Recent entries

    ICon 2019 ()
    #501 Copy

    Panelist

    I'm thinking of the characters of metal. Other than the One Ring, you have Elric's sword, that can ingest your soul.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, oh, I love Stormbringer. Stormbringer is an amazing sword. If you guy shaven't read Elric, it was the inspiration for Nightblood, was the Elric cycle with Stormbringer. It's this sword that sucks people's souls and gives the main character the ability to be strong, 'cause he was born very weak. But it usually harvests the souls of the people he loves most as he's trying to save the world, and it's this give-and-take. Do I use this powerful sword, because I'm really saving the world; it's really important. But it's probably gonna suck the souls of everyone I love. Creates some really great tension. But those books are kicks to the face. They are not pleasant stories necessarily.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #502 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I intentionally didn't use lead or mercury in my magic systems because I knew they would kick people out. When you say, "People are eating lead," even in a fantasy book, it's gonna make some snickers. People are gonna stop and be like, "Wait a minute... this is a bad idea." And as my popularity's grown, I've become more and more aware of how many times I'm going to have to answer the same question if I put it in my book. I'm so glad I didn't use lead because at every signing, I would be answering fifty or sixty times, "You do know that lead's a bad idea to eat, right?"

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #503 Copy

    Snipexe

    If Khriss were to describe the Cognitive Anomaly to another Silverlight scholar, how would she do so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She would RAFO you.

    Snipexe

    And then, is the Cognitive Anomaly either one of Nalthis's lagrange points or that another RAFO?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a RAFO. Everything about the Cognitive Anomaly is a RAFO. I'm sorry.

    Snipexe

    It was worth a shot.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is an anomaly and that is all we're saying. 

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #504 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever thought of using Skimmers to have infinite electricity. Like on a Ferris wheel kind of thing. Like Skimmers on this side tap and then Skimmers on this side store.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, you're just using like Allomancers or Feruchemy. I mean yeah, that's totally something that in-world they will probably end up doing because the energy is simply coming from another place like Investiture is energy but there's more efficient ways than that to actually get Investiture into energy. I mean, a lot of Investiture gives off light. You could make it give off heat. Like, way easier ways to use Investiture than to put people on dynamos and create power that way but you could do it. You could absolutely do it. If you were hard up for making it work and the only thing you had was a Feruchemist or an Allomancer, you could create electricity that way. 

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #505 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Lift going to show up in Stormlight <inaudible>?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes but she's not going to have a big part. You'll have to wait for 6 before she gets a big role. 

    *Inaudible interjection*

    That as well but 6 is where you really see Lift quite a bit.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #508 Copy

    Questioner

    In Part 2 of Oathbringer, the chapter headings are to Hoid, right, from other [Vessels] I'm assuming. One of them talks about Hoid. They reference to him as holder of the one gem [bearer of the First Gem]. Is that the gem that is then split into Shards perhaps?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. Mhm. RAFO.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #510 Copy

    Questioner

    Do your kids read your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. They read my kids books. They've read Skyward, they've read Starsight, they read Rithmatist. They haven't tackled the adult books yet. 

    Questioner

    How old is your oldest?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My oldest is 12.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #511 Copy

    Questioner

    Has an unborn child ever been Ascended?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ascended to be a Shard? No, that has not yet happened.

    Questioner

    Maybe not a Shard but...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh. Ascend to like a... No. I would say no. It hasn't ever happened. It's not implausible that the mother could Ascend and the child would... But it hasn't happened.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #513 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering when are we going to get Doomslug plushies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We are really considering it. We've heard horror stories from our friends who have made plushies. That the prototypes just all turn out terrible. That it's really hard to get someone to make a good plushie. So, we've been scared to try, but we've had some people come and offer.

    Isaac Stewart

    On the JordanCon website, Deana just posted instructions on how to make your own. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, there you go.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #514 Copy

    Questioner

    You've talked a little bit about scripture readings contributing to your writing earlier today. How do you keep that separate from the worlds you're creating?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've really never had a problem with that. It's easier than keeping myself separate from other fantasy writers' things and that I've had to learn to put a line in place where I'm like "Ooh, this is a cool idea. Remember that this was someone else's cool idea." Because I consider the scriptures history, I don't mind if they influence me. Like, history does a lot. In Roshar you'll find the Mongolian invasion being a big basis for where the characters for the Alethi come from and in the same way, King Benjamin's speech is a bit of an inspiration for Nohadon's Way of Kings. I don't mind getting inspired by history.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #515 Copy

    Questioner

    There are Allomantic savants, are there Feruchemical savants?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Much harder to do. My feeling on Feruchemical savants was because it was your own power in the first place, you can't steep in it so much in the way. But, if you can get someone else's power or if you are fueling your Feruchemy another way, you would become one. So, the Lord Ruler is a good example.

    Questioner

    Was Miles a...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Miles would be the same sort of thing.

    Questioner

    Is that why he didn't die as quickly in the execution?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    So yeah. Normally no but if you can Compound you become... basically that is how I am explaining part of the Compounding abilities. 

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #516 Copy

    Shqueeves

    Similar to how holding Stormlight and Voidlight causes an emotional reaction, does holding a lot of Breath create an appreciation for beauty?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I would say that it does.

    Shqueeves

    Does every form of Investiture create an emotional reaction?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say yes. 

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #517 Copy

    Questioner

    You talk about dragons, are you ever going to write a book with a dragon in it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. There are dragons in the Cosmere. Hoid has talked to one. If you read the letters in the beginnings of the Stormlight books, there's one where he's talking to someone he calls, "You old reptile." That's actually Frost ,who's a dragon. The planet that Hoid comes from, there are dragons on. It's where I got the word Dragonsteel which is the name of my book. I just didn't end up publishing that book but they're still in canon. So eventually I'll do a new version of that book and release it. There are actually dragons off world even, but they can shapeshift in the Cosmere.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #518 Copy

    Questioner

    Is reincarnation a thing in the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Reincarnation is not a thing in most of the Cosmere.

    *Small exchange*

    You could call the Returned reincarnations and there are other things along those lines. You could call the Fused are straight up reincarnation. It happens in some places. If you've read Stormlight, there's a group that are reincarnated time and time again. In general, no but there are groups that reincarnate.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #519 Copy

    Questioner

    Why is Spensa's dad a coward? Why does everyone make fun of Spensa?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's not actually a coward. Read the book and you'll find out. Everyone makes fun of Spensa because their society focuses too much on a false version of what is a hero. They focus too much on the idea of if you're a hero, then you're good; if you're not a hero, then you're bad. They're basically kind of building themselves up by tearing her down which is a bad way to do it and don't follow their example.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #521 Copy

    Questioner

    If you had a group of Elantrians on Roshar and they wanted to set up an Elantrian complex similar to the city of Elantris, what would they have to do to get that set up?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The only way they know how to do it is to get Investiture from Sel and pipe it, basically. That's not the only way you could do it but that's the only way they know how to do it. You've seen them doing that in Secret History. Basically if they want their powers to work, they have huge workarounds they have to put in place. That's not all of it but that's basically... Yeah.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #523 Copy

    Questioner

    What do you when all your characters seem to think and act like you do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I do if I were in that problem is, I try to pick some attribute that's very different from me. A belief system, a way of acting, a psychology. And then go read a whole bunch of blogs by people who are talking about dealing with that issue and then try to do a steelman, is what they call it. The opposite of a strawman, make that person's argument or life philosophy as strong as you can make it in that character. And see what happens.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #525 Copy

    Questioner

    When do you think Alcatraz... The next one... Do you have a release date for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I hope it's next year.

    Do you have any idea?

    Isaac Stewart

    We're probably a year to a year and a half away. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. We have to wait on the art. Whatever the art takes. Tor hasn't seen it yet either. We have just finished it and Janci wrote half and I wrote half and it turned out pretty well.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #534 Copy

    Questioner

    Could you rewrite Elantris to make Allomancers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Could you rewrite Elantris to make Allomancers. If you really knew what you were doing, could you create a program?

    Questioner

    Right.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would be way easier with Forging and even that would be really hard. I could see you imitating the powers the right way, that you could end up with something that was functionally the same. It just wouldn't be an Allomancer.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #535 Copy

    Questioner

    I have a theory. Because the center of gravity for a female is naturally lower, but when Vin burns iron or steel, the blue lines come from her chest, does that come from her center of self, rather than the center of gravity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. That's probably a more accurate way to put it. 

    Questioner

    Would it be possible for that to change, then? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that is possible. I should say it like that, because it's not going to actually be... Because center of gravity, where you would actually put it, is not where I'm having those lines come from. You came in costume. You can just make that canon now and we will put that on all of the lists that that is what it is.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #537 Copy

    Questioner

    In the Sixth of Dusk, where does the magic come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The magic comes from the same place that the magic comes in all of the Cosmere.

    Questioner

    That doesn't help. What Shard or Splinter of Shards...

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO.

    Starsight Release Party ()
    #540 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you explain the difference between a singer and a listener? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Singer is the name of the people in their own language. Listener, this group that split off from the singers and did not want to be called singers anymore, called themselves listeners and that name perpetuated. You could say that singer is the name of race and listener is the name of the nation.

    General Twitter 2019 ()
    #541 Copy

    Jofwu

    So should we *not* read into the colors [on the Warbreaker leatherbound Nalthis symbol]? Or are Tears of Edgli purple and yellow? (and some black?)

    Oh wait, they come in several colors of course. Nevermind.

    Isaac Stewart

    Yeah, don't read into the colors of the symbol. :) That's just what looks good on the leatherbound.

    Stormlight Book Four Updates ()
    #543 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey, all! Dropping in to give you another quick Stormlight Four update. (See the previous update here.) Though most of my team is gearing up for the Starsight launch in a few weeks, I’m buckling down for the final push to finish writing Stormlight Four.

    I didn’t get a ton written during my tour last month, but I didn’t expect to. I did, however, have a little time--and I’ve focused lately on getting the last parts of the outline hammered together. There’s still some work to do on book five’s outline, but I’ve had the team move the outline progress bar to 100%--indicating that the book four outline is completely finished.

    Right now, Parts One and Two of the book are done as well. Parts Three-Five have been finished for everything but the main, core viewpoint cluster. (So, if you’ve been following along, that means viewpoint clusters two and three are finished.) I’ve also done some work on the interludes, getting a nice chunk of those done, most notably the "through line" viewpoint for the Interludes.

    Remaining to do are a handful of interludes and the core story for the second half of the book. Together, that should be around 100k words, though it’s possible I’ll go longer.

    Now comes the toughest part of the push for me. I’ve got just under two months left before January first, which is the deadline by which I’ll need to have the rough draft done if we want to publish in 2020. Since the book is looking really good, and the outline is solid, I’m confident that we won’t run into any problems. By this point in a book (the 75% mark, which is where I am right now) I’m generally aware if the book will require any major edits or revisions. This one shouldn’t, which means if I do hit that deadline, we’re going to be in really good shape.

    This means I need to write 100k(+) words in two months, with a book launch in the middle as well as two major holidays. So...we’ll see. I was wise enough to know ahead of time that I’d need these weeks for writing, so decided not to do a tour for Starsight. I hope everyone will support the book anyway; my publisher is really worried that by not doing a tour, we might be leaving the book without support.

    I, however, am confident that the majority of my readers would rather have me working on Stormlight than traveling about trying to persuade you to buy Starsight. (I assume this is particularly true for those of you on this subreddit.) I’m not terribly worried; from the reception Skyward has gotten, the second book should do just fine. So other than the launch party (which should be quite the extravaganza) I’ll be keeping my attention on Stormlight.

    As always, you can follow along via the progress bars on my website for more clarity. Also, Adam should be posting pictures there from my tour in Europe the next few weeks, along with some shots of me on the set of the Wheel of Time television show. (Assuming they ever get approved.)

    I’ll try to keep you updated as the deadline approaches, but it’s likely the next big update you’ll get will come at the annual State of the Sanderson blog post on or around my birthday next month. This should also be the last reddit update until you get the "It's done" update, hopefully right before the end of the year. (And, if you'll forgive me, I'm unlikely to be answering a lot on Reddit these next few months--and likely won't be saying much in this thread either.)

    As always, thanks for your support and enthusiasm. Journey before Destination!

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #544 Copy

    Ben McSweeney

    The major mandate for the entire Rosharan environment is "coral reefs above water". We leaned into it hardest in the first book, partly 'cause we were still working out what's what and partly 'cause Brandon wanted to put that design theme up front.

    So the luckspren and windspren are evocative of fish and schools. The prickletac rockbuds are actually shaped like branch coral, and the leaves of the stumpweight trees are seawead. Markel trees gots clamshell leaves. Axehounds are turtle-faced lobster-dogs, chull are giant hermit crabs, skyeels are so Moray they even got pharyngeal jaws.

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #545 Copy

    Araedox

    I’ve read the books several times and still can’t imagine what grass not in Shinovar is like.

    Ben McSweeney

    it looks like a tall, terrestrial grass, shades of green to gold depending on the variety and life cycle... grass which suddenly whips down into the ground whenever anyone gets too close (probably sensing ground vibrations).

    The actual plant is a sort of shallowly burrowed seed pod with room enough inside to hold moisture and for the long leaf to coil up... any excess leaf will get trimmed by exposure. Pretty sure it tops out around 3 feet, but if it grows longer some critter will eat it. Seeds emerge from the leaf tip to be either consumed and then redeposited in faeces, or blown away and redeposited by the winds.

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #547 Copy

    dark-winter-knight

    What is the difference between a person's Spiritweb and their spiritual DNA? Is there a difference?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Soul, generally used in the cosmere, is a spiritual or philosophical term. It refers to the part of a person that continues to exist after death, or to the "being" of the person in a philosophical term.

    A Spiritweb is a measurable, quantifiable thing in the cosmere. (Granted, it's not easy to do either to one, but it can be done.) It is a scientific term, though because the cosmere hasn't reached modern scientific understandings yet, there is a lot of overlap between science, philosophy, and spirituality.

    This way, acknowledging that a person has a Spiritweb does not require an atheist/humanist to affirm religious ideas or concepts--like acknowledging that the Vessels/Shards exist does not require also affirming that a capital G God exists.

    The separation of the two is necessary to allow people like Jasnah to not be undermined by the text. It wouldn't be right of me to work for having representatives of viewpoints contrary to my own if the very foundation of the magic systems and physics proved them wrong.

    So, in short, you can measure a Spiritweb. Whether a person actually has a soul or not (even in the cosmere) is subject to your own personal philosophy on the idea. Even ghosts and other persisting personalities after death, like certain individuals who shall remain unnamed, have a very real and rational magic system explanation for their existence.

    aravar27

    Is a Cognitive Shadow essentially Investiture filling in the molded pattern of a Spiritweb to the point where it resembles the initial person?

    I'm interested in the implications with respect to personal identity--the "soul" would be one of the competing answers for the question "what am I," but some argue for psychological continuity and others for biological continuity. A Cognitive Shadow seems like it might better fit the Psychological Criterion, since it seems like Investiture replaces the biological body as the source of living and experiencing things.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're getting into things that are subject to debate among people in the cosmere. Most shadows would insist that they're the same person. Others would dispute this, saying they're essentially a spren--a bit of the power that came alive like you said, taking on the personality of the person when the person themselves died.

    BipedSnowman

    Like uploading a brain to a computer. Made of Investiture.

    Brandon Sanderson

    A fitting analogy.

    Aurora_Fatalis

    Does it matter what kind of power it was that filled the gaps? Like, if you were a normal human and made a Cognitive Shadow fueled by AonDor, would you be more able to "possess" a modern computer than if you were made a Cognitive Shadow by - say - Odium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This can matter. Shades from Threnody, for example, work differently from Returned, who are different from Heralds. But all are Shadows.

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #548 Copy

    Shuaroo

    Have I gone crazy or did he misspell Kal's mom's name twice [in the Stormlight Four preview chapter]? It's Hesina, is it not? But its listed as Hessica twice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I always write her name the way it was in 1.0 of the first book, not the place one I changed it (to be more in line with Alethi naming conventions.) So Karen or Peter always have to go through and change it several times for me.

    At least I've stopped writing tin as silver these days. Whatever I do in the first draft tends to get embedded into my muscle memory as far as names.

    Sharuu

    Ha! I figured it was something like that, but started getting paranoid that I completely misremembered anyway. Besides, I imagine that, especially writing at the speed you do, it's easy to overlook the smaller details.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's also something about the way my brain works. I still have trouble writing Galladon instead of Galarion, which was his original name. Often, near the end of a book, I'm making tweaks to get the languages and naming more consistent--and some names just don't fit any longer. But my brain rarely wants to accept the changes. (Notably, though, I took easily to Kaladin--who was originally named something else, but a name I never really liked.)

    Protaokper

    Huh! Sorry if you’ve answered this before, but what was Kaladin’s original name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Merin. I know. In my defense, it fit the linguistics at the time.

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #549 Copy

    classicalkhlennium

    A while ago I was talking with my friend about the presence of isotopes in Mistborn, and we thought surely the metals have ions and isotopes like they do in the real world, otherwise how else would they exist on an atomic level? We wondered if there were radioactive isotopes on Scadrial or even in the Cosmere as a whole, else they would never discover nuclear weaponry and fuels. None of the non-god metals in Mistborn have radioactive components, but that isn't to say that radioactive metals don't exist in the cosmere. Radioactive elements such as uranium (a necessary discovery for the 3rd and 4th Eras of Mistborn if they want to have long term fuel sources/weapons) and radium (necessary discovery in the field of medicine) seem necessary to the advancement of civilization. This also raises the question of where would the god metals, lerasium, atium, and harmonium, fit on the Periodic Table, and would all of their isotopes be stable, would they perhaps have radioactive isotopes that can somehow affect their Allomantic properties?

    Brandon Sanderson

    These are things we'll start answering in the modern day Mistborn novels, so RAFO for now.

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #550 Copy

    havoc_mayhem

    I'm sure others have spotted this already, but I just noticed that the titles of the first 5 Stormlight Archive books are on track to form a palindrome.

    • (The) Way of Kings
    • Words of Radiance
    • Oathbringer
    • (The) Rhythm of War
    • ...

    WoK.WoR.O.RoW...

    This is really cool! Whether coincidence or deliberate, I hope that Sanderson continues the trend.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say that abandoning the title of book two way back when let me rebuild the title sequence to do something I hadn't been able to make work in my original series draft. Stones Unhallowed isn't likely to be the last book's title any longer.