Recent entries

    BYU Writing Class Wrap-up 2017 ()
    #5601 Copy

    Just another guyn

    If an Elantrian were to get a hold of Nightblood and draw it, how would Nightblood react to that-- What kind of power would be unleashed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So Nightblood needs kinetic Investiture to feed upon. The Elantrian would have to be able to get a conduit to the Dor to feed Nightblood or Nightblood would just eat their soul.

    Just another guyn

    So if they used AonDor to fuel Nightblood--

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are some types of AonDor that would work, and there are others that would not.

    Just another guyn

    And would Nightblood just keep going until either the Aon was--

    Brandon Sanderson

    He would dissolve the Aon as he drew the power from it.

    Just another guyn

    So it wouldn't just empty the Dor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it would not empty the Dor.

    Miscellaneous 2016 ()
    #5602 Copy


    If you remember from the original version of Words of Radiance, Kaladin rammed a Shardblade through Szeth’s chest, after which Nale found Szeth and healed him with a fabrial. However in Edgedancer Lift tries to heal a girl who had also had a Shardblade rammed through her chest, and it didn’t work. Wyndle then explains that since she was killed by Shardblade, she cannot be healed at all, unless she is healed right after it happened. Since Nale was obviously not with Szeth and Kaladin to heal him immediately, this appears to be a contradiction.

    Therefore, either Nale has some way to remotely heal someone (of which we have no evidence), "right after" is being used very loosely, or when Brandon changed the scene to have Szeth fall to his death instead, he also changed the rules governing what can or can’t be healed.

    If so, what other rules could have been changed at the same time? Is there some additional significance to the change in wording from fabrial to Surgebinding for instance? Moreover this would be a somewhat significant precedent that Brandon is setting, and I’m not sure what to make of it.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The way it worked in WoR's first draft is still canonical. There are subtle things that make the two situations different.

    JordanCon 2016 ()
    #5605 Copy



    I have a lot more tidbits and all of them more juicy than this, but this may be the single thing all weekend that actually added to the canon. As far as Peter and Brandon know, they never explicitly stated Kelsiers eye color, only that they were "dark", and Brandon thought about it and went with hazel.

    Does it matter? Probably not lol. But the moment he said it Peter contacted the wiki writer to add it officially. Pretty cool to ask a simple question that Brandon graciously chose to answer and then add to the canon story


    Since when is Hazel considered dark?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    It isn't. What we said is that Mistborn doesn't give anyone's eye color and only says Vin's eyes are dark. (Shan Elariel's eyes are also dark.) Kelsier's eyes will now be considered canonized as hazel, which is not dark.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #5606 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    That is about it for the languages in Elantris. There are books for which I’ve spent a lot more time on the languages, but there are also books for which I’ve spent far less. Overall, I like how the sounds in this book add to the feel of the various nationalities, though I realize that Aonic names (in particular) are difficult to pronounce at first. If you have your own way of saying them, well that’s just fine. I do the same thing with books I read.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #5607 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Duladen, Jindoeese, Svordish

    Duladen is a language purely of tonal convenience. My only rule for this language was to use that which ‘sounded right.’ It seemed wrong, in a way, to force any firm linguistic constructions on the Dulas. In addition, Galladon’s use of Dula slang was to become a major mood element of the book. I didn’t have enough time in the book to develop the language in detail, but I needed its sounds to give atmosphere.

    Duladen implies a laid-back, loose culture. Its words flow smoothly, and even have a hint of ridiculousness to our English-accustomed ears. Even the Dula word for Hell, ‘Doloken,’ has a kind of rhythmic nonchalance about it. Ironically, the part of the Dula language I was most unsatisfied with was its lead character’s name. I eventually changed it from “Galerion” to “Galladon” to make it fit better.

    JinDo is probably the least original of the languages in the book. It is an unabashed rip-off of Chinese, as can easily be distinguished. I did this with some hesitance. I worried that I had too much of a ‘learning curve’ in the setting of the book already, especially with the strange circumstances Raoden was going to be forced to endure. When it came to the JinDo language and culture, I feared that stuffing too much development into such a minor part of the book would make it unwieldy.

    JinDo is most important for the philosophers it spawned, three men who eventually became the religious foundations of the continent. I chose an Oriental culture to mimic in this case because of the mystical way in which most western cultures regard Asian-sounding names. Simply by calling something “JinDo” gave it an instant sense of foreign-ness.

    I went, perhaps, too far by making the adjectival reference for the nation ‘Jindoeese.’ I probably should have gone with simply “JinDo” as both noun and adjective. Other than that, I am satisfied with the culture, despite its lack of original sounds.

    The final language, Svordish, was almost an afterthought. I wanted to make it a dialect of Fjordell, something I could point out to show that all of the nations beyond the mountains weren’t just one big stereotype. By giving Svorden a minor identity of its own—with a side character and the ‘sv’ pattern of sounds—I hoped to give a bit of roundness to the unseen Fjordell empire.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #5608 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    The Fjordell language was a little more formed in my head in the pre-writing stage than Aonic was. I already had an idea of what I wanted this culture, and its language, to represent. I’ve always been fascinated by the rise of the Roman empire, first in military power, then in theological power. Latin and Catholicism fit very will with Rome’s logical, almost bureaucratic, culture.

    I wondered what would happen if a similar train of events had led a more war-like, barbarous culture to power. What would happen if the Scandinavian tribes had been able to unite and conquer all of Europe? The answer was simple, in my mind—they didn’t have the bureaucratic skill to run an empire. It would have collapsed.

    And that was where Fjorden came from. I imagined three distinct periods in its history. First, the rise of a war-like tribe to imperial dominance. However, once the empire was established and it ran out of foes to conquer, I imagined the new empire struggling to maintain control. Eventually, the First Empire collapsed under its own weight.

    However, this experience taught the Fjordell leaders what it was they did wrong. They learned order, organization, and—most importantly—they learned patience. Under the leadership of an inspired ruler, they abandoned their conquering ways and focused instead on Shu-Korath, a newly-budding religion that combined their ancient pantheistic beliefs with a more modern sense of theological order. This religion, which held the power of forced unity as one of its major themes, appealed to the warrior sense of the Fjordell.

    With that, the Second Empire was born. Now, instead of an army of warriors, Fjorden had an army of priests. The empire learned to lead more subtly, using its doctrines to control, rather than its swords.

    This country had to sound Scandinavian—the more like Beowulf the better. I had Hrathen’s name from almost the beginning, though I quibbled a little more on Fjorden itself. (I realize the name itself is a little gimmicky, but so far I’ve had good reactions from it.)

    Fjorden is defined in my mind more by its sounds than by any specific set of linguistic characteristics. The language prefers guttural sounds. ‘U’ sounds, ‘F’ sounds, ‘H’ sounds, and ‘G’ sounds. I added in a Hebrew ‘Y’ sound in the form of a ‘J,’ and placed emphasis on the ‘Hr’ combination. From this language, we get names like Dilaf, Jaddeth (pronounced yah-death,) and Sycla.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #5609 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    In the initial stages of Elantris‘ development, Aonic was one of the more difficult elements to construct. The Aons themselves—then still unnamed—were to become a major part of the novel. I wanted all of the Aonic names—including the names of two POV characters—to include references to the language. In addition, the magic system had complex connections with the Aons, influencing their actual forms and design. Furthermore, one of the greatest puzzles in the novel—that of Elantris‘ mysterious fall—was intimately tied to the power and shape of the Aons.

    I began looking for sounds and themes. Usually, when I construct a language, I try to develop something with a few basic sound patterns that are easily recognizable. When a reader runs across a name in the book, I want them to be able to instantly determine which country that name came from. However, the names can’t be too similar, otherwise they will become a jumbled mess in the reader’s mind.

    So I started, as I often do, with a couple of names. The first one I devised, I believe, was Raoden. The sound “Rao” (both vowels are pronounced in their long form) struck me. One of the things I wanted from Aonic was resonance with ancient classicism. I wanted the reader to reference a culture with a great, majestic history. Golden age Greece or imperial Rome—lands were gods were very real, and were thought to interfere with the workings of mortals. To the modern mind, these cultures bear a weight of age.

    Rao. (Pronounced Ray-Oh). I liked the repeated long vowel sounds—they seemed to bear the weight I wanted. From there, I constructed other morphemes. Ene. Ashe. Dio. I started combining these, constructing a language that references modern Japanese with its combination of a natural tongue and imported Chinese characters.

    The result was the Aonic language. Each name or word contained an Aon—a two-syllable morpheme that contained two log vowel sounds—and a non-Aon prefix or suffix. Raoden, for instance, contains the Aon ‘Rao’ with the non-Aon suffix ‘den.’ Seon contained the Aon ‘Seo’ with the suffix ‘n.’ The accent in these words is always placed on the Aon.

    Then, like any good modern language, I was forced to bend a few rules. The name of the city was very important to the book, as I intended it to be in the title. I played around with several different words, including one that stayed through the entire rough draft of the novel—a word based on the Aon ‘Ado.’

    In the end, however, I grew very partial to the word ‘Elantris.’ Again, this was for connotative reasons. It brought to mind ancient cultures without actually being too similar to any names I knew. The word seemed to have mythic import. Unfortunately, it didn’t contain an Aon. In the end, I went with it anyway. Any good language has sound-changes and broken rules. Elantris, therefore, is based off of the Aon ‘Ela,’ which is a very Aonic sound. When combined with its suffix, however, the secondary vowel is weakened—though not completely. When I say the word in my head, the ‘a’ sound is stronger than it probably is to most readers.

    The second bent rule references Sarene’s name. Originally, her Aon was ‘Ana,’ with two long ‘a’ sounds. Unfortunately, ana looked too similar to the word ‘anal’ to me. Eventually, I changed her from Sarana to Sarene. Still, in my head, I pronounce this word ‘Sar-Aynay,’ though the Aonic usage of the name would be more appropriately rendered ‘Sar-eenee.’

    With the Aonic language finished, I could easily fill in the names of side-characters and places. I threw out a few sounds—there is no ‘u’ sound or ‘th’ sound in Aonic—and from there could construct hundreds of names from Aonic combinations of sounds. I designed a few of the characters for referencing in the book, and the language grew from there.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #5610 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Basic Process

    I take several approaches to constructing languages for my works. The first thing I ask myself is how much I’m going to be using this language. How many characters will speak it? Will the setting take place in a land native to that tongue? How important, overall, is language to this particular book?

    In Elantris I realized that Aonic was going to be an integral part of the novel. The magical power of AonDor was once accessed through the form of the Aon characters. In this culture, language is a very literal power, and the practice and use of it would denote royalty, high-breeding, and even divinity.

    The other languages included were of varying lesser importance. Fjordell—the language of Fjorden’s priesthood—would be second in importance, for it was to be the native tongue of the only non-Aonic point-of-view character. To Hrathen, language was to become a symbol of purity and of the chosen race. It had religious significance, and was to be a subtle model of the elitist culture from which Hrathen hailed.

    The languages of Duladen, Svorden, and JinDo were of least significance. They had important characters representing them, but no major point-of-view characters. With the weight of Aonic and Fjordell already bulking up the linguistic part of the novel, I decided I wanted these three languages to provide flavor only. I wanted their representative words and names to give an instant clue to the nature of the society, and then add variety through the novel without becoming unwieldy.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #5611 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    I am not a linguist. I have some understanding of morphemes and the history of language, but only enough to avoid looking like a complete idiot. That’s all right. I am not Tolkien; it was never my intention to create viable languages in Elantris. I was busy enough crafting the story without worrying whether or not someone will be able to someday release an Aonic transition of Hamlet.

    That isn’t to say that the languages in my books are not important. In fact, they’re vital. A novel, at its basest level, is constructed of words—and words, at their basest level, are constructed of sounds. The sounds of names and phrases give the first subconscious clue to a character’s motivations and origins. Before you know a man’s thoughts in a book—before you see him act—you often know his name. The sound of that name is your first impression.

    Like many fantasists, I use linguistic themes to give characterization to the cultures in my books. Even for the best author, containing an entire world in the meager 200,000 allotted words of a novel is a difficult task. We can’t afford to use names and languages lightly—they must give clues to the nature of the cultures involved, otherwise we might as well call the hero ‘Tom’ as opposed to ‘Raoden.’

    General Reddit 2014 ()
    #5612 Copy


    It would be an honor to even have a passing mention in any of your works....

    My real name is Lyndsey, I'm about 5'4", 29 years old, pretty plain looking really, brown hair/eyes, not fat but not skinny either (about average in most respects). Huge tomboy though...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Got it. Be aware, it will be a good while before the second book is out--next year sometime, if we're lucky, spring 2013 if the writing takes more time than expected. Look for someone who has a name like yours, and who looks like you.

    Footnote: This conversation occurred privately through PMs in 2011, and was shared publicly after the release of WoR.
    Sources: Reddit
    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #5613 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    You do know that I've got a character in one of the books named Bowen?



    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. He's actually been in the books so far, but not by name. He's one of the Worldhoppers. If you go look and talk to them they may have identified him, some people who have read. He's from White Sand. I wrote the book in '98. Yeah, he's one of the Purelake guys.


    Is he Blunt?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah. So yeah, Bowen, you'll have to see because when I redid the linguistics for the world, his name I think got changed. I think it's now Baon. But in the very first draft of the very first book I ever wrote his name was Bowen. And the reason I think I changed it - is because he's a bowman. And I'm like "I named the bowman, the archer, 'Bowen.' That's kinda dumb." But in my head he's still Bowen.

    JordanCon 2016 ()
    #5614 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    1) The Nightwatcher and Stormfather are parallel entities such that Nighwatcher:Cultivation :: Stormfather:Honor.

    2) There is sort of a parallel for Odium, but the parallel is the various Unmade instead of a single entity.

    3) They are parallel in that they are all Splinters.

    4) The Unmade are voluntary Splinters, because Odium ("like almost all of the other Shards") voluntarily Splintered part of it's power.

    5) The Stormfather is different from the others because it's a Sliver.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #5621 Copy


    Have the Highstorms always existed on Roshar? The excerpt that talks about how one of the Bondsmiths had resigned himself to fight the Voidbringers but woke up and had a new idea, one that had to do with the nature of the Heralds themselves. Then, inside the Oathgate, we see "mythical creatures" like lions and such. It would make sense that the world might have been different when the KR were last around. So much so, that if the Highstorms "Opposite" is the Everstorm and it was made by followers of Odium, then the Highstorm would have been made by followers of Honor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Highstorms did predate the arrival of Honor and Cultivation on Roshar, but it has evolved much during the thousands of years since that event. It was not created by followers of Honor, but there is more to this story that you'll find out as the series progresses.

    Superstars Writing Seminar 2018 ()
    #5623 Copy

    MiToRo94 (paraphrased)

    This is a question about both The Stormlight Archive and the Mistborn series. Does The Thrill have anything to do with zinc, Rioters, or Allomancy in general?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    "They work on very similar principles." Their magic is based on similar ideas, and they do have a lot in common. A specific example would be that, "they both can affect different people to different extents and in slightly different ways. You can see that in how the Thrill affects Dalinar, and how burning zinc affects kandra differently than others on Scadrial. That is because kandra have pierced souls, so Allomancy affects them differently."

    Miscellaneous 2016 ()
    #5624 Copy


    How does electrum work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Electrum can see future shadows only as far in the future as is done with atium in the books. They use it to counter atium in that they see their own future shadow fighting, and if they see their shadow get hit by an attack, they know to avoid that attack, and they change their own future. This compounds the future shadows they see, which makes it practically as effective at countering atium as atium itself.

    While the scope of an electrum shadow is very limited, it could be useful in many situations. Like if you were playing tennis, you’d be able to look at your shadow and tell if you managed to hit the ball or not, and adjust accordingly. That would still take a lot of practice to master, but it could be very effective.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #5625 Copy


    Is Nohadon a herald. There are tons and tons of little things that make me think this. Like the KR have the Way of Kings to base their views and policies on. Which, as was stated, was written by him. In Dalinar's vision of Nohadon, he says things about surgebindings and implies the man he's speaking to is a leader of an order, like he himself is. We know, from the WoR (In world) excerpts, that all the orders were lead by the heralds, after a time anyway. That's my reasoning, not that you need it, if it's true or not true. I just thought I might clarify why I came to that conclusion.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nohadon is not a Herald, but I can see what lead you to think otherwise. Let's just say that even among kings and surgebinders, he was someone special.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #5626 Copy


    Also, funny question, what happened Nacomb Gaval, the soldier that Kaladin gave a field commission to during the Battle of the Tower? Did Dalinar let him keep his new rank? How does he feel about Kaladin after those events? He is obviously a minor character but I feel like he would be a good friend to Kal if the need ever arose for them to interact. [...]

    Brandon Sanderson

    [...] As for your question, yes, Dalinar let him keep his rank. (He earned it.)

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #5627 Copy


    I did have a question about the story if you're willing/allowed to answer it for me. In the TWoK and WoR when the Highstorm and Everstorm meet, we're told that they will feed each other and that their strength is increased. What I wonder is that if that increased power is sustained after they pass, so that they get bigger each time they meet. Because if that's the case, it will basically turn into a Fibonacci Spiral of planetary destruction. (at least if my terrible understanding of both that sequence and math itself is right.)

    So, if you could just say if I was supposed to understand that "They will feed each other" means only during their interaction or gives a more permanent upgrade.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    That's a good question. The answer is that they feed each other only while they're interacting. Once they pass they return to normal.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #5628 Copy


    I feel (strongly) that Hoid might be a conjured being. As he states he started life as words on a page. Either he knows that he's a character in a book or someone wrote a spell and poofed him into existence. (or you have another origin for him that I'm not considering) I just figured I'd ask and see what you thought.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. (You expected something else?)


    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #5629 Copy


    Did Vasher do to himself something similar to what Cultivation did to Dalinar, with his memory? I know in Warbreaker he says he knew the commands to take Denth's memories of things they'd done in the past away. Is there a chance he is not "whole" in his ability to recall his past?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's safe to say that Vasher's memory has a few holes.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #5630 Copy


    Is the story of the girl who looked up a story that is only known to Roshar? I know it could have spread out, especially since we see paintings alluding to it in the cosmere seen by a non-Rosharan but could it be a story they talked about on... say... Yolen?

    Also, was the "god" from "God's love" mentioned by Hoid a piece that either should have or did belong to/with Passion/Odium? Cause that would make all the sense in the world to me that somehow Odium was Passion but because Odium once he lost love from his being... I know it doesn't make a lot sense in the timeline. I just can't get the thought out of my head.

    Thank you for the time you spend answering my inanity or was it insanity. Either/or.

    Brandon Sanderson

    These are actually both RAFOs, I'm afraid. I do appreciate you asking, but I'm going to remain silent for now.

    FAQFriday 2018 ()
    #5631 Copy


    What idea for a book you loved didn't work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. It happens all the time, absolutely happens all the time. There's one that I did some readings from, that I got a scene written, where I wanted to do this cool book where I had this setting. The pitch on it was, what if viruses and bacteria evolved to give people magical talents when you caught the disease. This idea that a bacteria doesn't actually want to kill you, or a virus doesn't want to kill you. It wants you to live and spread it. You getting sick is a side effect. What if the side effect is, you got the common cold, all the sniffles and everything, but you could fly as long as you had the common cold? What would that do to society? What happens when someone invents penicillin and can wipe out half of these magical talents? What happens if people start catching a disease that makes everything they touch start on fire. So it was a story about basically fantasy Jack Bauer, who's a member of the fantasy CDC, who tries to stop diseases and things like this. But in order to do his job, he has to keep his immune system terrible, like this weakling who can barely get up the steps, so that he can quickly catch diseases to get the powers he needs to deal with outbreaks of these things. It's just a really cool concept that I've never been able to gel into an actual story. It hasn't worked every time I've tried to write it.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #5632 Copy


    I feel like society on Roshar would develop a bit differently because of emotion spren. You'd have to be very careful talking/ interacting with people since you can't hide things like fear, anger, awe, anticipation, joy, passion and shame. Imagine going through high school having to deal with them...


    I have to imagine it alters things like, say, the concept of masculinity. Obviously the Alethi have very strong ideas about masculinity, but attracting fearspren/feeling fear doesn't seem to be a negative within that like it would be in our culture. Men attract fearspren all the time, and it's totally fine.

    It also seems like it might be taboo to mention someone else's emotion spren. People are constantly noticing internally that other people are attracting them, but they NEVER EVER comment on it (until the part in OB where they're investigating it in Kholinar). There must be a really strong boundary around commenting on other people's spren.

    It's one thing I did want to ask Brandon about if he does another AMA--how emotion spren affect Rosharan culture.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is some good theorizing here. I'd agree with what /u/The_Bravinator says.

    The effects are all over the place, but they are just how life is on Roshar, so I rarely point them out. For example, the classic Alethi sort of idolizing being "straightforward" with people. No assassinations. (Well, supposedly.) You're used to being able to see people's emotions, so you take it for granted that only hyper untrustworthy people do things in ways that don't expose emotions. Emotions aren't bad, they simply are, and everyone has them. Views of masculinity are certainly changed.


    Is it taboo to mention emotion spren that other people are attracting, or do people just not generally think to do so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on the situation, really. Not exactly the same, but note how in Earth societies the different responses to something like passing gas, depending on context, culture, etc.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #5634 Copy


    I will confess that over the course of my study I learned that we're nearing the 10th Anniversary edition, and that [Brandon] has asked [Peter] to go over the book, take Brandon's notes, and make sure there is a consistent system behind the scenes. Humbly, I do hope that perhaps by at least locating the times in the book when Breath-count is mentioned, I have saved Peter a bit of busy work, if nothing else.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, a more precise system of how many breaths it takes to do X (and the exchange rate, so to speak, with other magic systems) is something on the list to do for Warbreaker 10th anniversary. I have the resources now, with more assistants behind the scenes, to get more precise on this sort of thing than I've done before.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #5635 Copy


    Would [Kaladin using a Shardblade to pick his teeth] work, or would it burn out your eyes immediately?

    Assuming Syl doesn't just became a Shard-toothpick, but remains a sword.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I suppose I'll go with the other responders--yes, you could make this work, in a perfect world.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #5636 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, a couple of things here. First off, I'll take any knocks I get--and try to do better. I'm not an expert on mental health, and though I do my best, I'm going to get things wrong. I'm going to risk defending myself here--and hopefully not dig myself deeper--as I at least explain my thought process, and why I built Shallan the way I did.

    However, one of the rules of thumb I go by is this: individual experience can defy the standard, if I understand that is what I'm doing. Like how Stephen Leeds is not trying to accurately portray schizophrenia, Shallan is not trying to accurately portray dissociative identity disorder (if a scholarly consensus on such a thing even exists. I haven't glanced through the DSM5 to see what it says.)

    In Legion, I have an easy out. I say, point blank, "He doesn't fit the diagnosis--he's not a schizophrenic, or if he is, he's a very weird one." I don't have the benefit of a modern psychology voice in the Stormlight books to hang a lantern on this, but my intention is the same. What Shallan has is related to her individual interaction with the world, her past, and the magic.

    Is this Hollywood MPD? I'm not convinced. Hollywood MPD (with DSM4 backing it up, I believe) tends to involve things like a person feeling like they're possessed, and completely out of control. The different identities don't remember what others did. It's a very werewolf type thing. You wake up, and learn that another version of you took over your body and went out and committed crimes or whatever.

    Shallan is coping with her pain in (best I've been able to do) a very realistic way, by boxing off and retreating and putting on a mask of humor and false "everything is okay" attitudes. But she has magical abilities that nobody in this world has, including the ability to put on masks that change the way everyone perceives her. She's playing roles as she puts them on, but I make it very clear (with deliberate slip-ups of self-reference in the prose) that it's always Shallan in there, and she's specifically playing this role because it lets her ignore the things she doesn't want to face.

    She's losing control of what is real and what isn't--partially because she can't decide who she wants to be, who she should be, and what the world wants her to be. But it's not like other personalities are creeping in from a fractured psyche. She's hiding behind masks, and creates each role for herself to act in an attempt to solve a perceived shortcoming in herself. She literally sketched out Veil and thought, "Yup, I'm going to become that person now." Because Veil would have never been tricked into caring about her father; she would have been too wise for that.

    I feel it's as close as I can get to realism, while the same time acknowledging that as a fantasy author, one of my primary goals is to explore the human interaction with the supernatural. The "What ifs" of magic. What if a person who had suffered a great deal of abuse as a child COULD create a mask for themselves, changing themselves into someone stronger (or more street-smart who wouldn't have been betrayed that way. Would they do it, and hide behind that mask? What would that do to them and the world around them?

    DID is indeed controversial, but I really like this portrayal. Not of a disease, but of who this character is. And I've had had enough positive responses from people who feel their own psychology is similar that I'm confident a non-insignificant number of people out there identify with what she's doing in the same way people with depression identify with Kaladin.

    State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
    #5637 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's the list of things people often ask me about. Unsurprisingly, I have other projects in the back of my mind. For example, I have two more Cosmere series that will need to be written before we can get to the third "big" Mistborn trilogy. (The sf one.) But that's the long, long-term plan.

    For now, my goal is to get Calamity and Stormlight 3 finished. As always, I appreciate all of the enthusiasm you show for this crazy thing that I have somehow managed to do with my life. Thank you for sharing my books with others, and for being willing to try the more unusual projects (like Legion) that I do.

    I feel humbled to have a great crowd of fans who are willing to put up with my eccentricities as a writer—particularly my desire to not work on just one project, but to have an entire body of varying stories. You guys are awesome. May you have a happy holiday season, and do go munch some heads tomorrow in my name.


    p.s. If you aren't on the newsletter mailing list, please consider signing up! In the summer, the newsletter included exclusive looks at some of the Stormlight 3 scenes I was working on. We plan to do more of this sort of thing in the future. As always, if you include your city, we'll send you notifications when I'm going to be doing signings in the area.

    State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Silence Divine (this will be renamed sometime)

    I did readings from this on my last tour (you can probably find them on YouTube; it was the Words of Radiance tour). I only have a few pages done, playing with the primary concept. (Diseases grant magical talents for as long as you have the disease—you lose the power when you get over it.) This one has probably been downgraded from full novel to novella, as I feel that something more Emperor's Soul-esque will do a better job with the themes I want to explore.

    State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Dark One

    This is a series I've talked about for a long, long time about a boy who discovers he's the "Dark One." Basically, it's the classic epic fantasy story told from the eyes of the dude destined to try to destroy the world instead of save it. I've made good progress on the setting, which is going to be awesome. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the teen series I do once the Reckoners and The Rithmatist are both done.

    As a note for fans, this is a Cosmere story.

    State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris sequels

    The Emperor’s Soul is now two years old, so it is probably time to get back to Sel and do some more there. We should be releasing a trade paperback of Elantris in the next year or two, with revised (and new) maps and a better Ars Arcanum. (Read: an Ars Arcanum.)

    The full sequels will need to be finished before I can do the contemporary (1980s tech) Mistborn novels because of behind-the-scenes Cosmere bits, so I will do my best to find a place to squeeze these in. At the very least, I will write them following the end of Stormlight 5. So, these are distant, but not too distant.

    State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Next Projects

    I've now begun Calamity, last of the Reckoners series. My goal will be to rough-draft it over the next three months. I have a tour between now and then (for Firefight) and a trip to Taiwan as well, so who knows if I'll make that deadline. We'll see.

    Once that is done, I will dive into Stormlight 3. I'm still waffling on whether this will be Szeth's book, Eshonai's book, or Dalinar's book. The original outline calls for book 3 to have Szeth's flashbacks, but I am feeling that another character might match the events better.

    I did some exploratory scenes for it this summer, though these may or may not end up in the actual book. I have been tweaking the outline, and am starting to feel very good about it. Writing the book should consume the entire rest of 2015, with a 2016 release. I do plan the Stormlight books to be an every-other-year thing.

    Follow along starting next spring as I write the book and post updates on my website. I'll even try to do some screen capturing with Camtasia as I write, for those who are interested in watching for them.

    That wraps up current and finished projects. 2014 was partially about me getting my feet underneath me after finishing The Wheel of Time and going right into Stormlight 2. I've caught my breath now, and feel good moving forward.

    And, speaking of moving forward, it’s time for a State of the Sanderson tradition—we're going to play "What about the sequel to this book I love, Brandon!"

    Here comes the big list.

    State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    What I spent 2014 doing

    January–March 2014: Firefight

    Though I had hoped to have Firefight (The Reckoners 2) done long before January, the touring last year made that impossible. It snuck over into 2014, which is why you’re getting the book in January 2015 instead of the originally scheduled fall of this year. In March, I also did the Words of Radiance tour, which really cut into my writing time.

    April 2014: Legion: Skin Deep

    In April, once all the chaos was done, I took the time to finish up Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion from a few years back), which I’d been working on during plane flights the year before. If you haven’t checked these two novellas out, you might want to consider it! They’re very fun, though the second book is not yet out in the UK and associated territories such as Australia and New Zealand. (Note that in those territories, Legion 1 and The Emperor’s Soul were released together in a very handsome paperback.)

    We will eventually have regular hardcover copies of Legion 2 available. That will probably come sometime in the first half of next year. Our contract with Subterranean Press, who produced the very attractive limited edition hardcovers of Legion 2, says that we’ll wait until their edition sells out before we release a competing one.

    May 2014: The Aztlanian (Rithmatist 2)

    Next, I dove into research for a sequel to The Rithmatist. This is going to be a tough book to write, as it takes place in a fantastical version of Central and South America, and deals with things from Aztec (Mexica) mythology. (In The Rithmatist, a lot of the geography is shifted around in bizarre ways.)

    Dealing with another group’s culture in this way is rife with opportunities for stuffing my foot in my mouth, and so I wanted to be very careful and respectful. This meant spending time devoted exclusively to doing extensive research. I didn’t actually get any writing on the book done, though I read some very excellent history books.

    (As an aside, if anyone out there is an expert in the Aztec/Mexica culture—particularly if you yourself are a Native American—I’d love to have your help on this book.)

    At the end of the month, I decided I needed to do way more research than a month afforded, so I put the book off for now. I still intend to write it, but I need more time to do it right.

    June 2014: Alcatraz

    Having spent a month with no writing, I wanted to jump into something fun and quick to refresh me before moving on to my next book. So, I dug out my outline for the Alcatraz series and at long last did a rough draft of the fifth book. These are fast, fast books to write—as I improvise them—but they are very slow to edit.

    I finished the book, and am pleased with it, but I have no firm date yet for when I’ll be publishing it. Tor is rereleasing the series starting next year with new covers and extensive interior art. I believe these launch starting about a year from now. (If you want them before then, your best bet for getting them is the UK omnibus of the first four.)

    I’ll want to release the fifth one once the series has been rereleased, so maybe summer 2016. If you’ve never read these, they are very different from my other work. They’re bizarre and sarcastic comedies that are self-referential and offer commentary on fantasy as a genre along the way. Those who love them absolutely love them. Those who don’t tend to find them insulting. That dichotomy alone is part of what endears them to me.

    July–December 2014: Mistborn

    The last half of the year was dedicated to Shadows of Self, the new Mistborn novel. And I have a confession to make.

    I also wrote the sequel.

    Now, before you start wagging your finger at me for being a robot, there was a really good reason I did what I did. You see, I was having real trouble getting back into Shadows of Self. I had written the first third of it in 2012 between revisions of A Memory of Light. (I was feeling Wheel of Time overload.) However, it can be very hard for me to get back into a book or series after a long time away from it. (This is another issue with the Rithmatist sequel.)

    So, jumping into Shadows of Self was slow going, and I found it much easier to go write the sequel to refresh myself on the world and characters. That done, I was able to move back to Shadows of Self and finish it up.

    So a week or two back, I turned in two new Wax and Wayne Mistborn novels. They’re titled Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning, and Tor decided to publish them in quick succession: the first in October 2015, the second in January 2016. So, if you have read the original trilogy but haven’t tried The Alloy of Law yet, you might want to give it a look! From the beginning, I’ve planned Mistborn to be a continuum series, showing off Allomancy in different time periods. I think you’ll find the Wax and Wayne books to be fun, quick reads—and they introduce some very, very big things coming in the Mistborn world.

    There will be one more Wax and Wayne (early 1900s-era) Mistborn book. Back after I finished The Alloy of Law, I sat down and plotted out a trilogy with the same characters. The Alloy of Law was more of a happy, improvised accident. The follow-up trilogy is meant to be more intentional. So in the end, we’ll have four total. (The final one is tentatively called The Lost Metal.) From there, I might jump to the second “big” trilogy, which is 1980s tech. Or I might dally a little more in something 1940s-era instead. We’ll see.

    Amusingly, doing these two Mistborn books together totaled only about half as much writing as a Stormlight book. Perhaps you can see why it takes even me quite a long time to finish Stormlight novels. (And it’s why you might want to lay off Pat Rothfuss a little. I believe The Wise Man’s Fear was even longer than Words of Radiance.)

    Tor did their announcement about these books earlier today. You may now commence wisecracks about me secretly writing extra novels when nobody is looking.

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    Well, don't say I didn't warn you that the list was big.

    It's been quite the year. Lots of travel, lots of meeting people and signing books. My tenth year doing this. I've spent the last decade kind of looking at myself as one of the new kids in the fantasy market, but I suppose it's time to admit that I've become—albeit not a member of the old guard—one of the genre's more established names.

    As always, you make this possible. Here's looking to another excellent year. Merry Christmas, and a Happy Koloss Head-Munching Day, to you all.

    Brandon Sanderson

    December 2015

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Projected Novel Release Schedule

    There's a good chance I won't hold to this, but just so you know, here's how I view my upcoming novel release schedule (not including any novellas or short stories that may or may not appear during moments when I need to do something new):

    January 2016: Wax and Wayne 3

    February 2016: Reckoners 3 (final book)

    June 2016: Alcatraz 5

    Sometime 2017: Stormlight 3

    Sometime 2017: Rithmatist 2

    Spring 2018: New YA project 1

    Fall 2018: Wax and Wayne 4 (final book)

    Sometime 2019: Stormlight 4

    Sometime 2019: New YA project 2

    Sometime 2020: Elantris 2

    Sometime 2020 New YA project 3 (final book)

    Sometime 2021: Stormlight 5 (ending of first arc)

    Sometime 2022: Elantris 3 (final book)

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Projects in Development

    Aether of Night

    Another of the books I wrote around the time of Elantris, and another one that's not half bad—but still in need of a solid revision.

    I'll likely do something with it someday. In the meantime, if you want to read it, you can send us an email to ask for a copy. (Consider it a thank you for getting this far in this huge post.) I'd ask that you'd consider signing up for my mailing list when you do email me, as that's how I get the word out on when I'm doing signings and when I have cool new things to release. But that's not required in order to get the book.