have an answer. I can't remember what my answer is, so I'm going to RAFO that. Send it to me and I'll try to look it up. I had an answer to this. They were... using some sort of thing to keep it from rusting.

    Questioner

    So there were people in the Steel Ministry keeping it clean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think that was my answer. I thought that I had them plating it somehow, but I'm not sure. I mean we're talking ten years ago now when I wrote this. I think I had them plating it somehow, because I needed them to last longer. You can just write that one as a RAFO, but it's a RAFO that Brandon can't remember. It happens sometimes. It's one of those things Peter asked me when we were working on the books and I'm like, "Oh, we'd better have an answer for this," but now I don't remember what it is.

    Orem signing ()
    #4975 Copy

    Mason Wheeler

    It seems that taking something metal that is Invested and melting it down, and reforging it, does not destroy the Investiture in it. For example the spike that got turned into a bullet.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, and the-- yeah. There are other examples as well.

    Mason Wheeler

    If that doesn't ruin its Invested nature, what would happen if Wax were to take one of his ironminds, have that melted and alloyed into steel, and then tried to burn it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So you are saying mixing in-- right. Um, this would probably not work. But I'd have to go to the document on this one, because I've theorized in it. So I'm going to say probably won't work, but I have to go to my document, so Notes And Find Out. As soon as we get into the really detailed-- One of the things I want, even when I was building the Mistborn magics, is I wanted it to get really complicated. Because, my philosophy was making a wheel is easy to understand what's going on. Making a car uses all the same physics and simple tools, but is infinitely--well, you know, not infinitely--hugely more complex. Making a spaceship goes beyond that. And I wanted when we dug into all the actual mechanics it all works, but it's like the difference between making an abacus and making a computer. And we're starting to stray-- not into computer-making realms, but starting tjo stray into combustion-making realms, and so these are the sort of things that I just can't talk about off the cuff as easily. Because I have this document and I'm like "this, this, this, this." Does that makes sense?

    So I'm going to say that probably wouldn't work. I believe what is going to happen there is you're probably going to end up with one of these things where you see a reservoir there but you can't access it that happens quite a bit when things get muddled once you mix in other metals and things like that. But I can't give you 100% on that without the notes to double check myself.

    Orem signing ()
    #4977 Copy

    Mason Wheeler

    After another thousand years will the Well of Ascension to fill up again, or did Harmony do away with that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One would not expect the Well of Ascension to fill again. People in-world assume it will not, and they have legitimate reasons to think that.

    Orem signing ()
    #4978 Copy

    Questioner

    What was your hardest scene to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll have to pick it by book, right. Like actual, actual hardest. Have you finished Oathbringer? Hardest scene in Oathbringer to get right was actually the scene where Kaladin met with the guy in the lighthouse, that involves the foreshadowing of where he needs to go and stuff like that. No, actually that's not it. The first chapter. The Dalinar scene where he is in the vision and he jumps off and he goes and inspects the rubble and things, I did four versions of that chapter that were completely different, that weren't in the vision. That one was actually really hard. Finding out where to start this book so that it felt like it had it's own soul, but it wasn't, you know--

    Inside Mac Games interview ()
    #4979 Copy

    Ted Bade

    I know there is nothing set in stone and there is a long path of compromises before the game becomes available. Is there any "teaser" you could share with our readers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is something really small—not a big deal—but I am planning to work into this game the origin of Mistcloaks.

    Footnote: The Mistborn video game has been officially canceled  
    Sources: Inside Mac Games
    Inside Mac Games interview ()
    #4980 Copy

    Ted Bade

    Will this game explore only the nobility of the Mistborn world or will it include some of the lower class elements? Are you going to bring in any aspects of the empire or the long planned revolution?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This story is taking place several hundred years after the Ascension of the Lord Ruler; 700 or 800 years before the events of the trilogy. I don't want to give any more spoilers than that, but there will be lots of things in the game dealing with lots of different aspects of the Mistborn world.

    Footnote: The Mistborn video game has been officially canceled. 
    Sources: Inside Mac Games
    Inside Mac Games interview ()
    #4981 Copy

    Ted Bade

    Do you intend to create a novel (or series) to go along with or to follow this game?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not intending that right now. There's a chance we'll do a graphic novel, but I feel like this story that I'm building matches the game, and I want it to be for the game.

    Footnote: The Mistborn video game has been officially canceled. 
    Sources: Inside Mac Games
    Inside Mac Games interview ()
    #4982 Copy

    Ted Bade

    It is early in the development process, but I am sure you have some intentions as to what you want this game to be. If you could get everything you desire in this project, what type of game would it be? I assume you have played a few games yourself, would it be an RPG like Dragon Age or Two Worlds II, a graphical adventure like Monkey Island or Myst, or will it be more of an FPS like Bioshock?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We're definitely shooting for, on this game, Action RPG. A little less like Dragon Age in that it's a solo adventure with one person—certainly there are NPCs and things, but we're not talking about a party; we're talking about a Mistborn doing awesome stuff. That's what I wanted this game to be. There are so many different ways you could take a game like this; I would like to try different aspects.

    One of my favorite games recently was Demon Souls, and its sequel Dark Souls. I like gameplay mechanics like that, for a game like this. But we have to mix it with something more like Infamous in its combat system; powers and things like that. A blend of those types of games is what I would be shooting for. Certainly with a stronger RPG element to it.

    Footnote: The Mistborn video game has been officially canceled. 
    Sources: Inside Mac Games
    Inside Mac Games interview ()
    #4983 Copy

    Ted Bade

    As an author, you can completely control all aspects of a story, the environment, and the characters in the story. When you move to a game realm, there will be many limitations and aspects you can't or won't control. How important is it to get "right" the following aspects of your fantasy realm? What do you plan to do to ensure they work?

    a. The look and feel of the environment, which includes environmental sounds, and musicb. Character dialog and interactions, as well as NPC dialog and interactionsc. The storyline and sequences of eventsd. Other aspects very important to you

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is quite an in-depth question. Certainly the things you mentioned, that you can't control all aspects of the story, are a consideration. The bigger thing for me with a video game, that is different from my own work, is that a video game is a collaboration. A novel in most cases is a solo work, certainly with the help of talented editing staff and art direction and things like that—but at the end of the day, I can do the bulk of the work on the book myself. On a video game, I can't. Nor would I want to.

     

    On a video game, you take a step toward films where you need to have people who you trust working on aspects of the game that you yourself can't do. Certainly the look and feel and all these things you're talking about—I can oversee them, and Little Orbit has been great; they're showing me concept art and things and saying, do you like this or do you like this? What feels more like Mistborn to you? But at the end of the day, I have to let them do their job, which is program a great game, and come up with an engaging and fun system.

     

    I can have some input in it myself, such as the dialogue and story—I can step in and say hey, I know how to do this; let me do it. So I have done that for this game—I've stepped in and I'm writing the dialogue and the story myself, and I'm going to try to make it the best it can be to match Mistborn. From there I'm working with and trusting people whose job it is to make great games be great.

    Footnote: The Mistborn video game has been officially canceled  
    Sources: Inside Mac Games
    Inside Mac Games interview ()
    #4984 Copy

    Ted Bade

    Why did you decide to try to create a game? Was it to satisfy a need of your own, that of your fans, or perhaps some other reason?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm a gamer, and I've been playing games since I spent my vacation money on a Nintendo instead of what I was supposed to spend it on.

    Doing the job that I do now gives me some opportunities that I just didn't want to pass on; making a video game is one of them. I tried a couple of times earlier in my career to launch a Mistborn video game, to get a developer interested, and it just didn't go anywhere. I wasn't a big enough name yet. I eventually had to wait until the trilogy was done and had a good reputation, and then people started approaching us about making a video game out of it.

    The reason to do it is just because I love video games. It's a bit of a self-indulgent reason, but let's just say that it's one of the perks of being an author with some success.

    Ted Bade

    Author’s note: I have no issues with his “self indulgence”. Anyone who has read and enjoyed a great fantasy novel would most likely enjoy the chance to play in that world. As a successful author, Mr. Sanderson can bring fans into his world via a game. That is a terrific thing, especially if it is done right.

    Footnote: The Mistborn video game has been officially canceled.
    Sources: Inside Mac Games
    A Memory of Light Raleigh Signing ()
    #4989 Copy

    Galavantes (paraphrased)

    Is Harmony more powerful than other Shards?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    More powerful or more potent?

    Galavantes (paraphrased)

    Um, powerful.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Harmony is two shards in one.

    Galavantes (paraphrased)

    Could he take Odium?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    His two shards are at odds with one another.

    (This was interesting to me, from his name being Harmony I had assumed Ruin and Preservation merged seamlessly. Brandon seems to be implying that while Sazed can utilize the power of both shards, he can't simply add them together)

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4991 Copy

    Zehahahaha

    So, I'm having a discussion with some people on discord and we were wondering, what color is a koloss's genitals?

    I know Sazed gave them the ability to breed, and the discussion stemmed from Koloss-blooded people. If you can give me an answer, I'd be incredible grateful! If not, thanks for your time anyway. I know you're busy and silly questions don't exactly endear me to you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I imagine they'd pull a Dr. Manhattan, and the genitalia would be blue. I'll admit, I haven't given it much thought, though.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #4993 Copy

    ReadAndFindOut

    In 2014, Brandon said First of the Sun - the planet in Sixth of the Dusk - is a minor Shardworld, in that it does not have a Shard present (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/103-salt-lake-city-comic-con-2014/#e1010). However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/256-oathbringer-london-signing/#e8606). Patji was a Shard, but isn't during SotD? Or did we finally get confirmation on that elusive "Survival Shard"? What do you guys think?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I stand by them. Though, as always, quotes and WoBs at signings aren't always as deliberately thought out as I'd like them to be. Answering questions on the fly can be challenging, and my phrasing can be bad in retrospect.

    But no Shard was in residence on First of the Sun during the events of that story. The Investiture on that planet is residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium. Everything happening there could happen with or without a Shard present. Indeed, I would say that no Shard was ever "in residence" on First of the Sun.

    The being called Patji still exists, and is a Shard of Adonalsium. Shards in the past have been interested in First of the Sun, and have meddled in small ways there. (Like they have on a lot of Shardworlds.)

    Note that I might have been a little misleading in the first quote by bringing up Threnody, which is a real corner case in the cosmere because of uncommon events there.

    That said, I'm sure that every story I write about a planet will bring up the quirks and unusual interactions of the magic there, because that's kind of what I do. (First of the Sun has its own oddities, as mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded.) Every planet is likely to end up as a corner case in some way, just like every person is distinctive in their own way, and never fully fits expectations.

    I still consider one of the major dividing lines between "major" and "minor" Shardworlds (other than Shard residence) to be in strength of access to the magic, and control over it. I intend the minor Shardworlds to involve interactions with the magic as setting--coming back to spren, you could have a minor Shardworld with people who use, befriend, even bond spren. (Or the local equivalent--Seon, Aviar, etc.) But you'd never see power on the level of the city of Elantris, the actions of a Bondsmith, or even the broad power suite of a Mistborn.

    But, as ever, the cosmere is a work in progress. The needs of telling a great story trump things I've said about what I'm planning. (I do try as much as I can to avoid having two texts contradict one another. And when they do, that's often a lapse on my part.)

    Oversleep

    Wait.

    I'm confused.

    So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?

    Cause the question was a follow up (on this) where you revealed that all Investiture in Cosmere got assigned to a Shard even if it wasn't part of a Shard.

    And then you said that the one on First of the Sun is directly associated with one of the Shards (and since later you revealed Patji to be an avatar of Autonomy (also, what are avatars and how do they work?)) we took it to mean that at one point Autonomy Invested in First of the Sun.

    But now you're saying it didn't?

    If there was no Shard ever on First of the Sun but Patji is a Shard/avatar of a Shard then where is Patji, actually?

    Could you please clarify all that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?"

    The reason I have so much trouble answering these questions (and you'll see me struggling to get an answer in the 10-15 seconds I have when someone asks me in a signing line) is because this isn't an either or. Is this computer I'm using matter associated with Earth, the Big Bang, or such-and-such star that went supernova long ago? Well, it's probably all three.

    When people ask, "What Shard is this Investiture associated with" it gets very complicated. Shards influence and tweak certain Investiture, giving it a kind of spin or magnetism, but all Investiture ever predates the Shattering--and in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing.

    I always imagine Investiture having certain states, certain magnetisms if you will, associated with certain aspects of Adonalsium. So it's all "assigned" to a Shard--because it's always been associated with that Shard. To Investiture, Adonalsium's Shattering meant everything and nothing at the same time.

    We generally mean the term "Invested" to mean a Shard has taken permanent residence in a location, a kind of base of operations--but at the same time, this is meaningless, since distance has no meaning on the Spiritual Realm, where most Shards are. So imprisonment of a Shard like Ruin or Odium is a crude expression--but the best we have.

    Autonomy never "Invested" on First of the Sun. But even answering (as someone else asked) if they created an avatar without visiting is a difficult thing to explain--because even explaining how a Shard travels (when motion is irrelevant) is difficult to manage. It's a subject that I intend to be up for debate, discussion, and argument by in-world philosophers and arcanists.

    You can see why I have such troubles explaining these things at signings--and why I fail when I try to, considering the time limitations and (often) fatigue limitations placed upon me. These are concepts I intend to spend entire, lengthy epic volumes explaining and exploring.

    Let's say you were Autonomy, and you have--through expanding and exploring your understanding--found a gathering of Investiture that has always been there, you always knew about, but still didn't actually recognize until the moment you considered and explored it. (Because even though your power is infinite, accessing and using that infinity is beyond your reach.) Were you "Invested" there? No, no more than you're Invested on Roshar, where parts of what were Adonalsium still exist that are associated with you (in the very fabric of matter and existence.) But suddenly, you have a chance to tweak, influence, and do things that were always possible, but which you never could do because you knew, but didn't know, at the same time.

    And...I'm already into WAY more than I want to be typing this out right now. If it's confusing, it's because it's practically impossible for me to explain these things in a short span of time.

    I'm going to leave it here, understanding that no, I haven't fully explained your question. (I didn't even get into what avatars are, what Patji was, and what happened to Patji the being--and how that relates to Patji the island.) But hopefully this kind of starts to point the right direction, though I probably should have just left this question alone because I bet this post is going to raise more questions than it answers...

    Overlord Jebus

    You've confused things so much now. We thought we had a pretty good grasp of this whole Patji situation (Autonomy visited the planet at some point, got themselves all Invested and created an avatar which is called Patji by the locals).

    Now you're saying no Shard has ever visited there? And that the pool would have existed if no Shard had ever interfered? But that Patji still exists and is a Shard?

    Does that mean Autonomy edited First of the Sun from afar without actually going there? And that the pool would have already existed without any intervention? Does this mean it was associated with Autonomy from the beginning? I'm really confused now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't believe I said no Shard had visited. I said no Shard was there during the events of the story.

    Investiture on First of the Sun predates any Shards fiddling with it.

    Shards have fiddled with it by the time of the story.

    I think fandom might be going down too far a rabbit hole on this one.

    Chaos

    Are you saying here that Patji is an avatar of Autonomy, or is it a separate Shard and not an avatar of Autonomy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I said Patji was a Shard, I was meaning Automony--but it is not quite that simple.

    Take this post to mean "no, you should not be looking toward another Shard for Patji's origins. Autonomy is the one relevant." But Autonomy's relationships with entities like this (not sure entity is the right word, even) is complex. I'm not trying to confuse the issue, though.

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    What other projects do you have planned or in the works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My novella Legion just came out from Subterranean Press and I'll do a signing for it at the Missing Volume booth at noon on Saturday; it's a modern-day story about a guy who has something like schizophrenia, but he's a genius. He himself can't do anything special, but all of his hallucinations are experts in their respective fields. People come to him with problems they need solved, and he brings a few of his hallucinations along with him to help solve them.

    In November I have another novella, The Emperor's Soul, coming from Tachyon Publications—it's more like my fantasy books, in a world where trained Forgers can change reality, and the main character has to Forge a new soul for the Emperor, who was left brain-dead in an attack.

    Next summer I have two YA books coming out: The Rithmatist, which is about fighting with magical chalk drawings, and Steelheart, which takes place in a world where all the superheroes are evil; the main character is a boy who knows the weakness of the Emperor of Chicago and wants to hook up with a team of assassins to hunt him down.

    Then my next book that will come out after those is the sequel to The Way of Kings, which I'm working on the outline of right now.

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    According to your blog, an RPG video game called Mistborn: Birthright, based on your Mistborn series, will be coming out in 2013. Can you give us a teaser?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's set hundreds of years before the first trilogy. I'm writing the story, and it's about a young nobleman who gets entangled in events he did not expect at all. It should be a whole bunch of fun, and I'm trying to work into it things like the origins of the mistcloak and fun stuff like that, [so] we can dig into the past of the world and see the origins of a lot of things that we see later on in the series

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    With all the focus on social media these days, what impact do you think fans might have on story development in the future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, I think that they will have some impact. What, I'm not sure. With Warbreaker I was able to read perspectives on the book online as I was working on it, and that certainly did inform how I did my revisions. Maybe you'll see more crowdsourcing on editing and that sort of thing. I do think that the ability to directly connect with fans helps me understand the way a reader's mind works. Usually that doesn't translate one-to-one to changes in a novel, because there are a few steps in between in deciding what the reader really actually wants and what they say they want—working on The Wheel of Time as both a fan and a writer has helped me figure that out, because there are things that as a fan I would have said I wanted, but looking at it as a writer I can say, "Oh, if I gave that to the fans, it would actually in the long run make the story less satisfying." So there is some work to be done there, but I think social media is a great resource.

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    You posted the chapters of Warbreaker on your website at BrandonSanderson.com as you wrote them. The first and some subsequent drafts of the novel are still available for download to help aspiring writers study your revision process. What are some of the positive and negative consequences of posting your work in progress?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For one thing it lets people see all of the pops and bells and whistles that go into a book, meandering, sometimes, toward becoming a better novel. My agent and editor's big worry is that readers would read an unfinished work and therefore have a wrong taste in their mouth for how my books are. So I'd say that's the biggest disadvantage. I don't think personally that there has been any sort of sales repercussion. I can't say for certain.

    I would like to say that it has been better for my books, particularly releasing it when I did, when a lot of Wheel of Time fans were discovering that I was taking over their series and wanting to know what kind of writer I would be. They were able to download the book for free and know a little about me and my writing. I think it was helpful. I think the big advantage is that I was able to give something back to my readers. I'm always looking for something I can give back. They support me; I get to do this job because of them, so I like to add as much value as I can to the books for them.

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    If you could have one Allomantic ability, which would you choose and why? (I still have my suspicions about you and speed bubbles.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would pick Steelpushing, because who doesn't want to fly, right? That's as close to flying as any of the powers get. As I'm walking or driving around I'm often noticing where the sources of metal are and considering where I could push off them to go where I want to go, and that's always exciting to think about.

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    The light-hearted banter in your recent standalone Mistborn book, The Alloy of Law, is an unexpected yet delightful change from the more serious tone of the original trilogy. Why did you decide to make such an abrupt shift? Will we get to read more about Waxillium and Wayne?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This was quite conscious on my part. One of the reasons I ended up writing The Alloy of Law as I did is because I personally wanted something to balance The Stormlight Archive, which is going to be more serious and have a tone more like the original Mistborn trilogy. I'm planning a five-book sequence to start off The Stormlight Archive, so I wanted something to go between those books that was faster paced, a little more lighthearted, and more focused.

    I love The Stormlight Archive—it's what I think will be the defining work of my career, but that said, sometimes you want a bag of potato chips instead of a steak. Sometimes you want to write that, and sometimes you want to read that. I knew not all readers would want to go along with me at the start on such a big, long series; they may want to wait until it's finished. So I wanted to be releasing smaller, more focused and more simply fun books in between, both for my own interest and for my readers. And I will keep doing this; there will be more Wax and Wayne books in the future, spaced among my bigger epics.

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    Your work is often praised for unique magic systems with interesting limitations, like the application of the laws of physics to the abilities of a Coinshot in the Mistborn series. What kinds of limitations do you think have the most potential?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are lots of ways to go with this answer. It depends on how creative you are with your storytelling. I like to found my magics with certain rules so that I can force myself and my characters to be more creative in their application. I think that a good magic system is going to have some of this. Granted that my way is not the only way; there are a lot of great stories that don't do magic the way I do it. But if you're trying to tell a story where the way the magic works is a very big part of the story, then limitations are vital. I would say the best limitations are ones where creativity is forced on the part of the characters.

    I don't like limitations such as kryptonite—this one thing negates the magic, which focuses the story around having it or not having it. I like limitations that are intrinsic to the magic and have a logical sense. When I can, I like the limitations to be bounded by the laws of physics—what requirements will physics put upon this magic that will make the characters have to use it in a more natural way.

    The other big thing is that I split out costs and limitations in my head. A limitation is just what the magic can or cannot do, just like we have limits in our own world to what a physical body can achieve. Costs are what you pay for the magic, and these can add an economic component to a book and a magic system; they can add a lot of ties into the setting, and a great magic, I think, has a lot of ties into the setting.