Recent entries

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Movie/Television Updates

    Mistborn and Stormlight Films

    These rights are held by DMG Entertainment, and they've been very good at working with me and showing me things. They have scripts for both Mistborn and The Way of Kings, which they are actively trying to make happen in Hollywood.

    One way they're approaching this is to do a Stormlight VR experience, which we've talked about before. This is less about making a video game, and more about making something to show off to studios to kind of immerse them in the setting of the books. As I determined early on, this is an interesting but weird world, and having visuals (like the art in the books themselves) helps a lot with bringing people around to understanding.

    They do plan to release the VR experience to fans on Steam, for those with VR headsets. It's not intended to be a full game, as I said, more a demo of the Shattered Plains—you'll get to personally experience the Shattered Plains from the novels and interact with the characters and creatures that inhabit them. We'll do some posts on it in coming months as it gears up to be released, and I've invited the developers to do some guest posts on my blog.

    Regardless of what happens on the film and television front here, at the very least you have that to look forward to!

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Potential Cosmere Stories List

    Here are things that at one point I've had in the works, and probably someday plan to do, in the 'osmere:

    • Dragonsteel/Liar of Partinel. (Hoid's origin story, to be written sometime after Stormlight is done.)
    • Sixth of the Dusk sequel. (I had a pretty cool idea for this last year. Nothing more than that.)
    • Untitled Silverlight novella. (What it says on the tin.)
    • Threnody novel. (An expedition back to confront the Evil that destroyed the old world.)
    • Aether of Night. (Still in the cosmere, and you can see the odd remnant of an Aether popping up here and there. Bound to be drastically different from the unpublished novel, which I allow the 17th Shard to give out to people who request it on their forums. Basically, the only thing from it that is canon is the magic system.)
    • Silence Divine. (Disease magic novella set on Ashyn.)
    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Minor Projects

    Dark One

    My eternal "like Harry Potter from Voldemort's viewpoint" fantasy sequence is still hanging out, buzzing at the sides of my brain. I wrote a really spectacular outline for it this summer, one I love quite a bit, and it got both television graphic novel interest—but these are deals still very much in the works, so I can't talk about them yet.

    I'm pleased with what I have though, and feel this series has moved for the first time in a long while. Note that I did end up pulling it out of the cosmere, as it ended up working better as a dark secondary world fantasy than it did as a Cosmere YA series. It went both older, and more twisted, in the current outline. Hopefully, by next year's State of the Sanderson we'll have something more solid to announce.

    Status: Exciting developments in the works!

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Minor Projects

    Adamant

    This space opera novella series is in same place it was last year, I'm afraid. (One novella done, no more written on the rest.) I took a little time to work on the outline, but didn't find a chance to write the second novella. It will be awesome when I do it, and I got really close to moving this to the front burner several times, but it didn't end up working.

    Status: Still possible in the near future.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Secondary Projects

    The Rithmatist

    This continues to be the single most-requested sequel among people who email me or contact me on social media. It is something I want to do, and still intend to, but it has a couple of weird aspects to it—completely unrelated to its popularity—that continue to work as roadblocks.

    The first problem is that it's an odd relic in my writing career. I wrote it as a diversion from a book that wasn't working (Liar of Partinel, my second attempt at doing a novel on Yolen, after the unpublished novel Dragonsteel). It went really well—but it also was something I had to set aside when the Wheel of Time came along.

    I eventually published it years later, but my life and my writing has moved in a very different direction from the point when I wrote this. These days, I try very hard to make stories like this work as novellas or standalone stories, rather than promising sequels. I feel I did promise a sequel for this one, and I have grand plans for it, but the time just never seems to be right.

    The other issue is that writing about that era in America—even in an alternate universe—involves touching on some very sensitive topics. Ones that, despite my best efforts, I feel that I didn't handle as sensitively as I could have. I do want to come back to the world and do a good job of it, but doing an Aztec viewpoint character—as I'd like to do as one of the viewpoints in book two—in an alternate Earth…well, it's a challenge that takes a lot of investment in research time.

    And for one reason or another, I keep ending up in crisis mode—first with Stormlight 3 taking longer than I wanted, and now with The Apocalypse Guard not turning out like I wanted. So someday I will get to this, but it's going to require some alignment of several factors.

    Status: Not yet. We'll see.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Secondary Projects

    White Sand

    Graphic Novel 1 was a huge success, and Graphic Novel 2 is finished and off to the printers. Expected publication date is February 2018. It will be the second of three.

    The prose version is still available to be read. If you sign up for my mailing list, we auto-send you a link to it.

    Status: Graphic novel 2 coming in early 2018.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Secondary Projects

    Alcatraz

    Contrary to last year's State of the Sanderson (where I didn't expect movement on this series this year) there have been developments. I have tried working on the sixth and final book (which will be from Bastille's viewpoint) and have found that I didn't like the test chapters I did.

    The story went the wrong direction, and beyond that, I didn't feel like I had Bastille's voice down. In some attempts, the book just sounded too much like the previous ones—but when I exaggerated her voice, she felt a bit Flanderized. I've been toying with how to make it work, and I've come up with a somewhat outside-the-box solution. My long-standing friend and former student, Janci Patterson, is also a big fan of the series. She's been offering feedback since I wrote the first book back in…2006, was it? I've gone to her and asked if she'd be willing to collaborate on it.

    The goal is that by bringing in another author to write it with me, I'll be able to get the book to work—to have it feel different enough from the others, yet still be in the same theme and spirit. The goal is to do an outline in early February once I have book one of Skyward done, then hand that off to Janci and let her toy with it a while before sending it back to me.

    So you can watch for that, and I'll post updates.

    Status: Outline to be written in 2018.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Secondary Projects

    Legion

    The third Stephen Leeds/Legion story (which is roughly the same length as the second one) is finished! Titled Lies of the Beholder, this is the story that delves into Stephen's backstory, his interactions with Sandra, and the nature of his aspects. Good stuff! It's done, and it's weird. But good weird.

    Right now, the goal is to collect all three Legion stories and release them in hardcover sometime around September 2018. That means there probably won't be a standalone release of Lies of the Beholder until a year or so later, like we plan with EdgedancerHowever, for those who like cohesion on their bookshelves, I've mandated that Subterranean Press be allowed to do a leatherbound like they did with the first two. So you can have books that match. This should happen right around the release of the collection.

    In the UK, there should be a small-format version of the story on its own rather than a collection. (Again, for matching purposes. In the US, the small-format hardcovers have been published by my own company, Dragonsteel, as we waited for enough stories to do a collection.) We should eventually do a small-format Dragonsteel edition for people who really want one of those to match, but I'd suggest that the best way to support the stories is to buy the collection. And if you haven't ever tried them out, you'll be able to get them all at once!

    This marks the end of the Stephen Leeds stories, though we're in talks for another television deal—so maybe that will happen.

    Status: Series finished! Publication in late 2018.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Main Projects

    Mistborn

    Wax and Wayne 4 is on the slate next after I finish Skyward. (Though if it's going well, I may do the entire trilogy for Skyward first.) I need four or five months at least to do Wax and Wayne, so rain or shine, my plan is to get into this on September 1st at the latest. Hopefully a little earlier.

    This will wrap up the second era of Mistborn books. (And yes, I've settled—at long last—on just calling it that. All the other terms I tried were just too confusing.) Once the Wax and Wayne books are done, I'll look to do something else for a little while before coming back for Era Three. (1980s spy thriller Mistborn.)

    Status: To be written in 2018.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Updates on Main Projects

    Stormlight

    It's time to take a little breather. I've begun working on the outline for book four, which is kind of a mess right now because of things I've been moving around between books as I write. My goal this year for Stormlight will be to have rock-solid outlines for books four and five done by December 2018.

    My current projection is that I'll spend half of my time writing Stormlight, and half of it doing other things. (I spoke last year about just how big an undertaking a Stormlight book is–and why I can't write them back to back.) I realize that many of you would prefer to have only Stormlight, but that would drive me insane–and drive the series into the ground.

    I think this is a realistic schedule. So, I'm giving myself 2018 to work on Skyward (hopefully a trilogy) and other projects. Then on January 1st, 2019, I go back to Stormlight refreshed and excited to be back in Roshar, and I write on book four until it's done. (With a 2020 or 2021 release, depending on how the writing goes.) I do hope to find time for a novella, like Edgedancer, that we can put out between books. This one is tentatively called Wandersail.

    For those who don't know, The Stormlight Archive is a ten-book series composed of two five-book arcs.

    Status: Writing outline for book four.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    My Year

    January–June: Oathbringer Revisions

    I spent most of this year doing revisions for Oathbringer. I did several exhaustive drafts during the January–June months, and did the final handoff to Peter (for copyediting and proofreading) right at the end of June.

    June–Mid September: The Apocalypse Guard

    Then, for the first time in what felt like forever (it was really only about sixteen months), I got a chance to work on something that wasn't Oathbringer or Edgedancer. I launched right into The Apocalypse Guard, the follow-up to The Reckoners…and it didn't work. I spent July, August, and part of September writing that. (I finished the last chapter sometime in early September, and turned in the second draft a few weeks later.)

    September–October: Legion 3

    I was already feeling a little discouraged by that book not quite coming together, though at that point I assumed I'd be able to fix it in revisions. (Well, I still think I can do that–I just think it will take more time.) Mid-September, I launched into Legion Three: Lies of the Beholder. That took around a month to finish, bringing us to mid-October. By then, I knew something was seriously wrong with The Apocalypse Guard, as my revision attempts were fruitless. So, I called Random House and pulled the book–then launched into Skyward.

    October–November: Skyward

    I have been writing on that book ever since, and you can read the blog post yesterday about that.

    November–December: Oathbringer Tour

    The tour was wonderful–somehow both exhausting and energizing at the same time. Here are some of the fan costumes that showed up this year. Thank you all for coming out to see me!

    December so far: Skyward

    Unfortunately, and I know you guys know to watch for them, there are no hidden or secret novellas or books for this year. I have been running around feeling behind all year, first on Oathbringer, and then trying to find a replacement for The Apocalypse Guard.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Windrunner

    /u/Mistborn (Brandon) said that Eshonai will be the flashback character in Book 4. (source), which would indicate that she's probably still alive in some form.

    But we'll see. He could've changed it or that could've been a diversion from Venli being the actual flashback character.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Eshonai is the flashback character--but she is dead in the present. I've warned people multiple times that we WILL have flashbacks to the viewpoints of characters who have died.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Pagerunner

    I was at the Houston signing, and Brandon referred me to you on a few technical questions that I was asking him, since he he was quite "brain dead."

    First was what Surges the Bondsmiths have. Based on the ordering in the Ars Arcanum in WoR and OB, they should have Tension. But the application of the shared Surge we saw for both Stonewards and Bondsmiths in OB looks to line up more with Brandon's previous description of Cohesion from the Words of Radiance tour. (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/223/#e6061, although he did identify it as a Willshaper Surge there.) Brandon believed it was an error in the Ars Arcanum, and that Bondsmiths do have Cohesion, but he told me to confirm that with you.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    What power did you see in the book that Bondsmiths and Stonewards share?

    Pagerunner

    In Chapter 38:

    The Shardbearer pressed his hand against the incline leading up to the Voidbringer, and again the stone seemed to writhe. Steps formed in the rock, as if it were made of wax that could flow and be shaped.

    ...

    "And that Shardbearer I saw? A Herald?"

    No. Merely a Stoneward. The Surge that changed the stone is the other you may learn, though it may serve you differently.

    Which seems to align with how Brandon has previously described Cohesion in the past, as opposed to Tension.

    I assume this Surge is what Dalinar used to repair the temple of Talenel in Chapter 59, but that's not actually essential to the point.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I think this has to be an error in the text.

    Pagerunner

    Sorry, which do you think is the error? The order of Surges in the Ars Arcanum? Or the Stormfather's statement to Dalinar?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The Stormfather's statement.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I have verified with Brandon that what the Stormfather said here is wrong and will be corrected in the future.

    Miscellaneous 2015 ()
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    Argent

    One thing I can't figure out - Newcago's name is obviously a short of New Chicago. So is there anything Babilar stands for? The "Babyl-" part is obviously from Babylon, but I can't think of anything for "-ar"... Babylon Restored > Babylo-R > Babylor > Babylar kind of makes sense, but it doesn't make me happy.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Babyl-R (say the letter name).

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    The Shardblade that Dalinar had at the end of Words of Radiance, was that the Honorblade?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The Shardblade that Dalinar had at the end of Words of Radiance that he gave up?

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Yeah, that he gave up.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, it was not.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    It was not? So what happened to the Honorblade that the Herald had?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Nobody kno - Well, somebody knows, but it is not known to the main characters.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Can I ask if Hoid-

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    If Hoid knows?

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Hoid did not take it, but I’m not answering whether he knows.

    Footnote: This was transcribed from a recording, so it should be close to verbatim. However, the audio file has been taken down, so it cannot be verified exactly.
    TWG Posts ()
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    Elladan259

    I have a questions. I read in the book that under the Lord Ruler, the Steel Inquisitors had 9 spikes. So they had 8 spikes for the normal Allomantic abilities, and only one left. But they needed one more. One would be a Feruchemical spike which granted the user healing abilities. And the other one would be an atium spike. In the book they burned it often, but how? But then, how could they burn atium? They would have needed an atium spike (extremely expensive) and an Mistborn (because atium Mistings weren't discovered).

    Somehow, the number of the spike just don't make sense. There should be 10. Do you have some ideas, or is it just an mistake by Brandon Sanderson? 

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The official answer is that the number varies depending on how many Mistings they can find and sacrifice. Not all Inquisitors will have all the same powers.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    Do you spend a lot of time on Google when you don’t know, like, distances?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I do. Or at least, I used to. Nowadays, I'll write into my manuscript, "Peter, find the answer to this", and then I’ll just let it go. He’s my assistant, and when he does his read-through afterward he’ll be like, "Oh great", and he’ll go do all the research for me. It's wonderful. For little things like that, I can get him to do it.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    How much influence do you have on the story of the Infinity Blade games?

    Second Questioner

    They tell you what to write and you flesh it out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, when I came on they said, "We don't have a story. Can you come up with one?". That was part of the reason I was interested in doing it. Basically, the whole story of games two and three, and the in between, have been my stories. I didn't write the games. I went over the dialogue and told them where it was really bad. I was focused on the novellas. The dialogue in the games, not quite as awesome as I would want it to be. But the basic story, it was me and the creators of the game brainstorming, talking about it. All the characters are ones I came up with.

    Questioner

    Because, really, in the first one there weren't exactly characters.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Though it had it's own little fun narrative, which I liked the idea of. But when I sat down with them I'm like, "If you're going to have a series, you can't have a series with no characters ever. You have fifty protagonists that die each time. You've gotta build the mechanism for this. So let's go this direction." They loved it.

    Questioner

    And that was why Siris wound up being a Deathless?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhmm.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    Will [Hoid] be making a reappearance in Words of Radiance?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    I also heard he was part of your unpublished Dragonsteel series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is.

    Questioner

    Is that a series that you're going to be publishing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will eventually rewrite it; it's not up to my current standards. I consider the events that happened in it basically to be canon, with some exceptions. For instance, when I originally wrote Dragonsteel, the Shattered Plains were there and Dalinar was there, and when I split off Way of Kings into its own book, I took half of what had been Dragonsteel and made it The Stormlight Archive and I split half of it off into a separate planet. If you were to read it, half of it will be a less good version of the Shattered Plains sequence, the bridge crews and things, from Way of Kings and the other half is Hoid’s story. And Hoid’s story stuff is still kind of canon, but the rest of it got moved.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    At the end of the trilogy, Sazed communicates with Kelsier, so they exist in the afterlife, of some sort. You've got some concept of an afterlife. Is it uniform across the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What is happening there is not actually technically an afterlife, though it kind of is. It's what we call a cognitive shadow. It's when your spirit is not moving on yet. So there is a Beyond, but there is a -- basically that's what we would call in our world a ghost, and there are actually magic systems based around that. In fact, the story I have coming out in George R.R. Martin’s next anthology is a ghost story involving this same -- it is cosmere based. Yes, that would be consistent. They don’t all have the same mythology regarding it, but it would be consistent. What happened to Kelsier could have happened on any of the planets.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    Why is The Rithmatist in our world but not in our world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wanted to do something a little more whimsical when I wrote it. I just wanted something purely imaginative. And I said, if I weren’t bound by anything, where would I go? I designed this really strange alternate version of our world, without forcing myself to have explanations and rationale. That’s just a different process sometimes than other books I write.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    The last book, which turned into three books for The Wheel of Time, how much of that was yours and how much was notes from Jordan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He left about a hundred written pages and about a hundred pages more of notes specifically for the last book. It really depends on the given scene. In Gathering Storm, if it was Egwene, it was either written by him or from his notes, and if it was Rand, it was mostly me. In Towers of Midnight, if it was Mat it was probably from his notes or written by him. He wrote the whole Tower of Ghenjei sequence, for instance. But if it was Perrin, it was me. He had nothing for Perrin, other than leaving Malden and then the Last Battle, so I had to fill in everything in between. In the final book, the meeting at the Fields of Merrilor was him and the very last chapter, which became the epilogue, was him, and a lot of the rest was me.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    At the end of The Way of Kings, was Wit the actual Herald or was it somebody else *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Herald's the guy who collapsed to the ground all shaggy-haired holding a Shardblade. He claimed to be Talenel, who is the one they talked about in the Prelude. Whether or not he actually is is yet to be seen.

    Questioner

    Did he just collapse or did he form out of the air?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, he walked up and fell down.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    When we get to the [interlude] in The Way of Kings, where we see the Shinovar merchant, he talks about his guards being different from Truthless. What makes the distinction?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will find that out in Book 3 which has Szeth’s flashback sequences and show him becoming Truthless.

    Footnote: Brandon decided to have Dalinar's flashbacks in Book 3 instead, so this question will likely now be answered in Book 5.
    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    In [Rithmatics], how can you tell that a circle is two-starred, four-starred, or nine-starred?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s by where you start crossing the lines. Where you cross the circle will determine what points it is.  For example, if you draw a line here, there are only a certain number of places where you can draw another line that'll fit. It’s just by where you start your first line intersecting it, the first line intersecting it determines where you can draw other lines and keep its stability.

    Steelheart release party ()
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    Questioner

    A Shardblade, what it does is it cuts off all the healing and control of an arm or whatever.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    So like if an arm got badly wounded and was bleeding out and had to be amputated. If you went through it with a Shardblade first, would that damage you in other ways?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it wouldn’t. What it does is it severs the soul of the arm.

    Questioner

    But I know like with Mistborn, if you take bits of soul out of people it messes them up.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does.

    Questioner

    Does it with Shardblades?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It leaves a wound.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner

    Going back to when you first started writing books, how did you go about figuring out how to revise them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Through lots of pain. *laughter* I am not a natural reviser. I still don't like it. I spent six months of this year in revisions on Oathbringer, and every minute of it was pain! No, I'm joking. I mean, I still have the best job in the world, right? I get to sit in my chair and tell stories. And then, for some reason, people throw money at me. Revision was hard, and for me, part of the breakthrough was to treat a revision like I treat a first draft, in that I create an outline for the revision. I create a bunch of goals, I create a bunch of bullet points and things I want to work on. And I come up with a strategy, because I am naturally an outliner, for making the revision work. And when I started doing that, revision got a lot better for me, but it was also just a lot of practice.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner

    ...There are sometimes that you'll have a line of dialogue or a description, and I'm just in awe of how either hilarious or amazing it is. Have you ever written a line of dialogue or a description where you're like, "Wow, I am hilarious"? *laughter*

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...All the time! No, I mean, this gets to a larger question of, when the creative process is working... you get surprised by how well the connections start working, and how things start coming together. Sometimes they don't, and you bash your head against the wall. But I think in every writing situation, at some point, you're gonna say "Wow, did that come out of my brain?" Because I got into it so much, I didn't realize all these connections were coming together in the back of my brain, and boom, it happens. And, again, sometimes it doesn't. In fact, I'll get into that in a moment, as we go to the reading. Because I... pulled a book from the publisher and decided not to publish it just recently, like last month.

    Footnote: The book Brandon is referring to is The Apocalypse Guard.
    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner

    Is there any magic system you consider softer? And any magic system you consider harder than most of the general audience would think they are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...So, this is gonna dig into definitions of what you consider a soft and a hard magic system. And I don't know that we can come to an agreement on this in such a large crowd. I do think that sometimes Harry Potter gets a bad reputation for being a soft magic system where I feel like Harry Potter's a really good study in how you can have a very rule-based magic system for one book. Though she tends to ignore her own rules book-to-book, but that's okay, because that's what the story is. It's a hybrid, where it's really hard for one book, and the rules set up in that book are then used to great effect, and in the next book we get a new set of rules. Which is, you know, the same way that James Bond does it and things like this. Kind of resetting her magic a little bit between books. Not completely, Harry-Potter-philes, I'm not trying to trash on it. I think it's interesting to look at, because I think people don't understand what she's doing, some of the times, with that magic. But whether something is hard or soft doesn't really matter to me in general. It's the sort of thing I think people expect me to think about a lot. I just want the story to work, right? I don't care if it's a hard magic or a soft magic, if it's low magic, if it's high magic. If the story works, and the magic is in service of the story, I'm gonna like it, regardless of what it is. Even if it's-- like, people will be like, "I bet you hate those elemental magic system, where it's just the same old magic system." I'm like, no! My favorite magic system is probably The Wheel of Time, which is an elemental magic system. Even a step away from that, Jim Butcher's Codex Alera did an elemental magic system really well. It doesn't-- There's nothing that's just, like, "You shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do that." Tell a good story.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner

    If there is universal truth and it changes, does it make it not true anymore?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That depends on your personal philosophy. My personal philosophy is that there are capital-T Truths, and those don't change, though a lot of the things around them do change. And it is through discussion, conflict, and approaching the spiritual that we step closer and closer to. It's a very Platonic sort of concept, that we are approaching perfection through our imperfections mashing together. And so, Truth hasn't changed, but our understanding and our capacity to get closer to it does change. And that's a personal philosophy of mine. I bet I can talk to people who have a different personal philosophy, that I would find very interesting. But for me, I think that's an excellent question to ask. If it's capital-T Truth, it shouldn't change over time. But we do, and we're not always the best at determining what it is.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner

    You were talking about change. Do you-- A lot of fantasy has this cyclic nature to it, as to the linear nature that a lot of times we think about. How do you think that plays with the idea of change, if you're just doing the same thing over again?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, that's a great question... What I love about fantasy is the ability to play with theme. Obviously, with The Wheel of Time, this was one of the themes, that history repeats itself, which is a theme of our world as well, and things like this. I like how they're able to play with that. One of the things we do in fantasy is, we take a few concepts, and we'll often just kind of throw realism out the window, in order to try and do something. And that's the whole point of fantasy, right? Realism's out the window. We'll make you feel like it's plausible, but realism's out the window. We're gonna have a society that doesn't change very much across 2000 years of time, and then we're gonna have them change dramatically in a year and a half. And this concept allows you to exaggerate the things that we've all kind of felt in our life, that change is outpacing our ability to keep track of it, and play with that concept of nostalgia vs keeping up with change, and I think Robert Jordan did a really good job with that. And I wouldn't look at the genre and say "The genre is backward-thinking" because of that-- And some people do. Because I feel that fantasy, like science fiction, is fundamentally about the now, that's what we write about. Science fiction and fantasy approach it differently, but Stormlight Archive is not about what it's like to live a long time ago. I don't know what that's like. I'm not a historian. I'm writing about the now through the lens of everything I'm kind of interested and passionate about... The idea of what I'm interested and passionate about ends up in the books, even if I don't think about putting it in directly. This is how I explore the world.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #5200 Copy

    Questioner

    How many countries have you visited in the last year to sign, and which was your favorite? And why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not going to pick favorites, because I'm being recorded. *laughter* But, let's see, in the last year-- In the last year, I've been to Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Australia, England on tour. And they're all awesome. They all treat me really, really well. I will highlight just in this-- I'm not gonna pick a favorite, but I'll highlight my Bulgarian publisher, because in Bulgaria, it's like, this one gregarious guy who's publishing science fiction. It's kind of like how in the olden days in the States you had *inaudible* and people like this, this guy is just like-- there aren't as many readers of science fiction and fantasy there, but if you're reading stuff, you're reading what he has decided you're reading. It's like, this is cool! And he prints them in his house. He has a big press, and he prints every copy in his house, and he has a store that he sells them out of, it's his store, and he distributes them to other bookstores, too, but mostly you go to the Bulgarian Mysterious Galaxy. And buy the books from him, that he has decided, and it's a really eclectic bunch, 'cause he also does the Smurfs, and me. Whatever he likes, he does some Bulgarian fiction, whatever he likes he publishes. And he picked me up in his sports car blasting techno music. And then at my signing that night, played DJ, with the entire crowd who came to see me, playing music, and it was just the most surreal and awesome experience. Contrast that to Germany, which I love, but I went to, and they were all on-time and by the book, and it sounds like a cliche, but it was, like, they had everything planned out. There was no loud techno music during my signing. Lots of wonderful people came. It was a very interesting contrast.